View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next The Order of the Shield

2017-03-27, 10:50 PM
This is something meant to go with my Homebrew Paladin Oath (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?519181-To-Serve-and-Protect-5e-Paladin-Oath-Archetype-(Please-Critique)). At the end is a short Background related to the following tale.

A long time ago, a great paladin was sworn to the service of the largest kingdom in the lands. He was personally assigned to the protection of the king's nephew, a young duke, and came to grow fond of the young man. Over the years, he foiled several attempts on the duke's life and rooted out more than a few wicked cults that had begun operating on the duke's lands. The duke praised the paladin profusely, no matter how much the paladin declared such praise was unnecessary, and the two seemed to trust each other. When accusations came that the duke was treating his subjects unjustly, even convorting with fiends, the paladin himself rebuked the claims declaring that the duke was a paragon of virtue to all of his holy senses. All seemed well, if at times tense.

And then, during a summit of all the nobles in the land at the royal palace, the king was found murdered, his daughter and declared heir discovered standing over his body holding a blood-stained knife. She managed to flee, but the duke sent the paladin out to capture his cousin and after a long campaign the paladin returned with the disgraced princess in chains to see her tried and executed, all the while screaming that she'd been under the influence of foul magics, forced to watch as her hands murdered her beloved father under the command of another. The paladin did not believe her, for she all but vibrated with the foul taint of Evil.

The night after her execution, the paladin was summoned to the chambers of the former duke, now the crowned king. There he was offered wine and congratulations. Proud to have been of service to his friend, his country, and his faith, the paladin drank deeply... and immediately felt the effects of poison. Struggling against the vile concoction that was in the process of killing him, the paladin only half-heard his supposed friend lay out exactly what he'd done. The foul magical experiements on the common folk in preparation for controlling his cousin, how he'd fooled the paladin's divine senses to see the taint of his bargain with fiends in another, how he'd managed to lie under magical compulsions towards truth, and how he planned to repay his unholy debt with the lives and suffering of his subjects once the paladin breathed his last.

The gloating proved his undoing, as the paladin managed to rid himself of the poison and slay the wrongful king. He then stumbled out of the palace, half-dazed fromt he after-effects of the poison, it having been most foul indeed, and dazed the rest of the way with shame for how thoroughly he'd been taken for a fool.

He spent many years wandering the lands, aiding others where he could but no longer trusting anyone. One of the pillars of his faith, the certainty that what he did was Right and Just, had been shattered completely. He doubted everything and everyone he came across. No longer could he believe his senses or another's word. He questioned everyone and everything that crossed his path with an intensity that would have worried his former naive self.

And, after many years of questioning what was true... he discovered he had become rather good at it. He no longer needed holy magics to separate fact from falsehood. He saw the things others wished he would not. He could follow trails, not of footprints, but of the tiniest hidden traces that would seem of no consequence to others. He could pierce layers of misdirection and past them discover what was True. And most of all, he saw the true nature of the suffering caused by those who would use the tricks he had at long last learned to see past: The fear that none would come to help because the liars lied too well, the charlatans misdirected too skillfully, and the corrupt hid their foul dealings behind too many smiles and empty promises.

He had not rediscovered his divine purpose, he had found a new one. But it was one he could never hope to fulfill alone.

So the paladin sought out others. Other paladins, of course, but also like-minded souls of other walks of life. From the deep wilds of nature where the Rangers and Druids dwelled to the tall towers of learning the Wizards called home. From the tranquil forests of the Elves to the deep mountain tunnels of the Dwarves. He brought those he found together over decades for a single purpose, to form an Order which would seek out the misdeeds that the wicked would hide behind lies, misdirection, and/or a pleasant reputation and bring those who perpetrated them to Justice. All would swear an Oath to Truth, Justice, and the defense and aid of all peoples in need.

He was an old man before the Order of the Shield became officially recognized.

Today, multiple nations recognize the work of the Order and request their aid whenever there is suspicion of foul deeds afoot. Many members, particularly junior ones, are sent to aid City Guards and watches with local problems before potentially being assigned to larger cases affecting greater areas. Training for members, and any consultants they work with (i.e. Party Members), is routinely offered by the Order as well as confidential Atonement in those cases where members must bend the letter of their Oath in order to uphold its spirit.

Self Judgment is the unspoken creed, for blind unswerving faith in anything can be made to serve the wicked unless questioned.

The path chosen is never easy, but it is all the more necessary for it.

Order of the Shield as a 5e Background:

Skill Proficiencies: Investigation, Insight
Tool Proficiencies: Choose One: Thieve's Tools, Disguise Kit, Forgery Kit. Alternatively, you may select the Light Armor Proficiency if it is not in your class proficiency list.
Languages: One language of your choice
Equipment: Your chosen toolset or a pouch of 10gp, a case notebook, Pen and ink, an Order uniform (including Padded Armor), a small dagger concealed in your boot, an intricate engraved amulet in the shape of a stylized shield with your name and the name of the Order of the Shield embossed upon it inside a folding leather pouch (this can double as a Holy Symbol)
Special: You may trade one of your class skills for Perception