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    Default Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    Welcome, initiates, to the beginning of the rest of your life. Today you begin your new life as a paladin, the strong right arm of God. I see that you have been issued with your swords and armour; leave them at the sides and sit down. You will not need them yet. Here, in this class, you will learn about the life of a paladin. You will learn about honour, justice, mercy, duty; above all, though, you will learn about the code to which you will dedicate your life. You may call me Teacher, or Master; I pray for your swift elevation to full rank, when you may call me Brother.

    Of humility befitting a paladin (Paladin's Rule 0: Don't be a jerk.)

    You know of course that you are here because you have been chosen. But lest any of you fall into pride because of this, remember that you have been chosen by God to serve in a specific capacity to use certain gifts given to you. The governor, the scholar, or even the farmer, who seeks to honour God in his labour, is chosen and gifted as surely as you. You may find yourself lifted higher than they because of your calling, but you will also ever be in peril of falling lower. Remember this, and be humble.

    Of the paladin's code and the truth it stands for (Don't let the code choke you or your game.)

    It is because we are chosen, and called, that we must live by our code. The essence of the code is simple: do no evil; respect authority; act with honour; help the needy; punish the wicked. But you are not here just because you are capable of following rules. The code is more than rules. It is the expression in words and deeds of a deeper truth. It is the violation of that truth, not of the mere rules that express it, that will distance you from God should you transgress against the code.

    The truth of righteous living is universal, but it is essentially unutterable. The more we try to describe and define it, the farther we stray from its universal nature. Yet because we are only mortal beings, we must try to define it in order to conceive of it and follow it at all. Thus, what the code means for me may differ from what it means for you. But this must not be the shifting, relative morality of whim and passion that you may have heard preached, for we must seek our path from God, not our worldly wants and desires. Particularly to those who have come from afar to learn with us for a time, I say: Discuss earnestly the particulars of your own code with a mentor before you begin your duties as a paladin. In this way, you may avoid the troubles of vagueness and doubt on the one hand, and the poison of lawless self-will on the other.

    Notwithstanding all that I have said, I shall try to clarify what it is to conduct yourself righteously, as befits a paladin, and God willing it shall light your path somewhat.

    You have no doubt heard in tales and such that it is a noble thing to die by the code. Put that out of your minds. I shall endeavour to teach you to live by the code; if you do, you will be ready to die when your time has come, but you shall not be tempted to court death for your own glory. More importantly, you must know how to live by the code with every breath you take, every deed you do, even when death is not an immediate danger. Those who only know to die by the code will stand firm in battle and hard deeds, but swiftly fall to the subtler seductions of evil.

    Of honourable combat (Stop shouting challenges before every fight. War is not a duel is not an arrest.)

    But let us first look at battle, for we are the soldiers of God in a world of danger and war. You have heard that you should give the enemy a fair fight, yes? Open challenge, equal readiness, and God will decide? Utter rubbish. Put it out of your minds at once. The only time you are obliged to give this sort of 'fair fight' is when you are honour-bound to do so: that is, in a duel. The principle you must instead observe might be called the 'rules of engagement'. This is the term used in open warfare, but it will serve for all forms of combat and confrontation. The rules of engagement for a duel call for a 'fair fight'. No other rules do.

    The most basic rule of engagement is that you must have due cause before doing violence to a foe, and you must do your diligence to make this cause known to the foe. In warfare, this is often twisted to demand a duel-like challenge, no ambushes, and other such absurdities. It is the declaration of war itself that serves to make your cause known. After that, anyone who is a soldier or partisan in the war may be considered to be legitimately informed, and you may attack in any manner that is suitable, observing only the mercies of your conscience and a rigorous effort to ensure that you only attack soldiers and partisans.

    It is likely that you will spend more time in commonplace enforcement of the law than in open warfare -- and here too the 'rules of engagement' have been twisted to make you believe you must duel every lawbreaker and murderer that crosses your path. Your duty in upholding the law is to uphold the law. In the process of apprehending a culprit, you must make them aware of the crimes with which they are charged -- but you may, indeed should, use sufficiently overwhelming force to ensure that they are apprehended. Letting them escape from a 'fair fight' is a travesty of justice, not a deed of honour.

    Of duels, and of the related trial by combat, the less said the better. If you should find yourself in one, let it be because a trusted and neutral authority called for it. If you declare that God will see you victorious, when you declared the duel to satisfy some slight to your own honour, your judgement is clouded and you are almost certainly not acting in submission to God's will.

    Of justice tempered with mercy (Lawful AND Good, people.)

    Enough said of combat and violence, even if it is just. Justice alone is not enough. A paladin is a champion of righteousness, which is justice tempered with mercy, law balanced with love. Meditate often on this. Those who revere justice without compassion will tell you that your law is made imperfect by your mercy and restraint. Those who celebrate loving-kindness above all will say that your good deeds are fettered by your strictures and principles.

    The truth that the first error will deny is that the law is imperfect, an imperfect expression of the truth of righteousness. Law without love serves no purpose but itself, and is futile. Law and love together serve to better the giver and the receiver of justice.

    The second error denies the truth that love without stricture is defenceless. Quite apart from defending against all the evils of the world -- and as paladins we must maintain our vigilance always, and be bound to order and principle to do so -- we ourselves are not perfect. To defend the goodness of love in our own hearts, we must be mindful of lawfulness, not so that love becomes diminished, but so that it may be perfected, and not sicken or stray into a cruel parody of love that, all unawares and unresisting, harms others in the pursuit of the beloved, even harms the beloved thing itself.

    Always strive for the way that upholds law and good. But the perfect way is narrow and hard to find. If you are ever caught between them, remember that the second error is the less. Imperfect good is preferable to imperfect law. Remember the first rule of every paladin: do no evil.

    Of resisting evil (Why we do not detect-and-smite.)

    More than this, of course, we are called to actively resist evil. You will learn to sense the presence of evil; indeed, part of your training here will be in recognising the aura that evil presents to your supernatural senses. This, however, should be your first clue to the limitations of this gift: It is quite hard to actually get evil people to willingly come inside our walls and be test subjects. Therefore, we use magic to present differing auras to you, for your training. Learn from this that the semblance of evil is not itself sufficient grounds for violence. (Learn also that the absence of the semblance of evil is no cause for complacency.)

    Moreover, the taint of evil on a being's soul is not itself a crime. We punish deeds, not souls; souls, we strive to redeem. Evil can be mundane; it can even -- but never be complacent -- even be beneath our immediate concern. A malicious misanthrope who spitefully abuses and spreads lies about his neighbours is a wicked person, and you will sense the evil in him, but misanthropy is not -- not in our region, at any rate -- sufficient cause by itself to do more than verbally chastise a person. And that will itself likely do little to help. Unless you can find evidence of evil deeds that have gone unpunished, you will do well to leave the matter alone.

    Take from that, this lesson: Your awareness of the presence of evil is a warning, not damning evidence. Treat it as you do your other senses and support it with sound reason.

    Of obedience and the law of the land (No, you don't breach the code by wearing a hat of an illegal colour while passing through the Duchy of Frivolia.)

    Our fight is not against evil alone, however, and you will go astray if you fail to also uphold the law. Does this mean that you must obey every jot and scruple of the law of the land wherein you find yourself? No -- but you should strive to do so regardless.

    The code is the heart of your law. But if the code itself is an imperfect expression of universal righteousness, how much more will the law of the land be imperfect, when it may be written by fools or tyrants? Seek for the heart of justice that underlies the law, and remember that where the written word departs irreconcileably from just governance, it is no longer truly a law.

    Nonetheless, we are called to respect the authorities, so unless their injustice makes it impossible to do so in good conscience, endeavour to obey their laws. If you were to flout the law in the sight of others, even if you knew you were justified before God in doing so, others who do not know or hold your principles will be led astray by your actions. For their sake, obey law and uphold tradition.

    I shall stress this theme on a particular point: the use of poison. The ethics of poison are oft-debated, and it must be conceded that there are times when it would be permissible for us to use it for good and just purposes. However, because of the stigma attached to poison's use, it remains proscribed in the codes of most paladins, lest those lacking our scruples should feel free to use it at whim, thinking they follow our example.

    And likewise, concealing the truth -- if not, on occasion, outright lying -- is often all but necessary to prevent harm coming to others. But something of upholding the truth is said by most paladins' codes, because failing to uphold the truth will often lead to deeper and more subtle harms. But this is such an occasion as I described, where you may struggle and fail to see the righteous path between practicing deception, and giving power to your foes. Do no evil.

    That is enough of a lesson for this morning. Go, attend to your midday meal, and discuss among yourselves what you have heard here. I pray you shall find some small kernel of wisdom in these words.
    Last edited by Peregrine; 2007-02-08 at 01:30 PM. Reason: Oops, missed one word...
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    Default Re: Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    You know, I've been looking for something I can hand players who choose to play Paladins in my games so that they understand what I expect from them and gives them a rough estimate of the sort of behavior which will and will not be tolerated. You have nailed that, sir.

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    Default Re: Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    Other than failing to include directions on how to insert a giant stick up their posteriors, this is one seriously awesome piece of work.


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    Default Re: Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    This is an awesome guideline for Paladins to follow as opposed to the vague, bare-bones description in the PHB. Back when I played a paladin there were a few times that I was better off pretending to be mute because I was (according to interpretation) unconditionally obligated to tell no lies and break no laws, even when in that particular case I didn't know what the law of the particular land was; this makes following the code so much easier. Great job on making such a good description of the Paladin code that's such a good read.
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    Default Re: Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    a brilliant interpretation and one that I will keep for a rainy day when somebody I know plays a paladin.

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    Default Re: Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    Only gripe I have is the references to God, but that seems to be more a placeholder than an actual reference. Well done, hopefully this will help us cut down on Mikos.
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    Default Re: Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    what I like most about this entire bit is that it is nested within the context of a setting. It makes the rhetoric far more believable and far more compelling than just a flat discussion.

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    Default Re: Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    Very well said. That's what many players (and a lot of DMs) should learn about paladins. People that belittles paladins for their codes, and DM's that plays "divine sargent" could learn something from this.
    Truth is that a lot of players and DMs despise any Lawful aligned character, and forgets that paladins need to be Lawful and GOOD.

    @Kalir: Paladins are supposed to be holy warriors, blessed by the gods. If you don't talk about the gods in a paladin thread, it may look kinda empty. Specially when one of the topics is how to *don't* use the proverbial stick for being a "choosen one".

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    Default Re: Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    Quote Originally Posted by Roderick_BR View Post
    Paladins are supposed to be holy warriors, blessed by the gods. If you don't talk about the gods in a paladin thread, it may look kinda empty. Specially when one of the topics is how to *don't* use the proverbial stick for being a "choosen one".
    I got that, but I was just pointing out that referring to the Christian "God" (as both name and designation) may have been a bad idea, but as a placeholder it works quite well.
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    Default Re: Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalir View Post
    I got that, but I was just pointing out that referring to the Christian "God" (as both name and designation) may have been a bad idea, but as a placeholder it works quite well.
    Oh, I got it. Hmm... maybe if he downcap God to god, or the more used "deity", it wouldn't sound so specific.

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    Default Re: Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    Good - but I would like to stress one point: "You are sworn to uphold the laws of [Insert deity here] over and above those of any Earthly master. Any human rule or law that conflicts with this duty must be utterly disregarded."

    A paladin is first and foremost a holy warrior in service to their deity, and they are the champions and upholders of divine authority - the strong right arm not just of the church militant, but of the deity itself. Their priorities should thus be those of their deity.

    Their bond with their deity is not just central to their life, it is their life.

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    Default Re: Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    Quote Originally Posted by Duke of URL View Post
    Other than failing to include directions on how to insert a giant stick up their posteriors, this is one seriously awesome piece of work.
    Well, the idea was that they shouldn't need the stick...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalir View Post
    Only gripe I have is the references to God, but that seems to be more a placeholder than an actual reference.
    Yes, it is. The word 'God', even capitalised, doesn't (to me) have to mean the Christian God, especially within a fantasy setting. I just didn't like how it sounded if I used more generic terms: 'your god', 'the gods', 'the deity'. It lacked punch; it sounded like 'any old god will do'. Even in a polytheistic setting, I think paladins (and clerics, and any other devotedly religious character) should have essentially the same ways of referring to their god as real religious people do. Also...

    Quote Originally Posted by elliott20 View Post
    what I like most about this entire bit is that it is nested within the context of a setting. It makes the rhetoric far more believable and far more compelling than just a flat discussion.
    ...I was trying to do that, put it in the context of 'a setting', without getting setting-specific at all. So I couldn't say 'Pelor' every time I used 'God'.

    Basically, I wanted to convey that this here bunch of paladins is dedicated to a god, their God, even if others exist in the setting. Any resemblances to the Christian God... would be a breach of forum rules for me to delve into.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roderick_BR View Post
    Very well said. That's what many players (and a lot of DMs) should learn about paladins. People that belittles paladins for their codes, and DM's that plays "divine sargent" could learn something from this.
    Truth is that a lot of players and DMs despise any Lawful aligned character, and forgets that paladins need to be Lawful and GOOD.
    Yeah, this was meant to be as much for DMs who choke players with the paladin code as for players who do it to themselves. The section about 'discuss your code with a mentor, especially if you've come to us from far away' was code for 'talk it over with your DM, especially if there are setting-specific things involved'.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elliot Kane View Post
    Good - but I would like to stress one point: "You are sworn to uphold the laws of [Insert deity here] over and above those of any Earthly master. Any human rule or law that conflicts with this duty must be utterly disregarded."
    That's not how I'd phrase it (not "utterly disregarded"), but you have a good point. I suppose in my defence I can say again that I was trying to be general, so I couldn't delve too much into what happens with deity-specific laws that are binding in addition to the idea of 'be righteous' that underlies the code. But I could put in at least one line saying that you have to uphold them as well, without going into what they might be.

    Thanks for your feedback, everyone! It's nice to see it so generally positive...
    I support paladins and the alignment system.

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    Default Re: Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    I don't know why people seem to confuse Paladins with Clerics so much. Paladins are generally secular figues, extremely pious, but secular nonetheless. They certainly don't have to serve any particular deity or be part of an organisation of any kind, let alone take monastic type vows.

    Don't get me wrong, I think this is a great write up, but to me it is more directly suitable guidelines for Lawful Good Clerics. Paladins would almost certainly abide by these instructions, but the context seems off to me.
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    Default Re: Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    Matthew...

    Paladins gain their powers directly from the deity they worship and are pretty much defined as holy warriors. There's nothing secular about them. If there were, they could hardly lose their powers by transgressing against their codes, could they?

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    Default Re: Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    They are entirely secular. They don't receive their powers from a specific deity unless that is the fluff you choose to use, unless the fluff description has changed in the transition from 3.0 to 3.5 (As far as I can tell it hasn't).
    As far as I can see a Paladin is a Roland, Galahad or Lancelot (now there's a fallen Paladin). They are the best of secular Knighthood (or whatever warrior class) and they often become Clerics, but they certainly don't have to be ordained. Joan of Arc is probably another example. They are certainly pious, but they don't have to be members of the clergy.
    Last edited by Matthew; 2007-02-09 at 12:17 PM.
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    Default Re: Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    They at least get their powers from some divine source. If they did not, those powers would not vanish if they transgressed. The possibility of falling implies the existence of one or more judges.

    They cannot be secular.

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    Default Re: Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    They may get their powers from a Divine source, but you are misunderstanding the meaning of secular. Secular means to not be ordained as a member of the clergy or as a monk. Paladins are not necessarily members of the clergy or monks. Therefore, they are secular. It's perfectly possible for someone to not be a member of a religious group and receive divine power. All it means is that either a deity favours that individual or that his commitment to an ideal or cause is so powerful that he derives divine power from it (i.e. is favoured by some sort of divine force).

    I strongly recommend you reread the Paladin and Cleric (as even these do not need to be ordained) fluff in the PHB.
    Last edited by Matthew; 2007-02-09 at 01:06 PM.
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    Default Re: Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    I checked dictionary.com to be sure, and this is the definition it gives

    It's possible you & I are simply looking at paladins in too different a way to agree, but I'd say that definition certainly proves paladins cannot be secular. As holy warriors, they are absolutely connected to the religious, spiritual or sacred. They draw their powers from one or more divine sources, and you can't get much more sacred than deities :)

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    Default Re: Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    Amazing. This shuld be required reading

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    Default Re: Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    Quote Originally Posted by Elliot Kane View Post
    I checked dictionary.com to be sure, and this is the definition it gives

    It's possible you & I are simply looking at paladins in too different a way to agree, but I'd say that definition certainly proves paladins cannot be secular. As holy warriors, they are absolutely connected to the religious, spiritual or sacred. They draw their powers from one or more divine sources, and you can't get much more sacred than deities :)
    The thing is, Paladins are not described as Holy Warrior in the PHB. If they were, it would be a different story.

    Those are actually eight different definitions for the use of that word, not a single definition. The one that applies is layperson.

    I am not saying Paladins cannot be ordained, but I am saying they don't have to be.
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    Default Re: Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    Matthew...

    Every paladin draws their power from one or more divine sources. Doesn't that make them holy warriors by definition?

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    Default Re: Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    Well, that is a complex issue. The basic answer is no. Being protected by divine power (from whatever source) and having your prayers answered is not necessarily evidence of being Holy or Sacred, but then that depends on your definition of these terms.

    The point, though, is that Paladins do not have to be aligned with any specific church and they are not described as being ordained (unlike the Cleric who is singled out as being 'usually' ordained).

    Paladins do not need to be members of any specific religion or order within a religion. Being righteous is enough. Many Paladins may eventually become ordained, but that is a different matter.

    It's a very complex issue because the idea of a Paladin is rooted in real world religion, which is a subject that cannot be discussed. In general terms, the Paladin has not made any vows to a deity. He follows a very strict code of conduct, but unless inducted into a religious order, he remains a member of the laity.

    Paladins are 'perfect' members of the laity. They are not bound by Clerical or Monastic regulations, though they may choose to become so.
    It is a joyful thing indeed to hold intimate converse with a man after one’s own heart, chatting without reserve about things of interest or the fleeting topics of the world; but such, alas, are few and far between.

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    Default Re: Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    Matthew, your arguments equivocate on the meaning of 'secular'. Two definitions apply: 'not an ordained clergyperson', and 'not concerned with deity or religion'.

    You state (correctly) that a paladin is secular, definition A. You then argue that they don't draw power from a god, or even need to serve a god at all, because they're secular -- but that would be secular, definition B.

    Paladins get divine spells, divine grace, divine health, cleric-like class features... they are affiliated with 'divinity', whatever that means in a particular setting, and thus they are not definition-B secular, even if they are not ordained clergy.
    I support paladins and the alignment system.

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    Default Re: Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    Paladins are secular in the sense of not ordained. They generally have a strong interest in religion, but they do not need to support any single religion or number of religions to receive their powers.

    They do not need to draw their powers from any single or group of divinities any more than a Cleric does. Indeed, prayer is quite optional for both, as meditation will apparently suffice.

    Secular definition B has two clauses: deities or religion. I am arguing a Paladin does not need to be concerned with deities to receive his power, but that does not prohibit spirituality or concern with religion.
    Last edited by Matthew; 2007-02-09 at 02:00 PM.
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    Default Re: Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    Okay, I can't stand the 'cleric of a cause' clause (say that five times fast), but I'll leave that aside for a moment. To my understanding, it's only there at all so that people can play clerics without having to roleplay the trappings of religion, if for some reason they don't want to.

    However. This does not, to my mind, cause the cleric to become definition-B secular. (A cleric is of course never definition-A secular.) It merely broadens the idea of what it means to be of or related to deity, divinity or religion. If your adherence to and belief in an alignment is enough for you to manifest 'divine' spellcasting powers, then there is something 'divine' about such adherence; therefore any character who adheres to a 'cause' is no more secular (def-B) than one who adheres to a religion.

    Thus, paladins are not secular (def-B).
    I support paladins and the alignment system.

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    Default Re: Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    Actually, reread the PHB fluff with Clerics. They don't have to be ordained. The reason Clerics can be 'of a cause' is to allow faiths that don't have Deities, such as that presented in Al-Qadim, in my view.

    Paladins are certainly not definition B secular (i.e. in the sense of uninterested in religion), but that is not really the issue. Paladins receive divine protection, aid and spells. The source of that power is Divine (in the D&D sense of Arcane and Divine). It does not follow that Paladins receive that power from a Deity or group of Deities, unless that is the only way such power can be granted in a given campaign world. Divinities (in D&D) acquire Divine power themselves, they are not actually the font of divine power. There are (for instance) limits to what they can do.
    Last edited by Matthew; 2007-02-09 at 02:09 PM.
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    Default Re: Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    It is absolutely possible within the rules to create a cleric or paladin who has no deity, no religion and yet can somehow use divine magics and divinely gifted powers. I've yet to meet any GM who allowed it, though. It simply makes no sense that an ordinary person can somehow gain access to divinely gifted powers without any deity being in any way involved. If it's that easy, there's no reason not to allow wizards to research mage versions of clerical spells, and that's a thing no GM wants, I'm sure.

    Nonetheless, to get back to paladins: the vast majority will be holy warriors who draw their powers from one or more deities. Can we at least agree on that? So while there may be a tiny minority who are secular, the majority will not be?

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    Edit: I suspect the real reason 'non-deitic' clerics and paladins exist in the game is to allow genuinely religious people in real life to play clerics & paladins without any possible qualms. This is however pure speculation on my part.
    Last edited by Elliot Kane; 2007-02-09 at 02:14 PM.

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    Default Re: Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew View Post
    Actually, reread the PHB fluff with Clerics. They don't have to be ordained.
    I know, but this is playing fast and loose with the definition of the word 'cleric'!

    Paladins are certainly not definition B secular (i.e. in the sense of uninterested in religion), but that is not really the issue.
    Well, I was of the impression you were saying they could be... although I should note that I didn't mean 'concerned with' as in 'interested in'. I meant it as 'of or related to'.

    Paladins receive divine protection, aid and spells. The source of that power is Divine (in the D&D sense of Arcane and Divine). It does not follow that Paladins receive that power from a Deity or group of Deities, unless that is the only way such power can be granted in a given campaign world. Divinities (in D&D) acquire Divine power themselves, they are not actually the font of divine power. There are (for instance) limits to what they can do.
    Oh good grief. The worst part of this is that you're technically right, but surely you can see that this is absurd?

    -- But I'm not going to let myself get all tangential on the matter of first causes. Your assertion that paladins may be 'divine' but not 'serving a deity' (as described in my post) is noted, accepted, and then politely overlooked. Elliot stated the reason why:

    Quote Originally Posted by Elliot Kane View Post
    Nonetheless, to get back to paladins: the vast majority will be holy warriors who draw their powers from one or more deities. Can we at least agree on that? So while there may be a tiny minority who are secular, the majority will not be?
    Indeed. Most paladins do in fact draw their power from serving a deity. Therefore I wrote my post with such paladins in mind.
    I support paladins and the alignment system.

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    Default Re: Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    Well, a Paladin or Cleric must have a belief system of some sort in order to derive spells by way of meditation. Both are certainly concerned with spirituality. It wouldn't actually be much of a big deal for Wizards to research Cleric Spells, the other way round would be the problem!

    I would agree that most played Paladins do tend to support a religion. The PHB, though, says that "Paladins need not devote themselves to a single deity. Devotion to righteousness is enough for most", so I would have to conclude that in core D&D, most Paladins do not support any one Deity (The huge exception to this is the Forgotten Realms).

    The point, though, is that serving one God does not mean ordained. A Paladin may become ordained, but that is not the same thing as supporting or being supported by a particular divinity. So, Paladins are, by and large, secular figures.

    Whilst unordained Clerics does sound odd, it actually is not too silly, being as it allows for the non-secular unordained (i.e. men who would have been ordained, but who for whatever reason have not been, typically loners, savages or frontier men).

    Technically correct is the "best kind of correct" to paraphrase a certain fictional character.

    To be clear, though, I am not opposed at all to Paladins serving a Deity or being ordained. I just thought I had better point out that they don't have to be and the PHB implies that most are not.
    Last edited by Matthew; 2007-02-09 at 02:47 PM.
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    Default Re: Lessons for paladins [rules discussion disguised as prose]

    I would say that the vast majority of players & GMs fly right in the face of the PHB, thus proving it to be completely in error.

    I have never seen a paladin or cleric played who did not worship and draw power from a specific deity, and every GM I have ever known has disallowed non-religious paladins & clerics. Maybe it's just my area of England like that, and the rest of the world happily embraces the concept, but I doubt it.

    This is not to attack you in any way, Matthew - I want to be very clear on that. My absolute disagreement is with the PHB, and however much I may disagree with you I absolutely respect your right to your opinion.

    Technically, you are correct that according to the official rules a cleric or paladin can have no religion and be utterly secular. In practise, I really can't see many GMs allowing it.

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