Lazlo COS Pathfinder - Low Magic
A note about Paladins within an LCM Campaign
Paladins are without a doubt an exceptional group within LCM campaign settings. They follow a restrictive moral code which sets them apart from most of the world and limits their options regarding how they are expected to behave in both social and wartime settings. In return for the significant restrictions placed upon them, Paladin’s are have been blessed with abilities uniquely suited to dealing with some of the worse problems within an LCM campaign setting. Paladins are able to deal with issues of both undead and evil outsiders with much fewer limitations than most classes.
Class differences of an LCM Paladin
“Evil” has been retyped as Demons, Devils (and similar evil outsiders), undead and dragons.
- The Paladin’s cannon ability Detect Evil has converted to “Detect things which innately possess Negative Energy” (reference “evil” above). This ability comes across as a general sense of unease which intensifies with the strength of the aura in question based upon HD/CR of the creature being studied and how physically close the Paladin is to such a creature. Entering an area where such creatures routinely lair would also be enough to set the Paladin on edge.
- The paladin adds evil outsider, demons / devil, undead & dragon bane to the list of weapon special abilities that can be added to his weapon.
- Paladin are specially trained in combating “Evil” and are always considered to be wielding a specialty weapon with the ability to hit such creatures.
- Paladins gain a + 1 bonus to resist the negative energy and mind effecting spells and special attacks of their undead and outsider enemies. This bonus increases by an additional + 1 at levels 3, 6, 9, & 12.
- Paladin’s gain Skill Focus + 3: Sense Motive at 1st level. At higher levels this can have an unnerving effect on commoners and nobles alike as there is little which can be hidden from the Paladin.
- Paladins may not use ranged weapons such as a Bow, Crossbow or sling when engaged in direct combat against any race allowed as a PC. Paladins may not use explosives or fire as anti-personnel weapons against PC races; although such tactics may be deployed to blow open a door, or against a siege tower, etc. Paladins may never use poisons, subterfuge, bushwhacks or sneak attacks against any humanoid races.
Under the code of Chivalry paladins follow such weapons & tactics are considered cowardly. Thrown weapons, such as a javelin, are allowed although still not considered particularly honorable and thus generally avoided by most paladins. Paladins believe the true test of courage and honor lie in facing your enemy in single combat without the use of such trickery.
Creature types other than PC Races such as Orcs, evil outsiders, undead, dragons, etc the Paladin does not view as an honorable foe. They do not consider such creatures to be “people” and thus many of the restrictions on how they are dealt with simply do not apply. That said however, Paladins are always lawful good by nature and thus will never resort to tactics of sadism (such as poison or torture) even against unworthy foes.
Default Paladin Archetype for LCM campaigns:
Paladins under the LCM are Knights. They are essentially “blessed warriors” who have traded most of the Fighter training and feats for the sacred bonuses of the Paladin, but never gain spell casting normally associated with D20 RAW Paladins. The Paladin is a Knight who is sworn to their Temple as a guardian and protector of both it’s faithful and the interests of the Temple. Paladins always go out of their way to do what they believe to be right.
Tempered Champion – is the default of the LCM Paladins. They are a non-caster variant but gain Weapon Specialization feats as per a fighter. Mounted Combat feats may also be chosen with the bonus feats gained from this Archetype.
For players who absolutely hate these limitations a better fit would be to play a Fighter, Magus, Inquisitor or WarPriest instead who is very religious (or “Knightly”) and has taken background feats and traits to reflect such.
A note on a Paladin’s Code of Chivalry:
“My honor is my life, and my word is binding. I will never attempt to lie nor deceive. I will respect the authority of rightful rulers in both my homeland and in kingdoms I may visit while carrying out my duties. I will protect the weak and the innocent. I will respect women, protect children and punish the guilty.” – This is the vow of the Paladin.
Paladins are more than simply a mounted cavalry in nice armor. They are the best trained, and best equipped military officers who are sanctioned by both the king and the church (both of whom feel the knight’s ultimate loyalty should belong to them). Because of which their actions, manner of dress, treatment of enemies, etc etc are expected to reflect the highest of ideals of their kingdom. Uniforms & armors are to be cleaned and polished given an opportunity to do so. Weapons are sharpened and well maintained. Women were to be treated as ladies (even women of commoner classes were treated respectfully), and enemies were to be treated with respect & courtesy.
Because their weapons and armor are their badge of office these are the first items within a paladin’s inventory which will be upgraded or maintained, immediately followed by the quality and equipment of their mount (typically a horse).
Historically on Earth there were many orders of knights which followed a code of chivalry similar to that of the paladin. In spite of their adherence to what could easily be called Lawful Good values and beliefs, they understood that their code of honor was not followed by most of the world. Some knights would certainly use this difference in values to create undue tension and make unrealistic demands of others, although such an approach quickly lost them friends and much needed allies. Most Knightly orders however taught their adherents to follow the ideal that the only way to change the world was to become the change they wanted to see in the world. In this way they would often lead by example.
In spite of the presence of Knights and Paladins in larger battles, the standing military found within LCM campaigns will still make use of standard battle field tactics (such as the use of ranged weapons, fire, etc). The Paladin’s themselves however preferred to fight their enemies face to face as they feel this is the way honor is both earned and shown to worthy foes. Given the opportunity to do so, such knights will ignore lesser opponents on the battle field (such as a lowly conscripted foot soldier, or mangy goblin) and seek out worthy foes such as other knights, or powerful beasts.
Paladins have been based upon the highest ideals of the historical Knights Templar. An excellent movie about the Knights Templar was “Kingdom of Heaven” starring Orlando Bloom. To understand paladins better it is suggested to read up on the Knights Templar or watch a couple documentaries of them (available on netflix, youtube, etc).
For those who feel the limitations on the Paladin class are simply too restrictive…
Allow me to direct your attention to other classes which offer a different take on the Holy Warrior / Knight concept:
The Fighter, Inquisitor, Magus and Warpriest. Each of these classes when taken with an appropriately chosen archetype and background traits come very close to a more classic paladin feel but with fewer restrictions. NOTE: Being an arcane caster the Magus would make for an unusual “paladin” within LCM Campaign settings.