Paladin (character class)
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The Paladin (alternatively sometimes called Templar or Crusader) is a staple character class found in computer and pen and paper role-playing games. The template may have been introduced through the eponymous character class from Dungeons & Dragons. The broad concept is that of a "Holy Warrior", combining aspects of both Warrior and Cleric.
The Warrior aspect is typically patterned after the fictionalized chivalric image of a knight-errant in shining armor from the high middle ages or renaissance period.
The religious aspect harkens back to the historical Paladins' purported role as the bodyguards or right-hand men of Charlemagne, the Protector of Christianity; or alternatively to the religious background of the crusaders, especially Knightly Orders such as the Knights Templar, Knights Hospitallers or the Teutonic Knights.
In game terms, a Paladin is thus typically a Warrior character first and foremost, proficient with heavy arms and armor. Yet at the same time a Paladin is gifted with blessings or magical capabilities such as healing, protection, and countering evil magic (including undead), albeit to a lesser degree than a true priest or cleric. Their outlook would typically be that of a militant defender of faith, sometimes crossing over into cleric, missionary, zealot, or inquisitor territory.
- 1 Paladins in Games
- 1.1 Dungeons & Dragons
- 1.2 The Bard's Tale series
- 1.3 World of Warcraft
- 1.4 Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim
- 1.5 Lineage II
- 1.6 Vanguard: Saga of Heroes
- 1.7 Diablo
- 1.8 Avalon: The Legend Lives
- 1.9 Final Fantasy
- 1.10 Age of Empires
- 1.11 Quest for Glory
- 1.12 EverQuest
- 1.13 Ultima
- 1.14 Guild Wars
- 1.15 Mabinogi
- 1.16 Dragon Nest
- 1.17 Fire Emblem
- 1.18 Artix Entertainment Games
- 1.19 South Park: The Stick of Truth
- 2 See also
- 3 Further reading
Paladins in Games
Dungeons & Dragons
In the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, Paladin is one of the base character classes. The Paladin is a holy knight, crusading in the name of good and order, and is a divine spell caster. By definition and game restriction, Paladins are always of the 'Lawful Good' alignment in D&D 1st–3rd editions. The 4th edition allows the Paladin to match their deity's alignment. Paladin characters are expected to demonstrate and embody goodness and law – they are not supposed to lie or use poison, and some interpretations say they should only use stealth, missile weapons, and other forms of impersonal warfare as a last resort. Switching to any alignment other than Lawful Good or breaching part of the Paladin's code of conduct results in a loss of all class abilities.
The Paladin is a champion of justice and destroyer of evil protected and strengthened by an array of divine powers. Most of these powers relate to providing benefits to those around the Paladin. These include healing and curing of disease, morale in combat and turning of undead. Most of the abilities are similar to but of a lower level than the cleric's abilities.
The classic view of the Paladin is that of the knight in shining armor. The character the class was derived from, Holger Carlsen from Poul Anderson's novel "Three Hearts and Three Lions", was such a figure, but being a knight is by no means a requirement of being a Paladin. They do often join an order, or serve a church, but they can also act on their own.
Later editions brought forward the more generalized concept of the Paladin just being the pinnacle of combat related to a particular religious organization. This allowed Paladins of various gods that were of an alignment other than Lawful Good. All Paladins had a code or set of rules that must be followed but because of the differences in point of view between the alignments the rules governing behavior changed from order to order. This allowed for one of the more heinous villains in the game setting, the "Anti-Paladin" or "Blackguard". A complete and utter opposite of a proper Paladin he is one of the dark champions of an evil order. Everything about him is a twisted visage of a Paladin. Where the Paladin is charismatic in a charming or trustworthy way, an anti-Paladin's charisma came from being frightening or manipulative. A Paladin's abilities were also mocked with the anti-Paladin's abilities like "Harm" "Cause Disease" and "Cause Fear". These were never recommended as player characters.
The Bard's Tale series
In the Bard's Tale series of computer RPGs, the Paladin is a fighter class with heightened resistance against magic attacks at the cost of slightly less martial proficiency than a true Warrior. They are not spellcasters, but can use some magical items that others cannot, and are among the classes that can change class to become a spellcaster class called "Geomancer" later on (losing their Paladin class bonuses as a consequence).
World of Warcraft
In the MMORPG World of Warcraft, Paladins were at first a class exclusive to the human and dwarf races of the Alliance. When The Burning Crusade expansion was released, the Horde faction gained these holy warriors with the addition of blood elves, while the draenei race were added to the Alliance faction and given the shaman as a playable class. With the release of the Cataclysm expansion, tauren are also permitted to become Paladins.
In the Warcraft universe's lore, the Paladin was first conceived by Archbishop Alonsus Faol of Northshire Abbey. Faol felt that the contribution to the war effort by pure clerics during the First Great War (Warcraft: Orcs & Humans) would not be sufficient for the battles ahead, and decided to create a more versatile cleric that didn't need protection in combat. Faol's apprentice Lord Uther the Lightbringer became the first Paladin. Uther used his natural leadership skills to rally the best knights of Azeroth to be blessed as Paladins, and formed the Knights of the Silver Hand. In Warcraft II, they were upgraded knights who could heal injured comrades and exorcise undead. At this point, Paladins were amongst the Alliance's most powerful melee units.
By the time of Warcraft III, the Paladin had become a separate class, rather than an upgrade. They were less powerful individual units, and were relegated to more of a support role in combat. In-game, they were Hero units, meaning they could gain experience and improve their abilities. They possessed the weakest direct offensive skills of the four Alliance heroes, instead protecting the troops with their aura, healing and resurrection abilities. During his later life, Uther trained Prince Arthas as a Paladin. In Warcraft III, Arthas was corrupted by the Lich King, and ultimately abandoned the way of the Paladin, killing his father the King and betraying the Alliance to the Scourge. After Uther became possessor of the late King's ashes, he was killed by Arthas, who wished to take possession of the magical urn containing the ashes. This led directly to the collapse of the Silver Hand, and the Paladins became scattered. They now fight under any Alliance flag.
In World of Warcraft game play, the Paladin is considered to be a melee-oriented hybrid class, which is a class that fulfills more than one role. Paladins have various protective spells they extend to party or raid members, the ability to heal allies and oneself, and a unique system of seals and judgments for combat. Paladins can be 'specialized' at level 10 and above. The three available specializations are holy, protection and retribution. The Holy Paladin specializes as a healer (acting as an armored cleric), the Protection Paladin takes the role of a damage-absorbing tank for a group, and the retribution specialization increases the Paladin's ability to do melee damage (representing a zealous crusader).
Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim
In Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim, Paladins are the heavily armored warriors associated with Dauros, the god of law. Paladins are characterized as stalwart defenders of good, but often to a fault: as they see themselves as the sole arbiters of good, many tend to view them as smug, sanctimonious or self-righteous. In the first game, they are contrasted with the warriors of discord, followers of Fervus. In the second game, they are contrasted with the blade-masters of Krolm.
In the first game, they are female, wield claymores and can be recruited at warriors' guilds if a temple to Dauros is constructed. In the sequel, they are male, wield war hammers and can be recruited directly from temples to Dauros or upgraded from basic warriors. The in-game explanation for the sex change is that sometime in the five hundred years between the events of Majesty and Majesty 2, the sister Paladins were driven mad by the wind god Lunord, as vengeance against Dauros in the struggle which led to Lunord's departure from Ardania. Dauros then bestowed his favour on the brother Paladins who protected his temples.
In both games, Paladins are very expensive to recruit, but they are aggressive, will readily respond to attack flags and will rarely retreat from battle, even from much stronger foes and bosses. They tend to have high-rated full plate armour, high attack and constitution attributes and wield powerful defensive magic, making them effective tank units.
In Lineage II, the Paladin class is one of the two human tank class choices. The other is the Dark Avenger, which gets life stealing skills instead of healing, and is more popular. Elves and Dark Elves each have another tank class, too, with more magic abilities than their human counterparts.
Vanguard: Saga of Heroes
In Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, the Paladin is one of three tank classes available. The other two choices are the Warrior and the Dread Knight. Paladins in Vanguard get healing and buff spells and use sword and shield, Dread Knights get life stealing and some other spells and use twohanded weapons like the Greatsword or the Greathammer, and Warriors get higher damage output and use dual weapons just like most melee damage dealer classes in this game (with the exception of the Monk, who can also opt to use some twohanded weapons instead). All three choices are intended to play differently and have advantages under specific conditions, but perform overall about equally well in respect to tanking. The later goal has been reached, the first one not so much, for compared to other classes, the three tank classes play more like subclasses of each other, than being actually very different.
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A Paladin class was present in the game Diablo II. Unlike many other Paladin classes, Diablo II Paladins don't have to preserve a Lawful Good alignment. Scepters are the only weapon type to come with bonuses to individual Paladin skills. Like all blunt weapons, they deal more damage to the undead.
Their skill set is unusual for a Diablo II character class in that they don't have any passive skills, and only ten of their skills, with slight emphasis on healing and anti-undead effects, are combat moves. The other twenty skills are so-called auras, which give any party member within range a bonus (for example a resistance to an elemental damage type, or a higher chance to hit their target), or damage or penalize any foe within range. Each paladin can use no more than one aura at a time, but receive additional bonuses from auras of paladin-class party members nearby.
Diablo III features Templars and Crusaders, two other orders of holy Zakarum warriors similar to, but distinct from, the Paladins.
The Templars, based in Westmarch, are a secretive group which recruits from the ranks of captive criminals and subjects them to torture and brainwashing until they can no longer recall their crimes, after which they are considered "purified" and inducted into the Order. In-game, the Templars are represented by the companion character Kormac, a warrior who believes himself to be such a criminal. However, his quest for his order's relics allows him to discover the truth: he has been innocent all along, whereas the Order is corrupt. In combat, Kormac's abilities focus on supporting, protecting and healing the player character.
The Crusaders, a playable character class new to the Diablo III: Reaper of Souls expansion, were formed by the cleric Akkhan in order to expose and cleanse the corruption at the heart of the Zakarum faith. Crusaders believe their mission would never end; to this end, each crusader is obliged to train an apprentice who would eventually take up their arms and their very name to preserve their legacy. The Crusaders are notably more focused on offensive abilities than Paladins or Templars, capable of both using weapon-based attacks up close and cast holy magic from a distance. The Crusaders' class-specific weapon is a flail, which comes in one-handed or two-handed versions. As many of their abilities rely on having a shield equipped, they are the only class that may opt to wield a two-handed weapon in one hand while using a shield in the other.
Avalon: The Legend Lives
In the online roleplaying game Avalon: The Legend Lives, the Paladin is a branch of the Knight profession. Like all Knights, Paladins practise the arts of Chivalry (mastery of combat and offensive strategy), Endurance (discipline of the body for enhanced reaction and survival) and Weaponry (the ability to forge weapons and armour from metal ores). Where the Paladin diverges from the standard knightly career path is in their fourth skill of Spiritualism. This skill allows the Paladin to function as something of a holy warrior; a crusader wielding the light and pure spirits to heal and defend his homeland, his allies, and himself.
In the MMORPG Final Fantasy XI, Paladin is an advanced job that can be accessed after completing a special quest. It functions like a Warrior, but with more defensive abilities. It can also use White Magic. A Paladin's main function is defense. Because of this, players often set Warrior as a support job. This allows them to use the Provoke ability and draw enemies' attacks towards them and away from party members (referred to as tanking).
While not identified as a Paladin, in Final Fantasy I, the Warrior class can upgrade to the Knight class after returning the Rat Tail key item to Bahamut. Doing this allows the Knight to cast up to third level White Magic. Final Fantasy III also has a Knight class, which allows them to use the Cover ability and cast White Magic, two features of the Paladin class in later games.
Cecil Harvey, main protagonist of Final Fantasy IV, is classified as a Paladin for most of the game. Similar to Final Fantasy XI, he can use White Magic, but the general role is more offensive than defensive. Cecil also appears in Dissidia Final Fantasy, Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, and Final Fantasy IV: The After Years.
In Final Fantasy IX the Boss and temporary party member Beatrix is classified as a Paladin, Basch is given the Paladin job in Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, and Snow Villers of Final Fantasy XIII can theoretically be classified as a Paladin when acting as a Sentinel. He even has a heavy coat named 'Paladin'.
Final Fantasy Tactics has the Holy Knight class, which is similar to a Paladin, and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance features the Paladin as a Human-only class with healing, defensive, and holy abilities.
The Warrior of Light in the Dissidia games is somewhat Paladin-like, as he has many light-based attacks, wears heavy armor, is devoted to the Goddess Cosmos, and is fearless and strong-willed.
A Paladin-like character can also be made in Final Fantasy II and Final Fantasy XII by using heavy armor, white magic, and defensive abilities. The Paladin class can also be created in Final Fantasy V by equipping the White Magic command on a Knight, since the Knight also has the Cover command and can equip Heavy Armor.
Age of Empires
The Paladin is a heavy cavalry unit in Age of Empires II that can be trained at the Stable once the Imperial Age is reached. Like most other cavalry, Paladins are very agile, though they cannot match the speed of Light Cavalry. They are effective for wiping out almost any unit in the game. However, they are susceptible to the weaknesses of all cavalry units.
Quest for Glory
In the Quest for Glory adventure games, the Paladin's most important 'ability' is the Honor, which also shows alignment in that game's system. Fighters and Wizards can achieve the Paladin rank at the end of Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire, and be imported as Paladins in Quest for Glory III: Wages of War. They can also undergo training in the third but this is usually regarded as difficult if the player is not using exploits to raise his or her honor.
Although Quest for Glory paladins must act with justice and compassion, they are not necessarily "lawful good" by D&D standards; obeying unjust laws in fact causes a loss of Honor. Thieves may even become paladins, although this requires avoiding several side-quests that involve stealing from innocents prior to becoming a Paladin. After becoming a Paladin-Thief, in order to access the Paladin abilities, the thief must refrain from dishonorable actions (i.e. stealing).
Also, the character interactions are tied to "Paladin" and supersede any interactions that might be bound to the other characters (to an extent). For example, in the Third Game, the Liontaur Rakeesh will tell the Hero he needs to use his skills as a Fighter/Wizard/Thief to bring peace to Tarna if he is not a Paladin, but if the Hero is a Paladin, he refers to him that way rather than as any of the previous.
A person can only become a Paladin when he or she is granted the status by another Paladin. This usually occurs in the form of a speech and the handing down of the sponsoring Paladin's sword. Only a special Paladin sword may erupt into blue flame.
The Paladin gains more abilities the higher his "Honor" level grows. He will likewise lose Paladin abilities for losing Honor points. Honor points are described in the Fifth Game as "the sum of all the good that a player does in the game. It increases with acts of kindness and heroism, and decreases with cruel or illegal activity. High Honor is the measure of a true Hero. Low Honor is indicative of a skilled Thief."
In EverQuest, the Paladin combines the strength and battle prowess of the Warrior class with the healing and buffing of a Cleric. Sharing some of the spells and buffs of the Cleric but not as powerful. The Paladin class shines when fighting the undead through weapon imbued and direct damage spells. Alternate advancement ability “slay undead” raises damage output of the paladin.
In the Ultima series of computer role-playing games, the Paladin character class was introduced in Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar. In the absence of a tangible deity or religion, the Paladin represents the Virtue of Honor (being derived from combining the principles of Truth and Courage), and is primarily concerned with noble quests.
Introduced in Age of Shadows, Paladins are spiritual warriors whose divine powers are karma based and available through the Chivalry system. They were one of two new additions, the other being the Necromancer. Notable examples of Paladins in Ultima Online include Dupre (companion of the Avatar), the Legendary Paladin Marduk Lorethian, and the Elder Paladin Luke Terrant – his oldest friend and companion.
Guild Wars Nightfall introduced the Paragon class, a spear-throwing heavily armored warrior that could provide healing and buffs to other team members. The characters are described as being chosen by the gods as emissaries among mortals. Warrior classes that have chosen a Monk or Paragon secondary class (both of which provide healing and support) are also considered "paladins".
Guild Wars 2 features a soldier profession known as the Guardian. It uses Virtues (divided into three categories: Courage, Justice, and Resolve) to aid allies in combat, or use to power the Guardian's own passive abilities. Can also create wards that prevent enemies from getting any closer, and can summon enchanted weapons to help in the fight
After completion of Generation Two, players using human characters can gain a paladin transformation which gains experience as they level up.
The Paladin in Dragon Nest is an advanced class of Cleric which can be obtained upon reaching level 15. Paladins, unlike Priests, specialize in tanking capabilities. In Paladin's skill tree, most of the skills are blocking and survivability skills which are necessary or important in long-run dungeons called the Nests. Paladin has multitude of roles, being support (they can activate Aura which are beneficial for individual and party performance), secondary damage dealer (via skills in magical skill tree and some in physical skill tree), and the least but not last, also the best role as a Paladin is tanker (provoking monsters to grab aggro to save allies, uses blocking skills for survivability).
The Paladin class in the Fire Emblem strategy franchise is a mounted combat class, the promoted form of the Cavalier class. Unlike most traditional definitions of the Paladin class, the Paladins of Fire Emblem are not holy warriors and cannot wield any form of magic; the exception is Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu and Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, in which female Paladins are able to wield healing staves. The Paladin is typically a balanced class, primarily set apart by its high movement-per-turn range. Throughout the series' history, they have had access to all four primary melee weapon types, with the use of swords and lances the most consistent. Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn split the class into four variants, each exclusively specialising in one of the four weapon types.
Artix Entertainment Games
In all the Artix Entertainment games (with the exception of Epicduel, Mechquest, and HeroSmash), notably Adventure Quest Worlds, Paladin is available as a Character Class. (The founder of AE has a corresponding in-game Paladin NPC that trains the players as Paladins). Paladins in Adventure Quest and Dragonfable are mostly a powered-up version of Warrior, with Light-element damage and healing skills. In Adventure Quest Worlds, Paladin becomes an Upgrade-Only class (in the other games it is not) and functions as the game's main tank class. Curiously, in AQworlds the player must fully rank up both Warrior and Healer to access Paladin, whereas in the other games the class is much more easily accessible.
South Park: The Stick of Truth
- Defenders of The Faith – A Guidebook to Clerics and Paladins D&D Accessory by Rich Redman & James Wyatt. 2001