D&D 5E Paladins in 5e (different from Battle Clerics and Chivalrous Fighters)


The Paladin is one of the few classes that has me very concerned, when talking about D&D Next /5e and its objective of making every class look, feel and play differently.
I already stated before that, at least for Martial classes, I see two "attributes" that could really distinguish classes beyond 4e's Tactical Role, and they're Strategical Role and Preferred Field. I'm gonna re-post here my views about them:

- Strategical Role: Stalwart (visible, up-front, no tricks, moves slowly)
- Preferred Field: Any field in which many enemies can concentrate around him (he can also "create" this field by goading/challenging or good positioning.
- Strategical Role: Sneak (poorly visible, dirty tricks, moves to get advanatge and hit weak spots)
- Preferred Field: Urban/cramped environment, concealment, objects to use as advantage, traps. At best when enemies are isolated or positioned in a way as to offer weak spots (flanked).
- Strategical Role: Commander (very visible, second line of battle, uses allies and psychology to control and lead the battle)
- Preferred Field: Any field in whcih allies have room to maneuver and operate in concert. At best in war-like situations in which formations and advanced tactics can be used.
- Strategical Role: Skirmisher (always moving, using terrain for advantage/cover, advanced combat styles that match high speed and "shock" tactics)
- Preferred Field: Open and wild fields in which enemies move fast and require the speed and *range* of the Ranger to be dealt with. At best in forests or similar environments in which guerrilla-like skirmish can be set up.

Now, the Paladin has nearly the same Strategical Role and Preferred Field as the Fighter IMO. It would be different being Divine, but that would end up changing just the "looks" part of the class. The "feel" could also be different, including the Paladin's Challenge thing and the various Channel Divinity things, but the truth is that "how the class plays" would be really very similar to the Fighter. And to add to the problem, the "feel" would also seem very similar to that of a "Battle Cleric", and the looks to those of a "Chivalrous Fighter".

What are your thoughts about this? What should really differentiate the Paladin class?
In my opinion, the Paladin should take the Ranger's stuff in the "favored enemy" department. They could be stronger against bosses or anyway "bigger/scarier" enemies, while the Ranger could be the one that takes out other skirmishers, and the Fighter the one to deal with crowds of soldiers and such. But this of course isn't enough, although I think it's fitting (would be like an interpretation of their bonuses VS Fear).

EDIT: Another thing that could distinguish them and be fitting of their legacy, would be their "unstoppable" flavor/mechanics. While a Fighter should position carefully, use the right weapons and tactics to get to his/her enemies, and would be in danger when confronted with spells and other "battle-changing" effects, the Paladin would be perhaps less versatile, but better at overcoming magic, eventual (optional) morale difficulties, and such. They'd be the class that can get to the Dragon first, while everyone is stunned in fear, or to the evil spellcaster, shrugging off slowing or immobilizing effects first (taking a bit of the 4e's Warden stuff in the process). Their "shielding their allies" thing could also be something they do well. While Fighters would prevent damage to allies by parrying blows and such, the Paladin would be one of the few that could really interpose themselves when allies are in danger. Also, I picture them able to create magical effects focused on their shields, shielding the whole party against a dragon's breath and things like that. If the Fighter is the sword or spear of the party, the Paladin would be its shield...

Say yours!
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First Post
I hope none of the class structure looks anything like yours.

If the class is that of fighter then it should be capable of doing everything a fighter can do. Sub classes of fighters are given niches to fill not roles they fill in a fight. Paladins fight for right and good rangers spend their time trailblazing and scouting. Warlord is a title not a class.

Dividing up the classes to fit as pieces (on a board?) of a puzzle is what got the game in trouble. If it continues then what is the sense of trying to do it all over again.

First and foremost a fighter is a fighter is a fighter. From there you make small changes to reflect the niche the sub class fits into.

The Paladin and the Ranger were both specialty classes you needed very specific qualifications to be able to take, More like modern prestige classes than separate classes on their own.

The ranger could only be good and needed 13's or better in strength and intelligence to qualify.

Paladins were even harder to qualify for. If either did anything against their alignments they lost their powers until the made atonements.

It seems that along the way all of the negative things that helped define the classes was lost leaving behind something that is less than it was intended.


Steeliest of the dragons
Was just going through this a couple of days ago...and the ranger too...all martial classes as matter of fact.

I will concur with the desire that the classes not be defined with Role (Tactical or Strategic). How the players want their character to act with the abilities and skills at their disposal is best left to the realm of suggestion...or better yet, not in print at all...except for some expansion/add-on/supplemental "Tactical Play" module.

But, anywho, here's the definitions I was toyign around with the other day (more stuff to be found in the "Who gets What?" thread).

Fighters (applies also for Barbarians, Cavaliers, Paladins, Rangers and Warlords except as individually defined below):
-auto 10 hp/level or a d10 hp/level.
-Use of any armor.
-Use of any weapon.
-Increase Damage, regardless of strength or other bonuses, +1 every other level.
-Increase Attacks per round(with proficient weapons), regardless of other skills/themes, additional attack per round every 5 levels (5th, 10th, 15th and 20th) to a max of 4/round at 20th level.
-Optional Weapon/Fighting Styles (a Fighter may choose/take 1 @ 1st level and improve their bonuses or choose a different Style every other level):
---Dual-Wielding (2 attacks per round, note that Increased Attacks are still only 1 per 5 levels, not 1 per hand!);
---Bowman (bonuses to hit regardless of Dexterity, increased number of attacks/fast reloading, with archery/long/short bows or crossbows);
---"Sword" & Board (use any single handed weapon & shield to make and block attacks, increase AC more than just having a shield);
---Spearman (use spears & javelins thrown, single with shield and two-handed, with increased damage/effectivness, a trick or two);
---Axeman (bonus to thrown, single and two-handed axes, use of axes to increase AC/block attacks, a trick or two);
---Weapon Specialist/Master (increased damage and separate increased frequency of attacks with ONE weapon of choice).

-auto 12 hp/lvl or d12 hp/lvl
-limited to light/soft armor (hides/furs, leather, studded leather; Ring mail & Scale mail permitted over 7th level).
-May take any Optional Fighting Style, except the Weapon Specialist/Master.
-Tracking and Wilderness Survival Skills
-Increase Resistance: +1 to saves/def. roles to mind-control magic, poisons, and fatigue/endurance. Additional +1 per 5 levels to max of +4 at 15th level.
-"Beserker Rage": increase HP, temporarily, by half the Barbarian's full hit points, regardless of the number of HPs possessed at the time of rage. +Barbarian's level to all damage rolls while in the rage. A Barbarian may "go Beserker" 1 time per day/per level. The Beserker Rage is able to last/be maintained Barbarian level + 3 rounds and may not "Rage" again for double that amount of time. The Barbarian may "calm" himself before the full amount of time has passed, but still may not work himself into a "Rage" frenzy again for double the amount of time he/she was raging.
[-If Alignment is used in game, I would want the restriction of "must be Chaotic", but that's not really the mechanics we're working with here]

-Must wear "heavy" armor: Scale Mail, Chain mail, or (preferably) Plate mail. Receive no penalty to movement in heavy armor.
-May use any melee weapon but MUST carry (be proficient in, if weapon proficiencies are part of the game) some form of sword and spear or lance. Cavaliers may not use missile weapons.
-Riding Mastery and Political knowledge/Diplomacy skills.
-May take the following Optional Fighting Styles: Sword & Board, Spearman, or Weapon Specialist/Master
-Automatically receives the "Jouster" Fighting Style: use of lance, spear, any single-handed sword, and mace/morningstar/flail, from horseback without penalty, maybe a damage bonus?, a "Mounted Charge" mechanic?

-Paladins may use any melee weapon. They may not use missile weapons considering them "dishonorable" ways of doing battle/meting out justice, as do Cavaliers.
-Religious knowledge and Diplomacy skills.
-May take any of the following Optional Fighting Style: Sword and Board, Spearman, Axeman or Jouster.
-"Holy Aura": +1 to saves every other level (+2 @ 3rd, +3 @5th) to a maximum of +4 @ 7th level. The Aura effects the Paladin only @ 1st level and increases 5' radius/level every level thereafter. Attacks against the Paladin within/while the Holy Aura is in effect are -1 for every other level of the Paladin (same as their bonus) for all undead, devils and demons. The Holy Aura may be invoked 1 time per day/per level of the Paladin and lasts the Paladin Level+3 rounds. The Paladin does then not have the spiritual strength to invoke the Aura again for double the time the Holy Aura was active.
-"Lay on Hands": The Paladin is able to channel divine energy to heal wounds up to a total of 2 HP per Paladin level per day. These HP may be dispersed among however many people the Paladin wants. (Note: Offering or agreeing to heal non-believers or enemies of the Paladin's
faith/church is generally unlikely/not done.)
-"Turn Undead", see Clerics, beginning at 3rd level and effecting as a Cleric two levels lower than the Paladin's level. eg. A 3rd level Paladin Turns Undead as a 1st level Cleric.
-"Detect Lie", once per day per level, the Paladin may concentrate on a particular person and their statements and accurately detect lies that are being spoken. This effect lasts for the Paladin Level+1 round.
[-If Alignment is used in game, I would want the restriction of "must be Lawful", but that's not really the mechanics we're working with here]

-auto 12 HP/lvl or d12 hp/lvl
-weapons and armor allowances and all Optional Fighting Styles are all as per the Fighter.
-Tracking and Wilderness Survival Skills
-Automatically receives the "Ambusher" Fighting style (as long as they are in Chain Mail or lesser armor): Hide/cover themselves in outdoor settings, some kind of "Surprise" mechanic?, receive double the Ranger's usual number of attacks for the first round of their "Ambush"?
-Herbalist Healer: the Ranger is able to gather and prepare natural herb-based remedies and minor first aid for most injuries. The Ranger is able to heal 2 HP of damage per Ranger level. These HP may be spread out among as many people as the Ranger wants. The Herbalist healing
requires 1 round of time/attention from the Ranger per 1 HP being healed.

-May take any Optional Fighting Style for Fighters, plus Jouster or Ambusher.
-Increased Resistance: +1 to saves vs. mind-controlling, fear, and confusion magics and effects. Additional +1 per 5 levels to a max of +4 at 15th level.
-"Assuring Presence": Through their inspiring presence, the Warlord's save bonus from their "Increased Resistance" ability is able to be applied to those within the area of effect, 5' per Warlord level. This air of confidence also attributes a Temporary 4 HP to everyone, including the Warlord, within the area of effect. The Warlord is able to generate this area of reassurance once per day per Warlord level. The Assuring Presence lasts for the Warlord level +3 rounds, and may not be "inspiring" again for double the amount of time it was in effect.
-"Field Medic": Through use of first aid and basic knowledge of the body, the Warlord is able to restore 2 HP per day per level. These HPs may be dispersed among however many people the Warlord wishes. The "Field Medic" healing requires 1 round of medical/bandaging attention from the Warlord for every 1 HP being healed.


First Post
I think this view is based on the assumption of 4e roles, level-pegging, etc. Yes, from a 4e perspective, a fighter and a paladin could be virtually interchangeable.. but almost all the classes are interchangeable, especially classes within a given "role".

A paladin is a fighter at core.. so is a ranger, a barbarian, a knight, etc. A "pure" fighter should have other benefits, such as greater weapon skill. But paladins are unique in that they have a connection to the divine, not as great as clerics, but still a factor. Their healing abilities are a good backup to any healing class, and their ability to smite/dispel evil is something unique. Above all, a paladin is Good (in the Lawful way).

I can possibly see "modularizing" the paladin by making the LoH, smite evil, turn undead, etc. modules that can be tacked on. But I also think you could have all that and still not have a paladin.


A paladin is a celestial in a mortal warrior's body.

They are warriors blessed with divine power and can channel it in many ways. Sometimes as healing. Sometimes as divine grace and might. Sometimes as destruction. Sometimes as holy tongues and eyes.

They are different than fighter as they are no completely trained in the art of war and combat. They lack the versatility. Paladins are trained how to use weapons and armors but not how to master them. Their divine blessing fills their lack of skill.

They are different from clerics as they are not merely granted powers. They are blessed with it. A paladin is closer to a warlock, their bodies are transformed into divine weapons and shields.


Krampus ate my d20s
The paladin needs to be the champion for Good. Or Evil. Or Chaos. Or Law.
He is not a knight. Or a priest. Or warrior. He is all of these things. A forceful proponent of his ethos.
A good paladin does not need to be Lawful Good. He should champion all of good.
An evil paladin, or Blackguard, is unrepentant force of tyranny and destruction.
A lawful paladin, or Justicar, is an implacable and rigid walking court of Law.
A chaotic paladin, or Wild Lord, is the wind of change. Freedom for freedoms sake.

There should not be a spell list for the paladin. His powers are inherent SLAs. LoH, Detect Champion of an opposing ethos, Smiting and shielding.

He may not be the greatest swordsman, that is a fighter or the most pious, that is a cleric, but he is recognizably a zealot to his ethos. Tenacious, resilient, steadfast. The paladin is striving to outlast and overcome his foes.


First Post
I think the Paladin is defined by three general features:

1) Smiting Evil: The ability to imbue their attacks with divine power than is particularly effective against creatures of of evil such as demons and undead.

2) Lay on Hands: The ability to heal wounds and illness using a divine power different than cleric spell-casting.

3) Divine Protection: The Paladin is protected by divine favor, giving them special defense against supernatural powers. Immunity to fear is a subset of this.

Another key defining aspect of the Paladin is self-sacrifice. Whereas a Fighter might punish an enemy for harming an ally with an attack, the Paladin is more likely to throw himself in the way of the attack, or soak up damage through the Shield Other spell. I also liked the 4E version of Lay on Hands where the Paladin sacrificed their own healing surges to heal others.

Now then, the Battle Cleric is defined by a completely different set of features. While a Cleric can fight with mace and shield, they are much more defined by access to divine spells. I actually really like the style of the 4E Warpriest in particular. It focuses on giving the Cleric a variety of daily spells that each grant persistent encounter-long effects. It gives the feeling of calling upon a god to grant a blessing on the Cleric and his allies. Consecrated ground, holy circles that ward off evil, blessings that boost the party, summoned angels, and so forth are all very appropriate powers for a cleric, and have a distinct feel from the Wizard's Fireballs and Teleports.


A paladin is a celestial in a mortal warrior's body.

They are warriors blessed with divine power and can channel it in many ways. Sometimes as healing. Sometimes as divine grace and might. Sometimes as destruction. Sometimes as holy tongues and eyes.

They are different than fighter as they are no completely trained in the art of war and combat. They lack the versatility. Paladins are trained how to use weapons and armors but not how to master them. Their divine blessing fills their lack of skill.

They are different from clerics as they are not merely granted powers. They are blessed with it. A paladin is closer to a warlock, their bodies are transformed into divine weapons and shields.
The first and perhaps only post in the thread I agree with: you're the only one that truly differentiated the Paladin, and differentiation is the first and foremost requirement of ANY class.
Another 2 cp of mine: I say that in a given faith, the Cleric is the mystical figure, while the Paladin is the "practical one" (kind of obvious point). That's to say, the Paladin's "being blessed" is different from the Cleric's "blessing others". The Paladin's "powers" make him/her directly a vehicle of divinity, while the Cleric is more of a channeler, making these powers act more independently of his/her body, perhaps through others. Cures for example: the Paladin has to touch, the Cleric can cure from a distance and more then one person because it's a mystical, not physical thing.


First Post
The problem with "differentiating" the paladin is that, whichever way you go, the class ends up seeming superfluous. If you remove spellcasting, you end up with a fighter with a few benies, something that can be accomplished with kits/themes/feats. If you add more "mystical" stuff, you get a battle cleric. I'd say you have the same issue with other "non-core" classes (bard, ranger, etc.)

What makes the paladin (or any class) unique?

1. Alignment - sorry, all you alignment-haters out there
2. Focus - historically you can't multi-class a paladin

That brings up the bigger question: for hybrid/non-"core" classes, should they be able to multi-class when they themselves Are a type of multi-classing?


As to the Paladin concern... the problem is that the Cleric is Already a Paladin by its core definition. If you truly want to separate the Cleric and Paladin then Clerics should be more Priests. By that I mean they should be primarily spellcasters, backers (4E leader role stuff), masters of undead perhaps, and gain much more "molding" based on their Faith, more like 2E specialty priests. The Paladin should then be the plate wearing military branch of the faith.

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