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D&D 5E Should classes retain traditional alignment restrictions in 5E?

Which classes in 5E should retain alignment restrictions?

  • Assassin

    Votes: 51 31.9%
  • Bard

    Votes: 10 6.3%
  • Barbarian

    Votes: 27 16.9%
  • Druid

    Votes: 32 20.0%
  • Monk

    Votes: 35 21.9%
  • Ranger

    Votes: 15 9.4%
  • Paladin

    Votes: 67 41.9%
  • Warlock

    Votes: 19 11.9%
  • All classes should have alignment restrictions

    Votes: 6 3.8%
  • No classes should have alignment restrictions

    Votes: 88 55.0%
  • Other, please explain

    Votes: 9 5.6%


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Ahnehnois

First Post
Can someone kindly explain the reason(s) for why playing a non-lawful Paladin? Is it because you disagree with the story of a Paladin that is a paragon of honor and cannot fluff/customize a Cleric to match your vision of a holy warrior, or you're playing the Paladin for mechanical/tactical reasons and don't want story-based constraints, or you fully intend to play the Paladin lawfully in the story but are worried about the mechanical instrusion of Law alignment rules, or something else?
Perhaps because you want to be a champion of good, but not be tied down by a code of conduct. Maybe you want to be a freedom fighter. Maybe you're a DM and you want a blackguard. The word "paladin" is associated with goodness, but the mechanics of the class don't need to be. Thus, I suggest a broader themed divine champion class. Either that, or you need a bunch of different "paladins" for other alignments, which is wasteful.
 

harlokin

First Post
Perhaps because you want to be a champion of good, but not be tied down by a code of conduct. Maybe you want to be a freedom fighter. Maybe you're a DM and you want a blackguard. The word "paladin" is associated with goodness, but the mechanics of the class don't need to be. Thus, I suggest a broader themed divine champion class. Either that, or you need a bunch of different "paladins" for other alignments, which is wasteful.

Your explanation is better than mine :(
 

Ainamacar

Adventurer
Most alignment restrictions seem doubly pointless to me. In games where the notion of Paladin as "good-hearted defender of the weak, etc." is taken with grave seriousness, an alignment restriction is unnecessary. In games where it isn't, the alignment restriction is either ignored (explicitly or implicitly) or abused to the point where it may as well have been ignored.

In both cases the alignment restriction can also throw up roadblocks in front of perfectly reasonable character ideas. For example, the evil infiltrator of a good deity's forces, who by the dark blessing of his god is given abilities essentially identical to the classic paladin in order to fool all his enemies.

I also think the other basic mechanical attributes of the classic D&D paladin (auras, lay on hands, high Charisma, etc.) have so many promising applications beyond the LG paladin that they should be explored. A Champion base class with different subclasses, one of which is "Paladin", sounds great to me.

Plus, having such a base class means that if a champion falls, there are always other abilities it can (eventually) fall to without major mechanical upheaval. The notion of lay on hands, for example, has so many possibilities. Classic healing ability, filling someone with hate (rage?), filling someone with desire (suggestion?), or filling someone with knowledge (visions of the past/future or even magical insight?). Corruption and redemption are classic themes for the paladin, and supporting multiple subclasses with basic paladin-like competencies makes supporting those archetypes easier for starting play, but also for keeping a robust continuity when changes occur. After all, the scariest thing about a paladin fallen to anti-paladin status isn't usually how different he is from his old self, but just how eerily similar he remains: virtue and its dark reflection are often a matter of the knife's edge.
 
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Remathilis

Legend
Is there really anything in there that can't be easily generalized so that anyone of any alignment, deity, or cause can use this class?

How about "paladins fight evil using holy power, ergo they need to be good themselves."

A paladin isn't just a fighter who worships a god, he's a servant of goodness. He's Superman and Captain America. He holds himself to a strict moral code and lifestyle (affecting his posessions, material wealth, associates, and code of conduct) and in return he is rewarded with divine aptitude: repelling undead, healing by touch, sensing hostile creatures, calling a mighty steed, resistance and immunity to evil attacks, and raw holy power channeled through his weapon that shears evil and unnatural beings.

Why would a neutral deity, or an evil one especially, grant paladins ANYTHING resembling that? Neutrality rarely needs its own champions (and when it does, it calls them druids) and evil has scores of dark champions (starting with an entire monster-manual of them). Need more? Add a blackguard class.

I'm all for loosening alignment restrictions (bard doesn't need one, druids can live being part neutral, and paladins can serve good, not just Lawful Good). But some need to stick. An adventuring party with a LE paladin, a LG assassin, a CN monk and a LN barbarian sounds more like an Order of the Stick joke than a legit D&D party...
 

LurkAway

First Post
The word "paladin" is associated with goodness, but the mechanics of the class don't need to be. Thus, I suggest a broader themed divine champion class. Either that, or you need a bunch of different "paladins" for other alignments, which is wasteful.
That's fine with me theoretically (did you see my post #30?). OTOH, I could pick any class, divine or non-divine, fluff the character as having zealotry towards a deity or cause, and have him/her call herself a champion (self-styled or not). Don't need class mechanics at all. It would be great to see a divine champion class that feels like it deserves to be its own class, doesn't overlap with other classes, but I think a theme would be quite appropriate. (There's also the DDXP rumor I thought i heard that a Priest is a divine caster, and a Cleric is a divine warrior, and if true, I still don't know what a 5E Paladin is).
 

Remathilis

Legend
(There's also the DDXP rumor I thought i heard that a Priest is a divine caster, and a Cleric is a divine warrior, and if true, I still don't know what a 5E Paladin is).

I wagering it will be less of two separate classes and more "trade your cleric's armor and such for deity-linked domains or such, showing a closer association to your god".
 

Ahnehnois

First Post
An adventuring party with a LE paladin, a LG assassin, a CN monk and a LN barbarian sounds more like an Order of the Stick joke than a legit D&D party...
A treacherous divine warrior whose faith is lip service, an agent of the crown sworn to slay its enemies, an anarchist hermit plucked from isolation for a great quest, and an honorable warrior seeking vengeance for a monstrous injustice? Sign me up!
 

Traken

First Post
A paladin isn't just a fighter who worships a god, he's a servant of goodness. He's Superman and Captain America. He holds himself to a strict moral code and lifestyle (affecting his posessions, material wealth, associates, and code of conduct) and in return he is rewarded with divine aptitude: repelling undead, healing by touch, sensing hostile creatures, calling a mighty steed, resistance and immunity to evil attacks, and raw holy power channeled through his weapon that shears evil and unnatural beings.
A blackguard isn't just a fighter who worships a god, he's a servant of evilness. He's Lex Luthor and Red Skull. He holds himself to a strict amoral code and lifestyle (affecting his possessions, maternal wealth, associates, and code of conduct) and in return he is rewarded with divine aptitude: repelling celestials, healing by touch, sensing hostile creatures, calling a mighty steed, resistance and immunity to good attacks, and raw vile power channeled through his weapon that shears good and natural beings.

My resistance against restricting a paladin to "purely good" or even "non-evil" is three-fold. The first is that alignments are just silly, but that's more an opinion that will never be settled. Having two classes that mechanically work exactly the same is horribly inefficient. Not only does it take up space (and thus money), but it means that for every paladin option (that makes sense) there must be an equivalent blackguard option.

The third, and more important one, is that you are restricting how others can play the game. This goes against one of the cornerstones of the new edition. If you or your group decides the class must have an alignment restriction, that's great.

However, there's that one guy in the world that wants to play something a little bit different. He asks his DM if he can make an evil Paladin (assuming no blackguard class exists). The DM looks at the book, sees the restriction for Lawful Good and says no, even though he doesn't care one way or the other. By putting that in the book, you are making the assumption for everyone.

This is one of those rare cases in RPGs where less is more as it allows everyone to play how they want. If you don't want the books to associate "Paladin" with "non-Paladin" people, I can understand that. However, as a base class, there should not be a default restriction. There can be all sorts of restrictions of themes, feats, prestige classes, or whatever else. But not a base class.
 

Remathilis

Legend
A blackguard isn't just a fighter who worships a god, he's a servant of evilness. He's Lex Luthor and Red Skull. He holds himself to a strict amoral code and lifestyle (affecting his possessions, maternal wealth, associates, and code of conduct) and in return he is rewarded with divine aptitude: repelling celestials, healing by touch, sensing hostile creatures, calling a mighty steed, resistance and immunity to good attacks, and raw vile power channeled through his weapon that shears good and natural beings.

Good, we both agree that what you just defined is NOT a paladin, but an entirely new class or optional class build.

My resistance against restricting a paladin to "purely good" or even "non-evil" is three-fold. The first is that alignments are just silly, but that's more an opinion that will never be settled. Having two classes that mechanically work exactly the same is horribly inefficient. Not only does it take up space (and thus money), but it means that for every paladin option (that makes sense) there must be an equivalent blackguard option.

1.) Alignments are D&D. Feel free to ignore them, but they're going to be in the book. Whie your ignoring them, ignore the alignment restriction on paladin too.
2.) Check out the anti-paladin class in Pathfinder. It fills three pages of the Advanced Player's Guide (a 200 page book). Hardly a waste. Most of the paladin feats and such end up working for anti-paladins as well. Those that don't are because they are for slaying evil being and stuff.

The third, and more important one, is that you are restricting how others can play the game. This goes against one of the cornerstones of the new edition. If you or your group decides the class must have an alignment restriction, that's great.

I'd rather paladin's have a thematic core. If a paladin is going to have all those cool holy powers, I want them to make sense. Does it make sense for a champion of evil to heal with a touch? To call a faithful steed? There's more to an anti-paladin than "replace the word good with evil and vice versa"

However, there's that one guy in the world that wants to play something a little bit different. He asks his DM if he can make an evil Paladin (assuming no blackguard class exists). The DM looks at the book, sees the restriction for Lawful Good and says no, even though he doesn't care one way or the other. By putting that in the book, you are making the assumption for everyone.

There's also that one guy who wants to play a vampire. Should THAT be in the PHB? What about the guy who wants to be a ninja? A winged elf? A dragon? Should THOSE options be supported out the gate as well?

As it stands, evil-curious PCs have two dark-themed classes (warlock, assassin) and two evil-tainted races (half-orc, tiefling). Good has... paladin. Maybe. Wanna be evil? don't be a paladin.

This is one of those rare cases in RPGs where less is more as it allows everyone to play how they want. If you don't want the books to associate "Paladin" with "non-Paladin" people, I can understand that. However, as a base class, there should not be a default restriction. There can be all sorts of restrictions of themes, feats, prestige classes, or whatever else. But not a base class.

A player interested in playing an evil servant of a god will have cleric and priest already. Let paladin stand as the sole Good-themed class.
 

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