log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D 5E Thematic Differences Between Paladin (Green Knight/Oath of the Ancients) and Ranger

Dragonhelm

Knight of Solamnia
One of the subclasses that has intrigued me in 5e is the Oath of the Ancients paladin (Green Knight). I know the mechanical differences, but I'm having a hard time figuring out how to differentiate them from a thematic role-playing POV.

They're both champions of nature, just in different ways. And really, I'm having a hard time thinking about who an iconic Green Knight might be.

Thoughts on how to play one?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
The ranger is not the champion of nature.

The ranger is champion of the border between civilization and nature.

The Oath of Ancients paladins protect nature and kills their enemies.
The Ranger kills the monsters in nature so that civilization doesn't FREAK OUT AND BURN DOWN THE WHOLE DANG FOREST!!!
 

Unwise

Adventurer
Good question.

The Ranger need not be a champion of nature, in fact I think that most are not. There is no baked in sense of duty to the natural world or alignment with a particular god/nature spirit. The Ranger can be a bounty hunter, a trapper/hunter, a guide or simply a SAS-style-soldier who happens to do his job outdoors. Aragorn was a soldier doing a job of protecting civilization from the savages of the wilds. He was great at natural stuff, probably loved the great outdoors, but that is it. He did not go on about the natural order of things or dance with fey queens. A big game hunter is a ranger, a Mowhawk/Zulu/Inuit/Bedouin style warrior could be too. Many of them likely would never refer to themselves as rangers, just considering themselves typical warriors of their culture. Presumably, most rangers loves the great outdoors, but that is where it can end.

The Green Knight though is an actual imbued champion of a natural force. Normally a god or archfey has chosen them as a champion. They come with a baked in agenda, code and divine powers. In some ways, the comparison between the ranger and green knight is like the difference between a fighter and a paladin. The fighter may or may not be a champion of good working for a churches agenda, the Paladin definitely is and has holy powers to show for it.

It is the knightly aspect of it that I have issues reconciling. Why does a champion of nature wear platemail and not use a bow and sneak around. This has been fine in the two that I have seen, one was already a knight when he was chosen by the nature godess. The other was taken as a child by an archfey to be his emmissary in the human lands, so he is the knight of a lord, albiet a strange one.
 

pukunui

Legend
A paladin with the Oath of the Ancients isn't necessarily a champion of nature. They're actually more of a champion of people than nature. Look at the specifics of their oath: They're supposed to be merciful, kind, and forgiving. They're supposed to defend "good, beauty, love, and laughter". They're supposed to "delight in song and laughter, in beauty and art". Lastly, they're supposed to "be a glorious beacon for all who live in despair."

Their powers might come from nature, but they aren't necessarily about nature. They're about life, in all its forms. It would seem they're especially concerned with sentient life too, since they've sworn to defend art and music and drive away despair. You tend not to find those things in the natural world.

I think one of the best examples of a "green knight" would be Qui-Gon Jinn. I loosely based my current Ancients paladin PC on him, although there's also lots of Phryne Fisher in there too. She is beholden to no one - no archfey or deity. Her powers came from primordial times. She's all about enjoying life to the fullest, even to a slightly hedonistic degree. ;)
 
Last edited:

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
He did not go on about the natural order of things or dance with fey queens.

Point of fact: He did marry an elf princess. Just sayin'.

Why does a champion of nature wear platemail and not use a bow and sneak around.

Because "use a bow and sneak around" is what hunters do. But, the champion of nature (or a champion imbued with the power of nature) need not be a hunter.
 
Last edited:

Dausuul

Legend
The paladin is a spiritual warrior, whose powers come from religious devotion to life, nature, or a powerful fey.

The ranger is an expert hunter and scout, who has learned some fey-magic tricks. There's no religious element.
 

Syunsuke

Roll 21.
I guess Green Knights are related to nature because their tradition is older than civilization. It's Oath of the Ancients!
 


Aurick

First Post
A paladin with the Oath of the Ancients isn't necessarily a champion of nature. They're actually more of a champion of people than nature. Look at the specifics of their oath: They're supposed to be merciful, kind, and forgiving. They're supposed to defend "good, beauty, love, and laughter". They're supposed to "delight in song and laughter, in beauty and art". Lastly, they're supposed to "be a glorious beacon for all who live in despair."

Their powers might come from nature, but they aren't necessarily about nature. They're about life, in all its forms. It would seem they're especially concerned with sentient life too, since they've sworn to defend art and music and drive away despair. You tend not to find those things in the natural world.

I think one of the best examples of a "green knight" would be Qui-Gon Jinn. I loosely based my current Ancients paladin PC on him, although there's also lots of Phryne Fisher in there too. She is beholden to no one - no archfey or deity. Her powers came from primordial times. She's all about enjoying life to the fullest, even to a slightly hedonistic degree. ;)

I think you bring up a great point. Oath of Ancient Paladins CAN be a militant spiritual nature guardian, but their oath does not mandate it. When I read the Ancient Oaths I think of Rand al'Thor towards the end of the Wheel of Time series...

(Wheel of Time Spoilers following)

It may be hard to explain to someone who hasn't read the series, but Rand is this powerful magical leader who had tried to harden himself mentally and physically to handle the grand destiny set before him, but it's towards the end of the series that he "remembers how to laugh" meaning that there is great power and beauty in enjoying the experience of life, song, laughter, and not taking the mantle of responsibility too seriously.

(End of Spoilers)

An Oath of Ancients Paladin can be the one who steps into battle with laughter on his lips as he stands in the gap between innocence and the dark and evil things in this world that threatens to corrupt or destroy it. They crack jokes, maybe play a musical instrument to brighten the parties spirit during a rest or a stay at the inn.

I like to play my Paladin as a larger-than-life Viking sort who wants to drink deeply from life and all that it has to offer and can face even the most dangerous of threats with genuine joy at the challenge and opportunity to live a great story for his people and those under his protection.
 

pukunui

Legend
An Oath of Ancients Paladin can be the one who steps into battle with laughter on his lips as he stands in the gap between innocence and the dark and evil things in this world that threatens to corrupt or destroy it. They crack jokes, maybe play a musical instrument to brighten the parties spirit during a rest or a stay at the inn.

I like to play my Paladin as a larger-than-life Viking sort who wants to drink deeply from life and all that it has to offer and can face even the most dangerous of threats with genuine joy at the challenge and opportunity to live a great story for his people and those under his protection.
Exactly!

Porthos from The Three Musketeers might be another good example.

My Ancients paladin gambles, drinks (she even drank the dwarf cleric under the table!), has one night stands (yay for immunity to disease!), and she enjoys every minute of it. She's immune to fear, so she laughs in the face of death. I also gave my paladin the Inspiring Leader feat to play on that aspect: she's always singing songs and telling stories that inspire her friends to greater things.

I had considered MCing her with bard too, but I ended up just going with paladin, although I did take a level of fighter for an extra fighting style.
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
May or may not be relevant...take it as you like it...

But He-Man was, technically [as spelled out by the 2002 reboot], granted his powers from those powerful individuals of Eternia called "the Ancients" who left the world, entombed their power/magic into the Castle Greyskull and, by extension, the Sword of Power [syphoning its and He-Man's own power from the magic of the castle]. He is, quite literally and directly, a Champion of the Ancients...in addition to his more readily known role as Defender of Greyskull.

There might be a case to be made that an "Ancients Paladin/Green Knight" could look like He-Man just as easily as a knightly or sterotypical D&D Paladin guy in plate mail.

Just something to think about. Carry on. :)
 

Klaus

First Post
Paladins of the Ancients are defenders of Light, of Good, Love and Beauty. They are the questing knights of Celtic myth, savvy in the ways of the fey. Think Prince Phillip in Disney's Sleeping Beauty, who is aided by three fairies to take down an evil, Unseelie fey queen.

Rangers are defenders that stand between nature and civilization. They are the heroic hunters, like the woodsman of Red Riding Hood's story.
 



jayoungr

Legend
The ranger is not the champion of nature.

The ranger is champion of the border between civilization and nature.

The Oath of Ancients paladins protect nature and kills their enemies.
The Ranger kills the monsters in nature so that civilization doesn't FREAK OUT AND BURN DOWN THE WHOLE DANG FOREST!!!
Or sometimes, conversely, the Ranger kills the monsters in nature so that they don't come out of the forests and overrun civilization!

I see the Green Knight as the more martial counterpart to the Druid.

For an iconic Green Knight archetype, how about Ashitaka from Princess Mononoke? Or maybe he starts as a Ranger and multiclasses into Green Knight after meeting San and the Great Forest Spirit. San herself is another possibility, but I see her more as a Druid--though she doesn't have any spells ... hmm ....
 
Last edited:

Prickly

First Post
I would think Able of the High Heart from Gene Wolfe's The Wizard Knight duology is a good example of an oath of the ancients. Though he fits the standard model of Knighthood as well.
 

Constantly 'in the moment', but conscious of the eternity of 'moments' before and to come. Having looked into the vertigo inducing stream of Time, choosing to relish the here and now and everything good about that fleeting butterfly, Life: love, laughter, song, drink.
It's basically The Spirit of Christmas Present. With armour and a freakin' huge sword.
 

Mercule

Adventurer
I had considered MCing her with bard too, but I ended up just going with paladin, although I did take a level of fighter for an extra fighting style.
It took a sec for me to parse this. I thought you were saying you wanted to MC for the bard.

In my head, it pretty much came out as "MC Hammer... OF GOD!"
 

Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
Because "use a bow and sneak around" is what hunters do. But, the champion of nature (or a champion imbued with the power of nature) need not be a hunter.

Also, the Oath of the Ancients has more in common with Fey Courts than with Nature. The two are linked sure, but they aren't the same thing. Remember, the Oath of the Ancients protects beauty and the natural world, but they aren't champions of nature per se since they also protect song, good wine, and friends too.
 

Mercule

Adventurer
The ranger is not the champion of nature.

The ranger is champion of the border between civilization and nature.
Quite right. Ranger is not the druidic equivalent of the Paladin. In fact, I'd almost say that the 1E Ranger is more the wizardly equivalent of the Paladin -- at least as more so than druid. Really, Ranger is another fighter archetype who, like the Paladin, is sufficiently specialized to warrant its own class.

A Paladin (at least old school) is a Fighter who is so virtuous and faithful that he literally emits holiness. He doesn't have to be specially trained (though that's not uncommon). He's just that righteous. I'd say the Green Knight version is just using a different measure of righteousness (mass vs. volume?). It fits with the pantheonistic settings in D&D.

A Ranger, on the other hand, is a Fighter who has taken resourcefulness and survival to a new level. They aren't Barbarians, who run on instinct and are born to the wild. Rangers are more "intellectual" in their approach, even if that still means using the Wisdom stat. Rangers get spells, not because they worship nature or the old gods, but because they've learned some tricks to survive; in that way, it's a lot more like a wizard, even if the actual list of spells looks like a druid's.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top