Paladins (Shouldnt) Rule

My last post concerning paladins generated some controversy about the class and conceptual balance. To clarify, while I dont think that the paladin sucks there are a few on forums both official and not, who do. The post was written to clarify that just because a paladin has attacks keyed to more than one ability score, it does not mean that they are hideously dependent on multiple ability scores: it just means that there is more than one concept to work with (as with rangers and warlocks).

This does not mean that paladins should also be an ideal choice no-matter-what. A good tenent of game design is that there shouldnt be an immediate "best choice". In 2nd Edition a paladin was a lot like a fighter-and-then-some, but this was "balanced" in that a paladin had insane ability score requirements (Charisma of 17 among them) and was restricted via social role-playing standards.

Now alignment is only as good as the DM enforcing it, so thats not really a balancing mechanic, especially if the player actually wants to play a generally nice guy. Neither is the fact that you are essentially rewarding the lucky player with more power. He already rolled well, why are you giving him even more free crap?

I was mostly okay with the classes in 3rd Edition because the designers had a much better understanding of game design. Try to make all the choices compelling, dont hide the good shit or throw the players shacking up with Lady Luck another bone. That will just frustrate the guys who didnt roll well as they perform even crappier than they were going to anyway.

4th Edition takes this a step farther by actually making all the classes useful at what they are supposed to do. I like all the classes, truth be told, and my only complaint is that I cant have it all. Fighters, paladins, and swordmages all make compelling defenders. I'm not telling my players to not to play a given class, "because it sucks and this class does it better."

I dont care if paladins are supposedly called upon by gods to perform heroic deeds. Its really just a concept, and I dont want their holier-than-thou auras overshadowing the rest of the cast, just 'cause.

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