The Cleric, the Paladin, and Multisysteming

Not all paladins ride horses or wield swords.
So the majority vote is that a good chunk of voters believe that the cleric concept is wide enough to be an armor-clad warrior type, or a robe-wearing spellcasting type, while another hefty chunk--coming in at a close second--think that both concepts should be divvied up. I think that a cleric's god and/or domains should be a key factor in determining the things that a cleric can wear, wield, and do; cleric's of a god of strength could wear heavy armor and wield lots of weapons, while those worshiping a god of knowledge might stick more with light-or-no-armor and get lots of spells, while those that worship nature might stick with leather and hides, using hunting weapons like spears and bows.

At the concept level I would wonder what actually makes a cleric and paladin distinct. Both are holy warriors that wear heavy armor, attack things in melee, and can cast divine spells. Going to the mechanical level using that mission statement, I guess you could just combine some elements of the cleric and fighter to make a new class...but then why not just let players use the 3rd Edition multiclass method that it sounds like 5th Edition will use to do it themselves?

3rd Edition gave the paladin exclusive class features like detect evil, smite evil, immunity to fear and diseases, the ability to summon a celestial horse, Lawful Stupid jokes...things that you could not get no matter how you tried to mix and match the fighter and cleric. 4th Edition made it possible to blur the line between a cleric and paladin by taking the right feats and prayers, though clerics still got turn undead, encounter-based healing, and at-will ranged attacks, while paladins were more melee focused, and got Divine Challenge and lay on hands.

To me it is not about mixing and matching until you get an iconic result. I want the paladin--or any class for that matter--to provide features and options that you cannot get just by mashing two other classes together. That just sounds lazy. I am hoping that the designers at least give us iconic paladin stuff that we have seen before; even a rehash sounds better than something that anyone could have just done themselves.

What sort of class features do you think a paladin needs to be a paladin?


  1. lay on hands, smite, aura effects, and maybe integrate the avenger mechanics into it. In my opinion that would separate the paladin from the cleric.

  2. I love 4e Paladin, it is the class I have had the most fun playing in 4th so far. Wizards after that. Mechanically it is actually Divine Sanction that makes it a powerhouse, though the concept of DC and DS are similar. As I've only played 4th, it's hard for me to say what made it iconic in previous editions.

    I don't think any class should be focused on a particular kind of enemy such as undead, even in a small bit. If there is something like favored enemy, fine. In the case of characters that uphold a holy mission, their primary focus might be something other than undead. Someone who worships Bahumut might get bonuses against someone who worships Tiamat.

    So I guess I think your concept of "who they worships defines what they get" makes sense not just for armor and weapons, but for all their class features.

    There are some that would argue that a paladin needs to worship no one, instead the paladin is in service of a king or some other leader. I'm not sure where that fits in.

  3. I agree with the sentiment that paladins do not worship deities. They are chivalrous knights that lay on hands, take 10 hits for the team, and can cast light with their teeth. The celestial horse is always a nice touch, too.

    That in mind, I'm homebrewing a cavalier virtue to eliminate the 'Lawful stupid': Virtue of Freedom. It's all about mobility and saving throws, respectively, and will be very hard to manipulate (in theory). It's almost done.


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