Where fighters are the pinnacle of martial combat, the paladin blends martial skill with devotion to a righteous deity, cause, or organization. The paladin is held to a much higher standard than members of any other classes, including clerics and monks. If a paladin betrays these standards they face spiritual penalty as well as the possibility of facing a penance, or even worse being removed from their order.
A paladin's primary goal is to convert the wicked; the evil and chaotic forces of the world and their servants. A paladin is bound both to do good and to uphold just law, though if forced into a choice a paladin will likely choose the cause of good. They focus most of their efforts on evil souls, and will attempt to convert before they resort to mortal combat.
The paladin channels divine power, and so often has a patron deity even though it is not required. They are steadfast and determined, and like the monk maintain a life of routine and pure intention. They take good care of themselves physically and mentally, though they spend less time in meditation than the monk. The paladin is not concerned with physical perfection so much as spiritual focus.
Paladins are the rarest class in all of Golarion, even beyond the Inner Sea. They maintain small enclaves, similar to monasteries or even a part of one. Of note is the Star Keep in Mendev, where the forces of evil from the Worldwound pour forth in unending number but are held back by the stalwart paladins. In Lastwall is the enclave of Vigil, where knights of the Holy Citadel of Light learn the art of war in preparation to battle the orcs of Belkzen. Andoran trains the Eagle Knights, while Absalom, Brevoy, Osirion, and Taldor all have small enclaves in addition to independent paladins throughout the world.
Becoming a paladin is a spiritual calling. Any creature capable of enlightened thought can be drawn to the ways of the holy warrior. Even the cruelest of savage humanoids might be gifted a vision or other awakening that leads them to the class. As paladins deal in repentance, so too do they accept into their order any creature that proves their dedication.
A paladin is more likely to not worship a given deity, but to simply abide by a personal code or organizational doctrine. Paladins who worship most commonly follow the ways of Iomedae, the goddess of justice. Like fighters, the paladin also may pay service to the deities of war or organization. Torag (command) is common, as are Abadar (nobility), Irori (self-perfection), Sarenrae (redemption), and even Shelyn (love).
If a paladin ceases to adhere to the causes of law and good, commits a heinously evil act, or otherwise violates their personal code of conduct, their divine gifts cease to function. A paladin who falls from grace may only regain their divine power by casting an atonement spell, or, more rarely, otherwise regains the respect of their chosen cause. Very rarely, a paladin may shift entirely to the cause of evil, gaining dark powers and becoming an antipaladin.
|Advanced Player's Guide|