This is from the Character doc, in the same rambling style as the rest of the docs. It’s at least 6 years old, but I’m sure its points have been stated before. Yet, here we are in ’16 and we still ignore them:
I want to rant a bit on the existence of the paladin concept in the first place. It’s from a time when the game was absolutely human-centric, as easily seen in level caps for demihumans and some classes being human-only. But it’s more than that. Even its brand of LG is an extreme version, and one implicitly religious in nature with its demon protections and evil detections. Holy warrior, indeed, but did it need to be its own class? Why not just a role-played fighter? Surely if the religious aspect were made explicit, any extraneous benefits could be given both variety and consistency. As it is, it’s a class very limited in what cultures it would exist in without heavy modification. Moreso, it forces a definition of LG that is horribly arbitrary; witness Keldorn who knows he must kill the man who “cheated” with his wife, and put his wife in jail, all for “adultery”? What kind of stereotypical patriarchal bullshit is this? Is it Lawful because he’s obeying his order’s, or Amn’s, laws? Is it “good” by any definition at all? That these are even questions, nevermind unignorable and quite legitimate ones, shows that the paladin concept needs to be separated from its antiquated “historical” inspirations if it’s going to stay in this mod. Hypocritical, self-righteous religious freaks doling out paranoid justice with swords need to meet the same fate they all too willingly mete out to everyone else.
Is it possible to make a paladin a viable subclass and not just the obvious cleric/fighter hybrid it currently is? Is it possible to give it abilities and restrictions that do not explicitly rely on religious affiliations? The most consistent characteristic of the paladin ideal is Lawfulness. They all give reverence to a code of behavior and enforce that code through violence regardless of its nobility or righteousness. I’d strongly argue that they need to be Good; Keldorn himself personified the adage that “Morality is doing what is right regardless of what you’re told; religion is doing what you’re told regardless of what is right,” if you treat his Order as a religion (and it certainly qualifies).