Monday, April 18, 2011

[D20] P is for Paladins of the Ashford Valley

Holy warriors are not unknown in the Ashford Valley, but they are rare, with few (less than a dozen) wandering the Valley at any one time. Few valesmen have seen one in their lifetime and even fewer still have seen two. There are rumors that there is a small priory that trains the Paladins but so far no-one has ever been there or knows it's location - and the Paladins themselves aren't saying.

Some believe Paladins are born, not made. But whether that is true or not, there are some steps in order to become one. First, there has to be a monastic (or at least a spiritual) calling. Second, a dedication to the people of the Ashford Valley. Both are usually present in Clerics and Monks. This final requirement, however, is an event in their past either where they witness an act of utter depravity that impells them to right it OR a religious experience that imbues the candidate with a zeal unfelt by most of the ecclesiastic orders. Only when called in this manner will an individual reach the level of commitment necessary.

Since the church forbid clerics from using any but blunt weapons, they reached a legalistic solution for Paladins: As the noviate Paladin is immersed for baptism, he draws his sword and holds it high so that all is baptized except the sword arm! Whether the Paladin spends eternity after death without the offending limb is still being considered by theologians.

The Paladin is considered a subset of Fighter, with the same level progression and hit dice. They gain the spell-powers of a cleric, including the turn ability, at two levels lower (minimum 1), plus the ability to cast Cure Light Wounds at a number of times every day equal to their level.

Paladins must be Lawful and must retain their Lawful status or lose all Paladin abilities. They take vows of poverty - Paladins are able to use all weapons and armor as a Fighter but are limited by their possessions - they may only have one horse, one suit of armor, two swords (one is spare), a small amount of personal possessions, and little money, subsisting mostly on the benevolence of the faithful and local churches. They also take vows of obedience but not chastity, so they may marry but only with the blessings of the Church.

A Paladin that fails to keep faith and remain Lawful, or one who commits a known evil act, must atone to regain their abilities. The head of the Paladin order himself orders the quest that he must perform to fully atone and few (if any) companions are allowed to assist in the quest.

The rumor of an anti-Paladin, a fallen Paladin that has willingly embraced unholy forces, is surely a rumor, isn't it?

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