Created By: magnum12 on October 20, 2010 Last Edited By: AndrewJ on November 4, 2010
Troped

The Paladin

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The holy warrior dedicated to destroying the forces of evil. He is completely devoted to his cause and is given unique abilities to further aid that quest. These powers typically include up to mid level healing spells, ways to absorb punishment, bolstering the abilities of allies, and Detect Evil(usually coupled with Smite Evil) Through a combination of his powers and training, the paladin is the bane of all demonic and undead foes. Common war gear for paladins are full plate, a shield (unless using [[BFS two]] handed weapons), and either a long sword or some kind of smashing weapon such as a mace or a maul. A paladin will typically have good magic resistance, defense and attack power (though not as strong as a pure fighter), but will have terrible offensive magic ability and sometimes speed. In a group, the paladin's role will typically be as a Combat Medic (secondary healer), tank (the class is often very hard to kill), or even diplomat. Often a Stone Wall (sword and shield types) or a Mighty Glacier (two handed weapon types). Expected to behave like a Knight in Shining Armor but the possibility of a Knight in Sour Armor certainly exists. Can be prone to Good Is Not Nice disposistions.

It might be of some interest to note that the word "paladin" (>L., palatinus) originally meant "a dweller in the imperial palace" (just as "Count" meant "companion of the emperor"), which was in turn derived from the fact that the imperial palace was on the Palatine hill in Rome, which was, in turn, the hill sacred to the shepherd god/goddess, Pales. The original Paladins were the "knights" associated (somewhat anachronistically) with the Emperor Karl, AKA Charlemagne, especially his legendary "Twelve Peers" (of whom Roland was the most famous).

Most types of Paladins (especially in Tabletop Games) are restricted to be on the Good side of "Good Versus Evil". Most rules enforce this by making the Paladin lose their Anti-Evil abilities if they stray too far from their alignment.Woe to the player who plays a paladin in a tabletop RPG, as Jerk Ass D Ms are extremely fond of picking on paladin players by setting up situations that force them to act in a way that makes them lose their powers no matter what they do. See To Be Lawful Or Be Good and Sadistic Choice, which are the most often invoked cheap shots.

Often overlaps with Combat Medic depending on the setting and powers. Defensive orientated counterpart to the Magic Knight. A more benevolent Church Militant will typically have an order of paladins at their call. Expected to behave like many tropes associated with Lawful Good characters. The most common alignment is Lawful Good, though there may be an occasional Neutral Good paladin. Can become a Knight Templar if they stray too far along the lawful axis, thus going rogue. Typically on the idealistic side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism. Good Is Not Nice is more likely to occur with more cynical paladins.

Examples

Anime and Manga:

Literature:

Tabletop Games:
  • The paladin class of Dungeons & Dragons is the Trope Namer and the base by which the paladin archtype is based. Wizards of the Coast is extremely aware of the Jerk Ass DM ploys and developed the Holy Liberator prestige class and dedicated an entire section of Book of Exhalted Deeds to advice on how to counter these traps. Also the Trope Namer for Detect Evil and Smite Evil.
  • Brutally deconstructed in War Hammer 40000 with the Grey Knights chapter of Space Marines. Have loads of powers to fight daemons and are completely uncorruptable, but are extremely ruthless in their mission. Given the Grim Dark Crapsack World that 40k is, they still manage to remain sympathetic as from their perspective, Exterminatus is an act of mercy for the innocents caught in the daemonic incursion. Better to die with their souls pure than live and be inevitably corrupted by the daemons out to corrupt them.

Video Games:

Web Comics:

Community Feedback Replies: 11
  • October 20, 2010
    FatCorgi
    There isn't a specific Paladin article, but the archetype is represented all over the site, and I think right now, he's nesting in one of the Paladin's supertropes like Church Militant, Knight Templar, or Magic Knight. Whether or not it's worth making an article sized distinction is up for debate.
  • October 20, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    The Magic Knight is a form of warrior/black mage hybrid. Paladins are traditionally warrior/white mage hybrids. The Church Militant (more benevolent ones as article mentions) is what a paladin is typically a member of, not the actual archetype itself. The Knight Templar is what happens when the paladin goes rogue, thus is not representative of the paladin in this article.

    Expected to act like a Knight In Shining Armor though some Knight In Sour Armor paladins exist.

    • The Paladin tank of Command And Conquer Generals is pretty much the personality of the paladin (given that the USA faction is Lawful Good in this game, this is not a surprise) in a modern setting. Has the power to protect allies from missile attacks by tanking them with its laser defense and is pretty hard to kill.
    • The Paladin class of Dragon Quest 9 has the typical minor healing and defensive support spells of the archetype. Is an infamous Game Breaker, especially against magic based bosses.
    • The Knight class of the original Final Fantasy is closer to a Paladin in play style than a true knight.
  • October 21, 2010
    NativeJovian
    The Paladin seems a common enough character type to warrant its own article, but we need to be a little careful with it. It'll be easy to get overspecific with it and confuse the issue.

    Paladins are:
    • Always Good, usually Lawful Good. A paladin that becomes evil ceases to be a paladin.
    • Always associated with a religious -- or at least spirital -- order of some kind. Technically this makes them Church Militants, but they tend to focus more on general do-gooding than religious proselytizing.
    • Generally take on a defensive or protective role. They tend to be Stone Walls, and sometimes also use White Magic.

    I'd take basically everything but that out of the main trope description and leave the rest to individual examples.
  • October 21, 2010
    Irrisia
    The titular character of the Deed of Paksenarrion books becomes one. Eventually. She was apparently written as the author's idea of how a paladin needn't be Lawful Stupid.
  • October 21, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    • Flynn in Tales Of Vesperia (especially the PS 3 version) is the first true paladin character in the Tales series.
  • October 22, 2010
    Pickly
    • Paladin units in Fall From Heaven. They have Holy combat strength (more effective against demons, I think), require the Good Alignment, and are Disciple class units (Religious ones, as opposed to straightforward magical units, horsemen, archers, etc.)
  • October 22, 2010
    BlackWolfe
  • October 22, 2010
    Tannhaeuser
    It might be of some interest to note that the word "paladin" (>L., palatinus) originally meant "a dweller in the imperial palace" (just as "Count" meant "companion of the emperor"), which was in turn derived from the fact that the imperial palace was on the Palatine hill in Rome, which was, in turn, the hill sacred to the shepherd god/goddess, Pales. The original Paladins were the "knights" associated (somewhat anachronistically) with the Emperor Karl, AKA Charlemagne, especially his legendary "Twelve Peers" (of whom Roland was the most famous).
  • October 23, 2010
    ReplisMonathin
    Paladins usually fall somewhere between Stone Wall and Mighty Glacier in Dungeons And Dragons, depending on what kind of weapons they use. (Stone Wall Paladins tend to use the typical Sword and Shield combo, making them harder to hit but doing less damage. Two-handed weapons, with the right feats, allow you to dish out much more attacks... but either way, the heavy armor used by most Paladins slows them considerably.)

    Video Games:
    • Fallout's Brotherhood of Steel Organization has a rank titled Paladin among their members, and while they generally don't have the White Magic associated with the role, the attitudes of these characters is near exactly what you'd expect.

    I'd also mention that they fall more to the Idealistic sideof the Sliding Scale Of Idealism Versus Cynicism.
  • November 4, 2010
    ReplisMonathin
    I'm bumping this - it's been here a while, does anyone else wanna chime in and wanna contribute anything? I think we're good for a launch, save maybe a picture, but that can always come later.
  • November 4, 2010
    ReplisMonathin
    Sorry for the double-posting, but I just realized we have a main page for a book called The Paladin, can we move that to books?
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=qw9u8tnp3b783rage40ji5nb