My good blade carves the casques of men,Paladins are warriors dedicated to furthering the cause of all that is good. Holy crusaders, they combat the forces of evil wherever they are found, and defend the helpless as much as possible. Above all else, paladins are good. An evil paladin is a literal contradiction of terms; a paladin that turns evil ceases to be a paladinnote . As holy warriors, they're almost always associated with The Order, which are usually religious, or at least spiritual, in nature. While their Order may be tied to a specific church worshiping a God of Good, they are just as often dedicated to a more general power (frequently The Light). As such, paladins are frequently Church Militants and may have aspects of the Warrior Monk. Paladins are often The Chosen Many, with new paladins just beginning to learn about their powers being found and taught by older, more experienced paladins. When not part of The Order (or if their order is disbanded), a paladin will usually be a Knight Errant instead. Their weapon of choice will typically be a long sword (usually with shield) or a hammer (maybe two handed). Paladins tend to fall in the middle of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism. They certainly believe that Humans Are Good, but they tend to deal with most evil by killing it rather than trying to redeem it. The archetypal paladin is a Lawful Good Knight in Shining Armor for whom Right Makes Might, but this isn't always the case. Though always good, paladins are not always nice. They may even be a Knight in Sour Armor — but never a Well-Intentioned Extremist or a Knight Templar. When faced with a To Be Lawful or Good dilemma, a paladin's best option is to choose to do Good. If their order were to lapse from virtue, a true Paladin would leave, but continue to follow the rules of the uncorrupted order, even if they have to consider themselves the very last member. A popular Character Class in both digital and tabletop Role-Playing Games, Paladins tend to be Magic Knight variants who focus more on White Magic and defense compared to the Magic Knight's offensive spell-slinging (but can do offense as well with Holy Hand Grenade magic). As such, they usually fill the role of the tank in groups, though they may be able to function as a Combat Medic as well; when not working with a party, they're usually a Mighty Glacier. Paladins in games are usually very effective against evil enemies, particularly The Legions of Hell and The Undead — they almost always have the ability to use Detect Evil and Smite Evil against such foes. Tabletop Games have a special relationship with the paladin, particularly Dungeons & Dragons, which codified many paladin tropes. Tabletop paladins are stereotypically exceptionally prone to being Lawful Stupid or Stupid Good, and Jerkass DMs are extremely fond of encouraging this by setting up Sadistic Choices invoking To Be Lawful or Good. As noted above, the correct answer is "good", but don't expect that to make much difference against determined GMs. Ideally a Paladin's fall from grace should be a terrible punishment for choosing to perform either a genuinely Disorderly or Evil act, not the result of forcing a sadistic choice. Compare Magic Knight (the more generalized and/or offensively-oriented counterpart to this trope), Combat Medic (who has healing as first priority and combat second), The Paragon (who seeks for others to be as courageous), Good Shepherd (a priest who has the traits of this trope), The Cape (a superhero who has many of the traits of this trope). Contrast with the Black Knight, who may be this character's Evil Counterpart. Not related to C. J. Cherryh's stand-alone book The Paladin, nor to the black-clad hero of the Western Have Gun — Will Travel.
My tough lance thrusteth sure,
My strength is as the strength of ten,
Because my heart is pure.
My tough lance thrusteth sure,
My strength is as the strength of ten,
Because my heart is pure.
— Lord Alfred Tennyson, "Sir Galahad"
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Anime & Manga
- Heathcliff from Sword Art Online is known as The Paladin. His skills are light based and he leads the campaign to free the trapped players from the game. Subverted: his true identity is none other than Kayaba Akihiko himself, and he plans to betray the players and become the final boss at a dramatically-appropriate moment.
- Father Alexander Anderson of the Vatican's Iscariot Section XIII is almost always referred to as Paladin Anderson or somesuch variant. Interestingly, he's a rare Hero Antagonist variant, as the actual protagonist is both an Ax-Crazy Blood Knight Protestant-enslaved vampire and a Sociopathic Hero. Not that they're all that different in that respect.
- Also interesting is Section XIII's Badass Creed, which we hear when they show up in force. In it, they self-identify as God's assassins, violating all of the Church's Commandments in the name of Judas Iscariot in the hope both of furthering the Church's cause and damning their souls as a way of passing on to and invading Hell. They're still probably paladins in comparison to the rest of the Church's militant orders... which says something about those.
- The Royal Knights of the wider Digimon canon are this, an order of immensely powerful knight Digimon convened to serve the god of the Digital World (whoever that may be in that particular universe); the order was founded by, appropriately enough, Imperialdramon Paladin Mode. All members of the Royal Knights are very different from each other and have very different sets of powers, so they fit the related powers tendency only to varying degrees. The most prominent members of the order include Omegamon, Magnamon, Dukemon, Dynasmon and LordKnightmon.
- In Blue Exorcist only the most badass exorcists are given the title of Paladin. The previous one was Rin and Yukio's foster father. The current one is a dick.
- Suzaku of Code Geass is a knight, dedicated to doing good, and making sure that he does it without breaking the law.
- Priam Agrivar from DC's Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and Forgotten Realms titles back in the 80s, one of the better fleshed-out examples of the classic D&D-style (AD&D 2nd Edition in particular) paladin — complete with all-too-human failings (like lingering alcoholism) and doubts but ultimately the determination to prove himself worthy as well. Interestingly, he seems to owe formal allegiance to no specific faith or other organization, or if he does, it's never shown; he always appears as essentially his own man trying to do good as best he understands it, and his powers seem to work well enough regardless.
- Black Moon Chronicles: Lord Parsifal, the Grand Master of the Knights of Justice, is a completely devout and heroic warrior who fights on the emperor's side in various wars, though he specifies that he serves God alone. His counterpart Frater Sinister of the Knights of Light is both corrupt and ambitious.
- Balian of Ibelin in the Chance Encounter series pretty much is this trope. Considering one of his nicknames is "The Perfect Knight" and going down to hell to fight the Devil for the soul of his dead wife (while he does get smashed around by Satan with ease, he is assisted by the recently canonized by the Archangel Gabriel Prince Hector of Troy. Yes it is very strange) this is hardly surprising. He is also something of a Woobie, as it is pretty much guaranteed that he will be maimed at least once every 4-6 chapters. As well as being possessed by a dark version of himself.
- Sloane from the Tale of Solaron, is a paladin of Pelor, and plays it straight, being honorable and brave in the face of danger, though it often blinds him to subtleties and complicated motivations.
- In Allronix's Tin Man fanfic, the Tin Men themselves are of this trope, created by Empress Dorothy to honor the original Tin Man, Nick Chopper, sworn to serve and protect the citizens of Oz "from the greatest monarch to the smallest insect."
Films — Live-Action
- In Star Wars, Jedi knights are Samurai Taoist Buddhist Space Police keepers of the peace IN SPACE! The best example is wise Master Yoda. They also share the trait that if they go bad they go immediately from Incorruptible Pure Pureness to For the Evulz.
- TRON: Alan hadn't intended to create a de-facto holy warrior who fights for the oppressed User-believers, but his creation turned out that way. Too bad about the sequel...
- The Trope Namer is, of course, the Paladins or "Twelve Peers", the foremost Christian warriors of the court of Charlemagne. They were first described in The Song of Roland, and the eponymous Rolandnote was said to have eventually become the leader of the Paladins. As the number of Paladins was fixed at twelve (possibly in analogy to the Twelve Apostles or the Twelve Tribes of Israel), their names tend to vary from work to work within the matière de France as different authors would obviously want to include their pet character in the number.
- The matière de Bretagne centring on King Arthur for a long time evolved in competition with the matière de Francenote , so many scholars believe that the Knights of the Round Table were an attempt to outdo the Twelve Peers. They certainly soon did this as far as their numbers were concerned; not being bound by the Paladins' Rule of Twelve, the number of active Knights of the Round Table at one point rose to 1600 (in the 13th century Brut by Layamon).
- Another similar grouping exists in Russian byliny about the druzhina of Prince Vladimir of Kiev, who defend Holy Russia against the pagan Tatars. The most famous member of these bogaryri is Ilya Muromets.
- The main character of The Deed of Paksenarrion eventually becomes one. The author's intention behind that character was to be Lawful Good without being Lawful Stupid.
- The three Knights of the Cross in The Dresden Files are paladins, complete with holy swords (each of which has had a nail from the crucifiction of Jesus incorporated into it). Taking up one of the Swords of the Cross means accepting a Mission from God to go where they are most needed and help those who need to be saved. Michael Carpenter, the most often-seen Knight in the series, even wears plate armor specifically because it fits the classic paladin style (though his armor is reinforced with kevlar). They're also notable for being one of the most positive portrayals of paladins in all of fiction, being good, honest, kind-hearted people who don't force their beliefs on others and help anyone who truly needs itnote . In fact, they're even more idealistic than the trope description would suggest — their primary mission is dealing with a group of Fallen Angels possession humans — to redeem them, not destroy them.
- Holger Carlson, who traveled into the Matter of France and became one of Charlemagne's paladins, Olgier the Dane, in Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions, was an inspiration for the D&D character class.
- The various holy Champions in The War Gods series by David Weber take upon various aspects of this archetype including the Church Militant, Lawful Good (for the protagonist and his fellows) and even the classic Healing Hands.
- The Church Knights from The Elenium by David Eddings are Paladins, though it can be hard to see through their worldly tarnish on the Pandion, Genidian and Alcione knights. Cyrinic Knights are closest to the ideal, being the most religious and having shiny armour to boot. The manner of their Preceptor Abriel's death — charging a 300+ foot monster — is very Paladin.
- The Knights of Solomnia are the closest equivalent in Dragonlance and their Dungeons and Dragons tie-ins provide rules that essentially make this character a paladin equivalent (though there are different orders with different emphases in terms up fighting skill, leadership and divine power).
- The protagonists of Domina are referred to as Paladins, specifically because it seems like it will "sell." Derek is closest in powerset; he's The Hero and a Barrier Warrior.
- Adventure Hunters: Artorius used to be one of these but he was branded with the Sigil of Disgrace for a mysterious reason. Now he works as a treasure hunter.
- The Knights Radiant of The Stormlight Archive are powerful Magic Knight warriors who literally get their powers by behaving with various flavors of honor (protecting the helpless, being truthful, etc). The Knights as a whole are a Badass Army, but they're divided into ten separate Orders (explicitly called such in-universe), each with different powers. They disbanded and disappeared thousands of years before the story begins, but those with the power of the Radiants seem to be appearing again, which seems likely to lead to the reformation of the Knights.
- In Forging Divinity, Lydia is secretly a Paladin of Sytira, a goddess of knowledge.
- The eponymous Heralds of the Heralds of Valdemar series are essentially paladins without the religious aspects. They're The Order of The Chosen Many, with Functional Magic and/or Psychic Powers and 100% guaranteed Incorruptible Pure Pureness due to their Companions — Cool Horses with human-level intelligence that share a psychic link with the Heralds they've Chosen — and they never Choose anyone who is less than heroic.
- In The Balanced Sword, some of the gods of Zarathan have dedicated holy warriors who are granted enhanced abilities by their patron god; the trilogy features the Justiciars, dedicated to Myrionar, God of Justice and Vengeance. A major plot driver is the revelation that the Justiciars have become corrupt and now secretly serve and gain their powers from a demonic patron (who is also apparently managing to fool Myrionar Itself, or at least prevent It from denouncing them and/or smiting them where they stand).
- Spells, Swords, & Stealth:
- Tim starts out playing a paladin at the start of NPCs, but is forced to roll a more mundane warrior by the other players so he wouldn't get in the way of their being murderous bastards. Tim gets to play a paladin again in Split the Party and is a natural at it.
- Thistle finds himself given the offer to become a paladin for his god, Grumble. Thistle is reluctant, given the limitations and requirements that come with the position, but ultimately agrees to save his friends' lives.
- Over the course of Split the Party, Timuscor, the knight Tim had played during NPCs expresses a desire to be a paladin, but is disheartened to find he lacks the kind of devotion the job requires, since the gods only make paladins of their followers. Before going into the climax of the story, he says a prayer offering himself as a paladin to any god who will take him, and this desire also spurs his Heroic Sacrifice near the end of the book.
- Pavalo Payam of The Traitor Son Cycle is a wielder of a magic sword and a warrior dedicated to the cause of eradicating supernatural threats against humanity on behalf of the Ifriquyan school of magic.
- The protagonist of Have Gun — Will Travel is an example of the personality type, if not the power set. He was a gentleman gunfighter who worked as a problem-solver for disputes of all sorts — preferably without resorting to violence, but not ashamed to get his hands dirty if he had to. The fact that he goes by the name Paladin helps.
- Alluded to/played within an episode of Bones, where Booth rescues a young boy by gaining his trust with his family code word, which happens to be "Paladin". Booth is sort of a Paladin, only without magic powers.
- The paladin class of Dungeons & Dragons is the Trope Codifier of the standard paladin (and the Trope Namer for its signature attacks, Detect Evil and Smite Evil). As such, D&D has a ton of paladins, paladin variants, and not-quite-paladins.
- In 2nd Edition, Paladins are designed to be a rare and special character class. This is achieved by giving them the most onerous required stats of the game, most notably a 17 or better in the Dump Stat of Charisma (a measure of physical appearance, leadership skills, and ability to influence others).
- 3e and 3.5 has your standard Knight in Shining Armor paladins as a core class, but sourcebooks eventually added variants such as the Paladin of Freedom (Chaotic Good instead of the Paladin of Justice's Lawful Good), the Greyguard (a paladin Prestige Class that allowed for moments of I Did What I Had to Do by making it much easier to regain one's paladin powers after violating the paladin code of conduct), and the Holy Liberator (Chaotic Good champions of "Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!"). And aside from all these, there's the Sentinel.
- Pathfinder, as a continuation of the d20 System D&D line, also has the classic paladins. They're a bit beefed-up compared to what they were in 3.5. Optional rules give them different versions of the paladin code depending on what god they follow. Speaking of gods, the Pathfinder setting Golarion has an actual paladin deity: the goddess Iomedae was formerly a high-level paladin herself, who was so Lawful Good in life, she became one of only three mortals to pass the Starstone Test and to ascend to godhood as a divine patron of all paladins and other lawful good warriors.
- Paladins in the 4th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons do not follow the Always Lawful Good restriction: instead, Paladins are servants of any god, and they follow the tenets laid forth by that god rather than follow an alignment. Paladins in the Essentials line for 4th Edition choose a Virtue (such as Sacrifice and Valor) and have options within that virtue (though Sacrifice Paladins fit the usual Always Lawful Good bill).
- Pretty much all additions of Dungeons & Dragons also have an inversion of the paladin trope; some variation of an "anti-paladin", a mirror image of the paladin that replaces "good" with "evil" and "holy" with "unholy". 3e had a Prestige Class called the Blackguard (which could include fallen paladins) as well as the Paladin of Tyranny (Lawful Evil) and the Paladin of Slaughter (Chaotic Evil). Pathfinder went back to using straight anti-paladins, and 4th edition makes the issue moot by allowing your paladin to be dedicated to any extreme alignment. 5th Edition locks 4ths alignment-freedom, but also adds the Oathbreaker Paladin, an always evil option for Paladins who have forsaken their oath.
- Ravenloft features one fallen paladin as a darklord; Elena Faithhold of Nidalia, whose nature as The Fundamentalist lead her to begin a brutal inquisition/crusade against anyone who didn't worship her patron god Belenus (Celtic sun god) in a monotheistic fashion. Most notable for how she plays I Reject Your Reality for horror and tragedy — for example, refusing to accept that her Detect Evil now detects strong emotions about her, so most of the "evil" people she kills are actually her most loyal and ardent supporters.
- The Holy Knight from Urban Arcana is basically what happens when you take a Paladin, give him/her a motorbike, a Forced Entry armor, a Riot Shield, and a shock baton, and remove their need to be Lawful. They do have an Evil Counterpart in the form of the Unholy Knight.
- Warhammer 40,000
- Deconstructed with the Grey Knights chapter of Space Marines. They have loads of powers to fight daemons and are completely incorruptible, but are extremely ruthless in their mission. They have a habit of killing innocent witnesses "for their own protection". Given the Grim Dark Crapsack World that 40k is, where a Fate Worse Than Death could be in store just for seeing Chaos, they still manage to remain somewhat sympathetic.
- The Space Marines in general arguably have this flavour if seen sympathetically, with their existence being militaristic and fighting in the most important warzones where needed, and generally their devotion to the cause of the Emperor and the Imperium (and by that extent, humanity in general) is encouraged to border on religious fanaticism (though also generally just off the mark from religion). Played dead straight by the Salamanders chapter, who are especially protective of Imperium citizens whenever the Salamanders see them, have their own chapter-personal cult which extols the values of self-reliance, loyalty and self-sacrifice, and mostly utilize flame weapons and Thunder Hammers — fire and hammers being fairly common iconography of The Paladin.
- As the military arm of the Ecclesiarchy (the Imperial state church), the Sisters Of Battle also fit this role.
- In Rifts there are a lot of people that seem like paladins, but the real deal comes from the Wormwood supplement in the form of the Apok, whose literal class description is incorruptibility. They get absolute immunity to all manner of effects, but in classic Rifts style, they look like demon hobos. Also interesting because they are required to have been evil and truly repented, rather than being good from the start.
- In Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, Bretonnian heroes are called Paladins.
- Also, Grail Knights. Bretonnian nobles in general have a cultural obsession with becoming the spirit of this trope that is more than strictly sane.
- Dawn and Zenith caste Solar Exalted tend to put on a lot of the trappings of this trope, such as holy light and golden armour...as for how well they actually embody it, that's a matter of individual choice and the nature of one's Limit Break.
- The drink based card game DrunkQuest has one as a character class. She likes mead.
- Paladins in Ironclaw are essentially clerics who apply their class dice to the Melee Combat skill rather than Leadership, and a lot of White Magic uses Leadership in some way, and they start out with a sword that can have spells loaded into it like the staffs that other clerics have.
- Surprisingly, Devils from Demonthe Fallen would probably be the closest to the Paladin equivalent in Old World of Darkness. When they aren't Evil Overlords out to conquer the universe, they tend to be literally shining warriors of honor and virtue, if a touch jaded. Even when they do go bad they still usually retain their sense of honor and duty. That duty just tends not to be to help humanity anymore.
- Anima: Beyond Fantasy features both paladins and dark paladins, based on Final Fantasy onesnote . They're, however, just character archetypes (the paladin someone good at leadership and more oriented to tank, and the dark paladin someone who instead coerces/persuades others and is more offensive), and nothing stops someone of playing a dark paladin who behaves like a D&D paladin, or a paladin who is totally opposite to the archetypical one.
- Basilean elites in Kings Of War include the Paladin Knights (also including Paladin Infantry) and the High Paladin hero unit, who goes so far as to have healing magic, although given his Crushing Strength and Thunderous Charge rules you may not actually get to use it. Basileans are very much a Good-aligned human army.
- A character in Pendragon can aspire to be a Religious Knight by raising the traits associated with his particular religion to famous levels. That nets him some subtle advantages from divine favour, as well as a nice bit of extra Glory per year.
- Rocket Age's Order of the Sacred Hamaxe, a Martian crusading order, might be the most heroic faction in the setting, protecting innocents, fighting dangerous animals and stopping evil organizations at every turn. The have a strong code of honour and welcome any Martian caste into their order, an amazing thing to do on Mars.
- Final Fantasy
- The Fighter/Knight class in the original Final Fantasy plays closer to a paladin than a true knight, as once the Fighter class is upgraded to a Knight they have the ability to use low-level White Magic.
- Cecil in Final Fantasy IV, once he casts off his Dark Knight mantle, loses his Cast from Hit Points offensive magic and becomes a Paladin Lightning Bruiser with healing magic. The DS remake makes him even more of a tank, with the (passive!) ability to draw attacks to him and counter. Unusually for the archetype, he can also equip bows.
- Beatrix from Final Fantasy IX. Each character in the game represents a class from the previous games and Beatrix, while she is never outright called one, she can use White Magic and the equipment of a paladin. She actually starts out as a villain in the game and a Hopeless Boss Fight, but over the course of the game she begins to have doubts about her queen and eventually joins the heroes' side as an ally.
- While in Final Fantasy X all the "warriors" (Tidus, Wakka, Auron, Kimarhi) are all capable of going down this route depending on how you use the sphere grid, Tidus is the most oriented to becoming a Paladin. His sphere grid intercepts with Yuna's early on, allowing him to learn healing and holy magic. He's got a bunch of support magic on his own Sphere Grid. Give him a weapon with Piercing and he can hit like a ton of bricks on just about any non-magical mook in the game.
- Paladins in Final Fantasy XI are an advanced job class designed to be the designated tank. They also have limited access to healing, protective, and holy spells, along with abilities that specifically weaken the undead. The order was founded by the Elvaan, the setting's most religious race.
- Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings gave Basch protective spells and Light-themed attacks. The mission that unlocks his Limit Break forces him to face a hoard of undead.
- Paladins in Final Fantasy XIV are a specialized upgrade to the Gladiator class. They are once again a designated tank class with limited access to healing magic. In terms of lore, they originated as the personal bodyguard of the sultan of Ul'dah, hence their alternate title of Sultansworn.
- The Paladin class is used by human units in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and Final Fantasy Tactics A2. The class has two abilities that dish out Holy damage to enemies, but the rest of the skills involve healing allies of injuries and ailments, protecting them from enemy attacks, and convincing enemies to leave the battle. It is worth noting that the title "Paladin" only seems to describe the general skillset of the class, and not the personality, as there are at least a couple of missions in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance in which you fight a bad guy whose job is Paladin.
- Played as straight as possible with Optional Party Member Frimelda Lotice in Final Fantasy Tactics A2. Not even dying and being revived as a zombie can stop her from being good.
- Paladins exist in the original Final Fantasy Tactics, too, though not by name. They include Agrias Oaks (Holy Knight), Meliadoul Tengille (Templar Knight), and of course, Cidolfus "Thunder God Cid" Orlandeau (Sword Saint). In a twist, all of the abilities they gain from being Holy Knights are purely offensive in nature, though you can reclass them as White Mages to pick up the defensive side of this trope as a secondary skillset.
- Warcraft paladins are the Trope Codifier for good but not Lawful Good paladins that follow "the Light" instead of a specific deity. They also tend to retain their powers as long as they think they're doing good, which can lead to some unpleasant things. Originally, they were members of The Order of the Silver Hand, until said order got decimated after the fall of Lordaeron. They later served the Argent Crusade, and their respective factions, the Alliance or Horde in general.
- Uther the Lightbringer, the proto-paladin in the Warcraft series, represented them as a Support hero in Blizzard's Massive Multiplayer Crossover MOBA of their universes Heroes of the Storm.
- The Warcraft III paladins are defensive/supportive hero units which supported their allies through healing, and armor-boosting aura, and a mass resurrection ability. They also had the ability to personally become completely invincible for short periods of time and their healing spell could heavily damage enemy undead units and most demons.
- The World of Warcraft paladin is a melee class with healing and auras, with specs that allow them to be a dedicated shield-bearing guardian type (Protection), a Combat Medic (Holy), or a more light-focused Magic Knight (Retribution). One of the signature abilities of the Paladin class is Divine Shield, which makes the paladin totally immune to all damage for 6 seconds.note The class is available to humans, dwarves, blood elves, and — as of Cataclysm — any race with hooves and a tail. Since the game's launch, it has played around a lot with the concept of paladins and how they achieve their powers.
- First there was the Scarlet Crusade, a group of highly racist and paranoid human paladins who thought any non-human race was infected by the undead taint, along with any human who wasn't a member of their ranks. Despite being insane and clearly not doing the Light's work, they maintained their power because they believed they were, as mentioned above.
- In The Burning Crusade, the Blood Elves developed their own sect of paladins called the Blood Knights. Unlike any of the above-mentioned paladins, the Blood Knights stole their power directly from a powerful light being called a naaru. Their attitude was initially haughty and self-important, taking pride in their ability to bend the light to their will, with some Blood Knights even saying they are 'true' paladins compared to the Alliance paladins. However, the Blood Knights eventually had the source of their power taken away from them, and they turned to the naruu of Shattrath for help. They pledged themselves to help the naruu during the assault on the Sunwell, and after it was re-invigorated by the holy energies of the very same naruu they had originally captured, they started drawing their power from the Sunwell itself. It has been implied they are since heading down a path of light worship much more akin to traditional Alliance paladins.
- In Cataclysm, taurens began their own sect of paladins called Sunwalkers, who draw their power from the sun god An'she, in the same way the night elves draw power from the moon goddess Elune. Despite being granted similar powers to paladins, however, it's implied the source of their power isn't drawn from the Light in the same way it is for other paladins. Rather, they embody the power of the sun and represent a kind of exemplar of their people, much like how human paladins embody the power of the Light are exemplars of their own.
- In Warlords of Draenor, the raid boss Tyrant Velhari was designed as a Shadow Archetype to the paladin player class, drawing her power from the fel magic of the Burning Legion and employing several debuffs which absorb or prevent healing as well as auras which harm the party. Each of her three phases is patterned after one of the three paladin specs.
- Diablo series:
- Diablo II has the Paladin as one of the selectable classes. He left the Corrupt Church of Zakarum and seeks to destroy the demons responsible for its corruption. III makes it clear there are many Paladins of Zakarum that remain with the church and have become far more in-name-only individuals.
- The Templars of the Templar order from Diablo III also qualify as paladins, but they take a more Knight Templar-ish stance because of their brainwashing by the order. Kormac, the Templar who accompanies you, is quite fervent about protecting the innocent, but he's not forgiving of betrayers of the order and even less forgiving about betrayal by the order itself.
- As do the Crusaders of the Reaper of Souls expansion, who are seeking to purify and restore the Zakarum faith to its former glory. The conceptual similarities between the Crusaders and Blizzard's paladins of Warcraft led to them making the Crusader character Johanna riff on Uther (the Warcraft Paladin) in Heroes of the Storm.
- Leona from League of Legends is the head of an order of these called The Solari, and uses The Power of the Sun as one of the game's most popular tank/support champions. She is one of the most unambiguously good champions in the entire cast, unlike more Knight Templar warriors of justice like Kayle. She wants nothing more than to protect others and honor the glory of the sun, spreading its light and guidance to all.
- Taric, the Gem Knight, is not too far behind. While Leona is out in front making everyone else give way, Taric has always got one eye on his laning partners, boosting their stats, restoring their health, and using his stunning gems to stop their attackers or set up victims for an easy kill.
- The Paladins of Battle for Wesnoth are Warrior Monk types who, like the White Mages of the setting, serve the philosophy of good itself, with no religious connotations. They start out as regular Horsemen who later level-up to Knights, and can then choose to either maximize their combat power by becoming Grand Knights or to acquire basic healing skills and Smite Evil abilities to become Paladins. While they are not as strong in melee as the Grand Knights, and not as good healers as White Mages, they are fast, can still very hard with their lance charges, and have 'arcane' anti-magic damage and resistances that make them very good at fighting the undead.
- The Paladin tank of Command & Conquer: Generals has the personality (no surprise considering that the USA faction is Lawful Good in this game) and has the ability to tank missile shots with a defensive laser.
- The Paladin class in Dragon Quest IX plays like a typical paladin would: high defense, healing magic, and abilities that focus on protecting the innocent. Fully upgrade a Paladin and get their shield level to 40, and you have an unstoppable attack-blocking machine.
- Dragon Quest VI's Paladin class is unlocked after max ranks in Priest and Martial Artist. They have a chance to deal instant death with normal attacks, learn the usual blocking spells like Selflessness and Forbearance along with the awesome Thin Air, a 0 MP hit-everything high damage skill that is That One Attack when used by enemies.
- BioWare's Dungeons & Dragons games usually have some paladins in them, along with taking it as a character class:
- Baldur's Gate: You can take Ajantis into your party, but given the games limited NPC interactions, he doesn't have anything to say.
- Baldur's Gate II: There's Keldorn and the Order of the Radiant Heart, as well as the squire Anomen (who is technically a fighter/cleric dual-class, but aspires towards the paladin's role and attitude). There are also a group of fallen paladins who got kicked out of the order and are now common criminals. Meanwhile, Mazzy Fentan can't be a paladin because the second edition rules didn't allow it for halflings yet... but she's a Lawful Good, knightly servant of her deity who gives her special powers, so basically it's just a matter of terminology and minor differences in special abilities, and of her being bothered that she's not official.
- The Player Character can also be one, with the option to join The Order after successfully completing a series of quests. S/he and Keldorn are the only two playable characters who can wield Carsomyr, the Holy Avenger. Comes in four distinct flavors: the standard paladin (with Turn Undead, Detect Evil, saving throw bonuses, and the ability to wield any weapon); the Cavalier (no ranged weapons, but has special resistances and bonuses against demons and dragons); the Inquisitor (trades in standard features for powerful Anti-Magic), and the Undead Hunter (special bonuses against undead). Of course, those bonuses are conditional upon maintaining a decent Reputation and upholding Never Hurt an Innocent.
- Neverwinter Nights: Aribeth is one of the major NPCs in the game. And becomes an Anti-Paladin halfway through the story.
- Neverwinter Nights 2 (though actually developed by Obsidian): Casavir stands out from most paladins by placing a much higher emphasis on Good instead of Order. When his superiors and fellow knights were unwilling to take action, he left and became the leader of a guerrilla vigilante band that fights marauding orcs.
- Knights of the Old Republic: Being a Star Wars game, it has a lot of Jedi, which are pretty much Space Paladins. And like in Neverwinter Nights, poster girl Jedi Bastila will fall to the Dark Side, but can be saved. Of course, Knights of the Old Republic II thoroughly deconstructs this vision of the Jedi along with everything else about the Star Wars universe. The trend is continued with the Jedi Knight class in Star Wars: The Old Republic. The other Jedi class is more like a priest with magic powers than a Paladin.
- A Dance with Rogues, a NWN mod, deconstructs paladinhood with the character of Christiano: a paladin by class, he is a Jerkass who adheres to the letter of the Lawful Good Code of Honour, but not its spirit. He would never, for example, actually force himself onto a woman, but will gladly pressure her into having sex as long as she does not say "No" loud and clear—and it doesn't hinder him in the slightest that he is already in a relationship with another woman, as long as the latter is too insecure about herself to actually call him out on cheating. Towards the end of the game, a possible reconstruction occurs: Christiano finally gets what he had coming and goes to hell in a woman's body to be abused and raped for the rest of his/her existence (if you leave him there).
- Dragon Age has the Grey Wardens, who are very paladin-like in flavor, but mostly in the backstory. Wardens aren't locked into any given mechanical build or into any moral alignment, as long as they are willing to fight the darkspawn. It's impossible to be cast down, though: once you're a Warden, you're In It For Life.
- More fitting the classic Paladin role are the Templars, who hunt down demons and errant, usually evil, mages and are associated to the Chantry. However, Templars are rather un-paladin-y in that they're sadly prone to becoming Knight Templars and running into Light Is Not Good, and often invoke Good Is Not Nice due to the game's Crapsack World.
- Alistair, being both a Grey Warden and an ex-Templar with tank combat abilities, anti-magic, and (eventually) Smite Evil, is the game's best example of the trope; he manages to combine Light, Good, and (mostly) Nice, though he's certainly willing to Shoot the Dog if you harden his heart during his personal sub-quest.
- The third game in the series has Cassandra Pentaghast as a playable party member. She's a sword'n'board Warrior class, later gets the Templar specialization, was formerly a Seeker for the Chantry and held to the group's ideals when the rest succumbed to dogmatism in the Mage/Templar War, and (initially) unknowningly is communed with a Spirit of Faith.
- Lunar: Eternal Blue: Leo, who's basically a cop. Once he joins your party, he proves himself to be an irregular paladin due to his propensity for Earth-based magic.
- Flynn in Tales of Vesperia (especially the PS3 version) is the first true paladin style character in the series.
- The Civilization IV mod Fall from Heaven has paladins. The player must be good to use them. Given the Crapsack World the game is, Good Is Not Nice.
- In Ground Control, Paladin is a title given to any Order of the New Dawn general who is permitted to act with autonomy. The Paladin Magnus is one, and despite not having any divine personal powers, he does have an arsenal of Order troops, aerodynes and hoverdynes at his disposal, and has the personality of a paladin, always choosing the 'good' option over the lawful.
- The Brotherhood of Steel in Fallout has a rank called Paladin. Depending upon whether you're talking about the West Coast Brotherhood, the Midwestern Brotherhood or the Eastern Brotherhood, a paladin may or may not act out this trope.
- Mickey Mouse in Kingdom Hearts has every aspect of this trope but the title.
- MARDEK has Vehrn, a Paladin of YALORTnote . He is devastating against the undead, but is insufferable if you allow him to get on the subject of Yalortism.
- The Paladins in Quest for Glory differ from the standard version trope in that they are openly Neutral Good from the start; the Paladin mentor Rakeesh defied the rule of law in his homeland because he thought it was narrow-minded and would only cause a needless war. The Paladin class is unlocked at the end of Quest for Glory II if you finish the game with high enough Honor, and is effectively a Fighter with nice bonuses like Healing Hands, protection from evil, and a danger sense, plus some optional quests that go above and beyond the main plot. In Quest for Glory III he becomes an outright Magic Knight, when unlocking the Heal ability adds the Magic skill.
- Artix von Krieger from AdventureQuest, DragonFable and other games of the same company subverts the concept. He has a compulsive need to smite any undead creatures he comes across, and AdventureQuest Worlds reveals that Artix is the Champion of Darkness, and as such cannot use the light-based magic of a Paladin. Instead, he was trained in the ways of the Undead Slayer, whose power and purpose is to free the souls of those enslaved by undeath. Paladin is also an available class in pretty much any Artix Entertainment fantasy game, though at least one version is member only.
- In Rift, paladin is a warrior "defensive soul" with some White Magic abilities. While Amardis Mathos (the original in-universe paladin) certainly fit the usual profile, it's implied that not every paladin does.
- The Paladin class of the Fire Emblem series is, for the most part, this In-Name-Only; it has nothing to do with holy warriors and cannot use any sort of magic beyond that afforded by magic weapons. Members of the class (allied ones, anyway) are generally upstanding, moral, and loyal knights, but are not holy by any means. The exception is the Jugdral canon, wherein the female variant of Paladins can wield healing staves.
- While not explicitly spelled out as one, however, "Marth" from Fire Emblem Awakening fits the trope rather well on inspection. Parallel Falchion can even be used to heal.
- Paladins in Age of Empires II are merely upgraded Heavy Cavalry, the next step up after Knights and Cavaliers.
- There is a Paladin class in the Ultima series (at least until the later games where it gets merged into Fighter), which is the class associated with the virtue of Honor. But the Avatar himself also fits most of the criteria for the Paladin trope, and is the page image. Though in the context of the game it's from, the image is actually a Kick the Dog moment for the Avatar.
- The Ogre Battle series of games commonly have Paladins as a class. Then tend to be among the strongest Melee fighters, with minor healing magic.
- Dragon Nest has The Paladin role filled by... the Paladin class. Although he's more of a white mage tank than a white mage DP Ser.
- In Majesty, Paladins become available if you build a Temple to Dauros, God of law and justice. They're Always Female, strong against undead and have some defensive magic.
- It is perfectly possible to play a Paladin in The Elder Scrolls, though the franchise's open-ended levelling system makes it purely a player choice rather than an official class. Specific parts of different games either encourage or cater to that playstyle, however.
- The Knights of the Nine expansion to The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is all about being a paladin, complete with recreating a lost order of knights dedicated to the Divines, and including the Relics of the Crusader, an equipment set that significantly buffs paladin-style skills (defense, healing, and melee combat) and cannot be used if the player has two or more infamy points.
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, especially if you have the Dawnguard DLC expansion, which pits a group of these paladins against a deadly coven of vampires. Champions of Meridia, one of the only nonevil Daedric Princes, also tend toward a paladin outlook — Meridia's quest will give you the unique weapon "Dawnbreaker", which lights undead on fire and has a chance to cause a short-range explosion that sets other Undead on fire, which gives paladin-y players a useful Smite Evil type weapon.
- The Vigilant of Stendarr can either be seen as this or as knights templar, depending on one's point of view. On the one hand, they serve the Divine of Mercy and selflessly protect the races from Daedra and creatures like vampires and werewolves. On the other hand, many of these creatures are actually not hostile to humanity but get (ironically) mercilessly slaughtered by them.
- Dark Souls has a number of ways to play this archetype. There are two covenants in the game: Way of White and Sunlight Warriors, which have this vibe to them. Generally any player who uses a Faith Build with suitably fancy armor will invoke the classic Paladin image. There's also Paladin Leeroy, a character in the game who is a member of the aforementioned Way of White, and wears a suit of gold armor actually called Paladin Armor.
- Solaire of Astora, probably the most iconic character of the franchise, is a Paladin through and through. He leads the Warrior of Sunlight covenant, wears classic templar armor, is summonable as an ally in bossfights, uses light-based miracles such as "Sunlight Spear", and if he lives to the end, he will sacrifice himself in his own reality, throwing his soul on the First Flame to continue the Age of Fire.
- "The Order" in Devil May Cry 4 who, unusual for this trope, actually venerate a demon, (specifically, the Legendary Dark Knight Sparda). 'tis a shame that their commanding officers are all either trying to take over the world to vanquish all the demons, or humans-turned-demons themselves.
- The Protector class from Etrian Odyssey series (actually called Paladins in the Japanese version). They can equip the heaviest armor and most of their abilities revolve around protecting the rest of their party from harm. Their offensive power is decent at best compared to other classes, being bolstered by a Shield Bash skill, and they possess some basic healing abilities.
- The Fortress class from the fourth game is similar to the Protector, with more offensive versatility.
- Guild Wars 2 introduced into the Guild Wars universe the class known as the Guardian, which is the spiritual successor to the Paragon and the Monk and which has elements of the Ritualist as it is a White Magic Wielding Warrior who can if using the appropriate abilities, summon spiritual weapons to do his bidding. Unlike many Paladins however he does not draw his powers from the divine, as the NayTheist Charr can use the class.
- In Mass Effect, the asari have a rough equivalent to the paladin in the form of Justicars. They are Warrior Monk asari who devote their entire lives to living by an unbending - but Crazy-Prepared - code of honor that demands they behave like paladins: protecting the innocent and striking down the unjust. The code is also very ruthless: for example, offering her a bribe obligates the Justicar to kill the one trying to bribe her. Opposing a Justicar or obstructing her from completing her task are also grounds for her to respond with violence. The Justicars are also unique in that they stick heavily to asari-controlled space, because asari culture and norms are heavily weighted in their favor; no asari ever questions a Justicar-sanctioned killing, because in their culture, Justicars are above reproach. The harshness of their life and the unbending nature of their code tends to root out anyone within their order who would abuse their power.
- Third game has the Multi-player Class N7 Paladin, who is arguably the most versatile class in the game. Capable of setting and detonating any tech power in the game, restoring shields with energy drain, and placing a shield that can negate Turret fire, the Paladin often inspires others who know what this class can do, especially against the Geth.
- Dupre the paladin is one of the Avatar's companions in the Ultima series. He makes the Heroic Sacrifice to restore the Chaos Serpent in Ultima VII Part II: Serpent Isle, but is brought back to life in Ultima IX.
- Some of the Might and Magic games have a Paladin class. VII is a bit interesting in that the sign of being a proper Paladin as this trope defines it is not being called a Paladin — the Paladin class (and its first promotion, the Crusader class) is morally undefined, and is simply a merging of Knight and Cleric. It is only at the final promotion that the class is defined as dedicated to good (or, if you aligned with the Dark, evil), when you become a Hero (or, for the anti-Paladin, Villain).
- The Golden Paladin that leads the Brotherhood against Dracula in the Action Prologue of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2. He's a badass holy warrior who wears winged golden armor that gives him an angelic appearance. It's too bad that Gabriel is still God's chosen champion, so the Paladin's holy powers are useless against him.
- In Pillars of Eternity, Paladins are individuals that are devoted to causes and are not necessarily dedicated to gods. There are a number of known paladin orders that emphasize certain virtues and personality traits in their paladins: for example, the Goldpact Knights are stoic and rational professional soldier-for-hire types, the Kind Wayfarers are a paladin sect dedicated to protecting travellers and caravans out in the wilds and generally well-liked by commoners for their kindness and compassion, and by contrast the Bleak Walkers are dreaded crusaders known for their single-minded aggression and take-no-prisoners policy. The resident paladin companion is Pallegina, an Avian godlike who belongs to the Brotherhood of the Five Suns order (not available to a Player Character paladin), which serves more or less as an elite enforcer arm of the Vailian Republics' ducal council, so her duties are mostly political, diplomatic, and commercial in nature.
- Fantasy Life has the paladin as a Life that the player can use. They're a combat class focusing on defense — they get bonus vitality and equip a one-handed sword with a shield — and in story terms the paladins are the City Guards for Castele and follow the Knight in Shining Armor ideal... though in reality, with the exception of named characters, the average paladin is well-meaning and loyal, but none-to-bright and somewhat easily frightened.
- In Drancia, the Paladin is a blonde girl with a Hime Cut, her class focuses on offense at the risk of being a Glass Cannon, which has 2 fairies escorting her once maxed up melee skills, as well as single used spread shot magic per stage (rechargable via level up).
- In Gems of War, the Paladin is one of Whitehelm's units, fitting that region's piety-and-honour theme. However, they appear as opponents in the Whitehelm questline, being sent to arrest (and really, kill) Sapphira. In fact, they're under malign influence.
- Half of all Angels in Nexus Clash are Paladins. They get magic armor, an arsenal of Holy Hand Grenades (figuratively or literally depending on one's build) and the power to Smite Evil, but they can lose it all if they don't keep up their moral standing. Given what the god in charge of judging morality is like in this universe, the easiest way to do this is through Knight Templar tendencies.
- The Order of the Stick has a city teeming with paladins, Azure City. They give us the whole range of paladins, from the Lawful Stupid Knight Templar Miko, to the more balanced Hinjo, who while still a bit of a stickler for the rules is willing to hear both sides and try to be as fair as possible, all the way to resident Memetic Badass O-Chul, who exemplifies "always take the good option."
- The Water Phoenix King has Commander Corva, who fits this trope very well. She's not Lawful Stupid by any means, and though often The Quiet One, a Deadpan Snarker when she does say anything — fitting, as her deity is a storm god who likes to make bad electricity-related puns.
- Goblins also has paladins of various roles. Most of them tend toward Lawful Good or Lawful Stupid, but one of them, the infamous dwarven paladin Kore, is one of the most evil characters of the series, despite having the full range of paladin powers available to him. Big-Ears, by contrast, is a perfect reconstruction of the trope; he chose his class to defend the weak and is prone to Tender Tears.
- In Familiar Ground, the horse's human
- The Players Guide To SISU features Veitsi, a Paladin who leans toward the warrior side.
- Eva Wilson from Our Little Adventure.
- Syranon Glaed in Heart Core, the beloved beastman Paladin from New Ayers who has become a celebrity amongst the people due to his battles against demons.
- Drowtales has the Kyorl'solenurn Clan, whose modus operandi revolves around exterminating the Demonic Taint from Drow Society. The problem is that a good chunk the population is tainted thanks to the efforts of one group who has infiltrated nearly every clan, including the ruling one, and the local Wizarding School where they encourage people to undergo the procedure. So they have their work cut out for them.
- Dame Madeline Goodlaw of Rusty and Co.. She's not the smartest (a Running Gag has her believing that a variety of gardening implements are actually powerful magic weapons), but she's a complete sweetheart... who is also one of the most dangerous characters in the comic (if you're evil).
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has its own paladin in the form of Shining Armor. The captain of the royal guard, and the protector of Canterlot with a giant shield bubble powered by his faith in... love, apparently?
- Every incarnation of Optimus Prime is this type of character (the exception being Transformers: Shattered Glass, which has Megatron instead), but this has never been more obvious in his characterisation than in Transformers Prime. He even slew a robotic demon (Unicron) in the Season 1 finale.
- The word "Paladin" comes from the Palatine Hill in Romenote , which in ancient times was where the Emperor and his highest officials officiated. Being a palatinus was about official authority, not about skill as a warrior or devotion to righteousness. In the middle ages palatinus became "paladin"note , and in chivalric epic poems became applied to Twelve Paladins or Twelve Peers of Emperor Charlemagne. In the cycle of epics known as the matière de la France ("matter of France"), which includes the French The Song of Roland, the German Willehalm by Wolfram of Eschenbach and the Italian Orlando Furioso, where the paladins became idealized symbols of courage and purity.
- The word "paladin" is sometimes used to refer to the top tier of advisors and officials of a ruler. As an example you can look at this 1871 magazine illustration depicting The Three Paladins of the German Emperor◊ at the victory parade after the Franco-German War: minister of war Albrecht von Roon, chancellor Otto von Bismarck and chief of the general staff Helmuth von Moltke riding ahead of Emperor Wilhelm I. Of course in the real world there is less likelihood of people agreeing on whom to see as an embodiment of chivalry and good; a contemporary Frenchman would have been much more likely to describe the three as a Dragon, an Evil Chancellor and a Dragon-in-Chief.