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.
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.
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.
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.
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 TinMan 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."
The three Knights of the Cross in The Dresden Files are paladins, complete with holy swords into each of which has been incorporated one of the nails used during the crucifixion of Jesus. 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 (albeit reinforced with Kevlar, and other Knights such as Sanya are known to rely on more modern gear including a Kalashnikov automatic rifle). 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, Michael is the only devout Christian of the three; Sanya is a Flat Earth Atheist, while Shiro was converted because he thought the offer to "meet the King" meant a chance to meet Elvis Presley. In fact, their primary mission when dealing with the Order of the Blackened Denarius - a group of up to thirty people possessed by Fallen Angels - is not to execute them but to offer them redemption and save them from the path of darkness if at all possible. In the novel Skin Game, Michael even offers a chance at redemption to Nicodemus Archleon, the leader of the Order and a man who's cut a bloody swath across the planet for thousands of years. Obviously it doesn't work.
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.
Have Gun — Will Travel was an American western television series that ran from 1957 to 1963, starring Richard Boone as Paladin, a gentleman gunfighter and West Point educated former army officer who worked as a "fixer" of sorts, settling disputes and solving problems that would normally escalate into unnecessary violence.
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.
Angel could be said to be this, despite his unholy vampire nature. His mission is frequently said to be "helping the helpless."
Of all the characters in either Buffy or Angel, it is Lorne who is the most morally pure, and the most morally inspirational. If you don't sort of wish you could be a little bit more like him, you have no soul in you at all.
Of all the Knightly-courts of early Christian Era, perhaps none is more well known than that of King Arthur, and of course of all of his knights, none embodied the ideals of a Paladin quite so perfectly, right down to the stupid part of being Lawful Stupid, as Lancelot Du Lac.
Please note, this is in reference to the actual Historical/Mythological figures, and not the figures as popularized on modern television.
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.
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.
There's Cavaliers (fit the bill for just about anything but tend to Lawful Good), the Blackguard (True Neutral, featured first in Heroes of Shadow) and Gray Guards (Paragon Path, requires training in Insight and Intimidation) in 4th Edition. Besides, Paladins can take things like Power of Death, Power of Winter (from the True Neutral Goddess of Death Raven Queen), Power of Tyranny and Power of Strife (from Asmodeus and Tiamat, both Lawful Evil) and Power of Venoms (Neutral Evil Zehir). Paladins are more of a "Holy Champion of a God, no matter what God", much like the Angels in the Points Of Light setting.
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.
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 LimitBreak.
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.
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.
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.
Paladin's 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.
Paladins in Final Fantasy XIV are a specialized upgrade to the Gladiator class. They are once again the designated tank class. In terms of lore, they originated as the personal bodyguard of the sultan of Ul'dah.
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.
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 unpleasantthings. 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.
The Warcraft III paladins were 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 Ironically, Divine Shield also allows the paladin to be a craven coward if he so chooses. Normally, a character cannot use his Hearthstone to teleport out of combat, because it has a 10 second casting time and any damage taken while casting the Hearthstone interrupts it. But a paladin with the Glyph of the Righteous Retreat can cast his Hearthstone in 5 seconds while Divine Shield — which prevents the Hearthstone from being interrupted — is active. Since the visual effect for Divine Shield resembles a bubble around the paladin, this maneuver is known as the Bubble Hearth. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 for some reason. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Flynn in Tales of Vesperia (especially the PS3 version) is the first true paladin style character in the series.
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.
MARDEK has Vehrn, a Paladin of YALORTnote The god who created Belfan (Mardek's home), Anshar (Rohoph's home), and several other planets.. 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, Dragon Fable 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.
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 magicweapons. 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.
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 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 NayTheistCharr 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.
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.
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.
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 operandus modi revolves around exterminating the Demonic Taint from Drow Society. The problem is that 90% of the population is tainted thanks to one of the Drow's High Princesses. So they have their work cut out for them.
The Trope Namer is, of course, the actual Paladins: the "Twelve Peers", the foremost Christian warriors of the court of Charlemagne. They were first described in The Song of Roland, and the eponymous Roland was said to have eventually become the leader of the Paladins. What they actually did, and what was merely propaganda and hearsay, is a little less clear.
The word "Paladin" comes from the Paladine Hill in Rome, which in ancient times was where the high government officials had their offices. Being a Paladine was about official authority, not about skill as a warrior or devotion to righteousness. The Twelve Peers were originally dubbed Paladins because they were high officials in Charlemagne's court.