Gamer Forge: Playing the Paladin
Gamer Forge Response:
Don't fear! Paladins are some of the best people around, and you can be, too! When it comes to walking the straight and narrow, DCR says:
1. What were you before you became a paladin? You had to have had a personality before you entered service to your god. Get a grasp of the person before you apply the "class" to it. Were you gregarious? Were you rebellious? Were you calm? Were you cowardly? Just like what we talked about last week, your alignment is only a partial factor in decision making, not the final justification for the decision.
2. The hard part: What you want, and what you get are rarely the same thing. If you, when creating your character, are dead set on being a paladin all the way up to the end of the game, must deal with the consequences and pressures of that choice. You will be confronted with tough moral choices and situations where you will have to go against your nature. But that's the price of being a paladin. You are held to a higher accountability than other characters. You are the compass that will guide others to righteousness. The GM's responsibility will be telling the story, not making sure you stay a paladin. Now, the really hard part: maybe you just aren't paladin material. Telling the story of how your character comes to this conclusion could be very compelling for yourself and others. Now that's what we at DCR would call a "win-win".
3. To paraphrase an old Jedi lesson, the world would get along just fine if certain indiscretions remain overlooked. It's not a paladin's responsibility to smash every little bit of evil they encounter. A paladin is usually motivated by a specific quest, not a need to control the environment around them. That's the difference between desire and OCD. Part of what turns people off about the paladin is often a misinterpretation. You don't have to drop everything to stop a pickpocket, especially when that pickpocket would stop you from having completing your quest. Keep this in mind to truly be and remain a paladin.
Bonus XP: For a more material look at the misconceptions of a paladin, watch the film Robocop. Remember that this movie is a satire. The only way Robocop can uphold the law at all times is he is a robot! He has no room for discretion or judgement calls. Your paladin may have to align with unsavory folks from time to time to complete your quest. For a more realistic look at a paladin, Niteowl II from the Watchmen graphic novels and film. He has to resort to some less-than-reputable tactics to solve his case, he maintains a high moral code, and still manages to keep his vision clear as far as goals. Did he complete his quest? Only maybe. Does he exemplify a good guy? You bet. As does a paladin.
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