Previously I wrote about how the paladin should be expanded to allow different alignments, then laid out rules on how to adapt the paladin for the lawful neutral and lawful evil alignments. While the justicar and despot are much different than the standard paladin, they at least share the same rigid ethical structure. Today I change tack and lay out rules for playing a paladin with the same morals but much different ethics than the standard paladin. I bring you my rules for playing a chaotic good paladin, one I call the free one. To use these rules you will need to have the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook.
The Free One
The free one, or free man or free woman as may be, is a champion of freedom, love, and glory, and is usually found in the service of such gods. Ironically, despite their inclinations, they rarely serve deities with concepts like justice in their portfolios; the tenets of such deities tend to support the laws and courts of the realms, and the free one knows all too well how the letter of the law counts more than the spirit in such places. These paladins believe in the greater good, in bringing evil to heel, and in fighting oppression in all its forms. They are often looked down upon in “polite” society, since their code often views taxes and strict laws as oppression.
Last time I laid out the argument that in a Pathfinder game, a paladin should not be limited to only the lawful good alignment (or, in the case of the antipaladin, chaotic evil). Following that line of logic, I present to you the first of my paladin archetypes: the justicar, paladin of order. To use these rules you will need the Pathfinder Core Rulebook, and it would help to also have the Advanced Player’s Guide.
The justicar is the most trusted warrior of those gods who hold themselves to higher purposes than mere morality, usually gods of such lofty aspects such as fate, death, and law itself. Such paladins view the world not in a contrast of good and evil but of law versus anarchy, of order versus chaos. The paladins that follow this course do not care any more than the average person about morals—only what is the lawful course and what their deity commands of them.
The Paladin. To many roleplaying groups, this character doesn’t even have a name; he, or she, is simply “The Paladin,” as if there is no point in further description or that word is enough to convey the entire personality of an individual. The character’s backstory is irrelevant, the paladin’s physical features are fluff, and the player playing the paladin is subconsciously pigeonholed by friends into the role of ruining the in-character fun of everyone at the table.
Kobold Press has recently released a version of the Midgard Bestiary that is compatible with 13th Age, the new d20-style RPG by Rob Heinsoo and me. Wolf Baur and I go back 20 years, and he asked me to explain a little about 13th Age to his audience of Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and 3.5 players.
As the lead designer on D&D 3E, I’m heartened to see people still playing a version of the game system that my team and I developed. I’m especially grateful to my old friend Lisa Stevens and Paizo for Pathfinder, which breathed new life into the system when Wizards of the Coast switched to 4E. I can’t help but be proud and humbled by how well the system has stood up all these years.
So then, why did Rob and I design 13th Age? Because we share a vision of how the well-loved d20-rolling system could work faster and with more emphasis on your character’s story. In light of the 13th-Age-compatible Midgard Bestiary, here’s what you might like to know about the system.
In some ways it represents a continuation of the work I did on 3rd Ed, emphasizing the classic tropes of D&D while streamlining and rationalizing the rules system. In other ways, 13th Age brings a new approach to the system, with more storytelling and customization.
“I’m not going to argue with you, cockroach, nor engage in tittle-tattle with a creature unable to beat a slug at snap or a hedgehog at cribbage. I’m referring to the thing you just put in the cupboard.”
“Oh that, ’tis nothing master, just some stray kitten I found.”
“I see, then let me have it.”
“Yes, master, here it is.”
“Kitten, you say. How odd. I thought they normally had four legs. Tell me, how would you describe this kitten of yours?”
“Unpleasing to the eye.”
“I see, and how many legs would you say it had?”
“Thirteen. Yes, I must confess, slimeslave, that I have yet to hear of any kitten with thirteen legs, pale flesh, and two heads. Not to mention the wings. You’ve been at my transmutation spellbook again haven’t you?”
“If I said yes would you punish me less for being honest master?”
Anyone can have a cuddly kitten, a funny gerbil, or pet snake. These creatures are commonplace, but what kind of animals might appear in a pet shop where a manticore is a common sight, or in a world that breeds chokers and gibbering mouthers? Such places would surely have more exotic creatures than a slobbering collie dog or a purring fat cat.
Here is a list of exotic pets, together with a brief description if necessary. These creatures can become the basis for odd familiars, or even odder animal companions, the stuff of menageries or the servings at table. Some are less exotic and more tragic, some may defy logic, and others may in fact be fake. Some are very real, yet to look at them you’d think someone would have to make them up. Have fun with all of them, and be prepared to be surprised about just which are real and which are fantasy.