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The Orderless Paladin - A Roleplaying Guide


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I wrote an article a short time ago that I think would fit nicely on these forums, though forgive me if someone has beaten me to writing and posting something like it. Enjoy.

 

As I was playing through a particularly interesting side-quest centered around Bleak Walker Paladin lore on my Bleak Walker Paladin (BWP), something struck me: You cannot leave your Paladin Order as a thing of the past in RPing with the Paladin class because someone, somewhere will recognize you.

 

This is not something that would have struck me if my BWP were not rolling an “Untroubled Faith” roleplaying build, where he had turned his back on the Bleak Walkers and engaged in Benevolence and Diplomacy in addition to Aggression (but not Cruelty) just to get some of those increases in base defenses.

 

So it got me thinking, with the addition of cross-class talents in the White March – Part 1, what could be done with other classes representing a Paladin who truly left their Order and started as a blank slate with none but himself knowing of his past?

 

A disclaimer before getting into the meat of it: This is just my set of guidelines based on my understanding of the lore of Eora’s world. It is not a definitive set of rules and you are free to go outside of these without earning my ire in your roleplaying. Indeed, if you have other ideas (or build something from mine), I’d love to hear it. And I’d appreciate anyone pointing out any factual errors.

 

Gallant’s Focus

This is, in a very real sense, the ability that the rest of the roleplay (RP) hinges on, in that it is the only ability that is actually a Paladin ability available to the non-Paladin classes. Specifically it is a weaker version of the Paladin’s Zealous Aura.

 

It is not to be denied that, because of this, being a dedicated damage dealer is easier on the RP than being a tank. Tanks are usually much better off picking talents like Weapon and Shield Focus, Bull’s Will and others that improve their ability to withstand enemy attacks, whereas a damage dealer does benefit from the extra accuracy quite nicely. Both in the form of hitting more and in that accuracy the base determiner of critical strikes. This does not, however, mean you can’t do this sort of RPing with a tank build. Just my recommendation.

 

Gallant’s Focus can, in my opinion, work well if you use it as a substitute for your Weapon Focus of choice, though some of you minmaxers might disagree with me on that. My reasoning is that, yes, it does provide only 4 instead of 6 accuracy, but it does provide those 4 accuracy to all allies nearby, which is useful prior to having a Zealous Focus Paladin in your party. In truth, I would say it is quite useful even with a Paladin (you have access to one as a story companion, in addition to Hired Adventurers), because then you can give the Paladin either Zealous Endurance or Zealous Charge, giving you 2 group benefits. Another benefit is that, in the early game when resources are more scarce, it gives you more options. Gallant’s Focus, unlike Weapon Focus, is not restricted to any set of weapons. And, of course, you can always pick up Weapon Focus as well later, if you have a spare point for it, to get a total of 10 accuracy.

 

It is true that Gallant’s Focus is a significantly worse ability that Zealous Focus, and not only because Zealous Focus gives +6 accuracy. It has a secondary effect that converts some Grazes into Hits, which means the effective accuracy bonus is higher than +6. However, Gallant’s Focus should be compared to Weapon Focus, as it is a Talent and not class ability.

 

As a roleplaying detail, Gallant’s Focus being weaker fit very well. It can be taken to show the Paladin’s weakened devotion to his past ideals, god, king, whatever. A vestigial part of his drive that has been damaged, but doesn’t quite die.

 

Gallant’s Focus is first available at level 2, meaning immediately after you are cured of the disease that sparks the story to begin with. One can simply think that your sickness temporarily hampered your ability to project this ability to others.

 

Paladin Orders

Paladins come from a variety of backgrounds, so I will summarize the ones I am aware of, playable and non-playable.

 

Kind Wayfarer – Mostly made up of semi-organized wanderers performing good deeds and taking on jobs as cartographers and pathfinders in remote areas of Eora. Loved by commoners, but are not overly prestigious. They like Benevolent and Passionate acts, while disliking Cruelty and Deception.

 

A former Kind Wayfarer might be a “burnt believer”, someone who got too hurt when trying to uphold the tenets of the Order. Very likely to be Stoic, Aggressive, Cruel and Deceptive.

 

Bleak Walker – Often engages in Mercenary work during war, their beliefs center around a notion that Benevolence and Diplomacy (and mercy) only fosters further conflict because it lets people believe they can get away (or even earn something) with rebellious or aggressive actions. They do not even stop if their employees ask them to, believing that one can never compromise. Their enemies need to know that there will be no mercy, no quarters given, no negotiation. There is only to fight or unconditionally surrender and hope the Bleak Walkers were contracted to win the battle and not destroy the opposing army. Favored dispositions: Aggressive and Cruel.

 

A former Bleak Walker could be someone who did too much and decided to spend the rest of their life trying to make up for their mistakes. Or they simply wanted away from that life.

 

Goldpact Knight – Mercenary Paladin Order in the truest sense. While the Bleak Walkers live by a code that dictates how they should act in warfare and daily life, the Goldpact Knights care for one thing only: Money. They can be bought to save a pregnant lady, or kidnap travelers for necromantic experiments. They prefer Rational and Stoic behaviors and dislike Passion and Aggression.

 

A former Goldpact Knight might be someone who saw the callous nature of the Order for what it truly was and decided to leave that behind. Passion also includes romance in this game, so they could be trying to get away from the cold way of life and experience love and life to the fullest.

 

Shieldbearer of St. Elcga – The Shieldbearers were founded in the honor of St. Elcga, a Wood Elf noblewoman who was instrumental in beginning the diplomacy between the Wood Elves and Meadow Humans who now make up the Aedyran Empire. They are tied up in the Aedyran Empire in some degree (uncertain to which). True to their founding roots, the Shiedbearers emphasize Honesty and Diplomacy, while loathing Aggression and Cruelty.

 

A former Shieldbearer might be someone who turned their back on the Aedyran Empire for whatever reason.

 

Darcozzi Paladini – Agents and champions for the Darcozzi family, who rules Old Vailia, they are known to favor the Clever tongue and Passion for life. Used to being involved in intricate political machinations, they know they can expect to come in conflict with members of their own Order. Dislikes Cruelty and Stoicism.

 

A former Darcozzi Paladini might be someone who turned their backs on Old Vailia or at least the Darcozzi family’s scheming.

 

Brothers of the Five Suns – Paladin Order of the story companion, they serve the Ducs of the Vailian Republic, which sprang forth from the ashes of the Grand Vailia Empire as it was reduced to the Old Vailia.

 

A former Five Suns Paladin might have turned their backs on the Vailian Republic for whatever reason. Not recommended, due to your Paladin companion being one of their members and the lack of dialogue works against the RP.

 

Paladins of Berath – Their members are found in Raedric’s Hold, but their teachings are unknown. Berath is the god of life and death, and has a thing about dual natures. That one thing leads to another.

 

Fellows of St- Waidwen Martyr – Defenders of the Godhammer Trail and devotees of Eothas, the god of redemption.

 

The Steel Garrote – Followers of Woedica and upholding of contracts.

 

Rymrgand Paladin Order – Shows up in Noonfrost in Twin Elms. Followers of Rymrgand, the Beast of Winter, god of death, winter, famine and the like.

Classes

Each of the classes are unique in their own way, so each of them have something different to work out from if chosen to substitute the Paladin class on your character. Here is my take on each of them.

 

First off, let’s pick out the ones I don’t see this working very well with. The Paladin is a class that, through their devotion, has achieved a certain level of magical affinity and a certain set of magical abilities. Therefor I think Wizard, Priest, Druid, Chanter, Cipher and Monk are bad picks for this roleplay, because they have a magical discipline of their own that is very much distinct from the Paladin’s.

 

Now, I would argue that the Fighter, Barbarian, Ranger and Rogue do possess some magic of their own. Magic comes from the soul and powerful people of said classes are best explained, in my opinion, by having tapped into some of that magic. Abilities like Constant Recovery (Fighter), Unbroken (Fighter), Shadow Step (Rogue), Dragon Leap (Barbarian) and the bond between Ranger and Animal companion make much more sense if you assume there is some magic involved. This “magic”, however, seem much less ordered around teachings and codified ways of unlocking it and more a natural result of certain lifestyles. Lifestyles that are available to the Paladin, in principle.

 

Fighter – Highest recommendation from me. The Paladin and Fighter both are auto-attack damage dealers and capable tanks. Their typical depictions also fit well with one another, as the Paladin is, essentially, presented as a Fighter with some magic powers thrown in by most of the game.

 

Barbarian – It does fit with the Paladin’s roles as far as damage dealing goes and might be able to tank (?). It is much more ability driven than both the Paladin and Fighter though. There is, however, some interesting Terrify mechanics for the Bleak Walker and Barbarian that could be worked into the RP. And Paladins can learn a version of Frenzy as the cross-class Barbarian talent.

 

Rogue – Pillars of Eternity allows for all classes to use all weapons and armor, so it is entirely possible, and I would say very likely as Paladins work in all manners of places and organizations, that some would have a similar approach to combat as a Rogue does. It does make for a very squishy Paladin substitute though, so be warned.

 

Ranger – Probably the one that is the second simplest to justify. Not only Rangers can use ranged and Rangers can go melee. And no one said only Rangers can have animal friends. Like the Rogue, it is a bit squishy though.

 

Background

Pillars of Eternity offers various backgrounds for the player to pick from, each of which has a few additional dialogue choices for RPing during the tutorial. I’ll point out what I think are relevant info and give my recommendations.

 

Note: You can always say “None of your business” if none of the options suit your particular RP.

 

Aristocrat – General term for any Highborn character. Its dialogue choices include being part of the royalty, being from a family that bought their titles or generally “having clout among the elite” (meaning, “regular” nobility). This background fit very well with Paladin Orders like the Shieldbearers of St. Elcga and the Darcozzi Paladini. It also fits well with the other Orders.

 

Artist – Noe idea how this would be related to a Paladin, sorry.

 

Clergyman – Paladin’s and faith goes hand in hand, so why wouldn’t some religiously aligned people be Paladins? You can choose to be a congregation leader, missionary (my recommendation), jaded ex-believer (also recommended) or that you just “left it behind”. Fits well with Kind Wayfarers in particular, and the non-playable Orders like the Fellows of St. Waidwen or the Paladins of Berath you can meet in Raedric’s Hold.

 

Colonist – Works well with any Order, as it can be taken to mean the trip to Dyrwood is your second attempt to get away from your old life.

 

Dissident – A Paladin who couldn’t follow orders and had to flee maybe?

 

Drifter and Explorer – Both fit the Kind Wayfarer modus operandi quite well.

 

Hunter – Hunters can choose between living on their own in the wilderness (Kind Wayfarer fit), being a monster hunter (Goldpact Knight fit) and some other irrelevant stuff.

 

Laborer – Builder option does not offer much, but the Cook and Blacksmith could have a place in organized Paladin Orders, as a side-duty.

 

Mercenary – This background is a catch-all term for sellswords, war veterans and constables. Sellsword fits well with Goldpact and Bleakwalker, war veteran suits everyone and constable fits the Shieldbearer and Darcozzi Orders.

 

Merchant – The option for being someone who transported goods and people in secret lends itself well to Goldpact Knights.

 

Mystic – See Clergyman.

 

Philosopher – The option for having considered right and wrong, good and evil fits well with a former Bleak Walker and Goldpact Knight.

 

Raider – This mostly lends itself to Goldpact Knights. Seems too random for the Bleak Walker and their defined role.

 

Scholar – The option for being a scholar of war and combat lends itself to the Bleak Walkers.

 

Scientist – Actually means “dedicated alchemist”. Could be a thing for Kind Wayfarers, who travel a lot.

 

Slave – Ship slave, estate slave or indentured servant. Could work for any, but Paladins are driven by devotion. Awakening from Stockholm syndrome, perhaps?

 

Culture

There are seven cultures available for the payer to pick from. Here is my take on which race, subrace and Paladin Order would make the most sense in each of them.

 

Note: Godlike can be of any race and their features obscure which subrace they belong to. Godlike, in this list, will be automatically included with the race recommendations. For example, if I say “Human, Occean Folk” that includes all Godlike who are human.

 

Note 2: Due to the limited knowledge on the non-playable Paladin Orders (and that the Brotherhood of Five Suns is from somewhere the player cannot be from), I have omitted most of them from the lists.

 

Aedyr – The Aedyr Empire is made up of human and Wood Elf kingdoms, and is the home of the Shieldbearers of St. Elcga.

Race: Human, Meadow Folk. Elf, Wood Elf.

Order: Kind Wayfarer, Bleak Walker, Goldpact Knight, Shieldbearer of St. Elcga.

 

Deadfire Archipelago – A mesh of island nations. Naasitaq is only known nation, home to many boreal dwarves and Aumaua. Ranger companion is from Naasitaq.

Race: Aumaua, Island. Dwarf, boreal.

Order: Kind Wayfarer, Bleak Walker, Goldpact Knight.

 

Ixamitl Plains – A large nation of savannah, mostly occupied by humans and Orlan.

Race: Human, Savannah. Orlan, either.

Order: Kind Wayfarer, Bleak Walker, Goldpact Knight.

 

Old Vailia – Once the seat of the Grand Empire, Old Vailia is now renowned for their great culture, but are no longer considered an important player in international politics.

Race: Human, Occean. Dwarf, either(?).

Order: Darcozzi Paladini, Kind Wayfarer, Bleak Walker, Goldpact Knight.

 

Rauatai – The kingdom of the Aumaua, known to be technologically advanced and have a powerful navy.

Race: Aumaua, either (?).

Order: Kind Wayfarer, Bleak Walker, Goldpact Knight.

 

The Living Lands – Chaotic frontier in a weird world, with strong racial diversity. Dwarves are common.

Race: Dwarf, any. Any.

Order: Kind Wayfarer.

 

The White that Wends – Southern expanse of ice, inhabited by elves and some dwarves.

Race: Elf, Pale. Dwarf, Boreal.

Order: Rymrgand Paladin, Kind Wayfarer.

 

My Orderless Paladin

As for me, the character I decided to make is this:

Human, Meadow Folk.

Aedyr, Aristocrat. Chose that the family has some clout among the elite and that they are embarrassed by him.

Former Bleak Walker. My thinking is that he is a “spare son”, someone not in line for inheritance. Embarrassed his family by joining the Bleak Walkers over the Shieldbearers, and kept no contact after leaving the Bleak Walkers.

Came to Dyrwood to escape his old life.

Fighter, damage dealer.

 

The Orderless Paladin – Part 2: More stuff about the classes

Something I ended up skipping on was to do a more in-depth take on the classes I recommended for this roleplay. It was a combination of work, exercise and eating away at the hours I had to sleep in before work again that made me take the shortcut. So let’s do a look at some features of interest for the classes I recommended, in random order.

 

Barbarian – The Barbarian’s automatic ability, Carnage, gives you an AoE on your normal attacks, which further emphasizes its role as a damage dealer.

 

Frenzy – Activated self-buff well suited for damage dealing, though with risks as it hides your health and endurance for the duration. I recommend picking up this ability because of the simple reason alone that it is a version of this that is the cross-class Talent and thus a Paladin could have learned it.

 

Savage Defiance – Self-heal. Could be taken as a redirected form of Lay on Hands.

 

Bloodlust – A passive ability that gives you increased speed (attack and movement) after downing two enemies. Works as a variant of abilities like Inspiring Triumph and The Black Path.

 

Thick Skinned – More defenses. Works as a variant of Faith and Conviction.

 

Threatening Presence – AoE Sickened status effect on enemies when stationary. Could be taken as a variant on Bleak Walker ability The Black Path, which inflicts AoE Terrify on kill.

 

Barbaric Shout – AoE Terrify ability. See above.

 

Dragon Leap – Dragon Leap is most interesting due to its description, which mentions the Barbarian drawing upon “spiritual energy” to perform the attack.

 

Rogue – The Rogue’s automatic ability is Sneak Attack, which allows for bonus damage against unaware enemies and against enemies suffering from a negative status effect. The Rogue cross-class talent is a version of the Sneak Attack.

 

Shadow Step – Most Rogue abilities are centered around inflicting status effects to trigger Sneak Attack and do not lend themselves to comparison for Paladin abilities easily. Neither does Shadow Step, as it is a form of teleportation, but it does work as a form of magic.

 

Ranger – The cross-class talent for Rangers is the Wounding Shot, so this is worth considering picking up for the sake of RPing.

 

Marked Prey – Works similarly to Sworn Enemy, increasing damage against a target, though Marked Prey has a time limit.

 

Heal Companion – Works as a variant of Lay on Hands.

 

Revive Companion – Works as a variant of Reviving Exhortation.

 

Fighter – In a sense, one could almost consider the Fighter a “selfish Paladin”. Instead of group support, they have a variety of self support abilities. The cross-class Talent for the Fighter is a version of their Constant Recovery, which is a continuous self-heal that lasts for 45 (plus or minus the Intelligence duration modifier) seconds from combat start. Constant recovery works both because it is cross-class and that it can be taken as a variant of Lay on Hands.

 

Disciplined Barrage – Increases one’s own accuracy for a while. Could be taken as a variant on Sworn Enemy that works on a time limit, but not only against one enemy.

 

Confident Aim – Converts some Grazes into Hits, at a slightly higher rate than Zealous Focus does, but only for the Fighter himself. Nice when coupled with Gallant’s Focus.

 

Guardian – Works as a variant on Zealous Endurance, increasing ally Deflection rather than Damage Reduction.

 

Vigorous Defense – Boosts the Fighters defenses for a short period of time. Can work as a variant of Faith and Conviction.

 

Unbending – Converts some damage taken to Endurance. Works as a variant of Lay on Hands.

 

Critical Defense – Converts some Critical Hits to Hits and Hits to Grazes, similar to what Zealous Endurance does.

 

Unbroken – A self-revive that I think puts the case quite well for the Fighter having some magic in their repertoire. Works as a variant of Reviving Exhortation.

 

 

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Very interesting... I'm especially intrigued by the philosopher-bleak-walker. However, you might want to consider doing a similar thing for a priest. which will obviously be much harder... Maybe a Druid as a priest of Galawain (God of hunt?). I'd like to see some sort of priest-of-abydon as well... But yes very interesting. Would you mind posting something on the backstory-thread? I'd love to hear what you come up with :)

Everybody knows the deal is rotten

Old Black Joe's still pickin' cotton

For your ribbons and bows

And everybody knows

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