In the fight against evil, the paladin stands as Good's supreme, undaunted champion. This 128-page accessory helps you play the noblest warriors of the AD&D game. Create or enhance your paladin with new proficiencies and equipment, new rules for bonded mounts, and paladin kits like the divinate, envoy, ghosthunter, skyrider, and the indomitable wyrmslayer.
The Complete Paladin's Handbook attends the world's finest heroes as they achieve their lofty ideals.
PHBR12: The Complete Paladin's Handbook (1994) is by Rick Swan, the same author as PHBR11: The Complete Ranger's Handbook and the man who previously penned Nightmare Keep, an adventure that takes place inside the body of a petrified lich. The authorship is fortunate, as writing skill is needed when approaching paladins, historically considered the most challenging class to play and one that players often needed the most advice for. How do you play a lawful good hero who isn't either stupid or a prig? How do you handle a hero with unbreakable morals in a party that may contain thieves?
And perhaps more importantly, how does detect evil work without intrinsically spoiling adventures?
This supplement does its best to answer all of these concerns. It approaches the paladin's ethos, discussing the code of ennoblement and the paladin's virtures and ethics, and it walks the player through roleplaying someone who is the embodiment of heroism and faith. Mechanically, the supplement gives details on paladin abilities, character kits, gear and proficiencies. The result is a well-written and useful guide to playing a paladin in 2nd edition AD&D.
Detect Evil is not Radar. The chapter on paladin abilities starts out with a several page discussion of what detect evil can and can't accomplish. It's a good start to the book, as it addresses one of the misunderstandings and complaints that players and DMs run into. By giving specific examples of what detect evil feels like and what it can detect, DMs are given tools to help make their adventures more fun without shortchanging the paladin's player.
This chapter on paladin abilities also discusses the paladin's mount at length, including tables for other sorts of appropriate mounts. Want to ride an elephant or a great cat into battle? This gives methods for doing so, including training, care, tricks and samples of the warhorse quest.
Doing the Right Thing. The chapter on the paladin's ethos lays out their strictures, the inviolable rules that a lawful good paladin must follow. It draws a distinction between these and edicts, the rules that a paladin has pledged to obey but which are given to him by his patron. Religion, government and philosophy affect edicts, while roleplaying quirks are restrictions that add flavor to a character.
Finally, the chapter discusses virtues, the traits of high morality and decency: Fealty, honesty, courtesy, valor, and honor are all virtues. In comparison, the chapter also runs through the ways to violate oaths and the typical penalties for doing so. Execrable violations such as habitual cowardice are going to strip a paladin of his paladinhood, but less severe offenses have lesser penalties. These guidelines help DMs and players adjudicate the appropriate responses to possible violations, and give players a feel for what's appropriate when playing a paladin.
Wait, the Inquisitor is a What? The paladin kits use a combination of mechanical and roleplaying hindrances to balance out the mechanical advantages granted by the kits. These kits, more than in many other books, help round out the paladin's role in unexpected ways and act to give depth to the character beyond simply a knight in shining armor. A diplomatic envoy, a particularly holy warrior for a church, a noble knight, a master horseman, a wandering and liege-less hero, a soldier, a healer, a ghost-hunter, a sky-rider - the paladin kits are well-balanced, interesting, and provide alternative roles for a paladin in the world. Mechanical benefits are balanced by a combination of mechanical and role-playing hindrances.
Joust! I'm a little surprised by the quantity of new rules, such as for new proficiencies such as jousting and new gear such as lower-powered holy swords, and new roleplaying and campaign-building guidelines, such as the role of faith and fealty in the world and the administration of tournaments. Courtly love, economics, strongholds, a paladin's daily activities, holy orders, sample divine orders of paladins are all covered in great depth. The appendices even include a bibliography of useful reading and the original 1e AD&D paladin.
This book is without question one of the best of the Complete series: Solid and well-balanced mechanically, full of flavorful ideas and good advice, it's a book that paladin players of any edition won't want to miss - and if paladins haven't traditionally been your cup of tea, this is the book that could change that for you too.
About the Creators. Rick Swan is the author of The Complete Guide to Role-Playing Games and also wrote material for Dragonlance, the Forgotten Realms, and core AD&D.
About the Product Historian
History and commentary of this product was written by Kevin Kulp, game designer and admin of the independent D&D fansite ENWorld. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to firstname.lastname@example.org.