What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how
infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and
admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like
a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals
– Hamlet Act 2, Scene
We give artists way too much leeway when it comes to RPG designs. Take the Paladin for instance. It should fit what you are going for in the text. Later editions of D&D are full of crap that was just some furry elf jizz inspired side trope and the buyer is like.. "yeah.. uh... paladin of Lolth? Sounds good."
If anybody objects, players and DMs are like "why can't my goddess of spider bondage be a goddess of light? Why can't my black elf with the gay rapelationship with my mount-lover-griffon cast radiant fireballs of holy Lolth?"
"Why can't the nine Hells and seven Heavens have a peaceful relationship and then we can have demon celestials with +7 charisma?"
When I was playing D&D last summer, I got to thinking about killing goblins in their sleep. My neutral good companion said "but they would be defenseless!" Thing is, I was playing a warlock of a solar angel... which is interesting in terms of paradigm.
“And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.
I have no idea where the idea of killing horrible monsters, demons, and goblins (which are literally just variant demonic entities in the old lore) in their sleep is considered an evil act, but it definitely didn't originate with the same paradigm as angels. Thus my thoughts on the Wisdom function of Mage: the Awakening is heavily skewed.
Me, being the Lawful Stupid Paladin stand in, I turned to the nature loving Ranger for decisive moral interpretation of what we should do. Without hesitation, he said we should kill them in their sleep. And proceeded room by room to do so. At that point, the Bard could say nothing.
It is interesting to note, that at one point I was gathering bows for resale, and had them all piled up into a bundle. I said "I appear to have a regular British faggot." The bard player replied "don't use that word" I said "faggot means a bundle of sticks. These are a bundle of sticks." He was adamant.
Social Justice was strong with this one. It tells me that many people are coming from a warped version of morality, and the idiotic crap in the Wisdom table is the byproduct of this saturation of rotting brains and moral degeneracy. Killing goblins could be considered as morally questionable as saying faggot. To him,, saying faggot was considered more evil than killing goblins, more evil than goblins themselves.
By 2000, the Paladin has lost his armor, his horse, and is dressed like a ranger. He’s also had a sex change and likes wearing tight leather, and shooting things from a distance with his bow while camping in the forest. There’s no coat of arms or indication of ties to nobility. He (she, it, xir, whatever) is also an elf, a mythological creature tied to the fey, which King James of Scotland once cited in his Book of Daemonologie as a deceptive apparition created by the devil to lead women down a beautiful path to hell. Naturally, we need not be reminded though that the original stock alignment of Elves was Lawful Good (if you don’t count the drow) so there’s some measure of subconscious preservation of the core element luring players in.
By 2014, he’s completely lost his humanity, but he’s got his armor back complete with a big shield. Of course, he now looks like an Orc Berserker, but it does look as if his coat of arms and colors might exist once again, despite being a monster. Fans of Lord of the Rings will recall how Orcs are described as magically twisted monsters based on elven stock corrupt at twisted.
By 2017, he’s gone full transgender, wearing a dress very similar in length to that of the maidens he used to save back in the 70s. As for weapons, he “turned ‘em all in” for a stick. His armor is no more, not even leathers from his first emo tranny phase. He’s moved on from pathetic orc traits to pure draconic reptilian, and probably breaths fire.
Before 2020 hits, he’s abandoned the tranny phase and the rite of passage of otherkin furries, and gone back for the old sword and heavy armor, burning brightly with the fiery wrath of Hell….wait… wut?
No, seriously, how the fuck did we get here?
We can begin by examining the devolution of the Detect Evil power:
By 2nd edition you can’t detect evil beings anymore; only evil intent, so a demon could be at your door with a long term plot of visiting the city and undermining the kingdom, but if at that moment they happen to be thinking about lunch, they go undetected.
By 3.5e, you can detect “evil” again, but it can be blocked by a bit of dirt, wood or sheet metal, and if the target has a lot of hit points, such as the demon’s pet demon
water fire buffalo mount, it stuns the paladin rendering him weak and open to attack.
And by 5th edition, detect evil no longer works more than a few seconds a day, and more importantly, doesn’t work on humans, demihumans (elves and dwarves) or humanoids, except those classified as fiends, celestials, and undead; which also means it will not detect a Chaotic Evil Tiefling born and raised in hell – much less an assassin, serial killer, or cultist. Let us dwell on that for a moment. The most evil man in the world, literally raised in hell, whose father is Satan, and could literally be Rosemary’s Baby or Damien the Antichrist from the Omen – this man, this spawn of hell will NOT detect as evil for the Paladin, whose purpose is to find and eradicate evil... or at least It used to be.
Has the mission of the Paladin changed over the last 40 years? To understand the Paladin's original mission, let’s look both at its butchered historical origins and the impact D&D has had on our culture and what it means in the vernacular to be a Paladin. Long Ago in the land of France, Paladins were an order created by Charles the Great, or Charlemagne, composed of noble knights, hired to slay Saracens who were in the process of conquering France, traveling up from the Iberian peninsula and were halted for a short time by a French general named Odo. Their Armor, tactics, and victory against the Muslim invaders led to a mythology and story books around them, and the legends of characters like King Arthur and Siegfried were integrated and assimilated, intermingled with embellished figures like 8th century Paladin Roland, and the 12th century Norman King Richard the Lionheart (Richard Cœur de Lion, likely the true origin of the city Coeur d'Alene, which means something nonsensical in French like “heart of an awl”, a clear example of the Bastardization of the language and erasure of heroic figures).
Point is, "Paladin" means a Knight in Shining Armor of Upstanding Goodly Virtue, typically Christian. One of Jesus Christ's most frequent miracles was fighting demons, and the Paladin incorporates that Christian mission to fight against the forces of darkness, devils, and demons. In the original formula of the Paladin, the powers granted to them are associated with their mission: They may banish and destroy the undead, but also demons and devils. By the time Unearthed Arcana is released, they are endowed with special protections against illusions, enchantments, charms, mesmerism, mental control and notably possession. Obtaining their Holy Sword, called an Avenger (suggesting the Wrath of God), they gained advantages against chaotic evil foes (the alignment of demons, specifically), could dispel magic, and gained resistance to magical spells and effects from creatures like demons, fairies, etc. This hearkens back to the Book of Daemonologie of King James, published in 1597, 14 years before the King James Bible. It also draws inspiration from the Malleus Maleficarum, the Witch’s Hammer of the Catholics from 1487.
While these time lines may seem later period than the medieval period from which they seem to hail, the Knight in Shining armor, as an amalgam hero of mixed European cultures is always idealized in the finest full plate armor, something that came into existence in the Burgandian and Italian wars, between 1474 and 1559, and continued popularity into the European religious wars such as counter reformation of 1545 and the Thirty Years War of 1618-1648, ending in the treaties of Westphalia in Germany.
Back to our two centuries, namely the 20th and 21st, we can see how this crusader-knight, holy warrior, templar-saint in armor with a sword, lance, and other masculine heroic artifacts gets dumbed down, compromised, and emasculated. From the get-go, the Paladin loses their 10 intelligence requirement. This may not seem that important, but at the time of publication, Wizards only required a 9 intelligence. This probably had something to do with the Aristocracy being the chief student body of Ivy League universities and likely modeled somewhat on the Liberal Arts education described in The Book of the Courtier, a knight’s education published in 1528 and translated to the King’s English in 1561. With careful inspection a curious mind will discover the 100-900 courses of a university represent 1st through 9th level spells, complete with a break of “Master” associated with the master’s degree around 9th level as they transition from 5th to 6th level spells, or “graduate level courses”. What does this mean for the Paladin? It means the Paladin was expected to be at least as smart if not smarter than many highly educated men of their day. They were never intended to be dull witted laughing stocks, but rather fluent in multiple languages, geometry, history and the fine arts.
Next you can see a depreciation in the minimum physical requirements of the Paladin. From 15 strength down to 12, then from 12 to “important”, but no minimum standards applied. In the modern military, there are standards and if you cannot meet them, you will not be permitted to enroll in elite fighting forces. If you fail their tests, you will wash out. This is true of police, firefighters, soldiers, and special operatives and forces who hold high positions of honor. In the Far East, in martial arts, there are ranks which cannot be reached without passing rigorous physical tests of strength, balance, and endurance. Speaking of Balance, the Paladin at one time required 15 dexterity, which closely matches the acrobatic requirements outlined in the aforementioned Book of the Courtier. By the 2nd edition, Dexterity is completely ignored, and the paladin has added clumsy to his repertoire which already includes stupid, though we still retain strength, which conjures the image of a clumsy, stupid oaf, harassing innocent people in the name of the King. Lawful stupid was born.
Next on the hit list, we see the reduction of Constitution from 15 to 9 by the late 1980s and a nonexistent trait by the end of the 20th century, implying the Paladin is more flimsy, soft, and effete – ideal attributes for an armored Tank right? By the third edition, the Paladin is assumed to be a scrawny elven female in tight leather, and the notion of being lawful good is starting to rapidly fade. By 5th edition, you can be any alignment. For example, in a recent 5e game, a player was acting “good”, to the confusion of the fighter:
By the 21st century, being lawful good is seen as derogatory and a weakness, and considering the loss of manly virtues found in the original archetype, who could blame them? In 5th edition, your highest stat is usually 16 using point distribution, and they designated strength as your highest attribute, followed by Charisma, which presumably would be 15, making this 2 points lower than the minimum Charisma of the 1st and 2nd Editions. Advanced indeed.
Speaking of advancement, it might be obvious from the progression through the decades that the requirements for leveling decreased with age. Advanced D&D Paladins needed 700,000 experience points, while 5e paladins require a mere 64,000. Notwithstanding the similarity in awarded Experience points for defeating something like a large dragon or Pit Fiend. The Two are compared below, using 10th level for Exp comparisons:
Original Paladin vs. Ancient Red Dragon: 7758 exp (2.2% of next level, 1.1% of total) 5th Ed. Paladin, vs. Ancient Red Dragon: 36,500 exp (173% of next level, 57% of total)
Original Paladin vs. Ancient Red Dragon: 9772 exp (2.79% of next level, 1.39% of total) 5th Ed. Paladin vs. Pit Fiend: 25,000 exp (119% of next level, 32% of total)
This data can be inverted to draw more direct conclusions: How many demons or dragons did your paladin slay to level up? How many would they have to slay to get to their current level?
Visualized like this, it is clear, the 1st edition paladin has to achieve considerably more heroics in order to claim their title. Put another way, the later edition Paladins are entitled. By 20th level, a 1st edition Paladin needs 4.2 million experience points, compared with the 5e paladin’s 355,000 experience points. Put in terms of Demons and Dragons, you are looking at 358 more demons, or 455 more dragons slain in 1st edition; and either 8.4 demons or 5.7 dragons in 5e terms. To be even more autistic, their totals come to 429.9/11.525 demons and 545.9/7.45 dragons. That’s a factor of 73.27 more dragons and factor of 37.3 more demons, respectively, an average of 55.28. It is therefore reasonable to say the original Paladin had to work at least fifty times harder than his awkward pansexual otherkin descendants.
While the 5e Dragon is a bit more powerful in some ways; The Pit Fiend of 5e is a pathetic husk of its former self. In either event, the pattern holds. The Advanced D&D Paladin has to work 30 to 100 times harder to level. In exchange for harder work, they obtain greater returns which later edition paladins fail at, except rapid progress toward the title of 20th level. Trophy much? Speaking of Participation Trophies, let’s talk about Milestones:
In a Milestone adventure, the Paladin need not earn anything, he merely need be participating (or playing a furry variant of Candy Crush on his smartphone) in an adventure that may not ever challenge him in any moral or combative way whatsoever, coasting along in life, not doing anything. He could simply be following a Halfling thief who finds a shiny rock on the 3rd floor. Bam, instant party level. What once took thirty quests now takes 30 seconds of searching buildings or rolling persuasion checks to complete next Cut Scene.
There is a perverse sense of irony in all this – later edition Paladins spend 10-20 levels trying to “earn” (not really, but whatever) the powers of the original Archetype. For example, At 15th level a 5e paladin radiates protection from evil as the spell. Advanced D&D? 1st level, and it’s the higher level version with a 10’ radius. Fear immunity? 10th – 18th level for the 5e character, again, 1st level for the Advanced Paladin.
But why is the First Edition Paladin so “Over Powered”?
The Concept of Overpowered misses two things:
First, the deception of what power is, how the world of SJW cucks wants you to think about it. “Power Corrupts, Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely”. Who says this? Someone who wants to rape your kids and probably has the political clout to do so. The concept that being resistant to things like fear and possession or, you know, brain washing – are good things – never occurs to these people. Rather, they see them as obstacles to their own power, and always have. The whole concept of being able to defend yourself from some sort of Rambo Last Blood Human Trafficking Cartel or an Epstein-NXIVM politically backed sex cult terrifies these people. What could be more powerful and dangerous than the power to resist?
The Dynamic of the male role is one of the Quest, and part of that quest is penetrating the defenses entering the cave, fending off rivals, and seizing the treasure, from which prosperity, possibilities, and ascension are obtained. Through the victory of the quest, the hero obtains the hand of the maiden, gains the good will of the crown, and lives happily ever after. This is a metaphor of the primal drive to take risks, struggle for life, and have progeny. It is the great commandment: Be Fruitful and Multiply. Who could possibly hate this quest? Who could hate this kind of power acquisition? Obviously anyone who uses “breeder” in a derogatory sense. A feminazi who thinks Sacrificing her kids to a demon god in exchange for a golden statue might also be offended by the Quest. Someone who fundamentally hates life, and believes humanity is a plague that should be purged.
But there’s a second important reason the Paladin is endowed with power: The Paladin is the Archetypical Hero, and they have the burden of carrying the party. What does this mean? In a battlefield, you may see allies fall, while the enemy is still advancing. Amidst the cacophony of explosions and weapons fire, the hero has to put his life on the line to go out there into that hell and make sure no man is left behind. He has to come for the wounded, and come for the dead, and carry their bodies back for burial. He has to dodge whatever comes his way and block whatever the enemy throws at him, even while shielding the fallen with his own body. And if he is to win, he has to give more than he’s gotten – he needs to be able to charge into the enemy camp and route them out, alone if necessary, outmanned and outgunned. Because that’s what a hero would do, that’s what a hero must do. To carry the party means when the chips are down, and one man is left standing, he plants that flag, lifts that sword, and holds his ground. His resolve must be adamant and his resistance unswerving.
Balance? What the hell is that?
Communist Propaganda to make once mighty men feel small and granular, dispelling within them the convictions necessary to triumph. Marginalizing and measuring men is a psy-op designed to make victory possible for the many incompetents against the brave few.
Next time you are in a war zone worried about whether your ass will be blown off, ask yourself if you want a betacuck statistic coming to save you, or a badass.