Paladins, what happened to them?
Once upon a time paladins were not the animals they are today. If you ask the average person on the street what a paladin is you are likely to get an answer like, "What? Who are you? You are creeping me out you damn weirdo. Go away, I'm dialing the police right now."
Or something similar.
However, if you ask a gamer you are likely to get a more reasonable answer along the lines of, "A half-assed healer," or "tank", or "those sissy goody goodies that can't do any damage and that I totally own on my rogue, like, all day because I am uberl33tz, biaTch."
Sadly all of those answers are wrong. In the beginning there were only 3; three classes to cover all your gaming needs. They were Fighting Man, Cleric, and Magic-User! The Cleric, now seen as the party band aid, was actually a Holy Warrior. The Fighting Man was exactly what it said on the tin and the Magic-User was the wizard. Then came Supplement 1: Greyhawk and 2 new classes: the Thief and the Paladin. The Paladin was considered a Fighting-Man plus extras and not many extras. By AD&D 1st edition the Paladin was still a subset of Fighter (although he would become a subset of Cavalier) and was everything a Fighter was plus much more. The Paladin was not a back-up healer, not a Holy Warrior and not a tank. The Paladin was the righteous defender of good. Even more than a good Cleric the Paladin was the stuff of heroes. "Good deeds are meat and drink to a paladin" said the Player's Handbook.
Unlike the modern gamer logic, the old game didn't concern itself with party roles and balance, that was the player's job, the old game concerned itself with a rules framework.
Then came the dark days of the MMO and the changes, oh the horrific changes. Players began to expect balance. Balance meant that if one guy had armor some other guy did damage. The Paladin was not a class to be entered into lightly requiring some pretty high stats to be rolled and a code of conduct most gamers cannot fathom. Yet the new game, as played by those who had played MMOs, said that everyone should just be what they wanted to be so no more high stat requirements for classes. This left everyone wondering what to do about the Paladin. Since he has some holy powers and heals and such he should have to suffer in some other area, and that area became damage. Eventually Paladins were seen as tanks and expected to use sword and shield (I have a rant about shields that would scorch your very soul, but I will hold off) which meant even less damage output. Since he was not a Cleric his heals were not good enough to be of much use either. The Paladin, being a goody goody that helps people was picked to be the guy who protected the rest of the party, too often seen as the people that actually "Do the real work" which is just bullshit.
Thus did the Paladin go from this:
Or worse, this:
Now I ask you, is that any way for a knight to be?
These guys are supposed to do damage and lots of it, and not just to the undead. What you should hear is, "Oh shit, a paladin! Run!" not, "I can't believe he's playing a paladin, whatta noob."
This is how a paladin should look:
|NOT JUST FOR UNDEAD FIGHTING...Kicking a giant's ass is all part of the job.|
And the last thought you should have is, "Mommy" before you are cut down by his righteous fury and a hoof to the balls!
So could we please unfuck the Paladins in gaming?