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Paladins in Mystara

by Pasi Anias

IMC I handle paladins like this:

There are paladins. But they are not quite like the AD&D oriented peoples tend to stereo-typify them. I mean that they are not some badly programmed killers of evil -automatons. (I really hate that stereotype) Rather, my paladins are a bit more varied...

Paladins always have a strong faith in the church or Immortal (religion) they belong to, or at least they keep up a good appearance of faith. They have acted according to the expectations of the religions as well as they are able. Furthermore, they have provided the religion with some good services, usually in the line of fighting (though not always, sometimes its more of leading the fighting men, or rarely even some economical services...), but not as mercenaries, rather as men who has seen the work as their duty (although accepting some reward or up keeping is not denied).

After that they have either offered their life's to the work of the religion, or the religion has honoured them by asking them to join the ranks. Whichever, there are the wows to be made, and the paladin usually spends some time in studying the religion if he (yes, in most Mystaran countries he) has not done it yet (skill: honour at level 0 or 1 (as in the system I have posted long time ago)). Some of them learn spells too (according to the DD system Richard Vowles copied to the list already).

After the wows the paladin has some duties to perform for ever on. They depend a lot on the church, but include at least, honouring the religion, defending the name and the property of the church, answering the calls and pleas of religion-officials etc.

So the paladin is a role played person IMC, not just some rule combination. And he will have to start being paladin long before getting to the really became a paladin.

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Here are some paladins and knightly orders that my players might have met in my games, if you are interested:

- -The paladins of Ylaruam. Yes, as someone suggested, there are paladins in Ylaruam, only somewhat modified, and with a different name (according to the Gaz)

- -The Order of Griffon, Karameikos. The fighting order of the Church of Karameikos. Some of the members are clerics though, and some more like common knights (less pious that a paladin should be), but they all wear the name of paladin. There is even one squire that is a gnome there :) (that's a long story, that started when one of my more AD&D oriented players claimed that there can not be gnome paladins. Now she thinks, that whether there can be gnome paladins, or whether there can not, there should be able to be gnome paladins. Maybe I'll type that one in sometime...)

- -The Heldannic Order. The Heldannic faith of Vanya employs paladins, although some of them are actually more like robber-knights...

- -The Order of Tarastia, Thyatis. The immortal patron of law and justice, Tarastia has some paladins on her ranks. These are actually quite close to the standard picture of paladins, I think...

- -The Order of the Road, Darokin. These Knights have a duty to spent a part (often 2 months at minimum) of their year on travelling, and keeping the major roads of Darokin safe. Some of these are of less high birth. They have the right to demand shelter on any house by the roads they travel.

- -The Order of the Republic, Darokin. These knight have the duty to answer any call of arm when there is a risk of war. These knights tend to be of high births, and the order ranks higher than the order of the road. However the knights of the road have usually been more respected or liked by the players

- -The Order of Karameikos, Karameikos. The knights named by king Stefan are marked as belonging to this order, although the order is less formulated. There are some who would like to define the order better though, and maybe have more than one order.

- -The Order of the Three Suns, Penhaligon, Karameikos. Yes I have this order, although it is not as numerous as in the books, and Flynn is not there. This order is ranked below the order of the Karameikos. These knights would like to see a system of three ranks of knights in Karameikos. the highest rank being the Order of Karameikos, namely those knight who fought beside king, or who have otherwise shown their valour in real combat. A second rank of less esteemed knights of the kingdom, and a third rank, into which would belong all the knights named by the various barons etc.

- -Various orders in Thyatis. There are many orders in Thyatis, but they are often more like brotherhoods of fighters than real knights. They also pop out everywhere, as there isn't any real system there. However, I have had some knights of the Empire, Named by the emperor. Its just more common for Thincol to give these individuals rank in the military. Also some areas in Thyatis have more formulated ranks too.

- -Order of the Flaem, Glantri. The principality of Bergdhoven has a honorary title for 'noble' warriors comparable to knighthood. They are the sworn defenders of the Flaems, and the traditions.