Paladins of the Realms

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Paladins of the Realms

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This thread is a compilation of entries provided in an effort to elaborate on the complicated expectations of a Paladin within the confines of his or her own faith. While you are not necessarily held to every single detail of every single sentence in playing your own individual paladin, do remember that paladins strive at all times to be paragons of the virtues that are important to them and to their faith.

Consider this guide a very strong suggestion if you wish to play a Paladin on Amia. The information herein will arm you with backgrounds and concepts that will enrich your roleplay - and may also come in handy if a time comes when your character receives a warning about Falling from Grace and Favor.

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Paladins of Torm

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Paladins of Torm

Torm is the god of duty and loyalty and the patron of paladins. Paladins of the True God often embody the stereotype of chivalric knights in shiny armor.

They are especially devoted to obedience and service, which means they often pledge fealty to a mortal patron: a monarch, a military order, the local government or simply the paladin's family, for example. To a Tormtar paladin, the edicts of his mortal patron are second only to the edicts of Torm himself and the principles the paladin is sworn to uphold. A paladin of Torm will lay down his own life if that's what it takes to serve his patron(s). His loyalty is not blind, however: he will not support a despot or enforce unjust laws. Instead, he works to change and improve those laws by suggesting improvements to the existing law or alternative solutions to laws altogether rather than creating new laws to solve a problem. While paladins of other faiths might be more individualistic and do what they think is best, Tormtar rigidly adhere to the orders of the patron they have sworn to serve. On Amia, one lord worthy of many a paladin's fealty would be Justicar Marinsbane of Kohlingen. Service to the Defenders, the Cordorian Ministry of Law, or the Temple of the Triad are also alternatives for Tormtar on Amia to consider.

Tormtar have a fourfold duty to faith, family, master and all good people of Faerûn. They are traditionalists in many ways, and cherish chivalric virtues and high moral standards. Like all paladins, they are honest and brave, but they are also courteous and strictly honorable. A paladin of Torm does not resort to petty insults or behave impolitely. A paladin of Torm accepts mockery made of himself with grace. If his patrons or cause are insulted by someone he knows to be a formidable foe, he is likely to challenge the opponent to a duel, though not a duel to the death, but rather a duel to first blood. A Tormtar paladin should not be petty enough to pay any mind to the insults of peasants, youngsters, drunkards, the mean-spirited or the deranged, for example. A Tormtar paladin knows that there are degrees of difference between idle threat, threat, and acting upon that threat, and meets each with a just and reasonable response.

Tormtar are quick to punish any evil, however, and sometimes do so harshly and painfully, though they allow their foes dignity in life and in death. Even the foulest of warlords will be treated respectfully by a Tormtar opponent. They are not known to be particularly merciful, though, most especially to traitors, for whom the Dogma of Torm promises "quick, painful death." There must be irrefutable evidence of said treachery, however, to make the punishment anything more than a wicked act of murder that will see a paladin cast from Torm's graces.

Clerics and paladins of Torm always swear themselves to the Penance of Duty. This oath binds the cleric or paladin to serving a debt earned for the crimes of Torm's faithful before and during the Time of Troubles, when he, in mortal form, was not only witness to the excesses and fallibility of his clergy but subject to it, as well. There are three major debts that comprise the Penance of Duty:

The Debt of Persecution commands Tormtar to aid in the establishment of other goodly faiths across the world. It is the penance paid for Torm's clergy once being overzealous and persecuting other goodly faiths who had the same goals but different methods.

The Debt of Dereliction commands the Tormtar to expend every resource possible to thwart the machinations of and ultimately eliminate the cults of Cyric and Bane, as well as the insidious Zhentarim. This is in penance for a single act of mercy Torm showed to a murderous madman, Cyric himself.

The Debt of Destruction commands the Tormtar to record the locations of dead and wild magic zones and to assist as they are able in the healing of the Weave. It is therefore not unusual for Tormtar to work with Mystrans and Azuthans on this subject. There is some theological debate regarding the origins of this penance, but ostensibly it is in penance for Mystra's death during the Time of Troubles.

There are many militant orders centered around Torm's faith. One of the most prestigious is the Order of the Golden Lion. It is lead by sir Dylan Lionshand. The Golden Lions take good care of their appearance, wearing ornate armor and helms polished to a bright golden hue. Paladins of the Golden Lion are often found protecting the temples of other gods or on quests to recover relics of other faiths. They must perform services to these good churches regularly and obey their orders as if they came from the church of Torm, as long as the orders don't conflict with the paladins' faith or lead to their certain death. The Golden Lions defend the weak and embark on missions to defeat evil where ever it manifests.

A curiosity about the Order of the Golden Lion is that they may utilize undead before destroying them if it serves the greater good. In practice, this might mean forcing an enemy to fight between your group and a band of animated skeletons. A paladin will never animate the dead, however. They may only use those undead that exist already, and must do their best to return them to the grave when they've served their purpose.

The Loyal Order of Innocents is a knightly order dedicated to Torm. It is based in Tethyr and has a close alliance with Torm's church in Darromar. The order consists of both paladins and fighters honouring the orog saint Shield of Innocence. The order is loyal to Tethyr, having many noble patrons and the favour of Queen Zaranda herself.
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Paladins of Tyr

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Paladins of Tyr

Tyr the Even-Handed is the stern god of justice and law. One of the more popular deities in Faerûn, he is a natural choice for many paladins. Tyrrans view the world in black and white moral terms, seeing just laws as the basis for society. In reality, this worldview of a perfectly lawful and good society is utopian, and therefore always out of reach, so there is a touch of sad pragmatism in the faith in spite of its lofty goals.

Tyrran paladins are sworn to uphold justice wherever they go. They take an oath to reveal the truth in all matters, punish rule breakers and to be true and just in all actions. All paladins value honesty, but to Tyrrans it is more than an honorable custom: staying true is an important part of their patron's dogma. Falsehoods, deceptions, lies, untruths, half-truths, and even willing or unwilling ignorance, to a certain degree, are all roads that lead to the inevitable collapse of a lawful society.

In civilized lands, Tyrrans often act as advisers in legal matters, being known for their just and even adherence to the law. Clerics often find their place somewhere other than the battlefield, and commonly serve as lawyers, judges, advocates, legislators, jurors or law clerks. Clerics maintain a Book of Lawgiving, a meticulous record of infractions and resulting punishments overseen by the cleric, and this Book of Lawgiving is often shared with other lawmakers and lawkeepers and other Tyrrans to ensure that the wheels of justice keep spinning vigilantly. A Tyrran paladin is more likely to be seen on the battlefield, either defending or bringing law to areas where chaos or anarchy are violent threats to the rule of law, but in areas where law is a reliable constant, paladins regularly volunteer to assistant their Tyrran clerics or to pursue the defense of the law in any way they can.

A Tyrran will always uphold a just law, even if it doesn't seem fair. Unjust laws are a different matter, and the Church of Tyr defines an unjust law as a law that is "out of compliance with the principles and definitions adhered to by other laws in the body of legal doctrine of which it is part." This means that Tyrran paladins will sometimes uphold the law even when the "scales of balance" don't even out as they should in a perfect universe. Paladins of Tyr do not ignore these imbalances, but often seek to change the laws by working within the system. To ever break a just law is a prime violation of the paladin's oaths and often leads to such excesses of guilt that if Tyr does not distance himself from the paladin, the paladin distances himself from Tyr, falling out of shame alone.

As such, paladins of Tyr are both regressive and progressive forces; in lands with corrupt or no legal systems, they are a force to bring order, and in lands with established legal systems, they are a fierce defender of the status quo.

A good example of this extreme jurisprudence that defines the Tyrran faith is seen in Calimshan. The laws of the land are very harsh, but a Tyrran paladin will enforce the legal institution of slavery and the maiming of thieves by chopping off their hands.

In wilderness where there is no law, Tyrran paladins and clerics act as judge, jury and executioner. Their decisions depend on personal ethics, but ”an eye for an eye” is a common default in lieu of any established law. Often paladins lean towards mercy, however, and choose to forgive transgressions of those ignorant of their wrongdoing.

One of the Tyrran duties is to deliver justice upon evil when the victims cannot afford that justice or otherwise have no means of seeking justice on their own. The dead are often interpreted as victims who have been wronged and are unable to seek justice. Tyrrans do refer to this form of justice as "vengeance", but they differentiate it from the pettier acts of vengeance that merely perpetuate a cycle of lawbreaking rather than putting an end to it. Paladins of Tyr and Hoarites may, on occasion, see eye to eye, but Hoarites often seek vengeance for the sake of vengeance, rather than for the sake of creating or defending a good, just society.

Tyrrans also capture lawbreakers wherever they can, even beyond jurisdiction if there is legal precedent for doing so, and stay sharp to prevent crimes before they happen. Tyrran paladins are prone to investigating possible suspects relentlessly and doing what they can (within the confines of the law) to prevent them from breaking the law or hurting anyone.

It is said that justice is blind. Tyr, however, is also a fatherly deity who is served by Lawful Good paladins. Granted, his paladins generally emphasize law at the expense of mercy and kindness, but nevertheless this duality has resulted in two notable paladin orders.

The Knights of Holy Judgement embody the lawful aspects of Tyr's philosophy. Hunting and punishing criminals is their main focus. They fight against devils in particular, since they see the Baatezu as horrible perversions of lawfulness who mock the concept of justice itself.

The Knights of the Merciful Sword focus more on the goodness in Tyr's faith. They fight against monsters and demons, protecting goodly people from outside threats. While their duties are basically the same as the Knights of Holy Judgement, they try to focus on preventing damage rather than meting out punishment for crimes already committed.

The greatest paladins of both orders may be invited to join an elite order, the Hammer of Grimjaws. They must be recommended by one of the Hammers and face a test by Tyr himself, however, so this order remains small.
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Paladins of Mystra

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Paladins of Mystra

Mystra is the Lady of Mysteries and a divine embodiment of the Weave, a supernatural conduit that safely connects mortals with magic. Unlike the previous Lawful Neutral incarnation of Mystra, the current goddess of magic is Neutral Good. This change has drawn more paladins into the ranks of Mystra's clergy. They are not common, however, and the amoral attitude many wizards have towards magic causes some disagreements between paladins of Mystra and the arcanists of the church.

Due to their rarity, paladins have no established role within Mystra's clergy. They act as the sword-arm of the church and often accompany clerics and mages on missions to recover lost artifacts or magical lore from ruins, tombs and other dangerous places. While most paladins have an aversion to grave robbing, paladins of Mystra understand the importance of bringing certain magic items and writings to safety, even from the crypts of the deceased. Fortunately, the Mystran Church is often more interested in cataloging the location of powerful magics rather than possessing them, but if removing an artifact from a tomb means keeping it from the clear and present danger of an evil hand, then paladins of Mystra are willing to lead the expedition.

Mystrans are also charged with preserving magical lore, so paladins of Mystra often station themselves at a Mystran shrine or holy site to stand vigilant. If a paladin comes across an evil spellbook or a horrible magic item, he will take it to goodhearted and well-meaning Mystran clergy (or trusted Mystran arcanists) for safe-keeping rather than destroy it. Mystra expects her followers to create magic of their own, so sometimes her paladins will craft wands or scribe scrolls of the spells they receive from her. They are directly responsible for what is done with such items, however, and therefore take extra precaution to ensure they do not end up in the wrong hands. If a paladin gives such items to his friends, he will want to know how they are going to be used.

Despite the wide variety of alignments in Mystra's service, her paladins are still Lawful Good and take oaths of honor and virtue similar to other faiths. They do not approve of foul spells or an amoral view of magic. To them, magic is a beautiful Art that must be used for the good of the people and not for personal gain. A devout Mystran may argue that studying and practicing necromancy is a part of understanding the Weave; her paladins will do their best to prevent the creation of undead by fellow Mystrans peacefully. If a paladin of Mystra knows some faithful are animating the dead for purely academic purposes, he will try to persuade them to stop or use an honorable and non-violent means of ensuring compliance. A number of paladins in the Mystran church have had to accept, as Mystra herself has, this necessary "neutrality" of the Art when it comes to the darker side of necromancy, but few have been punished for their reluctant tolerance.

Mystra's clergy keeps an eye on promising new mages. A Mystran paladin may take it upon himself to instruct an aspiring arcanist in the ethical use of magic. Some spellcasters are too rotten and blinded by power to be redeemed, however.

Paladins of Mystra make an Oath of one of the Church's tenants, and pledge to "keep watch on the power and behavior of individuals likely to become magic wielders of importance" and to "wrest control of dangerous magic from the aggressively evil, the irresponsible, or the unsound of mind."

To prevent reckless use of magic and damage to innocent bystanders, paladins sometimes have to hunt down these abusers of the Weave and bring them to justice. Knowing how hard it is to capture a wizard, justice in this sense is often equivalent to death. Halruaa, a land where the Mystran faith is very popular, regulates the use of magic heavily. While paladins are uncommon there, the few that do serve the local temples are often charged with capturing corrupt mages. Mystrans are particularly hostile towards Sharrans, and work against the Shadow Weave. Protecting the Weave and helping to repair dead and wild magic zones are a part of their duties, as well.

There is one paladin order working in Mystra's church: The Knights of the Mystic Fire. They are mostly an adventuring order, going on quests to find and secure ancient hoards of magic or to destroy liches and other evil spellcasters. They have no particular dress code, but shades of blue and the symbol of Mystra on their shields are preferred. Mystra's church is neither organized nor centralized, so her paladins often have to work independently of any hierarchical oversight. Their loyalty is to magic and the goddess who governs it, and thus it is uncommon to find Mystran paladins serving a mundane patron of any sort.
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Paladins of Ilmater

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Paladins of Ilmater

Ilmater, the Crying God, is the deity of perseverance and martyrdom. He encourages his followers to comfort the suffering and take the pain of others upon themselves. The paladins in Ilmater's service are especially dedicated to helping the helpless and giving hope to the hopeless. While paladins of Tyr or Helm might be more interested in upholding law and order, Ilmatari focus on treating the wounds of those harmed by evil and preventing atrocities.

The church of Ilmater is famous for its charitable works, even if it is largely misunderstood as the church of the poor, lame, destitute and meek. Ilmater tells his worshipers to emphasize the spiritual aspect of life over the material, and excessive wealth is considered inappropriate for Ilmatari. A paladin of Ilmater therefore generally donates any remaining funds (after acquiring medicine and equipping himself properly to serve his god and his cause) to those in need. The church of Ilmater, independent orphanages and hospitals, or the temples of other goodly deities are good targets for their donations. While Imatari paladins don't always take an absolute oath of poverty, it's commonly agreed that riches are not something for them to have. They live without ostentation, and always struggle to be more focused upon the comfort of others as opposed to their own comfort.

As such, paladins of Ilmater often swear oaths that venerate the singular virtue of Humility in all things. Pride is a dangerous excess and is the murderer of empathy and compassion. In addition to pledging their bodies and their souls to deposing cruelty and shielding the weak, they also swear to vanquish the taint of pride in themselves, wherever it might be found. Paladins of Ilmater have earned a reputation as some of the most disciplined paladins of any faith, for they religiously fight evil on three fronts: on the field of battle with sword and shield, in the domestic arena with poultice and balm, and in their own hearts and minds.

Many people misunderstand Ilmatari and their devotion to endure suffering so that others do not have to. The church is often seen as weak and foolhardy, but the church's paladins in particular embody very much the opposite. Ilmater tells his followers to stand up to any injustice and tolerate no tyranny. While his paladins would prefer to tend to the sick and poor, they are also the ones who step up to challenge evil when no others dare – even if it means defeat or certain death. Ilmatari believe that there is no shame in a meaningful death and they are more inclined to martyrdom and self-sacrifice than paladins of other faiths. On the other hand, life is sacred to them and they will not charge to pointless death when there is nothing to be gained but senseless loss.

While Tormtar paladins will specifically strike evil so that it hurts, Ilmatari are strongly opposed to any unnecessary suffering. A Tyrran paladin might accept some level of torture as a just punishment for crimes if that was the local legal system, but an Ilmatari will never approve of any kind of torture. Their respect for life often sees them vocally oppose executions, though they might have to accept it as part of a realm's law. They are no pacifists, however. They will fight and kill furiously on the battlefield when faced with tyrants, torturers and other horrible wrongdoers.

There are two paladin orders serving Ilmater's church. The more militant of the two is the Companions of the Noble Heart. The Companions are heroes who aggressively fight those who advocate cruelty and suffering, especially followers of Talona and Loviatar. It's not unknown for them to attack a Loviatan shrine, kill every worshiper inside and then tear the place to the ground.

The more peaceful group is the Order of the Golden Cup. They are closer to the traditional image of Ilmatar, tending to the weak and protecting them rather than looking for evil to vanquish. They won't hesitate to confront evil when necessary, but it's not their role to go on campaigns against atrocities. Rather, they choose to stay with the people and soothe their hurts. You might find a member of the Golden Cup distributing medicine to children or protecting a village while the Companions of the Noble Heart ride to war against the tyrant oppressing those same villagers.
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Paladins of Salandra

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Paladins of Salandra

Salandra is the gentle goddess of medicine and healing. While not pacifistic, she and her clergy are primarily concerned about tending to the well-being of others rather than fighting evil or upholding law. As such, few paladins appear in her service, but they are not unheard of. Much like their Ilmatari colleagues, Salandran paladins dedicate their efforts to aiding the common folk. A Salandran will sooner peacefully confront city officials about fixing the sewage problem of a town whose citizens are suffering from a lack of hygiene than violently pursue a band of brigands harassing merchants on a nearby trade route.

Salandra has a very specific purpose as an exarch of Ilmater: opposing Talona and her disease-ridden cultists. Therefore, her paladins are often devoted to very specific tasks as well. Some join an order of templars as protectors of the temple while others travel far and wide in search of rare antidotes and medicine, often having to slay exotic monsters for the ingredients. There are those who venture into warzones and other dangerous areas to aid the wounded or to help to end the conflict to prevent continued injury and death.

Cultists of Talona and Loviatar are perhaps the Salandrans' greatest enemies, and a few paladins strive to uncover and thwart their foul machinations. A select few dedicate their lives to the eradication of the greatest disease of all, undeath, often actively assisting Lathandrans and Kelemvorites in their holy task. Law enforcement and retribution are of lesser significance to the Salandran paladin, but many peacefully oppose laws that promote corporal or capital punishment.

Salandran clerics and paladins swear an Oath to above all do no harm, and thus are often more readily found in the healer's tent than on the battlefield. Salandran paladins, as holy warriors, are pledged to defending the faith even to the point of combat, but ultimately wish to avoid undue violence and suffering. That is why they often become clever and charismatic negotiators and speakers, or wise and insightful advisors; they will resort to violence only if all words have failed and evil must still be stopped. The Oath often leads Salandrans to being mistaken as ardent pacifists, but woe to the evildoer who mistakenly assumes a paladin of Salandra will not strike him down when words and passive resistance have failed. Salandran paladins are more likely to learn powerful spells and master their ability to heal wounds with a gentle touch than practice combat maneuvers. A Salandran paladin cannot neglect martial prowess altogether, however, for she must be able to defend the temple and the weak and sick against harm, as well as strike down the undead, loosed fiends and the vile priests of evil gods who labor against the forces of good.

The paladins of Salandra aren't as numerous as those of other goodly faiths, but there is a small Salandran Order of Paladins. The Fellowship of the Gentle Hand is based in the Chapel of the Soothing Touch in Tethyr. The Fellowship is a group dedicated to advancing social reforms that improve hygiene and health. As such, they've set out into various towns and hamlets around the kingdom and even beyond its borders to become established local figures and advocates for public health. Their organization is quite loose: everyone is equal under the command of their leader, lady Tamaliss el-Pashar, who remains in Zazesspur to recruit and train aspiring Salandrans.
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Paladins of Hoar

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Paladins of Hoar

Hoar is a dark, vengeful deity of retribution and poetic justice. Balancing between the influences of Tyr, who wants Hoar to promote poetic justice over actual vengeance, and Shar, who tries to seduce him into blind vengeance and bitterness, Hoar instead makes secret arrangements with Beshaba to bestow bad luck upon the deserving. The Doombringer seems an ill-fit patron for paladins, yet there are those who brave this narrow path and earn a fearsome reputation as uncompromising paragons of justice.

In Chessenta and the southern lands, Hoar is known as Assuran, the god of vengeance. Two temples, The Thunderous Hand of Vengeance in Akanax and the Amphitheater of the First Thunder in Mourktar, rival for leadership of the faith. Paladins from this region are uncommon but are likely to swear fealty to either one of the temples and act as the priesthood's swordarm to mete out just punishment. In western and northern Faerûn, however, Hoar is considered to be more concerned in poetic justice and fitting punishment rather than vengeance. There, his worship is scattered and the only notable temple is the Hidden Hand of Fate in Archendale. Paladins from these regions are more common, and often act without any clerical oversight. Due to the contentious nature of the church, paladins in service to Hoar are often lone avengers, dedicated far more to their holy calling and their purpose than to the trappings of their church hierarchy. These rare paladins of Hoar roam the land as though they were avatars of Hoar himself, doing their part to bring retribution.

It is the Hoarites' duty to learn of injustice and repay it in full. Hoarite paladins often track down wanted villains as bounty hunters, but refuse to collect the bounty unless it can be used as fitting compensation for the wronged party. Enacting justice is reward enough for the paladins. Feared and disliked as they are by many less-than-innocent people, they are often the only hope poor folks have of repaying those who've wronged them. Bounty hunters demand gold, local authorities require enough evidence to press charges, and even the paladins of most other faiths discourage vengeance and promote a turn of the cheek. Hoarites will listen to the most wretched beggar, assess the truth of the account and decide the most fitting way to enact retribution.

Hoar instructs his followers to uphold the spirit of the law over the letter. After catching a criminal, a Tyrran paladin will take the captive for trial in the city where the crime was committed, if at all possible. A Hoarite, however, may suspect the captive will weasel his way free of any charges with his knowledge of local legislation. To make sure justice is done, he will simply administer whatever punishment is fitting on the spot. This has gained Hoarites the reputation of vigilantes, and the disapproval of many town watches and Tyrrans. The Hoarite paladin interprets himself as the embodiment of judge, jury, and executioner, and concludes that it is a rightful and natural path only for those with the exacting judgment of a Hoarite paladin.

As instruments of poetic justice, paladins of Hoar are not without a sense of humor. Hoar teaches that revenge is at its sweetest with an edge of irony. While evil clerics of Hoar might think highly of the irony in feeding a game poacher to the very wolves he illegally captured, his paladins aim for punishments that teach a lesson but still compensate the crime committed. Violence will meet violence, but a paladin should avoid excessive violence whenever the foe's offense does not demand it. A greedy landowner who has kept his underlings in hunger would be better served with the task of sowing the fields, reaping the harvest and baking bread for his servants, even if he must do it under threat of violence. Starving him to death, something a more malicious Hoarite might opt to do, teaches the wrongdoer nothing and is merely blind, bloody vengeance as opposed to just retribution.

On a similar note, retribution has two aspects: punishing injustice as well as rewarding good deeds. While far from charity workers, Hoarite paladins do their best to give suitable rewards to those they witness doing the just and right thing. If someone offers a room in their home for a travelling Hoarite to rest in, the paladin might later invite the family to spend a few nights in a fine inn in the nearby city at his own expense.

Paladins of Hoar are in a difficult position in their church because some Hoarites are evil and even their neutral brethren may enact cruelties that would enrage many a goodly faith. Hoar's dogma speaks of an eye for an eye, and his paladins consider it a strict commandment that ensures fairness, whereas some others interpret the maximum severity of punishment more liberally. Especially in powerful temples, church hierarchy is established and paladins might end up subservient to evil clerics. This is one reason why paladins are uncommon in southern lands where the rule of the church is stronger. Hoarite paladins in the Heartlands and the North are often loners who interact little with the rest of the clergy. A paladin of Hoar will not fight an evil priest of Hoar, because he knows they both apparently have the deity's favor, whether he likes it or not. The paladin may debate matters of dogma and morality to try to persuade the clergy to condemn excessive cruelty, or simply avoid or refuse to work with clergy that has proven evil, though. However, it's not unknown for Hoarite paladins to thwart the plans of Hoarite assassins and other lay members when they go too far. Such incidents occasionally cause strife within the church and set the extremes of the clergy at odds with each other. Fortunately, the neutral medium is by far the strongest group and has so far managed to maintain balance and relative unity.

Hoar's dogma tells to answer evil with evil, and that ”those who do not respond to attacks against their person or that which they hold dear only invite further attacks.” Mercy is a luxury for those who don't take the fight against injustice seriously. On the other hand, it's important to a paladin that something good also results from the punishment. The path of a Hoarite paladin is narrow and paradoxical indeed: excessive cruelty results in a fall from goodness but showing undue mercy at the expense of rightful retribution is a breach of their code just as well. Likewise, working against the church they are sworn to serve is unacceptable, but neither may they actively partake in evil deeds. There are certain practices in the church of Hoar that would seem blasphemous to paladins of deities such as Lathander or Kelemvor: sometimes the victim of violence or betrayal begs with his last breath for a chance to take revenge. A Doombringer of Hoar may grant that wish and raise the victim as a revenant, an undead whose only purpose is to take vengeance upon those who wronged him. Once the task is done, the revenant crumbles and the spirit passes on to afterlife. Similarly, Hoarites may command undead to turn against their creator and crumble once he is destroyed. Paladins of Hoar understand the grim irony and justice in such actions, allowing these undead to complete their task.

There are no actual paladin orders dedicated to Hoar. However, the Fellowship of Poetic Justices is an order of bards, paladins and crusaders of both Tyr and Hoar who seek to spread tales of ironic justice and fight injustice in ways more efficent than violence.
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Paladins of Baravar Cloakshadow

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Paladins of Baravar Cloakshadow

Baravar Cloakshadow is the gnome deity of deception, warding, illusion and other magic. The Sly One can be a vengeful god with a mean streak, but he is thoroughly devoted to protecting the Forgotten Folk from their enemies. The efforts of his church in fighting goblins and kobolds are well recognized, but their methods of thievery, trickery, and secrecy have earned the church mistrust. Thus it is surprising to find a fair number of paladins serving the church of the Cloakshadow.

The duty of a Baravaran paladin is clear: to protect gnomekind from races that would do them harm. Kobolds and goblinoids are their sworn enemies, and they show no mercy to such creatures they consider beyond redemption. Some paladins wander out into the world to seek out enemies to destroy, often teaming up with taller adventurers to manipulate them into serving the good cause. Others stay closer to home, vigilantly maintaining and devising wards, traps and illusions to shield the community from threats.

Gnomes are a quiet folk, and none among them are as secretive as the church of the Sly One. Baravaran paladins avoid boastful shows of chivalry or public deeds of righteousness. It is imperative that they keep a low profile, for drawing attention with heroic deeds would only invite retaliation against the gnomish people. Many gnome communities exist virtually unnoticed within or nearby the settlements of other races, without mighty defenses of their own, so they cannot afford to draw the ire of strong enemies. Rather than flaunting her faith in shining armor, the Baravaran paladin might pose as a friendly baker or weaver, fulfilling her duties in secret. The Cloakshadow's dogma warns against too much trust, and thus his paladins prefer to reveal as little as possible about their work. Secrecy is the best defense, and too much information is dangerous not only to the paladin but to the civilians she is sworn to protect.

The human concept of honor is at odds with gnomish culture. While a paladin of Torm would prefer to solve conflicts in single combat, Baravarans have no qualms about utilizing traps, illusions, stealth, ambushes and other forms of deception to gain the upper hand or avoid fighting altogether. Daggers and magic wands are also standard equipment. A paladin will be gentler in her tricks than the average priest of Baravar, avoiding deadly traps or murder without warning, often emphasizing defense, protection, and neutralization of the threat over crude humiliation or vengeful slaughter. The same goes for clandestine operations of stealth: a paladin may spy on an enemy camp or even on civilized associates to gain information and devise plans, but she will not perform assassinations or deadly sabotage.

Let's take an example: a group of goblins has settled nearby the hidden gnome village. They're pillaging the wilderness and getting closer to home. While the more militant gnomes prepare to march out and confront this threat, a paladin of Baravar decides to take care of the situation. She has a few options. If she's skilled at illusions or more mundane methods of forgery, she might create signs of an orc lair near the goblin camp, scaring them off. Or she could divert an important stream or drive a herd of wild animals from their territory to force the goblins to relocate after the resources. With the help of truly skilled illusionists, she might fake a forest fire. All such methods leave the goblins alive to cause further trouble, however. She might instead join a mercenary band and steer them towards the goblin territory, perhaps sneaking ahead to collapse a bridge or fell a tree on their path. If there is a powerful human city or dwarven hold nearby, she could either drive the goblins to raid its grain storages or simply make it look like they're causing trouble. Some material damage is a fair tradeoff for getting the tall folk to march against the goblins. However, the paladin will do everything in her power to eventually recompense the damage she caused, whether the humans and dwarves realize it or not. Whichever solution the paladin chooses, she takes special care not to implicate the gnomes. If by her actions the community becomes a target, she has failed her duty in the worst way imaginable.

The faith of Baravar is not without a bright side. The faithful are encouraged to devote themselves to their art as well as those they love with fervor, as that is what gives meaning to their struggle. Gnomish enthusiasm animates even most paladins, and they may devote considerable time to tinkering with magical artifacts, developing new illusions or perfecting some other fun and useful craft. Like the followers of Garl Glittergold, they too appreciate jokes and pranks.

Serving the god of deception as a paladin is a difficult road. The paladin must constantly balance her dignity and devotion to the good and rightful with her dedication to getting her job done with the tools promoted by her church. Paladins of Baravar Cloakshadow swear an Oath of Secrecy, pledging never to reveal the secrets of the church and her people. Making the Forgotten Folk truly forgotten about by other peoples is a utopian ideal in Baravar's faith, and it is rumored the highest priests of the church are researching an illusion that will make it so that gnomes can never be perceived unless they wish to be perceived. In addition, it is rumored that paladins of Baravar swear yet another secret oath, or a series of secret oaths, to Baravar Cloakshadow, but due to the layers and layers of misconception and even outright deception within Cloakshadow's church, few can confirm the veracity of the rumors.

Although paladins of Baravar walk a fine line where the truth is concerned, blatant lies compromise a paladin's position. Silence is preferable to bearing false witness, but many paladins of Cloakshadow are clever enough to utilize half-truths, omission, and exaggeration of minute yet true details in a ploy of misdirection. The paladin is expected to fight enemies fiercely but must be wary not to become cruel and spiteful. Although they rely on misdirection and deception, it is also true that never confronting a foe breeds cowardice and dishonor. For entertainment, a paladin of Baravar enjoys ruthless pranks, but they must not be malicious in spirit. First and foremost, paladins of Baravar Cloakshadow are smart. Sometimes reconciling the smart thing with the right thing is hard, but it's a balancing act they must succeed at.

The Knights of the Shadowy Cloak are a notable organization in the church Baravar. Though not exclusively a paladin order, many paladins serve in their ranks. Paladins of the order often train as rogues or illusionists, and gain access to spells such as invisibility, camouflage, displacement and dimension door. The order – and paladins of the Cloakshadow in general – are somewhat at odds with the stern followers of Gaerdal Ironhand. Though equally devoted to the protection of the Forgotten Folk, the two faiths disagree on method and strategy: the followers of Gaerdal would show martial vigilance to deter any enemy from challenging the gnomes, whereas Baravarans prefer to avoid the attention altogether and rely on wit over muscle. Gnomes aspiring for paladinhood often choose between these two extremes of the gnomish mentality. Though not as disciplined and physically demanding, the path of the Cloakshadow is no doubt the riskier one.
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Paladins of Corellon Larethian

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Paladins of Corellon Larethian

In its mores and strictures, rituals and even knightly aesthetics, paladinhood is a very human institution. If you were to ask an elven scholar or theologian about paladins, he might claim there are none serving the Seldarine; the elven gods and peoples have their champions, but they are not to be confused with human paladins. In part, this is clearly true: in elven society, many of the typical ”paladin” roles and tasks are fulfilled by divine champions and, most notably, bladesingers. But among these heroes there are also those who can be identified as paladins and, thanks to centuries of cultural exchange, adopt the title as necessary. Although elves are sometimes viewed as a chaotic people because of their connection with nature, theirs is also a society of conservatism, traditionalism, loyalty to kin and queen, and complex social hierarchies. Thus the lawful paladins hardly stand out in the more civilized elven communities.

Excluding those who've lived among humans and adopted human gods, the vast majority of elven paladins serve Corellon Larethian. A handful can also be found within the cults of Angharradh and Labelas Enoreth, but even so elven paladins revere Corellon's role as the artisan of elven history, tradition, and culture, and even though they may serve the immediate interests of other Seldarine such as Angharradh and Labelas Enoreth, elven paladins ultimately acknowledge the familial order of the Seldarine. Thus, at times, it might be fair to say that elven paladins are not merely Paladins of Corellon Larethian, or Paladins of Angharradh, but as Paladins of the Seldarine, or Paladins of the Tel'Quessir, for it is the united will of the Seldarine they serve, guided ultimately by Corellon Larethian's teachings about the People's history and his visions for their future.

Sun elves are the most likely to choose a paladin's lawful lifestyle, but moon elves can and do become paladins, as well. These elven paladins are more likely to leave their homes in Evereska, Silverymoon, or Winya Ravana to wander Faerûn and greater Toril. In the past, it was rare to find a sun elf paladin outside Evermeet or Evereska other than on brief missions of artifact recovery or pilgrimage. However, the end of the Retreat and the ongoing Crusade against the fey'ri has recently brought many of Evermeet's champions to the mainland, and young elves are enthusiastic to fight for their People.

Corellon the Protector is the patron of magic, arts, crafts, war and elven culture in general. As such, his paladins represent the archetypal essence of elvenhood. They wage war against orcs and drow, recover ancient artifacts, help devise new spells and magical items, protect temples and pilgrims, and enjoy the arts and studies that are part of their training. Material wealth isn't given a particularly high status is elven culture, so poverty isn't considered an important paladin virtue either. Paladins of Corellon will often wear fine clothing and simple jewelry like any elf of high status, and their ancestral weapons are invaluable. Humility is another human virtue the elves do not care for. Pride in one's family history, skill and achievements is the mark of an honorable elf. Unjustified arrogance, pomp and boastfulness, however, are frowned upon. Elves are a people of incredible grace, and this holds true socially as well as physically. Especially among the sun elves, tradition is held in high regard. Whereas human paladins are concerned with legality or abstract concepts of honor, paladins of Corellon maintain that tradition is the measure of right and wrong. The idea of local practices or a personal code of conduct is not very central to them: the People are as one, and to do what they've always done is to do the right thing.

The paladins work closely with bladesingers, and they also share their highest guideline: never leave an elf undefended. A paladin of Corellon will not walk away from an elf in need, even if the elf was undeserving of the paladin's aid. An elf's business is the paladin's business. This means they may easily come at odds with local authorities or get tangled in bloody disputes, so the virtues of caution and patience are important. If a wandering paladin passes through a human village and hears about a moon elf accused of horse theft, he immediately sets aside his adventure to investigate the matter. When it seems the evidence weighs against the moon elf and punishment awaits, the paladin may choose to stay and act as the elf's spokesman in court, either to discover his innocence or simply support a guilty kinsman in trouble. However, if the punishment is inhumane, the judgement unjust by elven tradition, or the paladin particularly radical, he may choose to negotiate for the prisoner or even break him out and deliver him to elven authorities. Paladins of Corellon do their best to respect human laws, but many believe elven matters should ultimately be handled by elves – especially in cases of corporal or capital punishment.

The People, Tel'Quessir, have a sense of community that humans lack. Elven unity is a guiding principle that paladins of Corellon revere. As part of their code of conduct, many paladins swear an Oath of Unity never to raise weapon against kin or do anything that would drive a wedge between elves. The Oath of Unity is said to be as old as the First Crown War, a lesson immediately learned from the bitter civil war that tore the People apart. To preserve this internal unity, the People have of course had to redefine themselves from time to time: the drow are hardly the only malcontents to be thrown out of the happy family. Occasionally paladins of Corellon have to fight embittered outcasts trying to harm their kin. Still, many paladins wish to bring these lost sheep back into the fold through forgiveness and reform.

In addition, Paladins of Corellon take close to heart a guiding principle for clerics of Corellon, who eschew roles of leadership in elven society in favor of simply being available as mediators and guides. It is rare to find clerics of Corellon serving in any leadership or governmental capacity. Paladins of Corellon take this a step further and swear the Akhthor, which in the elven tongue translates to "Vow of Duty". Paladins of Corellon swear off the trappings of formal, governmental leadership. This has given some elves the impression that these paladins simply do not wish to lose their freedom in favor of public service, rendering the name of the vow ironic, but it is the opposite, rather, that is closer to the truth: paladins of Corellon believe that they can best serve their duty to the People as Corellon Larethian does - as artisan, rather than king. Interestingly enough, "Akh" also translates as "need", causing some insightful elves to wonder about the paladin tradition's use of the Akh-form and its dual interpretation as both duty and need. As elven culture slowly changes over time and paladins become more prevalent in their culture, such questions might find answers.

There are no elven paladin orders of Corellon or otherwise. Some paladins join knightly companies like the Swords of Evereska, Fellowship of the Forgotten Flower, or the likes of Wings of Yathaghera, the Knights of the Alicorn, and the Vassals of the Reverend Ones on Evermeet. Many paladins simply associate themselves with a specific temple and congregate loosely around local clergy. Others have pledged service to Seiveril Miritar and the other leaders of the Crusade. Ultimately, most paladins are loyal to Queen Amlaruil Moonflower of Evermeet and to the Seldarine, and they need no strict hierarchy to govern their actions.

Paladins of Corellon tend to learn at least some magic, and carry rings, wands and amulets in addition to their often-magical blades. Many multiclass as wizards. Some even manage to combine bladesinger studies with their divine calling, but it's usually the other way around: after decades of training, a bladesinger decides to devote herself more fully to the service of the gods.
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