Today’s 30 Days of D&D challenge is:
Favorite PC class.
Leaving aside previous editions, 5th Ed already gives a number of strong options. I can see lots of interesting uses for bards (I even had an annoying NPC bard sing a mocking song about the heroes in the party I DM for). Rogues are fun, especially when it’s not the chaotic neutral, steal-everything-in-sight type. Sorcerers bring rolls on the Wild Magic Surge table, making for some cinematic and/or hilarious moments in-game. Warlocks offer so many story-laden options depending on where they get their powers.
Despite all that, I decided upon Paladins as my favorite.
Those who have played editions prior to 4th coined the phrase “Lawful Stupid” regarding paladins because back then, pallies had to be bastions of virtue and morality… which often turned into some ridiculous moments where a paladin refused to go along with the party’s plan OR engaged in a foolish plan of their own, all because “I have to be Lawful Good or else I lose the source of my power!”
I mean, they DID have a lot of restrictions. From Wikipedia:
Typical tenets of the Paladin code are as follows (though many variants exist):
A Paladin must be of Lawful Good alignment.
A Paladin may never willfully commit an Evil act.
A Paladin cannot associate with any character who persistently commits acts which would cause the Paladin him/herself to Fall – notably Evil creatures.
A Paladin must remain truthful and forthright at all times.
A Paladin must give fair warning and due quarter to enemies.
A Paladin holds stealth, subterfuge, attack from the rear, missile weapons and especially poison as weapons of last resort.
That might lead to conflicts with the rogue, for example:
“Not only will I not slit the sleeping orc’s throat, but I will fight you if you try to do so.”
“Oh by all the gods, who invited this dolt on the quest?”
Now, I admit, there are a lot of storytelling options connected with keeping in good ties with the Divine in order to drop those holy smites on the forces of evil. Players might lose their alignments or their class powers and be forced to make atonement for their evil ways. Or they could just go evil and find… “other” sources of power.
4th Edition said, “Hey, you know what? Evil paladins are a thing.” It makes sense in a way. If the gods can give you holy power, certainly the EVIL gods (or neutral gods) can likewise grant their power to their servants. One of the first players in a campaign I DM’d was a dwarf paladin of nature, and he was awesome.
5th Edition took it further and said, “You know what? Some paladins champion an ideal or virtue. You want to play the brooding edgelord with a past who is out for vengeance? Why not make that your oath which gives you power? You want to play that atheist paladin? Why not?”
Again, the point is broadening the story options, not restricting, so I feel like it works.
On top of that, Mike Mearls (one of the big names in D&D design) put out a video saying that classes like paladin and warlock don’t have to stay on good terms with their power source (divine beings or powerful supernatural entities, respectively), so that does away with much of the “lawful stupid” problem of the past.
This step, I disagree with, as I feel like it divorces the character and their power from the story aspect which explains their existence… but to each table and player their own.
Since the newer editions opened up more options, I see interesting or compelling story backgrounds that fit the class. It’s a very close competition with some of the others, but if forced to choose only one class, my PC will be a paladin.