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Alexander Clark
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84 Posts

Posted - 24 Feb 2019 :  14:34:28  Show Profile Send Alexander Clark a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
So I basically want to play a generic Helmite.
Here is a short bio:
"Joakym Helmson is an orphan raised by the Church of Helm in Silverymoon. He quickly learned that the only thing staying between civilization and an overwhelming tide of chaos and evil is good men doing their duty. Being a healthy and a talented boy Joakym became a paladin of Helm at relatively young age, however he did not rise through the ranks as quickly as many other paladins. His role in The Church of Helm is usually going on minor missions either alone or leading a small band of scouts."

What do you think? Please criticize.

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 24 Feb 2019 :  15:27:02  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If the intent is a generic NPC without anything interesting in his background, then you've succeeded.

If you want to flesh him out and make him somewhat unique, the first place to explore would be *why* his rise thru the ranks was slower. Perhaps a setback that knocked him down a few places? Perhaps he's earnest but clumsy? Perhaps he's a little too willing to smite first and ask questions later, even by paladin standards? Maybe he's never been able to focus on the paladin gig as much as his superiors want, because a young lady or three keep distracting him?

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Alexander Clark
Learned Scribe

84 Posts

Posted - 24 Feb 2019 :  15:33:56  Show Profile Send Alexander Clark a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
If you want to flesh him out and make him somewhat unique, the first place to explore would be *why* his rise thru the ranks was slower. Perhaps a setback that knocked him down a few places? Perhaps he's earnest but clumsy? Perhaps he's a little too willing to smite first and ask questions later, even by paladin standards? Maybe he's never been able to focus on the paladin gig as much as his superiors want, because a young lady or three keep distracting him?


I was thinking about going with "an orphan doesn't have good connections," but I am not sure how egalitarian/nepotist Helmites and paladins in general are.

Also I intend to make him somewhat older than an average adventurer yet I need an explanation why adventures instead of having troops with him. That's why I went with "not such a stellar career" in the first place.

Edited by - Alexander Clark on 24 Feb 2019 15:35:56
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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32149 Posts

Posted - 24 Feb 2019 :  16:17:28  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Alexander Clark

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
If you want to flesh him out and make him somewhat unique, the first place to explore would be *why* his rise thru the ranks was slower. Perhaps a setback that knocked him down a few places? Perhaps he's earnest but clumsy? Perhaps he's a little too willing to smite first and ask questions later, even by paladin standards? Maybe he's never been able to focus on the paladin gig as much as his superiors want, because a young lady or three keep distracting him?


I was thinking about going with "an orphan doesn't have good connections," but I am not sure how egalitarian/nepotist Helmites and paladins in general are.

Also I intend to make him somewhat older than an average adventurer yet I need an explanation why adventures instead of having troops with him. That's why I went with "not such a stellar career" in the first place.



That makes sense... Though an explanation why would still be a good thing.

As for not having good connections... What about a paladin who was all that and a bag of chips, but was led astray and fell, and after some time as a fallen paladin, maybe even a villain, found a way back to the good guy side and rejoined the ranks of the paladins? His time as a fallen paladin would explain why he's older, and even after atoning and becoming a paladin again, many would be wary and concerned that he might fall again -- hence, no significant connections. It would also explain why he's not trusted with more important things.

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Alexander Clark
Learned Scribe

84 Posts

Posted - 24 Feb 2019 :  16:27:58  Show Profile Send Alexander Clark a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
What about a paladin who was all that and a bag of chips, but was led astray and fell, and after some time as a fallen paladin, maybe even a villain, found a way back to the good guy side and rejoined the ranks of the paladins?


Thanks. I want to play a more classic paladin though, I am not really going for a "redemption" theme here.

I like this concept "Perhaps he's a little too willing to smite first and ask questions later"
That's why I picked Helm over Torm in the first place.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 24 Feb 2019 :  23:01:22  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Alexander Clark

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
What about a paladin who was all that and a bag of chips, but was led astray and fell, and after some time as a fallen paladin, maybe even a villain, found a way back to the good guy side and rejoined the ranks of the paladins?


Thanks. I want to play a more classic paladin though, I am not really going for a "redemption" theme here.

I like this concept "Perhaps he's a little too willing to smite first and ask questions later"
That's why I picked Helm over Torm in the first place.



I'm not saying to go for a redemption theme... I'm suggesting that the paladin fell and was already redeemed -- but because of the time he spent as a fallen paladin, he's not advanced as far as a paladin of a similar age would be. And also because of his fall and return to the light, he's basically at the bottom rung of the ladder. Yeah, he proved himself to his deity -- but people aren't always forgiving, so he has to do the smaller missions and re-earn the trust before he can get the more important stuff.

I'm playing off your stated goals of the paladin being older and with fewer connections. If he's trying to prove himself to his superiors again, after a fall, that would explain both.

The actual redemption itself could be offscreen and a couple years (or more) before the PCs ever enter the picture. It's just a backstory that fits your goal. Not the only backstory, certainly, but it's one that I personally think would be interesting.

And you can work it for a lot, too. What if he meets the PCs and befriends them, but dodges the topic of his past whenever it comes up. After the PCs come to trust him, one of them finds out that some major bad thing in their own past was caused by the paladin during his fall? Or perhaps something from his fallen past comes up, and the paladin needs the PCs' help to deal with it -- especially to help him continue walking the straight and narrow path while dealing with this thing from his past.

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Diffan
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Posted - 24 Feb 2019 :  23:42:26  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Another route might possibly be that the character lacks conviction. Paladins need that unwavering strength of fortitude - whether you're using the 3.5< rules, drawing that strength from the strict alignment, 4e's divine providence, or 5e's sacred Oath - a Paladin needs that inner courage. Maybe your Helmite second guesses himself or his devotion. This feeling of not being worthy or meeting the high vaunted expectations (ones placed solely on himself) keep him from breaking that plateau to Paladin excellence. Without that inner conviction in actions and thoughts he'll continue to flounder. Maybe some quest of self sacrifice (though not outright death) is needed to open the floodgates of Paladin power?

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."
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Ayrik
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6824 Posts

Posted - 25 Feb 2019 :  01:03:40  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Paladins may strive for higher virtues. But they are still only human (or demihuman).

So perhaps a worthy paladin has been held back because of the favouritism, jealousy, or manipulations of another within the church/order. Possibly something malign (actual corruption by evil), probably something benign (can't promote everybody but the local Baron has promised a very generous "donation" if his bumbling nephew happens to be found "worthy" of promotion before winter). It may turn out the PC paladin cannot advance at a normal pace until he overcomes/exposes a hidden "adversary" - or at least a hidden "competitor" - perhaps an antagonist among his brethren/peers, perhaps an intrigue (or foul influence) among his superiors. I expect that prowling around the temple and being suspicious of superiors aren't encouraged, but if the PC could successfully uncover some sort of unethical or immoral (or amoral) activities in the church hierarchy then he would probably be rewarded for his extraordinary persistence, perception, vigilance, and focus (because these are things Helm's faith values).

[/Ayrik]

Edited by - Ayrik on 25 Feb 2019 01:07:42
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Alexander Clark
Learned Scribe

84 Posts

Posted - 25 Feb 2019 :  13:37:04  Show Profile Send Alexander Clark a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks. I am pleasantly surprised to see so many replies.

After reading the thread I came up with a couple more ideas but I am not sure they'll work.

I could change the concept so he could not become a paladin at all for a while. Then later maybe he did his job as a city guard so well the Order finally decided to accept him. However, I just don't think paladins are that elitist. It would be a nice backstory for a Solamnic Knight I think.

Or maybe he just doesn't want a promotion? A sergeant declining a promotion is a common trope in military fiction. However, unlike real life military even the highest ranking paladins seem to participate in combat just like regular guys. How do paladin orders generally work? Maybe higher ranking paladins have to spend too much time doing desk jobs to run the Order efficiently? Maybe higher rank means that you have to help local law enforcement instead of going to battle evil somewhere far away?
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Diffan
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Posted - 25 Feb 2019 :  14:09:01  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I don't think there's a link necessarily between levels in a class and actual rank of hierarchy. Well, there can be, but I don't think it's at a 1:1 ratio or even close. Also, have you considered patronage of a higher ranking member? Maybe you need to be sponsored by a higher ranking individual but the character really hasn't gone through the necessary political ropes because he feels they're not necessary. I still wouldn't equate this with a hard-level cap or stoppage but definitely hinder a higher advancement within the Order.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."
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Alexander Clark
Learned Scribe

84 Posts

Posted - 25 Feb 2019 :  16:22:06  Show Profile Send Alexander Clark a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Diffan

I don't think there's a link necessarily between levels in a class and actual rank of hierarchy.


Yes, other than "what spells can you cast?" I generally treat class levels as purely game mechanics and not something very important to the story. For example guys like bouncers and city guards seem to range in level quite a lot even in published works.
I am not quite sure Abordabe is really supposed to be the greatest fighter ever in terms of lore either.

Edited by - Alexander Clark on 25 Feb 2019 16:40:32
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Ayrik
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Canada
6824 Posts

Posted - 25 Feb 2019 :  17:10:43  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Rank, title, and prestige are nice to have but the only thing which really matters is that the deity tacitly rewards the character's faith by providing spells and granted powers.

The Twilight War trilogy has a Paladin of Lathander who has fallen out of favour with his church and been dismissed (or exiled) from his order - yet he continues to receive spells and powers ... even when (eventually) the rest do not.

[/Ayrik]
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Alexander Clark
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84 Posts

Posted - 25 Feb 2019 :  17:12:52  Show Profile Send Alexander Clark a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

Rank, title, and prestige are nice to have but the only thing which really matters is that the deity tacitly rewards the character's faith by providing spells and granted powers.

The Twilight War trilogy has a Paladin of Lathander who has fallen out of favour with his church and been dismissed (or exiled) from his order - yet he continues to receive spells and powers ... even when (eventually) the rest do not.


Yes, I am not planning to make my paladin weak.
I just want a good explanation why he travels and joins adventuring bands instead of leading some troops.
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Ayrik
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6824 Posts

Posted - 25 Feb 2019 :  19:03:23  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Cruelty, injustice, suffering, and evil aren't found in the holy sanctum.
They are found in unsavoury places - bloodstained alleys, oppressive cities, starving villages, criminal strongholds.

Perhaps some members of the order believe they should promote good where they're needed the most, they actively seek to confront evil instead of simply guarding against it like their passive brethren. An adventuring paladin might be something like a missionary, striving to let his actions and his deeds speak more loudly for his god than some stuffy old holy words. Of course the "orthodox" members of the order - including all those who are interested in maintaining their authority in the order - never reward such disruptive upstarts, they adhere to the conservative, established, and traditional wisdom which has always proven successful and "correct" for them before.

[/Ayrik]
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Alexander Clark
Learned Scribe

84 Posts

Posted - 25 Feb 2019 :  19:13:28  Show Profile Send Alexander Clark a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik
Perhaps some members of the order believe they should promote good where they're needed the most, they actively seek to confront evil instead of simply guarding against it like their passive brethren. An adventuring paladin might be something like a missionary, striving to let his actions and his deeds speak more loudly for his god than some stuffy old holy words.


I thought paladins orders act more like "let's send 50 troops to deal with that particular problem" instead of sending a single missionary. Also it would make sense for higher ranking members to lead groups of lower ranking paladins or even laymen soldiers. But maybe I have a wrong impression about FR paladins.
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Diffan
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3609 Posts

Posted - 26 Feb 2019 :  01:02:21  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Alexander Clark


Yes, I am not planning to make my paladin weak.
I just want a good explanation why he travels and joins adventuring bands instead of leading some troops.



Doesn't want to be bogged down with bureaucracy maybe? I'm reminded of a Paladin that's also a hidden Lord of Waterdeep that routinely goes out into the wilderness alone simply to kill monsters and make the countryside safer. No troops or soldiers with him, just himself and his steed.

Also, Kalen Dren - the Shadowbane - patrols the downshadows of Waterdeep to basically dish out justice because it's just and right. He goes at it solo too.

He could also be ordered by the Organization to patrol or carry out specific duties alone because they're strapped for people.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."
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Alexander Clark
Learned Scribe

84 Posts

Posted - 26 Feb 2019 :  01:33:58  Show Profile Send Alexander Clark a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Diffan
Doesn't want to be bogged down with bureaucracy maybe? I'm reminded of a Paladin that's also a hidden Lord of Waterdeep that routinely goes out into the wilderness alone simply to kill monsters and make the countryside safer. No troops or soldiers with him, just himself and his steed.

I think that's Texter. Thanks, I looked him up.



quote:
Originally posted by Diffan
He could also be ordered by the Organization to patrol or carry out specific duties alone because they're strapped for people.


IRL it would be weird to send a major on a solo mission. But yeah, if FR paladins work differently it would be nice for my character.

Edited by - Alexander Clark on 26 Feb 2019 01:59:22
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Diffan
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USA
3609 Posts

Posted - 03 Mar 2019 :  22:22:17  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Alexander Clark

quote:
Originally posted by Diffan
He could also be ordered by the Organization to patrol or carry out specific duties alone because they're strapped for people.


IRL it would be weird to send a major on a solo mission. But yeah, if FR paladins work differently it would be nice for my character.



True but that's a major military organization, perhaps not something a church can muster up as quickly? For example, the Purple Dragons have a rank system with troops and expectations of leadership. For this to make sense, you're going to have to come up with the general makeup and order of rank + the number of expected troops this organization can muster.

Here's an example of the Purple Dragons of Cormyr. This breaks down unit sizes, ranks, wealth earned by week, number of soldiers led and by whom.

So a lone Paladin of X level might make sense if the forces are needed elsewhere. OR you could say the Paladin gets a vision that leads him on a quest but the church doesn't agree and revoked his asking of troops, thus leaving him alone on his quest.
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Alexander Clark
Learned Scribe

84 Posts

Posted - 05 Mar 2019 :  23:43:33  Show Profile Send Alexander Clark a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Diffan
True but that's a major military organization, perhaps not something a church can muster up as quickly?

I was looking into Helm clergy a bit.
There is apparently House Invincible of Helm in Silverymoon but I don't have much information about it. :(
Most orders like Vigilant Eyes of the God have very little information about them online too unfortunately.

quote:
Originally posted by Diffan
So a lone Paladin of X level might make sense if the forces are needed elsewhere. OR you could say the Paladin gets a vision that leads him on a quest but the church doesn't agree and revoked his asking of troops, thus leaving him alone on his quest.


Thanks, I like those options.
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