Paladins are one of the most iconic classes in Dungeons & Dragons, knights in shining armor who combine their martial prowess with divine magic to rid the world of all evil. Previously one of the stiffest archetypes in the entire game, Fifth Edition gave paladins more leeway in their rules and roleplaying, allowing for more diverse characterizations.
While there are still common Paladin tropes, including their use of divine magic and rigid adherence to a code, players have more freedom in the current set. As such, they can search for inspiration for the perfect paladin persona, which can be found all around them in almost every part of pop culture.
ten Obi-Wan Kenobi fights for peace and the republic
Psionics, such as those used by the Psi Warrior, are the closest thing to the Force since star wars in all 5th. That doesn’t mean the Jedi are reduced to serving as inspiration for psionic characters, though. In temperament, ideals, and personality, Obi-Wan Kenobi is almost perfect for a paladin.
One of the wisest and most benevolent figures in the entire galaxy, Obi-Wan obeys the Jedi code of his life, strengthens his fight with the Force and fights above all to protect others. With its allegiance to the Republic, to democracy, it even has thematic links to the Crown Oath of 5th.
9 Beric Dondarrion is a sacred warrior who uses magic
Despite their adherence to a code and their drive for good, nothing prevents paladins from being morally troubled or conflicted, and thus even appearing as dark as possible. game of thrones can inspire paladins. Little game of thrones the characters look as much like the paladin as they do Beric Dondarrion.
After serving as a simple knight for much of his life, Beric dies fighting the Mountain and rises in service to the Lord of Light. In addition to devoting his life to divinity, Beric actually begins to fight using magic, a rarity in game of thrones. His signature technique of lighting his sword on fire can even be replicated using spells like Divine Favor or Searing Smite.
8 Samara obeys a code at her expense
Although it is a sci-fi franchise, Mass Effect draws from a wide range of sources. The character of Samara, a teammate of Mass Effect 2, is the paladin’s doppelganger. An Asari Justicar, she roams the galaxy defending the weak and spreading good, but with a gun and biotics rather than a sword and divine magic.
Mechanically, Samara doesn’t translate well to melee-focused paladins of 5th. But thematically, it fits perfectly. Several of his quests deal with conflicts caused by his strict adherence to the Justicar code. This conflict is something many paladins might want to explore, and Samara is a great source of inspiration if they do.
seven Gideon Nav is an unconventional warrior bound by oath
Gideon Nav, the protagonist of Gideon the ninththe first book of The Locked Tomb series, initially seems an unlikely fit for a paladin. She’s unsophisticated, rude, and more than a little lustful. Her comments are usually insults or puns, and she seems to have a flippant disregard for almost everything.
As the book progresses, however, a more genuine side of Gideon is shown. She always honors her promises, remains intensely loyal to the woman she’s sworn to protect, and proves herself to be one of the best warriors on the show. If a player is looking to play a paladin with a less conventional personality, Gideon Nav could be a useful starting point.
6 Radagon Of The Golden Order Fulfills Multiple Paladin Tropes
Given their overall divine and morally good theme, it’s odd to find a paladin as an enemy in fantasy games. Despite this, one of the last bosses of Ring of Elden, Radagon of the Golden Order, is a perfect example of a class antagonist. Mechanically, the similarities are obvious, with his main mode of attack being to infuse his hammer with holy light.
Thematically, Radagon also suits a paladin well. He is devoted to the religious Golden Order, following him through good and evil as he leaves his marriage for him. Neither a paragon of good nor an overly evil individual, Radagon might well serve to inspire a more morally neutral paladin, a paladin devoted to a cause far more than they are to morality.
5 All Captain America Needs Is Divine Magic
One problem paladins face is a reputation for being boring, rigid, and not fun to play due to how strictly they are bound by their oaths. Although many have found this not to be the case, it could still serve to deter some from trying the class. However, one of the finest examples of a paladin in modern media is anything but boring.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain America epitomizes everything about a paladin other than the ability to use divine magic. Despite this, it is still very interesting. The storylines focus on questioning his principles, his interactions with more relativistic characters, and how he deals with failure. All of these and more can be interesting character arcs for a paladin.
4 Trevor Belmont is a plague of the undead
A whip isn’t the first weapon many imagine a paladin wielding, but it’s a very valid choice for them. Although stereotypically equipped in heavy armor with the largest sword he can find, a paladin is proficient in all types of weapons and armor. So fans of Castlevania could do worse than equipping their paladin with leather armor and a whip.
Trevor’s devotion to hunting the undead, even to his own detriment, makes him suitable for a paladin character-wise and mechanically. 5th they make excellent monster hunters. A whip, while not the strongest weapon, also grants certain benefits, such as the ability to use Divine Smite from a distance.
3 Solaire d’Astora believes in the power of cooperation
Although paladins are individually some of the strongest fighters in 5th, they always shine as members of a balanced team. In addition to dealing large amounts of damage, they are well-suited for healing, buffing, and protecting allies. All J&D classes are best as part of a group, and this is especially true of the paladin.
Taking things a step further, a player may want to take inspiration from a memetic character for their love of co-op: Solaire of Astora from dark souls. One of the genuinely kindest individuals in a very dark series, Solaire prefers to use his immense martial power to help others, while maintaining a strong paladin-like religious theme.
2 Wonder Woman is literally divine
Although the DCEU is a notoriously dark and gritty franchise, it still has one character who fights with sword and shield, wields divine magic against her enemies, and holds firm to her beliefs even in the face of adversity: Wonder Woman. Coming from a society of honor-bound warriors, Diana Prince strictly adheres to a code of morals while having overwhelming heroic instincts.
One of the kindest and most heroic people in the entire DCEU, Diana can inspire those who struggle to play a paladin in a more morally neutral or gray party, serving to inspire others. Additionally, his arc in the DCEU of wrestling with his beliefs after the death of Steve Trevor may also open some interesting doors for other characters.
1 Heracles has a paladin-themed oath around him
One of the most famous heroes in all of fiction is Heracles, the Greek demigod who performed such awesome feats as slaying the Hydra and defeating the Nemean Lion. For a long time, the paladin class did not suit Heracles, until the release of Mythical Odysseys of Therosa Magic: The Gathering attachment.
Introducing the Oath of Glory subclass for the paladin, it introduces a type of paladin that follows more of an ideal of pure mythic heroism rather than greater allegiances. This oath explicitly focused on classic heroes like Heracles, making him the perfect inspiration for a paladin of this subclass.
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