On the Shoulders of Heroes
There are those that heed the call of good and take up their swords for the cause. Paladins form a small order of elite warriors that have devoted their lives to fighting crime and the forces of evil. Most paladins consider their positions in the order a sacred honor and many of them would not hesitate to give their lives to protect the innocent. This does not mean that paladins are foolish, quite the opposite; to become a paladin a candidate must display great honor, skill, passion, but also restraint and wisdom.
Adventures provide paladins with a chance to prove their valor, rescue the innocent from evil and make the world a better place to live in. Being highly disciplined individuals, they regularly join other good or neutral heroes in their mutual struggle. Although it is discouraged by the order, many paladins take great pride in their job and enjoy basking in the glory of their actions.
The order of paladins accepts only those with formidable abilities to join their ranks. To become a paladin a character must have a high wisdom and charisma score. They must also be intelligent enough to grasp the concept of being a paladin and their complicated rules and oaths. Paladins must also be able to fight at least moderately well. As can be expected of paragons of good, they often find themselves in the front ranks of battles against dark forces.
A paladin must be a champion of law and good. Various other orders of disciplined warriors exist, but none may call themselves true paladins. A paladin must uphold his virtue at all times or risk losing all his powers forever.
Paladins worship a variety of good deities, Ukko and Ilmarinen being the most common ones. These warrior gods guide their swords and often send their servants on dangerous quests only a paladin can complete. Gods of good often count the paladins among their favorite servants, blessing them with celestial resistance and endurance.
The order of paladins was founded late during the Giant Wars by a group of six Northmen. These warriors saw their world being torn by the forces of evil and the indifference of good men. Vowing to make the world a better place they set aside their religion and swore a blood oath. Calling their order the Pact of Six Peaks, they set out into the world to change it for good. They were strong men, good men, heroes of their era. Some even say that Vainamoinen himself became a mentor to the first six. Each of them took on a special place in the order, focusing themselves on a different aspect of chivalry: the sword, the shield, mounted combat, diplomacy, tactics and the art of divine magic. The order took a part in some of the most renowned battle of the era, claiming fame and glory as they went. It was not for long before their deeds became famous and, as the war dragged on, they each took apprentices. These second generation paladins eventually founded the orders’ oldest and most closely hidden stronghold: Borun Hold, in the Northern reaches of Gamleland. The second generations of paladins also established the counsel of six, who, in theory at least, rule all members of the order. All decisions concerning their order are voted by the six. It has happened in the history of the order that a vote ended in a draw.
Becoming a Paladin
These days paladins travel the countryside seeking apprentices and take them to the hold for an extensive training that takes up to fifteen years, although some finish in ten. Before an apprentice is considered he must excel in at least one of the six sacred disciplines, so most of them are already young adults before they start their journey. A paladin is trained in both diplomacy, chivalry and the art of war before he is allowed back into the world. Paladins recognize their brothers with uncanny ability, using methods that are well kept secrets.
It is a rarity for races other than humans to become paladins. The order is conservative, they are afraid that letting those less disciplined into their midst might ruin them eventually. For this reason all recruiters are instructed to find human warriors. Throughout time it has happened that splendid individuals were found such a useful addition to the order that they were allowed to enter the order. Especially apprentices of human blood find a welcome place among the order.
Adventuring parties thrive under the guidance of a paladin. They are not only capable leaders but also wise, strong and trained in a variety of arts. Apart from their practical uses the order of paladins truly cares and values their friends and allies and often goes through great trouble to keep them safe.