Saturday, August 22, 2015

Your Own Personal Paladin

My favorite class in D&D is the one I play the least: The Paladin.

That's a huge part of why I love Paladins. They're the archetypical knights in shining armor. They are the classic fantasy hero incarnate. There is no doubt that they are good and pure and true. There is no doubt that they are there to make a difference. That's awesome and I love it.

So why not play more Paladins? They're the perfect choice for my style of gaming and they've been around since Supplement II - Greyhawk. They're right there. All you have to do is take up the sword and pray, right? How hard could it be?

Very hard. Ridiculously hard. Damn near impossible.

You see, I'm Catholic. You'd think that would only solidify my choice in playing a Paladin; the Knights Templar, St. George the Dragon Slayer, all that stuff. But you see, I'm not a very good Catholic. I don't go to Mass. I disagree with the Church on a lot of things. I find the politics of the Church to often be petty and completely counter to their teachings. I rarely pray. Heck, sometimes I turn my back on the whole thing and am not even sure I believe anymore. 

But somehow, whether a few months or a few years, I always come back. For all the disagreements, all the problems, all the bullshit, it still feels like home. Maybe its legends of the Saints. Maybe its the beauty of the ritual. Maybe its the magnificence of a Catholic Church with its beautiful stained glass and blazing candles. Maybe its the idea that forgiveness is there, if you just take the outstretched hand. Inevitably, I come back.

That's why I can't play a Paladin. In a fantasy world where your character was chosen by a divine being to act as their servant in the material world there is no room for doubt. When your character has the ability to heal with a touch or cast vile creatures away with a brandish symbol of their god, there's no point to be argued. It's real and it's in your face - the good and the bad. There is no conflict.

This puts my own personal difficulties right in my face. It's like I'm pretending to be someone I'm not - which I admit is the whole point of RPGs, but in this case it somehow feels like I look at this Paladin's character sheet and it looks back at me and is telling me everything I'm not. Everything I'm pretending to be. Everything I'm lying about.

I know this is a bit deeper than my normal posts and reviews, but its been weighing on my mind for a few weeks now and I wanted to just put it on paper to clear my own head. Maybe if I can sort it out I can play a Paladin without feeling like the character I'm playing is somehow judging me. Because hot damn is it fun to draw forth a Holy Avenger+5, cry a prayer to your god, and charge into glory.

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