OSR: Class: Paladin of the Word

Adapted from Goblin Punch (as usual).

From time to time, the Authority needs to make edits to Creation. Angels are unsubtle and require special conditions to manifest. Paladins are agents of the Authority, but they rarely have direct divine guidance. The Authority steers their lives with subtle practice. Everything a Paladin does, by necessity, is divinely mandate. A Paladin, by definition, cannot act against the Authority - cannot sin - without breaking their vows.

This makes the Church very, very nervous. Paladins put everything in perspective. They are blessedly rare, thankfully aloof, and extremely humble. Official Church doctrine neither exalts nor condemns the Paladins. It prefers to ignore them.
25, Stepan Aekseev

Class: Paladin of the Word

Starting Equipment: chainmail, sword, holy icon

A: +1 MD, No Voice, The Divine Word, +4 to Save vs. Sound
B: +1 MD
C: +1 MD
D: +1 MD, The Shout

You gain +2 to Save vs Mind Altering Effects (charm, sleep, mind control) for each Paladin template you possess.

No Voice

Your pledge to give up your voice was accepted. Your voice is gone. You cannot speak.

The Divine Word

You have spell-like abilities, but they are not the same as a Wizard’s spells. You do not prepare spells, you cannot read scrolls or spellbooks, and you cannot write down any of the "spells" you know. Otherwise, you generate and use Magic Dice (MD) as a Wizard. You do not generate Mishaps or Dooms.

With one Paladin template, you can cast command. You can only target people who speak your language.

With two Paladin templates, you can cast ventriloquism. Your command ability can target creatures who do not share a language with you.

With three Paladin templates, you can cast shatter. Your command ability can target all things, even inanimate objects. You could command a tree to give you its fruit or a grave to exhume a corpse.

When you use command, you speak with the Authority's voice. The words speak directly to the nature of matter. It works on the deaf or in a total vacuum.

If you know the creature's true name, it gets -4 on its Save.

If you have gone at least a full day without using command, your target gets -2 to their Save. A full week, a full month, a full year, a full three years, and a full decade each give the target a cumulative -2 to their Save.

If you have gone at least three days without speaking or using command, you get a free +1 MD to spend on the command that you are currently casting.

The Shout

You begin to proclaim the Word of the Authority. Your lips will rip and bleed from the shockwave. You will be partially deaf for two days afterwards. Each round, you deal 2d6 sonic damage in a 50' cone in front of you, and take 1d6 damage. If you wish to end the Shout, you can Save at the beginning of your turn. While shouting, you cannot move or be moved, but can still fall.
Pug Templar, Ventralhound

Mechanical Notes on the Paladin of the Word

This class has a huge and annoying restriction. You can't speak. This might not seem like a major limitation, but in an RPG, especially one based on exploration, communication, and planning, it can be a problem, especially for new players.

This class is also based on the clever use of one spell - command. The Paladin class is very powerful. It can outright solve many, many OSR problems. Command glass to melt. Command poison to flee. Command water to support your weight or to drag a boat to the bottom of the sea. You are also a semi-decent fighter because you start with a sword and leather armour. You will also level faster than most characters because you are expected to spend money on purely frivolous things (like donations).

A word of caution; a poorly phrased command can have unexpected effects. Commanding a dying man to LIVE, in the voice of the Authority, might cause more problems than it solves.


R: 50' T: person D: [dice] hours
Target: 1 person that can hear and understand you.
You shout a single-word command to your target, who must Save or obey. If the command lasts more than a single round, the target gets a new save at the beginning of each of its rounds. You can spend additional [dice] to increase the effects.
+1 MD: Affect +2 targets.
+1 MD: You may increase then length of your command by +2 words.
+1 MD: You may increase the duration between checks by +2 rounds.

R: 50' T: creature or object that could make noise D: [sum] rounds
Target creature or object speaks for you. The target has to be capable of making a noise. You could target a door (hinges), but not a stone wall or an iron ingot. The voice is clearly unnatural or strained, but it's the object speaking, not you. Your voice is gone. If you target a river, the voice will be burbling, noisy, and foamy. If you target a person, the voice will sound strange, distorted, and distant.

R: 50' T: creature or object D: 0
Target take [sum] force damage. If the target is made of inflexible material, such as stone or glass, the target takes [sum]x2 damage instead. Save for half damage. This represents any command that deals direct damage (explode, die, split, tear yourself to shreds, etc.)

Instead of adding a MD to the [sum] of this spell, you can instead assign an MD to increase the number of targets by +2. The remaining [sum] damage is split as evenly as possible between them.
Aasimar Cover, Guido Kuip

Who Are You?

Paladins are not members of the First Estate, although they probably think like members of the First Estate. They are Outlaws - outside of the Estates entirely. You pass through the world like a stagehand wandering onto the set of a play.Your chainmail and sword were given to you for protection; the Authority protects, but a good sword is very useful too.

You are expected to obey the Authority's laws and mortal laws as well. You have no use for money, save as a tool to help those in need. Give it away, throw it in the sea, or spend it to help the poor and the oppressed. You are expected to seek Justice, love Kindness, and walk Humbly. There's no set point where you'll lose your powers for acting against the Authority's laws. If you're in doubt, that's probably a warning sign. You cannot lose your faith - it would be like a mechanic losing faith in gasoline.

Starting Skill: 1. History, 2. Wilderness, 3. Unusual

1. You were trained in a distant monastery, chosen from birth to take up the Paladin's role. You have no hair, beard, or moustache (although you still have eyebrows if you want them). Yo
2. You read Saints tales until you nearly went mad. You can identify any icon or picture of a Saint instantly.
3. You memorized tales of hubris, lost civilizations, ambition, and folly. You start with a gold ring worth 2gp, shaped like a broken crown.
4. You were trained to recognize the characteristics of leaders. You know the Charisma of any character you talk to (as a vague, yet quantifiable feeling). You also know the numerical result (but not the effect) of any roll on the Hireling Quality Table.
5. You are trained to investigate and uncover the truth, by study as well as by divine intervention. Start with the Investigate skill and the ability to waggle your eyebrows.
6. You illustrated manuscripts. You can produce beautiful and detailed drawings on demand. Start with ink, a pen, and a quill.

1. You were a hermit for many years. Save vs Fear when presented with a crowd or another busy social scene unless you've had time to prepare yourself. You do not require water to survive.
2. Choose one type of weather (desert heat, rain, snow, etc.). You are immune to fatigue from that type of weather. It avoids you completely.
3. You can march indefinitely, without rations or water, provided you do not stop. If and when you stop, even to ask for directions or avoid an obstacle, you gain fatigue to fill up all remaining inventory slots +1.
4. Once per week, you can cast speak with animals. You can't actually speak to them (unless you use ventriloquism,) but they will clearly understand your gestures and intent, and you can understand what they say to you. Pious animals will also obey you.
5. You were struck by lightning. You have a very strange scar and you are slightly deaf in one ear. You are also completely immune to lightning damage.
6. You are a natural wanderer, on the road from the day of your birth. You can walk with bare feet as if you were wearing thick boots. You cannot read, write, or understand complex math.

UnusualYou gain the skill listed, and not the "Unusual" skill.
1. Your appearance is unremarkable in every way. You will be overlooked in a crowd. You aren't any more stealthy than other people. You might be a little old grandmother, a shy urchin, or a vacant-eyed peasant. Roll on the Table of Professions.
2. War is your profession. You can handle any weapon, from swords to crossbows to laser rifles from an alternate dimension.
3. You are from Foreign Parts, and you look like it. Start with the Foreign Parts skill and an outrageous costume.
4. You are so pious that spells and other magical effects turn away from you. Any harmful spell that targets you directly, and that you Save to negate or avoid, has a 1-in-6 chance of rebounding onto the caster. Start with the Religion skill.
5. You have attracted a small group of followers or an accidental assistant. Start with 1d4 Camp Followers and the Warfare skill.
6. You have trained in the art of the use of a subtler kind of voice. You can whisper your command, instead of shouting it, by spending +1 MD. Start with the Poetry skill.
The Departure, Even Amunden
Side Note: Dirk Gently and the Holistic Assassin
In the new TV series Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, there's a character who is a holistic assassin. She lurches from situation to situation, shooting wildly, completely impervious to harm but completely out of control. She only kills people who need killing (by TV standards), but how she gets to her "target" is subject to holistic chance.

This is kind of how the Paladins operate, except everything they do is part of the plan. It's not just about the big things - the evils slain, the treasure looted and distributed to the Church and the local orphans. Everything a Paladin does is part of the Divine Plan. They give up their voice and their free will.


  1. This is very cool! Makes me want to write some evocative and interesting classes. :)

  2. So great! I fantasize about the day that you release all of this along with your glog house rules in one document.

    1. Oh what a day of rejoicing that will be!