Sunday, January 25, 2009

Review: Delving Deeper - Paladin

Since I have recently written up my analysis and commentary on the Paladin, I could not resist buying the Delving Deeper – Paladin product by Brave Halfling Publishing. John Adams runs this small company, which I would describe as very small independent publisher, that specializes in the smaller products designed by gamers for gamers. They make no attempt to compete head to head with the bigger publishing houses, but rather provide an outlet for the creative gamer. I see this as an important part of our gaming hobby, as D&D is not just about playing, but it is also about the creation process.


This product describes the paladin class, which is specifically designed for the Labyrinth Lords game system, but it is very compatible with the older versions (pre-1st ed) of the game. The write up is mechanically very similar to the 1st edition version, as almost all the abilities of the original are enclosed in this write up. It is interesting to note that the clerical spell ability is listed as an optional rule, and is not a formal part of the class. The special horsemanship abilities and mount rules are notably absent in this version.

I do want to provide some analysis on the opening class description, as I think this is the heart of the author’s intent for the paladin class. In this case, there are two opening paragraphs of fluff that provide the flavor for the class. The first paragraph defines the class as lawful with significant good tendencies. The second paragraph describes the relationship between the paladin and his deity. It is interesting to note that description allows for alignment to a single god, multiple gods or to the universal ideal of law and goodness. This is fine on a surface level; however, I struggle a bit with this, as the class abilities are listed using the term "divine," which suggests a relationship with a deity. The concept that a strong allegiance to an ideal can bestow divine powers or cleric spells seems a bit of a stretch for me. I like the idea that a paladin is aligned to a specific god, and that it is through this special relationship that divine favors are given, as the paladin is not just a follower, but is something of an avatar for the deity. This stronger tie to the deity gives the mechanics more substance and flavor, rather than just a cold list of abilities.

The write up also includes the concept of brotherhood between paladins, which I think is unique when compared to the other write ups that I have seen. While one can argue that the versions found in the other editions of the game imply the notion of a band of brothers, this is the first time I have seen it spelled out so directly.

Overall, this is a solid product for the Labyrinth Lord system. I do applaud Brave Halfling Publishing for adding creating a version of the paladin class that is playable with this system. I will quibble a little about the layout, as page 5 seems to be a repeat of page 3 minus the opening picture. I will say that I like the artwork of the paladin that is on the cover, by Andy Taylor, with its obvious nod to the historic Knights Templar.

Rating: 3 Dragons (on a scale of 5)


John Adams said...

Hey, thanks for the review!
I like the idea of a paladin only serving one god as well - I was just trying to make the class open for other people's ideas as well.

Yes, page 5 is a repeat of page 3. Page 5 is there so that one can print it off and put it in a binder or inside the Labyrinth Lord hardback for ease of reference during play.


Mr Baron said...

Ahh..thank's for the clarification on the page 5. That makes sense now.

Brunomac said...

>not just a follower, but is something of an avatar for the deity<

Yes, I always felt that way.

Haven't had a player run a paladin in many moons, butI love how they vary depending on which god they are attached to.