A beginner's guide to playing a paladin
So, you're thinking about becoming a paladin? Or maybe you've already become a paladin and now you're wondering where do I go from here? The intention of this guide is to answer any questions that arise from making the decision to become a paladin. Have more questions? Leave them in the discussion section of this article and they might get added here.
What exactly is a paladin?
In Gemstone IV, a paladin is considered a semi profession. This means that paladins don't rely solely on either their spells or their physical weapons to fight, but rather use both. While paladins are primarily a physical weapon user, they also use spiritual magic and spells granted by their patron deity, through the Paladin Base spells, to supplement their attack and defense. Paladins are potent hunters and, through their group-boosting spells, boons to any group they join.
Being a paladin is of course more than just wielding a weapon and casting some spells, but what you want your paladin to be and where exactly you want your journey to lead is completely up to you.
Where should I start?
If you are still deciding whether to play a paladin or not, you have a few extra questions that you need to ask yourself, while if you've already started then you have a couple less.
What race should my paladin be?
Any race can become a paladin, but some will obviously make a better paladin than others. Race has some effects mechanically such as determining your baseline statistics, determining size for combat and how much encumbrance you can have, and how much you can make via trading bonuses. Race also has roleplaying effects such as limiting your access to certain places, influencing how other characters (player characters or non-player characters) react to you, and some races have special race-specific verbs. There are some players and towns that prefer some races over others, but neither that nor mechanics should stop you from playing the race you want to play. One last note is that some patron deities or spirits tend to lean more toward some races than others, but they will all accept a worshiper of any race.
Where should I put my stats?
Statistic placement to a certain degree is similar to choosing your race - your choice will depend heavily on many factors that you weigh as important or not important. Statistics will determine where your paladin is strong and where he/she is weak and what you value will change based upon your playstyle and roleplaying choices. The main stats for the paladin are Wisdom and Strength with your Wisdom stat affecting your mana. For more information see statistics to learn more about how each stat affects your paladin. You may start playing and realize that your paladin has a significant weakness in one area that is affecting your enjoyment of the game. Don't worry! All characters get five chances to change stats before level 20, so you have plenty of time to figure out the perfect placement.
Who will you choose as your patron deity?
While you can play a paladin without ever converting to follow a specific Arkati or Lesser Spirit, choosing a patron can give your paladin direction. The Arkati or Lesser Spirit you choose to follow will affect spell messaging and the mechanics of several of your Paladin Base spells such as Divine Strike (1615), Judgment (1630), and Divine Incarnation (1650), but you can choose to have it affect your paladin in many more ways either mechanically or through roleplay. Does your patron tend to prefer specific weapons? Or maybe they are found to wear certain items of clothing or colors? Maybe they are more connected to a certain race than another, will this affect your choices?
What society will you choose to join?
Once again you are not required to join one of the three societies found in Elanthia, but the benefits that they provide will make the time you spend working to advance through the societies ranks worthwhile. We'll cover societies a little later, but realize that this can be another important part of gameplay for your paladin.
How do you feel about the undead?
One of the benefits of being a paladin is that starting at your 5th level you'll be able to wield weapons made of white ora. In addition to providing the wielder with +10 to Attack Strength (AS), white ora is sanctified, or permanently blessed, in the hands of a paladin. This makes the hunting of the undead easier on the paladin. Except for clerics, all other players will need to have their weapon blessed to be able to normally attack an undead creature. You are not required to solely hunt the undead as a paladin, but it is easier for the paladin to do so, if one chooses this path. Paladins are also able to use sanctified shields for shield specializations, which further diversifies them from clerics.
The paladin link provides the nuts and bolts of what a paladin can train in and the mental and physical training point costs of those skills, but we'll go over the basics here.
Below is a training suggestion for early paladins. See paladin for all the skills a paladin can train in, their cost, and ranks allowed per level.
|2x||3/0||Armor Use||A paladin is designed to eventually wear full plate armor, so training in Armor Use twice per level is normal.|
|2x||3/0||Shield Use||The paladin usually wields a one handed edged or blunt weapon and a shield. The spell Divine Shield (1609) is only usable if you or someone in your group is holding a shield. Shield usage is not a requirement to being a paladin, so if you choose not to use the one-handed weapon and shield combination, and instead to wield mighty two handed weapons, then don't train in Shield Use, but if you want the added defense of a shield then you will want to plan on training in Shield Use twice per level.|
|1x||3/0||Physical Fitness||Physical Fitness affects many systems. Just because paladins have a very strong defense does not mean an attack isn't going to get through from time to time, so you want to train in Physical Fitness to provide your paladin with enough health points to survive those lucky shots. Physical Fitness also affects your stamina which is required to perform certain actions. Combat Maneuvers, Shield Specializations, and Guardians of Sunfist sigils all require Stamina. If you're playing a smaller race where encumbrance is often a problem, Physical Fitness also increases your ability to hold more weight. Training in Physical Fitness should be at least once per level.|
|1x||5/3||Dodging||Training in Dodging allows the paladin to straight out avoid incoming attacks. If you choose the two-handed weapons route then training in Dodging is a must and you will more than likely want to train in Dodging twice per level. If you are using the one-handed weapon / shield combination then Dodging becomes less important and the bulk of the shield lowers the effectiveness of Dodging. Additionally the larger the shield you carry, the less you'll be able to flat out avoid incoming attacks. Even with a shield, training in Dodging once per training or once every other training is still going to provide good benefits to the paladin.|
|1x||0/17||Spell Research||A paladin's spells are what separate the paladin from the other classes. While many other classes are better at spell casting, the Paladin Base spells provide the paladin with a good mixture of offensive and defensive spells that are a benefit not only to the paladin, but also to those in the paladin's group. Since paladins are not a pure spell caster, it is difficult to learn more than one spell per level. Paladins also have the ability to learn spells from the Minor Spiritual spell circle, but initially this circle is skipped (except for Spirit Warding I (101) which you'll usually pick up on your second training) in preference for the Paladin Base spells.|
|1x||0/5||Harness Power||You've learned a spell! Now if you want to be able to cast it, you'll need some mana. To gain mana, you need to train in Harness Power. Early ranks of Harness Power are hugely beneficial, giving 6 extra mana points per rank as long as the number of ranks do not exceed your character's level. This eventually has diminishing returns, and the cost for additional training in Harness Power tends to be a bit expensive. The recommendation is to make sure you are training Harness Power once per level.|
While training in a weapon is a core skill, which type of weapon is completely up to the player. No matter which weapon you choose to pursue you are always going to want to train in it the maximum amount of ranks per level. If you know which patron deity you will follow, then you can first see if they have a preferred weapon. Or you can just go with what you think you will enjoy using the most. The choice of weapon that you pick is completely up to you, but just always make sure you max out the training for your chosen weapon each level.
Training in Combat Maneuvers is not a requirement. You will hunt fine without it, but it does provide two main benefits. First it provides +1 to your Attack Strength (AS) for every two ranks. Second by training in Combat Maneuvers you gain the ability to learn different helpful maneuvers that you can use in combat. Remember that Combat Maneuvers require different amounts of Stamina to be spent to carry out the maneuver.
The Rest of the Skills
There are 37 skills that can be trained in. Climbing and Swimming are strongly recommended for all professions to train in every other level, but that is slightly dependent upon where you plan to hunt. Another recommended skill is First Aid; this will allow you to TEND your own bleeding wounds after you fail to block a significant attack. This way you don't bleed to death on the way back to town or while you are waiting for an empath to heal you
You only have a certain amount of training points awarded each level, so spend a little time looking through all the skills and make some decisions on the direction of your paladin. Do you want to be able to skin your kills and make extra silvers from many of your kills? Then training in First Aid and Survival will be important. Do you want to focus at little bit more on magic? Then possibly learning to read scrolls and use magic items through Arcane Symbols and Magic Item Use is for you.
A Final Thought on Training
If you are feeling confused about where to focus your training, don't worry you are not alone. It can become overwhelming trying to figure out the "perfect" character, paladin or not. This is where you can once again return to the questions asked above. Who is your paladin's patron? Is your patron more focused on magic? Then choose more magically related skills. Is your patron more physical? Then pick skills that you feel fit into what that patron would look for in a follower or help that patron would grant to his/her followers.
Finally, you have unlimited fixskills until reaching level 20. Play with different things and find what works best for you. If it's not working, then you can always switch things up quickly.
Waking up in Elanthia as a Paladin
If you have already visited the lands of Elanthia then you won't be surprised by the sprite that is waiting to greet you and help you get the best start possible to the game. Unless you have "family" already in the lands, you will more than likely wake up in one of three towns; either Wehnimer's Landing, Icemule Trace, or Ta'Vaalor. No matter where you awaken the helpful sprite will ask if you would like his or her assistance. It is recommended that you take the time (it's not a very long introduction... 30 minutes or less) and learn from the sprite as you'll gain helpful knowledge of how Gemstone IV works, as well as gaining some helpful starting gear and some extra silvers for your pocket.
Whether you spend time with the sprite or not, in your pack (or backpack) there will be a travel token. You can use this to travel to one of the three starting towns. That way if you started in Icemule Trace, but really wanted to be in Ta'Vaalor you can get DIRECTIONs to the Travel Office and use the token to obtain a free guide to take you to the town or your choice. If you choose to leave your starting town, make sure to visit the local debt collector to pay off your starting debts, you can't use the Travel Office until you have.
Depending on the town you start playing in, you may want to read one of the following guides:A beginner's guide to Icemule Trace, A beginner's guide to Ta'Vaalor, A beginner's guide to Wehnimer's Landing.
Journey to Your 5th Training
This is the fastest level you'll ever get to complete. The easiest way to complete this level is to accept the assistance of the sprite and then before engaging the sprite's tutorial, use the DIRection command to visit all the places in your starting town. Just visiting many of these locations will provide you with the experience to complete your first level. This is also the only time that you can take advantage of this experience.
You gain enough experience to complete level 1 by finishing the sprite's tutorial and resting a little bit to absorb all the experience you gained in learning from the sprite. Once again another quick level.
Levels 2 - 5
Welcome to the world of hunting, bounties, and jobs. While other professions have different ways to gain experience, the main way to gain experience as a paladin is to hunt, complete bounties or jobs. This is also a good time to learn even more about the lands in which you are traveling than just what the sprite told you about. If you are in Wehnimer's Landing find the old warrior Raging Thrak at the Raging Thrak Inn, or if you are in Icemule Trace you'll look for Trevor Dabbings, and finally if you are in Ta'Vaalor you'll seek out Retired Airship Officer Tedrik at the Malwith Inn. Seek one of the three's advice after a long hunt as they tend to talk a lot, but paying attention will be worth your while.
Finding a starting hunting spot is as easy as find a map of your town or asking the people around you (we were all fresh to Elanthia at one point and most are more than happy to help). You can always refer to the list of creatures by level, and if you want a better idea of the lands check out the list of maps made by various adventurers, they will provide you a good idea of where you are going and what other critters are around.
You should feel comfortable with the combat system from your time with the sprite, but there is one main thing that you need to know... There will be times, when no matter what you do or how careful you have been, you will die. Dying isn't as permanent in Elanthia as it is in real life (IRL), thanks to the Lady Lorminstra. But make sure that you always have at least two deeds to ease Death's Sting. If you have the silvers to spare, make sure you also have a chrism which will allow you to be raised from the dead with all the experience you gained while you were out getting yourself killed. Chrisms are created by clerics and can be purchased in player shops.
Bounties are handed out by the Adventurer's Guild. There are many different types of bounty tasks available, all of which provide experience, silvers, and bounty points, which can be redeemed for a variety of rewards.
Many of the merchants in the towns will have little jobs that they would be more than happy to have you assist them with. They will reward your time with experience and a little silver too. Not all of them will have jobs available, but you can always ASK.
There are three different societies that one can join. Each society has its own unique backstory and requirements to advance through the ranks. Definitely do your research on them before picking one to join. You can only change your mind once (for free).
- Guardians of Sunfist is the newest society and is focused on the killing of the Grimswarm and other hated enemies of the Guardians. These are mostly trolls, orcs, and giants.
- The Order of Voln is one of the two original societies in Gemstone. The Order of Voln is focused on releasing undead from their eternal bondage.
- Not much is known about the final society, or if it even exists, but rumors of a secret society going by the name of the Council of Light have long plagued the lands. However, it is rumored that except for the least experienced paladins, this society is shunned.
Which society is for you?
Well that's really up to you. Would your patron lean towards one over the others? Do you like killing the undead (remember: paladins have a really easy time killing them)? Or are you interested in eradicating the Grimswarm? A paladin excels at this as well. The choice is ultimately yours and you will gain helpful benefits from whichever societal path you choose. However, it is worth noting that paladins have a unique spell to recover Stamina, Rejuvenation (1607); a paladin in Voln can thus keep up Surge of Strength easily, while a paladin in Guardians of Sunfist would likely forego this in favor of assisting their sigils.
How you choose to roleplay is definitely personal choice, but you will be interacting with a lot of different people and many will be wrapped up on the role they have decided to create for their character. Intense roleplaying isn't required to play, and you actually can get away with never talking to another player. However, the game is predicated on the idea that you will be interacting on some level with another character in this fantasy roleplaying setting even if it is as simple as trying to find a healer or trying to get a box you looted opened by a locksmith. Over the course of your time in the game, you will interact with others that have created some type of role for their character.
So, when determining how much roleplaying you want to do, you first need to determine what is the role you would like to be. Do you want to be the pious paladin that fights for the right and just no matter the cost? Or are you leading more of a monastic lifestyle and are relatively quiet? You could even be a dark paladin who is a champion of one of the Lornon Arkati.
Roleplaying can be as easy as just choosing a type of movement or a specific type of speech that you can use to give your character a little more life. You can also develop a comprehensive set of reactions to different game prompts. Do you stop in the middle of hunting to PRAY to your patron and thank them for your success in battle? Do you search out items that provide others a strong idea of your character just by LOOKing at you? Most people fall somewhere in the middle, but there is no right or wrong when it comes to roleplaying. Just remember you and the others around you are there to have a good time exploring a fantasy world that you are helping to define collaboratively.
As mentioned earlier, a paladin is great to have in a group. Paladins not only provide another able-bodied weapon swinger to the group, but also provide benefits from the various group spells in the Paladin Base spell circle.
Useful Paladin Spells for Others
- Mantle of Faith (1601) is one of the few spells that can be cast directly on another player. While this spell can be stacked when self-cast, it can only be cast once on another character. Remember to recast this from time to time on your group members to refresh the duration.
- Arm of the Arkati (1605) is self-cast by the paladin, but the other group members enjoy the benefit of a 10% bonus to the base damage factor of their melee or hurled weapon.
- Divine Shield (1609) is a paladin aura spell that provides group members with +15 DS and, for those who use a shield, a base of 10% to blocking with the shield. It is important to note that a paladin can NOT cast two auras at the same time.
- Zealot (1617) is a paladin aura spell that, as mentioned above, can NOT be active at the same time as Divine Shield. Zealot is a double edged spell in that while it provides +30 to melee Attack Strength (AS), you will not be able to share the defensive benefits of Divine Shield. So make sure your group is able to withstand this lost of defense before casting it.
- Fervor (1618) is the final paladin aura spell that effects the entire group. Fervor adds weighting to many attacks, making them hit harder if they land, and grants a chance to add damage flares. This aura is more situational and can be helpful if you are grouping with magical professions.
Paladin Weapon Bonding
One of the great paladin hunting attributes is the ability to bond with a weapon. This is done with the Holy Weapon (1625) spell. Bonded weapons provide enhancive abilities, two potential types of special weapon flares, and return abilities (when thrown or disarmed).
Aiding the Dead
Paladins have the ability to raise the dead with Divine Word (1640). While it may be perceived as not as desirable as a cleric raise, Divine Word is unique in that it will give a character ten minutes with the same spells as before death, full health, stamina, and mana, and no bleeding. This makes Divine Word very effective for field raises and allows a character to get right back into the action and immediately finish up a bounty or help retrieve a lost weapon. Cleric raises, while they can preserve the experience stored, involve some recovery time.
Paladins also have a unique corpse transport spell, Aid the Fallen (1613).
Walking with Your Patron - 6th to 100th Level
Your journey to your 100th level can either be considered a continuous cycle of leveling or an adventure. As each level takes progressively more experience to achieve, there is a lot of time to enjoy roleplaying experiences, be it GameMaster-run storylines or events run by other player characters. It takes approximately one year of non-stop playing, or three years if you only maximize your weekly experience boost, to go from rolling your character to the level cap and there are a LOT of things to do during that time. Characters also continue to gain experience and train in skills after level 100, so thinking of that as a finite end point is misguided.
Make friends, cause mischief, laugh, cry, and have fun. You can become a wealthy merchant, an artisan, learn to cobble or make your own weapons. The world is truly up to you and what you and those around you make of it. If you have a difficult time meeting people, try joining a House and/or Meeting Hall Organization.
So have fun, stay safe and remember at all times that you're a paladin and have a deity on your side!
- Paladin (main article)
- New Players' Guide (a comprehensive beginner's guide for new players of any profession)
- The Art of Roleplaying in GemStone IV (guide)
- Player Guide Contest
- A beginner's guide to combat
- Nairdin's paladin guide (saved post)