What does a life of conviction and commitment look like?
At Coaches & Dragons, the first thought that comes to mind is the Paladin – heroes bound by an oath or code of ethics defined by an order, deity, or personal beliefs. These heroes intimately understand the power of their oath, including what it requires of them in return. Perhaps more so than any other class or archetype, Paladins understand their values. As a result, a Paladin’s choices are not without cost, but they are certainly easier when values and principles are clear.
While the rules they have bound themselves to might seem stuffy, or do-goody, or just plain boring, holding Paladins in this light denies them the richness of their character and the power of their convictions. The gray area of decision-making becomes a little more black and white and their personal commitment outweighs any external pressures to deviate from their path. But, when they are acting in alignment with their values, nothing can stand in their way. #SMITE
Let’s say a Paladin takes an oath where one tenet is dedicated to visibility: the oathbound must commit to being a visible champion for good in the world and proudly display their intentions for evil lurks in the cowardice of shadow.
On the one hand, you can see how such a hero might walk into a new town: they lead the party, head held high, and announce their name, their personal dedication, and their personal intention to everyone they meet. They might polish their armor so it gleams in the sun or carry a torch so that they are always cloaked in light. They attract attention in service to their oath.
But, what happens when the party needs to sneak into the lair of a local crime boss? What would that same Paladin do? The oath presents a choice: violate their oath or stand their ground.
The party may become frustrated at the Paladin’s inflexibility, but the Paladin themself experiences a great amount of freedom and no energy of theirs is spent navigating the decision-making limbo of what to do.
Paladins are able to set a boundary, unapologetically, as a result of their oath.
The unspoken story of the oath is how the Paladin arrived at the commitment – or how they might stray as they learn more about themselves. If they are able to see the good that can come from working in the shadows or that good people operate there for the safety of themselves and others, a Paladin might evolve their views. They might expand on their oath – or just carry a small light as a requirement for sleuthing in the dark.
It is possible that each of us can live our lives by a code of conduct like the Paladins of our favorite roleplaying games. In doing so, we can create our personal guidelines for how we want to live, set healthy boundaries on what actions we take, and make decisions with conviction knowing that they are in alignment with who we are committed to become.
Our “oath” can be a commitment to ourselves and one that adapts over time as we change and learn more about who we are and the life that we want to live. Living by such an oath can have its challenges, but it is also a life of integrity that is true to our values and what we believe.
If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.
Stay classy out there!
Autumn & Jerod
Download the Session 11 Notes Here! What's Inside:
Paladins are THE boundary setters
Design your oath to clear your path
Stand strong as your authentic self
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