Complete Paladins Handbook

Published 1989.
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Havard
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Complete Paladins Handbook

Post by Havard » Tue Aug 22, 2017 3:20 pm

What do you guys think about this book? I think by the time this one came out we had already started loosing interest in the Complete Series. The Kits did not strike me as too interesting either. What are your opinions on this book?

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Re: Complete Paladins Handbook

Post by Cthulhudrew » Tue Aug 22, 2017 4:51 pm

I pretty much agree with you. I think the Ranger's Handbook was the last I actually purchased, though I did read through a friend's Paladin Handbook. I remember being disappointed that they didn't take a little bit more leeway with the kits and class, and veer a bit more into "alternative" paladin types. By which I mean that I really enjoyed the Bard's Handbook (and to a lesser extent Ranger) in that the kits were in many ways variant Bard classes and not just Bards- they swapped out or added abilities that made each one a very unique sort of bard. Whereas the Paladin kits, IIRC, were essentially just a few special abilities added onto the standard Paladin class. The skills and backgrounds added some depth, but there wasn't a lot to distinguish them otherwise.

Add to that the fact that the Paladin was and is historically kind of a difficult class to pull off due to its ethos and myriad restrictions.
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Re: Complete Paladins Handbook

Post by Havard » Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:28 pm

Cthulhudrew wrote:I pretty much agree with you. I think the Ranger's Handbook was the last I actually purchased, though I did read through a friend's Paladin Handbook. I remember being disappointed that they didn't take a little bit more leeway with the kits and class, and veer a bit more into "alternative" paladin types. By which I mean that I really enjoyed the Bard's Handbook (and to a lesser extent Ranger) in that the kits were in many ways variant Bard classes and not just Bards- they swapped out or added abilities that made each one a very unique sort of bard. Whereas the Paladin kits, IIRC, were essentially just a few special abilities added onto the standard Paladin class. The skills and backgrounds added some depth, but there wasn't a lot to distinguish them otherwise.

Add to that the fact that the Paladin was and is historically kind of a difficult class to pull off due to its ethos and myriad restrictions.
It is interesting that you mention the Bard's Handbook. I really liked that book's approach and it was definitely one of the better in the late era of the Complete Handbook Series. I think it would have been more interesting to see a similar approach with the Paladin Class. As you say, this was always a tricky class. I do like how 5th Edition (and to some extent 3E's Unearthed Arcana) looked at the Paladin Class. I think some of those ideas could have worked for 2nd Edition as well.

The Kits in this book are:
  • True Paladin
  • Chevalier
  • Divinate
  • Envoy
  • Equerry
  • Errant
  • Expatriate
  • Ghosthunter
  • Inquisitor
  • Medician
  • Militarist
  • Skyrider
  • Squire
  • Votary
  • Wyrmslayer
-Havard

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Re: Complete Paladins Handbook

Post by agathokles » Tue Aug 22, 2017 7:00 pm

I think the Complete series books are a mixed lot. Some are definitely interesting and useful, others not so much. The CPH has some interesting points -- e.g., in identifying the nature and purpose of the Paladin class. On the other hand, the kits are not so good. It is not that they are badly designed, as much as that it is the Paladin class that is not especially amenable to Kits. The reason, IMO, is that the Paladin class is already quite specialized, and fits a very specific model, contrary to its parent class, the Fighter.
In general, Kits work better on classes that are not so specialized, such as the Thief or Fighter. They don't work as well on classes that are already quite specific, such as the Paladin, or that have other means to characterize -- e.g., Clerics have gods and Wizards have specialization schools.

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Re: Complete Paladins Handbook

Post by Cthulhudrew » Tue Aug 22, 2017 7:35 pm

Giampaolo puts it much better than my ramblings did. Yes- I think it is the very specialized nature of the default paladin that didn't lend itself well to a Complete book of its own, or at least in the manner it was presented. Similarly, I thought the Necromancer's Handbook was not a very good one (albeit that one was intended mainly for GMs).

What might have been interesting is to see a book for "subs" of the 2E Class types- ie, where the Fighter, Paladin, and Ranger were all considered subs of the Warrior Class, you could have had a book that explored some other subclasses.
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Re: Complete Paladins Handbook

Post by Big Mac » Thu Aug 24, 2017 12:02 am

Havard wrote:I think by the time this one came out we had already started loosing interest in the Complete Series.
The proliferation of the Complete books, was what made me decide to give up buying D&D books, back in the day. But I'm more willing to reconsider looking at these books now. I've bought some of the ones that I skipped before.
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Re: Complete Paladins Handbook

Post by Armchair Gamer » Sat Aug 26, 2017 8:46 pm

I'm actually rather fond of it as a guide for 'how to do knights in shining armor in D&D' and other bits of flavor. Not so much the mechanical bits, but I've never really had a chance to make use of them.

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Re: Complete Paladins Handbook

Post by rendclaw » Sun Aug 27, 2017 6:45 am

Armchair Gamer wrote:I'm actually rather fond of it as a guide for 'how to do knights in shining armor in D&D' and other bits of flavor. Not so much the mechanical bits, but I've never really had a chance to make use of them.
That's exactly why I love the CPH. It took a class that has been the source of player/DM arguments for years and gave them the tools to create a paladin they both could live with, with fewer points of contention. The Code of Ennoblement chapter is worth the cover price alone. Do I wish the Plethora of Paladins Dragon article got a 2e rework and slotted in the book? Hell yes, it would have made the paladin class a LOT more interesting, but that's all right, as I took the time to turn those Paladins of Alignment into kits. But I think the Handbook that far and away was the most disappointing was the Priest's Handbook. Its not even close, really.
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Re: Complete Paladins Handbook

Post by genghisdon » Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:28 pm

I didn't have this one until getting the core rules disks, thus it's use was minimal for me BITD.

I like kits in general, but the kits are more or less average/mediocre. What I did find radical about CPH was the discussion on paladin powers, the dispel magic/circle of power effect in particular. While I think the AD&D subclasses got severely nerfed in the change to 2e, and so like giving them some bones in return to make them not suck, that part is over the top nutso to me, and at the same time, mostly useless for fixing the class.

It is a mixed bag/average overall. D+ or C-

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