Home / Delve into the Depths in the Kobold Blog / Paladin Orders, The Cerulean Duty

Paladin Orders, The Cerulean Duty

Paladin Orders, The Cerulean Duty

In the current edition of the world’s most popular roleplaying game, paladins get the short end of the stick in two ways.

First, paladins don’t have the greatest reputation with the player base. Previous editions typecast them as lawful good killjoys! In reality, paladins and their religious orders are an important part of fantasy settings, filling critical roles within society.

Second, the role of paladin orders is poorly explored in 5th Edition. A paladin’s order is equivalent to a cleric’s church, providing guidance and support for adventuring adherents.

Fret not, brave adventurer! By considering the six following questions, you can create a compelling paladin order for your players or for your own character to join.

Read about more paladin orders in the archive!

Gabi is creating an order using the Oath of the Annihilator from Deep Magic. They want to play the antithesis of your classic paladin, but playing well within party dynamics. They also want to play a recently-knighted character who may look for a squire in future adventures.

Question 1. How old is the paladin order?

The order’s age and longevity may inform your interactions, as well as create tension in the story that you tell with your fellow PCs and GM. Consider the following:

  • Older orders may have more resources to bring to bear, while younger orders may struggle to support their paladins in the field.
  • Older orders may focus on the way the things have always been done, while newer orders are less entrenched in their practices.
  • Older orders may have experienced, powerful leaders, while newer orders may have room for rapid advancement through the ranks.

Gabi’s order dates back to antiquity. The order is composed of pairs of knights and squires, and it has always been very small because its teachings are favored neither by the aristocracy nor the gentry.

Question 2. Which tenet is most important?

While they follow each tenet of their oaths, the order exemplifies one specific tenet. Consider the following:

  • How does society view this tenet? Is it outdated or unpopular, or perhaps favored by a corrupt government?
  • How does this tenet influence how your order operates in the community?
  • How might you struggle to uphold this tenet as a paladin adventuring in the field?

Gabi wants to focus on the tenet to maintain the balance. The order focuses on strengthening those in power so they can fight what lies ahead. This sometimes means that Gabi’s knight will argue to leave behind a wounded comrade.

Question 3. Who founded your order, and why are they renowned?

Many paladins grow up hearing tales of the heroes who founded and sustained the order. More seasoned paladins derive inspiration from the founders’ trials and tribulations. Consider the following:

  • Was your order founded by a single paladin or a group?
  • Are the founders alive? If not, how did they die?
  • What are the founders renowned for? Had the founders already established the order, or did this precipitate the order’s founding?
  • What lessons can you learn from the founders?

Gabi decides that the order was founded by a knight—Sir Adalwolf Duchenwatz and his squire, Emmett Tzendelmann. The pair were among the defenders of the besieged city-state of Velaguur when the monarch thought to surrender to the invaders. Sir Adalwolf slew the cowardly monarch and the pair marshaled the defenses. Two months later, the invaders abandoned the siege and Velaguur grew into a prosperous nation.

Question 4. Why is your order (still) relevant?

Paladin orders that don’t remain relevant can’t attract new adherents. Perhaps more crucially, the order can’t get support from citizenry, wealth donors, or the government —all of whom the order relies on for support.

  • Does the order maintain purpose by meeting a critical societal function, such as education or proselytizing?
  • Does the order derive relevance by filling an unmet social need, such as soup kitchens for the hungry or orphanages for the parentless?
  • Has the order struggled to remain relevant? If so, how might you breathe new life into the ranks?

Gabi decides that the order struggles with relevance. The aristocrats and nobles don’t wish to promote knights known for slaying cowardly rulers, and the gentry fear that these knights will usher them toward meaningless deaths in faraway battlefields. Instead, these knights are forced into the adventuring life because no one lets them stay in one place for too long. Gabi decides that their knight must work to break the cycle of distrust.

Question 5. What is a relic of your order?

Each order has a number of relics that have been used by past paladins—and maybe even the founder.

  • What does the relic do? Is the relic magical or mundane?
  • Has the relic been lost? If yes, when and where was it lost?
  • What would happen if the relic fell into the wrong hands?

Gabi decides the teachings of Sir Adalwolf were once collected into two volumes. Many were bland platitudes, but the knight began to prophesy of an impending apocalypse late in his life. Only scraps remain of these volumes, but it’s rumored that those who find certain teachings can cast cataclysmic magics. (For a list of such spells, see Apocalypse Magic in Appendix C of Deep Magic).

Question 6. What is the order’s darkest secret?

Like any organization, your paladin order has skeletons in its closet. It will use any means necessary—from intimidation, skulduggery, or Turn Undead—to keep them out of the public eye.

  • What is this secret?
  • Is the secret confined to the past or is it still ongoing?
  • How great is the shame if this secret came to light?
  • How might the secret be rectified?

Gabi decides that Sir Adalwolf was not the only member of the order to prophesy. As the last leader of the order lay dying, wounds dripping with demonic, poisonous ichor, he whispered that he foresaw a great invasion from the planes below, and that a member of the order would sacrifice everything to save the world.

After this, give your order an evocative name and provide it to your GM for comment and use in your game.

Gabi names their order “The Cerulean Duty”, after the blue banners that the knights fly. They email this to their GM, who thanks Gabi for their ideas in helping sculpt their character and the campaign.

About Benjamin Eastman

Benjamin L. Eastman was introduced to D&D by his four closest friends—who immediately betrayed his trust by sacrificing his first character to a demonic artifact. Undeterred, he’s played all manner of RPGs in the intervening years. In addition to writing Warlock Lairs and monsters for Kobold Press, he’s contributed to the Stargate RPG and Americana, and co-authored DMs Guild adventures including Baby Tarrasque. He is perhaps proudest of the bar brawl—his first published monster in the Creature Codex

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join the Kobold Courier and Earn Loot!

Stay informed with the newest Kobold Press news and updates delivered to your inbox weekly. Join now and receive a PDF copy of Caverns of the Spore Lord

Join The Kobold Courier


Be like Swolbold. Stay up to date with the newest Kobold Press news and updates delivered to your inbox twice a month.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
Scroll to Top