Wednesday, April 13, 2011

K: Knights and the lack thereof.

My campaigns have always had a curious deficit of the knightly persuasion. Not only has there never been any PC of the paladin-ish type, there has never been any characters remotely resembling a knightly or even vaguely chivalric ideal in my games.

... No, I lie. The party leader of my longest-running campaign was a remarkably honourable and almost knightly fellow, when I stop to think about it; rather an impressive feat, seeing as the gentleman in question was a thief. (he would be the unfortunate soul who was dressed in the fighter-mage's gown at the temple-warming party.)

Nonetheless -- and this is despite a fair few games having all the themes and trappings and even with some players being disappointed without them -- no one has ever actually played the archetype. Or even make small noises towards considering the idea.

Now, I myself am quite partial to paladins if not to all of the sometimes very culturally-specific trappings of the stereotypical knightly behaviour; many of the characters I enjoying reading about, making wander about in a video game or that I've written arguably have "lawful (good)" traits or would fall right in the middle. But I haven't played a paladin either, in the rare few times I've managed to be a player ... Frustratinglyamusingly enough, a goodly chunk of the reason is that the DMs in question have essentially discouraged it. They'd all fallen into the "paladin = lawful stupid arsehole" trap and there was likely no convincing them otherwise.

But in hindsight, I do find it likely that if I had tried to run a character along those lines I would have been disappointed -- the archetype, unless juggled veeeery~ carefully, doesn't really lend itself well to the behaviour of the "typical" adventuring party. And bending the intentions and fun of my fellow players as a group just so I could have my shining knight, frankly, just wouldn't have been very knightly.

2 comments:

retrorpg said...

All knights have tarnished armor at times... I think that's the beauty of playing the Knight/Paladin. The tension between striving for honor and upholding good mirrors a real world struggle. It is a very Archetypal experience to correctly play the Chivalric Warrior. In doing so, you look into the darker places of the Psyche and the higher realms of virtue.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that over all the years that I've been an RPG player and ref my cohorts all had a decidedly metal or maybe you could say outlaw point of view on all things chivalrous. So knights in my games seem to always come off like thugs in plate.

I think that anyone who is able to roleplay a "paragon of lawful good" character while staying between the ditches of implausibility and players' default assumptions has pulled off something pretty darn sophisticated.