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Michael Hopcroft

Classic Fantasy Anti-Paladins

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I remember an article in an old Dragon (forget which one) describing a class referred to as Anti-Paladin, intended to be used by NPCs. He's meant to be the stereotypical moustache-twirling melodrama villain of AD&D, capable of all kinds of nastiness but who tends to flee anything like a fair fight. This wouldn't be much fun in a game based on anything like normal Mythras, but would that work in CF?

Should a GM in CF (who wants to run a game typical of the spirit of the old AD&D) embrace this sort of cliche, or reject it?

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Um...  It sounds like you're asking whether a certain type of play is permissible--or, put another way, what is the correct way to play a game?

I think the proper response to that question may be, "Mu," as in, it's not a properly constructed question, at base.  In the interest of collegiality, though, I'll take a stab at it.

"Should"?  Well, it depends on the outcome you want, which is rather conditional.  If your players enjoy that sort of thing, then, yes, you should; why not?  If they don't appreciate what you term "cliche", then you should not.

On the other hand, there is a sort of opportunity cost to running any particular game:  By choosing an exercise in cliche, am I sucking up valuable time/air/juice that could be (much) better spent on something more original?  In my lifetime, how many hours do I have to spend on this?  How precious is the time with my group?  Is "good enough" actually good enough, or should I try for "better"?

Given the crucial condition of what your players (and you) like, I also don't see what significant difference the rules set could make.  If melodrama is a bummer for you, yet for some reason you play melodrama, then CF is just as bad as Mythras, just as bad as D&D, just as bad as Fate,...  The rules set is not the style (although I do admit that some sets are crafted to support some styles).

Finally, when you say "antipaladin" to me, I don't think of Snidely Whiplash twirling a mustache.  I think of death knights.  I think of the goddamned Witch-King of Angmar.  If you can't see that sort of antipaladin fitting into Mythras, I'm stumped. :-)

 

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4 hours ago, Michael Hopcroft said:

I remember an article in an old Dragon (forget which one) describing a class referred to as Anti-Paladin, intended to be used by NPCs. He's meant to be the stereotypical moustache-twirling melodrama villain of AD&D, capable of all kinds of nastiness but who tends to flee anything like a fair fight. This wouldn't be much fun in a game based on anything like normal Mythras, but would that work in CF?

Should a GM in CF (who wants to run a game typical of the spirit of the old AD&D) embrace this sort of cliche, or reject it?

Why couldn't this work in Mythras?  I'm envisioning a machiavellian figure, maybe in Mythic Constantinople, who is "untouchable" because of social/political connections (and likely enough, a bunch of well-paid elite mercenary bodyguards who will mow you down with AP-superiority AND high skills).

But as Matt_E says, I think the "AntiPaladin" is a bit more of a mystical figure on the Dark side of things, as a Paladin has mystical connections on the Light side...

 

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5 hours ago, Michael Hopcroft said:

I remember an article in an old Dragon (forget which one) describing a class referred to as Anti-Paladin, intended to be used by NPCs. He's meant to be the stereotypical moustache-twirling melodrama villain of AD&D, capable of all kinds of nastiness but who tends to flee anything like a fair fight. This wouldn't be much fun in a game based on anything like normal Mythras, but would that work in CF?

Should a GM in CF (who wants to run a game typical of the spirit of the old AD&D) embrace this sort of cliche, or reject it?

Not sure why it wouldn’t work in Mythras. Take the right passions and skills to emulate it. Also could work in CF with a minor amount of tweaking. 

Should you? No idea. That’s up to you and your group. I see a great place for arch villains in my games, but might not work for yours

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There is definitely a place for the Anti-Paladin in Classic Fantasy, as I have already written up the class for the Companion. It is based on the Dragon Magazine version, with the one exception being that I down-play the mustache twirling Snidely Whiplash feel in favor of a terrifying death knight. They lack all of the honor typical of the paladin, even so much as possessing the back stab abilities of the thief. They can control undead and even lead undead armies.

They're nasty.        

Rod

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18 hours ago, threedeesix said:

... They lack all of the honor typical of the paladin, even so much as possessing the back stab abilities of the thief...        

I always see it as a sort of amoral ultimate-practicality outlook.  Why "fight fair" and risk losing, when you can stab 'em with an envenomed blade and let 1HP of damage + poison-effects do the job?  Why stab 'em from the front and risk THEIR blade (and who knows but THEY might have blade venom too!!!) when you can backstab 'em?   (N.B. best of all is to envenom an arrow...)   etc.

 

Edited by g33k
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And let no puppy go unkicked!

I am liking these ideas. I can't but think of these guys as the ones leading armies to attack the Civilized Kingdoms(tm) in pursuit of their own glory. The ones who offer to Protect the King and then throw him off the parapets first chance they get.

I see the Classic Fantasy equivalent of Starscream. He'll be obedient to an obvious superior up to a point, but is always out for himself first and foremost.

Or you could make him passionately loyal to the point of utter fanaticism, which doesn't change the abilities and makes him just as hard for the PCs to manage.

 

Edited by Michael Hopcroft
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