There are a lot of great oxymoron in the universe: virtual reality, old news, living dead, Microsoft Works and my personal favorite, military intelligence. But I never have I heard of a better ironic phrase than Unorthodox Paladin. The 101 page PDF by Le Games engages its readers with six new paladin alterations that are built to be quite different from your typical Paladin and succeed at the task as only Le Games can. Though some of the class builds delve into focused fighter category, many are recognizable as paladin offshoots.
The PDF is well bookmarked and categorized. It contains six paladin classes and 2 prestige classes. There are also 4 short stories, 9 artifacts and six paladin spells. The core classes each have some type of alignment requirement, similar to a paladin, but many are quite different than the lawful good you would expect. The only class that requires a lawful good alignment is the Echo Paladin, the others range depending on their flavor of the class.
Adujicator- Paladin of Nature
Echo Paladin- Paladin of Music
Fist of God- Paladin of Smackdown
Order of the Barbed Cross- Paladin of Punishment
Righteous Paladin ? Paladin of Spreading the Gospel
Vigil Knight- Knightly Paladin.
The artifacts, most of which are gems called Baubles and Urus, all fit well into the Paladin mold. The least attractive part of the book for me are the short stories which I always feel are out of place in a short supplement. The stories do encompass the spirit of the book but it feels like there are one too many.
For the Player
There is a paladin for every flavor. If you never liked that lawful good restriction or the spells, there is something for you in Unorthodox Paladin. My tastes tend to move towards the Adujicator and Order of the Barbed Cross because of their anti-hero paladin designs. I especially liked the spell resistance ability of the Adjuicator and the Iron Conviction ability of the Order.
For the Dungeon Master
Reward that lawful good or trying to do the right thing PC in the party with one of the Azariel artifacts. They are synergy weapons that reward good aligned characters specifically.
The Iron Word
Outside of speculation about 4e, Paladins are the most talked about d20 subject on the net. If you are not happy with the current build or alignment restrictions, many of the classes in Unorthodox Paladins have enough similar abilities and different requirements to fit your palette. Though the stories are a bit weighty the actual material is good. The artifacts towards the end, though powerful, feel as if the writer put a bit of thought into them as opposed to just being tacked on.
LIKED: - enough of a difference in the classes to make the book worthwhile
- nice flavor makes the classes more than a color swap
- the initial artwork for the class is nice
DISLIKED: - don't like some of the raunchier artwork in the publication
- the short stories were too many and too long
- the artifacts are true artifacts, use with caution