What’s it mean to be a champion? If we’re talking about American football, it’s winning the Super Bowl (or the Superb Owl if you’re afraid of litigation).
Eating a whole mess of hot dogs over Memorial Day weekend can also make you a champion. Or, you can just play your Pathfinder Second Edition Champion character and call it a day!
When it comes to tabletop role-playing games, there can be a lot of in-fighting, especially on the web. There are people who will defend Dungeons and Dragons to the ends of the Earth, while others will refuse to touch it with a ten-foot pole, citing Pathfinder’s superiority. And then there are lesser-known tabletop games like Power Outage, Tales from the Loop, and Mutants & Masterminds.
Who is the REAL tabletop RPG champion?
In my opinion, it’s one of those things that doesn’t need a definition. Just like video game console wars or comparing consoles to PCs, at the end of the day everybody has their preferences. We should just leave it at that. Appreciate the tabletop gaming systems that are out there and understand that they all excel at different things. No need to get worked up about it!
Now, I’ll get off my soapbox and talk about the Pathfinder Second Edition Champion class! Paladin is rolled up into the Champion, so consider this your premier paladin resource. Here at Nerds on Earth, we like to provide a one-stop shop for all of your character concept needs.
Just like the previous articles, I’m going to list out five character concepts for you to play around with. Each one is accompanied by my newly trademarked term ‘Pathmap’,® which is a list of potential mechanical options you might consider when building the character.
Let’s get to it!
Pathfinder 2nd Edition Champion Class
Champions are your typical ‘good’ heroes. Defenders of the innocent, they follow a strict moral code and uphold the tenets of justice and right. In the Core Rulebook, it is noted only characters with a Good alignment can take on the Champion mantle. Antipaladins aren’t allowed yet, but I’m sure they’ll be added to the game in good time.
Think about Champions as people who protect others. This could mean protecting them from harm, danger, injustice, or corrupting forces. They get their powers from a deity, and they are devoted to upholding that deity’s core doctrine. Oftentimes, Champions are portrayed as ‘goody two-shoes’ or people who refuse to enter gray areas as far as morality is concerned. Most of the time this trope can become exhausting, but it certainly has its place in the character-creation arena.
I want to charge you to think about Champions from a new perspective. They are not morally ambiguous, no, but they’re still people with flaws. Everyone strays from the path, even if it’s only by a step or two. Just don’t step outside the lines too much otherwise you’ll be stripped of your divine powers in favor of someone who’s more worthy.
When there’s somebody important enough to need protection, there’s going to be somebody who’s willing to pay for it. Or maybe it’s not even about the money for you; maybe it’s just the right thing to do. With this high-profile position, you hold a ton of responsibility, and you take pride in your honorable cause.
Are you protecting a well-known noble or someone with less political clout? Maybe you’re part of a guard detail that protects the temple of your deity, or perhaps an aristocrat has been lining your pockets. Better yet, you might be guarding ancient secrets that can’t possibly be brought to the public eye.
Why did you enter a life of servitude, and how did that turn into the pursuit of an adventurer? Do you get personally connected with the people or things you protect, or do you see them only as targets of your watch? Do you work alone or in a group? What kind of protective gear do you wear?
If push comes to shove, are you willing to die for your cause? Have you ever taken an arrow or intercepted a swing meant for someone else? What would happen if you found out the person you were protecting was morally askew? Are you selfless? Have you thwarted assassination attempts? Did any of those involve killing? How do you deal with the mental anguish that comes with taking a life?
- Cause: Paladin (LG)
- Deity: Iomedae
- Divine Ally: Shield
- Ability Scores: Strength, Constitution
- Skills: Heraldry Lore, Athletics, Survival
- Champion Feats: Ranged Reprisal, Shining Oath (2nd), Aura of Courage (4th), Shield Warden (6th), Quick Block (8th), Shield of Reckoning (10th), Divine Wall (12th), Aura of Life (14th), Shield of Grace (16th), Celestial Form (18th), Shield Paragon (20th)
You were baptized in the blood of your enemies. You were forged in the chaotic fires of battle. You were groomed with the spiked comb of death. That last one isn’t really a thing, but it kind of sounds cool.
A master of weaponry and an artist of battle, you have fought countless hours in the sands of the arena. You aren’t a criminal, not like the majority of the combatants. And you certainly aren’t in it for glory. But something in your past spurs your bloodlust, and the gladiator ring is the only place where you can kill with honor. At least you know that the lives you are ending have evil in their blood.
That’s how you justify it, at least.
What happened in your past that caused your anger? Why have you turned to the divine for redemption, when you easily could have become a barbarian? How do you control your bloodlust if you have urges outside the ring? Can you say with 100% certainty that your actions haven’t gone against your new divine code?
Do you have a moniker that you go by in the ring for the people to recognize you? Do you actually kill the people that you best, or do you show them mercy? If it’s the latter, do you try to convert them to change their ways? Have you ever fought anyone that you know was wrongly accused? How did that end up? Is there payment for winning your fights?
- Cause: Liberator (CG)
- Deity: Desna
- Divine Ally: Blade
- Ability Scores: Dexterity, Strength
- Skills: Gladiatorial Lore, Acrobatics, Deception
- Champion Feats: Unimpeded Step, Fiendsbane Oath (2nd), Divine Health (4th), Attack of Opportunity (6th), Sense Evil (8th), Devoted Focus (10th), Liberating Stride (12th), Anchoring Aura (14th), Instrument of Zeal (16th), Celestial Form (18th), Radiant Blademaster (20th)
You’ve been on the other side, either fighting alongside the villains or living as a lawbreaker. You’re tough as nails and have a bevvy of scars or tattoos that constantly remind you of your life of crime. But you’ve come through and seen the error of your ways, choosing to devote yourself to a deity.
Maybe you narrowly avoided the hangman’s noose, or perhaps you’ve spent years behind bars. Having all that time to think changed you, but others might not be so convinced in the authenticity of your change-of-heart. You will prove them wrong. You have to.
Did you commit a single crime or many small ones? What happened that led to your capture? How did you get out of prison, or how did you avoid your death sentence? Was there anybody fighting to keep you from dying? Did that person eventually become the one who converted you to a more religious, moral life?
What skills did your life of crime impart? Do you ever feel the itch to go back to those days? How do you cope? Are there any vices that you picked up to replace picking pockets or mugging strangers? Is there anybody that would recognize you based on a wanted poster? On second thought – were you ever caught? Or have you merely evaded the law under a new identity?
- Cause: Redeemer (NG)
- Deity: Sarenrae
- Divine Ally: Blade
- Ability Scores: Dexterity, Constitution
- Skills: Underworld Lore, Stealth, Thievery
- Champion Feats: Weight of Guilt, Divine Grace (2nd), Aura of Courage (4th), Smite Evil (6th), Second Ally – Shield (8th), Litany Against Sloth (10th), Aura of Faith (12th), Aura of Righteousness (14th), Instrument of Zeal (16th), Celestial Form (18th), Radiant Blademaster (20th)
Too many people are out there who need help. Whether that translates to shelter, food, clothing–you want to be the hand that reaches out in reassurance. You’ve made the commitment to assist others, even if they’re too proud to ask for help themselves. Compassion and empathy are the two pillars supporting your moral compass. You’ll sooner sleep blanket-less on the floor than leave someone out in the cold.
You strive to work for the greater good, and you know that the only way society can improve as a whole is if everybody’s quality of life improves. After all, society is no better than the sum of its parts. From the slums, to the warrens, to the soup kitchens, you do what you can to alleviate suffering and be the miracle that people are praying for.
Where do you volunteer your time and talents? Do you prefer to keep your helping anonymous or do you take a slight amount of pride from receiving thanks? Do you offer your assistance to everyone, or are there people that you would refuse to help? What reasons might those be?
Do you donate a certain percentage of the proceeds from your adventuring? Are you too proud to accept charity in return? Are you associated with a certain faction that specializes in altruism? Why do you do the things that you do?
- Cause: Redeemer (NG)
- Deity: Shelyn
- Divine Ally: Shield
- Ability Scores: Wisdom, Dexterity
- Skills: Cooking Lore, Medicine, Arcana
- Champion Feats: Deity’s Domain, Divine Grace (2nd), Mercy (4th), Shield Warden (6th), Greater Mercy (8th), Devoted Focus (10th), Affliction Mercy (12th), Aura of Righteousness (14th), Shield of Grace (16th), Ultimate Mercy (18th), Shield Paragon (20th)
You are familiar with two languages: Common and Legalese. Wordy documents filled with complex jargon might intimidate other people, but not you. Clauses and riders are your specialty, and don’t even get me started on sub-clauses.
There are several reasons why people get into law, but yours is simple; you want to strip away the red tape that prevents people from being free. Everyone is equal, regardless of heritage or ancestry. Oftentimes your fight is in a courtroom, but you aren’t afraid to swing your blade to quell oppression firsthand. As skilled as you are, you know that laws can only do so much in establishing a new baseline of rights. Sometimes you have to work the streets, protest, and be the change that you want to see.
Besides laws dealing with freedom, do you have a specialty in law? Where were you educated? Are you a skilled writer, or do you mainly propose the ideas? Do you face a lot of opposition with your viewpoints? How did you get involved in politics to begin with? Do you actively fight corruption within the system? Is there a lot of red tape that you have to avoid?
Are you like Daredevil, in that you work the books during the day but walk the streets by night? Have you ever applied pressure to other parties to ensure your laws were enacted? What do you do if a law doesn’t pass? Are you a government official, or more of an activist? How does religion work into the equation? Do you see progress from your actions, or are you often frustrated with the rate of return?
- Cause: Liberator (CG)
- Deity: Cayden Cailean
- Divine Ally: Steed
- Ability Scores: Charisma, Intelligence
- Skills: Government Lore, Diplomacy, Intimidation
- Champion Feats: Deity’s Domain, Divine Grace (2nd), Mercy (4th), Loyal Warhorse (6th), Advanced Deity’s Domain (8th), Imposing Destrier (10th), Blade of Justice (12th), Divine Reflexes (14th), Auspicious Mount (16th), Ultimate Mercy (18th), Celestial Mount (20th)
Pathfinder 2E Champion Class – For the Light!
Of course it’s sad to see the Paladin go, but it’s not TRULY gone from our lives. I can’t wait to see what happens when the alignments are opened up and we can see some additional causes/archetypes for the Pathfinder Second Edition Champion class.
As always, take these builds with a grain of salt. I’m not a Pathfinder 2E expert, and these are more based from a story perspective than a combat one. Hopefully you are inspired to take these ideas and run with them. Take them to new heights!
The character concept series continues next week with my FAVORITE class, the Cleric! This class is more than just a heal spell on a stick. Similar to Champions, they can still pack a punch in combat. Don’t sleep on the cleric!