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I'm new to D&D so please bear with me...

I am reading the Player's Handbook and one thing seems strange to me in the paladin class, specifically the path of the Oath of the Ancients.

A paladin taking this oath gains the ability to "Turn the Faithless", which turns all fey and fiend creatures in the area unless they save themselves.

Now I understand the fiend creatures, as they are inherently evil and thus are the very thing a paladin fights against, but why fey? As far as I know, fey creatures are not inherently evil, so why would an ancient-oath paladin, who just wants to protect the light of life against the darkness, have a beef with all fey creatures?

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    \$\begingroup\$ To add to the confusion, this source seems to suggest that Oath of the Ancients Paladins tend to be aligned with the fey: "The Oath of the Ancients is as old as the race of elves and the rituals of the druids. Sometimes called fey knights, green knights, or horned knights, [...] they love the beautiful and life-giving things of the world, not necessarily because they believe in principles of honor, courage, and justice. They adorn their armor and clothing with images of growing things—leaves, antlers, or flowers[...]". \$\endgroup\$ – Nat Mar 3 '18 at 20:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Nat: exactly, the same is written in the Player's Handbook, it makes it look like they are actually aligned with fey creatures, hence my confusion... \$\endgroup\$ – Mahana Mar 3 '18 at 22:14
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There are evil fey. The green hag and sea hag are evil fey, while the night hag is considered a fiend. This is a change from earlier editions of the game, where hags were monstrous humanoids. In the Eberron setting, all hags are considered fiends. These enemies are the primary reason why a paladin would need such an ability.

The paladin may also occasionally come into conflict with non-evil fey, such as the neutral dryad and satyr. A good paladin is unlikely to come into need to use their power against good fey, but technically still has that power. Fey is a very small category of creatures, so the addition of fey to the paladin's ability is not a massive power boost.

There is also a thematic link between fey and fiends, both being traditionally weak to metals such as silver or cold iron. A hero equipped to defeat fiends is also well-equipped to defeat fey.

We must also consider that this paladin oath is ancient, and its ability to turn evil fey with the power of nature may have been much more relevant in the long-forgotten past. We can only assume from the relative scarcity of such creatures today that Oath of the Ancients paladins were successful.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Might be worth mentioning that Fey of all kinds are mostly chaotic, and even good ones are mischievous and a nuisance without necessarily being malevolent. So you can turn them away to relieve stress without necessarily having to kill them. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Mar 3 '18 at 20:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ok, this makes sense to me. Seeing as turning them does not necessarily hurt them, I could think of this as the paladin sort of asserting his dominance against them on the battlefield without needing to resort to violence in order to keep the mischievous fey at bay... \$\endgroup\$ – Mahana Mar 3 '18 at 22:27
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Because Fey are invasive species and Oath of the Ancient paladin’s are fundamentalist environmentalists

Fey belong in the Feywild or Aborea or somewhere other than here. When an OotA discovers them she sets about destroying them as she would any other blight on nature.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This is actually somewhat true in the Eberron setting. The druids in ancient times fought specifically against extraplanar incursion. Those who still follow the ancient teachings work to protect planar boundaries closed. The grim and fluid nature of alignment in that setting means any fey might be the enemy of light and good. \$\endgroup\$ – Quadratic Wizard Mar 3 '18 at 23:42
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Until they come out with some official source of what and how the Oaths actually work answers will be speculation and opinion based.

That said in the case of Oath of the Ancients don't think of it as Good versus Evil, since they have removed alignment restrictions and allow a Chaotic paladin to take an Oath which would be anathema to a chaotic character, but I digress.

Think of this as more of Order versus Chaos. A great many Fey are chaotic and the Paladins are described as Lawful (and mostly good) in the source material. So the way I explain this away is that these particular paladins mediate between the Prime and the Feywild and keep intrusions and mischief to a minimum as well as dealing with malevolent Fey such as Hags and Redcaps.

Again, until a source material addresses the issues with the descriptive text versus the class powers and lack of direction on the Paladins we will just have to speculate.

I do know they removed alignment restrictions to make them more "playable" by people that didn't want to play "Lawful Stupid" but I think that was a failure of either the player, the DM or both in understanding what the Paladin was originally and how you could actually play Lawful Good.

You had great power but you had some restrictions (obligatory Spider-Man reference not withstanding). Originally you had to have extraordinary ability scores (you once had to roll your stats before you could choose your class sometimes you could not qualify for the one you might want) they had the most restrictions in the game but were one of the most powerful.

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I'm not quite sure, but some fey such as hags are inherently evil, though I have no idea why it would apply to all fey. In the PHB, page 86-87 it details the Oath of the Ancients, and the book doesn't give any more information on the subject that I could find. Hopefully someone else knows!

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    \$\begingroup\$ Paladin just has issues in general for their description leaning one way and no restrictions to actually follow it. I believe it was mostly a hold over or direct transfer from 4th which abandoned some of the reasoning that made various classes what they were. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Mar 3 '18 at 18:49

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