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Now I know how controversial arshea can be as a deity so this is more of a theory crafting exercise then anything that would be used in an actual campaign. But I found this interesting because arshea is neutral good when you would expect such a deity to be chaotic like calistria, but because they aren't that means a paladin is very much a possibility.

The only question is, what archetype would best fit? I considered the grey paladin and while smite foe makes them more effective in a wide variety of situations, it gives up divine grace as a result defeating a large portion of why paladins are even played.

So, what other paladin archtypes could be seen as something a worshiper of arshea would partake in?

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Arshea is an NG deity of liberty, comfort, and sexuality. None of these is incompatible with anything about being a paladin. Lawful good worshippers are a normal and natural part of Arshea’s flock.

That said, to the extent that a paladin is a champion who seeks to right wrongs, the wrongs that Arshea is most interested righting are people who are downtrodden, repressed or oppressed for being themselves. Thus a paladin of Arshea may have an especial interest in liberation and allowing all the opportunity for self-actualization. Not that any paladin should turn up their nose at such things, but it might be something this paladin would seek out.

None of this is particularly non-Lawful. A Lawful person may believe that a more lawful society is the best way to ensure that everyone is given the opportunity to be themselves, and no one attempts to stop others from being themselves. And anyway, paladins are much more about Good than they are Law: they are Lawful, themselves, but Good is what they champion. A paladin of Arshea would be no different. Gray paladin is not, therefore, a particularly good fit, at least not any more so than for a paladin of any other deity.

There are a few other archetypes that also probably don’t work. An Oath of Chastity certainly does not make sense; Arshea would not want anyone to arbitrarily deny themselves sexual activity that they would otherwise enjoy (and while Arshea would most likely encourage those who are asexual to enjoy their sex-free lives, that’s not really the same thing as “chastity”). The more militant and strict paladins like enforcer or those who take an Oath of Vengeance probably would be a little out of place, too, barring a particular backstory or context.

Many archetypes have to do with protecting certain places or environments, or certain people or professions: those aren’t particularly Arshea’s concerns, so those would only make sense if the paladin had some other reason to pursue them and just happened to worship Arshea.

In contrast, more supportive archetypes feel more on-brand. That could be healing (e.g. hospitaler), but I like even better those that are about buffing (e.g. divine defender, sacred shield). The more “diplomatic” archetypes (e.g. legate, tranquil guardian) are also fitting, since Arshea wants all people to embrace themselves and their neighbors willingly and cheerfully, and that will take some convincing.

I think personally I would look at going with a combination of two compatible archetypes:

  1. Perhaps the most fitting archetype is to take an Oath of the People’s Council, with its emphasis on lifting up the people around the paladin. Mechanically, getting basic music is an interesting twist, and you do keep divine grace.

  2. Divine defender is compatible with that Oath, and shared defense has some mechanical similarity to basic music from Oath of the People’s Council. The divine bond with an armor is also fitting—I imagine Arshea’s blessing would also allow the paladin to customize the armor’s aesthetics and individuality to better suit the paladin.

Losing smite is a big deal, though. I’m not at all sure it’s optimal. I choose it primarily because it’s fitting, and secondarily because it means the character will necessarily be built very differently from other paladins, which seems appropriate when the goal is to emphasize this particular deity.

But really, just about any paladin—again, aside from that Oath of Chastity, and those dedicated to other gods—can worship Arshea, and doesn’t need to take any archetype to be a valid champion of Arshea’s causes. Don’t get hung up on Arshea’s sexual focus: ultimately Arshea is about self-expression and the freedom to be yourself. Any paladin can get behind that.

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