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Ah, Dragon #106.

I would dread / love seeing this cover show up at the gaming table because it invariably meant someone had or wanted a character to be one of the 7 alternate paladin classes. Somehow I never saw the alternate beefed up ranger rules requested – always the alternate paladins.


I should add that this was “back in the day” when my local groups (in several cities over that time) all operated on the basis that you could transport your character from DM to DM without issue. If you were using an alt.class then (anything not from the core rule books) you would have to get approval on the class, but everything else was considered cool.

But anyways – this issue contained seven alternate paladin classes. The traditional Lawful Good Paladin had been around forever, and the Lawful Evil Anti-Paladin made an early appearance in the pages of Dragon magazine (and was reprinted in the truly epic “Best of the Dragon vol 2”). But here we had 7 more holy warriors, one for each alignment other than LG and CE. And they weren’t just quite and easy rewrites of the Paladin class. Each had some abilities in common with the Paladin or Anti-Paladin, but they came with their own faiths, roles and even whole new religions, and a pile of alternate abilities. So people would want to play one of these seven alt.paladins.

More often than not, the Illrigger.

Sure, the Paramander and the Lyan had interest, the reality was that most players who brought this wanted to be a super-powered evil character but realized that the ol’ Anti-Paladin was just not all that viable for inclusion in an adventuring party, whereas the heavily codified Lawful aspects of the Illrigger made it a more “group-friendly” class. And the fact that a mid-level Illrigger casts both magic user and clerical spells also swung the balance distinctly in their favour. Not tomention his thief abilities. Or the ability to assassinate opponents if he has surprise. And of course they are explicitly devil-worshipers for that extra tasty rebellion in the face of the 80’s Satanic Panic.

Paladins for all alignments got a makeover during the 3.0 to 3.5 transition in two issues of Dragon Magazine – and while they had more consistency than the AD&D1e alt.paladins, they just didn’t have the variety of concepts and cool powers.

Alright… I admit it. I had an Illrigger character also. Devorrun the Runt, a hunchbacked wannabe-Elric with an addiction to fiendish mind-altering powders and a crackling black-iron electric morning star.