We were considering doing shamans this week for Do It Different, with a bit of a nod to the Draenei. But really, the shaman isn’t the draenei’s archetypal class – It’s the orc’s. So we’ll do a good long look at the shaman then. But the paladin is definitely a draenei symbol. (And a human, dwarvish and blood elven symbol, sure.) So how do you do it different?
Stereotype: The Paladin is a knight templar, in perfect health, devoted to his church and protecting his people. He lives by a very strict code of conduct and believes in the militant defense of his faith. May or may not be sympathetic to the Scarlet Crusade if human – Probably not if any other race. Has little time for deceit or trickery, and believes the straight ahead march into battle to be morally superior to more diplomatic tacts. Sees the world as unquestionably black and white. Deeply religious and proud of his religion, never failing for a moment to win greater glory for the Holy Light.
Alternatives: The Combat Medic: Forget every stereotype of the muscled, chiseled paladin – the Combat Medic is slender and a little weak, and certainly doesn’t lug around the classic two-handed hammer that is practically the paladin’s symbol. Instead, the Combat Medic is driven by his faith in the Holy Light, a belief that shines through and gives him the strength to wear heavy mail and plate armor, to endure the shots and blows of war, to hold down a soldier thrashing about in the throes of pain and heal him. He speaks quietly and a little slowly, considering every word. When needed, he does not hesitate to take the fight to the enemy, but prefers not to take any glory for doing so. Ultimately, he answers to the Light. Best Talent Specialisation: Holy, naturally. As a side note, this archetype works perfectly well for the Blood Elves. You may want to substitute his devotion to the Light, however, with a bitter determination to succeed despite his weaknesses.
The Grizzled Old Soldier: It used to be so much simpler. Way back when, this man (or woman – while the archetype here is the man, I think a female twist would work great here) was fighting the red-skinned freaks that stormed from into their world. And when the call went out to retake what had been lost, not only did he answer that call but found meaning and truth in the Holy Light, taking up the vows and becoming a paladin in the Silver Hand. Somehow he survived the Third War too, but this one shook him. He can’t understand Arthas’s betrayal, the experience of fighting alongside the orcs and now being allied to those shady, secretive Night Elves who don’t even worship the Light! (Well, the gnomes don’t much either, but the gnomes have been friends of the dwarves for eons.) And yet the Grizzled Old Soldier isn’t a bigotted, ranting dissenter. He may not understand it, and he may not like it, but he damn well understands duty. His loyalty and strength in battle are an inspiration to the soldiers who serve with him, and when they need a reassuring presence on the battlefield, he’s the man they look to. Best Talent Specialisation: Either Retribution or Protection if you want to go deep, but a balance between all three trees might be even better. The point of the Grizzled Old Soldier is that you can rely on him, and he always comes through – Being able to do a little bit of everything feeds into that idea nicely. Again, this is written from a human/dwarf perspective, but it works fine for either the Blood Elves or the Draenei too; just substitute their crises and history in. If you’re playing a Blood Elf, then you should probably go Retribution and make this character a bit more vengeful and bitter. If you’re playing a draenei, definitely go protection.
Small Towns Minister: Not every town has a priest. Tiny shires dot the edges of the Alliance’s lands, each one with maybe a few families working on their farms, wide distances splitting them from each other. Someone has to minister to these people, and this is that person. She rides from town to town, doing a bit of everything that needs doing, whether that’s helping with harvest or midwifing a difficult birth. Having good first-aid skills is a must in this position, but the most important skill is remembering names and situations, because you minister to a lot of people. They’re your responsibility. When danger threatens, she’s the first one on that front line to protect the people. When sickness consumes, she’s the caretaker who coaxes people (and sometimes animals) back to health. And when injustice is done, she is judge, jury and executioner – Meting out punishment on her own terms. This isn’t a priest’s job – She has little but contempt for those library-bound theologians. This is a true paladin’s duty, being a priest of the rugged frontier; a defender of goodness among the best, but most isolated, of people. Best Talent Specialisation: Protection. While healing is a good second tree to develop, the heart of this archetype is in protection. And yes, this archetype probably works best with dwarves or humans – But a draenei trying to find the rest of her people, scattered to the four winds following the Exodar’s crash, could also riff on this a little.