Like Chivalry and Sorcery before it, Paladin is a massive book, more than a hundred pages shorter than C&S, but the same width due to the paper being used. The first thing that immediately stands out about Paladin is the side of the book, gilted in the manner of many bibles, it sets the notion for the game to be played before the cover is even lifted.
Originally submitted in the Expansion category, it’s clear immediately from opening the book that it’s a main rule book, and so we gave Chaosium the choice to change the category. There’s an argument to be made for not allowing publishers to submit more than one item in a category, and we’ll be coming to that at the end of the reviews.
Paladin has all the rules you need to play the game without using anything else, layout is superb and there is a good amount of artwork. However, as with Chivalry and Sorcery before it, there are several sections where the pages are very text dense and not broken up with art. There are several repeat uses of heraldry thoughout the book, and while noticeable, it doesn’t detract from the feel of the book. The artwork is all in sepia tone to reflect the nature of the world that characters are playing in, the creatures are presented as pencil drawings rather than full colour, and this adds to the feel of the book.
Paladin concentrates very much on the business of being a knight, the trials and tribulations that have to be undergone, and the ways in which this must be done if one is to remain a proper knight. There are rules for everything, from fighting evil where it rises to courting and the proper use of knightly virtues, and with this comes a full index of every table and chart that may be used through the game, together with where it may be found.
For playing in the age of Charlemagne, there is no more complete game than this one. The wealth of research, from the history of the years covered to the noble family lineage, is without peer. That said, the specialisation of the book means that it can’t be used as well as other games of a similar setting if you’re looking to go beyond the realm of Charlemagne.
The truth of it is in the title of the book, if that’s what you’re looking for, go no further.