I wrote this up for my friend, who’s considering playing a paladin of Hades in the world I’ve created. This actually follows the setting notes I generated for a campaign setting inspired by Greek mythology.

What does Hades stand for, and how does he differ from mainstream interpretations? What virtues do Paladins (of Hades) usually uphold?

Hades is a figurehead for causality, responsibility, rational and cool-headed leadership, and separation of emotional response from necessary action. To make difficult decisions with widespread impact, one must be emotionally divested. You must consider the needs of the many and the sustainability of decisions as a leader. Take the future into account and consider the long-term ramifications of your actions. Avoid snap judgments. Better not to act than to make the wrong choice.

Thanatos is the personification of death and the twin brother of Hypnos, god of sleep. Thanatos appears as an attractive youth who is sometimes naive and enjoys games. Paladins who identify with the Death domain may devote themselves to Thanatos in lieu of Hades. Death is the natural conclusion to Life, and a paladin devoted to Death sees undeath as a transgression that cannot simply be ignored. They will actively seek out the undead and those who try to “cheat” death.

The Moirae, or the Three Fates, are the personification of Fate and usually appear as a teenaged girl, a middle-aged wife or mother, and an old crone. Paladins who identify with the Fate domain may devote themselves to the Three Fates instead of Hades himself. Everything that is came from something else, and when it ends, it returns whence it came. Fate is a circle of beginnings and endings, and those who try to juke this system are the target of a paladin’s ire.

Boreas, the god of the north wind, is the personification of Winter. He is distant and aloof, often appearing as an old man, dressed warmly, with a great white beard. Those paladins who choose to embody Winter sometimes devote themselves to Boreas in lieu of Hades. Winter is cool, still, and incredibly fierce when stirred up. Paladins of Winter are slowest to anger and take even the most terrible danger in stride. They are calm, untouchable, and inevitable.

Do people who meet a paladin know who they are or what they represent?

Everyone who meets a paladin will be able to identify them as a warrior. Every paladin has a great deal of training with arms and armor, and that’s going to be obvious. Your typical characters devotes themselves to the entire pantheon and/or a local deity. Most divine characters (cleric, invoker, or avenger) will choose one deity to devote themselves to, but a paladin goes a step farther to embody a particular aspect of their chosen deity.

If a paladin has devoted themselves to one of “the Five Gods,” a commoner will recognize any symbol associated with that deity, and will probably understand what it means for the paladin to be devoted to one aspect of that god, even if they don’t believe in the domain or understand the motivation to do so. A paladin of Hades would likely choose to embody one of the domains of Hades — Death, Fate, or Winter. If they’re especially devoted, they’ll take a Channel Divinity or Domain feat associated with that aspect.

What duties are expected of a Paladin (of Hades)?

Being powerful, dedicated individuals, most paladins are sworn to uphold or defend something. If they’re just getting started or haven’t found something to defend related to their particular devotion, you’ll normally find them at a temple of Hades where material wealth is stored, or training initiates for their own respective duties. Paladins tend to be either the primary or secondary public face of a devotion, usually tied with clerics. They’re expected to be on their best behavior when representing their faith.

Clerics are more likely to quest than paladins, though when they do, they are often accompanied by a paladin of their faith. Clerics spread the faith — paladins defend the faith. While there are plenty of philosopher-paladins, it is less in their interest to question the nature of their belief, and more to rise up in its defense. Paladins are still encouraged to understand the tenants of their patron god, and it is for this reason that most are dedicated to a specific ideal, rather than every virtue their deity expounds.

What would a Paladin (of Hades) typically do in their daily life?

Paladins are people too. They eat, sleep, and spend time with their friends and family. There are no widespread restrictions on what a paladin may or may not do, just as there are no alignment restrictions. You are less likely to see paladins engaging in petty crime, especially stealing, because they dedicate themselves to the god of material wealth. Paladins don’t usually go around murdering monsters or people either, because there are better ways to serve their god.

Though Hades’s realm is the land of the dead, he is dedicated to his living followers, and his temples use their wealth to fund public works that promote life, like public bathhouses, food storage, and finding work and homes for those who are lacking. Hades and his followers are patient because everyone will come to him eventually. They take a practical view toward life, working within their means and providing for those in their community who don’t brazenly trod on their morals.