The Paladins were an early splinter sect of the Esper Knights. Many followers of this tradition held to the radical philosophy of minimal dependency on their powers, preferring to rely on their ‘natural’ abilities as much as possible.
Early in the League Era the Esper Knights had already become a singular philosophy on life, but not everyone was willing to buy into a single approach. Some Knights felt what they had learned was wrong and did not fit their nature or their ideals. This lead to a schism were the early paladins were ostracized for their beliefs and eventually censured by the Knights Council. In response they chose to leave in a kind of self-imposed exile.
Eventually they would cover much of the Outer Rim systems living nomadic existences and staying ahead of the League expansion. However they never gave up helping others or protecting the weak, just as the Esper Knights were meant to. They trained new aspirants in their ways and may have influenced other developing psionic traditions in their travels.
Many came to the aid of the League during the Civil War and died during that conflict. A few however survived and were isolated on their worlds they were currently on. This has lead to many differing branches of the Paladin continuing into the modern era.
The Paladins acknowledged that the psionic energy suffused all things, and in turn gave life to all things. In this way, they acknowledged that a sentient could be no more independent of this than of nourishment, air, or sleep. However, the Paladins did not see psionic power as a means to an end, but rather as an influencing component in their daily lives. The Paladins argued that skills should be developed with a minimum dependency on this psionic energy. Because of this, Paladins tended to develop skills and techniques that did not directly tap into their powers, but rather allowed them to augment already existing skills. This led Paladins to be much more militaristic, as Paladins would often resort to military tactics and conventional weapons to achieve their goals.
Paladins also believed that a knight should use which ever weapon he or she felt the most comfortable with and fit the task at hand, so unlike the Esper Knights where creating a blade was a final task of an apprentice, they used a wide variety of weapons. Many would choose instead to rely on proficiency with blasters and other forms of combat, both armed, and unarmed. Many became Masters in various forms of martial arts like like Teräskäsi and Stava (skill), as well as esoteric weaponry such as Sallisian throwing whorls and spinsticks, rather than rely on psionic-augmented gymnastics and speed.
Most Esper knights felt that the Paladin’s philosophy was heterodoxy as well as pointless. Since their power encompassed all living things, they argued it was impossible for any scenario to exist where it would be necessary to act independently of it. In addition, they insisted that it was through the use of their power that they communed with the will of nature, thus bringing them closer to their goals. In this aspect, they viewed the Paladin’s as being counter productive.
Paladins generally regarded their powers as a secondary aspect of their life, and not the primary. As a result of this, Paladin’s generally eschewed the use of their power in any physical manifestation, relying rather on militant skills, both armed and unarmed, to achieve their goals. Despite this though. Paladin’s frequently allowed their power to act in an auxiliary fashion, allowing their power to augment already existing skills as well as their physical bodies, in a fashion very similar to psionic valor.
This ability is demonstrated by the Paladin Larani, who while sporting a pair of dual blaster pistols, had the ability to deflect and “bend” other blaster bolts with her own bolts, as well as during unarmed combat where her strikes are much more powerful and precise than an unaided attack. This ability, if practiced enough, could many times become a constant effect; active even during non combat situations, primarily as a side effect of being the only technique (generally) that a Paladin uses.
Regardless of the use of psionics though, Paladins consistently remain far more militant than their knight predecessors, many times being well trained in martial arts such as Teräskäsi and Stava (skill), as well as military tactics like guerrilla warfare, urban tactics, espionage and infiltration, and even expansive weapons and vehicle training. This is primarily the result of the Paladin’s deciding to rely on their powers as little as possible, as well as the knowledge that they must be ready for nearly any situation without reliance on their power alone.
Some Paladins wore masks and other sensory-depriving devices when they engaged in combat as a means of increasing their connection with their sensory powers.