Order of the Ishari Lier. This secretive paladin group is dedicated the recovery of ancient lost secrets. One of the unique things about the order is that their founding members disappeared mysteriously, centuries ago, and after that happened, the remaining members forgot every secret the order had ever learned. They have dedicated themselves to the recovery of those secrets, but interestingly, they have no idea what those secrets could be about.
I created this group in conjunction with one of my former players, Victor. He was playing an elf wizard at the time, but the group was decidedly low on decent combatants, and also the only healing was coming from my friend Brian's character, and he was getting really tired of playing medic all the time. Victor wrote to me and said that he'd like his character, a lawful good elf wizard, to take a couple levels of paladin, mainly for the lay-on-hands ability to help lighten the healing load on Brian's cleric. He also wanted the HP bump to make him a little more hardy in combat so he wasn't so easy to be knocked unconscious.
I hadn't really thought too much about the paladin orders in my world, other than I knew that there were some, mainly because I hadn't had to think of any. We'd had one other guy play a paladin a number of years ago, but he was an odd mix of Eastern philosophy and Native American spiritualism, who decided to be a "pacifist paladin." He carried a staff as his primary weapon, and spent the first round of each combat praying and meditating before he harmed anyone. He was an interesting character, but the player didn't play for very long, and anyway, we had decided that his paladin was sort of a "loner" type who didn't belong to a structured order of paladins.
So, that brings us back to Victor and his elf paladin/wizard. I thought a bit about the order and asked Victor what he thought about being part of a paladin order dedicated to uncovering secrets. He thought it was a great idea and we went from there to create the order. We actually used Green Ronin's The Book of the Righteous, which, if you aren't familiar with it, is an awesome book. It presents an entire pantheon, but customizes the clerics and paladins for each deity, and also presents a customized prestige class for each deity in the pantheon. The paladins (which they renamed to the more generic term "holy warriors") are really interesting - they gain powers based on their god's portfolio, similar to clerics.
I really like the order we came up with, and although Victor later stopped playing that character and switched to a human rogue, the order is still a very active part of the campaign world, and will be making an appearance in tomorrow's session.
I hope you enjoy my particular take on this paladin order. What kinds of paladin orders have you all created over the years? What are your favorites from other campaign settings?