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A sword of righteousness was a prestige class of exalted warriors.
Among warriors of every stripe there were those who held themselves to a higher ideal than their colleagues. Even among paladins, there were those viewed as paragons of righteousness and purity, truly exalted above their peers. These elite were known as "swords of righteousness". No single organization bound the swords of righteousness; they typically served in the churches, knightly orders, and other groups devoted to doing good and virtuous work.
Any martially oriented hero could become one, and it did not prevent a paladin or monk continuing on that path. However, they had to make vows of allegiance to Talisid or one of the Five Companions, the paragons of the guardinals; the Court of Stars, the paragons of the eladrin; or one of the tome archons, who ruled the heavens of Celestia.
While training as a warrior, the sword of righteousness could also acquire any exalted powers they could achieve.