Paladin is based off the main character featured in the television series, "Have Gun-Will Travel". The series ran on CBS from 1957 thru 1963, with a total of 225 episodes. Richard Boone portrayed the character. In 1958, a radio series based off the show made it's debut with John Dehner providing the voice of Paladin
Little is known of the background of the man known as Paladin. What is known is that he was a graduate of West Point, and a former Army officer. He had fought in the Civil War, although which side he was on he never revealed. He is extremely well educated, having thorough knowledge of ancient history and classic literature. He is a world traveler and is an expert of many foreign languages.
He was forced to hunt down and kill a man to pay off an IOU. The man was a mysterious gunfighter named Smoke. Smoke facetiously called him a "noble paladin". As Smoke was dying, he revealed that he was not a gunfighter, but protected a nearby town that was being terrorized by the man who had sent Paladin to kill Smoke. Paladin adopted the name, as well as Smoke's black costume and confronted the man in town. After which, the legend of Paladin began
Paladin based himself in San Francisco, at the Carlton Hotel. He dressed in formal attire, ate gormet food, and attended the opera. Many, due to this, had mistaken him for a Dandy From The East. When working, he dressed in black, left calling cards, wore a holster that carried the chess knight emblems, and carried a derringer under his belt.
His fee for services were usually very steep, most cases a thousand dollars. His pimary weapon was a custome made .45 caliber Colt Single Action Army revolver, with a one ounce trigger pull.
The knight symbol is in reference to his name and his occupation as a champion-for-hire.In addition, Paladin drew a parallel between his methods and the chess piece's movement: "It's a chess piece, the most versatile on the board. It can move in eight different directions, over obstacles, and it's always unexpected."
On occasion, Paladin had enlisted the services of a bellhop at the Carlton who went by the nickname of "Hey Boy", who's real name was Kim Chang. For a time, his sister, Kim Li, nicknamed "Hey Girl" worked in his place.
In Return To Fusang, Fuzzball Ortega was playing chess with Paladin, getting information regarding the situation in China. In that story, it was revealed that Ortega had met Paladin previously before Ortega arrived in Steelhead. Before Fuzz left for the Celestial Kingdom, he was given a gift from Paladin, a knight's head stick pin. Like himself, Paladin considered Fuzz a knight without armor.