Here's the difference between two prisoners: one surrenders because he has been beaten. One surrenders because he sees the error of his ways or because he was coerced into fighting, etc. The one who surrenders because he has been beaten will be punished for his crimes, probably hung or killed. The other will be redeemed. He might have a small punishent, but he will be redeemed and protected by the paladin. How does that sound as a guide for a paladin?
Edit: Oh and how do you tell the difference? That's why Sense Motive is a class skill.
Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
I don't know about your games but we hold our clerics to their alignments and their gods alignment. We have had more than one occasion where a cleric didn't get their spells the next day.
Many or most adventures are evil acts if you rule invading a lair is evil. Yet the Paladin is presented in a game that presupposes adventures. If invading an Orc lair is forbidden to Paladins, that ought to be in the class description.
Sense motive...if you "err on the side of caution" you are then assuming all surrenders are valid, and thus there's no point in the roll. Knowing that you have "maxxed out" sense motive and that opponents have bluff scores of zero is metagaming. The PALADIN has no way to know that he is an infallible truth detector.
And truth at that moment is inadequate anyway.
... I don't know about your games but we hold our clerics to their alignments and their gods alignment. We have had more than one occasion where a cleric didn't get their spells the next day.
I think that is excellent and much more self consistent.
I have never personally met a GM that does that. I've seen 2 that will occassionaly talk about it but never one that follows through on holding the cleric or anyone else to their alignment/religion.
No but metagaming exists up to a certain level, because at the end of the day we need to interact through dice rolls and not pure description.
If I max out sense motive and the goblin has no bluff. You can fluff it however you want and can even role play that you are going by guts but mechanics wise if the goblin tried to feign surrender and you beat their bluff, the character knows he is being lied to.
Similarly on the "detect truth", you can fluff it as, "I hope I don't live to regret this but I trust you and believe your surrender is sincere"
Also it feels like you are just cherry picking my posts.
I don't have anything against the paladins killing, I do have something against paladins killing indiscriminately without roleplaying it out, especially against an opponent that have prostrated themselves before the party.
If the paladin hears him out, then judges, the surrendered foe, and then determines a course of action I have nothing against the paladin killing even when invading a lair. Hey war is war.
However, if I am running a game and a goblin is begging for his life and the paladin player runs over hacks off the goblin's head without even hesitating, I will have a huge issue.
The paladin has nothing else to go on other than his sense motive. Even Zone of Truth can be resisted. If he believes someone who lies to him and that prisoner then betrays the paladin's trust, then the prisoner dies. The paladin's conscience is clear. Sense Motive is the best filter the paladin has in that situation.
Dredd was heavily Lawful Neutral with a Good core buried deep inside.
But then again Dredd's world was not a place where Good was active as a force.
Evil was quite busy though.
master arminas wrote:
Heh - I remember the episode of the Train Robbery when he kicked that guy through an engine to prove a point.
Mal: Now, this is all the money Niska gave us in advance. You bring it back to him. Tell him the job didn't work out. We're not thieves. But we are thieves. Point is, we're not takin' what's his. Now we'll stay out of his way as best we can from here on in. You explain that's best for everyone, okay?
Crow: Keep the money. Use it to buy a funeral. It doesn't matter where you go or how far you fly. I will hunt you down, and the last thing you see will be my blade.
[Kicks Crow through running engines. Next bad guy is brought forward]
Mal: Now, this is all the money Niska gave us in advance...
One of Niska's Soldiers: Oh, I get it! I'm good. Best thing for everyone. I'm right there with ya
My Paladin has squat skill at Sense Motive but if he ROLLS that he believes the repentance is sincere, then it seems sincere to him. He'll let it go.
I'm going to have him offer surrender to any and all including demons. He grew up on a farm and is not too keen on the ways of the world. As far as he is concerned, anyone or anything can be good given the opportunity.
but the Paladin doesn't even know that "maxxing out Sense Motive" means, and certainly doesn't know that the Goblin's Bluff is 0, or that he passed his check.
I certainly agree that IF the Paladin beats his check against a lying Goblin, he correctly believes the goblin is lying. Of course. That's what the skill is. But the Paladin doesn't know if he's beaten his check. So the Paladin's should not conclude he knows a fact, he just has a belief.
So unless a Paladin's belief has force of law, which I've already argued it often would, he shouldn't be killing people based on it. Cops and DA's form an opinion of a suspect/defendant's guilt. But they aren't empowered to act as judge/jury/executioner. A Paladin NOT invested w/ the authority by at least his deity if not secular law to kill a defendant based on his best guess is not acting Lawfully and may be acting Evilly.
And I'm not picking you out, other than you keep saying things with which I disagree, isn't that what a discussion board is for?
I'm rather amused by the whole discussion, because situations like this are the #1 reason it stinks to be a Paladin.
You are LAWFUL good. You are bound by the laws of the current city/state/country you are in.
In most areas, you would be required to carry the goblin's sorry tail back to the nearest magistrate, who would promptly sentence it to death, and you could even carry out the sentence. But you can't murder a goblin in cold blood for having the audacity to attack you. On the other hand, if you're in Kingmaker where you are the law of the land, then you can carry out the trial yourself (doing your utmost to ensure it is fair and honest) and then execute the goblin.
As a GM, my rules for paladins are very simple and straightforward:
#2: Obey the law of the land:
#3: Obey the tenets of Good:
In short, I really dislike it when players try to take all the benefits of being a paladin without the drawbacks. If the GM has every group surrendering to you just to wreck the adventure, then he's being a jerk and you have a right to complain and clarify. But if, on occasion, you have to sidetrack yourself to do the right thing, that's the price of being a paladin.
(As a side note, I was a Humakti (similar to a paladin) in Runequest and the GM would happily have enemies stab me and then immediately surrender so I wasn't allowed to hit them back. I liked the benefits enough that I accepted the abuse. But we weren't in the middle of nowhere, so it was always relatively easy to turn them in to the authorities).
I did say when he didn't have to. LOL. In that case, he offered to let it go, but the bad guy told him
"Keep the money. Use it to buy a funeral. It doesn't matter where you go or how far you fly. I will hunt you down, and the last thing you see will be my blade."
Justified to me. LOL
And if I may continue on my high horse for one more post: If a paladin pre-purchased a scroll of Atonement in one of my campaigns, he would immediately be stripped of his paladinhood, and he'd have to make the roll to try to USE that scroll of Atonement.
In my universe, the entire strength of the paladin class is his (or her) faith that he will always do right by his god, no matter what. Evil creatures abhor this self-righteousness, so paladins make great tanks as innately evil creatures try to tear down his holiness.
A paladin thinking ahead of time, "Uh, oh. I'm going to screw up and anger my god. Better buy a scroll of Atonement, just in case..." hints to me of a certain lack of faith on the paladin's part.
Atonement should be a full-blown quest; not a quick-and-dirty, "Oooh, good thing I've got one of these handy scrolls in my backpack," event.
It is precisely because Iomedae is the goddess of war that I suggest making him your squire.
Righteous battle will burn away his evil nature as surely as a forge's heat burns away the dross. It is the only path by which the goblin can be purified. Killing him as he lays at your feet unarmed belittles you as a warrior and demeans him as a person.
The last Paladin I played was determined to do good no matter what the cost and was fully prepared to lose his Paladinhood and god's favor if his god ever asked him to do something my paladin wasn't convinced was good.
He was often thought to be evil by other people in the campaign world because people were afraid of him. He wanted them to be. Because what lay outside the city gates was far more scarier and he was the only thing protecting those people from what was out there. He had their absolute loyalty and no matter how much they thought he was a crazy bastard, no one ever died under his watch - even if he had to go rushing into battle with just a few hit points left.
He was not by any stretch of the imagination a shiny knight. He was dirty. He was foul tempered. He scared the hell out of people. He, frankly, scared the hell out of himself. But its been years since I played him and people still talk about him as one of the best characters they've ever seen.
Turin the Mad wrote:
Title of "So a Paladin is about to kill you..." gets the answer of " I fling the brown stuff from my britches in his/her/its face and run like the dickens!!"
Sounds about right... and hope his full plate slows him down
If it's not looking like the stuff in Excalibur, I'm confident of my inevitable escape. ;) If it is, I need to fling a tanglefoot bag after the Dirty Trick...
Because honest men never keep lawyers on retainer, right?
Actually, a surprisingly good analogy: In a world where the judge (your god) can look into your soul and determine your guilt, an honest man would not need to keep a (criminal) lawyer on retainer. In the "real" world, we don't have the luxury of beings that can detect absolute truth, and so we are cursed with lawyers.
One can trust God and know that the law cannot be kept. That's why Yom Kippur needs to happen every year. It's why those denominations of Christianity that hold with the intercessory ministry of the priesthood have confessionals.
Buying a scroll of atonement is like keeping Yom Kippur or attending confession before mass. It's not a sin to lack faith in your own righteousness, it's the only thing holding sin back.
Ah yes, because a character knowing that he makes mistakes and is not infallible is in itself a sin.
the truth is, you commit an evil act when you commit an act that you believe is evil.
This is flat out wrong...
In games like this, there is a good there is an evil... In reality the paladin's opinion means nothing in this situation. It's an Evil act if his GOD thinks it's an evil act.
And Sadly his god is played by the DM...
I highly recommend Long drawn out conversations and Email with your DM about what is and is not expected of a Paladin in HIS world... As these threads make obvious, everyone has a different opinion of what is... and what is not 'justified'
It may be metagaming.... but it's a pretty weak metagame. There are MANY... MANY characters in books and film, who can and have uttered the phrase 'I know the truth when I hear it..'
If you have a stat maxed out... it's perfectly acceptable to have the character acknowledge that he's awesome at it. I've got a rogue who's got Stealth maxed out (and Skill focused) He KNOWs he's sneaky..
If I go with Perception, I KNOW I have a good eye for detail...
I've rolled 47 on a check to look for traps... when the DM says 'you don't find one' I feel confident telling the party there is NOTHING there... If I roll a 12 and get the same response... I tell the party I don't SEE any... but watch your step.
Even in real life some days I know I'm mediocre at a project, and some days I know I just NAILED it...
Knowing that you'r good at picking out lies isn't TOO metagamey ;)
Claiming to know what the opponents score is really the stretching the point... I remember rolling a Stealth of around 48+ one time... And was Extremely confident that I MADE that check... There was a CHANCE that the opponents had a kickbutt awesome stat... But it would have had to be INCREDIBLE to beat that roll...
But anything's possible ;)
I remember in 2E, it was specifically mentioned somewhere that the DM roles all the Rogues 'Move silent/Hide in shadow rolls'... because he always believes he's successful.
He's often WRONG... but he BELIEVES that he's right.
As for 'maxing out Sense motive'... what about gamblers who actiely search tells? Or 'Lie to Me's' Cal Lightman watching the facial tics?
In game terms they make a roll and state for a fact what they see is the truth. Same with Sherlock Holmes.
Like I said, I don't believe that he should know the Goblin's bluff check... but it's perfectly acceptable to beleive that he passed his check and role play according.
he can still be WRONG.... But he wouldn't be in doubt ;)
...You are LAWFUL good. You are bound by the laws of the current city/state/country you are in...
Disagree to a certain extent. Lawful can also be interpreted as rigidly bound to a certain code or ethics that guide your behavior.
For instance LE (aka the mob) does not obey the laws of the country, it obeys the rules of it's organization.
Lawful does not and has NEVER meant must obey the laws of the land.
The paladin code includes a portion where he must accept legitimate authority, but in no way does that require him to show mercy to an enemy in battle, especially in the middle of the battle where a distraction could mean his own death.
Furthermore, if you're causing a paladin to fall just because he acknowledges that he is not infallible (by buying an atonement scroll so he can keep his mission going should he screw up) you're being ridiculous.
Wow! I've stirred up quite the hornet's nest of protest!
I'll address the objections in order:
(1) While major religions have Yom Kippur, confessionals, and so forth, I still hold that the whole point of being a paladin is that you are "above temptation". A paladin who hears, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" should be the one who can cast the stone. In my opinion, the character class is built around the code of conduct, so I do not tolerate "iffsies". Obviously, many people would not choose to play paladins in my games, but I have PCs who successfully play paladins without ever needing a scroll of atonement. It's all in clear communications between the GM and the player.
(2) Obviously, people don't like it that I won't let paladins admit their fallibility and pre-purchase scrolls of Atonement. See above. So be it, I'm ridiculous. I will say that before I let a player roll up a paladin, I'm extremely clear about what I expect. And my objection is not that paladins can seek Atonement, it's the notion that they carry it around in their backpack just in case it's inconvenient to follow their code of conduct. Their code of conduct is absolute. If they are unsure of what to do, and they do the wrong thing, I cut them slack but let them know their god did not approve (notice that every god has a method to show disapproval short of out-and-out de-paladinization) so they know what to do in such situations in the future. It they knowingly break the code, they're toast.
(3) If "Lawful" does not mean obeying the laws of the land, then what does it mean? Notice that I put the god's rules first, and the land's rules second. So if the law is "murder all babies", and that is clearly against the god's code, the paladin can ignore the law. God's law trumps mans law. Always. But the original (excellent) question was, "A goblin surrendered to my paladin of Iomedae. What should I do?" and my answer was, "Since your god doesn't particularly care as long as you don't torture it to death or kill it for convenience' sake, you should find out what a local sheriff would be obliged to do in that situation."
I'm really enjoying the discussion -- I feel like I'm hogging the "paladins are goody-goodies" side, but I'm not trying to annoy people; just express my view of paladins.
As a side note directly to Mergy, I played a paladin and he would actually stop in the middle of battle and stabilize enemies who he'd knocked to negative HP, so yes, I do have them do stupid things as long as it doesn't endanger OTHERS. (Goblin #1 about to kill little girl while goblin #2 bleeds to death = paladin must hit goblin #1 to protect the girl. Goblin #1 about to hit paladin while goblin #2 bleeds to death = paladin must stabilize goblin #2).
Paladins are ludicrously powerful unless you go out of your way to cripple them. (Try Smite Evil with a bonded composite bow some time). I don't play games with my PCs -- the paladins mow through evil creatures like butter, and 70-80% of all creatures the party fights are evil. But I expect my PCs to roleplay to the code of conduct, and if they can't, I let them know that they won't want to be paladins in my campaign.
I would need to ask the DM if he knows the difference between 'mercy' and 'quarter'.
If "Lawful" does not mean obeying the laws of the land, then what does it mean?
It means deontological. In layman's terms, 'the ends do not justify the means'. A paladin will only follow deontological laws, not all laws.
A sentient creature has surrendered itself to a Paladin. The creature is considered by that part of the world to be considered a kill on sight nuisance. Hrm.
Well, the Good option is to spare it. The Lawful option to slay it.
I think a Lawful Good option would be to banish it on pain of death. You escort it to the border of the part of the world that considers it a kill on sight nuisance. In chains of course. Then free it at the border and tell it if re-enters that part of the world that it's life is forfeit and no mercy will be given.
Banishing is often a lesser punishment (compared to death) given to those who surrender I believe, so it shouldn't have any detriments to your alignment on either spectrum.
Problem is your DM. If he does not guide you in your class and world, but setting you up for failure, my advice is to reroll your char.
In a monastery, huge effort is given to understand morality and the divine rule set, and a situation as simple as the one he threw at you should be trivial, if your char spent 5+ years training in a paladin temple or the like. It is Human Frailty (tm) that is temptef to sin in deitic belief systems (my fortune that I am an atheist :-) ), not unclarity about the moral rules. Judas knew what he was doing, but he was greedy and recentful, more than he loved Jesus (OR he was acting his part, etc etc)
Being a Faith Proffessional to the extent where you are granted supernatural powers by a divine being should make it really easy to know what it takes to stay within your alignment, and you would do just that.
Just up until the point where either roleplaying or plotturns could make you WANT something more than you want your paladinhood, and CHOOSE to stray from the path. This would not only be great for storytelling, it would actually be interesting. Not knowing when to kill gobboes is not. It wasn't like Adam said 'ups, was I not supposed to do that? You had been less than totally clear on that point, G-dude, cut me some slack'.
Your DM does not have the required sofistication to DM alignments for Paladins, and he is probably many years away from getting there, if ever. Reroll something he can't screw up, and don't worry about it anymore.
master arminas wrote:
Heh, that was the scene that sold my wife on Firefly. Her comment: "Dang, he's like a badass version of Han Solo!"
If you're in a game where the GM is strict to get this in any way consider this would "fall" you, a phylactery is a raw necessity in life. I think Pallys should be a measure of both Lawful and Goodness; and as a Pally of Vengence of a War god, killing an enemy while you are deep in their territory, even if they surrender, is far from anything the Pally should consider a bad act.
... and as a Pally of Vengence of a War god, killing an enemy while you are deep in their territory, even if they surrender, is far from anything the Pally should consider a bad act.
I have to disagree on that point. That would say that during the cold war the cold war it would have been perfectly right, proper, and LG for the soviet union strike teams to put to death anyone or everyone in the western world.
I think many GM's are way too hard on paladins, but this goes too far the other direction.
Murdering a helpless being, after the fight when there is no clear danger, without trial, or proof other than he defended his home is an evil act. It may fall into the category of 'necessary evil' or even the 'lesser of 2 evils' but it is still a bad thing to do.
Hmmmm so we're shipping goblins to the criminal colonies then.
Ah the glory days,I remember my players slaughtering a horde of goblins only to pass deeper into their lair to find the dozens of their women and children hiding in fear.
More relevant to you, do you have knowledge religion? A quick check could give you some guidance. As most people have said, you'll need to figure out from your DM what his views on alignment are. Generally speaking, goblins are intrinsically evil, but so are drow, orcs, etc. After the surrender, a detect evil will ensure the goblin hasn't had an immediate and profound change in perspective (if he had, and you killed him, then it most certainly is an act of evil, or at least an act without mercy and charity which are generally traits I associate with good...)
Capturing and handing him over for trial is perhaps the easiest out, not considering the logistics of prisoner transport. Why were you killing goblins? Was it on request from the local magistrate? If so having something like a letter of marque making it legal to kill them would be helpful, or perhaps giving yourself authority to try and convict immediately.
Liam Warner wrote:
And now I know how I'm starting my game of Kingmaker: Goblin version.
sorry to threadjack a little but this whole thread reinforces why i have just banned paladins from my campaign.
Surprisingly enough, I believe that as we near 100 posts, we have a consensus:
(1) It is up to the GM to decide exactly what the paladin's code entails. I have to admit, I was rather surprised to find myself on the "most restrictive" end, since I've never forced a paladin to seek atonement.
(2) It is the ABSOLUTE MANDATE of the GM to be sure that the player character knows his paladin's code. This is where your GM is failing; it's not whether or not you're allowed to kill the goblin, it's whether or not you KNOW whether or not you're allowed to kill the goblin.
My gaming group came over yesterday, and as each person arrived, I asked them your original question: "Is it OK for the paladin to kill the goblin?" 100% of them said, "No. That violates the paladin's code of conduct."
So my group and I are absolutely clear on the code of conduct that *I* as a GM expect. That is why paladins can successfully run in my campaigns. If your GM is messing with you and saying, "You don't know whether your god would be OK with it or not," then you have every right to complain. I liked Tandriniel's initial point: Your paladin spent many years training to be a paladin. He wouldn't have been let out of the cloister/monastery/swamp without knowing his code backwards and forwards, through and through, so he could recite the whole thing while being tortured by a unicorn in ladies' undergarments.
So I would ask your GM, "What would be expected of me by my god?", and if he says, "You don't know," and you kill the goblin and get de-paladinized, go ahead and post here and we'll all burn him in effigy and call him many unflattering names. ("That evil man who makes even fuzzy oversized sweaters look bad...")
This is a common moral question, not only for paladins, but most adventures in games that are not cartoonish, and it should be a real issue no matter the alignment of the player character.
Most intelligent creatures that are in a fight they seem to be losing will either flee or surrender, fighting to the last only if flight or surrender is impossible. I think most GMs are far too unwilling to let opponents act rationally; if say the goblin or orc warren is invaded it is rational for the inhabitants to try and sue for terms. If PCs refuse to even listen as a matter of course I would strip away “Good” from all of them.
In the case of the paladin, I would see this as a first trial (which he IMO failed) but nothing that would cause a fall in itself, but defiantly should be a step on that road. I saw that someone gave a good bit of advice; seek in-game counsel, seek out other (NPC) characters of the same faith and discuss the matter. It would be an interesting roll-playing opportunity as well as a good way to handle eventual fallout by do some minor acts of atonement. Basically, if the character (as played) sees the issue and is humble, it should be no biggie, but if the character is self-righteous and refuses to acknowledge the conundrum, fall is a real risk IMO.
In general I do think that good characters should accept surrenders of pretty much everything, and treat them pretty much like modern day police and enslave the persons in question (although we call in “imprisonment” nowadays; the difference is academic at best) or take the more old-fashion approach and ransom them back to their kin and clan. Executing prisoners is really something that should only happen if all other options are exhausted.