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Paladins and Wind Dukes' tombs


Age of Worms Adventure Path


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Had an interesting session the other night (Gathering of the Winds) where the party discovered treasure in the Wind Dukes tombs. As we're inspecting tombs, the DM states that my PC (Bard-8/Paladin-2) is not comfortable with what is essentially grave robbing. The other players give me that "I hate that you took those paladin levels" look when I say we must leave the treasure behind.

It was getting a little tense, so for better or worse, the paladin promised to compensate anyone who felt they deserved a share. It felt like it was either that, come to blows, or leave the party. The total treasure thusfar was nearly 30,000gp. Painful. The other PCs are NG x 2, CG, N. The most outspoken PC were the N and CG PC and essentially argued being utilitarian- "We can do more good with the treasure than dead people."

My questions:

- Was it a bad design to place such significant treasure as tomb-raiding?

- Would you expect only paladins to have issue with this or any LG character? What about any good PC?

- Do you think I should pursue the Wind Dukes' blessing (if possible) to borrow the items in the name of law and justice?

I assume this is not the last Wind Duke tomb we may find, so I feel like is still not resolved. The N PC has already threatened he'd take the next treasure by force if necessary.

Andoran

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I see this as more of a Law/Chaos question than Good/Evil. In the past I've played paladins who would have two completely different takes on it.

One was a paladin of Wee Jas whose code held that he must respect the dead, see that fallen enemies receive a proper burial according to their customs, preserve places of rest for the dead, destroy undead and other perversions of the natural cycle of life and death, et cetera. That paladin would be adamantly against 'tomb robbing' and disgusted by the mere suggestion.

The other paladin was of a custom race somewhat similar to Eberron shifters... furry humanoids with claws. They lived in the wild without structures as a hunter-gatherer culture. And their funeral rites were to give the bodies of their dead back to nature by laying them out for scavengers. The possessions of the dead were then divided between their friends and family or left displayed about the 'burial' site for any who might find them. That paladin would find the entire concept of 'stealing' from the dead absurd... they're dead, obviously they do not own anything.

Thus, it really comes down to cultural and religious mores. If the paladin's background includes a taboo against taking things from the dead then it would be a violation of their lawful nature to ignore that... similar to any other sort of stealing. As the other players in your group argued, taking the items might actually be for the greater good... what if the only way to defeat the 'great evil bad guy' is some item in that tomb? It might then be a 'good' act to take it and prevent horrible evil from spreading across the land... but it wouldn't be 'lawful'. It would be violating principles of tradition and honor for the sake of convenience.


Does your paladin also have issues taking items from those who die by the party's hand, or does it only apply to grave robbing?

In general, I don't think the DM should decide what your character feels as regards to morals. That's the player's job :)


Are wrote:

Does your paladin also have issues taking items from those who die by the party's hand, or does it only apply to grave robbing?

In general, I don't think the DM should decide what your character feels as regards to morals. That's the player's job :)

Until now, we've been killing mostly evil things, so I think the spoils could be justified as recompense for evil caused. Otherwise, I'd be pretty far behind in equipment.

I agree it should be more of my choice, the DM was probably just serving me a reminder. The hardest part is not claiming the treasure myself, but denying the party to claim it as well. Considering this was THE treasure associated with killing the evil guardians of the tombs, it definitely is a determent to the party's advancement.

Andoran

I would disagree that this is a Good/Evil question and I balieve that with only a bit of meta-guile, it is entirely LAWFUL to loot the tomb; indeed, it is not only LAWGUL -- it is GOOD to do so.

I submit the most critical favtor in play it the historical and archaelogical treatment of the tomb and it contents upon removal. Motives of greed do not even matter if the effect is to preserve the contents of the tomb, more or less, for a sanctioned and lawful purpose.

This is the overarching theoretical underpinning of the Pathfinder Society in a nutshell.

Consider: do we today, ever, under ANY circumstances apply the "do not disturb the graves of the dead" mantra to dig sites and ancient civilizations?

I would submit that the answer is not only "no", it is, in fact, "NEVER". Once a tomb becomes old enough that the occupants have passed beyond living memory and there is no clear descendant/ancestral chain from the occupants to the present day living, ANY AND ALL artifacts contained therein have historical significance which outweighs any other consideration. It becomes LAWFUL to loot the tomb with the purpose of preserving the integrity of the tomb's contents for historical reasons; indeed, for educational purposes and the preservations of ancient cultures, it becomes a GOOD thing to do, too.

Ths spin which should have been used on the Paladin to appeal to his duty to recover these historical artifacts for sale to a museum or other ostensibly lawful purpose in the Free City. The party could have been paid, the Paladin's conscience made entirely clear and the game could have -- and should have -- moved on as intended.

Andoran

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Steel_Wind wrote:

Consider: do we today, ever, under ANY circumstances apply the "do not disturb the graves of the dead" mantra to dig sites and ancient civilizations?

I would submit that the answer is not only "no", it is, in fact, "NEVER".

You would be mistaken. Native Americans have successfully sued to stop archaeologists from disturbing ancient burial grounds on many occasions. Further, on most of the few occasions that archaeologists have considered excavating Christian cemeteries... let's just say the reaction has been less than positive despite the graves being over a thousand years old.

In any case, the customs of the paladin's society and possibly those of the Wind Dukes themselves are obviously far more relevant than modern real world mores. Given the GM's indication that there was an issue there I'd say it would be a problem for the Paladin to take anything without a very compelling reason.

That said, an argument could be made that others taking things is a different situation. The paladin would naturally have to speak out against it and even report it to authorities and/or the heirs of the tomb or a relevant religious organization... but actually taking physical action / coming to blows over the matter might be a greater violation. The paladin is required to follow a code... but that code does NOT include indiscriminately attacking anyone and everyone else who doesn't act like a paladin. If conflicts like this arise frequently then the paladin would have to examine whether working with these people was doing more harm than good, but this should really be a case of the paladin disapproving rather than obstructing. Though, the whole 'it can come out of my cut' is a very honorable sacrifice and excellent solution... until the paladin runs out of money.


CBDunkerson wrote:


That said, an argument could be made that others taking things is a different situation. The paladin would naturally have to speak out against it and even report it to authorities and/or the heirs of the tomb or a relevant religious organization... but actually taking physical action / coming to blows over the matter might be a greater violation. The paladin is required to follow a code... but that code does NOT include indiscriminately attacking anyone and everyone else who doesn't act like a paladin. If conflicts like this arise frequently then the paladin would have to examine whether working with these people was doing more harm than good, but this should really be a case of the paladin disapproving rather than obstructing. Though, the whole 'it can come out of my cut' is a very honorable sacrifice and excellent solution... until the paladin runs out of money.

I do not mind sacrificing some wealth, being honorable and doing the right thing is the price for the divine favor of being a paladin. Thusfar, the treasure was mostly jewels and jewelry- which definitely felt like grave-robbing and not so honorable. One of the other good PCs was willing not to expect compensation thusfar.

But if the party stumbles upon items that they can use (but not sell) in the name of good or law, I will swear an oath to borrow it until it is no longer needed. This should be reasonable, yes? Otherwise, I think we'd be missing out on some key items that were meant to aid in our struggles.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I certainly don't think the DM should be telling you what your character feels. Asking a question about it, maybe.

BeauJest wrote:
- Was it a bad design to place such significant treasure as tomb-raiding?

No. In fact, in this scenario, the Wind Dukes specifically secreted items in their tombs so that they could be used in the future by worthy heroes. Your lawful paladin sounds like an ideal candidate! So I'm not sure what your DM was getting at here, really.

BeauJest wrote:
- Do you think I should pursue the Wind Dukes' blessing (if possible) to borrow the items in the name of law and justice?

Absolutely. In fact, if you take the stuff, I think you'll find you have their blessing!


Callum wrote:

I certainly don't think the DM should be telling you what your character feels. Asking a question about it, maybe.

BeauJest wrote:
- Was it a bad design to place such significant treasure as tomb-raiding?

No. In fact, in this scenario, the Wind Dukes specifically secreted items in their tombs so that they could be used in the future by worthy heroes. Your lawful paladin sounds like an ideal candidate! So I'm not sure what your DM was getting at here, really.

BeauJest wrote:
- Do you think I should pursue the Wind Dukes' blessing (if possible) to borrow the items in the name of law and justice?

Absolutely. In fact, if you take the stuff, I think you'll find you have their blessing!

Exactly! Well, this was my decision which I think is both honorable and reasonable:

No gold or jewerly from the Wind Dukes' tomb. Expendables can be traded for a tribute of equal value. Everything else is fair game to use but not sell.


Maybe a too simple answer

- D&D is about killing dragons and looting treasure and be the good guy so if there are things to take after you fought all those nasty guardians.....

Prize shouldn't gives you a penalty that's not like killng a helpless enemy or this sort of behavior (and it depends on the type of helpless enemy....).

Ho! and don't worry for the future there'll be no problem about the loot if I remember but I don't say there'll be no moral problems....


Uhhh Paladin must be LG and Bards cannot be Lawful, so this combination is illegal by game rules.

That aside, if the player is so concerned tell them that they can take whatever is found as their treasure split and replace it in the tomb afterwards.
Really the problem is one of party composition and group dynamics. You should have had the talk before this, but not that it's in play, no time like the present to have 'the talk'.
I'm not talking about the birds and bees, I mean the 'good vs. evil' in the party talk. Before a group starts play, there should be, but often isn't a talk about 'what the players want out of their characters.' Hack and Slash vs. Role Playing. Good party vs. neutral party vs. evil party. Having some consensus on these issues will avoid although not eliminate inter-party strife.

With 20/20 hind sight you can see that most of your party are immoral tomb raiders and the like. Your choices now: Discourage 'the odd man out', offer to make him/her into a fighter/bard to eliminate the problem, or play out the rest of the party tricking or lying to the paladin to get what they want. In extremis a party may 'remove' the obstacle player, but this can lead to real world bad blood. It will depend on the group.


MattW wrote:

Uhhh Paladin must be LG and Bards cannot be Lawful, so this combination is illegal by game rules.

Pathfinder Bards can be lawful. And PF Barbarians can read! Kids these days, no respect for Tradition... ;)

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