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Can a Paladin lie to Demons, Devils, Undead and other evil creatures?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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Silver Crusade

Let's say a Paladin gets captured and a demon asks him where his companions are. Can the Paladin lie to save his companions and not be breaking his Paladin code?


Does his code say betraying his comrades in arms is honorable?

Silver Crusade

Hippygriff wrote:
Does his code say betraying his comrades in arms is honorable?

No but it says they can't lie.


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The paladin cannot lie, and neither can he betray his companions.

Which leaves... resisting the torture and saying nothing. Sounds like a heroic action to me.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

It depends. Obviously not answering will result in torture/personal suffering. But if not lying will result in harm to his allies, then I'd allow it without revoking status if the pc immediately went for atonement @ the firts chance.


13 people marked this as a favorite.

Demon: "Where are your companions?"

Paladin: "I'm not going to tell you. Do your worst, fiend."

I'm not seeing the dilemma.

Silver Crusade

Forgottenprince wrote:
It depends. Obviously not answering will result in torture/personal suffering. But if not lying will result in harm to his allies, then I'd allow it without revoking status if the pc immediately went for atonement @ the firts chance.

But wouldn't the act of keeping his friends safe be an act of atonement? I'm sure the Paladin will be tortured for keeping his friend's location a secret. If that's not atonement then I would be surprised.

Silver Crusade

Spes Magna Mark wrote:

Demon: "Where are your companions?"

Paladin: "I'm not going to tell you. Do your worst, fiend."

I'm not seeing the dilemma.

What if the Paladin decided to trick the demon into looking elsewhere in order to give his companions time to escape?


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

That depends on the specific code. By and large, I'd let the paladin lie if he thinks it's the best course of action (and the only one likely to involve him NOT betraying his friends) and do a penance later.

Mind you, given that few paladins will have a good Bluff skill I doubt it would succeed. Of course he could always double-bluff and tell the truth when the demon expects him to lie, letting said demon betray itself...

Sczarni

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
shallowsoul wrote:
Let's say a Paladin gets captured and a demon asks him where his companions are. Can the Paladin lie to save his companions and not be breaking his Paladin code?

It depends on the paladins god... they each have different codes.... look at faiths of purity for examples. Some codes allow lying, some don't


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Playing a Paladin should not be easy. Sometimes there are situations where he can only loose. Thats the drawback for being a Paladin.

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2014

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
shallowsoul wrote:
Spes Magna Mark wrote:

Demon: "Where are your companions?"

Paladin: "I'm not going to tell you. Do your worst, fiend."

I'm not seeing the dilemma.

What if the Paladin decided to trick the demon into looking elsewhere in order to give his companions time to escape?

"My companions are here. points to heart Always." [/trollface.jpg]


*post torture*

Names a location where one of his fallen companions was buried.

Shadow Lodge

shallowsoul wrote:
What if the Paladin decided to trick the demon into looking elsewhere in order to give his companions time to escape?

Then he is deciding to lie, which would be breaking his code. If he is being compelled to answer I'd understand,

"Tell me where your allies are or I'll kill all these helpless villagers"
, but if he's just being sneaky maybe he's been hanging out with the rogue/bard a bit too much.

That being said, its not the worst breach of the Paladin code I can think of.

Silver Crusade

8 people marked this as a favorite.
Umbranus wrote:
Playing a Paladin should not be easy. Sometimes there are situations where he can only loose. Thats the drawback for being a Paladin.

I don't think it's right to put a Paladin in a no win situation where no matter what he does he loses his powers.

Liberty's Edge

5 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 16 people marked this as a favorite.

The Paladin code says nothing about lying per se. It says a Paladin cannot behave dishonorably. It goes on to list using poison, lying, and cheating as examples of dishonorable behavior...but that's all they are, examples of being dishonorable, not inherently part of the Code.

So, the real question is: When is it honorable to lie?

Answers to that are gonna vary a lot (and inevitably, lying to Nazis about the Jews you are hiding will be brought up), but it's the question that should be examined.

My personal take, is that it is honorable to lie to protect another (not oneself) from great Evil, horrible death, or similar things.

That's the only time it's honorable. Now, the initial post's example is perhaps such a time (if the Paladin can send the demon on a wild goose chase or otherwise protect his comrades better by lying than by silence, if he can't he might as well just suffer in silence), as is the 'lying to Nazis' thing, as are a few others, but it's a rare situation.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
My personal take, is that it is honorable to lie to protect another (not oneself) from great Evil, horrible death, or similar things.

Think 'A Tale of Two Cities':

Book plot info:
Carton tells a lie knowing that it will send him to the guillotine while saving the life of an innocent man.

Lying is generally dishonorable... but there are exceptions.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

A paladin must uphold the law and act in the interest of good.

Neither of these conditions preclude lying. There is no law against lying under most circumstances and lying for something other than personal gain is hardly evil. A paladin is perfectly capable if engaging in deceit and intrigue if necessary.

Imagine this scenario: a paladin ordered by his liege to infiltrate enemy lines and pose as an enemy soldier while gathering information. Are to going to refuse a lawful order? Are you committing an evil act? Are you going to delibrately fail your mission? No, of course not, you are going to act to the best of your abilities.

To put it in a more mudane circumstance, "Hy lord, does this dress make me look fat?"


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Artanthos wrote:
To put it in a more mudane circumstance, "Hy lord, does this dress make me look fat?"

No, your fat makes you look fat?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Artanthos wrote:
To put it in a more mudane circumstance, "Hy lord, does this dress make me look fat?"
Hippygriff wrote:
No, your fat makes you look fat?

"Nay, m'lord. It is vision that makes you look fat."

Silver Crusade

This actually happened to my character one time.

My Paladin was captured by a demon and I was being tortured first. My companions were trying to find a way to rescue me but they couldn't without dying so they decided to get away and figure out another way to rescue me. Meanwhile the demon asked my where they were and my Paladin lied and said they were somewhere else. It did give the guys time to escape. The said because I lied I broke my code and I lost my powers. He described it as the demon could sense my divine power leaving my body, the demon then went into a fit of ecstasy as one that was so holy had fallen. The Paladin was tortured for a while and was broken. He eventually became a Blackguard and went after the companions for not coming back to rescue him even after his noble sacrifice.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

this allways Seems like the perfect paladin bluff to me


shallowsoul wrote:

This actually happened to my character one time.

My Paladin was captured by a demon and I was being tortured first. My companions were trying to find a way to rescue me but they couldn't without dying so they decided to get away and figure out another way to rescue me. Meanwhile the demon asked my where they were and my Paladin lied and said they were somewhere else. It did give the guys time to escape. The said because I lied I broke my code and I lost my powers. He described it as the demon could sense my divine power leaving my body, the demon then went into a fit of ecstasy as one that was so holy had fallen. The Paladin was tortured for a while and was broken. He eventually became a Blackguard and went after the companions for not coming back to rescue him even after his noble sacrifice.

Sounds like an awesome story plot. Sometimes the ultimate sacrifice a paladin must make is his powers. Too bad the group didn't come back and save your paladin, but in that case becoming a blackguard makes a lot of sense. Kudos to your DM.


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My faverate way to lie is to tell the absalute truth and allow the person to make their own assumtions.

Tell the Demon/Devil/Bad thing that I do not know where they are now, as that is the truth.


This is one of those question that really shouldn't have a black or white answer.

The specific circumstances is important as to whether his actions are right or wrong.
In the situation being trapped by a demon, it is relevant to ask "why does he lie to the demon?".
If the answer is that it is the only way to save his comrades, or avoid other innocent person to be punished, lying should be acceptable.
If, however, he could stay silent, thus granting his comrades the same time and opportunity to get to safety, then his lie doesn't serve much other purpose than saving himself from torture (for a given time anyway). In that case the lie isn't that honorable.

Either way, it is often better not to make it a question solely of loosing paladin powers or not. An action might be crossing the line of the paladin code, or just coming dangerously close, which might require reflection and minor atonement on the paladins part.
For some, corporal punishment is the way to go. A specific consequence of lying to a demon, could be for the paladin to vow only speaking the full truth in any situation for an amount of time until his code of honor is washed clean of the stain of lies.

When the either-or approach is taken, too often it ends where the code of honor is either irrelevant, or GMs in their attempts to make them relevant puts paladins in unfair situations where there aren't any right choices.

Silver Crusade

Gignere wrote:
shallowsoul wrote:

This actually happened to my character one time.

My Paladin was captured by a demon and I was being tortured first. My companions were trying to find a way to rescue me but they couldn't without dying so they decided to get away and figure out another way to rescue me. Meanwhile the demon asked my where they were and my Paladin lied and said they were somewhere else. It did give the guys time to escape. The said because I lied I broke my code and I lost my powers. He described it as the demon could sense my divine power leaving my body, the demon then went into a fit of ecstasy as one that was so holy had fallen. The Paladin was tortured for a while and was broken. He eventually became a Blackguard and went after the companions for not coming back to rescue him even after his noble sacrifice.

Sounds like an awesome story plot. Sometimes the ultimate sacrifice a paladin must make is his powers. Too bad the group didn't come back and save your paladin, but in that case becoming a blackguard makes a lot of sense. Kudos to your DM.

Not only that but when we were lower level I ended up being killed and the only way I could come back was from a Reincarnate scroll we found. So I ended up coming back as a Bugbear. I had to endure the slagging from two members of my group because I went from being a kind of haughty and vain Paladin, always caring about his armor and weapon being polished, to a bugbear. During the course of the game those two members would get me every way they could. I got hit with Cantrips making fart sounds around me etc... I had to deal with the general populace and trying to convince them I was human at one time and that I really wasn't just a bugbear in full plate.

So coupled with all that the demon really broke my character and made him into an engine of evil and vengeance.

So in the end he was a Human (Bugbear) Paladin 8/ Blackguard 10. The DM changed my exalted feats to vile feats.

My back up character was a Wizard, which I enjoyed, but I hated to lose my Paladin. It was cool that he became a villain though.

The Exchange Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Capt. Carrot tells the truth and let's people assume the worst. to badly quote," I really don't want to follow this order I've been given", the order is to not hurt them but the criminal assumes torture.

Of course, I don't think he suspects at all they would take it that way.

Scarab Sages

3 people marked this as a favorite.

A Paladin doesn't have to lie to conceal the truth.

Dedicated Voter 2013

shallowsoul wrote:
Umbranus wrote:
Playing a Paladin should not be easy. Sometimes there are situations where he can only loose. Thats the drawback for being a Paladin.
I don't think it's right to put a Paladin in a no win situation where no matter what he does he loses his powers.

It isn't a no win situation. If your deity forbids lying, and you do not answer as the location of your allies, which results in you being tortured by your enemy, YOU WIN. You're still paladin.

In no game session I've ever played was torture something of any lasting nature - your character does not carry mechanical scars for being tortured. Why even worry about it? It's just story at the time. Besides the player isn't being tortured.

If you're not supposed to lie, don't do it. Simple.

Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.

In Faiths of Purity, the paladin code of Torag says:

I am at all times truthful, honorable, and forthright, but my allegiance is to my people. I will do what is necessary to serve them, including misleading others.

Take a look at The Wrath of Khan. Spock shocks Saavik by making untrue statements over an open channel.

Thanks

Kodger


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
gamer-printer wrote:
In no game session I've ever played was torture something of any lasting nature - your character does not carry mechanical scars for being tortured. Why even worry about it? It's just story at the time. Besides the player isn't being tortured.

I'd guess that I'm not the only one who finds this a little too meta-gamey for their tastes.

"Just story" not only derides what's going on, but if I'm going to take part in such a flimsy exercise, I have to ask myself, why am I even playing?

Silver Crusade

Brian E. Harris wrote:
gamer-printer wrote:
In no game session I've ever played was torture something of any lasting nature - your character does not carry mechanical scars for being tortured. Why even worry about it? It's just story at the time. Besides the player isn't being tortured.

I'd guess that I'm not the only one who finds this a little too meta-gamey for their tastes.

"Just story" not only derides what's going on, but if I'm going to take part in such a flimsy exercise, I have to ask myself, why am I even playing?

You're not the only one. I know that it's not me that's being tortured but I like to actually role play my characters and not turn it into a numbers game.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Umbranus wrote:
Playing a Paladin should not be easy. Sometimes there are situations where he can only loose. Thats the drawback for being a Paladin.

No. I need to say nothing else but that one word. NO!!

Dedicated Voter 2013

Brian E. Harris wrote:
gamer-printer wrote:
In no game session I've ever played was torture something of any lasting nature - your character does not carry mechanical scars for being tortured. Why even worry about it? It's just story at the time. Besides the player isn't being tortured.

I'd guess that I'm not the only one who finds this a little too meta-gamey for their tastes.

"Just story" not only derides what's going on, but if I'm going to take part in such a flimsy exercise, I have to ask myself, why am I even playing?

I've played a paladin who has been tortured by an evil wizard, I did not find it metagame-y not revealing any information to that wizard despite the torture. If you break as a tortured paladin, perhaps you're not the best material for a paladin. A paladin should be able to take it, even if it kills the character. That's the challenge of being a paladin.

It's not meta-gamey at all.


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In my game, the demons secondary goal would be to find the party.

His primary goal would be to get the paladin to lie.


gamer-printer wrote:
It's not meta-gamey at all.

Meta-gamey would be studying the rules for torture and coming up with ways to beat those rules. A situation where the GM describes the torture, and the player describes his PC's reaction to that torture, is pretty much the opposite of meta-gamey.


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

That's absolutely not what I was referring to.

What's meta-gamey is the reaction of "why even worry" about being tortured, because "your character does not carry mechanical scars" due to it.


gamer-printer wrote:
It's not meta-gamey at all.
Eh,
this:
gamer-printer wrote:
In no game session I've ever played was torture something of any lasting nature - your character does not carry mechanical scars for being tortured. Why even worry about it? It's just story at the time. Besides the player isn't being tortured.

sounds pretty meta-gamey to me…

That's why I always use torture with actual mechanical effects, like chopping off limbs, gouging out eyes, etc.

Dedicated Voter 2013

There's truth in that, but even top end role playing doesn't mean you have to break in torture. It's almost as if you're saying one cannot be tortured while maintaining one's code of conduct. Certainly not everyone can do that, but PCs are heroes, they should/could be able to take it, and not have to lie nor bring harm to their allies.

The point is other than possibly dying, your character isn't going to be permanently affected by torture. So why should it force you to break your code? Or why should it even be a problem?

It might be worthy of some developer to create a Torture mechanic that affects Will Saves in situations like Paladins under torture and duress that should mechanically affect the game. That seems reasonable to me. But without such a mechanic - nothing is forcing your paladin to lie, no matter what the condition, torture or not.

Now a non-paladin good aligned person should be perfectly free to lie to any non-good being, but they aren't subject to a code of conduct. Some paladins are (regarding lying), so they shouldn't lie ever, unless you want the fun to fall as a paladin (that can be fun too.)


I feel like there are a lot of people on here that must have really good grasps on the effects of torture. If that's fun to RP, have at it. Do you also RP the effect of watching friends die, or the effect of carving people up? That suffering tourism crap all sucks in my opinion. James Bond and Picard were both tortured and you don't hear them crying about it. Neither do my characters.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Kodger wrote:

In Faiths of Purity, the paladin code of Torag says:

I am at all times truthful, honorable, and forthright, but my allegiance is to my people. I will do what is necessary to serve them, including misleading others.

Take a look at The Wrath of Khan. Spock shocks Saavik by making untrue statements over an open channel.

Thanks

Kodger

Spock doesn't play by D%D game mechanics.

Thank the Great Bird for that.

Vulcans lie all the time. A greater look at their history suggests to me that what really shocked Saavik was not that Spock lied, but he openly admitted to doing so. It's kind of like the common lie about having no emotions. Vulcans do so, they know that other Vulcans do so, the major sin is breaking composure and letting that game face slip


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Davor wrote:
A Paladin doesn't have to lie to conceal the truth.

So very true!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
gamer-printer wrote:
The point is other than possibly dying, your character isn't going to be permanently affected by torture. So why should it force you to break your code? Or why should it even be a problem?

Forget the "forced to break your code" bit, the thing I take issue with is the "if there's no permanent effect then torture is just story and not a problem". If it takes permanent loss of some stat for players to care that their character is being tortured then bring on the permanent stat loss!

Silver Crusade

cranewings wrote:
I feel like there are a lot of people on here that must have really good grasps on the effects of torture. If that's fun to RP, have at it. Do you also RP the effect of watching friends die, or the effect of carving people up? That suffering tourism crap all sucks in my opinion. James Bond and Picard were both tortured and you don't hear them crying about it. Neither do my characters.

So, unless it's got a mechanical advantage/disadvantage we shouldn't role play it?

The Paladin was history at that point. There was no way for him to escape so we decided that the paladin would break and become a blackguard with vengeance and evil in his heart.

It's all a part of the role playing aspect of the game.


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Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

The torture conversation is getting close to that old argument about whether NPCs can use Diplomacy checks to affect the PCs' attitude.

cranewings wrote:
Do you also RP the effect of watching friends die, or the effect of carving people up?

Yes, I do. It's role-playing. What's the point if I'm an emotionless player avatar?


shallowsoul wrote:
cranewings wrote:
I feel like there are a lot of people on here that must have really good grasps on the effects of torture. If that's fun to RP, have at it. Do you also RP the effect of watching friends die, or the effect of carving people up? That suffering tourism crap all sucks in my opinion. James Bond and Picard were both tortured and you don't hear them crying about it. Neither do my characters.

So, unless it's got a mechanical advantage/disadvantage we shouldn't role play it?

The Paladin was history at that point. There was no way for him to escape so we decided that the paladin would break and become a blackguard with vengeance and evil in his heart.

It's all a part of the role playing aspect of the game.

Says you. I think your story blows, and if it was my character, I wouldn't play it that way.

My paladin would keep his religion past the end, and when he got out, even years later, he would channel1 time to affirm his connection to the positive material plane and be cured of all lasting effects.

Dedicated Voter 2013

Hippygriff wrote:
gamer-printer wrote:
The point is other than possibly dying, your character isn't going to be permanently affected by torture. So why should it force you to break your code? Or why should it even be a problem?
Forget the "forced to break your code" bit, the thing I take issue with is the "if there's no permanent effect then torture is just story and not a problem". If it takes permanent loss of some stat for players to care that their character is being tortured then bring on the permanent stat loss!

I've already stated that if there is a mechanical adjustment in your game because of torture, then use it - I totally agree with you that such a mechanic could/should exist that creates complications for being tortured. That makes total sense.

Even then, however, gain a stat loss, and do not lie, what's the problem?

I've played paladins that wouldn't break. And I've played paladins that did break, and fall from grace - both are fun options for paladins to play. Enjoy the game the way you want it.

I think the real challenge would be to test your code of conduct in the face of losing your allies, or losing a friend as the punishment to sticking to code. Not some limited negative affect for torture. If your parents/friend/mentor will disown you because you won't break from a certain point of view - that loss is greater and more real than some short term duration that you have to face physical torture.

That's a challenge, torture is momentary, loss of a friend can be permanent and far more devastating - and in-game affecting.


he can lie to mindless undead, but only if noone is around

his code says he cannot lie, he can hold the truth for himself, but he cannot tell a blatant lie.

Silver Crusade

cranewings wrote:
shallowsoul wrote:
cranewings wrote:
I feel like there are a lot of people on here that must have really good grasps on the effects of torture. If that's fun to RP, have at it. Do you also RP the effect of watching friends die, or the effect of carving people up? That suffering tourism crap all sucks in my opinion. James Bond and Picard were both tortured and you don't hear them crying about it. Neither do my characters.

So, unless it's got a mechanical advantage/disadvantage we shouldn't role play it?

The Paladin was history at that point. There was no way for him to escape so we decided that the paladin would break and become a blackguard with vengeance and evil in his heart.

It's all a part of the role playing aspect of the game.

Says you. I think your story blows, and if it was my character, I wouldn't play it that way.

My paladin would keep his religion past the end, and when he got out, even years later, he would channel1 time to affirm his connection to the positive material plane and be cured of all lasting effects.

Story blows huh? *shakes head sadly*

Who says that you would even get out? When the demon was done with you he could have just killed you.

Demons and devils like nothing more than Paladins to actually turn evil. Kill them only gives a little satisfaction, but actually turning one evil is rubbing salt into the wound.


Sure you can roleplay it. Just roleplay it as the Paladin being a Paladin and resisting the torture. you want your character to be a hero and not a failure, right?
Maybe it is "metagame-y". So what. Do I get some kind of mechanical benefit for it? No. I'm using my right to roleplay my character how the hell I want.

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