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Did I break my Paladin Code?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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Jodokai wrote:
If you've already established that I'm a liar and I've tried to have you killed, then I tell you that you need to kill all those koblolds because they stole my children, what are you going to do/think? You're a Paladin, so you know if there's a possiblity of me telling you the truth, you have to do something, but there's also a huge possibility that I'm trying to make your life difficult or kill you. Then, if I'm willing to try to kill you, wouldn't I be willing to try to get others killed, like innocent kobolds?

Sure you're going to be cautious about it. That's not the issue. The issue is whether that caution warrants a 12-24 hour delay that may lead to the deaths of the children you're out there to save. If you've got enough of the benefit of doubt to be out there in the first place, then you need to act under the assumption that the children have, indeed, been kidnapped by something and they are therefore in danger. That danger means that you must resolve the issue as fast as reasonably possible. Waiting around because you don't have a handy spell does not, in my opinion, qualify as a reasonable delay when lives are potentially at stake.

What would he have done had he not happened to have a cleric handy? Wasted time searching for someone who just happens to speak Kobold? A quick Detect Evil would have sufficed to determine that the creatures were evil, which raises the likelihood that someone is in danger there.

Quote:
And let's say all of this is moot and waiting was the wrong decsion, is being too cautions when trying to save children really an unredeemable offense that would cause you to fall from grace?

I'd say no. If I were DM, it'd warrant a warning.


LazarX wrote:

What everyone seems to be ignoring is the real problematic issue.

The relationship between the OP and his DM is at the very least bordering on the antagonistic. Given that we've seen only one side of the story, there isn't a way to tell which, if not both sides are to blame for this.

My guideline is this. If trust does not exist between the DM and the players, the group has a problem that needs to be addressed. If it's not looked at it has a nontrivial danger of festering over time.

Actually, the DM and I are very close friends out of game. We often share beers together and get on very well.

It just so happens we are both very competitive when it comes to the game. Alot of the time to the detriment of the less experienced players. He'll rarely throw mobs at us that aren't statted up strongly and don't work in tight military formations. If the creatures large you can bet it has grapple AND constrict. I enjoy this greatly, and so does he. There may be some gentle prodding of eachother but nothing that we take personally. I should also add he's probably one of the best GM's around, but we have an in joke in the party that Combat Reflexes is a wasted feat in his campaigns because he's so technical with his monsters.


This is straight out of the code of Sarenrae from the faith of purity.

If any fall because of my inaction, their deaths lie upon my soul, and I will atone for each.

I am not suggesting he be permanently stripped of all paladin powers, but that he needs to atone. This is a good role-playing opportunity and should not be wasted.


Mysterious Stranger wrote:

This is straight out of the code of Sarenrae from the faith of purity.

If any fall because of my inaction, their deaths lie upon my soul, and I will atone for each.

I am not suggesting he be permanently stripped of all paladin powers, but that he needs to atone. This is a good role-playing opportunity and should not be wasted.

I absolutely agree with you on this. IF the children suffer because of my inaction, their deaths absolutely lie on my conscience.

What's more, and I've thought about this. If the children are not in the catacombs of the monastery the deaths of the kobolds will lie on my conscience.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Iced2k wrote:
LazarX wrote:

What everyone seems to be ignoring is the real problematic issue.

The relationship between the OP and his DM is at the very least bordering on the antagonistic. Given that we've seen only one side of the story, there isn't a way to tell which, if not both sides are to blame for this.

My guideline is this. If trust does not exist between the DM and the players, the group has a problem that needs to be addressed. If it's not looked at it has a nontrivial danger of festering over time.

Actually, the DM and I are very close friends out of game. We often share beers together and get on very well.

It just so happens we are both very competitive when it comes to the game. Alot of the time to the detriment of the less experienced players. He'll rarely throw mobs at us that aren't statted up strongly and don't work in tight military formations. If the creatures large you can bet it has grapple AND constrict. I enjoy this greatly, and so does he. There may be some gentle prodding of eachother but nothing that we take personally. I should also add he's probably one of the best GM's around, but we have an in joke in the party that Combat Reflexes is a wasted feat in his campaigns because he's so technical with his monsters.

You might forgive me for interpreting that the tone of your post implied a more antagonistic atmosphere. Your GM might want to consider that it adds a bit more variety if every monster you run into does not act like it graduated out of ROTC Rangers. The unanswered question however is your GM's relationship to the group at whole. Are the rest of your players as comfortable with the way your game runs as you are? If so, then full speed ahead. fun is what matters though.

I might add however, and this is a purely subjective call on my part, is that part of what makes heroes heroic is a bit of the "rush it in and damm the torpedoes" aspect. If every operation is planned as if you were operating out of a strategic military base, it kind of loses a bit of it's heroic edge.


Oh there's plenty of that too, infact I'm the last character to reach for the Wand of Cure Light between encounters. On this occasion however I did err on the side of caution only because I didn't want to unnecessarily spill the blood of innocent kobolds. Ironically!


It seems that you've received many opinions, so I'll give you mine FWIW.

FACT: The paladin killed a helpless sentient being.

I believe that is an evil act in this game. For that act, the paladin should lose his divine powers until atoned or suitably repentant. Use for good role-playing purposes, it's cathartic.

If the paladin had detected that the kobold was evil, which was not in the OP, then the fact would change and not be an evil act. To me, fun games challenge players ethics and morals as well as tactics and strategy. I've encountered many neutral-aligned kobolds who were led by evil-aligned kobolds.

The Detect Evil ability defines who Serenrae (insert paladin god) are ignorant or unredeemable. When not used, paladins can kill innocents. This is especially true for NG paladins, because LG paladins can kill neutral or even good aligned beings if your Lawful authority commands it... but I digress.

The fact that you couldn't communicate with the kobold was a challenge to be overcome... like sentries.

cheers


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I don't believe in persecuting paladins. But the arguement that they are judge, jury and executioner and have a right is not a good one.

take this situation. some men capture some goblin or kobold or hobgoblin babies for a bounty on their ear. The goblins capture the paladins son and try to force him to talk. when he doesn't talk either because he doesn't know or refuses to---they cut his throat. Was that an evil act?

they did the exact same thing the paladin did--cut a tied up prisoners throat who would not cooperate--so is it a GOOD act? If that hobgoblin group is the duly appointed law in that place? If that hobgoblin group is the law and executes the paladins son on thier land---and you then attack them?---aren't you the one out of line?

There should not be too strict of alignment on paladins where it is totally unfun to play them, but at the same time if they want people to consider them the embodiment of good, they can't just take the easy way out and try to justify it either. A paladins god may not remove his powers for executing a defenseless prisoner-(read Torag's description for example in faiths of purity. You may not lose your powers, but people wont look at you and think of you as pure after you slit a helpless persons throat.

Think of the person who does executions at a prison--it is his job--it is legal. But no one is going to be thinking of him as a do-good saint.

Pathfinder Paladins are different than the paladins I played with 20 years ago. Now they are no longer paragons of virtue--they are simply knights with powers from their gods. Well some still play thier paladins as paragons of virtue.


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Jubal Breakbottle wrote:

It seems that you've received many opinions, so I'll give you mine FWIW.

FACT: The paladin killed a helpless sentient being.

Who just happens to be part of a larger group that love torturing then eating, preferably 1 piece at a time so the vanquished can enjoy the horror and torture that produces while the Kobolds take a piece from their abdomen, say a slice of liver, and eat it in front of them? I don't think so.

Again, that's 21st Western Morality in a game designed to be played in an Iron Age/City State venue. The Paladin ws completely in their right to dispatch an evil creature from this world and send them to whatever fate awaits them

Jubal Breakbottle wrote:
I believe that is an evil act in this game. For that act, the paladin should lose his divine powers until atoned or suitably repentant. Use for good role-playing purposes, it's cathartic.
1: It was not an evil act nor was it unlawful. The Paladin being the best source ot real justice and especially goodness was with in their right to be "Judge, Jury and Executioner"
Jubal Breakbottle wrote:
If the paladin had detected that the kobold was evil, which was not in the OP, then the fact would change and not be an evil act.
It is almost certain that the Kobold was evil, placing its life wbove all others.
Jubal Breakbottle wrote:
To me, fun games challenge players ethics and morals as well as tactics and strategy. I've encountered many neutral-aligned kobolds who were led by evil-aligned kobolds.

Fun games? To challenge the moral code of players is one thing. To straight jacket them is something totally different.

The Paladin didn't just act within his alignment to me, he made the right call, as I understand it, all the way down the line.

Jubal Breakbottle wrote:
The Detect Evil ability defines who Serenrae (insert paladin god) are ignorant or unredeemable. When not used, paladins can kill innocents. This is especially true for NG paladins, because LG paladins can kill neutral or even good aligned beings if your Lawful authority commands it... but I digress.
No yo don't this is actually your best point. If the Ko0bold was evil and detected as such, then the Paladin not only made the right call but the only cal they could do.
Jubal Breakbottle wrote:
The fact that you couldn't communicate with the kobold was a challenge to be overcome... like sentries.
There's another poster who believes that delaying the Paladin delaying to have the Cleric take "Comprehend Languages" was their greatest failing. Could the "Paladin fell crowd at least get their story straight?
Jubal Breakbottle wrote:
cheers

Ciao


I'm with the "the paladin killed a helpless captive begging for his life" group and think they should seek atonement.

I don't believe there is any justification to say killing the helpless (regardless of alignment, race, or group affiliation) is not an evil act.


????? No idea why this came about


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As a GM I would say something like this:
"Guys, what's your next action?"

From your story it is clear you have given him (and them) more than one chance. Also, it's quite likely these kobolds are holding innocents prisoner.

Mercy is precious commodity. Do not waste on those who don't cannot benefit from it. Paladin is a weapon - your job is to vanquish evil, not to split hair over a petty monster not willing to cooperate.

Regards,
Ruemere

Osirion

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Yes he killed a helpless sentient being. However, did the circumstances warrant it? Did the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few? Did he act according to his god(dess)? Once again, he is not even lawful good, but neutral good.

Problem with condemning the paladin for this reason is is it does not allow the paladin the role of lawful representative. By these standards, the human society that he comes from is evil then because every serial killer, rapist, and other horrid criminal is helpless and sentient when the judge, lord, or king announces the death sentence on them while they are tied up or jailed. Every adventurer fighting evil creatures has to invade their homes, slaughter them and their families, and steal their belongings. These could be considered evil acts if we were to view them as happening to other humans.

Paladins have to have room to become arbiters of law and good in the world. Others will look to them for guidance and judgement, so they have to be able to make judgement calls. They can't do that if they are always damned if you do and damned if you don't. GMs have to give paladins a little room to breath in regards to their alignment and code. Otherwise, you get a paladin that is nothing but a lackey because he can't act decisively without getting permission from his god, priest, or local lord.


I think it's an evil act, yes.

Maybe you could justify it if you had proof that this one kobald was exceptionally evil, or if you had been told that the only way to keep the people safe was to exterminate the kobalds completely and had reluctantly agreed to that, but this sounds like you took a kobald prisoner, questioned him, and then killed him because he wouldn't answer your questions. It doesn't sound like you had decided to kill all the kobalds; in fact, it sounds like you were trying to avoid that. So why did you kill this one? Just because you could?

So, yes. Killing someone while they're tied up and helpless, and are asking you to not kill him, is bad, at least if you have other options. I would have left him tied up, gone and saved the kids, and then worried about him later. After the adventure is over, you can come back and untie him and let him go, or bring him to town, or whatever. Or, hey, if you really thought he had to die, then after you save the kids, offer him trial by one-on-one combat or something cool like that.

I don't think the "I'm NG not LG" helps you out any here either. If anything, it puts you even farther off from your alignment, since the judge dredd "I am the law" stuff tends to be LN. LG people can actually get away with more in "the guilty deserve to be punished" catagory then NG people can without violating their alignment, IMHO.


Frankly, you lost me at NG Paladin.

House rules are fine and all... but you can't have a NG character held to LG code. If your gonna change ONE thing, you got to adjust all around.

Personally, I wouldn't have killed the kobald. That is borderline at BEST...

But waiting? That's fine. Planning is NOT inaction. Reconassaince is NOT inaction, and prepping for the big fight is NOT inaction. If they have 10 kids in there and you rush in crazy... 5-6 of them die... You suck.

If you wait a day, they MAY eat one... You really don't KNOW... But a well prepped plan means the other 9 get rescued... That's Winning. The goal is for EVERYONE to get out alive.

The Paladin is NOT a diviner. He is NOT held accountable for what could/maybe/possibly happen. He's held responsible for the Decisions he makes, based on the facts that he has...

We just finished a game a few weeks ago, where a bunch of baddies had a room full of babies that we tried to rescue...

Turns out later the babies were slaves, and the opponents were freedom fighters 'freeing' them...

I personally appologized for the stabbing as the guards were hauling them away... Now I'm planning a jailbreak :P

No paladin there... but if this village is as nasty and evil as claimed... who knows WHY the Kobolds have the children... It may not be dinner after all ;)


redcelt32 wrote:

Yes he killed a helpless sentient being. However, did the circumstances warrant it? Did the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few? Did he act according to his god(dess)? Once again, he is not even lawful good, but neutral good.

Problem with condemning the paladin for this reason is is it does not allow the paladin the role of lawful representative. By these standards, the human society that he comes from is evil then because every serial killer, rapist, and other horrid criminal is helpless and sentient when the judge, lord, or king announces the death sentence on them while they are tied up or jailed. Every adventurer fighting evil creatures has to invade their homes, slaughter them and their families, and steal their belongings. These could be considered evil acts if we were to view them as happening to other humans.

Paladins have to have room to become arbiters of law and good in the world. Others will look to them for guidance and judgement, so they have to be able to make judgement calls. They can't do that if they are always damned if you do and damned if you don't. GMs have to give paladins a little room to breath in regards to their alignment and code. Otherwise, you get a paladin that is nothing but a lackey because he can't act decisively without getting permission from his god, priest, or local lord.

what redcelt32 said


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Since you're a Neutral Good Paladin (which personally I don't agree with in the first place) you should have your own specially tailored Code of Conduct based on your god. I think Sarenrae got a Paladin Code of Conduct in the Faiths of Purity book; that would be a good place to start.

Without actually knowing your Code of Conduct, and I can't comment much, but here's my gut feeling based on this line alone:

Iced2k wrote:

At the end of the combat we tie up a survivor and I interrogate him, successfully intimidating him and trying to get him to speak. I am clear and concise. He does not say anything other than 'Don't kill me'.

I give him a clear 5 second count down. And then judge him with my sword, running him through.

You fall. You fall hard.

Killing a foe who attacked you first is not evil. But killing a helpless survivor that is asking you for mercy is; you basically just spat in the face of mercy.

As others have said, that's something someone who is neutral or lower on the morality scale would do. That is not something that a champion of good would do, regardless of whether he is lawful or chaotic.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Cards, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Yosarian wrote:
I don't think the "I'm NG not LG" helps you out any here either.

I agree.

Being NG rather than LG allows you to possibly ignore a law if you feel that doing so would run contrary to the overall good. But the discussion here isn't whether or not the character in question broke the law (where being NG would be a defense) - it's whether the character committed an evil act. Slaying a defenseless captive may be an acceptable act for a LN character, but not for a NG one.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

For all those slaying a defenseless captive = evil . . . so if a paladin executes a convicted criminal, he falls? If said criminal asks not to be killed before execution (not even acknowledging he did wrong, just asking to be spared), the paladin then falls? No, because they have been given a fair trial seems to be the consensus of some.

The question then becomes whether the paladin has the right to pass judgement. If a paladin, someone who gets their power from the forces of law and good, is not capable of acting as a fair judge, who is? Especially keeping in mind that the 21st century ideals of justice and due process are extremely different from what could be expected from the Golarion. The "take him back to town to await trial" solution is silly, especially given the likelihood a kobold would get a fairer trial there than just accepting the paladin's judgement.

I actually believe not killing the kobold who was not seeking any type of redemption for kidnapping children, and doing Sarenrae knows what to them, could have put the paladin in peril of falling, as the paladin code includes "punish those who harm or threaten innocents". So if a paladin doesn't punish a person who harmed/threatened innocents, they break their code and fall, but if they actually do punish said person, they commit evil and fall. It is a wonder paladins exist at all.


Short answer Iced2k: Ask your DM to give a complete listing on what a Paladin MUST DO, including those situations that the Paladin must adhere to in a non standard situation.

Be specific. If you ask. "Do I ride out unprepared", if they "Yes ask, "If my companions don't want to go, what do I do then"?.

If they say, "Go with out them", ask, "Is suicide a virtue or an issue with playing a Paladin in your game?"

Be specific, ask pointed questions. When your DM says, the paladin "must do this", ask those one off questions

The DM MUST provide the actions that your Paladin MUST obey. As you can see here, if honest and I dare say reasonably intelligent and educated people can argue about ad nauseum, then how is a Paladin (correct me if I'm wrong but they probably have a lower Int than some of the more gifted people on this board - if you DM demands you play a Paladin with player knowledge ask, "Where does it stop?" - can argue for hours, then your DM must produced a detailed and exhaustive "Code of Conduct" for you Paladin that encompasses everything if they are going to hold you to such a standard

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

Paladin allignment thread? Must be Wednesday.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I don't think you broke your paladin code.

On a tangent - it's funny, paladins aren't the only ones with alignment restrictions, yet I never see alignment threads for any other class. If my barbarian properly stows his equipment at night, folds his armor and tucks it neatly in a corner, does he wake up without his ability to rage?

Osirion

This is why we can't have nice things.. like players who want to play paladins.. or paladins who aren't asshats or hindrances to their parties.

If Golarion did exist, I can guarantee you that no adventurer worth his salt is going to put up with a guy that has to talk to every monster the party meets, try to negotiate with it, use non-lethal attacks if it becomes hostile, tie it up and talk to it again, then take it back to town for a fair trial. They would think this paladin guy is a deluded idiot and find another solid adventurer with realistic values to sack innoncent monster homes and slaughter helpless liches and dragons.

You know what really happens when the paladin isn't allowed to kill the helpless kobold? The barbarian or fighter in the party does it, out of sensible expediency. The the paladin has to deal with a party member that has committed the horrible crime and either chastise them or leave them. Now we have created party strife, which usually leads to real life strife between the players...the game goes from fun to unfun. Excellent! Or the paladin player is forced to roll up another character. But on the bright side, the GM will never have to make any more of these difficult decisions about whether or not to have the paladin fall... because no one ever plays a paladin again.


Scaevola77 wrote:


The question then becomes whether the paladin has the right to pass judgement. If a paladin, someone who gets their power from the forces of law and good, is not capable of acting as a fair judge, who is? Especially keeping in mind that the 21st century ideals of justice and due process are extremely different from what could be expected from the Golarion. The "take him back to town to await trial" solution is silly, especially given the likelihood a kobold would get a fairer trial there than just accepting the paladin's judgement.
.

This is another sticking point for me in these threads. Why is it automatically assumed that the PALADIN has the 'RIGHT' to be judge and jury.. for ANYONE?!?!?

Is he appointed by the king to execute these prisoners?? No? Then Murder.

Is he sheriff of the surrounding area??

Is he appointed the judge or magistrate of the region??

if the answer is no... then HIS opinion means NO more then the cleric or rogues.

Seriously... We're talking about a wandering adventurer going into Kobaldland and enforcing HUMAN laws on another society?!?

Because... He thinks that's what's right.

Before the Paladin can 'lawfully' execute someone... he has to be associated with the Lawful government and placed in that position.

Otherwise he's STILL taking the law in his own hands... which honestly is 99% of what adventuring is about... but he shouldn't hide behind 'That's whats lawful in Absolom...' While hanging out in Varisia!


redcelt32 wrote:

This is why we can't have nice things.. like players who want to play paladins.. or paladins who aren't asshats or hindrances to their parties.

If Golarion did exist, I can guarantee you that no adventurer worth his salt is going to put up with a guy that has to talk to every monster the party meets, try to negotiate with it, use non-lethal attacks if it becomes hostile, tie it up and talk to it again, then take it back to town for a fair trial. They would think this paladin guy is a deluded idiot and find another solid adventurer with realistic values to sack innoncent monster homes and slaughter helpless liches and dragons.

You know what really happens when the paladin isn't allowed to kill the helpless kobold? The barbarian or fighter in the party does it, out of sensible expediency. The the paladin has to deal with a party member that has committed the horrible crime and either chastise them or leave them. Now we have created party strife, which usually leads to real life strife between the players...the game goes from fun to unfun. Excellent! Or the paladin player is forced to roll up another character. But on the bright side, the GM will never have to make any more of these difficult decisions about whether or not to have the paladin fall... because no one ever plays a paladin again.

Why, if Paladins are the most restricted-most constraints-most watched characters aren't they the biggest bad asses in the game?

Why aren't Paladins given clear, fully annotated, detailed books on "Code of Conduct" that spells out what they MUST do?

Why aren't Paladins given Bonuses of +2 for Int, Dex and Con and +4 for Str, Wis and Cha for starting off that they can lose for misbehaving?

If one is going to put all these restrictions on a Paladin, they DAMN SURE better have a complete and fully detailed "Code of Conduct"?

If a DM doesn't provide that nor give the player of the Paladin hints, even in game, then the DM is railroading the Player


"A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class features except proficiencies if she ever willingly commits an evil act.

Additionally, a paladin's code requires that she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth), help those in need (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends), and punish those who harm or threaten innocents."

"I will redeem the ignorant with my words and my actions. If they will not turn toward the light, I will redeem them by the sword.

I will not abide evil, and will combat it with steel when words are not enough. I do not flinch from my faith, and do not fear embarrassment. My soul cannot be bought for all the stars in the sky."

Fact: Kobolds are LE in PF.

Seems more like you lived up to your code.


phantom1592 wrote:
Scaevola77 wrote:


The question then becomes whether the paladin has the right to pass judgement. If a paladin, someone who gets their power from the forces of law and good, is not capable of acting as a fair judge, who is? Especially keeping in mind that the 21st century ideals of justice and due process are extremely different from what could be expected from the Golarion. The "take him back to town to await trial" solution is silly, especially given the likelihood a kobold would get a fairer trial there than just accepting the paladin's judgement

phantom1592 wrote:
This is another sticking point for me in these threads. Why is it automatically assumed that the PALADIN has the 'RIGHT' to be judge and jury.. for ANYONE?!?!?
Who else would be a better arbitrator for a prisoner?
phantom1592 wrote:
Is he appointed by the king to execute these prisoners?? No? Then Murder.
Whose lands is he in? The Kings/Monarchs/Dear Leaders? If not, how does said sovereign have jurisdiction over the area the Paladin is in? Might Makes Right?
phantom1592 wrote:
Is he sheriff of the surrounding area??
What area? If the lands are in the "wilderness" with nobody "owning them", claiming them means squat
phantom1592 wrote:
Is he appointed the judge or magistrate of the region??
Since when does temporal jurisdiction override a deity or force of nature?
phantom1592 wrote:
if the answer is no... then HIS opinion means NO more then the cleric or rogues.
Paladins are better than 99% of all other classes and 99.99999% of the nobles in the lands. What other groups can be as trustworthy as the Paladins?
phantom1592 wrote:
Seriously... We're talking about a wandering adventurer going into Kobaldland and enforcing HUMAN laws on another society?!?
Moral relativism is crap. What do Kobolds due with captured people? Slaves, food, worse?
phantom1592 wrote:
Because... He thinks that's what's right.
As the player of a Paladin is far more enlightened than most Paladins in an Iron/Age society of City States don't you think the Player is a better judge?
phantom1592 wrote:
Before the Paladin can 'lawfully' execute someone... he has to be associated with the Lawful government and placed in that position.
And which "lawful society" will be willing to make extra jail space for the scum of all the lands? The cost and need for dedicated troops and magic will break their backs.
phantom1592 wrote:
Otherwise he's STILL taking the law in his own hands... which honestly is 99% of what adventuring is about... but he shouldn't hide behind 'That's whats lawful in Absolom...' While hanging out in Varisia!

What law and where?

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Does your DM say you did? Then yes.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Does your DM say you did? Then yes.

LMAO....

Was it Kirth?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'd suggest both you and your GM unhouserule the NG Paladin thing. Any character who keeps a knightly code is going to be lawful. You're early enough in your campaign that this shouldn't be a big deal. It will continue to be a problem.

Paladins are my favorite class for those rare times I'm not the GM, but I have to know the GM and I see eye to eye on alignment. If I even get a hint that he'll try to impose his modern Judeo-Christian preconceptions on my Pagan knight I won't go there. I don't think that's what's going on here though. You guys need to have a talk about behavior. He's probably not an unreasonable guy since he let you create a NG Paladin. I'd never allow it.

Killing the Kobold prisoner is not itself a problem. Early in a campaign where I played a Paladin my party captured a bandit. After a bunch of mealy mouthed weasel talk out of him I did a detect evil, declared him guilty in the eyes of my god, and beheaded him. That's what Paladins do. What you did was more along the lines of "Tell me what you know or I will kill you." That's not very Paladin like.

I don't think a mistake early on should be punished by falling. Both you and your GM are clearly struggling with the concept of the Paladin. A little more communication will go a long way. I'd point out most fallen Paladins in gaming fluff are guilty of some pretty heinous stuff. A small infraction early on should be part of the learning curve not a deal breaker for the class. That's more fun for the entire game group. GMs included.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jarl wrote:

"A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class features except proficiencies if she ever willingly commits an evil act.

Additionally, a paladin's code requires that she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth), help those in need (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends), and punish those who harm or threaten innocents."

"I will redeem the ignorant with my words and my actions. If they will not turn toward the light, I will redeem them by the sword.

I will not abide evil, and will combat it with steel when words are not enough. I do not flinch from my faith, and do not fear embarrassment. My soul cannot be bought for all the stars in the sky."

Seems more like you lived up to your code.

Agreed 100%.

Again, if the paladin punishing the kobold for harming and threatening innocents is an evil act that causes him to fail, then what can the paladin do? One portion of his code (that he can't do evil acts, which in my mind is tenuous that the act of executing a remorselessly evil person is evil), is preventing him from having the ability to follow another part of the code. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Some thoughts:
LG kingdom is besieged by an enemy force who is clearly evil. The have seen the enemy force round up innocents from neighboring villages and slaughter them right in front of them. The LG forces decide to break the siege with a daring nighttime attack. They send Sir Pally to lead the attack, as he is a clear leader and his paladin powers will no doubt be necessary. They successfully sneak out past the sentries, but on the way to their target, the core of the enemy army, they pass a sleeping group of soldiers. Now, to leave them alive means that their stealth could be blown and the attack will fail, or their exit path after the strike will be cut off. Capturing them is not feasible, nor is leaving them alive and behind the strike force. Is the paladin obligated to wake every soldier before killing them?

If no, paladins can evidently kill helpless enemies without committing an evil act.
If yes, the paladin is neutered and should probably not be considered as a leader of a group of soldiers.
If no, but they should be extremely reluctant to, that is in my mind the proper paladin way.

Another scenario:
A vile wizard is terrorizing a small farming village. The paladin embarks to apprehend him. In the process, he find that the wizard is far more powerful than he imagined and is responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocents. Upon catching the wizard, the wizard says, "I surrender. I've killed thousands, and plan to kill thousands more. But I know you would kill me in open combat. I want to stand trial".
Should the paladin:
A - Kill the wizard, who is clearly evil and wants to do more evil if possible
B - Take the wizard to the nearest town (the small farming village), which clearly can't handle a prisoner of the wizard's caliber
C - Take a weeks long journey, during which the wizard is highly likely to escape and commit more evil acts, to take the wizard to a city that can handle him as a prisoner.

Yes, the second scenarios is taking the "need someone else to judge" to an extreme. But honestly, that is a probably not that extreme for many campaigns. How would you like it if at the end of your campaign, the evil guy said "I surrender, now you can't kill me without losing your powers! Hahaha!"

As TriOmegaZero points out though, it really is quite simple. If the GM says so, you did. We can debate all we want about the "proper" way to handle situations for paladins, and whether we think you should have fallen, but with something like the paladin code, when it comes down to it the GM has the final say.


I'm not to familiar with the inner workings of Golarion but if you look at medieval Europe the border between state and church was not what it is today. Church and king both had a say in what was deemed as good and lawful, sometimes the church more so than the king. Unless the regent of the land is directly opposed or unwelcoming of the religion the paladin is standing for (s)he would probably not object to any ruling of law the paladin passed so it isn't unlawful even by that standard.

Most of the time taking a prisoner back to town to face a trial is a preposterous idea. Good luck finding a courthouse in most towns. More likely some of the more influential people in town (guild leaders, traders possibly nobility) will meet up in the tavern and talk the matter over while having a drink or two and then pass the most convenient sentence acceptable to the people of the town. Probably to hang the accused for the entertainment of the town unless someone brought proof on innocence. Either that or the local priest would be the one to sit judge and in that case I'd think a champion of the faith stands a bit higher in the ranks unless that town just happens to be the bishops summer retreat.
It's strange that the paladin isn't asked to judge over local disputes more often, (s)he is a prominent figure of justice.

Also consider that even if the paladin that sat judge over this trial wasn't of my faith (s)he was of good faith and i can respect that and therefore that judgment.
Also the laws of men concern themselves with men and those kin similar to men. Kobolds, goblins and other pests have about as many rights as bandits and other outlaws, none.


BB36 wrote:
Who else would be a better arbitrator for a prisoner?

Anyone not personally or emotionally involved in the prisoner. Really... the moment you had to disarm someone and stop them from attacking... Your no longer fit for an impartial judge.

BB36 wrote:


Whose lands is he in? The Kings/Monarchs/Dear Leaders? If not, how does said sovereign have jurisdiction over the area the Paladin is in? Might Makes Right?

What area? If the lands are in the "wilderness" with nobody "owning them", claiming them means squat

My point. If there is no lawful... then you are can not execute 'lawfully'.

BB36 wrote:


Since when does temporal jurisdiction override a deity or force of nature?

Which God are we talking about? Sarenrae's beleifs are that nobody is above redemption. 'Redemption is rarely a swift process, and your faith demands the patience to hold your temper and help others to walk the righteous path. Only the followers of Rovagug are denied a chance at salvation...'

Torag's code says "Against my people's enemies I will show no mercy, I will not allow thier surrender, exept to extract information. I will defeat them, and I will scatter their families.

Which Deity gets Jurisdiction?

On a similiar note... it should be pointed out that Sarenrae does not HAVE the 'LAW' Domain... Nor does Shelyn. Yet both have Paladins walking around.

Not REALLY the ones I want as my lawyer/judge/jury... O.o

BB36 wrote:


Paladins are better than 99% of all other classes and 99.99999% of the nobles in the lands. What other groups can be as trustworthy as the Paladins?

As the player of a Paladin is far more enlightened than most Paladins in an Iron/Age society of City States don't you think the Player is a better judge?

Paladins typically have Wisdom and Intelligence as dump stats. How does this make them better suited to judge then 99% of everyone else?

I'd say the cleric gets more say in the matter. He follows the same teachings as the Paladin, and has a much higher wisdom.

BB36 wrote:


Moral relativism is crap. What do Kobolds due with captured people? Slaves, food, worse?

OOHHHHHHhh on THAT we agree!! Just don't be self-righteous about it!! Killing evil monsters is what adventurers do. Kill them because they are evil...

Not because god # 7 out of 25 says it's ok to enact kangaroo court style 'justice'...

If you've got a party with a Paladin, Cleric, Rogue, Fighter and Barbarian walking around... no ONE of them is more 'legally' allowed to do something than the others. It's a GROUP game. Unless the Paladin is high marshal of the kings forces... He's not 'legally' obligated to hold court, and his 'judgements' don't hold anymore weight than the barbarian's.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
phantom1592 wrote:
Scaevola77 wrote:
The question then becomes whether the paladin has the right to pass judgement. If a paladin, someone who gets their power from the forces of law and good, is not capable of acting as a fair judge, who is? Especially keeping in mind that the 21st century ideals of justice and due process are extremely different from what could be expected from the Golarion. The "take him back to town to await trial" solution is silly, especially given the likelihood a kobold would get a fairer trial there than just accepting the paladin's judgement.

This is another sticking point for me in these threads. Why is it automatically assumed that the PALADIN has the 'RIGHT' to be judge and jury.. for ANYONE?!?!?

...

The god who grants him his power entrusts him with that divine right? Honestly, if you are a powerful deity who is going to empower an individual with powers of good and law, wouldn't you at least do a background check? Paladins have a divine mandate to act as an enforcer of divine (good) law, in a world where gods are an accepted power and a divine mandate means something. At least that's how I see it.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
KenderKin wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Does your DM say you did? Then yes.

LMAO....

Was it Kirth?

I've never actually gotten to play a paladin for more than a few sessions.


Scaevola77 wrote:

The god who grants him his power entrusts him with that divine right? Honestly, if you are a powerful deity who is going to empower an individual with powers of good and law, wouldn't you at least do a background check? Paladins have a divine mandate to act as an enforcer of divine (good) law, in a world where gods are an accepted power and a divine mandate means something. At least that's how I see it.

1) Not MY god... Kinda sucks for EVERYONE to be held to Torag's divine Justice... Especially if your a Paladin of ANOTHER god. I can see Torag and Sarenra getting QUITE annoyed with each other on philosphy...

And on SOME of these threads.. Sarenrae's quest to lead to redemption... would be considered 'evil' by Torag's followers...

2) Paladin's need a background check... but the PLAYERS don't. Hence all the 'Did I break my Code' threads...

Hardly the infallible dispensers of Justice that the fluff indicates they SHOULD be ;)


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I have said it before and I will say it again

Paladins should not be held to a strict standard and beaten about the head for it.. their character is not any more powerful.

but in the same sense, paladins should never pretend to be holier than thou unless they do follow a strict code.

Your God may not take away your powers, but the common people see you take the easy route.

If you claim that you kill the goblin because you smite evil when you see it OR that you do it to protect innocents AND THEN you turn around and turn a blind eye to the slavery of children occuring in your home nation because (it is legal such as in Absalom or many other nations)-----then you really dont care about protecting innocents or smiting evil. You just use that as an excuse to take an easy way of disposing of something that would inconvenience you.

that goblin who may have never killed anyone and was maybe just defending his land is no more evil than the slaver in your home city that you just turn your head and pass by. He most probably has hurt less innocents.

Your god may not strip your powers---and I dont believe you should be stripped---especially if you worship Torag for example. Torag just doesnt care that you ignore one evil-(slavery so long is it isnt dwarves) while killing goblins.

But the common people notice---and realize that you are after all just like them---with no more compassion or mercy and willing to pull the code out when it makes it easy-----and ignore it when it is inconvenient.

Think of your travelling companions---if you are zealot about destroying evil and punishing betrayal--what happens if they get feared and run? Will the paladin execute me for desertion?

Run your character how you want---but don't whine to me about Paladins having to follow a strict code. Because (almost )every paladin I have seen---"Lawyers" it to death. When it is convenient they pull it out, but if it is inconvenient, they ignore it.

take the goblin---inconvenient to transport him back---so the code comes out-----I must destroy evil and protect the innocent. Same paladin gets back to town and goes by children on the slave block---turns his head and tucks that destroy evil and protect the innocent thing way down deep in his backpack.

If you all TRULY protect innocent and fight evil---why no march on absalom and the other nations where slavery is legal--to include children? Oh thats right--that would be inconvenient.

which in actuality would probably be fine with some of your gods. But dont trot out the old---"we follow a strict code and it is hard to play" line when you rules lawyer it at times.

You either DO protect the innocent and fight evil or you don't. You dont CHOOSE to do it based upon how inconvenient it is to you.

as a GM, I would not strip your powers, BUT if the common people see you picking and choosing when to follow your code? Don't expect adoration from them---you are just a cavalier with spells then.

What does that child on the slave block see when he sees you ride by him? A force of lawful good smiting evil and protecting the innocent? I think not. Because that would be inconvenient wouldn't it. whereas the goblin?---inconvenient to have him around so pull out the code and say I MUST SMITE HIM---because I ALWAYS destroy evil.

see the hypocracy?


Killing a prisoner is a shameful display. It is chaotic.

Killing evil in dnd, is generally good. So you acted in a chaotic good fashion.

Shadow Lodge

Executing a prisoner is an exemplary display. It is lawful.


:)

Take them to a confessor, convert them over time while putting them to good use helping others.

You only dishonour yourself by killing a captive.

Shadow Lodge

Then they murder the nuns and make off with the silverware, dishonoring your attempt at redeeming them.

Cookies to anyone that can name the book.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Think of the Elf and Dwarf wars----Paladins on both sides fighting each other. SO do they take prisoners? or do they kill that paladin on the other side when on an infiltration mission because it is more convenient?

I have no problem with Paladins keeping their powers after killing prisoners----you may worship Torag who doesnt care if you do.

But you don't then get to tell me how hard it is following a code--when you use it to your benefit actually----saying it requires you to kill when that is convenient, but ignoring it when it is inconvenient. Your god may not care and in many cases as a GM I would rule he did not. But you don't have a strict code you are following--so dont keep telling other players you do.

On the other hand those who do follow the old AD&D code of paladins (even though you probably dont need to to keep your powers), you will probably be more the paragon of virtue that the commoners look up to. We have all seen it in our lives today---the religious who actually believe and follow and those who take the easy route---those taking the easy route are still priest but lose the respect of the common man.

Ghandi---not required to put up with everything he did---but because he did got more respect. Same with Nelson Mandella.

Those are current "paladin codes" they took the inconvenient route for their beliefs.

No one would have faulted them if they had responded---everyone else does---but the fact they did act above the situation is what garnered respect.

I play with one paladin who follows the "old" code. Does it make it more inconvenient for our party sometimes? yep. But in the end, we all respect him for actually following a "tough" code and not lawyering it away when it would be more inconvenient. Yes he has tried to act against the slavery. Yes he does spend his gold from PFS to try to buy slaves their freedom---thus costing him some of his WBL>

he has a right to look at other players and talk about following a tough code.


Yes, a paragon of good can't always do what is convenient.

Shadow Lodge

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The convenient thing would have been slaughtering them outright without giving them a chance to redeem themselves.


Yep. I was also talking to a veteran dm, who thinks evil should be just as limiting, as in they cannot chose to do an act, that isn't convenient for them. Interesting take I felt.

On the paladin code issue, I had a thought. I was cleaning up the dishes after perfectly cooking some sausages and serving them in bread with honeyed barbeque sauce. Ale came prior and may come after. Kill someone and you are taking away all joys they had, and can ever have (if you do it thoroughly). Life is ended, and there is naught but death and the hereafter left for them. They will never eat a good sausage again, and are beyond redemption. Anyway, respect for life is what I am getting at. If your paladin respects life and laments over its taking, laments at the tragedy that is involved in the killing of evil, you will gain two things. You will seem good, because you care about life and aren't just a destroyer for the good team, and you will add depth to your character which gives more roleplaying opportunities.

From this, you can interact with the other pcs on this issue. Get their input. Chase down clerics and other pallies, convene and discuss this. Commune with your god asking for more input oh holy bestower of smiting juice.

Basically seem like a good guy that wants to learn more, and not always kill, and you will be fine. The dm will also relish the rp opportunity if he likes this sort of stuff and has an opinion.

Being a smite-bot with only the execute button can make some dms unhappy, they want more on show, it is thinly concealed beneath the surface of every alignment warning.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
phantom1592 wrote:

My point. If there is no lawful... then you are can not execute 'lawfully'.

I'll pick out that bit rather than quote the whole thing. You're misunderstanding the nature of Lawful alignments. At it's core Lawful= a belief in order. For a Paladin the Lawful in his alignment stems from his church and code. Any other power (such as a king) comes a distant second. Paladins should be respectful of good authority, but Church and Code come first. Part of his code and divine mandate is to slay evil. They answer to a higher "law".


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A king is above a lord, but not my lord.

Yep, religious law is above other laws, especially the laws of corrupt dictatorships, merc or criminal guilds or the laws of the brothel on second street. Now this should lead to the paladin acting benevolent and just, not become a dick and constant executioner.

Also pugwampis are cool.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
3.5 Loyalist wrote:


Also pugwampis are cool.

As is 3.5.


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Just so I'm clear, people think the paladin should fall for killing a kidnapping baby eater? Oh wait, a helpless kidnapping baby eater. It would have been better to give the thing a weapon THEN kill it, and we're gravy? Sure the battle would have warned the rest of the baby eaters that good guy... err bad guys are coming and made sure all the babies were eaten, but hey, that's the Good Guy thing to do right?

Have I gotten that argument down correctly? If so, can you see my confusion? If not, how would you suggest the Paladin get out of this situation with his abilities intact, given that if the Kobold gets away or makes noise, the other Kobolds kill the captured kids ?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jodokai wrote:

Just so I'm clear, people think the paladin should fall for killing a kidnapping baby eater? Oh wait, a helpless kidnapping baby eater. It would have been better to give the thing a weapon THEN kill it, and we're gravy? Sure the battle would have warned the rest of the baby eaters that good guy... err bad guys are coming and made sure all the babies were eaten, but hey, that's the Good Guy thing to do right?

Have I gotten that argument down correctly? If so, can you see my confusion? If not, how would you suggest the Paladin get out of this situation with his abilities intact, given that if the Kobold gets away or makes noise, the other Kobolds kill the captured kids ?

Nope--with pathfinder--I think falling or not is not the question.

Paladins don't get all the nifty extras over other characters in Pathfinder they did in AD&D. Your god may be fine with you killing helpless baby eaters---Torag probably would. You should play that according to your God/Goddess. The faiths of purity book will give you a pretty good idea.

What you get by not slitting the throat of a helpless prisoner is more kind of a respect from your party and commoners. You go the "extra" mile to grant mercy and compassion. People look at you as a paragon of virtue.

I would disconnect it from losing powers and put it more with losing the awed respect IE "oh you are not that high and noble--you take the easy way just like us"

In old AD&D, since the paladin got a bunch of extras---it was on them to solve those quandries. Now with pathfinder, paladins are just another class.

Play them, in a campaign I GM, like a cavalier who just happens to cast spells--that's how you get treated. IE no loss of power but no great awe from commoners

play them like a paragon of virtue in a campaign I GM, the people look up to you. You dont just talk the talk, you walk the walk. You dont take the easy way out. You try to correct all evils etc--to include the slavers. If you want the respect and awe--you have to act the part. The powers---bah not so much---paladins arent the powerhouse in this game like they were in AD&D so dont have to be balanced. Your God may be fine with you slaughtering every last goblin--Torag probably would be.

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