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Paladins and other LG's against the feudal order


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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D&D fantasy politics alignment question.

Do you think pallies or other hard lawful goods, would be likely to back a NG religious/populist movement against the feudal order?

The feudal order in this instance is not truly good or truly evil. The aristocratic elites are varied in their alignments, but have been squabbling and skirmishing a great deal with the people suffering. Evil leaders are out there and protected/established.

Been playing a lot of shogun 2, allied to the ikko buddhist monks and it got me thinking.

LE I feel could back the NGs and radical change, if they could come out truly high and on top. Manipulate their way up the hierarchy and play at being good. Although this is unlikely.

LN in service to the current order and drawing their reason for being from this order, doesn't seem likely to abolish the law and feudal state at all. They would be the reliable defenders of it.

Let me know where you fall on this. :D


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If they oppose the NG movement in favor of the suffering-causing non-good aristocracy, they cease to be Good, and fall.

If they oppose the legitimate non-evil aristocracy in favor of this rebellion, they cease to be Lawful, and fall.

(Epilogue: then the GM suddenly has no players.)


Good to see you Roberta.

Not all the aristocracy are evil, some are LG (but try explaining that to the rebels). The pallies could back the NG movement and try to ensure the LGs stay in power, but that may be treason to these new ideas and get everyone LG executed if the movement wins.

This might be a setting for a game in future, I like these grey settings with a good chance of rp rain.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

In such a situation, I could see a paladin supporting the legitimate order of society, while acting (hard) against those who violated its moral code. Smiting individual evil aristocrats, very much on the cards. Arresting for trial those who try to violently overthrow the system by force, on the cards (though if the justice system starts show-trialing them, look out!)

Basically, a paladin will work within the system when possible (that's Lawful), try to reform the system if necessary (that's Good), and only go to out-and-out rebellion if the system refuses any necessary reforms. Where exactly things are at this point is a judgment call. I'm thinking, though, that a bunch of squabbling aristocrats who protect their own evil members and ignore a lot of suffering is very likely to be pretty close to the edge.

Recall that starting a rebellion is a fearful risk and likely to cause enormous amounts of harm to non-combatants, hence starting it unless very justified is itself a crime.

I could even see the Scarlet Paladin sneaking innocent aristocrats out of the dungeons, while the Blue Paladin was throwing guilty ones in. One might even envision scenarios in which they come into conflict...


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They're Good therefore they'll oppose Evil within the current power structure and feudal lords. They'll help ensure the Good voices within both the populist rebels and existing lords are heard.

They're Lawful therefore they will work within the current power structure to ensure justice and orderly change (there's a nice oxymoron). They'll change laws by working within the legal system to change or add new laws.


tonyz wrote:

In such a situation, I could see a paladin supporting the legitimate order of society, while acting (hard) against those who violated its moral code. Smiting individual evil aristocrats, very much on the cards. Arresting for trial those who try to violently overthrow the system by force, on the cards (though if the justice system starts show-trialing them, look out!)

Basically, a paladin will work within the system when possible (that's Lawful), try to reform the system if necessary (that's Good), and only go to out-and-out rebellion if the system refuses any necessary reforms. Where exactly things are at this point is a judgment call. I'm thinking, though, that a bunch of squabbling aristocrats who protect their own evil members and ignore a lot of suffering is very likely to be pretty close to the edge.

Recall that starting a rebellion is a fearful risk and likely to cause enormous amounts of harm to non-combatants, hence starting it unless very justified is itself a crime.

I could even see the Scarlet Paladin sneaking innocent aristocrats out of the dungeons, while the Blue Paladin was throwing guilty ones in. One might even envision scenarios in which they come into conflict...

Would that make the paladin Lawful Hard or Hard Lawful?

:)
I liked your reply.

What got me thinking about this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ikk%C5%8D-ikki


Rebels and paladins or any truly lawful alinements rarely mix. They tend to value tradition and the ordered system of society. Unless that system is inherently without legit authority the pally shouldn't seek to over throw it. I like what the others are saying work within the system. But frankly if the NG populists are using violence against the established order(questioning how good they are) the pally should actively opposes them. Rebels are traitors and pallies bring traitors to justice.


Other lawful goods, yes - order itself can be the important end of the 'lawful' alignment for a LG, and the infighting can be interpreted as the breakdown of order.

Paladins are tough. It would depend on the legitimacy of the feudal system, if the feudal government can be delegitimized then the NG alternative can be supported. For example if the feudal system is predicated on feudal lords providing protection from those under them (late Roman Empire, Early Feudal era), and the squabbling and skirmishing is such that the feudal lords are no longer protecting those sworn to them (including serfs), then the feudal lords have failed to uphold their end of the feudal contract and have no legitimate claim to authority.


Wait wait, you can fight LN, LE and LG defending LE & LN without being evil. Opposing L isn't being in opposition to G.

"Renounce this defiled world and attain the Pure Land".

Got me thinking, NG rebels and every paladin falls.

Shadow Lodge

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It's a very tricky situation in which the Paladin should work to reform the system from within as much as possible and minimize any harm or chaos caused by the rebellion.

However, it is more important that the Paladin be Good than that he/she be Lawful. This is why while Paladins are LG, they have an Aura of Good, not an Aura of Law. If the Paladin sincerely tries and fails to maintain both Good and Law, they should not be penalized for choosing Good.


I lean more that way Goblin buddy.

I wonder if they could hold off the law. So get behind the... purges of evil from the body politic, throw out the lawfuls and neutrals that let the problems abide and fester (doubtless plenty of the worst lords are NE and CE pretending to be lawful or neutrals that made awful choices like high taxation to keep their family/clan in power).

Clean house as thoroughly as possible, then try to make what comes next, LG instead of NG. Long-term paladin concerns.

Lantern Lodge

As long as the order does not go against his creed and virtues then the paladin will stay true to the order. If the order is going against his creed and moral compass then the paladin would defy the order to bring about justice within the order adhering to the law. In concerns of the rebels he could side with them if they have the same virtues as the paladin and go about there ways in a way that would not harm the innocent and bring justice for the greater good of civilization.

Id best describe it like star wars. Were u have the Sith, LE, against the Gedi, CG, and finally the senate who are a mix of LG and LE characters. Those that are LE of course side with the Sith who is in charge of the Republic but u also have those that are LG that are siding with the Gedi but doing so within the structure of the senate instead of as a rebel soldier.


Without further information it is almost impossible to answer that question. For example is the paladin a member of the feudal society being overthrown? Is the feudal society ruled by evil? If you are asking if a paladin who was a knight of the round table would fall for supporting a rebellion vs. King Arthur, then probably yes. Would a paladin of Andoran fall for trying to bring down Cheliax and the house of Thrune, certainly not.

A paladin does not have to recognize every government and every law as being legitimate. The highest authority for a paladin is his deity. If anyone conflicts with his deity then he is not bound by their authority. Since a paladins deity is usually LG or at least NG this also means anyone promoting evil then is in conflict with the deity and forfeits all authority over the paladin. Paladins following LN deities have a harder time here.

The next authority he would recognize is his own lord. Assuming that his lord is not in conflict with his deity then there is not problem. Again if the lord come into conflict with the paladin's deity he forfeits authority over the paladin.

The next authority a paladin will recognize are allies. Here again if the ally is in conflict with the paladin's deity then he will not recognize the allies authority. At this point the ally does not have direct authority over the paladin but the paladin will cooperate with the ally as to not dishonor his lord. But again if the ally comes into conflict with the paladin's deity the paladin will side with his deity.

The last authority the paladin will recognize is neutral parties. These are people that are not directly allied with the paladin's deity or lord but who are not in conflict with either. Again these have no direct authority over the paladin. As long as the neutral party does not come into conflict with either the paladin's deity or his lord then they will pretty much be ignored. The paladin will recognize the neutral parties authority over their own people and will usually not interfere with them. If the neutral party comes into conflict with his deity or lord then they become enemies.

Anyone else not covered by one of the preceding categories is an enemy. A paladin will not recognize the authority of the enemy in any shape or form and will oppose them at every opportunity. Every honorable method can and will be used to bring the enemy down. A paladin will not break his oath, or use poison for example, but supporting a group of NG rebels trying to overthrow the tyrant is not a problem.


If you have access to it, check out Faiths of Purity. It has a few pages on Paladin Codes for the Gods and might help you out some. =)


Mysterious Stranger wrote:

Without further information it is almost impossible to answer that question. For example is the paladin a member of the feudal society being overthrown? Is the feudal society ruled by evil? If you are asking if a paladin who was a knight of the round table would fall for supporting a rebellion vs. King Arthur, then probably yes. Would a paladin of Andoran fall for trying to bring down Cheliax and the house of Thrune, certainly not.

A paladin does not have to recognize every government and every law as being legitimate. The highest authority for a paladin is his deity. If anyone conflicts with his deity then he is not bound by their authority. Since a paladins deity is usually LG or at least NG this also means anyone promoting evil then is in conflict with the deity and forfeits all authority over the paladin. Paladins following LN deities have a harder time here.

The next authority he would recognize is his own lord. Assuming that his lord is not in conflict with his deity then there is not problem. Again if the lord come into conflict with the paladin's deity he forfeits authority over the paladin.

The next authority a paladin will recognize are allies. Here again if the ally is in conflict with the paladin's deity then he will not recognize the allies authority. At this point the ally does not have direct authority over the paladin but the paladin will cooperate with the ally as to not dishonor his lord. But again if the ally comes into conflict with the paladin's deity the paladin will side with his deity.

The last authority the paladin will recognize is neutral parties. These are people that are not directly allied with the paladin's deity or lord but who are not in conflict with either. Again these have no direct authority over the paladin. As long as the neutral party does not come into conflict with either the paladin's deity or his lord then they will pretty much be ignored. The paladin will recognize the neutral parties authority over their own people and will...

The pally, we will say, is in the feudal society. Probably a middling rank, but far above peasant. He may be one of the elites, but is probably under them.

The feudal society is not technically ruled by evil. Say there are competing duchies or daimyos, any of them may be evil or do evil things, but not all of them are; and the figurehead who does not have control of the country's situation is not evil, yet. He might go that way to put down the rebellion, depends on political necessity.

It isn't Cheliax, that would be too easy. Although an internally feuding Molthune and Nirmathas with a more religious flavour might be a comparable situation.


The Feudalism is more a feuding-ism, in this example. A lot of ways the country could go, or nothing could really change.


Feudalism is a lawful society. Paladins must adhere to legitimate Lawful authorities. Historically, feudalism links their legitimacy to divine (good) authority. As long as the aristocracy of the feudal society maintain its legitimacy, then Paladins will be internally conflicted / paralyzed with a Neutral Good opposing movement. Stories are written by this conflict.

Some paladins commit suicide to avoid choosing. Some choose the Lawful or the Good way. Depends on the victors on whether the paladin can atone and restore their LG code... either enabling the NG movement to become the legitimate authority, or forcing the legitimate authority to embrace the Good movement.

cheers


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

One of the countries in my homebrew gameworld is a very traditional feudal society that is also very strongly manoralist, a.k.a. the majority of its citizens are serfs. The overall alignment of the country itself is Lawful Neutral, and paladins exist in this country just like any other. Just because you're a paladin doesn't mean you have to take an oath to cleanse the entire world of all its evils; a paladin is perfectly justified in devoting his life to protecting a single village from the predations of the local bugbears.


What I was talking about is the lord being evil. What is important is the lord not the form of government. A paladin can't have evil followers so it makes since he can't be a follower of and evil lord.

So suppose the Paladin's lord is a NG, but the king is LN. The king for reasons of his own starts to do evil acts. This is acting in conflict with the paladins deity. He may try and work from within the system by protesting to the king, but in the end he is going to follow his deity. If his deity for some reason gives him orders not to oppose the king that is different. Since it is the deity striping him of his powers he would not fall. This would probably fall under the lesser of two evil clause.

If the ruler starts to go evil to put down the rebellion then again the ruler is in conflict with the paladins deity and the paladin is no longer subject to his authority.


The L part of the paladin code is about the rigidity and devotion with which he holds to said code, not about an explicit requirement to always obey whatever laws are about him. The only laws a paladin is sworn to obey are those to which he has actual legal obligations (oaths of fealty, etc). If an authority is evil, and especially if it demands that he violate his paladin code, he does not risk falling by opposing it. A paladin is not Law that happens to be Good, he is Good whose devotion TO Good causes his alignment to be Lawful.

It all comes down to what the rebels are actually about and what the feudal society in question looks like. If the rebels are rising up because the king is a Tyrant, the paladin feasibly join them. If the rebels are just rising up because a non-inherently evil feudalism is unfair, whether or not their cause is just comes into question.

Shadow Lodge

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No.

I'm sorry, but paladin does not mean truth, justice, democracy and the American way unless the paladin is from Ando.. America.

A truly corrupt and evil government may set the paladins contrary natures: Good and Law, at odds with each other. Pretty much every government makes a law stating that you can't overthrow it. A paladin needs a VERY good reason not to work inside the system, and disrupting the social order to put peoples lives in the hands of a bunch of untrained untried yahoos working without social or divine sanction is.not.it.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

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I think the first course of action should be for the paladin to lobby the Good lords to wage a just war against the Evil lords. Waging war is, by most standards, one of the right and proper functions of government, so should be considered Lawful if conducted properly. If a lord refuses to oppose the Evil lords, then he's not truly Good-aligned.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:

No.

I'm sorry, but paladin does not mean truth, justice, democracy and the American way unless the paladin is from Ando.. America.

A truly corrupt and evil government may set the paladins contrary natures: Good and Law, at odds with each other. Pretty much every government makes a law stating that you can't overthrow it. A paladin needs a VERY good reason not to work inside the system, and disrupting the social order to put peoples lives in the hands of a bunch of untrained untried yahoos working without social or divine sanction is.not.it.

Truly corrupt and evil governments are not legit so paladins do not have to follow them. But many lawful evil societies are not by their nature corrupt. They can be based on a legitimate combination of power and authority. They follow the rules and stick to their bargains even if their motives are unjust and the people carrying them out are selfish and cruel. A paladin does not have to sing this societies praises but if he walks in says all these laws are invalid because you guys are evil he is violating his code. He might not like it but he can't just decide that since slavery is evil he is going to free all the slaves when its been legal for 500 years in that country or that torturing traitors is evil and he's going to put a stop to it. Being lawful means you have at least a passing respect for legit authority no matter how much he dislikes it.


RainyDayNinja wrote:
I think the first course of action should be for the paladin to lobby the Good lords to wage a just war against the Evil lords. Waging war is, by most standards, one of the right and proper functions of government, so should be considered Lawful if conducted properly. If a lord refuses to oppose the Evil lords, then he's not truly Good-aligned.

If you are not with us, you are against us!

Love where this thread is going.


One thing to keep in mind about a fantasy setting is that the gods take a more active role then in our world. In our world there was a lot of evil perpetuated by people thinking they were doing good by following the rules of society especially religions. This is not going to happen in a fantasy setting were the gods can and do communicate directly with their followers.

In a fantasy settings the gods not only also have alignments they are the epitome of their alignments. For example Sarenrae is a good deity so is not going to want her worshipers committing evil acts. If her clerics and paladins stray too far from her teaching they lose their granted powers including spells. With spells like commune there is not much chance of her wishes being misunderstood.

Assuming the paladin is a member of the feudal society in question then his first act will probably be to try and work within the system. This may include challenging a evil lord to mortal combat. Which was very common in a feudal society. If the challenged lord refused it was generally accepted as proof of guilt.

If he is not a member of the feudal society then he does not have to respect their authority. Think of a crusader in the holy land. You really think the knights of the crusades accepted the authority of the Islamic rulers? A perfect example of a modern day paladin would be Capitan America. You really think that Cap would say well Hitler is the legitimate ruler of Germany and would not have fought against him. I don't think so his goal was to bring down Hitler even though he was the legitimate ruler of Germany.


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If the kung-fu movies are correct then some paladins will join the rebellion, some with defend the system, and one will go off into the hills unable to decide which side to support until after years of warfare a peasant girl comes to him begging that he train her in the arts of fighting so she can take her revenge against the evil lord who destroyed her village and forcing him out of his funk when she leaves so he follows due his affection for her and he leads the rebels to a final victory, freeing the king from the evil warlords who hold him captive and restoring him to the throne, and marries the peasant girl.


Mysterious Stranger wrote:

One thing to keep in mind about a fantasy setting is that the gods take a more active role then in our world. In our world there was a lot of evil perpetuated by people thinking they were doing good by following the rules of society especially religions. This is not going to happen in a fantasy setting were the gods can and do communicate directly with their followers.

In a fantasy settings the gods not only also have alignments they are the epitome of their alignments. For example Sarenrae is a good deity so is not going to want her worshipers committing evil acts. If her clerics and paladins stray too far from her teaching they lose their granted powers including spells. With spells like commune there is not much chance of her wishes being misunderstood.

Assuming the paladin is a member of the feudal society in question then his first act will probably be to try and work within the system. This may include challenging a evil lord to mortal combat. Which was very common in a feudal society. If the challenged lord refused it was generally accepted as proof of guilt.

If he is not a member of the feudal society then he does not have to respect their authority. Think of a crusader in the holy land. You really think the knights of the crusades accepted the authority of the Islamic rulers? A perfect example of a modern day paladin would be Capitan America. You really think that Cap would say well Hitler is the legitimate ruler of Germany and would not have fought against him. I don't think so his goal was to bring down Hitler even though he was the legitimate ruler of Germany.

It quite depends on the setting how involved a god is in a society and in the direction of their followers. If a faith tries to pit itself against the feudal order and some of its most powerful agents (evil or neutral), it risks persecution and will be attacked in central spheres of power (but perhaps not on the periphery).

The holy and good declare a lord evil because that is what their prayers revealed, he must be removed they say. High authorities within the kingdom (and the allies of the evil lord) say that is not how we do things here, this brings the whole system into question, and threatens the nobility. That lord has title, lands and authority, you had best calm down as you are risking treason in your attacks on the Count Vilainus Notarius. The LG actor finds itself on the sides of the rebels again. This is why I like this topic, the pieces bump into each other!

On to challenges, there is a problem here. The lowly cannot challenge the high, a skilled captain in a rural province has no right to challenge the king to a duel. In an eglatiarian warrior band/viking culture, sure, the low warrior may be able to challenge anyone. But in a feudal hierarchy of long lineages, there are more protections in place of the fat cats. To use an example from film with a basis in Napoleonic history, the Duellists (1977) you could not challenge above your station. So a chevalier challenging a duke is improper, the duke does not have to respond because the chevalier has already broken the rules and acted beyond their station. It may instantly be a criminal act, because it is certainly impertinent (and public offence against the powerful is a very important matter in a lawful society).

The matter of evil lords is also made more complicated, if the lord is evil, but only towards enemies of the state. The lord is evil where it is sanctioned, where the lord can get away with it (i.e. against bandits, secret societies, foreigners, enemies during war-time). When not out doing these acts, the intelligent evil lord plays ball and puts on a LN face. If a pally attempts to represent the national enemies and avenge the crimes done upon them, this marks the pally as a sympathiser and enemy of the kingdom, leading to a loss of face/reputation and station (you may be stripped of titles and lead to your very faith facing pressure, if you are high enough within it).

Really like the kung-fu movies example.


One of the central components of the Paladins code is they will not server evil. If the paladin was serving an evil lord he would not be a paladin to begin with. Also not all paladins are knights. You could easily have a paladin of common birth who would not be subject to feudal law. Joan of Arc would be a good example of this type of character. She eventually became a martyr but did not break faith with God. She followed a higher authority then the king.

Most paladins have the support of a church so have a lot of allies to call on. This makes it a little tougher for the lord to just ignore him. As to a king being beyond challenge that was not until much later in history. For the part kings were also knighted so could be challenged. Now they did have the right of having their champion fight for them so they did not have to fight themselves.

As far as the church going up against the king. How well do you think the king is going to do against someone who can call down a miracle? Most knights are probably cavaliers or fighters so going up against a full caster is going to be tough. If the lord has evil clerics working for him then the paladin will definitely work against him. If the lord has arcane casters that is a little easier but the church has the advantage of being a whole organization, not just a single caster.

Ruthlessness is not necessarily evil. So the lord who is harsh in war would not necessarily be evil, but more likely neutral.

As I said it really depends on the culture of the setting. In a Japanese setting the paladin may commit suicide and therefore shame his lord. In a middle eastern society the paladin will declare the lord an infidel and call a jihad on him. In a Viking society he will challenge the king. If he is in an area with a strong church he may try to get the king excommunicated.


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But one of the other central components of the Paladins' Code is to obey legitimate authority. In this society the problem can be resolved by questioning the legitimacy of the authority but what if it cannot? What if a Paladin of LN deity is directly ordered by that deity to serve a LE Lord? There is no question of the legitimacy of the authority, it comes straight from the deity's mouth. Does the Paladin fall for consorting with evil, does the Paladin refuse and fall for refusing to obey?


It isn't so much a question of, is your lord evil, but is the lord of your lord evil, or are there evil powerful lords within this flawed kingdom.

Indeed, the country could be torn asunder by a good militant church versus the evil lords, while the ng movement is against the whole feudal system, and many unaffiliated with either the church or the movement are forced to choose sides.

"As far as the church going up against the king. How well do you think the king is going to do against someone who can call down a miracle?"

I would see the king, his retainers, his bodyguards, his clerics, his wizards and his spies/assassins doing quite well against a powerful cleric or paladin. You shouldn't over-estimate the power of a caster, they can be swamped, grapples, shield bashed like anyone else, especially if they fight on the king's ground (say, in the capital city).

Now yeah, if a church has more power than a great Duke, they might be able to push him around or bring him down. But politically, this can get hairy. Church takes lord out, seizes land, nobles attack the church, heirs of the evil lord rally support to take out this new faction. It sure can get exciting!

"Ruthlessness is not necessarily evil. So the lord who is harsh in war would not necessarily be evil, but more likely neutral."

I am talking what we would now call war crimes here. Which yes, are evil. If that LE lord killed the innocent and slaughtered, raided and destroyed while on campaign like English knights on the chevauchée in France, they are absolutely evil. Especially if they did this for years, then came back with the booty of those they killed and set their sights on rising even higher.

Love the idea of excommunicating the king, especially since it will only plunge the country deeper into chaos. This is why churches that play the fight the nobles game, have to be very careful. They might do a lot, but it doesn't mean they win at the end, just because they have spellcasters.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevauch%C3%A9e


cnetarian wrote:
But one of the other central components of the Paladins' Code is to obey legitimate authority. In this society the problem can be resolved by questioning the legitimacy of the authority but what if it cannot? What if a Paladin of LN deity is directly ordered by that deity to serve a LE Lord? There is no question of the legitimacy of the authority, it comes straight from the deity's mouth. Does the Paladin fall for consorting with evil, does the Paladin refuse and fall for refusing to obey?

In that case the paladin is screwed. Which is why I don't think there should be paladins of LN deities.


The thing to think about is that a cleric is not just a cleric. He is part of an organized religion especially if the religion includes paladins. Think of the Catholic church in medieval times. They could and did take down kings if the king went up against them. The threat of excommunication was often enough to cause even kings to reconsider their actions. If the king was excommunicated most of his followers would desert. Anyone who associated with him was also excommunicated. Excommunication was supposed to dam the person to hell and anyone who aided him was also dammed.

It also depends on the nature of the church if there is a strong multinational church like the Catholic church in our world they will have a great deal of power both magical and political. Imagine Iomedae calling down a crusade on a kingdom. If all her followers started invading the kingdom it would not last that long without another deity stepping in. At this point the rebellion has been taken over by the church. If the opposing clerics are good their deity will probably be siding with Iomedae . If the deity is neutral they will probably not let it get that far and reign in their followers. And if the deity is evil then all out war has broken out and the rebellion is not a rebellion anymore but a holy war.


I think Mysterious Stranger has put out the best take on this.

It's all in what you consider to be a legitimate authority.

You could take this a long way, a dogmatic Paladin who KNOWS that the society he is fighting for is the best, most natural state of man, who KNOWS that his society is the pattern for the way all men should live, inspired directly by the will of <insert Lawful Good god here>.

Let's say our Paladin is from a society that believes slavery is an abomination. There is a neighboring Lawful Good country that has slavery and a caste system. (yeah I think you can have this sort of thing in a fantasy society)

It's obvious that this other society should immediately restructure themselves. The example of the one true way is right next to them after all. By not doing so immediately, no questions asked, they are sinning.

You could have a Paladin from the Lawful Good slaveholding country oppose this Paladin on grounds that are just the same.

And neither would put any weight on Cheliax being a legitimate country or society. Just a place that is going to have to destroyed and redeemed as soon as appropriate.

I think you could have another Paladin who opposed both of the ones I've mentioned, for reasons that are just as good in his mind. Heck you could have a Paladin of Erastil who sticks up for the common guy, and hates all the other Paladins mentioned. And that stupid devil worshiping country too. Darn it, someone's just going to have to do something about Cheliax one day.


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This wouldn't be a problem in Ancient China, of course, because the existing rulers could 'lose the Mandate of Heaven' and then overthrowing them was the right thing to do.

I suppose it depends on where (the paladin believes) the authority to rule derives from and the conditions of holding it. If a ruler has a duty to rule fairly and isn't, then the paladin is justified in removing them.

I think, though, something that's missing from a lot of paladin threads is the idea of the paladin acting for the church, and seeking advice or suggestions from it. The more ambiguous the scenario, the more important it is to come to an agreement with the relevant temple or clerics and have a united view.


Mysterious Stranger wrote:

The thing to think about is that a cleric is not just a cleric. He is part of an organized religion especially if the religion includes paladins. Think of the Catholic church in medieval times. They could and did take down kings if the king went up against them. The threat of excommunication was often enough to cause even kings to reconsider their actions. If the king was excommunicated most of his followers would desert. Anyone who associated with him was also excommunicated. Excommunication was supposed to dam the person to hell and anyone who aided him was also dammed.

It also depends on the nature of the church if there is a strong multinational church like the Catholic church in our world they will have a great deal of power both magical and political. Imagine Iomedae calling down a crusade on a kingdom. If all her followers started invading the kingdom it would not last that long without another deity stepping in. At this point the rebellion has been taken over by the church. If the opposing clerics are good their deity will probably be siding with Iomedae . If the deity is neutral they will probably not let it get that far and reign in their followers. And if the deity is evil then all out war has broken out and the rebellion is not a rebellion anymore but a holy war.

The Catholic church in medieval times is not the topic or a part of the example. It is discussing a very troubled feuding feudal territory, the new movement on the block, a ng movement is against feudalism and the nobility. There is no mention of a powerful church or the society being monotheistic. This idea came from a period in Japanese society, and I was wondering how something similar might go for the LG alignments in a fantasy setting. Catholicism is right out, you won't find such an entity with great power over most of a monotheistic Europe in Golarion either.

Now this is far more about individuals and small LG groups, and what they do in the context laid out. The church comes in, the pallies flatten everyone out and they win, is not on the cards.

Excommunication by one single church authority which has ideological hold over all the people, also not on the cards or applicable to this context. It isn't a monotheistic kingdom, although with the Lawful common alignments it may be slightly leaning in the direction of monotheism. The pallies and others with loyalties in question still have to make their choices. Sects, temples and the like could certainly turn against the king, they might join the ng rebels for instance. This is dangerous of course, but the temples will have a hard time opposing the powerful landowning clans.

Iomedae would not be calling down a crusade on this kingdom (even if it were in Golarion) because it is not utterly evil. There are plenty of more evil places that Iomedae is not crusading against. It is LN (mostly), with LE, NE and LG within it. Gods solving a problem (much like the idea of a mega-church solving the problem) takes the choice and issue away. That is not the story here, that ends the domestic situation right quick and changes everything. You've got to be careful with your gods and holy wars, or the complexity in rp and choice fades as the dm says "god and followers arrive, they win."

It would also likely draw in the forces of evil to kill the crusaders and help the defenders so as to deal good some fine defeats. Thus dragging out the conflict, escalating it and causing great suffering on the weakest members. Why an Iomedaen crusade is a bad idea to solve the internal problems of a country, is a separate issue. As is the church playing their summon god scroll to end this.


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In the example given if I was playing a Paladin I would not sign up with the rebels day one. I would go to other feudal lords that I consider good and suggest that they are doing enough to limit the despotism and oppression of the other nobles. If they seem interested in acting try to bring the rebels and the good nobles to the negotiating table with the understanding that first oppressive and evil nobles will removed and held responsible for their crimes. Second a lasting change to the system will be the long term goal that gaurntees a better life for the people. If the "good" nobles refuse I will denounce them as evil for failure to act then join the rebels.

Alternatively a Paladin could be convinced that an existing system of law is inferior because it allows for injustice to become entrenched. Perhaps a system like the Rebels represent could be a higher order of law that ensured more good.


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Now we have a better idea of the culture you are trying to represent it gets easier to figure out. As long as the king himself is not evil or promoting evil the paladin would not fight against him. He would fight against the evil lords. In this case the king may not have a lot of power beyond his immediate lands so the lords may be very independent.

This reminds me of David Eddings Arenda where there was almost constant war between the barons. In this setting LG fought against each other and against evil. If the rebellion has spread to the point where they are attacking the good lords then I can see paladins on both sides. But if that happens then the rebellion is probably no longer NG.

The path suggested by Gnomearule is probably what I would do. In most feudal society the right to trial by combat was very common. There were also insults that had to be answered or your honor would be called into question. All the paladin has to do is to insult the evil lord and wait for the challenge. If the evil lord does not answer the insult then most likely he will be perceived as weak or powerless. A lord without honor had a hard time keeping his followers.

I have to say this is the most enjoyable paladin thread I have seen. Most of them end up with people saying the paladin instantly falls if he sneezes wrong


Ah but that is the beauty of it, how can a good lord help defeat the evil lords, if his ally is evil and he needs him so they both keep afloat? Adventures and their ideals are all well and good, but the clan and lands must be protected from the NG threat. Perhaps the warmonger neutral evils and lawful neutrals are causing most of the problems for both the LE lords and the LE lords.

Can't help you paladin, I am tied to Vilainus and his clan by marriage. To attack him would be a shameful display. Does alignment matter or does tradition and alliances amongst the nobility matter?

There is also the matter of what the ng movement is doing and who are they going for first? They in their radicalism don't see a great difference between LG, LN and LE. The problem goes deeper, the law, who is protected, the tyranny and injustice.

Grand Lodge

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

D&D fantasy politics alignment question.

Do you think pallies or other hard lawful goods, would be likely to back a NG religious/populist movement against the feudal order?

The feudal order in this instance is not truly good or truly evil. The aristocratic elites are varied in their alignments, but have been squabbling and skirmishing a great deal with the people suffering. Evil leaders are out there and protected/established.

Been playing a lot of shogun 2, allied to the ikko buddhist monks and it got me thinking.

LE I feel could back the NGs and radical change, if they could come out truly high and on top. Manipulate their way up the hierarchy and play at being good. Although this is unlikely.

LN in service to the current order and drawing their reason for being from this order, doesn't seem likely to abolish the law and feudal state at all. They would be the reliable defenders of it.

Let me know where you fall on this. :D

A Paladin and other lawful types would generally prefer to try to reform an existing order rather than bring it down. If however it's the only way to defeat an evil that must be put down than they will... reluctantly. Paladins after all are modeled after feudal ideals.


Mysterious Stranger wrote:

Now we have a better idea of the culture you are trying to represent it gets easier to figure out. As long as the king himself is not evil or promoting evil the paladin would not fight against him. He would fight against the evil lords. In this case the king may not have a lot of power beyond his immediate lands so the lords may be very independent.

This reminds me of David Eddings Arenda where there was almost constant war between the barons. In this setting LG fought against each other and against evil. If the rebellion has spread to the point where they are attacking the good lords then I can see paladins on both sides. But if that happens then the rebellion is probably no longer NG.

The path suggested by Gnomearule is probably what I would do. In most feudal society the right to trial by combat was very common. There were also insults that had to be answered or your honor would be called into question. All the paladin has to do is to insult the evil lord and wait for the challenge. If the evil lord does not answer the insult then most likely he will be perceived as weak or powerless. A lord without honor had a hard time keeping his followers.

I have to say this is the most enjoyable paladin thread I have seen. Most of them end up with people saying the paladin instantly falls if he sneezes wrong

Now we are cooking. This isn't about, how do I create a situation where the paladin would fall, yeah, I'm not like that. Just a great possible feudal event where they have to make some choices. A friend of mine read it, laughed and said the paladins leave to do good elsewhere, in places where it is more clear cut and they won't risk falling. That I liked too.

The trial by combat is a bad idea unless you are the evil lord's rank (and even then, violence may create more problems than it stops). Not sure if you read my point, that duelling is a rule governed matter except in an egalitarian warrior tribal society. If a lower born pally tries to bait a dark lord to a duel, a few things could happen:

1) Kills the lord, offends many other lords, becomes seen as an enemy of the nobility. Evil heirs inherit faction, nothing really changes.
2) Evil lord may just get raised (he has the cash and in a public duel the pally is not allowed to steal the body from the family).
3) Before it gets to a duel, the clergy behind the paladin sanction him for dragging the faith into the civil war and inviting attack from a powerful evil faction ("Are you trying to get us all killed?")
4) Lord safely protected in his faction's lands laughs, dismisses the pally as an insane member of his faith and makes use of bards and whisperers to mock him in turn and cast him as a threat to the regime.
5) Champion. The knight finds himself fighting a champion that is not vulnerable to smite, but is the best the lord could buy/find. :(
6) If done in public and say, in the capital. The challenge is met with calls for the pallies arrest. He is not obeying the rules of duelling (must respect station, commoners cannot fight lord's in duels) and the evil lord petitions higher authorities to have him killed/exiled. "The last thing this country needs, my wise and honourable prince, is more religious radicals attacking the nobility."
7) The lord's guards kill the paladin on the spot (or try), for insulting their liege lord. The lord may assist, or simply buff his men if he has those capabilities.
8) The lord counters with friendship, he tries to win the pally over to his side, invites him to be a guest and hopes to correct some erroneous views he has of him and his family. Pally comes across as insulting yes, but also disrespectful of hospitality, laws and decorum and a bit of a nutter.
9) Evil lord far above the station of the pally, ignores this firebrand of the street, and continues on with his business of protecting his realm and family. Takes any rep hit, and heads off to win some battles and lay some plots. He never forgets the paladins insults.
10) Feigns retreat, pretends to be being attacked (aided by illusions and bluff), sends his men at the pally aaaand calls the guards, rushing to their safety and protection. Pally commits public homicide against multiple targets and is attacking a lord of the realm, or flees.

Glad you are having so much fun stranger, I am too.

Gnome, denouncing good lords that have their reasons for not cooperating (alliances, connections) after you tried to persuade them, will not win friends only enemies. Such an act means you might not make it to the rebels. Smite does not work on good/neutral lords or their loyal, honest soldiery.


LazarX wrote:
3.5 Loyalist wrote:

D&D fantasy politics alignment question.

Do you think pallies or other hard lawful goods, would be likely to back a NG religious/populist movement against the feudal order?

The feudal order in this instance is not truly good or truly evil. The aristocratic elites are varied in their alignments, but have been squabbling and skirmishing a great deal with the people suffering. Evil leaders are out there and protected/established.

Been playing a lot of shogun 2, allied to the ikko buddhist monks and it got me thinking.

LE I feel could back the NGs and radical change, if they could come out truly high and on top. Manipulate their way up the hierarchy and play at being good. Although this is unlikely.

LN in service to the current order and drawing their reason for being from this order, doesn't seem likely to abolish the law and feudal state at all. They would be the reliable defenders of it.

Let me know where you fall on this. :D

A Paladin and other lawful types would generally prefer to try to reform an existing order rather than bring it down. If however it's the only way to defeat an evil that must be put down than they will... reluctantly. Paladins after all are modeled after feudal ideals.

What I like is how feudalism or a feudingism can be so hard on them. Take the fight the evil lords option, well what if the king is protected by said evil lords (or just some of them), and their removal will only hasten the end of the regime. King says "do not do this brave paladin, they are keeping the lands and people protected from our enemies". Pally says... ARRRRGH! *smash*

Evil lords or an evil king isn't immediately black and white either. I ran a game called the Lord's game for years, and one pc that became the Cormyrean king was actually evil. He had done or ordered plenty of dirty deeds, kidnapping, torture, execution, assassination, but always for a fine purpose--to save the country, to dispose of truly evil lords, to protect his family. A strategist not a warrior, this evil king, known as King de Cur would get his hands dirty, and deal with that afterwards. He could come to terms with what he had done, because he was still alive.

What of an evil king, that tries to rule justly and in the interests of the people (from the perspective of royalty and his lineage) but never restrains from doing evil for the realm (uses ninjas, murderers, etc)?


The lawful evil is probably the easiest evil alignment for a paladin to deal with. For one thing he knows that the LE character will honor his oaths and alliances. He just has to be on guard for loopholes. Lawful evil is also the most likely to follow the forms so they avoid the appearance of evil. Most people will tend to distrust known evil. How many people would say hey you can trust him he is a member of the hells angels? The lawful evil lord will tend to maintain an appearance of at least neutrality.

For a paladin it is still going to come down to his deity. Some are more forgiving then others Sarenrae comes to mind as a forgiving deity, while Torag would be less flexible. There is also the possibility of trying to convert the lawful evil lord to the side of good. This is particularly true in the case of Sarenrae who preaches no one is beyond redemption. As long as the evil lord behaves himself and does not engage in obviously evil behavior then a paladin of Sarenrae can probably work with him.

From Faiths of purity on under Sarenrae. Like your goddess, you are open and friendly with worshipers of other faiths—even many of the evil ones. Unless someone has shown himself to be irretrievably evil, your faith demands that you treat him with the kindness you would show to anyone who had lost his way. 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, for to entertain the Rough Beast is to display a total rejection of righteousness.

The other thing is that you have stated that the rebellion is NG not CG. Neutral Good sees the value of laws when it helps to promote the overall good. They are not interested so much in tearing down the whole society and replacing it, but removing the bad parts. They are going to be willing to deal with the good lords and maybe even the LE lords. They may want some laws put into effect protecting the rights of ordinary people, and limiting the lords powers. If the rebellion was CG that is not going to be the case as they are going to want to tear down the whole society and replace it with something else.


Converting a lord is a fine idea, but for these professional politicians, they are going to keep putting themselves and their clan first and refuse to listen or care to listen. Again station matters, especially if a paladin is far below a baron/count/duke. A really lawful lord may see it as the height of impertinence for a lower person in the hierarchy to lecture him on what is justice, truth and proper conduct.

In this case, the rebellion is NG. Yep, they are trying to abolish the feudal order and all the present laws, but this is for the people first, so as to create a society free of feudalism. They don't want to create a chaotic society, they want peace (finally) and benevolent leaders that care about the people first, and not their clans. They want to make something perfect for the peasantry, they think they can and the feudalism has disgraced itself far too many times, and is doing so currently so they will do their damnedest to make sure the lawfuls are kicked out. They may feel quite CG, but in this example, they are NG. Radicalised NG that are tired of the tricks, hierarchy, and abuses of the LN-LG-LE leaders.

Chaos wants freedom right? Few constraints and hindrances, without respect for tradition. These rebels are tired of the present, and have a project for the greater good, something that may just really work (a peaceful decentralised non-feudal order, but without really sharp and chaotic views within it either). On the value of laws to promote the overall good, for the NG rebels the laws have failed for far too long. It is time to start over and push NG not L.


I think a back on forth between an evil lord/king and a paladin could be great for rp.

"Those are fine ideals, but you have no idea what it takes to rule, and to keep your enemies at bay. I've done horrible things, and they were the right thing to do!"

"How dare you speak to me of the crunch. You know nothing of the crunch, you've never even been to the crunch."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufP1bXKBipg


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For paladins, the main concern they have to contend in this scenario, above falling in line with law and good, is lessening the suffering of the populace. The actions taken to go about this would pretty much depend on the background of each paladin. For paladins who are heavier on the lawful aspect, they could do the courtier thing of getting to know one or more of the subordinates of the evil lord. From there, its a mix of diplomacy and other social skill checks to get into their good books. For paladins who are heavier on the good-aligned aspect, it would involve convincing their lord to act in the interest of the people by certain checks like perform oratory. If the lord of the pally's lord is evil, then it involves also convincing the pally's lord to stop siding and giving in to such an evil individual.

All in all, its also really odd for LG to oppose NG so strongly. Odd but if it happens, there is some really strong reluctance on both ends of the spectrum. The LG wants to maintain order but understands what NG is trying to achieve. NG cares somewhat about laws but the wellbeing of the populace outweighs this sentiment by far. However, NG can recognize what the LG is trying to do, even though the LG are following a seemingly flawed system of order.

I would say that LG backs their lords and the system of law and order. Past a certain point, if the LG is falling in line with law but is seemingly doing nothing or little to appease the suffering of the masses, they eventually shift to LN. The situation painted in this thread is a good example of LG individuals finding out what they are really made of and how flawed such a system of law and order may be.
Paladins would struggle with it, so would honorable/chivalrous knights and other similar individuals. If it goes on for long enough, LG may realise they are servants of the system but no longer champions of good. Not because they lose their class abilities or anything like that but their actions are those of LN beaurocrats just trying to cover each others' tails. That been said, at least some LG individuals in the long run, would eventually end up siding with NG.

On the previous post regarding gods intervening directly, it is highly doubtful. The gods stay on their respective planes of existence and avoid all direct contact with the prime material. One nation, no matter how huge it is, would be tiny in the eyes of a god who sees across multiple planes of existence. The only divine intervention I could see is warnings being given to LG individuals such as pallys and clerics. If they choose to do the lawful thing but their actions do not favor the cause of good in any way, they shouldn't necessarily fall straight away but divine warnings in their dreams would start happening. Maintaining order in socety has nothing to do with promoting wellbeing of the populace. The only difference is that the populace now suffers as a single group instead of multiple spread out groups.

Shadow Lodge

Simply declaring any evil authority "not legitimate" knocks the paladin down to NG. Declaring any authority that doesn't live up to their standards as not legitimate puts them in line with one of the saner ways to do chaotic good.


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Well my plan was not to just dencounce exisisting authority it was to offer them an opportunity to what is good and lawful. In most fuedal societies at least in pretense the system is not just slavery, the Lords are the protectors and just governors of the people. While in many settings because such lords are the just authority the neglect arrest themselves ;). By going to Good lords in the region and demanding they act it puts them in a place where they have to chose. If they chose marital ties or economic treaties or tradition over carring for the people their position is to protect in favor of supporting evil Lords or not acting against them. At this point the Paladin is absolved of his normal Lawful ties to the system. It is corrupt, the rightful good lords have sided with corruption and evil. Your right it might make enemies but it creates a system where the Paladin should be able to maintain his code and support the Rebellion. If a few Good lords decide the Paladin is right that is just a bonus.


This is a cool setting and sound like it would be fun to play in. The rebels sound like they are leaning towards CG though. They are going to need some pretty strong and charismatic leaders to keep it from getting out of hand. Much like the French revolution vs. the American revolution. That leader could be a Paladin himself. This would sever two purposes one to keep the rebels from going to CG, and two would be for some awesome role-playing. It would be very easy for the rebellion to slip into CG and then to pure chaos.

What you really need is something like the declaration of independence. This would give it some structure and form. Some code for the rebels to live by so they do not end up being worse than what they are fighting. Again a paladin as the rebel leader would be awesome.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

Simply declaring any evil authority "not legitimate" knocks the paladin down to NG. Declaring any authority that doesn't live up to their standards as not legitimate puts them in line with one of the saner ways to do chaotic good.

But at same time Players have to be able to control their characters. If a player can articulate valid reasons consistent with the paladin's code why their character finds an authority illegitimate, then it is unfair to penalize them from playing their character according to their character concept. Some GMs don't allow paladins at all and some only allow paladins which adhere to the GMs take on the paladin's code - in which case the GM tells the player what to do, but if players are given freedom to decide how their characters handle the paladin's code then they should be allowed to make meaningful choices.

Shadow Lodge

cnetarian wrote:
But at same time Players have to be able to control their characters. If a player can articulate valid reasons consistent with the paladin's code why their character finds an authority illegitimate, then it is unfair to penalize them from playing their character according to their character concept.

It doesn't sound like such a thing is possible in this case. If the nobles were drinking the blood of babies, had deposed the rightful heir to the throne, or were launching peasants out of balistias for target practice then the paladin can say "It doesn't matter what laws you've past, you're going to meet sharp pointy justice upside the head" .

Thats not whats happening here. You're asking a paladin to illegally overthrow the rightful government: ie, kill people, in order to put in an untried, untested group of people with no government experience, education, training,proven ability governing anything larger than a flock of sheep or ANY right to be in charge what so ever. There's no argument that killing people (which is bad) has any real chance of making things better. than a government that can at worst be described as "meh"

Quote:

Some GMs don't allow paladins at all and some only allow paladins which adhere to the GMs take on the paladin's code - in which case the GM tells the player what to do, but if players are given freedom to decide how their characters handle the paladin's code then they should be allowed to make meaningful choices.

I do not think such an argument could succeed here. The paladin's code would have to be.. well pretty unpaladin like to be anti run of the mill government.

Players have a responsibility to make characters that fit the campaign. If the campaign is overthrowing the non evil and semi functioning aristocracy then a paladin is a bad fit. Try a chaotic good ranger or an anarchist alchemist.

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