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Lawful Good behavior


Advice

51 to 100 of 152 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | next > last >>
Silver Crusade

IMHO, there are two ends to "Lawful Stupid"

"Warning: Hyperbole"

Lawful Stupid Type A:

"HALT FOUL EVILDOER!"

*Old man who once stole a loaf of bread many years ago pauses in the street, confused*

*Paladin uses PALADIN-HO!*

*It's super-effective*

*Party is now arrested for cutting down an old man in broad daylight*

Lawful Stupid Type B:

"Ok, guys, I see a bunch of bandits up ahead. These are the guys who have been raiding villages across the countryside."

*Paladin gets up and marches into bandit camp to the bewilderment of the party*

"I say bandits, repent your evil ways and become good!"

*Bandits begin to maul Paladin*

*Party rushes to rescue Paladin*

*Paladin ONLY does non-lethal damage all fight*

*Party takes many Bandits as hostages. Paladin addresses hostages.*

"Do you now repent your evil, banditry ways?"

*Bandits "Repent"*

"FREE THESE REPENANT MEN!"

*Bandits flee/backstab the party 1st chance they get*

*Paladin repeats process. Retakes hostages*

"Now, do you repent for REALZ this time?"

*Bandits lie again. Rogue gets frustrated at Paladin and kills hostages.*

"You have slain these repentant men in cold blood you filthy cutpurse! I will cut you down in the name of justice!"

/wrists

Silver Crusade

Yosarian wrote:
Elamdri wrote:
Yosarian wrote:
Elamdri wrote:

It's irrelevant whether or not the pickpocket is in fact evil. He cannot show up as "Evil" for the purposes of detect evil. And he never should.

Wait, what?

If the pickpocket has the evil alignment, and he is level 5, then he will show up as "evil" for purposes of detect evil. That's what the spell description says.

And I'm saying he should never be level 5. That's why I said "LEVEL ONE PICKPOCKET"

So...you're still avoiding the question here. Why is it ok to murder a pickpocket who's level 5?

And why wouldn't a thief get to be level 5? If you give PC's experience for succeeding at adventures, avoiding traps, sneaking past monsters, ect, why wouldn't an NPC who breaks into houses, avoid traps, and sneaks past guards/police also get experience?

I'm saying you should never have a situation where you're running into situations where a character is detecting evil but you're unsure as to whether killing the evil creature should be ok.

Includes in this is the idea that perhaps maybe level one pickpockets should stay level one pickpockets.

This way, we don't have to distinguish between the level one pickpocket and the 5th level assassin.

I guess at the end of the day, my point is that evil shouldn't be ambiguous. I shouldn't need to run a battery of polygraphs and CTScans, have the NPC take the Meyer's Briggs personality test, see a therapist and take a bunch of ink-block tests to determine that he's a right bastard and deserves to die.

If a creature is evil enough to show up as evil through detect evil, then they should be so evil that the paladin slaying them shouldn't cause him/her to fall.


Yosarian wrote:
Elamdri wrote:

It's irrelevant whether or not the pickpocket is in fact evil. He cannot show up as "Evil" for the purposes of detect evil. And he never should.

Wait, what?

If the pickpocket has the evil alignment, and he is level 5, then he will show up as "evil" for purposes of detect evil. That's what the spell description says.

Exactly. The pickpocket (being level 1) is a bad example since he can't detect, but again, that's not relevant. Orcs and goblins (who are evil) will, and should 'ping' on detect evil, because that's what the spell does. That's ALL the spell does.

The spell/ability detects evil alignments or taints. That's it. Say you capture a group of generally bad news orcs and/or goblins. Most orcs, goblins, etc. of appropriate power/taint will generally 'ping'. Because they're generally evil. But there's certainly the possibility of a few within their communities who are NOT evil.

Maybe there are a couple among those you captured who are NOT evil and were forced to come with the raiding party. Maybe they're slaves of the other orcs. Maybe they're trying to blend in because they know they'd be killed by their brethren if their true good nature was revealed. Detect evil will certainly reveal the powerful ones who are evil, but not necessarily the good ones (did they fail to detect because they're low level or because they're good?). The paladin wouldn't know, and this guy would likely execute the lot of them.

And what if its not even a raiding party? What if the paladin invades their homes, where they're minding their own business? Now he doesn't even have circumstance to back his actions up.

As an aside, know what else 'pings'? Any good character under the effects of an infernal healing spell, including our lawful stupid paladin. So if your paladin is bleeding out and about to die (so he can't protest) and the wizard decides to save his life by the only means he has available at the moment, that paladin better kill himself when he wakes up and realizes he detects as evil.

See how oversimplified and downright silly that is?

Its not up to the DM to fudge what detects via detect evil. The spell tells you who and what detect. Its definitely not up to the DM to filter what detects according to what he wants you to kill and what he doesn't. That's completely insane, it has nothing to do with alignments, and is the worst kind of railroading I can imagine. Sounds like an action genre video game, not role playing a character.

But hey, if your group wants to play an action game where the DM tells you what to do and who to fight/kill, that's wonderful if it works for you. Just don't go around asserting that it should be some kind of universal practice or GM responsibility. Its just not. And shouldn't be.

Death Quaker broke down very thoroughly what all the alignments and actions in question mean within the rules, and with respect to following said alignments as well as the generic paladin code (certainly specifics of the code and methods of carrying it out will depend on the deity).

According to the rules we've got, the paladin in question is pretty clearly breaking alignment. He's also very likely to be breaking his paladin code. By the rules, in word and intent, for those actions, he'll need to atone.


claymade wrote:
Elamdri wrote:
And I'm saying he should never be level 5. That's why I said "LEVEL ONE PICKPOCKET"

Wha...? So we're saying that an evil-aligned Rogue, who has no qualms whatsoever about stealing from anyone to line his own pockets, isn't allowed to gain EXP or advance in levels past level 4 until he's also done enough evil deeds to deserve instant death without trial?

I am very confused.

Quote:
I think Eladmri pretty much hits the nail on the head. The Paladin's raison d'etre is to be the ultimate champion against unspeakable evil - his abilities should be keyed to evil with a capital E.

That may or may not be a better way to run things, but unless you're running a homebrew that's not the way the ability actually functions. The OP was asking about the actual Pathfinder rules, not suggestions to change how Detect Evil works to match what we think it should do.

As written, if you have an evil alignment, and you're experienced/powerful enough to be over level 5, you ping on Detect Evil, period. The difference between the level 1 pickpocket and the level 20 legendary master thief isn't necessarily that the later must necessarily be more nasty than the former. Just more powerful.

This.


Sounds like this "Paladin" is a murdering psychopath, who kills people based on not their actions but rather some supernatural ability to see into their psyche.

A greedy businessman might be Lawful Evil, but that doesn't mean he deserves to be murdered by a "Paladin" when hes done nothing wrong to anyone except put his desire to gain wealth above the needs of others.

Silver Crusade

Orcs and Golbins shouldn't show up on detect evil, they're not 4 HD.

Silver Crusade

TheRonin wrote:

Sounds like this "Paladin" is a murdering psychopath, who kills people based on not their actions but rather some supernatural ability to see into their psyche.

A greedy businessman might be Lawful Evil, but that doesn't mean he deserves to be murdered by a "Paladin" when hes done nothing wrong to anyone except put his desire to gain wealth above the needs of others.

See, I think I'm operating on a different interpretation of evil than everyone else. I would never call a greedy businessman "Lawful Evil," he's "Lawful Neutral"

Evil is evil.


Elamdri wrote:


"Do you now repent your evil, banditry ways?"

*Bandits "Repent"*

"FREE THESE REPENANT MEN!"

*Bandits flee/backstab the party 1st chance they get*

*Paladin repeats process. Retakes hostages*

"Now, do you repent for REALZ this time?"

*Bandits lie again. Rogue gets frustrated at Paladin and kills hostages.*

"You have slain these repentant men in cold blood you filthy cutpurse! I will cut you down in the name of justice!"

/wrists

Promising the paladin that they'll repent in no way represents atonement for what they've done, and certainly does not come close to satisfying the criteria of an alignment shift.

They'd need to make that promise and then FOLLOW IT THROUGH by performing good deeds OVER TIME until they were no longer considered evil.

The paladin shouldn't be so naive as to let them go because they say they'll do better. If he is that's his own problem. If he wanted to be merciful and provide opportunity for atonement, that's what jail is for.

Silver Crusade

Which is why I called it "Lawful Stupid"

In my experiences, Lawful Stupid manifests itself far more often as wishy-washy paladins who aren't willing to do anything remotely hostile on the grounds that they're afraid of falling.

I've run into more of those paladins than I can count on my fingers and toes.

I've only run into a handful of paladins who were so blindly vicious that they'd kill someone and cause themselves to fall.


Elamdri wrote:
Orcs and Golbins shouldn't show up on detect evil, they're not 4 HD.

/Facepalm

Moving goalposts for the win. I'm using your examples. Besides, they could detect evil with class levels quite easily.

And yes, you're clearly operating under a different definition of evil. Which is totally fine in your home games.

The OP asked with regards to the Pathfinder rule set, which is quite clearly defined.

Anyway, I'm out, have a nice evening.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Elamdri wrote:
TheRonin wrote:

Sounds like this "Paladin" is a murdering psychopath, who kills people based on not their actions but rather some supernatural ability to see into their psyche.

A greedy businessman might be Lawful Evil, but that doesn't mean he deserves to be murdered by a "Paladin" when hes done nothing wrong to anyone except put his desire to gain wealth above the needs of others.

See, I think I'm operating on a different interpretation of evil than everyone else. I would never call a greedy businessman "Lawful Evil," he's "Lawful Neutral"

Evil is evil.

They could be either, my understanding is Evil is defined by putting ones self before the needs of other. If hes willing to hurt someone's livelihood to increase his own wealth or power hes evil.

That could be as lawful as firing someone who won't be able to find work elsewhere because hes older and is slower than a young man doing the same job.

But most wouldn't say this person deserves to be murdered in cold blood for JUSTICE.

Silver Crusade

TheRonin wrote:
If hes willing to hurt someone's livelihood to increase his own wealth or power hes evil.

Tell that to Mitt Romney.


lol, My point just being he could be 'evil' and still not deserve death by most people's moral compass.

Dark Archive

I always love these discussions...

To the OP: Kill the pally. Kill him with another pally. Unless...

What is a paladin's role in the region in which your campaign is taking place? If that role is to act as judge, jury and executioner, meeting out swift justice to the wicked wherever it is found, then he's probably okay. But society, and whatever divinity the paladin draws power from, must approve of and accept this of him. Anything short of that and acting in an unlawful manner at the best, as an chaotic evil personification of blind vengeance a the worst.

Elamdri does make a good point though. Make sure you are adjudicating the use of detect evil correctly. Provided the creature is not undead, a cleric of an evil deity or an evil outsider, only an evil aligned creature of 5+ HD will detect as evil. So your average kobold or orc is probably never going to detect as evil. Should such a creature detect as evil, their high HD (and thus their experience and history) implies an unrepentant creature of recurring acts of evil. It's probably a safe bet that if such a creature is found, destroying it is removing a blight from the world.

That said, a high level evil creature is not necessarily a blight worthy of destruction. Hell, even a cleric of an evil deity may in fact be neutral. Even a paladin who's mandate is to destroy all evil in whatever form should remember part of being good is taking pause when circumstance allows it evaluate if an evil creature is an immediate threat or is redeemable. Failure to do so would be more a neutral act (but not evil) and over time would eventually cause an alignment shift in the paladin.


"Okay, which one of you jokers has been casting Infernal Healing on random people again? I'm getting fed up with having to clean up after overzealous Paladins!"

Silver Crusade

MTCityHunter wrote:
Elamdri wrote:
Orcs and Golbins shouldn't show up on detect evil, they're not 4 HD.

/Facepalm

Moving goalposts for the win. I'm using your examples. Besides, they could detect evil with class levels quite easily.

And yes, you're clearly operating under a different definition of evil. Which is totally fine in your home games.

The OP asked with regards to the Pathfinder rule set, which is quite clearly defined.

Anyway, I'm out, have a nice evening.

Ok, let me articulate this so that there's no confusing. I think I can do this:

My thesis: A GM should be careful when crafting encounters so as to give a Paladin valuable information when he uses detect evil. In doing so, he should make sure that potential foes with dubious alignments are either: A: Not evil. B: Low level so the Paladin cannot detect their evil C: Masking their alignment or D: Providing sufficient context clues that a paladin would think twice.

This leads me to my point about low HD creatures and the lvl 1 pickpocket. A low HD creature can't be found as evil for the purpose of the spell (Unless they have class levels, which alters the analysis). I like this example because it illustrates where a paladin will have to exercise caution. Lets say he and his allies are assaulting a goblin village. Most of the goblins in the village are probably not going to detect evil. But lets say for example that there is an evil goblin cleric of Lamashtu. The goblin cleric is going to show up as evil and I think in this situation, the Paladin is wholly within his rights to slay the cleric. Now, as to the other goblins? Obviously, the paladin is going to be fine in cutting them down in battle defending himself. But what if some surrender? Now the paladin needs to make decisions. Are these goblins really evil? Do I trust them? And there can be real thought put into that.

As for the pickpocket, I like that example partially because it lets me harp on a pet issue of mine: NPCs scaling with the party is bad game design. One of the things I hate more than anything else is walking into a town and quickly being able to determine that most of the people in town have more than a few HD. I think it's one of the most immersion breaking things in the game. Why are the guards ALWAYS better than me? Why is every bartender in the land a 15th level bartender?

Sure, some NPCs can have a few HD, but as far as I'm concerned, 90% of NPCs should be CR 1/2s. Because that's indicative of the world in where the party really is the big damn heroes. Otherwise, why not just send your 15th level bartenders to solve your problems and I'll just be a damn farmer.

Another reason I like this is because it avoids that ugly issue of what to do with the evil lvl 1 pickpocket. Yes, he might be a right bastard, but you can't supernaturally ferret that information out.

And ultimately, that leads me to my ending: I think there should be a distinction in the game between your mundane evil and a truly evil character.

Because I think it has a lot of merit. There just logically is a difference between a guy who's kinda greedy and shifty and mean vs. a cleric who is so evil that his aura peels the paint from the walls.


Just trying to add some perspective here:

In the city-state of Magnimar there is a great temple to Iomedae, filled with clerics and paladins alike. They may not be the highest of levels (DMs discretion) but every pally can Detect Evil.

In the very same city-state, operates a group of Hellknights, specifically Order of the Nail if I'm not mistaken.

Both groups operate in the city with permission from the local government. Any Hellknight is going to flare up big-time on a paladin's Detect Evil.

There may be black and white situations in the life of a paladin, but the above case should make it clear that there may also be a whole kaleidoscope of things to consider in other, less clear-cut cases.

-Nearyn

Shadow Lodge

ZanzerTem wrote:
So I pose another question; does using the Detect Evil ability constitute "tangible evidence or certain knowledge of evildoing"?

Ignoring the discussion about whether it's right or OK to kill evil creatures for being evil, there are several ways to detect evil without being evil.

1) Be a neutral cleric of an evil god.

2) Have actively evil intentions at the moment, without being generally evil or having committed evil acts.

3) Be under the effect of Infernal Healing, Misdirection, or Imbue with Aura.

4) Be an Infiltrator Inquisitor pretending to be evil for the day.

You should at minimum inform the player that his Evil Detector is not 100% accurate and that he should take half a minute to verify before killing someone who might be a LG guy in deep cover.


Weirdo wrote:


4) Be an Infiltrator Inquisitor pretending to be evil for the day.

I like this, I'd have a group of clergy from his church (read, clerics, paladins and inquisitors) show up asking abut their missing orc inquisitor, right about the time Sir Smite-o-Lots powers stop working.


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I'm usually pretty lenient towards players when it comes to alignment issues, but killing things in cold blood, is not something a paladin ought to be doing.

If he were my player, I would have him "slip from grace", which works like a temporary Fall from Grace; he loses his powers until he quests to regain them.

"You wake the next morning with a most unsettling feeling. Your morning prayers lack conviction. You have slipped from grace in the eyes of your deity. You should seek out guidance."

Keeps it fun.


Chaos_Scion wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:
Chaos_Scion wrote:
in any society their a prominent productive members who are evil.
Source? It seems extremely plausible that a society in Pathfinder would refuse to allow anyone who detects as evil to exist in their society.
Don't claim to be an expert on the pathfinder campaign setting...I mean in a real world way of looking at society. Any society you find through out the world you will find evil and many of them in prominent places. How many people in congress you think would ping as evil I wonder?

In the real world we can't simply cast detect evil on people to determine if they are evil.


johnlocke90 wrote:
In the real world we can't simply cast detect evil on people to determine if they are evil.

Exactly, and that's really the root of the problem. The Paladin can detect the Evil guy in the corner and how he proceeds after that has been the subject of topics uncountable. :P


Even ignoring the "Good" aspect here I have to suspect its probably against the LAW to kill someone whose committed no crime, or even against the law for a person not offically sanctioned by the government in question to do so.

Of course that will vary with government and with the legal status of the orc and such but in many cases it would probably be unlawful.

Find a way to remind him hes not Chaotic Good, he can't get away with breaking local laws for the greater good.


TheRonin wrote:
Find a way to remind him hes not Chaotic Good, he can't get away with breaking local laws for the greater good.

So when James Earl Jones and the rest of the EVIL-hot-chick-sacrificing Snake Cult show up and hold sway over the region, the Paly is just outta luck, right? I mean they are the law of the land now, right? Now step off, sirrah, we got some human-sacrificing to do!

There is a place for the Paly and Kill on Site Smite, is all I'm saying.


loaba wrote:
TheRonin wrote:
Find a way to remind him hes not Chaotic Good, he can't get away with breaking local laws for the greater good.

So when James Earl Jones and the rest of the EVIL-hot-chick-sacrificing Snake Cult show up and hold sway over the region, the Paly is just outta luck, right? I mean they are the law of the land now, right? Now step off, sirrah, we got some human-sacrificing to do!

There is a place for the Paly and Kill on Site Smite, is all I'm saying.

Opposing the lawful regime would be UNlawful.

Like, by definition.


TheRonin wrote:
loaba wrote:
TheRonin wrote:
Find a way to remind him hes not Chaotic Good, he can't get away with breaking local laws for the greater good.

So when James Earl Jones and the rest of the EVIL-hot-chick-sacrificing Snake Cult show up and hold sway over the region, the Paly is just outta luck, right? I mean they are the law of the land now, right? Now step off, sirrah, we got some human-sacrificing to do!

There is a place for the Paly and Kill on Site Smite, is all I'm saying.

Opposing the lawful regime would be UNlawful.

Like, by definition.

Spoken like a true LE bureaucrat, sir. Well done. :)


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The biggest problem with paladins seem to be a lot of GM are not as familiar with the spell detect evil as they should be. First of all most things under 5th level do not detect as evil at all. The do not register at all unless they are a cleric of an evil god, or a paladin or antipaladin before 5th level. At 5th level to 10th level the detect as a faint aura of evil. From level 11 to 25 they show up as moderately evil. It takes a creature of 25th level or HD to detect strong evil. Undead, outsiders and clerics and paladins show a stronger aura at much lower levels.

Too many times I have hear a player of a paladin ask the GM does he detect as evil. The typical response is usually something like O Yea he is definitely evil. To me this means a strong aura of evil. That would mean that person is a 5 HD evil outsider, 9 HD undead, or a 5th level cleric of an evil god. This indicates that the creature you are dealing with in a MAJOR evil and needs to be dealt with. This is not the commoner who cheated on his taxes, or the local thief. If the GM had stated you get detect a hint of evil, or something similar then that is another story.

The paladin who goes around killing anything with the slightest hint of evil is probably not LG and will not be a paladin for long. On the other hand if he is Only killing things with a strong aura then he should be fine. Realize that a strong aura is someone with 26HD or 5th level or higher cleric or paladin. Even if he is goes after someone with a moderate aura that is still 11th level or higher. In most campaigns that is going to be someone pretty powerful. This is not Buba the town idiot, this is the head of the assassins guild.


Elamdri wrote:


And I'm saying he should never be level 5. That's why I said "LEVEL ONE PICKPOCKET"

Unless he gets a lot of experience at being a pickpocet and becomes a really talented one, which in time would make him level 5 and thus qualify.


loaba wrote:
TheRonin wrote:
loaba wrote:
TheRonin wrote:
Find a way to remind him hes not Chaotic Good, he can't get away with breaking local laws for the greater good.

So when James Earl Jones and the rest of the EVIL-hot-chick-sacrificing Snake Cult show up and hold sway over the region, the Paly is just outta luck, right? I mean they are the law of the land now, right? Now step off, sirrah, we got some human-sacrificing to do!

There is a place for the Paly and Kill on Site Smite, is all I'm saying.

Opposing the lawful regime would be UNlawful.

Like, by definition.

Spoken like a true LE bureaucrat, sir. Well done. :)

Lawful is Lawful. Not my fault its spelled with the word "Awful" in it.


loaba wrote:


So when James Earl Jones and the rest of the EVIL-hot-chick-sacrificing Snake Cult show up and hold sway over the region, the Paly is just outta luck, right? I mean they are the law of the land now, right? Now step off, sirrah, we got some human-sacrificing to do!

There is a place for the Paly and Kill on Site Smite, is all I'm saying.

WHOOOOA Turbo, that was a Cult, not the local governing body.

KING OSRIC recruits them (Conan and his posse) to rescue his daughter, King being kind of important in the context here...

So its all legit head cracking time, signed off by a King no less... can't get more legit than that :)


Approval of the rightful and legal King... just one of many important things to have when you are acting 'lawful'.


Strangely enough it is an oft overlooked detail, apparently.


Shifty wrote:
loaba wrote:


So when James Earl Jones and the rest of the EVIL-hot-chick-sacrificing Snake Cult show up and hold sway over the region, the Paly is just outta luck, right? I mean they are the law of the land now, right? Now step off, sirrah, we got some human-sacrificing to do!

There is a place for the Paly and Kill on Site Smite, is all I'm saying.

WHOOOOA Turbo, that was a Cult, not the local governing body.

KING OSRIC recruits them (Conan and his posse) to rescue his daughter, King being kind of important in the context here...

So its all legit head cracking time, signed off by a King no less... can't get more legit than that :)

Good point,Shifty. King Osric was the rightful, albeit ineffective, lawful ruler of the (snake) blighted land. :)


TheRonin wrote:
loaba wrote:
TheRonin wrote:
Find a way to remind him hes not Chaotic Good, he can't get away with breaking local laws for the greater good.

So when James Earl Jones and the rest of the EVIL-hot-chick-sacrificing Snake Cult show up and hold sway over the region, the Paly is just outta luck, right? I mean they are the law of the land now, right? Now step off, sirrah, we got some human-sacrificing to do!

There is a place for the Paly and Kill on Site Smite, is all I'm saying.

Opposing the lawful regime would be UNlawful.

Like, by definition.

This heavily depends on which definition of lawful you use and gets into an entirely different debate.

Its most easily sidestepped by having the paladin conclude that an evil regime can't be lawful because they are evil.


johnlocke90 wrote:
TheRonin wrote:
loaba wrote:
TheRonin wrote:
Find a way to remind him hes not Chaotic Good, he can't get away with breaking local laws for the greater good.

So when James Earl Jones and the rest of the EVIL-hot-chick-sacrificing Snake Cult show up and hold sway over the region, the Paly is just outta luck, right? I mean they are the law of the land now, right? Now step off, sirrah, we got some human-sacrificing to do!

There is a place for the Paly and Kill on Site Smite, is all I'm saying.

Opposing the lawful regime would be UNlawful.

Like, by definition.

This heavily depends on which definition of lawful you use and gets into an entirely different debate.

Its most easily sidestepped by having the paladin conclude that an evil regime can't be lawful because they are evil.

I think the 9 part alignment chart would disagree with this.

The "Paladin" may conclude that, but the "Paladin" will be referred to in air quotes because unless his god happens to conclude the same thing he won't be a Paladin for very long.

The Exchange Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Detecting as evil does not mean you are. There are plenty of ways to give a false positive,

Cleric to an evil god
Seriously planing evil acts, but you would have changed your mind before doing it
Magic
Evil subtype
The detector could be under a spell
And probably more.

So even if it should mean death, you should gather evidence before murder.

Star Voter 2013

TheRonin wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:
TheRonin wrote:
loaba wrote:
TheRonin wrote:
Find a way to remind him hes not Chaotic Good, he can't get away with breaking local laws for the greater good.

So when James Earl Jones and the rest of the EVIL-hot-chick-sacrificing Snake Cult show up and hold sway over the region, the Paly is just outta luck, right? I mean they are the law of the land now, right? Now step off, sirrah, we got some human-sacrificing to do!

There is a place for the Paly and Kill on Site Smite, is all I'm saying.

Opposing the lawful regime would be UNlawful.

Like, by definition.

This heavily depends on which definition of lawful you use and gets into an entirely different debate.

Its most easily sidestepped by having the paladin conclude that an evil regime can't be lawful because they are evil.

I think the 9 part alignment chart would disagree with this.

The "Paladin" may conclude that, but the "Paladin" will be referred to in air quotes because unless his god happens to conclude the same thing he won't be a Paladin for very long.

So killing devils is bad because devils are lawful?


No, I never claimed you could not kill lawful beings. I said a paladin must respect the local laws to be considered 'lawful' even if the government that instituted those laws is 'evil'.


Frankly, the way detect evil works as written... it's pretty useless. As someone mentioned, it doesn't tell you how evil someone is so much as how powerful they are. Doesn't that strike anyone else as being a bit... off?

Let's think for a minute, what are the possible purposes for a detect evil ability for a crusading holy knight?

1) To ensure that evildoers who deserve the swift sword of justice do not escape.
2) To ensure that the Paladin does not mistakenly harm an innocent.
3) To prevent evil from getting the drop on the Paladin.

Arguably, detect evil as it currently exists completely fails at 1 and 3, and is only marginally useful in #2 - people who are genuinely good are okay, but people of more mixed alignments... it's kind of a crap shoot.

The problem is that the game acknowledges the possibility of intrinsic, baby-eating, for the evulz kind of villainy, but it does not force all antagonists to be that way. It makes sense to me that a Paladin, who is empowered by the very forces of good themselves (which somehow transcend the deities), would lack the innate ability to tell one type of evil for the other - or rather, that his special power which is meant to help him track down evil doers would constantly guide him astray.


Oh goody, we're at the point where Lawful Stupid says that Paladins must turn themselves in to the Evil Overlord's armies for execution. After all, that's The Law.

Star Voter 2013

TheRonin wrote:
No, I never claimed you could not kill lawful beings. I said a paladin must respect the local laws to be considered 'lawful' even if the government that instituted those laws is 'evil'.

I disagree. One thing is a bad law in a neutral or good city/kindom/whatever, and other thing Is a whole set of laws made with the intentionof oppres others.

Those laws are not the paladins laws.


Then the Paladin has arrived at a dilemma, does he support the law, or does he support good?

What if it's an evil government but the law hes against is itself Just. A law such as "You can't kill people unless you are the government.".

Because thats where we started from.

Is the Paladin then allowed to kill whomever he wishes despite the law? In some cases yes, but If I was a Paladin i'd be praying for guidance at that point.

In the opening post the Paladin in question killed whomever he wanted so long as he pinged on the old evildar. I suspect local laws would be against this activity. Though thats bound to vary a lot from region to region.


Elamdri wrote:


I guess at the end of the day, my point is that evil shouldn't be ambiguous. I shouldn't need to run a battery of polygraphs and CTScans, have the NPC take the Meyer's Briggs personality test, see a therapist and take a bunch of ink-block tests to determine that he's a right bastard and deserves to die.

If a creature is evil enough to show up as evil through detect evil, then they should be so evil that the paladin slaying them shouldn't cause him/her to fall.

That...would be a very different spell then what "detect evil" is.

It sounds more like the old wargame roots of D&D, back when roleplaying didn't really exist as a concept and all you really wanted to know is "can we kill this guy we just met and get exp?"

In a more in-depth RPG type of experence, there are always going to be shades of grey.

Really; if you want to play a character who's obsessed with hunting down and killing anyone who's evil or of a religion opposed to yours, and are willing to murder people without any real proof that they did anything wrong, play an inquisitor, not a paladin.

Edit:

Elamdri wrote:


My thesis: A GM should be careful when crafting encounters so as to give a Paladin valuable information when he uses detect evil. In doing so, he should make sure that potential foes with dubious alignments are either: A: Not evil. B: Low level so the Paladin cannot detect their evil C: Masking their alignment or D: Providing sufficient context clues that a paladin would think twice.

I don't know; in social situations, I always found the ability to tell if the person I was negotiating with/buying stuff from/ect was evil or not. Not because I could slaughter him if he was; just so I would know how trustworthy he was.

Selling adventurers "healing potions" that are actually green colored water is an evil act, and being able to know that you're dealing with a crooked merchant is very valuable information. It just doesn't mean you get to kill him.

I think we just have different ideas what "valuable information" is.


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And these same powers that gave the Paladin the ability to Detect Evil etc also give the Paladin a clergy who he can turn to for Augury and Divination when he needs clarification to ensure his path is true.

It's not like he's really in that many predicaments when he can 50/50, ask the audience, or phone a friend.


I guess what we are trying to do is get the discussion back to the roots.

Is murdering people who you have no proof of wrong doing LAWFUL GOOD behavior. We had a discussion on Goodness, so is it Lawful? In some countries perhaps, but not in many.


ZanzerTem wrote:
So I pose another question; does using the Detect Evil ability constitute "tangible evidence or certain knowledge of evildoing"?

Only you can answer this question. How do you handle alignments?

Can creatures acquire an evil alignment for thinking bad thoughts?

Can petty sins push one into an evil alignment?

Are certain creatures naturally rather than culturally evil without being actual manifestations of evil like the double smite targets?

If the answer to all of these is no then detect evil is "tangible evidence or certain knowledge of evildoing."

Star Voter 2013

TheRonin wrote:

Then the Paladin has arrived at a dilemma, does he support the law, or does he support good?

What if it's an evil government but the law hes against is itself Just. A law such as "You can't kill people unless you are the government.".

Because thats where we started from.

Is the Paladin then allowed to kill whomever he wishes despite the law? In some cases yes, but If I was a Paladin i'd be praying for guidance at that point.

In the opening post the Paladin in question killed whomever he wanted so long as he pinged on the old evildar. I suspect local laws would be against this activity. Though thats bound to vary a lot from region to region.

I agree there would be some grey situation. But my starting point was

"So when James Earl Jones and the rest of the EVIL-hot-chick-sacrificing Snake Cult show up and hold sway over the region, the Paly is just outta luck, right? I mean they are the law of the land now, right? Now step off, sirrah, we got some human-sacrificing to do!"

and you answering

"Opposing the lawful regime would be UNlawful.

Like, by definition."

I disagree that opposing any lawful regime would be unlawful. I do not see the conan example as a grey area, the lawful thing to do (from the paladin PoV) is to oppose that law.

Star Voter 2013

TheRonin wrote:

I guess what we are trying to do is get the discussion back to the roots.

Is murdering people who you have no proof of wrong doing LAWFUL GOOD behavior. We had a discussion on Goodness, so is it Lawful? In some countries perhaps, but not in many.

it is like you are trying to say taht the only way to be lawful is to obey the local law,i would say that there are others ways in particular more personal ones.

Liberty's Edge

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Elamdri wrote:
Geistlinger wrote:

OK, Elamdri, here's a scenario that should clear up how absurd you are sounding.

Paladin in the city, Detects Evil.

"Whoa, that guy (say an evil priest, maybe obvious, maybe not) just pinged on my evil-dar".

*proceeds with the smiting and the killing*

Paladin arrested for murder.

"But he was evil!"

Killing every evil person you come across isn't just wrong, it's counter-productive at times as well.

Ok, a few points:

A) I don't think a Paladin killing an evil cleric is murder.

B) I didn't say Paladins HAD to go around slaying every evil creature they found, the absolute second that they detect evil. I said that if they detected evil on a creature, they shouldn't then fall for slaying that creature.

C) Paladins are beholden to a higher code of conduct.

D) Paladins should to some degree of crediblity. After all, they're paragons of justice. I'm not saying that makes them some sort of Judge Dredd mind you, but I think "Paladin cuts down someone in the street" and "Rogue cuts down someone in the street" should receive different levels of scrutiny.

E) No one is seeing the holy light smiting the Paladin's foe down?

F) The Cleric has no evil holy symbols on him? Nothing? I find this unlikely.

Okay, I have a major problem with (A). It doesn't matter what alignment something is. If I kill a good cleric or an evil cleric in their sleep, that is murder.

I have a Paladin of Shelyn, and I don't see Detect Evil as proof something deserves death. It mostly tells me two things: I can smite it if I need to, and I'm going to be very suspicious of that creature.

There is also an in between when it comes to redemption. If it picks a fight with me, there is a chance it will die. However, if the creature begs for mercy and doesn't appear to just be getting me to lower my guard to stab me, I'm willing to take a prisoner.


Nicos wrote:
TheRonin wrote:

I guess what we are trying to do is get the discussion back to the roots.

Is murdering people who you have no proof of wrong doing LAWFUL GOOD behavior. We had a discussion on Goodness, so is it Lawful? In some countries perhaps, but not in many.

it is like you are trying to say taht the only way to be lawful is to obey the local law,i would say that there are others ways in particular more personal ones.

No, I am not saying "The only way to be lawful is X"

I am saying respecting local laws IS lawful. Disregarding local laws in favor of some personal morality is chaotic. You are describing a Chevalier, not a Paladin.

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