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Lawful Good behavior


Advice

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I want to get a community opinion on this.

I am running a WLD Pathfinder conversion game, and I believe one of my players is running a Lawful Stupid Paladin.

Some of his behaviors lately haven't been following his alignment in my opinion. What do you think about the following examples:

1) The Paladin encountered a captured, bound and unconscious but quite alive Kobold Wizard. After detecting evil against him, and sensing that he was evil, he slit the kobolds throat. He has interacted with this kobold in the past and has never seen or heard of said kobold wizard doing any evil acts, or threatening the Paladin or his charges ever.

2) The Paladin encountered an Orc chieftain deep in revelry. No interaction from the Orc would rouse him from it. The Paladin detected evil, and sensing it, beheaded the orc.

Said player is using the rule that "good kills evil". I don't necessarily subscribe to this, but I could be misguided. If a creature detects as evil, but has not acted that way, can the Paladin use that logic to slay the creature? It seems unlawful for a Paladin to be judge, jury and executioner simply because a creature detects as evil.

I would like some educated thoughts on this. Quote printed material if possible. Instead of "He's doing good, shut up", please say "He's doing good, because in the book of Exalted Deeds it says blahblah" to help me understand where everyone's thoughts on the subject are coming from. I would do the same, but I am having trouble finding anything that says a Lawful Good character wouldn't just slaughter every evil being he comes across, at least in lawless areas like dungeons.

Thanks in advance =)

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

He's failing not only at being a paladin, but also at being Good.

If Good actually operated under his view, redemption is a thing that could never happen.

Personal opinion, he should fall like a rock. And I say that as a paladin fan.


Does he have a clear-cut paladin code that the two of you set up at the beginning of the module? If not, it's something you may want to do now and he can adjust his playing of the character to match. In his mind, this may be how the paladin code should be followed.

Personally, and I can't quote anything here, I'd give him a sign that his god is unhappy with him for slaying helpless people without provocation.

Silver Crusade

Mikaze, I disagree. A paladin doesn't have to run around capitulating to evil creatures and offering everyone they do battle with a chance for redemption. THAT is Lawful Stupid IMHO.

A Paladin is the Left Hand of Justice.

The Exchange Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Being evil is not the same as doing evil. Lawful evil can be more agreeable than chaotic good, and bring a greater good to society. (Can is not the same as always . obviously, alignment is personal when not your subtype)

Think of it on a personal scale. Did the evil "victims" do anything to deserve murder/a death penalty? If yes the paladin doesn't fall

Did the paladin have proof of the victims deserving death? If no have an upset diety, until the PC finds the evidence.

Maybe the dmg covers this, I don't own that. Just RP it so everyone has fun even if the PC is in the wrong


I agree that he shouldn't be lenient sometimes. If an Orc charges him, sword raised, I expect him to utterly destroy the creature, regardless of alignment. However, to kill a defenseless creature simply because it's evil?

Here is a quote I found from here.

Quote:
When will a lawful good character take a life? A lawful good being kills whenever necessary to promote the greater good, or to protect himself, his companions, or anyone whom he's vowed to defend. In times of war, he strikes down the enemies of his nation. He does not interfere with a legal execution, so long as the punishment fits the crime. Otherwise, a lawful good character avoids killing whenever possible. He does not kill a person who is merely suspected of a crime, nor does this character necessarily kill someone he perceives to be a threat unless he has tangible evidence or certain knowledge of evildoing.

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


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First of all unless both of the characters were high level they should not have showed up as evil. Unless you are a paladin/antipaladin or a cleric you do not have detect evil unless you are over 6th level.

As to the killing of evil that is going to depend on the deity he follows. A paladin of Sarenrae for example will probably be more forgiving especially when they encounter a helpless opponent. A paladin of Torag would be more likely to kill especially humanoids. A paladin of Iomeda would probably give the orc a chance to defend himself.

Anyone playing a paladin should have their code defined before the game begins. The GM should go over the code and make sure he agrees with it being LG before the game starts.


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

No, only an inclination towards it.

You might be an Evil jerk at heart, but that doesn't mean you have done something wrong/Evil. Maybe you are just a sadist who enjoys watching the sufering of others, nothing says you were the one dishing the pain though.

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2014

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Elamdri wrote:
Mikaze, I disagree. A paladin doesn't have to run around capitulating to evil creatures and offering everyone they do battle with a chance for redemption. THAT is Lawful Stupid IMHO.

Who was saying they had to?

Just as the character you're describing is operating under a very dangerous absolute, the character described in the opening post is operating under a horrific absolute.

I don't think it's naive or asking overly much to expect Good to think about what it's doing.

Quote:
A Paladin is the Left Hand of Justice.

And you don't get Justice by straight up murdering people as soon as they ping Evil on your Evildar.

Again, personal opinion, but whenever I play Good I need more of a reason to kill a character than just alignment, even if it's something as simple as "they're trying to eat my face and there's no way to resolve that conflict nonlethally."


Quite agree Mikaze.


The paladin's reasoning could well have been along these lines: Kobolds and orcs are usually evil. Are these guys exceptions? (Detects evil on them and gets positive result) Nope. Okay, they get the usual treatment that evil creatures deserve.

Note that most kobolds and orcs would not ping as evil because they are low level warriors -- so that positive result on detect evil can reasonably be taken as a sign that they are too dangerous to keep alive, in the absence of a more specific code that requires mercy even to them.


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Lawful characters don't go around murdering people. Good characters don't go around murdering people. Paladins definitely don't go around murdering people.

Let him know that being evil is not a crime, and punishing someone when you have no evidence they committed a crime is a violation of his vows.


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Murdering a prisoner in cold blood that is no longer a threat is an evil act and just like that your pally's powers are gone. He fails again on the lawful aspect because killing any evil person you just because of your detect evil is chaotic. Most of the other opinions are right pallys are tough to play and the gm and the player need to be on the same terms about what they expect about code of conduct. I'd have taken away his powers in a heart beat.

Also how does he know his spell is giving an accurate reading. There are many spells that can hide alignment or make some one ping as an alignment they aren't. If you didn't see them do evil or are following credible evidence of their misdeeds you shouldn't be killing them.

Silver Crusade

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I think the problem is misuse of detect evil by GMs.

If something "pings evil on your Evildar" then it should be killed. Period.

If there is question as to whether it should or should not be killed, then it shouldn't "Ping evil"

It's a problem of "I detect evil on the 1st level pickpocket" and "lo and behold, he's evil, because the book says so"

No. No he is NOT evil.

Demons are evil. Undead are evil. Powerful Clerics can be evil. Anti-Paladins are evil. Powerful Wizards can be evil.

At the end of the day, if a Paladin could possibly fall from killing a creature, then it should NOT "ping" as evil on detect evil.

If a Paladin kills a creature after detecting that it is evil, and then falls, then the GM has lied to the player, and that's not fair.

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Elamdri wrote:

If something "pings evil on your Evildar" then it should be killed. Period.

If this were the case, our Curse of the Crimson Throne campaign never would have had one of the most enjoyable plotthreads I've ever gotten to see.

The existence of the Redeemer paladin archetype also shows that this isn't the absolute expectation.


Elamdri wrote:

I think the problem is misuse of detect evil by GMs.

If something "pings evil on your Evildar" then it should be killed. Period.

If there is question as to whether it should or should not be killed, then it shouldn't "Ping evil"

It's a problem of "I detect evil on the 1st level pickpocket" and "lo and behold, he's evil, because the book says so"

No. No he is NOT evil.

Demons are evil. Undead are evil. Powerful Clerics can be evil. Anti-Paladins are evil. Powerful Wizards can be evil.

At the end of the day, if a Paladin could possibly fall from killing a creature, then it should NOT "ping" as evil on detect evil.

No lawful society would except the rule of it pings you kill it that's chaos...in any society their a prominent productive members who are evil. Does that mean you can go stab the local lawyer or the counts son who's a heartless bastard but has never been caught doing anything wrong. If you do your going to get hanged for committing evil acts no matter what you ping on detect evil.

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Chaos_Scion wrote:


Also how does he know his spell is giving an accurate reading. There are many spells that can hide alignment or make some one ping as an alignment they aren't. If you didn't see them do evil or are following credible evidence of their misdeeds you shouldn't be killing them.

Along with that, neutral clerics of evil deities show up under detect evil too.


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Seems like we have a weekly thread based on paladin alignment and what they can or cannot do. I'll answer this question very simply: Talk to your group, come up with how YOUR GROUP wants to do alignments and stick to it.

Coming here, you'll get 15000 responses from 15000 people and start people flaming each other over what each person thinks is the ONLY way to run a particular alignment. The truth is that there isn't a one and only way to do things and the sooner you realize this the better. This should be a group discussion and decision, don't ask us here, you'll never make up your mind.

Silver Crusade

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Chaos_Scion wrote:
No lawful society would except the rule of it pings you kill it that's chaos...in any society their a prominent productive members who are evil. Does that mean you can go stab the local lawyer or the counts son who's a heartless bastard but has never been caught doing anything wrong. If you do your going to get hanged for committing evil acts no matter what you ping on detect evil.

You are missing my point. The Local Lawyer, the count's son...those people are not "Evil" for the purposes of Detect Evil.

There's evil and then there is "Evil."

Detect Evil is not a way for paladins to roam around and figure out whose been cheating on their taxes or knicked some coin from the local merchants.

It's there for then to identify inherently evil creatures that need to be destroyed. That's it's purpose.

We're not talking about petty evils that concern common men. We're talking about foul beasts from the pit, cultists who seek to overthrow the society of men, ancient wyrms with burning furnaces of hate, undead blight that threatens to consume all in it's path.

These things are EVIL and must be destroyed. This is emphatically the Paladin's wheelhouse.

The problem comes that if you tell a Paladin that something is evil when they detect evil, when it really ISN'T evil, then you're giving the Paladin false information.

Contributor

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First thing you need to make clear with your player is the type of game you're running. He seems to be running his paladin as a crusader in a world of black-and-white morality where everything that's evil is irredeemably evil, or at least redemption is such a rare occurrence that it's off the bell curve in the same likelihood as flying pigs. If something's evil, you smite it until it stops giving off that evil glow.

You, on the other hand, are running a world with nuanced morality, shades of gray, and most of all moral dilemmas.

Now, assuming you can get the player to understand that he's playing in a world with moral dilemmas, his paladin, to be a paragon of all virtues, needs to properly navigate these dilemmas, not just pull a "Kill 'em all and let Pharasma sort them out!" With the moral dilemmas, killing the helpless kobold wizard was an evil act. He had committed no crime and was even a previous ally or at least cordial acquaintance of the PCs.

Killing the frenzied orc? It doesn't matter what alignment the orc had--He was a danger to himself and others and needed to be stopped for the public good. It might have been better to use non-lethal force, but sometimes lethal is all you have.


Good kills Evil is a very basic concept that was fostered (I think, anyway) from the beginning of the game. I mean, it's just an old concept and it does work in a black and white world (the kind of world where all Orcs are evil and they burn and destroy human villages on a regular basis etc.)

ub3r n3rd offers some really good advice - talk to your group and [get on the same page].


anyone with 5 char lvls pings as evil...lvl 5 evil commoner still shows up as evil and i doubt hes consorting with demons...


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Elamdri wrote:


If there is question as to whether it should or should not be killed, then it shouldn't "Ping evil"

It's a problem of "I detect evil on the 1st level pickpocket" and "lo and behold, he's evil, because the book says so"

No. No he is NOT evil.

Demons are evil. Undead are evil. Powerful Clerics can be evil. Anti-Paladins are evil. Powerful Wizards can be evil.

Evil is as much a part of the alignment system as good and neutral are. Humans, in general, are classified as "neutral", which means that there are about as many evil humans as there are good humans. It's not just the random super-evil-wizard-of-doom; it's maybe 25% of the population. 25% evil, 25% good, 50% neutral, or something like that.

Now, granted, people under level 5 don't usually ping as evil because that's one of the limitations on the detect evil spell, but that's irrelevant. If you're a level 5 thief, and you make your living by picking pockets, conning people out of their hard-earned gold, breaking-and-entering, ect, then you are probably evil, unless you do a lot of good to balance that out. A person is evil if they do more bad things then good things. In fact, that's what most evil PC's in non-evil campaigns are, "Well, ok, I like gold, and going on adventures is even more profitable then mugging people, so I might as well join this adventuring group for a while. I'm not going to betray them; that would be stupid, it'd probably get me killed, and in any case they're my meal ticket." Does them being evil mean they automatically deserve to be randomly murdered? Hardly.

Most people who are evil aren't cartoonish super-villains. For the most part, evil is quite banal.

"Detect evil" is not a "GM is it ok if I kill this dude" button.


Elamdri wrote:

If something "pings evil on your Evildar" then it should be killed. Period.

If there is question as to whether it should or should not be killed, then it shouldn't "Ping evil"

It's a problem of "I detect evil on the 1st level pickpocket" and "lo and behold, he's evil, because the book says so"

At the end of the day, if a Paladin could possibly fall from killing a creature, then it should NOT "ping" as evil on detect evil.

If a Paladin kills a creature after detecting that it is evil, and then falls, then the GM has lied to the player, and that's not fair.

With all due respect, that's absurd.

Someone's alignment has nothing to do with consequences to a 2nd/3rd party surrounding the cold blooded murder of said person. Alignment only measures the sum of a person's actions/intentions to date. Note that it doesn't even reflect intention to change; that would require atonement (in the case of an evil to good transition), meaning real, tangible actions over time representing changes in behavior and intentions.

The pickpocket in your example could very well be evil. He may have done some despicable things in his past. Maybe he regrets those actions and is trying to change his ways, maybe not. Either way, he hasn't changed his ways YET. Maybe he's on the way to the temple to atone. Maybe he's on the way to go murder someone. Who knows, but he's still evil either way. Doesn't mean he's done anything to be cut down by a lawful stupid paladin on the spot. That paladin certainly has no tangible evidence that any civilized society would require for such actions.

Maybe you can get away with murdering kobolds and orcs with respect to the laws of the land, but if he did the same thing to someone in town, say that pickpocket, that paladin should be immediately imprisoned and tried for murder. Period.

What he can't escape, even when murdering orcs and kobolds, is the attention of his deity. His deity knows exactly what he did, and knows he acted without just cause. The paladin certainly did not know (or bother to find out) anything about the individuals' circumstances, whether they're still actively sowing evil or whether their evil deeds are something they'd hoped to leave behind them, before being summarily executed.

No ifs, ands, or buts about it: this guy is behaving in EXTREME lawful stupid patterns, and should be punished by his deity. He should fall until he atones. At the very least, his deity should issue a very clear and stern warning that this kind of behavior is not acceptable, and further lawful stupid (chaotic evil is more like it) behavior shall result in his being stripped of his powers (or worse).

Silver Crusade

Chaos_Scion wrote:
anyone with 5 char lvls pings as evil...lvl 5 evil commoner still shows up as evil and i doubt hes consorting with demons...

Yes, but if you are playing in a game with lvl 5 commoners, you probably have bigger issues.

"Hey Bob, have you noticed that every time we come back to town, the guards all seem to get beefier?"

"You think that's the worst of it? Those guys all have +3 Fullplate and +3 Holy Keen Longswords!"

"Yeah, I saw them bust up a fight at the bar, but they were almost unnecessary thanks to the 15th level Bartender"


Elamdri wrote:

I think the problem is misuse of detect evil by GMs.

If something "pings evil on your Evildar" then it should be killed. Period.

If there is question as to whether it should or should not be killed, then it shouldn't "Ping evil"

It's a problem of "I detect evil on the 1st level pickpocket" and "lo and behold, he's evil, because the book says so"

No. No he is NOT evil.

And the 1st level pickpocket will not ping as evil unless he is a cleric, an antipaladin, or member of another class with a strong alignment aura. It takes either a basically evil nature or strong dedication for anyone to register positively for detection of evil. Whehter that is sufficient reason to kill someone is another matter -- actually multiple different matters, as it can be broken down into how would the paladin's deity react, how would his church react, how would the civil authorities react, and how would his fellow player characters react. All of these are campaign dependent.

Silver Crusade

The best descriptions I've ever seen of what it really means to be Lawful Good were in Order of the Stick. There are several LG characters in there, with very different personalities. You'll have to read a few hundred strips to really get to the heart of what I'm talking about, including seeing paladins disagree with each other, one paladin actually fall from grace (for pretty much acting like the guy that the original poster was talking about), and one LG character being judged on his worthiness to get into LG heaven.

It's a great comic, and I highly recommend it just for pure entertainment value, but it's also surprisingly useful whenever this type of debate comes up.

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Looking at how the good gods interact with evil gods and how they expect their clergy to act further illustrates the problem.

If "good kills evil" was the absolute, we wouldn't have things like angels teaming up with devils and demons to protect the flow of souls from daemons. We wouldn't have Shelyn's continued attempts to save her brother, or her clergy's hopeful attitudes towards followers of evil deities. We wouldn't have a goddess of redemption, one that teamed up with freaking Asmodeus to save the universe.

Luke Skywalker never would have saved his dad.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

Depends on a lot of things, first and foremost the paladin's deity. Torag, Erastil and Iomidae are probably ok with that, serenrae* and shelyn not so much.
The there is the issue of detect evil itself, detect evil isn't infallible, first of all the spell can be foiled and give wrong readings, second it gives an evil reading in the case of neutral clerics of evil deities and third and most important it gives off evil when the person has evil intentions.

So assuming that the deity of the paladin isn't against slaying all evil and the detect evil wasn't giving a false positive then the paladin is ok BUT he should be careful because one of these days the detect evil might give a false positive and then the paladin would fall. If he wishes to continue this behaviour then he should be leaving a part of his wealth at the side for when he needs an atonement spell.

*unless the kobold and the orc were followers of rovagug

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Fromper wrote:

The best descriptions I've ever seen of what it really means to be Lawful Good were in Order of the Stick.

O-Chul!


Mikaze wrote:
Elamdri wrote:

If something "pings evil on your Evildar" then it should be killed. Period.

If this were the case, our Curse of the Crimson Throne campaign never would have had one of the most enjoyable plotthreads I've ever gotten to see.

The existence of the Redeemer paladin archetype also shows that this isn't the absolute expectation.

Which puts this in the realm of player discretion. The question shouldn't be "Is this good or evil?" but "Could a paladin reasonably consider this to be a good action?"

Silver Crusade

MTCityHunter wrote:

With all due respect, that's absurd.

Someone's alignment has nothing to do with consequences to a 2nd/3rd party surrounding the cold blooded murder of said person. Alignment only measures the sum of a person's actions/intentions to date. Note that it doesn't even reflect intention to change; that would require atonement (in the case of an evil to good transition), meaning real, tangible actions over time representing changes in behavior and intentions.

This is only really true of Humanoids. Demons don't "Repent." They embody evil itself. Which is kinda where I am going with this: There are levels of evil.

MTCityHunter wrote:
The pickpocket in your example could very well be evil. He may have done some despicable things in his past. Maybe he regrets those actions and is trying to change his ways, maybe not. Either way, he hasn't changed his ways YET. Maybe he's on the way to the temple to atone. Maybe he's on the way to go murder someone. Who knows, but he's still evil either way. Doesn't mean he's done anything to be cut down by a lawful stupid paladin on the spot. That paladin certainly has no tangible evidence that any civilized society would require for such actions.

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.

MTCityHunter wrote:

Maybe you can get away with murdering kobolds and orcs with respect to the laws of the land, but if he did the same thing to someone in town, say that pickpocket, that paladin should be immediately imprisoned and tried for murder. Period.

What he can't escape, even when murdering orcs and kobolds, is the attention of his deity. His deity knows exactly what he did, and knows he acted without just...

My point is this: That Kobold and that Orc should have never pinged under Detect Evil.

Take a Bugbear. A Bugbear is one of the most evil, foul creatures you can encounter as a low level character. They inflict suffering for the sheer joy of inflicting suffering and they do it in a way that maximizes suffering. They're about as evil as evil gets at level 1.

They're not evil for the purposes of detect evil.

Whenever I see these threads, I always see people start to espouse these long and involved monologues about how everything is grey, and maybe that guy had a rough childhood, and you don't know what makes him tick, and while he may be a murderer, he may also volunteer in a soup kitchen and yadda yadda yadda.

Guess what? I don't want to do an extensive background check, send the enemy to speak to a therapist to resolve his issues with his father, before I know if he's sufficiently evil that killing him might be a good idea.

And that's where detect evil comes in.

Yes, there are situations where detect evil is NOT going to work. And in those situations you should exercise caution.

And YES, there are situations where a character is going to detect evil, but outright slaying him is not going to be just.

But by and large, when a character detects evil, it shouldn't give rise to some moral dilemma about the ethics of killing evil creatures.


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.

Grand Lodge

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PRD wrote:
Good implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others.

Respect for life, not just good lives...

concern for the dignity of sentient beings, not just good beings...
make personal sacrifices to help others, not just good others...

The behaviors exhibited in the OP do not in any way exhibit these qualities.

Based upon the rules of Good alignment, yeah I would rule the Paladin has fallen.

Grand Lodge

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.

actually if you look at some of the descriptions of cities in the Campaign Setting evil races frequently interact with good races in cities.

I have read samples of bugbears, goblins, kobolds, orcs, and gnolls all trading in human cities.

The races tend to be watched carefully, sure. But as long as they don't make trouble, their gold is still welcomed. Gold trumps alignment any day.

mmmm

maybe under alignment I should putting "Gold." :)

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
ZanzerTem wrote:

I want to get a community opinion on this.

I am running a WLD Pathfinder conversion game, and I believe one of my players is running a Lawful Stupid Paladin.

Some of his behaviors lately haven't been following his alignment in my opinion. What do you think about the following examples:

1) The Paladin encountered a captured, bound and unconscious but quite alive Kobold Wizard. After detecting evil against him, and sensing that he was evil, he slit the kobolds throat. He has interacted with this kobold in the past and has never seen or heard of said kobold wizard doing any evil acts, or threatening the Paladin or his charges ever.

2) The Paladin encountered an Orc chieftain deep in revelry. No interaction from the Orc would rouse him from it. The Paladin detected evil, and sensing it, beheaded the orc.

Said player is using the rule that "good kills evil". I don't necessarily subscribe to this, but I could be misguided. If a creature detects as evil, but has not acted that way, can the Paladin use that logic to slay the creature? It seems unlawful for a Paladin to be judge, jury and executioner simply because a creature detects as evil.

I would like some educated thoughts on this. Quote printed material if possible.

Quote printed material! My favorite thing to do with alignments!

Here is what the core rules say, in the Additional Rules section, with my bold added for emphasis:

PRD wrote:
Good implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others.

According to your description, anyway, the paladin has displayed none of these traits. A concern for the dignity of sentient beings does not make it easy for someone to slit another's throat in their sleep, no matter how brightly evil their aura shines.

Quote:
Evil implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master.

I would say dispassionately slitting a sleeping sentient creature's throat counts as having no compassion for others and killing without qualms for the sake of convenience.

You'll note the only place killing is in fact mentioned at all is in the evil alignment. Now, I think we all allow that good and neutral people may be forced to kill in self defense/for survival or other cases, but it is not something, that at least by the guidelines provided by the rules of the game, that is associated with good behavior.

Quote:

Lawful characters tell the truth, keep their word, respect authority, honor tradition, and judge those who fall short of their duties. (snip)

Law implies honor, trustworthiness, obedience to authority, and reliability. On the downside, lawfulness can include closed-mindedness, reactionary adherence to tradition, self-righteousness, and a lack of adaptability. Those who consciously promote lawfulness say that only lawful behavior creates a society in which people can depend on each other and make the right decisions in full confidence that others will act as they should.

A character who respects authority and the benevolence of the rule of law would, perhaps as an example, arrest a criminal and take them to trial, presuming the world's society is similar to ours.

And most definitions of honor and trustworthiness do not include provoking an attack or killing someone in cold blood.

Quote:
Lawful Good: A lawful good character acts as a good person is expected or required to act. She combines a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly. She tells the truth, keeps her word, helps those in need, and speaks out against injustice. A lawful good character hates to see the guilty go unpunished.

Now, I can see someone taking "commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly" too far, but it doesn't suggest killing evil indiscriminately is the way to go about doing this.

And a lawful good character may hate to see the guilty go unpunished, but what were the slain creatures guilty of besides having an evil alignment? Perhaps something, but a lawful good character by extension of the other things stated would be unlikely to slay someone without evidence of a crime that he could prove to others.

Quote:
Lawful good combines honor with compassion.

And that's the crux here. I don't need to say the character described isn't lawful good -- what I'd suggest is showing this sentence to the player and ask him to describe how he thinks his character is behaving with honor and compassion.

Oh, let's look at the Paladin's Code while we're at it:

PRD wrote:


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

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

Were the creatures killed harming or threatening innocents? And again with the honor thing.

Quote:
I would do the same, but I am having trouble finding anything that says a Lawful Good character wouldn't just slaughter every evil being he comes across, at least in lawless areas like dungeons.

I hope the above helps. Also with "lawless areas like dungeons" -- I believe a lawful character takes the laws and rules and codes they respect with them. They aren't lawful because there are laws, they are lawful because they themselves abide by a consistent code of behavior that has usually in part been established by local rules and social mores.

And also, while you're talking to the player, ask HIM in the rules where it says "good kills evil."

loaba wrote:
Good kills Evil is a very basic concept that was fostered (I think, anyway) from the beginning of the game. I mean, it's just an old concept and it does work in a black and white world (the kind of world where all Orcs are evil and they burn and destroy human villages on a regular basis etc.)

Is it? I don't remember that ever being espoused in any version of D&D I ever played. Maybe in monty haul approaches where the point entirely was to gain XP and grab loot, but it doesn't sound like the GM is running a mindless dungeon crawl. And I don't think the attitude was ever espoused in the rules themselves (although I have never read the earliest iterations of D&D so perhaps I am wrong).

Quote:


ub3r n3rd offers some really good advice - talk to your group and [get on the same page].

Definitely. I wouldn't just immediately start taking paladin abilities away but he and the party need a good talking to, as well as a firm establishment of ground rules and expectations when it comes to roleplaying--and to what your campaign is about. If someone is EXPECTING a monty haul dungeon crawl and you're planning to run a character-driven roleplaying drama (just for example) then that needs to be cleared up.


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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.

Contributor

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Elamdri wrote:
Chaos_Scion wrote:
No lawful society would except the rule of it pings you kill it that's chaos...in any society their a prominent productive members who are evil. Does that mean you can go stab the local lawyer or the counts son who's a heartless bastard but has never been caught doing anything wrong. If you do your going to get hanged for committing evil acts no matter what you ping on detect evil.

You are missing my point. The Local Lawyer, the count's son...those people are not "Evil" for the purposes of Detect Evil.

There's evil and then there is "Evil."

Detect Evil is not a way for paladins to roam around and figure out whose been cheating on their taxes or knicked some coin from the local merchants.

It's there for then to identify inherently evil creatures that need to be destroyed. That's it's purpose.

We're not talking about petty evils that concern common men. We're talking about foul beasts from the pit, cultists who seek to overthrow the society of men, ancient wyrms with burning furnaces of hate, undead blight that threatens to consume all in it's path.

These things are EVIL and must be destroyed. This is emphatically the Paladin's wheelhouse.

The problem comes that if you tell a Paladin that something is evil when they detect evil, when it really ISN'T evil, then you're giving the Paladin false information.

The trouble is also that the RAW assumes that, excepting clerics of evil gods, 1st level characters cannot have done enough evil to show up on a paladin's radar, while characters of 6th level and above suddenly do based on a false assumption that they're truly committed to wickedness.

Let's take the count's son, for example. He's a nasty piece of work, cruel to everyone, pulled the wings off flies as a child, worked his way up to strangling kittens, and has just done it with a chambermaid and tossed her body off the battlements to make it look like a suicide. It was thrilling and he's planning to do it again and again. He's also a 1st level aristocrat. The RAW says he doesn't detect as Evil.

Meanwhile, we have the local wizard. He's a mean old curmudgeon who finally, at the age of eighty, reached 7th level. He's never summoned an imp familiar because his mean old cat was always good enough for him and besides, when he inquired, Hell was not able to offer a contract to his liking. He's basically Scrooge as a wizard. The RAW says he radiates as much evil as a 1st level evil cleric.

Meanwhile we have the 1st level evil cleric. She's wicked but has only been sacrificing doves to her dark god because in her dark temple, 1st level acolytes don't get to do human sacrifices. And all she knows about goodness is the twaddle taught to her by the dark cult that raised her.

Now, which of these three is the most evil?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Cards, Companion, Maps Subscriber

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.

Silver Crusade

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"


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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.

I think a rewrite of the Paladin Detect/Smite Evil class features would be a good way to help avoid a lot of roleplaying trouble (and reign in Paladin power level a bit, too).

I mean, think about how confusing detect evil gets right now: You have to sort through all of these possibilities of "just how evil IS he? He could be an evil outsider in disguise, or maybe he's a priest of an evil diety, or..." etc. It would be a lot easier (and more dramatically appealing) if Paladins could sense the presence of unnatural/otherworldly evil - when he shakes the hand of a count who is really a vampire, he can tell from the chills in his spine that this man is really a vampire. When he walks into a temple that has been secretly corrupted by Devils, he can smell their foulness in the air. That seems like a much better way to have detect evil operate than making the Paladin walk around and spend a bunch of actions "scanning" everybody.

Silver Crusade

princeimrahil wrote:

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.

I think a rewrite of the Paladin Detect/Smite Evil class features would be a good way to help avoid a lot of roleplaying trouble (and reign in Paladin power level a bit, too).

I mean, think about how confusing detect evil gets right now: You have to sort through all of these possibilities of "just how evil IS he? He could be an evil outsider in disguise, or maybe he's a priest of an evil diety, or..." etc. It would be a lot easier (and more dramatically appealing) if Paladins could sense the presence of unnatural/otherworldly evil - when he shakes the hand of a count who is really a vampire, he can tell from the chills in his spine that this man is really a vampire. When he walks into a temple that has been secretly corrupted by Devils, he can smell their foulness in the air. That seems like a much better way to have detect evil operate than making the Paladin walk around and spend a bunch of actions "scanning" everybody.

Thank you, this is exactly my point.


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?

Liberty's Edge

"Deserves death? I daresay he does. Many who live deserve death. And many who die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then be not too hasty to deal out death in your judgments."
- J. R. R. Tolkien
Now, that condition may not apply here. A paladin of sufficient level could give life to the dead. But it is still something the paladin should consider.
As for Luke Skywalker, remember that he sensed good and conflict in Darth Vader. I do not think Luke would have hesitated to destroy Darth Siddious (if he could).

Silver Crusade

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.

Star Voter 2013

the papladin that the Op describe is certainly acting as a lawful stupid. Under his premises in every town he visit he should kill 33% of the population (all the CE, NE and LE farmer for example).


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.


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?


@ZanzerTem - Look what you've started! lol, happens every time. I can't help but laugh as people will start jumping down each others' throats over this topic. You see how everyone starts putting together examples and then others will rip them apart... always leads to more fighting!

Liberty's Edge

"I am Lawful Good and you are not so I will kill you," was the standard description of "Lawful Stupid" behavior back when I was in high school.
That seems to be how the OP's paladin approaches the world.

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