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Alcoholic paladin


Advice

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I have a player who wants to run an alcoholic paladin in a campaign I am going to run soon. I am all for interesting roleplaying, but is going to far? I am worried he might do something due to this particular flaw and lose his divine powers and be little better than a fighter. What are your thoughts on this? Alcoholism isn't right he wants to play a drunken paladin

Cheliax

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Keep in mind that alcoholism is a disease in Pathfinder, which paladins become immune to. See if you can pick an archetype that trades out that ability.

Qadira

Sounds like an interesting concept - like Rooster Cogburn from True Grit or something like that.

First, you should have a frank discussion with the player. Make sure he's not just trying to have an excuse to break his code without consequences (it sounds unlikely, but you never know). Then find out why he wants to play this particular character - is it because he likes the idea of a hero with a tragic flaw? Is he looking at eventually becoming an anti-paladin, and is that OK in your campaign? Does he see it as something where his character may risk losing his powers and have to quest to regain them, or does he expect that his character's morality will be strong enough to stay within his code in spite of his alcoholism?

Having a flawed hero can be a lot of fun and can open up opportunities for some really cool roleplaying. I wouldn't worry about losing his divine powers, unless you are planning to be a bad GM - it's ultimately up to you whether he loses his powers, and what he will have to do to earn them back, if ever. This is the kind of thing that will work better when you and the player are on the same page as to what you both expect and hope to achieve in the game. It's OK for him to lose his powers, but make sure he knows this is a possibility, and make sure he knows whether it is likely to be permanent.


or make him addicted to heroin :)


DDogwood wrote:

Sounds like an interesting concept - like Rooster Cogburn from True Grit or something like that.

First, you should have a frank discussion with the player. Make sure he's not just trying to have an excuse to break his code without consequences (it sounds unlikely, but you never know). Then find out why he wants to play this particular character - is it because he likes the idea of a hero with a tragic flaw? Is he looking at eventually becoming an anti-paladin, and is that OK in your campaign? Does he see it as something where his character may risk losing his powers and have to quest to regain them, or does he expect that his character's morality will be strong enough to stay within his code in spite of his alcoholism?

Having a flawed hero can be a lot of fun and can open up opportunities for some really cool roleplaying. I wouldn't worry about losing his divine powers, unless you are planning to be a bad GM - it's ultimately up to you whether he loses his powers, and what he will have to do to earn them back, if ever. This is the kind of thing that will work better when you and the player are on the same page as to what you both expect and hope to achieve in the game. It's OK for him to lose his powers, but make sure he knows this is a possibility, and make sure he knows whether it is likely to be permanent.

He feels most paladins are played with a stick up they're bums and feels they should have a flaw to make them more unique.


You need to figure out how you want that to work mechanically. Is the drinking going to affect the in game actions(minus to rolls if he's really drunk, hang overs, ect). Not sure if pathfinder has a mechanic built for that but you guys need to be on the same page. The other option is to use it solely for role playing and as others have said make sure you guys are on the same page. I played a similar char in another system who drank because of the guilt for some of the things he had done and I asked the gm to have that effect the game(worked out great). My prime concern with this idea is that he's going to use it as a crutch, oops I got drunk and did all these horrible things, good thing I can't remember any of it or be held responsible.


i don't think anybody involved thought being drunk would absolve him of the consequences of his actions (re: Paladin abilities/code)
ultimately, being drunk doesn't NECESSARILY come into conflict with his code.
only if he's doing stuff that breaks the code, or his alignment ends up shifting from lawful good.
sure, plenty of 'drunk hijinks' you can think of might do that, but he doesn't necessarily have to act like that when you're drunk, anymore than being drunk "makes you" start fights with random people (which some people do use as an excuse, even though other people get drunk all the time without starting fights)
if he breaks the code/beomes sufficiently non-lawful good over-all, he loses his powers.
sounds like an interesting concept, and one PROBABLY destined to have him 'skirting the boundaries', but that is a dynamic that's already built into the class, so him engaging in it further is hardly out of line.

i would probably even help him by writing up a drunken paladin archetype!
(it wouldn't change the code thing substantially, or negate the danger of falling, but it would just give him other synergies with drinking, like the drunken master monk does, at the fair cost of switching around other abilities of course)


Let him be an alcoholic Paladin, there's nothing in the Code that says a Paladin has to stay away from mind altering substances. Especially if he's using alcohol to cope with some sort of trauma.

Then when he hits level 3 make sure he knows the alcohol no longer has any effect whatsoever on him.

Hilarity (and likely character development) ensues.


^ Smite Sober.


Divine Health would only take away the physical need to drink, it wouldn't stop the effects of alcohol or the psychological compulsion to drink(if hes drinking to help deal with trauma or some other personal failing). SO he can still be an alcoholic he just doesn't have to worry about withdrawal if he stops.


Don't know if this helps, but my paladin chooses not to drink because when he does, it becomes the hangover that puts your brother-in-law in the hands if a crazed transsexual and a minotaur in your bathroom. Maybe talk him in to a few of those types of sequences where he has to fix what he does in order to atone properly?


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Dabies wrote:
He feels most paladins are played with a stick up they're bums and feels they should have a flaw to make them more unique.

He ever think that the gods or powers Paladins serve would not give the paladinly abilites to an idiot who cannot even control how much he drinks?

I am not saying Paladins cannot have flaws but flaws which will profoudly affect their ability to make sounds judgements or which make them addicted (and therefore seriously exploitable by their enemies) would general mean a deity probably would not want them in their service.

There was a Paladin in the old Forgotten Realms comics who was an alcoholic and he lost his Paladinhood when he drank. He had to quit drinking and get an atonement before his god would grant him his powers back. During the course of the comic he fell off the wagon again and was forever after a fighter, even after he kicked the habit again.

Grand Lodge

Rynjin wrote:

Let him be an alcoholic Paladin, there's nothing in the Code that says a Paladin has to stay away from mind altering substances. Especially if he's using alcohol to cope with some sort of trauma.

Then when he hits level 3 make sure he knows the alcohol no longer has any effect whatsoever on him.

Hilarity (and likely character development) ensues.

Being Drunk isn't a disease, divine health has no affect on the sickened or nauseated conditions.

Thank said I'm not sure you could become an true alcoholic per-say, but that's more a discussion one the nature of disease.

Anyways, I've thought about this concept with a paladin of Abadar before, Mercy Sickened and Lesser Restoration are great hangover cures. It's also poignant when you might not be able to help an ally later on because you already used some of your resources dealing with your problem.


Gilfalas wrote:
Dabies wrote:
He feels most paladins are played with a stick up they're bums and feels they should have a flaw to make them more unique.

He ever think that the gods or powers Paladins serve would not give the paladinly abilites to an idiot who cannot even control how much he drinks?

I am not saying Paladins cannot have flaws but flaws which will profoudly affect their ability to make sounds judgements or which make them addicted (and therefore seriously exploitable by their enemies) would general mean a deity probably would not want them in their service.

There was a Paladin in the old Forgotten Realms comics who was an alcoholic and he lost his Paladinhood when he drank. He had to quit drinking and get an atonement before his god would grant him his powers back. During the course of the comic he fell off the wagon again and was forever after a fighter, even after he kicked the habit again.

A lot of alcoholics are very high functioning. If he's black out drunk all the time thats one thing but just drinking to much doesn't mean he can't be a paladin. Also lots of people are addicted to things (caffeine, over eating, smoking, ext that don't substantially effect their lives). The reason it is an interesting concept is because it makes the char harder to play and still maintain his alignment and/or keep a group that wants to work with a drunk. Just because its harder though shouldn't make it impossible.


MassivePauldrons wrote:
Rynjin wrote:

Let him be an alcoholic Paladin, there's nothing in the Code that says a Paladin has to stay away from mind altering substances. Especially if he's using alcohol to cope with some sort of trauma.

Then when he hits level 3 make sure he knows the alcohol no longer has any effect whatsoever on him.

Hilarity (and likely character development) ensues.

Being Drunk isn't a disease, divine health has no affect on the sickened or nauseated conditions.

Thank said I'm not sure you could become an true alcoholic per-say, but that's more a discussion one the nature of disease.

Anyways, I've thought about this concept with a paladin of Abadar before, Mercy Sickened and Lesser Restoration are great hangover cures. It's also poignant when you might not be able to help an ally later on because you already used some of your resources dealing with your problem.

That's true. It's a mite confusing since Addictions are classified as diseases, but I guess technically Alcohol itself would be classified as a poison, no?

Probably why they made the Drunken Master replace Disease and Poison immunity with other things.

Though I don't see why he'd have to waste Sickened Mercy and Lesser Restoration on his hangover when he could simply buy some Alchemist's Kindness.


Remember, Paladins can devote themselves to a righteous god....and Cayden Cailean is a chaotic good god. A bit of the 'holy communion' is quite alright every now and again.

And you can keep to the whole "lawful" part of the necessary alignment by having him target more against oppression and tyranny. Most of the time, paladins of the more general orders might give off a "Big Brother is watching over you" kind of creepy vibe. You can look at the US debates about privacy vs security for an example. Since Cayden is a god focused more on freedom, having you paladin follow him would move him away from that, and have him act more generally in good faith. Help the needy, give to charities, don't let you team mates stab and rob too many peasants, etc, etc....

Unfortunately, mechanically, you can't enact this through the 'sacred servant' archetype for this though (only gods one step from LG count). Have this be a more personal decision. Just do not let him get drunk on watch or right before a big battle, and I think it would not be too much of a problem (unless he wants to role play the kinds of drunks they hire bouncers for.)

Cheliax

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I like the holy tactition archetype. He could be a jaded captain who has the tactical ability to tell his allies how to fight effectively, and turns to drink to avoid the guilt of being responsible for so many good men lost.

You lose smite evil, and gain weal's champion, which is a more general and slightly weaker smite that only lasts for a limited time but functions against all evil foes. You also gain some teamwork feats and a version of the cavalier's tactition ability.


Dabies wrote:


He feels most paladins are played with a stick up they're bums and feels they should have a flaw to make them more unique.

I don't know, having a stick up their butts sounds like a flaw to me.

Honestly being an alcoholic is far from the only flaw a paladin could have.

Grand Lodge

Rynjin wrote:
Though I don't see why he'd have to waste Sickened Mercy and Lesser Restoration on his hangover when he could simply buy some Alchemist's Kindness.

One Alchemist's Kindess is 5 pints of ale that could've been drunk!


Gilfalas wrote:
I am not saying Paladins cannot have flaws but flaws which will profoudly affect their ability to make sounds judgements or which make them addicted (and therefore seriously exploitable by their enemies) would general mean a deity probably would not want them in their service.

most Paladins in Pathfinder/Golarion aren't receiving their powers from a Deity, but simply from their alignment with Cosmic Lawful Goodness (apparently). there is a specific archetype that does, but that's the exception. they may revere Gods (and that can even be seen as a LG type of thing to do), but they aren't linked directly to them like a Cleric is.

As mentioned, Paladins with divine health will become immune to Disease, which includes addiction to alcohol (and the penalties of such addiction), but they aren't immune to Poison which alcohol is (actually, i don't think it's classed as a Poison in-game, since the Drugs say 'Type: This notes how the drug is introduced into the system. These types equate to the types most common to poisons: contact, ingestion, inhalation, injury.', i.e. they EQUATE to the types of poison, which wouldd't be needed if they WERE poison - but that's irrelevant since they are not immune to EITHER poison or alchemical substances). So he can continue to drink and get drunk all the time, but isn't technically addicted, even though he may be psychologically addicted. But he will continue to feel the direct effects of the drug/alcohol.

As long as he stays a Paladin in good standing, he has plenty of abilities to 'patch himself up' to remove the effects of alcohol, so he should be a very high functioning drunk :-)


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^It also puts a really cool image in my head of him sitting in a bar, drunk off his ass, when some local warlord or something busts in and starts roughing up the serving maids.

He stumbles over to the guy and tells him to "Shtop messhin around in my barr".

Warlord takes this as well as could be expected, tries to attack, and suddenly the Paladin is sheathed in a holy glow, is no longer drunk, and proceeds to kick the ass of the Warlord all over town.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm really surprised that I didn't see any mention one of literature's favorite alcoholic good guys, Athos. Now, I know that Porthos was actually a bigger drunk but Athos was a brooding, deeply unhappy guy- who was a really good guy when it came down to it. Maybe not a paladin, but I think that the character concept has been proven to work in a heroic setting.


I played an alcoholic paladin, many years ago. He was a sweet and gentle drunk. His problem evolved from the loss of all of his traveling companions in an ambush, in which he was rendered unconscious and left alive. He carried a lot of guilt, and started dipping into the "sacramental wine."

He was a very fun and interesting character to play, and the other players liked him a lot, though one player was constantly arguing about at what point the indulgence of drink might result in loss of status. I left it up to the DM, but this particular player kept trying to involve himself in the decision (he was actually a pretty disruptive player in general, so it was not a surprise).

We never did figure out at what point the condition would cause loss of powers. I think the DM was waiting for the character's impaired judgment to result in a bad outcome (like a horse accident or something), but the character was lucky, and that never really seemed to happen.

In time, the character got justice for his fallen companions, and he slowly recovered. We didn't treat the alcoholism as a disease in the "laying of hands" sense, so his powers did not cause him to recover from it. I think it didn't occur to us because back in 1st and 2nd Ed, that power was very much a cure-the-Plague thing, and not a cure-neurosis thing.

It was interesting to discuss what alcoholism is, in the sense of what it means to a paladin, though. Indulgence, for instance, might be somewhat wicked, but actual depression is not. Loss of faith has been historically considered a sin, which might apply in some ways to giving in to the guilt that caused the dependence. I dunno. These are things you can mull around for quite awhile before reaching any conclusions.

I recommend you try it. It's a worthy challenge.


Gilfalas wrote:


He ever think that the gods or powers Paladins serve would not give the paladinly abilites to an idiot who cannot even control how much he drinks?

I am not saying Paladins cannot have flaws but flaws which will profoudly affect their ability to make sounds judgements or which make them addicted (and therefore seriously exploitable by their enemies) would general mean a deity probably would not want them in their service.

There was a Paladin in the old Forgotten Realms comics who was an alcoholic and he lost his Paladinhood when he drank. He had to quit drinking and get an atonement before his god would grant him his powers back. During the course of the comic he fell off the wagon again and was forever after a fighter, even after he kicked the habit again.

That's one way to play it. That's one sort of game to play, sure.

But it's by far NOT THE ONLY WAY.

Alcoholism could be a test. Or, maybe his god has faith in him that the paladin has not yet found in himself.

Some people imagine gods who are there with you, all along, rooting for you. Even if they cannot intervene.

Many stories exist where a character's power is intermittent, while he travels his path and finds his faith, or his center. Even if that faith is just in himself or an ideal (as with paladins who have no gods - which is rules-legal, too).

It all depends on to what level of detail you wish to play. But either way, redemption is a trope we all can get behind.


A person like that could be good of heart but hardly lawful.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Why couldn't an alcoholic be lawful? While alcoholism certainly lends itself more easily to neutrality (not chaos as much as one may think), there is no reason why an alcoholic cannot abide by, withhold, and even champion law.


sure. how many 'lawful' nazis or stalinists were also alcoholics? a heck of a lot, i'm sure.
or your typical D&D regime-supporting guard, sherriff, loyal politician, etc.
there's a reason why some drunks go out and beat up people who look at them funny,
and others sing old songs on the porch and cry about old times.
it's not due to the brand of alcohol they are drinking.
MAYBE repressed non-lawful/good tendencies could be let out by being drunk, but that's not always the case.
in fact, some people could be alcoholics because they are normally repressing their lawful good instincts.


Abyssian wrote:
Why couldn't an alcoholic be lawful? While alcoholism certainly lends itself more easily to neutrality (not chaos as much as one may think), there is no reason why an alcoholic cannot abide by, withhold, and even champion law.

Paladin have a duty, the exact nature of the duty could vary but everyone should have one. they are not just lawful good they are LAWFUL GOOD.

I am not arguin that a paladin can not drink or being drunk from time to time.

But a person that can not resist his impulses to drink hardly can fulfill his duties (besides other problems), that would make him, IMHO, non lawful.


A Paladin should be able to drink anyone under the table using the A&E rules for booze.


Well all of us are treating this like the character wants to play world weary alcholic fighting the wasting of his own consuption.

The player saying that he wants to play a Paladin that does not have a stick up his butt sounds like he might mean binge drinking frat boy.

There is nothing in the code that points to drinking being grounds to loose his powers, but he needs to work out how he wants the drinking effects him long term. Is he havine lapses in good judgement that might compramise his principals, is he still a just and pure guy but facing the wasteing of long term consumption, certainly there other options.


it's pretty simple, if as a result of paladin's actions (drinking) he can't do what he should do (LG stuff) then his alignment would start to shift. that's not as abrupt as a code violation, but you can eventually cross that line. nobody is saying that can't happen. but it isn't an automatic association with getting drunk, just a likelyhood of something happening. of course, dealing with the repurcussions of this, if the paladin TRULY repents for his actions/non-actions, he has to do something about why that happened, i.e. an atonement may need him to drop the bottle if that was behind his alignment slip ups (maybe not for every case, but if that is the crucial cause, i would say atonement's sincere desire to change alignment would require that)
but the paladin who's become an alcoholic doesn't need to fall BEFORE anything bad has happened as a consequence of his actions, that would just be removing emotionally-charged events from the fall, which are what it's all about. if he falls 'just for being a drunk, which never hurt anybody' then what is there to atone for? i'm not saying that for MANY cases, alcoholism may very well lead to a fall, but it's not inherent in being drunk alot, or in addiction per se (which the paladin is immune to per RAW, but beyond that, i would not see a problem with addiction to cheetos, for example). seriously, there are many people who have been held up as heros, but who were alcoholics. they may have saved their nation in war, or whatever, and were alcoholic at the same time. it shouldn't cause a fall on it's own, without actual non-LG actions enough to shift alignment to back that up.


I would recommend the opposite aproach.

Make he start as a LG (fighter or ranger or whatever) that have problem with drinking. The only reason he have not yet accended to paladinhood is his adiction.

And then lets see what happens while roleplaying, if the character canride of his adiction then he cold then multiclass to paladin later (or maybe the DM let him replace his previous levels with paladin levels)


They had a class for that in star wars with the old "failed jedi" class. Yep mine was an alcoholic...

drunken style light-saber is just awesome!


Nicos wrote:

I would recommend the opposite aproach. Make he start as a LG (fighter or ranger or whatever) that have problem with drinking. The only reason he have not yet accended to paladinhood is his adiction.

And then lets see what happens while roleplaying, if the character canride of his adiction then he cold then multiclass to paladin later (or maybe the DM let him replace his previous levels with paladin levels)

well, IF one believed that addiction/alcoholism/drinkingconstantly inherently conflicted with being a paladin, that's a pretty decent approach if the character was alcoholic from the start (and didn't become so mid-way during his paladin career).

(albeit the whole part about 'switching fighter levels to paladin' is obviously wonky per normal rules)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Cards, Maps Subscriber

I would have to say yes....this sounds like an interesting character concept.

A paladin with a drinking problem.

I remember back in the 80s there was a character in the AD&D and the Forgotten realms comics called Priam Agrivar. He was an alcoholic and a paladin. He was one of my favorite characters.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Quandary wrote:

it's pretty simple, if as a result of paladin's actions (drinking) he can't do what he should do (LG stuff) then his alignment would start to shift. that's not as abrupt as a code violation, but you can eventually cross that line. nobody is saying that can't happen. but it isn't an automatic association with getting drunk, just a likelyhood of something happening. of course, dealing with the repurcussions of this, if the paladin TRULY repents for his actions/non-actions, he has to do something about why that happened, i.e. an atonement may need him to drop the bottle if that was behind his alignment slip ups (maybe not for every case, but if that is the crucial cause, i would say atonement's sincere desire to change alignment would require that)

but the paladin who's become an alcoholic doesn't need to fall BEFORE anything bad has happened as a consequence of his actions, that would just be removing emotionally-charged events from the fall, which are what it's all about. if he falls 'just for being a drunk, which never hurt anybody' then what is there to atone for? i'm not saying that for MANY cases, alcoholism may very well lead to a fall, but it's not inherent in being drunk alot, or in addiction per se (which the paladin is immune to per RAW, but beyond that, i would not see a problem with addiction to cheetos, for example). seriously, there are many people who have been held up as heros, but who were alcoholics. they may have saved their nation in war, or whatever, and were alcoholic at the same time. it shouldn't cause a fall on it's own, without actual non-LG actions enough to shift alignment to back that up.

I think this is incorrect. Failure does not cause an alignment change. Someone can be Lawful Good by trying and failing to fulfill his perceived duty. There is no reason that an addicted paladin should lose his powers, even if the addiction causes him to fail at times.


i think you misread my post. a paladin falling can come from two classes of events: breaking their code, OR no longer being lawful good. i'm aware that you can still be LG while breaking your code, or that you could somehow still follow your Code while ceasing to be LG, that is why the two events are separately detailed in the Paladin rules. all i was saying is that if the drunk Paladins' actions/INACTIONS cause his alignment to be affected (which is it's own issue, the GM ultimately must rule how alignment shifts, but even inaction can shift alignment IMHO), that such alignment shift can cause a fall, even if the code wasn't broken.

your ultimate conclusin is the same as mine, the addiction itself does not cause any fall, he only falls due to his own actions/inactions (if they break code, or cause alignment shift). addiction itself doesn't have alignment implications.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The addiction doesn't necessarily have alignment repercussions. Just because someone is an alcoholic does not make them not Lawful, or not Good.

I can fully conceive of someone with a Lawful and Good morality, yet is crippled with an addiction. It may be more likely that a Chaotic person fell victim to it, but it's not impossible to stay both Lawful and Good while coping with alcoholism.

I can fully imagine a Lawful Good paladin who drinks too much and sometimes fails in fulfilling his duties due to his addiction. It's possible he would seek atonement anyway, but if he committed no evil actions and stayed within his alignment and within his code, I would not force it on him.


Mergy wrote:
Quandary wrote:

it's pretty simple, if as a result of paladin's actions (drinking) he can't do what he should do (LG stuff) then his alignment would start to shift. that's not as abrupt as a code violation, but you can eventually cross that line. nobody is saying that can't happen. but it isn't an automatic association with getting drunk, just a likelyhood of something happening. of course, dealing with the repurcussions of this, if the paladin TRULY repents for his actions/non-actions, he has to do something about why that happened, i.e. an atonement may need him to drop the bottle if that was behind his alignment slip ups (maybe not for every case, but if that is the crucial cause, i would say atonement's sincere desire to change alignment would require that)

but the paladin who's become an alcoholic doesn't need to fall BEFORE anything bad has happened as a consequence of his actions, that would just be removing emotionally-charged events from the fall, which are what it's all about. if he falls 'just for being a drunk, which never hurt anybody' then what is there to atone for? i'm not saying that for MANY cases, alcoholism may very well lead to a fall, but it's not inherent in being drunk alot, or in addiction per se (which the paladin is immune to per RAW, but beyond that, i would not see a problem with addiction to cheetos, for example). seriously, there are many people who have been held up as heros, but who were alcoholics. they may have saved their nation in war, or whatever, and were alcoholic at the same time. it shouldn't cause a fall on it's own, without actual non-LG actions enough to shift alignment to back that up.
I think this is incorrect. Failure does not cause an alignment change. Someone can be Lawful Good by trying and failing to fulfill his perceived duty. There is no reason that an addicted paladin should lose his powers, even if the addiction causes him to fail at times.

I disagree. If the drinking constantly interfere with his duties then the paladin should fall even if the character do not shift from LG.

IMHO of course.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Code of Conduct wrote:

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

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

Associates: While she may adventure with good or neutral allies, a paladin avoids working with evil characters or with anyone who consistently offends her moral code. Under exceptional circumstances, a paladin can ally with evil associates, but only to defeat what she believes to be a greater evil. A paladin should seek an atonement spell periodically during such an unusual alliance, and should end the alliance immediately should she feel it is doing more harm than good. A paladin may accept only henchmen, followers, or cohorts who are lawful good.

So I see a drunken paladin as able to respect legitimate authority. He can act with honour, even if he sometimes has lapses of judgement (and what 8 wisdom paladin doesn't have lapses of judgement?); he can also definitely help those in need and punish those who harm or threaten innocents. Not being sober is going to be immaterial in a lot of these cases, and merely suffering the debilitating affects of an addiction has absolutely nothing to do with trying to help those in need and punish the guilty.

Ex-Paladins wrote:
A paladin who ceases to be lawful good, who willfully commits an evil act, or who violates the code of conduct loses all paladin spells and class features (including the service of the paladin's mount, but not weapon, armor, and shield proficiencies). She may not progress any further in levels as a paladin. She regains her abilities and advancement potential if she atones for her violations (see atonement), as appropriate.

If drunkenness somehow manages to shift his alignment, an atonement is necessary. I don't see how it could, but maybe some GMs do.


Mergy wrote:
Code of Conduct wrote:

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

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

Associates: While she may adventure with good or neutral allies, a paladin avoids working with evil characters or with anyone who consistently offends her moral code. Under exceptional circumstances, a paladin can ally with evil associates, but only to defeat what she believes to be a greater evil. A paladin should seek an atonement spell periodically during such an unusual alliance, and should end the alliance immediately should she feel it is doing more harm than good. A paladin may accept only henchmen, followers, or cohorts who are lawful good.

So I see a drunken paladin as able to respect legitimate authority. He can act with honour, even if he sometimes has lapses of judgement (and what 8 wisdom paladin doesn't have lapses of judgement?); he can also definitely help those in need and punish those who harm or threaten innocents. Not being sober is going to be immaterial in a lot of these cases, and merely suffering the debilitating affects of an addiction has absolutely nothing to do with trying to help those in need and punish the guilty.

Ex-Paladins wrote:
A paladin who ceases to be lawful good, who willfully commits an evil act, or who violates the code of conduct loses all paladin spells and class features (including the service of the paladin's mount, but not weapon, armor, and shield proficiencies). She may not progress any further in levels as a paladin. She regains her abilities and advancement potential if she atones for her violations (see atonement), as appropriate.
If drunkenness somehow manages to shift his alignment, an...

He could do those things while sober, but a drunk person can be very diferent.

What if he failt so save someone live because he was drunk?

Would he respect the lwas while drunk? would he helpt the needed while drunk?

if he falis to fullfill his duties while drunk it would be not becuase of a lapse of juegment but because he fails, it woul dnot be an honest mistake.

Agains IMHO.


Here's a suggestion: if he's not wedded to the drinking problem in particular, but rather the notion of a "flawed" Paladin, how about a different set of self-destructive behavior that's a little easier to adjudicate?

How about, say, a gambling problem?

This way there's no issues with mind-altering substances - the pally in question is just a little too fond of cards or dice or what have you. He's always finding himself short of cash - his equipment might be a little (or a lot) behind the curve of his companions. He owes money to people - people that he can likely beat the crap out of - but he has to honor his debts because he's a paladin. Even so, those people might get impatient and try to apply some indirect pressure to the paladin, maybe targeting his loved ones.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If he failed to save someone's life while drunk, is it any different than someone making a different poor choice that resulted in the loss of a life? If you're the type of GM who causes a paladin to fall because he sometimes zigs when he was supposed to zag and that causes death, then we're not going to get anywhere in this debate.

Would he respect the laws while drunk, and would he help the needy? Excellent questions, and of course that would be up to the individual. I would say that even a drunken paladin can easily fall back on his training and respect the laws while helping the needy.

If he fails to fulfill his duties while drunk it would indeed be a lapse in judgement. However, I don't see anything in the code against having lapses in judgement.

Once again, failing is not against the paladin code. If you put the paladin on a pedestal so high that he cannot fail, your paladins will always fail.


@Nicos:
right, but breaking the laws he's obligated to follow, letting innocents die, are all actions which themself are causing him to fall (potentially). being drunk isn't. he can be an alcoholic and drink when he's sitting at home, not doing anything else. yes, if he drinks in broader situations, he's likely to run into some other problem, but that problem can be dealt with on it's own, being alcoholic itself isn't going to cause him to fall.

nobody is saying being alcoholic would change things so that normally fall-inducing actions (or non-actions) would cease to cause him to fall, they are just saying that being alcoholic itself is not causing him to fall. some alcoholics get drunk and start ill-thought-out fights, some don't. being alcoholic doesn't dictate one's actions.

again, it seems like you are removing ALOT of the actual role-playing substance if you are just saying "you just lost all your powers because you are an alcoholic" instead of letting the alcoholism follow it's course, perhaps leading to some tragic event which causes a fall, and which is a focus of the paladin's remorse. removing the tragic event as trigger of the fall just seems like it makes the game less interesting, unless you're merely interested in morality tales about drinking (and even then it fails).

btw, your spelling makes it look like you've been enjoying a few drinks yourself ;-)

@Mergy:
I realized that there may have been a confusion between 'fail' (which i didn't use before) and 'fall' i.e. lose Paladin powers. g&*%&$m drunks, slurrin' they's words...

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Addictions can be a tricky, but rewarding roleplaying experience. I've had a similar character idea rolling around in my head for some time - a sorcerer with the spell polypurpose panacea. One of the effects is a state of hallucination, and another is intoxication. The basic premise is that the character suffered some significant trauma in the past, and manifested the power to cope. Now he has to deal with diminished spellcasting slots to feed his addiction.

An alcoholic paladin can work just fine without any Code Violation issues. Unless the paladin follows a specific deity with rules against consuming alcohol, the paladin should be fine. So long as he doesn't break his vows/code, then no worries.


Mechanically speaking, a paladin should be all but immune to addiction, however he can roleplay having one anyway, and that would be perfectly acceptable. He just wouldn't have any of the mechanical side effects.


right, people mentioned the psychological compulsion to drink can still exist, there just isn't the actual addiction per se.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Blue Star wrote:
Mechanically speaking, a paladin should be all but immune to addiction, however he can roleplay having one anyway, and that would be perfectly acceptable. He just wouldn't have any of the mechanical side effects.

This is why I suggested the holy tactitian archetype, which loses the immunity to diseases, and actually strikes me as one that has quite a bit of 'old soldier' feel to it as well.

@Quandary: I'm using fail because I thought someone mentioned it, although there is absolutely nothing in the paladin code that mentions no drinking either.

What I'm left with is this:
- Alcoholism is a disease and an affliction that causes someone to be less than their best. This is not against the paladin code.
- Alcoholism could cause a code violation, but so could the poor choice of a completely sober paladin. The wine didn't cause you to fall; your evil action is what caused that.

There's nothing wrong with this concept, and a GM who caused a paladin to lose his powers due to substance abuse is not someone who I would enjoy playing with.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm hoping that nobody is assuming that defense of the possibility of an alcoholic paladin is representative of "normal" for alcoholics or for paladins. Typical alcoholics could not be paladins. Typical paladins would not be alcoholics. A good roleplaying opportunity rarely involves "normal" or "typical."

The OP has a player interested in roleplaying an alcoholic paladin. The assumption that I'm making, and I think the other defenders of the notion are as well, is that the player is mature enough and an experienced enough roleplayer to make it work as a dramatic theme. I would guess, also, that the player will be trying hard to stay near the line of irresponsibility (and, as a result, falling) while simultaneously trying to stay on "this" side of the line.

Besides the maturity and experience caveat, I offer one more: if there are any other players (or you, as GM) cannot or will not accept it, than the concept/theme will distract and detract from the game. Tread lightly!

Cheliax

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

To the OP: If you're starting with a higher level group, you could even have permanent penalties for the alcoholism on the player; perhaps he is always sickened? (-2 penalty)

It would be interesting if the only time that penalty were removed is when he activated his smite. :D

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