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Fall or Not - Opinions on the actions of a Paladin


Advice

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Shadow Lodge

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

They best way to win is not to play... All players and the GM should be there because they want to be there. If a player has concerns about the GM, talk to the GM, and the same goes for the other way. It is *everyones* responsibility that a good time is being had by all. In my very humble opinion, the cleric and the paladin should be chasticed by their respective orders, and the remaining characters by anyone who knows they let a vampire get away. Their attonment should be to find and destroy the vampire, without civilian casualties, lest their do loose all their powers and be excommunicated.

I'd also like to add that as a GM, I'd probably have done something to throw the paladin a bone. Encourage him to 'pray' and have some divine intervention, even if all it does is scares the vampire out of the church. Something along those lines.


As much as the math might support the encounter being doable, I just don't think it really applies here.

2 level of drain on a hit. For 4th level characters that might as well be the same as getting 1 shotted (drain damage + slam = dead).

With certain monsters there exists "break points" where a simple reading of APL matters nothing at all, because his attack form or resistances can't be dealt with by a party with low class levels and high APL (due to adjustments). Vampires are one of these, due to resistances, the DPR check (fast healing and DR), domination, and the drain.

Add in the fact that it is a synth, which can ignore its physical traits and let the eidolon cover that, I think the +1 CR for having a superior statline might come into play. Any time the party perceives (and as a player I wouldn't be considering npcs to be party members for this) that an encounter might be APL+3 or higher running often is a good option. An APL+2 or higher with a monster that is as dangerous and difficult to fight as a surprise to the party is probably going to result in players wishing to avoid the fight.

That being said, the party is still craven. Every one of them. They failed so hard at being heroic they should have the mists take them and set them up in Ravenloft.


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notabot wrote:
That being said, the party is still craven. Every one of them. They failed so hard at being heroic they should have the mists take them and set them up in Ravenloft.

This would be a great "Punishment" for the PCs. A one or two shot adventure in Barovia would have these guys feeling differently, especially if you tailored an encounter specifically for each PC, helping them overcome the character flaw that caused them to make the choices they did regarding the vampire/burning of the innocent peeps. The best part is, since the Mists make time their..."goblin" (Insert foul curseword here), they can dump the players out in the church moments before they ran away, giving them a chance to right the wrong. An exaple of said encounters: You could have a Paladin fight an Antipaladin version of themselves who is tanuthing them for their weakness. Give said version a blood drain attack and allow then to use vampiric touch once or twice during the encounter and bam, you've got an image of the Damphyr Paladin who has given in to her vampiric blood. The Cleric could fight a (weak, level appropriate) Avatar of Pharasma, who is questioning the PC as to they didn't uphold their beliefs and that if they would've stepped forward to fight, that She would've been with them. These are just a couple. I'm sorry for being so irate towards you, OP. I think maybe this little tidbit may make amends for it and allow some healthy RP and character development.


I love the idea of beings like that coming to haunt the players, Luna.


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*AM FACEPALM*


Icyshadow wrote:
I love the idea of beings like that coming to haunt the players, Luna.

Thanks. I'm drawing from personal Experience, both in RP and RL.


personally i'd:
-have desna slap the cleric--seriously, just standing around when there's undead to be smote? that are harming innocents? cleric=/=paladin, i know, but there should be a LITTLE motivation somewhere in there to help out.

-paladin keeps their powers, but is visited in a dream by either their diety or a powerful planar guy of appropriate allegiance to voice their disapproval over such an act "yes they were dominated, but you could have worked to break that (like protection from evil spells letting the townspeople reroll, for example), not just wrote them off as a lost cause." as the GM, you can create such a means if your party is putting forth actual effort to try it. have the paladin go for an atonement spell anyway (they can do that even when they haven't fallen, you know--specifically noted as when working with evil party members). if the paladin pulls (or lets the party pull) anything even remotely close to this, there will be a fall happening.

-samurai's conduct was most dishonorable, and he should be ashamed of his cowardice IC--as should the monk.

also the entire party should have to deal with some PTSD from BURNING INNOCENT PEOPLE ALIVE.

Luna_Silvertear wrote:
Icyshadow wrote:
I love the idea of beings like that coming to haunt the players, Luna.
Thanks. I'm drawing from personal Experience, both in RP and RL.

please, elaborate--i'm quite interested in how you were kidnapped by otherworldly beings and forced to fight some Battle in the Center of the Mind to overcome your issues.

was it disneyland? that place is traumatic as all get-out.


Glad we think alike, Mask.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
AndIMustMask wrote:

personally i'd:

-have desna slap the cleric--seriously, just standing around when there's undead to be smote? that are harming innocents? cleric=/=paladin, i know, but there should be a LITTLE motivation somewhere in there to help out.

Umm... IIRC the Cleric followed Pharasma, not Desna.

Still, some serious slapping should be dealt.

While the encounter taking a course for the worse was a chain of several unfortunates events, the burning of innocents should give the whole party who agreed on it some serious alignment impact (maybe with the exception of the characters whose players ere absent, depending on your style of play).

As for the Paladin... yup; I'd let him fall, and fall hard. In fact, in my group a simple atonement wouldn't be enough get him back into good grace; I'd place some emphasis on the 'being repentant' part described in that very spell... but, then again, in our groups there is a lot on inter-character roleplay.


AndIMustMask wrote:

Luna_Silvertear wrote:
Icyshadow wrote:
I love the idea of beings like that coming to haunt the players, Luna.
Thanks. I'm drawing from personal Experience, both in RP and RL.

please, elaborate--i'm quite interested in how you were kidnapped by otherworldly beings and forced to fight some Battle in the Center of the Mind to overcome your issues.

was it disneyland? that place is traumatic as all get-out.

It was! Ravenloft is actually the "Small World" ride.

The paladin could fight her counterpart 1 on 1 WITHOUT her paladin abilities. If she wins, she's bested the darkness within herself and regains her paladin powers. The Samurai and Monk could be haunted by his mentor...


First any paladin worth her salt would have fought the vampire regardless of self its what they do. I have played many pallys in my day and all of them were ready to and so did lay thier life down to save others. Second if my palladin somehow managed not to get killed by said vampire, she would smite the first party member that suggest burn the villgers because clearly that person just turned very dark.


LazarX wrote:

Threads like these are the main reason I seldom allow Paladins in my games and NEVER to people I don't know. And have become less willing to play them myself.

Would anyone be asking this question if the character was a LG Cleric?, Ranger, Wizard? The actions of this group are the failings of the group, but it's the Paladin being singled out here. The Paladin is like a Trapeze Artist at a circus, many go to watch amazing acrobatics, but the appeal to quite a few is to be there the day he misses the trapeze and becomes ring floor pizza.

The predominant discussion about Paladins is always about falling, what winds up turning this character into a fighter without bonus feats. Save for the Summoner, the Paladin is definitely the worse class to run in this modern, more cynical age.

IMO people get too woried about falling. Its an issue at lower levels, but 2500 gold isn't much later on.


Alright first off, based on the information provided Darth Grall is not at fault, his group is a APL 6 and the encounter was a CR 8 which is a fair encounter. Also the party has more gear than normal for their level as seen by the fact the Samurai has a +2 Keen Katana at level 4.

(So right there is enough that you people blaming him should back off, this thread is about what should happen for the parties evil action.)

Also, this should be noted, that the party is the reason the encounter fell apart. Since the majority of them ran away the encounter got out of control, this is not the GM's fault. The player's made that choice to flee.

Now as for repercussions to the party for their actions;

1. Any of the PCs that fled should lose face with the Dhampir NPC for being cowards.

2. Any PC that was involved in the burning of a dozen or so innocent people should begin to shift alignment towards evil, for such a horrible act.

3. The cleric might need an atonement strictly based upon how the character is.

4. By the end of the encounter the Paladin should fall and lose all powers at once. The Paladin failed to aid those poor people (they could have just helped the people runaway from the vampire) and then allowed (even voted for)those innocent people to be burned alive. (Because we all no burning alive is less of a tortuous death than what the vampire could have done.)


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johnlocke90 wrote:
LazarX wrote:

Threads like these are the main reason I seldom allow Paladins in my games and NEVER to people I don't know. And have become less willing to play them myself.

Would anyone be asking this question if the character was a LG Cleric?, Ranger, Wizard? The actions of this group are the failings of the group, but it's the Paladin being singled out here. The Paladin is like a Trapeze Artist at a circus, many go to watch amazing acrobatics, but the appeal to quite a few is to be there the day he misses the trapeze and becomes ring floor pizza.

The predominant discussion about Paladins is always about falling, what winds up turning this character into a fighter without bonus feats. Save for the Summoner, the Paladin is definitely the worse class to run in this modern, more cynical age.

IMO people get too woried about falling. Its an issue at lower levels, but 2500 gold isn't much later on.

i thought atonement was supposed to be 2500g and you have to do something to make up for it, usually a quest with chances of great personal sacrifice or something.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
AndIMustMask wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:
LazarX wrote:

Threads like these are the main reason I seldom allow Paladins in my games and NEVER to people I don't know. And have become less willing to play them myself.

Would anyone be asking this question if the character was a LG Cleric?, Ranger, Wizard? The actions of this group are the failings of the group, but it's the Paladin being singled out here. The Paladin is like a Trapeze Artist at a circus, many go to watch amazing acrobatics, but the appeal to quite a few is to be there the day he misses the trapeze and becomes ring floor pizza.

The predominant discussion about Paladins is always about falling, what winds up turning this character into a fighter without bonus feats. Save for the Summoner, the Paladin is definitely the worse class to run in this modern, more cynical age.

IMO people get too woried about falling. Its an issue at lower levels, but 2500 gold isn't much later on.
i thought atonement was supposed to be 2500g and you have to do something to make up for it, usually a quest with chances of great personal sacrifice or something.

Either way it's pretty screwed up. Everyone in that party should be going through major redemption, although by the rules it's only the Paladin that most GM's will have doing so shut down. Everyone in that group should be paying some sort of consequence for their action, despite the RAW Nazis who will point out that it's only the Paladin who by text risks falling.


my personal opinion is that the Paladin should fall due to (only) allowing the (dominated) villagers to burn. Locking them up would have been suffient until the party could have defeated (all killed) the dominator.

As the party is well equiped (as noted), the cost of the atonement spell shouldn't be too tough and a quest to kill the vampire (thus freeing the souls of the dominated villagers who should be haunting her) would be appropiate to gain her powers back.

I'm not going to blame the GM here as its not really their job to adjust the encounter based on how things are going. Personally I think the GM was generous in having the Vamp leave.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
LazarX wrote:
Either way it's pretty screwed up. Everyone in that party should be going through major redemption, although by the rules it's only the Paladin that most GM's will have doing so shut down. Everyone in that group should be paying some sort of consequence for their action, despite the RAW Nazis who will point out that it's only the Paladin who by text risks falling.

Of course. That's why I stated that the Cleric should be in for some serious slapping from his deity, and everyone involved in the 'let's just burn them' decision should brace for alignment impact.


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My first thought about reading all this was that it provides some really interesting opportunities for your group to develop their characters. It is definitely a bit messed up that they decided to burn all the villagers alive, but that's the choice they made, so they should definitely have to deal with the fall out from that. While you could justify alignment shifts and the like, why not get a little more creative?

The group committed a terrible, though in their eyes necessary, act by killing innocents for the greater good. For many good aligned characters, or others with similar moral fiber, this could be a great source of shame and naturally they wouldn't want people to know about it. Even characters without a moral objection to it can't deny social problems that could arise if others knew what they did. Unfortunately for them though, the vampire does know. He knows *everything*. He watched may of them flee like cowards from him, and thanks to his dominating the villagers, he knows that the party torched the lot of them. What is to stop him from discrediting the group by spreading rumors of what they did? If he knows where they are headed next, he could try to beat them there and turn the town against them before they even arrive. You play it up right, and they will be hunting for him just to get him to shut up.

As for individual punishments, there are a number of ways you could play those up. For the paladin, you could have her undergo a period where she must "fight her demons" and can't control her emotions as well after the trauma. Just change out her paladin levels for barbarian levels with the Lesser Spirit Totem rage power and tell her that until her character has come to terms with what happened, she can't control when she rages. Once she succeeds of course, you should let her choose between going back to the true path of the paladin, thus restoring her levels to their original state, and letting her hatred for evil flow freely, thus staying a barbarian and gaining control over her rages and progression once more.

The cleric has failed to stop an abomination in the eyes of her god, and Pharasma is disappointed. Perhaps she had hoped the vampire would prove an adequate challenge for one of her clergy to prove that she is ready for greater things, but rather than returning the cursed soul of the vampire, the cleric sent her the many souls of the villagers to be judged before their time. Maybe instead of entirely stripping the cleric of his power, Pharasma worries that one of her own followers is straying from the path and sends one of her psychopomps to watch over and instruct the cleric of his flawed ways. The clerics powers could simply be linked to Pharasma through this new tutor and, if the psychopomp sees the cleric using it for unfit purpose or failing to act once more, it has the right to strip him of his powers, either temporarily or permanently. (For reference, all the psychopomps are statted in the back of some of the Carrion Crown AP books)

The others I don't know enough about to know if there are any appropriate punishments, but try to be creative and, most importantly, discuss it with your players to make sure they are interested in playing through all this and are comfortable with what you are doing. Characters who always win and are never tested are boring, so use this failure to make it interesting!


It's because Paladins are held to a higher standard, although I wouldn't leave out the Cleric either. Most of the other PCs are Neutral on the Good/Evil axis and should either be picked up by the Mists or become evil. If the OP just gives them a slap on the wrist, it could say to them "Hey, I can get away with murder." That is an extreme case, but I've seen it happen. You've just got to be prepared, as a GM, to deal with these things. Now, not only would they have to deal with the Supernatural repercussions of their actions, but what about the relatives of those who were burned? They could seek revenge. What if they themselves come back as ghosts to haunt the players? What if that area now acts as if the spell Desecrate had been cast, strengthening the Vampire?


Okay, back up and awake after doing my morning rounds. A few things:

-I really like the non-mechanical ideas you've guys thrown out there as to how to make the consequences of their actions stick. Between the Vampire spreading word of their failure, PTSD for their actions, the literal ghosts of their villagers selves haunting them, and relieving the events to given a chance at redemption... I think I will definitely be able to sort out something cool for all the players.
-As for the Cleric, yeah hammers gonna come down hard on her. I was annoyed by the player's actions and given their god's disposition I think that they will likely be stripped of their powers worse than the Paladin will.
-On that point, you guys have convinced me to punish the Pali, but again I don't know if a complete fall is appropriate. She at least tried to fight. She DID try to stop them from jumping into the prismatic wall but she's a Gnome & couldn't even grapple them well. She also did NOT approve of them burning everyone to death, she was just outvoted and frankly overwhelmed at this point. I'm thinking, in addition to the above ideas, I will partially strip her of her powers upon meeting with her an agent of their deity, who will express their disaproval but offer a means of redemption(ie, killing the Vamp & freeing this nation attacked by undead).
-As of the negative levels thing, there were 2 dhampir's in the party, the NPC & the Wizard. They wouldn't have been too penalized by fighting the vamp, sine they're essentially immune to negative levels till they get killed by them.

And lastly thanks to those who defended me in my absence, it's appreciated.


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If their first inclination was to put the villagers to the torch to save them from the vampire then this group wasn't meant to play as the good guys. In fact, your group sounds pretty metal.

Paladin -> Anti-paladin
Cleric -> Evil cleric (is there a death/flames god?)
Everybody else -> evil, evil, evil (maybe give the monk an insanity condition to explain how he's still Lawful)
GM -> evil GM

Look into your black hearts and embrace the Dark Side. I would start off by burning a few villages, incinerating the other knights in the Paladin's Order and maybe attend a concert in Sweden so they have some time to get used to their evil selves before figuring out what kind of "big picture" evil they want to do.


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Hey, couple of things:

1.) In general, if you have a group of players who enjoyed what you just did, you must be a pretty f+%*ing kick-ass DM, _and_ have a pretty good group. Pat yourself on the back. A lot of player/GM combos have combusted over less, and that's why you see a lot of "DM f~@$ed up!" comments here.

2.) I'm generally pretty opposed to stripping characters of their powers, as it makes characters less fun to play. I would consider, instead...

3.) Have an agent of the Paladin's god appear - the souls of the villagers rest in limbo, or ghosts, until certain deeds have been done. Think Hercules' labors, etc.

4.) Explicitly stripping a player of her powers ("You can no longer feel your god!") may be overkill. Instead, you could take away domain spells for a cleric, or even just make Domain Spells have a spell failure chance, for the cleric.

-Cross


Mikaze wrote:
Darth Grall wrote:
Thus the party, paladin excluded, voted to kill them to spare them the Vampire's torture as well as cover their tracks. The Wizard & Magus gathered up the remainder of the Villagers and burnt them to death, including women and children.

I think Dudley Donothing is just one of many problems present in this situation.

Just having a hard time relating to the ultimate actions of any of these characters, or finding them believable. That no one Took a Third Option really sticks out, or rather, that the only Third Option any of them jumped on was to start killing the hostages.

It might have been suicide, but the paladin rallying everyone in that church to stop cowering and run would have been more proactive and would have saved some if not most lives.

They're in a church. Where the holy symbols and holy water at? (they can afford a prismatic wall but not those standard things?

Paladin didn't even try to restrain dominated villagers from committing suicide?

And holy @#$%, the party set the surviving villagers on fire?!

This doesn't sound like a group of people any Good characters need to be hanging around with.

I think they should all work for the vampire . . . . .how did they defeat the vampire's boss and not the minion?

oh, and committing an act of mass murder to cover your own error is an evil act. The noncombatants should have been evacuated. How did the vampire get in the Church anyway????


AndIMustMask wrote:


-samurai's conduct was most dishonorable, and he should be ashamed of his cowardice IC--as should the monk.

I don't think you should come down directly on the samurai: The player had to go to work IRL and apparently said "I tag along with <wizard.>" Punishing his character for another player's decision doesn't seem reasonable, especially if he didn't foresee the group immolating a church full of civilians.

I would make him an outlaw along with the rest of the party, wanted for multiple murders because he's a member of a group that burned an entire congregation alive, but not much more than that.

Every single character should have serious trouble buying any goods or services in the vicinity until they clear their names. No more magic Wal Mart, no more spellcasting services (2500gp for an atonement might not be a big deal, finding a cleric to cast it instead of setting the law on them probably is,) no more taverns or inns or arrow vendors, etc.


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When I hear the part about the villagers, I am reminded of this:

"Pass the Taters Right Back"

David (Davy) Crockett (Billy Bob Thornton) presented a demythologizing description of his 1813 participation in the Creek Indian War (the Battle of Tallusahatchee) with Tennessee militia in Alabama, when burned Indian flesh was combined with potatoes. He reasoned why he was passing on the taters:

The Creeks, uh, boxed up about 400 or 500 people at Fort Mims and, uh, massacred every one of 'em. 'Course this was big news around those parts, so I up and joined the volunteers. I did a little scoutin', but mostly I, I just fetched in venison for the cook fire, things of that nature. Well, we caught up with those redskins at Tallusahatchee, surrounded the village, come in from all directions. Wasn't much of a fight, really. We just shot 'em down like dogs. Finally... what Injuns was left, they crowded into this little cabin. They wanted to surrender, but this squaw, she loosed an arrow and killed one of the fellas, and then we shot her. And then we set the cabin on fire.

We could hear 'em screamin' for their gods in there. We smelled 'em burnin'. We'd had nary to eat but parched corn since October. And the next day, when we dug through the ashes, we found some potaters from the cellar. They'd been cooked by that grease that run off them Indians. And we ate till we nearly burst. Since then, you pass the taters and I pass 'em right back.


Another few replies before I head out, and as always thanks for the advice either way guys:

Crosswind wrote:

1.) In general, if you have a group of players who enjoyed what you just did, you must be a pretty f@+@ing kick-ass DM, _and_ have a pretty good group. Pat yourself on the back. A lot of player/GM combos have combusted over less, and that's why you see a lot of "DM f+&*ed up!" comments here.

2.) I'm generally pretty opposed to stripping characters of their powers, as it makes characters less fun to play. I would consider, instead...

3.) Have an agent of the Paladin's god appear - the souls of the villagers rest in limbo, or ghosts, until certain deeds have been done. Think Hercules' labors, etc.

4.) Explicitly stripping a player of her powers ("You can no longer feel your god!") may be overkill. Instead, you could take away domain spells for a cleric, or even just make Domain Spells have a spell failure chance, for the cleric.

-Cross

First thanks for the kind words.

Secondly I agree that stripping it boring/not fun hence why a partial strip/limitations placed on powers seems to be a more practical solution to me. A domain or two from the cleric; as where the Paladin my be loosing his smite for the duration or something along those lines,

As for your third point, I also like the idea of the villagers souls being held in limbo until the paladin makes up for it. Definitely think that will give added weight to his redemption/ordeal. Definitely gonna add that in.

NeonParrot wrote:

I think they should all work for the vampire . . . . .how did they defeat the vampire's boss and not the minion?

oh, and committing an act of mass murder to cover your own error is an evil act. The noncombatants should have been evacuated. How did the vampire get in the Church anyway????

The Vampire WAS the boss, the Graveknight was his "general", and he the "commander in chief".

They beat the GK earlier in the session(a day ago in game), largely due to the Samurai critting on his Iaijutsu Slash at the beginning of combat and doing a ton of damage before even adding the extra d6(He ended up doing ~40 damage in a single blow).

As for getting in, he knocked on the door with 3 sets of 3 knocks, and eventually dominated a villager into letting him in(though he doesn't need to be invited in or anything mechanically it was intentionly thematic). Perhaps the fact the guy knocked rather than bust down the door is what freaked them all out :/


Darth Grall wrote:

Okay, back up and awake after doing my morning rounds. A few things:

-On that point, you guys have convinced me to punish the Pali, but again I don't know if a complete fall is appropriate. She at least tried to fight. She DID try to stop them from jumping into the prismatic wall but she's a Gnome & couldn't even grapple them well. She also did NOT approve of them burning everyone to death, she was just outvoted and frankly overwhelmed at this point. I'm thinking, in addition to the above ideas, I will partially strip her of her powers upon meeting with her an agent of their deity, who will express their disaproval but offer a means of redemption(ie, killing the Vamp & freeing this nation attacked by undead).

Actually, from what you say here, outside of taking the sword to her party members, this character acted the way a Paladin should. Honestly, I don't think the Paladin should fall UNLESS she continues to adventure with this party of her own free will. Now, if she is given the task of Parole Officer, with each party member (and the NPC, for goodness sake) getting slapped with a Mark of Justice, that's a different story.


How did apl 6 party best a graveknight?


My take:

Clearly, the party should be punished for their actions: especially the paladin. In this situation some devine intervention should be happening. But that doesn't have to be a bad thing. This could be a wicked oppertunity.

Personally, I'd walk the middle ground between the 'it was a dream' scenario and the worst case scenario of stripping the paladin and continuing down this path.

So my personal suggestion would be something along the lines of the next session opens with the entire party pulled into a quasi real dream with avatar of the Paladins diety manafests and strips him of his powers in a brutish and nightmarish way - making him relive his mistakes so he knows exactly why and makes it clear he has no intention of easily forgiving this one. And then he turns to the rest of the party and begins to prepare an even worse punishment for their actions - and Pharasma intercedes and defends the party. Give them a one shot quest at their current levels to redeem themselves - and if they succeed, return the Paladins powers to him.

Use this session to teach the party that they are the G** D*** heroes and they had better act like it, or the gods themselves will prepare their punishment themselves.


Darth Grall wrote:

Okay, back up and awake after doing my morning rounds. A few things:

-As of the negative levels thing, there were 2 dhampir's in the party, the NPC & the Wizard. They wouldn't have been too penalized by fighting the vamp, sine they're essentially immune to negative levels till they get killed by them.

So the NPC (whose actions the party has no control over) and the wizard, who should never be in CC with anything period had kinda immunity to level drain... 2 hits and they are still dead is hardly a great defense, and unlikely to turn the odds around. The melee characters rightly were afraid of a +3 levels + level draining/DR/fast healing/resistances template. Topping that off the paladin was a gnome, which is not normally the best choice for a martial class (movement, size, damage, and strength penalties).

As for what the paladin should have done: Once the decision to burn the villagers had been agreed upon, she should have attacked the other PCs. I'm not normally a fan of PVP in pen and paper, but the PCs actions had stepped over the line to outright villainy. The only options for a Paladin in that situation to either attack, or leave for reinforcements. The actions of the other PCs essentially ruined another party member, and that is on them and they shouldn't be surprised about the paladin wanting justice. Since the paladin did neither, the paladin is just as guilty (in his/her own eyes and probably in the eyes of his/her god), and should fall.


mmmm I still think that the heroes have proven themselves to be perfect minions for the Vampire!

Really, mass murder committed on the peeps you are supposed to protect because you were too craven to cover your own mistake? EEEVIIILLLLLEEE!


The only solution in this situation is the Paladin killing the entire(now evil) party or becoming an Anti-Paladin.

I'm sorry but your party did something absolutely ridiculous.


Ganny wrote:
Darth Grall wrote:

Okay, back up and awake after doing my morning rounds. A few things:

-On that point, you guys have convinced me to punish the Pali, but again I don't know if a complete fall is appropriate. She at least tried to fight. She DID try to stop them from jumping into the prismatic wall but she's a Gnome & couldn't even grapple them well. She also did NOT approve of them burning everyone to death, she was just outvoted and frankly overwhelmed at this point. I'm thinking, in addition to the above ideas, I will partially strip her of her powers upon meeting with her an agent of their deity, who will express their disaproval but offer a means of redemption(ie, killing the Vamp & freeing this nation attacked by undead).

Actually, from what you say here, outside of taking the sword to her party members, this character acted the way a Paladin should. Honestly, I don't think the Paladin should fall UNLESS she continues to adventure with this party of her own free will. Now, if she is given the task of Parole Officer, with each party member (and the NPC, for goodness sake) getting slapped with a Mark of Justice, that's a different story.

I also agree with this. Whereas before the paladin always seemed like a big strong girl who could at the very least try and push the NPC's away, a gnome paints a very different picture. there's not a lot a little gnome could do against full sized humans determined to kill themselves. She should be praised rather than punished for this part.

For the part about letting her friends burn people, she should have probably done something, but personally I wouldn't go too hard on her since she already used up so much energy not running away or being squished under the vampire's big toe.


AndIMustMask wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:
LazarX wrote:

Threads like these are the main reason I seldom allow Paladins in my games and NEVER to people I don't know. And have become less willing to play them myself.

Would anyone be asking this question if the character was a LG Cleric?, Ranger, Wizard? The actions of this group are the failings of the group, but it's the Paladin being singled out here. The Paladin is like a Trapeze Artist at a circus, many go to watch amazing acrobatics, but the appeal to quite a few is to be there the day he misses the trapeze and becomes ring floor pizza.

The predominant discussion about Paladins is always about falling, what winds up turning this character into a fighter without bonus feats. Save for the Summoner, the Paladin is definitely the worse class to run in this modern, more cynical age.

IMO people get too woried about falling. Its an issue at lower levels, but 2500 gold isn't much later on.
i thought atonement was supposed to be 2500g and you have to do something to make up for it, usually a quest with chances of great personal sacrifice or something.

]

Nowhere in atonement does it say that. All it says is you have to truly be sorry.

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic/all-spells/a/atonement


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Add me to the This Encounter does not seem overly difficult camp. The players did not even try to do anything before they ran away, I could see them being cautious but this seems over the top.

My advice tell the Paladin to play something else or tell your players to be sneakier or less evil. I was with you until the whole "burned the villagers alive" thing. Even if the group alignment does not shift, they will probably make these types of choices again, making a Paladin a terrible burden on them and leaving him on his own more often then not. You have an evil party, adjust accordingly.

Also if they had a scroll of Greater Dispel Magic, couldn't they have used that try and get rid of the dominate spell on the villagers? Or at least a lot of the villagers?


LazarX wrote:
AndIMustMask wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:
LazarX wrote:

Threads like these are the main reason I seldom allow Paladins in my games and NEVER to people I don't know. And have become less willing to play them myself.

Would anyone be asking this question if the character was a LG Cleric?, Ranger, Wizard? The actions of this group are the failings of the group, but it's the Paladin being singled out here. The Paladin is like a Trapeze Artist at a circus, many go to watch amazing acrobatics, but the appeal to quite a few is to be there the day he misses the trapeze and becomes ring floor pizza.

The predominant discussion about Paladins is always about falling, what winds up turning this character into a fighter without bonus feats. Save for the Summoner, the Paladin is definitely the worse class to run in this modern, more cynical age.

IMO people get too woried about falling. Its an issue at lower levels, but 2500 gold isn't much later on.
i thought atonement was supposed to be 2500g and you have to do something to make up for it, usually a quest with chances of great personal sacrifice or something.
Either way it's pretty screwed up. Everyone in that party should be going through major redemption, although by the rules it's only the Paladin that most GM's will have doing so shut down. Everyone in that group should be paying some sort of consequence for their action, despite the RAW Nazis who will point out that it's only the Paladin who by text risks falling.

Why should the wizard pay for his actions? Doing something wrong doesn't mean the DM should punish you.

Should the DM punish the vampire for killing the villagers too?


Humphrey Boggard wrote:

If their first inclination was to put the villagers to the torch to save them from the vampire then this group wasn't meant to play as the good guys. In fact, your group sounds pretty metal.

Paladin -> Anti-paladin
Cleric -> Evil cleric (is there a death/flames god?)
Everybody else -> evil, evil, evil (maybe give the monk an insanity condition to explain how he's still Lawful)
GM -> evil GM

Look into your black hearts and embrace the Dark Side. I would start off by burning a few villages, incinerating the other knights in the Paladin's Order and maybe attend a concert in Sweden so they have some time to get used to their evil selves before figuring out what kind of "big picture" evil they want to do.

Consider bringing this up with your players and asking if they would be interested. If they really want to get into the murder business, going evil is the best way. They could either do whatever it takes to take down the vampire or start working for the vampire.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Warn him and have him use atonement anyways. Have the guy casting atonement mention the phylactery of faithfulness, heavily stressing that the player should buy one. Maybe even require it for the atonement.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Humphrey Boggard wrote:

If their first inclination was to put the villagers to the torch to save them from the vampire then this group wasn't meant to play as the good guys. In fact, your group sounds pretty metal.

Paladin -> Anti-paladin
Cleric -> Evil cleric (is there a death/flames god?)
Everybody else -> evil, evil, evil (maybe give the monk an insanity condition to explain how he's still Lawful)
GM -> evil GM

Look into your black hearts and embrace the Dark Side. I would start off by burning a few villages, incinerating the other knights in the Paladin's Order and maybe attend a concert in Sweden so they have some time to get used to their evil selves before figuring out what kind of "big picture" evil they want to do.

Being insane is almost the complete opposite of lawful. I agree murdering an entire town is pretty chaotic though. One action does not an alignment make, the problem is people tend to do the same things over and over, so the party will most likely not be able to stick to any of their good alignments and will most likely walk down the path of evil, or at least CN.


Mmm, guys, lets review . . . . villagers were burned alive to prevent them from telling the Vamp what they knew. There were LOTS of work arounds to this and the party chose none of them except the evil one. They didn't even give them a merciful death.

This begs the question, is the party basically evil?

Lets assume they can CHARM or bribe a cleric into ATONEMENT. I like the bribe idea myself.

There is still a bunch of people who will want to know what happened. Everyone will blame the vampire. The vampire will refute those claims, especially if he was so slick with the villagers. I mean, really, burning everyone alive? What a bunch of buffoons!

Now, if I were the vampire, I would apprehend ONE of the characters, interrogate him before a magistrate (which I kidnapped too, but lets leave that aside for now), and DEMAND that charges be pressed! I may be evil but the party solution is too crude by half. Waste of good cannon fodder and an opportunity to inflict emotional harm, one person at a time.

Ah ha ha! Now who is the most evil? Ha ha ha!

So the Bailiff will now issue a Bounty on the party. The Vamp adds, oh, an extra 1000 gp per head and makes sure the wanted posters BIG ONES are in every village and cross roads.

Hmmm, what else . . . . oh, any party members will find that thier families are ostracized and occasionally killed off by an irate drunk peasant or soldier. Farms will be burnt, but not with anyone inside.

Ah ha ha! Now who is the most evil? Ha ha ha!

Now, a NEW party will go and find the malefactors. Lets start with the cleric that gave absolution. A perfect snitch. I suggest the sterotypical holy rollers, human cleric and paladin of Pholtus / Iomedea / Horus Ra, dwarven fighter looking for the bounty, elf archer, human ranger, halfling thief. Oops!

No more! My fingers are tired!


One action does not make an alignment shift, sure. But what about 20 murders? What about repeated acts of cowardliness?

Yeah, this is a major thing, maybe even worth breaking out the insanity rules(nightmares, indications that if the party doesn't atone they will have a permanent alignment shift). Heck, have the BBEG find someone to cast nightmare to torment the party even further. Break every single one of the PCs. Have inquisitors looking for them. Have them find that towns have barred their doors against them. Let them find out that villainous acts have consequences the hard way. When they are thoroughly broken, have the vampire come back and give them an offer they can't refuse.

Then retire all the fallen PCs and run a campaign to fight the BBEG and his new minions.


Inevitables...problem solved

Qadira

Scroll of greater dispell ... I wonder what other solution they could have done. They all go evil, they just murdered a whole town that's got to be at least 20 separate instances of murder.

If the party didn't have any solution I could feel pity but they were cowards and had a solution besides murdering villagers.

Edit: it's not punishment trying to have a realistic game world. If the players don't want that we'll they should have said so. Maybe the game can be changed to be less awesome. They could have attacked the BBEG too, held his attention and had the npcs flee if winning wasn't possible.


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I see no reason to throw away what you describe as a good game because of what I assume was an isolated incident. Use this as an opportunity to develop the party, not an excuse to break out the heavy handed DM tools of stripping of powers and alignment changes. It would have been nicer if the act was slightly less troubling, but work with what you got. Remember, you can "punish" the party in many ways, and in ways that don't run the risk of upsetting an already successful game. Many players react poorly to DMs that they feel have outright "screwed" them over. Remember, they enjoyed the session. Find a way to keep their interest up without telling them "You had bad/wrong fun!".

- Instead of stripping powers from the cleric and paladin, describe it as distant/tainted/cold, where before it was a beacon of faith. Perhaps even growing more distant the longer time goes on (diety abandoning a follower that doesnt right their path).
- Spirits of the villagers.
- Insanity/nightmares/etc.
- Reputation. Even if no one knows what happened for sure, someone will have suspicions. Then the rumors start...

Even better... give your players horrible dreams. Ask THEM how their PC feels. Justified? Remorseful? Hasty? Give the ones that are trouble/remorseful the opportunity to right their wrong, and let the ones that feel nothing begin their slow journey down a darker path...

Don't knee jerk reaction. If you and your players are on the same wavelength on this issue, who cares what the rest of the forums think?

Qadira

Wow. I'm in the distinct minority. I thought the DM did a great job at setting up an interesting situation, and I would have enjoyed that circumstance.

How you die is as important as how you live. Standing for something.
Thats what a hero is.

I like games where the characters have repercussions for their actions. Knowing when to make a stand - and when not to. Dying when they make a mistake. Or turning evil when they burn a village.

There is no way to condone the actions of the paladin - or the actions of the party in burning the villagers.

Get the magic object yourself.
Move the villagers.
Defeat the vampire.
Stage something and trick the villagers into thinking the object is gone.

All of these would be *great* Burning the villagers is CE. Period.

Personally, the screams of the burned, their images, their ghosts and dopplegangers would become a plot hook encouraging their redemption.
Congratulations - the campaign just took a grittier, seedier turn......


NeonParrot wrote:

Mmm, guys, lets review . . . . villagers were burned alive to prevent them from telling the Vamp what they knew. There were LOTS of work arounds to this and the party chose none of them except the evil one. They didn't even give them a merciful death.

This begs the question, is the party basically evil?

Lets assume they can CHARM or bribe a cleric into ATONEMENT. I like the bribe idea myself.

There is still a bunch of people who will want to know what happened. Everyone will blame the vampire. The vampire will refute those claims, especially if he was so slick with the villagers. I mean, really, burning everyone alive? What a bunch of buffoons!

Now, if I were the vampire, I would apprehend ONE of the characters, interrogate him before a magistrate (which I kidnapped too, but lets leave that aside for now), and DEMAND that charges be pressed! I may be evil but the party solution is too crude by half. Waste of good cannon fodder and an opportunity to inflict emotional harm, one person at a time.

Ah ha ha! Now who is the most evil? Ha ha ha!

So the Bailiff will now issue a Bounty on the party. The Vamp adds, oh, an extra 1000 gp per head and makes sure the wanted posters BIG ONES are in every village and cross roads.

Hmmm, what else . . . . oh, any party members will find that thier families are ostracized and occasionally killed off by an irate drunk peasant or soldier. Farms will be burnt, but not with anyone inside.

Ah ha ha! Now who is the most evil? Ha ha ha!

Now, a NEW party will go and find the malefactors. Lets start with the cleric that gave absolution. A perfect snitch. I suggest the sterotypical holy rollers, human cleric and paladin of Pholtus / Iomedea / Horus Ra, dwarven fighter looking for the bounty, elf archer, human ranger, halfling thief. Oops!

No more! My fingers are tired!

Nobody is going to believe the word of a vampire and its very reasonable to assume that any confession achieved by the vampire is from dominate person. The party would reasonably get off scott free. They can even claim that the vampire dominated the villagers and they killed them in self defense(which is half true).

Qadira

Although, if you do restart the campaign.. somewhere down the line
you could have the new characters return to fight their old characters (and what they have become) in a bastion of evil.

Ala.. "its a wonderful life" (jimmy stewart movie).


Darth Grall wrote:

As for the burning thing, yeah that was over kill but from the players perspective:

-The villagers were dominated. For 12 days. They were going to be killed by the Vamp either way. Likely horifically. Also, they could potentially be turned into zombies/vampire spawn if they lived. Killing them was a "mercy"; and fire spells were simply the strongest damage spells they had as not to prolong it as well as prevent them from turning them into undead.
-They knew too much, they couldn't keep the Vamp from finding out where they were taking the scroll to without killing them. They needed to protect themselves & the scroll.

Why not take them prisoner? I simply can't understand how "Burn them all!" was the go-to option. They won't do any harm to anyone if they're tied up.

Even assuming they have no way to break the dominate spell, they'd still only be dominated for about a week, during which time they can be kept safe in a dungeon. Killing them all seems like a ridiculously terrible option.

Is there something we're missing about why it would have been impossible to restrain these people instead of slaughtering them?


notabot wrote:

One action does not make an alignment shift, sure. But what about 20 murders? What about repeated acts of cowardliness?

Yeah, this is a major thing, maybe even worth breaking out the insanity rules(nightmares, indications that if the party doesn't atone they will have a permanent alignment shift). Heck, have the BBEG find someone to cast nightmare to torment the party even further. Break every single one of the PCs. Have inquisitors looking for them. Have them find that towns have barred their doors against them. Let them find out that villainous acts have consequences the hard way. When they are thoroughly broken, have the vampire come back and give them an offer they can't refuse.

Then retire all the fallen PCs and run a campaign to fight the BBEG and his new minions.

This is exactly what you don't do. Railroading into retirement because you can't think of how to respond is soo wrong. Your campaign took a grittier, seedier turn: have them forced to either embrace their mistakes, or repent from them. For now it looks like your PCs don't even fully realize they dun screwed up.

Again, my answer to this would have the consequences manifest and give them a choice in charactor: repent, or embrace their new, darker path. Call them all in to answer one at a time in charactor. Make them relive the event one at a time: the paladin must be held to atone for his cowardice - ask him why he didn't lay down his life to stop the vampire. Which does he value more, his life or his faith? Why did the cleric merely pray? Does he not know that the gods help those who help themselves? Why did the ronin run in fear? etc. etc. For the rest, give them the third degree: "You're the big damn heroes, ACT LIKE IT!" etc. etc.

I like calling in bigger forces like the gods so you can actually have them show the event and watch their actions - perhaps show them possibilities of how things could have gone differently. Point out that if the Cleric had stood up to fight, his god would have helped - but not so long as he lay sniveling on the ground. Point out that if they had left the villagers to live, they would have put themselves in a more dangerous position, but the villagers could have been saved once the vampire was eventually destroyed. Etc. and so on.

The nice bonus to this is: if the players enjoyed this session so much, reliving it from a new angle will probably be just as much fun.


I just want to add that the deity of the church where the mass murder by immolation took place should definitely be sending divine agents after your PC's to administer justice, retribution, punishment or whatever is appropriate based on its portfolio. If this was a church of Pharasma I would completely strip your cleric off all channeling, spells and domain abilities.

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