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Fall or Not - Opinions on the actions of a Paladin


Advice

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To follow up on my post, any involved in burning the remaining villagers become evil... they chose to kill innocents instead of let the BBEG know they have something he wants. Did they realize they all just successfully ran from him with nary a scratch on any of them? Oh no, he knows they have something he wants...

Crazy what the cleric did. Loss of cleric powers. Again, even being a very lenient DM, those powers aren't coming back. lvl 4 commoner, roll a new character. So that leaves, in my opinion, a paladin in need of an atonement (which really shouldn't be a big deal), an ex-cleric (no god puts their trust in those who are supposed to be champions of said god but instead cower and beg for help in times of crisis), and a bunch of evil guys. Paladin can potentially continue to work with them for the greater good, may need to atone afterwards if they stay evil, instead of actively working towards redeeming their lost virtues. If the paladin atones, then helps the rest 'atone' for their actions, thereby becoming neutral/good characters once more, I would toss that paladin a god-cookie in the form of a boon.

Shadow Lodge

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Quote:
Again, even being a very lenient DM, those powers aren't coming back. lvl 4 commoner, roll a new character.

Wait, you completely ruined a player's character, and you're being lenient? What would you do as a harsh DM? Expel the player from your table?


Starbuck_II wrote:
Stubs McKenzie wrote:


I am still reading through the thread, but really wanted to toss in a response to the last bit here... hopefully im not just stomping all over an already beaten down point. The vamp was a synth. The party was 4th level... that means the vamp is pretty much garaunteed to hit every round with it, and every other round, kills a party member...

4th level character down 10 hps from an energy drain + the damage from at least 3 attacks (again that was assuming a first level synth, not a 6th? i think you said). The carnage could have been unbelievable unless they killed him in just a couple rounds... do you even risk that as a 4th level party not knowing enemy stats/levels? I would run like a b****, no matter the character. This guy potentially has HPs out the arse, regeneration, the ability to dominate party members, and can tear apart any one of them in 1 round. Screeeeewwwww that :P

The wizard is immune to negative levels as a Dhampir. So he only has to worry about natural attack damage.

Which is in the range of 4d6+40 or so from the 4 attacks a synth would get, and while the hps of the eidolon covering may not be extreme at this point, the vamp can shovel hps it's way because of regen, and should have a pretty hefty ac, from a good base ac b/c of eidolon evolutions, +6 from vamp, and any spells he cast before walking in casually to a situation he knew, with no limit to his casting time before hand... Any of the characters should be scared in that situation. All they knew from the paladin is this is a powerful foe due to his aura, they don't have knowledge of levels to go by, but "strong" + vampire + synthesist is nasty.

Serum wrote:
Quote:
Again, even being a very lenient DM, those powers aren't coming back. lvl 4 commoner, roll a new character.
Wait, you completely ruined a player's character, and you're being lenient? What would you do as a harsh DM? Expel the player from your table?

No, the point is, even when i let players do what they want the vast majority of the time without hitting them with the "DM stick of you are doing it wrong" (and i mean, they can do whatever... sandbox, open world, etc), a God wouldn't stand for one of their champions to just lay down and cry about the situation they are in, right in the beginning of the situation! That goes for a paladin as well... if the paladin in question had just tossed up their arms and exclaimed "we're all boned, he is a vamp!" and proceeded to throw down weapons, let whatever happens happen to other party members, and pray to their god to give them the strength to not just sit there crying... they aren't a paladin any more.

Because that behavior is EXTREME... i mean, other than openly revolting against your own God, what would be more extreme than that. You are given any number of gifts directly from your god, on a day to day basis. You are expected to do ~something~ with those gifts. At the point the cleric sits and prays, the other party members are either still standing up to the BBEG, or are fleeing in relatively safety! I mean, the vamp takes his time playing with the paladin's mind... time is passing in which there is no clanging of steel, no cries of death (until villagers start walking into the prismatic wall), and no threats being leveled as far as we know... and yet, there is gods holy vessel, prone on the floor crying like a child for his/her mother. So again, yes, loss of clerical ability.

All the cleric had to do was SOMETHING. run away to regroup and fight another day, fine. Stand with the paladin and co, fine. Pray while standing with party members or running to regroup... fine!


For the record, yeah the Synthesist could be really OP but I haven't built him as such. He attacks with a compound bow & 2 claws for when they get close. He's blowing feats for Eldritch Heritage. And he's not even a full Synthesist build, I dipped fighter for proficiencies.

And the only reason he comes off as a "Strong" Aura was cause he's considered an outsider...


Perfectly fair, but if he is obviously a vamp, obviously a synth, and radiates as a strong aura, im not sticking around to see if he has intentionally gone down a much less powerful path :)

Especially when he is not just a bbeg, but THE bbeg of the storyline, and he casually waltz'd in like he owns the place.

Shadow Lodge

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So they didn't know the villain had an inoptimal build or was low on gear, but saw a foe with potentially tons of energy-draining natural attacks, and if they didn't know you were considering him an outsider for Detect Evil they thought they were dealing with a 9-20HD vampire. And you were probably setting the scene for a major fight with the grave knight's boss.

I repeat: I can see why most of the party panicked.


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Unless the characters were wearing "Goggles of Metagaming", I hardly see how they could have known all those details.

Anyway, Paladin should definitely fall for his failure to even try to rescue the innocent villagers and the whole part of the party who agreed to this abomination of an action should move one step towards an evil alignment.


magnuskn wrote:

Unless the characters were wearing "Goggles of Metagaming", I hardly see how they could have known all those details.

Anyway, Paladin should definitely fall for his failure to even try to rescue the innocent villagers and the whole part of the party who agreed to this abomination of an action should move one step towards an evil alignment.

Sorry what details should have been fuzzy? What exactly is metagamey about this parties position?


He's saying that without looking at the character sheet they couldn't have known that he wasn't over powered, and on that point Magnuskn's right. However beyond a detect evil, fangs, and creepy & translucent living armor they didn't know what the Sythensist was either.

While our groups been playing for years, we started our Pathfinder campaign in June and save for a PC who wasn't there at all, I don't think they even know what a Synthesist is and dont' have the knowledge to make that jump. Yet they fled anyways and the cleric dropped to her knees praying anyways. :/


Frankly the only person I would excuse is the paladin:

1: he did not flee

2: he first tried to persuade the vampire to stop

3: he actively tried to stop the villagers from throwing themselves into the prismatic wall

4: he saw the vampires aura. he has iic knowledge that its stronger than him.

5: yes the party as a whole could take him but the effective apl of a single level 4 character as I recall is either 2 or 1 effectively making it suicide short of actual god rolls or divine intervention ingame which didn't happen even to help him save the villagers.

6: He has adventured with the party. He knows how strong they are. He certainly knows he couldn't take them all when outvoted.

7: He voted against burning the villagers.

8: We do not know if PvP is allowed in this campaign and no one should be punished for not initiating PvP. It can be the thing that destroys games and I've seen it cause rifts in friendships too.

So yes he should be either leaving or finding help or demanding atonement from them. But the paladin did everything short of lawful stupid in this situation.


Are synthesists not allowed as pcs? Or, are all pc classes not currently being played unknown quantities in the game world? Or am i reading that completely wrong and you are saying the Players themselves have no knowledge of summoners/synths?

EDIT: if its the 3rd option i follow ya, but if a class can be picked to play, isnt it something pretty much everyone should know about IC? You dont say "well none of you are fighters, so you dont know what a fighter is.".

Shadow Lodge

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So what the group knows about the villain is:

1) He detects as "Strong" evil, which is almost certainly a stronger reading than they've encountered previously in a world where in general more powerful foes detect more strongly evil.

2) He has fangs

3) He has creepy translucent living armor, which, since they have no idea what a synthesist is, could be anything.

Panicking at this encounter is in fact more likely if they aren't metagaming.

EDIT: Stubs, I wouldn't assume that all adventurers are automatically familiar with rare class archetypes. Heroic classes are already supposed to be rare, and summoners aren't generally as common as fighters. Synthesists, reincarnated druids, kensai magus, etc might all be hard to recognize.


Yes to take this step by step from Paladin viewpoint.

1: How strong is this enemy? Ok this thing is very powerful. Edit: And wtf is that on it? No clue but it must be some insanely powerful armor. I've never even heard of it before but it looks alive.

2: Ok we should be able to bring this down together. Wait! Where is everyone going?

3: Ok now its just me and him. Lets try to convince him to stop.

4: not working and villagers are dying. Ok lets try and stop the villagers.

5: Omg they're bigger than me and a combination of size and bad rolls means they're hurling themselves into the wall anyways. Thank god the vampire wandered off. Where were you guys?

6: Wait you want to burn the villagers? NOOO! Stop!

7: I can't convince my allies to stop and cant outfight 6 more people that I know are about as powerful as me? Well ok then? *learns ritualistic suicide from samurai because I'm screwed no matter what*

And we have an assesment of the poor paladin's situation


Both the Cleric and Paladin should fall. The reasons for the Paladin are obvious considering the situation. As for the Cleric, I bet Pharasma isn't very pleased with him/her for killing people at random without securing them from being raised as undead and letting a vampire get away to create more spawns. Also, let us not forget that the Samurai had shamed himself with his cowardice. He didn't break his code, but he has lost his honor as a warrior and should redeem himself, either with seppuku or defeating the vampire that shamed him.


Thomas Long 175 wrote:

5: yes the party as a whole could take him but the effective apl of a single level 4 character as I recall is either 2 or 1 effectively making it suicide short of actual god rolls or divine intervention ingame which didn't happen even to help him save the villagers.

The effective CR of a player character is Total Hit Dice - 1, so a 4th level Paladin would be CR3 and not much of a match for a CR8 enemy without some seriously stellar rolls.


Harrison wrote:
Thomas Long 175 wrote:

5: yes the party as a whole could take him but the effective apl of a single level 4 character as I recall is either 2 or 1 effectively making it suicide short of actual god rolls or divine intervention ingame which didn't happen even to help him save the villagers.

The effective CR of a player character is Total Hit Dice - 1, so a 4th level Paladin would be CR3 and not much of a match for a CR8 enemy without some seriously stellar rolls.

Average CR is. APL is not a CR. APL is 4 characters of a given level equal an APL of that level. if you have less than 4 characters your APL goes down accordingly and more than 1.

Paizo rules, somewhat incorrectly in my opinion, that the maximum a Party should be able to do within reason of rolling is APL+3.

Edit: ah found the calculation. You are correct it is just the average level of all characters, +1 if over 6, -1 if 3 or less. so it would be 3 here still 5 less than the encounter and well out of range of anything paizo says you should be able to take.

Cheliax

Harrison wrote:
Thomas Long 175 wrote:

5: yes the party as a whole could take him but the effective apl of a single level 4 character as I recall is either 2 or 1 effectively making it suicide short of actual god rolls or divine intervention ingame which didn't happen even to help him save the villagers.

The effective CR of a player character is Total Hit Dice - 1, so a 4th level Paladin would be CR3 and not much of a match for a CR8 enemy without some seriously stellar rolls.

I wouldn't say PCs are necessarily the same CR as NPCs with class levels, since they have better equipment - possibly much better equipment in this case, if the samurai is anything to go by - and quite likely better ability scores as well.

Also, CR is a guide - a paladin would normally do better against an evil undead than a fighter would. If the paladin had fought, he might have been able to convince the vampire to withdraw. Probably not, but we'll never know.


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Quick queery - how was killing all the villagers actually, in anyway, shape or form, a solution? I'm going to guess that with a Graveknight kicking around, the Vamp in question has some access to a necromancer wizard or evil aligned cleric. Won't he come back, go, 'unholy Hell, those idiot heroes killed all the people here with fire, what is going on? I gotta gets me some Speak With Dead to find out.'

That would be something I would certainly add. Make it clear to the PC's that not only was what they did entirely there own fault for talking in front of the NPC's, obviously not the only option, but it was also dumb 'cos a second level spell negates it.

Heck, I'd have the vampire making the whole lot of them into Flaming Skulls, Fire Phantoms and Burning Skeletons along with any other fire-themed undead, suitably advanced in levels to take a chunk out of the PC's hide for burning them, just to rub it in. Having a Fire Phantom screaming, 'YOU murdered MY BABY!' at the party as they attack should drive the point home, or a Skull yelling, 'I watched you burn my son! I told vamp boy willingly where to find his precious key!'

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Some might see this as heavy handed, but honestly it sounds like the time for subtlety has passed.

Play up the consequences of what they've done. Not just those that affect them directly, but how it impacts other people in the world around them.

  • There's a now emptied village with a bunch of charred corpses in it. Neighboring communities are going to be worked up into a panic over this. There should be a real atmosphere of fear hanging over the area. People should grow more wary of outsiders. The laughter of children should be a thing of the past.

  • When Our Heroes leave that town, there should be a caravan passing them, heading towards the place. Some of them should be talking about how eager they are to see their relatives again. A merchant should mention that they've been away from home for far too long, and he wants to hold his children in his arms as soon as possible. Bonus points if they ask the party how things were in the village while they were there.

  • Statues, idols, holy symbols, etc. representing any offended gods should be weeping blood in their presence after what they've done.

  • They should overhear bounty hunters, vigilantes, and just some simple commoners in some taverns talking about how they're hunting for the monsters that slaughtered so many innocents in so horrific a manner. Even the most callous mercenaries should sound disgusted when discussing their quarry. Those unskilled commoners should sound hurt and haunted, left with nothing but a need for revenge, justice, and/or closure.

  • Tales of what happened there should spread like wildfire, and it may well grow in the telling, but hte magnitude of what was done should not be lessened. Even if their names are never known, the perpetrators should be cursed and reviled, spoken of by even some of the kindest souls as monsters truly deserving a place in hell.

    Deathquaker has a good point about asking what the players were thinking during that disaster. Maybe some, particularly the paladin, did freeze up given the sheer insanity of the situation. What they say should probably inform what comes later in the game.

    Going over every other possible option they had that didn't involve burning people to death might be worth doing as well.


  • The paladin's behavior in the church is nothing to brag about, but I'd say it's excusable. Perhaps some sort of divine warning is in order; maybe his weapon and armor just turned dull. Functional, but no matter how much polishing, he can't get it shining again.

    Burning the villagers - that's evil. No question about it. Unnecessary, too. They could have done other things;
    * Evacuate villagers that Know Too Much, because Dominate doesn't allow mind-reading. Maybe tie them up until the Domination ends. Probably the best way to guarantee the vampire won't use them as cannon fodder.
    * Destroy the scroll, in sight of the villagers.
    * Destroy a different scroll, but Bluff the villagers that they destroyed the Greater Dispel Magic scroll.
    * Remove the Prismatic Wall themselves, remove the letter the vampire wanted, read and destroy it, so that the vampire can only get at it through the PCs, not the villagers.
    * Use Protection from Evil spells to grant new saving throws to the villagers.

    In a scenario like this, I'd say that real heroes would be worrying about how to protect the villagers; how to get them out of the crossfire. Because if the PCs took the letter and just left, the vampire might take out his frustrations on his dominated villagers. On the other hand, they might think that if they left with the letter, the vampire had nothing further to gain by terrorizing the peasants; luring the vampire after them, away from innocent civilians. Those would be heroic motives.

    Player Brain Freeze sounds like the real cause of the problem here. So talking to your players about what they thought was happening is definitely the first thing you should do.

    However, an evil act was committed. War crimes are still war crimes even if you commit them because you can't think of any better solution than mass civilian execution at the time.

    For a cleric of Pharasma, the alignment is a bit wobbly; Pharasma doesn't forbid Evil per se. For the cleric, running from the vampire is worse than burning the villagers. Begging for divine intervention was a mistake; the cleric herself was supposed to be Pharasma's instrument of intervention. The cleric should receive a vision to that effect; maybe a dream of the villagers sitting together, whispering to each other that Pharasma will save them from the vampire, because she's has sent a cleric. Then the dream continues with them getting led to the slaughter like meek lambs, all the while thanking Pharasma for saving them.

    As for punishments.. I'd go with "warning" punishments. Maybe the paladin's powers become unreliable; he can still call upon them to fight the vampire and his minions, but they don't function against anything unrelated, because his god wants him to Put This Right First. Or maybe take away just some features he doesn't need for the current mission, like disease immunity; waking up with a common cold. But his god won't take away powers he actually needs to earn his redemption by leading the defeat of the vampire.

    For the cleric, you could go with spells getting a somewhat longer casting time; the spells won't work unless the cleric prefaces them with an apology "Pharasma, I know that I've failed you before, but please... BLESS". All spells with Standard casting time become Full Round until some restitution has been made.

    I like the statues of gods weeping blood when the party draws near idea. The NPC caravan returning home is nice too. As are hauntings; the mass burning of innocents certainly sounds like it might trigger them. NPC seers/clerics/oracles might have dreams about what the PCs did. Ravenloft is a reasonable punishment for mass civilian burning too, but that might be too big a detour from your story. OTOH, a Ravenloft side adventure might return them with enough XP to level up and give them confidence to face the vampire again.

    ---

    All in all, punishment is in order, but not by taking away powers. Showing that the PCs did badly, the horrible consequences, is more important. The PCs lost their innocence; the campaign got darker because the most important part of it (the PCs) got darker. But it should motivate the players to seek new confrontation with the vampire, to put things right.

    I do think you underestimated the fight. Energy drain is terrifying to players, and as people have calculated, pretty nasty in the fight. Maybe it'll motivate the players to quest for Death Ward one-shot items to prepare for a new confrontation however.

    So I don't think you did wrong as a GM, but you need to be careful about how to proceed from here.


    Some nifty ideas, but if i remember correctly OP stated the entire town was full of undead, that they had to fight/move through a mass of zombies and skeletons just to get to this point, which was also in the party's eyes at least partly why they couldnt just walk off with the dominated villagers.

    Something horrific has already happened here :)


    I find term lawful stupid so overused on this board as an excuss for a paladin not be a paladin. The villgers werent dominated until the pallly refused to act, so his own cowardice lead to the fate of these villagers. If you arent willing to be lawful stupid ( heroic and selfless )then pick another class paladin isnt for you.


    Actually, I think the Paladin probably made the best of the situation. Without back up there was no way to take out Vampiro, and instead they focused on what they could, conceivably, do - save lives. Which a suicidal charge wouldn't do, it would just net them honour points.

    I would say the Paladin didn't put up enough resitance to the whole, and still exceptionally dumb, 'burn all the villagers plan' but at least they tried to stop them. I don't think a full fall would be a good idea - you'd be punishing the Paladin as harshly as the Cleric (my wife, who plays a Cleric of Pharasma in the Crimson Throne campaign, was most unimpressed) but you might want to look at Epic Meepo's Wayward Paladin archetype.

    Epic Meepo wrote:


    Modifies alignment; Replaces aura of good, code of conduct, associates.

    Wayward paladins have turned their back on the code of conduct tied to their righteous power, and suffer a curse as a result. As a wayward paladin, you have the following class features.

    Alignment Any.

    Divine Curse (Ex) At 1st level, you gain the oracle's curse class feature if you don't already have it. If you later gain a level of oracle, you don't gain oracle's curse a second time. Your levels of afflicted paladin count as oracle levels, and stack with any actual oracle levels you have, for the purpose of the oracle's curse class feature. This replaces your aura of good, code of conduct, and associates class features.

    WAYWARD PALADINS AND EX-PALADINS
    At the GM's option, any time a paladin without the wayward paladin archetype would become an ex-paladin, that paladin may choose to instead gain the wayward paladin archetype. The paladin can only choose to do so if the paladin could have taken the the wayward paladin archetype on paladin level 1st (i.e., the paladin does not have another paladin archetype that modifies alignment or that modifies or replaces code of conduct or associates).

    Not a fullblown slap, since you keep most of your Paladin mojo, but the curse makes it clear that someone on high is less than impressed.


    Just my vote:

    The paladin shouldn't be a paladin anymore.

    The party should take a SERIOUS bath on this one, and gain some serious infamy for what happened... perhaps even leading to confusion that they are agents now in control of the vampire, since they are so keen on burning innocent people alive.

    The pharasma cleric not falling in line to fight the undead is likewise reprehensible. Pharasma doesn't come to the prime material to fight every vampire because her clerics are supposed to... for better or worse.

    When you arrived at a crossroads for the samurai which would lead him to dishonor if he left, you should have hung up the game and continued from that point. A choice like that should be up to the player, so that you don't feel compelled to give him an out because he had no agency in the decision. He has to pay the consequences.

    I think it's been said enough that you dropped the ball on this one. and you did. Like, really really bad. You and your group may be happy to skip idly by the consequences on this one, but you shouldn't paint them into such corners... and they should REALLY pay for their utter cowardice if they profess themselves to be heroes. If they're a self-interested rabble, less so... but they banged the pooch BIG TIME if they'd call themselves the good guys.

    As a GM, recognize that this is a case for "Deus Ex Machina" if ever there was one. As campy and silly as divine intervention might have seemed, it trumps hands-down what you engineered to happen and what the players chose to do.


    Darth Grawl, I'm curious how this was supposed to turn out and what you intended with the encounter? Additionally, what are you asking for in this thread? Advice on how to proceed or what should happen?

    My response will depend on those answers. Want to make sure I'm addressing the issues. Based on what I'm reading, I'm not necessarily in agreement with most of the vocal posters here.

    I will say if I was the paladin player, this would have been a tough situation to react to, especially with the rest of the party's reactions. I'm not sure it is fair to take it out on him. That said, when the remainder of the party ran, I would have been impressed since any party I have DM'ed would never run and are actually role-playing I'd argue. I don't really agree with burning the villagers, but I can sort of see why some of the party (vast majority neutral) might see it as an option.


    Stubs McKenzie wrote:

    Some nifty ideas, but if i remember correctly OP stated the entire town was full of undead, that they had to fight/move through a mass of zombies and skeletons just to get to this point, which was also in the party's eyes at least partly why they couldnt just walk off with the dominated villagers.

    Something horrific has already happened here :)

    Exactly. Not to info dump my entire homebrew story on here, the party is in a land called Surya. They entered the country after hearing tale of the undead ravaging the land & people fleeing the country in droves. Eventually, they neared the village in question, and had to fight through the aforementioned droves of skeletons and zombies to reach it. This was also where they encountered & quickly dispatched a Graveknight & Totenmaske.

    Upon their arrival they met with the town cleric, wanting to warn them of the impending horde... Only to fine this town completely unscathed as where every other town they had encountered. The entire ground of the town was Hallowed prior to their arrival, as the town cleric's family had hallowed the area generations ago. The party, finding their first refuge since entering the country, rests at the church.

    The next morning they wake up to a lightning strike, and find a hole in the roof & the church's weather vane impaled upon the cleric at his alter. Those who throw up Detect Magic sense the Hallow effect's fading for some unknown reason. They ring the church bells and call all villagers into the church to keep them safe(ironic, I know) and begin investigating the situation. They find a mechanism or two, an old diary written in celestial detailing the church's construction and how it was a "Safe" to protect something. Eventually the wizard, who has a Staff of Divination(again, they're reasonably well geared) used prying eyes to survey the town & set up a perimeter only to find that someone approaching the town destroyed one of his eyes. At this point, knowing all the town folk are inside they panic and scramble for part of the key and discover the scroll of dispel greater magic. Then the Vamp begins knocking on the door and well... you know the rest.

    JonGarrett wrote:

    Actually, I think the Paladin probably made the best of the situation. Without back up there was no way to take out Vampiro, and instead they focused on what they could, conceivably, do - save lives. Which a suicidal charge wouldn't do, it would just net them honour points.

    I would say the Paladin didn't put up enough resitance to the whole, and still exceptionally dumb, 'burn all the villagers plan' but at least they tried to stop them. I don't think a full fall would be a good idea - you'd be punishing the Paladin as harshly as the Cleric (my wife, who plays a Cleric of Pharasma in the Crimson Throne campaign, was most unimpressed) but you might want to look at Epic Meepo's Wayward Paladin archetype.

    Epic Meepo wrote:


    Modifies alignment; Replaces aura of good, code of conduct, associates.

    Wayward paladins have turned their back on the code of conduct tied to their righteous power, and suffer a curse as a result. As a wayward paladin, you have the following class features.

    Alignment Any.

    Divine Curse (Ex) At 1st level, you gain the oracle's curse class feature if you don't already have it. If you later gain a level of oracle, you don't gain oracle's curse a second time. Your levels of afflicted paladin count as oracle levels, and stack with any actual oracle levels you have, for the purpose of the oracle's curse class feature. This replaces your aura of good, code of conduct, and associates class features.

    WAYWARD PALADINS AND EX-PALADINS
    At the GM's option, any time a paladin without the wayward paladin archetype would become an ex-paladin, that paladin may choose to instead gain the wayward paladin archetype. The paladin can only choose to do so if the paladin could have taken the the wayward paladin archetype on paladin level 1st (i.e., the paladin does not have another paladin archetype that modifies alignment or that modifies or replaces code of conduct or associates).

    Not a fullblown slap, since you keep most of your Paladin mojo, but the curse makes it clear that...

    That template sir is really spot on for what I'd want to do with the character in terms of mechanics. Thanks!

    Aleron wrote:

    Darth Grawl, I'm curious how this was supposed to turn out and what you intended with the encounter? Additionally, what are you asking for in this thread? Advice on how to proceed or what should happen?

    My response will depend on those answers. Want to make sure I'm addressing the issues. Based on what I'm reading, I'm not necessarily in agreement with most of the vocal posters here.

    I will say if I was the paladin player, this would have been a tough situation to react to, especially with the rest of the party's reactions. I'm not sure it is fair to take it out on him. That said, when the remainder of the party ran, I would have been impressed since any party I have DM'ed would never run and are actually role-playing I'd argue. I don't really agree with burning the villagers, but I can sort of see why some of the party (vast majority neutral) might see it as an option.

    As for what I planned to happen? Not this exactly. I typically leave some leeway in my plans. For example I didn't expect them to completely destroy the Graveknight, originally I intended for them to skirmish against him and then have hime be the one to make an assault upon the church once the Hallow was down. However, since I knew they could beat the Knight, I had kept the Vamp as the back up villian. I planned on them to make a stand against the Vamp/Graveknight to protect the people of the village. Being unusually well equiped even, though it was a hard/challeging encounter I expected them to fight. I would have had the enemy focus on the NPC's first, since if there were to be casualties I'd prefer them not to be the party. In the event of party defeat, I was going to have the Vamp/graveknight more or less do what the vamp did, throw the villagers into the door until he got bored but spare the party to let them live with their failure. If they won, they'd have more time to look for the remaining keys to the Primsmatic wall scattered around the town.

    I came asking advice on how to treat the fall of a paladin and wondered if there were shades of grey/partial strips that were common place. Though we've played with other morality based characters, namely Jedi in Saga edition, their falls are simpler and there is even a guage & scale for their descent.

    Edited for missed messages.


    Alright, I've been following this thread since the beginning and have voiced my opinion once or twice, mostly condemning the OP, but now I have modified my opinion based on the things said thus far. OP, I must congratulate you and your players on having an awesome session, even when said events were terrible. No one can fault you and your guys for having a good time, and I am quite sure the majority will agree with me. That said, due to the in game events and the disposition of alignments, you MUST follow through with proper action. The Samurai may be the only exception due to his player leaving. At the LEAST he'll have to fall under scrutiny due to the actions of his companions. Guilty by association, right. The Paladin and Cleric have their "codes" built into their classes. With the Paladin, we're all splitting hair, but this I do know: She watched as innocent people were burned alive. Just because she was out voted DOES NOT excuse her inaction on the matter. Who is she trying to please, her friends or her god? She has contributed to the death of innocents. do you think that her god is gonna say "Well, he WAS a vampire and she WAS all alone. The same goes or the Cleric. Given the portfolio of his goddess, he's in for some trouble too. Digressing, even though you guys had a ton of fun when the pressure was on, and that is something we ALL should remember that we're trying to accomplish around the table. This is a game of fun, BUT...there are repercussions of their actions, and the loss of cleric and paladin abilities are one of these, that's plain and simple. I just can't see a way around it. The players CHOOSE the characters they would play, knowing the limitations placed on them both by code and by deity. They must deal with that, period.

    EDIT: I recall OP stating that they were fighting undead since day one, so something like a vampire should've come at no surprise to them. Due to the fighting of the undead, they should've been geared to deal with them. Honestly, I'm sure they could've taken the Vamp. He may have retreated, but they could've done it. After all, the Dominate ability is factored into the CR...

    Shadow Lodge

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    ...yeah...burning them all didn't even solve their problem. The villain using speak with dead, asking "Why were you all burned to death?" will let him know that they were killed because the PCs have a key to the MacGuffin. Then, they'll all be raised as undead skeletons anyway. I agree with JonGarret, in that raising the corpses of all the townsfolk as burning undead and throw them at the PCs would be a great idea.

    Make the PCs remember that they slaughtered innocents for no gain. Perhaps the Graveknight can taunt the PCs with the fact that he knows why they killed the villagers, and he's come to collect.


    Luna_Silvertear wrote:
    After all, the Dominate ability is factored into the CR...

    There's a catch there; that difficulty adjustment doesn't work well over all levels. For example, some CR+1 templates aren't impressive at all on CR 20 monsters, adding almost nothing the monster doesn't already have. On the low end, while vampire may be a +2CR template, I think Dominate at will or DR 15/silver AND magic isn't really something you should run into at level 3.

    Shadow Lodge

    (tangent: DR silver and magic is easily bypassed. There's a reason people advocate carrying around oils of magic weapon and bunch of mundane special material weapons.)

    Sczarni

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    Yes, what I would do now is focus on the worst things, which aren't the Paladin's doing: the cleric's fleeing, and the burning of the villagers.

    For the cleric, I'd take away her spells for awhile, until the party confronts the vampire. Once they *do* finally fight the vamp, I'd give her all her powers back right away to use in that fight. And I'd have all this happen after she gets a message in a dream from Pharasma herself. Something like, "Yes, I heard your prayers. You had all the divine intervention you needed. It's called casting your spells. Next time I'll make it more obvious for you."

    For the villagers, they all just died violently and needlessly in an area of major undead activity. I'd have them come back as Wraiths, Spectres, and Ghosts, thirsty for their murderers' blood. All 20 of them. At once.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber
    Starbuck_II wrote:
    Stubs McKenzie wrote:


    I am still reading through the thread, but really wanted to toss in a response to the last bit here... hopefully im not just stomping all over an already beaten down point. The vamp was a synth. The party was 4th level... that means the vamp is pretty much garaunteed to hit every round with it, and every other round, kills a party member...

    4th level character down 10 hps from an energy drain + the damage from at least 3 attacks (again that was assuming a first level synth, not a 6th? i think you said). The carnage could have been unbelievable unless they killed him in just a couple rounds... do you even risk that as a 4th level party not knowing enemy stats/levels? I would run like a b****, no matter the character. This guy potentially has HPs out the arse, regeneration, the ability to dominate party members, and can tear apart any one of them in 1 round. Screeeeewwwww that :P

    The wizard is immune to negative levels as a Dhampir. So he only has to worry about natural attack damage.

    Dhampirs are not immune to negative levels.

    Pathfinder SRD wrote:
    Resist Level Drain (Ex): A dhampir takes no penalties from energy drain effects, though he can still be killed if he accrues more negative levels then he has Hit Dice. After 24 hours, any negative levels a dhampir takes are removed without the need for an additional saving throw.

    Emphasis mine.


    And for all of you that are pouting saying I wouldnt play with that dm again, wtf really what era of rpgs did you cut your teeth on. Anyone remeber 2nd edition what your a 20th level pc who a guy has built form 1st level and is highly attached too? Good save or die and no coming back lol that was fun and i dont see how thats anyless fair then a powerful monster.


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    This can be broken down into 2 people:

    1: the paladin didn't do anything wrong, he couldn't have done anything to stop anyone, and he would have died needlessly. He shouldn't be punished.

    2: The paladin should have died to save the people regardless of whether he knew it was futile or not. He didn't do enough against the vampire or the party and should be stripped of his powers.

    Frankly I'm with party 1 just because throwing yourself into a meatgrinder screaming because your party abandoned you seems ridiculous. He did his best versus the people and he knew in character that the vampire was out of his league.

    So frankly its up to you. How devoted do you expect your paladins to be?

    seto83 wrote:
    And for all of you that are pouting saying I wouldnt play with that dm again, wtf really what era of rpgs did you cut your teeth on. Anyone remeber 2nd edition what your a 20th level pc who a guy has built form 1st level and is highly attached too? Good save or die and no coming back lol that was fun and i dont see how thats anyless fair then a powerful monster.

    Then play 2.0: Paizo has deliberately tried to move away from "your character must die because of a bad situation or a bad roll." I have no problem with you playing that way I happen to like a lot about 2.0 but the way you put that is plain rude. Not everyone likes to play that way and that doesn't make them children.


    I want my Palladian to show the level of devotion that should be excepted by anyone who willing chooses paladinhood. Not defending innocent peasants it's that lvl of devotion.


    scanning through this thread has been interesting and confounding, occasionally enlightening, and sometimes creative.

    however...

    i'm not sure that the crux of the matter has been adequately dealt with: the dominate power of the vampire/synthesist. it is more of a 1-way telepathic ability, and the experiences (specifically the knowledge of the key, hearing it's whereabouts, learning how it's kept, whatever) is not available to the vampire in question: see the dominate spell for clarification.

    also, nowhere in the synthesist class is there any mention of the alteration of the dominate ability, so unless this is something that's been cooked up by the (in my view interesting, engaging and creative) dm, or in a template that i've missed, unless the vampire was specifically concentrating on whichever hapless townsfolk learned the secret of the key at the time it was learned, he would be unaware of it.

    even if the timing was perfect, and he was concentrating on that particular (or any of them i guess... surely they had a reason to immolate the entire lot of 20?!?) peasant, he'd perhaps only get the mental equivalent of a light-bulb going off over said hapless peasant's head, as though it had just learned something interesting or enlightening.

    even if the vampire had the "mastermind" variant ability to actually establish a true telepathic (both ways) bond with *one* of the peasants, he'd be in the catatonic state to learn what it was learning at that moment... surely they'd have noticed if, while he was wandering away laughing and gloating, that he'd keeled over catatonic for a few moments while the secrets of the key were being discussed?

    anyhow, despite how the mechanics of the rules (and the characters' knowledge of vampire powers) played out, i feel there have been numerous excellent suggestions as to how to handle the repercussions of this.

    I only add my voice to those who agree that the pally should fall. She failed to TRY... let alone DO good. In fact, she stood by while associates of hers clearly did evil. in front of her. to a mass of innocent peasants. FALL.

    The cleric should, equally, be stripped of notice by her deity. Duty has cost.

    The samurai: meh. internal code, ronin, OOC actions requiring his 'absence', at least some of this ameliorates his actions. that he charged into a graveknight and dealt a fantastic blow against a strong and clearly evil foe is a mark in his favor for this as well...

    However, personally, I love the idea put forth about a little visit to Barovia. Let that pally really understand (and the cleric) how bad unchecked evil can be, and show them why they MUST stand up and fight the good (even if losing) fight.

    I should mention that i'm particularly harsh on paladins in my games, to the point of basically ruling them out (i've changed them to be a prestige class for starters), and i absolutely love watching them fall. I'm not a dice-rules-all DM, but i don't pull punches against pallys (and make this painfully clear during character creation and all subsequent sessions... pallys have a very tough life in my world). So take my view as you will...

    but the rules/mechanics warrant another review, and i'd appreciate anyone showing me where my (DM'ing) logic fails

    Grym

    Shadow Lodge

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    seto83 wrote:
    And for all of you that are pouting saying I wouldnt play with that dm again, wtf really what era of rpgs did you cut your teeth on. Anyone remeber 2nd edition what your a 20th level pc who a guy has built form 1st level and is highly attached too? Good save or die and no coming back lol that was fun and i dont see how thats anyless fair then a powerful monster.

    I absolutely remember 2nd edition when I wanted to play a ranger but didn't roll good enough stats, so I had to play a thief instead. And only humans could be paladins.

    Good riddance.

    We play RPGs to have fun. If you enjoy a vicious playstyle, fine, but not everyone does. Having a game where you expect a PC's death to mean something isn't wrongbadfun.

    Likewise, grymrayne, if you like to be very strict with Paladins and your players understand this that is fine, but this group may not have that preference or understanding.

    To the DM - I criticized you for not having a "Plan B," but it looks like you did have one and followed it, you'd just assumed that the party might have been defeated in combat instead of fleeing. On the other hand...

    Darth_Grall wrote:
    The next morning they wake up to a lightning strike, and find a hole in the roof & the church's weather vane impaled upon the cleric at his alter. Those who throw up Detect Magic sense the Hallow effect's fading for some unknown reason. They ring the church bells and call all villagers into the church to keep them safe(ironic, I know) and begin investigating the situation. They find a mechanism or two, an old diary written in celestial detailing the church's construction and how it was a "Safe" to protect something. Eventually the wizard, who has a Staff of Divination(again, they're reasonably well geared) used prying eyes to survey the town & set up a perimeter only to find that someone approaching the town destroyed one of his eyes. At this point, knowing all the town folk are inside they panic and scramble for part of the key and discover the scroll of dispel greater magic. Then the Vamp begins knocking on the door and well... you know the rest.

    You've just confirmed my suspicion that the party fled because you set the stage a little too well. This scene, with a big shock and a long suspenseful investigation followed by another scare, is remarkably similar to the one that caused my group to unload 5th level spells into a CR 4 Attic Whisperer. And believe me, they would have run if it hadn't been made clear that what was outside the building was worse.

    Yes they were responsible for the safety of the villagers and ought to have defended them and yes the subsequent burning of the villagers was crazy and evil. But they were probably legitimately panicked at the time. Under other circumstances, this would have been a heck of a job well done for the DM.

    Silver Crusade

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
    Weirdo wrote:
    seto83 wrote:
    And for all of you that are pouting saying I wouldnt play with that dm again, wtf really what era of rpgs did you cut your teeth on. Anyone remeber 2nd edition what your a 20th level pc who a guy has built form 1st level and is highly attached too? Good save or die and no coming back lol that was fun and i dont see how thats anyless fair then a powerful monster.

    I absolutely remember 2nd edition when I wanted to play a ranger but didn't roll good enough stats, so I had to play a thief instead. And only humans could be paladins.

    Good riddance.

    <3


    grymrayne wrote:
    However, personally, I love the idea put forth about a little visit to Barovia. Let that pally really understand (and the cleric) how bad unchecked evil can be, and show them why they MUST stand up and fight the good (even if losing) fight.

    Oh Yes...I'm glad you agree, but let us help the guy come up with some ideas for the other PCs. Remember, even though the Cleric and Pally are who we are focusing on, anhe Samurai to some extent, there is a wizard, rogue, and...monk, i believe, who need "punishments" as well.

    Andoran

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Darth Grall wrote:

    For the record, yeah the Synthesist could be really OP but I haven't built him as such. He attacks with a compound bow & 2 claws for when they get close. He's blowing feats for Eldritch Heritage. And he's not even a full Synthesist build, I dipped fighter for proficiencies.

    And the only reason he comes off as a "Strong" Aura was cause he's considered an outsider...

    I do not like this last part, because it feels like you tried to trick your players with this outsider = strong aura thing.

    In other words, that you used the Synthesist = outsider rule to the benefit of the NPC while it is very clear in the UM errata that this rule can never be used to give an advantage to the Synthesist (quite the opposite in fact).

    Silver Crusade

    Wierdo wrote:
    Having a game where you expect a PC's death to mean something isn't wrongbadfun

    It's 'BadWrongFun', not 'wrongbadfun'.

    ...sorry...couldn't resist... : )


    Yes, Punish the Paladin. Congrats, you win :)


    Weirdo wrote:


    Darth_Grall wrote:
    The next morning they wake up to a lightning strike, and find a hole in the roof & the church's weather vane impaled upon the cleric at his alter. Those who throw up Detect Magic sense the Hallow effect's fading for some unknown reason. They ring the church bells and call all villagers into the church to keep them safe(ironic, I know) and begin investigating the situation. They find a mechanism or two, an old diary written in celestial detailing the church's construction and how it was a "Safe" to protect something. Eventually the wizard, who has a Staff of Divination(again, they're reasonably well geared) used prying eyes to survey the town & set up a perimeter only to find that someone approaching the town destroyed one of his eyes. At this point, knowing all the town folk are inside they panic and scramble for part of the key and discover the scroll

    ...

    You've just confirmed my suspicion that the party fled because you set the stage a little too well. This scene, with a big shock and a long suspenseful investigation followed by another scare, is remarkably similar to the one that caused my group to unload 5th level spells into a CR 4 Attic Whisperer. And believe me, they would have run if it hadn't been made clear that what was outside the building was worse.

    I have to disagree with this, I think the gm did an excellent job of creating a gripping and dark story with this aspect. It is story elements like this that really add to the well, story and make the session so enjoyable, as it really helps immerse the players into their environment and shows them something strange is going on here.

    The players have already been fighting the undead, there is nothing unexpected here. Strong or not, they would have already shown conviction to their goals just by coming here, so to run now is just silly. And really, the characters arent little school girls that had their candy taken by a bully, they are heroes after all.

    Heck, these lands are already half way to Ravenloft already, and now after the burn em all episode, it would really make for a great addition to the lands; ie, the area now is unhallowed, and saturiated with dark energy/mists that raise anyone fallen to undead. Make the vamp the 'lord of the lands' and really set him up to be tormenting the players every step of the way.

    Dominate npcs the players meet all along the way, and see how they react.
    Graveyards that the pc's come near have the dead start to rise out of it, curse like.
    Taunt the players with his knowledge of what they did, and emphasize that he thinks he is untouchabe, how he dominates mayors of towns and sets the militia's of good people on the party as they are evil doers :)

    It would make for some great roleplaying on the players part as they would have some tough calls to make, though we just hope they make better choices than they have already, lol

    The players will soo hate this vamp after a few sessions and the gm will have the players good and revved up to go after this guy hardcore. Issues of motivation will not be a problem after this. This will get that cleric stoked and renewed on her faith of purging the undead, and strengthening her resolve in this regard to becoming a true right hand of her gods wrath.

    Shadow Lodge

    Nether, I agree with pretty much everything you're saying.

    Setting the stage is very important. The session I mentioned in my group was memorable for just the reasons you suggest - it absolutely engaged everyone in this strange and frightening environment. I think setting this sort of stage is a great achievement for a DM. The fact that everyone enjoyed themselves at this session speaks to the strength of storytelling going on here. I don't think that setting this stage was in and of itself any kind of error.

    What I don't agree with is this:

    Nether wrote:
    The players have already been fighting the undead, there is nothing unexpected here. Strong or not, they would have already shown conviction to their goals just by coming here, so to run now is just silly. And really, the characters arent little school girls that had their candy taken by a bully, they are heroes after all.

    A vampire appearing isn't in itself unexpected or cause to run. As you say, it's just another more powerful undead. What is unexpected is that in the middle of the night they find the priest of the church they are staying in has been mysteriously impaled at his own altar and the Hallowed Ground is no longer Hallowed. It takes some serious power to get rid of a Hallow, enough for the party to start wondering if they're in over their heads. They haven't been adventuring long, after all. Not to mention the priest was killed off in the style of The Omen.

    The mood had been set to Horror, apparently very effectively. And when the mood is Horror and you're faced with something big and scary-looking that you don't understand, that fight-or-flight dial creeps over to "flight" real fast.

    This is not always a bad thing! Sometimes it's a good idea for the party to run and come back later to fight the same villain with renewed vigor. In this case, it's unfortunate that because the DM didn't anticipate his scene-setting freaking out his players quite this much, the villagers became gruesome casualties. And as you say, there's great opportunity for the DM to turn this into a really interesting story with the vampire as a star villain. I hope he does so, in such a way that it turn the party into real heroes.

    I'm just unsurprised by and sympathetic to the party's decision to run in this situation.

    EDIT @Malachai: Learn something new every day.


    I wouldn't punish the wizard, rogue etc.; at least not by some power-stripping exercise or something like that. They're not classes with alignment restrictions; don't treat them like they are.

    That doesn't mean there are NO consequences; if it was the wizard that fireballed the villagers, then any ghosts will probably haunt the wizard. And any NPC investigators that look into the matter will want to try him. But there's no god taking away wizards' powers for alignment transgressions.

    ---

    Anyway, yeah, it sounds like this was player panic; burning the villagers on the off chance that the vampire would interrogate them and ask exactly the right questions, while they could've also dealt with the problem differently (destroying the Dispel scroll, evacuating the villagers). So basically the players committed an atrocity because they panicked.


    The one thing about burning the villagers, which as pointed out many time was very pointless in results, but the action tells the vamp that the party is really trying to hide something, or why else would a group of heroes go counter to their nature unless it was something soo important to them that they would do that.

    So i really see the vamp going back there as soon as possible to find out what, and considering the dead is his realm of expertise, speaking with them shouldnt be to difficult.


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    Paladin should be more pious then any cleric, braver then any fighter, an more honor bound then any monk that's the standard I hold them to.


    seto83 wrote:
    Paladin should be more pious then any cleric, braver then any fighter, an more honor bound then any monk that's the standard I hold them to.

    I gotta ask then, do you compensate the pally in any way because of such strict req?

    Because the class isnt balanced with that aspect in mind, so sounds like you put the class to high req, but do you give them anything because of that? Greater rp benefits in game? Bonuses to social actions at all times? Free room and board, repair, basic equipment free, leaders always taking their word as gospel? ext.

    I am just trying to see how you make it fair, as they dont get any power advantage over any other class design because of this.


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    If your standard for the class requires the player to die in order to avoid falling, your standard might be a bit too high. I like playing characters more when they survive longer than one session.


    More importantly, after having stated several times now how you believe paladins should act, and to what standards they should be held, what are you adding to the ongoing conversation. You (and I) and others believe the paladin should fall, maybe for different reasons, but we all get that... why do you continually try and hammer home the point? You arent bringing anything else to the conversation or helping the OP any more than you were 4? 5? Posts ago?

    Im NOT telling you to abandon thread, but please for the sake of the discussion move on from your original point.

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