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Paladin (Alignment) Debate - Need help


Advice

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Silver Crusade

Booksy wrote:
kridak wrote:

The party entered a wine cellar that contained a wererat (and unknown to the group it's still human child.)

The paladin sensed evil and yes the wererat was lawful evil, but the wererat asked the group to leave its den multiple times as the party moved up to it.

The paladin moved up to the wererat and started attacking.

After the first round, the wererat asked the party to leave again and the paladin attacked a final time and killed the wererat.

Information gained:

1) the 'smited' was a wererat, but its child is human
2) The paladin used 'sense evil' and was informed the wererat is Lawful Evil
3) The wererat asked the party to leave, even after being attacked
4) The wererat identified this location as its den
5) The paladin killed the wererat

Synergy2 wrote:
We were in the upper reaches of the dungeon, killed an Ogre...we were all level 4...We were in a monastery up on a cliff that was run by evil monks. We cleared out most of it, killed a ton of zombies and skeletons and freed the..prisoners and escorted them out after killing an Ogre for the key to their cage. Then we went down deeper into the dungeon and searched a few rooms, until we found the wererats "nest". It was in the bottom of a dungeon...we are at least 10 miles from any town...Instead of attacking, the creature simply asked again to be left alone. It didn't lift a paw.

Further information gained:

6) the party was in a 'dungeon'
7) the 'dungeon' was occupied by an Ogre
8) the party is level 4
9) the dungeon is a monastery, run by evil monks
10) they also encountered and killed 'a ton' of zombies and skeletons
11) the evil monks were holding prisoners, which were released after killing the Ogre/keyholder
12) the party found the wererat deeper withing the same monestary
13) the monestary was at least 10 miles from town
14) the wererat in question had paws

So we know the Wererat was easily...

It must be noted that the paladin did not have the information that its child is human; the party knew nothing about a child at all!

Andoran

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Honestly, I think that the mechanics of Detect Evil were deliberately designed, in part, to help resolve these kinds of situations. As was mentioned before, a creature with less than 6 hit dice won't register as evil at all unless it's A) an Antipaladin, B) a Cleric of an evil deity, C) an evil Outsider, or D) an evil Undead creature. In each of those cases, the creature in question is a *willing* servant of evil and/or powered by evil itself, so I think it's a pretty safe bet to smite them (though you should probably at least offer them the option to repent or surrender).

When it comes to an evil creature with 6 hit dice or more, you're looking at something that has either A) has had a fair amount of time in which it could have repented its evil ways as it rose in level (likely in the course of performing evil acts), or B) is a dangerous, evil monster that can likely pose a credible threat to small, innocent communities. In the first case it could be argued that the villain in question made their choices, and that smiting them is a regrettable necessity, and in the latter... well, some beasts are simply too dangerous to be left alive.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that the attitude that anything which pings on the "evil-dar" is safe to smite is actually pretty well justified, in most cases.


Roberta Yang wrote:


When I create my evil fortress of evil I'm going to carve "GO AWAY" on the front door so paladins can't enter.

Paladins are basically vampires in terms of entering homes uninvited, right?

Also "Go away" is not a plea for mercy.

"Please Leave" depending on how it is spoken, combined with the fact the creature did not retaliate after nearly being killed, can most certainly be a plea for mercy, or in the very least, an attempt to show one has no ill will.

If you walk into a room, regardless of where you are, and a creature makes no effort to resist and begs you to leave, and you instead choose to stab it in the face, repeatedly, until it dies. You are especially not acting like a paladin, nor someone with good alignment. That's it, game over.

But, as I said before, that's my and, well, everyone I've ever gamed with's opinion. There are always those who try to argue relative morality in Pathfinder, when it doesn't exist. Doing the above is wrong, just like torturing a captured prisoner is not something someone of Good alignment would want to do (but that's a whole new argument, right?).


Gnoll Bard wrote:
So I guess what I'm trying to say is that the attitude that anything which pings on the "evil-dar" is safe to smite is actually pretty well justified, in most cases.

I agree. However, by the wording of the spell, a Neutral or even Good aligned creature, who may be considering a terrible act upon a character, registers as evil, and at 5 HD, not 6.

So, the argument becomes, is it ok to kill a creature merely because it intended to do something bad? What if it can be stopped by diplomacy, or even by force. It shouldn't equal a death penalty in those situations. That is my only point.

But, I have spent too much time on the subject as-is, I leave it to others.

Silver Crusade

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Ozymand wrote:
A Paladin would never slaughter someone who has attempted surrender and could, possibly, be redeemed.

Not precise enough! Try this:-

Quote:
A Paladin would never slaughter someone who he believed has attempted surrender and who he believed could, possibly, be redeemed.

Telling the paladin to go away is not surrendering!

If the police surround the kidnapper's hut and demand that he comes out with his hands up, and the kidnapper (while not actually shooting) shouts at them to leave, without giving up his weapons, does anybody think that the police believe that this is a surrender? The paladin should not fall for not believing that the rat's actions amounted to a surrender.

Did the paladin have reason to believe that the were-creature, well known to the general public of being uncontrollable, invulnerable, infectious killing machines on a DC 1 knowledge check, could possibly be redeemed? Even the posters on this thread, who have actual access to the rules which govern the reality of the paladin's world, cannot agree if a were-creature can be 'cured' after the initial 3-day period! How can we make the paladin fall when even we don't all believe that.

Paladins shouldn't go round killing everything that pings of evil. I think we all agree on that! There must be better reason than that. And it being an evil were-creature is a better reason, and a damn good reason at that!

Andoran

Ozymand wrote:
Gnoll Bard wrote:
So I guess what I'm trying to say is that the attitude that anything which pings on the "evil-dar" is safe to smite is actually pretty well justified, in most cases.

I agree. However, by the wording of the spell, a Neutral or even Good aligned creature, who may be considering a terrible act upon a character, registers as evil, and at 5 HD, not 6.

So, the argument becomes, is it ok to kill a creature merely because it intended to do something bad? What if it can be stopped by diplomacy, or even by force. It shouldn't equal a death penalty in those situations. That is my only point.

But, I have spent too much time on the subject as-is, I leave it to others.

Strictly speaking, that may be a typo, since the entry for "no aura" includes 1-5 hit dice, and the entry for "faint aura" includes 5-10 hit dice. I tend to assume they meant 6-10, but for now I don't think there's any errata.

As for smiting first and asking questions later... well, no, I don't think it's a good idea. Heck, my Chaotic Good Bard tends to give people a chance to surrender and/or explain themselves before swords and spells come out, and usually tries to avoid actually killing anyone even when they do. For me, that's just part of being Good, and unless you're doing really huge amounts of damage, the game seems to make it pretty easy to spare your foes after you knock them out.

Of course, Paladins do tend to do a lot of damage... but I don't recall any rule against doing nonlethal damage while smiting.


I would say, in the generic fantasy-mediaeval mindset the paladin did everything right and I would be seriously pissed at a GM who let me fall for that action. I wouldn't try an atonement, I would just make a new character.

Why? Because, as said in another thread, egalitarian and modern ways of thinking don't mix with paladins... And the GM who would let me fall would have demonstrated he is in this mindset.

Osirion

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Gnoll Bard wrote:
Honestly, I think that the mechanics of Detect Evil were deliberately designed, in part, to help resolve these kinds of situations.

The current rules are a huge improvement over those in previous editions, where it detected everything evil.

The spell form was annoying, too, but at least the caster had to prepare it, or blow most of their funds on wands and scrolls, to be able to use it regularly, making themselves less effective at actually dealing with the evil once discovered, so it balanced out...sort of.

Previously, it would register a positive in so many cases, it would be distracting. GMs hated the ability, since it would ruin many attempts to run a low-level mystery, so they would try to beat the ability by throwing in red herrings, to force paladins (and any caster who thought to prepare the spell) to do actual detective work.

Which is fine, up to a point. But something weird happened to most GMs as soon a there was a paladin in the party. Small, petty misdemeanors, which would barely cause a blip on the alignment radar, in their normal game, would suddenly acquire huge, cosmic significance, enough to turn most of any formerly Neutral settlement into radiating EVIL.

The opportunistic urchin pickpocket, who would normally be CN? Suddenly, the GM decides they're CE, because 'leading the paladin to follow a false trail through the market, while searching for the murderer' would be cool.

The commoners in the bar, who previously didn't get a statline?
Maybe half of them should start radiating EVIL, to throw the PCs off the scent? Why? Who knows, maybe they speak harshly to their kids, or something. Maybe they covet their neighbour's ass. That's enough to be lumped in with child-sacrificing cultists that the PCs are hunting, right?

Alternatively, the GM would veer off in the other direction, and no-one would ever radiate evil. The serial killer? He's ill, so he doesn't count. The baron who murdered his way to power? Weeelll, that's just politics, isn't it? The blood-suckers who drag unsuspecting travellers off the street? They're just hungry. The cultists who chain up slaves to drain them of their souls, to feed to their Goddess of Destruction? That's just 'differing cultural norms'...hey, are saying that's wrong? Are you some kind of racist?
"Everybody in town is True Neutral. Nothing to see here. Move along!"

Either way, under these GMs, the ability became worthless, or counterproductively dangerous to use.

Changing the ability, so it passes over any normal misanthropic folk, only drawing attention to those who have sold their souls to Dark Powers, or spent a lot of time being actively evil, is a good idea.
It lets GMs have their Miss Marple Mysteries, when the PCs are low level. And by the time the PCs are powerful enough to be regularly facing opponents of 6HD+, divine casters, and fiends, they should have graduated from investigating "Who Bumped Off Tommy Turnipbreath The Tramp", and be fighting an actual, eternal WAR, against major players in the ranks of Cosmic Evil.
Real villains, who do have ways of masking their auras, but whose deeds are so heinous that the PCs may not need to rely on an at-will level 1 ability, to know they need bringing to lethal justice.


In my view the paladin did right, why?

No one is born "evil" or become evil only because he got transformed into a were-whatever.
This creature was evil so it has done evil acts in the past.
The paladin saw this and cleansed the evil with the sword.

Sure not the best way, but not a act against his code of conduct (as this creature was neither helpless or inocent). But also the DM make, I guess, a mistake here.
If I got it right the wererat should be a poor child which was transformed and is now some sort of "dramtical cursed person". In such a case he shouldn't be evil.

Also o the "walk the street and see a evil person, do you kill him?" as a paladin I would at least hand him over to justice (in the city to the guards, outside to my goodly justice) - Why?
Because he had doen something to become evil. Killing someone in self defense is no reason to become evil, so he had done something nasty and deserves holy justice for it.
@Cheliax: Every Paladin who walks the streets of Cheliax and not doing anything against the evil there only because it's common, should fall.

Playing a Paladin is always a challenge but as a GM donT want a lawful stpid Paladin we should not punish a paladin for rooting out evil if he sees it.

If you want to enter a "dilema evil" npx in your group, give the players something to see that he's redeeming, not just telling them "you can't attack him!"

@Pendagast: very good standpoint and arguments :)

Quote:
Because, as said in another thread, egalitarian and modern ways of thinking don't mix with paladins

- sign

A Paladin can be a "Judege Dredd" without violating his codex. (And I think at least at his ealry days he had a white-black view of the world and then with exoperience there come some shades of grey)

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The most common complaints against 'Lawful Stupid' Paladins, are the situations where the Paladin prevents his allies from killing dangerous enemies, insisting on blowing a trumpet to announce the party's prescence, insisting on 'honourable duels' against foes obviously designed to fight all PCs at once, refusing to take the killing blow vs fiends who can teleport at will...

It seems to me, that no matter what the player did, we'd be reading a thread complaining about his actions, one way or the other.

"I Can't Believe My Player Just Let The BBEG Run Away - WTF Is Wrong With Some Players???!?!"


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Tryn wrote:


@Cheliax: Every Paladin who walks the streets of Cheliax and not doing anything against the evil there only because it's common, should fall.

This is pretty much the definition of Stupid Good.

Because picking a fight with an entire country is both idiotic and pointless.


I'm afraid I have to side firmly with letting the paladin fall.

I don't feel like an alignment check is carte blanche for stabbity 'salvation', 'Fog of war' or no...

'Oh should a paladin just wait and see if the Rat then tries to stab him in the back at an inopportune moment?" Yes... He absolutely should...

Does that make life difficult for the poor widdle paladin? Yes. Its supposed to. Thats the point.

You are held to a higher standard. To walk a path that is more demanding than simply turning on the evil radar and stabbing evil in the face. Thats what makes paladins revered (the way a good cop is revered)... Yeah. You have to wait for the man barracaded in his own home to shoot before you can shoot back. That makes a cop's job difficult.

Oh we have to take the rat to the temple to cure the lycanthropy and that would be inconvenient... Sorry sir. Paladin is like the furthest thing from being about convenience. It's about doing the right thing even when it isn't convenient. Sometimes that means the bad guy you were originally after gets away... The price you pay for doing whats right.

Rat: please leave
Pal: sorry mam. I'm afraid I can't do that...evil radar... you know how it goes.
Rat: i mean you no harm and my human baby is in the next room
Pal: you're an unfit mother. on my word of honor we will deliver your baby safely to the temple...

Then either the rat bravely but foolishly gives in to maternal (not evil) impulse and attacks to defend its young, or it realizes its plight and hands its baby over, or it lets the pal go about his business and hope he never comes back... or becomes the pally's prisoner and is delivered with its baby to the temple for cure/redemption... or becomes the pallys prisoner and gives in to its evil nature and attacks at an opportune moment at which point stabbity death is fine...

So many ways to handle it but that doesn't sound like how it went down at all.

Its sad that the rat didnt explain itself but the responsibility is still on the paladin to use murderhobo as a last resort, not the first resort... Even if its a pain in the butt.


Was it saving private Ryan where they let the guy go only to have to kill him again later?

It was very paladin to let the guy go. It put them in a very dangerous situation.

And it was also very paladin when he popped back up again killin people to kill him later.

The right choice is often not the easy choice, but its the choice the paladin signs up for.

They don't get to walk the 'easy path' that another class could.

Its not something that they do... it's who they are.

Thats what makes them Paladins, and if they don't do it, they're not paladins.


RAT: I mean you no harm. My human baby is in the other room. Help us.

PAL: I'm sorry rat. I don't have time to sort your situation out for you at the moment so get to the temple and fix your stuff or the next time I see you I flip the switch... ok?

or...

PAL: I'm sorry rat. I don't have time to sort your situation out for you at the moment so I'll be back for you later so we can get you the help you need.

any of that kind of thing is ok... not

PAL: I'm sorry rat. I don't have time to sort your situation out for you at the moment so i'm afraid I'm gonna have to keell you.

What a lazy copout. A paladin full of excuses is no kind of paladin.


They should at least call it something else...

If you want to play a paladin that puts convenience above good and death above salvation on the priority list you should al least rename it like 'abnormally super self righeous murderhobo' instead of paladin.


"What's a Paladin?"

and

"What is a Paladin?! A miserable little pile of secrets!"

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jason Terlecki wrote:

I once had to stop a paladin, in a game I played a long time ago, from dealing a death blow to an Erinyes while we were storming an enemy stronghold. Why? She said one word: Mercy. We had just made it to the room that had the main villain and some of his henchmen and her. the bad guy commanded her to attack us, while we did our best to attack them. As we basically defeated all but her (though she was nearly dead), she begged for mercy.

Now, at the time, it was likely an act but to me, she genuinely looked scared, so as the paladin went for her, regardless of her plea, I found myself defending her. I told her to get out of here and that she owed me one. Needless to say I got into an argument about ethics with the paladin (which I have to admit, was one of the finest role-playing moments I ever had the pleasure to partake in). All but the wizard of the group claimed I was played for an idiot (even the GM hinted I may have been a bit foolish to do so, but not necessarily wrong either).

A few months later, in a fight that went horribly wrong (I have never seen every single PC being completely disabled by a single spell via bad saving throw rolls), we end up prisoners. The GM took a moment to contemplate the situation and then you could see he was thinking up something and said we woke up in cells. Now we are all getting ready for our *obvious* torture sessions, but behold a guard comes, relieves the current guard and then opens my cell once the other one is gone. "My debt has been paid." It did took me a moment to click it was "her". Ultimately, one act of compassion sorta led to another one, even if it was performed by a devil. The whole thing also lead to a whole new slew of adventures, involving her.

That's a good story, and if I were that GM, I would probably have done something similar.

Though I would have started by checking the list of non-fiendish, non-evil NPCs who had been shown mercy in the past, and defaulted to one of them, if possible, using the eryines as a last resort, if none of the other suspects had the tools to save the PCs.

I do have some NPCs repent, or change sides; some are even sincere, though for others it's an opportunity to get in with the winning side, when the writing's on the wall.

But I generally have an idea which NPCs are susceptible to this, before the game is run. Some NPCs know their crimes are so foul they will never be granted amnesty. Some claim ignorance "I was just hired to guard this building, I didn't know what was going on upstairs, honest!". The latter are more likely to surrender, turn on their employer, or just run into the sunset.

I think you're mistaken, if you believe this account proves anything about the wisdom of granting mercy to enemies.
From your own account, the GM was as surprised as the players, that a plea for mercy had actually worked.
Under a lot of GMs, including ones I've gamed with, that one action would have been the catalyst, which doomed the PCs. The erinyes would have ported off, healed up, buffed, and come back to kill them when they were weakened. No question.
"But why? When it was granted mercy?"
Because it's a devil. It's evil. That's what evil creatures do. They don't spend much time mulling over their past deeds, wondering whether they were mistaken, to have caused suffering. They justify themselves as always being in the right, and their enemies/victims as being in the wrong, and deserving of their fate.
The erinyes had a reason for being there, an agenda for the overall campaign. And the PCs are still, presumably, interfering in that. So they have to die.
And if she even remembers that one of the PCs failed to take the killing blow, or shielded her from it, that is most likely to cause her contempt. Might Makes Right, in Hell, after all.
If by some miracle, she decides to reward that PC, it will be in the form of "I owe that one. I will kill him last.".

What you are actually describing, with that story, is a GM trying to rescue his campaign from a series of unbelievably unlucky dice-rolls.
Since any party able to fight such a group of creatures (of whom an Erinyes is not even the focus), should have "Save vs Everything at 2+, With Re-Rolls" as a universal ability.

He also likely predicted, that if he adjudicated the most likely consequences of the erinyes escaping (the party being hunted down and killed by the erinyes), the group would implode in angry recriminations, which may even wreck their ability to ever sit at the same table again.

Given the choice, between having the campaign end in an explosion of bitter infighting, or on the whimper of a freakish run of bad luck (and throwing months of prep and playtime down the toilet);
or keeping it going, via some out-of-character retcon, he chose the latter.
I'd have done the same. I'm only human, and I don't want to see everything end on a downer, when there's still 100 pages of scenario to go.

You have a sympathetic GM, there, who wants his group to have fun. He sounds like a keeper.
But don't mistake his choice, to mitigate the consequences of a player's boneheaded decision, as proof that the original decision was any less boneheaded.

Andoran

Sorry I don't have time to read the whole thread, so if my comment is redundant, please forgive me.

1- Yeah you have a frikin evil Paladin there who has lost his 'inhood :D

2- Detect evil won't detect any evil under 5th level, unless that creature is about to OR in the act of committing an evil act.

3- Paladin will not just kill anyone whom they detect as evil, while walking don the street (he'd never get sleep for one-thing - And -
It would be quite funny if he ran this character through pfs 1st steps, because he would detect evil on the Para-Countessa of Cheliax :)

4- On a side note, if you had a Porthole to Abyss open, with a view to a DemonPrinces private den.., A low level Paladin 'detecting evil' on him would have to make a huge save to NOT go into SHOCK - as per spell description as I recall (always fun: )

Paladin's stand by a strict moral code (which is helpful to have written out by the character).
While a Paladin will not just attack anyone radiating evil in the street, he can have a conversation of redemption with them.
Paladin's should always react to 'detect evil' within a town, for it usually represents an evil act 'about' to be committed: Justy is strolling down the street scanning for E-V-I-L.., Hello Mr. Baker, Hello Mr. Fishmonger, Hello... -BING-Bing-Bing!!! GOLY GEE Batman Mr. Baker is suddenly radiating evil, as he produces a knife to wield against that wife-covetting Fishmonger!
Now the Paladin can try to prevent an evil act from happening, and save the soul of the distraught Baker ;)

Paladin's can be quite fun to play, but u as the GM too, have to be careful of what positions you get him into. If he's going to be stupid, then it's not your fault - lol

Paladin's adhere strictly to THEIR own moral code, law and goodness in this order: Good/Law.
=========================================================
• A Paladin walking through an mostly evil city, is already in trouble on many levels.
He can see lots of 'evil' going on, and in dismay realizes there is little he can do at the moment.
• He spots smugglers freeing slaves, thus breaking one of the few laws within the forsaken town. He's glad, it's not one of his laws because he dislikes slavery with a passion, and looks the other way.
• He spots a thug about to club some one from behind, and he 'accidentally' sticks out his foot to trip the ruffian, and then continues on his way...
--- The Paladin has completed his mission of scouting out the town without getting himself or any party members killed - lol --

Finally a paladin doesn't have to sound like a wuss - I've played some very intimidating 'Clint-Eastwood' sounding paladin's. I've also played Justy the Justifier who was a very prim-'proper' totally gay paladin. They all had their own Moral Codes of 'good' 'law' and 'honor' :D


Rynjin wrote:
Tryn wrote:


@Cheliax: Every Paladin who walks the streets of Cheliax and not doing anything against the evil there only because it's common, should fall.

This is pretty much the definition of Stupid Good.

Because picking a fight with an entire country is both idiotic and pointless.

I'm not saying he should pick the fight (this would be stupid), but even small things matter and could have big impact. (giving a poor man in this town somethign to eat, free a unjust jailed person etc.)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

That's an interesting point, and it's part of the way I deal with paladins in my games: honour is for honourable foes. (In all cases here, there is an unspoken "barring knowledge to the contrary".)

If an Erinyes cries "Mercy!", I would expect a paladin to stay his sword (assuming he knows enough to know that she is LE), because while she is Evil, it is fair to presume that her lawful nature would require her to repay the mercy. Should she not pay him back in kind before the paladin becomes aware of another evil act, she becomes fair game. She also becomes fair game if she violates either the spirit or the letter of her parole.

In the same situation with a Succubus, however, knowing that she is CE, the paladin cannot trust that she would ever abide by either the spirit or letter of any parole offered, and I'd let him smite away without a second thought.

In the case of the wererat begging for its life, I do not think the paladin had enough information to judge it worthy of death, since the only source he paid attention to was his Detect Evil. Yes, he knew that it was capable of wilfully harming innocents by its very nature, but he is required to be compassionate and act with honour: continuing to attack a target who chooses to not fight back is not honourable. That is a code violation.


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Whether or not attacking the wererat is a "good" action, I definitely wouldn't consider it honorable. Attacking a target who has done nothing to fight back isn't honorable.


Is killing the wear rat lawful, the answer is probably yes most laws are pragmatic rather than moral and the were curse is a very significant threat to 'humanity'. So I imagine the laws regarding the treatment of were creatures are along the line of smite with extreme prejudice.

Which leaves wherever the action was evil, killing the rat because you enjoy killing things would be evil, killing the rat because it was the lawful thing to do would be neutral and killing the rat to ensure it doesn't spread its curse to others would be a good act.


I have to admit, even if I understand the paladins player and for me the killing of this creature is no act of evil, the better solution would be to capture it, if it begging for mercy (no a "LEAVE!" is no begging for mercy).
The question then is, what will happen with the captured creature? If it's brought back to the legitimate ruler, will he sentenced it to death?
I yes, why not execute the judgement directly...

Paladins code and behaviour is always difficult, as a DM i would not let a player fall without letting him know that what he WILL do is probably an act of evil. ("Willingly commit an act of evil")


Ozymand wrote:


A Paladin would never slaughter someone who has attempted surrender and could, possibly, be redeemed. And, according to expanded rules in Pathfinder #45 and Classic Horrors Revisited, there are ways to cure lycanthropy beyond the 3 day period. A paladin would attempt to talk to the creature, toss out a skill check, find out why it is there.

The wererat never surrendered. It just asked them to leave. Who said it surrendered?

Silver Crusade

Starbuck_II wrote:
Ozymand wrote:


A Paladin would never slaughter someone who has attempted surrender and could, possibly, be redeemed. And, according to expanded rules in Pathfinder #45 and Classic Horrors Revisited, there are ways to cure lycanthropy beyond the 3 day period. A paladin would attempt to talk to the creature, toss out a skill check, find out why it is there.

The wererat never surrendered. It just asked them to leave. Who said it surrendered?

Leave, so I can finish my evil plan. Paladin swears that's what he heard.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'll say it again: continuing to attack a creature with lethal damage when it makes no move to attack you back is not honourable. That is a violation of the paladin's code.

The first strike, I'll let slide. Getting the first hit in is not dishonourable. If it had died on the first hit, it wouldn't bother me. But continuing to attack when all it did was defend itself and ask you to leave, when it could have fought back, definitely is.


I agree with the post directly above. Regardless of whether it was an evil act, was it honorable? No, killing a creature who refuses to fight back is not honorable.

The pally should have been doing nonlethal damage.


RumpinRufus wrote:

I agree with the post directly above. Regardless of whether it was an evil act, was it honorable? No, killing a creature who refuses to fight back is not honorable.

The pally should have been doing nonlethal damage.

But if he does enough nonlethal it converts to lethal, so it still dies.


RumpinRufus wrote:

I agree with the post directly above. Regardless of whether it was an evil act, was it honorable? No, killing a creature who refuses to fight back is not honorable.

The pally should have been doing nonlethal damage.

If only somebody has summarized all the wisdom of these boards into 5 easy points which are more concise an useful than the preceding 227 posts...

http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2p9ew?Should-the-Paladin-Fall-A-Guide

-Cross


RumpinRufus wrote:

I agree with the post directly above. Regardless of whether it was an evil act, was it honorable? No, killing a creature who refuses to fight back is not honorable.

Thats right but a nonhonorable action is only a reason to fall if "honor" is part of this paladins code.

Quote:
who willfully commits an evil act, or who violates the code of conduct loses all paladin spells and class features

If you use the basic code from PRD it is against it, but every paladin could have his own code, that's why you have to settle down this code BEFORE the play. (some good examples are in the "Faith of Purity").

Good example were this action would not be against his code would be a "Oath-Paladin Against Savagery" as Were-creatures are in fact a threat for a community.


Tryn wrote:
RumpinRufus wrote:

I agree with the post directly above. Regardless of whether it was an evil act, was it honorable? No, killing a creature who refuses to fight back is not honorable.

Thats right but a nonhonorable action is only a reason to fall if "honor" is part of this paladins code.

Quote:
who willfully commits an evil act, or who violates the code of conduct loses all paladin spells and class features

If you use the basic code from PRD it is against it, but every paladin could have his own code, that's why you have to settle down this code BEFORE the play. (some good examples are in the "Faith of Purity").

Good example were this action would not be against his code would be a "Oath-Paladin Against Savagery" as Were-creatures are in fact a threat for a community.

A paladin who ignores portions of the PRD code is using houserules. We are discussing Pathfinder as it was created.


Chemlak wrote:

That's an interesting point, and it's part of the way I deal with paladins in my games: honour is for honourable foes. (In all cases here, there is an unspoken "barring knowledge to the contrary".)

If an Erinyes cries "Mercy!", I would expect a paladin to stay his sword (assuming he knows enough to know that she is LE), because while she is Evil, it is fair to presume that her lawful nature would require her to repay the mercy. Should she not pay him back in kind before the paladin becomes aware of another evil act, she becomes fair game. She also becomes fair game if she violates either the spirit or the letter of her parole.

In the same situation with a Succubus, however, knowing that she is CE, the paladin cannot trust that she would ever abide by either the spirit or letter of any parole offered, and I'd let him smite away without a second thought.

In the case of the wererat begging for its life, I do not think the paladin had enough information to judge it worthy of death, since the only source he paid attention to was his Detect Evil. Yes, he knew that it was capable of wilfully harming innocents by its very nature, but he is required to be compassionate and act with honour: continuing to attack a target who chooses to not fight back is not honourable. That is a code violation.

Lawful beings aren't banned from lying. Also, forcing an Erinyes to swear an oath that doesn't have some nasty loophole is going to be nearly impossible for a Paladin. I'd rather have the Paladin roll a Sense Motive check with a massive bonus to see if the Erinyes would stay true to her word. If the Paladin still can tell "this thing is planning to backstab me or attack an innocent" then off with her head. Being honorable is one thing, but it is not about being as moronic as someone with Int and Wis below 7.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Does all this contract negotiation take place in real time, while the rest of the party are fighting for their lives againt the BBEG and his other minions?

I can see the other PCs shouting "Aren't you finished yet? Just kill it already!".


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

There seem to be two huge problems that arise in almost every thread that rises to move than 100 replies:
1) Ignorance of the rules.
2) Disregard for other people.

1) In this thread, the rules for lycanthropy make it clear the wererat cannot be cured so late in the affliction, so debating whether or not it is possible in the abstract is not really useful for this thread.

How detect evil works is vital to being able to judge the situation and the players. It strikes me as possible that the GM or the player was not quite sure exactly how it worked (the online PRD defines no aura as having 4 hit dice or lower, being a cleric/paladin devoted to evil, or a creature actively planning something evil). If the creature had 5+ HD, 12 damage should not almost kill it. If it were planning something evil, then killing it seems justified, and the entreaty to leave was hoping the Paladin was Stupid Good. If it was a cleric dedicated to evil, then it is a active threat to society.) It seems likely that some little detail got missed by the player or the GM.

2) This problem is more prevalent. The GM is clearly not a bad one, or he would not be here, and people would not being saying he is good. However, just because you like your GM, that does not mean he does not make mistakes, or deals with all situations in an optimal manner.

For people who really think they can tell other people how they should play their own Paladins, it seems a little silly. Clearly you have a way that you really like, and you GM also likes, but there is no one way to play the game. Some GMs like paladins who are too noble for their own good, some like paladins who uphold the quest to kill evil at no cost. Some GMs make frequent uses of atonement possible, and others want their paladin to roll a new character if he falls. As long as the GM and the players are able to have reasonable discussions, any play style is possible.
*****

It was an interesting situation, and looking at it with the GM hat on, it is a shame the wererat got killed before it could develop any sort of character. Looking at it from the players perspective, I would want it dead quickly, and would probably high-five the Paladin. It is a chance for both sides to gain GM/player EXP ^_^


Starbuck_II wrote:
RumpinRufus wrote:

I agree with the post directly above. Regardless of whether it was an evil act, was it honorable? No, killing a creature who refuses to fight back is not honorable.

The pally should have been doing nonlethal damage.

But if he does enough nonlethal it converts to lethal, so it still dies.

Well yes, but only if you keep wailing on it after it hits the ground.

Nonlethal doesn't convert to lethal until they are already unconscious. So to kill someone with nonlethal, you have to do 2xHP+con, instead of HP+con to kill someone with lethal. Either way, once you've done HP damage, they are unconscious. The only way to kill someone with more than a couple HD from nonlethal is either hitting them while they're unconscious, or an unlucky crit.


If it were my game, that's a fall, with a shift to Lawful Neutral in my opinion. The Paladin was applying a blanket policy of "It pings evil, it dies." This smacks something more of a lawful neutral character that just goes through the law book, and finding the appropriate clause, but it into effect. If the single-step shift doesn't seem like it'd show the player what it means to be a paladin, have that wererat's child come back eventually, either sobbing and distraught after having lost a parent, or coming back some time later to confront the paladin, Ignoya Montoya style.

However, reading some more, I see that the same paladin had given a free pass to two evil characters because they had a good character to vouch for them. This makes me think that a slight shift towards chaotic be made as well.

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