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!
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:
"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.
A Paladin would never slaughter someone who has attempted surrender and could, possibly, be redeemed.
Not precise enough! Try this:-
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!
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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 :)
Because, as said in another thread, egalitarian and modern ways of thinking don't mix with paladins
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)
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???!?!"
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
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?
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.
Jason Terlecki wrote:
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.
What you are actually describing, with that story, is a GM trying to rescue his campaign from a series of unbelievably unlucky dice-rolls.
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);
You have a sympathetic GM, there, who wants his group to have fun. He sounds like a keeper.
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 -
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).
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.
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
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.)
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.
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).
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")
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.
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.
But if he does enough nonlethal it converts to lethal, so it still dies.
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...
Thats right but a nonhonorable action is only a reason to fall if "honor" is part of this paladins code.
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.
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.
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!".
There seem to be two huge problems that arise in almost every thread that rises to move than 100 replies:
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 ^_^
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.
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