|Aelryinth RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16|
For Great Justice wrote:
Ah, good to have someone quote the classics!
The Shaman wrote:
100% agree. In my mind a copout solution for players who think playing a paladin is too "hard". Horrible for flavor reasons.
While we're at it, I also hate the flavor of paladins being able to use lay hands on themselves as a swift action, but takes a standard action to do it for someone else. Great boon mechanically for paladins, but at a big cost flavor-wise for me, since now paladins spend much more of their healign powers on themselves than others. Not what the class should be about.
Wind Chime wrote:
The reason I dislike paladins is because I prefer my heroes flawed and damaged, capable of making mistakes and doing bad things. I don't like characters who are holy shrine maiden of purity who would not even consider doing a bad things, characters who are nothing more than conceptual ideals rather than people.
No character should be one-dimensional, even a character with a strong code that defines them, like a paladin. That's just poor roleplaying, not a flaw of the class, just like the guy who plays every rogue as a kleptomaniac jerk.
Paladins should be flawed and human like every other character. They should struggle with their faith and their decisions on a regular basis. They should, like anyone else, consider doing bad things. The difference is that they almost always reject those "bad things" after considering it, and when they do fall to temptation they suffer real mechanical consequences more than just a guilty conscience.
The biggest problem I've seen is people trying to compare a paladin's morals to what modern morals in American society are supposed to be.
This is inevitable. The modern world is our only common frame of reference, and is the lens through which we all view everything.
And, of course, most standard high-magic fantasy worlds like Golarion, the Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk have very little in common with the real historical Middle Ages. The presence of magic, multiple sentient races, monsters and unique polytheistic pantheons of gods who actually intervene physically in the world make them unique creations of their own. Not to mention the presence of hordes of PCs and NPCs wielding a variety of fantastic powers much more akin to comic-book superheroes than the capabilities of any real life human being. In some ways, you can argue that magic takes the place of technology and creates a world that is much more "modern" than the real Middle Ages.
Frankly, I don't think most people would want to play or live in the real Middle Ages. Such a game would certainly be gritty and grim, but probably not a lot of fun except as an occasional change of pace.
I never said a word about using medieval morals. This is a fantasy game where fantastic and magical things happen so mimicking modern day values aren't always going to work.
Dude, condolences. I've been in a similar boat(lethal force when needed, try to avoid unncecessary bloodshed) more times than I'd like to count, starting from my first game ever. :(
At least you have the excuse of being a good guy, the rest of my (mostly Chaotic Neutral or True Neutral) party including the GM likes to look at me and go "Shouldn't you be more killdeathkill as an evil guy?"
Condolences to you too. And repeated sympathetic headdesks.
Fair enough. I will rephrase.
Nobody has majored in Pathfinder morality and there is very widespread disagreement about right v wrong in the Pathfinder universe. Paladins have a built in self destruct button and people have very different ideas about when the button has been pressed.
As a bonus, we picked up a Paladin yesterday (our Rogue died and he didn't want to be squishy any more). His name is Percival. Yeah.
So we roll for stats, and he's ended up with 10 Int and 8 Wis. In a party with me (Lawful Evil) and the Magus (Chaotic Evil), on a scale of 1-10 how worried should I/he be?
Well, the Paladin will need regular atonements and an extremely good reason to group with you guys(unless you houserule that away). Depending on how your group views PvP, thats a possible outcome.
Honestly, unless the magus is playing an extremely tame and stealthy version of chaotic evil, it should end in them fighting. My money would be on the Paladin though.
Have to agree there. Just look at any "Should a Paladin fall for..." thread that's ever popped up on the forums.
Unless your entire gaming group shares an identical moral/ethical philosophy and interpretation of the rules, the Paladin's Code and alignment restrictions have the potential to cause headaches. All it takes is one gaming session devolving into an argument over morality for a lot of people to decide they'd rather play a class that doesn't have that potential minefield.
OH my a succubus that is actually lawful good? Garbage. Succubus's are the result of wholy evil mortals who were lustful and seductive in life, the demon is a version of that EVIL mortal on steroids. Playing games with the eraser and writing in a new alignment for the succubus to create twisted realties and blur the lines for your homebrew world is fine if thats what floats your boat. But don't drag it to the boards as an example of why Detect Evil doesn't work and Paladins become corrupt by killing evil monsters, like demons, ogres and wererats.
This feels like a dig at me for having a LG succubus in my campaign world, but even if it's not, the Helm of Opposite Alignment exists. It works on succubi.
But the point of the character is not "Look, Detect Evil doesn't work! Haha! Paladin falls!"
The question is "should a paladin unthinkingly destroy anything and everything that 'pings' Evil, just because he can?" I do not believe he should. In the majority of cases, though, our paladin will be able to say "does evil, 'pings' evil. Looks like a duck, quacks like a duck. Smite." But I do not for one second feel that "'pings' evil" should be the sole justification for the paladin to get his smite on.
Succubus feeding on town council and making them her helpless thralls, 'pings' evil? Go for it.
Succubus leading the thieves guild, 'pings' evil? Be my guest.
Succubus picking daisies and delivering food to the local orphanage, 'pings' evil? Might be an idea to investigate this a bit more.
Which is my whole point, really: a paladin should never be an unthinking weapon against everything that 'pings'. "I Detected Evil in it, and I ARE PALADIN, I ARE RIGHT!" has a far greater likelihood of becoming a fallen paladin than "My Detect Evil says it's evil, and I observed it doing evil things".
"Well, the cultists have finished their ritual to call a demon... but let's wait for it to start a reign of tyranny before we do anything, this might be a unique nice demon and we'd hate to jump to conclusions."
You get double bonus points for presenting your Lawful Good Succubus to a paladin with an Oath Against Fiends. Kill her? You murdered a Good creature, you fall. Don't kill her? You violated your oath, you fall. Wait where are you going come back
What are the odds that the Evil Cult of Evil have gone out of their way to perform a costly ritual to summon non-Evil demon? That's the sort of question the paladin has to ask himself. If there have been no hints or clues in advance from the GM that they are calling a non-Evil demon, then it's not the player's fault for believing she's evil. I'd happily smack that newly summoned beastie because the GM didn't provide contradictory information about its evilness. And if my paladin fell, I'd walk away from the game.
As for the Oath Against Fiends... Ooh, that would be interesting. No idea how it would pan out.
What are the odds that the Evil Cult of Evil have gone out of their way to perform a costly ritual to summon non-Evil demon? That's the sort of question the paladin has to ask himself.
What are the odds that any given demon is not evil? That's the sort of question a paladin has to ask himself.
Just a quick reminder to some gentlemen/ladies on page 2: Some of the discussion seemed a bit...hateful...toward real-world religion. This is not to say that things like selling indulgences are morally correct, because they are not, but try to avoid attacking real-world religion.
Paladins are, in my games, pretty much sworn to destroy that which is inherently evil. Undead, evil dragons, demons, devils, daemons, etc. In extreme cases though, it is possible for a Paladin to not destroy them outright if doing so would further the cause of good in a different way. Ashes at Dawn, the 5th part of the Carrion Crown AP, features a little moral problem of that sort. If you've read/played that, you know what I am talking about. In that instance, it is better to do X so that Y does not occur.
I continue to see a lot of overblown descriptions the Paladin in this thread. Let us examine the Paladin code and see what is so bad about it.
Must be Lawful Good, loses abilities if ever he/she commits an evil act: This is obviously somewhat restrictive, but a good character shouldn't be committing evil acts anyway. Particularly if a good character is played correctly. And according to this, you can perform a chaotic act without falling, as long as said chaotic act does not make you become NG or CG. Bit of breathing room there.
Respect legitimate authority: What is so bad about that? A good king should be followed if he is truly good. And if a king is evil, and oppresses his people, he is no longer a legitimate authority. Hence, the Paladin need not respect him. In addition, respect is different from obey. More breathing room.
Act with Honor: This one is open-ended. No lying, cheating, poison, etc. Any LG, LN or LE character would act with honor though. It is part of being lawful. Poison is weak to begin with. This does make subterfuge difficult, but by no means impossible. It becomes less difficult if the DM rules that ends justify means in situations where the lie hurts nobody.
Help those in need: excellent. Something that everyone should do. Something that a lot of organized, global religions do. A good thing all around. Tithe perhaps 100 gp after every adventure to beggars, or your church, etc. Always accept quests from helpless villagers. (The DM wants you to do so anyway.)
Punish those who harm or threaten innocents: PUNISH. Not kill. Punish. Could mean kill, but doesn't have to. You are not a killing machine. In addition, it allows you to spare the lives of evil creatures that do not harm or threaten innocents.
Overall, I see nothing too constricting here. Seems like a decent enough code. Finally, you can always pray to your deity, and have the DM tell you whether or not what you are thinking of doing would be a good or evil act. Simple as that. Viva la Paladin.
He should be able to figure out you're evil pretty quickly, and then he has issues, since he isn't supposed to adventure with Evil, except maybe to accomplish a short lived common goal.
I will say that in this instance, the problem isn't the Paladin, it's the evil characters, as the basic premise (yes, I'm sure I'm old school and naive) of D&D/Pathfinder and other games in the genre is supposed to be a bunch of good guys running around defeating evil, not a bunch of evil guys running around burning libraries and stealing lunch money.
i am NOT calling Martin Luther a paladin. He was primarily concerned about corruption in the church, not about reforming the social caste system as it existed.
That statement was in response to the 'moral authority' issue, in this case, the Bible being the center of moral authority, and the Church, supposedly the instrument of God on Earth, using corrupt practices, and thus ensuing much bloody hilarity over interpretation of moral authority.
Aa good client of mine once noted that if you truly believe in your faith, you must believe all other faiths are inherently heretical and misguided. If you are violently deposed, that's not a healthy mindset. And yet, I'm a Catholic, and I do believe my church is closer to the true then other Christian churches...I just don't think the others are "wrong", and if they are happy serving God that way, I truly believe God doesn't care about proper forms and which way your pinkie points when you serve the host. A good number of them are probably far more devout, pious, and god-fearing then I am, so I'm certainly not going to go preaching to them about their sinful ways because they use a different hymnal! I don't believe I have the moral or spiritual authority to judge someone that way, especially with a death sentence, and find it hard to justify any mortal having that authority.
Tell that player to pick another character. A ranger with FE/whatever the PC hates most, or a TN cleric who can be peeved at anything works fine.
Roberta Yang wrote:
I'm not sure if you're being deliberately obtuse, or just arguing for the sake of argument.
It's the GM's job to create a fun adventure, not punish the players. If a paladin comes across A Random Demon, then he should expect to be able to smite with impunity. If, on the other hand, the GM had the party find the journal of High Lord of Darkness Timmy The Dark and it has a recent entry that says "our Dark Lord has bid us summon the traitorous seductress to punish her for turning away from the Path of Darkness" then the paladin ought to give the summoned succubus a second chance. If the GM fails to do so, it not the fault of the paladin (or his player) for believing that she is A Random Demon.
Zahir ibn Mahmoud ibn Jothan wrote:
Wow, exactly wrong: the problem here is NOT the evil characters. It's the player of the deceased Rogue making a freaking PALADIN in a pre-existing party comprised of evil characters... how no-brainer can you get? KNOWING the other party members are evil, you make a character that CANNOT work with the party on anything other than an extremely short-term basis, and will have to be getting Atonements for doing so?
I do have a problem with a Paladin who does not embody the code save in those rare occasions that he considers to be a "dire emergency" though.
"Should"You ask Should, I ask can.
Can a Paladin unthinkingly destroy anything and everything that 'pings' Evil, just because he can? Yes, he can.
Should he? If the Paladin wants. He won't fall if he doesn't.
No, murdering LE aristocrats in cold blood, when they're just sitting around enjoying dinner is totally not acceptable Paladin behavior.
Pinging evil is A requirement for being CLEAVED AND SMOTE but it should never be the ONLY reason for the Paladin opening up a can of righteous facebeating. A Paladin, just like a police officer, should never shoot first and ask questions later, because that leads to innocents being hurt and/or killed.
Paladins just have the button people like to press. Monks (with the exception of an archetype or two) still have to be lawful, but you don't see GM's going around trying to prevent them from progressing as a monk because the act of backflipping through a window and sneaking around to the BBEG's front door to let the party in wasn't "lawful". You also don't see GM's trying to strip away a druid's powers every time they kill an owlbear instead of using Wild Empathy because they've "ceased to revere nature", or taking away their spells and power for 24 hours because the lid of that cooking pot could potentially be used as a shield.
Paladins unfortunately have a problem that exists on two fronts. On one hand, you've got Lawful Stupid players who take some kind of perverted joy in ruining the game for everyone. On the other, you've got GM's who've dealt with one too many Lawful Stupid paladins and cope with it by maliciously ruining any paladin who stumbles into their domain, deserving or not.
I disagree with this. There are any number of cases where someone could "ping" evil, but pulling out a sword and cutting them in half just because of that would still constitute murder, an evil act, and strip the paladin of his powers. A Lawful Neutral cleric of Asmodeus in the Golarion nation of Cheliax would ping evil, but he would also be a law abiding citizen of the state, worshipping the country's primary religion. He could have attained this position without ever once murdering, raping, or anything similar. If Joe Paladin walking down the street and sees that cleric buying a loaf of bread and goes "Pings evil! Slashy time!" and cleaves the cleric in twain, he's just committed murder, not to mention adding himself to the "List of Examples of Lawful Stupid Play".
Another thing is this: The Paladin is not the only class with a "code."
If a Barbarian has traditions and respects his chief, then that is lawful behavior. He loses rage powers right?
Clerics must follow the teachings of their deities. They too can fall from grace. And Clerics are of all alignments. They are directly beholden to a fickle extradimensional entity that can strip them of their power at ANY TIME.
Druids cannot wear metal armor, should destroy undead, and can't be strongly affiliated with two alignments.
A monk must be lawful, which makes him just as bad as a Paladin, since a lot of the debate is attacking the lawful, not the good, part.
Should we all play bards, fighters, rangers, rogues, sorcerers and wizards so that we are not beholden to any code? Or should we realize that the Paladin just has a bit more writing on the subject of code than the other 4 classes?
Because if you hate codes, and the GM's ability to strip you of power, then you should never, ever, play a paladin or cleric.
Because if you hate codes, and the GM's ability to strip you of power, then you should never, ever, play a paladin or cleric.
Or a druid, who has just as many clauses as the Paladin. Didn't put the campfire out properly? You've ceased to revere nature, no more spells and Wildshaping for you!Or an Inquisitor for that matter. I mean what exactly constitutes "slipping into corruption" anyways? You accepted payment for a job your church would have had you do anyways? Sounds like you're slipping into corruption, kiss your Judgements good-bye!
No, murder is unlawful killing. There is nothing evil or unevil about it.
Paladins smiting aren't fallen unless they stop being lawful alignent because they broke a city's law.
Wow... just... wow.
First, HOW is the above situation NOT a case of unlawful killing?
Second (once more for the cheap seats), go read the alignment section in the CRB; you will find "murder" under the description of "evil" acts.
Wrong again sir. I won't even touch your "murder isn't evil" statement since most societies disagree with you and it's obviously just an attempt to be contentious, but you're also wrong about Paladin's falling. Paladin's don't fall just for alignment changes (which have nothing to do with local laws) they fall for willfully committing evil acts as well.
"Code of Conduct: A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class features except proficiencies if she ever willingly commits an evil act.
Additionally, a paladin's code requires that she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth), help those in need (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends), and punish those who harm or threaten innocents."
Brian Bachman wrote:
While we're at it, I also hate the flavor of paladins being able to use lay hands on themselves as a swift action, but takes a standard action to do it for someone else.
Of course, if a paladin lays hands upon himself too often, he might go blind.
Zahir ibn Mahmoud ibn Jothan wrote:
1.) We're not going around "burning libraries and stealing lunch money", we're doing the job we were hired to do.
2.) As the AP is Serpent's Skull, that means we were hired to find the city of Saventh-Yi. That's a pretty neutral goal right off the bat.
3.) We work for the Aspis Consortium. The "Goodly good guys who are good" ship sailed long ago. Our party consists entirely of Chaotic Neutral, True Neutral, and we two Lawful Evil and Chaotic Evil characters.
4.) How I generally play my guy is "Lawful Neutral with a mean streak and a quest for power" rather than "F!%~ you die I'm going to kill you diediedie". The Magus killed his entire family with fire. Because his brothers killed a werewolf who was a friend of his. Yeah.
Thankfully "Percival" actually wrote his story today, which goes something like this (he wrote a summary to go with it, thankfully):
And he's thinking his god (Abadar) wants him to investigate Saventh-Yi is his reason. As we are currently the ONLY arrivals to the city, it kinda makes sense that he'd hop on board.
And as a bonus, he changed the name to Corvus.
Paladins are tied to the alignment system, and some people DESPISE the alignment system. In fact, the mere existence of Paladins is one of the main reasons you can't simply excise alignment from the game entirely.
I fall into that group. The alignment system really limits the styles of settings and games you can play. A paladin player turns on the radar (aka detect evil) and walks around until they find the bad person. The game becomes nothing more than a mathematical exercise at that point.
I have nothing against people playing a noble character (ala a paladin). However, I despise detect evil which is required for the core abilities of the paladin.
Just so we put this into perspective...
- OP comes in with a question that will get people arguing.
- Also makes fun of people that don't play paladins for being "bad roleplayers".
- Hasn't posted anything since.
You guys are getting trolled. Just stop posting and walk away.
Likewise, a Paladin who wanders around going PING PING PING PING OH LOOK EVIL SMITE is not playing it correctly.
Try and convince the people you play with to try their hands at roleplaying more, and being murderhobos less.
It sounds like kind of a boring setting to game in if every bad guy has an evil aura. Mix in some people with evil auras who aren't actually evil (like the aforementioned LN Chelaxian Cleric of Asmodeus) and who might actually be quite helpful to the party. Make sure there are LE town guards who love the authority their position gives them and use the law to subjugate others withou actually committing criminal acts. Or goodly aligned NPC's who are working against the PC's for reasons which are perfectly valid to them. If finding the bad guy and wrapping up the session is as easy as turning on detect evil and walking around waiting for someone to ping, the GM needs some help fleshing out his scenarios, and needs to be more familiar with the ability.
There are other ways for it to happen as well, and they're supported by canon both in D&D and Pathfinder, not to mention countless other settings.
Specifically for Pathfinder, risen fiends are explicitly stated to exist. In a setting where angels can fall, if Good is actually potent at doing Good then it's certainly possible for rare fiends to rise.
And then there are fiends that are no longer evil but still aren't good. Calistria has more than a few in her collection, and they live on freakin' Elysium.
Kobold Quarterly's Adriel, Archangel of Hope is an excellent source of this as well, considering that her closest followers are devils that followed her out of Hell once she was freed.
Granted, any risen(or potentially rising fiend should have plenty of clues dropped to hint that something is unusual about these individuals, but you're already playing it that way.
edit-There's another thing to consider about fiends: They aren't always made solely from evil souls. Beside the fact that even dead evil souls still have the capacity for change, there are a TON of ways non-evil souls wind up in the Lower Planes and twisted into fiends.
And sometimes a spark of who they once were triggers a change later down the line.
He was excommunicated by the pope and judged an outlaw by the emperor. I see what you are getting at, but I think it takes some major mental gymnastics to fit him into the definition of Lawful and not too much work to fit any revolutionary (even those much lessor than Luther) into the Chaotic or at least Neutral group.
I think the alignment system is a good system in theory. In practice...it becomes a problem. Particularly since law and chaos are put on the same level as good and evil. It becomes even more difficult when you have the "individualistic morality" viewpoints clashing. So good means X to me but Y to you. It gets so bad sometimes that people start thinking that being good is a bad thing.
Granted, people who claim/profess to be good have done bad things. But that reflects on them, not on their order/alignment, or it should. In this enlightened age, we should realize that one bad person does not necessarily symbolize their entire order.
The Paladin class is a good class, just as good as any other. It can be fun to play, and fun for the entire group. The issue is that somewhere, somehow, some idiot decided that Paladins are too restrictive and it became the motto of all gamers.
If you were honestly playing a druid to the hilt, then you would have to stop your wizard from casting fireball in the forest. You would have to prevent your fellows from eating meat if you were part of a vegetarian sect. You would have to heal every injured animal, and free every mistreated horse or dog. You would have to stop people from cutting down trees, or making roads through forests. You would to break dams and stop cows from being slaughtered for food.
Does anyone play a druid like that? No. So the Paladin doesn't have to be played as an extremist either. Keep some perspective please.
I'm getting into this convo quite late and I apologize if this has already been stated. There was a prestige class in Complete Scoundrel for DND3.5 called Grey Guard. The class is basically a paladin who adheres to a higher calling than just the church their associated with. They more or less were champions of their deity who could act outside the alignment restrictions in order to better serve the deity.
I like that concept of a paladin. Sometimes they bend the rules but it's for the greater good of those they protect.
I have always felt the kill it if it pings evil is a GM problem. They way we always played it is detect evil is asking your deity's opinion. Pinging evil is your god directly telling you that, yes the person you are detecting is better off dead. If your don't want that well as the GM now is the time to speak up (as the paladins God) or forever hold your peace.
The Dark Disciples of the Red Redemption have recently changed their name to, 'The Society of Goodness' to make themselves immune to paladins.
One or two authority figures disliking you has absolutely nothing to do with alignment.
Look people, how about take a moment and really think about everything.
As a DM you know damn well when you are trying to trap a Paladin in a morality vice. When you really have to think about it that much then that should tell you maybe you are taking it a little too far.
Also, if you want some good advice about playing good characters then read 3.5 Book of Exalted Deeds. It has everything you need to play the good hero. Also, it contains rules for having redeemed villains. There are two examples in the book, one is a LG Mind Flayer Monk and the other is a redeemed Red Dragon.
Chengar Qordath wrote:
I don't know that I would refer to a pope and an emperor, especially at the time we are discussing, so casually, nor the level of condemnation they meted out.
Shallowsoul has a point. In addition, most deities are highly intelligent, and are not lawful stupid. Hence, they are very likely to warn the Paladin or show their displeasure in a small way in the case of a minor breach, and may just turn their back on a tiny breach (a white lie for instance), if doing so elevates and advances the cause of good.
Only in huge cases of alignment breach (slaying an innocent, good creature) should they smite their servants. Once a DM declares a paladin to be fallen, the next logical step is atonement. Which means quest for redemption. Which means awesome free adventure hook for a DM. Everyone wins.
As for the Book of Exalted Deeds, it was a good read, and had plenty of interesting stuff in it. Much better overall than BoVD in my opinion. 'Course, BoVD was designed for DM's rather than players. I did object to otherworldy horrors (mind flayers) being good aligned though. Seems like a breach in proper behavior if you ask me.
Unfortunately, our beloved illithids are copyrighted by WotC, and hence will never appear in a Bestiary. Not even in lawful good form. Alas, what dark days are these.