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New Experience as a GM: Does my Paladin Fall?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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And threads like this remind me why before allowing a player to take a Paladin as a PC they send me a copy of their Paladin's Code and we thrash things out before play begins. I try and include a half dozen things that will cause a Paladin to fall (in my view) also.

We then all have an expectation then on how each of us roleplay that particular Code. No 'GOTCHA!' moments.


I'm not super up on Ragathiel lore but isn't that PC arc basically what Ragatheils story is?


Firewarrior44 wrote:
Pizza Lord wrote:
What sounds like the honorable thing? A foe is defeated and so surrenders. They are no longer fighting you, they are no longer a combatant. Accept their surrender, be it just for questioning about the area or taking them to a legal authority (assuming they are a criminal)? Or kill them? It shouldn't be a hard question. It is clearly honorable to accept a surrender. Are there reasons why you shouldn't or are unable to at any specific time? Of course, but the basic answer is, stabbing (forget that) 'killing' someone who is not a threat is not honorable. You have the option to take them prisoner or knock them unconscious or restrain them.

It's also not clearly dishonorable to execute them.

Executing someone who's surrendered can definitely be honorable so long as you are not being sadistic about it.

Refusing quarter to an enemy is dishonorable (at least for default Paladins). There can be exceptions, of course, case by case.

Execution is a different story, but that assumes the Paladin has the legal authority to condemn someone to death (a person who hasn't been legally condemned can't be executed, that's just normal killing), so it depends on the specifics of the situation and the laws of the land.


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How is it dishonorable? I defeated him and i'm granting him a swift and merciful death, as well as giving justice to those they have wronged. Nowhere in the Paladin code (or class write up) does it say I must show mercy to foes.

Legality is not and should never be a factor, ever. A Paladin's authority derives from their code/god not from whomever is defacto leader of the patch of dirt he's standing on. Divine powers gave me the ability to smite evil, not go check with your local bureaucrat then apprehend evil.


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Firewarrior44 is right, what a Paladin is allowed to do without falling shouldn't be dictated by whose borders they just happened to cross. People take lawful too literally, being lawful good doesn't mean you're obsessively focused on doing the exact letter or the law regardless of where you are and what the law says.

It means being honourable (this can be different for different people) and truthful, your word meaning something and believing in justice and systems of government or monarchies being effective and not a hindrance. Not being obsessed with the small print all the time.


To extrapolate, how do you determine weather or not an authority is legitimate? It's simple you look and see if their ethos and ideals are in line with your Paladin code. A Government that condones, actively participates in and, encourages torture for example should not have any bearing on how a Paladin must act.

So you would be forced to say well that government isn't legitimate. And the reason for that lack of legitimacy to the Paladin? It is because it fly's in the face of his code. therefore his code and ethos takes precedent over all others including governments wishes.

He's still lawful as he has a set of ideals that he upholds and rigidly adheres to even in the face of a legal entity that would hinder or inconvenience him. He will not bend his knee he will not adapt he will stick to his principles regardless of what local law enforcement thinks of his actions.


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Well I don't know about that one, Paladin of Iomadea should probably be allowed to engage in a little bit of torture. After all iomadea isn't above kidnapping people who help her and blasting them if they rub her the wrong way. If she can do it don't know why her Paladins can't.
/totally not bitter.
/totally haven't ever ranted about this.


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I'm sure your wrath is of the righteous sort :P

Liberty's Edge

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

How do you, the GM, think it is breaking the code ?

It might be dishonorable or even illegal in some societies to kill someone who surrendered

Maybe in others it is the opposite way

The Paladin should first rigidly follow the tenets of his own culture and when feasible follow the rules of the country they are in, at least the letter of it

A Lawful person will always avoid openly breaking a law if they can avoid it


I was looking at the paladin codes in faiths of purity and Shelyn requires you to accept surrender. Torag requires you to not accept surrender. The other deities don't specify, but I believe that means the paladin can chooose to do so or not.

I don't believe the default paladin can't refuse quarter.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:

Well I don't know about that one, Paladin of Iomadea should probably be allowed to engage in a little bit of torture. After all iomadea isn't above kidnapping people who help her and blasting them if they rub her the wrong way. If she can do it don't know why her Paladins can't.

/totally not bitter.
/totally haven't ever ranted about this.

I really enjoyed that thread about Iomedae, jolly good fun, that.


Firewarrior44 wrote:

It's also not clearly dishonorable to execute them.

Executing someone who's surrendered can definitely be honorable so long as you are not being sadistic about it.

Okay, so I think we're getting to something. Your idea of being honorable is 'over here' and others' idea of being honorable is 'over here'. You feel that as long as a paladin claims he's executing' someone, even though there is no indication that it was a legal execution (you're just saying it was) or any indication that the law says the victim's sentence would have been death (you're just claiming it should be,) that equals 'respect legitimate authority'. Additionally, you feel that is equally honorable to accept the surrender of a defeated opponent as it is to 'strike them down, dead' when they surrender? There is no difference in your mind, like... one of those isn't just a little less honorable than the other? Okay.

The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, which was definitely an execution, might have been the work of some paladins assuming there wasn't enough 'sadism'. Seven people were surprised by men dressed as police officers, surrendered and lined up against a wall... and were shot, in the back. That's not dishonorable, after all... each of those killers probably believed in God, who is clearly indicated as being good. The victims were criminals certainly... likely bad guys with a big Evil on the alignment sheet. Certainly they might have gone on to continue stealing bootleg liquor from Al Capone, another crime boss if they lived, and stealing is bad. The fact that they were gangsters must mean that the law had no effect on them so they didn't deserve a day in court... so mowing them down was just... honorable. Here we've been looking for criminals all this time when we should have immediately realized this was the work of paladins! It was an 'execution'... of bad guys... who had surrendered... and Chicago courts were 'probably' corrupt... so they might have broken more laws... Clearly nothing dishonorable about executions.

Wrong, just because you are a paladin does not make your killings legal executions.

Would it have been okay if the paladin had been one of the killers dressed as a police officer? Or do you think claiming to be the law and authority of the government... when they are not... would be the line you draw? Maybe that's something you think a paladin shouldn't do and be considered honorable or respectful of legitimate authority?

Quote:
It's simple you look and see if their ethos and ideals are in line with your Paladin code. A Government that condones, actively participates in and, encourages torture for example should not have any bearing on how a Paladin must act.

Okay, to make sure I am following your logic, your claim is that your deity (which we have already determined is not an issue in this thread) says it's okay to kill people. So you don't have to respect authority... because they don't follow that edict (even if the local kingdom or government actually are followers of your god, the laws themselves are actually intelligent and allow things like, eating meat or don't make it a crime to cut your hair, they're just different because people of all types live in the world.) So your claim is that if the law is that criminals have a right to a fair trial... you don't have to respect their authority because it's not what you believe... and that your actions somehow aren't disrespecting legitimate authority?

Your excuse for killing people, whether that's against the law or not, is that... you're above the laws that apply to everyone else? And your reasoning for this is because...
you can summon a warhorse and cast divine spells?

I think we are just at two different places on what you consider to be respecting legitimate authority is. You claim that ignoring the laws and governments that everyone else abides by is acceptable... I think it's not. I am not going to persuade you otherwise, but I cannot follow your logic that you are upholding the law, honor, and Justice by taking it upon yourself to be a vigilante, that would be Chaotic Good, at best.

Those are my feelings on it.


Dracovar wrote:
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:

Well I don't know about that one, Paladin of Iomadea should probably be allowed to engage in a little bit of torture. After all iomadea isn't above kidnapping people who help her and blasting them if they rub her the wrong way. If she can do it don't know why her Paladins can't.

/totally not bitter.
/totally haven't ever ranted about this.

I really enjoyed that thread about Iomedae, jolly good fun, that.

Me too, I love how people are puzzled that gods can do things and not have the same rules, qualities, and morality that apply to every one else apply to them. It's kind of like how paladins are all like, 'Barbarians can rage and be chaotic. Everyone else gets to be dishonorable, morally-ambiguous, and deceitful; why can't a paladin!? we're lawful good and beloved by our deities!'

Silly me, I always thought it was everyone else looking at paladins and admiring and respecting their dedication, drive, and determination instead of pitying them like poor idiots who make bad life decisions. Didn't realize paladins were always just looking for ways to be... like everyone else who has standards and morals that can be disregarded at a whim when inconvenient.

;) <----- winky face to show light-heartedness


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Pizza Lord wrote:

Your excuse for killing people, whether that's against the law or not, is that... you're above the laws that apply to everyone else? And your reasoning for this is because...

you can summon a warhorse and cast divine spells?

I think we are just at two different places on what you consider to be respecting legitimate authority is. You claim that ignoring the laws and governments that everyone else abides by is acceptable... I think it's not. I am not going to persuade you otherwise, but I cannot follow your logic that you are upholding the law, honor, and Justice by taking it upon yourself to be a vigilante, that would be Chaotic Good, at best.

Those are my feelings on it.

You have been ordered by legal counsel to hunt down and execute man x, you find and chase man x as he runs. Unbeknownst to you man x and yourself cross a border into a land that your masters have no authority in, in this land the death penalty is illegal. You execute the man. You broke the law, you fall.

This is why Paladins being ruled by the laws of the land doesn't work, you powers divine source is not a legal document, it is a god who has their own ideas about the law that my not match the local city council, they are not going to punish you for doing the right thing in the wrong place because they are not mindless computer programs.


Pizza Lord wrote:
Firewarrior44 wrote:

It's also not clearly dishonorable to execute them.

Executing someone who's surrendered can definitely be honorable so long as you are not being sadistic about it.

... snip ...

Part 1. - So long as your reason for killing / executing them is for a Just and Righteous cause then yes it's fine, motive matters. Wanton murder for the sake of furthing the mafia's influence is not.

I never have claimed nor intended to claim that the act of killing the priest could be viewed as illegal, just that killing the priest in no way would cause the Paladin to fall.

I also never claimed that the Paladin is a representative of the government or law enforcement, nor that he is impersonating them. He is bringing Law yes, but it is his law not the local authorities. In fact impersonating and claiming to be an arm of the government when you are not would be a much more valid reason to fall in my opinion.

Part 2. - As I have previously stated to be a Paladin you must be lawful good and follow a god who is lawful good or lawful neutral or neutral good. If I am another brand of paladin who follows a god of murder then I am an anti-paladin or a Blackgaurd.

I don't need to give the criminal a fair trial if I don't feel it is warranted no. I can or I cannot, it's up to my judgement to decide as my code does not dictate what I must do in that situation.

If I allow a local government to dictate what I can and cannot do then I very quickly will no longer be a Paladin as if their ethos is at odds with my own I will be stuck in a no win situation, given that such a contradiction and interpretation would make my divine mandate as a Paladin untenable it cannot be the correct interpretation.

If a government is benevolent then I will view them as legitimate respect them to the best of my ability while still adhering to my code, if they are not then I will not view them as legitimate and ignore them. And any combination in between. The Paladin Code trumps any and all local laws.


Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
Pizza Lord wrote:

Your excuse for killing people, whether that's against the law or not, is that... you're above the laws that apply to everyone else? And your reasoning for this is because...

you can summon a warhorse and cast divine spells?

I think we are just at two different places on what you consider to be respecting legitimate authority is. You claim that ignoring the laws and governments that everyone else abides by is acceptable... I think it's not. I am not going to persuade you otherwise, but I cannot follow your logic that you are upholding the law, honor, and Justice by taking it upon yourself to be a vigilante, that would be Chaotic Good, at best.

Those are my feelings on it.

You have been ordered by legal counsel to hunt down and execute man x, you find and chase man x as he runs. Unbeknownst to you man x and yourself cross a border into a land that your masters have no authority in, in this land the death penalty is illegal. You execute the man. You broke the law, you fall.

This is why Paladins being ruled by the laws of the land doesn't work, you powers divine source is not a legal document, it is a god who has their own ideas about the law that my not match the local city council, they are not going to punish you for doing the right thing in the wrong place because they are not mindless computer programs.

Bonus points you're a Paladin of Torag and the man is a Dwarf Priest of your faith


Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:

You have been ordered by legal counsel to hunt down and execute man x, you find and chase man x as he runs. Unbeknownst to you man x and yourself cross a border into a land that your masters have no authority in, in this land the death penalty is illegal. You execute the man. You broke the law, you fall.

Actually, that works perfectly fine. That's how it should work when a paladin breaks laws and acts as their own law without regard to the rights of others. You are warned by your god that you made a mistake. That is a blessing for you. You are being directly informed that you're being an asshat. No other class gets that connection with their faith, code, or beliefs. It's always... well... a couple more of those and you might... maybe change alignment... or feel bad... Not for you, paladin. That is one of the features of your class and you cherish that kind of attention that you get, even when you do wrong, because you also know that when you make your wrong right, you can be forgiven.

If you followed someone beyond the jurisdiction of the law and powers you have been granted (in this case to hunt down and execute someone) then if they make it to another legitimate area of authority where you hold no such power, then you cannot exercise the authority from the other location. It's not a hard concept to grasp. If a town makes you the sheriff and you have the power to arrest (or even execute legally) people, that doesn't mean you can go to any town or any kingdom and start arresting or killing people doing things that are not illegal there. It doesn't matter if it's against the law to spit on the street in your town, if you go to where it isn't against the law, you cannot legally punish people for it.

You don't get to cover your eyes and ears when you ride into town so you don't read that area's laws or not make an effort to learn the laws and rules of the land. You don't get to just go "La-la-la! I'm not listening to you!" as you enter new areas and claim you didn't know it was okay to wear red on Thursday and that people actually think jailing people for that (like they do in that othervillage over in the other kingdom that you come from) is kind of absurd sounding.

Don't claim that your ignorance of the law gives you immunity to it or that your failure to know and understand the legitimate rule of the location you are in gives you the right to act with impunity. It does not. You are held to a higher standard. You are meant to be the embodiment and beacon of justice and morality. You don't half-ass your pursuit, you take it seriously (that is not to mean you just kill everyone because bringing someone to justice or obeying legal and rightful laws is inconvenient to you.) You do things the right way.

Having said that, in the case where you chase a subject into another territory (that has laws, not the wilderness), and you do commit a crime (killing them when you have no authority or standing) then as soon as you realize what you did, you turn yourself into the proper authorities (and you can explain your mistake) but you give them the chance to rule on your crime (and you aren't denying you committed it.) Maybe they see the mistake as reasonable and wave it off (maybe there is a legal 'in hot pursuit' legality,) or maybe they're complete sticklers for the laws and justice and you serve your sentence (whatever that may be) lawfully and justly.

If the sentence for what you did is death, you uphold that and if you believe your deity agrees... then he's perfectly within his rights and powers to smite everyone around and spirit you away to a paradise of magical pleasures as a reward... or do it after you die.

You do not get to compound you arrogance and vanity by deciding that not only did you violate a lawful law and authority once, that you get to determine that their judgement is going to be and whether it will inconvenience your adventuring life. You are a paladin, own up to your actions, make what you did right. Otherwise you are dismissing and trampling the rights and dignity of everyone else that agrees to follow the law, that is you being a tyrant, not a paladin.

You must atone for what you did. You acted outside the law and your authority. That atonement can take many forms that suit the situation, but facing the consequences of what did, will always be a part of that,


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Being lawful does not turn you into a robot unable to contextualise and it doesn't make arbitrarily beholden to every single law of every land you inhabit unthinkingly. You're a follower of a code of conduct usually set out by a god. Not every single legal document ever passed out by every single city ever in history and said legal documents have nothing to do with the origin of your powers and therefore cannot facilitate your fall.

You seem to have confused lawful person with unthinking Robot.

I honestly can't understand how you would think that was a reasonable way to run a class in a game about killing evil people.

Oh and stop throwing insults about arrogance and vanity around, there are plenty of names I can think for your way of thinking which I am refraining from employing because this debate is already frustrating enough.


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Pizza Lord, how do you discern when the authority is and isn't legitimate?

To throw your "god requires you to murder" argument back at you you enter a town who's laws require you to commit dishonorable or evil acts. Now you're in a position where any arbitrary local law can strip you of your powers.

Respecting an authority I consider legitimate and being forced to follow that authorities rules to whom I inherently have no allegiance or duty other than my immediate location less I lose my divine powers are two very different things.


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Pizza Lord wrote:
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:

You have been ordered by legal counsel to hunt down and execute man x, you find and chase man x as he runs. Unbeknownst to you man x and yourself cross a border into a land that your masters have no authority in, in this land the death penalty is illegal. You execute the man. You broke the law, you fall.

Actually, that works perfectly fine. That's how it should work when a paladin breaks laws and acts as their own law without regard to the rights of others. You are warned by your god that you made a mistake. That is a blessing for you. You are being directly informed that you're being an asshat. No other class gets that connection with their faith, code, or beliefs. It's always... well... a couple more of those and you might... maybe change alignment... or feel bad... Not for you, paladin. That is one of the features of your class and you cherish that kind of attention that you get, even when you do wrong, because you also know that when you make your wrong right, you can be forgiven.

Here's the thing though by your logic you had no choice you fall regardless, as the first authority mandated to chase the man down, and saying no or not hunting him down / giving up chase would be disrespect and thus cause you to fall anyways.

Quote:


If you followed someone beyond the jurisdiction of the law and powers you have been granted (in this case to hunt down and execute someone) then if they make it to another legitimate area of authority where you hold no such power, then you cannot exercise the authority from the other location. It's not a hard concept to grasp. If a town makes you the sheriff and you have the power to arrest (or even execute legally) people, that doesn't mean you can go to any town or any kingdom and start arresting or killing people doing things that are not illegal there. It doesn't matter if it's against the law to spit on the street in your town, if you go to where it isn't against the law, you cannot legally punish people for it.

You're not legally punishing them your rendering divine judgement. And My power is not derived from the local government or a sheriffs badge it's from my faith.

Quote:


You don't get to cover your eyes and ears when you ride into town so you don't read that area's laws or not make an effort to learn the laws and rules of the land. You don't get to just go "La-la-la! I'm not listening to you!" as you enter new areas and claim you didn't know it was okay to wear red on Thursday and that people actually think jailing people for that (like they do in that othervillage over in the other kingdom that you come from) is kind of absurd sounding.

Don't claim that your ignorance of the law gives you immunity to it or that your failure to know and understand the legitimate rule of the location you are in gives you the right to act with impunity. It does not. You are held to a higher standard. You are meant to be the embodiment and beacon of justice and morality. You don't half-ass your pursuit, you take it seriously (that is not to mean you just kill everyone because bringing someone to justice or obeying legal and rightful laws is inconvenient to you.) You do things the right way.

Not claiming legal immunity or immunity to any potential legal repercussions just that there would be no divinely mandated repercussion (losing powers).

Unless you think it's not absurd for a Paladin to lose all his powers for riding into town wearing the wrong colour.

Quote:


Having said that, in the case where you chase a subject into another territory (that has laws, not the wilderness), and you do commit a crime (killing them when you have no authority or standing) then as soon as you realize what you did, you turn yourself into the proper authorities (and you can explain your mistake) but you give them the chance to rule on your crime (and you aren't denying you committed it.) Maybe they see the mistake as reasonable and wave it off (maybe there is a legal 'in hot pursuit' legality,) or maybe they're complete sticklers for the laws and justice and you serve your sentence (whatever that may be) lawfully and justly.

It was stipulated that we did not know we were in another territory. And presumably turn around and head back after he is slain, never finding out. Would you just lose your power at some random time after that?

Quote:


If the sentence for what you did is death, you uphold that and if you believe your deity agrees... then he's perfectly within his rights and powers to smite everyone around and spirit you away to a paradise of magical pleasures as a reward... or do it after you die.

I wasn't aware deities interceded every time a terrible or unjust law was passed that harmed their divine agents.

Quote:


You do not get to compound you arrogance and vanity by deciding that not only did you violate a lawful law and authority once, that you get to determine that their judgement is going to be and whether it will inconvenience your adventuring life. You are a paladin, own up to your actions, make what you did right. Otherwise you are dismissing and trampling the rights and dignity of everyone else that agrees to follow the law, that is you being a tyrant, not a paladin.

You must atone for what you did. You acted outside the law and your authority. That atonement can take many forms that suit the situation, but facing the consequences of what did, will always be a part of that,

If all of the Paladins Authority to slay evil and do justice in the name of [Good] is predicated on adhering every single edict that is passed in the land he is currently inhabiting then the Paldin cannot do his job.

What if the Paladin Crusades into hell to rescue someone / slay devils, but there's a sign that says "No Paldain's Allowed - signed Asmodeous". He Now by your logic cannot go there without losing his powers.

The position is just too precarious to be tenable or a correct interpretation.


Firewarrior44 wrote:
If all of the Paladins Authority to slay evil and do justice in the name of [Good] is predicated on adhering every single edict that is passed in the land he is currently inhabiting then the Paldin cannot do his job.

So what does the Paladin do when he's arrested for breaking the laws ie not adhering to the edicts (aka laws) of the land? Go on the lam? (chaotic) Attack the LG constabulary? (evil)

Most characters have some leeway if they find themselves on the wrong side of the law, but for Paladins it's a choice between jail and falling. Not to mention breaking the law is a violation of the Paladin's Code.


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Surrender is a request.
It's a privilege, not a right. It may be granted, it may not.
The Cleric took his chances, and lost.

If failure to grant quarter is an auto-fall, that would be an easy way to get rid of all those pesky Paladins.


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Quantum Steve wrote:
Firewarrior44 wrote:
If all of the Paladins Authority to slay evil and do justice in the name of [Good] is predicated on adhering every single edict that is passed in the land he is currently inhabiting then the Paldin cannot do his job.

So what does the Paladin do when he's arrested for breaking the laws ie not adhering to the edicts (aka laws) of the land? Go on the lam? (chaotic) Attack the LG constabulary? (evil)

Most characters have some leeway if they find themselves on the wrong side of the law, but for Paladins it's a choice between jail and falling. Not to mention breaking the law is a violation of the Paladin's Code.

At that point it's down to his judgement. I'm only asserting he's free from divine repercussions. I'm not asserting that's he free from other repercussions.


1. I personally think it should be up to the paladin to make the decision. If he chooses wrongly more people could die, and that will also be on him.

2. From a real life perspective I think a GM should decide how much leeway paladins have before the game starts and explain this to the player. Also, if a GM comes here asking what should happen he definitely shouldn't make the paladin fall. The GM is the voice of the deity that the paladin worships. If he doesn't know what to do then there is no way the player will know.


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wraithstrike wrote:

1. I personally think it should be up to the paladin to make the decision. If he chooses wrongly more people could die, and that will also be on him.

2. From a real life perspective I think a GM should decide how much leeway paladins have before the game starts and explain this to the player. Also, if a GM comes here asking what should happen he definitely shouldn't make the paladin fall. The GM is the voice of the deity that the paladin worships. If he doesn't know what to do then there is no way the player will know.

That's how I feel of a GM asking the message boards if a paladin should fall - if he has to ask it's no.

Shadow Lodge

I would say no. It might rate as a warning letter depending on his deity though. Not taking a surrender is pretty dishonorable, unless the paladin had good reason to think it wasn't in earnest.


Given that their is a lawful good deity who explicitly outlaws accepting surrender I'd say that's a pretty questionable statement.

Shadow Lodge

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
Given that their is a lawful good deity who explicitly outlaws accepting surrender I'd say that's a pretty questionable statement.

Oh, if it was ragathiel that execution comes with a horn and trumpet party to celebrate the commendation.


Torag too, but there'd be more ale


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Just call him orderly good and most of the alignment problems are solved.

Lawful doesn't mean you follow every law. It means you promote order.

Shadow Lodge

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Quantum Steve wrote:
Not to mention breaking the law is a violation of the Paladin's Code.

Paladins are required to respect legitimate authority and maintain a lawful alignment. Neither of those things require that the paladin never break any laws - though a just law from a legitimate authority should be harder for the paladin to disregard than an unjust law from an illegitimate authority.

Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
OP: I suggest you resist the urge to 'make it a RILLY KEWL REDEMPTION STORY'. I have *never* seen one of those work according to plan, and in fact can drive players away from a table.

I've seen it work, but only when the thing the character is seeking redemption for something happened before the start of the campaign, in which case their choices during the campaign express and hopefully fulfill that desire for redemption.

Nermal2097 wrote:
In this case I took the decision to make the evil priest (a cleric a few levels higher than the paladin) surrender for the following reason. The player involved has been crafting a detailed back story about the character that involves his lineage being corrupted by evil outsiders at some point, giving his character the impetus to do more good in the world (and a cool reason for Eldritch Heritage: Infernal). This was to be a moment of importance to the character, either the beginning of a downward path to embrace that family history or as a "moment of weakness" that serves as a stark self-inflicted warning of what might happen should they look down that path. The player has taken it as the latter of those two and we will work from there. So not quite a full "Fall and Redemption" arch, but a roleplaying moment that makes sense for that character that will give the players something cool to chat about.

This sounds like one of those "redemption from backstory" concepts.

Though to clarify - you're saying that after the paladin refused to accept the cleric's surrender you asked the player if they wanted this to be the beginning of a fall arc or a reminder to restrain their bloodthirsty impulses? That sounds like a good way to handle it. Hope it goes interesting places.


my definition on paladins came from ultima and the bard's tale series.
protect honor and purity of all people and places....
that said.

if a dm/gm has to ask that about the paladin and falling, then the answer is no the paladin should not fall.

that also noted.
If a groupo f adventurers are hired to take care of evil group and are not given specific instructions on how to handle it( IE taking prisoners) and they kill them all including the high priest. This scenario is a warranted execution and paladin was justified.

if given orders to take high priest into custody
the evil cult of nobility infiltration might have already managed to infiltrate the nobility to some degree enough to control the courts in order to halt a execution too. thus as already stated gives bbeg chance to escape and cause more evil.
that said if paladin refuses quarter when instructions were stated to take him prisoner then he disrespected said legitimate authority unless bbeg surrendered while dice was rolling then it would be treated as an accident as even in real life, once a melee weapon is in motion, it is not easily stopped or its trajectory altered. it is doable.... but not the dice....

now if instructed to take him prisoner and said high priest surrenders, and paladin deliberately does not grant quarter( unless it violates code) then he falls for not respecting legit authority.

that also said, if gm doesnt go into that when planing adventure.... its bad gming tp make paladin fall.


Don't forget the Paladin should fall for not reporting the other cultists he killed and not surrendering his weapons and armor as evidence. He would have gotten off on self defense, maybe with a night in jail. Now the cops are after him and his party for questioning in the massacre of an evil cult.

It doesn't matter that the priest didn't surrender to an officer of the law. It doesn't matter that the cult was battling the paladin up until that point. It doesn't even matter that at some point an evil god, fiend, vile cosmic entity, or maybe the concept of evil itself saw this guy the paladin killed and said "I like the cut of this guy's gib, I will grant him some of my power to further my own ends."

None of it matters because being honorable and respectful of the law means taking upon yourself all of the responsibilities of being a modern day cop. Nevermind that the setting is more like Renaissance-era, where authority figures don't care how unlawful peasants like the evil high priest are dealt with, as long as they are dealt with. Any paladin that is not putting at least 1 police officer in your real life city/town/whatever to shame with his diligence and adherence to protocol should fall immediately, no exceptions.


Sorry, had to go to work, but I will try and address your concerns as best I can. Was not ignoring you.

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
Being lawful does not turn you into a robot unable to contextualise and it doesn't make arbitrarily beholden to every single law of every land you inhabit unthinkingly.

No one has claimed this. That would be more akin to being Lawful Neutral. Even then, I don't see how you equate consideration and respect for laws as being an unthinking creature

No one says a paladin has to follow or agree with every law, but they must respect a legitimate authority, that means respecting their laws and their right to pass them and enforce them. If you don't think that you can, in good conscience, co-exist or interact with a town or a group of people merely because they decide that they're sick of horse manure in their streets and they've passed an ordinance to that effect, you can either keep your horse out of town, not summon it in town, or not go into that town and take yourself elsewhere. You don't have a divine right to claim that because your deity gives you the ability to do something illegal, like summon a horse, that that is a divine declaration that their laws are worthless. Just like it may not be illegal to walk on the grass anywhere else in the world, if there's a patch of grass in one spot in a town where it is forbidden, you will not just trample over it because your god's decree isn't 'Keep of the Grass.'
That is not respecting authority.

Similarly, if a there was a law in town that said divinations (such as as detect evil or reading thoughts) were violations of privacy and are illegal, a paladin doesn't get to say that because they have the power to do it, that means they can ignore the law. It doesn't matter whether your detect evil comes from a deity, a magic spell, a magic item, or an in-born talent. It also doesn't matter whether it can even be detected that he's using it (that may make it harder to be caught) but a paladin does not break laws because he feels like it. Even if his code requires him to hunt down evil, there are numerous was to do so without using invasive divination magics. They may take longer, require Sense Motive, observation, or actual investigation, but the fact that it's inconvenient does not allow one to flaunt the law. Otherwise you have a situation where the paladin is saying, "Well, it's against the law to invade someone's privacy and learn personal information... but that's only if I use the detect evil in this wand... or it's cast be a cleric. If I invade their privacy and break the law with my Paladin detect evil that makes it okay."

That is not the same as if you rode into town and someone says, "Hey, horses are not allowed in town, by law." Technically you are breaking a law, that doesn't make you fall or lose your paladin status, you either make a reasonable effort to abide by the law or you go elsewhere. If you do break the law, you face the consequences or decision of the legitimate authority of the area. Your god (in most cases) grants you those power because this is how you act, not so you can use them as an excuse not to follow your Code of Conduct (which specifically says to respect legitimate authority.) Again, this thread has never mentioned any tangent or variant paladins or Codes of Conduct. Do they exist, probably, but I don't think any of them specifically say to not respect legitimate authority.

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You're a follower of a code of conduct usually set out by a god. Not every single legal document ever passed out by every single city ever in history and said legal documents have nothing to do with the origin of your powers and therefore cannot facilitate your fall.

It does matter if those laws are just and apply fairly to those they pertain to, escpecially when its your Code of Conduct that says to respect legitimate authority. It doesn't matter where your power comes from, whether its from magical study, a sorcerous bloodline, or granted by a deity like a cleric. The laws have no way to 'facilitate your fall.' Your own actions are what make you fall. You may be tricked into something that violates your code, you may be in a bad situation where you must break your code, but ultimately it is a choice the paladin makes, even if it's a bad choice that seems like it will lead to a fall regardless. (The assumption here is not that the GM is being spiteful or just pulling a gotcha, but that there are in fact situations that are difficult and require thought, dedication, and a willingness to face them. Bad GMing does happen, but let's not assume that every bad situation is the GMs fault. Players make mistakes and sometimes do things that make no sense as well.)

If the Code you chose says that you cannot kill a rabbit (because your god loves rabbits), if you kill a rabbit you have violated your code and you lose your powers. Whether you accidentally killed it by trampling it with your horse, or you thought it was something else and you shot it by mistake, or you killed it because you were starving and needed to feed yourself or others, or even if it was an evil rampaging bunny and you did it to protect someone. You broke you Code, the hows and whys of it may mitigate or determine the penance and atonement you must go through, but there is no debate that when you violate your Code of Conduct you lose your powers.

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You seem to have confused lawful person with unthinking Robot.

No, every description of a paladin's actions that I have described indicate that they are considerate of others, think about their actions, take time to learn the proper methods for dispensing justice and working within the law, and consider the consequences and whether they are willing to risk falling (and having to atone) when they must make a difficult choice. That is not an unthinking robot.

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I honestly can't understand how you would think that was a reasonable way to run a class in a game about killing evil people.

That may be the crux of the difficulty. For you, you may enjoy just running around smashing bad-guys and racking up kills. That's fine, but don't make the assumption that you are in the majority (though there's probably a lot of people that enjoy smiting bad guys in addition to enjoying this game for other reasons.) Some people enjoy the socialization, some enjoy the challenge of playing a character (especially one like a paladin that isn't free to act how they wish), Some like puzzles, or exploring, or designing tactics, some just like designing characters. I am not saying that defeating bad guys isn't fun or a part of it, but you've stated multiple times that killing bad-guys is what the game is about and called people 'obtuse' if they didn't understand that. I think you need to pause and consider that, while some people might agree with you, your idea of what the game is about is not the real or whole reason others do.

I do understand that if you think all that Pathfinder is is a game about killing bad guys, that would explain your reluctance to view the paladin class as being one with restrictions that other classes don't have. I would suggest then, that you are missing out on a lot of things that make great stories (and not just ones about your paladin falling.) There's political intrigue, court schemes, diplomacy, converting an enemy to a friend... If you're happy with your games being about slaying evil, run with it. Just trying to rationalize why you can kill every creature that comes into conflict actually stifles the true potential of a game. Again,if you like it that way, not saying that's wrong.


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Pizza Lord wrote:


No one has claimed this. That would be more akin to being Lawful Neutral. Even then, I don't see how you equate consideration and respect for laws as being an unthinking creature

Nope Lawful neutral people have minds and can think too. I equate making incredibly stupid and life threatening decisions based on the letter of the law without considering the actual situation you're in. Like putting handcuffs on the magical leader of a dark cult and then taking them a to a village to hold them, assuming nothing will go wrong with this plan along the way and that the village can hold them whilst knowing that they have powerful magic = unthinking, or maybe oblivious.

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No one says a paladin has to follow or agree with every law, but they must respect a legitimate authority, that means respecting their laws and their right to pass them and enforce them.

how exactly does that intercede on the fact that they're divine warriors empowered by the gods, not the city council exactly? Being respectful and being beholden are different things.

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If you don't think that you can, in good conscience, co-exist or interact with a town or a group of people merely because they decide that they're sick of horse manure in their streets and they've passed an ordinance to that effect, you can either keep your horse out of town, not summon it in town, or not go into that town and take yourself elsewhere. You don't have a divine right to claim that because your deity gives you the ability to do something illegal, like summon a horse, that that is a divine declaration that their laws are worthless.

what an incredible disingenuous argument. Everyone else is talking about whether Paladins have the right to kill great forces of evil and you take this to mean they run ruff shod over every single rule. Remember when I talked about context? This is why its important.

I want to park my horse where I want =/= It is best that a kill this powerful evil force whilst I have the chance.

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Just like it may not be illegal to walk on the grass anywhere else in the world, if there's a patch of grass in one spot in a town where it is forbidden, you will not just trample over it because your god's decree isn't 'Keep of the Grass.'

That is not respecting authority.

These situations are not 'just like' eachother, two of them are ridiculously petty nonesense one is not.

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Similarly, if a there was a law in town that said divinations (such as as detect evil or reading thoughts) were violations of privacy and are illegal, a paladin doesn't get to say that because they have the power to do it, that means they can ignore the law.

actually if it gets in the way of them conducting their divine duty in a war against evil then yeah. Sure they shouldn't go round breaking the law willy nilly but if they believe that person in house number 4 is in fact a evil high priest spreading corruption throughout the land it is more important to them, their god and their duty that they check that.

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It doesn't matter whether your detect evil comes from a deity, a magic spell, a magic item, or an in-born talent. It also doesn't matter whether it can even be detected that he's using it (that may make it harder to be caught) but a paladin does not break laws because he feels like it.

No he breaks the Law because he feels that it is necessary and the fact his power comes from a god who wants the this cultist dead and has no devotion to the city council is exactly why he will not fall for this.

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Even if his code requires him to hunt down evil, there are numerous was to do so without using invasive divination magics. They may take longer, require Sense Motive, observation, or actual investigation, but the fact that it's inconvenient does not allow one to flaunt the law. Otherwise you have a situation where the paladin is saying, "Well, it's against the law to invade someone's privacy and learn personal information... but that's only if I use the detect evil in this wand... or it's cast be a cleric. If I invade their privacy and break the law with my Paladin detect evil that makes it okay.

No what makes it okay is every minute he waste's doing things the mundane way, more people can die. The potential risk that he is invading one innocent persons privacy (with minimal consequence I might have) is outweighed by the fact innocent people will die if he doesn't.

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That is not the same as if you rode into town and someone says, "Hey, horses are not allowed in town, by law." Technically you are breaking a law, that doesn't make you fall or lose your paladin status, you either make a reasonable effort to abide by the law or you go elsewhere. If you do break the law, you face the consequences or decision of the legitimate authority of the area. Your god (in most cases) grants you those power because this is how you act, not so you can use them as an excuse not to follow your Code of Conduct (which specifically says to respect legitimate authority.)

You seriously think that Torag would choose that their Paladin who broke the law by doing detect evil on a notorious Dwarf murderer is going to make you fall because Detect evil was illegal? I don't. If you haven't realized I'm ignoring your ridiculous walking on the grass examples because they have none of the important contextual factors or cases of two duties of a paladin contradicting eachother that the arguments people are actually concerned with have.

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Again, this thread has never mentioned any tangent or variant paladins or Codes of Conduct. Do they exist, probably, but I don't think any of them specifically say to not respect legitimate authority.

So what about the ones that explicitly state you're not to accept surrender? Like Torag or the Crimson templars. A Lawful good group of Assassins working directly for a lawful good god.

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It does matter if those laws are just and apply fairly to those they pertain to, escpecially when its your Code of Conduct that says to respect legitimate authority. It doesn't matter where your power comes from, whether its from magical study, a sorcerous bloodline, or granted by a deity like a cleric. The laws have no way to 'facilitate your fall.'

You either don't understand the argument people are making or you're strawmaning. People aren't saying he can disregard the law because a god gave him magic, people are saying he won't fall because he broke the law if whilst doing so he was doing what his god would have wanted him to.

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Your own actions are what make you fall. You may be tricked into something that violates your code, you may be in a bad situation where you must break your code, but ultimately it is a choice the paladin makes, even if it's a bad choice that seems like it will lead to a fall regardless.

His magic is granted by a god, Gods like having magical super soldiers they're useful, therefore the fact that on paper they have to brake a rule and therefore fall doesn't mean they actually will because Gods have minds and can see, oh look either way he was screwed, but he was doing the best he could in an impossible situation. I guess I'll keep my super soldier, there was nothing he could do. Gods have minds, they're not computer programmes with the master programming 'paladin code'

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(The assumption here is not that the GM is being spiteful or just pulling a gotcha, but that there are in fact situations that are difficult and require thought, dedication, and a willingness to face them. Bad GMing does happen, but let's not assume that every bad situation is the GMs fault. Players make mistakes and sometimes do things that make no sense as well.)

Writing a plot that forces a player to brake the rules whether they take option X or option Y and ruling that the god doesn't care that they were still acting in the gods best interest in an impossible situation is never good GMing unless you already planned it with the player.

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If the Code you chose says that you cannot kill a rabbit (because your god loves rabbits), if you kill a rabbit you have violated your code and you lose your powers.

another ridiculous example.

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Whether you accidentally killed it by trampling it with your horse, or you thought it was something else and you shot it by mistake, or you killed it because you were starving and needed to feed yourself or others, or even if it was an evil rampaging bunny and you did it to protect someone. You broke you Code, the hows and whys of it may mitigate or determine the penance and atonement you must go through, but there is no debate that when you violate your Code of Conduct you lose your powers.

are you being serious Lawful good deity of rabbits is mad because you killed Chaotic evil rabbit monster that was killing innocent people? Again I repeat the gods have minds. They're good they're not petty morons they will not punish their soldiers for saving the innocent and smiting chaotic evil beings.

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No, every description of a paladin's actions that I have described indicate that they are considerate of others, think about their actions, take time to learn the proper methods for dispensing justice and working within the law, and consider the consequences and whether they are willing to risk falling (and having to atone) when they must make a difficult choice. That is not an unthinking robot.

You've described Paladins that will knowingly let innocent people die because following the law to the letter is more important to them than being a warrior fighting for a Lawful good god saving the innocent. You're describing a Lawful Robot.

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That may be the crux of the difficulty. For you, you may enjoy just running around smashing bad-guys and racking up kills.

No the crux of the issue is that you think the code and falling mechanic is ran by a computer programme that sees infractions out of context and Paladins fall constantly in the line of their duty as I result of it. I believe gods have priorities can see decisions paladins made in the context they made them and make informed decisions about whether they fall or not because Paladins are useful to them and making them fall literally because they're doing their job in the gods best interest is ridiculous.

Your assumption about me is wrong.

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That's fine, but don't make the assumption that you are in the majority (though there's probably a lot of people that enjoy smiting bad guys in addition to enjoying this game for other reasons.) Some people enjoy the socialization, some enjoy the challenge of playing a character (especially one like a paladin that isn't free to act how they wish), Some like puzzles, or exploring, or designing tactics, some just like designing characters. I am not saying that defeating bad guys isn't fun or a part of it, but you've stated multiple times that killing bad-guys is what the game is about and called people 'obtuse' if they didn't understand that. I think you need to pause and consider that, while some people might agree with you, your idea of what the game is about is not the real or whole reason others do.

I do understand that if you think all that Pathfinder is is a game about killing bad guys, that would explain your reluctance to view the paladin class as being one with restrictions that other classes don't have. I would suggest then, that you are missing out on a lot of things that make great stories (and not just ones about your paladin falling.) There's political intrigue, court schemes, diplomacy, converting an enemy to a friend... If you're happy with your games being about slaying evil, run with it. Just trying to rationalize why you can kill every creature that comes into conflict actually stifles the true potential of a game. Again,if you like it that way, not saying that's wrong.

You are wrong, this is a strawman and the most patronizing thing I have ever read on this forum. Stick to what people are actually debating not guessing the motivations.


I'm here to make an announcement.

Having mulled the situation over, we've concluded that the paladin, having killed a creature that was most certainly evil but had surrendered to the paladin in an act begging for mercy, has violated code.

Which code? Well, we don't know which code actually. But we definitely know that given certain circumstances, in some regions, following some gods, that the paladin has fallen from grace. But, in other circumstances, they would not have.

What we are proposing is a paladin dishonour/honour regional instigation, where the paladin will be considered fallen in areas primarily venerating a particular god who possesses a paladin order who would have abhorred the idea of their paladins killing a surrendered foe. In instances where the code would have allowed the execution, they have instead not fallen and can continue to operate as normal within this region. In areas without such deities in power, the paladin is to operate on the presumption that they have fallen, but they are allowed their divine powers should the need arise.

We believe, or at least the higher ups believe, this will ensure confusion is kept to a minimum but punishment is just and fair where applicable.

Personally I just want to throw this paladin into jail, but apparently my opinion doesn't matter. Honestly, I'm not paid enough for this s$+@....


Oh s+##
I'm stuck in a thread about Paladins falling, I always said I'd never let it happen to me ... but I have.

S%#%.


Firewarrior44 wrote:
Pizza Lord, how do you discern when the authority is and isn't legitimate?

A fair question. Obviously we can agree there are many authority figures in the world (the game world) and each has a varying level of power. You would agree that a king is an authority figure. If it is their kingdom, whether they were elected king, inherited it from their father who was the king, or they defeated the previous king in battle and hold it by force of arms. An authority figure could be a high priest, who may command all clerical or priestly services in a city or province or who might even be the leader of a country. It could be a mayor, or a sheriff, or even a town guard. It could be a the old man on the toll bridge who requires 2 cp. to cross for the government to maintain the bridge or road.

Possible solutions:
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A Knowledge check (even untrained) should be able to tell you what a sheriff does or what the local laws are. That's a simple Take 10 and a minor amount of effort. Also, it's important to note that not every legitimate authority has the same level of power or jurisdiction. Typically a mayor or town guard cannot order a lawful execution (typically), that may require a magistrate or a king or other court (whether with a trial or not.) It's also important to note that certain authorities overlap. A lord's power may extend over his lands, but not apply to the actions of a certain church. A king's may encompass multiple lord's lands or may encompass all the land except those specifically held by nobles, who may be the final voice in their respective domains. While it may seem confusing to you and I (from a real world viewpoint looking in) it is probably common enough knowledge to those living in the game world (like the PCs) and simply asking your GM about the interactions will likely get you a reasonable answer. It would likely be the equivalent of you knowing what a police officer in your country can and can't ask you to do, what they are allowed to ask of you, and what a judge can and can't do to you when you commit a crime (prison time for littering is unlikely, whether they believe in the death penalty, etc.)

There are so many possible people of authority (judges, nobles, high priests, etc.) that asking me to tell you how to spot every possible one that you might make up in your game is obviously not going to happen. If a person comes up and just says they're the sheriff and that visitors need to pay a toll... and their story sounds plausible (ie. you fail a Sense Motive) then you probably give them the benefit of the doubt. You don't dismiss this out-of-hand and if you find out you were tricked, you can go and try and stop them from doing it any more (killing them because they tricked you is probably not the right course of action.)

Basically, I would recommend that when you come into a new area, you take the simple precaution of asking someone if you aren't sure. A simple "Hey, who's in charge around here?" is not a cumbersome burden and is probably a very common opening question when meeting someone. If you ask a few people, most likely you'll get the right answer on who the sheriff is or the local ruler.
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... you you enter a town who's laws require you to commit dishonorable or evil acts. Now you're in a position where any arbitrary local law can strip you of your powers.

Thankfully, no. This misunderstanding may be the reason for your unwillingness to respect authority. It is well-known (I am sorry it is very late here and I can't run searches very well, please don't think I am being dismissive) and clarified (not that I think it ever needed it) that unjust, arbitrary, and evil laws are not required to be followed. For instance, the law may state that bribing judges and clerks and lawyers is acceptable, if you don't agree with that... you don't have to. If the law states that you must bribe someone... well then assuming it isn't such an unfairly high bribe that the majority of people (the common 'middle-class' living under the law) can't get fair treatment because of it, then that is also a law that would be unjust. It doesn't mean you can kill or overthrow the town or its leaders and government (we're not talking about an evil town, just a town that might need to change its laws.) You will work within the law to make things right or devote your efforts to helping those who can't afford to do it. One or two laws or qualities that you don't agree with does not illegitmize a lawful authority, however. Lots of legitimate governments have puzzling ordinances and laws at first glance (sometimes at lots of glances) but there's usually (or was) a good reason for them if you take time to look deeper.

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Respecting an authority I consider legitimate and being forced to follow that authorities rules to whom I inherently have no allegiance or duty other than my immediate location less I lose my divine powers are two very different things.

Yes, they are. However, arbitrarily deciding that your rules are more important is not correct either. The Code of Conduct is very explicit to Respect Legitimate Authority (among other rules, all of which indicate that a paladin upholds justice, morality, and honor.) You are making the declaration that a paladin need not concern themselves with laws that your deity doesn't apply to you. If that were the case, there wouldn't be a vow to respect legitimate authority, it would be to just do what your deity tells you to do and that isn't the case. Having faith and respecting the laws and the community around you are not exclusive (can there be instances where there is conflict. yes, but conflict is part of the challenge that a paladin faces.)

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It was stipulated that we did not know we were in another territory. And presumably turn around and head back after he is slain, never finding out. Would you just lose your power at some random time after that?

Assuming your actions violate your Code, then you lose your power. I would say that it happens immediately on the transgression occurring. I don't think a waiting period would be appropriate. If it happened 24 hours later or a week later or during the next full moon I think it would just be confusing to the character (and the player.) When it happens, even if during combat where it's inconvenient to lose certain powers, the deity should make it obvious that something went wrong. The logical reason for this is so that their paladin knows that they did something wrong and not have to wonder what it was.

"Help me, cleric. I need to atone. I woke up this morning and feel as though I did something wrong."
"Did you do something wrong?"
"Not sure. I killed some people yesterday who I think were bandits. I mean... I might have just been tricked by someone into thinking they were the ones responsible... No... that can't be it. My powers were gone this morning, so I think it must have been the blanket on the bed I slept in. Clearly my deity is telling me that wool is evil. I am going to Farmer Bill's ranch and I am going to kill all the sheep there for my god. If the farmer objects, well, then he's clearly trying to grow and harvest evil, so he'll be killed too."
I think just having it occur when the paladin transgresses is the best option, as others have said, waiting or hesitating will lead to confusion.

Now, if what you're claiming is that your paladin didn't know he was committing a transgression that he shouldn't be punished, I would ask if you believe that his ignorance is an excuse for failing? If the paladin kills an innocent man because he mistakes him for a wanted criminal does that mean he didn't commit murder? No. While losing his power may seem to come as a surprise to the character (and maybe the player), the truth is, and I think you would agree, is that it doesn't matter whether the paladin thinks or knows he violated his Code of Conduct, his deity knows it, and his deity acts (because the rules say that when you do that, you lose your benefits until you atone.) Otherwise you are using the argument that your god knows right and wrong and the laws better than everyone else, and has taken such an interest in granting you power because you obey a stricter code of ethics than normal people... but is actually oblivious and doesn't act (If they aren't the ones to take away your powers when you break your Code, who else does?.) You can't have it both ways. When you commit an evil act or violation, you did that and someone somewhere with the power to enforce your character's vows will notice.

Let me explain why it's clear that a violation of your Code (not necessarily just breaking a law, as that isn't in the Code). Let's say you unwittingly picked up a poisoned blade and used it, or killed someone you thought was a criminal but wasn't (in essence, you murdered them), or you ignored a lawful ruling or authority's territory, even unknowingly:

Atonement wrote:

This spell removes the burden of misdeeds from the subject. The creature seeking atonement must be truly repentant and desirous of setting right its misdeeds. If the atoning creature committed the evil act unwittingly or under some form of compulsion, atonement operates normally at no cost to you.

Even though that quote says 'evil deeds' the spell also applies to other transgressions or restrictions that might cause a class ability to be lost. That is stated a little lower.

If you unwittingly transgressed, you still lose your power, and you still need to atone, but in this case the cost is free. If unwittingly committing transgressions or failing your Code (whatever it may be, even if you are going with a deity-based variant) you need to atone. If that weren't the case, there'd be no need to have be atoned for unwitting violations, they wouldn't happen.

Again, no one's saying that prohibited actions should be a surprise, but failing to realize you committed one can happen. Luckily for the paladin, they lose their powers when it happens, so they know that something has happened and they can immediately take steps to correct them. There's no wondering about whether their actions were at fault.

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Unless you think it's not absurd for a Paladin to lose all his powers for riding into town wearing the wrong colour.

No, I don't ascribe to the philosophy that breaking a law is cause for a Code of Conduct violation (this is obviously for your example where I am assuming you are claiming your paladin is unaware of the law prohibiting a certain color.) Unless your Code of Conduct says that you will not break a law, but we are going by the standard paladin, not variants and 'Respect Legitimate Authority' is different from 'Break No Laws'. Does this mean that you can go around breaking laws because that's not specifically worded? No. Just like numerous small actions can add up to an alignment change doesn't mean that performing them is inconsequential until the 'final straw', continually disregarding the laws quickly adds up to hindering the local authorities. People see a supposed paladin, a beacon of honor and morality, spitting on their sidewalk despite their beliefs and laws weakens authority. The fact that one or two actions may not cause an immediate alignment change, fall from grace, or mechanical rules effect does not make them inconsequential.

A paladin can jaywalk, for instance, to push someone out of the way of a cart or to rush to someone's aid. The fact that they broke a law does not make them fall. If they use the excuse that there are exceptions or reasons they might break a law as their excuse that a law or the people who follow it are stupid or invalidated, that's a different story. The paladin would do the right thing, and they would accept that they committed the crime (they did) and they accept the lawful punishment (a fine.) Does that mean they always get fined, in a Lawful Neutral community, probably. In a Good one, they will probably be forgiven. It's not the paladin's place to forgive themselves by taking the right away from others, however, otherwise they'd be allowed to atone themselves for misdeeds.

However, in th case of what seems an absurd law 'Don't wear red', for instance, what may initially seem arbitrary and not worthy of respect may have a deeper reasoning behind it. I am not saying it's ground-breaking, but there are well-known instances of color-restricting laws, such as only priests or rulers wearing a certain color. It may be that simple. It could be that local creatures are attracted by the color red and the people are tired of being attacked. This could be monsters, but it could also be things that aren't so easily killed by a paladin, like local birds or vermin that roam around eating crops and destroying property. The respectful thing to do is take the learn to values and laws of the area (even if it turns out you don't agree with them or they are arbitrary) at least you made the effort to understand.

It's possible that in Kentucky there was a law that made it illegal for a woman to rearrange the furniture in her own home without her husband being present. That probably sounds absurd and arbitrary. Your paladin might just tell a woman to ignore the law and do what she wants because your god loves designer interiors. Well, there actually is a reason for the law, silly as it sounds. Apparently so many Kentucky men went out and got drunk that when they came home and the furniture was rearranged, they tripped over things and died (or were badly injured, but mostly a lot died.) So a law was passed. Does it sound absurd, to me it does, but it probably actually saved a lot of lives, even drunk, clumsy mens' lives.


@Pizza Lord:

Take a look at Golarion and you´ll find a peculiar thing: Most places/countries have more than one set of laws. The ones set up by the local government/tyrant, the others based on deific influenced and governed by the churches, mainly because a god of a specific thing might actually be the ultimate authority on that thing.

For example, you´ll often find clerics of Abadar acting as judges when some topics are concerned, but leaving other topics to clerics of Pharasma.

So, really it often makes no sense to talk about "the laws" in a country, when you actually have multiple sets of specialized "global laws" and then some local things that will mainly be based on how power structures function, how taxation is done or has some historical background.


Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
I'm stuck in a thread about Paladins falling, I always said I'd never let it happen to me ... but I have.

I know it may seem frustrating, but don't assume it's pointless because I have a differing view. You don't have to convince me anymore than I feel I have to convince you. We're never going to meet or play together. You are bringing up good points, or asking questions and I feel I have something to contribute. Just because it may seem like a bickering argument at times doesn't mean there isn't value to the discussion. Others who come looking for similar answers to the OP might find interesting points of view they hadn't considers... assuming they make the effort. It's not a bad thing that they have things to consider and contemplate.

Quote:
how exactly does that intercede on the fact that they're divine warriors empowered by the gods, not the city council exactly? Being respectful and being beholden are different things.

Because you have sworn to Respect Legitimate Authority (or some other Vow, which should be of equal stature to convey that you are honorable, just, and held to a higher moral standard.) It's what you swore to do when you became a paladin. That's why you are held to those standards. The fact they have a Code of Conduct is as innately linked to their paladin essence as their bonded mount or their link to their deity and beliefs.

Quote:
what an incredible disingenuous argument. Everyone else is talking about whether Paladins have the right to kill great forces of evil and you take this to mean they run ruff shod over every single rule. Remember when I talked about context? This is why its important.

No, no one is talking about whether a Paladin has the right to kill great forces of evil (to quote you). The question is whether a paladin's actions while doing so can cause them to fall. I don't know if someone else has said they cannot do so, I certainly didn't. However, just because you are fighting great evil doesn't mean you can act dishonorably, use poisoned weapons, lie, cheat, or sacrifice others to succeed. This does apply to using such tactics against the 'great force of evil' as well. Saying that a paladin continues to act with honor, fight honorably, and upholds morality means that somehow they cannot fight evil is what sound disingenuous. That's clearly untrue.

Quote:
Sure they shouldn't go round breaking the law willy nilly but if they believe that person in house number 4 is in fact a evil high priest spreading corruption throughout the land it is more important to them, their god and their duty that they check that.

Absolutely, but how did they come to that belief? Was it because they saw something suspicious? Was it because they were an elf? Was it because they made a Perception and a Knowledge check to recognize a tattoo or insignia ring that indicated a certain allegiance?

If they have that suspicion already... why do they need to break the law? If they investigate within the law and find the person truly guilty, does it matter whether they are evil or neutral (or even a good person forced to commit an action against the town?) Do you see what I am getting at? It might be more convenient to just go around detecting for evil, but that is actually laziness and causes complacency (which may not bother every deity but it does tend to lead to actual problems) when people rely on it when it doesn't actually work or get the job done (like, some evil people don't detect as such unless they're a cleric or high level anyway.)

Quote:
You seriously think that Torag would choose that their Paladin who broke the law by doing detect evil on a notorious Dwarf murderer is going to make you fall because Detect evil was illegal? I don't.

I don't know, I've never met him. I assume you are referring to a specific deity in a specific campaign that allows an exception to a certain aspect of something. As has been stated in many places, exceptions can always exist, but pointing out that there are exceptions to a rule for one specific situation as a reason that that there should be no rule at all is not appropriate.

I don't really care how Torag feels, he's not in charge of the paladin class. As a god he can do things that bend or alter rules that others abide by. If anything in the universe can be evil and decide to have Lawful Good followers and even grant them powers despite all logic, the answer is probably a deity. He's certainly welcome to grant any powers he wishes to any class, person, or alignment he desires, whether they are exactly like a paladin's powers or not. That's not the point.

Let me ask you, does Torag believe in the law? You ask whether he should care that you acted unlawfully because you happened to use it on a dwarf (who happened to actually be evil). Let me ask you? Was the reason he was evil because he was a dwarf or was it because he had black hair? Would it be okay for Torag if you had broken the law by invading the privacy of someone who turned out to not be evil, and you had just violated their rights and the law? If he doesn't have a problem with you abusing innocents (even if it appears harmless to you, like spying on a woman or child changing clothes, it doesn't hurt them and maybe you'll see a birthmark that might mean they're witches in league with the devils, so it's in pursuit of rooting out evil) and your crime, because you are not denying that you broke the law, never comes to light? Maybe you think he's cool with that and maybe he is. That's not my idea of acting honorably or morally.

Quote:
So what about the ones that explicitly state you're not to accept surrender?

Assuming your code does not require you to accept a surrender. However, it is highly likely that the paladin will have made such a belief very clear. If they plan to accept no quarter, then either as they face their foe or when the foe tries to surrender, they will make that clear. Even if with a statement of 'No quarter'. They will not accept taking advantage of a foe through a deception, even by an omission of the truth. If they are proud of their belief and code, they have no reason to not make it clear. That is honorable, allowing an enemy, even an evil one, to know your intentions. If you make up a paladin that doesn't act with honor... then you are likely using a variant paladin. If your specific setting has paladins that are always known to slay surrendering foes, then presumably they will be clearly identifiable at the very least, by their symbols.

I am not even saying a normal paladin is forced to do so, only that they are clearly required to act with honor and that accepting an honorable surrender (even evil creatures can have honor) is likely viewed as more honorable than taking advantage of them when they ask for something that is perfectly reasonable to ask for among foes. If slaying a surrendering foe is considered dishonorable (and for most people they will say it is, but even if they don't agree and it still turns out to be dishonorable) they fall.

Quote:

people are saying he won't fall because he broke the law if whilst doing so he was doing what his god would have wanted him to.

...
Gods like having magical super soldiers they're useful, therefore the fact that on paper they have to brake a rule and therefore fall doesn't mean they actually will because Gods have minds and can see, oh look either way he was screwed, but he was doing the best he could in an impossible situation.

No, Gods already have super-soldiers. They have angels, archons, devas, and planetars that make your ability to summon a warpony and magic fingers look laughable. Gods grant paladins their powers because they are held to a higher standard, because they strive to do the right thing in the right way and they act as an example of what a mortal can be when they sacrifice doing things the easy way and devote themselves to doing things that exemplify Law and Good.

A paladin has made a vow and the deity has accepted they will be as true to it as they can. If that vow was to never lie, the paladin is expected to never lie. Otherwise, they lied to the deity themselves. They are no different than any single other class or creature that exists in the world, as such... they may as well have the same powers and abilities as a normal creature.

Quote:

are you being serious Lawful good deity of rabbits is mad because you killed Chaotic evil rabbit monster that was killing innocent people? Again I repeat the gods have minds. They're good they're not petty morons they will not punish their soldiers for saving the innocent and smiting chaotic evil beings.

...
If the Code you chose says that you cannot kill a rabbit (because your god loves rabbits), if you kill a rabbit you have violated your code and you lose your powers.

You are saying deities and religions do not have animals they hold sacred? It's not possible that some animal is considered holy? Or are just dismissing them because such a religion must be stupid and not worth taking seriously. Rabbit was an example. It could be a dove, it could be a cow, it could be a lion. It is not far-fetched to believe that there exists laws or rules within a religious hierarchy that pertain to the treatment of such creatures, protecting them or providing for them. You seem puzzled that if an animal becomes ill, old and enfeebled, or even rabid and dangerous that there might be a specific, codified law of who, how, or when they may be treated, even if that treatment is ultimately euthanizing or putting them down.

So what now? You feel you can ignore your deity's religious edicts too as well as the laws of a kingdom because you don't comprehend all the schemes, history, or plans of an extraplanar being of near infinite power? The point is, it doesn't matter whether you think your vow is silly, if you felt you just took a vow because it was seemingly meaningless and you thought you'd never have to actually role-play it or that the rule would never apply to you, that is not a failing of the Paladin class or the rules. That is just a person trying to get an in-game advantage and benefit. Not saying you're evil, but claiming that is the intent of the paladin class is not going to fly.

Maybe you can't understand. Maybe others can, I can accept your disbelief that a deity may feel protective, understanding, or require proper respect for a certain creature. You certainly have no problem believing a god can treat a different race with no honor or respect. It doesn't seem silly to me.

Quote:
You've described Paladins that will knowingly let innocent people die because following the law to the letter is more important to them...

This is patently untrue, and while I have no problems conversing and debating with you. I will not have someone lie about what I have said (miscommunication or misunderstandings happen, but that is one reason I try my best to be clear and as thorough in my replies as I can, despite some people trying to make me feel bad about it.)

At no time have I ever said a paladin will knowingly or willingly let innocents die because they must follow a law. I am quite sure that a paladin will break a law to protect an innocent or save a life. Such as walking on sacred, forbidden ground to quickly reach a person in danger or knocking someone out of the way of a charging horse or wagon even if that class or type of person is deemed 'untouchable' (because of royalty, station, or holiness.) Again, as stated many times, the Paladin Code of Conduct does not state Break No Laws, it states Respect Legitimate Authority. If you are protecting a life (and this means imminent danger or threat, not some potential fear of a future threat), then your actions are justified, you still suffer the consequences of your actions (whatever those may be, either from the law or whatever authority, even your deity, has jurisdiction over you. Just because a god has jurisdiction does not also mean you aren't under the jurisdiction of the kingdom and its laws as well. If you acted honorably or the transgression was truly for the good, then the atonement is free. Basically a simple act of humility and acknowledgement that it is at your deity's whim that you are a paladin at all. If you feel you don't need to do so for your deity by honoring your Code and vows, then you are being dis-respective of yet another legitimate authority.

Pizza Lord wrote:
That may be the crux of the difficulty. For you, you may enjoy just running around smashing bad-guys and racking up kills. ... but you've stated multiple times that killing bad-guys is what the game is about and called people 'obtuse' if they didn't understand that.
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
Your assumption about me is wrong.
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
I honestly can't understand how you would think that was a reasonable way to run a class in a game about killing evil people.
Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
Oh for the love of god the game is about killing bad guys stop being obstuse[sic].

Okay, so this wasn't really how you feel, you were just using it as an excuse to call people obtuse because you don't agree them. It really makes me reconsider how I feel about listening to your opinions and the consideration and time I have spent up to this point replying to you. I happen to think this game is about more than killing bad guys, I think it has a lot more to offer and I happen to think a lot of people agree with that. Deal with it.


Purple Overkill wrote:

@Pizza Lord:

Take a look at Golarion and you´ll find a peculiar thing: Most places/countries have more than one set of laws. The ones set up by the local government/tyrant, the others based on deific influenced and governed by the churches, mainly because a god of a specific thing might actually be the ultimate authority on that thing.

For example, you´ll often find clerics of Abadar acting as judges when some topics are concerned, but leaving other topics to clerics of Pharasma.

So, really it often makes no sense to talk about "the laws" in a country, when you actually have multiple sets of specialized "global laws" and then some local things that will mainly be based on how power structures function, how taxation is done or has some historical background.

I have seen several people use examples of some Golarion deities, but as far as I know, this post is not about Golarion. It's not about Paladins of Tyranny or Paladins of Torag. Mentioning a paladin of a specific sect, church, or deity is fine as an example of what a variant paladin could be. That is not the Paladin class itself as written. Having variants and exceptions is fine. Just because a person likes the view and morality and ethos of a particular one (because it suits them) is fine as well. Trying to make everyone else, or redefining that actual written class or their tenets is not so.

Quote:
So, really it often makes no sense to talk about "the laws" in a country, when you actually have multiple sets of specialized "global laws" and then some local things that will mainly be based on how power structures function, how taxation is done or has some historical background.

I agree with you, this topic was never about 'laws', but about what causes a paladin to fall; basically: Not being lawful good, not protecting the innocent, acting with honor, or respecting legitimate authority. Mostly my contributions to the discussion have involved acting with honor (in the case of the treatment of prisoners or foes in and out of battle) or the Respect of Legitimate Authority (of which their laws and rules are inherently linked.)

If the people of the surrounding land, kingdom, town, or community hold fast to a global law or even an inherent belief (such as most people of the world believe rape or murder to be wrong), that's no different really then any other legal code of laws and conduct.


The Raven Black wrote:

How do you, the GM, think it is breaking the code ?

It might be dishonorable or even illegal in some societies to kill someone who surrendered

Maybe in others it is the opposite way

The Paladin should first rigidly follow the tenets of his own culture and when feasible follow the rules of the country they are in, at least the letter of it

A Lawful person will always avoid openly breaking a law if they can avoid it

In my opinion the paladin didnt break cross the line. I do think they came close however.


Weirdo wrote:
Quantum Steve wrote:
Not to mention breaking the law is a violation of the Paladin's Code.

Paladins are required to respect legitimate authority and maintain a lawful alignment. Neither of those things require that the paladin never break any laws - though a just law from a legitimate authority should be harder for the paladin to disregard than an unjust law from an illegitimate authority.

Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
OP: I suggest you resist the urge to 'make it a RILLY KEWL REDEMPTION STORY'. I have *never* seen one of those work according to plan, and in fact can drive players away from a table.

I've seen it work, but only when the thing the character is seeking redemption for something happened before the start of the campaign, in which case their choices during the campaign express and hopefully fulfill that desire for redemption.

Nermal2097 wrote:
In this case I took the decision to make the evil priest (a cleric a few levels higher than the paladin) surrender for the following reason. The player involved has been crafting a detailed back story about the character that involves his lineage being corrupted by evil outsiders at some point, giving his character the impetus to do more good in the world (and a cool reason for Eldritch Heritage: Infernal). This was to be a moment of importance to the character, either the beginning of a downward path to embrace that family history or as a "moment of weakness" that serves as a stark self-inflicted warning of what might happen should they look down that path. The player has taken it as the latter of those two and we will work from there. So not quite a full "Fall and Redemption" arch, but a roleplaying moment that makes sense for that character that will give the players something cool to chat about.

This sounds like one of those "redemption from backstory" concepts.

Though to clarify - you're saying that after the paladin refused to accept the cleric's surrender you asked the player if they wanted this to be the beginning...

As a GM I am keen to let players have as much control over their story as possible. As I have said i didnt think this as was enough to make them fall as a paladin. But it could have been enough to start them down that path.

In this case the player is all aboard for the "must do better" feeling from their god and renew their efforts to do good things in the world. Also the paladin has a Hippogryff mount which is too cool to give up.


I also feel that way, there just wasn't enough there to get a sense of the paladin's motives or intent. It's probably for the best you didn't try and go into any more details of the story, though.

What lands, laws, rulers, authority or religion the paladin had or what was actually said between the paladin and cleric, or how the player stated his character was acting. It makes it hard to be thorough when objectivity is probably best... You've got a lot of grit sticking it out this long.


nicholas storm wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:

1. I personally think it should be up to the paladin to make the decision. If he chooses wrongly more people could die, and that will also be on him.

2. From a real life perspective I think a GM should decide how much leeway paladins have before the game starts and explain this to the player. Also, if a GM comes here asking what should happen he definitely shouldn't make the paladin fall. The GM is the voice of the deity that the paladin worships. If he doesn't know what to do then there is no way the player will know.

That's how I feel of a GM asking the message boards if a paladin should fall - if he has to ask it's no.

In this case, as it was the first time i have GM'd a group with a paladin that even came close to doing something "bad", i asked because i was curious as to what other people thought.


Pizza Lord wrote:

I also feel that way, there just wasn't enough there to get a sense of the paladin's motives or intent. It's probably for the best you didn't try and go into any more details of the story, though.

What lands, laws, rulers, authority or religion the paladin had or what was actually said between the paladin and cleric, or how the player stated his character was acting. It makes it hard to be thorough when objectivity is probably best... You've got a lot of grit sticking it out this long.

There are quite a few details that I had left out, including the race of both paladin and cleric (homebrewed winged albino elf and a hybrid deep one respectively). I also didnt mention that a legal entity of the crown had given them some legal powers directly related to the swift end of the deep one cult within the city. I also didnt go into the fact that paladin had done the significant portion of the damage the cleric had taken so far. Then there was the fact that the cleric had just hit the paladin with Fearful Touch, thud removing her immunity to fear. Or that the party wizard had inflicted Blindness on the cleric. All relevant i guess :)


Definitely, it wouldn't have changed my view on paladin's in general. Would have made it really easy to answer your question and it wouldn't have turned into a 'Paladin's Fall' topic. I am just going to assume you're messing with everyone now though and seeing what shakes out.

It was a new experience for you. Obviously no one wants to make a mistake, but I don't think anyone gets paladins right the first time... sometimes multiple times. Now... don't ever do this again. :)


@ Pizza Lord You misunderstood my first point and then proceeded to argue for it.

My first point was how do you consider an authority legitimate and by extension how do you tell which laws you must abide?

You then go on to state arbitrary/unjust laws can be ignored without a penalty however other arbitrary laws cannot be ignored without penalty.

There's a dissonance here.

Quote:
A paladin can jaywalk, for instance, to push someone out of the way of a cart or to rush to someone's aid. The fact that they broke a law does not make them fall.

The above is an instance of you stating ignoring a law to do good and the repercussions being only financial. but him not losing his powers despite breaking a law.

You've also stated it's OK to break laws when you feel they are unjust. Like paying a mandatory 'tithe' (bribe) to judges and officials which is no more arbitrary than a toll to cross a bridge (pay or lose powers by your argument).

Your argument/positions has not internal consistency and is totally subjective over what is and isn't just.

==========================

On the issue of atonement.

You're honestly saying that a Paladin can expect to Pay 500 - 3000 gold (spell-casting services are not free, and knowingly breaking a law by your logic automatically adds 2500 gp to the cost) for a 5th level spell more or less every time he goes out to fight evil in addition to losing his powers at the first arbitrary legal obstacle he encounters.

You're also in a position where knowingly killing an Evil high priest who is directly working against your faith (raising hoards of undead / blood sacrifice of orphans what have you) will instantly cost you all of you powers and abilities to fight evil until you can find a 9th+ level cleric and pay 3,000 gold for atonement as you willingly broke a law of the city that say do not kill Priests (city is LN).

The Padadin is being PUNISHED BY HIS GOD for saving orphans / people souls / carrying out his will, for the sole reason that he broke a local mortal law

Or even more absurd entering the castle of an evil vampire king (who is the legitimate authority of the land) who murders his people and raises them as undead causes instant loss of powers as the decree of the land is no one but those the king has designated may enter the castle. instant 3,000 gold tax and loss of powers.

(or even my previous enter Hell example)

It's by your logic impossible for a Paladin to overthrow a Tyrant (without divine penalty) by your logic unless you arbitrarily decide he's not a legitimate authority.


Pizza Lord wrote:
At no time have I ever said a paladin will knowingly or willingly let innocents die because they must follow a law. I am quite sure that a paladin will break a law to protect an innocent or save a life. Such as walking on sacred, forbidden ground to quickly reach a person in danger or knocking someone out of the way of a charging horse or wagon even if that class or type of person is deemed 'untouchable' (because of royalty, station, or holiness.) Again, as stated many times, the Paladin Code of Conduct does not state Break No Laws, it states Respect Legitimate Authority. If you are protecting a life (and this means imminent danger or threat, not some potential fear of a future threat), then your actions are justified, you still suffer the consequences of your actions (whatever those may be, either from the law or whatever authority, even your deity, has jurisdiction over you.

So we're basically arguing the same point with a different perspectives.

I read your quote as:

"A Paladin can break any law so long as they think they are Justified in doing so. The Paladin will not fall as a result of breaking that law if their motive for doing so is in adherence to the Paladin's code and ethos. It does not make them immune to legal repercussions but, it does mean they would not Fall as a result."

What confuses me is your position seems to omit the very last part (not falling). The notion that upholding/sticking to your principles and values would cause you to fall is patently absurd to me.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Lawful has nothing whatsoever to do with the law. That is to say, it can, but it never has to. Even a Lawful Neutral person might have no regard whatsoever for the laws of, say, the King of Taldor--they might be Lawful Neutral because they themselves are faithful agents, right or wrong, of Taldor's enemies in Qadira, obedient to the rules of their organization and the orders they are given, even as carrying out those orders breaks Taldor's laws and destabilizes it's government. Or they may have been raised in Thieves Guild, illegal, but possessed of an organizational code which they faithfully adhere to.

Lawful means order, discipline, consistency, a firm belief in universal principles. None of that means following every rule that may be imposed on you. Hell, in some cases, a Lawful person might well be more likely to break the law than a Chaotic person, who might have the flexibility to insincerely go along with something that offends their principles that a Lawful person simply cannot countenance, even temporarily.

A Paladin is Lawful not because they over any temporal law--though they certainly don't break them casually, either--but because they keep to he unyielding principles of their Code, as dictated by their Paladin order, God, or potentially their own consistent set of principles. Now, absent any further context, I'd say most versions of the Paladin Code at least strongly encourage accepting the cult leader's surrender, but there's also no shortage of those that allow denying it, and perhaps even require it. And while I favor merciful Paladins, assumptions of both the game in general and their particular mechanics make comparisons to modern expectations of policing imperfect at best. So, if expectations about how the paladin should view surrender weren't properly calibrated before all this, I'd say make sure an understanding is reached going forward, but leave this one alone.

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