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My player wants to play a Paladin! What do I do?


Advice

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I've got a player in my game who has been playing a fairly anemic gnome druid. (He has the weather domain, and a Str 10 & Cha 12, as examples of choices that have proven underwhelming in play.) Part of it is that he's had some rotten dice rolls, a problem for any character class. Part is that we've got a hunter in the party who's been treading on his toes a lot. He's been waiting for his spells to get more powerful at 5th level. (They've just hit 4th.) And maybe that's the answer.

I've told him I'd let him rearrange his stats, pick a different domain, whatever. We talked about it again tonight. He's now saying that he'd rather just retire the character and bring in a new one. Which also is fine. Except...

What he wants to do, strongly, is to play a paladin! A paladin of Sarenrae, if it matters.

When we started, I told the group I wasn't comfortable GMing a paladin PC. I DO NOT want to be posting the next "Should the Paladin Fall?" thread!

But now I'm considering it... This is a very good friend, and it's what he wants to play... And the party's fighters, a magus and a hunter/tiger combo, tend to be glass cannons...

Reasons for angst:
I tend to play CG characters myself, which may be part of it. As I've played characters, I haven't understood the concept of restricting myself from doing good because of pesky rules or laws. Okay, once I tried playing a chained monk, and retired her out of boredom.

Furthermore, playing a CG PC led to a fair amount of interpersonal conflict with the player of an LG character in one game years ago. I'm now telling myself that a paladin player doesn't have to be a prig. No, really not.

I remember playing with a paladin in a group, also years ago. We once had to convince the character to go somewhere else and ignore us for a while. (I've forgotten what we were planning, mind you, but I remember the pally.) We were acting for the good, but whatever it was was clearly unlawful, and he felt he'd have to prevent us if he knew. I hate that kind of gaming a code. And that kind of external decision-making imposed on the player of the paladin. (He felt it was a good thing for us to do, but he couldn't help because then he'd lose class features.) What would I do if I had been his GM, I'm now asking myself.


I suppose I'm writing to gain reassurance to let this player go ahead...


Yeah that can happen... If you're willing to bend the rules a bit the Paladin of Freedom can help you... ;)

I use those Paladins in mu games as well as the LE Anti-paladin (yep that's the original :D ) and usually forbid the CE one since I forbid CE alignment even in Evil adventure... ;)

My only issue is, since I'm a Calistrian born and raised, there's no CN Paladin... But they made the Warpriest and it's so much more fun to play, it's easily forgiven... :p


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I'd ask him about his motivations for playing a Paladin. If it's about class features, he can take a class that has similar features (Oracle, Cleric, Warpriest), and use that as a chassis without having to deal with the ideal of falling from grace. If it's about the idea of being the "better character," then that can be easily compensated with appropriate roleplay, with little in-game consequence.

While a Paladin is very sturdy, so are classes like Barbarians and Bloodragers.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

It will depend a lot on his concept for his paladin and how you view such things.

I am going to assume for the moment that there are no evil PCs in the group. If there are just say no and explain that you believe it would cause too much inter party conflict.

If he wants to force others to follow his own religious convictions, that also isn't going to work. Tell him straight out that the Dawnflower cult does not have any Paladins. They lead too much with the sword and forget the part about redeeming.

If he intends to lead by example that can work. He follows his code and does not try to force it on others. Let others see the righteousness of the life he leads. There may be times that he refuses to participate, but that doesn't mean he should betray his allies.

The first rule in the Paladin Code for Sarenrae says:
* I will protect my allies with my life. They are my light and my strength, as I am their light and their strength. We rise together.

Make sure he understands that.

Just talking out the character concept and then talking about how he sees his character interacting with the existing characters can prevent a lot of problems.


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Step one: Have a talk with the player about how each of you see alignment, the Paladin code, and expectations.

Step two: As long as both of you can agree to be reasonable, then have fun.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Doing good in a non-lawful manner generally is not fall-worthy. Let the player play a paladin and don't sweat it.


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Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

In the Curse of the Crimson Throne group I'm in right now, we have a Paladin of Sarenrae.

The group:

A drug user and criminal that the law just hasn't been able to nail.

A Tiefling that loves burning things, especially people out to kill him.

A Calistrian that doesn't say much but loves stabbing things and throwing them with Telekinesis.

A Vigilante (To the party I'm just some magic swordsman guy) that spends most of his time gambling.

He gives us an example to live by, a few of us try to do good by him once in awhile but we have caused him to fall once. (It was by inaction and a very pragmatic decision... the GM jokes that our alignment is Pragmatic Good)

Paladins can get along fine with a group that isn't evil, despite them being screwed up, so long as the player knows how to do it.


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Group needs to work with a demon in order to stop someone from succesfully using Mythic Spawn Calling to summon the Tarrasque.

Someone who isn't playing the Paladin correctly and thus should fall would behave: "DIE DEMON!"

Someone who IS playing the Paladin correctly and thus SHOULDN'T fall would behave: "Grumble grumble, don't betray us or I'll have your head mounted on my wall, grumble grumble."

So basically make sure your player knows how to properly play a Paladin, and you should be fine.


Sarenites if played properly shouldn't be the unreasoning type. One of the things the Dawnflower is about is redemption and you can't convince anyone to be redeemed by being a dick. That being said the main issues with GMing for a paladin or playing one are the overall tone of the campaign and what the other characters are playing. It's generally a bad plan to bring a paladin into a gritty low fantasy story, a PC necromancer into a King Arthur's court style noble story, or a heavily armored mounted cavalier to a pirate campaign.

Sovereign Court

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"I don't see anybody complaining when they do their Paragon run on Mass Effect" - someone.

edit: Seriously people are acting like Paladin are anti-fun and the likes...Paladin are just decent human beings.


I mean, the first thing you've got to realize is that the answer to "Should the Paladin Fall" is almost always "no." If the story of the Paladin transgressing and seeking absolution does not actually benefit the game, you don't need to tell it.

The class really shouldn't be "kept in check with roleplaying demands holding the sword of Damocles over your head" any more than you should get in trouble for playing a druid who doesn't respect nature "enough" (by some standard.)

Sooner or later you're going to have to come to a decision on what you think Paladins should be (for me it's "the most handsome, good-natured, and likeable guy/gal in existence") and if your player's vision of the class is compatible with yours, I wouldn't expect any problems. No class is an excuse to play a disruptive character, after all.


Bill Dunn wrote:
Doing good in a non-lawful manner generally is not fall-worthy. Let the player play a paladin and don't sweat it.

Well, a lot of the lawful stuff is still heavy in the code... But the most important thing is to make sure your player won't play a Lawful-Idiot who goes on on enforcing you should'nt lie to ennemy, should'nt ambush them (I'm fine with the part where they don't want rewards for helping people though, if he claim it before you announce how much the rewards is you can say aloud the triple of what you intend to give the group and add "oh, ok never mind them you're truly great heroes, I respect you" and see the other players giving him a murderous glare and then include a little much more money in the loot 'cause a group should'nt be penalized when they do good things in a good campaign... ;) ) and other stuff like that...


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

If you aren't worried about Rise of the Runelords spoilers, you might read Nobody's Home's RotRL Campaign Journal, because the drow paladin of Sarenrae in that campaign is hands down the best-played paladin I have ever seen (well, read about, anyway).


Thank you, all, for the reassurance.

I want to stick to PRD classes. That's okay, because...
This player doesn't care for non-Core classes.
He's an old-school D&Der, who is a bit bewildered, I think, by this new class (the hunter in our group) that came out of nowhere and has been to an extent out-druiding his druid. {EtA: I'm extremely impressed with the ACG, partly because of what I've seen of this hunter.}

BretI, you make some good points.
The player has specifically said that he wants to embody mercy, and that he would want to convert unlawful PCs, rather than smack them into lawfulness. (Like that would work!) He says, his rule is "What would Hollywood do?" (And that really is this player's rule for rpgs.) "Hollywood would pair the paladin and the rogue, have them make witty repartee while forced to work together, and end the film with them best buddies."

The fact is, we have a very "heroic" group.
I haven't pegged everyone on alignment heretofore, but they're obviously x-good. So the big question would be, what if the party decides to do something unlawful in the quest for good. Or what if I hit the party with a gray world, as I am wont to do? (I gave them goblin babies, at 1st level. They let them live. I gave them an evil ogrekin ever-tortured by the mutation that gave her her power. They told her that death would be a mercy, and killed her. That kind of thing.)

I just talked to him and got more background.
He wants essentially to play Albert from The Count of Monte Cristo, after the events of the novel end. Only assuming that he landed in a temple of Sarenrae afterwards, instead of heading off to war. I haven't read the book, but my friend's recounting of it makes it sound like taking the chastened lad in would be a very Sarenrae thing to do.

And he's mentioned the novel before. This is obviously a character playing in his brain. We'd have to position the major characters in the Inner Sea of Golarion. (He's going to end up in Nybor, Varisia, which has in my game the only temple to Sarenrae in Varisia. She's mostly a Taldan goddess.) For those who have read the book or know what seems to be an intricate plot of double-crossing and enslavement and mayhem, do you have suggestions on where Albert's father is from? Where Monte Cristo would be in-game? {EtA: Chateau d'If?}

"If the story of the Paladin transgressing and seeking absolution does not actually benefit the game, you don't need to tell it."
PossibleCabbage, I'm going to try to remember this! We did agree, in conversing, that there should be (at least) three states of grace:
> in grace (meaning your deity is happy with you),
> on the carpet (Sarenrae is unhappy, but giving you sunburns, not yanking your features),
> out of grace (meaning you've fallen -- but still have the chance to get back up).

Another question & request:
I thought that paladin players developed their own code of conduct befitting of their god/dess. They don't? I don't have the book with pally codes in it. Can someone fill me in on the rest of Her code?


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This is a pretty good rundown on Sarenrae.

Silver Crusade

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bitter lily wrote:
Can someone fill me in on the rest of Her code?

-I will protect my allies with my life. They are my light and my strength, as I am their light and their strength. We rise together.

-I will seek out and destroy the spawn of the Rough Beast. If I cannot defeat them, I will give my life trying. If my life would be wasted in the attempt, I will find allies. If any fall because of my inaction, their deaths lie upon my soul, and I will atone for each.

-I am fair to others. I expect nothing for myself but that which I need to survive.

-The best battle is a battle I win. If I die, I can no longer fight. I will fight fairly when the fight is fair, and I will strike quickly and without mercy when it is not.

-I will redeem the ignorant with my words and my actions. If they will not turn toward the light, I will redeem them by the sword.

-I will not abide evil, and will combat it with steel when words are not enough. I do not flinch from my faith, and do not fear embarrassment. My soul cannot be bought for all the stars in the sky.

-I will show the less fortunate the light of the Dawnflower. I will live my life as her mortal blade, shining with the light of truth.

-Each day is another step toward perfection. I will not turn back into the dark.


bitter lily wrote:

Thank you, all, for the reassurance.

I want to stick to PRD classes. That's okay, because...
This player doesn't care for non-Core classes.
He's an old-school D&Der, who is a bit bewildered, I think, by this new class (the hunter in our group) that came out of nowhere and has been to an extent out-druiding his druid. {EtA: I'm extremely impressed with the ACG, partly because of what I've seen of this hunter.}

Sorry but Druid are just late bloomer comparing to Hunter... A 6 level spell class can't outdone a 9 level spell class past level 12... ;)

But I agree that in party of 4 the new Hybrid Class are awesome...

In my 4 player group for Kingmaker my players are : Kitsune Slayer, Catfolk Hunter on Tiger and Mandragoran Shaman (The fourth is a Gearforged 3.5 Warlock ;p), this group of 4 act like a groupe of 6, all roles are filled... :)
I agree Hunter with their teamwork feat sharing (allowing them to auto-flank) and their bonus to them and their pet is awesome... But We're now level 9th... The pet are begining to lag a little behind... They are now practically at their max and won't get really much better as level pass by... The lack of numbers of spells by day he can cast is also begining to weigh in... The shaman is becoming more and more the center of the game...Same role as a cleric, without his heal the group would have died ten time already... ;)

What is important in a group is not having the 4 best dps of the dps-fest, it's a good synergy...I don't know the compostion of your group but if you've already got a good main healer and a good buffer then loosing the druid is no big deal... Making him a very good tank, good DPS, tertiary healer maybe a good idea for your group...

Who are your others players ? Are you going to go high level (above 12) 'cause in this case losing a 9th level caster IS a big deal ;)


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
bitter lily wrote:


The player has specifically said that he wants to embody mercy, and that he would want to convert unlawful PCs, rather than smack them into lawfulness. (Like that would work!) He says, his rule is "What would Hollywood do?" (And that really is this player's rule for rpgs.) "Hollywood would pair the paladin and the rogue, have them make witty repartee while forced to work together, and end the film with them best buddies."

This is very workable. You just need to make sure that the jests never get mean.

The states of grace you listed can also work well.

bitter lily wrote:


Another question & request:
I thought that paladin players developed their own code of conduct befitting of their god/dess. They don't? I don't have the book with pally codes in it. Can someone fill me in on the rest of Her code?

RealAlchemy and PCSipio already covered the Paladin Code for Sarenrae. You could look to the Archives of Nethys for the other Paladin Codes for major deities.

There are several movie versions of The Count of Monte Crisco. Assuming you don't want to read the book, you could ask the player to recommend on of the movies as a basis to bring you up to speed. The basic story is one of a man betrayed and his revenge. Since one of the main people in the story is a priest, no reason that person couldn't have been a priest of Sarenrae.


RealAlchemy, thanks for the Nethys link.

PCScipio, thanks for the code text. Is this code then written in stone -- something that the Goddess demands of all of her paladins? Or do they get to write their own code that's consonant with it?

And I have to admit, it hadn't soaked in that the Dawnflower is NG until I read the code. It definitely will be easier to live with one of Her paladins than one of a LG deity!

It sparks a big question, though: "I will seek out and destroy the spawn of the Rough Beast." Where is this Pit, exactly? I can't find it on the map in the Inner Sea World Guide. But I do know that wherever this Pally will be from, he headed north to reach Nybor, when he apparently should have headed south to get to the Pit!


Something to consider is how you will approach this situation as the GM. If you don't want to deal with "Should they fall?" situations, my suggestion would be don't push for it as a GM. Whether a paladin falls is almost entirely up to you (a few players want to do it, but I don't find many of them playing Pathfinder). If you don't want to deal with that kind of story, the very simple solution is to not do it.

The question then becomes, how DO you handle it? My suggestion would be to use questions to largely turn it over to the player. If you think they are stepping outside the code, point out how the consequences of their actions would do so. Then ask the player "Describe what it's like to watch [Paladin's Name] struggle with this decision and how you come to the right one." Use it as prompts for the player to roleplay their character. You can also ask the player how they justify certain actions within their code.

Instead of looking at it as a stick to beat your player over the head (cause it sounds like you don't want to do that), look for ways to introduce it as roleplaying and character development for that player.

The reasons why we do things are important. In a situation of gray choices, let the player give a speech on why his choice fits within his code. You'll probably end up with some really memorable moments.

And it might happen that the player sees a situation so compelling that they choose to abandon the code to do what they think they need to do. An intentional fall is much cooler than a judgement passed down from on high.


Non-lawful acts don't cause you to fall, only a change in alignment. It takes a particularly evil act to fall in one go. So, as long as your player doesn't want to play an EVIL paladin, and you give fair warning about alignments shifts, this is generally not a problem.


The best way to deal with a paladin play is to discuss the paladin's code. Then allow them to make their own judgments, because in the margins there are no objective moral answers; so defer to your player's judgment.

If the PC is wildly outside the bounds of their code, you may do well to discuss it with them. If repeated violations occur and the is no plausible basis for the PC's justification, that might be a circumstance where the paladin falls.

But ultimately presume the player is right about their approach to their own code and only give them a signal of disapproval if their actuals are extremely and repeatedly outside the bounds of their code.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
bitter lily wrote:

RealAlchemy, thanks for the Nethys link.

PCScipio, thanks for the code text. Is this code then written in stone -- something that the Goddess demands of all of her paladins? Or do they get to write their own code that's consonant with it?

And I have to admit, it hadn't soaked in that the Dawnflower is NG until I read the code. It definitely will be easier to live with one of Her paladins than one of a LG deity!

It sparks a big question, though: "I will seek out and destroy the spawn of the Rough Beast." Where is this Pit, exactly? I can't find it on the map in the Inner Sea World Guide. But I do know that wherever this Pally will be from, he headed north to reach Nybor, when he apparently should have headed south to get to the Pit!

It's east of Taldor. But few go there because it;s in the middle of a desert. And the actual Spawn of Rovagug are generally a group project to take down as most are immortal natural disasters given flesh. Generally it;s more you'll wipe out his worshippors where you find em. Cus they're frigging nutjobs who want to murder everyone, and then die.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
bitter lily wrote:
And I have to admit, it hadn't soaked in that the Dawnflower is NG until I read the code. It definitely will be easier to live with one of Her paladins than one of a LG deity!

My paladin of Erastil would disagree. Now if you had said paladins of Iomedae, it would be much harder to dispute the point.

As for creating personal codes, there is nothing in the rules either way. There are certainly multiple interpretations of each god's holy text and different people will focus on different areas.

bitter lily wrote:
It sparks a big question, though: "I will seek out and destroy the spawn of the Rough Beast." Where is this Pit, exactly? I can't find it on the map in the Inner Sea World Guide. But I do know that wherever this Pally will be from, he headed north to reach Nybor, when he apparently should have headed south to get to the Pit!

You do know that the Rough Beast is Rovagug, right? It is imprisoned in the center of the planet.

Sarenrae has some prior history with Rovagug, enough to get it entered as a special enemy in her Paladin Code.


In theory, we're headed to 16th -- we're playing an AP. But slowly. There will be a lot of calendar pages before 12th.

It's a big group...

The 4th-level druid or paladin
The 4th-level hunter & tiger
A 4th-level blackblade magus (exceptionally well-built)
A 3rd-level heavens shaman (played by the hunter's player)
A 3rd-level life oracle... maybe

The last needs some explanation. The heavens shaman is an NPC-turned-PC due to rp, who got handed over to the hunter's player. So I gave the druid's player the chance to bring in a secondary character, thinking that he'd get some action economy that way. Instead he decided to make a non-combatant life oracle. He's probably getting replaced, too.

{EtA: Thanks for explaining about the Spawn, Icehawk.

BretI, I apologize fulsomely to your PC. I certainly would not care to have someone so... puissant... believe that I had implied anything non-complimentary about their order! <looks about for any paladins of Iomedae> Obviously, the other sorts are the ones I was thinking of! :) }


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Just let the player be a paladin.


A paladin’s code should be the same for all paladins of a deity. This is something that the deity expects from their worshipers not the morals of the individual paladin. If their code was basically do whatever I want that is not evil they would be chaotic good, not lawful good.

The easiest way to figure out if a paladin would fall is to ask the question what would <insert deity’s name> do in this situation. If their actions are similar to what their deity would be than they should not fall. If their actions are in direct conflict to what their deity would do than they probably should fall.

Sarenrae is very good deity for a paladin to avoid a lot of party conflicts. Since she is neutral good her paladins have more flexibility than many others. The way I explained it to one of my players is her paladins have a tendency to be militantly neutral good.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I played a LG human paladin of Erastil, and emphasized working for the good of the community and teamwork, as opposed to being THE ONE AND ONLY WAY TO BE GOOD! Hahaha!!! He was fun.


Naruto and Sasuke. LG paladin and CG whatever. Build deep good friendship with that Paladin. Have a fist fight over things once in awhile. But when you need to get things done, do it together. Sarenrae paladin doesn't start fight unless they have to, so as long as you are not outright evil or break laws out of stupidity, you should be fine.


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

Run, run hard and don't look back. Maybe you'll forget this player given enough time. Maybe...


taks wrote:
Run, run hard and don't look back. Maybe you'll forget this player given enough time. Maybe...

Ha ha ha! I really did LOL. Thanks!

Mind you, it's not happening... We moved to Cleveland from Chicago, and he said, "I'm not losing good friends like you!" We rp'ed over the phone long distance (back when it was expensive), rather than break up a friendship. Then he moved here.

It's worth it having to stretch for him.


Mysterious Stranger wrote:

A paladin’s code should be the same for all paladins of a deity. This is something that the deity expects from their worshipers not the morals of the individual paladin. If their code was basically do whatever I want that is not evil they would be chaotic good, not lawful good.

The easiest way to figure out if a paladin would fall is to ask the question what would <insert deity’s name> do in this situation. If their actions are similar to what their deity would be than they should not fall. If their actions are in direct conflict to what their deity would do than they probably should fall.

Sarenrae is very good deity for a paladin to avoid a lot of party conflicts. Since she is neutral good her paladins have more flexibility than many others. The way I explained it to one of my players is her paladins have a tendency to be militantly neutral good.

Thanks for the perspective. I needed to know!


Although... what's Neutral in Law vs. Chaos?

Core under Additional Rules wrote:

Neutral Good: A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them.

Neutral good means doing what is good and right without bias for or against order.

That doesn't help me.

LG -- No stealing, no matter what.
CG -- It's got to be in a good cause.
NG -- ??

LG -- No killing anyone with civil rights, no matter what. (Meaning monsters are okay, or citizens WITH a "license to kill" or in self-defense.)
CG -- It's got to be in a good cause.
NG -- ??

LG -- No ignoring the defenseless, unless the law is against them.
CG -- It's got to be in a good cause. (Normally, protecting the defenseless is a good cause...)
NG -- ??

Shadow Lodge

"Neutral good means doing what is good and right without bias for or against order" implies that CG has a bias against order.

It's less "I'll do anything in a good cause" and more "breaking the rules is itself a good cause, as long as no one gets hurt."

Chaotic are actively uncomfortable working with hierarchies and authority figures and avoid it where possible, even if it's beneficial to them, just like Lawful types want to know exactly who the boss (and the boss's boss) is and what the rules are.

I had a LG character who found himself amnesiac in a foreign country and wrote himself a code from scratch because he felt like he should have one. My SO's chaotic character stole and defaced the code for a laugh.


Feh. I claimed I was playing a NG, and got shouted at that the PC was CG, because she was willing to change her mind a lot. Or yes, break promises, if there seemed to be good reason. But not for the joy of doing so!!!!

Maybe the ultimate reason I didn't want a paladin player was that I didn't want to try to set a policy on this stuff. I think there must be a tremendous amount of table variation...

Maybe I should just state that "NG" could lean back and forth, and focus on the "Good" part. There I feel I have a strong understanding. You find a slaughtered unicorn on my watch, and decide to roast & eat it, you're going to face consequences, man.


When I was was still brand-new to PFS and mostly playing pregens, the paladin was one of my go-to's. I mostly approached it as: stop evil-doers; don't kill without very good cause; act honorably. I made a point of not imposing my own code on others, but instead tried to lead by example.

I've only ever "shut down" another PC once, when his big lying blabbermouth would have completely torpedoed the final RP encounter. But I managed to do it in a way that his *player* applauded.

It helps that the Society encourages teamwork between very diverse people, and that PFS characters can't be evil (which avoids one of the big sticking points with paladins). My CG rogue/cleric of Cayden Cailean has actually found himself in far more moral quandaries than any paladin I've played!

Silver Crusade

My NG Dawnflower Dervish follows the rules (mostly). She is open to bending the rules depending on the circumstances. She is likely to ignore laws that she feels are unjust.

Sovereign Court

I could go on a long talk about it...but quite honestly would let someone else talk about it in general:

Lawful Good


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honestly run it like if he were playing a 5e paladin


Most of the time when you use the word no in an alignment discussion you are wrong. Since this discussion seems to be more law vs chaos I am going to ignore the good vs evil axis and concentrate on the law vs chaos.

Lawful characters usually live by the rules and often times their rules are quite complex with exception for extenuating circumstances. Chaotic characters judge every case as a completely new situation and never rely on previous instances. Neutral characters will usually follow some sort of general guideline, but if the guideline is not working they will abound it without hesitation.

Using the example of stealing a lawful good character will usually not steal, but there may be situations where they will take things that do not belong to them. For example if they are in the middle of a war than taking supplies from the enemy would not be considered stealing. They may also be allowed to confiscate goods from a criminal. Most of the time there will be pretty clear cut exceptions or at least something that can be used to justify the action.

A chaotic good character will have no problem taking something away from someone he perceives as being evil to give to someone he thinks needs it more. This is the classic Robin Hood steal from the rich and gives to the poor. To the chaotic good character the greedy merchant has been exploiting the innocent people and does not deserve the wealth he has accumulated. The merchant may or may not actually be evil but that does not matter to the chaotic good character. If the merchant was not “evil” he would have already have helped the poor.

Neutral good is somewhere in between the two. They will normally avoid stealing but will often look the other way when it happens if they think it was for a good cause. They will also probably be ok with stealing from someone who had caused harm. The evil merchant who cheats his customers will not get any sympathy from the neutral good character. The honest merchant who is robbed will be seen as the victim and will get what aid they can provide.

This is how the aligned character will react himself. How he reacts to other doing what he would not is another matter entirely. So while the paladin himself would never steal, he may be more forgiving of those that do.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I have a paladin of Shelyn I play in PFS, where the expectations to get along are quite high. Because Shelyn is NG, Hania sees her code as something binding on her, not something that all should follow. This makes it easier to justify ignoring a bit of chaotic behavior from companions. She would not tolerate evil such as torture in the slightest, but she might turn away from CG actions such as a lie for a good cause.


PCScipio wrote:
-The best battle is a battle I win. If I die, I can no longer fight. I will fight fairly when the fight is fair, and I will strike quickly and without mercy when it is not.

Yeah, that one seems like the one that a 'team player' might twist to make a reasonable paladin in most cases.

The only big problems I can see in normal play is the poison restriction (poison builds are a bit rare), no evil allies (usually not too much of a problem), and no lies (that is likely the big one... but paladins have 2 skill points per level; PLENTY of excuse for a muscle head that goes out back to practice sword swings while the grown ups talk busines).

Although, as a suggestion, the paladin could try out the Iroran Paladin ('enlightened paladin' on sites with copyright issues). This is the 'monk-ish' archetype for paladins. Usually, that would mean it is terrible, but this one can be oddly functional and has some interesting options.

The first thing is the code- the fluff text implies that you write your own code (ie- there is no right path to enlightenment). Not sure how much you could stretch this, but it means you could just build a solid set of core principles to stand by (protect the weak, do not allow monsters near human settlements, take down thieves since they are a threat to the innocent; those seems simple and straight foward; I've personally worked with the idea of a paladin that tells outsiders, including angels, to get off the planet).

Now, for mechanics... as you would expect for a monk-ish archetype, it has unarmed stuff... but you would do well to ignore that. It doesn't have any TWF style stuff, so unarmed would be weak. But you only lose divine bond to that. Otherwise, you are a paladin archetype that adds CHA and DEX to AC when in light armor (so you could have great AC with little investment in stats; a high touch AC compared to normal paladins).

You also trade away smite evil for a weaker but alignment neutral thing (+1 to +7 attack/damage on target, but it works on any alightment since it is about 'challenging yourself'). You get a ki pool, and you can use that ki to ignore the DR on the target for your smite replacement (ie- you are good against golems now).

Otherwise, the archetype keeps all of the usual tanky paladin stuff- lay on hands, mercies, CHA to AC, and spells.


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For Neutral you can also think of it as rather than exactly halfway between Law and Chaos, they have elements of Law AND Chaos. They might really respect traditions, rankings, and honor, yet simultaneously defy authority and easily fight back to authority. Like the Eagle Knights. They have an ordered military, but are Neutral Good since they are so focused against Tyranny. The Chaotic Good members are likely just the ones that don't care about their rank.


In any case, just as "Law to Chaos" is a continuum, within each of "Lawful", "neutral", and "Chaotic" you have a spectrum of opinions.'

A maximally lawful person might say that you should defer to your parents and elders no matter what, because that sort of filial hierarchy is important. But a person can still be lawful and hold the opinion "those people generally want what's best for you, but like all people they can be misguided. Consider multiple perspectives, learn what you can about the world, listen to people, but feel free to disregard bad advice."

Both "the system is perfect, we should defend the system from all attacks" and "the system is important, but it is flawed, this is why we should work to reform the system and guard it against abuses" are consistent with "being lawful."

It's just that the latter opinion in each case is generally better for a player character than the former.

Silver Crusade

lemeres wrote:
no evil allies (usually not too much of a problem)

Of course Sarenrae herself allied with Asmodeus to fight Rovagug.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

You can also look at LG as an ideal to strive for, not a straitjacket that burdens and restricts you.

But the important thing is everyone has fun. Some find the challenge of following the path of the straight and narrow enjoyable, others consider it fluff to follow when appropriate, and to ignore when not needed.

I have a player who hates paladins, plays lots of "Chaotic Good" type rogues and rangers and clerics, but in practice is very collaborative and honorable and even kind of judgmental. She is often peeved at her husband's in-game shenanigans. She would make a wonderful paladin, but she has experience with 2nd Edition "stick up their butt" paladins, and would never consider playing one. Which is too bad, because the chassis really fits her playing style. She likes to use weapons in combat and magic to heal and scout and support.

I think the legacy restrictions of paladins should be dumped in the dustpans of history. 5th Edition took some good steps in that direction. The 3 core archetypes (or "Oaths") are primarily for LG, NG/CG/N, and LN/LE/CG, but there aren't any strict alignment restrictions. 5th Edition lets you play the paladin you want to play.

Liberty's Edge

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

Chaotic rebels against the system. A Chaotic Good character will mistrust any system, even a LG one, because he sees how all these rules will be turned against the people and innocents will suffer

Lawful trusts in the system. A Lawful Good character will mistrust dissolution of rules, even by CG people, because he sees how anarchy will end up in law of the strongest and innocents will suffer

Neutral Good does not see either the system or anarchy having anything to do with Good or Evil. He cares only about whether innocents suffer, whatever the cause


PCScipio wrote:
lemeres wrote:
no evil allies (usually not too much of a problem)
Of course Sarenrae herself allied with Asmodeus to fight Rovagug.

And they are also big into redemption, so "are you going to help us right your wrongs?" is an angle too.

so Sarenrae is a rather flexible god for a paladin. The only other one that gives quite that kind of benefit is ol' "don't worry about the baby goblin question and get smashing" Torag.


bitter lily wrote:

Although... what's Neutral in Law vs. Chaos?

That doesn't help me.

Going by your list, I begin to see why you´re skeptical about paladins.

The lawful types care about "Order" with "Law" being one possible part of that. They think that an ordered society is best for all.
In case of LG, that´s tempered by a heavy dose of "mercy", as they try to avoid having the order they create and protect do harm to the people, else they slip into Hellknight territory.
The polar opposites are the chaotic types that see "Freedom" as the greatest good for all, as unpressed individuality will lead to personal growths.

So it´s easy to see where neutral, especially NG is the middle ground here, by simply accepting that both sides have merit and being able to see that they must not be mutually exclusive. "It´s good to have laws that protect society, but it´s also good that people are protected from the laws"

Liberty's Edge

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bitter lily wrote:

I just talked to him and got more background.

He wants essentially to play Albert from The Count of Monte Cristo, after the events of the novel end. Only assuming that he landed in a temple of Sarenrae afterwards, instead of heading off to war.

At the end of the book, Albert finds out his father is a mostly professional betrayer - at least three betrayals for profit (after selling the titular character to the law for a crime he didn't commit so he could have a woman for himself), leading to the death of others, the fall of a kingdom, and the implication that he's got a lot of very shady friends. Albert and his mother give up their money and opulent lifestyle in shame. (Fernand Mondego kills himself rather than lose everything.)

His mother joins a convent, and Albert joins the military, taking his mother's maiden name to replace his father's, so he can regain his own honor.

(Such a good book. Dumas is a great writer, even when it becomes obvious he was being paid by the word.)

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