Poisadins. Paladoisons?


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Neuronin wrote:


A). I should think societies in general would, indeed, restrict the sale and availability of destructive spells and such. Indeed, I can point to numerous settings and products where the regulation of magic is part and parcel of the place, often times even a central element. Waaaay back when I started playing as a kid, our DM was always scrupulous about depicting the differences between freebooting about the savage frontier versus trying to make do in civilization, where we had to pay taxes, obey laws and strictures, and either turn in or hide our thieves' tools and weapons. I personally really enjoy that sort of play, and I don't think I'm alone.

B). We're talking about inherently silly premises. I don't think attempting to ground a fantasy in something approaching reality is silly...it's not strictly necessary, but I'd rather play a world-depicted-in-game than a game-depicted-as-world.

C). Also, again...the force towards fantasy goody-good chivalry isn't just coming from me. It's built into the class. Take a look at the iconic paladin. Take a look at another iconic paladin. Keep looking. They LITERALLY get a magic horse as a class feature.

Except that these restrictions on dangerous items isn't really consistent with the rest of Golarion, or pathfinder's general take on dangerous items. if one is to go off the settlement rules, I have a 75% chance of easily finding scrolls of fireball for sale in just about any town I wander into. Why, then, should poisons be placed under heavy restrictions, just for the sake of being poison? Because, one way or another, poison should be seen as no different from any of the other far more brutal means of violence that exist in PF. And as it stands, so far as I can tell you can absolutely buy lethal weapons in civilized parts of Golarion, and you can totally walk around carrying your +5 greataxe, so long as you don't cause trouble. At least, I can't see many of the published adventures going too well if PCs lost all their stuff every time they left the hinterlands, because their weapons are confiscated for being illicit and shady. And, really, effectively banning adventurers from civilized areas seems kinda boring, but, each to their own.

And, really, its one thing to argue that idealized images of chivalry should be built into Paladin, its quite another to argue that such should be built into an entire fantasy society as a whole(i.e., seeing poisons as especially dishonorable, when such is completely inconsistent with the rest of the setting). Not that I'm much of a fan of building such silly chivalry into Paladin either, really, but that's quite besides the main point, that making poison some special shady thing deserving of special contempt by society is completely and utterly out of place.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

*has traumatic flashbacks to being pushed into 'party leader mode' during Rise of the Runelords home game because Sorcerer had highest CHA.*

Not Shocking Surprise Ending!:
...the leadership stint ended poorly

Scarab Sages

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@OP: Awesome. So I'll put down my poison and you'll put down your greatsword, and we'll both beat each other to death with our bare hands like civilized creatures?


willuwontu wrote:
2.) Using poisons, such as the drow poison to cause the enemy to fall asleep, to allow you to capture them instead of killing them is definitely more honorable than just killing them.

Totally disagree.

Using said sleeping poison may be merciful, but it's certainly not honorable.
Honorable =/= Nice


again define fight, sparring, first blood duel, or actual combat


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Talek & Luna wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:
Paladins are already required to do whats morally right.
No. They are required to follow their code. Lawful Good isn't always right.
Yes it is. That is why it is lawful good. It seeks the most beneficial system for the most people. It is the most inherently unselfish alignment of the nine and the polar opposite of the most selfish alignment which is chaotic evil

and now we have the argument for benevolent despotism, aka the crap saccharin world. Happiness is mandatory citizens!


Jurassic Pratt wrote:
I'll bring it up again, how are poisons different or worse than bane weapons or slaying arrows?

To be completely fair, I agree. I've never been comfortable with paladins using things like flaming weapons, corrosive weapons, et cetera. Playing a paladin, I'd personally look askance at a weapon like that, only comfortable with using a flame tongue against regenerating creatures or malevolent ice elementals and such. And I'd be deeply uncomfortable with humanoid bane weapons and their ilk...though I'd be comfy with undead bane or outsider (demon/daemon/etc.} bane ones, since those creatures are almost universally evil and stocked with resistances and powers.

All that said...those are rare magical items worth THOUSANDS of gold pieces usually found in treasure hordes or other places, not like nightshades and the runoff of night soil. Those magical weapons are not famously wicked and commonly underhanded tools (nobody would call someone a 'filthy acid-sword', where as a 'slinking viper' is in common use). Much like the (to my mind, rather absurd) argument about the common availability of magic scrolls and devastating spells, it takes no skill or training to use poison. Spouses historically use it to quietly get rid of their unwanted counterparts, heirs to inherit from their ancestor quicker. They're not renowned for secretly using a scroll of cone of cold or a wand of lightning bolts to do it. It's a little more blatant, and it requires an uncommon level of training and skill to pull off.

Davor wrote:
@OP: Awesome. So I'll put down my poison and you'll put down your greatsword, and we'll both beat each other to death with our bare hands like civilized creatures?

No, you can keep your poison and I'll keep the sword. But if you're a paladin and you smear it on your weapon to win a fight, you should lose your powers. The argument about 'if you REALLY wanna be fair then Fox no items Final Destination' misses the point completely, and is neither persuasive nor worthy.


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Talek & Luna wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
graystone wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:
Obedience to authority breaks down if leadership is not viewed as honorable.
Does it? Where does it say the paladin is in a leadership role? Does 'doing the right thing' require leading others? A paladin doesn't exist that works alone?
Even better: a paladin can be a follower too. There is absolutely nothing in the class that entitle you to become the de facto leader of the group just because you can detect evil and heal people by laying hands on them.
No, its the fact that your charisma is through the roof! People who are very charismatic in life are few and far between. It would be absurd to think that a paladin with an 18 Charisma would not be the de facto leader of the group if there was not another member with an equal or greater charisma

you are assuming the Sorcerer is the de facto leader of a group too? Or is this another "paladin are special and need to be cattered" issue? A cheerleader is not always the leader.

There are tons of reasons why the leader of a group might be someone else. Fir example, being better at tactics. Being a direct superior in a church or military ranking. Having a personality that appeal better to a group (for example, a group of CG characters picking up a CG leader). Or religion, not only alignment. A group of followers of Erastil might prefer the NG Druid over the LG paladin of Abadar. And so on.


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Talek & Luna wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:
Paladins are already required to do whats morally right.
No. They are required to follow their code. Lawful Good isn't always right.
Yes it is. That is why it is lawful good. It seeks the most beneficial system for the most people. It is the most inherently unselfish alignment of the nine and the polar opposite of the most selfish alignment which is chaotic evil

No it is not.

When a censor archon tells you to give up the necronomicon because it is evil, even if you only plan to use it to open a portal and stop a CE elder God, the morally right answer is to tell the LG archon to go f*!@ themselves and do the ritual anyways.
It is also not the most unselfish. A CG character might sacrifice his soul and use the Necronomicon anyways to save the village from being eaten by the CE God. A strict LG like a paladin would not sacrifice themselves or their ideals. That is righteousness, but not unselfishness.

This is like Legend of Five rings:

Lion Clan: We are the Emperor most loyal clan because we would do anything for the emperor.
Scorpion clan: would you lie for the Emperor?
Lion Clan: no.
Scorpion clan: so... won't do anything for the emperor then.

Liberty's Edge

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

Lion was the most honorable though :-)


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The Raven Black wrote:
Lion was the most honorable though :-)

Not if you ask a Crane, Phoenix... or Scorpion. ;)


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What about the honor of the humble Crab?!

...I'll be on the Wall.


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Neuronin wrote:
I've never been comfortable with paladins using things like flaming weapons, corrosive weapons, et cetera. Playing a paladin, I'd personally look askance at a weapon like that, only comfortable with using a flame tongue against regenerating creatures or malevolent ice elementals and such.

How do you feel about the fact that the standard pathfinder paladin gets a class feature on level 5 that lets him summon a celestial spirit to turn any weapon into a flaming weapon as a standard action?

I'm not trying to outmaneuver you or put you in an awkward position or anything, but I honestly feel that you're holding the paladin to a much higher standard than the book itself - which is quite unusual. It's an interesting take on the class, but I don't think I'd enjoy playing it that way for very long.

Grand Lodge

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Neuronin wrote:
Those magical weapons are not famously wicked and commonly underhanded tools (nobody would call someone a 'filthy acid-sword', where as a 'slinking viper' is in common use). Much like the (to my mind, rather absurd) argument about the common availability of magic scrolls and devastating spells, it takes no skill or training to use poison. Spouses historically use it to quietly get rid of their unwanted counterparts, heirs to inherit from their ancestor quicker. They're not renowned for secretly using a scroll of cone of cold or a wand of lightning bolts to do it. It's a little more blatant, and it requires an uncommon level of training and skill to pull off.

See, the issue is you're using real world opinions on poisons to justify them being dishonorable in a fantasy game world.

Our world doesn't have magic, so we have absolutely no clue if we wouldn't view magical items in exactly the same light. Also, I could very easily see someone considering using a Corrosive weapon dirty and calling you a Black Dragon or something as an insult on par with Slinking Viper.

If poisons are dishonorable because they were seen that way IRL, I suppose paladins going on genocidal crusades against innocent people of different faiths should be fine for paladins since that's what they did historically.


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Neuronin wrote:

What about the honor of the humble Crab?!

...I'll be on the Wall.

Crab version of honor:

Everybody talks the talk. We do the deed


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The Raven Black wrote:
Lion was the most honorable though :-)

Right. I can accept that.

That is not what I argue, tho. I was arguing that they are not the most unselfish. Given the choice between their own honor, or the emperor's life, they'll mourn the emperor. That is honorable, but it is not unselfish. Same goes with a LG paladin.

Liberty's Edge

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gustavo iglesias wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
Neuronin wrote:
Think of it this way...name some great fictional/mythical heroes who depend on weapons dosed with toxins, see if they match up to the concept of a paladin. Bellerophon was mentioned! That's a pretty good example (mighty warrior, magic horse, slays monsters). Of course, what is the next thing to happen to Bellerophon after the chimera's defeat?
Okay, how about Heracles? Looking to atone for his sins by performing great acts of heroism, and frequently using arrows dipped in the toxic blood of the Lernean Hydra. And willing to defy gods in order to help people (freeing Prometheus, saving the princess of Troy from one of Poseidon's sea monsters, and wrestling death itself to save Queen Alcestis). Lots of people declare Heracles to have barbarian levels, but his most heroic feats weren't done by him going into a berserker rage, but by being canny and using the gifts the gods gave him.
Does not really match my headcanon for a Paladin though ;-)
But do you think he is a hero? Do you think it is an evil act if heracles use it? Or if Muabdib uses Gom jabbar?

A hero ? I am not quite sure though tradition says yes. Evil, maybe not. But using poison is not an Evil act by itself. It was given as an example of dishonorable action in the PF1 CRB

In my concept of Lawful, if using poison is considered not dishonorable in the culture that the PC adheres to, then it is not cause for falling for the PF1 Paladin

Liberty's Edge

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gustavo iglesias wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Lion was the most honorable though :-)

Right. I can accept that.

That is not what I argue, tho. I was arguing that they are not the most unselfish. Given the choice between their own honor, or the emperor's life, they'll mourn the emperor. That is honorable, but it is not unselfish. Same goes with a LG paladin.

Not necessarily selfish though. Adhering to a creed such as the Bushido is traditionally seen as giving yourself to something beyond you. That is hardly selfish


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Jurassic Pratt wrote:

See, the issue is you're using real world opinions on poisons to justify them being dishonorable in a fantasy game world.

Our world doesn't have magic, so we have absolutely no clue if we wouldn't view magical items in exactly the same light. Also, I could very easily see someone considering using a Corrosive weapon dirty and calling you a Black Dragon or something as an insult on par with Slinking Viper.

If poisons are dishonorable because they were seen that way IRL, I suppose paladins going on genocidal crusades against innocent people of different faiths should be fine for paladins since that's what they did historically.

I wrote a long post but this says it better than I could.

All these RL comparisons that appear on these forums... not only is Golarion a fantasy world, but it’s a *game* fantasy world, with even less logic than a world made for a novel, film, or comic book (usually) has. Nothing makes sense in Pathfinder/Golarion if you look at it longer than two seconds. Morals & ethics, physics, economy, geography, biology, what have you. And that's fine, because it works great as a fantasy setting for a group of RL people to play in.

If Paizo says that for a paladin, using poison on a sword is morally the same as using e.g. fire on it, then that’s how it is in Golarion. RL has nothing to do with it.


The Raven Black wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
Neuronin wrote:
Think of it this way...name some great fictional/mythical heroes who depend on weapons dosed with toxins, see if they match up to the concept of a paladin. Bellerophon was mentioned! That's a pretty good example (mighty warrior, magic horse, slays monsters). Of course, what is the next thing to happen to Bellerophon after the chimera's defeat?
Okay, how about Heracles? Looking to atone for his sins by performing great acts of heroism, and frequently using arrows dipped in the toxic blood of the Lernean Hydra. And willing to defy gods in order to help people (freeing Prometheus, saving the princess of Troy from one of Poseidon's sea monsters, and wrestling death itself to save Queen Alcestis). Lots of people declare Heracles to have barbarian levels, but his most heroic feats weren't done by him going into a berserker rage, but by being canny and using the gifts the gods gave him.
Does not really match my headcanon for a Paladin though ;-)
But do you think he is a hero? Do you think it is an evil act if heracles use it? Or if Muabdib uses Gom jabbar?

A hero ? I am not quite sure though tradition says yes. Evil, maybe not. But using poison is not an Evil act by itself. It was given as an example of dishonorable action in the PF1 CRB

In my concept of Lawful, if using poison is considered not dishonorable in the culture that the PC adheres to, then it is not cause for falling for the PF1 Paladin

no, it was an example of an evil act. Assassins could use it because they were evil, regardless of being LE or not. A CN who used poison became CE.


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Jurassic Pratt wrote:
See, the issue is you're using real world opinions on poisons to justify them being dishonorable in a fantasy game world.

This line of reasoning doesn't really hold water. 'It's a fantasy, therefore real world rules, history, and mores are irrelevant' falls apart when you look at the fact that this is a game where, for instance, gravity is real. Where swords are usually forged by smiths from iron treated with carbon. Where diseases exist and are a scourge upon the populace. Dragons (a historical concept based, likely, upon hyperbolic descriptions of African crocodiles) exist. Magic swords (a mythological concept originating...right here! In our irrelevant world!) exist. But it's not a complete flight of fancy where people are full of taffy, clouds sing songs, and you can see through walls by removing your eyes and stretching them into periscopes.

I have another old book, the AD&D 1e Wilderness Survival Guide, which discusses this eloquently in a section entitled 'Realism vs. Fantasy'. I'll quote in brief: 'An Earthlike campaign world has some advantages over a "freeform" environment or one that is deliberately created with unearthly features. First, both you and your players are naturally familiar with the features of the planet we live on; when you say "mountain", they know what you mean. But if you create a world where "Mountains" are made of wood (for instance), your players are going to ask questions and you're going to have some explaining to do. Are these wooden mountains slippery? Do they burn? Can the characters get splinters if they're not careful? For every "unrealistic" question that players come up with and you are forced to address, the players' suspension of disbelief is strained a little further. When it gets strained too far, players become preoccupied with the fact that, after all, they're "only" playing a game -- and role-playing falls by the wayside in favor of an artificial "contest" between the players and the world they're trying to understand."

All of this is, in a way, beside the point: it is a fantasy, based in popular modern swords and sorcery genre fiction, and the concept of a virtuous and good hero who struggles against human failings towards something greater is WELL within that genre. You may not like it. That's fine! Again, I point you to the ten or so other classes. But the argument that including elements of chivalric and moral fiction is 'unrealistic', that disallowing poisons in the name of 'honor' is a slippery slope to inquisitorial torture and activities we'd consider criminally barbaric is a step beyond what I hope is obviously intended by this thread.

Kudaku wrote:
How do you feel about the fact that the standard pathfinder paladin gets a class feature on level 5 that lets him summon a celestial spirit to turn any weapon into a flaming weapon as a standard action?

I prefaced my reply to that earlier with 'personally'...I'm personally uncomfortable with that. Not even against it! I offered circumstances where I, personally, think that's various weapon qualities would be appropriate...but I'm not arguing that that's should be an uncrossable line, like poison. Interestingly, a review of that section shows that flaming and flaming burst are on that list of weapon qualities...but corrosive and some sort of envenomation ability are not,

Also, on the subject of 'poisons are not considered dishonorable in Golarion'...they were considered dishonorable enough to be a paladin code violation LITERALLY until this post for the playtest mentioning this change.


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Jurassic Pratt wrote:

I'll bring it up again, how are poisons different or worse than bane weapons or slaying arrows? Or hell, even Corrosive weapons?

They're all designed to make you more effective at fighting an opponent. In fact, poisons will actually have less impact on average than the others.

Poisons are not in any way more dishonorable than making your weapon "become slick with acid" or magic weapons specifically made to be more damaging/painful to creatures.

If the issue is it is a hidden benefit? The paladin can announce before every attack they have poison on their blade.

So enemy knows, now it is honorable.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Starbuck_II wrote:
Jurassic Pratt wrote:

I'll bring it up again, how are poisons different or worse than bane weapons or slaying arrows? Or hell, even Corrosive weapons?

They're all designed to make you more effective at fighting an opponent. In fact, poisons will actually have less impact on average than the others.

Poisons are not in any way more dishonorable than making your weapon "become slick with acid" or magic weapons specifically made to be more damaging/painful to creatures.

If the issue is it is a hidden benefit? The paladin can announce before every attack they have poison on their blade.

So enemy knows, now it is honorable.

Unless it is forbidden by local laws

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
gustavo iglesias wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
Neuronin wrote:
Think of it this way...name some great fictional/mythical heroes who depend on weapons dosed with toxins, see if they match up to the concept of a paladin. Bellerophon was mentioned! That's a pretty good example (mighty warrior, magic horse, slays monsters). Of course, what is the next thing to happen to Bellerophon after the chimera's defeat?
Okay, how about Heracles? Looking to atone for his sins by performing great acts of heroism, and frequently using arrows dipped in the toxic blood of the Lernean Hydra. And willing to defy gods in order to help people (freeing Prometheus, saving the princess of Troy from one of Poseidon's sea monsters, and wrestling death itself to save Queen Alcestis). Lots of people declare Heracles to have barbarian levels, but his most heroic feats weren't done by him going into a berserker rage, but by being canny and using the gifts the gods gave him.
Does not really match my headcanon for a Paladin though ;-)
But do you think he is a hero? Do you think it is an evil act if heracles use it? Or if Muabdib uses Gom jabbar?

A hero ? I am not quite sure though tradition says yes. Evil, maybe not. But using poison is not an Evil act by itself. It was given as an example of dishonorable action in the PF1 CRB

In my concept of Lawful, if using poison is considered not dishonorable in the culture that the PC adheres to, then it is not cause for falling for the PF1 Paladin
no, it was an example of an evil act. Assassins could use it because they were evil, regardless of being LE or not. A CN who used poison became CE.

Code of Conduct

A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class features except proficiencies if she ever willingly commits an evil act.

Additionally, a paladin’s code requires that she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth) ...

The prohibition against poison comes as a subpart of the act with honor tenet (with those on lying and cheating, hardly Evil per se)

The whole block comes in addition to the willingly committing an Evil act. Ergo using poison is not Evil per se but dishonorable

Grand Lodge

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Neuronin wrote:
Jurassic Pratt wrote:
See, the issue is you're using real world opinions on poisons to justify them being dishonorable in a fantasy game world.
This line of reasoning doesn't really hold water. 'It's a fantasy, therefore real world rules, history, and mores are irrelevant' falls apart when you look at the fact that this is a game where, for instance, gravity is real.

I'm afraid you've strawmanned me here, though I'll assume unintentionally. Realism vs fantasy has nothing to do with what I said, nor does the existence of gravity.

I was referring to the fact that your belief of poisons being dishonorable is based on IRL historical beliefs. Not laws of existence like gravity.

If we're doing saying poison has to be dishonorable because of IRL historical reasons, then paladins should be religiously intolerant and go on violent crusades where they murder innocents of other faiths for historical reasons.

And of course, corrosive weapons and acid flasks have to be seen as dishoable as well since acid attacks have been considered dishonorable in all of history.

And don't even think about trying to be a woman adventurer. Historically women were prohibited from taking combat roles in medieval times. Gotta get that authentic medieval sexism.


not true
the nords and vikings both had female warriors


Jurassic Pratt wrote:
Neuronin wrote:
Jurassic Pratt wrote:
See, the issue is you're using real world opinions on poisons to justify them being dishonorable in a fantasy game world.
This line of reasoning doesn't really hold water. 'It's a fantasy, therefore real world rules, history, and mores are irrelevant' falls apart when you look at the fact that this is a game where, for instance, gravity is real.
I'm afraid you've strawmanned me here, though I'll assume unintentionally. Realism vs fantasy has nothing to do with what I said, nor does the existence of gravity.

No, he didn't straw man you.

In that same post you said this,

Quote:
If poisons are dishonorable because they were seen that way IRL, I suppose paladins going on genocidal crusades against innocent people of different faiths should be fine for paladins since that's what they did historically.

You're insinuating that basing the morality of poison use on RL attitudes towards it requires that we follow RL in all other aspects, including this horrible one.

That isn't a valid argument. It's not valid because, as Neuronin points out, the game designers chose to base D&D on a framework composed of RL, for a variety of reasons. What they chose to include and what they chose to ignore is part of the artistic choice in creating the game.

The designers, since AD&D, have unequivocally decided that poison use was some combination of immoral/evil/dishonorable. TSR got that from RL. So it's 100% valid for us to look to real life attitudes towards poison to decide how it should be treated in the game.

Quote:
Our world doesn't have magic, so we have absolutely no clue if we wouldn't view magical items in exactly the same light.

That's not entirely correct. For centuries, societies and people have believed in magic. Our "world" does have magic, via the fact that some societies definitely believe in witches and curses.. Western society as a whole, does not believe in magic. And as several fictional works have opined, there is no difference between science and magic to sufficiently primitive societies.

Quote:
If we're doing saying poison has to be dishonorable because of IRL historical reasons, then paladins should be religiously intolerant and go on violent crusades where they murder innocents of other faiths for historical reasons.

That doesn't follow logically. The game designers decided that poison use was dishonorable because it is in real life. That doesn't require them to adhere to anything else from real life when creating their game. What it does tell us is that for whatever reason it is dishonorable in RL, it would be dishonorable in the game. Just as mountains in the game work like mountains in RL.

The rest of your post is an attempt to belabor a faulty premise: inclusion of one aspect of RL requires inclusions of anything else from RL. It does not.

As it turns out for 2e, the designers are deciding that poison could be allowed in some circumstances. That's not the same as saying poison use is honorable. Paizo will need to give us more guidance. Mark's attempt to compare it to a flaming sword in a "enhanced weapon" combat is not helpful and more confusing. We don't have a RL attitude about flaming swords that we do against poison. I have a hard time believing Paizo intends for Paladins to be able to routinely poison blades before combat, but the way the rules are written, it's not clear. If Paizo intends poisons use to be no different than using any other enhanced weapon, then they need to state that explicitly and not backdoor us with societal changes via class abilities. Mark once specifically complained about the rules doing this type of stuff, so I hope Paizo addresses this.

Grand Lodge

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Post is far too long to quote.

Nothing about Golarion suggests that poison is inherently dishonorable other than the fact that it had 1 line in the Paladin code in PF1. With that removed, there is now nothing in universe (as far as I know) to suggest poison is inherently dishonorable.

Other than the real world historical examples that keep being brought up which aren't automatically true in a fantasy game world unless we're explicitly told so by the setting.


Jurassic Pratt wrote:

Post is far too long to quote.

Nothing about Golarion suggests that poison is inherently dishonorable other than the fact that it had 1 line in the Paladin code in PF1. With that removed, there is now nothing in universe (as far as I know) to suggest poison is inherently dishonorable.

Nor is there anything in Pathfinder that says burning your enemies at the stake is evil. Pathfinder rules don't explicitly talk about what acts are considered honorable or dishonorable, instead, the game relies upon our RL notions of these and many other things from which to base morality.

A poster who indicated that s/he was a toxicologist said poison use is historically used by "evil" people. If Paizo seriously wants to change that perception in 2e, they need to make it explicitly clear. If Golarion's attitude towards poisons is substantially different than RL, then that needs to be made explicitly clear.

Unlike Neuronin, it doesn't bother me one way or the other. What does bother me is Paizo not being clear on how it suppose to work. The general notion of poison use needs to be explained.

Grand Lodge

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We also aren't told that acid flasks and corrosive weapons are evil or dishonorable. Yet historically acid has repeatedly been used by evil groups in very dishonorable ways. Yet most players don't seeem to have an issue with using those or consider them dishonorable in Golarion.

Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

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Talek & Luna wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
graystone wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:
Obedience to authority breaks down if leadership is not viewed as honorable.
Does it? Where does it say the paladin is in a leadership role? Does 'doing the right thing' require leading others? A paladin doesn't exist that works alone?
Even better: a paladin can be a follower too. There is absolutely nothing in the class that entitle you to become the de facto leader of the group just because you can detect evil and heal people by laying hands on them.
No, its the fact that your charisma is through the roof! People who are very charismatic in life are few and far between. It would be absurd to think that a paladin with an 18 Charisma would not be the de facto leader of the group if there was not another member with an equal or greater charisma

For what its worth, I'm playing a paladin, her charisma is 18 (the highest in the party), but she is definitely not the leader. I think that falls to our rogue actually.

Scarab Sages

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Neuronin wrote:


No, you can keep your poison and I'll keep the sword. But if you're a paladin and you smear it on your weapon to win a fight, you should lose your powers. The argument about 'if you REALLY wanna be fair then Fox no items Final Destination' misses the point...

I'm just saying I find it funny that using a sharpened steel rod to split open someone's gut and cause them to stare down at their own intestines as they struggle to breath, which only pushes their innards out faster, is considered "honorable" just because they might also have a sharpened steel stick, as if the means by which you violently take the life of another living creature defines honor, and if it does, whether the term has any real meaning at all.

Shadow Lodge

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Davor wrote:
Neuronin wrote:


No, you can keep your poison and I'll keep the sword. But if you're a paladin and you smear it on your weapon to win a fight, you should lose your powers. The argument about 'if you REALLY wanna be fair then Fox no items Final Destination' misses the point...
I'm just saying I find it funny that using a sharpened steel rod to split open someone's gut and cause them to stare down at their own intestines as they struggle to breath, which only pushes their innards out faster, is considered "honorable" just because they might also have a sharpened steel stick, as if the means by which you violently take the life of another living creature defines honor, and if it does, whether the term has any real meaning at all.

A lot of it has to do with the fact that a sharpened bit of metal is something you can fight against. It's a matter of testing skill vs skill - training and practice can overcome it. You out your skill against theirs.

With poisons, there really isn't anything you can do. There's no training against it (despite the fun fiction in Princess Bride). There's nothing you can do but hope your own genetics and proteomics can prevaip against the poison right up until you either fall or receive medicine.

Therefore one is considered honorable (giving a chance for a fair fight, and if it isn't fair favoring you, then you don't fight), while the other is not considered honorable (giving them no chance to fight fairly or no chance to fight at all).

Additionally, without a poisoned blade, you can regulate your attacks to small nicks and cuts rather than seeking to kill; you can aim to prove you're the superior combatant in such a way and give them a chance to yield with somewhat minimal damage. With a poisoned blade, all you need is that little nick to give the poison; you require much less skill to win and you can't pull your punch, so to speak. You're not basing your combative ability on skill, but rather aiming to be just good enough or lucky enough to give a dose of the poison, and once you do there really isn't any going back.

I think that separates why one is considered honorable and one isn't.

A paladin seeking to be honorable and follow a code of honor would likely not use poisons in most cases, due to the above. However, if the purpose of their mission requires them to kill without hesitation, they might be able to employ poisons for that mission (depending on the situation and possibly whether they are granted permission from their deity/Lord). But a general use of poisons for all combat and duel situations does not seem like it would be the most honorable path.

Note, however, that we're only discussing the use of poisons as it's directly applied to a weapon for the purpose of using it against a specific for that a paladin plans on using their weapon against. For other purposes, such as an areal spray, a gas cannisters, poisoning of food/drink, and other such uses, I feel these are all strictly against the Paladin Code as defined in the blog. Namely, they must not take actions that they know will harm an innocent, or through inaction cause an innocent to come to immediate harm when they knew their action could reasonably prevent it. These uses of poison have a high risk of not affecting (or not only affecting) the intended target, and have a high risk of an innocent person being poisoned in their place.


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bookrat wrote:
A lot of it has to do with the fact that a sharpened bit of metal is something you can fight against.

This argument breaks down once magic gets involved. Can you fight against fire? Acid?Bewildering [1d6 rds confusion],? Wounding [bleed]? Vorpal [sever head]?

None of the enchants are deemed dishonorable but tag it as poison and even of it have the exact same effect, one is 'bad' and the other isn't. For instance, Giant wasp poison drops dex = 'bad' but not so for touch of gracelessness.

The Exchange

Wei Ji the Learner wrote:

On the same token, if we're going to start really delving into Lawful NotSoBright territory, a paladin (if prohibited from using poison) should not use:

Silver/Mithril Weapons against Devils
Cold Iron weapons against Fae or Demons
Adamantine weapons against constructs
Ghost Touch weapons against incorporeal entities

and definitely, definitely never ever ever use any sort of weapon blanching.

Sort of silly, right?

Wow, talk about a false equivalency. I don't see where any of those weapons with the possible exception of cold iron for fey would cause a poisonous reaction. Its not like you can damage a werewolf by flinging your silver coins at it. Even with fay its more of a spiritual death than a physical death since cold iron is often symbolic of logic and truth vs emotion and whimsy which was always at the heart of ancient depictions of fay creatures.

The Exchange

Davor wrote:
Neuronin wrote:


No, you can keep your poison and I'll keep the sword. But if you're a paladin and you smear it on your weapon to win a fight, you should lose your powers. The argument about 'if you REALLY wanna be fair then Fox no items Final Destination' misses the point...
I'm just saying I find it funny that using a sharpened steel rod to split open someone's gut and cause them to stare down at their own intestines as they struggle to breath, which only pushes their innards out faster, is considered "honorable" just because they might also have a sharpened steel stick, as if the means by which you violently take the life of another living creature defines honor, and if it does, whether the term has any real meaning at all.

Its no different than modern sensibilities being offended by people wretching and dying slow, horrific deaths due to biological and chemical warfare but accepting that x amount of explosive power will blast a human body to bits. Its the horrific nature of poison and how it kills you and that causes a highly negative reaction. The world may shrug off normal warfare but the use of chemical or biological weapons is considered a huge no-no. No different here with paladins and poison. Its like finding paladins drunkenly carousing in brothels. Its extremely unseemly


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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Discussions of what is "honourable" is a cultural determination. The problem with paladins specifically is that we have at least four different "cultures" in play in this discussion:

1. The fictional cultures of Golarion;
2. The RL historical cultures that gave rise to the specific conceptions of chivalry, knighthood, and codes of honour/virtue that were the archetypal influences for "paladins" as a gaming concept;
3. The RL historical cultures of gamers and gaming, which has (for better or worse) evolved quite dramatically in favour of options and expediency over restrictions designed to aid flavour and role integrity/identity;
4. Our various RL cultures which influence where we fall on "the ends justify the means", "do the right thing because it's the right thing, not because it's the easy thing" and the "whataboutism" spectrums of examining moral quandaries.

The Exchange

Jurassic Pratt wrote:
We also aren't told that acid flasks and corrosive weapons are evil or dishonorable. Yet historically acid has repeatedly been used by evil groups in very dishonorable ways. Yet most players don't seeem to have an issue with using those or consider them dishonorable in Golarion.

That's because acid is used so infrequently and it is so weak an option compared to normal weapons that it is not an issue. Besides trolls or breaking locks I can't think of any instance where I used acid.

Besides I sell acid for commercial applications like removing rust and cleaning out drains. There are some big issues with the acid that make it unsuitable for adventuring.

1) Carrying and storage. Acid as described in PF would break easily just during transportation. When we transport it we have to pack it in sawdust so if the case breaks during transportation the acid is soaked up and does not damage other packages.

2) Its heavy and not very aerodynamic to throw quart sized bottles of this stuff very far.

3) The acid is water based so the more moisture it has the more damage it does. Throwing water on it makes it more potent. The best thing to do is rub dirt on effected area to scrape it off.

4) Depending on the type and potency of the acid it won't effect alot of standard metals in a noticeable way in a six second round associated with Pathfider. If it can then the Gods help you if it breaks while you are carrying it. Since there are no such thing as packing peanuts in PF you are in big trouble.

The Exchange

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Jhaeman wrote:

Discussions of what is "honourable" is a cultural determination. The problem with paladins specifically is that we have at least four different "cultures" in play in this discussion:

1. The fictional cultures of Golarion;
2. The RL historical cultures that gave rise to the specific conceptions of chivalry, knighthood, and codes of honour/virtue that were the archetypal influences for "paladins" as a gaming concept;
3. The RL historical cultures of gamers and gaming, which has (for better or worse) evolved quite dramatically in favour of options and expediency over restrictions designed to aid flavour and role integrity/identity;
4. Our various RL cultures which influence where we fall on "the ends justify the means", "do the right thing because it's the right thing, not because it's the easy thing" and the "whataboutism" spectrums of examining moral quandaries.

While you may have a very general point about specific arguments of morality and honor based upon cultures and time periods, poison usage has always been deemed dishonorable by cultures and no hero that I can think of uses poisons to kill people and is held up as a good person to be admired and emulated. Poison usage is dirty handed and dishonorable. No one playing the concept of the honorable paladin would stoop to using poison.

The Exchange

Alayern wrote:

In support of the paladin using poison: Two arguments. One of Mercy, and one of Consent.

In the case of mercy, think of the person who dies a slow and painful death. A stomach wound in an antimagic zone (Mana Wastes), or of terminal illness in the cleric-starved Rahadoum. To let this person suffer, I think, would be against the Paladin's first tenant. While it says they cannot murder, it also says they cannot torture, and having a choice between:

"The wound is too grievous, I can give you this draught to take the pain away and ease you along. May we meet again on Heaven's glorious heights, dear friend."

And...

"I see you're in excruciating pain as you die, and I have this liquid that would take the pain away with the same end result, but I'mma let you suffer, cuz rules."

...seems to favor the first set-up. The actual poison itself is largely irrelevant, so long as it is painless and does as the paladin says it will, a la an ingestible painkiller in a massive dose. It could be said that this is murder but, given that torture and murder are considered equitable within the code, that question's for the gods.

In Golarion, the NG deity of the sun, benevolence, honesty, and mercy, Sarenrae, has a concept within her faith known as "The Final Mercy." Should an evil creature refuse to repent, and their continued existence would cause more harm to innocents, Sarenrae gives her worshippers, paladins and otherwise, to slay them. Particular to her faith is an overriding motive towards harm reduction, and mercy-killing an ailing innocent could reasonably fall under that.

In the case of consent, a paladin who knows he is going into hostile territory could coat his weapon with a numbing agent or paralytic to incapacitate without having to kill. When attacked, the paladin would warn any intelligent attacker, ideally before combat starts. The enemy has to mitigate the weapon anyway, so the paladin doesn't need to keep its presence secret–to wit, keeping it secret would be dishonorable. If the...

Instead of using poison why wouldn't the paladin just finish off the individual with her sword? I mean, battle wounds in combat is the ultimate form of an honorable death. Would you rob a foe of even that tiny honor by poisoning them?

The Exchange

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Mechanically, tranquilizer darts are poisons. Can Paladins not be veterinarians or park rangers? Are they morally opposed to such pursuits?

Yes, because without expert medical knowledge you can easily kill a creature with a tranquilizer. I would prefer my paladins to cast hold person or hold animal or use an entangle bag or use a merciful weapon or hit for non lethal damage to impede an creature that they do not wish to harm. Its a fantasy game and poison should be the province of shady, disreputable characters, not Captain America like paladins

The Exchange

dragonhunterq wrote:

Nah! I'm with the design team. If it's honourable to use enhanced weapons it's ok to use poisons. Real world comparisons aside (it's not real world) there is little difference between extra acid damage and ability damage - both will kill you, both are above and beyond that caused by the weapon itself. If one is ok, the other is too.

Whether a substance was initially designed to facilitate slavery does not mean that every use is. I mean the bad guys are fond of using weapons and armour to evil ends - should a paladin enter combat unarmed and unarmoured?

Now sneaking poison into someones food is a whole 'nother kettle of fish.

See here is where I disagree with you. If the design team is taking ability damage away from monsters such as a shadow's strength drain because players cry unfair then it holds little weight for paladins to use poisons. Besides, paladins shouldn't be in shadowy, scummy pubs that front as thieves' guilds and my rogues don't want those stick in the muds there either!

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