What Would A CG Paladin Code Look Like, Redux


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Mechagamera wrote:

I thought a bit about autonomy at lunch, and here was my thought:

8) You respect each intelligent being's right to make meaningful choices. You will act against egregious violations of this right (such as threats of violence, holding hostages, or using magic to charm, dominant, or frighten*) and speak out against less egregious violations.

* If your paladin's code doesn't get the paladin into conflict with the party's wizard, then you aren't getting the full paladin experience. And let's face it, a wizard using a lot of charm/dominate spells is pretty skeezy anyway....

I guess this could be a more synthetic and elegant form of 3. Except for frighten. I would LOVE to incute terror in the bad guys. And after all, charming che villain into leave innocents in peace is a much less violent way to win...


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Bardess wrote:
Mechagamera wrote:

I thought a bit about autonomy at lunch, and here was my thought:

8) You respect each intelligent being's right to make meaningful choices. You will act against egregious violations of this right (such as threats of violence, holding hostages, or using magic to charm, dominant, or frighten*) and speak out against less egregious violations.

* If your paladin's code doesn't get the paladin into conflict with the party's wizard, then you aren't getting the full paladin experience. And let's face it, a wizard using a lot of charm/dominate spells is pretty skeezy anyway....

I guess this could be a more synthetic and elegant form of 3.

Thanks. It is still not quite right, but I wanted to keep the paladin focused on "big things"--I am trying to keep "sorry, I can't work to liberate the Slave States, because I saw Becky get into an argument with her parents about whether she could dye her hair, and to keep from falling, I have to smite the parents first." from being the "baby orcs" of the CG paladin.


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The biggest issue I see with trying to paint the Chaotic Good Paladin as some sort of eternal renegade always fighting to disrupt authority is that it is always fighting to disrupt authority. To the point where it becomes reasonable to assume that most cities and towns actually would prefer to kick the CG paladin out rather than let them run about spreading discontent and igniting revolution.

Basically I think any code the forces a wholesale revolutionary behavior at all times is a catalyst for player conflict in a bad way. It's a good thing if the Paladin and the Fighter disagree about the need for forced conscription into the army for example, and the Paladin would argue that each man should make his own choice to fight for his kingdom. It's not a good thing if the Paladin and the fighter disagree and the Paladin goes off and destroys the rosters for the army to prevent anyone from being conscripted.


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So let's see!

1) You must never willingly commit an evil act, such as murder, torture, or casting an evil spell.

2) You must not take actions that you know will harm or cause unjust suffering* to an innocent, or through inaction cause an innocent to come to immediate harm when you knew your action could reasonably prevent it. This tenet doesn't force you to take action against possible harm to innocents or to sacrifice your life and future potential in an attempt to protect an innocent.

3) You respect each intelligent being's right to make meaningful choices. You will act against egregious violations of this right (such as threats of violence, holding hostages, or using magic to permanently dominate another creature**) and speak out against less egregious violations.

4) The greater good and the lesser good are not mutually exclusive. You must strive to find a solution that benefits both the community and the individual. No single life has more importance than any other, and a single individual has the same weight on the cosmic balance as the destiny of a world.

* This would do as "don't cheat on your partner" and similar.
** A CG paladin could approve temporary charm and domination in order to win a fight with as less violence as possible, and in fact could be a charmer herself, as long as the charmed creature's rights are not violated ("No, I said you could convince him to let the prisoners go without fighting, NOT that you could order him to sleep with you! This is not right!". Same for fear-inducing magic.

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PossibleCabbage wrote:

So hypothetically-

Bad guys have the McGuffin, PCs need the McGuffin. Bad guys are unwilling to negotiate for it, confident in their strength. How does the Chaodin handle this situation. If we just break in to the bad guy hangout, and kill everyone and then pick up the McGuffin while we're looting the place (as PCs do) does the Chaodin fall?

What do you mean by 'bad guys' and 'McGuffin'? If the bad guys are non-innocents and the 'McGuffin' will cause people to be hurt if they keep it then any Paladin can do precisely this.

If the situation is different from that it depends.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I said it in the other thread - but I would like to repeat it here:

I think the biggest difference between a LG and CG paladin should be what they consider 'honor'.

LG - they don't lie, cheat or steal - they apply a set of rules on themselves and say 'if I follow the rules I act with honor - I judge myself on my ability to follow these rules. This leaves them open to enemies using their honor and rules against them - to force them into a situation where they may make things worse because of their ridged devotion to a set of rules.

CG - they don't care about any of that - they know they have honor because of what they do - the 'act with honor' might mean lying cheating and stealing all at the same time if they feel it rights a wrong (see: Robin Hood) but the motivation is what matters to them - the honor they feel is internal - not external - no one can be the judge of what is their honor - however this leaves them open to their enemies setting up situations that trap them into making things worse - (HAH that money you stole was for feeding war orphans Robin Hood - you just took money from the mouths of babies!) - leaving them in need of atonement for making the wrong call.

Dark Archive

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Ckorik wrote:

I said it in the other thread - but I would like to repeat it here:

<<snippage>>
CG - they don't care about any of that - they know they have honor because of what they do - the 'act with honor' might mean lying cheating and stealing all at the same time if they feel it rights a wrong (see: Robin Hood) but the motivation is what matters to them - the honor they feel is internal - not external - no one can be the judge of what is their honor - however this leaves them open to their enemies setting up situations that trap them into making things worse - (HAH that money you stole was for feeding war orphans Robin Hood - you just took money from the mouths of babies!) - leaving them in need of atonement for making the wrong call.

Or "Give that money back and have to face a *different* kind of atonement when the businessman who was helping fund your cause now feels a lesson on integrity is in order..."


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Bardess wrote:

So let's see!

1) You must never willingly commit an evil act, such as murder, torture, or casting an evil spell.

2) You must not take actions that you know will harm or cause unjust suffering* to an innocent, or through inaction cause an innocent to come to immediate harm when you knew your action could reasonably prevent it. This tenet doesn't force you to take action against possible harm to innocents or to sacrifice your life and future potential in an attempt to protect an innocent.

3) You respect each intelligent being's right to make meaningful choices. You will act against egregious violations of this right (such as threats of violence, holding hostages, or using magic to permanently dominate another creature**) and speak out against less egregious violations.

4) The greater good and the lesser good are not mutually exclusive. You must strive to find a solution that benefits both the community and the individual. No single life has more importance than any other, and a single individual has the same weight on the cosmic balance as the destiny of a world.

* This would do as "don't cheat on your partner" and similar.
** A CG paladin could approve temporary charm and domination in order to win a fight with as less violence as possible, and in fact could be a charmer herself, as long as the charmed creature's rights are not violated ("No, I said you could convince him to let the prisoners go without fighting, NOT that you could order him to sleep with you! This is not right!". Same for fear-inducing magic.

3 should have an addendum of "This tenet does not prevent you from being allowed to jail a criminal who harmed or violated the autonomy of innocents or use similar punishments, nor does it force you to fight such against such systems (however you may choose to do so)."

giving us

Quote:

1) You must never willingly commit an evil act, such as murder, torture, or casting an evil spell.

2) You must not take actions that you know will harm or cause unjust suffering* to an innocent, or through inaction cause an innocent to come to immediate harm when you knew your action could reasonably prevent it. This tenet doesn't force you to take action against possible harm to innocents or to sacrifice your life and future potential in an attempt to protect an innocent.

3) You respect each intelligent being's right to make meaningful choices. You will act against egregious violations of this right (such as threats of violence, holding hostages, or using magic to permanently dominate another creature**) and speak out against less egregious violations. This tenet does not prevent you from being allowed to jail a criminal who harmed or violated the autonomy of innocents or use similar punishments, nor does it force you to fight such against such systems (however you may choose to do so).

4) The greater good and the lesser good are not mutually exclusive. You must strive to find a solution that benefits both the community and the individual. No single life has more importance than any other, and a single individual has the same weight on the cosmic balance as the destiny of a world.

* This would do as "don't cheat on your partner" and similar.
** A CG paladin could approve temporary charm and domination in order to win a fight with as less violence as possible, and in fact could be a charmer herself, as long as the charmed creature's rights are not violated ("No, I said you could convince him to let the prisoners go without fighting, NOT that you could order him to sleep with you! This is not right!". Same for fear-inducing magic.

I feel this is a good combination of yours and DMW's codes.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

So hypothetically-

Bad guys have the McGuffin, PCs need the McGuffin. Bad guys are unwilling to negotiate for it, confident in their strength. How does the Chaodin handle this situation. If we just break in to the bad guy hangout, and kill everyone and then pick up the McGuffin while we're looting the place (as PCs do) does the Chaodin fall?

What do you mean by 'bad guys' and 'McGuffin'? If the bad guys are non-innocents and the 'McGuffin' will cause people to be hurt if they keep it then any Paladin can do precisely this.

If the situation is different from that it depends.

Probably hinging on the murder aspect: do you have the right to kill these guys?

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Starbuck_II wrote:
Probably hinging on the murder aspect: do you have the right to kill these guys?

Mark Seifter clarified in last Friday's Twitch stream that they very much did not intend the legal definition of murder, and the eventual version might use 'slaughter' or something instead. It's intended to refer to an Evil or unprovoked killing.

People trying to end the world with an Evil Artifact wouldn't qualify.

Also, since that's based on the first Tenet, which is identical for LG and CG Paladins, this is more of a general Paladin question than one about CG Paladins specifically.


willuwontu wrote:
Bardess wrote:

So let's see!

1) You must never willingly commit an evil act, such as murder, torture, or casting an evil spell.

2) You must not take actions that you know will harm or cause unjust suffering* to an innocent, or through inaction cause an innocent to come to immediate harm when you knew your action could reasonably prevent it. This tenet doesn't force you to take action against possible harm to innocents or to sacrifice your life and future potential in an attempt to protect an innocent.

3) You respect each intelligent being's right to make meaningful choices. You will act against egregious violations of this right (such as threats of violence, holding hostages, or using magic to permanently dominate another creature**) and speak out against less egregious violations.

4) The greater good and the lesser good are not mutually exclusive. You must strive to find a solution that benefits both the community and the individual. No single life has more importance than any other, and a single individual has the same weight on the cosmic balance as the destiny of a world.

* This would do as "don't cheat on your partner" and similar.
** A CG paladin could approve temporary charm and domination in order to win a fight with as less violence as possible, and in fact could be a charmer herself, as long as the charmed creature's rights are not violated ("No, I said you could convince him to let the prisoners go without fighting, NOT that you could order him to sleep with you! This is not right!". Same for fear-inducing magic.

3 should have an addendum of "This tenet does not prevent you from being allowed to jail a criminal who harmed or violated the autonomy of innocents or use similar punishments, nor does it force you to fight such against such systems (however you may choose to do so)."

giving us

Quote:

1) You must never willingly commit an evil act, such as murder, torture, or casting an evil spell.

2) You must not take actions that you know will

...

I like it!

Liberty's Edge

I like that version of the Code conceptually, but frankly I'm not sure either #3 or #4 are actually that restrictive, which could be an issue.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
I like that version of the Code conceptually, but frankly I'm not sure either #3 or #4 are actually that restrictive, which could be an issue.

I think #3 is specifically to avoid Chaotic Good Paladins from being perma banned from every city and town by force of arms because they would be compelled by their code to spread discontent and anarchy regardless of their actual feelings about the village or town's leadership.

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XBow Enthusiast wrote:
I think #3 is specifically to avoid Chaotic Good Paladins from being perma banned from every city and town by force of arms because they would be compelled by their code to spread discontent and anarchy regardless of their actual feelings about the village or town's leadership.

I personally don't think my Code has that problem either, while still being restrictive. It can definitely get you in trouble with the authorities, but it doesn't do so inevitably in all situations.


spreading anarchy is an evil act

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Steelfiredragon wrote:
spreading anarchy is an evil act

And your textual basis for this argument in Pathfinder is?

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I haven't read the new code yet. But I feel an important part of a CG Paladin is encouraging people to question stupid or downright oppressive laws and systems by showing them that people can do this and survive, and even prosper. The CG Paladin demonstrates by his own example that you can defy the authorities and win

Note that this does not mean the CG Paladin has to defy sensible laws and systems, nor does he have to risk his life or freedom just to challenge the authorities (though he is free to do so)


well think about it , if your PF character goes into town deliberately to do so, you end up putting the populace at risk... though this could depend on the situation too.... like riot causing and what not just for the sake of doing so with no real reason other taht that

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Steelfiredragon wrote:
well think about it , if your PF character goes into town deliberately to do so, you end up putting the populace at risk... though this could depend on the situation too.... like riot causing and what not just for the sake of doing so with no real reason other taht that

I menant defying the authorities about stupid or oppressive laws, sorry for my lack of clarity

I was thinking of such examples as Zorro and Robin Hood. Showing the downtrodden that there is always hope and that it is a very real thing and that things can change is extremely important for my version of the CG Paladin

Never said it would be easy though


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I think the problem here is trying to mimic the bulletpoint style of the original code. Instead the "code" should be prose first, with the bulletpoint breakdown second as an explanation.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Remember, following a Paladin code is supposed to be restrictive and inconvenient, and "respect other people's autonomy" is hardly going to get in the way at all.

This is deeply untrue. An inability to force people to do anything, ever, is actually pretty restrictive to accomplishing things.

But even more restrictive is being forced to protect the autonomy

Exactly


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Let's try this from the top.

What purpose does a code serve?

I propose the answer is this.

The purpose of a code is to limit a character. A code will never enable you to do something you could not otherwise (although if following it grants powers, those may). A code may favour some courses and prohibit others, but it does not add options, it constrains and refines them.

This is not intended as criticism.

Based on this, a Chaotic Good Paladin Code should guide and restrain a CG paladin, in the same overall way the Lawful Good Paladin Code does.

Following either code should sometimes be challenging and personally grating, e.g. "It would not be Lawful to just kill Lex Luthor despite everything he does". Likewise, upholding Chaotic principles, such as individual rights and autonomy, should sometimes limit one's choices.

Looking at the current LG code, the 4 principles can be summarised:
>Don't commit Evil acts = be Good, which opposes Evil
>Don't cause or permit harm to innocents = again Good, both Law and Chaos can protect or harm the innocent
>Be honourable, do not lie/cheat/take advantage of others = personally act in a honourable and honest way, unlike the previous tenet this only concerns the paladin's own actions, not acts of intervention
>Respect and follow legitimate law and authority = be Lawful, again a personal code, it does not require enforcing the law on others

So the 1st and 2nd tenets are Good, while the 4th is Lawful. I would also claim the 3rd tenet is Lawful, as things like honour and avoiding cheating imply placing a larger body of rules in front of individual circumstances. Consider how many Good characters lie to or deceive the villains for Good causes (e.g. claiming "Everyone else is dead" so as to protect allies/innocents), break or subvert agreements made with the villains where the latter exerted pressure, and things like Obi Wan's classic "These are not the droids you're looking for", a mind trick that famously affects the weak-willed, aka takes advantage of them.

I personally think, then, that a Chaotic Good Paladin Code should keep the 1st and 2nd tenets, as those are Good tenets (I see they've tended to be kept by most CG codes here). It should replace the 3rd and 4th tenets with ones that personally uphold Chaotic principles (without a requirement to force such behaviour on others).

Here is my take on that:
>You must never willingly commit an evil act, such as murder, torture, or casting an evil spell.
>You must not take actions that you know will harm an innocent, or through inaction cause an innocent to come to immediate harm when you knew your action could reasonably prevent it. This tenet doesn't force you to take action against possible harm to innocents or to sacrifice your life and future potential in an attempt to protect an innocent.
>You must act with liberty, never detaining, depriving the possessions of, or asserting authority over others.
>You must respect the legitimate individual agency of any sentient individual you may meet, honouring their freedom unless this violates a higher tenet.

I think this embodies the principles of Chaos, and can present some interesting challenges to uphold.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

And what of folks who choose to have authority asserted over them? Or if the community, by choice, has inflicted a punishment of fines or appropriate other measures to someone who is deserving of it, and the someone has taken this punishment as appropriate to the charges against them?

At this point, the community has asserted authority over others, and the above would force the character to fight against it, even though everyone is 'on board' with the determination.

Some of the earlier ones hit it a bit better than this most recent one, but it does give food for thought.


Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
At this point, the community has asserted authority over others, and the above would force the character to fight against it, even though everyone is 'on board' with the determination.

I don't believe so learned avian.

The LG Paladin Code states that the paladin must not lie, cheat, or take advantage of others. It does not instruct them to intervene to stop another from lying, cheating, or taking advantage of others. The paladin may still choose to do so on broader moral principles, but the playtest code does not require them to police others for tenets 3 or 4.

Likewise, the CG Paladin Code I proposed gives a different 3rd and 4th tenet, but they are still focused only on the paladin. It does not tell them to intervene in detainment, deprivation, or subjugation performed by others, although again, the paladin may still choose to do so anyway based on broader moral principles. But there's no imperative to fight.

As an aside, I would argue willing compliance and asserting authority are different things. If I now bid you to have a nice day, you are not submitting to my authority if you refuse to ruin your day from here on.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Fair enough.

My mental simulation of that was envisioning thousands of gaming tables having the same discussion that they'd have with something of the other direction.

Taken to the extreme (as some are wont to do) it could be as equally disruptive as the other direction, and I was trying to 'future proof' it.

Have a wonderful day/evening/night should one choose or not to in accordance with one's own belief path.


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So, with regard to how Chaotic Good interacts with societies and laws, I'd like to bring up something from Eberron: the nation of Breland and its Chaotic Good king, Boranel. King Boranel, believing in the people's right to independence and autonomy, gave the legislative duties to a democratically-elected parliament, who revised the Galifar Code of Justice and made it the nation's constitution, making Breland the continent of Khorvaire's first constitutional monarchy (of course, it wouldn't be a fantasy constitutional monarchy without a Lawful Evil Prime Minister). The Brelish seriously value their great political experiment, as it allows local laws to be voted upon by public assembly and anyone with enough support to be voted into parliament. They are a people who believe that no man is born superior to any other, than different is just different, and that anything can change. Your average Brelish is Chaotic Good, but they're accepting of most other creeds and attitudes, so long as those attitudes don't infringe upon the autonomy of others.

So, yeah. Chaotic Good can totally support nation-building and even laws, so long as those nations and laws foster the independence, free thought and autonomy of the people.

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I'd like to see:
3. Respect agency. Do not lie to, coerce, or imprison others.
4. Oppose Tyranny. True authority derives from consent of the subordinate. Empower others to choose how they are governed.

I think that Do Not Harm Innocents is enough to prevent a chaotic champion from being too disruptive.


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Neurophage wrote:

So, with regard to how Chaotic Good interacts with societies and laws, I'd like to bring up something from Eberron: the nation of Breland and its Chaotic Good king, Boranel. King Boranel, believing in the people's right to independence and autonomy, gave the legislative duties to a democratically-elected parliament, who revised the Galifar Code of Justice and made it the nation's constitution, making Breland the continent of Khorvaire's first constitutional monarchy (of course, it wouldn't be a fantasy constitutional monarchy without a Lawful Evil Prime Minister). The Brelish seriously value their great political experiment, as it allows local laws to be voted upon by public assembly and anyone with enough support to be voted into parliament. They are a people who believe that no man is born superior to any other, than different is just different, and that anything can change. Your average Brelish is Chaotic Good, but they're accepting of most other creeds and attitudes, so long as those attitudes don't infringe upon the autonomy of others.

So, yeah. Chaotic Good can totally support nation-building and even laws, so long as those nations and laws foster the independence, free thought and autonomy of the people.

The trouble with the law/chaos axis is that it's trying to be too many things. Is it "holding to a code" versus "not holding to any code" or is it "consistently holding to values that emphasize the collective" versus "consistently holding to values that emphasize the individual"?

Some parts of the other CG Paladin Code thread have made me wonder if it wouldn't be easier to just have the game say the following:

"All player characters must be lawful or neutral. You may not under any circumstances be chaotic. The good news is that it's impossible to be chaotic anyway, so you will never run afoul of this rule in the first place. After all, if you have ever done one thing and then at some point in your life done that same thing again, then you are far and away too consistent to ever be chaotic."

Except that that would (I hope, obviously) be in contradiction to what the entire history of that game has tried (and sometimes failed) to have chaotic mean. We have chaotic deities. We have anathema for chaotic deities. *Insert tired but completely true statements about Anti-Paladins and chaotic Cavaliers here.* Holding to a code simply cannot be in conflict with a chaotic alignment or even with being a champion of a chaotic alignment. It creates something the game has never been trying to create before.


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That is a reason I like Deadmanwalking consistently pointing out that the Lawful Paladin Code holds Good above Law. Chaotic equivalent is much easier when its interpreted as "Do Good in a Chaotic way." the same as Paladin is just "Do Good in a Lawful way."

Also, Deadmanwalking's Code will still produce endless arguments about whether a Chaotic Paladin imposed on someone's autonomy enough to fall. Combined with eternal arguments that a given character isn't being Chaotic enough to keep their alignment, the Chaotidin will fulfill the same purpose as the traditional Paladin: Endless arguments about whether a Player got screwed by their GM, or if the GM has been cursed with Players who don't understand the class at all.

I think that's what really matters.


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I think some words need to be edited out from the CG-din's code/guidelines/temperament:
1. Greater Good: IMO, this is not the angle a CG-din would come from, not a phrase they'd factor into their thinking. Not that they couldn't do addition, summing up all those individual goods, but their mindset would consistently return to stopping the most egregious harms to individuals, not institutions. Thinking of everyone as a whole is doing a disservice to all the individual spirits within.
2. Community: Again, a CG-din would be viewing this as individuals who choose to coexist. Communities have no identity of their own and there's no reason to support one, only to support the individuals within one. Yes, much of this is semantics, but I've actually met educated people who think thus. It can be tough talking about social issues with them.

Thoughts on Law:
Lawful feels laws & order have intrinsic worth, irregardless, though this value would be balanced against other values, i.e. good/evil.
Neutral feels laws & order have worth based on their utility, perhaps in pursuit of good/evil, or success in life for True Neutral.
Chaotic feels laws & order are disposable. They're of value when they address one's other goals (good/evil), but not on their own.
One might toss "tradition" into the mix as well, or "institutions" or "social harmony", maybe even "formal hierarchies" and "obedience".
Look at the alignments of random settlements which skew heavily toward lawful. I'm not sure how it balances in Golarion's actual makeup.

A CG-din should be stressing autonomy, individuality, & freedom above all but goodness (well-being) itself, if they could even distinguish them. Wherever a law, tradition, groupthink, or the like shackles an innocent from reaching their full (non-evil) potential, the CG-din should be there to assist.
Somebody wants out of an arranged marriage, the CG-din will aid, even if that arranged marriage was tied to a treaty. And I'd expect an LG Paladin to argue the other way.

In RPGs, where violence is a default solution, a Chaotic PC whose powers are bound to thwarting the overreach of law/order/etc. will always have a rough time when many powers-that-be are lawful entities.

Cheers.


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"Greater good" is a lawful term to me. I put that in the code to stress that for a CG champion, there's no "greater good" or "lesser good". You sacrifice a child to save a world? Unacceptable. This is evil. The CG paladin will find a way to save both the child and the world, and if she cannot, she however will choose to save the child.

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Bardess wrote:
"Greater good" is a lawful term to me. I put that in the code to stress that for a CG champion, there's no "greater good" or "lesser good". You sacrifice a child to save a world? Unacceptable. This is evil. The CG paladin will find a way to save both the child and the world, and if she cannot, she however will choose to save the child.

Way I see it, both LG and CG Paladins might try to save both but others of the same alignments will go for the Greater good thing

I do not think it really depends on alignment in the end. Purely a personal choice of what a Good person must do

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Perhaps that is some of the disconnect here?

Both sides want to save everyone they can, but Chaotic is the Harder path because *some people don't want to be saved*.

I think that right there is the difference.

A Chaotic Good paladin needs to somehow sway that subset of folks back over to 'having value and worth' when their lives are 'worthless', and do it without overtly demanding it or insisting on it.

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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


Perhaps that is some of the disconnect here?

Both sides want to save everyone they can, but Chaotic is the Harder path because *some people don't want to be saved*.

I think that right there is the difference.

A Chaotic Good paladin needs to somehow sway that subset of folks back over to 'having value and worth' when their lives are 'worthless', and do it without overtly demanding it or insisting on it.

There is no Harder path just as there is no best Good

Good > Chaos here, just as Good > Law for the LG Paladin's dilemna


I don't even think Chaos necessarily has a problem imposing their will on people, because Chaos doesn't shy away from conflict. If you shove enough people with loud, passionate personalities into the same place, sooner or later someone will have a problem with someone else. Even fighting is, in a narrative sense, a conflict born of two groups of people trying to impose their will on each other. So what? It happens. Conflict, once resolved, brings about change, and change is part of Chaos's bag. Nobody's perfect, so everyone always has the potential to change for the better. So, a paragon of Chaotic Good wouldn't so much avoid conflicting with someone else's will or freedom (while asserting their own will and freedom, naturally) as they would try to turn as many conflicts as they could into engines of positive change.


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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


Perhaps that is some of the disconnect here?

Both sides want to save everyone they can, but Chaotic is the Harder path because *some people don't want to be saved*.

I think that right there is the difference.

A Chaotic Good paladin needs to somehow sway that subset of folks back over to 'having value and worth' when their lives are 'worthless', and do it without overtly demanding it or insisting on it.

A big concern is that if Chaos becomes All About Freedom, it can become too much of an all-defining concept and end up pigeonholing the chaotic holy warrior concept. Anyhow, I've blathered enough today, so here is some awesomeness from 2008 that I just dug up!

Ross Byers wrote:

A bit...inspired by the Alignments of Pastry thread, I wanted to clear up what appears to be a common misconception (in my opinion) about Good and Evil.

Good is Hard.

Let me repeat that. Good is Hard.

What makes Good hard? Let's go back to basics. At its simplest, Evil is about being willing to hurt others to help yourself. Good, as Evil's opposite, is about being willing to hurt yourself to help others. Evil is selfish, Good is selfless.

Good is also more than 'not doing Evil'. That's Neutral. We equate Good with purity because it is so very easy to lose.

Not stealing? That's easy.
Giving my stuff away to make someone else's life better? That's hard.
Restraining myself from stabbing someone because I don't like them? That's easy.
Risking (or giving!) my life to save some guy I don't even know? That's really hard.

It's difficult enough to remain Good as a monk in a monastery, where temptation is minimized: there will always be the ability to say 'screw this' to celibacy and bland food and working long hours at potentially backbreaking labor for no personal reward.

Good is hard.

It's more difficult in civilization proper, even surrounded by Good-to-Neutral neighbors. The Prisoner's Dilemma and the Tragedy of the Commons tell us that you do better personally by worrying about yourself first. The orphanage isn't going to close just because you personally don't donate. You earned that money fair and square.

Good is hard.

Being Good as an Adventurer is even harder because, in addition to 'killing things and taking their stuff' being hard to justify in the first place, all of a sudden you're running into all the moral dilemmas that shopkeepers get to avoid. When does killing orcs turn from self-defense into genocide? What do you do with an Evil creature that has surrendered? Am I doing more Good by keeping the magical doodad than selling it to a rich idiot and tithing the proceeds?

Good is hard.

I think there is a certain tendency for people to think 'I consider myself a good person, therefore I'm Good.', and thus lowering the bar. Everyone thinks they're doing the 'right' thing, even Evil ones. That is what makes the alignments different. Most people are Neutral.

Likewise, I've seen comments to the effect of charm person isn't an [Evil] spell, therefore it is fine to use on everyone, all the time. Play-doh is labelled non-toxic, that doesn't mean its food. Charming a person is harm, same as stabbing them with a sword (swords aren't Evil) or lighting them on fire (neither are fireballs and alchemist's fire.) Charming a guard into letting you pass is certainly better than killing them, but it isn't harmless.

Good is hard.

Nor is killing an Evil being always Good: if it were, Good and Evil might as well be Team Red and Team Blue. They are opposites, but they are not perfect mirrors of each other. Paladins aren't Good because they kill Evil things. They are good because they put their lives on the line to protect those who cannot defend themselves. They get a reputation for being Lawful Stupid because they don't always take the expedient path to rooting out Evil, but that is because they know the easy way is not always the Good way, and fear the slippery slope.

Good is hard.


Purpose is paramount, and Good lends to a stronger purpose (IMO) than Law or Chaos do (except maybe LN/CN).
But the source of the purpose differentiates them. For a Lawful person, their purpose comes from the cosmos, while for a Chaotic one, purpose is self-generated. (Yes, there'd be a spectrum of influences in between for family, friends, community, society, philosophies, divinities, etc.)

Somebody pro-Law should be supporting people fulfilling their roles, as chosen by as objective a source as possible. For LG-din, that'd be a non-chaotic good god or philosophy. They're aiming to empower that greater creed, w/ individualism (or even "too much freedom") a reckless threat to the whole as its foundation allows for "arbitrary" choices. Fulfilling the role one was given would be the be ultimate pinnacle of self-development and well-being.
Somebody pro-Chaos should support people developing their own roles, their own paths irregardless of outside pressures. The CG would defend against "rigid" societal codes and peer pressure as they stunt personal growth & well-being. Obviously, developing one's role to suit one's own potential is the path to maximize one's well-being (and arguably therefore the well-being of those around them).

There might be a hidden tug-of-war being essentialism & existentialism in there too. Live as your essence should vs. develop your essence as you would.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
The Raven Black wrote:
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


Perhaps that is some of the disconnect here?

Both sides want to save everyone they can, but Chaotic is the Harder path because *some people don't want to be saved*.

I think that right there is the difference.

A Chaotic Good paladin needs to somehow sway that subset of folks back over to 'having value and worth' when their lives are 'worthless', and do it without overtly demanding it or insisting on it.

There is no Harder path just as there is no best Good

Good > Chaos here, just as Good > Law for the LG Paladin's dilemna

I humbly accept this synposis as has been fleshed out in this thread, for it is elegant yet simple, and covers the bases as far as why others may have issues with more than one type of 'Paladin'.


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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


Perhaps that is some of the disconnect here?

Both sides want to save everyone they can, but Chaotic is the Harder path because *some people don't want to be saved*.

I think that right there is the difference.

A Chaotic Good paladin needs to somehow sway that subset of folks back over to 'having value and worth' when their lives are 'worthless', and do it without overtly demanding it or insisting on it.

There is no Harder path just as there is no best Good

Good > Chaos here, just as Good > Law for the LG Paladin's dilemna

I humbly accept this synposis as has been fleshed out in this thread, for it is elegant yet simple, and covers the bases as far as why others may have issues with more than one type of 'Paladin'.

Rephrase Law into Ordered, and that's another step forward.

One of the concerns over wanting a CG option is law being equated to legal, and players being concerned over that stricture, whether it was a GM telling them how to play, or something else. If that artificial barrier were removed--you'd see more cordiality, and fewer arguments, table and forumside.

And I would hope, more and varied exploration of what those two axis could be.

One concern I have here is that a CG holy warrior option would push that interpretation even further, and solidify the two camps.

The other is that through that, yes, it's one part of what would water down the original paladin's concept. It's the old: if I force x into X, then y becomes Y sort of thing.

Do I say this is a "there should never be a holy warrior for CG" type of thing? No. It's an issue brought forward, though, that would be great to have addressed.


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I tried to devise some CG deities’ Paladin codes in my blog.

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