What Would A CG Paladin Code Look Like, Redux


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Okay, let's try this again.

I started the original thread to have a discussion, and for a couple of days it was great. Then the trouble started, and the discussion was derailed. Some of that is probably on me. I don't think I was clear enough in my initial post. For that I apologize, and I won't make that mistake again. So... this a thread to discuss a CG Paladin Code and the sorts of things that might be in it. Discussing this in good faith requires the potential existence of such a Code. If someone wants to make a "Why A CG Paladin Code Cannot Exist," then I invite that person to do so with my full blessings (not that they are needed). All I ask is that such debates be kept out of this particular thread so as to prevent derailing. Thank you very much.

The original thread is here: What Would A CG Paladin Code Look Like?

To sum up, my speculation for a CG Paladin Code is as follows:

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 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 must act with honor, never cheating, lying, or taking advantage of others.

4) You must inspire people to find their purpose in the face of adversity, and help them to do so to the best of your ability, unless it violates a higher tenet.

This led to some very healthy and very helpful debate, and some other ideas emerged. The following two seem to be the most popular. The first comes from poster Deadmanwalking:

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 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 must always defend the autonomy of innocents from those who would violate it. If one person is forcing an innocent to do anything against their will, you must attempt to stop this act, using words if possible and force if necessary.

4) You must personally respect the autonomy of others, never forcing them to engage in any particular course of behavior. You may advise and admonish, but never actually force them to do as you wish them to. Except as necessary to fulfill the higher tenets, of course (ie: jailing a criminal who harmed or violated the autonomy of innocents is acceptable in order to prevent such behavior).

The second (which was posted initially first but which got some further refinement, hence its position) is from poster Bardess:

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 an innocent, or through inaction cause an innocent to come to immediate harm when you knew your action could reasonably prevent it.

3) You should treat others with courtesy, dignity, and respect. Do not cheat, steal, or lie to others unless it is necessary to protect the life and freedom of innocents.

4) You must not violate another's free will, neither allow others to violate your own free will.

5) You must stand against tyranny, unjust impositions and privation of liberty, unless this violates a higher tenet.

6) You must be a beacon of hope, show mercy, be compassionate and sow joy in this world. How these are done is less important than leaving the world a better place than it was during your lifetime.

7) 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 weight or importance than any other, and a single individual has the same importance on the cosmic balance as the destiny of a world.

Further, poster willuwontu proposed that #4 & #5 of Bardess' Code be combined into:

4) You must stand against tyranny, unjust impositions and deprivation of liberty. You must not violate another's free will, neither allow others to violate your own free will.

So that's where we stand right now. How do those look to you? What ideas do you have? Further, how might these play out with various gods that could have CG Paladins?

And as a final note, and not to belabor the point, but: critiquing the ideas is fine and leads to good discussion. It's even possible to do so from a traditional LG Paladin perspective. I'd like to give a shout-out to poster Iron_Matt17, who was a positive model of how to do this. This sort of thing is more than welcome. Critiquing the very notion of a CG Code is not welcome. It just derails the discussion and gets us nowhere. Thank you. I look forward to your ideas, and I'm sure many others do as well.

Liberty's Edge

Dotting for future reference.

For the record, I stand by my Code (as quoted in the post above) as a solid CG Paladin Code, both restricting behavior and being very distinct from the LG Code, though I might do a wording cleanup before actually using it or putting it in a book.


Personally, I see no reason a Chaotic Good paladin couldn't still follow the same code as the base paladin, save that any clause specifically referencing the term "Lawful Good" simply be changed to "Good." I've always felt that the code is sufficiently-broad that it could apply to all of the Goods. I suppose is if there were to be a code that exclusively applied to Chaotic Good, the latter of the proposed codes would be my preference, though I do think that seven clauses might be a bit too many.

Dark Archive

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Thank you for breaking this out and away from the previous thread, and apologies for any derailment that may have happened on my part.

Liberty's Edge

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Neurophage wrote:
Personally, I see no reason a Chaotic Good paladin couldn't still follow the same code as the base paladin, save that any clause specifically referencing the term "Lawful Good" simply be changed to "Good." I've always felt that the code is sufficiently-broad that it could apply to all of the Goods. I suppose is if there were to be a code that exclusively applied to Chaotic Good, the latter of the proposed codes would be my preference, though I do think that seven clauses might be a bit too many.

The issue with this is that, first, the fourth tenet of obeying any lawful authority is both an intensely Lawful part of the Code and utterly inappropriate for a CG champion.

Secondly, the third tenet, the one regarding honor and fair play, also strikes me as pretty Lawful rather than Good. I think Robin Hood should make a solid CG Paladin, and he resorted to ambushes and the like pretty much as his go to plan, lied regularly, and so on and so forth.


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I think a decent litmus test for a CG paladin code would be to see if your theoretical CG paladin could make it through the first three books of Hell's Rebels without breaking it. :)


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I'm like Deadmanwalking's code. Especially that is keeps to 4 tenets just like the LG pally's code.

Liberty's Edge

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Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
I'm like Deadmanwalking's code. Especially that is keeps to 4 tenets just like the LG pally's code.

I'm glad you like it, and that was a design goal. :)


Deadmanwalking wrote:


The issue with this is that, first, the fourth tenet of obeying any lawful authority is both an intensely Lawful part of the Code and utterly inappropriate for a CG champion.

I can respect that. I think we arrive at different conclusions from the phrase "Respect legitimate authority." Respect, to me, does not imply obedience. You can respect someone and their position while disagreeing with them. You can even do it while disobeying them. After all, they have a hard job and it's made harder by disagreeable elements like Chaotic Good people going off and doing good without their authorization or approval. If that means the good king has to have you arrested, then that's fair (you know, so long as they can catch you). They probably had a good reason for telling you not to do whatever you did, and you probably jeopardized something or another by doing it anyway. A Chaotic Good person owns their actions, as well as the consequences of those actions. If the consequences of what they did is that they're considered an outlaw, then it's only fair.

Deadmanwalking wrote:


Secondly, the third tenet, the one regarding honor and fair play, also strikes me as pretty Lawful rather than Good. I think Robin Hood should make a solid CG Paladin, and he resorted to ambushes and the like pretty much as his go to plan, lied regularly, and so on and so forth.

It's possible I've also been too narrow in how I think of paladins. Personally, I don't see maintaining a standard of honor as being inherently Lawful, but I guess the decision of whether or not to lie, cheat, or steal (as a last resort to protect the innocent from the forces of tyranny) should be a personal one. I still think even a Chaotic Good paladin should get to choose whether or not they get the standard paladin code or the CG-specific one (what with agency being so important to Chaos), but if a variant code helps more people fully commit to their vision of their character, then I'm in support of it.


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I posted this in the original CG paladin code thread and Evan encouraged me to share it here as well, so here goes:

Quote:

With all paladins now being a champion with a divine sponsor, I think it's important to consider that there are two parties to the "paladin contract". It's not just the paladin that agrees to a code, you gotta think about the deity that's offering one as well. Let's consider some differences in how Iomedae and Desna might approach paladin orders:

Iomedae
I can definitely picture Iomedae descending from the heavens with a code of conduct (potentially literally) carved in stone that all her paladins take to heart. Iomedae seems like the kind of deity that favors a top down authority structure whereby accepting the power she offers you take up her cause, with all that that entails. Paladins, clerics, warpriests and inquisitors of Iomedae would be organized in a military organisation with a strong hierarchy and clearly defined areas of responsibility. Paladins that have questions or doubts about their code have councilors and priests made available to provide guidance. If a champion runs into a challenge that seems impossible for him to overcome on his own, he can call on the church to provide assistance (assuming his superiors agree that the cause is just and the need is sufficiently urgent). Iomedae's code would typically start with "you must/you must not":

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 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.

Desna
Rather than having a universal code of conduct and an organized church I could envision Desna seeking out worthy individuals and working out a unique code of conduct with each of her champions (typically appearing in a series of dreams or visions, either directly or via an avatar) that will both champion Desna's goals and appeal to the nature and personal priorities of each individual. Paladins of Desna would all first agree to follow some broad rules (similar to the "good"-focused parts of the LG code). Each code will typically start with "I will" or "I will not":

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

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

Beyond that the code could be customized to fit each champion's personality and priorities. One champion of Desna could take up the cause of protecting traveling musicians and pilgrims, another would harry those who prey on people via rigged games of chance, a third would safeguard people's dreams by striking down monsters like night hags and Painajais. Since the goals of Desna's champions will differ, they'd be much more loosely organized. Each paladin would treat his code as a personal agreement between himself and his deity, and not something that's a concern to anyone else.

One thing just occured to me. If we assume that CG paladins follow the same tenets as LG paladins in regards to deity worship (worship a deity within one step of your own alignment) it would mean that we could have both LG and CG paladins of a NG god like Sarenrae or Shelyn. Two groups that both seek to advance the same causes and reach the same goals but do so using radically different approaches, potentially butting heads in the process. I think that could be a springboard for some really interesting adventures!

Liberty's Edge

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Neurophage wrote:
I can respect that. I think we arrive at different conclusions from the phrase "Respect legitimate authority." Respect, to me, does not imply obedience. You can respect someone and their position while disagreeing with them. You can even do it while disobeying them. After all, they have a hard job and it's made harder by disagreeable elements like Chaotic Good people going off and doing good without their authorization or approval. If that means the good king has to have you arrested, then that's fair (you know, so long as they can catch you). They probably had a good reason for telling you not to do whatever you did, and you probably jeopardized something or another by doing it anyway. A Chaotic Good person owns their actions, as well as the consequences of those actions. If the consequences of what they did is that they're considered an outlaw, then it's only fair.

Unfortunately for this interpretation (which I actually don't disagree with in terms of respect alone), the PF2 LG Paladin Code is more explicit than that in regards to what it means. To quote said Code:

Quote:
You must respect the lawful authority of the legitimate ruler or leadership in whichever land you may be, following their laws unless they violate a higher tenet.

Emphasis mine. LG Paladins can only jaywalk to save a life (or avoid violating another higher tenet) or they fall. That's more respect for the law than a Champion of Chaos should need to have.

Neurophage wrote:
It's possible I've also been too narrow in how I think of paladins. Personally, I don't see maintaining a standard of honor as being inherently Lawful, but I guess the decision of whether or not to lie, cheat, or steal (as a last resort to protect the innocent from the forces of tyranny) should be a personal one. I still think even a Chaotic Good paladin should get to choose whether or not they get the standard paladin code or the CG-specific one (what with agency being so important to Chaos), but if a variant code helps more people fully commit to their vision of their character, then I'm in support of it.

I can definitely see Chaotic Paladins getting a slightly broader choice of Code, but I think tricking foes, even if no lives are directly on the line, is very much within the wheelhouse of a CG champion in a way it isn't for a LG champion.

Besides, I needed room for the personal autonomy stuff, which I think should be more important to a CG Paladin than something like telling a lie or setting an ambush.


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I feel like the Chaodin shouldn't be someone who loses their powers if they violate a "code" but should instead have their powers mutate, change, or become unstable/unpredictable if they break their code.

I would like to represent the fundamental force of chaos here somewhere.

Liberty's Edge

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I feel like the Chaodin shouldn't be someone who loses their powers if they violate a "code" but should instead have their powers mutate, change, or become unstable/unpredictable if they break their code.

If that's what happens to a CE Antipaladin, I suppose that would work. Personally, I'm fine with them just falling.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
I would like to represent the fundamental force of chaos here somewhere.

I'm not against this, but think a lot of the suggested versions of it sacrifice some of the Good abilities for it. Which I really don't like. LG is not more Good than CG and its champions should thus not be more Good focused.


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I still feel like losing their powers for breaking their oath is appropriate. I realized earlier today that I really like the imagery of a self-sworn oath being something you make a part of yourself, and that you can't against with damaging your self-image to the point of existential crisis. It's like "You swore this oath because this is who you are. You said the words because the virtues they represented were written in your heart. When you betray yourself, when you break your oath, your heart breaks, too."


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Kudaku wrote:
One thing just occured to me. If we assume that CG paladins follow the same tenets as LG paladins in regards to deity worship (worship a deity within one step of your own alignment) it would mean that we could have both LG and CG paladins of a NG god like Sarenrae or Shelyn. Two groups that both seek to advance the same causes and reach the same goals but do so using radically different approaches, potentially butting heads in the process. I think that could be a springboard for some really interesting adventures!

This is one of the things that most intrigues me about the possibility of a CG paladin. We can see how a paladin might conflict with a CG cleric of either goddess, but a conflict between paladins would have a very different feel.


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Neurophage wrote:
I still feel like losing their powers for breaking their oath is appropriate. I realized earlier today that I really like the imagery of a self-sworn oath being something you make a part of yourself, and that you can't against with damaging your self-image to the point of existential crisis. It's like "You swore this oath because this is who you are. You said the words because the virtues they represented were written in your heart. When you betray yourself, when you break your oath, your heart breaks, too."

This is reminiscent of The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson. There are paladin-like people who gain power from oaths, because those oaths represent the ideals they hold. Violating those oaths makes them lose their powers.


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Evan Tarlton wrote:
Kudaku wrote:
One thing just occured to me. If we assume that CG paladins follow the same tenets as LG paladins in regards to deity worship (worship a deity within one step of your own alignment) it would mean that we could have both LG and CG paladins of a NG god like Sarenrae or Shelyn. Two groups that both seek to advance the same causes and reach the same goals but do so using radically different approaches, potentially butting heads in the process. I think that could be a springboard for some really interesting adventures!
This is one of the things that most intrigues me about the possibility of a CG paladin. We can see how a paladin might conflict with a CG cleric of either goddess, but a conflict between paladins would have a very different feel.

I'm actually playing around with a short adventure based around this now!

A small LG country in the River Kingdoms where the color purple is reserved for royalty and his personal guard as a memento of a long-dead king, and it's a crime to wear or use the color without cause. Since the king is a popular historical figure and an anchoring point for the tiny kingdom's sense of self the more recent government, eager to promote their patriotism, have been expanding the law to also include magenta and violet. Some radical politicians even call for the ban of blue and red, since they're the primary colors that form purple. LG Paladins of Shelyn respect this law as best they can so they make a point of not using the prohibited colors in their public art pieces, remove purple dye when they hand out free paint kits on feast days etc. On the other hand CG Paladins of Shelyn find the law ridiculous and needlessly oppressive and see no point in limiting the expression of their art, so they flat out ignore it.

Local governance puts pressure on the church of Shelyn to straighten things out, who are caught between a rock and a hard place. They turn to the PCs - in a conflict where both sides are Good with a capital G and oathbound not to back down, how can they resolve the conflict?

The color thing is a bit silly and I'll probably swap it to something a bit more relevant (depicting a holy person? Reclaiming a controversial symbol?) but I think it has some potential. :)


Kudaku wrote:
Evan Tarlton wrote:
Kudaku wrote:
One thing just occured to me. If we assume that CG paladins follow the same tenets as LG paladins in regards to deity worship (worship a deity within one step of your own alignment) it would mean that we could have both LG and CG paladins of a NG god like Sarenrae or Shelyn. Two groups that both seek to advance the same causes and reach the same goals but do so using radically different approaches, potentially butting heads in the process. I think that could be a springboard for some really interesting adventures!
This is one of the things that most intrigues me about the possibility of a CG paladin. We can see how a paladin might conflict with a CG cleric of either goddess, but a conflict between paladins would have a very different feel.

I'm actually playing around with a short adventure based around this now!

A small LG country in the River Kingdoms where the color purple is reserved for royalty and his personal guard as a memento of a long-dead king, and it's a crime to wear or use the color without cause. Since the king is a popular historical figure and an anchoring point for the tiny kingdom's sense of self the more recent government, eager to promote their patriotism, have been expanding the law to also include magenta and violet. Some radical politicians even call for the ban of blue and red, since they're the primary colors that form purple. LG Paladins of Shelyn respect this law as best they can so they make a point of not using the prohibited colors in their public art pieces, remove purple dye when they hand out free paint kits on feast days etc. On the other hand CG Paladins of Shelyn find the law ridiculous and needlessly oppressive and see no point in limiting the expression of their art, so they flat out ignore it.

Local governance puts pressure on the church of Shelyn to straighten things out, who are caught between a rock and a hard place. They turn to the PCs - in a conflict where both sides are Good with a capital G and oathbound not to back down, how can they resolve the conflict?

The color thing is a bit silly and I'll probably swap it to something a bit more relevant (depicting a holy person? Reclaiming a controversial symbol?) but I think it has some potential. :)

Conflict over depictions of a holy person has a particularly-fun solution: non-iconic art. A good number of religions around the world admonish depicting the gods in their art, believing that art is a kind of creation and that humans, incapable of making use of the power of creation, are stepping on the toes of the gods by depicting them in their art. Non-iconic art naturally cropped up as a way of representing the gods and their works through abstract representation in visual art and architecture. Islam in particular takes issue with artistic depictions of Allah, and some of the religious art in mosques is seriously kicking-rad. While I think any in-world religion that had a rule against depicting a particular holy person or persons would've already figured out non-iconic art, it would certainly be interesting for a group of PCs to bring about a renaissance of religious art.


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I want to wear whatever I want to wear, but I grudgingly submit to the law this time, lest my brothers and sisters in the faith have trouble with the bigwigs. Only because it’s a trivial thing, mind you.

Silver Crusade

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What about Gnomes with naturally purple hair?


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All right, I tried to put together the two proposals, so tell me what you think.

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 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 must always defend the autonomy of innocents from those who would violate it. If one person is forcing an innocent to do anything against their will, you must attempt to stop this act, using words if possible and force if necessary. Never force anyone to engage in any particular course of behavior: you may advise and admonish, but never actually force people to do as you wish them to, except it this violates a higher tenet (ie: jailing a criminal who harmed or violated the autonomy of innocents is acceptable in order to prevent such behavior). Don’t tolerate anyone to violate your own free will.

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.

Acting with dishonor towards an innocent (i. e. cheating on your beloved one, stealing from a poor, etc.) can be considered evil, so it can be comprised in the first tenet. I feel that my last one is necessary to explain that a CG Paladin would never choose to “sacrifice one person to save one thousand people”.


“So, you’re some kind of paladin, a do-gooder who follows a code?”

“Yes that is correct.”

“And where does this code come from? Is it your own code? Did you make it up?”

“No, I swore an oath on this code, which was created by other people.”

“So, you follow this ‘code’ by choice?”

“Yes.”

“And can you modify this code?”

“No, I swore an oath to obey it.”

“For you, then, it is some sort of ‘law’, an indisputable list of rules and requirements?”

“Oh, heavens, no. There is no law about it.”

“Riiiiiggghhhht.”

Oh, and by the way, the word “Liberty” was first, in modern parlance, defined by Jean-Jacques Rousseau as “the ability to do all that is permitted, within the law” – to define a requirement that you must defend “liberty” implies adherence to the law.


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Kudaku wrote:
One thing just occured to me. If we assume that CG paladins follow the same tenets as LG paladins in regards to deity worship (worship a deity within one step of your own alignment) it would mean that we could have both LG and CG paladins of a NG god like Sarenrae or Shelyn. Two groups that both seek to advance the same causes and reach the same goals but do so using radically different approaches, potentially butting heads in the process. I think that could be a springboard for some really interesting adventures!

I think you'll find - if you step back from the rules for a moment - that every time you remove alignment from a class restriction - you end up with this statement.


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*sigh*

“So, you’re some kind of paladin, a do-gooder who follows a code?”

“Yes that is correct.”

“And where does this code come from? Is it your own code? Did you make it up?”

“I was searching for an ideal to dedicate myself to. I found this, and damn, it resonated so well with my own ideas.”

“So, you follow this ‘code’ by choice?”

“Yes.”

“And can you modify this code?”

“Why would I want to? It’s what I think too, and leaves me my autonomy of judgement. Of course, I could renounce to my vows if I didn’t like it any more- at the cost of my powers.”

“For you, then, it is some sort of ‘law’, an indisputable list of rules and requirements?”

“Maybe more a guideline? But a guideline I support with all my heart.”

Oh, and this.


I figure the defining code feature of the CG paladin would be hit evil without worrying about the social or political consequences of doing so.

So let's look at the code:

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

2) 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.--Drop. This would be good for a NG paladin, but the CG paladin knows that shocking the system will cause some innocents harm.

so new 2) you must attempt to minimalize harm to innocents in the course of your revolutionary actions.

3) You should treat others with courtesy, dignity, and respect. Do not cheat, steal, or lie to others unless it is necessary to protect the life and freedom of innocents.--Again a good NG or even LG paladin thing, but the CG paladin knows biting humor is a good weapon against the tyrant, and biting humor doesn't go well with "courtesy, dignity, and respect."

New 3) you should not treat people as bad or worse then the oppressor you are trying to overthrow. That includes the oppressor and his/her/its lackeys. You should model egalitarianism to those you hope to inspire.

4) You must stand against tyranny, unjust impositions and deprivation of liberty. You must not violate another's free will, neither allow others to violate your own free will.--Good

6) You must be a beacon of hope, show mercy, be compassionate and sow joy in this world. How these are done is less important than leaving the world a better place than it was during your lifetime.--Don't forget Mom and Apple Pie. The CG paladin doesn't need this kind of "get out of jail free card,"

7) 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 weight or importance than any other, and a single individual has the same importance on the cosmic balance as the destiny of a world.--Seems more NG than CG, but close enough.

So the revolutionary CG paladin code should be 1, new 2, new 3, 4, and 7.


“Maybe more a guideline? But a guideline I support with all my heart.”

"Unless, you know, I don't want to."


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Chaotic does not mean weathervane, you know. However, I already answered before. If I don’t want to, I can quit and lose my powers.


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Every, single, one of these “Paladin Dilemma” threads reads exactly the same to me. It all reads like at one time a Player and a DM got into an argument about what the player thought their character should be allowed to do and what the DM thought the character should not do.

And that argument created a rift so great that the universe shook under its tremendous weight.


Bardess wrote:
Chaotic does not mean weathervane, you know. However, I already answered before. If I don’t want too, I can quit and lose my powers.

Oh, well, I think I understand now.


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Anyway, this is not a "paladin dilemma" thread. There are other threads for that. We here are discussing the code, and who posts here is supposed to already agree with the idea of a CG paladin.

Silver Crusade

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Chaos is not constrained by randomness.

Also Rules =/= Laws


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Neurophage wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:


The issue with this is that, first, the fourth tenet of obeying any lawful authority is both an intensely Lawful part of the Code and utterly inappropriate for a CG champion.

I can respect that. I think we arrive at different conclusions from the phrase "Respect legitimate authority." Respect, to me, does not imply obedience. You can respect someone and their position while disagreeing with them. You can even do it while disobeying them. After all, they have a hard job and it's made harder by disagreeable elements like Chaotic Good people going off and doing good without their authorization or approval. If that means the good king has to have you arrested, then that's fair (you know, so long as they can catch you). They probably had a good reason for telling you not to do whatever you did, and you probably jeopardized something or another by doing it anyway. A Chaotic Good person owns their actions, as well as the consequences of those actions. If the consequences of what they did is that they're considered an outlaw, then it's only fair.

I'm planning on staying out of this for the most part, but I'll bring up the point I brought up last thread: Respect has two meanings: you can respect someone's personhood, and you can respect their authority. Lawful folk will likely focus on the latter, while Chaotic on the former. Naturally, both are aware of the dual meaning, but when they say they respect someone, even if they're saying "I respect Nick Fury so I do what he asks," they likely mean it the way I laid out.

Folks along the neutral axis are probably not terribly concerned if they respect someone or not. Both sides can get over themselves.


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AnimatedPaper wrote:
Neurophage wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:


The issue with this is that, first, the fourth tenet of obeying any lawful authority is both an intensely Lawful part of the Code and utterly inappropriate for a CG champion.

I can respect that. I think we arrive at different conclusions from the phrase "Respect legitimate authority." Respect, to me, does not imply obedience. You can respect someone and their position while disagreeing with them. You can even do it while disobeying them. After all, they have a hard job and it's made harder by disagreeable elements like Chaotic Good people going off and doing good without their authorization or approval. If that means the good king has to have you arrested, then that's fair (you know, so long as they can catch you). They probably had a good reason for telling you not to do whatever you did, and you probably jeopardized something or another by doing it anyway. A Chaotic Good person owns their actions, as well as the consequences of those actions. If the consequences of what they did is that they're considered an outlaw, then it's only fair.

I'm planning on staying out of this for the most part, but I'll bring up the point I brought up last thread: Respect has two meanings: you can respect someone's personhood, and you can respect their authority. Lawful folk will likely focus on the latter, while Chaotic on the former. Naturally, both are aware of the dual meaning, but when they say they respect someone, even if they're saying "I respect Nick Fury so I do what he asks," they likely mean it the way I laid out.

Folks along the neutral axis are probably not terribly concerned if they respect someone or not. Both sides can get over themselves.

Now for evil, you could swap out "respect" for "abuse." LE likes to abuse authority, CE likes to abuse persons, and NE abuses whichever is available.

I am less sure about what to swap out respect for in terms of neutrals (LN, CN, N).


Mechagamera wrote:

I figure the defining code feature of the CG paladin would be hit evil without worrying about the social or political consequences of doing so.

So let's look at the code:

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

2) 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.--Drop. This would be good for a NG paladin, but the CG paladin knows that shocking the system will cause some innocents harm.

so new 2) you must attempt to minimalize harm to innocents in the course of your revolutionary actions.

3) You should treat others with courtesy, dignity, and respect. Do not cheat, steal, or lie to others unless it is necessary to protect the life and freedom of innocents.--Again a good NG or even LG paladin thing, but the CG paladin knows biting humor is a good weapon against the tyrant, and biting humor doesn't go well with "courtesy, dignity, and respect."

New 3) you should not treat people as bad or worse then the oppressor you are trying to overthrow. That includes the oppressor and his/her/its lackeys. You should model egalitarianism to those you hope to inspire.

4) You must stand against tyranny, unjust impositions and deprivation of liberty. You must not violate another's free will, neither allow others to violate your own free will.--Good

6) You must be a beacon of hope, show mercy, be compassionate and sow joy in this world. How these are done is less important than leaving the world a better place than it was during your lifetime.--Don't forget Mom and Apple Pie. The CG paladin doesn't need this kind of "get out of jail free card,"

7) 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 weight or importance than any other, and a single individual has the same...

Agree on dropping 6 and (maybe) 3, but 2 is mandatory to me. A CG paladin is a swashbuckling manga hero, a Guardian of the Galaxy type, and would say "Ha! Who says I can't do a revolution without victims? Look and see!"

I like your new 3), by the way. See if you like my new proposal above.

Liberty's Edge

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I like DMW code best for the moment because I feel Bardess' code is a bit too restrictive on good-hearted shenanigans (also much of what Mechagamera posted)

Also I think CG Paladin should have a mandate to encourage people to think for themselves rather than blindly follow laws, traditions and leaders "just because"

Also striving for the anarchist ideal that was depicted by Wei Ji in the first thread : people leaving in harmony following rules they all agreed upon without need for a system enforcing order from outside their will

The latter is how I understand this ideal. Feel free to correct me if I got it wrong

It might help if we list the characters we see as exemplifying CG, like Robin Hood, Zorro, Han Solo for a start


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Mechagamera wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:

Respect has two meanings: you can respect someone's personhood, and you can respect their authority. Lawful folk will likely focus on the latter, while Chaotic on the former.

Folks along the neutral axis are probably not terribly concerned if they respect someone or not. Both sides can get over themselves.

Now for evil, you could swap out "respect" for "abuse." LE likes to abuse authority, CE likes to abuse persons, and NE abuses whichever is available.

I am less sure about what to swap out respect for in terms of neutrals (LN, CN, N).

"Is aware of"

Actually, while I typed that as a joke, it actually works on a couple of a levels. LN is VERY aware of authority; that's their whole life. CN could give a damn, they're people people. Mostly because people keep coming up to them and saying "Stop doing that" but whatever works.

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So maybe 3 could move to the NG Paladin Code, along with 6? No, I haven't started one yet.


Bardess wrote:
Mechagamera wrote:

I figure the defining code feature of the CG paladin would be hit evil without worrying about the social or political consequences of doing so.

So let's look at the code:

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

2) 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.--Drop. This would be good for a NG paladin, but the CG paladin knows that shocking the system will cause some innocents harm.

so new 2) you must attempt to minimalize harm to innocents in the course of your revolutionary actions.

3) You should treat others with courtesy, dignity, and respect. Do not cheat, steal, or lie to others unless it is necessary to protect the life and freedom of innocents.--Again a good NG or even LG paladin thing, but the CG paladin knows biting humor is a good weapon against the tyrant, and biting humor doesn't go well with "courtesy, dignity, and respect."

New 3) you should not treat people as bad or worse then the oppressor you are trying to overthrow. That includes the oppressor and his/her/its lackeys. You should model egalitarianism to those you hope to inspire.

4) You must stand against tyranny, unjust impositions and deprivation of liberty. You must not violate another's free will, neither allow others to violate your own free will.--Good

6) You must be a beacon of hope, show mercy, be compassionate and sow joy in this world. How these are done is less important than leaving the world a better place than it was during your lifetime.--Don't forget Mom and Apple Pie. The CG paladin doesn't need this kind of "get out of jail free card,"

7) 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 weight or importance than any other, and a

...

Thank you. I guess I think of the CG paladin as the professional revolutionary who is willing to have a few martyrs for the revolution (but as few as he/she can help).

I went back and forth on the autonomy issue. All kinds of things make little chips in autonomy (like traffic regulations, but I don't see the CG paladin beating the traffic cop for making me drive on the right side of the road), so it kind of needs a "big autonomy"/major life choices thing, but I am not quite sure how to describe that.

Now a CN paladin should totally beat up that traffic cop.


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I would like to pose the idea that perhaps Chaotic Good Paladins should not be out and out revolutionaries, but rather they should be a force to encourage people of all kinds to think for themselves and strive a balance of good for oneself, and good for the larger community.

I don't think any Chaotic Good Paladin should be compelled by their code to act in a radical and revolutionary manner. Rather the code should enforce the idea that choice is ultimately yours.

Perhaps by this ideal you could add in the place of the fourth tenet the following.

I will respect legitimate authority to the best of my ability and I will accept the consequences of my choices in the face of legitimate authority.

Not the best worded but the idea is that a Paladin of the Chaotic Good disposition should respect laws and rulers who are just in their rule, and accept the consequences of their actions against such laws.


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That would be CN, not CG. A paladin is Good before being anything else.


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XBow Enthusiast wrote:

I would like to pose the idea that perhaps Chaotic Good Paladins should not be out and out revolutionaries, but rather they should be a force to encourage people of all kinds to think for themselves and strive a balance of good for oneself, and good for the larger community.

I don't think any Chaotic Good Paladin should be compelled by their code to act in a radical and revolutionary manner. Rather the code should enforce the idea that choice is ultimately yours.

Personally I disagree, remember that the Chaodin should not be "just another CG person" but should a paragon of chaos and goodness in the way that the Paladin is a paragon of law and goodness.

So just like the Paladin is required to respect and obey authority as long as doing so isn't violating a higher tenet, even when that authority is harmful or bad, I would want the Chaodin to be required to undermine and resist authority, so long as doing so isn't violating a higher tenet, even when that authority is benevolent or good.

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.


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I never post on these forums as while I browse them, usually, I feel someone adequately represents my position. In the paladin argument I feel most people fall short, as I find paladins to be more an avatar of their diety. I think a CG paladin makes plenty of sense, but I think there is an underlying point missed in the discussion over it. This is a not of an odd topic so I'll try to cover it with as much brevity and clarity as I can via a cellphone.

Positive and negative rights. These marker the key difference between the lawful and chaotic axis when it's applied to the good end of the good and evil axis. Es la Champions the protection of the people as a community and us to protect a positive rights are enforced. Walla chaotic individual Advocates personal freedom and liberty thus enforcing negative rights. The chaotic individual tends to hate positive rights as they tend to fall against personal freedom. this is not strictly true but for brevity sake I'll simply explain the basis of negative from positive rights. And negative rights, is a right that exist regardless of interactions with others. freedom Liberty pursuit of happiness these aren't buzzwords these are terms referring to things that you have as long as no one attempts to take them from you. Positive rights are rights granted by others to an individual but can be at the expense of another individual. I won't go into any kind of modern semantics, but for example the government giving tax money provided from working individuals to non-working individuals would be a positive right to ensure quality of life. I e the right to a healthy lifestyle, the rights to fair treatment and Equitable treatment, or the right to accommodation based on weakness. A chaotic good individual would not inherently be against the facilitation of such things, however they would be against the enforcement of these accommodations when they take away from another person's natural rights. A lawful person is more likely to focus on fairness over individual liberty to ensure Equitable and even treatment in the society in the implication of law. Meanwhile if you do try to advocate for a neutral good State on these rules you would be focused on equivalent balance between these two concepts.
The reason I wanted such a long-winded approach to understanding this distinction is that many people Miss represent chaotic to mean Lawless or rulis or without pattern. This is a false statement as individuals with no Direction like that would not be able to operate within a society. What chaotic represents in this access is to be unrestricted within the relative bounds such that laws are meant to defend individual liberty and freedom of action and expression. If a law would not promote those things and instead infringes upon them a chaotic good individual would act out against that or ignored entirely.
A code or edict for chaotic characters is not an affirmative that much as long as that edict is what they and their gods believe is right as someone noted above actually. The real disconnect between law and chaos is what leads to the greater good. More specifically what the greater good entails, mainly for all or for to each his own. Both would find slavery anathema, but a lawful individual might accept its existence if it's something that brings more good to a larger number of people. As a Counterpoint both would find unfairness in exclusivity to be anathema, but a chaotic individual might accept it because it is a person's right to choose to the interact with where is the lawful individual would consider that entirely against supporting everyone's quality of life.
It's arguable which one of these would be great and which one would you be terrible, as that's going to fall into a personal taste in ethics. However, this distinction does not preclude chaotic individuals having a soulful edict, it actually promotes their existence as that edict would be the coalescence of their beliefs in individual Freedom's and the greater good.
As a side note, I've always found it interesting that people consider chaotic individuals to be flighty or whimsical almost without thought. That's no more true than all lawful individuals are staunch no-nonsense characters who follow every rule. Even the universal aspect of Chaos in Pathfinder does not create Amorphis creatures that don't even exist simply because that would require rules for existence. It simply means that the rules that Encompass their existence even on the plane of Chaos are amorphous and subject to change but substance is still a solid law. The organizations of internal organs that's debatable, but that they exist and acting the universe means that chaos is still subject to rules. Seriously, it confuses me because even entropy is subject to order it is just a different order focused on even distribution rather than collected distribution but I digress. I rambled on and people have said most of the other points I would make but if anyone has a question or if this bloody message comes out hilariously bad due to dictation by a phone, I'll correct it and organize it through edits if I can.

Liberty's Edge

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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 of innocents, with violence if necessary. If the cops try and arrest someone on false charges you know are false and they refuse to go? You potentially have to assault police officers now. You can try convincing the person to go quietly so you can prove their innocence down at the station, but if they still refuse to go? You have to back them, potentially up to including attacking the police physically (indeed, if you present evidence of innocence to the police and they still try and arrest the guy they probably don't count as innocent any more and you absolutely now need to attack them).

And that's only one of many situations in which protecting the autonomy of innocents is incredibly restrictive.


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?

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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?

Why would any -Din fall?

You might need to expand on this scenario.

Why are the bad guys the bad guys? Why is the McGuffin needed? Why aren't they willing to negotiate? What kind of "break in" are we talking about?


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
XBow Enthusiast wrote:

I would like to pose the idea that perhaps Chaotic Good Paladins should not be out and out revolutionaries, but rather they should be a force to encourage people of all kinds to think for themselves and strive a balance of good for oneself, and good for the larger community.

I don't think any Chaotic Good Paladin should be compelled by their code to act in a radical and revolutionary manner. Rather the code should enforce the idea that choice is ultimately yours.

Personally I disagree, remember that the Chaodin should not be "just another CG person" but should a paragon of chaos and goodness in the way that the Paladin is a paragon of law and goodness.

So, mainly paying lip service to Chaos while being completely focused on Good, then?

EDIT: Per Wei Ji's request below, I would like to apologize for posting flippant snark that doesn't really add to the topic of the thread. Would a mod be so kind as to remove it?

Dark Archive

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Could we please get back to the thread topic as per op request?

Thank you in advance.


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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....


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
XBow Enthusiast wrote:

I would like to pose the idea that perhaps Chaotic Good Paladins should not be out and out revolutionaries, but rather they should be a force to encourage people of all kinds to think for themselves and strive a balance of good for oneself, and good for the larger community.

I don't think any Chaotic Good Paladin should be compelled by their code to act in a radical and revolutionary manner. Rather the code should enforce the idea that choice is ultimately yours.

Personally I disagree, remember that the Chaodin should not be "just another CG person" but should a paragon of chaos and goodness in the way that the Paladin is a paragon of law and goodness.

So just like the Paladin is required to respect and obey authority as long as doing so isn't violating a higher tenet, even when that authority is harmful or bad, I would want the Chaodin to be required to undermine and resist authority, so long as doing so isn't violating a higher tenet, even when that authority is benevolent or good.

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.

The Chaodin's Righteous Ally feature should summon holy spray paint for tagging the palace walls with anti-monarchy slogans. For too long has has Queen Galfrey's strangehold on strategy held back the Mendev crusades from most effectively fighting the Worldwound threat!

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