Paladin. How would you REACT?!


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So I an my 15-16 level game today. the game started with 3.5 to beta to core from level 1.

home brew world with stolen maps. (makes it easy for me)

anyway, the pc's find out that their material plane is next to another material plane, and the other material plane is sending a big bad monster ( this is the short version)

the players go to other big bad plane, find a big city and the paladin gets attacked by paladins of a different Deity. WTF right?? :P

So they find out that their deities are TRAPPED within their home world BY THE DEITIES of this world who happen to be their children!(they were trapped in a very small world..compared to current world, and their world was originally a PART of the whole... as in .. both worlds are one world.. but the children gods separated a portion and trapped the older gods in it) and the original gods actually sent them to this world to free them.(think greek mythology!)

Here is the problem..

The LG deity of world one(home world) Wants back on homeworld2 to take care of his LG deity son on homeworld2. LG deity of homeworld2 Does not want LG deity of homeworld1 coming in.(think pantheon vs pantheon good vs evil on multiple levels and everything such a seniero would mean) SO

Conundrum... when faced with this the paladin decided to FALL. (i CAN NOT murder other good paladins even if the follow deity x) and of course the deity said.. fine fall.. Deity 2 shows up.. offers her to turn her back on world1 and join world2 she says NOPE.. not killing anyone. ASMODIOUS shows up says.. hey.. ill take u as you are!!!! and player says NO.

What would you have done??? choices choices.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ok let me see if I understand the situation.

There are two worlds, World A is but a smaller “pocket dimension” of World B. World A contains a “titan” pantheon. World B contains their children, or Olympians. Chronos or Saturn wants out (who is LG) of this pocket world so he can take care of his sun Zeus/ Jupiter (who is LG). Zeus the son does not want daddy coming out the box he is in.

Both Deities are LG.

I am simply using the names as placeholders.

Now from what I understand the paladin of one LG deity (Zeus) attacked the paladin of another LG deity (Chronos) and the paladin of Chronos said sod this, I’m not attacking another paladin of another deity. I’m going to also assume the other paladin ceased hostilities as well (because of the ensuing conversation with a deity).

Am I correct in assuming that both pantheons, Olympian, and their progenitors the Titans, are essentially very similar both in nature, and what the various gods and titans “domains” are?

The Greek gods were if I remember much more given to fits of anger jelousy in other words a full range of human emotions they we usually assume Deities who represent a “concept” are almost the embodiment of the concept they have dominion over. For example Abadar is very lawful, being the god of law and civilization.

I am assuming that the Paladin of Chronos was instructed by Chronos to fight the paladin of Zeus. The paladin of Chronos ( the PC) decided to disregard that order and find some sort of peaceful solution with the other paladin.

When the paladin refused the order, Chronos withdrew the paladin’s god given abilities correct?

Here is a copy of the paladin’s code of conduct from the Pathfinder SRD.

Code of Conduct
"A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class features except proficiencies if she ever willingly commits an evil act.
Additionally, a paladin's code requires that she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth), help those in need (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends), and punish those who harm or threaten innocents."

I would have to say, the paladin was in the right, to try and find a non-violent solution with another paladin. If I was playing a paladin I probably would have done the same thing.
Now while I don’t have all the details, based on the information you have given, I would also say, the Paladin PC did not FALL from Grace. Her Deity was giving her an order that violated right and wrong. She didn’t listen, and the Deity I am assuming in a fit of irratation withdrew his divine power from her.

Perhaps I have made some incorrect assumptions, but it looks like the player really played a paladin, and stuck to what was right, even though her divine patron took her divine powers away. It sounds like the player looked at the character in terms of a character with modivation and personality rather then a bunch of game statistics.
But again, I don’t have the full picture, it sounds like a very interesting campaign. I wold like to hear more details

Good luck

Elyas

Silver Crusade

Like Elyas, if I'm understanding this situation right the paladin should be commended for playing a paladin. She's staying more true to her alignment than either of the gods involved.

When faced with two(three) bad choices, she chose to stand her moral ground, didn't compromise her ideals, and is continuing to fight for a better option than what's been offered to her. That said, a god that actually lives up to the ideals of a paladin should become her patron.

Also, assuming these deities are inspired by the Greek pantheon: generally speaking, the Greek gods are really bad examples of good-aligned deities. Crazy spite machines and serial rapists, the lot of them. Poor poor Medusa...


You are correct in assuming it is in a dimension pocket. (also it is just not LG vs LG it is pantheon vs pantheon.the paladins had a problem with ALL the PC's. yes the deities have the same domains. (basically picture greyhawk gods VS pathfinder gods. Greyhawk deities are the father deities in my world which was played for 16 levels using a map out of a dragon magazine. then on Glorian there is a 'whirlpool" on the map. that is actually a "male storm" in my world where the pocket dimension is located. (the dragon magazine world map actually fits PERFECTLY in this location). In my campaign i decided that the local area around the "male-storm" would know a LITTLE about the parent deities and be lead to believe by the children pantheon that they are "demon gods"(not every LG i know but even LG can spread a lie especially when you get evil gods involved in the whole plot... maybe the evil gods spread it.)(and yes I am ruling and running that deities are jealous)

the paladin did not try to negotiate he just flew away. The NPC

paladins know that if he was allowed to persist their diety would

die.

The conversation between deity and paladin happens later in the afternoon. His deity stated he would not punish him if he killed the opposing paladins and that he wanted him to free him. but to free him did not come without a cost to both worlds......... short story..(it started with Tiamat trying to take over their current world.. and strange entity known as the 'dark phoenix"..

the original pantheon made a pact with Tiamat to survive(create the malestorm).. Tiamat now wants to collect.... the deities want out of course because well.. they were on borrowed time.. if they make it to the home world and all the deities end up on the same plane... think time of troubles :P..

oh.. tiamat is sending the 'gate keeper" to "cleanse" her new world... the PC's plan on destroying the gate keeper and never opening the portal and keeping everything as a pocket dimension. what the PC's do NOT know.. is that the 'dark phoenix" Is actually another gate keeper created by the old pantheon to destroy the other home world. They knew the dark phoenix was meant to help destroy gods.. they just always assumed their OWN gods...(spoiler)

Also I do not want to penalize the PC. ( you got me wrong on

that) I just don't see a deity giving the PC paladin abilities in

this situation. Hence why he "falls" IE loses paladin abilities.

NOW.. being that the player played it right.. what is the correct

solution.

1) allow him when he gains a level to trade in paladin levels at

but limit it to 3 to support continual?

2) allow him to trade in half for then the next half at next

level?

3) would caviler be a better solution?

he HAS to not keep his paladin abilities.. i mean... it just makes sense. (everyone agrees on this)

this is just a situation of there is no "right" anwser.

also can a paladin be a Paladin WITHOUT a deity? or is cavalier more of that sort of style???


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Why can't the very forces of Good that control the holy realms fuel his paladin abilities? It sounds like his god (or the other god... one of the two "Lawful Good" deities anyway) is being a bit of a dick, and decidedly not very Lawful or Good.

Seems to me it would be an even more dickish move to take away his paladin abilities for being a paladin... heck, for being better than what a paladin is expected to be in your world.

But if you insist, I wouldn't require any kind of slow conversion. You want to take away his paladin powers, fine - just convert him straight off. It seems silly to punish the player for playing things correctly, and forcing him to be at a handicap for a few levels would be punishing.

Contributor

Moved thread.


The core paladin does not actually devote himself to a deity, just the cause of good. The Sacred Servant APG sub type does. Most do pay lip service to certain gods, and some of the text in the abilities mentions "his god". So it's a tricky issue. If you wanted to this would be a good chance to introduce some sort of much more neutral forces of good and evil, not even an interested-in-events deity, but a much more benign/sinister force that guides emotions and events that would empower the paladin not to be fighting for "sides" in this conflict, but for the good of all life.


I would recommend the Shadobane Inquisitor from 3.5 Complete Adventurer. It's a Paladin/rogue prestige class (can also be cleric) that requires lawful good alignment. The class offers several rogue and paladin abilities that are fueled by the character's own conviction. If you stop being lawful good, you cannot gain anymore levels, but you retain all features from the class. Allow the character to "retrain" to take this class.
You could also make it a side quest to find a new source for his powers.


Archmage_Atrus wrote:
Why can't the very forces of Good that control the holy realms fuel his paladin abilities? It sounds like his god (or the other god... one of the two "Lawful Good" deities anyway) is being a bit of a dick, and decidedly not very Lawful or Good.

+1

Even if a deity does fuel their powers, you could say that other lesser deities (or other holy powers) are so moved that they band together and appoint the PC as their representative. Perhaps even starting a new religion?


Elevate the Paladin to Demi-god status, and let him provide his own powers. He had a lot of options, including doing exactly what his deity and allies wanted. Instead, he did the right thing. That buys you a constellation of your own.

Plus, in a war between deities, something that can tip the scales... (Story arc possibilities)


Please, maelstrom not male-storm. It's raining men is now stuck in my head.

I agree that a paladin denying his god when given an immoral order shouldn't fall. At most perhaps lose access to spells until a more acceptable patron diety is found, or he decides to be a paladin of secular humanism instead of a religion.

I think he should find a way to negotiate with his counterparts in the 2nd pantheon to band together against the real threats and leave their petty gods behind. Or if you really want to push the encounter, raise the stakes from philosophical differences to personal. Perhaps their gods have ordered them to force the PCs to battle by taking hostages, or threatening civilians in some other way. Or bypass this twisty part altogether and move on to the coming of this god-destroyer.


If you are familiar with old school planescape, I suggest introducing a (up till now) secret organization, akin to the Athar. Think academicians, who discover of the incident and invite the character to their circle, immediately denouncing the pantheons as a bunch of charlatans, or even perhaps, since you actually brought it up, Asmodeus is trying to control and take advantage of this situations. Gods, and I mean all deities ever worshiped in the "real" world have seldom been what Lawful Good is supposed to be ... yes even Yahweh who unleashed the angel of death upon the babies of Egypt. The rules since TSR's 1st edition were clear that deities are above and beyond traditional alignment. They might be labeled as lawful, chaotic, evil, good or some neutral, but in reality this moral compass affects the lesser forms of life (due to the gods' omnipotence and self perceived eternity)


Like the others, I do not think this is a "fall from grace". Perhaps his diety thinks so. But he is serving a greater good than even the LG god. ( and much more honorably) Seems like this paladin is at the cusp of creating a new order that follows its own tenants of law and good.

Or, and I like this better, the God in question has his hands tied. The god is LAWFUL GOOD and created a contract with the paladin. For honorable service adhering to a code, the paladin is granted divine powers. The paladin was given an unlawful ( morality not legality ) order and by the code refused it. The god cannot break a contract that even he created. This could be epic. Like breaking of the table in the Lion, the witch and the wardrobe. The god could start creating situations to tempt the player character to break the code in order to punish him. If the player holds fast, then maybe the god eventually loses a part of his portfolio due to his own failings.

Greg with some thoughts.

PS anyway KUDOS to the player for not taking an easy route.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I agree with others the paladin should not fall. I have always viewed plaladin powers coming more of their conviction than any god anyway. Paladin just usualy find a god the fits their views is all.

If you don't want godless paladins running around....than I would do a couple of hings....

1) A very powerful celestrial being grants her the powers of a paladin(hey if demon lord and such can grant power good beings should do to)

2) This might have entail a reworking of the plot but have a deity who want to forge a peace between the younger gods and the older gods grant her the powers.

3) Have a complete outsider god grant her paladinhood.

The first one is probably the eaiset.

But I would not make it easy either...because the character did something awesome and great...but the fact that it was a sacrfice involved is what made it great and awesome...if you take away the sacrfice to quickly...you cheapen the action...atleast that is how I would feel as a player.

Anyway kudos to the player for great RPing.


Let me choose a different word than fallen " i never told him he

was not LG."

this game started out as a 3.5 Game.

as such it had the stipulation that paladins follow gods. Gods

give paladin's their power in 3.5 so that carried over.

If a god wants to take away a paladins powers he can. Simply put.

he just can. His paladin his rules.

Effraid +1

that's pretty much how it is in my world.

the players perception is that he understood he was to be a

devout follower of said deity and the deity took away his powers.

he said " I couldn't have asked for a better ending to my chars

story because she went out for what she believed in."

as far as fighting for the other side?? the other side wants

those the original deities gone forever... (why wouldn't they?)

as for people who think LG deities would "stick together"... there is

only one portfolio... are you willing to give it up to someone who isn't better than you? ( and cease exist all together???) no afterlife for you like the paladin.

Personally, I told him there a number of gods who wouldn't want it opened, a number that would, and a number that wouldn't care...

He flat out said his char could not see any of those sides.. I offered to trade levels of cavalier for paladin as the cavalier is MORE non deity based.

and PALADINS ARE deity based.. they have been since 1st Edition, and if pathfinder changed that I really don't care for that change. paladins are meant to be "HOLY WARRIORS". Not " i have a personal code so no matter what I do I shouldn't fall".(which is what that amounts to at least 50% of the time depending on the player(ever see a player play CN lulz evil???).

also why wouldn't a deity be able to break his promise??? its a GOD.

2) no one deed usually makes someone change alignment.


If your gods don't use alignments, why bother saying it is lawful good?

your player had fun, so no worries. Just shared my thoughts, sorry if I stepped on a toe.

Greg


I think that the god is kind of wrong in this situation. For something that represents order, morality, loyalty, self-sacrifice, altruism and good, it has acted remarkably petty in betraying a true believer.

I commend your player for serving a god who completely abandoned them because they chose to do the right thing.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

@Dragonslie: Um...you asked how people would react...sorry if you did not agree with it...

And you are dead wrong about Paladins...in 3.5PHb...read under alignment and Religion under the class desciption. There you'll find your answear.

Also 1st edition says nothing about being dedicated to a god. Just to the ideals of law and good.

I don't know about 2nd as I don't have that PHB anymore.

Only 4th ed does a paladin have to be 'devoted'(well after they are empoered all divinr classes can give their the gods the finger and walk away still fully power by RAW) to a particular god I believe...I don't know the 4th ed game that well and my 4th ed PHB is on loan to some one.

That is all fine and well and good that you are perfectly right to have in your campaign world Paladins must follow a god rule( FR has similiar.) But don't come down on us for seeing it differently and misquoting the history of Paladins in D&D.

If you the player is cool with what happen...that is good. Enjoy your game.


How about this as an alternate. The LG god in question that took away the paladins power. Well, he has avatars does he not? They are godly in their own right. Why not have one of them grant the paladin his paladin-hood on the basis that the god wanted the other gods to think he was going insane or some such thing. Basically, some politics of the gods.

This way, the paladin gets to keep her paladin-hood while doing some good deads to help the deities work things out without all the deities knowing that the paladin is not powerless.

and many accolades to the player.. nicely played.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There actually is a Warcraft story that's not that dissimmilar to this situation.

Tirion Fiordring was a Paladin of the Silver Hand and he fought the Orcs of the Horde and the undead Scourge like all the other Paladins of the Hand during Lordaeron's last years and it's fall. Cut off from his fellows he encounters an Orc in a tower. They get into a knockdown dragout fight and in the process he realises the Orc has passed several chances for a cheap shot to end the fight. Long and short of it the fight comes to an end when the tower collapses and realising his opponent fought with honor he spares him. Both him and the Orc are taken prisoner by the other Knights of the Silver Hand and the order's head Uther, banishes Tirion from the Order stripping him of his powers because of his act of mercy.

Believing himself stripped of his abilities he nonetheless goes back to the camp of the Silver Hand and frees the orc from his imprisonment, finding unexpectedly that he is able to call upon them. Both he and the Orc in question would later become instrumental in the final defeat of the Undead Scourge many years later. When Tirion would refound the broken order of the Hand into the Argent Crusade... a more open and tolerant order encompassing many types of adventurers united against the undead menace.

In short if there is a Good beyond the gods themselves, that is ultimately where the Paladin in question may evolve to draw his powers from.


If he is willing to trade out for cavalier, it is probably a good idea. Especially if he chose the Order of the Shield.


As the player id probably listen to all sides but id probably come to the same conclusion as the original player. Seeing as it is the most just and devout thing he could have done.

id probably give him an ex bonus for doing a good job of playing his character well.

The Exchange

First smack the Dm for poorly thought out paladin trapping.

Dark Archive

Andrew R wrote:
First smack the Dm for poorly thought out paladin trapping.

My momma said, 'If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.'*** But she's not here, so I agree with Andrew. :)

The only thing worse than a badly played Paladin is a GM who is adversarially attempting to use their code and poorly-conceived 'fall from grace' mechanic to screw them over, IMO. This sounds less like an interesting moral dilemna and more like a trap. The gods, in fine Greek god style, are acting like petulant children, and that's totally in-theme with Zeus-like characters, but Zeus isn't the sort of god one is a Paladin of, so while he could thundersmite a paladin dead, he seems very unlikely to be able to make one fall from grace. If the Paladin's god is attacking other LG gods, it's not the Paladin whose messing up...

The god is telling the LG paladin to help *perpetuate an injustice,* which is shenanigans.

If this were a movie, the paladin would give a rousing speech, and even some of the gods would agree that she was right, and that they were being dicks. (Although the leader might attempt to smite her, and so earn the ire of his divine allies, who would stand up to defend the paladin (or, yanno, ressurect her, if the smiting happened all sudden like), and then tell their former god-king to go have a time out while the more reasonable gods (perhaps the goddess of wisdom, if there's an Athena analogue in this not-really Greek pantheon?) steps up and arbitrates a less confrontational solution, based on the paladin's inspiring words.)

But if the player has no idea that this scenario is an option, and chose to just fly away from demands to kill other servants of justice and goodness, it's less 'treacly emo movie ending' and more 'train dun gone off the tracks.'

***Not really. She was a truck driver, and I can't repeat most of her favorite phrases in this forum.


I love this dilema. My reccomendation is that next session he plays a fallen paladin, or thinks he does. Then, as the adventure goes on, tell him that he can add his smite bonus to 1 opponent, or he gets his charisma bonus to a save. Slowly reveal to him that he hasn't actually lost his Paladin powers, so long as he sticks to what he believes in. The power of a Paladin comes from him being a paragon of what is right and just, not from some divine inspiration. It always has, in every version of D&D. By RAW, Paladins (and Clerics since 3.0, not sure aout before) have never needed to worship a god to get their power.

I think your Paladin player will turn down any offer from any other god than is own orriginal one, and he will stick to his convictions and not kill those he sees as fighting for their own just ideal. I think this is commendable.

But overall I agree with you on the gods not getting along. I really hate the idea that just because 2 people are LG they have to work together and play nice.

Personally, I would have taken a different tact as the player. I would have asked the GM if since my god sees these people as his bane, if I could declare them my smite opponent as I beat them down mercilessly for attacking me. They instigated violence without provocation, they are not proper Paladins in my book, or even honorable fighters. They can die like bandits, their corpses in shallow, unmarked graves.


I love reading these threads about Paladins; they're interesting to me as I have a game coming up soon and I'll be playing one for that. I'll be sure to post anything like this if it happens at my table.

Anyway, I also commend the player for being a good paladin. That show of mercy is what champions of good have the great opportunity to be. My paladin as I see it forming in my mind's eye would likely do the same thing.

As always the player decides to play, but if the paladin stays I agree that such a paradigm shift from the norm as far as gods go should be rewarded.

First, the powers come back as the new ideal is being formed, and the celestial powers-that-be can fill the niche any way they like as followers recognize the player's wisdom.

In short, paint the paladin as a saint of mercy.

Scarab Sages

I'm going to throw in also with the folks saying that the paladin shouldn't have to be fallen - she should have her powers reinstated at some point, and the Gods should have to answer for what they've done. (She is one of ther heroes, after all - and you need to reward PCs for acting heroic).

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think that in the right circumstances (which happen fairly often in Arcanis or any Marvel comic:) LG Paladins can find themselves not only in opposition, but in combat to the defeat or even death of each other for reasons that can still reside in the LG axis. Unfortunately though the rules don't quite allow them to smite each other. :)

Shadow Lodge

Dragonslie wrote:
So they find out that their deities are TRAPPED within their home world BY THE DEITIES of this world who happen to be their children!(they were trapped in a very small world..compared to current world, and their world was originally a PART of the whole... as in .. both worlds are one world.. but the children gods separated a portion and trapped the older gods in it) and the original gods actually sent them to this world to free them.(think greek mythology!)

So.. the adults are stuck at the kiddie table?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This is an interesting situation.

Now Dragonisle, I wasn’t implying that you were out to get your players.

Perhaps we see a difference in semantics. To me a Fall from Grace, would mean that the paladin chose to do an evil act, well more then one, and was un-repentant. If the paladin's attitude is also“ it is better to rule in Hell then serve in Heaven”, then of course he most likely would and should loose his divinely granted powers. In that case, perhaps other powers would take an interest in him, and he could become an anti paladin. But I digress.

Wile fleeing from an encounter without at least attempting to communicate could be questionable. I think there is a big difference between the God yanking the “plug” on the paladin’s abilities because the paladin refused a questionable order (to attack and kill another paladin) which went against his code, and the paladin “ Falling “ from grace. By the way, breaking the code would also cause the paladin to loose his powers.

Again your player should be commended for persevering and trying to find the right path, even though there are lots of horrible choices present.

On that note, perhaps there are other Powers who would be happy to help the paladin out. Perhaps either some of the other LG deities from the larger plane might be happy to help. I would think this is just the sort of Soul Iomedae and Sarenrae would love to have in their fold. Perhaps the Empyreal Lords Andoletta and Ragathiel would be interested?

Now while in the Core Rule book it does mention the possibility of a Cleric gaining their powers from a belief in an Ideal rather then a God, and I am not sure about a Paladin, I do agree with you, I prefer to have a personality, an entity, at the other end of the “spiritual conduit”.

We are all free to put together our own worlds as we see fit, and that is a large part of the creativity and fun of being a GM.

As to your point about weather a god can break His/ Her/ It’s own promise? I suppose that depends entirely on how you envision these gods to be in their personalities behavior. In their power and makeup. Are the gods omniscient, omnipotent, and indestructible? The usual polytheistic Pathfinder pantheon is not omnipotent, omniscient nor indestructible. As for weather a god can break his own promise that is up to you. If the gods own nature, (if he is the embodiment of the ideal he represents) then the answer would be that a Lawful and good deity could not break his own word. If the Deity is more of personality and a character, very similar to a mortal in thoughts emotions and behavior, then yes he could and probably would break his word on occasion.

As for weather the LG gods get along maybe they do maybe they don’t. I do like your plot, with Tiamat it seems that it was her power that set up the “pocket Dimension” and she now wants to come and close up shop. I understand, there can be only “one” being in the “nexus” of power at the top of a Portfolio.

One big advantage that Good has over Evil is that more often then not, even if they don’t get along, they at least try to communicate with each other and they are often willing to work together to deal with a larger problem. Perhaps the players could act as intermediaries between the Pocket dimension world and the larger world.

Maybe the pantheons would be willing to work together to fend off Tiamat and the pantheon of the larger world would be willing to maintain the pocket dimension, and the players could be the key in bringing this about. Perhaps if there is a father son relationship between members of the pantheons, perhaps the children don’t want their parents around.

Set +1 I do like your post. You make some excellent points.

If your player is happy and feels “ I couldn’t have imagined a better ending for my character because she went out for what she believed in” , then what more do you as a GM want, you have a happy player.

Well good luck with the campaign, I enjoy hearing about the details

ELyas


Yet another victim of the "paladins are divine champions" meme. The paladin, initially were never supposed to have a similar connection to they're deities as the cleric did. The paladin was supposed to be the paragon of the chivalric ideal, the perfect lawful good. They were definitely religious, but not in the same way as the cleric.

However, some where along the line we got stuck with the idea that the paladins were the militant arm of the church. Well that's what a cleric is supposed to be! Though clerics also have other roles as well, since they can use they're abilities to protect and aid. This of course led to the question of why there aren't paladins of other alignments...

Basically, I think that you're character shouldn't have fallen. You're god should have no control over you're paladin's powers since they should come from his own virtue and not the deity.

Grand Lodge

It doesn't matter what the deities think or do or say.

It doesn't matter what the "History of the Paladin Concept in D&D" suggests.

It doesn't matter (much) what the DM wants the PC's "answer" to be.
.
.
.
It ONLY matters that the game moves forward, everyone has fun with the (really cool) Alignment diemma, the Player is roleplaying his PC and comes up with his own justification for his actions -- even if those justifications are slightly skewed from how the DM (Or I or any of us Paizonians) sees it.

The next bit of fun Alignment roleplay will be when the DM throws a second curvball at the Paladin that is an effect of the his actions from the first. And, of course, however the Player works through that Alignment issue is fine, too.

------------------------------

We're not always gonna have the same viewpoint on these Alignment situations. Thus, present the difficult choice to the PCs and let them struggle through it, coming up with their own answers. And accept those answers.

Otherwise you're just Railroading the PCs in a different way.


Caineach wrote:
I love this dilema. My reccomendation is that next session he plays a fallen paladin, or thinks he does. Then, as the adventure goes on, tell him that he can add his smite bonus to 1 opponent, or he gets his charisma bonus to a save. Slowly reveal to him that he hasn't actually lost his Paladin powers, so long as he sticks to what he believes in. The power of a Paladin comes from him being a paragon of what is right and just, not from some divine inspiration.

Big +1 !!

The Exchange

Just to play devil's advocate... ;)

The paladin was wrong.

If the order to attack and kill 'good people' came from, say, a higher member of the paladin's order, then the paladin may have been in the right. It didn't - it came direct from the divine embodiment of law and order that paladin chose to follow as his / her personal ideal. So...

1. The paladin chose to break the sacred covenant made between him and his god. That he chose to do this for what he perceives as the greater good is all well and fine... if he were chaotic good, or even neutral good - he's not, he's lawful good. By breaking a sacred oath, and not trying to work within that oath for the greater good, the paladin was acting out of alignment.

2. The paladin displayed an incredible level of hubris by basically announcing that he knew better than his god (a divine embodiment of law and good) on matters of law and good. He also displayed an incredible lack of trust in his god's motivations - deciding that the god in question was 'being a dick' rather than the god in question 'knows more about the situation than I do'.

3. The paladin ignored the greater good in favour of maintaining his own, personal, ethical comfort level. The god in question is a lawful and good god - trying to save a world. Beating down the other good guys may be distasteful, but it could save billions of lives - and have repercussions not just now, but stretching on into the future. By ignoring that task, because it felt like a bad thing to do, the paladin put himself above all others.

4. The paladin had a crisis of faith - not comprehending the reasons behind his god's instructions, and not being able to see how greater law and good would come out of actions he, the paladin, saw as evil in the immediate moment. By walking away, instead of trusting his god, or trying to resolve the problems in some other manner, the paladin fell from grace. Dealing with the black-and-white moral situations is easy, dealing with the shades of grey is the challenge - a challenge the paladin failed at.

Basically, it comes down to was the god 'just acting like a dick', or was the god 'acting for the greater law and good'? Sometimes there are no 100% morally positive choices, sometimes the tough choices have to be made - the lesser of two evils, the greater good. When faced with such a situation the paladin not only ran, but patted themselves on the back for being so righteous. That's pretty much a textbook definition of a fall from grace.

:)


Rickmeister wrote:
Caineach wrote:
I love this dilema. My reccomendation is that next session he plays a fallen paladin, or thinks he does. Then, as the adventure goes on, tell him that he can add his smite bonus to 1 opponent, or he gets his charisma bonus to a save. Slowly reveal to him that he hasn't actually lost his Paladin powers, so long as he sticks to what he believes in. The power of a Paladin comes from him being a paragon of what is right and just, not from some divine inspiration.
Big +1 !!

also, this could be an excelent arc to grant him godhood and become a power to keep in check both worlds. Maybe an Overgod (If you are familiar with planescape, or just FR - AO- )

Maybe you can use this to lead him in a quest were his "divine Spark" has awakened. I mean, there are SO many posibilities.

@Profpotts: raises a few points, that you could use for this new story arc that unfolds. Maybe former comrades in arms, raises an inquisition aiming to bring down the paladin and his new "unholy"/anatema power.-

Just my 2cp

oh, and +1 to the paladin! for excelent RP

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I'd contribute to this thread, but I have no idea where to start.


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''Let's start at the very beginning
A very good place to start
When you read you begin with...''

*shakes fist*


ProfPotts wrote:

Just to play devil's advocate... ;)

The paladin was wrong.

If the order to attack and kill 'good people' came from, say, a higher member of the paladin's order, then the paladin may have been in the right. It didn't - it came direct from the divine embodiment of law and order that paladin chose to follow as his / her personal ideal. So...

1. The paladin chose to break the sacred covenant made between him and his god. That he chose to do this for what he perceives as the greater good is all well and fine... if he were chaotic good, or even neutral good - he's not, he's lawful good. By breaking a sacred oath, and not trying to work within that oath for the greater good, the paladin was acting out of alignment.

2. The paladin displayed an incredible level of hubris by basically announcing that he knew better than his god (a divine embodiment of law and good) on matters of law and good. He also displayed an incredible lack of trust in his god's motivations - deciding that the god in question was 'being a dick' rather than the god in question 'knows more about the situation than I do'.

3. The paladin ignored the greater good in favour of maintaining his own, personal, ethical comfort level. The god in question is a lawful and good god - trying to save a world. Beating down the other good guys may be distasteful, but it could save billions of lives - and have repercussions not just now, but stretching on into the future. By ignoring that task, because it felt like a bad thing to do, the paladin put himself above all others.

4. The paladin had a crisis of faith - not comprehending the reasons behind his god's instructions, and not being able to see how greater law and good would come out of actions he, the paladin, saw as evil in the immediate moment. By walking away, instead of trusting his god, or trying to resolve the problems in some other manner, the paladin fell from grace. Dealing with the black-and-white moral situations is easy, dealing with the shades of grey is the challenge - a challenge...

A devil in a paladin thread... good luck ;)

1. The paladin made an oath to a lawful good deity, should that deity stop being lawful good (as this one did, there are no moral implications for deity's they are strict embodiments of alignment 1 strike and they change alignment) then his oath is not being broken.

2. As said before these gods are not the embodiments of their alignment (unlike how they are in most campaigns) so act with human morals and emotion, not so much gods as epic level characters, their worshipers most likely know this and are always wary when confronted by their god as to whether they were still the same person they originally chose to follow. The paladin, with a clearer head in the situation determined his deity was in fact wrong (remember these gods aren't omniscient and their followers know they are fallible) and chose to uphold the true LG side.

3. For LG killing one to save a trillion is just as bad as killing all trillion and one, LG mortals do not always have the choice of saving everyone and can only try their best (thus paladins rarely lose power if they save as many as possible) but gods on the other hand are held to a much higher standard (more power = more responsibility). These gods are shown to not be those type of gods though and the god in question was very likely NOT a lawful and good god anymore and the paladin chose to find a path his old lawful good god would more likely have sent him on.

4. see 3

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

It wasn't THE beginning, but it was A beginning...

Scarab Sages

If you were going to have that god remove the Paladin's powers, I would say that a new god would take his place in providing them. Perhaps one of Mercy, Compassion, or Peace. The Paladin has clearly shown that he exemplifies that ideal, and another god may see his actions as being so devoted to his sphere of influence that said god may be okay with giving the Paladin his power without his worship.

I also REALLY like the idea of having the Paladin simply think he is fallen. That's just a really fun time when he hurls himself at the BBEG,sacrificing his LG self for the greater good believing he doesn't have anything to help him, and then seeing his weapon glow with a brilliant light as it strikes. Magic :D

Edit*: Also, if it is Pantheon vs. Pantheon, these are supposedly lawful good gods dedicating themselves to the destruction of lawful good gods. Generally, lawful good gods are supposed to exemplify goodness and law, so I would hold LG Deicide as being all that is necessary to change alignments.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

WHEN GOD HANDS YOU LEMONS, YOU FIND A NEW GOD!


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..but I *like* lemons O_o

*shakes fist*


Yeah, it's definitely the deity who broke the contract here, not the paladin ... which calls the deity's lawful-goodness into question in a big way.

-The Gneech

The Exchange

Ah, but the Lawful part of 'Lawful Good' tends to mean that Lawful Good characters (and deities) look at what's the most good in the long term, and for the greatest number. Sometimes there's no 'good' solutions to a situation, only 'less bad' solutions. A Chaotic Good character will tend towards looking at the little picture, the short term, and the impact on the individual. A Lawful Good character will look at the big picture, the long term, and the impact on the majority.

Take the classic 'would you kill Hitler as a baby' question (a terrible simplification of the interwar causes of World War 2 and Nazism, but run with it...):

Chaotic Good says 'killing innocent babies is a bad thing, I don't do bad things, I won't kill an innocent baby'... and the holocaust happens...

Lawful Good says 'killing innocent babies is a bad thing, but even so, in this rare case it's for the greater good, so I'll do it, even though I'll have to live with the guilt of that act for the rest of my life'... and there's peace in our time.

The assumption in the case of our paladin seems to be that the paladin's god was... well, being a dick... and wasn't acting in a Lawful Good fashion. We don't actually know that, do we? We're assuming that's the case, because it makes our paladin look better, and makes the right or wrong of the paladin's decision a much easier black-and-white situation. But... and it's a big but... unless this god came out and confirmed that, yes, it was acting contrary to its own Lawful Good nature, and that yes, it wanted the paladin to do the same, that's not something we can assume. By taking the paladin's side we, like the paladin, are rating our judgement of the situation, no matter how little information we possess, above that of the god concerned.

The god hasn't broken any covenant with the paladin by asking the paladin to do something ethically challenging - it's asked the paladin to have faith that the god is working towards the greater good. Obviously that was a faith the paladin lacked; and commiting an ethically distasteful act was a sacrifice and burden the paladin wasn't willing to make... which isn't very paladin-like...

There are plenty of more mundane ethical dilemas a paladin could face, where they have to choose between two 'evil' acts. E.g. a group of characters are roped together on a dangerous climb - one slips and falls, and is dragging the rest with him. The paladin has a moment to make a choice - cut the one free, sending him to his death, or refuse to do that, and let everyone fall to their deaths. What should a Lawful Good paladin do? The one thing he shouldn't do, no matter his choice, is to unrope himself and walk away, washing his hands of the whole sordid affair... which is what the paladin in the OP did by walking away and not taking a stand either way.

Easy ethical choices aren't the test of a paladin, difficult ethical choices are - and abandoning your faith and your friends to avoid making a choice is not a paladin-like thing to do.

Hopefully mentioning Hitler and the Nazis doesn't automatically shut down the thread, as per unwritten internet rules! ;)


I know that every case should be studied, but for me - even more when i play or DM a paladin -

Doing something "for the greater good" is almost always a one way ticket to the dark side XD.-

Sure, as you said, you can stick with the "lawful" interpretation, yet, as a paladin youre not LN youre LG, and i think that the "good" part of that aligment keeps you from just killing a baby in order to avoid a war (I´m just taking your example here - i´m not starting a flame war on WWII)

You may raise him and try to teach him better, or even find another way, but killing him would mean you fall. There is no Workarond on that.- Sure, if you can live with that, go for it. But going back to the OP post, i think that the paladin is ready to take the place of his god.-


Its too bad the lawful part does not mean long term goals, if murder is illegal then no, mister lawful good wont be killing any baby Hitlers anytime soon. If it is wrong at the given moment then it isn't lawful.

just look at lawful evil, no matter how bad the outcome will be in the future lawful devils will follow through with any deals made.


ProfPotts wrote:


Take the classic 'would you kill Hitler as a baby' question (a terrible simplification of the interwar causes of World War 2 and Nazism, but run with it...):

Chaotic Good says 'killing innocent babies is a bad thing, I don't do bad things, I won't kill an innocent baby'... and the holocaust happens...

Lawful Good says 'killing innocent babies is a bad thing, but even so, in this rare case it's for the greater good, so I'll do it, even though I'll have to live with the guilt of that act for the rest of my life'... and there's peace in our time.

Ugggggggggggggggggggggggggh.

The chaotic good character says that 'Hurting innocent people is wrong and I choose not to do it, though when he is an adult I will try to sway or stop him from taking the actions he does depending on if push comes to shove. It is only fair to allow what is going to happen to happen, but I will not let him hurt anyone if I can help it.'

The lawful good character says 'Hurting innocent people is wrong and I choose not to do it, though knowing this will happen, I will stay with the boy and try to teach him correctly so that the tragedies in the future never happen. It would be unfair to punish him without attempting to redeem him.'

A good person always chooses to do good.

A lawful person always chooses order, loyalty and fairness above chaos, freedom and emotion.

A chaotic person always chooses chaos, freedom and emotion.

An evil person always chooses to do evil.

A lawful good person who harms an innocent in order to save lives without giving future thought to the matter is actually lawful neutral at best, or lawful evil if they enjoy killing the child or can consider no other options.

Consider that a paladin shares an alignment with an angel. They do not think alike, they think extremely similarly. Their moralities and sense of justice, fairness and order are almost exactly alike. Now consider a chaotic evil serial killer. He has the same mindset as a demon. They both think alike.

Quote:
E.g. a group of characters are roped together on a dangerous climb - one slips and falls, and is dragging the rest with him. The paladin has a moment to make a choice - cut the one free, sending him to his death, or refuse to do that, and let everyone fall to their deaths. What should a Lawful Good paladin do?

The paladin cuts the one man free and then leaps after him to save him if he can. If he cannot, he seeks an atonement for forgiveness from his god for not being able to save the one man. The hallmark of a good character is that he does not shrug and walk away. If he fails and takes an action that's questionable, he feels it is deeply wrong and questions himself.

The Exchange

Lawful alignment doesn't mean 'slavishly follows the written law' - it can tend towards that, but it's more about order and long-term stability.

Yes, in the killing baby Hitler scenario you'll always want to look for 'option 3', but as a simplified example assume that there are only two options - kill the baby or don't kill the baby. Either way you have to live with the consequences.

If devils will follow though on deals made, then they're more lawful than the paladin, 'cos he bailed on his deal with his god, right? ;)

Sometimes people seem to have the idea that 'Lawful Good' is just 'more good than Neutral Good, and more good still than Chaotic Good' - that's not the case: they each repesent different aspects of 'good'. Many heroic characters tend much more towards Chaotic Good than they do Lawful Good - Chaos is about the quick fix and the individual (rob from the rich to give to the poor - with no regards to how that effects the stability of the region, the defence of the nation, or that it's not providing any long term solutions to the issues which make the poor poor in the first place). A Chaotic Good character gives a starving man a fish, a Lawful Good character teaches a starving man to fish... and all that... ;)

For better or worse, paladins are bound to being Lawful Good, not generally Good, or Chaotic Good - to do that they have to be big picture, long-term, people. They certainly can't get away with just turning their backs when the tough choices have to be made... as the paladin in the OP seems to have elected to do. For that paladin, it's probably time for an alignment change to Neutral or Chaotic Good... which is great for character development, but still means he's now a Fighter with no bonus Feats...

... No-one claimed being a paladin was easy... ;)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
ProfPotts wrote:

Chaotic Good says 'killing innocent babies is a bad thing, I don't do bad things, I won't kill an innocent baby'... and the holocaust happens...

Lawful Good says 'killing innocent babies is a bad thing, but even so, in this rare case it's for the greater good, so I'll do it, even though I'll have to live with the guilt of that act for the rest of my life'... and there's peace in our time.

THIS is how you run Good characters? I cannot possibly respond civily to this. Even simplified, this is completely wrong.


ProfPotts wrote:

Lawful alignment doesn't mean 'slavishly follows the written law' - it can tend towards that, but it's more about order and long-term stability.

Yes, in the killing baby Hitler scenario you'll always want to look for 'option 3', but as a simplified example assume that there are only two options - kill the baby or don't kill the baby. Either way you have to live with the consequences.
... No-one claimed being a paladin was easy... ;)

Acutally, that third option, is the only "GOOD" option. the other two are just evil.-

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