Paladin's Code and Fiends


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Heaven's Agent wrote:

Per the game rules, the paladin should not lose his powers due to any of the indicated actions. The section pertaining to losing a paladin's abilities is very specific about the conditions that apply:

  • ceases to be lawful good
  • willfully commits an evil act
  • violates the code of conduct
  • Agree with all this.

    If the paladin ignores the demon, then it's a whole other issue... but just opening a door... That's harsh.

    I'm curious. Are paladin's the ONLY ones DM's strip of their powers? Mages, sorcerers, Clerics etc.... all need 8 hours rest/sleep to replenish their spells...

    Does anyone have nightmare filled nights... or toss and turn over guilt and just NOT get the rest they need?

    They just released a DEMON!!! Any GOOD character should be scared or guilty

    Last night I only got about 2 hours of sleep from all the tossing and turning... if I was a spellcaster, I would NOT have gotten my spells back today.

    Do any dms do THAT to players? It seems like there are a LOT of people who just see Paladins as 'targets' for DMs to screw with. Admittedly that could be fun... but there are a LOT of threads on here that are all the same thing... "Paladin did something, I smacked him. Was I right?"

    Now THIS DM didn't smack him to hard... but I'm wondering if any of the OTHER classes get any of that love too ;) It doesn't seem fair to only take the toys away from ONE player.

    Liberty's Edge

    Releasing a great evil upon the world, even if accomplished via extreme stupidity, should have consequences -especially to a paladin. As DM,I would have immediately taken away a portion of the Paladin's power- perhaps the ability to lay on hands to cure himself- and informed him, via a prophetic dream, that this was in punishment for the consequences of his action. I would let him know that this power could only be restored after the demon was either safely imprisond or destroyed. In effect, this would be an atonement; and no other means of atonement would suffice or be effective. The other players in the group would also be warned that their alignments were drifting towards chaos.


    Patryn of Elvenshae wrote:
    wraithstrike wrote:
    If a paladin could never lose his powers without player say so many players would just abuse it.
    ... How?

    By ignoring the paladin code. The paladin is not just a fighter who traded in his feats for spells. I am not saying it breaks the game, but the RP feature of the paladin is also a mechanical feature, and it should not be avoided just so someone can not get their feelings hurt.

    Example:The player who wanted to kill goblins would be a specific example.

    Quote:
    Egads - your player is now playing a slightly magical fighter, who has fewer feats in exchange for some situational bonuses and yet, still, ranks pretty far behind the cleric and the wizard and the druid in terms of how overpowered they are, and they don't even have to play mother-may-I with their abilities.

    I was not saying from a power point of view. If a player wants to play a class without restrictions he should not play a paladin

    Quote:


    Do you people not play with friends?

    Sometimes and as many threads in these forums point out even friends can be an annoyance at the table if they see rules differently than you do or just have a different perspective on how things should go.

    Quote:


    And when you took his powers away, did he have an epiphany and become a "better" roleplayer?

    I did not take his powers away. I told him what would happen before the event took place.

    I did not go to the message board either. He came around to my view on the non-license to kill, and his goblin issue seemed to be a hold over from the 2E era where goblins were monsters with no rights. He never really agreed with me on that on, but I put it in writing before the game started so it was not like I sprung it on him.

    Quote:


    What you have here is a conflict of DM and player styles, which no amount of in-game tweaking is going to solve.

    The issue is already resolved and you did not answer the question of whether or not I should just allow the paladin to go around doing as pleases without regard for the paladin code. To be fair I ask should I just allow him to kill and get away with it, but there is not really much difference.

    The only way to fix this is to actually have a nice, out-of-character chat. To say, "Hey - I'm trying to run a high heroic game wherein X happens. Are you interested in the same things I am? If not, could you at least fake it while we're playing my game?"

    Quote:

    I mean, I like the alignment rules; I like thinking about the philosophies that might apply to a person of each alignment. But there's a reason that every fourth post on this or any other D&D-focused message board is a variation on "I've got a Paladin who kicked a kitten; should he fall?"

    * - "He would have known had he read my campaign guide which he may not have done."

    Look - we, as DMs, get all kinds of caught up in our imaginary world that we end up doing the most legwork in creating. But a lot people just don't get that involved; they want to sit at the table, roll some dice, kill some monsters, and take their stuff. This is a classic conflict of play styles, and ruling paladinhood with a heavy hand isn't going to fix that.

    The same information was in a campaign book that I was running in Eberron. I did not expect the players to read the entire book so I gave them a short overview, with differences from Forgotten Realms, and the player considered himself an RP'er. Now if he was a dice roller(the player that just shows up to roll dice) then I would have understood the ignoring of any fluff, but I still would have enforced that you can't just go around killing people.

    I did not rule with a heavy hand. I enforced the basics of the code, which would include no pointless killing. I don't think there is a poster here that finds that unreasonable. Even a non-paladin should be killing just because so it should follow that a paladin definitely should not be doing so.

    PS:If a player want to play the paladin mechanics without the code is probably not game breaking, but to play the "paladin" and try to pull it off kills immersion.


    wraithstrike wrote:
    Kalyth wrote:


    Quote:


    To me RPGs are like playing characters in movies or from a book. By your statement, Darth Vader should have never captured princess Leia at the beginning of Star Wars as her Corvette was clearly no match for Darth Vaders Star Destroyer.

    That is not even close to the way I read it. What did he say that made that comparison?

    "GM's acts include stuffing a demonic prisoner that the party had absolutely no hope of defeating into the path of their current adventure. And then blaming the party (and the paladin) for their poor choices."

    What I was trying to stress is that in alot of stories the "Heroes" meet powerful opponents that they have NO hope of defeating yet they survive and then at the end of the story are triumphant.

    Doug's post read to me like it was wrong for a GM to place challenges outside of their current skill range before them that they can choose to avoid. Honestly should you open any door with runes around without atleast trying to decipher those runes? The demon was not used to slaughter the party it was used as a plot device.

    On the matter of whether the Pally should have lost his powers. I would have givin him a warning vision as others have suggested. He would not have had to attone as long as he actively pursued a course to defeat the demon in some way.


    Rather than force an Atonement (which wasn't necessary), you could have talked to player and pointed them down a more constructive path (tracking down and killing the escaped demon.) You had a wonderful setup for an epic end-battle somewhere down the road. Instead, you stripped the Paly.


    Kalyth wrote:


    What I was trying to stress is that in alot of stories the "Heroes" meet powerful opponents that they have NO hope of defeating yet they survive and then at the end of the story are triumphant.

    Doug's post read to me like it was wrong for a GM to place challenges outside of their current skill range before them that they can choose to avoid. Honestly should you open any door with runes around without atleast trying to decipher those runes? The demon was not used to slaughter the party it was used as a plot device.

    On the matter of whether the Pally should have lost his powers. I would have givin him a warning vision as others have suggested. He would not have had to attone as long as he actively pursued a course to defeat the demon in some way.

    I have no problem with the heroes facing opponents that can't be beaten right away. I have no problem with the demon being locked up and accidentally released by the PCs. However, to have the paladin punished for those actions, on top of releasing the demon, that's too far.

    A GM plot hook should not involve depriving one of the players of his character's abilities.

    When designing the dungeon, the GM said "Behind this door is great evil. Certainly they would never open it." GM School says the players are extremely likely to open it. So, the GM should have said to himself "If they do open it, are we ready for this demon to be released? If yes, then it happens. If no, then the demon is further bound by rings of angelic light. Evil radiates to such a degree that the paladin doesn't even need to use his powers to know that thing is evil." Or maybe, before the group opened the door, the description of the doorway includes "Priest, you can see the warding symbols from at least three different religions upon the iron bands of the door. Wizard, you recognize some of the runes as warding symbols. Make a Knowledge: Spellcraft roll for me . . . Barbarian, you smell some burned sage, which you remember as being used in ritual binding ceremonies by your tribe's shaman."

    But were any of these things done? Could not a random kobold walk through that dungeon and with nothing but blind luck release a demon? Because every GM knows players miss things. They need great big neon signs that say "DANGER." Don't drop hints, drop anvils.

    The situation that was presented was "hey, there's something important behind this door." Turns out that something was a demon that the party could not defeat, and was a plot hook. So the paladin gets blasted for pulling the GM's string and triggering the plot hook?


    Doug's Workshop wrote:
    Don't drop hints, drop anvils.

    Forget anvils -- too subtle. Drop Nukes. Players rarely miss those -- misunderstanding them maybe. But then it's a nuke so you don't really have to worry about it since the player is likely gone now.

    Liberty's Edge

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
    Heaven's Agent wrote:

    Per the game rules, the paladin should not lose his powers due to any of the indicated actions. The section pertaining to losing a paladin's abilities is very specific about the conditions that apply:

  • ceases to be lawful good
  • willfully commits an evil act
  • violates the code of conduct

    The paladin did not do any of these things over the course of events as described. Releasing the fiend is the only thing that comes close; it was a stupid thing to do, but clearly not a willfully evil act. Unless you have established house rules on this issue, then no, you were not being reasonable; you should not have stripped the character of his abilities.

    That said, while an atonement spell may not be called for in order to restore lost powers, I could see it being required for any number of story purposes. The superiors of the paladin's order certainly are not going to be happy about the creature being freed, and it would further be reasonable for any paladin in such a situation to seek atonement on his or her own. Even in such a case, thought, the spell should not require the 2500gp cost to contact the character's deity.

  • Now I know some people will argue with me here, but in my opinion the Paladin did willingly commit an evil act. Through their own carelessness she was part of a group that unleashed a powerful evil unto the world.

    Now the key distinction is that this was also an unwitting evil act, and the atonement spell itself also makes a clear distinction here. Since the act was unwitting the 2500gp material component was not necessary and the group only needed to pay a much smaller price. However an evil act still was committed, unwitting as it may be, so the Paladin needed to deal with the consequences.


    The_Hanged_Man wrote:
    Well, the party knows Demon X in in the dungeon. The door has decipherable runes (they have been deciphering other runes in the dungeon so they know this is possible) that basically say Demon X is inside. They just didn't bother to examine the door. *shrug* I don't know how much more obvious I could be without straight out telling them. At some point just kicking in the door needs to have consequences.

    Something there seems wrong to me... If they've been deciphering runes all up and down the hallway, and then deliberately chose to ignore the ones on the locked and barred door... You have players the likes I've never played with!

    Whoever was doing the translating (wizard?) must not have realized that there were runes on the door... or that they were different from the 'general history' of the temple... or whatever. It... just doesn't make sense to have a super locked door... and just say "oh... there's writing here! Ehhh... probably nothing!"

    And to be honest, I do disagree with 'opened locked door' equaling 'willing commiting an Evil Act'. Attitudes like that will basically FORCE the player to become antagonistic to anyone in the party who ever wants to open a door again... because there MIGHT be an ancient demon inside.

    He didn't choose to release a demon, he opened a door. And a demon was There. Then he tried to slay the demon...


    I believe that what the OP did was fine.

    Paladins [and clerics] in my games are STRONGLY encouraged to purchases slot-less Phylacteries of Faithfulness.

    If the pally had a good know-religion skill, I would probably have made a secret roll to justify giving a warning [same with high know arcana or decipher script] Unless I the DM wanted the players to free the demon,

    Op: Did you intend the party to free the demon???

    EDIT: And for the record, the fine on the Pally for the Atonement would have been 450gp. And the poor pally did not apparantly lose his powers for any encounter which was actually important.


    The_Hanged_Man wrote:

    Now I know some people will argue with me here, but in my opinion the Paladin did willingly commit an evil act. Through their own carelessness she was part of a group that unleashed a powerful evil unto the world.

    Now the key distinction is that this was also an unwitting evil act, and the atonement spell itself also makes a clear distinction here. Since the act was unwitting the 2500gp material component was not necessary and the group only needed to pay a much smaller price. However an evil act still was committed, unwitting as it may be, so the Paladin needed to deal with the consequences.

    If you're going to argue semantics, you need to recognize that if an action is considered willful, it is defined as being done "with full awareness of what one is doing".

    That was not the case in this instance. Due to lack of knowledge on the party's part they released a fiend, but they did not know that opening the door would be an evil act. As such, the act cannot be considered willfully evil, as the paladin did not possess awareness that he was doing anything wrong. As such, in this case freeing the creature does not fall into any of the defined actions that would cause a paladin to lose his abilities. It was just completely and utterly stupid.

    Liberty's Edge

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
    Quote:

    If you're going to argue semantics, you need to recognize that if an action is considered willful, it is defined as being done "with full awareness of what one is doing".

    That was not the case in this instance. Due to lack of knowledge on the party's part they released a fiend, but they did not know that opening the door would be an evil act. As such, the act cannot be considered willfully evil, as the paladin did not possess awareness that he was doing anything wrong. As such, in this case freeing the creature does not fall into any of the defined actions that would cause a paladin to lose his abilities. It was just completely and utterly stupid.

    Ah, but the group did know there was a demon in dungeon behind one of the doors. If I presented you with three doors, told you a tiger was behind one of them, and then you opened them all up then I would argue that you willingly released the tiger. The fact that you did not know which specific door it was behind does not change that fact.

    The fact that I gave more than enough clues that the demon was behind that specific door only makes the situation worse.

    Contributor

    The_Hanged_Man wrote:

    A Paladin in my group recently required an atonement and was complaining a bit how it was unfair so I wanted to get some feedback.

    Scenario: A powerful demon was safely sealed away in a magical vault in the dungeon. The group had been given the name of said demon and knew that it was somewhere in this dungeon. The door to the vault was huge and glowing with decipherable magical runes which would have provided clear hints of what was inside.

    The party when encountering the door slaps in a key without bothering investigate anything at all. No reading the runes. No checking for traps. I tried to pause and make opening the door seem really dramatic to see if someone would say stop, but no one did anything.

    The doors open and the demon offers a deal in gratitude to the party. It only wanted out of this prison so it offered to not kill them but they need to get out of its way. So demon would only attack those that attacked it or got in its way. The party initially tried to fight the demon but they were clearly outmatched.

    After the downing a couple party members the demon, amused by their feeble antics, repeated its offer. The party fled, the paladin dragging one downed member away. The demon, semi-true to its word, declined opportunity attacks as they fled although it did take a swipe at a party member who was blocking its way as an 'encouragement' to move.

    The demon walks out of the dungeon and proceeds to terrify the countryside.

    Pally's Opinion: Shouldn't have lost powers because they were trying to save others (dragging away the downed party member).

    GM Opinion: Pally lost powers and required atonement because:
    A. They freed a powerful fiend into the world through carelessness.
    B. Once doing so the pally did not do her utmost to stop it (ie didn't go down swinging). Note that this wouldn't have resulted in her death. The demon most likely would of just knocked the pally to negative HPs and leave her to live with the guilt knowing what she had done.
    C. The saving others argument doesn't...

    IMHO, you're not being reasonable for the following reasons:

    1. The portentousness of the door was improperly foreshadowed. If a door with glowing neon runes is not noted or worried about, this is because such doors are commonplace and no one needs to bother with them.

    2. Even if the portentousness was properly foreshadowed, reading that isn't the paladin's job. The rogue is supposed to check for traps, the wizard is supposed to read arcane runes, and the bard is supposed to look at iconic architecture and figure out if this is a door like the the one the dread demon --insert name here-- was locked away behind. The paladin has deferred to their authority, and if they were asleep on the job, it's not his fault.

    3. What sort of people lock away a demon with nothing more than a key, a portal, and a few warning labels? That's not a security system. That's a medicine chest.

    4. Freeing an evil into the world through carelessness is bad, yes, but the party wasn't the only careless party. The truly careless people were the ones who locked it up with lax security.

    5. When facing an insurmountable foe, only an idiot runs after it intending to "go down swinging" and then trusting in its "benevolence" to leave you alive to taunt and torment, rather than just eating you and your soul right then and there.

    6. You never trust anything out of a fiend's mouth, ever. The demons say whatever they please and will only do what they said if it still amuses them once they get the chance to actually do it, and the devils use weasel words continually so there's no point of even listening to anything they have to say.

    7. The "saving others" argument is actually the best one for any paladin. If there's a runaway train headed for the gorge and the bridge is out and sweet Nell is also tied to the tracks just before the bridge, pulling her to safety so she doesn't die a horrible death is a better choice than hopping on board the train and trying to save Nell, everyone on board, and yourself.

    Yes, the demon is a great evil. It may make a beeline for the village intending to slaughter everyone there, but when it pauses to make its dramatic "Cower Before Me!" speech, the statue of Cayden Cailean in the beer garden may suddenly be revealed to be a bronze golem left there years ago by an oracle with actual foreknowledge who made sure to give it a beer stein of demon slaying.

    Too improbable? Sounds just as likely as someone leaving a demon behind an untrapped door with only a key and a few warning labels as protection.

    And that's the point. As GM, your job is to convey a believable world.

    The paladin doesn't need an atonement. All he needs to do is alert the members of his order, get advice of any senior members, and possibly lead a crusade to lock the demon back away--and this time use somewhat better protection than there was in the first place.

    Liberty's Edge

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
    Sleep-Walker wrote:

    Op: Did you intend the party to free the demon???

    Not really. At this point they had already killed the BBEG and were filling in blank spaces in the map. At that point they could just packed up and left and the story would of continued with the demon just staying imprisoned. They found both the key and door in a secret area on the bottom level of the dungeon where no one been for thousands of years. My thought is that after they killed the BBEG they assumed they were safe and started playing carelessly.


    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
    PRD wrote:


    Atonement

    School abjuration; Level cleric 5, druid 5
    Casting Time 1 hour
    Components V, S, M (burning incense), F (a set of prayer beads or other prayer device worth at least 500 gp), DF
    Range touch
    Target living creature touched
    Duration instantaneous
    Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance yes

    This spell removes the burden of misdeeds from the subject. The creature seeking atonement must be truly repentant and desirous of setting right its misdeeds. If the atoning creature committed the evil act unwittingly or under some form of compulsion, atonement operates normally at no cost to you. However, in the case of a creature atoning for deliberate misdeeds, you must intercede with your deity (requiring you to expend 2,500 gp in rare incense and offerings). Atonement may be cast for one of several purposes, depending on the version selected.

    Reverse Magical Alignment Change: If a creature has had its alignment magically changed, atonement returns its alignment to its original status at no additional cost.

    Restore Class: A paladin, or other class, who has lost her class features due to violating the alignment restrictions of her class may have her class features restored by this spell.

    Restore Cleric or Druid Spell Powers: A cleric or druid who has lost the ability to cast spells by incurring the anger of her deity may regain that ability by seeking atonement from another cleric of the same deity or another druid. If the transgression was intentional, the casting cleric must expend 2,500 gp in rare incense and offerings for her god's intercession.

    Redemption or Temptation: You may cast this spell upon a creature of an opposing alignment in order to offer it a chance to change its alignment to match yours. The prospective subject must be present for the entire casting process. Upon completion of the spell, the subject freely chooses whether it retains its original alignment or acquiesces to your offer and changes to your alignment. No duress, compulsion, or magical influence can force the subject to take advantage of the opportunity offered if it is unwilling to abandon its old alignment. This use of the spell does not work on outsiders or any creature incapable of changing its alignment naturally.

    Though the spell description refers to evil acts, atonement can be used on any creature that has performed acts against its alignment, regardless of the actual alignment in question.

    Note: Normally, changing alignment is up to the player. This use of atonement offers a method for a character to change his or her alignment drastically, suddenly, and definitively.

    Ok, so, is releasing a massive hugely powerful demon upon an unsuspecting world that can't defend itself 'evil'?

    I don't think anyone would argue that releasing a demon is an evil act. It may be an unwitting evil act, but still an evil act. It's sort of like putting rat poison into the orphans breakfast oatmeal when you thought it was sugar. Poisoning 30 orphans is an evil act. It was just an unwitting evil act (you thought it was sugar).

    The spell itself says it doesn't cost anything if the act was unwitting.

    Now, the question comes down to the Paladin's code. Did he willingly commit an evil act.

    I tend to look at it like this. If the Paladin was not mind controlled, dominated, or posessed, and he does an unwittingly evil act, then he willingly commited an evil act (He wasn't forced to do something, he did something without thinking through the ramifications). I don't believe the code requires him to decide to do an evil act, he just hast to perform one without being forced into it.

    Ergo, he willingly commited an evil act without realizing it. It's a simple atonement to clear things up, no cost, but a penalty for a bit to reinforce the idea of thinking out your actions. For example, being fined for driving a car too fast because you weren't paying attention. You didn't intentionally drive 45 in a 30, you just didn't pay attention while driving and missed the change of speed limit. You get a fine, you pay your fine, you have points on your record for awhile to remind you to pay more attention in the future.


    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
    The_Hanged_Man wrote:
    Sleep-Walker wrote:

    Op: Did you intend the party to free the demon???

    Not really. At this point they had already killed the BBEG and were filling in blank spaces in the map. At that point they could just packed up and left and the story would of continued with the demon just staying imprisoned. They found both the key and door in a secret area on the bottom level of the dungeon where no one been for thousands of years. My thought is that after they killed the BBEG they assumed they were safe and started playing carelessly.

    Ok, that makes a HUGE difference, you really should have said that earlier.

    Woah, so, they already killed the BBEG to keep him from freeing the demon sealed in, found a key and a big giant ensorceled door, and then stuck the key in the lock without reading the door's inscription?

    I wonder if any of the people who posted earlier about "Well, they probably thought the BBEG was there" or "How were they supposed to know the key and lock sealed the Demon away" will respond.


    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
    Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:

    IMHO, you're not being reasonable for the following reasons:

    1. The portentousness of the door was improperly foreshadowed. If a door with glowing neon runes is not noted or worried about, this is because such doors are commonplace and no one needs to bother with them.

    A huge assumption.

    Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:


    2. Even if the portentousness was properly foreshadowed, reading that isn't the paladin's job. The rogue is supposed to check for traps, the wizard is supposed to read arcane runes, and the bard is supposed to look at iconic architecture and figure out if this is a door like the the one the dread demon --insert name here-- was locked away behind. The paladin has deferred to their authority, and if they were asleep on the job, it's not his fault.

    Using that logic, it's the figher's job to kill all the enemies who surrender after taking their stuff, since it's not the Paladin's job to kill the helpless enemies, he's clean if the party slaughters helpless prisoners. By the same logic, the Paladin is just fine with the rogue stealing from anyone, the king, the poor widow, the orphans coffers, because that is the rogue's job, not his.

    An adventuring party is responsible for the actions of the party. If you don't think so, get 3 friends, go to the mall, and tell friend 1 to shoot a bunch of people at random. Then, you drive friends 1, 2, and 3 home. We'll see what the DA has to say about aiding and abetting and being an accomplice before and after the fact.

    Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:


    3. What sort of people lock away a demon with nothing more than a key, a portal, and a few warning labels? That's not a security system. That's a medicine chest.

    It sounds like the door and key were hidden away at the bottom of a ruin. Likely, a giant prison at one point in time. The fact the magic outlasted the people who built the prison is testiment to just how good they were.

    Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:


    4. Freeing an evil into the world through carelessness is bad, yes, but the party wasn't the only careless party. The truly careless people were the ones who locked it up with lax security.

    Freeing a demon into the world is evil. It was an unwitting evil, but still an evil. As to the lax security, it hadn't been disturbed for a thousand years, I'd say the security was pretty darned good.

    Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:


    5. When facing an insurmountable foe, only an idiot runs after it intending to "go down swinging" and then trusting in its "benevolence" to leave you alive to taunt and torment, rather than just eating you and your soul right then and there.

    Now that one I grant you and agree with. :)

    Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:


    6. You never trust anything out of a fiend's mouth, ever. The demons say whatever they please and will only do what they said if it still amuses them once they get the chance to actually do it, and the devils use weasel words continually so there's no point of even listening to anything they have to say.

    Again, I agree with this one.

    Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:


    7. The "saving others" argument is actually the best one for any paladin. If there's a runaway train headed for the gorge and the bridge is out and sweet Nell is also tied to the tracks just before the bridge, pulling her to safety so she doesn't die a horrible death is a better choice than hopping on board the train and trying to save Nell, everyone on board, and yourself.

    I won't agree with this one, it's the easiest answer, but it's not the best. The best is to save everyone. If you can't do that, you save as many as you can. If you can save the train people by disconnecting the engine from the train, but doing so means the train hits Nell, and Nell is your sweetheart, well, you feel awful but you saved 100 people and Nell will have to understand.

    Dark Archive

    The_Hanged_Man wrote:

    GM Opinion: Pally lost powers and required atonement because:

    A. They freed a powerful fiend into the world through carelessness.
    B. Once doing so the pally did not do her utmost to stop it (ie didn't go down swinging). Note that this wouldn't have resulted in her death. The demon most likely would of just knocked the pally to negative HPs and leave her to live with the guilt knowing what she had done.
    C. The saving others argument doesn't...

    IMO, A) is exactly what the atonement spell is for. It's even right there in the spell description, that an 'unwitting' act of evil (accidentally releasing a demon into the world) doesn't cost any extra cash, since it's basically an 'oopsy' and not a willful act in violation of the paladin's code.

    B and C, I don't see as significant. A paladin's duty is to see the evil beaten back, not to die meaninglessly charging at windmills. If it can't be beaten by the power the paladin currently has at hand, the paladin should fall back and alert others to the danger, recruit allies, secure the appropriate resources (demon bane arrows, whatever), and return to kick evil's demonic arse. It's not the paladin's duty to die and let others suffer because of an unwillingness to retreat.

    The paladin is supposed to stop the evil (and protect the people from it), not just give it XP and some new gear by letting it kill her.

    As for arguments that it's not fair that you didn't penalize the wizard with nightmares, or that the paladin suffered a loss because of *choosing to play a paladin in the first place,* that's, IMO, noise. Since introduced in 1st edition, the paladin has always been expected to hold to higher standards than the fighter, wizard, etc. and any player who gets all indignant at having those rules enforced probably should have been playing a fighter in the first place.

    There's going too far in one direction, and making the class a 'trap' and the GM setting them up to fall, and there's the other side of the coin, where the player doesn't regard the paladin as anything more than a fighter with some super-powers, and expects to just sail through the campaign, completely ignoring their code, alignment and specific class restrictions.

    Liberty's Edge

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
    Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:


    Too improbable? Sounds just as likely as someone leaving a demon behind an untrapped door with only a key and a few warning labels as protection.

    And that's the point. As GM, your job is to convey a believable world.

    Heh. Trust me the group had to hack their way through loads of critters and traps to get to that door. The was also a solid back story to the dungeon and demon that I am glossing over here since I can't be bothered to write it all out. It was believable enough alright.


    The_Hanged_Man wrote:
    Ah, but the group did know there was a demon in dungeon behind one of the doors. If I presented you with three doors, told you a tiger was behind one of them, and then you opened them all up then I would argue that you willingly released the tiger. The fact that you did not know which specific door it was behind does not change that fact.

    This argument is faulty. By that logic, opening any doors within the dungeon would have been a no-go; the paladin only knew that a fiend was imprisoned in the complex, behind a door. How was he to know simply opening the front door wouldn't free the beast?

  • The paladin willfully opened a door. Opening a door is not an evil act.
  • Opening the door released a fiend. Releasing such a creature can be considered an evil act.

    However, the paladin did not perform a willfully evil act; the rules don't say a willful act that is evil. To be considered willfully evil, a character would need to know ahead of time that the action would be evil, and still choose to perform it.

    You asked if you were being reasonable. I told you what I felt of the situation. Now you're trying to justify your actions in light of my statements. That's not being reasonable, either.

    If you didn't want to hear such responses, you should not have asked in the first place.

  • The Exchange

    It is wrong to punish the paladin for what looks like a trap scenario. It should be used by player and DM as a chance for the paladin to "right his wrong" without the obligatory screw the paladin for living shtick that is becoming a rule.


    For once, I would love to see an Antipaladin trap thread... if that is even possible.

    But yes, as Heaven's Agent put it, the intent behind an action is what determines whether it is willful or not. The Paladin committed the evil act unwittingly, but not willfully. As to whether he needs atonement, well, the spell is free under that circumstance anyway, so doing it for safe measure wouldn't hurt.


    Is this Burnt Offerings? If so--

    Burnt Offerings:
    Fitting with what KAM was saying about it being irresponsible to trap a demon with a glowing door, Malfeshnekor is also bound by a Binding spell, so he can't just leave his room.

    The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

    Heaven's Agent wrote:


    You asked if you were being reasonable. I told you what I felt of the situation. Now you're trying to justify your actions in light of my statements. That's not being reasonable, either.

    If you didn't want to hear such responses, you should not have asked in the first place.

    At this point, I don't believe anybody's open to having their position changed. The rest of this thread is just going to get meaner.


    I just realized the scenario is kinda like the movie "The Mummy" (the one with Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz).

    Unsuspecting adventurers unleash a terror upon the world.

    Evil? No. Foolish? Yes.


    I think every paladin should get one of these for free.

    Quote:

    Phylactery of Faithfulness

    Aura faint divination; CL 1st

    Slot headband; Price 1,000 gp; Weight —

    Description

    This item is a tiny box containing religious scripture. The box is affixed to a leather cord and tied around the forehead, worn so that the box sits upon the wearer's brow. There is no mundane way to determine what function this religious item performs until it is worn. The wearer of a phylactery of faithfulness is aware of any action or item that could adversely affect his alignment and his standing with his deity, including magical effects. He acquires this information prior to performing such an action or becoming associated with such an item if he takes a moment to contemplate the act.


    if the dbbeg summoned the demon, would not the contract with said demon expirew with the bbeg's demise and cause the demon to return to whereever it came from?

    and I aghree the paladin did willingly have a hand in releasing the beast, but if they did not pay attention to the runes or bother to search the door itself and all, then he still did it, but unknowingly did it and thus is only guilty of neglect.
    I personally would not hold them against it... but I would say they relased it, they must deal with it.

    btw do you know when a demon is not a demon?

    answer when its a stone statue carved in the shape as such and under a stone to flesh spell and animated as a flesh golem...

    Liberty's Edge

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
    Heaven's Agent wrote:


    If you didn't want to hear such responses, you should not have asked in the first place.

    Who said I didn't want to hear such responses? I'm just enjoying the debate. I love this sort of stuff. :)

    Heaven's Agent wrote:


    However, the paladin did not perform a willfully evil act; the rules don't say a willful act that is evil. To be considered willfully evil, a character would need to know ahead of time that the action would be evil, and still choose to perform it.

    Actually the rules say:

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

    No where do the rules say anything about the act needing to be willfully evil or use the word willful. There is a difference in the meaning between willfully and willingly. To do so something willingly just has to be of your own free volition and intent has nothing to do with it. This may have been the source of some of the confusion.

    Releasing the demon is an evil act. The paladin did so willingly albeit unwittingly. Therefore she willingly committed an evil act. The whole "she was just opening a door" or "there was no explicit intent" argument is just logical red herring in this case. It may be a mitigating circumstance in terms of consequences but it has nothing to do with the logic of the situation.


    The_Hanged_Man wrote:
    Heaven's Agent wrote:


    If you didn't want to hear such responses, you should not have asked in the first place.

    Who said I didn't want to hear such responses? I'm just enjoying the debate. I love this sort of stuff. :)

    Heaven's Agent wrote:


    However, the paladin did not perform a willfully evil act; the rules don't say a willful act that is evil. To be considered willfully evil, a character would need to know ahead of time that the action would be evil, and still choose to perform it.

    Actually the rules say:

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

    No where do the rules say anything about the act needing to be willfully evil or use the word willful. There is a difference in the meaning between willfully and willingly. To do so something willingly just has to be of your own free volition and intent has nothing to do with it. This may have been the source of some of the confusion.

    Releasing the demon is an evil act. The paladin did so willingly albeit unwittingly. Therefore she willingly committed an evil act. The whole "she was just opening a door" or "there was no explicit intent" argument is just logical red herring in this case. It may be a mitigating circumstance in terms of consequences but it has nothing to do with the logic of the situation.

    Opening the door is hard to judge because we don't know the clues you used to make that one door more special than the other doors.

    It seems that perspective is the issue in these cases, and whenever both the GM and the player show up things get a lot clearer.
    I would suggest you that you invite the player(s) here to tell the other side of the story.
    Other than that I would say exactly what I told the players so there is no confusion. You may have already done this, and I may have missed it.

    Liberty's Edge

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
    wraithstrike wrote:

    [

    Opening the door is hard to judge because we don't know the clues you used to make that one door more special than the other doors.

    Well...it was the only solid metal door in the dungeon. It was only one that could be opened by placing a special amulet in a depression in the center. It was only one covered in glowing magical runes. Heck it even said "Demon inside" on the front of it if they bothered to decipher it. The rest of the doors in the dungeon were pretty ordinary in comparison really.


    and If I saw such door, I'd wonder since it was in the BBEGL, if is was telling the truth.

    metal door+ treasure rooom full of loot and other goodies and a few mimics....


    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
    Steelfiredragon wrote:

    and If I saw such door, I'd wonder since it was in the BBEGL, if is was telling the truth.

    metal door+ treasure rooom full of loot and other goodies and a few mimics....

    Would you still wonder if you had been told their was a big bad demon sealed in the ruins, which the BBEG was searching to try to release?

    Would you still wonder if the room with the door was in a section of the ruins that hadn't been disturbed for a 1000 years or so?

    All of the above was specified earlier in the thread.

    So, here's the situation...

    Your team is sent into ruins to kill a BBEG who's searching them to release a demon from a seal. The ruins are populated with stone and wooden doors. You find the BBEG and kill him. You have been deciphering the runes on the doors and walls right up until you found the BBEG.

    To look for some more treasure, you go deeper down, and find an old passage that hadn't been disturbed before (all the spider webs and dust were undisturbed). Searching this part of the ruins, you find an amulet. Then, you find a big giant metal door with glowing runes on it (the first glowing runes you've seen) that has a depression in it that exactly fits the amulet you found. No other door in the dungeon has looked like this. You know there is a bound demon in the ruins somewhere.

    Now, do you open the big steel door with the glowing runes on it with the special amulet? Or do you read the runes first to see what it says?


    The_Hanged_Man wrote:
    wraithstrike wrote:

    [

    Opening the door is hard to judge because we don't know the clues you used to make that one door more special than the other doors.
    Well...it was the only solid metal door in the dungeon. It was only one that could be opened by placing a special amulet in a depression in the center. It was only one covered in glowing magical runes. Heck it even said "Demon inside" on the front of it if they bothered to decipher it. The rest of the doors in the dungeon were pretty ordinary in comparison really.

    Okay, now this is definitely Burnt Offerings, without a doubt (see my last post).


    Rogue Eidolon wrote:
    The_Hanged_Man wrote:
    wraithstrike wrote:

    [

    Opening the door is hard to judge because we don't know the clues you used to make that one door more special than the other doors.
    Well...it was the only solid metal door in the dungeon. It was only one that could be opened by placing a special amulet in a depression in the center. It was only one covered in glowing magical runes. Heck it even said "Demon inside" on the front of it if they bothered to decipher it. The rest of the doors in the dungeon were pretty ordinary in comparison really.
    Okay, now this is definitely Burnt Offerings, without a doubt (see my last post).

    @ The Hanged Man:I guess you have a point, and the party got careless.

    @RE:You may have a point. I will check the AP and come back with more observations or questions.

    PS:I played burnt offerings. I don't that unless the monster in question was the

    Spoiler:
    Barghest.
    I will return shortly.


    That was the monster I listed in the last spoiler. We kicked his butt, but barely.

    Spoiler:
    He should not have been able to leave due to the binding affect.

    I understand DM's reserve the right to change AP's but this time it may have screwed the paladin where as the module as written does not.

    Now that I have inside knowledge I would not say the paladin should have to atone, but hopefully this lets them know to be more careful next time.


    Wow. A Paladin got slapped on the wrist for going and being dumb? Okay. It cost some money? No problem. He got his powers back after going to his priest and saying, "Okay, my bad!"

    He did not get level drained. There was no mob of villagers with pitchforks. He didn't have to flog himself. Doing stupid should have consequences, the same as doing evil. He did stupid. He got burned. Problem solved. Now go get that demon.

    Grand Lodge

    LoreKeeper wrote:

    Tell the paladin to man up. He knew there was a powerful demon trapped in the dungeon. They find a mystically sealed huge door. They proceeded to unleash a crazed monster too strong to stop onto the world.

    The paladin should feel guilty about it and voluntarily seek atonement. Enforcing the need for atonement if the paladin doesn't volunteer for it is just one of those things. He does not need to pay excess 2500gp for particularly bad conduct, unless he starts arguing with the divinities.

    +100

    you wanna play a Paladin then play a paladin with some balls. :)


    Now that I think about it the paladin should not have to atone. All he did was lose a fight.

    Spoiler:
    At first I was thinking this low level party had unleashed some CR 15+ monstrosity. Defeating the monster also has a positive affect on the game, assuming the DM did not change anything.

    If a pally is going to have to atone for getting his butt kicked then more than one in my games would need atonement spells.

    edit:

    Spoiler:
    Releasing the monster without reading was dumb, but I would think that since paladin is required to combat evil that he would enter the room to kill it since I do remember my DM telling my character, through the goblins I think, that he was the cause of a lot of trouble.

    Liberty's Edge

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
    wraithstrike wrote:

    Now that I think about it the paladin should not have to atone. All he did was lose a fight. ** spoiler omitted **

    If a pally is going to have to atone for getting his butt kicked then more than one in my games would need atonement spells.

    edit:** spoiler omitted **

    Yeah, while this encounter was Burnt Offerings inspired it was significantly altered. Don't make too many judgments based on that alone.


    The life of a paladin is a hard and demanding one. He set a demon free. The paladin should be punished. The cost of having all those great paladin class abilities is right action. Setting a demon free, even by mistake, is a wrong action. Plus finding the demon and killing it or putting it back in its cage sounds like atonment to me, and alot of fun.

    Grand Lodge

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    The_Hanged_Man wrote:
    LazarX wrote:

    I don't remove a Paladin's powers if the only crime they committed was stupidity. The guilt baggage I inflict on the character will be punishment enough. Now if the Paladin involved does not put in sufficient effort afterword to redress this issue, then things could get sticky.

    I also think there s hould be a spectrum of punishments between a stern word and complete removal of class abilities.

    Interesting point. I personally hold Paladins to higher standards than other other PCs, and maybe am on the stricter side of things.

    Just because I don't totally turn off a Paladin for one mistake which by RAW isn't one of the ones that's cause for immediate removal doesn't mean I'm not strict. Guilt Baggage is not a featherweight issue in the campaigns where I run Paladins.

    Put it this way, How interesting would Green Lantern be as a comic if his ring was turned off the Instant he got slightly off beam? Because Hal Jordan is amply given by his writers more than enough rope to hang himself the stories become more interesting. Crippling a Paladin at the beginning of his slippery slope frequently does nothing but prematurely end his torment or the career of the character.


    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
    LazarX wrote:


    Just because I don't totally turn off a Paladin for one mistake which by RAW isn't one of the ones that's cause for immediate removal doesn't mean I'm not strict. Guilt Baggage is not a featherweight issue in the campaigns where I run Paladins.

    Put it this way, How interesting would Green Lantern be as a comic if his ring was turned off the Instant he got slightly off beam? Because Hal Jordan is amply given by his writers more than enough rope to hang himself the stories become more interesting. Crippling a Paladin at the beginning of his slippery slope frequently does nothing but prematurely end his torment or the career of the character.

    I still don't see why everyone get's so bent out of shape over a Paladin actually being punished.

    Facts.

    1) The Paladin and her party, with no mind control or coercion, released a demon by accident.
    2) Releasing a demon from prison is an EVIL ACT. There is no subjective here, it would be the same thing if you released a barrel of poison into the towns water supply. It's an evil act. if you didn't mean to do it, you unwittingly commited an evil act, but you still did it without coercion or trickery. That's the whole point of having the unwitting text in the atonement spell. Acts can, in and of themselves, be good, evil or neutral. Releasing a massive evil outsider who goes on to kill and terrorize the country is evil. It's like making a big ritual to summon an angel, but you mess up the incantation and summon a giant demon instead, and it goes on a rampage. You summoned a demon, it's an evil act. You didn't mean to summon a demon, that makes it unwitting.
    3) The Paladin lost her powers after the fight with the demon.
    4) The Paladin got an atonement at no charge because the rules specifically state, if it's an unwitting evil, you don't pay for the atonement.
    5) The Paladin's loss of powers was strictly roleplay, she didn't have to go into battle without them, she got an atonement as soon as they got back to town (Did I mention it was for free?).

    Sovereign Court

    The way i see it, the paladin god slapped because his party opened a door and released a powerful evil outsider. And then he lost his powers because he ran away? Wtf? Only a complete idiot would charge a balor as a 1st lvl paladin (just an example)...you run away to fight another day and win. That is why the alignment says Lafwful Good and not Laful Stupid.

    The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

    mdt wrote:
    4) The Paladin got an atonement at no charge because the rules specifically state, if it's an unwitting evil, you don't pay for the atonement.

    I don't believe that's the case. The OP noted that the atonement was immediately available, but also noted that the paladin had to pay the penalty.

    The_Hanged_Man wrote:

    The paladin did its powers back fairly quickly after this with the atonement with no further consequences and other than the gold cost it didn't seriously impact the group.


    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
    Chris Mortika wrote:
    mdt wrote:
    4) The Paladin got an atonement at no charge because the rules specifically state, if it's an unwitting evil, you don't pay for the atonement.
    I don't believe that's the case. The OP noted that the atonement was immediately available, but also noted that it cost the character gold.

    Ok, then the OP made a mistake at that point, since unwitting evil doesn't require gold to atone for. Other than that, I have no issue with the Paladin being slapped a bit over releasing an evil on the world and getting innocent people killed.

    The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

    mdt, we're in complete agreement.


    Given OP's elaboration, I now agree that the Paladin indeed deserved to lose his powers. Opening the door was a reckless, chaotic action, but the consequence of that action was evil.

    Cross referencing the atonement and code of conduct rules, one could say that the Paladin willingly committed an evil act, but did so unwittingly.

    From the sound of it, the players weren't really paying attention, fooling around even. Perhaps they knowingly released it thinking that they actually stood a chance, and passed it off as ignorance.


    We're not "evil", we're just misunderstood. *puppy fiend eyes*

    Also, I'm a spectacular liar.

    Dark Archive

    I would be interested in how much the paladin had to pay.

    Personally, from a GM point of view, I could see making him pay some. Especially in the following case:

    The town they went back to was the closest to the BBGEL. This would put it as the town where the people effected by the fiend would be gathering. At that point, once they found out what happened, the church there would be within their rights to ask the paladin to help with the wounded or now homeless citizens before they would do an atonement. It would be minor time an gp investment from the paladin to try to help some, before running off to track and hunt after it.

    Liberty's Edge

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
    mdt wrote:


    Ok, then the OP made a mistake at that point, since unwitting evil doesn't require gold to atone for. Other than that, I have no issue with the Paladin being slapped a bit over releasing an evil on the world and getting innocent people killed.

    I charged them the standard market rate in my campaign for a 5th level spell. I didn't see the Paladin's order giving him a freebie given the circumstances. It wasn't a significant burden on the party resources at that point, but it wasn't trivial at the same time.

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