Is this breaking the paladins code?


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I don't want to give away too many details as this is from an adventure path but I'd like to get some insight from some other players/GMs to see if I am being a little too strict on the whole paladin code.

Basic scenario is that there is an encampent that has some hostages from a local town. The party consisting of a druid, barbarian, cleric, sorcerer, paladin and monk decide to rescue the hostages.

The plan is pretty straight forward, dimension door in with everyone being invisible, the proceed to distract the captors while the cleric retrieves the girls. Then if the captors attack the party, defend appropriately.

What happened was, Air Elemental Druid drops a distraction in the form of ball lightning but doesn't hit anyone, the Barbarian, Monk, Cleric and Paladin teleport in while invisible. Then the sorcerer drops a fireball killing 5 of the captors. The paladin and barbarian proceed to charge the remaining captors. Now the paladin does do a subdual shield slam against one of the barbarians so I'll give him that and he did ask the guy to drop his weapon.

Is this honorable combat? Obviously the paladin had no real choice in the matter of the fireball. The approach to the entire combat strikes me as more chaotic is all. I haven't taken away any powers but if the paladin doesn't try to bring some order to the process I am tempted to apply a penalty.

Thoughts?

Liberty's Edge

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I really do not see that the paladin's actions did anything against the basic paladin code in the PHB. Paladins do not have to be in charge of every situation and should not be. Otherwise, other players feel resentful.

Paladins can not commit evil acts or associate with evil characters. Paladins must behave in a truthful and honorable manner that includes punishing (ie even with death) those that threaten and harm innocents. Nothing in the code includes mandates bringing order ie bossing other players around.

Btw, there is an excellent writeup in Faiths of Purity about paladin codes and how different Gods apply them. I highly recommend the book.


Here's my take as a novice DM:

Rule number 1: Is it fun for the players? If the answer is no, then think it over really hard before doing it.

That being said, the paladin has to follow a lawful good code. Reading your description, I don't see anything that says that that paladin broke that code. The sorcerer dropped a fireball on some people. Why is the paladin responsible for the actions of the sorcerer? If the paladin is the party leader, then he should give the sorcerer a good stern talking to, but I wouldn't take away his powers for something that the sorcerer did without consulting him.

Now, if it had been the paladin's plan to drop in and do this, then maybe you could take his powers, but I would still give it serious thought.

Something that might help would be to have the player write up a guideline for the paladin's code. This is good for role playing and helps you to know what his code is.

Overall, I'm not a big fan of punishing a paladin for little mistakes, especially if you have a new player. When you take away all the paladins powers, he becomes a fighter without all the feats that make a fighter good. Take into consideration if the paladin regrets what he did. Did he break his code while in a fit of rage? Is he sorry now? Then no need for lost powers or atonement, just have him give a portion of his "loot" to the poor or to the church or something like that.


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One: The paladin don't need to hava a judge to decide that kidnapping is evil and should be punished. Death penalty is allowed.

Second: He should protect the innocent and helpless. By just running in that camp their safety is in danger. So he decided that a little bit sneakyness should help to safe innocent. Nopt a bed call. When the battle was over he showed mercy. Pretty good and honorble!

Do not punish you paladin for this. He did the right thing.


The tactic, was a solid one, i dont see any way that the paladin has offended his deity or failed to adhere to his code. He should, at least, talk with the sorcerer about the fireball.
However, if the sorcerer percieved them as a treat to the hostages, i dont see it wrong either.

But, as a GM, you can be as picky as you want with it.


Thanks for the input. It was a gray area for me because the paladin didn't attempt to negotiate at all with the captors. I really like Itchy's recommendation of having the player write up his paladin's code. This can clear up a lot of the gray area as well.


<====idiot...posted in wrong thread...

Dark Archive

Some articles on the subject you may find interesting...

If a paladin falls in the forest, does it make a sound?

Save my game: Lawful and Chaotic


No, killing kidnappers is not an evil act. Next.

Grand Lodge

I'm not sure of the question here, there is nothing wrong with being sneaky in general, avoiding combat might not be the most honorable thing to do, but it certainly doesn't constitute a breach of contract. Especially when there are innocents in the mix. I actually take issue with the paladin code, no one defines what honor is in Golarion, and many codes of honor are different.

For example: the modern US military is an honorable profession, however they are trained to be sneaky, to use anything they can to gain an upper-hand, including theft, the use of weapons that NATO disapproves of, and general douchebaggery (for lack of a better word). Yet that sort of behavior is incredibly dishonorable by most other codes of honor. The US aren't the only ones who fight like this, but they are the example I have the most first hand experience with.


Lord oKOyA wrote:

Some articles on the subject you may find interesting...

If a paladin falls in the forest, does it make a sound?

Save my game: Lawful and Chaotic

I really like the lawful and chaotic article, it does asks the player and the dm to evaluate the law that the paladin is following.


paladin did nothing wrong, terrorists have no protection from being killed in this scenario.
However after the combat was done the paladin should have check for survivors and if survivors should have brought then to the nearest Lawman around.


Kais86 wrote:

I'm not sure of the question here, there is nothing wrong with being sneaky in general, avoiding combat might not be the most honorable thing to do, but it certainly doesn't constitute a breach of contract. Especially when there are innocents in the mix. I actually take issue with the paladin code, no one defines what honor is in Golarion, and many codes of honor are different.

For example: the modern US military is an honorable profession, however they are trained to be sneaky, to use anything they can to gain an upper-hand, including theft, the use of weapons that NATO disapproves of, and general douchebaggery (for lack of a better word). Yet that sort of behavior is incredibly dishonorable by most other codes of honor. The US aren't the only ones who fight like this, but they are the example I have the most first hand experience with.

The reason why i was questioning it was more the invisibility and not attempting to use diplomacy first in order to bargain with the kidnappers. Using diplomacy could result in no fighting what so ever, but ultimately as i look back on it the paladin didn't have any real choice due to the sorcerers actions.


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Paladin codes are pretty heavily god-specific and culture-specific. What it sounds like is that your party did the equivalent of a counter-terrorism style dynamic entry raid to rescue some hostages. Some might question whether this approach was prudent, but few codes would say it was dishonorable.

Grand Lodge

Sarrion wrote:
The reason why i was questioning it was more the invisibility and not attempting to use diplomacy first in order to bargain with the kidnappers. Using diplomacy could result in no fighting what so ever, but ultimately as i look back on it the paladin didn't have any real choice due to the sorcerers actions.

Diplomacy often fails, sometimes so often that a paladin will be more than willing to skip it, because it's just making the hostages wait instead of getting them out immediately. Now, that doesn't mean they shouldn't try diplomacy, but it's usually not the fastest solution, even when it is an actual solution.


Sarrion wrote:

I don't want to give away too many details as this is from an adventure path but I'd like to get some insight from some other players/GMs to see if I am being a little too strict on the whole paladin code.

Basic scenario is that there is an encampent that has some hostages from a local town. The party consisting of a druid, barbarian, cleric, sorcerer, paladin and monk decide to rescue the hostages.

The plan is pretty straight forward, dimension door in with everyone being invisible, the proceed to distract the captors while the cleric retrieves the girls. Then if the captors attack the party, defend appropriately.

What happened was, Air Elemental Druid drops a distraction in the form of ball lightning but doesn't hit anyone, the Barbarian, Monk, Cleric and Paladin teleport in while invisible. Then the sorcerer drops a fireball killing 5 of the captors. The paladin and barbarian proceed to charge the remaining captors. Now the paladin does do a subdual shield slam against one of the barbarians so I'll give him that and he did ask the guy to drop his weapon.

Is this honorable combat? Obviously the paladin had no real choice in the matter of the fireball. The approach to the entire combat strikes me as more chaotic is all. I haven't taken away any powers but if the paladin doesn't try to bring some order to the process I am tempted to apply a penalty.

Thoughts?

No it did not break the code. Don't use the code to take all of a player's choices away. A paladin is a soldier, and should not be denied the use of tactics. The idea seemed very tactical and orderly to me. They came in created a distraction, and killed some bad guys, and freed the prisoners as planned.

The player should also not be told how to run their character. As long as does not commit an evil act he is pretty much ok. Even if he does something bad it should take an extreme example for powers to be stripped.
If he loses his temper and yells at bartender I would not worry about it. If he stabs someone in the face that has no shown any signs of wrong doing that would be an issue.
I don't know how you run your games but sometimes negotiation is not an option. If the bad guys wanted something why didn't they make demands in exchange for the hostages? If you want the PC's to negotiate you have to make them believe it is a possibility. How were the PC's to know the bad guys would not attack on sight?

Dark Archive

Sarrion wrote:
I really like the lawful and chaotic article, it does asks the player and the dm to evaluate the law that the paladin is following.

This line sums up my thoughts on the alignment system succinctly:

Save my game: Lawful and Chaotic wrote:
In short, good and evil describe a character's ideals, and law and chaos describe the means she uses to work toward her goals.


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Rule 1 of DMing a Paladin: If there is any doubt whatsoever in your mind that a Paladin broke their code, they didn't.

Rule 2 of DMing a Paladin: If there is no doubt whatsoever in your mind that a Paladin breok their code, ask the player.

"You didn't try asking nicely first" is not a breach of the code, unless you and your player* have agreed that it is beforehand.

Really, really strict paladinic codes work in novels because all the situations are contrived such that a paladin can solve them without breaking his code, and moreover, the paladin has plot protection. If they stay true to their ideals, the Paladin will win (c.f., Paksennarion).

D&D paladins, where the ability to win is subject to the whims of chance and DMs not pulling punches, have no such protection.

* Poor blighter, if he agrees to such a silly requirement.


I've never GM'd for a paladin before so this is where some of this is coming from.

I don't have an interest in stripping characters of power on a whim and I don't like making moral dilemmas where there is no logical solution.

My opinion of paladins is that they always fight for the greater good. They are honest about their intentions and killing someone is done as an act of mercy or as a last resort.

Of course i am not going to penalize the paladin player for "yelling at a bartender".

As for negotiations, in my games they always seem to be an option available as players quite often try to intimidate npc's. In fact they had just done that when they caught two enemy guards by surprise.

Anyways, looking on the scenario the player did the best he could given the circumstances so clearly that's resolved.

I just wonder if maybe my stereotype of paladins is lawful stupid because I always thought that they would approach sentient enemies with diplomacy instead of just charging in. This of course is a general statement and maybe needs to be defined more by their code.


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Sarrion wrote:
Thanks for the input. It was a gray area for me because the paladin didn't attempt to negotiate at all with the captors. I really like Itchy's recommendation of having the player write up his paladin's code. This can clear up a lot of the gray area as well.

Remember, Paladins are holy WARRIORS. Their #1 job is to go out and CONFRONT evil. While converting or parlaying is very encouraged when it is realistic, when the fireballs are flying and innocents are dying, their job is to make sure that the innocents are protected and they do that with lethal force.

Sure it would have been great if the situation had allowed for negotiations. But some sorcerer went and blew that plan to hell when he launched that fireball and then the Paladin had to react to a combat situation with a combatants instincts (as he should have, smart Paladins know that evil will try to use their own code against them if it will get them an advantage in battle).

Remember Paladins are held to a higher moral standard than most warriors, but they ARE warriors and killing is a big part of what they do.

If the SORCERER went off plan and killed folks, why should the PALADIN be given a punishment for it? He even struck to subdue and gave the barb the option to surrender. Probably a lot more than most would do in that situation.

He acted fine, honorably and well within the code and there is nothing in your description that would warranty any penalty.

Remember, he has to obey his code but he also has to live in the world and react to the realities that those around him will try to use that code against him. Good paladins realise this and act so that they are not suckered into bad situations by letting their own code be used against them. It is not his job to make those around him adhere to his code either, although obviously a paladin will prefer comrades who do and will have issues with those who don't. While it will definately color how he views them and they may make him take actions to curb their more egregious affronts to his morals, he is not there to make the party do as he does. He is there to protect the innocent, bring justice and destroy evil, usually in that order of importance.

If he had reason to beleive these kidnappers were bad or even evil men, then meeting them with lethal force is appropriate for the type of world most adventurers live in.


Did this event happened in Kingmaker? (4th book, near the end)

Dark Archive

You can get yourself into a lot of trouble by allowing real world morality into your fantasy game. :)

Just remember that in the game world, evil and good is accurately measurable, quite unlike the real world. In the fantasy world, there are literally untold numbers of agents of evil walking the earth, people with the ability to reverse death and the world possesses a well known and defined afterlife.

Killing "evil-doers" doesn't have the same finality in the game world, and the "teams" are much more clearly defined. :)

As as aside, in my games, Paladins are required to be Lawful Good but can worship any good god regardless of their law/chaos axis (ie LG, NG, CG), if they worship a god at all (I allow Paladins to "worship" concepts). I personally find it odd that you can have paladins of LN gods but not CG gods. According to the one step rule, a "church" of a LN god could have LG Paladins and LE Clerics under the same roof. That doesn't work for me. Of course, in my game, I require my Clerics to be the exact alignment of their god. That is my game anyhow.

Cheers


Sarrion wrote:
I just wonder if maybe my stereotype of paladins is lawful stupid because I always thought that they would approach sentient enemies with diplomacy instead of just charging in. This of course is a general statement and maybe needs to be defined more by their code.

Well, you hit it. Your stereotype for paladins is very lawful stupid. It's not a bad thing if you are the player, but as a DM you have to open to a lot of different interpretations of the code, which by the way is wonderfully vague.

Thankfully, there is nothing in the code that stops a paladin from employing good tactics or being a sneaky bastard. There is also nothing saying that they have to be nice either. So a player has the option of making anything from the quintessential Galahad style paladin to the hard headed violent back talking Bahzell Bahnakson without having to worry about losing their powers, well unless the DM has a problem with his interpretations.
DM and player disagreements are usually the basis of all arguments surrounding the class.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The Paladin's primary goal is to protect the innocent. In this he succeeded and operated properly in doing so.


leo1925 wrote:
Did this event happened in Kingmaker? (4th book, near the end)

Yes it did.

Kingmaker AP #4 Spoiler:
The party actually has a tiger lord tribesman as one of their party members and considering that the barbarians are neutral (with the exception of the leader) I was not sure what view to take on their actions. The entire deal for the daughters was not investigated by the party so it appears they are just assuming that the girls were kidnapped. Also the barbarians haven't threatened the girls, they are simply caged up but again something that wasn't investigated.

There wasn't much the paladin could have done with the exception of investigating more into why the girls were taken. The girls were given as a part of the treaty between the tribes and Drelev.

My example doesn't match the true scenario that went down because i didn't want to spoil anything from kingmaker for people who have yet to go through it.

Sovereign Court

We paladins must be of lawful good alignment, may never commit an evil act, and must conduct ourselves with honour, respect toward legitimate authority. We may not lie, we may not cheat, we may not use poison, or do other underhanded things. We must help those in need (unless they want to do evil or chaos with our help), and punish those who harm or even threaten innocents.

That's the general deal. The deities have their own clauses, too. Sarenrae, for example, tells us to fight fairly when the fight is fair, but strike quickly and without mercy when it is not.

Sarrion wrote:


The reason why i was questioning it was more the invisibility and not attempting to use diplomacy first in order to bargain with the kidnappers. Using diplomacy could result in no fighting what so ever, but ultimately as i look back on it the paladin didn't have any real choice due to the sorcerers actions.

Invisibility is perfectly viable. you don't storm a camp where hostages are held, because it's likely that they'll be used against you. Taking hostages is not fair, so you don't need to be overly stupid to play by what some people might think of as the rules.

The requirement is "lawful good", not "lawful stupid" or "lawful anal". Tactics is not the same as being underhanded.

Going in under cover to retrieve the hostages is the best way to make sure they won't be harmed. That's the most important thing by far: Innocents must be protected. If that means not playing by some rules that are more suited for a game than for warfare, so be it. No headstone ever looked nice with the words "She died because her would-be rescuers played by the rules" engraved on it.

And diplomacy? Go in there and ask nicely for the hostages to be freed? Please. I am all for diplomacy first, but there's a time and place for that. Hostage situations aren't it.

Hostage takers see no need in diplomacy. That's why they have taken hostages. They want the upper hand in negotiations. Who knows whether they won't rape their female captives a bit to pass the time?

The chances for something like this succeeding is just too slim. And even trying will rob you of the element of surprise. They are going on alert, knowing that you're around. Even if you use the talks as a distraction, they will be alert and minding their surroundings, making it harder to sneak in. Best to take the hostages out before they know you're even there.

There are exceptions, true: If they take the hostages because their plans went south and they're getting desperate, and the whole action is hot, you might try talking to them. Try to cool things down and convince them that it's better for them to surrender and live than to get the hostages and themselves killed. That can work. Won't work always, but sometimes.

However, in the case where they have taken hostages in a cold, calculated way, and even got them back to their base, there is no sense in that. They're not desperate and talking is quite unlikely to succeed. And with innocent lives at stake, "there is a small chance it will work!" just isn't enough. They made their choice when they took those hostages.


You don't tell your players players how to roleplay their characters, don't tell your Pally how to roleplay his.

Let him roleplay his code however he wants. Let him decide what it means. Penalizing his character because he doesn't live up to your expectations is unfair and unfun.

I'll even go as far as to say give your Paladin a free ticket. Let him do whatever he wants. If the player feels his character has crossed a line and wants to roleplay a crisis of faith, Awesome! Go with it! If he wants to play his code in a such a way that he doesn't always use the best tactics, Terrific! Encourage it!

If your player doesn't really want to be bothered by his code, forcing him to roleplay it isn't going to be fun.

As a DM, I never make a player's Paladin fall without his permission. If this is a player that is interested in character development, roleplaying atonement could be fun for him. If this is a player that's only interested combat, roleplaying atonement would not be fun for him at all, so why on earth would I make him fall?


Ok i know the situation, i played in it in my last session.
So let me tell you, in my opinion there is nothing evil that the palladin did.


@Qauntum Steve: I agree that players need to be able to play their characters the way they want to. At the same time though, the player needs to remember the conditions of the class being played.

As i said right from the beginning, i have no interest in forcing any of the players in my game to play a specific way. It's not fun for anyone involved.

Now if the player doesn't use the best tactics, i'm not going to penalize the character for that. I'm already giving a lot of leeway to the player so that we can both feel out what is and is not crossing the line. This is a game and it should be fun for everyone.

Though I do disagree with the idea that a player not wanting to bother with his paladin code should not be penalized as per the class conditions. A paladin is lawful good, the moment he intentionally stops being lawful or good he loses his powers. His powers come from his god/righteousness in the pursuit of Law and Good and it's spelled out in the book.

That discussion should happen before the player takes a class that is so specific in the morals and roleplaying entailed. Obviously I should have had a more indepth conversation.


leo1925 wrote:

Ok i know the situation, i played in it in my last session.

So let me tell you, in my opinion there is nothing evil that the palladin did.

Yeah I think he'll be fine. Like i said before though, lots of work to do on the paladin code before our next session.


Sarrion wrote:
The reason why i was questioning it was more the invisibility and not attempting to use diplomacy first in order to bargain with the kidnappers. Using diplomacy could result in no fighting what so ever...

Yes, but that's not going to change necessarily because of a specific kidnapping situation.

Looked at another way, if this is against the code, then any time he did not first attempt a non-violent solution to a problem later solved with violence, it was against the code.

Now, point of fact, I have played paladins who had that code. But even then, there is a degree of 'circumstances beyond his control' mucking about in this specific instance that would, at best, have it so that he may have some quiet words with his party.


Quantum Steve wrote:
You don't tell your players players how to roleplay their characters, don't tell your Pally how to roleplay his.

Just so! Trying to screw over the paladin player just because he's paladin is quite mean.

I'm not saying that they should be free to murder, rape and steal, but you don't have to hold them to the highest possible standards you could think of after 2 weeks of pondering the subject really intensively.


@J.S. I agree that will likely be the best resolution. Of course the paladin cannot expect the party to follow the exact code laid out before him. Alternatively I would think that if the party grossly violates the code on a consistent basis the paladin would have to take steps to ensure that does not continue to happen. Looking the other way can be just as bad as doing the actions yourself.

@KaeYoss - Like I've said before, I have no interest in just screwing a player over because they chose to play a paladin. It's going to have to be a discussion between myself and the player to hammer out what the standards are to be upheld. If the paladin violates those standards then there can be repercussions if warranted.


KaeYoss wrote:
Quantum Steve wrote:
You don't tell your players players how to roleplay their characters, don't tell your Pally how to roleplay his.

Just so! Trying to screw over the paladin player just because he's paladin is quite mean.

I'm not saying that they should be free to murder, rape and steal, but you don't have to hold them to the highest possible standards you could think of after 2 weeks of pondering the subject really intensively.

I'd almost go as far as to say they should be able to murder, rape, and steal. However, in the case of a Paladin, I'd probably ask the player why he wants to play a Pally if he wants to do those things and see if I couldn't help him find a class with the flavor he wants.

Overall, I'm all for letting players play their way. I find that most players who choose to play a Paladin have some idea of what they think their character, if not Paladins in general, should act like. I go based off that rather than telling them how they should act.

Liberty's Edge

Sarrion wrote:

@J.S. I agree that will likely be the best resolution. Of course the paladin cannot expect the party to follow the exact code laid out before him. Alternatively I would think that if the party grossly violates the code on a consistent basis the paladin would have to take steps to ensure that does not continue to happen. Looking the other way can be just as bad as doing the actions yourself.

@KaeYoss - Like I've said before, I have no interest in just screwing a player over because they chose to play a paladin. It's going to have to be a discussion between myself and the player to hammer out what the standards are to be upheld. If the paladin violates those standards then there can be repercussions if warranted.

Yeah, a paladin that hangs out with a group that violates their code constantly should either play a different type of character or switch to a deity with a code that fits the party better.

I have two different paladin characters in my local pfs groups. One is a follower of Sarenrae and another is a follower of Iomedae. Both follow their respective codes from Faiths of Purity (paizo's religion book) pretty well, however the characters are remarkably different in their approach to problems and solutions. One tends to favor a redemption approach while the other favors the elimination approach. Both approaches are valid given their respective codes.


Sarrion wrote:
The reason why i was questioning it was more the invisibility and not attempting to use diplomacy first in order to bargain with the kidnappers. Using diplomacy could result in no fighting what so ever, but ultimately as i look back on it the paladin didn't have any real choice due to the sorcerers actions.

One: situations change and a Paladin who isn't stupid changes his plans and tactics accordingly. Getting himself and/or the hostages he's rescuing killed because he insists on sticking to the original plan is foolish.

Two: there's nothing in the Paladin code the even suggests requesting surrender or being diplomatic is required. Or even recommended. While there are lots of story possibilities in a Paladin who's out to redeem folks, there's also a lot of potential in a Paladin who hauls off and acts as judge, jury, and executioner. Why should criminals be permitted to live, to ply their trade once again? A Paladin can't watch over ever person he takes into custody for life... sometimes the simplest answer is the best.

My point is simply this: the rules are silent on all of this. I advise letting your player figure out who his Paladin is. You... just sit back and watch for actual rules violations. See who this person becomes.


Warning criminals is not mandatory for Paladins. Warning hostage takers can get the hostages killed. The Paladin did the Good thing and did not violate the Law, so he is golden.


Sarrion wrote:
Thoughts?

Was it honorable when they took the hostages?

No? Honorable combat goes both ways -- once you break the rules of engagement you can't expect better from your enemy.

Nothing the paladin did was anything the swat team doesn't do on a regular basis -- he's rescuing the civies, and even trying to use less than lethal force. As far as I'm concerned he's all good.


Unfamiliar with that part of the AP, but here's the way I see it, and you can take it with a grain of salt.

Your example mentions the capture of females. I'm not a misogynist, or sexist, or whatever words might apply, but I admit that the fact that these hostages were female makes this scenario more incriminating. What purpose do these bandits have for kidnapped women? I guarantee the first thing most people will expect is a bunch of rape victims, and a close second being virgin sacrifices. That's a red flag right there.

If, based purely on the information given, my paladin player waltzed into the camp bold-faced and cut every single bandit down without saying a word to them, I wouldn't have questioned his action or reasoning. But, I have my own personal reasons to have such an aggressive stance towards such situations, so it may not apply at all here.

My point though is that these bandits did not have good intentions, even if they were bluffing for whatever insane reason. There is a point of no-return where once you eff up, you're going down, and I feel that the paladin's code of conduct put the kidnapped girls' safety first, and the lives of their captors last.

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Don't forget the divine connection! If your player is doing things that you're uncomfortable with, send him some signs.

Have his holy symbol fall on the ground and get muddy.
Send the player a dream in which he acts inappropriately and falls down a trap door.
If he worships Sarenrae, have clouds block the sun whenever he walks outside.
If he worships Torag, have an armor clip break, preventing it from functioning at full effectiveness (-2 ACP, decrease speed by 5 ft)
If he worships Iomedae, have the belt holding his scabbard break when he tries to draw or sheath his blade.
If he worships Abadar, doors will stick, keys are difficult to turn, merchants sell him something grossly over-valued, etc.

Paladins (like clerics) have *tons* of built in flavor and RP opportunities. I try to exhaust in-game options before I take the discussion out of game.


I'm in a quoting mood today:

Robert Heinlein wrote:


All societies are based on rules to protect pregnant women and young children. All else is surplusage, excrescence, adornment, luxury, or folly, which can — and must — be dumped in emergency to preserve this prime function. As racial survival is the only universal morality, no other basic is possible. Attempts to formulate a "perfect society" on any foundation other than "Women and children first!" is not only witless, it is automatically genocidal. Nevertheless, starry-eyed idealists (all of them male) have tried endlessly — and no doubt will keep on trying.


SirGeshko wrote:

Don't forget the divine connection! If your player is doing things that you're uncomfortable with, send him some signs.

Have his holy symbol fall on the ground and get muddy.
Send the player a dream in which he acts inappropriately and falls down a trap door.
If he worships Sarenrae, have clouds block the sun whenever he walks outside.
If he worships Torag, have an armor clip break, preventing it from functioning at full effectiveness (-2 ACP, decrease speed by 5 ft)
If he worships Iomedae, have the belt holding his scabbard break when he tries to draw or sheath his blade.
If he worships Abadar, doors will stick, keys are difficult to turn, merchants sell him something grossly over-valued, etc.

Paladins (like clerics) have *tons* of built in flavor and RP opportunities. I try to exhaust in-game options before I take the discussion out of game.

Those are fine if the act is a blatant though not terrible violation of the act but simply because the gm and player have a different view on how the paladin is supposed to be is not reason to penalize the player.

When there are proper rules of engagement you should expect that Paldain to obey them within reason, but when dealing with those well outside the law it can often come to this; do you try to get them to appeal to some sort of code or do you make sure the innocents in harms way are rescued? More often making sure the innocents are safe is the bigger responsibility.

Sovereign Court

Quantum Steve wrote:

You don't tell your players players how to roleplay their characters, don't tell your Pally how to roleplay his.

Let him roleplay his code however he wants. Let him decide what it means. Penalizing his character because he doesn't live up to your expectations is unfair and unfun.

I'll even go as far as to say give your Paladin a free ticket. Let him do whatever he wants. If the player feels his character has crossed a line and wants to roleplay a crisis of faith, Awesome! Go with it! If he wants to play his code in a such a way that he doesn't always use the best tactics, Terrific! Encourage it!

If your player doesn't really want to be bothered by his code, forcing him to roleplay it isn't going to be fun.

As a DM, I never make a player's Paladin fall without his permission. If this is a player that is interested in character development, roleplaying atonement could be fun for him. If this is a player that's only interested combat, roleplaying atonement would not be fun for him at all, so why on earth would I make him fall?

So out of curiosity, could a paladin in your game kill 15 people at random because he's decided (after seeing some bad event) that people can't really be truly good so it's best to keep them from temptation by sending them to their gods before they have the chance to do evil. (yes this is a hyperbolic strawman, I'm just more interested to see what you would do if a player pulled that on you.) and rtill keep his powers because he thinks he is still fighting for the cause of good?

Dark Archive

I would just like to add that any expectations made upon characters (whether they be paladins or not) regarding their behavior, based upon things like alignment, class, stats (Int, Wis or Cha), codes of conduct or what have you, should also be required of the NPCs and monsters of the campaign world.

If paladins are meant to uphold a certain code of conduct, then so should the rest of the world be beholden to the limitations of their stat block. CE creatures should act in a manner consistent with their alignment, low Int monsters should use unsophisticated tactics, etc.

It should also be noted that the paladin is not always easily identified as a paladin, or that all NPCs or monsters would know what a paladin represents. My point being that without meta game knowledge of the class, the world should not expect things of the character nor treat the paladin differently just because their character sheet lists paladin under the class heading as opposed to cleric or noble fighter.

And as far as the expectations of the code of conduct, in relation to the real world knight equivalents, one should keep it in mind that while the chivalric code dictated how a knight should behave, this usually only applied between other knights and those others that were deemed worthy or honorable. With that as a yard stick, a paladin could, but would not necessarily have issue with lying to a scoundrel, show mercy to obviously wicked foe or forgo sound tactical advantages in favor of "honorable" combat against adversary who would never reciprocate.

This by no means removes all restraint, but also allows for some leeway to alleviate the "lawful stupid" interpretation of the paladin code. Something born of the notion that the code is somehow ironclad. If you set the bar that high, no reasonable expectation can be made that a paladin will be able to adhere.

The paladins I play would in fact lie, steal, cheat and drink. They would lie to protect the innocent, steal a fair maiden's heart, cheat death at every opportunity and hoist a drink with friends! And they would have no problem striking down and killing the obvious evil that crosses their path.

But that is just me. :)

Cheers

Liberty's Edge

Quote:

Don't forget the divine connection! If your player is doing things that you're uncomfortable with, send him some signs.

Have his holy symbol fall on the ground and get muddy.
Send the player a dream in which he acts inappropriately and falls down a trap door.
If he worships Sarenrae, have clouds block the sun whenever he walks outside.
If he worships Torag, have an armor clip break, preventing it from functioning at full effectiveness (-2 ACP, decrease speed by 5 ft)
If he worships Iomedae, have the belt holding his scabbard break when he tries to draw or sheath his blade.
If he worships Abadar, doors will stick, keys are difficult to turn, merchants sell him something grossly over-valued, etc.

Paladins (like clerics) have *tons* of built in flavor and RP opportunities. I try to exhaust in-game options before I take the discussion out of game.

Thumbs way up.

(If the paladin PC didn't "have a word" with the sorc PC after the encounter, a minor effect like this would be appropriate.)


Sarrion wrote:

I don't want to give away too many details as this is from an adventure path but I'd like to get some insight from some other players/GMs to see if I am being a little too strict on the whole paladin code.

Basic scenario is that there is an encampent that has some hostages from a local town. The party consisting of a druid, barbarian, cleric, sorcerer, paladin and monk decide to rescue the hostages.

The plan is pretty straight forward, dimension door in with everyone being invisible, the proceed to distract the captors while the cleric retrieves the girls. Then if the captors attack the party, defend appropriately.

Ok, acts of righteous heroism plus a laid out plan...

Quote:
What happened was, Air Elemental Druid drops a distraction in the form of ball lightning but doesn't hit anyone, the Barbarian, Monk, Cleric and Paladin teleport in while invisible. Then the sorcerer drops a fireball killing 5 of the captors. The paladin and barbarian proceed to charge the remaining captors. Now the paladin does do a subdual shield slam against one of the barbarians so I'll give him that and he did ask the guy to drop his weapon.

So the Paladin attacks the kidnappers and has the mercy to attack with nonlethal damage, even though he could have probably butchered them until they were at negative HP and then stabilized them. That's amazingly merciful, and likely more than he should have been expected to do.

Quote:

Is this honorable combat? Obviously the paladin had no real choice in the matter of the fireball. The approach to the entire combat strikes me as more chaotic is all. I haven't taken away any powers but if the paladin doesn't try to bring some order to the process I am tempted to apply a penalty.

Thoughts?

Ok, I'm confused. How can a fight be chaotic? Also...what is even the question? I'm not even noticing something that the paladin did that even seems mildly fishy. What's the problem?


lastknightleft wrote:
Quantum Steve wrote:

You don't tell your players players how to roleplay their characters, don't tell your Pally how to roleplay his.

Let him roleplay his code however he wants. Let him decide what it means. Penalizing his character because he doesn't live up to your expectations is unfair and unfun.

I'll even go as far as to say give your Paladin a free ticket. Let him do whatever he wants. If the player feels his character has crossed a line and wants to roleplay a crisis of faith, Awesome! Go with it! If he wants to play his code in a such a way that he doesn't always use the best tactics, Terrific! Encourage it!

If your player doesn't really want to be bothered by his code, forcing him to roleplay it isn't going to be fun.

As a DM, I never make a player's Paladin fall without his permission. If this is a player that is interested in character development, roleplaying atonement could be fun for him. If this is a player that's only interested combat, roleplaying atonement would not be fun for him at all, so why on earth would I make him fall?

So out of curiosity, could a paladin in your game kill 15 people at random because he's decided (after seeing some bad event) that people can't really be truly good so it's best to keep them from temptation by sending them to their gods before they have the chance to do evil. (yes this is a hyperbolic strawman, I'm just more interested to see what you would do if a player pulled that on you.) and rtill keep his powers because he thinks he is still fighting for the cause of good?

I'm for players having fun first and foremost. If this is a course my player wants to roleplay, I'd find a way to make it happen.

I'd talk with him about how his Paladin would feel about doing this, how he thinks his god might feel, and how these actions would interact with his code as he envisions it.
I'd try to help him find interesting ways to develop his character. This is a rather unusual Paladin and should lend itself to some rather unusual roleplaying opportunities.

On a related note, this is very similar to a Paladin a friend of mine played back in 2E. He eventually retired the character so he could use him as a reoccurring villain in one of his own campaigns. It was one of the most interesting party members and villains I've ever encountered.


Ashiel wrote:
Break down of the encounter...

My concern was with the paladin using invisibility to ambush the enemy and wondering if it was an honorable tactic to use. I don't question the intentions being honorable at all.


Sarrion wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Break down of the encounter...

My concern was with the paladin using invisibility to ambush the enemy and wondering if it was an honorable tactic to use. I don't question the intentions being honorable at all.

I would look at it from this point, did they have any reason to think the hostages would be kept safe and that the slavers could be talked down. If not, I would find the use of invisibility perfectly kosher as that reduces the risk the captors would kill the hostages once the leverage went away.

This isn't a Paladin going invisible and sneak smiting some local thug on a whim, this is functionally a covert operation. Honor extends so far as you can expect the enemy to comply in turn. If you gave them no reason to expect that, then they shouldn't be penalized for taking measures to ensure the safety of their people. What you have is basically a raid that ended poorly because someone's trigger finger got a little too twitchy.

One incident doesn't make a trend and unless you start seeing them utilize subterfuge as a first option when other more peaceable means are readily available, then look to the warning signs mentioned above.


It's hard to say without knowing who his god was.

In my own homebrew, he'd have been fine with just about any god, except 2. Those two gods (both LG) have some seriously stiff necks about being sneaky.

One would have had minor issues with what he did, but it would have been more along the lines of him having some dreams and lectures in his sleep about talking his compatriots into, if they are going to sneak around like that, use non-lethal spells so the perpetrators can be tried and made an example of in a court of law.

The other flat out forbids sneaky stuff like that, under any circumstances. He's extremely inflexible, and his paladin would have gotten backhanded in the powers department until he atoned.

Now, I have my paladin codes all worked up, so that my players can read them ahead of time, so they know what the gods are like and what the codes require. I don't like slapping people down unexpectedly.

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