Paladin Alignment


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Motivated from the thread about the dude playing the paladin (would link, but I am on break and doing this from my phone), I want to know people's opinions on paladins and how they interact with gods and alignment. I have heard of people allowing paladins with any alignment, so long as they matched it to their diety. I can be convinced differently, but I don't agree with that.

To start off, I'll state what I think.

Conceptually, paladins were supposed to be warriors who used divine power to further the overall cause of good, while adhering to a rigid code of conduct.

By design theory, they were meant to be a notch above other classes, at the cost of alignment and roleplay restrictions.

Neutral, to me, goes against the intent of the class - that is, to have apathy towards both lawfulness and chaoticism (is that a word?). Paladins were meant to be devoted, and the very idea of having apathy at all seems wrong to me.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Vendis wrote:

Motivated from the thread about the dude playing the paladin (would link, but I am on break and doing this from my phone), I want to know people's opinions on paladins and how they interact with gods and alignment. I have heard of people allowing paladins with any alignment, so long as they matched it to their diety. I can be convinced differently, but I don't agree with that.

To start off, I'll state what I think.

Conceptually, paladins were supposed to be warriors who used divine power to further the overall cause of good, while adhering to a rigid code of conduct.

By design theory, they were meant to be a notch above other classes, at the cost of alignment and roleplay restrictions.

Neutral, to me, goes against the intent of the class - that is, to have apathy towards both lawfulness and chaoticism (is that a word?). Paladins were meant to be devoted, and the very idea of having apathy at all seems wrong to me.

Thread #60438273 about Paladin Alignment: Commence!

I am a firm believer that Paladins should be able to take any non-Neutral alignment, or that there should be an archetype to allow for it. In particular, the Lawful part bugs me. There are precisely zero abilities that revolve around the Lawful bit, but it's somehow considered an essential part of the class (I'm going with tradition there). All of the Paladin abilities stem from Good vs Evil. The Law vs Chaos thing is unnecessary fluff at best.

That said, I think a large part of my bias is that I'd really like to play a CG Paladin.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Of course you'd love to play a Chaotic Good Paladin. Who wouldn't? All of those righteous smite powers, and none of the shackles of a Lawful Good alignment.

Personally, it'd be better to do away with the class entirely and replace them with Monte Cook's Champions. Which are far better balanced for multi-alignment use.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

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Lawful Good is the toughest and most restrictive alignment to play. Paladins were given many of their abilities because they were so restricted in what they could do with them. They actually had to be the good guy, the knight in shining armor, and in the original iteration of the game, could be annihilated on the instant by a bolt from the blue if they fell from being Lawful Good.

They were extremely rare (17 cha made it the hardest class to qualify for), their many abilities made them elite, and they were always active and on the front line against evil.

Giving their abilities to other alignments cheapens the cost they pay for having to stay LG. They are trusted with that power because they can't misuse it. CE antipaladins literally CANNOT misuse their power...anything is acceptable, anything goes.

MOving away from LG should progressively weaken the powers paladins should get. Chaotics, after all, can lie, cheat, bluff, steal, break laws, get drunk, have sex freely, stir up rebellion, and so forth. AND give them everything a Paladin can do? I'm sorry, potentially being the only class that can use a Holy Avenger isn't fair.

LE and CE can add murder, assassination, poison and drug use, blackmail, torture, rape, use of fiends and all THAT to the list. And they should get the reversed powers of paladins, too?

I don't think so.

Alignment is what makes the paladin what he is. No other class is saddled with restrictions like they are. In the original game, this actually applied to wealth and number of magic items they could own, too!

Thematically, having holy warriors of every alignment sounds cool. From a balance perspective, it's just plain unfair. An anti-paladin is not the equal and opposite number of a paladin if he can use poison on his blade, and that's just the beginning.

Oh, and to go to classic Dragon magazine...

Myrikhan - NG paladin holy ranger
Garath - CG Church Guardians
Lyan - LN Implacable Lawful knights with magic.
Paramander - TN molder of alignment conflicts
Paramandyer - TN destroyer of radical alignments
Faran - CN defender of his nomadic people
Illrigger - LE knight-assassins
Aarikhan - NE unholy ranger/hunter

===Aelryinth


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Aelryinth wrote:

Lawful Good is the toughest and most restrictive alignment to play. Paladins were given many of their abilities because they were so restricted in what they could do with them. They actually had to be the good guy, the knight in shining armor, and in the original iteration of the game, could be annihilated on the instant by a bolt from the blue if they fell from being Lawful Good.

They were extremely rare (17 cha made it the hardest class to qualify for), their many abilities made them elite, and they were always active and on the front line against evil.

Giving their abilities to other alignments cheapens the cost they pay for having to stay LG. They are trusted with that power because they can't misuse it. CE antipaladins literally CANNOT misuse their power...anything is acceptable, anything goes.

Moving away from LG should progressively weaken the powers paladins should get. Chaotics, after all, can lie, cheat, bluff, steal, break laws, get drunk, have sex freely, stir up rebellion, and so forth. AND give them everything a Paladin can do? I'm sorry, potentially being the only class that can use a Holy Avenger isn't fair.

LE and CE can add murder, assassination, poison and drug use, blackmail, torture, rape, use of fiends and all THAT to the list. And they should get the reversed powers of paladins, too?

I don't think so.

Alignment is what makes the paladin what he is. No other class is saddled with restrictions like they are. In the original game, this actually applied to wealth and number of magic items they could own, too!

Thematically, having holy warriors of every alignment sounds cool. From a balance perspective, it's just plain unfair. An anti-paladin is not the equal and opposite number of a paladin if he can use poison on his blade, and that's just the beginning.

Oh, and to go to classic Dragon magazine...

Myrikhan - NG paladin holy ranger
Garath - CG Church Guardians
Lyan - LN Implacable Lawful knights with magic.
Paramander - TN molder of alignment conflicts...

I agree with the high idea of Holy Warriors, although not so much for each alignment, but for each God. A Paladin is Lawful and Good. They may follow some Lawful Good god, but they are constrained to be both.

Living up to both of those philosophies is hard. If you leave Lawful Good, you have too much freedom. I notice most often anti-paladins are made Chaotic Evil, I think if they are allowed in a campaign they should be Lawful Evil. They still have their strict codes, they are just playing for the other team.


It depends on how you see the paladin.

I see the paladin as the mixture of divine power and martial training that results in more-warrior/less-spell-user. And it makes zero sense to me that only the LG (and now, CE) deities have figured out how to imbue their followers with the right sort of divine power to give them a modicum of supernatural talent but without interfering with their ability to learn how to make effective use of arms and armor.

If anything, it should have been the deities of Knowledge and/or War (regardless of alignment) who have Holy Warrior servants.

Sure, some may say that the class comes at the cost of playing a more restricted character, but that just reminds me of the episode of Futurama where Bender inherits a castle.

"And to my nephew, Bender, assuming he isn't responsible for my death, I leave my castle -"
"Aw, sweet! Let's stay there tonight."
"- on the condition that he spend a night there."
"Aw, there's always a catch."

A paladin gets his abilities in exchange for playing a specific sort of character that the player might not otherwise want to play. But if that sort of character is exactly what the player was going to play anyway, then exactly how does this constitute any kind of cost in the first place? And if it's considered perfectly acceptable for some players to play a paladin with the paladin's abilities for no appreciable cost, then why can't others?

Ergo, screw the alignment restrictions and the code of conduct along with them.

Liberty's Edge

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Oh goody this discussion again :-)

My2c worth.

Paladins are Lawful Good but can be for a God/dess of any alignment.

Lawful means you follow strict rules. Paladins are a member of a militant arm of their church. Being part of a military they must adhere to strict rules, follow a chain of command, do as their superiors tell them etc. Therefore Paladins are a part of a Lawful militant order of their church.

Good means doing things for the betterment of others rather than your own personal gain. As long as the paladin is putting aside their own personal fortune and prestige in order to better their church's goals and look after their church's followers and interests then they are good.

One of my players had a LG paladin of Calistria and I have so far not had a problem with it. She is a prostitute of the church and as long as she puts her church's interests ahead of her own and does what the church and her superiors demand of her then I have no problem with it.
She overseas disputes and puts peoples rights to revenge at the forfront. An eye for an eye. She promotes lust and polygamy among the populace. She sleeps around and she tries to right any wrongs she sees being done by helping those avenged to seek a suitable revenge in fitting with the slight against them.


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These threads are fun.

I noramally just go by the codes in Faiths of Purity.


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Also Paladins of Asmodeus.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jeranimus Rex wrote:

These threads are fun.

I noramally just go by the codes in Faiths of Purity.

Yeah, the write up in Faiths of Purity is excellent. The effects of different style deities on a "holy champion" was just very well done. A goddess of peace should have different style paladins than a goddess of battle even if both are LG.

The alignment restriction is way too often used as a RP straight-jacket. Paladins in particular are way too often portrayed in the exact same way as they have been for twenty years.


@Aelryinth

A paladin is in no way prevented from freely having sex (as long as the one having sex with isn't married or betrothed and the sex isn't rape) unless they are oathbound, now if (in the land) having sex with a woman means that now you have to marry her and the paladin doesn't then that goes another way, also if the paladin is already married or betrothed himself and part of his wedding vows is not to go with other women then we also go another way but the point is that there isn't nothing inherently preventing a paladin from freely having sex.

Other than that i agree with most of your post.

Jeranimus Rex wrote:

These threads are fun.

I noramally just go by the codes in Faiths of Purity.

Yes a truly helpful book for such matters, along with faiths of balance for paladins of Abadar.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

New week, new Paladin alignment thread.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Heck, there's two of them now.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Heck, there's two of them now.

Yeah, I forgot about Paladin of Freedom ;-)


IMO, most, if not all gods, should have holy warriors that serve their cause. I don't recall the book, but Pathfinder had an option for clerics where they gained d10 hit dice and fighter BAB, but at the cost of domain spells and powers. Seemed like a simple way to make a "Paladin" of any alignment.

On another note, I personally think that Anti-paladins should be LE, not CE.


I am reminded of a quote from Saint Augustine:

Saint Augustine wrote:
"Lord, give me chastity and give me constancy. But, do not give them yet..."

Who wouldn't love to have the power of the gods and the freedom to do as they wished with it?


I agree that antipaladins should be LE. Makes more sense to me.

I understand that there have been plenty of these threads in the past, but I haven't been on these forums very long, and this is something that interests me.

In my current campaign, I'm playing a paladin of Sarenrae. I play LG as I think it should be - not [insert lawful stupid joke here]. I might or might not be wrong in how I do it. The last character that I was as attached to as this one was CN (the I-want-to-do-whatever-I-want alignment) and literally stuck with the party only because he knew they would open doors he couldn't otherwise access.

The difference in these is quite staggering. However, my paladin is MUCH stronger and has been at all levels, despite the fact he has less wealth as per WBL (due to giving it away/not accepting rewards at times) than anyone else I've ever played.

And as far as the whole "already wanting to play LG" argument goes, LG can be fun to play, but there have been many times I would have acted quite differently if not for being a paladin; even a different LG character, so long as I didn't lose my class abilities, I would have jumped on opportunities that I don't think anyone else in my party spotted.


Cross-quoting from another paladin thread:

The Shaman wrote:
Mogart wrote:


Good is highly subjective depending on the time of the day and who you ask.

I'd say so is lawfulness. It implies having a strict code that you follow, but in society, there are often tens or hundreds of competing codes we are all subject to. We have ties of blood, ties of faith, ties of social standing, ties of country, ties of friendship, ties of work, etc. Society may push us to prioritize them in certain way, but even people considered criminals can be lawful by the Pathfinder standards. Judge Dread is lawful - and so is Vito Corleone.

Likewise, a character can be involved in many relationships that pull them in different way. Is your duty to your spouse more important than your duty as a guardsman? Is your duty to your faith more important than your duty as a parent? Is your duty to your sibling more important than your duty towards the law of the land? Today, we would give certain answers. A thousand years ago, or half a world away, the answers would likely be different.

Honor, duty, tradition, respect - these are seldom simple. Lawful characters are not automata, given their simple three laws of lawfulness.

Based on what I have witnessed as a part of my real-world religion, I believe that a paladin can struggle to adhere to his code without breaking it, and I think that it makes for a far more believable and deeper character to show that, even though a paladin is morally and ethically "better" than most people, s/he isn't perfect and that his or her faith in their deity is making them even better by putting obstacles in their path that challenge them.

You gain physical strength by increasing resistance during strength training. You gain mental strength by studying harder material. By logical extension, you can only gain spiritual strength by struggling with the more difficult tenets of your faith.

If a paladin is faced with a skittish, petty criminal with a hostage (something shocking, like a very young child) and is threatening to kill the hostage if the paladin so much as twitches... and then the criminal gets jumpy, panics and kills the kid anyway, maybe by accident. I don't know anyone who wouldn't want to run over and hack that man's face off with something dull and painful.

But the paladin is expected to try to reason with the criminal, to show him the error of his ways and to convince him to repent for his horrifying mistake. This petty criminal may have acted out of desperation to do something he thought might save his own sick child or loved one. His tragic situation is compounded by the fact that he just took an innocent life, and that may warp him severely. A paladin should show compassion here.

The way the paladin reacts to this situation could be anything, but the way the paladin processes the events in hindsight could be just as much of an indicator as to how he has grown or fallen in his faith. If he killed the man in anger, but later confesses to someone that he feels guilt (perhaps for both lives lost) then he is struggling and should not lose any powers. If he feels justified in slaying the criminal, then perhaps he has completely lost interest in the teachings of his faith because he is ignoring the obvious truth.

My example is only a single one. Vendis plays a paladin in my game (which is one reason why I suspect he started the thread). We disagree on what a paladin should be, though it's more of a flavor disagreement. He thinks they should be paragons from the outset, while I think it should be part of character development. To each his own, though.


The Antipaladin has to be chaotic evil. A lawful evil character would manipulate and conquer, but he would also build and organize, even if only for his own benefit. The Antipaladin is never a constructive force. He exists only to corrupt, defile and destroy. Think, "What would Cthulhu do?"

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Irulesmost wrote:
Also Paladins of Asmodeus.

*Kills troll post with fire*


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Paladins should be able to be of any Good alignment It is simply conceptually ridiculous that Cayden Cailean doesn't empower holy warriors to smite slavers and the legions of Hell, or that there's no wandering knights who brings Desna's holy wrath down upon Lamashtu's hateful brood.

Antipaladins should be able to be of any Evil alignment. It is simply conceptually ridiculous that Asmodeus does not empower particularly diabolical tyrants to deliver the world into his iron grip, or that there's no order of Zon-Kuthonites dedicated to spreading pain and suffering far and wide with the terrifying power of an Antipaladin.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Cayden might have holy warriors, but they should not be paladins. A Paladin of Cayden can break laws, ignore valid authority, encourage anti-social behavior, lie, cheat, steal and look good doing it.

His alignment gives him 'special powers' that a LG paladin cannot access without losing his paladin powers. There has to be a tradeoff.

Likewise the LE paladin. He can use all the instruments of evil freely...a LG paladin cannot do that. The ability to harm and sacrifice innocents, wield poison, practice torture, lie, murder, rob give him a sandbox of delights to wield against the LG and CG that THEY won't stoop too. He should have even fewer powers then the CG character, because his alignment gives him special abilities neither of his opponents can use. And the holy warrior is all about that alignment, right?

Now, yes, you can punt it over to other classes, and claim they can be evil, and use all their class abilities. The difference is that a LG paladin cannot use Evil tactics. A LG fighter can, and he'll still be a fighter. Alignment has no effect on them. Even a cleric can abandon one god to serve another. Paladin...nope. Unless you play with Blackguard rules, who love fallen paladins...but they still aren't PALADINS, not anymore.

===Aelryinth


I would allow NG paladins.. and maybe CG ones too if you can tell me a really good reason.

however I mioght also tell you to make alt paladin abilties to switch out from the LG paladin.....

that said, paladins are LG in pathfinder, and thems the rules


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All the "Lawful Good is the hardest alignment to keep so it should be rewarded" folks really have no idea what they're talking about.

Maintaining a strict alignment, ANY alignment, in the way paladins must is very, very difficult. Antipaladins are essentially unplayable, for example. At least the Paladin can cooperate with others.


Foghammer wrote:


If a paladin is faced with a skittish, petty criminal with a hostage (something shocking, like a very young child) and is threatening to kill the hostage if the paladin so much as twitches... and then the criminal gets jumpy, panics and kills the kid anyway, maybe by accident. I don't know anyone who wouldn't want to run over and hack that man's face off with something dull and painful.

But the paladin is expected to try to reason with the criminal, to show him the error of his ways and to convince him to repent for his horrifying mistake. This petty criminal may have acted out of desperation to do something he thought might save his own sick child or loved one. His tragic situation is compounded by the fact that he just took an innocent life, and that may warp him severely. A paladin should show compassion here.

I would say that it depends on the paladin and on the deity, if for example in the above situation the paladin was a paladin of Erastil or Torag, the little kid was one of the paladin's people and the petty criminal was an outsider then i would demand of the paladin to slay him right away.


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Aelryinth wrote:

Cayden might have holy warriors, but they should not be paladins. A Paladin of Cayden can break laws, ignore valid authority, encourage anti-social behavior, lie, cheat, steal and look good doing it.

His alignment gives him 'special powers' that a LG paladin cannot access without losing his paladin powers. There has to be a tradeoff.

Likewise the LE paladin. He can use all the instruments of evil freely...a LG paladin cannot do that. The ability to harm and sacrifice innocents, wield poison, practice torture, lie, murder, rob give him a sandbox of delights to wield against the LG and CG that THEY won't stoop too. He should have even fewer powers then the CG character, because his alignment gives him special abilities neither of his opponents can use. And the holy warrior is all about that alignment, right?

Now, yes, you can punt it over to other classes, and claim they can be evil, and use all their class abilities. The difference is that a LG paladin cannot use Evil tactics. A LG fighter can, and he'll still be a fighter. Alignment has no effect on them. Even a cleric can abandon one god to serve another. Paladin...nope. Unless you play with Blackguard rules, who love fallen paladins...but they still aren't PALADINS, not anymore.

===Aelryinth

A Paladin has exactly zero powers that have to do with Law vs. Chaos, discounting Protection from Chaos, which is easily changed to Protection from Law.

Why should Cayden Cailean, the god of wandering heroes and standing up for the little guy, not empower people with fearlessness, Smite Evil, and the ability to soothe the downtrodden? He believes in fighting evil as much, if not more than Iomedae--we're talking about a guy who wound up with unlimited power by complete accident, and decided the best thing he could do with it was keep right on tweaking tyrants on the nose.

There's already a Chaotic Evil Paladin, whose code is lax enough that he effectively cannot fall unless he actually turns Good. He can commit all the good deeds he wants, so long as they are done to trick, deceive, and further his own evil goals. He doesn't even fall if dominated into doing Good acts, like a Paladin falls if dominated into doing Evil acts The Antipaladin falls only if he willingly and altruistically commits Good acts; acts under domination are clearly neither. So your argument about balance is already pretty clearly moot. Certainly, it's absolutely ridiculous that their can be a Chaotic Evil Paladin, but not a Lawful Evil Paladin.


Basically paladins work as-is BECAUSE they are lawful good. Anti-paladins work because they are evil. Sure, there is a kind of space for a NG/CG paladin-type, maybe, but that's the only gap in the market I can see.


Vendis wrote:

Motivated from the thread about the dude playing the paladin (would link, but I am on break and doing this from my phone), I want to know people's opinions on paladins and how they interact with gods and alignment. I have heard of people allowing paladins with any alignment, so long as they matched it to their diety. I can be convinced differently, but I don't agree with that.

To start off, I'll state what I think.

Conceptually, paladins were supposed to be warriors who used divine power to further the overall cause of good, while adhering to a rigid code of conduct.

By design theory, they were meant to be a notch above other classes, at the cost of alignment and roleplay restrictions.

Neutral, to me, goes against the intent of the class - that is, to have apathy towards both lawfulness and chaoticism (is that a word?). Paladins were meant to be devoted, and the very idea of having apathy at all seems wrong to me.

Certainly there are similar classes that don't demand LG. The divine champion prestige class from 3E Forgotten Realms comes to mind. "For deities that do not count paladins among their followers, divine champions fill the role of the church-sponsored warrior."

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Revan wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:

Cayden might have holy warriors, but they should not be paladins. A Paladin of Cayden can break laws, ignore valid authority, encourage anti-social behavior, lie, cheat, steal and look good doing it.

His alignment gives him 'special powers' that a LG paladin cannot access without losing his paladin powers. There has to be a tradeoff.

Likewise the LE paladin. He can use all the instruments of evil freely...a LG paladin cannot do that. The ability to harm and sacrifice innocents, wield poison, practice torture, lie, murder, rob give him a sandbox of delights to wield against the LG and CG that THEY won't stoop too. He should have even fewer powers then the CG character, because his alignment gives him special abilities neither of his opponents can use. And the holy warrior is all about that alignment, right?

Now, yes, you can punt it over to other classes, and claim they can be evil, and use all their class abilities. The difference is that a LG paladin cannot use Evil tactics. A LG fighter can, and he'll still be a fighter. Alignment has no effect on them. Even a cleric can abandon one god to serve another. Paladin...nope. Unless you play with Blackguard rules, who love fallen paladins...but they still aren't PALADINS, not anymore.

===Aelryinth

A Paladin has exactly zero powers that have to do with Law vs. Chaos, discounting Protection from Chaos, which is easily changed to Protection from Law.

Why should Cayden Cailean, the god of wandering heroes and standing up for the little guy, not empower people with fearlessness, Smite Evil, and the ability to soothe the downtrodden? He believes in fighting evil as much, if not more than Iomedae--we're talking about a guy who wound up with unlimited power by complete accident, and decided the best thing he could do with it was keep right on tweaking tyrants on the nose.

There's already a Chaotic Evil Paladin, whose code is lax enough that he effectively cannot fall unless he actually turns Good. He can commit...

You're arguing for my point, not against it.

The anti-paladin should NOT get all the paladin powers reversed. The LE paladin should NOT get all the paladin powers reversed. I didn't say there couldn't be a LE paladin...I was making the point that giving them everything the LG paladin could get was inherently unbalanced.

Ditto the CE. The fact they published the anti-paladin doesn't make it balanced against the paladin just on the code of conduct.

And Cayden doesn't go in for holy stuff. He's got his chevaliers, who are fearless, charge into fights, and can drink the night away since they are immune to poison, and must be of Good alignment. That's about as holy as someone as irreverent as Cayden can make his warriors...and its actually perfect, and still VERY powerful. Immunity to fear and poison is a powerful combination, but doesn't step on a paladin's toes.

==Aelryinth


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Show me one power a paladin has that would not fit thematically on a warrior empowered to visit holy wrath upon tyrants and villains by a Chaotic Good god.

Smite evil? Has nothing to do with Law vs Chaos. it's all about laying a righteous smaackdown on the bad guys, which is generally a favorite pasttime of the Chaotic Good, and Cayden Cailean in particular

Divine Grace? It means your God has your back. Chaotic Evil Antipaladins get it, so there's no good reason it couldn't be handed down by Asmodeus or Cayden Cailean.

Lay on Hands and Mercies? Chaotic Good means standing up for the little guys. Especially Cayden Cailean. He'd be all over this.

Aura of Courage? Cayden Cailean walked into the definitive epic level dungeon on a drunken dare. Fearlessness comes with the territory.

Divine Health? Wouldn't a Chaotic Good guy need this more than the strait-laced Lawful Good guy?

Aura of Resolve and Aura of Righteousness? Coercion and mind control are generally high on Chaotic Good's list of Bad Things. Free will is, after, all, their greatest good. Of course you can't control their minds!

Aura of Justice? Justice doesn't remotely mean lawful. Chaotic Good stands for Justice even when the Law falls down in providing it. Besides, the actual mechanics of the ability work to give the little guy the power to fight back against their oppressors.

Holy Champion? Well, why the hell should the Lawful types be the only ones to have Champions?

Why on earth should Cayden Cailean wait for someone to take a prestige class to empower them? He's as Good as they come, and he's a God. He can make you as Holy as he damn well pleases.


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LazarX wrote:
Of course you'd love to play a Chaotic Good Paladin. Who wouldn't? All of those righteous smite powers, and none of the shackles of a Lawful Good alignment.

That depends on how many shackles you feel are truly lost in the alignment shift. In my opinion, a CG Paladin would have an equal number of alignment shackles, simply of a different bent.

A LG Paladin must respect an evil authority if that authority is legitimate. a CG Paladin would likely be compelled by code to root out evil despite any legitimacy in their authority. Being compelled towards freedom and equality is no less difficult than being compelled towards order and authority.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Serisan wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Of course you'd love to play a Chaotic Good Paladin. Who wouldn't? All of those righteous smite powers, and none of the shackles of a Lawful Good alignment.

That depends on how many shackles you feel are truly lost in the alignment shift. In my opinion, a CG Paladin would have an equal number of alignment shackles, simply of a different bent.

A LG Paladin must respect an evil authority if that authority is legitimate. a CG Paladin would likely be compelled by code to root out evil despite any legitimacy in their authority. Being compelled towards freedom and equality is no less difficult than being compelled towards order and authority.

A paladin is not compelled to accept a legitimate evil authority at all. Evil by itself would render the 'legitimacy' strictly optional. Paladins can freedom fight against LE tyrants every well as Robin Hood can. They prefer, however, to work within the system and change it from the inside.

Paladins aren't 'compelled' to do anything, and the only shackles you could put on a CG would be to forbid and compel them into actions, which inhibits their freedom of choice, which is against their alignment.

The only thing you could do is REWARD them for doing specific actions, to entice/bribe them into doing the 'right thing'...which is what CG normally does. They see service as a personal thing, and slavery obedience to a code or distant god just isn't going to hang with them.

==Aelryinth

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Revan wrote:

Show me one power a paladin has that would not fit thematically on a warrior empowered to visit holy wrath upon tyrants and villains by a Chaotic Good god.

Smite evil? Has nothing to do with Law vs Chaos. it's all about laying a righteous smaackdown on the bad guys, which is generally a favorite pasttime of the Chaotic Good, and Cayden Cailean in particular

Divine Grace? It means your God has your back. Chaotic Evil Antipaladins get it, so there's no good reason it couldn't be handed down by Asmodeus or Cayden Cailean.

Lay on Hands and Mercies? Chaotic Good means standing up for the little guys. Especially Cayden Cailean. He'd be all over this.

Aura of Courage? Cayden Cailean walked into the definitive epic level dungeon on a drunken dare. Fearlessness comes with the territory.

Divine Health? Wouldn't a Chaotic Good guy need this more than the strait-laced Lawful Good guy?

Aura of Resolve and Aura of Righteousness? Coercion and mind control are generally high on Chaotic Good's list of Bad Things. Free will is, after, all, their greatest good. Of course you can't control their minds!

Aura of Justice? Justice doesn't remotely mean lawful. Chaotic Good stands for Justice even when the Law falls down in providing it. Besides, the actual mechanics of the ability work to give the little guy the power to fight back against their oppressors.

Holy Champion? Well, why the hell should the Lawful types be the only ones to have Champions?

Why on earth should Cayden Cailean wait for someone to take a prestige class to empower them? He's as Good as they come, and he's a God. He can make you as Holy as he damn well pleases.

Excuse me. You're talking points way out in left field that have nothing to do with anything. You even end with 'a god can do whatever a god wants to do.' Which is to say, house rule.

Now then, every single argument you made for paladin powers could be made for paladin powers of ANY alignment. You realize that immunity to fear is VERY helpful to servants of powers that love to intimidate their underlings, or use magical mind control? That immunity to disease is highly valuable to those that live among it and spread it? That 'justice' can be interpreted completely in the eye of the beholder when you start skewing it away from LG? Laying on hands and mercies allow them to recover from all the nasty stuff they do to themselves and keep on going where weaker servants perish?

Your arguments...aren't. I'm talking granting powers for a code of conduct. And there's no way you can argue that followers of the Drunken God aren't able to do things no paladin is permitted to do. Their alignment in effect gives them 'more powers.' So, they are entitled to everything the paladin can get, and a whole lot more, before losing their powers? Heck, they can get away with acting Lawful, because that is completely within the paradigm of being Chaotic. Lying to someone's face is extremely difficult for paladins because of their code...a drunken servant can do so with impunity and likely the approval of his god.

Unbalanced. That's the whole problem with paladins. The alignment is the defining element of the class, and you can't balance it with math. Without the alignment, it's just a collection of numbers and abilities that could work for anyone. WITH the alignment, it makes a hero granted special powers by the gods to overcome the difficulties in being a LG exemplar. Being granted special powers by the gods just to be granted special powers by the gods? Feh.

===Aelryinth


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So, you admit that a Paladin is already able to break laws (one of the things that you called a 'special ability' of the Chaotic Good), so long as those laws are evil? Interesting.

A Paladin's power comes either from a deity, or from an overpowering conviction that the world ought to work a certain way, depending on setting and GM. Either way, an inviolable Code of Conduct is equally possible for Lawful Good and Chaotic Good Paladins. If a god gives them the power, the god can take it back. If power comes from their conviction in certain ideals, then by violating those ideals they deprive themselves of their conviction. Either way, a CG Paladin could fall for suffering slavery to continue in his sight, or otherwise be driven to oppose tyranny even where disadvantageous, and where a LG type might be able to leave it alone.


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Paladins weren't really "lawful good." The immidiate comparison most people make is to King Arther. Uther Pendragon was a gigantic bastard, though, and most of the knights were awful people as well.

This thread is absolutely fantastic for examining paladins and knights, their origins, their mythology, and how to portray them. Also death to enforced alignment mechanics.


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Aelryinth wrote:
Revan wrote:

Show me one power a paladin has that would not fit thematically on a warrior empowered to visit holy wrath upon tyrants and villains by a Chaotic Good god.

Smite evil? Has nothing to do with Law vs Chaos. it's all about laying a righteous smaackdown on the bad guys, which is generally a favorite pasttime of the Chaotic Good, and Cayden Cailean in particular

Divine Grace? It means your God has your back. Chaotic Evil Antipaladins get it, so there's no good reason it couldn't be handed down by Asmodeus or Cayden Cailean.

Lay on Hands and Mercies? Chaotic Good means standing up for the little guys. Especially Cayden Cailean. He'd be all over this.

Aura of Courage? Cayden Cailean walked into the definitive epic level dungeon on a drunken dare. Fearlessness comes with the territory.

Divine Health? Wouldn't a Chaotic Good guy need this more than the strait-laced Lawful Good guy?

Aura of Resolve and Aura of Righteousness? Coercion and mind control are generally high on Chaotic Good's list of Bad Things. Free will is, after, all, their greatest good. Of course you can't control their minds!

Aura of Justice? Justice doesn't remotely mean lawful. Chaotic Good stands for Justice even when the Law falls down in providing it. Besides, the actual mechanics of the ability work to give the little guy the power to fight back against their oppressors.

Holy Champion? Well, why the hell should the Lawful types be the only ones to have Champions?

Why on earth should Cayden Cailean wait for someone to take a prestige class to empower them? He's as Good as they come, and he's a God. He can make you as Holy as he damn well pleases.

Excuse me. You're talking points way out in left field that have nothing to do with anything. You even end with 'a god can do whatever a god wants to do.' Which is to say, house rule.

Now then, every single argument you made for paladin powers could be made for paladin powers of ANY alignment. You realize that immunity to fear is VERY helpful...

You said Cayden Cailean didn't go in for Holy stuff. Being good, he very clearly does, since Holy means Good. He doesn't go in for Axiomatic stuff, but Paladins very barely do. Cayden Cailean is all about kicking Evil in the teeth because it's the Right Thing to Do. (And then laughing about it over a pint with that nice serving wench.) If he could empower someone with the powers of a Paladin (adjusting the absolute handful instance of anti-chaos powers to anti-law powers), then he would. And there is no thematic reason that he would not be able to.

Antipaladins do get the immunity to Disease, with the extra bonus of still being able to be carriers. They don't get Lay on Hannds, but they do get the Touch of Corruption to punish and torment their failed underlings and those who stand against them. Fear immunity might be useful to those who rule by fear, but more useful is the Aura of Cowardice they get that makes even the most stalwart Paladin liable to wet himself and flee when the Antipaladin wishes it. They get Infernal Grace, Aura of Depravity, and Unholy Champion, which are all virtually identical to Divine Grace, Aura of Justice, and Holy Champion. So yes, the arguments for various paladin powers can be extended to other alignments. Which is exactly why I advocate they be extended to those alignments, as they already were with the Antipaladins.


Revan wrote:
stuff

There is a big difference in adhering to all legitimate laws and being able to break (and possibly remove) evil laws. I think Aelryinth's point is that they are Lawful because they do follow a code of conduct, which INCLUDES to act within the law (that is assumed to not be evil, as that obviously goes directly against their entire pretense) as much as possible. If a law is built upon incorrect or evil concepts, then it is, in fact, the paladin's duty to make it right. However, that is because his code of conduct demands it, which he is adhering to, NOT the pure fact that its a law of the land. The difference is Lawful Good vs Lawful Stupid.

You say that a CG paladin of Cayden Cailean would still have a "inviolable Code of Conduct," albeit it would differ from a LG paladin. What the heck do you think Chaotic means? It means to NOT be tied down by laws or codes or any sort of boundaries. The very idea that a CG person is basing his behavior off of a list of can and can'ts is an oxymoron. It's still somewhat of a stretch to say a NG person would do such a thing, much less CG.

Grand Lodge

D'arandriel wrote:
IMO, most, if not all gods, should have holy warriors that serve their cause. I don't recall the book, but Pathfinder had an option for clerics where they gained d10 hit dice and fighter BAB, but at the cost of domain spells and powers. Seemed like a simple way to make a "Paladin" of any alignment.

I can't remember that book either, but I know I'd definitely like to. Anyone know which book this is?

As for LE paladins, I'd like to see the blackguard brought back. Seriously. That was a decent PrC. That could be the LE paladin.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Having no rules whatsoever means Chaotic Neutral or Chaotic Evil. Robin Hood, the Doctor, Mal Reynolds, whatever example of Chaotic Good you care to pick--they have rules, they have codes, and they take them very seriously. They believe in Justice (and that accomplishing Justice often entails a disregard for the law), they believe in free will, they believe in freedom and equality, they believe in standing up for the little guy against the big and powerful. The specifics of their codes are often out of step with the law of the land and the expectations of society at large, but that doesn't make them any less a code. Or are you suggesting that Cayden Cailean's Chaotic Good Clerics have no standards of behavior?

A Chaotic Good paladin would share all strictures against evil acts with his Lawful Good counterpart, for a start. He might also be expected to defy tyrants of any stripe, free slaves, refrain from employing domination effects, and generally do anything and everything in his power to promote freedom.


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Since we're talking about codes, a snippet from the thread (seriously it's a legit good read get to it):

Quote:

That's great. I really like Geralt but never thought of him as a paladin, since he sleeps his way through all the women he meets and is pretty murderous. That was me being dumb, though, on consideration you are way right about him fitting the mold.

There is one criteria for a Paladin that I cannot stress enough, and you point it out: nobody but they can make them adhere to their code. Paladins wake up every day with a choice to make. Do I want to take what I want, to really cut loose, or do I take the hard road and follow my code. The code is one of their major strengths but it can't be thrust on them by gods or wizards, it has to be taken up. Geralt has his witcher code, and for him it has developed into a real thing, but he is aware that his appeals to tradition and pseudomysticism are bunk. What looks like an impenetrable moral shield is actually incredibly fragile.

He follows the code because it makes him closer to the man he wants to be. Not killing sentient monsters isn't a rule that every witcher has, it's just a thing he doesn't want to do. Of course, having a code helps him deal, not only with the temptations of his lifestyle, but also with those who would force him to do stuff like kill dragons or train their army. It ultimately frees him from the constraints of others, so that he is absolute master of his own actions.

In fact, he actually rejects the real Witcher Code, stuff like destiny and the law of surprise, because he doesn't buy into it. This is totally legit because nobody but you can control your beliefs and actions. For a paladin, there are no laws but the ones they choose to take on. It's a pretty hard road for some.

This is really useful if you want to make a fast and loose paladin, obeying only the explicit injunctions of the code and doing what he feels most of the time. It's also super useful if you are a super rigid paladin though, because it makes you think. Why is your paladin super rigid? He doesn't have to be. What is he afraid of in himself that makes him hold to such a standard? What does he lose by this? What does he gain? Even the robotic unflinching moral crusader can be a total badass if you give a little thought to these questions.

Again, death to mandated alignments, death to nonpersonalized generic "codes," death to mechanically enforcing paladin codes.


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ProfessorCirno wrote:

Since we're talking about codes, a snippet from the thread (seriously it's a legit good read get to it):

Quote:

That's great. I really like Geralt but never thought of him as a paladin, since he sleeps his way through all the women he meets and is pretty murderous. That was me being dumb, though, on consideration you are way right about him fitting the mold.

There is one criteria for a Paladin that I cannot stress enough, and you point it out: nobody but they can make them adhere to their code. Paladins wake up every day with a choice to make. Do I want to take what I want, to really cut loose, or do I take the hard road and follow my code. The code is one of their major strengths but it can't be thrust on them by gods or wizards, it has to be taken up. Geralt has his witcher code, and for him it has developed into a real thing, but he is aware that his appeals to tradition and pseudomysticism are bunk. What looks like an impenetrable moral shield is actually incredibly fragile.

He follows the code because it makes him closer to the man he wants to be. Not killing sentient monsters isn't a rule that every witcher has, it's just a thing he doesn't want to do. Of course, having a code helps him deal, not only with the temptations of his lifestyle, but also with those who would force him to do stuff like kill dragons or train their army. It ultimately frees him from the constraints of others, so that he is absolute master of his own actions.

In fact, he actually rejects the real Witcher Code, stuff like destiny and the law of surprise, because he doesn't buy into it. This is totally legit because nobody but you can control your beliefs and actions. For a paladin, there are no laws but the ones they choose to take on. It's a pretty hard road for some.

This is really useful if you want to make a fast and loose paladin, obeying only the explicit injunctions of the code and doing what he feels most of the time. It's also super useful if you are a super rigid paladin though, because it makes you think. Why

...

+1. Very neat stuff. Seems like the Doctor might fit in that analysis somewhere. "Good men don't need rules, Madame Kovarian. Today is not the day to find out why I have so many."

Silver Crusade

Revan wrote:

Show me one power a paladin has that would not fit thematically on a warrior empowered to visit holy wrath upon tyrants and villains by a Chaotic Good god.

Aura of Courage? Cayden Cailean walked into the definitive epic level dungeon on a drunken dare. Fearlessness comes with the territory.

Aura of Resolve and Aura of Righteousness? Coercion and mind control are generally high on Chaotic Good's list of Bad Things. Free will is, after, all, their greatest good. Of course you can't control their minds!

Aura of Justice? Justice doesn't remotely mean lawful. Chaotic Good stands for Justice even when the Law falls down in providing it. Besides, the actual mechanics of the ability work to give the little guy the power to fight back against their oppressors.

Why on earth should Cayden Cailean wait for someone to take a prestige class to empower them? He's as Good as they come, and he's a God. He can make you as Holy as he damn well pleases.

Should Cayden Cailean (or any other CG diety) have some sort of divinely inspired warrior? Probably. I can definitely see a place for that sort of warrior and the ethos would be very interesting to look at if very different from a standard paladin. I played RotRL with a friend doing this exact same thing and trust me, she had difficulty on more than one occasion living up to an extreme CG alignment. That being said, the abilities shown above I think don't really jive with a CG alignment. Here's why.

I think it's a fair point at this juncture to assume that both a Paladin and a CG Paladin (now called a Vigilante for sake of argument so I don't have to type CG Paladin all the time) would fight against a LE tyranny. The Vigilante would have more options available initially but both could easily take up arms against the tyrant yet for two very different reasons. Paladins would see the regime as a blight on the community. Commerce doesn't run correctly, children don't play, people are forced to be in their homes at night, etc. These people are what motivate him to fight in their defense. The Vigilante would be just as concerned but for a different reason. He would see that Old Tom (tm) couldn't go fishing at night any more, or that Billy couldn't marry his love because the Regent decided not to let him "because". The Vigilante would be concerned about these people primarily through the individual.

Honestly, you're right that most of the Paladin's abilities don't lend themselves to a lawful individual. I would argue that at the very least, a Vigilante wouldn't spend much time erecting fields that benefit a large group. A Paladin is an agent of a community (those of Erastil doubly so) be it their homeland, church, or order. They gain their powers from a desire to put the needs of that group above their own and as such, protect that community even though it makes them a target. It is their greatest weakness (binding their desires to others who may or may not have the Paladin's best interest at heart) but also their greatest strength (inspiring them to courage even if they don't agree with their charges because they have to). Paladins are also much more likely to work in a large army unit and use their auras to protect their brothers in arms.

The Vigilante on the other hand has himself and his deity as the only two people who dictate his actions. His focus on the individual may give him powers that help individuals (maybe being able to remove fear if not preventing it for example) but he can hang the desires of the community if it's not the right thing to do and do what's best for them anyway. It is this dedication to the individual that makes auras very...unfitting in my opinion. Why bother defending groups of people when you are more than willing to operate on your own most of the time? Why not just get everyone vulnerable out of the way and deal with the problem yourself? Being immune to those effects does make sense for a Vigilante but forcing people into a small tactical bubble to protect them from the same doesn't seem like a top priority. Vigilantes want to protect the little guy and as such tend to work with smaller groups outside of a hierarchy. Sometimes the larger groups can get things done, but they lose sight of each person's needs and as such, just don't work as well as small squads or even just a lone hero.

I see the argument for both classes but I just think the two would work differently enough that opening default Paladins to all alignments or even all good alignments doesn't quite make sense. Paladins work well as scions and protectors of a community while Vigilantes stick around to get the job done and often move on to fight the next great evil. While both are dedicated to good, they have such different viewpoints that I think it only makes sense that a LG and CG holy warrior would use at least somewhat different tactics. That is my argument such as it currently stands.


I think that people are confusing legitimate authority with tyranny, a legitimate king (the oldest son of the previous king and all that) who behaves like a tyrant is a legitimate authority, a warlord who lead his army to conquer his country and now rules it as a tyrant isn't a legitimate authority, sure the paladins can't really do much of chelliax's rulership but sure can do something about Tar-Baphon's rulership, and they did.
So fighting a tyrant isn't always a chaotic act, and sometimes it is a paladin's duty to fight that tyrant.


Revan wrote:
Show me one power a paladin has that would not fit thematically on a warrior empowered to visit holy wrath upon tyrants and villains by a Chaotic Good god.

You just rolled a natural 1 on getting the point. It's not about what's thematic, it's about what's balanced. Lawful good places a lot of strictures on a character, which balances the paladin's great powers. Chaotic good much less so, so they shouldn't get as great a spread of powers.


People are like dice, a certain Frenchman said that. You throw yourself in the direction of your own choosing. People are free because they can do that. Everyone's circumstances are different, but no matter how small the choice, at the very least, you can throw yourself. It's not chance or fate. It's the choice you made.
just think about before you ranting on with this foolishness...


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Vendis wrote:
Revan wrote:
stuff

There is a big difference in adhering to all legitimate laws and being able to break (and possibly remove) evil laws. I think Aelryinth's point is that they are Lawful because they do follow a code of conduct, which INCLUDES to act within the law (that is assumed to not be evil, as that obviously goes directly against their entire pretense) as much as possible. If a law is built upon incorrect or evil concepts, then it is, in fact, the paladin's duty to make it right. However, that is because his code of conduct demands it, which he is adhering to, NOT the pure fact that its a law of the land. The difference is Lawful Good vs Lawful Stupid.

You say that a CG paladin of Cayden Cailean would still have a "inviolable Code of Conduct," albeit it would differ from a LG paladin. What the heck do you think Chaotic means? It means to NOT be tied down by laws or codes or any sort of boundaries. The very idea that a CG person is basing his behavior off of a list of can and can'ts is an oxymoron. It's still somewhat of a stretch to say a NG person would do such a thing, much less CG.

If, by legitimate democratic vote, an evil NPC were elected into a position of authority and there was no evidence that there was any coercion to get him there (say, for example, that the populous revered him as a great general, but said general was known to do horrific things to his enemies personally), you're telling me that a Paladin would consider this NPC to not be a legitimate authority simply because he's evil? That is Lawful Stupid.

There are two types of Chaotic, just like there are two types of true neutral. There are those who live in terms of having no real bend towards Good vs Evil and Law vs Chaos, and then there are those with moral opposition to extremism for the neutrals. Similarly, there are those who strive towards Chaos as a fact of action, and those who exemplify it as a moral high ground (much like Paladins are expected to do with LG).


I'm with Prof.Cirno here. Enforced alignments make the game sticky and stale for me. I see a lot of folks on the forums post their opinions, and several say something to the effect of...

Random Paizo Forumite wrote:
I like that the alignment system is black and white about what is good and what is evil. I just want to play a hero and kill stuff and save princesses. It's a game, quite whining.

I don't think that is a fair assessment, and I can't imagine any tabletop RPG that you CAN'T play that way, but people insist that such is the design and philosophy of D&D (and by extension Pathfinder). Perhaps it was designed as such, but as far back as I can remember, the alignment section of the books I've read have a clause that says something like "alignment is a tool, not a straight-jacket." To me, that says that I don't have to play the game in black and white.

A paladin's code and alignment should not be so restrictive that they keep him from acting when he should. Nor should they be so loose that he can act in any way he pleases. More often than not - and this is also a popular opinion on the forums - it comes down to how good the player is at role playing the paladin.

The only reason it really matters what we all think, though, is for PFS play, because as far as Paizo is concerned, we can play the game however we want at our own tables.


Serisan wrote:
There are two types of Chaotic, just like there are two types of true neutral. There are those who live in terms of having no real bend towards Good vs Evil and Law vs Chaos, and then there are those with moral opposition to extremism for the neutrals. Similarly, there are those who strive towards Chaos as a fact of action, and those who exemplify it as a moral high ground (much like Paladins are expected to do with LG).

There are actually three types of chaotic (good, neutral, and evil), but I think you're on the right track in that there are multiple ways to interpret "chaotic" rather than only dealing with the laws of society (IE: legislature). The same applies to lawful.

Imagine someone with a severe OCD. Something kinda crazy, like the feeling that they have to touch (or caress, even) every piece of worked stone they directly look at; statues, cobblestone, buildings, any of it. To any onlooker, this person is out of their mind, obviously chaotic by virtue of insanity, but it could also be argued that this compulsion is lawful because the person is so compliant. However it is, in some ways, a "code" of their own making. Many people who suffer OCD realize how irrational their actions are, and with that conscious knowledge continue to perform the strange actions.

A chaotic neutral rogue walks into a town where the guard confiscates weapons at the main gate, tagging them for later retrieval. The rogue hands the guard all of his weapons without any bluffing or swindling involved. Lawful act? Maybe. Alignment shift? Hell no. When he gets into town, he's gonna go find a tavern and set up a fixed shell game to screw commoners out of their money, not because he needs the gold, but because it's funny to watch people dumber than him struggle to figure him out.

A paladin stops off at a tavern one evening after returning home from slaying aberrations. He does not boast his exploits, and makes sure to drop his armor off for cleaning, takes a bath, and shows up with his wounds covered. He doesn't want to make a fuss. He walks into the tavern and sees a gorgeous young woman serving ale. He decides that it may not hurt to tell the story once or twice, as he rolls up his sleeves and flashes some of his bandages. A late night toss in the hay with the tavern wench to follow. Certainly not lawful. Chaotic, maybe a little, but not enough to revoke paladin powers. Unless you're a jerk.


Dabbler wrote:
Chaotic good much less so, so they shouldn't get as great a spread of powers.

Not so. Plain old lawful good isn't all that restrictive. Similarly with plain old chaotic good. Paladin-level LG is very restrictive, and it would be the same with paladin-level CG. Again, look at the antipaladin code. It's extremely restrictive--they basically are forced to screw over every single person they meet. They cannot cooperate with anyone in the long-term.


Revan wrote:


Having no rules whatsoever means Chaotic Neutral or Chaotic Evil. Robin Hood, the Doctor, Mal Reynolds, whatever example of Chaotic Good you care to pick--they have rules, they have codes, and they take them very seriously. They believe in Justice (and that accomplishing Justice often entails a disregard for the law), they believe in free will, they believe in freedom and equality, they believe in standing up for the little guy against the big and powerful. The specifics of their codes are often out of step with the law of the land and the expectations of society at large, but that doesn't make them any less a code. Or are you suggesting that Cayden Cailean's Chaotic Good Clerics have no standards of behavior?

Lawful Good characters (not paladins) can break all the man-made laws they want, assuming that the lawful aspect of their alignment is in reference to SOMETHING - a personal code, a code set down from whatever organization they're in, etc. etc. In that respect, I would argue that (though I'm not familiar with the Doctor) the list you gave are in fact Lawful Good characters who care nothing for the laws of the land.

You make a better point for alignment being a straight jacket - if they break "these" laws, then they are definitely chaotic, despite the fact they have a set of ethics that they will NEVER break. Any given person in today's world is probably LN or LG, yet those people break the law all the time: traffic laws, drugs, drinking underage, etc. etc. I wouldn't say they're chaotic (though there definitely is a lot of chaotic people out there).

Serisan wrote:


If, by legitimate democratic vote, an evil NPC were elected into a position of authority and there was no evidence that there was any coercion to get him there (say, for example, that the populous revered him as a great general, but said general was known to do horrific things to his enemies personally), you're telling me that a Paladin would consider this NPC to not be a legitimate authority simply because he's evil? That is Lawful Stupid.

This evil NPC, at the time of his taking of authority, has done nothing wrong and as such, the paladin wouldn't have anything to do with it. There is no evil going on at all - why would the paladin intervene? However, if the NPC's first act was, say, to hike taxes up really big, he would probably stick around the area and see if the guy was going to continue doing things in such poor discretion. If he did, he'd step in and make it right. If not, then whatever. You just brought up a situation in which there was no wrong doing going on at all, I don't know why you would think the paladin would even be involved.

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