Can Paladins Kill on Sight?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

51 to 100 of 118 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>
Dark Archive

The Law as in Lawful alignments does not have to pertain to the "Letter of the Law". In this case the Law in Lawful has to do with hasty and rash decisions that fit the Chaos side more than the Law side.


bigkilla wrote:
The Law as in Lawful alignments does not have to pertain to the "Letter of the Law". In this case the Law in Lawful has to do with hasty and rash decisions that fit the Chaos side more than the Law side.

I don't think that defining rashness as non-lawful is a good idea. Lawful characters can make astronomically stupid decisions without thinking. Remember Miko Miyazaki?


Sure.

Spoiler:

Any time someone offers a surrender, my paladin accepts it, no questions asked. He knocks them out, ties them up, and then leaves them to the proper authorities.

Occasionally during or before fights, he calls out for a surrender. Sometimes the enemies accept, sometimes they don't. If they do, the above happens. If they don't, then he fights with all his might and goes for the kill.

And a good portion of the time, he doesn't offer any sort of surrender.

Ironically, this is because he is naturally Lawful Good. This is hard to explain, but think of it like someone who just has a good heart and upholds rules of conduct. What are people like that usually responding with when someone doesn't follow suite? "How could you even do that?" or "That's not fair!" They are so ingrained with how they view the world that it throws them off when people don't act like they do. The very idea of malice and rule-breaking is so foreign to them, and they have a lot of trouble with considering how others think.

In his head, he is aware of the option to surrender and knows he will respect it if someone does. However, he is stubborn, and he personally doesn't consider it as much as an option, except in very specific circumstances. He -thinks- that if someone isn't willing to fight to the death, they will surrender. Otherwise, he believes they are so far gone and so invested in their own beliefs that they must be irredeemable.

For the others, they might not think this warrior who fights with conviction but without reserve will offer no quarter if they surrender and so they don't. This creates a self-fulfilling prophecy in which most opponents don't surrender.

While this isn't a full representation of the character, maybe you can see what I'm trying to get at. As I've stated a few times, this is NOT a very mature moral compass. I created the character with this intent, that he would be naive, after giving thought on the various ways of playing a paladin. I think it's perfectly legit, and my GM has not had problems with this aspect of my character specifically (though there are definitely pieces that he has outright expressed disdain for).

The only argument I think that could be made against this is that in almost 9 levels of paladin, he hasn't grown, in the sense of learning that his way of thinking quite rare. While I would agree he should have more, our campaign has really only lasted about a year of in-game time (with large gaps of nothing but travel happening), and the actual OOC time spent playing has been disjointed, with breaks, other campaigns, and one-shots mixed in.

Anyway, this is definitely something that's hard to explain, and it doesn't help any that I personally am terrible at explaining things (I don't think anyone else at my table has a good understanding of my character). I'm not sure how much better I could put it, though, so if you still don't get it, we might just have to agree to disagree.


Also, I can see an LE or NE character doing what this Paladin did, not just a CE character. That's why I don't think it's chaotic behavior.


Montana MacAilbert wrote:
]I don't think that defining rashness as non-lawful is a good idea. Lawful characters can make astronomically stupid decisions without thinking. Remember Miko Miyazaki?

I'd like to point out that there are rules of combat that exist, even if not in the form of ink on a page, that I think most battle-hardened warriors are aware of, even if some don't follow them. It might not be laws that a paladin HAS TO/SHOULD follow, but it might be something that s/he respects enough to give heed to when making decisions.

Giving a group of (only) potential enemies absolutely no chance to fight back and killing them without a second thought definitely breaks these rules. While I don't think they are binding for a paladin, I do believe that it is in keeping with a paladin's general sense of Lawfulness that s/he might at the very least consider them.

Dark Archive

Montana MacAilbert wrote:
bigkilla wrote:
The Law as in Lawful alignments does not have to pertain to the "Letter of the Law". In this case the Law in Lawful has to do with hasty and rash decisions that fit the Chaos side more than the Law side.
I don't think that defining rashness as non-lawful is a good idea. Lawful characters can make astronomically stupid decisions without thinking. Remember Miko Miyazaki?

Yes Lawful characters can make rash and stupid decisions but when it becomes the norm i do not see them as lawful.


I disagree, because an LE character could easily act like this. Don't get me wrong. I do NOT think that a Paladin should do this. I just don't think it is inherently lawful or chaotic.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yeah, feels more Good vs Evil than Law vs Chaos.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Yep, a LE character could do it.

Doesn't mean it's not chaotic. That's the nice thing about alignments, they don't dump you into concrete. A LG character can commit a Chaotic act just like a LE character can commit a Chaotic act, just like a CE character can commit a lawful good act.

Paladin's have some issues most people don't. But even one act doesn't normally alter your alignment. So that LE who jumps out and slaughter's people without reason (which, by the way, is chaotic, LE kills for it's own reasons and purposes, not randomly, random murder is listed under CE).


mdt wrote:

Yep, a LE character could do it.

Doesn't mean it's not chaotic. That's the nice thing about alignments, they don't dump you into concrete. A LG character can commit a Chaotic act just like a LE character can commit a Chaotic act, just like a CE character can commit a lawful good act.

Paladin's have some issues most people don't. But even one act doesn't normally alter your alignment. So that LE who jumps out and slaughter's people without reason (which, by the way, is chaotic, LE kills for it's own reasons and purposes, not randomly, random murder is listed under CE).

.

.
Kill now to avoid a "possible" problem later? that might not really be chaotic, but it is more for Evil than Good, especially if one doesn't make sure first.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
PRD wrote:


Good implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others.

Evil implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master.

Law implies honor, trustworthiness, obedience to authority, and reliability. On the downside, lawfulness can include closed-mindedness, reactionary adherence to tradition, self-righteousness, and a lack of adaptability. Those who consciously promote lawfulness say that only lawful behavior creates a society in which people can depend on each other and make the right decisions in full confidence that others will act as they should.

Chaos implies freedom, adaptability, and flexibility. On the downside, chaos can include recklessness, resentment toward legitimate authority, arbitrary actions, and irresponsibility. Those who promote chaotic behavior say that only unfettered personal freedom allows people to express themselves fully and lets society benefit from the potential that its individuals have within them.

Make of it what you will, but it seems to me to be at least mildly chaotic (recklessness given that the the four kobolds might have been kobold champion raiding party with 4 levels more than the paladin, attacking creatures that can take class levels is reckless, arbitrary action, irresponsible by putting his teammates in potential harm by attacking a force that might be much more powerful than expected).


Quote:
the paladin insisted on using detect evil.

Here is the crux of the problem. Paladins can smite evil all day long and not think twice about it. But they do have to think once about it.

Paladins can detect evil at will. There is no excuse for not doing so. Killing defenseless non-combatants without even bothering to check if they're evil is evil.

Silver Crusade

Yes, but detect evil only works on creatures with 5 HD or more. So paladins need to think about their actions! If you are in a situation and you have an idea on how to resolve it, but do not know if it is inherently evil (you are unable to tell if it is good or evil) do not do it.

Playing a paladin takes a bit more thought and the player has to be more mindful of his or her actions. If you have trouble telling the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, law and chaos, then your paladin is going to be in all sorts of trouble too.

The paladin is going to be faced with situations where law and good are not always part of the same equation. However, I always encourage players to err on the side of good, rather than not act at all. Paladins will make mistakes, that is why they can atone. However, there are some actions that are always going to be seen as chaotic and/or evil.


blue_the_wolf wrote:

So i have this group of adventurers.

most are fairly neutral but one is a Paladin.

The players enter an area in which they see 4 Kobolds lazing about and immediatly one player casts sleep and the others (including the paladin) race forward to kill them in their sleep.

Im not sure if I should warn the paladin on this.

I personally dont feel that a lawful good character should KoS anything simply because of its race. although goblins, kobolds, orcs and the like are usually used as XP fodder and generally evil in order to provide a good reason to enjoy killing them... I feel that a Paladin should at least hail the enemy and give them a chance to run or surrender.

I know this mostly comes down to the GM but I was wondering peoples opinions on the matter

I think it depends on what you make the goblins like. I don't know what goblins in Golarion are like.

In my game, Orcs are former humans infected with a fungus that turns them into insane killing machines. They are usually turned by a wizard who then uses his vast alchemical powers to send them off to do his bidding.

Goblins are monsters created by evil gods to torment humans.

In both cases, the bad guy isn't like a human. He isn't a person from another culture that you just don't understand. He is irredeemable evil, created by a power to bother, kill, and rob humans. It is irresponsible to let them live. No act of kindness or compassion can change them into good, or even neutral beings.

When it comes to sleeping humans, it depends on the power of the law invested in the paladin. Because humans are not irredeemable evil, at least not reliably, I believe a paladin must attempt to redeem them and take them into custody.

If the sleeping human has DEFINITELY committed crimes worthy of the death penalty, and the Paladin has been given the authority to carry out that sentence, then he can kill them.

If the paladin is ever wrong about who or what it is he is killing, he will know when he magically transforms into a fighter without any feats.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

Personally I'd consider killing anything in its sleep a cowardly and evil act, even if the paladin knew beyond doubt the kobolds were evil. Wake them up, challenge them, then do battle as necessary. They're only kobolds after all, I wouldn't consider that lawful stupid. Be honourable.

Silver Crusade

cranewings wrote:
In my game, Orcs are former humans infected with a fungus that turns them into insane killing machines. They are usually turned by a wizard who then uses his vast alchemical powers to send them off to do his bidding.

By the gods, I hope there is a cream or salve for that fungus!


In re: Sleeping enemies.

I think it all depends on why you're killing them and to a lesser extent what the odds are. A handful of kobolds out in the open with no particular reason to kill them other than "They're kobolds!", evil and cowardly.
Kobolds sleeping in the entrance to the lair of the evil you're sworn to destroy. A battle there might alert those inside, sneaking by leaves them at your back. They're in the service of evil, honorable battle would be better, but the dishonorable death serves a greater purpose.

Or are paladins never allowed to take any advantage? No surprise. Always allow your enemy time to prepare. Etc. Etc.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
thejeff wrote:


Or are paladins never allowed to take any advantage? No surprise. Always allow your enemy time to prepare. Etc. Etc.

Depends on the paladin's code. Many of these issues come down to people not defining it BEFORE the game starts. So that everyone is on the same page.


This is one of those situations where more context would be needed.

1- The Paladin is tasked by the local magistrate to eleminate the threat of Kobolds in the region who exist in a state of war. Frankly any time a state of war exists the rules even for Paladins different. I could see this as not only being an exceptable instance but even a prefered method.

2- Crossing a vast wilderness far from civiliztion finding a hunting party of kobolds. Unless the Paladin is a gnome they might just leave well enough alone.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

One of the things I've never understood is the idea that we can divorce the moral component of a character's alignment (good/evil) from actual morality, even though reading a description of alignment suggests that "good" and "evil" are in fact moral descriptors.

We've seen it argued that an attitude like "Kobolds are dangerous, if we let them go they will whole tribe will be down on us. A quick, clean death is best" is totally consistent with a good alignment.

Suppose we accept that. It is then pretty clear that "good" races such as elves are dangerous to kobolds, so a party of kobolds can quite reasonably say "elves are dangerous. If we let them go, they will try and kill us. A quick, clean death is best." But I suspect we would tend to agree that if a bunch of kobolds just randomly slaughtered some elves they met in the forest, that would be evil.

For some reason, though, "good" adventurers and the "evil" kobolds are behaving in exactly the same way but ending up with opposite alignments. You reach the same conclusion from the notion, also argued in this thread, that killing evil people is morally good (and, presumably, killing good people is morally evil).

It's not my place to tell people how to handle alignment, of course, but I would suggest that "good" and "evil" as game terms are intended to be more than just shorthand for "red team" and "blue team."


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Chubbs McGee wrote:
cranewings wrote:
In my game, Orcs are former humans infected with a fungus that turns them into insane killing machines. They are usually turned by a wizard who then uses his vast alchemical powers to send them off to do his bidding.
By the gods, I hope there is a cream or salve for that fungus!

This last game was the first time I brought that up. You actually get the fungus by growing it on the corpses of a certain kind of neutral fairy goblin. They found a pile of them in an evil layer. They were so scared I was going to tell them they breathed a little in. Kinda funny.


Glendwyr wrote:

One of the things I've never understood is the idea that we can divorce the moral component of a character's alignment (good/evil) from actual morality, even though reading a description of alignment suggests that "good" and "evil" are in fact moral descriptors.

We've seen it argued that an attitude like "Kobolds are dangerous, if we let them go they will whole tribe will be down on us. A quick, clean death is best" is totally consistent with a good alignment.

Suppose we accept that. It is then pretty clear that "good" races such as elves are dangerous to kobolds, so a party of kobolds can quite reasonably say "elves are dangerous. If we let them go, they will try and kill us. A quick, clean death is best." But I suspect we would tend to agree that if a bunch of kobolds just randomly slaughtered some elves they met in the forest, that would be evil.

For some reason, though, "good" adventurers and the "evil" kobolds are behaving in exactly the same way but ending up with opposite alignments. You reach the same conclusion from the notion, also argued in this thread, that killing evil people is morally good (and, presumably, killing good people is morally evil).

It's not my place to tell people how to handle alignment, of course, but I would suggest that "good" and "evil" as game terms are intended to be more than just shorthand for "red team" and "blue team."

+many. you can't say 'they kill people, they're evil' then go kill them and call it good. you have to be evenhanded about these things (this may just mean the realisation: well i'm also evil, just not on their side.")


I think one of the biggest problems is that most people have different ideas about good and evil.

The biggest factor towards a person thinking something is good or not is if they like it. Christianity teaches Pride is one of the seven deadly sins, so why do Christians in my town all have that stupid, "Power of Pride" bumper sticker? We like pride. Pride is good.

Just about everything is like that. Some people like killing. Usually people who like the idea of killing REALLY LIKE the idea of killing people that deserve it. If you ask one of them if killing a helpless psychopath murderer is a good thing, for sure they will say yes. Ask a bleeding heart that thinks all men are redeemable? Probably not.

Just like I enjoy abstract combat because gamers don't have anyway of agreeing on what real combat would be like, I enjoy abstract good and evil because I don't enjoy arguing with my friends and explaining to them why I think the things they like are evil (;

In my opinion, the best way to handle any sort of grey area when it comes to this stuff is to assume that whatever the paladin is doing is good.


Quote:
"good" and "evil" as game terms are intended to be more than just shorthand for "red team" and "blue team."

glendwyrs post is exactly how I feel about the matter. the morality of an action is not based on the target but the source.


Quote:
In my opinion, the best way to handle any sort of grey area when it comes to this stuff is to assume that whatever the paladin is doing is good.

On a side note... that makes absolutely no sense.

its the same kind of philosophy that assumes anything that a priest does... including molesting little boys... is good because the priest is an agent of God.

EDIT... oh wait... looks like you were being sarcastic.


blue_the_wolf wrote:
Quote:
In my opinion, the best way to handle any sort of grey area when it comes to this stuff is to assume that whatever the paladin is doing is good.

On a side note... that makes absolutely no sense.

its the same kind of philosophy that assumes anything that a priest does...

Did you see where I said, "grey area." Does your example fall into grey area?

Killing a sleeping murderer is grey area.


I think if you read more of the first page you would be able to make a more informed decision.

there is no indication what-so-ever that the kobolds are murderers. Your going on the assumption that Kobolds are evil by definition and killing them is basically justified by definition.

but there is no indication what so ever that these guys were in any way evil. had any intention of doing an evil act or had ever done an evil act. there is no ongoing notification or war with kobolds, no indication that any one other than human bandits are taking any hostile actions in the area. 4 sentient beings were enjoying an afternoon siesta and some one wandered up and killed them without so much as a "hey look! kobolds!".

that is flat out evil, chaotic or both.


blue_the_wolf wrote:

I think if you read more of the first page you would be able to make a more informed decision.

there is no indication what-so-ever that the kobolds are murderers. Your going on the assumption that Kobolds are evil by definition and killing them is basically justified by definition.

but there is no indication what so ever that these guys were in any way evil. had any intention of doing an evil act or had ever done an evil act. there is no ongoing notification or war with kobolds, no indication that any one other than human bandits are taking any hostile actions in the area. 4 sentient beings were enjoying an afternoon siesta and some one wandered up and killed them without so much as a "hey look! kobolds!".

that is flat out evil, chaotic or both.

unless the party ate the kobolds afterwards, in which case it becomes a case of survival and putting the kobolds to sleep before killing them becomes a very humane way of slaughtering them before processing... though KILLING and eating sentient creatures outside of the most extreeme need is another evil act. (as opposed to eating sentient creatures who'd died from natural causes or had been murdered by some other creature. at that point the interperatation of evil becomes very much a cultural thing.)

just playing devil's advocate, mind you.


blue_the_wolf wrote:

I think if you read more of the first page you would be able to make a more informed decision.

there is no indication what-so-ever that the kobolds are murderers. Your going on the assumption that Kobolds are evil by definition and killing them is basically justified by definition.

but there is no indication what so ever that these guys were in any way evil. had any intention of doing an evil act or had ever done an evil act. there is no ongoing notification or war with kobolds, no indication that any one other than human bandits are taking any hostile actions in the area. 4 sentient beings were enjoying an afternoon siesta and some one wandered up and killed them without so much as a "hey look! kobolds!".

that is flat out evil, chaotic or both.

Blue, when you read my post could you please read the one above it. I wrote about 4 paragraphs about how the nature of the creatures you are killing matters, and that in my game they are irredeemable evil. I know you want to argue, we all do, but you are replying to like every other word of every other one of my posts. You can have the last word with whatever you write next. I won't reply unless you respond to everything I wrote within its own context and with understanding.


mdt wrote:

Just another note to toss on the fire.

Killing everything with an evil aura can be an evil act.

Janus, the Human Cleric, worships Sevarious, a Lawful Evil god of revenge, in his aspect as justice bringer. Janus works as a bounty hunter, tracking down those who have prices on their head and returning them for the bounty.

Dumbly DidWrong, the bumbling Paladin, comes across Janus tying up a pair of women in the woods. He casts Detect Evil on Janus, and BING, Evildar goes off. Dumbly races out and attacks Janus from behind and kills him (the women had hurt him bad before he caught them). Janus, who is not evil, and is in fact lawful, is dead.

Dumbly frees the women (who are hags in disguise) and they thank him and leave to go eat the children they had tied up back in their cave before they cackle off into the sunset.

A) Dumbly has killed a non-evil agent of the law, performing a lawful deed (taking the hags in for hanging).
B) Dumbly has freed two hags to go kill more innocent victims.

I submit that Dumbly has committed TWO evil acts (three if you count the hags as one evil deed each on being freed).

All because he attacked something that pinged Evil without confirming what was going on. Maybe Dumbly should have bought a phylactery.

Oh I love this one...What a great example!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Whatever happened to paladins being the 'crusader ideal' (and please, let's not bring what the crusaders actually were like into this)?

The idea was that killing, any killing, was evil. However, it was often a necessary evil. Regardless of who they killed, after a war they would go on a pilgrimage of atonement. They did not justify it as good because of that necessity. It was still evil.

What happened to that kind of humility?

I think next time I write a paladin code, it's going to include that an adventuring paladin must atone regularly and mean it, or risk falling. Not the spell atonement, mind you. Just regular old-fashioned visiting an awkward to reach holy shrine that might have suitably exciting hazards on the way. :P


Sorry Crane I am not arguing for argument sake, not angry and not trying to flame I just feel that you may not be grasping the point of my specific question but maybe you are so here goes.

instead of breaking down each of your points in minutia lets just focus on the point which is can a paladin attack some one for essentially no reason other than their race. (in a game sense not a civil rights sense)

I understand that in YOUR game evil is evil is evil and thats just the way it is. However in my games, and my players know this, only evil outsiders are always evil because outside of creatures composed of pure evil in the traditional sense there is no such thing as being evil for the sake of being evil.

I think Glendwyrs post explains it very good but here is another POV that I agree with. http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/checkfortraps/8386-Al l-About-Alignment.2

In my opinion the morality of walking upto a random individual and killing him is not dependent on the nature of the victim, it is a reflection of the nature of the attacker.


There isn't anything wrong with that so long as it is consistent. If goblins might not be evil, you shouldn't kill them just for being goblins. Now... if you know it just ate a baby (:


Quote:
Whatever happened to paladins being the 'crusader ideal' (and please, let's not bring what the crusaders actually were like into this)?

Great point!

I guess that hits the heart of why i asked the question. are paladins supposed to be pillars of virtue and embodyments of lawfull goodness.

or are they supposed to be crusaders willing to do anything good bad or otherwise for the sake of the ideals that they support regardless of the damage to their own souls.

On the one hand they have to actually BE lawful/good on the other they are only required to believe that their actions are in service to a sufficiently good higher power.

Shadow Lodge

I think a distinction needs to be made between Lawful and Good.

To Kill on sight, is it Lawful or Chaotic?

This is entirely based on the code your paladin swore when becoming a paladin. Lawful implies adhering to a strict code of conducts, however it's source needs to be specified. For example my character is a Guardian Paladin, my code ensures that my Lord's word is the law. If my lord says "Slay all creatures this tall" Then Kill on Sight would be my code and those goblins would meet a pointy paladin shaped doom.

As Mr. Jacobs says if the Goblins were doing nothing to incur the wrath of your paladin's particular flavor of justice then it would be considered a Chaotic act because to kill on sight is an extreme without a "lawful" reason(this is lawful alignment not within the country's law)
as to why.

If you were trying to gain the upper hand before they draw blades suggest to him Attack on sight with Non lethal damage, it's there for a reason.

To Kill on sight, is it good? or evil

This is where context is important, 90% of the time it will either be evil or at best non good. The other 10% is if you are stopping or disrupting an evil, depraved or unjust act.

An example of what I mean by evil. I look at you and deem you unworthy to live, either by my code or by my personal preferences. Killing good creatures based on a bias or prejudice, belonging to your character or others is evil.

An example of what I mean by neutrality. A man sees a necromancer and kills it on sight because he wears clothes made from the bones of the desecrated dead, this IMO is a neutral act. If the character has enough reason to believe this person evil then he is acting in the name of good, however have no understanding of that particular NPC's situation means he may just as equally be performing an evil act. For example this necromancer was a sad father of a wife and two children, his family was murdered and he wears the bones of his dead wife and child out of a misguided respect and admiration and is seeking a way to bring them back without making them undead.

Still externally "NECROMANCER = DEATH MAGIC = EVIL" the logic is sound and points for trying but those points will only negate the evil of the actual act itself.

Examples of what mean by good. A necromancer is attacking a town, you have approached from the north, he laughs as he chews on a small kitten and watches a child cry. You may Kill on sight. These are clear signs of evil and there is no room for speculation or error. The act of slaying this evil creature is good.

-----

So to sum, Paladins "can" kill on sight, if they don't wish to loose alignment they need to do it within their code of ethics (GM should check codes of ethic). And to avoid slipping into neutral alignment they need to be sure of what they are doing from the get go.

-Suggestion for paladin - don't go straight to the extreme KOS, use Non lethal to assert yourself and find out more if enemy motive isn't clear.


Have to post quickly as I'm going out to dinner so I haven't read everything new however . . .

@Cranewings I was distracted and thought I read that fungus had to be grown in an evil LAWYER which would limit the spread a bit.

More generally I suggest the people in this thread take a look at http://www.goblinscomic.com/ which is a really interesting comic. It follows a group of goblins who decided enough's enough and became adventurers gaining class levels in order to protect their tribe. It has a lot of the same issues raised in this thread and is an entertaining read aside from that.

Not to spoil too much but it addresses paladin actions, what is good and evil and how do people arrive at their views, even how do the "walking XP bags" of the dnd world view their situation


Samuel Grundy wrote:
An example of what I mean by neutrality. A man sees a necromancer and kills it on sight because he wears clothes made from the bones of the desecrated dead, this IMO is a neutral act

See, this is why necromancers need to run around in hot pink with one of those fluffy animal head hats on.


Glendwyr wrote:
One of the things I've never understood is the idea that we can divorce the moral component of a character's alignment (good/evil) from actual morality, even though reading a description of alignment suggests that "good" and "evil" are in fact moral descriptors.

Except they are objective moral descriptors. There exists no doubt as to what is good and evil. It is clearly labeled, and the only false positive is a neutral cleric of an Evil god, and well, uh, they worship and support an Evil god, so, uh, the good gods aren't really going to hold it against you.

Glendwyr wrote:
We've seen it argued that an attitude like "Kobolds are dangerous, if we let them go they will whole tribe will be down on us. A quick, clean death is best" is totally consistent with a good alignment.

That's only true if they are Evil.

Which, as a side note, everyone is quick to point out the paragraph about how traditionally evil races can sometimes be good as if that's a common thing. The point of that is clearly, "Hey, if you want to play a PC from this race, you can without fear from a rules lawyer GM who will insist you be always evil."

It's not supposed to be a "uh-oh, any given member of this race might be Good so you better check every single one before you kill them!"

The whole point of having objective alignment in D&D is so that you can be a good hero and still take part in the basic premise of the game: raid a dungeon, kill the residents, and take their stuff.

The restriction on Paladins is supposed to be (and always was) "and after taking their stuff, tithe 10% of it," not, "and after raiding the dungeon, host a mixer with punch and pie for the residents so you can get to know them first to ensure they deserve to die.

Glendwyr wrote:
Suppose we accept that. It is then pretty clear that "good" races such as elves are dangerous to kobolds, so a party of kobolds can quite reasonably say "elves are dangerous. If we let them go, they will try and kill us. A quick, clean death is best." But I suspect we would tend to agree that if a bunch of kobolds just randomly slaughtered some elves they met in the forest, that would be evil.

No, you're mixing things and judging their alignments based on actions. It's the other way around. There is a Team Good and a Team Evil and your allegience is what determines your actions (for the most part), not the other way around.

The trick of it is, and what is confusing people in this regard, Team Good will kick you off the team if you do too much Evil, but Team Evil doesn't give a crap what you do as long as you're Team Evil. So, it looks like actions determine your Alignment, but it's really a cosmic forces sort of thing.

Glendwyr wrote:
For some reason, though, "good" adventurers and the "evil" kobolds are behaving in exactly the same way but ending up with opposite alignments.

They have opposite alignments because they do. It sounds silly, but that's the way it has always been.

Glendwyr wrote:
You reach the same conclusion from the notion, also argued in this thread, that killing evil people is morally good (and, presumably, killing good people is morally evil).

I wouldn't call it "morally" anything--I would simply call it Good and Evil.

Glendwyr wrote:
It's not my place to tell people how to handle alignment, of course, but I would suggest that "good" and "evil" as game terms are intended to be more than just shorthand for "red team" and "blue team."

They were never intended in any other way in the past other than team red and team blue.

In fact, the origins of alignment in D&D started with just Law and Chaos, and they literally were two opposing teams for a miniature war game.

People like gray morality, it seems. Alignment is not for those people. See, there's another way, other than just insisting Alignment is something it's not: don't use Alignment. Nobody will fault you--I'd wager a large portion of the fanbase ignores it completely.

If you feel like you can't play Pathfinder without, then don't play Pathfinder. There are plenty of other RPGs without any Alignment system that might suit you better.

blue_the_wolf wrote:
instead of breaking down each of your points in minutia lets just focus on the point which is can a paladin attack some one for essentially no reason other than their race. (in a game sense not a civil rights sense)

Worrying about why someone committed a certain act is subjective. D&D Alignment is objective.

blue_the_wolf wrote:
However in my games, and my players know this, only evil outsiders are always evil because outside of creatures composed of pure evil in the traditional sense there is no such thing as being evil for the sake of being evil.

Ok, I really need to ask, and I'm totally serious about this question:

Why do you use Alignment at all if you're just going to declare it's all gray and mutable and situational and whatnot? What does Alignment bring to your table that would be lost without it? If there's no objectivity, why write anything down and declare allegiance to some Alignment when nothing is certain?


Samuel Grundy wrote:
Examples of what mean by good. A necromancer is attacking a town, you have approached from the north, he laughs as he chews on a small kitten and watches a child cry. You may Kill on sight. These are clear signs of evil and there is no room for speculation or error. The act of slaying this evil creature is good.

Oh, but what happens if the town is actually a front for a bandit gang and everyone in the town has murdered in the past? What if the small kitten is actually the worst serial killer in the village that the necromancer has baleful polymorphed? Or even if the kitten is really a big, kitten-shaped marshmallow or something? And the small child is the Devil that secretly guided the Bandit-town's hand in disguise, crying because the Necromancer has finally ended his reign of evil and terror and hoping to dupe nearby adventurers into helping?

When there's no objective Good and Evil, you can never be too sure. You better invite the Necromancer over for a sleepover before you pass any judgements!


Glendwyr wrote:

We've seen it argued that an attitude like "Kobolds are dangerous, if we let them go they will whole tribe will be down on us. A quick, clean death is best" is totally consistent with a good alignment.

Suppose we accept that. It is then pretty clear that "good" races such as elves are dangerous to kobolds, so a party of kobolds can quite reasonably say "elves are dangerous. If we let them go, they will try and kill us. A quick, clean death is best." But I suspect we would tend to agree that if a bunch of kobolds just randomly slaughtered some elves they met in the forest, that would be evil.

I'd actually consider that fair play, considering that Kobolds and Elves are assumed by most settings to be automatically at war whenever there's contact. Killing enemies in a war is a neutral act, and with races such as Elves and Kobolds you're dealing with enemies for whom there are no non-combatants.

Shadow Lodge

@ mplindustries

that is true it is a possibility, however the bandits would probably be armed to the teeth and probably not screaming for their lives. Not to mention the necromancer would be touched in the head for starting a grapple with such a dangerous polymorpher and should be put down as a kindness for doing so.


The problem with your argument, mplindustries, is that it's more or less totally inconsistent with what the alignment descriptions actually say, and have said since at least 2nd edition - recognizing that waaaay back when, we just had Law and Chaos which aren't so much moral terms.

Here in pathfinder, for example, we still have things like (quoting from the prd for convenience) "alignment represents a broad range of personality types or personal philosophies" indicating that alignment has something beyond a team red/team blue label.

We have "animals and other creatures incapable of moral action are neutral" indicating that alignment has to do with the capacity for moral action. By implication, alignment has something to do with morality.

And of course, there's this:

Quote:

Good characters and creatures protect innocent life. Evil characters and creatures debase or destroy innocent life, whether for fun or profit.

Good implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others.

Evil implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master.

Clearly, good and evil creatures behave differently. I note in passing that slaughtering someone for being the wrong race is totally consistent with hurting, oppressing, and killing others without qualms, and not so consistent with altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings.

We do agree, of course, that alignment can be used however you want. I merely dispute your insistence on divorcing the labels "Good" and "Evil" from the moral terms "good" and "evil," as even a cursory reading of the alignment rules from the past several editions of the game should lead you to conclude that "Good" and "Evil" alignments are meant to represent "good" and "evil" moralities.

As an aside, you appear to be rather confused about the idea of an objective moral standard. The alignment descriptions from 3.0/3.5 and (to a lesser extent) Pathfinder tend to suggest that the proper philosophical framework from which to understand alignment is deontological and objectivist, but those positions are consistent with each other and perfectly respectable.


Glendwyr wrote:
Here in pathfinder, for example, we still have things like (quoting from the prd for convenience) "alignment represents a broad range of personality types or personal philosophies" indicating that alignment has something beyond a team red/team blue label.

I don't see why teams couldn't have a broad range of members.

Glendwyr wrote:

And of course, there's this:

Quote:

Good characters and creatures protect innocent life. Evil characters and creatures debase or destroy innocent life, whether for fun or profit.

Good implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others.

Evil implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master.

Clearly, good and evil creatures behave differently.

Yes, they do. Innocent life is the key there. Evil is not innocent. Killing Evil is not harming Innocent life.

I'll accept it as a neutral act to kill Evil--but it's not something that would make you no longer Good.

Glendwyr wrote:
I note in passing that slaughtering someone for being the wrong race is totally consistent with hurting, oppressing, and killing others without qualms, and not so consistent with altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings.

If killing Evil Kobolds is objectively ok, then the circumstances in which you kill them doesn't matter, it's still ok.

If it's objectively not ok, then the circumstances still don't matter, it's not ok no matter what.

If it's sometimes ok and sometimes not ok, it's not objective, but the alignment system is objective, so this can't be true.

Glendwyr wrote:
I merely dispute your insistence on divorcing the labels "Good" and "Evil" from the moral terms "good" and "evil," as even a cursory reading of the alignment rules from the past several editions of the game should lead you to conclude that "Good" and "Evil" alignments are meant to represent "good" and "evil" moralities.

I don't intend to divorce it from moral terms entirely, I intend to divorce it from those terms as we understand it from experience in the real world.

I just want it known that something that is morally good in D&D might not be something people in the real world would consider morally good. It's not the same morality that we know, so, saying stuff like, "you can't murder people in their sleep" makes sense here, but not necessarily in D&D.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Quote:
I just want it known that something that is morally good in D&D might not be something people in the real world would consider morally good.

Certainly true. Fortunately, we do at least have descriptions of what D&D/Pathfinder consider "good" and "evil" so we can categorize according to those. And according to my reading of those descriptions, slaughtering kobolds who are lazing about in the woods, and doing so merely because they're kobolds, is far more consistent with the description of evil than it is with the description of good. Mind you, it is quite pragmatic... but evil is all about pragmatism, and good is about something more than that.


Quote:
Why do you use Alignment at all if you're just going to declare it's all gray and mutable and situational and whatnot? What does Alignment bring to your table that would be lost without it? If there's no objectivity, why write anything down and declare allegiance to some Alignment when nothing is certain?

In my games alignment matters for role play reasons, and comes with benefits and consiquences to good role play. (you must be good to use a good aligned weapon for example, it has reduced effectiveness for a neutral character and a penalty to evil characters) The reason for this is to encourage role playing. My games are not about a bunch of rooms and hallways with monsters to be killed treasure to be looted and a big exciting boss at the end. while this is a fun and valid way to play that is not the kind of world I like to run.

In my games I encourage players to play their characters as the characters are on paper. A character with low intel and wisdom should not be inventing gunpowder weapons or spontaneously figuring out difficult ideas. That does not mean that they have to be total buffoons or angry idiots but it does mean that they are not going to be the smartest guy in the room and should not play as if they are.

by extension if they are playing a "good" character they should attempt to follow certain "good" moralities. they must be limited by the limits of those moralities in the same way that I would expect an evil character can be loose with morals but will find themselves in the company of people of equally loose morals which when played correctly may not actually lead to more freedom.


Quote:

Yes, they do. Innocent life is the key there. Evil is not innocent. Killing Evil is not harming Innocent life.

I'll accept it as a neutral act to kill Evil--but it's not something that would make you no longer Good.

And therein lies the crux.

Killing evil is not harming innocent life IF The evil is actually evil. a good person would at least make an attempt to verify the status of the target. The kobolds in question were at worst neutral. They are not village raiding, child eating, servants of an evil dragon. They have no dragon master and their only hostility is directed toward a nearby colony of Mites with whom they are at war.

The characters, having no prior knowledge of kobolds in the area and having possibly never seen a kobold before in their lives killed the kobolds without question or quarter.

once again thats evil... Im not so worried about the CN or TN charcters... but that should not be the action of a LG character particularly a paladin.


Glendwyr wrote:
And according to my reading of those descriptions, slaughtering kobolds who are lazing about in the woods, and doing so merely because they're kobolds, is far more consistent with the description of evil than it is with the description of good.

I just don't think the word "because" should come into this at all. That's what I'm focused on.

Slaughtering Evil Kobolds is either Evil or not Evil. It's not sometimes Evil and sometimes not.

It doesn't matter why you killed them--you killed them. Was killing them Evil or Not Evil? In an objective alignment system, "why" is irrelevant.

This can be turned around, too.

If you think someone is a serial killer, but he's actually an innocent man following the trail of the serial killer, and you attack him, you've harmed an innocent. That's Evil--it doesn't matter why you did it.

This is why I contend that if the Kobolds were Evil, it was acceptable to kill them regardless of the circumstances, but if they were Good, it was not acceptable to kill them, also regardless of the circumstances.


blue_the_wolf wrote:

And therein lies the crux.

Killing evil is not harming innocent life IF The evil is actually evil.

Full stop. That should be the end of your thinking. Were the Kobolds evil? You were the GM, so you can answer this once and for all, and it'd be nice if you did.

Were the Kobolds Evil? If they were, then what the PCs did was ok.

Now, it's not recommended behavior, no. It's bound to get the Paladin in trouble if he keeps doing it, in case the next group isn't Evil. But that act was not Evil if the Kobolds were.

blue_the_wolf wrote:
a good person would at least make an attempt to verify the status of the target.

My point is, not verifying is not Evil. Not verifying it is risky--it risks evil activity because if the Kobolds were innocent, it is Evil. But not verifying, in and of itself, is not evil.

blue_the_wolf wrote:
The kobolds in question were at worst neutral.

This is an extreme departure from the norm. I know it's not RAW that all kobolds are Evil because of that one paragraph that says intelligent creatures can buck the trends, but it is highly unusual for Kobolds to not be Evil. It is so unusual that it requires a paragraph be set aside to explain that it is allowed.

For a random group of Kobolds to be "at worst neutral," your game will look very different from what is expected by most players (which is fine, my games are the same way).

Anyway, if your answer is that they are Neutral, then it's not really an Evil act, either. Innocent people aren't neutral, they're good. So, yes, it's not a Good act, but it's not Evil. It's neutral. And the method of killing or reason for killing is irrelevant.

blue_the_wolf wrote:
They are not village raiding, child eating, servants of an evil dragon. They have no dragon master and their only hostility is directed toward a nearby colony of Mites with whom they are at war.

Well, you know, they are not required to be village-raiding, child eating servants of an evil dragon to be Evil. They could just be totally regular Evil kobolds hanging out in a clearing having fun.

blue_the_wolf wrote:
The characters, having no prior knowledge of kobolds in the area and having possibly never seen a kobold before in their lives killed the kobolds without question or quarter.

Again, that's risky behavior (from a perspective of avoiding Evil acts), but it's not Evil in and of itself.


Talonhawke wrote:
Now we know that yes it was an evil act as it was unprovoked killing of creatures based off of alignment.

Yet if the paladin did not kill them perhaps they would raid later in the week and cause innocent lives.

I would say they can, but I assume in my campaign that Orcs, Goblins, Hobgoblins, Kobolds, gnolls are irrevocably evil. They are made from evil. In my campaign a good kobold is impossible.

At best you can get a Kobold or one of the above humanoids as a smeagol sort of good.


blue_the_wolf wrote:

So i have this group of adventurers.

most are fairly neutral but one is a Paladin.

The players enter an area in which they see 4 Kobolds lazing about and immediatly one player casts sleep and the others (including the paladin) race forward to kill them in their sleep.

Im not sure if I should warn the paladin on this.

I personally dont feel that a lawful good character should KoS anything simply because of its race. although goblins, kobolds, orcs and the like are usually used as XP fodder and generally evil in order to provide a good reason to enjoy killing them... I feel that a Paladin should at least hail the enemy and give them a chance to run or surrender.

I know this mostly comes down to the GM but I was wondering peoples opinions on the matter

Q: Was the killing of the sleeping Kobolds an Evil act?

A: Irrelavent

More important question....

Q: Was the killing of the sleeping Kobalds a Dishonorable act?
A: YES!!!

Paladin Code as Printed in PC
"Additionally, a paladin's code requires that she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth), help those in need (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends), and punish those who harm or threaten innocents."

I would classify murdering a sleeping defenseless opponent right in there with "Not use poison".

When ever I read a Good vs. Evil thead I am always reminded of the overused line.

"If you kill him, you are no better than he is."

Further more in most cultures/governments one must be found guilty of a crime in a court (or atleast proclaimed guilty by an official of the land) before they can be exectuted. Doing otherwise is a Chaotic Act.
Since the Law does not directly Oppose Goodness the paladin has no basis to disregard it using "the greater good" as reason.

Lets try another example.

Senerio #1
This foul supernatural being from another dimension slips through the night luring men to carnal pleasures and infesting them with foul diseases and stealing their valuables to add to her horde to feed her foul spawn who will mature and assume the same foul role as the temptress that spawned them for that is their nature. She must prey upon men to survive.

***Pretty Evil most would think Paladin should kill pretty much on sight assuming he knows the nature and actions of the creature.

Senerio #2
A orphaned prostitute forced to sell her body to men to survive. She seduces those that seem reluctant at first to pay for her services. She infests them with foul disease which spread to their wives and children. She steals from her clients when she can because she needs the money to feed her two daughters. It is in her nature to survive and she does this for her own survival. They will grow up and they two will whore themselves and spread disease, they to still to feed their spawn that will in turn be just as foul as their mother.

***I think killing this protitute would definately be an evil act. But technically both have commited the exact same acts.

Just because one was a supernatural being from another dimension it can be killed without regard? Can the Prostitute be killed as well?

51 to 100 of 118 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / General Discussion / Can Paladins Kill on Sight? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.