Can Paladins Kill on Sight?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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To the OP’s general question, can paladins kill on sight only because of a creature is a certain race. No with exceptions - evil outsiders and the like, kolbolds no. On the other hand, if there is no reason for the paladin to know/believe kolbolds can be anything but evil, I’d be lenient. Give the character some moral guidance - from a mentor, divine dream, or something - so he’ll know better next time.

To the posting community at large, I have a question: What exactly is stupid, tactically or otherwise, about not killing sleeping kolbolds just because you can? What is it I’m not seeing here?


mplindustries wrote:
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.

Understand that I mean no disrespect when I say that this is exactly why I claim that you're confused about objective morality. You've conflated "good and evil are objective" with "good and evil are judged based on actions," but those two statements are quite distinct.

And, for the record: "good implies altruism, respect for life" while "evil implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others." Reading those two statements, I don't see how one can conclude that randomly slaughtering neutral characters is anything other than evil - killing people who have done no harm is the antithesis of altruism and respect for life, but is totally consistent with hurting/oppressing/killing others.


Glendwyr wrote:
mplindustries wrote:
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.

Understand that I mean no disrespect when I say that this is exactly why I claim that you're confused about objective morality. You've conflated "good and evil are objective" with "good and evil are judged based on actions," but those two statements are quite distinct.

And, for the record: "good implies altruism, respect for life" while "evil implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others." Reading those two statements, I don't see how one can conclude that randomly slaughtering neutral characters is anything other than evil - killing people who have done no harm is the antithesis of altruism and respect for life, but is totally consistent with hurting/oppressing/killing others.

The kobolds weren't neutral characters, they were evil.


The dm said they were neutral, then they were neutral.


More to the point, I was responding to this:

Quote:
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.

Shadow Lodge

I think the fact that most monsters are in that objective category of "evil" it makes it hard to define KOS of an inherently evil creature as a good act.

Let's not forget Drizzt what would have happened if .... wait never mind KOS of that fop would probably be a good act....hmm

DEEKIN! from Neverwinter Nights, he was a good kobold. The point was there are occasions, rare as they may be, where inherent creatures are not always so. Situations and circumstances arise and when they do they lead to the slaying of innocent creatures.

Much like I'd consider it an evil act outright to go to a kobold's nest and smash all the eggs.

Hence the act of KOS is, as I said before, either Evil or Neutral 90% of the time. Because the situation in which you would have KOS be a good act is if your character (with reasoning prior) has come to the conclusion that the creature he is about to slay is evil and the creature MUST, according to the DM, in fact be evil.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

If the GM wants to allow people to be KoS, he needs to make it obvious on first sight that they are evil. An example would be four kobolds sitting around, eating bits of meat off the corpse of a human mother, with the woman's kids in a stew pot slowly drowning for example. Then you've got a very good reason to go KoSing.

Four kobolds sitting on the river bank fishing and drinking ale is not exactly the epitomy of evil, in contrast.


By the RAW and RAI, Lawful Good can be very very hard to keep.

Silver Crusade

mdt wrote:


Four kobolds sitting on the river bank fishing and drinking ale is not exactly the epitomy of evil, in contrast.

Unless they're fishing for mermaids or something.*

*Unless the mermaid they're trying to catch is a serial killer.

;)

edit

Spoiler:
Oh damn now I want to do something with a mermaid serial killer in a coastal city with city-dwelling lower-class kobolds finding bodies in the canals and sewers they're charged with maintaining.

...and hopefully have the adventure named something other than "The CITY NAME HERE Murmaiders"

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber

Where's AM PALADIN when you need him... he's the subject matter expert on this! :)


I remember one manga that had mermaid flesh if consumed would change the eater. Most people died, some mutated into horrific murderous monsters and a rare few became immortal of the if I cut you into little bits and burn them the ash's will reform over time immortality.

I have to say with some of these more recent posts its seeming like they take the view evil = kill = good act regardless of any other circumstances. To take a TV show by this logic Dexter would be a great man because he kills other serial killers meaning he's contantly commiting good acts by funnelling his murderous rage onto those of evil alignment. Yet killing an innocent man because you believed him to be said serial killer would be evil.

Sorry I can't buy that objective good/evil may exist in a dnd world angels/demons but the second you introduce a mortal or immortal you get subjective issues.

Even in the dnd world of dieties its tricky.

What if you have a god in the game who feels magic is an abomination and every one using it should be killed. I'm not just talking about mages but people who use a magic item, people who posses magic, inherently magical beings like elves. The god in question is not evil, his followers are not evil, if you don't use magic he's benevolent, generous and believes in turning the other cheek over fighting. You could serve the most hated enemy diety of him and yet if he came across you dying of illness or disease he'd help you because its the right thing to do. However the second that child shows it posseses magic off with its head no ifs, ands or buts.

He's a good god, he normally acts in the mary sue style of good behaviour and yet his followers in his name will kill any one who has any involvement with magic of the non-divine nature. Priest of a rival god? Okay don't sacrifice any virgins here and we'll be able to get along. Your child has an amulet that protects them from harm? And you gave it to them? Kill them both the parent is an abomination in the eyes of the lord and the child has been tainted. Hmm I see you had a parent and child put to death for using magic? Welcome to heaven my faithful one.

By their terms they aren't just behaving in a "good" manner but they are even behaving according to their faith and beliefs. To them killing a mage on sight is good, to their god its god, to their rivals they serve a good god.

Killing the kobolds on sight because their kobolds and thus evil is not good however you try to spin it and leads to very dangerous thinking. Especially since according to the DM in question this was the first time the party had even encountered kobolds in game and their characters probably didn't even know what they were.


Jak the Looney Alchemist wrote:
The dm said they were neutral, then they were neutral.

Then the DM is either trying to screw with the paladin or didn't exlpain himself to the players well.

Because there is virtually no chance that a relative small tribe of kobolds in the kingmaker to have 4 neutral members and on top of that all 4 of them to be together and sleeping for the players to find.
So if they were not evil then either the DM tries to screw with the paladin or hasn't explained himself to the players that in his golarion kobolds aren't evil.


I am playing an E6 campaign and using the first two books of Kingmaker as a foundation for the story line.

however I am not following KingMaker (or pathfinder standard) in its entirety.

The situation with the Kobolds was SUPPOSED to be a chance for the PCs to learn that there are Kobolds and Mites in the area fighting a tribal war and get the Kobolds viewpoint on the matter. the characters would later be able to pick one side to support against the other or if they are really good work out a truce between the two. I would have given full XP for a diplomatic solution to the encounter and hinted that the Kobold radishes may have economic value as a spice or condiment.

... but then they were killed.

I accept that its hard for players to grasp that things are different at first and I took the above mentioned steps to explain things to them. The Paladin is much more aware that his actions matter and the group managed to deal properly with a similar situation today which would have had much more dire consequent had the lesson not been learned.


Its not screwing with the paladin player. Screwing would be having the four kobolds in a fight with an unarmed child, then when the paladin protects the child revealing it as a disguised quasit and the kobolds as LG rangers. This was four weak creatures relaxing. The player had no in-game reason to assume them evil.

Silver Crusade

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

All battles don't have to be "won" by killing the enemy. There are other ways to handle how a battle is won. If your party were just strolling along and you saw them just minding their own business without any knowledge of any wrong doings they may have done then by killing them you have committed murder which is evil. Now if you staked out the kobolds and maybe listened to what they were saying, or waited to see what they would do and you heard them say they killed some children, or were planning to then yes that would have been your cue to charge and kill.

The thing is people really need to understand that you play a Paladin for a reason and you have to abide by the rules that are set forth by the Paladin. If you just want to kill things then play a fighter or barbarian. If you want a fighter type who has cool holy powers but you don't want the baggage of a moral code then you are SOL.


I have played a paladin only once. In our games, the GM is just as likely to have a goblin turn out to be neutralish as she is to have it be pure, irredeemably evil. So, consequently, my paladin did not kill on sight...he demanded immediate surrender and dealt with the consequences.

And, yeah, the prisoners (if they surrendered) often caused us headaches and some of the other characters often complained about the situation. But, they knew what they were getting into when they signed up for a mission with a paladin (and they very much liked that he was capable of mashing to a pulp anything that *was* irredeemably evil!)

For us, it was a roleplaying opportunity. My paladin was *not* Lawful Stupid...he was Lawful Good. He also, BTW, converted a tribe of proto-fire/sun-god-worshipping goblins to followers of Sarenrae (not his god) and removed them as a threat to his community. That was sort of fun.
M

Edit: Another BTW...this was a series of adventures started off with a Paizo adventure (not sure which one) followed by a converted Red Hand of Doom. When we talk about it these days, it takes a bit for some of the other players to remember exactly which characters they were playing in that game...'um, was it the elf rogue/sorcerer or the elf rogue/inquisitor, I forget'. I always remember the pally, and so do they. He was a superhero, and memorable.


Whether the Kobalds needed to be killed or not really isnt the first issue I would point out in this.

The Paladin ran up and killed SLEEPING HELPLESS DEFENSELESS UNARMED opponents. That is a gross violation of the Paladin Code. It is in no way honorable in any shape or fashion. Not only was it dishonorable it was flat out STUPID. If Kobalds are EVIL UNREDEEMABLY and you happen to have 4 of them asleep and at your mercy. Why on earth would you kill them rather than tie them up and question them. Find out if there are any more in the area. Find out what they are up to or have planned? Are they an advanced scouting party? Are they servants of an evil wizard?

The world will never know. How many kobalds does it take to make a Paladin fall from grace?

The thing about good people is that they feel bad about doing bad things. It may have been neccessary and prevented more harm than it caused but if you are a good hearted person you have to feel bad that it "Had to end that way." Being good is hard and a lot of work. If you dont put in the work and effort you end up feeling guilty about it.

Also the statement was made that Innocent people are not neutral but good. I saw it in a qoute but could not find the original post the qoute was from. I have to disagree. A person can be very innocent and still not be overly protective of life, morals or helping others.

Take the old lady that lives on the end of the street. She doesn't go out of her way to help people and prefers to stay to herself. She doesnt wish ill on others and is always polite when she goes shopping because that is how she was raised. But she also doesnt feel overly compelled to help people. She's not cruel and would definitely call the police and report an accidient but isn't going to run out side to help every child that falls of their bike and skins their knee. She spends her days gardening and doing crossword puzzels. She also spends time watching TV with her cat, Mr. Peeppers. She cares about her daily routine and the things she enjoys but follows the law and doesnt bother anyone at all. She is a very innocent person but is Neutral.


ITT: there are only Lawful Good and Chaotic Evil, the 7 others don't exist.

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