Paladin walking a fine line


Advice

The Exchange

I have run into a situation in my CC campaign where the group Paladin's actions have been questionable.

Spoiler:
The PCs have just captured Estovion at the Stairs of the Moon instead of killing him. Now, the Paladin is demanding recompense for his "evil crimes" of " attempted murder" and is demanding Estovion give the PCs all of the gold in Ascanor and whatever gear he has that will help the group. To me this borders on extortion adn is neither Lawful or Good. Thoughts?


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It sounds very lawful to me, as it would aid the group and also punish the person at the same time. Being good may be a reason he doesn't want its head on a spear.

What god does he worship though? That is also of importance.

Sovereign Court

I'm not familiar with the adventure, but;

Were the crimes committed against the PCs, or against a civilian third party? In the latter case, the donation should be to the victims or some charity, rather than the PCs.


Ascalaphus wrote:

I'm not familiar with the adventure, but;

Were the crimes committed against the PCs, or against a civilian third party? In the latter case, the donation should be to the victims or some charity, rather than the PCs.

Well, the party of paladin does good, it can be considered charity, if there are no living victims/family of theirs due to the crimes

and as said, a lot depends on what god is followed


Ive already run CC past this point, and based on what he has probably done, he would have almost certainly harmed other innocent bystanders apart from the party. I would say that the paladin is riding the line and should definitely need to be at least splitting the money with the other victims and making sure Estovian stands trial for his crimes.

I didn't actually have to deal with this thanks to the speed with which the players got through this part, but if they caught him and a paladin is in the group, a trial is in order.


I don't know, do you use Golarion specific deities?
The paladin may follow a god of judgement (or maybe wealth/money), it may be he acts as a Judge himself, something akin to Judge Dredd
I believe his intention was to demand a monetary payment for the deeds, this is often the case at court/trial today.

The Exchange

He worships Serenrae, Torag and Iomedae in a weird holy trinity religion I allowed him to create.


Ryu Kaijitsu wrote:

It sounds very lawful to me, as it would aid the group and also punish the person at the same time. Being good may be a reason he doesn't want its head on a spear.

What god does he worship though? That is also of importance.

PF Paladins do not worship specific gods as a default, unless they want to. Just a heads up!


Personally, I see a paladin who considers himself final judge on something like this a little too close to a vigilante, which is not a terribly lawful way of acting, regardless of deity. He is required to respect legitimate authority within his code of conduct, which I would think includes following the laws and due process of the country he is in.


triade? this complicates things

Torag:

He is an often distant deity, lending magical power to his clerics, but leaving his followers to make their own way through life, knowing that this will make them strong and determined.

Sarenrae:

if enemies of the faith can be redeemed, they should be

Hmm about portfolios:

Valor
Rulership
Justice
Redemption
Honesty
Strategy

I believe these gathered together from the 3 may be justifying an offer to the villain to accept Judgement of the paladin, and have a chance of redemption. The Paladin can also have a plan/strategy on how to use that wealth they get from the villain.

Considering that 2 (if not all three) of the gods have Law as a domain, I would say there is a plausible explanation on why the paladin acts like a policeman/judge/justicar at the same time. The portfolio element of "Rulership" may be represented in the personality of the paladin as a will to take action on its own, and not wait for local authorities. He may not even believe in that local authorities would serve Justice properly.

In the end however, it is totally up to you as the GM, you were the one who allowed this Triad religion as well.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Remember that lawful alignment follows a set o laws...not nessesarly the laws of the land or what most folks would think is lawfull.


This does border on greed and corruption. Why not use it as an open door and prod him down the pathway of evil. See how he reacts. The villain could pick up on this "flaw" in the Paladin, offer him something on the side for leniency, etc. See if he goes for the chance at power or for rebuffing the villain and doing the right thing. You could even have a lesser demon come in and stir things up. Nothing goes down so sweet as corrupting a good and pure soul. Use it to teach him a lesson. Paladin is a powerful class because it operates under strict guidelines, not just of the alignment, but the code of a paladin. His power comes from somewhere and diverging from the path just a little leaves you a fighter, plain and simple.

"Under exceptional circumstances, a paladin can ally
with evil associates, but only to defeat what she believes
to be a greater evil. A paladin should seek an atonement
spell periodically during such an unusual alliance, and
should end the alliance immediately should she feel it is
doing more harm than good." - Core page 64


TheGuyOverThere9888 wrote:
Remember that lawful alignment follows a set o laws...not nessesarly the laws of the land or what most folks would think is lawfull.

true, a Lawful character can just as well be adamant to follow his own laws, or a Code of its God(dess)


Dominigo wrote:
Personally, I see a paladin who considers himself final judge on something like this a little too close to a vigilante, which is not a terribly lawful way of acting, regardless of deity. He is required to respect legitimate authority within his code of conduct, which I would think includes following the laws and due process of the country he is in.

When you're the chosen of God, you often are the final judge. You are the legitimate authority.

To be honest, I would find the paladin suspect for the opposite reason others are. If this is a villain who attempted to kill the paladin's party and has killed others in the past, then he merits punishment, probably death. The fact that the paladin seems to be offering him a chance to pay his way out of having Justice done instead is...worrisome.


Depends on what he did with the cash. Spreading the wealth to charities and such would alleviate any alignment issues in this case. Keeping it on the other hand is an atonement waiting to happen.


Buddah668 wrote:
Depends on what he did with the cash. Spreading the wealth to charities and such would alleviate any alignment issues in this case. Keeping it on the other hand is an atonement waiting to happen.

not if they spend the money on buying weapons and armor against demons and undead and such, an use for the greater good

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

That's why the Paladin wears black.
He walks the line.

Sovereign Court

While a paladin can do a lot of good with the money, it's still risky to allocate wealth collected as fines to yourself. You open yourself up to greed; it can be easy to start harassing richer enemies above poor ones to "fine" them, and so on.

Also, assuming that using the money to buy weapons for yourself is the best way to use the money for Good (that it's better than donating it to another worthy charity) could be sinful pride.

A cautious paladin would rather direct the money form the fines to some third-party charity, to protect himself from this temptation.

Alternatively, he could ask another supporter of his faith to judge how the money can be best used for Good. That person shouldn't be biased in favor of the paladin (not a party member), because maybe Good would be better served by donating to the hospital or (gasp!) another paladin. But if this judge allocates the money to the paladin, the paladin can use it with clear conscience. Of course, splitting the money among various charities is also an option.

My point: the paladin has a conflict of interest, and that places him in moral jeopardy. He should avoid the conflict of interest somehow.


I read this and note

Estovion 'amost certainly' harmed other people and 'attempted murder'....

.... no actually proven murder here then.

To kill him would be unlawful and borderline evil.

You may personally equate 'fines' with a lack of true justice, but it isn't - check out nearly every legal framework on the planet - fines are common and even effective on occassions.

If I had been playing the paladin though, after taking all his worldly goods I would have marched him to a church monastery and forcibly enrolled him in a truly good faith and bound him to serve penance for a suitable period under the command of the faithful there. But the restrictions of the adventure may not allow for it of course - I haven't played it.

I have seen a great deal of questionable challenges to the way people play paladins and didn't agree with most of it. From something just shy of Judge Dredd to an armoured version of Mother Theresa, there are many ways to play a Paladin and stay within the Lawful Good 'box'.

Shadow Lodge

Dominigo wrote:
Personally, I see a paladin who considers himself final judge on something like this a little too close to a vigilante, which is not a terribly lawful way of acting, regardless of deity. He is required to respect legitimate authority within his code of conduct, which I would think includes following the laws and due process of the country he is in.

Vigilante = Batman = Lawful.

^^my opinion

On a side not, the only thing that can cause a paladin to loose his/her powers is willingly committing an evil act or changing from a LG alignment. Anything else may still get him/her into trouble, but with (mere) mortal authorities, rather than divine ones.


He should hand the bad guy over to the guard of the nearest lord and have them deal with him as they see fit.
If that means a kangaroo court followed by a short drop and a sudden stop ! Then so be it
The paladin has done his part in handing over the villain to the lawful authority of the realm.
In my games paladin's are not judge and jury and nor should they be,if an evil npc ask's for mercy they should be given it and a chance to prove that they are able to change there ways and atone for what they have done
This does not mean that they are just left to go free they should be imprisoned until such time as they prove that they are worthy of a second chance
So no he sahould not make demands to what should happen or what his punishment should be


blackbloodtroll wrote:

That's why the Paladin wears black.

He walks the line.

ooooo...very tricksy

/cast wall of fire (forming a circle around BBT)


Caliburn101 wrote:


If I had been playing the paladin though, after taking all his worldly goods I would have marched him to a church monastery and forcibly enrolled him in a truly good faith and bound him to serve penance for a suitable period under the command of the faithful there. But the restrictions of the adventure may not allow for it of course - I haven't played it.

So your paladin would promote slavery?


Penance does not necessarily equate to slavery.


"forced enrolling" kinda equals it


Caliburn101 wrote:

.... no actually proven murder here then.

To kill him would be unlawful and borderline evil

Out of curiosity, how much proof do you require your paladins to provide, before they can act?


Maybe this is a simpler answer for you. If you have to ask if what the Paladin is doing is within the limits of the class, then it probably isn't.


I often find that players view the Paladin as a pre-packaged set of abilities without taking into note the finer points of his code of conduct. This is a shame.

The Inner Sea Guide has some neat descriptions of what specific Gods do to show their displeasure in the Religion chapter. Perhaps have one, or all three, of his chosen Gods show their displeasure in their own ways before making the crippling decision to strip him of his divine powers. A warning, a rumbling, that they are not pleased.

However, there is nothing like losing ones connection to their God's gifts to sober up Pallys that walk the line. Or they go full emo and flip over to the Anti-Paladin rules.

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