Paladins and evil people.


Advice

1 to 50 of 93 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Hello,

I am running a campaign with a Paladin in the party and it doesn't seem to be going very well for him. He is getting pressured from the rest of the group to act a certain way when he is faced with people who have an alignment of evil.

For example, the PC's are in the Pathfinder society and they came across a group of people from Geb, (an evil aligned nation). I basically tried to set them up as future adversaries by making them say some not-so-nice comments about the group of PC, in fact, they were downright rude.

The Paladin detected evil and attempted to persuade them into leaving town, which did not happen. So he turns to the other PCs and says he wants to attack them. The PCs expressed concerns as to the overall toughness of the people from Geb (they did look tough). They also then revealed themselves to be Pathfinders (and aggression towards other pathfinders is a no-no from what I have read).

It was at that time the Paladin threw up his hands and left the table, this is because in an earlier encounter, he tried to talk it out with a faceless stalker when the rest of the group wanted him to attack the beast and be done with it. So sometimes they want him to be this warrior for good, and other times they prefer he is cautious. I am hesitant to get in the way, because they are not meta gaming this, they are talking in character about the pros and cons.

How do you deal with Paladins in a world where evil can be all around, do they stop to fight and confront every evil person they meet?


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate. 2 people marked this as a favorite.

No, paladins certainly don't confront every evil person they meet. Lots of people are evil, in every town and city. Many of whom are nobles or people in power. If the paladin goes around fighting everyone who detects as evil, he would probably find himself in serious trouble with the law before too long.

Also, being evil doesn't necessarily mean you have done something evil, or even that you're going to do something evil. It's a philosophy of getting what you want without caring for the well-being of others, not a statement of guilt. The philosophy will often lead to acts of evil, but even if it does, it doesn't have to be on the scale of murder; it could be small things like accepting bribes or stealing bread from a vendor.

By the way; be aware that the alignment-detection spells can only detect the alignment of people with 5 or more class levels (unless they're clerics or paladins, or have the Undead or Outsider creature type).


Paladin's have to decide which Evil is worth fighting. Detect Evil is WOEFULLY inadequate to justify ANY actions...

A man who cheats on his wife, steals from the Office, and cheats on his taxes... MAY ping 'Evil'...

this does NOT mean he's worthy of a Paladin's wrath.

Just because a nation has Evil tendencies... does not mean EVERYONE from that country is Evil too.

Many are.. and it sounds like these guys are iffy...

The paladin has two things to remember... 1) the Geb people haven't done anything but 'harsh words' so far. Hardly worthy of a smite. and 2) The pathfinders code is NOT the Paladin's code. If it ever determines that these guys ARE worthy of smiting... He needs to be true to himself.. NOT his buddy's code.

Either they get booted from the society for attacking evil brothers... or The Paladin is booted from his divine favor for NOT confronting Evil...

As a Paladin he should always be true to his code.

As for you... as long as they are working out in game, I wouldn't interfere... half the fun of playing a paladin is the in-game conversation/disputes...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well, that depends on a lot of things. First quick segway though, Pathfinders often do fight one another. Violently. The decemvirate even encourages this, since it inspires a sense of healthy competition and forces everyone to strive towards being their best. The only real concern is if they just randomly attack them for no apparent reason and violently slaughter them. The idea is to compete and be rivals, not to make the Pathfinder Society look like a gang of murderers. So long as it looks like a fair fight and whatnot, it won't draw negative attention down on the Society, from what I understand.

Now then...this depends entirely upon the Paladin's code. For example, a Paladin of Iomedae's code of conduct specifically states that they must, as a warrior of justice, confront beings and creatures of evil if it is in any way feasible to do so, for to do otherwise would be showing the sort of laxity which the Inheritor would frown upon. On the other hand, a Paladin of Shelyn that stabs first and asks questions second incur the same problems, again because of the contents of their paladin code (Paladins of Shelyn must approach enemies first with offers of peace and redemption. They "bring a rose before a sword" so to speak, since the chance of purifying a tainted soul in the mortal coil is seen as the best possible solution in Shelyn's faith). In other words, it depends on the paladin.

Personally, if i were playing this paladin, I would have given the other PCs my most shamed look, possibly even calling them craven for not confronting obviously evil people just because "they look tough" and because "It might cause a ruckus." I'd have reminded them that to allow people of that nature to exist and call themselves Pathfinders brings shame on the organization as a whole, and that it would be a great crime to allow them to continue as they are, for they represent the Society in their actions. And if they go about being blatantly rude and disruptive everywhere they go, well, that'll make the Society look bad, which no self-respecting Pathfinder would allow to slide. I would bring the Gebites to their knees at swordpoint after trouncing them, and demand they leave town or mend their ways, or face punishment at the hands of the nearest venture captain for disorderly conduct, or some-such.

However, looking over what others have said, I'll wind back my extremism. I was wrong. Paladins definitely shouldn't confront all evil. Just evil that they consider to be a real threat deserving of their power. Office supply thieves would probably only attract the attention of only the most obsessive paladins of Abadar. However, as said before, I think for the most part, the honor of the Society dictates that they should scrape those guys up a bit. Not kill them or anything, just beat them in a fair fight and basically tell them to stop being dicks. Harsh words don't necessitate a full on beat-down, but a dual to defend the honor of the Pathfinder Society would be kinda reasonable (at least for a paladin of Iomedae or something)


The Drunken Dragon wrote:
Personally, if i were playing this paladin, I would have given the other PCs my most shamed look, possibly even calling them craven for not confronting obviously evil people just because "they look tough" and because "It might cause a ruckus." I'd have reminded them that to allow people of that nature to exist and call themselves Pathfinders brings shame on the organization as a whole, and that it would be a great crime to allow them to continue as they are, for they represent the Society in their actions. And if they go about being blatantly rude and disruptive everywhere they go, well, that'll make the Society look bad, which...

You also seem to neglect that paladins must act lawfully as well. Someone being rude to you, in most civilized area is not justification for a beat down.


Hres my problem with people and Lawful Good. Most be don't play LG, but the people who do are always harassd by the people who don't. They think your Lawful Stupid. You can't go around beating people up because what constitutes as Evil.

A lot of good clarity on this above. I just wanted to make that short statement.

Oh! You can only go around beating people up for no reason if your name is Charles Bronson.

Silver Crusade

Can imagine the player getting a bit frustrated if others are telling him how he has to roleplay his character, but if he has issues about his boundaries, to keep his powers, can he consult with someone from his church? You could drop hints of GM wisdom that way.

Perhaps he should know a balance of good and evil must exist, that the paladin is a counterbalance to evil but that doesn't mean he has license to murder those who have done no wrong other than "ping" on his radar. It is a tool to protect the weak, the helpless, to allow the paladin to be a force of justice when the time comes and to unmask darkness and deceit when it moves to harm others. But slaying everyone who 'pings?' The paladin should examine his personal code and question whether his diety really advocates this use of his power.


Thanks everyone, this is really good info.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Also, note that Detect Evil is about as accurate at detecting true evil as looking at someone's voter registration card is to determine their political leanings.

If a voter registration card reads Republican, most of them are going to be Republican. But some might be Independents who lean conservative and register Republican so they can vote in primaries. Or, they might be liberal Democrats that want to vote in Republican primaries to shake close races. Or they may have registered Republican but are actually self-identifying Libertarian.

For Detect Evil, a few notes :

A) Nothing under 5 hit dice pints evil at all, unless it has the Aura class ability.
B) The Aura class ability overrides your normal alignment detection, even above 5HD.
C) Detect Evil will ping off anyone currently thinking of doing something evil, not just people who are evil, if they have more than 5 HD.

Scenario :
Ira the Inquisitor worships a Lawful Evil death goddess in her aspect as Lawgiver and Bringer of Justice. He has a Lawful Evil aura, even those his own personal alignment is LN.
Ira is in the woods, with two teenage girls on the ground, binding their arms painfully behind their backs, and with gags in their mouths.
Paladin Pete rides around the bend of the road, see's Ira, pings Ira, senses evil, and attacks and kills Ira as he rides him down. Pete then free's the girls, escorts them back to the nearest town, and waves bye.
The two girls get back to their home, change back into the hags they are, and go down to the basement to cook the three kids they kidnapped earlier in the week before they leave town for good.

Paladin Pete has no committed murder, and released evil into the world, and is directly responsible for the deaths of 3 children, all because he let Detect Evil be the deciding factor in simply attacking instead of investigating. Note that Ira could have been a cleric as well, with the Aura class ability. Either way, Ira wasn't evil, wasn't doing evil, and was in fact doing good.


Are wrote:

Also, being evil doesn't necessarily mean you have done something evil, or even that you're going to do something evil. It's a philosophy of getting what you want without caring for the well-being of others, not a statement of guilt.

If they never do evil then they fall neutral. That is how alignment works. Thus they must have done evil at one time.

You can be born evil, but if you don't back it up: you won't stay evil.
That is why neutral exists.
Seeing as these are not children, they had the time to "put up or shut up" if they wanted to stay evil.
Quote:


The philosophy will often lead to acts of evil, but even if it does, it doesn't have to be on the scale of murder; it could be small things like accepting bribes or stealing bread from a vendor.

Bribes aren't evil. Stealing isn't inherently evil.


Starbuck_II wrote:
Are wrote:

Also, being evil doesn't necessarily mean you have done something evil, or even that you're going to do something evil. It's a philosophy of getting what you want without caring for the well-being of others, not a statement of guilt.

If they never do evil then they fall neutral. That is how alignment works. Thus they must have done evil at one time.

You can be born evil, but if you don't back it up: you won't stay evil.
That is why neutral exists.
Seeing as these are not children, they had the time to "put up or shut up" if they wanted to stay evil.
Quote:


The philosophy will often lead to acts of evil, but even if it does, it doesn't have to be on the scale of murder; it could be small things like accepting bribes or stealing bread from a vendor.

Bribes aren't evil. Stealing isn't inherently evil.

Taking bribes and stealing can be evil though. Those are really grey areas. Stealing a loaf of bread because you are starving isn't evil. Stealing a widow's life savings on the other hand would be. Taking bribe to allow a person into party they weren't invited to wouldn't be but taking a bribe as judge and convicting an innocent man of murder where the death penalty is the sentence would be.

Shadow Lodge

mdt wrote:

Also, note that Detect Evil is about as accurate at detecting true evil as looking at someone's voter registration card is to determine their political leanings.

If a voter registration card reads Republican, most of them are going to be Republican. But some might be Independents who lean conservative and register Republican so they can vote in primaries. Or, they might be liberal Democrats that want to vote in Republican primaries to shake close races. Or they may have registered Republican but are actually self-identifying Libertarian.

For Detect Evil, a few notes :

A) Nothing under 5 hit dice pints evil at all, unless it has the Aura class ability.
B) The Aura class ability overrides your normal alignment detection, even above 5HD.
C) Detect Evil will ping off anyone currently thinking of doing something evil, not just people who are evil, if they have more than 5 HD.

Scenario :
Ira the Inquisitor worships a Lawful Evil death goddess in her aspect as Lawgiver and Bringer of Justice. He has a Lawful Evil aura, even those his own personal alignment is LN.
Ira is in the woods, with two teenage girls on the ground, binding their arms painfully behind their backs, and with gags in their mouths.
Paladin Pete rides around the bend of the road, see's Ira, pings Ira, senses evil, and attacks and kills Ira as he rides him down. Pete then free's the girls, escorts them back to the nearest town, and waves bye.
The two girls get back to their home, change back into the hags they are, and go down to the basement to cook the three kids they kidnapped earlier in the week before they leave town for good.

Paladin Pete has no committed murder, and released evil into the world, and is directly responsible for the deaths of 3 children, all because he let Detect Evil be the deciding factor in simply attacking instead of investigating. Note that Ira could have been a cleric as well, with the Aura class ability. Either way, Ira wasn't evil, wasn't doing evil, and was in fact doing good.

Ok there is a list of things wrong here.

1. The Deity you worship does not define your aura unless you are a cleric (other classes have auras but cleric is the only deity based one). So The Inquisitor would not ping Evil. Also A cleric has to be within one step of his deity so it is a fair guess he is evil (not always true but often)

2. Thinking about doing something evil is not the same as having an "actively evil intent". If someone is on there way to murder or rob someone else, that is an actively evil intent. It is not an actively evil intent to daydream about beating that jerk of a neighbor senseless.

3. In your example: almost all hags have more that 5 hd. So while it is possible for that situation to happen(if you change the inquisitor to a Cleric)it is so exceeding unlikely as to be laughable. If it did it is a deliberate attempt by the DM to screw the Paladin.

As a note you also will not find evil people (monsters and such excluded) that do not do evil things. The alignment system works off actions not ideas. You can say you are good all you want but if you don't do any good actions your alignment will shift. Same for Evil. If someone pings as evil it is because they have done or are about to do something evil. Not always a killable offense but defiantly something to checkout if your not in the middle of something. If evil people were not necessarily evil then the Paladin's code wouldn't have a ban on working with them.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Seriphim84 wrote:
The alignment system works off actions not ideas.

Actions are only part of the alignment system; not the entirety of it.

The very first line of the Alignment chapter states "A creature's general moral and personal attitudes are represented by its alignment". That tells me alignment very much specifies philosophy rather than action alone. Most people will act upon their philosophy, but not all.

In any case, simply knowing the alignment of a person isn't enough to deem them guilty of crimes necessitating execution.


Where does it say that Evil intent pings Detect Evil? I can't find any reference to that.

Shadow Lodge

@Are
I did mention that it doesn't mean kill but does mean checkout. Don't ignore the evil alignment in means something.
I agree that there is a moral or philosophical aspect but a persons alignment is consistent with their actions. It is a descriptor of how they live their life.

@Knight Magenta
It is at the bottom of the spell. "Animals, traps, poisons, and other potential perils are not evil, and as such this spell does not detect them. Creatures with actively evil intents count as evil creatures for the purpose of this spell."


People who detect as anything less than moderate evil is not cause for alarm, but an indicator that they are not to be trusted IMHO. Stronger auras however, is a CLEAR indicator of alarm, as then you are either dealing with an evil cleric, a fiend or an undead. And all deserve a good smiting.


Doh! I was looking at the chart and did not see it. Thanks!


mdt wrote:

For Detect Evil, a few notes :

A) Nothing under 5 hit dice pings evil at all, unless it has the Aura class ability.

Undead and Outsiders ping lower than that.


Seriphim84 wrote:

Ok there is a list of things wrong here.

1. The Deity you worship does not define your aura unless you are a cleric (other classes have auras but cleric is the only deity based one). So The Inquisitor would not ping Evil. Also A cleric has to be within one step of his deity so it is a fair guess he is evil (not always true but often)

I stand corrected on the Inquisitor not having an aura. Change it to Cleric. Same effect. And the rub lies with that assumption that it's often true. I've not seen that in characters, why would NPCs be the same. I've had good clerics and non-clerics worship neutral deities (NG Druids are a prime example). By the same token, evil people could worship neutral gods. I think you're making the assumption because it means you can do away with shades of gray and have only black and white.

Seriphim84 wrote:


2. Thinking about doing something evil is not the same as having an "actively evil intent". If someone is on there way to murder or rob someone else, that is an actively evil intent. It is not an actively evil intent to daydream about beating that jerk of a neighbor senseless.

Someone who is angry enough to kill someone else, even if they are not there, are actively considering killing the person. There's two points, the point where they decide to do evil, then the decision to go through with it. Detect Evil picks up on the intention. They may back out of it, or not have the courage to go through with it when the time comes. But if they intend to do it, then that's enough for Detect Evil.

Seriphim84 wrote:


3. In your example: almost all hags have more that 5 hd. So while it is possible for that situation to happen(if you change the inquisitor to a Cleric)it is so exceeding unlikely as to be laughable. If it did it is a deliberate attempt by the DM to screw the Paladin.

First, the hag's 5 hit dice are irrelevant. The Paladin in the example pinged the Cleric, not the hags. For that matter, the 'hags' could have just as easily been con-girls who were wanted for theft and were only 4 HD, and would have detected as non-evil. Either way, basing the decision to attack on the fact the Cleric detected evil is being lawful stupid.

Second, I call BS on this fallacy that anything that's not exactly as it appears is 'a deliberate attempt by the DM to screw the Paladin'. I do this to anyone in my games, I give them a situation that appears to be A on the surface, but is B instead. It's called having a mature plot and not a kindergarten black/white plot. This is one of the things that really chaps my hide, people who insist anything that is complicated is some paranoid attempt to screw with the Paladin. Not everything is as it appears. That's standard for any plot, any plot that's more advanced than 'goblins is eeevil, kill them, loot chest in goblin village for magic items they too stuuupid to use against you'.

Seriphim84 wrote:


As a note you also will not find evil people (monsters and such excluded) that do not do evil things.

Evil creatures in jail don't do evil things. Not because they don't want to, they don't have the opportunity. A man can be evil but also a coward, and is too afraid to ever do anything because he fears being caught. He's still an evil person, and would do nasty things if he could, but the best he can do is be mean to animals (which might be illegal, or not, depending on the society), but it's not a 'whack kill evil man' offense for a Paladin to judge.

Seriphim84 wrote:


The alignment system works off actions not ideas. You can say you are good all you want but if you don't do any good actions your alignment will shift. Same for Evil. If someone pings as evil it is because they have done or are about to do something evil.

No, if they ping evil it means they may be evil but too cowardly to do more than petty evils not worth being punished for. Or they might worship an evil god and be a cleric of that god, but be neutral. Or they might be so mad at the guy who knocked up their daughter they've decided they're going to kill that guy, but not have the courage to do it when they get to the act. If it was strictly actions, then detect evil wouldn't state intentions were enough. So RAW disagree's with you.

Seriphim84 wrote:


Not always a killable offense but defiantly something to checkout if your not in the middle of something. If evil people were not necessarily evil then the Paladin's code wouldn't have a ban on working with them.

Paladin's are banned from working with evil for the same reason a cop is banned from working with criminals unless they're a CI. And a Paladin can work with evil characters, if it's to redeem them or to accomplish a common good that's greater than their evils. The Paladin equivalent of a CI. Other than that, it's a bad idea to hang out with evil people because you'll get caught up in their evil works, and lose your powers. Thus the ban. Same with Antipaladin's.


Aioran wrote:
mdt wrote:

For Detect Evil, a few notes :

A) Nothing under 5 hit dice pings evil at all, unless it has the Aura class ability.

Undead and Outsiders ping lower than that.

Sorry, should say nothing without an [evil] tag pings evil.

Note, that this is another situation where something can ping [Evil] but not be evil. Fallen demons (those who are no longer evil in alignment) still ping evil due to the fact they're bodies are made from evil from the plane of evil. Same reason why fallen angels still ping [good], they have those darn alignment tags due to their origination.


Surely you mean ascended demon. Undead don't get the [evil] alignment tag, that's an Outsider thing.


Evil people can be good for society overall. LE trader might be looking to maximize his income, but he'll do it by the book mostly... and he can still be the one and only man willing to import food in the area. Gebites are major food exporters, can you imagine the lovely results of running them out of a town on the verge of starvation?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Does his paladin have an int of 5? He's effectively wasting time dealing with insignificant evil doers when he could be stopping demons or even more evil things. The greater evil should be his target.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Zmar wrote:
Evil people can be good for society overall. LE trader might be looking to maximize his income, but he'll do it by the book mostly... and he can still be the one and only man willing to import food in the area. Gebites are major food exporters, can you imagine the lovely results of running them out of a town on the verge of starvation?

I am pretty sure ALL Gebites are not evil. Someone who is lawful evil will likely abuse the starvation to deplete the citizens of their wealth, then forcing them to sell land, then finally themselves into slavery.

Selfishness and profit maximizing is not evil in itself. How you go about it may well be.

My interpretations, using a merchant cleric of Abadar:

LG merchant cleric of Abadar: Allows people to take up low/no interest loans, accepts deals that further the ability to care for themselves and further the way of life.

LN merchant cleric of Abadar: Will go by the book, take few risks that would end up hurting them financially. Might set up so people can manage if there is profit in the long run.

LE merchant cleric of Abadar: Will abuse the potential for profit by increasing prices. Allow people to set up loans that he knows will lead to them losing their homes under themselves. Not adverse to accepting slave trade as compensation. Profiteering off the town until it is gone.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

It's in the second to last paragraph of the spell:

"Animals, traps, poisons, and other potential perils are not evil, and as such this spell does not detect them. Creatures with actively evil intents count as evil creatures for the purpose of this spell."

Note that this also means that...

"Cute animals, flowers, candy, and other desirable things are not good, and as such this spell does not detect them. Creatures with actively good intents count as good creatures for the purpose of this spell."

...in the case of detect good.

I burned down an orphanage yesterday, one more point for blackguards everywhere, but because I intended to save the princess today, I was able to get past the king's men (paladins all).


Zmar wrote:
Evil people can be good for society overall. LE trader might be looking to maximize his income, but he'll do it by the book mostly... and he can still be the one and only man willing to import food in the area. Gebites are major food exporters, can you imagine the lovely results of running them out of a town on the verge of starvation?

Not to mention the wonderfully complicated relationship the Asmodean church/clergy tends to have with most of the rest of the Golarion Pantheon. The Asmodeans have a real knack for making themselves too useful for the good or neutral-aligned lands to do without.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, if a paladin is unsure what to do, a phylactery of faithfulness can be handy! Perhaps the PC could find such an item?


Kamelguru wrote:
Zmar wrote:
Evil people can be good for society overall. LE trader might be looking to maximize his income, but he'll do it by the book mostly... and he can still be the one and only man willing to import food in the area. Gebites are major food exporters, can you imagine the lovely results of running them out of a town on the verge of starvation?

I am pretty sure ALL Gebites are not evil. Someone who is lawful evil will likely abuse the starvation to deplete the citizens of their wealth, then forcing them to sell land, then finally themselves into slavery.

Selfishness and profit maximizing is not evil in itself. How you go about it may well be.

My interpretations, using a merchant cleric of Abadar:

LG merchant cleric of Abadar: Allows people to take up low/no interest loans, accepts deals that further the ability to care for themselves and further the way of life.

LN merchant cleric of Abadar: Will go by the book, take few risks that would end up hurting them financially. Might set up so people can manage if there is profit in the long run.

LE merchant cleric of Abadar: Will abuse the potential for profit by increasing prices. Allow people to set up loans that he knows will lead to them losing their homes under themselves. Not adverse to accepting slave trade as compensation. Profiteering off the town until it is gone.

Heh, depends on the composition of this delegation. First class citizens of Geb (or only true citizens if you prefer) are undead. Even these are not to be smitten at sight. Chattel is human, but they may or may not be sent out of Geb without an undead overseer, who's death can actually spell doom for their families at home, if not theirs directly.

BTW LE cleric of Abadar wouldn't do this to the town. He'd go to the point where he/church owns the town and extolls a little bit more than fair share of profits, but not further. Abadar believes in reward for work and while the cleric would probably milk the town, he wouldn't overdo it as it could cost him his cleric abilities (he could turn to NPC class however, but still if there is a church that may come to make account revision with venegance, it's Abadar's). He wouldn't certainly run the town to nonexistance. That would be gross violation of Abadar's tenets of promoting civilization and I could see Abadar's Inquisitors and Paladins after him pretty soon. This guy would be more likely to give natives diseased blankets and overhunt natural resources, but certainly not choke civilised area totally.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Zmar wrote:
BTW LE cleric of Abadar wouldn't do this to the town. He'd go to the point where he/church owns the town and extolls a little bit more than fair share of profits, but not further. Abadar believes in reward for work and while the cleric would probably milk the town, he wouldn't overdo it as it as it could cost him his cleric abilities (he could turn to NPC class however, but still if there is a church that may come to make account revision with venegance, it's Abadar's). He wouldn't certainly run the town to nonexistance. That would be gross violation of Abadar's tenets of promoting civilization and I could see Abadar's Inquisitors and Paladins after him pretty soon. This guy would be more likely to give natives diseased blankets and overhunt natural resources, but certainly not choke civilised area totally.

I agree with the LE cleric not running the town into the group purposefully. Not only because of religious tenets, but also because cutting just deeply enough to get the blood, but not so deeply as to bleed it out offers so much more good times to be had. Depending on how evil the cleric is, a cushy life with little work might be enough, or a full-on harem and palace might be needed ;)


If evil intent pings... then what is its aura? Does the caster of Detect Evil note it as intent alone? Is it as if the creature is evil during the intent? Will smite work against someone with evil intent?

This is all very poorly explained in regards to how the rest of the spell, and effects that work off alignment, is worded and works.

Ravingdork wrote:

It's in the second to last paragraph of the spell:

"Animals, traps, poisons, and other potential perils are not evil, and as such this spell does not detect them. Creatures with actively evil intents count as evil creatures for the purpose of this spell."

Note that this also means that...

"Cute animals, flowers, candy, and other desirable things are not good, and as such this spell does not detect them. Creatures with actively good intents count as good creatures for the purpose of this spell."

...in the case of detect good.

I burned down an orphanage yesterday, one more point for blackguards everywhere, but because I intended to save the princess today, I was able to get past the king's men (paladins all).

Happy thoughts makes Peter Pan fly. They are obviously magical, powerful and clearly in need of nerfing :P

Sovereign Court

So is there an order of evaluation for different alignment thingies? For example, a guy with a [good] aura with active [good] intents, does he detect as good? Evil? Both?

Anyway, it looks like the prime function of Detect Evil is to place people on a watchlist, not to render definitive judgment on them.

"Probably Evil" sounds too shaky a basis for a paladin to attack on. Especially when there's alignment-detection-fooling-spells in the world.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

So, good person, suddenly has evil intent(really bad day), and detects as evil.
Paladin beats him up, or kills him, and loses powers.

Maybe the other players are just picking on him.

A Paladin strives to be Good, and Just.

Accosting someone without evidence, is an unjust.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

So, good person, suddenly has evil intent(really bad day), and detects as evil.

Paladin beats him up, or kills him, and loses powers.

Maybe the other players are just picking on him.

A Paladin strives to be Good, and Just.

Accosting someone without evidence, is an unjust.

Evil intent =/= bad day. Evil intent is planning to do evil, bent on succeeding in said act. THINKING about drowning the neighbor who parties until 7am is different from being on the way up the stairs with an axe, bent on seeing the insides of his skull.

Also, killing anything with Strong/Overwhelming aura is usually justified by the fact that only the true evils (fiends, undead and powerful evil clerics) have such powerful auras. And their destruction is always justified.

inb4 "But what if I play a neutral cleric of an evil god, derp derp derp!": You serve EVIL. You are THE MOUTHPIECE OF EEEEEEEVIL. Your POWER comes from doing the will of someone who is wholly and utterly corrupt, and wishes horrible things on all that is good and decent.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Some worship evil gods to quell their destruction.
Some worship them out of duty, and tradition.
Some worship them as the mother of their species.

Still fine for a Paladin to slay them.

Also, by "bad day", I mean in that they are driven to commit an evil act.
There are numerous examples of why a good aligned person may be driven to commit an evil act.

Doesn't make them evil, but makes them detect as such.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Unprovoked attacks are a no no for a Paladin no matter what his radar may be telling him.

Your Paladin radar will excuse you for putting a person under suspicion, perhaps even doing some impromptu investigation on your part. But it is not to be used as the sole justification for opening them up with your sword of mighty smiting.

And yes, you don't go beating up on fellow Pathfinders without good cause. Doing so just because you were insulted, proves nothing other than the thinness of one's skin.


yeah, if your paladin starts being referred to as a warmonger, you may want to rethink your actions :P

Shadow Lodge

@mdt

While I have issue with a few of your points, I am going to skip them. My point is that the Detect Evil power both effective. With a a few rare exceptions, like non-evil clerics radiating evil and ascended Devils, detect evil will tell you if someone is evil or is about to do evil. This should be enough for a paladin to act. Not attack necessarily but proceed forward with under the assumption something is wrong.
I do not believe that any character, paladins included, should attack at first sight unless they already know the situation. This is a stupid tact. The situation you described is however a trap. It is designed to make the party think the worse and act hastily. I have no problem with this, I have done similar things. but lets not pretend it isn't.

As to alignment, I stand corrected. It is both action and attitude. My problem is with posters who argue that evil people may not be bad. That is the definition of evil. And while the spell can sometimes (rarely) give false positives a persons alignment is a summery of who they are.

EDIT: Post changed dramatically. I didn't mean to hit submit the first time :-p

Sovereign Court

A harmless old man asks the paladin to save him from a horribly evil person...


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Quote:
By the way; be aware that the alignment-detection spells can only detect the alignment of people with 5 or more class levels (unless they're clerics or paladins, or have the Undead or Outsider creature type).

Sorry, but you're wrong. Alignment-detection spells detect alignment just fine even in creatures with 5 or lower HD. What they don't detect is power of the alignments aura. An Evil human of 5 or lower HD will ping as Evil, but his Evil Auras Power will ping as None.


That would be an odd interpretation, considering (AFAIR) one of the reasons the 5-HD limit was introduced in Pathfinder was specifically so low-level NPCs wouldn't be detected.

Sovereign Court

ImperatorK wrote:
Quote:
By the way; be aware that the alignment-detection spells can only detect the alignment of people with 5 or more class levels (unless they're clerics or paladins, or have the Undead or Outsider creature type).
Sorry, but you're wrong. Alignment-detection spells detect alignment just fine even in creatures with 5 or lower HD. What they don't detect is power of the alignments aura. An Evil human of 5 or lower HD will ping as Evil, but his Evil Auras Power will ping as None.

You have to really twist the text of Detect Evil to come to that conclusion.

You don't actually detect any information about a creature itself, only about its aura, if any. And I think it's fairly obvious that with aura strength "None", they meant the creature doesn't have such an aura.


It doesn't have an aura. But it does have an alignment.
I twist nothing. I read it as it is written.

Quote:
That would be an odd interpretation, considering (AFAIR) one of the reasons the 5-HD limit was introduced in Pathfinder was specifically so low-level NPCs wouldn't be detected.

You have any citations? I find it weird and silly that a low level spell isn't able to discern the alignment of a low level NPC.

The lower level you are the harder it is to discern your alignment? It doesn't make sense.


I love the Paladin class, but too often I think his code and Detect Evil abilities lead to problems.

I give players a bit more leeway with the paladin code. If you force them to strictly adhere to the letter of the code law then they are bound to get into problems like the ones you mentioned. This is the medieval ages, after all, so not everyone, even a paladin, is always going to be a super goody two shoes or be insanely rigid.

Then there's Detect Evil. All the detect alignment spells are game spoilers IMHO. They hinder the mystique and subterfuge of NPCs and plots, since right away everyone knows who's evil and who's not. You can't blame the paladin player for using it though, he is supposed to be a crusader against evil. Still, all it takes is one Detect Evil and then everyone knows who the bad guys are.

If Detect Evil is so readily available, why don't the towns and cities just station a caster at every gate or walk through the town casting it, then arrest or expel all those who detect as evil?

Anyway, to answer your question about how to handle paladins in a world where evil can be all around, I'd suggest giving them a bit of leeway on their code and detect evil. Yes, a person might detect as evil, but until you can prove they've broken a law you can't just go and attack them. If the paladin were to confront every single evil person they met (thanks to Detect Evil - without this spell they would have to go on evidence and gut feelings), they would be fighting all the time.

A GM friend of mine actually modified the Detect Evil spell so it only works on powerful creatures of great, great evil, such as demons, devils, dragons, etc., not your average NPC. This means the plot subterfuge is protected and the paladin doesn't have to feel like he has to attack, arrest, or pursue every single evil person he detects.


I don't have a citation, that's why I wrote "AFAIR" (= "as far as I recall"). The reason behind it, as I remember it, is the game balance.

If paladins go around detecting 1/3rd of the world's population as evil (assuming all alignments are equally distributed, which they're likely not, but it would still be a sizeable amount of the world), then they'll have to investigate far more people than they'll ever have time for. Limiting it to 5-HD-or-more, plus clerics/paladins/undead/outsiders means the paladin will likely only have to investigate those who merit such investigation.


If the spell is not able to discern alignments of creatures of 5 or lower HD then it is near useless at the level it is gained because most enemies at those levels are below 5 HD and only a fraction of them are clerics/paladins/outsiders/undead.
And as I already pointed out, it doesn't make ANY sense that you can't detect the alignment of simple commoners. It's silly that being weak (low HD) makes your alignment non-detectable.
My reading of the rules is RAW and, dare I say it, probably even RAI.


UndeadViking wrote:
Then there's Detect Evil. All the detect alignment spells are game spoilers IMHO. They hinder the mystique and subterfuge of NPCs and plots, since right away everyone knows who's evil and who's not. You can't blame the paladin player for using it though, he is supposed to be a crusader against evil. Still, all it takes is one Detect Evil and then everyone knows who the bad guys are.

Did you miss all the discussion in the thread about different ways of foiling Detect Evil? Undetectable Alignment is a 1st/2nd level spell that any halfway competent subterfuge/infiltration baddie should keep up constantly (especially since a single casting/potion lasts a whole day).


Chengar Qordath wrote:


Did you miss all the discussion in the thread about different ways of foiling Detect Evil? Undetectable Alignment is a 1st/2nd level spell that any halfway competent subterfuge/infiltration baddie should keep up constantly (especially since a single casting/potion lasts a whole day).

Yes, I saw the discussion. But not every NPC is going to have access to these spells, or spells of any kind, depending on your game. Not every game has a magic potion shop in every city like some kind of medieval Walmart. And not every baddie has access to a sorcerer who can cast whatever spell they need, like some sort of medieval Jiffy Lube. ;)

At least not in most campaigns I've played. I'll give to you that I'm sure many campaigns do have this stuff commonly available, and if that's the case, knock yourself out.


ImperatorK wrote:
And as I already pointed out, it doesn't make ANY sense that you can't detect the alignment of simple commoners. It's silly that being weak (low HD) makes your alignment non-detectable.

Yes. But the point is to help the paladin, to avoid him having to investigate all those evil low-level people, so he can instead focus on those who actually merit such focus.

It's also to help the game from turning into a "I detect evil in the bar. Oh, there's evil here. Well, I'll spend the next hour of game-time checking all of these people out and force the DM to come up with stories for all of them".

As for a citation, I can't give you one. If a designer even straight out said it, it would probably have been in the Beta Playtest forums about 5 or so years ago (and I don't have easy access to those forums now). Regardless of quotes, the fact that the spell changed from the 3.5 version (all evil people were detected, no HD-limit) to its current version (where there is a HD-limit) is enough to tell me, at least, that there was a reason for the change. If Paizo still wanted all who have an evil alignment to detect as evil, why make the change?


2 people marked this as FAQ candidate.
Quote:
Yes. But the point is to help the paladin, to avoid him having to investigate all those evil low-level people, so he can instead focus on those who actually merit such focus.

Why should he investigate them? Did they do something wrong? Being evil-aligned isn't against the law. And Paladins are there to fight against evil, not investigate it.

Quote:
It's also to help the game from turning into a "I detect evil in the bar. Oh, there's evil here. Well, I'll spend the next hour of game-time checking all of these people out and force the DM to come up with stories for all of them".

Again - why should he do that? That's not his job.

Quote:
As for a citation, I can't give you one. If a designer even straight out said it, it would probably have been in the Beta Playtest forums about 5 or so years ago (and I don't have easy access to those forums now). Regardless of quotes, the fact that the spell changed from the 3.5 version (all evil people were detected, no HD-limit) to its current version (where there is a HD-limit) is enough to tell me, at least, that there was a reason for the change. If Paizo still wanted all who have an evil alignment to detect as evil, why make the change?

Sorry, but you're just misunderstanding the rules. The HD thing is relevant only for discerning the auras power.


ImperatorK wrote:
Quote:
Yes. But the point is to help the paladin, to avoid him having to investigate all those evil low-level people, so he can instead focus on those who actually merit such focus.
Why should he investigate them? Did they do something wrong? Being evil-aligned isn't against the law. And Paladins are there to fight against evil, not investigate it.

I have to agree with Are, I've seen this happen time and again. Paladin detects evil and goes into overdrive. I disagree that it's not their job to investigate evil - it is, just maybe not every Joe Schmoe. Focus on the greater evil, as Are said. I agree though that there's no reason the paladin should go after someone just because they detect as evil. Like ImperatorK said, just being evil aligned doesn't justify attacking an NPC. Some paladin players will disagree with that, and that's fine. But I do think it ends up with a lot of wasted time in-game on inconsequential NPCs.

ImperatorK wrote:
Quote:
It's also to help the game from turning into a "I detect evil in the bar. Oh, there's evil here. Well, I'll spend the next hour of game-time checking all of these people out and force the DM to come up with stories for all of them".
Again - why should he do that? That's not his job.

Again have to agree with Are. Seen this happen time and again. Many paladins DO think it's their job. But, then most paladin players I've played with don't run around constantly detecting evil in town. That's something I typically see very young or inexperienced players do, or those who just want to annoy the crap out of the GM. ;)

1 to 50 of 93 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Advice / Paladins and evil people. All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.