Paladins and evil people.


Advice

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Code of Conduct wrote:

A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class features except proficiencies if she ever willingly commits an evil act.

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.

Associates: While she may adventure with good or neutral allies, a paladin avoids working with evil characters or with anyone who consistently offends her moral code. 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. A paladin may accept only henchmen, followers, or cohorts who are lawful good.

I see nothing about attacking or investigating evil people just because they're evil. What I DO see is that Paladins can't associate with Evil people (unless as allies against a much greater evil), and also should punish those that harm or threaten innocents, and that's not even limited to Evil people.


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'm not sure what you mean? Are you suggesting that the paladin should fight them without investigating them first, or are you suggesting that the paladin should do nothing at all?

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

I'm happy to know that a large amount of other people are misunderstanding the rules the same exact way as me.


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By the way, I found a citation for you, by James Jacobs (from about 2 weeks ago).


Quote:
I'm not sure what you mean? Are you suggesting that the paladin should fight them without investigating them first, or are you suggesting that the paladin should do nothing at all?

It's not his job to investigate every Evil person. Read the Paladins Code of Conduct that I quoted above.

Quote:
I'm happy to know that a large amount of other people are misunderstanding the rules the same exact way as me.

Where are those people? I'm going to tell them that they're wrong too.


Are wrote:

By the way, I found a citation for you, by James Jacobs (from about 2 weeks ago).

*facepalm*

I don't even know what to say. So much fail...
Being weak makes your alignment undetectable. What is this I don't even...

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Wisdom of the thread: if you can't handle playing a Paladin, don't play a Paladin.

If you're not sure if you can handle playing a Paladin, you likely ain't.

Shadow Lodge

ImperatorK wrote:

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.

Your Reading of the rules is not RAW and certainly not RAI.

PRD wrote:


You can sense the presence of evil. The amount of information revealed depends on how long you study a particular area or subject.
1st Round: Presence or absence of evil.
2nd Round: Number of evil auras (creatures, objects, or spells) in the area and the power of the most potent evil aura present.
(skipped stun rules)
3rd Round: The power and location of each aura. If an aura is outside your line of sight, then you discern its direction but not its exact location.

You only see auras. There is an argument that can be mad that your sense evil creatures without auras on round 1 but that is iffy. If they have no aura they don't detect. If they are below 5hd they have no aura.

prd wrote:


At will, a paladin can use detect evil, as the spell. A paladin can, as a move action, concentrate on a single item or individual within 60 feet and determine if it is evil, learning the strength of its aura as if having studied it for 3 rounds.

The Comma is a explanation. This is HOW you learn if they are evil. if they have no aura you learn nothing.

I wish you were correct but you are not. The paladin is limited to detecting evil clerics, outsiders and undead at low levels.

EDIT: Ninja'd So hard. Thats what I get for getting distracted while posting.


ImperatorK wrote:
Quote:
I'm not sure what you mean? Are you suggesting that the paladin should fight them without investigating them first, or are you suggesting that the paladin should do nothing at all?
It's not his job to investigate every Evil person. Read the Paladins Code of Conduct that I quoted above.

I agree. That's why I think it's a good thing that evil people of low levels can't be detected.


It's also nonsensical.

Quote:
Your Reading of the rules is not RAW and certainly not RAI.

Sure it is. And unless there's an errata or official FAQ, words of anyone (even a developer) mean nothing to me (at least concerning RAW).


UndeadViking wrote:
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.

We're not discussing every random NPC though. You specifically mentioned BBEG infiltration/subterfuge plots as being easily foiled by detection spells. To which I say that any spy that doesn't have some way of handling detection spells is an a very poor spy, given the relatively easy availability of such.

On another note, there are also archetypes and a prestige classes that block alignment detection just through class abilities. Heck, two levels of master spy will not only block detection spells, but can actually give whatever result the spy wants.


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Are wrote:
By the way, I found a citation for you, by James Jacobs (from about 2 weeks ago).

I'd agree RAW you could detect evil from a person without an aura. And it doesn't even have to contradict what James Jacob said.

Detect Evil wrote:

You can sense the presence of evil. The amount of information revealed depends on how long you study a particular area or subject.

1st Round: Presence or absence of evil.

2nd Round: Number of evil auras (creatures, objects, or spells) in the area and the power of the most potent evil aura present.

If you are of good alignment, and the strongest evil aura's power is overwhelming (see below), and the HD or level of the aura's source is at least twice your character level, you are stunned for 1 round and the spell ends.

3rd Round: The power and location of each aura. If an aura is outside your line of sight, then you discern its direction but not its exact location.

1st round gives you a yes/no answer. You could never detect the aura of a person without an aura so you could never locate the evil. You'd just know that there was evil in your 30ft cone.

Sovereign Court

I interpret that differently:

1st round: presence of evil (auras). If there are no evil auras, you don't detect any evil.

Because the rest of the spell is only concerned with auras, not "loose" evil of any kind, I assume that the first round was meant to detect if there are any evil auras at all.


Except there's not "auras" in 1st round. If you houserule it then sure, it works how you like. But by RAW it doesn't.


Being weak makes your alignment undetectable. What is this I don't even...

It makes sense to me. Powerful evil-doers radiate evil. Ordinary people with selfish natures don't. Their evil is too petty and trivial to register.


Gorbacz wrote:

Wisdom of the thread: if you can't handle playing a Paladin, don't play a Paladin.

If you're not sure if you can handle playing a Paladin, you likely ain't.

QFT.

Paladin is Role-Playing hard mode.

I love the class for exactly this reason. It takes a patient, level-headed person of conviction to play a paladin well.

Also, I could GM for bad paladin players all day long. It's like housebreaking a puppy.

Shadow Lodge

I know what I'm playing at your table, EL.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Quote:
Being weak makes your alignment undetectable. What is this I don't even...
It makes sense to me. Powerful evil-doers radiate evil. Ordinary people with selfish natures don't. Their evil is too petty and trivial to register.

It doesn't to me. Sure, the aura doesn't register, I have no issue with that, it's understandable and your reasoning is good. But as I said earlier, if the spell/ability doesn't detect alignment then it's almost useless at the level you gain it and a few levels later.


As your personal power grows, your capacity for doing evil grows too. The spell detects the potential to do evil.

Can you imagine that a society driven by LN god starts to dabble magically in social engineering and removes / discriminates all children born with evil alignment? And we don't even try to define what's evil and detects as such. Better to leave low level characters undetectable and not to let the spell ruin plots.


No.


TOZ wrote:
I know what I'm playing at your table, EL.

Challenge accepted.

Someday. On Roll20 probably.


Matthew Downie wrote:
ImperatorK wrote:
Being weak makes your alignment undetectable. What is this I don't even...
It makes sense to me. Powerful evil-doers radiate evil. Ordinary people with selfish natures don't. Their evil is too petty and trivial to register.

Powerful evil-doers have an aura, they radiate. "Ordinary" people don't have enough class levels and don't have an aura, they don't radiate. Detect evil first round doesn't look for auras, it looks for evil.

Zmar wrote:
As your personal power grows, your capacity for doing evil grows too. The spell detects the potential to do evil.

No... the spell description is pretty clear.

Spoiler:
DESCRIPTION
You can sense the presence of evil. The amount of information revealed depends on how long you study a particular area or subject.

1st Round: Presence or absence of evil.

2nd Round: Number of evil auras (creatures, objects, or spells) in the area and the power of the most potent evil aura present.

If you are of good alignment, and the strongest evil aura's power is overwhelming (see below), and the HD or level of the aura's source is at least twice your character level, you are stunned for 1 round and the spell ends.

3rd Round: The power and location of each aura. If an aura is outside your line of sight, then you discern its direction but not its exact location.


Potential isn't mentioned at all. The only way you'd know how much potential a target has would be if you were metagaming.

Zmar wrote:
Can you imagine that a society driven by LN god starts to dabble magically in social engineering and removes / discriminates all children born with evil alignment? And we don't even try to define what's evil and detects as such. Better to leave low level characters undetectable and not to let the spell ruin plots.

I don't follow this, you have a LN god plotting away and then say it ruins plots? If by 'ruins plots' you mean 'is an homage to 1984', then yes.

FYI we don't have to define evil, it's objectively defined by the system.

EDIT: Since I've been posting in the thread I'll offer my opinion to the OP.

It sounds like your Paladin is trying good and lawful but isn't very smart.

1st) Forcing people out of town doesn't stop them from doing evil. That's just like sweeping dirt under the rug.
2nd) Faceless stalkers are evil abominations that like to drink the blood of their helpless victims and talk to them while they do it. Trying to persuade it to be good is a fruitless endeavour unless it has done something extraordinary to suggest it can be redeemed. In which case he was basically duty bound to do it. I sincerely doubt it, though.
3rd) Mindlessly saying you want to attack a group of evil people because they detected evil and refused to leave after making offensive comments about your party IS NOT GOOD OR LAWFUL (at least, not as far as a Paladin's Code of Conduct is concerned). It isn't evil, but it definitely isn't good. Just because you are a Paladin doesn't mean you charge into battle to fight every evil that comes your way. That just means you die and more evil occurs because you weren't around to stop it.

Being a Palidar =/= being a Paladin. You act within the confines of the law, you act intelligently, you act to spread good, you act to stop evil. Those are all separate things even if by doing one you do others.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Aioran wrote:
Powerful evil-doers have an aura, they radiate. "Ordinary" people don't have enough class levels and don't have an aura, they don't radiate. Detect evil first round doesn't look for auras, it looks for evil.

And it finds none to detect, because the target does not have an aura.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Aioran wrote:
Powerful evil-doers have an aura, they radiate. "Ordinary" people don't have enough class levels and don't have an aura, they don't radiate. Detect evil first round doesn't look for auras, it looks for evil.
And it finds none to detect, because the target does not have an aura.

Finds no aura to detect. Good thing Detect Evil checks for evil on the 1st round before it checks auras.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

It checks for evil, which it can only detect via auras.


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No, it checks for evil, then checks auras. It specifically states in the first round "1st Round: Presence or absence of evil." Not "1st Round: Presence or absence of evil auras". If you have a rules citation, FAQ, errata, or something else to suggest otherwise I would very much like to see it.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

You already have your citation, and I see you have dismissed it. Carry on then.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

I didn't dismiss it, I finagled it with a technicality because of the way James Jacob explained it.

He never said it only detects evil via auras or that they couldn't detect evil, he said the paladin and cleric in the example cannot detect the fighter as evil. This is not the same thing.

Scarab Sages

Aioran wrote:
I didn't dismiss it, I finagled it with a technicality because of the way James Jacob explained it.

So you admit, you're trying really hard to deliberately misinterpret it.

Shadow Lodge

Aioran wrote:

It sounds like your Paladin is trying good and lawful but isn't very smart.

1st) Forcing people out of town doesn't stop them from doing evil. That's just like sweeping dirt under the rug.
2nd) Faceless stalkers are evil abominations that like to drink the blood of their helpless victims and talk to them while they do it. Trying to persuade it to be good is a fruitless endeavour unless it has done something extraordinary to suggest it can be redeemed. In which case he was basically duty bound to do it. I sincerely doubt it, though.
3rd) Mindlessly saying you want to attack a group of evil people because they detected evil and refused to leave after making offensive comments about your party IS NOT GOOD OR LAWFUL (at least, not as far as a Paladin's Code of Conduct is concerned). It isn't evil, but it definitely isn't good. Just because you are a Paladin doesn't mean you charge into battle to fight every evil that comes your way. That just means you die and more evil occurs because you weren't around to stop it.

I mostly agree with this. While a paladin who is very dedicated to the idea of redemption might try to parley with the Faceless Stalker, generally the rest of the party was correct that the appropriate response to such a creature is to kill it before it can further harm innocents. Then, given that the Paladin displayed a desire to go the extra mile in favour of redemption in the first situation, his aggressive response to the lesser evil of the Pathfinders from Geb feels more like the Paladin (or his player) is using the evil alignment as an excuse to attack people he doesn't like. In my opinion, the smart LG thing for the Paladin to do is to treat the Geb Pathfinders courteously and keep an eye on them, such that if they do commit any crimes or clear acts of evil, the Paladin can intervene appropriately. As DM, you can drop hints to the player if you think he is acting against alignment. If you want to keep it in-character, the hints can come from a friendly NPC authority.

teverin wrote:
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.

Still, be careful to keep a close eye on the party dynamic as it develops. I've seen in-character arguments get very heated sometimes, in at least one case causing out-of-character hurt feelings. If any one of your players has a hard time separating IC and OOC, or if the Paladin's player feels that the other players are getting in the way of how he wants to play, you might have a problem that should be discussed OOC as well.

On Detect Evil:

I can see Aioran's position by RAW, but it's nitpicky enough that I don't think that's how it's supposed to work. If there was a distinction between being able to sense (round 1) and to pinpoint (round 3) a low-HD evil target, the spell description should have said so.

My usual DM treats alignment of humanoids as somewhat subjective, and therefore interprets the guidelines of Detect Evil loosely when applied to humanoids. He generally describes low-power evil people, or those with evil intent rather than evil action, or those who have only performed minor evil actions, as having an aura of petty evil. This separates Detect Evil a bit from the simple HD-based method described in the spell; a thief and a murderer might both be evil, but the murderer detects as more evil at the same level of personal power. First off, it enables shades of grey. Second, is simplifies play, since an aura of petty evil tells the Paladin to keep an eye on someone, but that the aura alone is not sufficient to warrant violence. Cutting out these distractions lets the DM and the Paladin focus on bigger moral questions, such as whether a given villain can be redeemed or how to deal with a prisoner who has surrendered.


Quote:
This separates Detect Evil a bit from the simple HD-based method described in the spell; a thief and a murderer might both be evil, but the murderer detects as more evil at the same level of personal power. First off, it enables shades of grey. Second, is simplifies play, since an aura of petty evil tells the Paladin to keep an eye on someone, but that the aura alone is not sufficient to warrant violence. Cutting out these distractions lets the DM and the Paladin focus on bigger moral questions, such as whether a given villain can be redeemed or how to deal with a prisoner who has surrendered.

How... is that different from registering as Evil, but with no aura?


Matthew Downie wrote:


It makes sense to me. Powerful evil-doers radiate evil. Ordinary people with selfish natures don't. Their evil is too petty and trivial to register.

This.

You can look around and see a bunch of goth nobodies jabbering on about how awesome 'Evil' is... or wrapped up in chains and leathers talking about how 'bad' they are...

but at level 1... they haven't DONE anything bad yet. Any of the TRULY evil acts that would give them a 'solid' alignment... would also have given them xp. If they were bandits on the road and murdered people for 6 seasons straight... they should have the xp from that too... making htem level 5+

If your still level one, theres a reason your still level one ;)

Those level 1-2 bad guys are the ones who are still 'testing' their evilness... some will embrace it, some will get disgusted by it and turn back toward the light...

FYI, through me in camp of 'Evil and Evil Aura' being the exact same thing.

1st round... is there Evil?

2nd round... How much evil is around...

3rd round... Where the evil is.

If it's logistically impossible to determine where it's coming from or even how much there is... Than i can't justify 'noticing' it in the first place.

We know these books are very careful with thier word count... and if the developers say that majority who read it are reading it how they wanted... Then no amount of rules wriggling should trump it.


Quote:

You can look around and see a bunch of goth nobodies jabbering on about how awesome 'Evil' is... or wrapped up in chains and leathers talking about how 'bad' they are...

but at level 1... they haven't DONE anything bad yet. Any of the TRULY evil acts that would give them a 'solid' alignment... would also have given them xp. If they were bandits on the road and murdered people for 6 seasons straight... they should have the xp from that too... making htem level 5+

If your still level one, theres a reason your still level one ;)

Those level 1-2 bad guys are the ones who are still 'testing' their evilness... some will embrace it, some will get disgusted by it and turn back toward the light...

Except in PF/D&D alignment isn't earned. It's innate. If a creature is Evil then it is actually Evil, no matter if it had time to do evil deeds or not. That's how alignment in this system works. It's objective.


ImperatorK wrote:


Except in PF/D&D alignment isn't earned. It's innate. If a creature is Evil then it is actually Evil, no matter if it had time to do evil deeds or not. That's how alignment in this system works. It's objective.

Really??

You play it as people who are 'born evil'??

I suppose that's a legitimate playstyle, and I really can't stand all the crying and bemoaning the great goblin genocide of poor helpless monsters defending their lair...

but I really wouldn't want to play in a game where humans are CE because that's just what they were innately born... Are you saying that EVERY Goblin HAS to be Evil? EVERY Faun is CG without exception?

People can have Evil desires and evil thoughts.. but until you ACT on them, you aren't a lost cause yet.

I may hate the noise that orphanage makes, and wish everyone gone.. but until I light the torch it's not REALLY Evil yet.

And shouldn't bring a Paladin's wrath down me ;) That's where I see the HD requirement coming from. Until you gain a few levels, your 'petty evil' isn't detectable.


Oh, and a little clarification on my interpretation of Detect Evil:
The spell detects evil. It has a radius of a cone-shaped emanation. If something evil is in the radius of the spell you'll know it. It won't say who or what exactly is evil, but you'll know there is evil. There's no contradiction with what JJ said. He said that the CE Fighter isn't seen as evil. He didn't say the spell isn't detecting any evil at all.

Quote:
You play it as people who are 'born evil'??

In D&D/PF? Sure.

Quote:
Are you saying that EVERY Goblin HAS to be Evil? EVERY Faun is CG without exception?

Where did I say that?

Quote:
People can have Evil desires and evil thoughts.. but until you ACT on them, you aren't a lost cause yet.

But you have an evil alignment in D&D/PF.


Ajoran: By potential I meant the aura.

If you want to go by the definition, then we have this:

"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."

So is the necromancer going to animate some bodies on local graveyard detecting as evil (cheap workforce, no murder on mind)? There are lots of things that fall in grey areas.

Let's break down this (you apparently really don't get it)

"Can you imagine that a society driven by LN god starts to dabble magically in social engineering and removes / discriminates all children born with evil alignment? And we don't even try to define what's evil and detects as such. Better to leave low level characters undetectable and not to let the spell ruin plots."

a) Society decides - not the god. They are driven by his tenets, but not every world has gods actively taking part in everything.
b) Spell ruins plots, not god. If evil people get removed, there's no evil within to fight! (not to mention making LE merchants look untrustworthy when they really just mean business and don't want to give you a discount for shiny smile or to let your halfling friend have a drink).

Shadow Lodge

ImperatorK wrote:
Quote:
This separates Detect Evil a bit from the simple HD-based method described in the spell; a thief and a murderer might both be evil, but the murderer detects as more evil at the same level of personal power. First off, it enables shades of grey. Second, is simplifies play, since an aura of petty evil tells the Paladin to keep an eye on someone, but that the aura alone is not sufficient to warrant violence. Cutting out these distractions lets the DM and the Paladin focus on bigger moral questions, such as whether a given villain can be redeemed or how to deal with a prisoner who has surrendered.
How... is that different from registering as Evil, but with no aura?

"Evil but with no aura":

1) A creature with HD of 5 or less
2) Intends or has committed sufficient evil acts to qualify for the alignment as determined by DM.
3) Can depending on group either register within the area of Detect Evil but not be pinpointed as the source, or not detect at all.

"Petty Evil":
1) An individual of any power
2) Commits minor evil acts (selfish at others' expense)
3) Detects & pinpoints just fine, it just isn't worth smiting.

It's also a subjective gradient that is not strictly and solely dependent on HD. According to the Detect Evil table, a 6th level evil person should have a "Faint" aura and an 11th level evil person should have a "Moderate" evil aura. This is not modified based on the exact magnitude of evil acts. Using my DM's system, a 6th level person who has tortured and killed several innocent victims is going to register as more evil than an 11th level person who bullies peasants and accepts bribes. The former is "evil," the latter is "petty evil."

Note this isn't a rigid system, just my DM's way of applying common sense to alignment. Pathfinder may be a world of concrete and objective good and evil, but ours isn't, and it doesn't always translate well.

ImperatorK wrote:
Quote:
People can have Evil desires and evil thoughts.. but until you ACT on them, you aren't a lost cause yet.
But you have an evil alignment in D&D/PF.

1) Detect Evil registers any creature with actively evil intent, but Evil Alignment itself is discussed in terms of action, not desires and thoughts. ("Evil implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others" not "Evil implies wanting to hurt others")

2) Acting on evil desires still does not make one a lost cause. Redemption & atonement are supported by D&D/PF.

phantom1592 wrote:
but at level 1... they haven't DONE anything bad yet. Any of the TRULY evil acts that would give them a 'solid' alignment... would also have given them xp. If they were bandits on the road and murdered people for 6 seasons straight... they should have the xp from that too... making htem level 5+

So killing a defenceless child in cold blood bumps you up a level or two?

Likewise, there's plenty of things that a not-really-bad person could do to gain levels that don't involve severe evil. Mercenary work and adventuring could easily attract someone selfish or prone to minor cruelty (hence evil) but not half as deserving of a smite as that commoner who thought it would be fun to poison their neighbour's toddler.


Snorter wrote:
Aioran wrote:
I didn't dismiss it, I finagled it with a technicality because of the way James Jacob explained it.
So you admit, you're trying really hard to deliberately misinterpret it.

Whether or not I actually support the argument I am putting forth does not affect the validity of the argument. But yes. RAI I think it's supposed to work that if you have no aura then you don't detect.

Zmar wrote:
"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."

That describes the vast majority of adventurers. The irony is not lost on me.

Zmar wrote:
Let's break down this (you apparently really don't get it)

How very condescending. And I do get it, I just think you're wrong.

Zmar wrote:

a) Society decides - not the god. They are driven by his tenets, but not every world has gods actively taking part in everything.

b) Spell ruins plots, not god. If evil people get removed, there's no evil within to fight! (not to mention making LE merchants look untrustworthy when they really just mean business and don't want to give you a discount for shiny smile or to let your halfling friend have a drink).

Oh, the society is doing a 1984 in the name of LN god. Well that was ambiguous.

So, this society exists and the god isn't there all the time by gm fiat. K.
Evil is the only thing worth fighting against... because there is no Lawful/Chaotic alignment? Why would a CG force not rise up to overthrow the oppressive fascist theocracy? Alternatively, killing people based on their alignment goes against the doctrine of another lawful society and they attack. Not to mention "evil to fight" doesn't have to have [evil]. Or you could have the underground resistance of Master Spies, key theme: Nondetection is a second level spell. Suddenly, you have interesting plot with many shades of grey.
Evil doesn't mean untrustworthy, that's dependent on the other axis. Really it just sounds like you're describing a LN merchant, none of what you've said about him is evil.

EDIT: Internet failed, lost my first edit about the necromancer.
Answer: He's a high enough level to have an aura. The spell is high enough level to have an aura. If he's evil he detects.

Scarab Sages

Aioran wrote:
I didn't dismiss it, I finagled it with a technicality because of the way James Jacob explained it.
Snorter wrote:
So you admit, you're trying really hard to deliberately misinterpret it.
Aioran wrote:
Whether or not I actually support the argument I am putting forth does not affect the validity of the argument. But yes. RAI I think it's supposed to work that if you have no aura then you don't detect.

Well, if you're playing Devil's Advocate, carry on.

I can't criticise someone for doing something I enjoy.
It's a good idea to declare as such, or at least add a sarcastic emoticon, so you don't get tagged as 'that guy who just doesn't get it'.

I agree the matter would be much clearer, if the description stated that it detected 'the presence of evil auras.'

It's a simple cut'n'paste mistake, carried forward from D&D 3.5, when every creature capable of thought had at least a faint aura. The writers of 3.5 didn't need to specify that it was the aura you were attempting to detect. To paraphrase D&D 3.5:
"The spell/ability detects evil; here is a chart to show how strong creatures' auras are, from Faint to Overpowering."

The PF writers presented the flavour text as:
"The spell/ability detects evil; here is a chart to show how strong creatures' auras are, from NONE to Overpowering."

It seems crystal clear to me, that the intent is for creatures with 'NONE' as their aura to not register a reading, when tested by a spell or ability that explicitly reads auras. Maybe it doesn't use the word 'aura' in the one line in question, but throughout the rest of the spell description, the context is clear.


Aioran: "How very condescending. And I do get it, I just think you're wrong."

When you make
"I don't follow this, you have a LN god plotting away and then say it ruins plots? If by 'ruins plots' you mean 'is an homage to 1984', then yes."

from

"Can you imagine that a society driven by LN god starts to dabble magically in social engineering and removes / discriminates all children born with evil alignment? And we don't even try to define what's evil and detects as such. Better to leave low level characters undetectable and not to let the spell ruin plots."

then yes, I think misread it.

"So, this society exists and the god isn't there all the time by gm fiat. K."

They don't take part in it. Are gods like real people or more like ideas and philosophies (Works more that way in Eberron for example)? Not every time there is a godly leg to stomp infidels or kick the believers in the correct direction. In the same way I can say that by the very same DM fiat the gods do have hands in everything. Using DM fiat as a base to dismiss something in a game where pretty much everything is GM fiat is rather funny.

"Evil is the only thing worth fighting against... because there is no Lawful/Chaotic alignment? Why would a CG force not rise up to overthrow the oppressive fascist theocracy? Alternatively, killing people based on their alignment goes against the doctrine of another lawful society and they attack. Not to mention "evil to fight" doesn't have to have [evil]. Or you could have the underground resistance of Master Spies, key theme: Nondetection is a second level spell. Suddenly, you have interesting plot with many shades of grey."

So we have a few individuals really trying to save the evil in the world. Evil that is born in nature and technically irredeemable and doesn't really have much of gratitude. Are these people evil, or not? Is persecution of evil evil? Does that detect? I say that what really the detect spells can see is not that clear as you say.

"Evil doesn't mean untrustworthy, that's dependent on the other axis. Really it just sounds like you're describing a LN merchant, none of what you've said about him is evil."

Oh, but the players automatically tend to find evil people untrustworthy just on the basis of detecting evil, and you missed him being racist (reason for being evil) :)


I read the initial post and skimmed the responses, and responses to responses.
First rule, it's a game, try to have fun. If character A doesn't go with group B, stop and change.
That being said, what's lawful about being a fanatic and attacking people who have broken no laws? If you kill someone who you deem 'evil' that's still murder from the viewpoint of the local sheriff and magistrate. Indeed you could even 'justify' killing them in their sleep, since they would pose less of a threat. I would politely tell the Paladin, his god may be pleased with him slaughtering some heathens, but that will be cold comfort in the gallows.
The DM's role is not only to play opponents but to represent the society, culture and country the player is in. A Paladin should be zealous, but not a zealot. Pride and wrath are two of the seven sins.
Perhaps you as the DM could lead the character to a better way. An older mentor could explain that patience and humility would go a long way to finding a better way. Encourage the Paladin to watch and 'keep an eye on' the suspicious characters.


That...


Auras (imo) seem to be stronger by how PURE the evil in the said creature seem to be.

A murderer who kills because he is insane and CE, without any grander scheme, is a mad dog. His aura is weak because his murders are just wanton acts of insanity.

A cleric of an evil god kills at the behest of the strongest forces of evil in the known multiverse. He feeds a greater evil, and grows stronger from that evil. His murdering is calculated madness, be it his own ambition or him willingly being on the strings of an evil force.

An undead is animated by the forces of evil. Evil magic creates an inherently evil being. Their very existence is a blight, created with the purpose of spreading terror, death and despair.

A fiend (evil outsider) is evil given form. Where an undead is merely made animate by evil, the very fibers that make up a fiend is pure malevolence.

So the way I treat auras is that when you finally manifest one, your very being is permeated by evil. You have done so much wrong that your very soul is tainted, giving off an aura that can be discerned with magic. (A lv1 evil cleric has an aura, because he has sold his soul to evil powers)

(inb4 "What about a lv3 that has killed a million innocents": No. You are a bad GM if you make someone who has successfully caused insane amounts of evil into a low level character. Succeeding at your goals give you XP. There are multiple NPCs that have never/hardly done any adventuring who are level 10+)


If you want to look for clarification on what the spell detects then look at the other detection spells.

Every other alignment detection spell specifies that it detects only an aura.

So if those specify aura only (unless they all detect the presence of evil and then move on their own alignment specific aura) then detect evil is also only detecting the aura of their alignment, not the creature itself.

The presence of evil detected in the first round is based off of the auras that are present- so 1st round you know that something has an evil aura. 2nd round you know who and how many.

It seems pretty obvious on the face of it- if you have no aura there is no alignment to detect- because the spell is specifically looking for auras, that is how it determines if there is a presence or not.

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