All Holy Warriors are Paladins?


Homebrew and House Rules

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Shadow Lodge

Ilja, I missed a few abilities but the mechanics are still much easier to change. All of those abilities minus lay on hands (detect evil, smite evil, aura of good, justice, and righteousness, and Holy Champion) can easily be converted to some other alignment by find-and-replace. Healing (lay on hands, mercy) is also associated with good in general, but neutral clerics can channel positive energy just as effectively as good ones, and I've already proposed giving all evil paladins a destructive touch instead, again paralleling the cleric's channeling.

I also find it interesting that despite the fact that you find the Lawfulness of a Paladin more important than the Goodness, none of their mechanical abilities relate to Law at all. The only place it appears is in the statement that they must be and remain LG and in reference to their code of conduct. And if a Chaotic Cavalier still has edicts according to his order, why can't a Chaotic Paladin have a Code?

Ilja wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
The important part is the commitment to something.
The important part of the druid is the faith in something

All right, that was a bit too general. How about: The important part of a paladin is the commitment to a moral ideal, usually but not always LG.

The important part of a druid, as I see it, is faith in a physical-spiritual entity (essentially a totem), usually but not always an animal spirit or force of nature. By this definition, both undead and construct-themed druids could exist, even without a clear nature focus, though classic druids would probably have the same antagonistic relationship towards them as a paladin would have towards antipaladins.

I understand that some people would be opposed to that in an official product, but if it's framed as an alternate class, similar to an antipaladin, it preserves some status for the classic class while still allowing an official option for those who want one. Again, plenty of people don't like firearms in their fantasy and they don't play with Gunslingers. Doesn't mean it was wrong to make them an official class. Paizo can even make non-LG paladins illegal for PFS if it causes problems, but it would be nice to at least have an official footnote somewhere saying "if you want a paladin of a different alignment, do this."

phantom1592 wrote:
Seriously, it's insanely rare for an 'average' character to change alignments. That's because the other alignments arent' that tough.

I think that's partly because you get people who look at LG and say “that sounds like a heroic alignment, and I'm playing a hero, so I should be LG” without stopping to think whether they actually want to play a LG hero. It's also because many GMs are tougher on Paladins (who are LG) than on other classes because the Paladin is supposed to be extra LG.

And third, I don't think it's that uncommon for characters of other alignments to change. I played a True Neutral druid who crossed over into NG territory because she started doing community service and taking serious risks to help people outside her immediate circle. Luckily druids aren't required to stay True Neutral anymore.

phantom1592 wrote:
2)IN game... If EVERYONE with ANY attitude can call themselves a paladin... then the term holds no meaning anymore. Being identified as a paladin, should inspire trust and safety. The ultimate 'good guy'... If that guy is now CN... then your still screwed.

Then give champions of other alignments other titles that inspire different emotions. The CN guy is an anarch. The CG guy is a liberator. The LE guy is a tyrant knight. Or have paladins identify by deity or order and feel free to get a little nervous if you're approached by a Paladin of Asmodeus or a Paladin of the Order of the Divine Trickster.

Not to mention that you can always claim to be a paladin when you're not, especially if you've got the magical resources to fake the alignment. What if that nice Paladin turns out to be a CN arcane trickster under Misdirection?

phantom1592 wrote:
3)There are a LOT of people on these forums that argue that LG has nothing to do with following actual 'laws' and simply mean they have a personal 'CODE' that they do not stray from. I'm not 100% sold on that definition... It sounds a bit lazy to me.
Weirdo wrote:
A nonlawful paladin/champion's code of conduct isn't based on some external authority imposing restrictions on him, it's based on the fact that by nature of being a paladin/champion of a particular alignment he embodies a particular set of values. Since those values, whatever they are, are the source of the paladin/champion's strength, if they betray those values they lose their abilities.

I think that summed up my stance pretty well.

Grey Lensman wrote:
Part of the background of the paladin is that the flavor of the class is tied heavily into the Arthurian/Charlemagne "Strength through Righteousness" concepts. There isn't an equivalent of "Strength through Wickedness" on the other side of the coin, because that way is often faster and easier.

I keep seeing people justify LG-only paladins because of their purity and righteousness, but these things aren't exclusive of LG. Outsiders of any alignment are pure manifestations of that alignment. And righteous is defined as “morally right or virtuous” and people of all alignments generally consider themselves to be morally right or virtuous according to their own set of values. This is especially if we look at historical knights, where “righteous” meant “kill anyone of a different religion.”

And in my religious ethics class, we were explicitly told that lying to Nazis was the exception to the “lying is morally wrong” rule. If you can reasonably expect to kill these guys without putting your charges in danger, smite away, but your primary concern is to protect the innocents and other concerns like honesty can give way to that if necessary. if you're a level 1 paladin and a trio of high-level LE fighters come looking for the fugitives in your cellar, you do not fall for lying to them. Like the point “Devil's Advocate” makes about temporary evil associates, at times the greatest good needs to take priority. At least, that's the way my group handles this thing (and this variation is an excellent reason why you can't use the code of conduct as a balancing factor)


Weirdo wrote:
I keep seeing people justify LG-only paladins because of their purity and righteousness, but these things aren't exclusive of LG.

This can justify a CG Paladin equivalent, but still doesn't justify an evil one. If I was to make a CG holy warrior, I'd probably start with a hybrid ranger/paladin as a base. A warrior who embodies freedom is unlikely to want to be restricted by heavy armor, and the immunities should also work in a different order. Instead of bonuses vs. Fear and diseases, I'd give bonuses vs. charm/compel, holds, and paralysis.

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And righteous is defined as “morally right or virtuous” and people of all alignments generally consider themselves to be morally right or virtuous according to their own set of values. This is especially if we look at historical knights, where “righteous” meant “kill anyone of a different religion.”

My problems with this are twofold. The first is that fantasy Good isn't how things turned out in history. The second is that a 'Champion of Evil' doesn't work as well is it is merely someone who thinks he is good.


Weirdo wrote:
I also find it interesting that despite the fact that you find the Lawfulness of a Paladin more important than the Goodness,

I don't, really. It's more that when I thought about the paladinish characters that where not LG in other mediums, I could only come to think of lawful ones.

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none of their mechanical abilities relate to Law at all.

The code of conduct does and it's pretty central to many people's view on the paladin.

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And if a Chaotic Cavalier still has edicts according to his order, why can't a Chaotic Paladin have a Code?

It can. I don't think it should though. A cavalier is under no alignment restrictions, so there's nothing hindering a cavalier to have alignment-basing traits all over the place. A paladin is very restricted in it's alignment - a paladin as is can't easily have strong chaotic traits, and as such I don't think a chaotic paladin should have strong lawful traits (such as a code of conduct).

It's possible, of course, I just don't think chaotic paladins fit. Like, at all.

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The important part of a druid, as I see it, is faith in a physical-spiritual entity

I don't really see the difference. Aren't clerics the exact same thing, barring concept clerics?

Shadow Lodge

Grey Lensman wrote:
The second is that a 'Champion of Evil' doesn't work as well is it is merely someone who thinks he is good.

A Champion of Evil could think that the strong ought to take what they can even if it actively harms others, because it is wrong for someone to throw away power for the sake of the wellfare of the weak who will never achieve greatness. He gains his power from his rejection of charity or mercy. If he feels pity, he loses the ability to devastate those who stand in his way. He doesn't think he's good, exactly, but he thinks he's right.

Ilja wrote:

It can. I don't think it should though. A cavalier is under no alignment restrictions, so there's nothing hindering a cavalier to have alignment-basing traits all over the place. A paladin is very restricted in it's alignment - a paladin as is can't easily have strong chaotic traits, and as such I don't think a chaotic paladin should have strong lawful traits (such as a code of conduct).

It's possible, of course, I just don't think chaotic paladins fit. Like, at all.

But the official stance is that while a Cavalier can be of any alignment, they must follow their Edicts. A CN Order of the Shield Cavalier is under just as strong a requirement to protect the common folk as a LG Order of the Shield Cavalier is. The official product allows for chaotic characters with a code. There is nothing preventing the official product for allowing for a chaotic paladin with a code. A CG character, according to the alignment description "follows his own moral compass," which requires that he has a moral compass. He can have a code, it's just his own code.

Ilja wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
The important part of a druid, as I see it, is faith in a physical-spiritual entity
I don't really see the difference. Aren't clerics the exact same thing, barring concept clerics?

No, because deities aren't what I'd call a physical-spiritual entity. Maybe I'm not describing this clearly. A deity is a powerful individual being with spiritual power and the ability to affect physical reality. Whereas a druidic aspect of worship is a physical force that is ascribed with spiritual significance, a deity is a spiritual entity with physical presence. A totem is a physical entity with spiritual energy or power.

I know that some druids are described as serving nature deities, but I've never come across one. They're always "concept druids." And if a druid did serve a deity, that particular deity comes second to the physical reality of nature, whereas for a cleric of a nature deity the deity comes first.


Agreed on chaotic guys being able to have codes. However, the codes themselves, in my view of how alignment work, are a lawful trait. Someone who loves their personal freedoms, disregards tradition, lies and breaks all laws they come across but still has the rule of "no hurting poor people" is clearly chaotic.

However - the paladin's code is waaay more restrictive than cavalier's edicts. The paladin literally falls if she utters a single lie or even hang out with liers. What would the CN equivalent be? "Never follow an order"? "Take every chance you can to offend the traditions of people you meet"?

Having such a strict and definite code of conduct does not feel like a champion of chaos at all, and not having a strict code of conduct means you end up with a character with the strengths of a paladin but far less of the weaknesses.

Shadow Lodge

First, if a paladin fell for hanging out with liars it would be impossible to play a paladin in a party made up of anything but LG characters. A paladin "avoids working with anyone who consistently offends their moral code," but that doesn't mean that all their allies have to be as virtuous as the paladin - they are quite clearly able to work with neutral characters and even in an extraordinary case evil characters if doing so will serve a greater good. Insisting that the rest of the party isn't allowed to lie for fear of the paladin falling is what got paladins a reputation for being that one guy who ruins the game for everyone else.

Second, the paladin's code is a poor balancing factor.

There's a lot of variability in how strictly the code is enforced. When a paladin debate comes up you see both people who would cause a paladin to fall for a single minor transgression as well as people who believe that a paladin should only fall for repeated or significant transgressions. The latter camp would not penalize the paladin for lying to LE soldiers about the innocents hidden in the basement, or for other acts of subterfuge necessary to achieve the paladin's primary goal of protecting innocents and punishing those who harm innocents.

Even if we enforce the code with perfect uniformity across tables, there is a lot of variability in the actual costs of behaving according to the code. In some campaigns the GM will have villains take advantage of lawful good PCs of any class by hiding behind innocents or using legal protections or loopholes or playing on the PC's honour. A paladin's code of conduct is indeed a handicap in these situations. On the other hand, some GMs like to reward players for doing the right thing, will avoid putting PCs in positions where the good choice is painful, and will give social benefits or some form of good karma to those who are consistently good. A paladin's code in this sort of campaign isn't a weakness at all.

There are plenty of abilities that are going to be of varying power in a given campaign - for example, the undead sorcerer bloodline is fantastic if you're in a game with a lot of undead. But the paladin's code is particularly prone to this because it's very subjective and everyone has their own ideas regarding how it should be applied. If a paladin is only balanced when it can't tell a single lie, it's not balanced in the 40-60% of games where they get a little more leeway.

If you're going to be obsessive about following your alignment, it really shouldn't matter what alignment you follow since you'll always run into situations where it would be more convenient to act out of alignment. And if you're not going to be obsessive about it, there's no problem.


Weirdo wrote:
First, if a paladin fell for hanging out with liars it would be impossible to play a paladin in a party made up of anything but LG characters. A paladin "avoids working with anyone who consistently offends their moral code," but that doesn't mean that all their allies have to be as virtuous as the paladin

Correct, they do not have to be as virtuous as the paladin. However, she must avoid partying up with people who consistently offends her moral code - which includes people that consistently lies or cheat. I assume the paladin must be aware of it, but whatever. In other words, nothing bad happens if she parties up with a character that tells a lie now and then, but the rogue who gets by by cheating and lying all the time? The paladin must avoid her or fall.

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Second, the paladin's code is a poor balancing factor.

From a design perspective I agree completely, but regardless, it IS a balancing factor and removing it would drastically increase the lure of the class.

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There's a lot of variability in how strictly the code is enforced. When a paladin debate comes up you see both people who would cause a paladin to fall for a single minor transgression as well as people who believe that a paladin should only fall for repeated or significant transgressions.

And which of those do you see in the rules? I have no issue houseruling paladins to have a little more leeway, but when it comes to certain things - evil actions, lies, cheating, etc), one fail cause fall is written in the rules. I agree it's bad design to use that as the main balancing factor, but right now it is and is a reason why many prefer to play fighters or rangers over paladins.

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If you're going to be obsessive about following your alignment, it really shouldn't matter what alignment you follow since you'll always run into situations where it would be more convenient to act out of alignment. And if you're not going to be obsessive about it, there's no problem.

Which is why a "champion of chaos" can't really be restricted the same way a champion of good and law is. Since law includes tradition and generally being a rigid donkey, while chaos includes adaptability and opportunism.


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A "Champion of Chaos" is not, entirely, necessarily the same thing as a Paladin to a Chaotic god.

Remember the issue here is that the Holy Warrior must follow whatever code the god puts forth. In order for the god to willingly grant that power to the chosen Holy Warrior.

Given that a Chaotic person is likely do whatever int he hell it likes. IT may well be no Chaotic God will chose to empower a Holy warrior. OR a Chaotic God may empower a Holy warrior and just turn the thing loose on the world out of sheer amusement, to see what it does, and just as easily. turn around and strip the warrior the very next day out of spite.

The trick in the case of a potential Holy warrior in the service of a Chaotic Deity, is to find a line that keeps the god interested in the Holy Warrior and allows them to keep their powers. And also not to do something offensive to the God.

That;s a code of conduct as much as anything.

The point of the Holy Champion is he is graced by his God for serving a certain conduct the God wants enforced. for special power and benefits beyond what a Cleric receives.

Some Gods may not even do that. Some may not give out Palladio/Holy warrior power, at all. Which in a given setting resolves the need to worry about things like a Chaotic Neutral Holy Warrior. they may simply not exist.

Shadow Lodge

Ilja wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
If you're going to be obsessive about following your alignment, it really shouldn't matter what alignment you follow since you'll always run into situations where it would be more convenient to act out of alignment. And if you're not going to be obsessive about it, there's no problem.
Which is why a "champion of chaos" can't really be restricted the same way a champion of good and law is. Since law includes tradition and generally being a rigid donkey, while chaos includes adaptability and opportunism.

It also includes a resentment of authority. Someone who is as thoroughly a chaotic as a "cannot tell a lie" paladin is lawful is going to be unable to accept any kind of order or hierarchy. He will break every law he can get away with breaking and otherwise promote entropy. He will challenge everything at least a little bit, insisting that common sense is conformity dressed up pretty. Even the "adaptability" can be problematic if taken to its extremes. The character might insist on never using the same tactic in combat twice in a row, lest they become predictable.

If a lawful paladin cannot function in chaotic company - habitual liars and cheats - then a chaotic paladin likewise cannot function in lawful company. The Law-Chaos axis isn't a scale running from "has to strictly follow the law" to "does whatever he wants," it's a scale from "has a compulsion to follow the law" to "has a compulsion to rebel."

Law vs Chaos, CRB wrote:
Someone who is neutral with respect to law and chaos has some respect for authority and feels neither a compulsion to obey nor a compulsion to rebel.

If you don't actually feel compelled to rebel against lawful restraints you're not chaotic, and even without a formal code that's enough for Chaotic Champion to fall. A formal code is not the only kind of restriction on a person's behavior. The need for an extremely restrictive code is not an obstacle to a chaotic champion.


Weirdo wrote:


It also includes a resentment of authority. Someone who is as thoroughly a chaotic as a "cannot tell a lie" paladin is lawful is going to be unable to accept any kind of order or hierarchy. He will break every law he can get away with breaking and otherwise promote entropy.

But the Paladin can't lie even when she can't get away with it. See the difference? For a chaotic character it'll just be "well I'll do this when it benefits me but if it doesn't, because I can get caught, I'll skip it".

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He will challenge everything at least a little bit, insisting that common sense is conformity dressed up pretty. Even the "adaptability" can be problematic if taken to its extremes. The character might insist on never using the same tactic in combat twice in a row, lest they become predictable.

Which is also extremely vague.

Could you write an example code of conduct on a CN paladin that is as restrictive as the paladin code of conduct but doesn't have lawful components and still internally makes somewhat sense? It'd be easier if we had some example text to work of.

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The Law-Chaos axis isn't a scale running from "has to strictly follow the law" to "does whatever he wants," it's a scale from "has a compulsion to follow the law" to "has a compulsion to rebel."

But the paladin has to follow the law, as long as it's decreed by a legitimate authority (which I agree is pretty vague, but still). Break one law and you fall. So having a code of conduct that is "will challenge the law at least a little bit" is incredibly allowing compared to that.

Shadow Lodge

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At least in Golarion, Paizo has unofficially/officially specified that their intent with "legit" authority was sort of from the Paly's point of view. Even for a Paladin without a patron deity, it was the authority of LN, LG, and NG deities first, their order or nations ruler second, and lastly Lawful native laws last, but only when they do not conflict with the others.

So for example a Paladin can free "legally"enslaved slaves in Cheliax regardless of the fact that is the law of the land, if they are Paladins with a background in the Eagle Knights or know of an acceptible deity who forbids slavery, without risking losing their Paladinhood.


I will take a crack at the CN codes. I am coming up with this as I write so it's not polished.

Well there are two sorts of CN "paladin", one that is empowered by a god and the other that is empowered by CN alingment forces of universe. The two would have vastly different codes.

Lets say god following is 1) and the one without god(at least empowering him/her) is 2, mind you I will not put things in 2) to 1), 1 will just have things spesific to deity things.

1) I will take a god of battle, because it is and easy rather universal concept. Also battle is most definetly Chaotic and neutral in itself. War on the other hand could be in the domain of a lawful deity much easier.

*You do not surrender in battle, you may retreat but not surrender. Because surrender is submission an abonamition to freedom which is part of chaos. However this does not mean you are not allowed to stop figting for other reasons, for example mistake in identification.
* While you are allowed to take things by force and use that to make people comply, you will lose your powers if you should ever try to impose their freewill.

2) Like said this is a character following the spirit of CN.

* You are not allowed to submit to anything. If you agree to something it should be because you truly want it, not because it's convinient.
* You are not allowed to have slaves or people in similar position.
* Never use compulsion magic.(Hard to get this in to form I want but remove fear is cool, while charm and dominate are not.)
* Challenge everything that restricts your freedom. This does not mean that you must light up your pipe in a tavern that does not allow smoking, if you do not smoke in the first place. (Mind you this applies only to you, it's the purview of CG to protect other's freedom)

Could go on with more time and thought but that should give an idea. I will admit that CG and CE would be much easier. CG could be champion of freedom while CE would basically be joker for example. All that said it does not mean that CN is not viable concept. NN would be the only one I have hard time picturing without god. Champion of balance sounds little more LN than NN as a concept.


Okay, issues with those codes:
1) This is a veeery soft code.
* Not allowed to surrender is just a little bit restricting if you're still allowed to retreat/flee. If the enemy want to take you prisoner, they'll probably just knock you out. If the enemy doesn't want to take you prisoner, they'll kill you anyway. It's very rare this is going to be restricting, compared to say, "not allowed to lie".
* This is a reaaaaally weak requirement. "Oh, I'm not allowed to make you my prisoner, but I can take everything you own and only give it back if you agree to do what I want you to do. Yes, that includes your clothes and shoes and food".

Compared to the paladin, this is a massively less restricting code.

2) Quite weak and self-contradictory.
* But if I truly want convenience, this does not restrict me at all.
* Okay, fair. A very minor restriction, but clear and not contradictory.
* Yeah, that's about the weakest restriction ever for a martial character.
* This code of conduct restricts my freedom and thus I must challenge it. Sorry, won't work.

See what I mean? I'm not saying it's impossible, but it's very hard to do a good code of conduct for an alignment such as CN.


I see your points. Though I disagree, some of it is my fault for using faulty english.(Not native speaker) So let me try to explain my intent.

First those were not intended to be full codes. Just examples of parts of the code.

1)
* The retreat thing was more intended as to fight another day, not backing down from the larger conflict.
* This is because of the neutral part, CN means it has good and evil in it. Claim of property is lawful concept. This is like the chaotic version of tyranny. And the idea was that physical conflict is nothing more than getting your way by force. Altough agreed its not that good.

2)
* Now I really do not mean to insult. But your statement is the kind of lawering that would never fly at my table. With that I mean while the statement is correct, it defies the intent. Same as while paladin code says no lying, I would see that part also covering deceit in some forms.(Feint in combat is cool, but something like implanting memories would not while it is not lying)
* - (I should have numbered these I now realize)
* This is also about assosation with characters the "paladin" works with. Also magic items. I did think about banning all magic that influences emotions, thinking that remove fear also takes away a reaction of the mind. Maybe with caveat that it's okay to remove other such effect with spells.
* I do not see this as a code per se. The "paladin" received the powers in the first place because this is who he is. The CN force is not concius being that judges it reacts to behavior.

That brought to mind. I think with chaotic "paladins" there shouldn't be rules as such as it's with lawful side of the coin. It should be about intent and spirit not rigid following. This is on the scope of chaotic paladins in general not the two examples above. Or that is probably if I were to sit down to actually write this stuff as a project to start with them.


Bigger Club wrote:
* The retreat thing was more intended as to fight another day, not backing down from the larger conflict.

The thing is though, how often does that happen to the PC's in a campaign anyway? It's very rare, in my experience, though YMMV.

2)

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* Now I really do not mean to insult. But your statement is the kind of lawering that would never fly at my table. With that I mean while the statement is correct, it defies the intent. Same as while paladin code says no lying, I would see that part also covering deceit in some forms.(Feint in combat is cool, but something like implanting memories would not while it is not lying)

Sure, but when you have a code of conduct that is determined from case to case by the DM that itself can be an issue. If an ogre mage comes up to the 1st level such paladin and says "Give me your money or I'll kill you!" it's very easy to argue that "what I truly want is to survive" - now, that's an extreme example, but you get my point. It's so vague that it's very easy to game/lawyer it - which means the DM has to adjudicate from case to case what the paladin _PC_ truly wants - which itself is an issue (a DM determining a PC's motivations). Either that, or the player can get away with about anything through changing what the PC wants - and having quite a fickle mind on what you want and not seems like a chaotic trait itself.

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* This is also about assosation with characters the "paladin" works with. Also magic items. I did think about banning all magic that influences emotions, thinking that remove fear also takes away a reaction of the mind. Maybe with caveat that it's okay to remove other such effect with spells.

Still, it's a very, very soft rule that will have practically no effect at all unless the paladin goes out of his way to learn Spellcraft and identify all his friends magics or they tell him "this is a compulsion effect". And if it follows the normal rules for associates, it's repeat violations. So for a regular paladin, allying with people who he know lies, cheats, uses poison, or commits evil acts on a regular basis is off limits. To this paladin, allying with people who he knows uses compulsion or charm effects on a regular basis is off limits.

There's a very large difference in limitation there.

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* I do not see this as a code per se. The "paladin" received the powers in the first place because this is who he is. The CN force is not concius being that judges it reacts to behavior.

That works as an explanation. It's better to have that in the code in that case, though.

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That brought to mind. I think with chaotic "paladins" there shouldn't be rules as such as it's with lawful side of the coin. It should be about intent and spirit not rigid following.

Yes. This is what I've been saying all along. The thing is that with that, it becomes much, much easier to follow - which means it lessens a quite severe drawback on a class that is already considered powerful among the martials. I think creating a blessed warrior of an ideal that is not chivalrous righteousness is great (this thread inspired me to this one- but I don't think it should be a paladin with less restrictions; it needs to have a bit less strength than the paladin if it has less weaknesses.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Gwiber wrote:
Would it not make more sense to create a class and label it something like; Holy Warrior; and simply give it all the paladins powers, yet change the “Good” alignment denotations. To the Good/Evil/Neutral instead? Simply change the “Good” Descriptor in the class, to Good/Evil/Neutral everywhere in the class entry?

What would ACTUALLY make sense is to do what Paradigm Press did in Arcanis, they created Holy Warriors for every one of their dieties including ones that sponsored Paladins.

Aside from having fighter bab and d10 hit dice, everything else was customised to each God. (It's important to note that unlike their followers, the Gods of Arcanis have no alignment, and have clerics of all alignments, although they don't generally get along with each other.)

Shadow Lodge

Ilja wrote:
But the Paladin can't lie even when she can't get away with it. See the difference? For a chaotic character it'll just be "well I'll do this when it benefits me but if it doesn't, because I can get caught, I'll skip it".

That was my "sanity clause," like the rule about "legitimate authority" that prevents a LG paladin from having to sacrifice kittens, support slavery, or turn himself over for torture and reeducation because Lord Villainous makes a law saying that it's required. For example, a CN champion who breaks the "don't murder" law is going to become CE pretty fast, and that defeats the point.

Ilja wrote:
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He will challenge everything at least a little bit, insisting that common sense is conformity dressed up pretty. Even the "adaptability" can be problematic if taken to its extremes. The character might insist on never using the same tactic in combat twice in a row, lest they become predictable.
Which is also extremely vague.

So is "acts with honour (doesn't lie, doesn't cheat, doesn't use poison, and so forth)." That "and so forth" could cover a lot of ground.

Ilja wrote:
Could you write an example code of conduct on a CN paladin that is as restrictive as the paladin code of conduct but doesn't have lawful components and still internally makes somewhat sense? It'd be easier if we had some example text to work of.

Sure, let's use the LG paladin's code as a guideline to make sure they're as comparable as possible.

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

A CN paladin must be of chaotic neutral alignment and loses all class features except proficiencies if she ever willingly commits a lawful act.

LG Code wrote:
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.

Additionally, a CN paladin's code requires that she undermine authority, respect free will (not using compulsions, not giving orders, not entering into binding contracts or requiring them of others, not keeping slaves or prisoners, and so forth), help those who seek to break the law (provided they do not use the help to enact a different set of laws or otherwise enforce their will on others), and punish those who enforce external codes of behavior on others.

I could add a bit more detail or more restrictions, but that seems to parallel the LG paladin's code pretty well.

LG Code wrote:
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.

Associates: While she may adventure with chaotic or neutral allies, a CN paladin avoids working with lawful characters or with anyone who consistently offends her moral code. Under exceptional circumstances, a paladin can ally with lawful associates, but only to defeat what she believes to be a more restrictive lawful entity. A CN paladin should seek an atonement spell periodically during such an unusual alliance, and should end the alliance immediately should she feel it is supporting lawful society more than undermining it. A CN paladin may accept only henchmen, followers, or cohorts who are chaotic neutral (and due to the CN paladin's code, may not hold these henchmen under binding contracts or give them orders).

Note: you could also just outlaw the leadership feat altogether for the CN paladin, but I think it's sufficient to leave the CN paladin with followers who aren't totally reliable and aren't expected to be.


Weirdo wrote:
So is "acts with honour (doesn't lie, doesn't cheat, doesn't use poison, and so forth)." That "and so forth" could cover a lot of ground.

The difference being that the "and so forth" isn't the only thing in the code ;)

Weirdo wrote:


Sure, let's use the LG paladin's code as a guideline to make sure they're as comparable as possible.

A CN paladin must be of chaotic neutral alignment and loses all class features except proficiencies if she ever willingly commits a lawful act.

Additionally, a CN paladin's code requires that she undermine authority, respect free will (not using compulsions, not giving orders, not entering into binding contracts or requiring them of others, not keeping slaves or prisoners, and so forth), help those who seek to break the law (provided they do not use the help to enact a different set of laws or otherwise enforce their will on others), and punish those who enforce external codes of behavior on others.

Associates: While she may adventure with chaotic or neutral allies, a CN paladin avoids working with lawful characters or with anyone who consistently offends her moral code. Under exceptional circumstances, a paladin can ally with lawful associates, but only to defeat what she believes to be a more restrictive lawful entity. A CN paladin should seek an atonement spell periodically during such an unusual alliance, and should end the alliance immediately should she feel it is supporting lawful society more than undermining it. A CN paladin may accept only henchmen, followers, or cohorts who are chaotic neutral (and due to the CN paladin's code, may not hold these henchmen under binding contracts or give them orders).

This isn't so bad - it's actually quite useful. There are a few issues though:

1. What is a "lawful action" is far more vague than what is an "evil action". If you look at the lawful vs chaotic and good vs evil descriptions in the description chapter:
What evil characters do: "Evil characters and creatures debase or destroy innocent life, whether for fun or profit."
What evil implies: "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 acting evil is debasing or destroying innocent life; by hurting, oppressing and killing others, and doing it willingly always makes a paladin fall.

What lawful characters do: "Lawful characters tell the truth, keep their word, respect authority, honor tradition, and judge those who fall short of their duties."
What lawful implies: "Law implies honor, trustworthiness, obedience to authority, and reliability. On the downside, lawfulness can include closed-mindedness, reactionary adherence to tradition, self-righteousness, and a lack of adaptability. "

So what actions are lawful actions? Is telling the truth a lawful action? According to this description it seems so. But making the paladin fall for telling the truth is so much worse than the LG paladin falling for lying - it's more or less impossible to play such a character. Does honoring a single tradition make the paladin fall? Is respecting an authority - even one that makes sense to respect, such as a doctor being an authority on health saying you should cut down on the ale, make the paladin fall?
If these things do make the paladin fall, I can't think of a single character concept that would actually feel like a real individual that would find these good ideals - and chaos is heavy on the individualism.
If not, it's all down to DM adjudication and the "may not make a lawful action" becomes meaningless.

2. Having cohorts means you become an authority, and then you must undermine yourself. It would make more sense just to ban the leadership feat for them.

3. Undermining authority - see comment on doctors and health above. She'd have to be like those hippies/conspiracy theorists who seek to undermine the authority of doctors all the time with the "they're just drugging you to make you brainless zombies" yadda yadda. And of course this applies to a lot of other circumstances too.

It's not a bad start, but many of the things do not work very well.

Shadow Lodge

Ilja wrote:
The difference being that the "and so forth" isn't the only thing in the code ;)

Well, that's because you were comparing the brainstorming version to a final product. :)

Ilja wrote:
1. What is a "lawful action" is far more vague than what is an "evil action".

That's because there's generally a bigger interest in the Good/Evil axis in the game than the Law/Chaos axis. But we can address this. Looking at the description of lawful characters, we see it's about:

1) Submission of the individual to the collective in the form of laws, traditions, concern with honour, etc.
2) Consistency of individual behavior with past words or actions (reliability, keeping one's word) or with an objective reality (truthfulness).
3) Allowing certain people (authorities) to enforce the above.

This isn't too much harder to handle than "evil is about hurting, killing, or oppressing others." Moreover, a character can reject these values and actions without being forced into something as silly or unbelievable as "always lies, always does the opposite of what they are told, no exceptions." In detail, referencing the official description and with bold on the key bits:

Tell the truth - It's lawful to draw a distinction between a universal objective truth and fabrication and assume that the former is inherently preferable. A CN Paladin does not consider truth inherently desirable and therefore appears as a compulsive liar. They do tell the literal truth at times, particularly when tactical accuracy is called for, but truth is mixed in with equal parts metaphor and outright fabrication according to whatever makes a more interesting story or makes the CN paladin look good. While this may sometimes be advantageous to the CN paladin, the fact that they continue this behavior even when the lies are easily recognized (and is unapologetic when found out) may cause social difficulty. The CN paladin falls for apologizing for a lie, judging others for their dishonesty, or recounting a story of their exploits without embellishment or fabrication.

Keep their word, trustworthiness, reliability - A CN paladin does not make promises or otherwise encourage others to rely on them. To do so implies that it is reasonable to expect a fellow person to keep promises and be reliable, which is a lawful act. Since a CN paladin doesn't make promises, they feel no compulsion to either keep or break them.

Respect authority, obedience to authority - A CN paladin opposes any individuals who attempt to use a position of authority to influence others' behavior or thoughts. They will undermine these individuals by the most expedient methods possible, including heckling, exposing scandalous behavior, discrediting their credentials or office, or in extreme cases physical violence. This does not mean that a CN paladin must reject expertise (more on that below). A CN paladin falls for using a title of authority (Lord, Sir, Your Honour) or accepting an argument that is based solely on an appeal to authority or conformity. Note this doesn't require a CN paladin to abandon rational thought. A cop says "You can't swim there, it's illegal," the CN paladin laughs in his face. Cop says "Don't swim there, that water is highly toxic" or "you'll contaminate the town's water with filth fever," the CN paladin is allowed to agree that it's not a good idea to swim there, though he still doesn't say "sorry, officer."

Honor tradition, reactionary adherence to tradition - Similar to the above, a CN paladin who follows a tradition for the sake of tradition, in the absence of any evidence of that tradition's merit, will fall. For example, a female CN paladin will not wear white to their wedding. (In fact, a CN paladin will not have a wedding, since marriage is firstly a promise and secondly a request for legal or social approval of a romance, both of which are lawful things. A better example would be that a CN paladin won't wear black to a funeral, and if someone criticizes their dress the CN paladin will mock the idea that the color of one's clothes has anything to do with one's feelings for the deceased.) The CN paladin isn't required to break traditions that are based on practical benefit, such as washing one's hands after using the washroom, and may follow certain "fun" traditions divorced from their usual context, for example decorating a tree in July because why should that sort of thing be limited to Christmas?

Honor (personal) - A CN paladin fights dirty, cheats, or otherwise does whatever it takes to gain an immediate tactical advantage. In seeking such advantage the CN paladin does not take into account social fallout, since that is allowing the opinions of others to impede his performance.

Judge those who fall short of their duties, closed-mindedness, self-righteousness - Nothing is taboo to a CN paladin except mindless conformity and imposing external laws on others, and the CN paladin does not judge others for unlawful or dishonorable behavior including but not limited to improper dress, adultery, or cannibalism, nor is the CN paladin concerned with social caste. A CN paladin is still allowed to object to obviously evil behavior such as murder of innocents, though unlike a CG character he is not required to personally oppose it.

Lack of adaptability - A CN paladin does not have habits. They mix up marching order and combat tactics, and pursue a broad range of skills. A CN paladin falls for consistent use of the same tactic without variation, or for a single instance of failing to depart from a favoured tactic once it has become clear that that tactic is ineffective (though I would hope that this one is common sense for most adventurers along the lines of "don't murder random people in the street for fun.").

Ilja wrote:
2. Having cohorts means you become an authority, and then you must undermine yourself. It would make more sense just to ban the leadership feat for them.

Sure, I was thinking that "followers" could serve as contacts for a CN paladin, but I'm perfectly happy to forbid it entirely.

Ilja wrote:
3. Undermining authority - see comment on doctors and health above. She'd have to be like those hippies/conspiracy theorists who seek to undermine the authority of doctors all the time with the "they're just drugging you to make you brainless zombies" yadda yadda. And of course this applies to a lot of other circumstances too.

This is an issue of authority vs expertise. In one sense expertise can be described as authority as in "he is an authority on sleep disorders," but there's a distinction that is very important for the CN paladin. Authority is making the claim that because of some title, political office, formal education, legal status or certification, you are intellectually or morally superior, more important, or more competent. Expertise is actually being good at something and being able to assist or advise others using that skill. In many cases, such as with doctors, we expect a strong correlation between the two. Doctors are expected to have medical expertise because they have spent a long time in formal education intended to grant this expertise.

However, the CN paladin does not believe that formal education or certification implies competence. This view is not even unreasonable in a typical fantasy setting where self-taught people are not uncommon and a clever midwife or barber-surgeon could easily be as skilled a healer as a formally trained doctor, and an inspired oracle wields healing magic just as strong as a church-sanctioned cleric.

A CN paladin is suspicious of doctors and requires that they demonstrate actual expertise rather than just formal authority. A doctor who is an effective healer, who treats patients respectfully as equals, and who explains the reasons for medical recommendations (I've had fifteen heavy drinkers as patients and they've all died young; I want to try maggot therapy since the risks are low and it might save your leg from amputation) will be acceptable to the CN paladin and may gain their respect, though the CN paladin still does not respect or use the title of "doctor." A doctor who flaunts credentials, treats patients as stupid or inferior, refuses to explain or justify treatments or medical advice, or who refuses to consider that medical dogma may be wrong, is assuming the mantle of authority and becomes the enemy of the CN paladin. Similar rules apply to anyone


“If the Paladin ceased to have an alignment requirement, why would people bother to play one when they could get just as much for less hassle?”

Seriously? Why play an LG Fighter? Why play an LG Rogue or an LG Wizard? Because you want to. Of course, because you want to.

That should be the reason from the get-go. What class do I want to play? Rogue. What alignment do I want that character to be? LG. Done and done.

Heck, I can even decide to play a Rogue character of the Lawful Good alignment with the added factor of an oath he swore to himself that he must stab in the back the people that deserve it, steal from the wicked and give to the needy, keeping none of it for himself and should he ever waver from this, he must stab himself in the palms of both hands such that his sneaky skills are unavailable to use and remain that way until he pays (not “gets his Cleric buddy to cure for free”, but pays) to have the wounds healed.

Should I therefore campaign on the forum boards that all Rogues should be that sort of a character, adopting that alignment and keeping a Code of Conduct like that? No. The very idea is absurd. That’s the whole point, it’s absurd. Absurd for the Rogue, absurd for the Paladin.

I’m all for people playing LG Paladins because they want to. Let me say that again: because they WANT to. The process of character creation shouldn’t be: “I want to play a combat-oriented, divine casting sort of character, so my choice of class is Paladin. Now, I’d like to also choose my alignment, but Paladins have to be LG so I’m stuck with that.”

One CAN lead to the other. One need not REQUIRE the other.

The creation of the Archeologist archetype for the Bard didn’t do away with music-using Bard characters, right? (Or other types of performances, of course.) The allowance of non-Lawful Samurai didn’t do away with Lawful Samurai. Not every Bard in the game is Lawful just because now they can be. Or did I miss the memo?

These concepts can survive expansion, you know. They’re big boys now. They’ve been around for decades, and even though some of us are tired of them, that’s not going to negate everyone else who still prefers the classics. (And if those original concepts can’t handle expansion, then one has to wonder what the point was in the first place.)

“But how do these other alignments handle adopting a Code, lawful things that Codes are, maintaining a good Code for good’s own sake being more difficult than a neutral or evil Code?”

“Moral compass.”
“Cavaliers have edicts that they must follow even if Chaotic. Wash, rinse, repeat.”
“Keep it on a case by case basis, not codified in the book at all, other than to say to the player that he must have a conversation with the GM and create some kind of Code.”

My question is this: why have a Code at all? It’s the same thing as the alignment restriction, a Sword of Damocles hanging over the player’s head, threatening loss of abilities at the slightest whim as far as the player has any say in the matter (the GM’s reason may be quick and dirty, or deliberate and thought out, but in either case, the player can’t argue with it, except to walk away entirely). And to be honest, I fail to see the point.

This is supposed to be a game. A pastime, an enjoyable experience, a cooperative storytelling venture. He should be able to look forward to Saturday (or whichever day(s) of the week) and anticipate the fun; not dread and loathe the upcoming argument that may happen.

Regardless of class, no matter the concept, whether the players and GM are all on the same page regarding alignment and its interpretations or whether the GM has sworn to ignore the issue or whether the players are playing classes/concepts that don’t care what alignment the GM has plastered on them this week, the players should be able to enjoy their character.

One’s playing a Fighter. Have fun. One’s playing a Witch. Have fun. One’s playing a Paladin. Have fun. That should be it.

This argument should not even be happening. This conversation, right here, and on every other similar thread. It’s not worthy of us.

Look, I understand where the other side is coming from. The Paladin came from a specific concept that was then mechanically built up. I (and those like me), however, are looking at the mechanics first, seeing that there’s little if anything to require they be married to that specific concept (and the little that does is just so easily interchanged with like abilities, as evidenced by the Anti-Paladin), and then we’re just bewildered that those mechanics are nevertheless tied to that specific concept.

Especially when they could be NOT tied to that specific concept and therefore available for more people’s enjoyment. At no cost to the people who enjoyed the original concept (unless, of course, we’re talking about someone who can’t enjoy playing his LG Paladin unless he knows that somewhere else, someone else is stuck with a character he isn’t enjoying).

Yes, the Paladin is the way it is because of how things used to be. Elves used to be their own class, weapons used to have weapon speeds, initiative used to be rolled every round, humans used to be the only species that could dual-class (or whatever it was called), and we used to want to roll low on our attack rolls.

We’ve moved on. We’re just trying to move on here as well.


Quote:
and we used to want to roll low on our attack rolls.

Vhen vas dis?????

Shadow Lodge

Tectorman wrote:

. . . Heck, I can even decide to play a Rogue character of the Lawful Good alignment with the added factor of an oath he swore to himself that he must stab in the back the people that deserve it, steal from the wicked and give to the needy, keeping none of it for himself and should he ever waver from this, he must stab himself in the palms of both hands such that his sneaky skills are unavailable to use and remain that way until he pays (not “gets his Cleric buddy to cure for free”, but pays) to have the wounds healed.

Should I therefore campaign on the forum boards that all Rogues should be that sort of a character, adopting that alignment and keeping a Code of Conduct like that? No. The very idea is absurd. That’s the whole point, it’s absurd. Absurd for the Rogue, absurd for the Paladin. . . .

Actually, that sounds like a pretty amazing Rouge that would be fun to play with.


Weirdo wrote:

The CN paladin falls for apologizing for a lie, judging others for their dishonesty, or recounting a story of their exploits without embellishment or fabrication.

A CN paladin falls for using a title of authority (Lord, Sir, Your Honour) or accepting an argument that is based solely on an appeal to authority or conformity. Note this doesn't require a CN paladin to abandon rational thought.
A CN paladin does not have habits.

I see one inherent problem with this. Basically, it's the same problem I see with a chaotic Samurai/cavalier.

How, exactly, can you be a chaotic character, when everything you do is because it's part of a code?
Or, even if you Don't do it because it's part of a code, if you disrespect any type of authority, then wouldn't you go out of your way to blatantly ignore the rules of any entity that would grant you power because you adhere to their particular form of chaos?
Either you're so chaotic that you'd fall just to so you could piss off the authority figure that is the thing giving you your power, or you Only act chaotic because your code requires it... thus being lawful.

The way I see it, you either Are chaotic because you want the power, thus you follow rules, or you're chaotic because you're just chaotic, and something is rewarding you for that quality by giving you power... in which case, why wouldn't every truly-chaotic entity on the planet just Have those powers?

An anti-paladin, I can understand. They're not Just chaotic, they're evil. They do what they do out of fear, or a lust for power, which overrides their personal want of freedom. They're anti-paladins Because they're evil, and follow the doctrines of chaotic/evil gods because those are the only ones whose doctrines are close enough to their own desires that they can stomach being told what to do by them.

Shadow Lodge

Geno wrote:

I see one inherent problem with this. Basically, it's the same problem I see with a chaotic Samurai/cavalier.

How, exactly, can you be a chaotic character, when everything you do is because it's part of a code?
Or, even if you Don't do it because it's part of a code, if you disrespect any type of authority, then wouldn't you go out of your way to blatantly ignore the rules of any entity that would grant you power because you adhere to their particular form of chaos?
Either you're so chaotic that you'd fall just to so you could piss off the authority figure that is the thing giving you your power, or you Only act chaotic because your code requires it... thus being lawful.

Pretty sure I explained this somewhere else in this thread, but I'll repeat it.

A chaotic paladin does not follow the code because his deity or religion told him to. He does not follow the code because he made a solemn oath, even to himself, that he would do X, Y, and Z. He follows the code because he feels it is the right thing to do, because it is in his nature to be chaotic and to revel in it. And the fact that he has such strong conviction in chaos is what gives him his powers, not some outside authority. If he breaks the code he betrays the strength of his own convictions and thus loses the ability to channel these powers.

This is in fact the way I and some others feel about the LG paladin - he doesn't follow the code because his deity says so and because he'll get fall-slapped if he breaks it. He follows it because he deeply feels it is the right thing to do. And thus it's not actually the deity or patron of a paladin that gives him his powers, but rather his own devotion to the ideals/primal forces of Law and Good.

Geno wrote:
The way I see it, you either Are chaotic because you want the power, thus you follow rules, or you're chaotic because you're just chaotic, and something is rewarding you for that quality by giving you power... in which case, why wouldn't every truly-chaotic entity on the planet just Have those powers?

Same reason not every strongly LG character is a paladin.

Because they don't have a conviction that chaos is the right thing, or they don't have the inspirational ability/charisma to be a proper champion of that concept, or they don't feel the need to run around smiting the forces of law.


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Ilja wrote:

Playing a LG character isn't so hard. Playing a character that becomes an NPC class if it ever utters a lie, or if it parties with people who routinely lie, and that can only get them restored by a mid-level spell costing 500 gp that requires the character to be truly repentant; that is hard.

I can't really see what chaotic neutral code of conduct you can make that both makes some kind of basic sense and still is as hard to live with as the current paladin code.

EDIT: If the paladin was hiding fugitives during the 2nd world war and SS knocked on her door asking if she did, she'd be forced to either lose her class abilities or tell them that "yes, I do". Which might work if they're like two random 1st level warriors - but I don't know how many of those patrols she can take down until they send an army after her.

"A paladin who ceases to be lawful good, who willfully commits an evil act, or who violates the code of conduct loses all paladin spells and class features"
"Additionally, a paladin's code requires that she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth), "

"If you tell a single lie for any reason you immediately fall!" is a rather childish interpretation of the "act with honor" clause, and I'm reasonably certain it's an incorrect reading of the rules to have a paladin vow for breaking it to begin with. That "ever violates the code of conduct" clause strikes me more as a sloppily worded attempt at conveying something along the lines of "any other major violation of the above-stated code, such as routinely and casually allying with evil characters, or other conditions specifically laid out in a custom set of vows worked out between you and your GM." The actual "Code of Conduct" section of the paladin rules, which exists to specify and clarify the standard they are held to (as opposed to the Ex-Paladins section this comes from, which is focused on the consequences of falling) very clearly isolates the bit about acting with honor from the actions that would provoke a fall. The gist is, "Don't go evil or I'm taking your powers away. Also, if you're going to be representing me, try to keep it classy, would ya?"

That said, with your nazi example here...

First off, the premise is a bit absurd, as others have noted. Being a paladin calls for actively opposing evil, not accepting it as the status quo and doing what you can to help people out in a passive way without really sticking your neck out. The only way I could really see the situation unfolding is if the paladin is severely incapacitated, like if she's been permanently blinded and is waiting around for a cure, or she's 9-months pregnant or something.

Even if that was the case though, why is the paladin forced to be the one to go open the door and talk with these nazis? Doesn't she have any friends who are better suited to fast-talking the authorities? Wouldn't she be better off staying behind the scenes with the fugitives, making sure she's there to fight for their safety if needed, and keep them in range of her aura of courage during this tense scene? But OK, for argument's sake, there's nobody else around. They're all out looking for someone who can cast remove blindness on our poor pregnant paladin or whatever.

Why say anything at all? If they're definitely going to come in and have a look around, you can cut to the chase and say something like "Well if that's all you're here for, you're welcome to come in and look!" The hypothetical seems to imply otherwise though, which gives us the option of just saying "How dare you accuse someone of my standing of such a thing! Have you no shame?" and slam the door. That should cow them, especially coming from a heavily pregnant blind paladin and all. If it doesn't though, what are they going to do about it? Rough you up? Haul you off to stand trial for disrespecting your authority? Those are hits you should be willing to take for the team. But, just to keep things interesting, let's say they try and force an answer out of you by like... casting zone of truth and suggestion- "Answer the question!" and you pass the will save on the former and fail the latter, or some such.

Telling the truth would not be the honorable option here. Presumably, you've vowed to protect the people hiding in your basement, and if there's literally no way to do that beyond lying here, that sure as hell takes precedent over never telling a lie. But let's say your god is a real stickler about this sort of thing, doesn't believe in extenuating circumstances, and is just kind of being a childish jerk about the whole honor thing.

I'm fairly sure they'd still let this one slip. We're taking it for granted that this paladin is faithful to a god who's pro-fugitive and anti-nazi, and the final authority on these matters, right? At this point, either you insist your paladin tell the truth, the fugitives you care about are discovered and killed, and probably the paladin too, or, your paladin breaks their vows, willfully sacrificing her own powers to serve your best interests. That's kind of a way better test of faith than seeing if you can make someone follow an arbitrary rule just to see if they can stick to it. If you're a properly good deity, you're obligated to reward that sort of thing.

If the god in question really is pro-nazi, anti-fugitive though? Well then sure, paladin falls. This is some downright heretical behavior she's exhibiting!

Shadow Lodge

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Googleshng, I agree with you on pretty much all of that. However, I have seen frequent posts on the forums saying that the paladin's code absolutely would cause them to fall if they lie about harboring fugitives because as written a single violation is sufficient.

Some think that this indicates the code needs fixing, possibly a reversion to the 3.5 version which read "a paladin falls for gross violations of the code of conduct." Some people think that it is right and proper for a paladin to fall for the tiniest fault.


Weirdo wrote:

Googleshng, I agree with you on pretty much all of that. However, I have seen frequent posts on the forums saying that the paladin's code absolutely would cause them to fall if they lie about harboring fugitives because as written a single violation is sufficient.

Some think that this indicates the code needs fixing, possibly a reversion to the 3.5 version which read "a paladin falls for gross violations of the code of conduct." Some people think that it is right and proper for a paladin to fall for the tiniest fault.

I'm in agreement, to an extent. A paladin should be held to that higher standard, and that even breaking her code for a good cause is wrong. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." That's pretty much the defining ideal behind being a paladin. The 'better way' is just that; not some times, not when it's convenient, but All the time.

For the given example of harboring fugitives, though... well, that wouldn't happen. A paladin isn't the type to Hide from a dictator, and safe-guard innocents from the "law." A paladin would be searching out that dictator, and taking steps to see that he is removed from power. Yes, innocents will die in the process, but not so many as would die if the paladin protects the few instead of the many. Good tells a paladin to protect people; Law tells a paladin to protect as many people as possible.

Shadow Lodge

Geno wrote:
For the given example of harboring fugitives, though... well, that wouldn't happen. A paladin isn't the type to Hide from a dictator, and safe-guard innocents from the "law." A paladin would be searching out that dictator, and taking steps to see that he is removed from power.

Maybe, but I can see a paladin, while also engaged in other activities, serving as the bodyguard for a few fugitives as they fled the country. It would be just as inconvenient being unable to lie in that situation as it would be if the fugitives were hiding long-term in your attic.


To the OP, this is a little cool. Working on a base class to cover this to a point.


After two years I'm coming back to this topic merely because it came up recently in game, and I think it sorta needs revisited.

I'm still of the opinion that limiting the paladin, as an archetype “Holy warrior” is a bad thing. I;m not against a Paladin being for Lawful Good only supporting deities. I am against Only Lawful Good supporting deities being the only deities who GET Holy Warriors.

The best solution I could see is a cleric redesign, which would probably have ot come in a new book or a new edition.

Bring the Cleric as a base class more in line with the Wizard, give him light armor and similar spell casting abilities, just Divine instead of Arcane, with perhaps a slighter wider domain choice than they have now. Once they hit Prestige Class levels. Give them the option to remain Clerics like a Wizard might remain the base Wizard class, or, let them prestige into Priest (Or some other name of the class) Or Holy Warrior.

Priest becoming a better caster, maybe more narrowly focus in Domains, at the expense of combat ability, while the Holy Warrior gets an increase in armor proficiency, and combat ability, and the expense of casting ability. Each Prestige class gaining special abilities as they level up just like any other Prestige class. The Lawful Good Holy Warrior would call itself a Paladin; or whatever the Deity in question likes calling its Holy Warriors.

And all you have to do in the deities entry and say “This Deity doesn't have Holy Warriors”, to bar say.. CE or Chaotic Neutral Warriors from existing; if that deity doesn’t have them.


Ilja wrote:

Playing a LG character isn't so hard. Playing a character that becomes an NPC class if it ever utters a lie, or if it parties with people who routinely lie, and that can only get them restored by a mid-level spell costing 500 gp that requires the character to be truly repentant; that is hard.

I can't really see what chaotic neutral code of conduct you can make that both makes some kind of basic sense and still is as hard to live with as the current paladin code.

EDIT: If the paladin was hiding fugitives during the 2nd world war and SS knocked on her door asking if she did, she'd be forced to either lose her class abilities or tell them that "yes, I do". Which might work if they're like two random 1st level warriors - but I don't know how many of those patrols she can take down until they send an army after her.

"A paladin who ceases to be lawful good, who willfully commits an evil act, or who violates the code of conduct loses all paladin spells and class features"
"Additionally, a paladin's code requires that she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth), "

"Legitimate" authority, not 'any' authority. By nature blatantly evil authority such as that would not be legitimate to a paladin


Well now there are Warpriests and Inquisitors. Holy warrior away.


Kryzbyn wrote:
Well now there are Warpriests and Inquisitors. Holy warrior away.

Inquisitors are thematically non-martial. Warpriests are a waste of space failure of class design. I still don't see anyone that can have the skill of a warrior all day every day and have divine support without being of one of two specific alignments.


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Atarlost wrote:
Kryzbyn wrote:
Well now there are Warpriests and Inquisitors. Holy warrior away.
Inquisitors are thematically non-martial. Warpriests are a waste of space failure of class design. I still don't see anyone that can have the skill of a warrior all day every day and have divine support without being of one of two specific alignments.

Bane and Judgment. Inquisitors are totally thematically Martials. They just happen to be Martials who are also diplomats and interrogators. They can fight well as archers or two-handed power attackers or sword-and-boarders without really giving up their skills or utility in their magic.


The "theme" one is looking for is what a Paladin represents specifically, except for any deity. Inquisitors have a certain point to what they do. and its not representing purely the warrior holy man of the battlefields. Clerics do to an extent. but they aren't quite as martial as Paladins are supposed to be


Essentially, this is very easy to solve.

A lawful good paladin serving a chaotic evil deity means that his:

A) Law is to sow chaos, basically.

B) Goodness is that he values his deity's principles and beliefs far above his own.

So you are a lawful good paladin that cuts down innocents and wishes for the world to end because of love and respect for your deity and the unshakable belief in the righteousness of her code.


That's really NOT how the alignment system works for the game however.


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Gulian wrote:

Essentially, this is very easy to solve.

A lawful good paladin serving a chaotic evil deity means that his:

A) Law is to sow chaos, basically.

B) Goodness is that he values his deity's principles and beliefs far above his own.

So you are a lawful good paladin that cuts down innocents and wishes for the world to end because of love and respect for your deity and the unshakable belief in the righteousness of her code.

That's not what Good means.


. . . . .


Gulian wrote:

Essentially, this is very easy to solve.

A lawful good paladin serving a chaotic evil deity means that his:

A) Law is to sow chaos, basically.

B) Goodness is that he values his deity's principles and beliefs far above his own.

So you are a lawful good paladin that cuts down innocents and wishes for the world to end because of love and respect for your deity and the unshakable belief in the righteousness of her code.

As completely wrong as it is hilarious.

That could be an anti paladins code of honor. :)

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