On Paladins and just being a good player.


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Liberty's Edge

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This is a story that is not about a paladin, but illustrates why many of us hate the paladin threads.

I have a player in one of my groups who decided to make a clouded vision oracle. He spent a lot of time coming up with the concept, worked hard to maximize the benefits he could get out of darkvision and to minimize the penalites of his limited vision.

When I am running rather than playing, particularly as we get to higher levels with so many creatures on the board, I often will forget that he can't see something on the table that is outside of his visial range.

He always reminds me.

Let me say that again.

He always reminds me.

He made a character that he wants to play. He wants to play the charater, not game the system.

If his character can't see the flying creature because it is too far away, he doesn't want to cheat.

If you make a paladin, part of playing a paladin is playing the code of that paladin. How you define that code is between you and you GM. But you made a decision to play a class with a specific limitation, in the same way my friend chose to play a class that can't see beyond a certain distance.

My friends Oracle is an absolute beast in dungeons and close quarters, but when you put him in an open field he has to adjust.

A paladin is an absolute beast against evil, and other times...has to adjust.

One of the reasons I get so short with people on the threads is that I come from a largely self policing group. We (Generally) don't invite people back who we can't trust to try to play the game honestly.

The few people we have in the game who can't handle this aren't allowed to play paladins and have to have spell sheets on the table and check them off as they go in front of the GM. They understand, it isn't a Red "A" on their chests, they just know they will fudge if we let them.

The guy who plays the oracle. No one questions him, he can play whatever he wants. He is always welcome at every table.

Everyone should strive to be more like him, rather than being "that guy"

Dark Archive

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Hear hear! Glad to see the true spirit of gaming is still thriving somewhere.

Do you have room at your table for an honest Lich?


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So you see no difference in adhering to a clear rule (you cant see past x feet) and an argument over the overly ambiguous mess that is the dnd/pathfinder alignment system? Seriously?

The problem with paladins isnt that people intentionally break the code and want to get away with it (not that this doesnt happen its just not the problem with the code). Its the fact that as you say, the dm and the player have to agree on what the code means and how it is actually implemented, and for the most part that is really hard to do. Ive seen threads where a detailed code been posted (i forget what paizo product had a bunch of codes for different deities) and still people couldnt agree on what it meant and how that applies to in game situations.

We can all agree that if you cant see past 30ft you shouldnt react to things at 50ft. If I have to have a detailed discussion with my dm on how weapon focus works, something is wrong. If in thousands of message board threads we havent resolved how channel energy is to be used in game, we have issues. But these lines:
"Code of Conduct: 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."

Have been the subject of more discussion, more confusion, and more table conflict then how many levels of magic user gandalf has. And that is a problem. It has been a problem for a long time, and its not the fault (usually) of some deceitful and dastardly player for trying to take advantage of it. Its that everyone has their own picture of how a paladin should act, and more often then not the two pictures dont look the same.

Liberty's Edge

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If you can't get on the same page as your GM about the definition of "evil" you shouldn't be playing a Paladin with that GM.

Full stop.

As I said, we have a player in our group who is no longer allowed to play a paladin because he sucked at it. He was playing a Paladin of Helm and didn't understand why he should be defending a little girl rather than hiding.

He's also, by his own admission, a little bit on the asperger's spectrum so he often has to be told when he isn't getting it.

Not everyone can play a paladin in the same way not everyone is organized enough to play a wizard.

It is the players job to make and play a character they are able and willing to play. If they can't get on the same page as the GM and/or the table, they shouldn't play that character.

It's selfish.

Dark Archive

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Why shouldn't the Paladin code be vague? Isn't that the point? Shouldn't there be room for interpretation by the Player and GM of each game? After all, wouldn't a Paladin of a Lawful Good Deity behave differently than a Paladin of a Chaotic Good Deity? Going one further, wouldn't Paladins of different deities have different priorities and codes based on his/her deity's portfolio?

After all, if every Paladin had to abide by the exact set of rules, have the same personality, regardless of their patron deity, wouldn't they all act the same? This would mean that the Paladin class is the player's version of a railroady adventure - you can't act how you want to, you must play a certain way no matter what. Why would any player choose to play a Character Class that railroads him/her into playing it the same way each time?

This "One True Paladin" debate has gone on for years and years, causing lots of disagreements and aggravation. Moreso than it deserves. However, I've never experienced it first-hand in any of my 30+ years (dear Lord, was 1978 that long ago?) of gaming. Many players (including myself) have played Paladins. In each case, the Paladin had subtle differences in behavior and his/her interpretation of the Paladin code. Never once did it cause an issue at the game table, as the DM/GM always went with the player's character concept and made it work.

Variety is the spice of life! Methinks thou dost protest too much.

Viva la Paladins! (and their diverse interpretations of codes).

Liberty's Edge

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It always comes down to this.

Either you trust your GM or you don't.

If you don't, you have three options. GM yourself, find a new GM or find a good theraphist to help you deal with your trust issues.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The same can be said about trusting your players. I dm and play, does that mean i am a different person when i am dming then when i play? Nope, still the same falable, biased, human being i was on the other side of the dm screen. DMs have the same issues as players, they do not suddenly become a righteous and holy when they take up running an adventure. It is possible to disagree with your dm about something and not be automatically wrong. Trust goes both ways my friend, and I dont know if you just dont normally play the game with friends or what, but I can disagree with my players or with my dm, and it doesnt mean the table has to break up, it just means we have to come to an agreement.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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I guess I haven't seen enough paladin discussion, because from the few threads I've actually looked at, I got the impression that the main issue was not so much trust as illiteracy.


The game has plenty of vague areas where the GM has to step in. I personally think Wish is much more of a headache than the paladins code.

Hopefully both the player and the GM can communicate with each other and be good sports. I mean if a wizard wanted to make a wish to have full BAB progression I would tell the player right away that was beyond the spells abilities. If the paladin wanted to do something evil I would let them know what I thought of the action and that falling was a possibility.

It really helps if you know who is running your game I admit. I game with a guy that played a NG lich and murdered hundreds of farmers creating a famine in order to force a rival kingdom into surrender. The GM of that game let them keep the NG alignment. I doubt most others would.

Liberty's Edge

Kolokotroni wrote:
The same can be said about trusting your players. I dm and play, does that mean i am a different person when i am dming then when i play? Nope, still the same falable, biased, human being i was on the other side of the dm screen. DMs have the same issues as players, they do not suddenly become a righteous and holy when they take up running an adventure. It is possible to disagree with your dm about something and not be automatically wrong. Trust goes both ways my friend, and I dont know if you just dont normally play the game with friends or what, but I can disagree with my players or with my dm, and it doesnt mean the table has to break up, it just means we have to come to an agreement.

Or that person can't GM and is better suited as a player. When I started playing, I would have been a horrible GM. It wasn't until I earned the trust of my group I could be the GM.

Not everyone is cut out to be a GM of every group.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think it's absolutely an issue of trust, and is explicitly the mutual trust between the player and the GM.

There's something (or should be, in a mature, reasonable group) of an unspoken contract when the decision to include a paladin in a party is made. From the player's perspective, it goes something like this: "I will play this character as an upstanding, honest, Lawful Good character. He will be likened to Sir Galahad, Benton Frasier and Clark Kent. You are free to include moral ambiguity and complex moral/ethical issues into the campaign so that we can explore how this character handles them. In return, you will not trick me or create situations where my character is forced to lose his paladinhood. Should he do so through my informed choices, that is fine, as that is how I choose his character to develop."

Hmm... I just realised something.Almost every single issue with the paladin could be addressed with one word replacement: if "willingly" were instead "knowingly", a huge chunk of these issues wouldn't crop up.

Liberty's Edge

Well said, Chemlak.

Although some story elements don't work well with the "knowingly". Not that you couldn't just make it so the Paladin must always try to right any such wrong once they become aware, lest they fall.


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The text of Atonement suggests that a paladin falls even if the evil act was unwilling and/or unknowing:

Atonement wrote:
If the atoning creature committed the evil act unwittingly or under some form of compulsion, atonement operates normally at no cost to you.

Sure, you don't need to pay a 2500gp fine, but you still fall and need to seek out a ninth-level cleric to beg to be allowed to play the game again if you are tricked into doing something with evil consequences or forced to perform an evil act by a Dominate effect. Don't ask me why anyone thought this was a good game mechanic.

But man obviously the real problem is those evil players who just want to cheat the system man I hate them.

ciretose wrote:
Although some story elements don't work well with the "knowingly".

Yeah it would really suck if we couldn't arbitrarily strip a player of all class features for doing something they had no way of knowing was in any way wrong. I mean getting randomly screwed over is the whole point of the paladin class right?

Silver Crusade

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The problem I usually see when someone wants to play a Paladin: the other players immediately go out of their way to make characters that can't legitimately work with a paladin in a long term campaign.

Joe: "I want to make a paladin."
Bob: "Well then I'm making a CE Necromancer."
Susan: "I want to be a Rogue with Profession (slaver)."
Mike: "Can I make a Death Knight?"
Bill: "Is energy draining peasants evil? It's not like they are PC's."
DM puts head on table and groans...

Well, that's been my experience, anyway. YMMV :-)


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Most of the complaints I see on the boards about paladins falling stems from GMs using the class as a storytelling crutch. It's a cliche and it singles out players. I'm not saying it can't be done right, but it almost never is.

If you want to make a story personal to a player, make it about the character, not the class.


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Oddly I see running a paladin as being very similar to running a "chaotic neutral" PC.

Basically once you decide to do one or the other, the typical game becomes an ongoing discussion (in the best case) or argument (more typically) about the nature of alignments in Pathfinder.

In either case I think such games are fine, but I feel they should be attempted only by highly experienced GMs and a mature, reasonable group of players.

The issue around "honestly playing a PC" can become a related topic, but those don't always involve diving head-first into the morass of subjective and sometimes confusing rules around alignment. Before the paladin discussion can become about "playing the character honestly" the GM and player have to have firm agreement on how alignment works in the first place. And that's been a rare thing in my experience.


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A good trick for players who "can't play paladins" is to have them write up a long back story. They can talk with the GM about the actual character moments, saved village from X, found lost artifact of Y, etc.
Once they have 10-15 GM approved moments, they have to write up a good 5 pages or so of history. This should help them remember who the character is, and try and meet the characters goals stubbornly, rather then give into the players desire to be rich and alive.

Also you are lucky to have good examples at the table. You could try to openly praise these kinds of actions in the attempt to classically condition your players. :P


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sowhereaminow wrote:

The problem I usually see when someone wants to play a Paladin: the other players immediately go out of their way to make characters that can't legitimately work with a paladin in a long term campaign.

Joe: "I want to make a paladin."
Bob: "Well then I'm making a CE Necromancer."
Susan: "I want to be a Rogue with Profession (slaver)."
Mike: "Can I make a Death Knight?"
Bill: "Is energy draining peasants evil? It's not like they are PC's."
DM puts head on table and groans...

Well, that's been my experience, anyway. YMMV :-)

Your problem here is that your players are, frankly, being dicks.


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Also: the honest behaviour of the player in the OP - I'd expect nothing less from any player...


redliska wrote:


Hopefully both the player and the GM can communicate with each other and be good sports. I mean if a wizard wanted to make a wish to have full BAB progression I would tell the player right away that was beyond the spells abilities. If the paladin wanted to do something evil I would let them know what I thought of the action and that falling was a possibility.

Permanent Transformation.


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Assuming Base LG Paladin (for which the requirement were written for) - this will limit ambiguity.

"Code of Conduct: 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."

Mechanics-wise you can pretty much ignore the first part completely. First of all, it takes a large number of acts to change an alignment. Second, "evil act" is in itself ambiguous. Some people will say that any killing is an evil act, some will say any not in self defense, and yet others say its ok to kill if for the greater good.

Legitimate Authority...mkay. If they don't have the exact beliefs I do, I won't recognize them as legitimate. Ignore this one to for mechanics.

Act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poisons, and so forth)
There are at least a few concrete examples here.
If the paladin lies, no more powers.
If the paladin cheats, no more powers.
If the paladin uses poison, no more powers.
If the rogue lies, cheats and poisons? It isn't the paladin doing them himself, but does allowing it make him and accomplice, thus indirectly violating the oath? (I say yes)
Stealing? Not specified, but most would say that is included.
Looting? Most would say no, but this means you are not returning items that usually belonged to someone else (i.e indirect stealing). (I say paladin should need to return them)
Abandoning companions? Likely but not specified (I say yes)

Help those in need
Can ignore all but the most glaringly obvious ones...damsel getting eaten by a dragon, 5 yr old getting executed, etc.
Even those can logically be explained away (evil witch vs. good dragon, 5 yr old is an Old One in disguise)
Beyond the obvious, how to "help" is a discussion as bad as the alignment discussion.

Punish those who harm or threaten innocents
Same as the last sentence of the "Help" part - how to define either of the aspects.
A child acts up and is spanked; should the paladin step in. Some say yes, some say no.

Summary:
Sure ways to break the code:
-lie, cheat, poisons
Likely ways to break the code:
-allow lying, cheating, poisoning
-stealing and allowing it
-abandoning dying/fighting companions and "innocents"
Everything else is up to RP.

Liberty's Edge

Funky Badger wrote:
Also: the honest behaviour of the player in the OP - I'd expect nothing less from any player...

Yet it seems to be such a rare thing...


jj_wolven wrote:
If the rogue lies, cheats and poisons? It isn't the paladin doing them himself, but does allowing it make him and accomplice, thus indirectly violating the oath? (I say yes)

So if the rogue, who didn't roll a paladin and never signed up for the restrictions of the paladin's code of conduct, chooses to use poison, should the paladin... leave the party forever? Attack the rogue? Get a raise for Darklord Hitlermancer so that he can kill him properly?


There are rules for who the paladin can associate with. Nothing is wrong with associating with people who break the code, only with associating with the evil.

Silver Crusade

Whale_Cancer wrote:
There are rules for who the paladin can associate with. Nothing is wrong with associating with people who break the code, only with associating with the evil.

And they can associate even with evil if it's for a greater good, including redeeming that evil.

Hell, the Redeemer paladin archetype can evil have an evil cohort or followers if that's the endgame of their relationship.


sowhereaminow wrote:

The problem I usually see when someone wants to play a Paladin: the other players immediately go out of their way to make characters that can't legitimately work with a paladin in a long term campaign.

Joe: "I want to make a paladin."
Bob: "Well then I'm making a CE Necromancer."
Susan: "I want to be a Rogue with Profession (slaver)."
Mike: "Can I make a Death Knight?"
Bill: "Is energy draining peasants evil? It's not like they are PC's."
DM puts head on table and groans...

Well, that's been my experience, anyway. YMMV :-)

I have the opposite problem. Someone will pick an evil character, then someone else goes good.


yeah... I think the OP raises some good points about player honesty... but I honestly don't think that has anything to do with the multitude of Paldin threads. It's like having two discussions at once here.

Most of the threads i see are not about trying to 'work the system' or blatenly min/max or cheat... It's about differences in what 'good' means and how 'good' the world is that you play in.

Usually due to the DM's error of not informing the player what he expects. If Orcs are poor misunderstood, and you plan to have a paladin fall without having a 3 day negotiation with villains of the quest... I kind of put that on the DM.

I'm having a BLAST with my paladin right now, but everyone at the table is on the same page morality wise...

Playing to your weaknesses is a fine and fun thing to do... butbeing willing to do that doesn't mean you won't run into an ethics debate sometime in the campaign.


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Here are a few of the things I have seen people on this forum say are grounds for a paladin immediately falling:

* Executing a prisoner
* Waiting a day to interrogate a prisoner (instead of charging ahead on a mission)
* Not immediately attacking a BBEG who is too strong to kill and who would kill the paladin without any effort (remaining but not attacking after the rest of the party fled)
* Being in a party with anyone who has committed an evil act
* Killing an evil demon without first confirming that the demon was not secretly a Lawful Good risen demon
* Using arrows

You have to be willfully ignoring pretty much the entire contents of every paladin thread to come away with the impression that the only reason people argue about paladins is that players are dirty cheaters who deliberately ignore the code and hate role-playing and just want to kick puppies.

Silver Crusade

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Sometimes it's the DM, sometimes it's the player...

When I was 16 I DMed my 14 year-old brother and some of his mates in AD&D 1st ed. One of his mates wanted to play a paladin so we had a conversation about what it means to be a paladin. At one point they took a goblin prisoner. After questioning, the paladin said, 'I kill the goblin!'

I pointed out that killing a prisoner (who hadn't actualy done anything wrong, had co-operated and who had been promised his freedom in return for said co-operation) would be an evil act.

'Right, I accidentally fall on 'im wi' me axe!'


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Roberta Yang wrote:

Here are a few of the things I have seen people on this forum say are grounds for a paladin immediately falling:

* Executing a prisoner
* Waiting a day to interrogate a prisoner (instead of charging ahead on a mission)

I enjoy how sometimes I've seen a thread saying 'Killing bad guys is fall worthy....' AND 'NOT killing a Bad guy and being responsible for all the innocents he hurts later, is ALSO fallworthy' Both in the same day O.o


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phantom1592 wrote:
Roberta Yang wrote:

Here are a few of the things I have seen people on this forum say are grounds for a paladin immediately falling:

* Executing a prisoner
* Waiting a day to interrogate a prisoner (instead of charging ahead on a mission)

I enjoy how sometimes I've seen a thread saying 'Killing bad guys is fall worthy....' AND 'NOT killing a Bad guy and being responsible for all the innocents he hurts later, is ALSO fallworthy' Both in the same day O.o

Actually, those two were from the same thread. A paladin waited a day to get a spell so they could speak with a kobold prisoner from a clan who stole children and, when the prisoner divulged no information, executed them - and immediately fell. Some people (including the GM when he showed up) said the paladin deserved to fall for killing the prisoner instead of releasing him into the wild or spending several days dragging him back to town for trial, but others argued that the paladin should fall for trying to get information in the first place, since it delayed the rescue mission and might lead to children dying.

It's a Morton's Fork, but if you complain about it, ciretose would like to inform you that it's your own fault and you're a cheater.


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Roberta Yang wrote:
It's a Morton's Fork, but if you complain about it, ciretose would like to inform you that it's your own fault and you're a cheater.

Ciretose all around has some funny ideas about this game, and most of them involve him telling you you're wrong and calling all of your arguments strawmen regardless of whether they are or not.

That's if he deigns to acknowledge them at all, which he generally doesn't if they make him look bad.

This one is particularly baffling though, since a lot of the time it's the GM who's being "that guy" unless it's blatantly the Paladin trying to do evil things in the name of good.

Liberty's Edge

I think if the alignments were more defined and the Paladin actually had a code of conduct we would see less arguments and dislike of the class as a whole. Every edition of D&d imo has had the worst alignment system that I have seen in rpgs. The best one is Palldium imo where the define exactly what you can or cannot do with your alignement. I never had trouble with players running their Paladins as fantasy version of dirty harry or Lawful Stupid. Or had gms or players or both try and screw over the player wanting to play the Paladin because what you can or cannot do is clearly spelled out.

Liberty's Edge

Roberta Yang wrote:

* Not immediately attacking a BBEG who is too strong to kill and who would kill the paladin without any effort (remaining but not attacking after the rest of the party fled)
* Killing an evil demon without first confirming that the demon was not secretly a Lawful Good risen demon
* Using arrows

I hope your Joking. So because a player does not want his character to commit sucide he is not engaging in proper Paladin behavior. Really you have to use detect evil on a demon just in case it's a lawful good demon. Really. Using arrows how is that not proper Paladin behavior. I can't wait to hear why.

Roberta Yang wrote:


You have to be willfully ignoring pretty much the entire contents of every paladin thread to come away with the impression that the only reason people argue about paladins is that players are dirty cheaters who deliberately ignore the code and hate role-playing and just want to kick puppies.

I want to disagree yet imo your 100% correct. It's almost as if some Dms, players or both just wait for a player to make a Paladin to screw over a player who does imo. The poorly defined vague alignment system imo does not help either.


memorax wrote:
Roberta Yang wrote:

* Not immediately attacking a BBEG who is too strong to kill and who would kill the paladin without any effort (remaining but not attacking after the rest of the party fled)
* Killing an evil demon without first confirming that the demon was not secretly a Lawful Good risen demon
* Using arrows

I hope your Joking. So because a player does not want his character to commit sucide he is not engaging in proper Paladin behavior. Really you have to use detect evil on a demon just in case it's a lawful good demon. Really. Using arrows how is that not proper Paladin behavior. I can't wait to hear why.

NOPE!

That thread's OUT there!! And to really blow your mind, Demons still DETECT as Evil since they have the evil outsider tag.... But that doesn't mean they haven't reformed >.<


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memorax wrote:
So because a player does not want his character to commit sucide he is not engaging in proper Paladin behavior.

Yes. This is a thing people were proposing: literally fall or die, otherwise you are a bad roleplayer. (Butbutbut you might always roll 20 and he might always roll 1 so death isn't literally 100% guaranteed~)

memorax wrote:
Really you have to use detect evil on a demon just in case it's a lawful good demon. Really.

No, don't be ridiculous. A Lawful Good demon still pings as evil to Detect Evil because it still has the [Evil] subtype. You can't just go around smiting things just because they are literally demons and detect as evil. Do you not have any idea how paladins work?

memorax wrote:
Using arrows how is that not proper Paladin behavior. I can't wait to hear why.

The argument was based on the "must act honorably" part of the code. If you shoot an arrow at someone and they aren't carrying a bow, they can't shoot back, so you're attacking someone who is effectively unable to fight back, which is dishonorable. Also, in medieval Europe, use of crossbows in warfare were sometimes looked down on by the nobility because they made it possible for a peasant to kill a noble (which didn't stop every army from using them), ergo using a bow in a world with monsters and demons is dishonorable, ergo the paladin falls.

That argument died down when someone pointed out that the iconic paladin carries a bow.


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99 percent of the paladin problems have to do with jerk DMs and other party members that love to make paladins fall. Its a sick corruption fetish right along with elf abuse on the common "that guy" behaviors.

There used to be rules for paladins to tithe their earnings towards their church or charity in general, this was partly to keep them in check (when they were considered to be better back in the dark ages of 1st and 2nd ed) and to burn off negative karma points for minor crap or "no good choices" crap.

I've personally played a black vs white paladin, a lawful good doesn't mean lawful nice kind of character, the sword hand of justice type. Mercy was for the repentant, and he had no problem executing unrepentant prisoners if he had enough legal justification and jurisdiction.

Then I've played a grey knight, where morality was squishy and sometimes it was for the greater good for an evil to go un-righted.

I've not played a pure as driven snow almost pacifist white knight though, just not interesting to me, and the personality type you have to role-play is irritating for the party and GM TBH. Yipee, its Captain Passive Aggressive, now we have to plot behind his back to get anything done.

Many styles are fine, as long as the paladin is internally consistent and isn't actively being screwed by the narrative or other players.


Roberta Yang wrote:
memorax wrote:
Using arrows how is that not proper Paladin behavior. I can't wait to hear why.

The argument was based on the "must act honorably" part of the code. If you shoot an arrow at someone and they aren't carrying a bow, they can't shoot back, so you're attacking someone who is effectively unable to fight back, which is dishonorable. Also, in medieval Europe, use of crossbows in warfare were sometimes looked down on by the nobility because they made it possible for a peasant to kill a noble (which didn't stop every army from using them), ergo using a bow in a world with monsters and demons is dishonorable, ergo the paladin falls.

That argument died down when someone pointed out that the iconic paladin carries a bow.

I'll admit this one took me a long to accept myself. The idea of a Paladin... who refuses to stand up front and instead hid in the back of the other party members and shot a bow where it was safe strikes me as... off.

Personally I prefer the captain america types who lead the charge. I know one guy who suggested a horse archer Paladin.... one who rode his horse in grand circles and pegged people off in the center.

It didn't sound very honorable and I was kinda glad that was one of the 'theory-craft' characters that didn't see game play ;)

Still... with gods like Erastul, and the flying wizard scenario everyone loves... Bows and Paladins have their place. My own paladin has a bow for emergencies he's found... Used it to defend a keep last week in fact. Shot some of the soldiers who were trying to set the fort on fire QUITE dead!

He was very proud since his Dex is only 10... First game I've HIT with that stupid thing ;)


notabot wrote:

99 percent of the paladin problems have to do with jerk DMs and other party members that love to make paladins fall. Its a sick corruption fetish right along with elf abuse on the common "that guy" behaviors.

I admit... I can sometimes SEE why a DM wants to bag himself a Paladin. They are the figureheads.. the superman role models and while playing all the 'bad guys'... It's kind of a fun challenge to see if you break him. FYI, these are urges that SHOULD be repressed a bit. ;)

What I DON'T understand... is why do PLAYERS join on the bandwagon?!? Seems most of the time nobody would consider playing an assassin or Necromancer UNTIL someone presents a Paladin!!!

Why would people do that another player???


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As a GM I have never had a paladin fall.

On a few occasions I've had to tell a paladin player that actions the paladin had taken were egregious enough to require atonement, and laid out the level of atonement required. In every case the paladin player agreed and performed the atonement and on we went.

I can't remember the worst example of paladin acting against their vows, but it certainly wasn't anything like a "white lie". In my mind a lie has to be said with the specific intent to deceive. A "lie" that is merely conversational courtesy does no such thing and as such is no more damaging to a paladin's "oath" than a druid slapping a mosquito would violate their "oath" to revere life.

Many of the things that I see on these boards, or hear from other players, are things that would make a paladin impossible to play. A paladin attacking a demon who radiates evil is not a reason to fall, it's an understandable misunderstanding. Even if they were to fight to the death and the paladin discovered the mistake, mistaking an evil-radiating demon for an enemy of good is completely understandable.

Now, if the paladin attacks the demon and hacks it to pieces while the demon repeatedly says "I'm a reformed demon!" and refuses to return the attack, that would be worth looking at, but I can't imagine any player I game with being that dense.

None has been so far anyway.

90% of this "the paladin must fall" stuff just makes me shake my head. Paladins are not intended nor expected to be perfect arbiters of truth and justice. They are expected to do the best they can with the information they have available to them.

Just like any other mortal receiving judgment from the gods.

Now part of the information that a paladin has available to them is that they have taken certain sacred oaths, so that does have to be taken into account. But the vast majority of "lose-lose" scenarios would not be lose-lose in my games if the paladin player truly played the paladin to do the best they could with the information they had.

Intent matters.

Silver Crusade

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Adamantine Dragon wrote:

Now, if the paladin attacks the demon and hacks it to pieces while the demon repeatedly says "I'm a reformed demon!" and refuses to return the attack, that would be worth looking at, but I can't imagine any player I game with being that dense.

This is much closer to the actual argument being made by most of those against paladins killing risen/rising fiends. If there's evidence and hints that something is different about the fiend in question, then it's on the paladin's head for derping.


Mikaze wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:

Now, if the paladin attacks the demon and hacks it to pieces while the demon repeatedly says "I'm a reformed demon!" and refuses to return the attack, that would be worth looking at, but I can't imagine any player I game with being that dense.

This is much closer to the actual argument being made by most of those against paladins killing risen/rising fiends. If there's evidence and hints that something is different about the fiend in question, then it's on the paladin's head for derping.

I remember this thread(regards to a wererat). Paladin shows up in a Wererat's home. Wererat tells him to leave. Paladin starts hitting him. Wererat tells him to stop. Paladin kills wererat.

There was a big split between people who felt that the Paladin should fall and those who thought that Wererats are always evil and should be killed.


Roberta Yang wrote:

Here are a few of the things I have seen people on this forum say are grounds for a paladin immediately falling:

* Executing a prisoner
* Waiting a day to interrogate a prisoner (instead of charging ahead on a mission)
* Not immediately attacking a BBEG who is too strong to kill and who would kill the paladin without any effort (remaining but not attacking after the rest of the party fled)
* Being in a party with anyone who has committed an evil act
* Killing an evil demon without first confirming that the demon was not secretly a Lawful Good risen demon
* Using arrows

You have to be willfully ignoring pretty much the entire contents of every paladin thread to come away with the impression that the only reason people argue about paladins is that players are dirty cheaters who deliberately ignore the code and hate role-playing and just want to kick puppies.

The reason people argue so much about paladins is, generally, that they come into the discussion with a huge personal bias and blinders on, and assume whatever personal table rules and levels of interpersonal antagonism they're familiar with are universal. Basically, what it comes down to is:

1- Are we looking at a campaign where the GM has established they're doing some grimdark "EVIL is an irreversible corruption that can only grow and spread and must be hacked off at the root at all costs" sort of thing?

2- Is the paladin hellbent on killing everything they consider to be evil?

If these two questions don't have the same answer, that paladin is doing something wrong.

There are other things a paladin could do that are clearly out-of-alignment, but I've never seen a "should this paladin fall?" argument start off with a story about organizing a drug cartel or anything like that, so this should be all you ever need as a starting point.


ciretose wrote:
Funky Badger wrote:
Also: the honest behaviour of the player in the OP - I'd expect nothing less from any player...
Yet it seems to be such a rare thing...

Only when I read here - in real life most, if not all, of the players I've encountered are like this...

Liberty's Edge

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Rynjin wrote:
Roberta Yang wrote:
It's a Morton's Fork, but if you complain about it, ciretose would like to inform you that it's your own fault and you're a cheater.

Ciretose all around has some funny ideas about this game, and most of them involve him telling you you're wrong and calling all of your arguments strawmen regardless of whether they are or not.

That's if he deigns to acknowledge them at all, which he generally doesn't if they make him look bad.

This one is particularly baffling though, since a lot of the time it's the GM who's being "that guy" unless it's blatantly the Paladin trying to do evil things in the name of good.

I'll respond rather than Flag, since once again words in my mouth I didn't say...

If you don't trust your GM, don't let them run. Find a new GM. If you are coming to a table run by "That guy" you are going to get what you should expect.

But that also generally means five people agreed to let "That Guy" be in charge for the evening, which is a failure of five people, not just one.

Liberty's Edge

Funky Badger wrote:
ciretose wrote:
Funky Badger wrote:
Also: the honest behaviour of the player in the OP - I'd expect nothing less from any player...
Yet it seems to be such a rare thing...
Only when I read here - in real life most, if not all, of the players I've encountered are like this...

Perhaps because neither of us hang out with many people on here :)


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This is my thought as a GM that has play and run for the last 15 years. When it comes to paladins I say that they can be any aliment as long as it is the same with there gods and they must fallow the dogma to the point. My thought is why there is no paladins for CG or even CN gods? Do they have no holy warriors, yes doing this makes me change some class features to fit. Like the CN paladin gets detect law and smite law. But this is what I think

Liberty's Edge

Like I said up-thread, we only had one person who couldn't run a Paladin in our group up to group expectations (let me say that again, up to group expectations) and that guy isn't allowed to run them anymore after we discussed it with him.

I wasn't even GM in those games. It was just annoying to the rest of the table, and so all of us said "Dude, you fail at Paladin. Stick with evil wizards."

Making a Paladin fall arbitrarily isn't something I've seen happen from people I would give my time to for running a campaign. I've seen Paladins fall (not even that guy actually) and it was something that made a strong story arc. It should be rare, but it should also guide play and be something the player is willing to play if they want to be a Paladin.

The GM is not the problem most of the time in my experience, because they are generally the person that the people at the table apparently have the most faith in to be fair.

If you can't find anyone in your group you have faith in to be fair, larger issues are at play.


phantom1592 wrote:

I admit... I can sometimes SEE why a DM wants to bag himself a Paladin. They are the figureheads.. the superman role models and while playing all the 'bad guys'... It's kind of a fun challenge to see if you break him. FYI, these are urges that SHOULD be repressed a bit. ;)

What I DON'T understand... is why do PLAYERS join on the bandwagon?!? Seems most of the time nobody would consider playing an assassin or Necromancer UNTIL someone presents a Paladin!!!

Why would people do that another player???

Paladins cramp their style. They cramp ordinary PCs, but it's hard for an ordinary PC to make a paladin fall, at least in comparison to an assassin, necromancer, or what have you.

If someone is joining a campaign as a paladin, they need to ask the other players for permission. Either that doesn't happen, or they ask, the other players get upset, and the paladin-playing player ignores them.

Liberty's Edge

Roberta Yang wrote:


Yes. This is a thing people were proposing: literally fall or die, otherwise you are a bad roleplayer. (Butbutbut you might always roll 20 and he might always roll 1 so death isn't literally 100% guaranteed~)

I have played with Dms who either go out of their way to make sure a Paladin falls yet never meet one that expected my character to commit sucide or fall from grace. Thankfully have yet to meet one. If I did I would throw the PF core book at his face spin first.

Roberta Yang wrote:


No, don't be ridiculous. A Lawful Good demon still pings as evil to Detect Evil because it still has the [Evil] subtype. You can't just go around smiting things just because they are literally demons and detect as evil. Do you not have any idea how paladins work?

Whomever thought of the above really dislikes Paladins and is imo looking for a excuse any excuse to make a Paladin fall from Grace. A DM that tried that BS with me would see me leave his gaming table.

Roberta Yang wrote:


The argument was based on the "must act honorably" part of the code. If you shoot an arrow at someone and they aren't carrying a bow, they can't shoot back, so you're attacking someone who is effectively unable to fight back, which is dishonorable. Also, in medieval Europe, use of crossbows in warfare were sometimes looked down on by the nobility because they made it possible for a peasant to kill a noble (which didn't stop every army from using them), ergo using a bow in a world with monsters and demons is dishonorable, ergo the paladin falls.

While I get that a Paladin using a bow all the time does not fit in with the "charging the enemy sword and shield in hand" image that we have of Paladins sometimes a character needs to use one. So if I attacked a Dragon who are both tough and can attack from a distance I'm being dishonorable. I swaer it's anything and everything to make a Paladin fall. Thank god I'm not playing with anyone who follws the above posts.

Roberta Yang wrote:


That argument died down when someone pointed out that the iconic paladin carries a bow.

Lol I can see how that would end the argument. I pretty sure you have some of the fanbase who think Paizo has no clue how Paladins work because the iconic Paladin carries a bow.

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