Paladin Alignments - More than just LG?


Homebrew and House Rules

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I'm not sure if a chaotic good character would jump on "Lets both steal for you!" since that hurts the stall owner or however your stealing from. Now if the businessman is obviously corrupt then it might be a totally different situation... Regardless, its all opinion isn't it?


MrSin wrote:
I'm not sure if a chaotic good character would jump on "Lets both steal for you!" since that hurts the stall owner or however your stealing from. Now if the businessman is obviously corrupt then it might be a totally different situation... Regardless, its all opinion isn't it?

All alignment discussions are by default opinionated.


master_marshmallow wrote:
MrSin wrote:
I'm not sure if a chaotic good character would jump on "Lets both steal for you!" since that hurts the stall owner or however your stealing from. Now if the businessman is obviously corrupt then it might be a totally different situation... Regardless, its all opinion isn't it?
All alignment discussions are by default opinionated.

Unless your a vanilla paladin. In which case poison is always evil(even nonlethal), lying is always evil(even to save lives), and cheating in poker makes your god remove your powers instantly(even if its just fooling with friends). Also consistently working with someone who "offends their moral code"(like a CN rogue stereotype), or is evil willingly and without a good enough reason falls instantly.

I'm not big on absolutes. I think it becomes a straight jacket way to fast and often, depending on your GM.


MrSin wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:
MrSin wrote:
I'm not sure if a chaotic good character would jump on "Lets both steal for you!" since that hurts the stall owner or however your stealing from. Now if the businessman is obviously corrupt then it might be a totally different situation... Regardless, its all opinion isn't it?
All alignment discussions are by default opinionated.

Unless your a vanilla paladin. In which case poison is always evil(even nonlethal), lying is always evil(even to save lives), and cheating in poker makes your god remove your powers instantly(even if its just fooling with friends). Also consistently working with someone who "offends their moral code"(like a CN rogue stereotype), or is evil willingly and without a good enough reason falls instantly.

I'm not big on absolutes. I think it becomes a straight jacket way to fast and often, depending on your GM.

It also acts as a straitjacket on the rest of the party, because ...

1. It affects what the other players can play, and
2. (In my experience) the Paladin frequently acts as a roadblock and insists the rest of the party live up to his self-righteousness.

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Which is exactly what a LG cleric should be doing, and no different thereby. Heck, the cleric should be attempting to convert them!

The CG is likely to make the judgement that the merchant can afford the theft, and if so, the person who needs it more justifies the theft. After all, the merchant's greed in charging the prices he does causes the whole situation in the first place, doesn't it?

CG is also really good at snap judgements and acting on impulse...both strength and weakness, depending on the situation.

==Aelryinth


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Again, you are conflating impulsiveness and low-wisdom, as well as a startling degree of callousness, with the chaotic alignment.

If every CG character is an idiot, then yes, LG is the superior option. But I don't really think you're being intellectually honest in your comparisons between chaos and law.


Aelryinth wrote:
Which is exactly what a LG cleric should be doing, and no different thereby. Heck, the cleric should be attempting to convert them!

I'm gonna go with a big fat 'no' on that.

He should just live his life, and let other people live theirs. Their religion is their business.


because everyone loves a cleric who goes around trying to convert everyone?


master_marshmallow wrote:
Antipaladin wrote:
An antipaladin must be of chaotic evil alignment and loses all class features except proficiencies if he willingly and altruistically commits good acts. This does not mean that an antipaladin cannot take actions someone else might qualify as good, only that such actions must always be in service of his own dark ends. An antipaladin’s code requires that he place his own interests and desires above all else, as well as impose tyranny, take advantage whenever possible, and punish the good and just, provided such actions don’t interfere with his goals.
We can extrapolate from this that both 1) it is possible to have a restrictive code and still be considered Chaotic on the alignment scale, and 2) it is acceptable to "break" the code in extenuating circumstances so long as it furthers the overall goal of the character.

None of that get-out-of-jail language is in the paladin code, and it is completely wrong to read it into the paladin code in order to reach conclusion 2 there. Indeed, what that language actually shows is that your conclusion 1 is wrong; antipaladins, unlike paladins, do not have a strict code. They have a list of suggestions they may freely violate whenever it would suit the self-interest of the character.

A paladin who grossly violates his code or commits an evil act, whatever his ends, falls; that's what makes his code strict, and a character who adheres to it lawful. An antipaladin who ignores the various "rules" in his code, on the other hand, is fine as long as he can rationalize it as serving his ends (an example of the "freedom, adaptability, and flexibility" of chaos). Thus part of the "anti" of an antipaladin; he looks like he has a code, but doesn't.

A CG champion can have a list of non-binding suggestions he can violate to serve the greater good (like an antipaladin can violate to serve himself), sure, but cannot have a genuinely strict code. If he had one, adhering to it wouldn't be CG (and a CG god wouldn't expect him to adhere to it anyway). You can have a strict code of unbreakable rules written by someone else that you unfailingly obey or be of chaotic alignment, not both.

master_marshmallow wrote:
we get people who say things like: anyone who has a code of conduct is Lawful, they don't have to follow local laws, or even national laws, they just have to have their own beliefs

"Lawful characters tell the truth, keep their word, respect authority, honor tradition, and judge those who fall short of their duties"; "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."

It does not say anywhere in that explanation of what lawfulness is that they have to obey the local laws. The problem seems to be less any ambiguity in the definition, but rather that the definition does not match your notion of what "lawful" should mean.

Yes, the lawful do generally obey local laws, because that's respecting/obeying the local authority. But when there is a conflict between authorities (say, the rules of the paladin's god versus the laws proclaimed by the local baron), it is not a requirement of the lawful alignment to defer to the inferior authority's laws.


see wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:
Antipaladin wrote:
An antipaladin must be of chaotic evil alignment and loses all class features except proficiencies if he willingly and altruistically commits good acts. This does not mean that an antipaladin cannot take actions someone else might qualify as good, only that such actions must always be in service of his own dark ends. An antipaladin’s code requires that he place his own interests and desires above all else, as well as impose tyranny, take advantage whenever possible, and punish the good and just, provided such actions don’t interfere with his goals.
We can extrapolate from this that both 1) it is possible to have a restrictive code and still be considered Chaotic on the alignment scale, and 2) it is acceptable to "break" the code in extenuating circumstances so long as it furthers the overall goal of the character.

None of that get-out-of-jail language is in the paladin code, and it is completely wrong to read it into the paladin code in order to reach conclusion 2 there. Indeed, what that language actually shows is that your conclusion 1 is wrong; antipaladins, unlike paladins, do not have a strict code. They have a list of suggestions they may freely violate whenever it would suit the self-interest of the character.

A paladin who grossly violates his code or commits an evil act, whatever his ends, falls; that's what makes his code strict, and a character who adheres to it lawful. An antipaladin who ignores the various "rules" in his code, on the other hand, is fine as long as he can rationalize it as serving his ends (an example of the "freedom, adaptability, and flexibility" of chaos). Thus part of the "anti" of an antipaladin; he looks like he has a code, but doesn't.

A CG champion can have a list of non-binding suggestions he can violate to serve the greater good (like an antipaladin can violate to serve himself), sure, but cannot have a genuinely strict code. If he had one, adhering to it wouldn't be...

My disambiguation of the antipaladin code was to attempt to create one for the CG paladin, not to attempt to get my paladin to be able to do whatever he wants.

Your assessment of Lawful is accurate, and I apologize if my attempt at breaking down what I thought a CG paladin code would look like crossed over into the LG paladin one.

Shadow Lodge

Aelryinth wrote:
Zhayne wrote:

It also acts as a straitjacket on the rest of the party, because ...

1. It affects what the other players can play, and
2. (In my experience) the Paladin frequently acts as a roadblock and insists the rest of the party live up to his self-righteousness.

Which is exactly what a LG cleric should be doing, and no different thereby. Heck, the cleric should be attempting to convert them!

So the entire party suffers for the paladin's restrictions, but only the paladin gets rewarded?

No thanks. No character build should actively screw over the other PCs. There's a reason I banned the Wild Rager archetype.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Actually the whole party would suffer if anyone is of good alignment and won't let them do what they want.

Everyone should play evil, that way there is no moral restrictions on what you can and cannot do. CE and NE are probably best, because then you don't have to care what the rest of the party thinks of you, either.

==Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:

Actually the whole party would suffer if anyone is of good alignment and won't let them do what they want.

Everyone should play evil, that way there is no moral restrictions on what you can and cannot do. CE and NE are probably best, because then you don't have to care what the rest of the party thinks of you, either.

Except you were stating that playing good means you had to tell them what to do, or playing a cleric means you should be converting. That's not always the case, and can definitely be disruptive. Similarly, you can play NE/CE without getting the whole party in trouble or actively being a sociopath or trying to get in trouble with the law.

You can play any of the alignments without forcing everyone else to adhere to your ideals/theology/blah. There's a lot of trouble that crops up when you say that an alignment HAS to act in a certain way.


Aelryinth wrote:

Actually the whole party would suffer if anyone is of good alignment and won't let them do what they want.

Everyone should play evil, that way there is no moral restrictions on what you can and cannot do. CE and NE are probably best, because then you don't have to care what the rest of the party thinks of you, either.

==Aelryinth

Way to miss the point.


To dip back ...

For me, both CG and lg are good to the tune of; the interests of others are at least equal to if not more Important than their own. However, to put it in simple terms, when confronted with a large conglomeration of tall woody plants, the lg sees a forest and works for its gestalt good, where the CG sees a bunch of individual trees and finds their individual good more important. An lg would say "what brings the most good to the most people". Where a CG is more - what is good for those people suffering right in front of me right now. I don't know that you could say that either is inherently morally superior per se, but lg IS more likely over time to bring good to a larger amount of people by sheer dint of its organizing principles than CG.


Zhayne wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:

Actually the whole party would suffer if anyone is of good alignment and won't let them do what they want.

Everyone should play evil, that way there is no moral restrictions on what you can and cannot do. CE and NE are probably best, because then you don't have to care what the rest of the party thinks of you, either.

==Aelryinth

Way to miss the point.

I agree with this guy.


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It's been debated for decades, it's presence has spanned continents and generations, and it's taken hundreds of posts in this thread alone.

And yet, we still can't really agree on what these alignments even mean!

Alignment is an artificial construct intended to simulate and enforce role-playing character personalities by pigeon-holing them into nine poorly-defined, completely inhuman and unnatural bins. I think that, in the end, it can be concluded that alignment does a tragically-poor job of simulating personalities, and an even worse job of enforcing role-playing, as can be seen by the history of D&D being littered by horror stories about "Chaotic Stupid", "Lawful Stupid", "Stupid Evil", "Stupid Good", and "True Stupid" characters who are role-played to the letter of the Alignment Law, rather than its spirit.

I say again: toss out this wretched, ancient relic of the earliest days of formal role-playing games, when game designers didn't know yet quite how to make these games work, or how to explain playing a role to the first generation of pioneering RPG players! Alignment is a poor substitute for the imagination of players in their PC characterizations.

Spoiler:

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Imagine for a moment a group of warriors of a religious or quasi-religious order, whose leadership has ordered its knights to drive infidels out of a Holy Land. One obeys his commanding officer, and does his best to fight bravely and ethically, upholding his code of conduct as best as he can under the circumstances of war. One disagrees with his commanding officer, under conscientious objection refusing to drive the legitimate government out of the Holy Land for what he perceives as a self-serving plot of his commanders to seize power and loot treasure at the expense of an innocent and defenseless population. Another wishes to adhere to the principals of neutrality, doing his best to convince his commanders that his order should be protecting the innocent civilians, healing the sick and wounded of both sides of the conflict, fighting to bring war-criminals from both sides to justice, but otherwise taking no active part in what is, after all, a worldly war. And, yet another, finding himself on the losing side against an overwhelming enemy, cut off from his leadership, who has taken to fighting a sort of guerrilla war against the enemy, robbing supply trains to feed his followers, striking stronger forces from cover and by night to gain whatever advantage he can against the forces of evil, while insisting that he and his followers treat innocents and their prisoners with respect.

Which of these is the Paladin? Could most, or even all, be Paladins? Do they all have the same alignment? Would all of us be able to agree on the exact alignment of each of these characters? Should any of these characters be punished for "bad" role-playing of a "holy warrior" who respects good and law? Is there really no reason they could not work together as a party toward the same ends in situations where they can all agree? Or, is there really no reason the same player could not choose any one of these characterizations to best fit in with the campaign or party her group favors?

What I'm attempting to get at is that, within the confines of alignment, the notion that we all have of what a classic, Lawful-Good Paladin must be, is a caricature of a tradition that is itself a caricature of the letter of a set of guidelines laid down decades ago when D&D was still trying to figure out how it was different from war games that were, after all, not very different from chess.

Role-playing games have grown up a lot since then, but for some reason some part of all of us still wants to try to preserve the odd tradition of explicit characterization rules for how the white chess pieces must speak, think, and act while going through the motions of obeying the mechanical rules of moving so many squares forward on the chessboard until they meet a black chess piece, as if the modern role-player (or indeed, even the earliest role-players) could not sort out on their own, often far more interestingly, how they think their knight in shining armor should behave in her efforts to slay the dragon.
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The player wants to portray a character who is a shining beacon of hope and faith in a world of darkness and chaos. Whose job is it to decide what that means to the player and exactly how to realize that vision through the PC's actions, thoughts, beliefs, and deeds? The game designers' job? The rules set's job? The fluff writers' job? The GM's job? Or, is it the player's job?

I, of course, am arguing that it is the player's job... the player might agree 100% with whatever Gary Gygax wrote on the matter in the 1970's, or, then again, the player might come up with something at least as compelling, but a little fresher and further off the beaten track, but still as real and convincing as anything in a fantasy role-playing game. And THAT is the sort of thing I always enjoy about collaborative creative experiences such as RPG's - discovering new characters, new ideas, new concepts, new descriptions and so on that I never would have imagined on my own.

Spoiler:

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A Lawful Good Assassin? Sure, why couldn't an assassin obey the laws, kill when ordered to, and use her arts for the purposes of saving lives and promoting the common good? (After all, how else might you describe a police or S.W.A.T. sniper, but as a [theoretically] law-abiding assassin, acting within the limitations of the law, for the common good?) You explain how and why your character is a good and lawful hired killer, and if you can convince me and the other players that it makes sense and works well with the campaign and party, and have a history of following through with that promise, I'll allow it without a second thought.

A Good Necromancer? I'm intrigued. How does that work? For just one idea, I picture a character like the "Ghost Whisperer" or the kid from "The Sixth Sense", who can see and speak with, deal with, and lead the unquiet dead to help them complete unfinished business in this world, and pass over to the next in peace. I could easily see such a character playing well in a party that includes even a traditional LG Paladin and LG Cleric and so on, if all the players are willing to cooperate with each other in a cooperative game, rather than sticking to strict alignment dogma and play their classes "straight" according to ancient, pre-defined tropes that don't actually exist in the rules but nevertheless drive Paladins to mindlessly act like Lawful Stupid jerks, and Necromancers to mindlessly act like Stupid Evil jerks, and party-attack and back-stab and kill each other on sight at every opportunity even when it makes no sense within a role-playing framework, or even a roll-playing framework....

It can work, and it can work easily. It only requires one small, simple thing: for players (and GMs) to abandon the peculiar notion that Alignment is a rule, that Class fluff descriptions are rules, that Race fluff descriptions are rules, and that these "rules" must never be broken, as if nobody in the history of D&D has ever house-ruled actual rules for the sake of the group's sanity and stability!
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Zhayne wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:

Actually the whole party would suffer if anyone is of good alignment and won't let them do what they want.

Everyone should play evil, that way there is no moral restrictions on what you can and cannot do. CE and NE are probably best, because then you don't have to care what the rest of the party thinks of you, either.

==Aelryinth

Way to miss the point.

Um, no.

If you want to be snarky and insist that playing a paladin imposes constraints on the whole rest of the party, and by extension anyone of LG, and then anyone of G alignment, then OBVIOUSLY nobody should be of Good alignment, and everyone should be NE and CE to allow themselves the broadest range of actions without imposing their moral and ethical choices on anyone.

See how that silly extremism works when you take the Lawful Stupid logic behind it to its proper conclusion?

==Aelryinth

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I will note that 3.5 had LG assassins (Slayers of Domiel from Book of Exalted Deeds), but again, it's a prestige class with strict reqs. You become someone who goes from killing for money to killing evil folks for religion...and that's a sticky situation, too.

There's also the Cuprilachs from Planescape...TN outsiders who are some of the best assassins in the planes. Just like the paramandyer...in death, there is perfect balance.

There is nothing stopping you from playing a LG necromancer. The problem is that certain spells, specifically animating the dead to serve you, are Evil spells by their very nature. Working with and putting down the dead is a time honored tradition...in FR, the LG necromancers of Osiris are the guardians of the dead, and important in their role.

White necromancers suffer from not having access to things their evil counterparts do. But they can be very effective in their own way.

==Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:
Zhayne wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:

Actually the whole party would suffer if anyone is of good alignment and won't let them do what they want.

Everyone should play evil, that way there is no moral restrictions on what you can and cannot do. CE and NE are probably best, because then you don't have to care what the rest of the party thinks of you, either.

==Aelryinth

Way to miss the point.

Um, no.

If you want to be snarky and insist that playing a paladin imposes constraints on the whole rest of the party, and by extension anyone of LG, and then anyone of G alignment, then OBVIOUSLY nobody should be of Good alignment, and everyone should be NE and CE to allow themselves the broadest range of actions without imposing their moral and ethical choices on anyone.

See how that silly extremism works when you take the Lawful Stupid logic behind it to its proper conclusion?

==Aelryinth

No need to get salty about it. I think the general consensus of the thread is that the alignment system is flawed, possibly beyond repair in some cases.


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I've been following the back and forth for some time now and just wanted to pop in here. I totally agree, the system is flawed, but I think the alignments are still needed as guidelines for those seeking to keep to a certain alignment. In home brewing, anyone can do whatever they want. I'd just want to throw in my 2 cp about how to look at the alignments and my own experience playing a paladin, as well as the other good, neutral, or evil alignments.

First let me say the Paladin in all its Lawful Goodness is my favorite class. Has been in every incarnations from AD&D to now. As for the alignments, I look at them in this in this light.

Unlike what some have said, I think that having the political (or whatever you called it) axis listed first is correct. Law (order, organization, creation), Chaos (destruction, disorder), and Neutral (balance) are the building blocks of all things. It is this axis that the universe is founded on.

Second is the moral axis which alters, tempers, and moulds the others. Good (mercy, compassion, love, kindness, righteous, most good for the most people), Evil (wicked, corrupt, vile, enjoys inflicting pain, worries about self over everyone and everything else, malevolent, vicious), and Neutral (balance).

Alignments are not personality types. You can have a LG character who is arrogant, self-righteous, stubborn, etc (look at some of the Knights of Solamnia in Dragonlance), or even a CE character who is cunning, and plans things out, even loves another being, etc., so long as he creates the most chaos and evil as possible.

So if we look at the alignments in this way, they would translate to this. Again this is my opinion, but I think this is the general outlook my most people.

LG = Bringing about the greatest good for all through adherence to laws (civil laws, godly dogma, personal codes of honor), but tempered by compassion, kindness, and mercy, sacrifice, with leeway for what is both best for all and the individual involved; bringing about the greatest good for all through adherence to the laws, government organizations, church hierarchy, etc., but with consideration for the situation and individuals involved; exceptions to the law for the good of many or even the one, depending upon the situation.
NG = Bringing about the greatest good for all through lawful neutral, or chaotic means; whatever is necessary in an individual situation.
CG = Bringing about the greatest good for all through his own individual means or codes; tend to be loaners, will do anything within the realm of goodness (compassion, kindness, sacrifice, and mercy) to bring about his goals or whatever is best for the greatest population; tend to dislike laws/organizations/government, but may see them, at times, as necessary and prudent to ensure the absence of complete anarchy.

LN = Strict almost blind adherence to law (civil laws, godly dogma, personal codes of honor)without mercy or deviation from the law, "eye for an eye". Law and punishment, absolute justice.
N = A perfect balance between law/chaos and good/evil; neither favoring nor ignoring one to the exclusion of others; looks at the individual situation to decide what approach to take; looks at both his own goals, goals of the party, and the goals of gov't, etc.
CN = Complete anarchy, absence of law but a balance between good and evil; amoral in his approaches as long as it brings about his means, wether being good or evil; the individual above all else.

LE = Bringing about the greatest evil through adherence to laws (civil laws, godly dogma, personal codes of honor), but empowered by cruelty, pain, intimidation, tyranny, etc; leeway to the laws if it brings about his individual ends, or those of his church/government.
NE = Bringing about the greatest evil through lawful, chaotic, or neutral means.
CE = Bringing about the greatest evil through destruction of laws, organizations, churches, etc.

Regardless of the alignment, there is always some grey areas, that's where our roleplaying comes in. These are meant to be only guidelines, though there is certain parameters to the different axioms (Chaos. Evil. Good, or Law).

Now to the roleplaying aspect for the LG Paladin. Note, I do not believe in playing Lawful Stupid paladins, I as a player, and my character both have brains and are free to use them according to the dictates of our own conscience, church dogma, and laws of the land. If a law is unjust, I strive to change it, if someone is evil, I try to apprehend them. For a paladin, I see Church laws/dogma as overriding civil laws and dogma, but all in the context of "the greatest good" for all people.

When I played a paladin, I was always in a good-aligned party. That's helps a lot, because everyone wants what is best for us and for the world, but we may individually go about it in a different way. LG and CG can coincide just fine, though they will have disagreements when it comes to the obedience of laws, church hierarchy, government, etc, but I believe the "good" aspect-mercy, compassion, kindness, love-can and will override the law aspect, based on individual circumstances. That's what Lawful Good is about. I also didn't try to "convert" my companions, who also became my friends and closest allies. I lived by my code and example to influence them in their actions, not force them and make them be just like me. They were all good after all.

Here was the situation in a AD&D 2E campaign I was in a number of years ago. My party (LG human Paladin, LG elf Ranger/Cleric, NG human chinese wizard, and CG kender Thief) were in the process of saving the world (high level campaign, between 18th-24th level). We had located a drow city whose hierarchy was deep in the intrigues of influencing a civil war on the surface, and trying to destroy the nations in conjunction with another evil power. We learned that an army of githyanki knights (LE) had come to the city to raid it in the name of their lichqueen. WE also discovered a prophecy about a group of surface dwellers who would bring about the city's downfall in divine judgment.

Of course, the description of the involved individuals resembled our party to a tee. To make a long story short, I as leader of the party, after consultation with my party members and communion with my deity, we entered into a pact with these githyanki to bring the city low, since the 4 of us couldn't do it ourselve. This was essentially an alliance directly between me and the leader of the githyanki (again LE, though in the process of shifting to a LN alignment and deep desire to get her army beyond the grips of their evil lichqueen). So, the alliance was make through blood oath, that we (my party), but me especially would assist her in escaping the evil of her race and lichqueen in return for helping to punish the drow and free a number of surface slaves whom the drow had captured.

Now, I had willingly entered into a lawful agreement with the "evil" creatures, but for the good of all mankind (or elf and dwarfkind) on the surface world. And to bring about an end to all the carnage, war, and death of the civil war instigated by the drow and their allies. We were successful, and in the end, the army of githyanki , under the direction of their leader never returned back to the service of their lichqueen, and eventually established a knighthood of Good and Neutral knights to protect a certain region of land that had been invaded by demons and evil spirits.

Now I didn't know what would really happen with the alliance we made, but I entered it in good conscience, willing to adhere to the contract we made on my honor, for the greatest good, and with the OK of my party members and the blessing of my deity. Now, some may say that is totally against what a LG paladin would do, but so be it. Within the context of the campaign, the steps I took to ensure that it was the best thing to do for all, I did so by lawful contract, which, thankfully, both of us adhered to. As long as I keep my side of the contract, I am in no way obliged to make the other party keep his, but it would behoove my character to bring them to justice if the innocent had been slain by their disregarding the pact.

The point is, there is, whether we want to acknowledge it or not, a certain structure to the alignments, which are meant to be a guideline for roleplaying. It is then up to the players and GM to interpret those alignment guidelines as they see fit within their campaigns.

By no means is a LG paladin a better "good" than other good characters. However, they are meant to be the "Superman" of the PF world. Superman is a perfect example of what a paladin should be. HE, like the paladin, is held up to a higher standard than every other class, both on the Good and Lawful axis, but always cautioning on the side of good (compassion, mercy, etc) in regards to the laws. But they are still human and subject to human weaknesses, as was Superman. As long as the law and justice is served (even if it is the paladin that pays for the stolen item, etc.) through goodly means.

I've played many other characters-NG elf Ftr/Clr, NG derro Wiz/Rog, CG drow Clr/Rog-all as much a hero as my paladin. It isn't the class features that make the character a hero, its what they do with the abilities and powers they have and how they use them to bring about goodly results. Yes, the paladin is more powerful than many of the classes, but so what.

I have never had an issue with an imbalance between the classes, even now with the rogues who keep getting shot down as the weak sauce of the classes. Its up to us to choose a class and make our character a true hero (or villain for you baddies out there) regardless of powers, abilities, strengths, or draw back. That's what being a hero is all about. Yes the paladin (or Superman) has an advantage, but he's held to a higher standard than everyone else, more is expected of him, so everyone is always watching for how he's going to trip up, make a mistake, and fall. That comes with the territory. On the flip side, most are cheering when the BBEG with his legions of undead or demons are finally halted and eventually turned back when the paladin puts his life on the line, almost dying in the process, but is victorious (and always with the cooperative help from his companions).

As much as Superman is "Superman" he's even more when he's with Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, etc.; so it is with the paladin. He's not better, just different, held to higher standard, and is given some great offensive and defensive abilities against evil, which is his bread and butter. Against neutrals and other goods, he's not much better than a fighter without all the feats, armor and weapon training.

Lastly, I think there should be "paladins" of other alignments, but just don't call them paladins. Just as a paladin IS a LG holy warrior, each individual alignment deserves its own name and powers, though I also have no issues with creating morally based holy warriors either, created along the Good-Evil axis. Blackguards works for any evil champion, and Sacred Defenders would work for any good champion. It’s all semantics, but some will always have an issue about paladins being only LG, and others see "paladin" as a champion for a specific alignment or particular morality (Good or Evil).

In the end, it's up to each of you decide in your own games what to do, regardless of what I say. I think a lot of us become so ingrained in the official rules that we forget the rules aren't the game, WE ARE., and we can do with them in our own companions as we so desire. We don’t need to campaign to get rules officially changed, but make adjustments as we see fit in our own campaigns. That's part of the fun of the game. It's all a matter of making it fun for you and everyone involved, that's the bottom line.

Alright, that's all I've got to say. Sorry for the huge wall of text, but thanks for letting me bend your ear. Its been a good discusion, though its starting to go around in circles. I think everyone needs to agree to disagree on certain points and leave it at that.

So says the Lawful Good Paladin. :D


Aelryinth wrote:
Zhayne wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:

Actually the whole party would suffer if anyone is of good alignment and won't let them do what they want.

Everyone should play evil, that way there is no moral restrictions on what you can and cannot do. CE and NE are probably best, because then you don't have to care what the rest of the party thinks of you, either.

==Aelryinth

Way to miss the point.

Um, no.

If you want to be snarky and insist that playing a paladin imposes constraints on the whole rest of the party, and by extension anyone of LG, and then anyone of G alignment, then OBVIOUSLY nobody should be of Good alignment, and everyone should be NE and CE to allow themselves the broadest range of actions without imposing their moral and ethical choices on anyone.

See how that silly extremism works when you take the Lawful Stupid logic behind it to its proper conclusion?

==Aelryinth

The problem is that you are seeing things 'by extension', not what I am actually saying. I said that SPECIFICALLY about the Paladin and his code, not LG in general.

The paladin only has restraints because of the code, not his alignment. Alignments do not restrict actions in any way. If a group of Good characters decide that the best way to deal with a problem is something 'Evil', they can do it without (game-mechanics) repercussions. Similarly, if an Evil character goes along with a Good plan, nothing's stopping him either.

Actions determine alignment, not the other way around.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Uh huh.

And for a paladin, his alignmen will indeed determine and constrain his actions, because if his actions don't conform, he ain't no paladin no more, yo. Which kind of is the reverse of what you are trying to argue.

His code is a statement of his alignment. It is still central to the concept and execution of the class.

==Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:

Uh huh.

And for a paladin, his alignmen will indeed determine and constrain his actions, because if his actions don't conform, he ain't no paladin no more, yo. Which kind of is the reverse of what you are trying to argue.

His code is a statement of his alignment. It is still central to the concept and execution of the class.

==Aelryinth

The code is completely separate from his alignment. Without the code a Paladin could resort to 'base methods' from time to time, because he would remain Lawful Good, since it takes consistent behavior to generate an alignment shift, and he could travel with anybody he bloody well felt like.

And, as far as 'central to the concept', meh. I don't really buy it. I really feel the pre-4e Paladin is too narrow to be a class. Maybe a Prestige Class, maybe a cleric archetype.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

No, the code is a subset of his alignment. That's distinctly different then what you are trying to argue. Because it's more restrictive then 'most LG types' doesn't mean it's not LG.

==Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:

No, the code is a subset of his alignment. That's distinctly different then what you are trying to argue. Because it's more restrictive then 'most LG types' doesn't mean it's not LG.

==Aelryinth

I never said that.

I said it's problematic, because without it, the Paladin doesn't put restrictions on the rest of the party actions or composition. It also removes the ludicrous 'zero tolerance' of the code. Any god worth following will realize that people are imperfect, and make mistakes, and sometimes the only solution isn't the nice one.

By the by, you do realize that just being Lawful Good in no way imposes a code, restrictions on behavior or companions, or the requirement of trying to 'convert' people to your point of view?


The code itself is separate from his alignment. The code itself isn't always LG. Though honor is commendable, restraining your actions when they could be helpful or the best action isn't always LG. It enforces a very strict idea of what lawful and good are, and then demands you enforce it on everyone else. Which is a little ridiculous.

I'm not saying the code is inherently evil, or not LG. I'm saying it doesn't always match up, sometimes hurts your being a good guy, and its not the best for party cohesion.

If you remove the code, your character is still LG. He still has requirements for being LG, and he should still try to be a LG kind of guy. It just means he's nicer to teammates and doesn't have to face fall-fall choices. I should probably note I'm okay with a code, but I think its best left at the table level than having one official one to avoid problems. The code can be very flavorful, and as I said earlier my experience with "build your own codes" has been pretty good. You get some interesting philosophies. The most important part is... having fun. I want to increase the fun levels. This helps people have fun it think. If they want to go with the old code they are free too.


Not necessarily a code hater myself, but i am not a fan of "never lies, use poisons, or associate with evil". Because sometimes doing those things IS for the greater good.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
+5 Toaster wrote:
Not necessarily a code hater myself, but i am not a fan of "never lies, use poisons, or associate with evil". Because sometimes doing those things IS for the greater good.

And I'm also a fan of the saying that if you insist on lying with Pigs, don't be surprised when you find yourself covered in mud.

A Paladin who casually ignores the areas where he and himself are falling short of the ideals of his code is well on the way to becoming an ex-Paladin.

Quite truthfully, I'm more in favor of banning the class entirely, than spreading it's alignment gateways. I'm seeing less and less of a need for such a class as oppose to acheiving things storywise with the other martial characters.


LazarX wrote:
Quite truthfully, I'm more in favor of banning the class entirely, than spreading it's alignment gateways. I'm seeing less and less of a need for such a class as oppose to acheiving things storywise with the other martial characters.

Waste of a good idea and mechanics.

The more painful part of the code is there is a bit that seems to imply working with even chaotic characters or people who don't adhere to your code will make you fall, or that your job is to tell them not to. Your code actually says to make everyone else follow your moral code.

PFSRD wrote:
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.

That said, its not friendly to games with shades of gray at all. I don't think people are suggesting a paladin should ignore his own shortcomings, especially in a game enforcing a code.


Yeah. It's one thing if two characters can't work with each other well because the roleplaying says so. It's quite another if two characters can't be in the same party at the same time because the rules say so.


IMO the code should be tacked onto a prestige class, and paladins get to be any alignment, but at lvl 1 (if neutral) they must choose whether or not they smite good or evil, and that decision cannot be changed. Exactly the same as a neutral cleric choosing what channeling they want. Forcing players to adhere to a specific deity, or to a specific code, or be put in any scenario where forces outside of their control can take away their ability to play their character (such as impossible gray area moral situations, or having someone godforbid chaotic neutral in the party) just reeks of bad DM'ing to me.

Players shouldn't be punished for wanting to be the good guy, at the same time, it seems too many people don't have appropriate interactions in their games otherwise we wouldn't see so many chaotic characters being heralded as the most fun and best alignment.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

MrSin wrote:

The code itself is separate from his alignment. The code itself isn't always LG. Though honor is commendable, restraining your actions when they could be helpful or the best action isn't always LG. It enforces a very strict idea of what lawful and good are, and then demands you enforce it on everyone else. Which is a little ridiculous.

I'm not saying the code is inherently evil, or not LG. I'm saying it doesn't always match up, sometimes hurts your being a good guy, and its not the best for party cohesion.

If you remove the code, your character is still LG. He still has requirements for being LG, and he should still try to be a LG kind of guy. It just means he's nicer to teammates and doesn't have to face fall-fall choices. I should probably note I'm okay with a code, but I think its best left at the table level than having one official one to avoid problems. The code can be very flavorful, and as I said earlier my experience with "build your own codes" has been pretty good. You get some interesting philosophies. The most important part is... having fun. I want to increase the fun levels. This helps people have fun it think. If they want to go with the old code they are free too.

You do realize that you are saying in your first paragraph that the code isn't LG? Which means that if the paladin follows the code, he's not LG?

Restraining your actions when you could be helpful 'to the wrong people' is certainly wise. See how those qualifiers sneak in? And the 'best' action is entirely dependent upon your worldview. The best action to evil folks is often times entirely more pragmatic then what LG will tolerate.

And I have no problem with the association rules. The paladin wants to be with people who share his worldview and work for a better tomorrow. He doesn't want to be rubbing shoulders with Evil people, who are only out for themselves. He's never going to be best buds with neutral folks, who don't care about others. As for Chaotics...the paladin doesn't understand their worldview and they will make him uncomfortable. Their placing their personal desires over the good of others is utterly against what a paladin is. Even if they are honorable people with good hearts, a paladin isn't going to make a habit of being best buds with someone who likely considers him a toady of the government or mindless servant of the gods, i.e. someone with his heart in the right place, but his head all stuffed up with doctrine and dictum, unable to make his own choices for himself.

He's a hero and he wants to be best buds with people like himself.

Does this mean he can't 'ally' with Evil or Chaotics if circumstances warrant? By no means. But that doesn't mean he's going BFF with them, and once the need is past, he can diplomatically drop relations. He might well be able to make use of them in the future.

people read too much into stuff.

Does that mean a party of CN, N and CG people is probably NOT the right mix for a paladin? Yep. Probably isn't the right mix for a LG priest of Iomadae, but the paladin code points out the behavior as part of the higher demand on the character. A virtuous priest would be acting no differently.

Virtuous lifestyles take sacrifice.

==Aelryinth


There goes Aelryinth again with his lawful stupid ideas. Your main arguments have been tradition, I want it that way, and lawful good is best.

Your saying no one but the virtuous make sacrifices? Evil makes sacrifices, neutral makes sacrifices, lawful and chaos both make sacrifices. Its all in a different way and style, but everyone makes sacrifices of some sort. Only a prideful self righteous jerk says he's the only one making sacrifices. What perfect world do you live in, someone actually doesn't make a sacrifice? Pure chaos sacrifices order, pure order sacrifices individuality. Evil has sacrifices to make, efforts to do, causes to champion. They all have goals and needs and have to do things to reach them.

If your code says "don't work with these people or people who don't listen to your code of conduct' its already interfering with party cohesion. How is that good for the game? Is that fun for your other players? Only if they conveniently listen to your code. Do you give them bonuses for playing with the same restrictions? Sure the paladin is the only one willingly taking it, but then he enforces it on everyone else.

Aelryinth wrote:
You do realize that you are saying in your first paragraph that the code isn't LG? Which means that if the paladin follows the code, he's not LG?

If that was what I said word for word, you'd be correct, but its not. I said its not always Lawful Good. The code is meant to help you follow a lawful good lifestyle. I think when its strict, it actually impedes justice and good. The things your ideally going to champion. You can still be LG and follow the code, but when the code impedes good or law, and can actually bring harm to others or group cohesion, that's a problem.


I agree here, Aelryinth, your views are very restrictive and do not see all alignments equally. You have outright stated that Chaotic is the better alignment which is simply not true. You cannot deny the weaknesses of your favorite alignments and then treat the other alignments as restrictions, I would walk away from your table if you showed such preferential treatment to other characters just because I decided to roll a paladin.

Honor, tradition, respect, all of these things make it easier for lawful characters to interact in public. Chaotic characters lack these, by definition used in DnD, and thus most chaotic characters oughta be treated as though they don't belong in civilized society, if you were treating the alignments as equal. You aren't, you treat chaotic as if it could do all the things lawful can do, but can also do whatever it wants just cuz. Your view on the chaotic alignment is wrong as far as the game's alignment system is concerned.

PFSRD wrote:
Chaos implies freedom, adaptability, and flexibility. On the downside, chaos can include recklessness, resentment toward legitimate authority, arbitrary actions, and irresponsibility. Those who promote chaotic behavior say that only unfettered personal freedom allows people to express themselves fully and lets society benefit from the potential that its individuals have within them.

Being chaotic should lead to recklessness, rudeness, and trouble with the law. You can't behave lawfully and call yourself chaotic.


If Aelryinth is purposely posting with a close minded demeanor with the pretense of self-righteousness and adhering to tradition when it comes to the paladin class in order to be ironic, then I admit defeat because it is a very well told joke.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Now I'm extremely confused. One of you is telling me I'm defending CG and Evil, and the other that I'm an uptight ninny defending LG.

Mr. Sin, you seem to not be seeing your own double-headedness. If you say the code deviates from LG, then by extension, following the code means you will not be following LG, and thus the two are contradictory. You say it, then you deny it in the same breath. I'm sorry, you can't have both arguments.

MM, you can certainly 'behave' lawfully, and be chaotic. As your own note says, Chaos 'can include'. That doesn't mean it 'always includes'. There is no requirements for chaos other then individual will. A guy could be CG and never have an ounce of trouble with legal authority...maybe because he's successfully evading it, maybe because his bluff and diplomacy are up the wazoo, or maybe because all the cops are LG stuffy drinking buddies who grew up with him. CN and CE CAN act like upstanding citizens, and hide their naughtiness in dark places, nobody need ever know. Remember, just because you're Chaotic and 'acting' like a lawful stuffed shirt, doesn't mean you WANT to. As soon as you're out of an area where that sort of behavior isn't required, you're likely going to act completely differently...unless it's all part of some long term act, of course!

""Not necessarily a code hater myself, but i am not a fan of "never lies, use poisons, or associate with evil". Because sometimes doing those things IS for the greater good."" -- This is, of course, classic LE 'the ends justifies the means.'

As for sacrifice, come on. Good people will sacrifice for people they don't know, and try hard not to sacrifice anybody. Neutral people will sacrifice for others they do know, or sacrifice others they don't know. Evil people will sacrifice for themselves, or sacrifice others freely, including those they know. Everybody sacrifices, but the lengths and limits of what they sacrifice are indicators of alignment.

==Aelryinth


Aelryinth, I don't care. I really don't. You try to shove words in my mouth and then make statements based on them.

To explain the defending evil/CG thing, you state they are superior because they have more options, then say LG paladins are the best because they are the most trust and glorious. You put them on a high pedestal, and say they have more obstacles to overcome but are rewarded, but no one else but paladins deserves these rewards. its not that your defending them but that your saying they are better for having more options.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

You seem to have your understanding mixed up, Sin.

Evil is rewarded by having no restrictions on actions. Lie, cheat, steal, murder, rape, poison, whatever. They are the best because they can do whatever they want to get the job done.

It's a role playing advantage. Do what you want, no qualms about it.

Paladins are rewarded for NOT having those options available. They can't do any of that stuff.
In return, their class gives them abilities which are significantly better then other classes. They are being rewarded for playing LG with a tightly restricted code.

So, here's your comparison.
LG Fighter vs LE fighter. Exactly the same. Except the LE fighter poisons his weapons. Who has the advantage?

LG cleric vs CE cleric. Exactly the same. Except the CE cleric shows up with undead he personally made. Who has the advantage?

LG wizard vs NE wizard. Exactly the same. One has to negotiate with an obstererous noble to gain access to the noble's library. The other simply dominates him, and has his way. Who has the advantage?

Are good alignments generally considered better then evil by people? Simply look at the examples above, and consider which you would trust more. And you know what? Clerics, rogues, wizards and fighters can be any alignment.

But Paladins are LG. Is there any reason why people would NOT trust them? Someone who, simply to be what they are, can't do any of that stuff?

So, yes:
There's a reward for being Good, and its all role playing and GM Fiat stuff...people generally trust Good characters more then N and E characters. It's a fact of life. From the 'game' standpoint, Good characters often are better at fighting Evil things, which happen to be the foe in most scenarios, too.
Yes, there's a more tangible reward for being a paladin - even tighter restrictions on actions then most good folk that lead to superb class benefits, and likely better public outlook. The class benefits of a paladin significantly outweigh the standard fighter, for instance.
Yes, there's a tangible reward for being N and E...you don't have any of those pesky alignment restrictions and can do more and more of what YOU want, and hang what anybody else thinks of you...your goals justify ALL your means, and if the silly wankers can't understand that, they don't matter, anyways.

So, which alignment am I properly defending now? I really would like to know.

===Aelryinth


Now? In a way neither. You state you get an RP benefit fro being good, then a mechanical benefit of being able to poison your weapon for being evil. However... Earlier you were stating the code of conduct was balance, and that if you gave it to another class they don't deserve any bonuses for it.

I'd like to note I don't agree with the way your stating it and I think its biased.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Aelryinth wrote:
LG Fighter vs LE fighter. Exactly the same. Except the LE fighter poisons his weapons. Who has the advantage?

The LG... because the LE fighter fumbled his poison use roll since his is a class that doesn't use poison safely and he's busy twitching and dying on the floor.


Aelryinth wrote:


Evil is rewarded by having no restrictions on actions. .

No alignment has a restriction on actions. Only the paladin code restricts his actions.


Zhayne wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:
Evil is rewarded by having no restrictions on actions.
No alignment has a restriction on actions. Only the paladin code restricts his actions.

I could have sworn that's been said several times before.


MrSin wrote:
Zhayne wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:
Evil is rewarded by having no restrictions on actions.
No alignment has a restriction on actions. Only the paladin code restricts his actions.
I could have sworn that's been said several times before.

Of course. It's just being conveniently ignored because it torpedoes his entire argument.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
MrSin wrote:
Evil has sacrifices to make, efforts to do, causes to champion.

The point of evil is to get some other schmuck to make those sacrifices.


Zhayne wrote:
MrSin wrote:
Zhayne wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:
Evil is rewarded by having no restrictions on actions.
No alignment has a restriction on actions. Only the paladin code restricts his actions.
I could have sworn that's been said several times before.
Of course. It's just being conveniently ignored because it torpedoes his entire argument.

I get the feeling that's how it works. I'm just getting tired of seeing it over and over again. Its insistence, and fallacy. Alignment is not a straightjacket, but the code of conduct is. Straightjackets are usually a bad thing. LG has a variety of options, as do the other 3 extremes and everyone in between. The way they act and go about things is usually going to be in a different fashion. One of the problems with alignment is that sometimes people take it as an absolute, rather than allowing characters to act outside of the box. Its understandable that a champion of an ideal would be a little more restrained, but that's much easier to control at the table level than on a rules level. Its over a very subjective subject.

LazarX wrote:
MrSin wrote:
Evil has sacrifices to make, efforts to do, causes to champion.
The point of evil is to get some other schmuck to make those sacrifices.

Depends on who your evil is. Personally, I like my minions to get out alive if they demand the payment up front. I have to expend resources to find new ones. More importantly, not all villains are the "Get the schmuck to do it" type. Some are incapable of finding others. Others make deals that require them to put some effort forth. There is always sacrifice.

The fallen champion is a great evil who has made many sacrifices in his life, and very likely will continue, though with a very different goal in mind from before his fall. When your mind is eaten by vengeance its so much more beautiful to do it with your own hands and witness it with your own eyes. He may be covered in wounds and he may have lost everything, but its all worth it. Selfishness is about gain, but that doesn't mean you don't sacrifice. A life without sacrifice is one of bliss and dreams, and in some cases without lesson and learning. So stagnant. I guess I'm spouting a subjective form of philosophy a bit too much now.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
master_marshmallow wrote:
I agree here, Aelryinth, your views are very restrictive and do not see all alignments equally.

What is the logical basis of treating all alignments equal? Asymmetry on this is literally built into the game, just as it is in real life. Alignments don't all have equal impact, and they certainly don't bear equal burdens either.


LazarX wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:
I agree here, Aelryinth, your views are very restrictive and do not see all alignments equally.
What is the logical basis of treating all alignments equal? Asymmetry on this is literally built into the game, just as it is in real life. Alignments don't all have equal impact, and they certainly don't bear equal burdens either.

Depends heavily on your view of morality and the character. Some evils have many more burdens to bear than others. Some chaotic feel the weight of the world on them and have impulses and restrictions of their own, but all pointed away from order/society. Other examples of alignment are completely sane, but have a very different world view from each other.

How exactly do you measure burden, when its dependent on the character? Extreme alignments on both ends have burdens. Even neutral can have burdens(druid says hi).


LazarX wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:
I agree here, Aelryinth, your views are very restrictive and do not see all alignments equally.
What is the logical basis of treating all alignments equal? Asymmetry on this is literally built into the game, just as it is in real life. Alignments don't all have equal impact, and they certainly don't bear equal burdens either.

What is the basis for treating x alignment as though it's better than y?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
master_marshmallow wrote:
LazarX wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:
I agree here, Aelryinth, your views are very restrictive and do not see all alignments equally.
What is the logical basis of treating all alignments equal? Asymmetry on this is literally built into the game, just as it is in real life. Alignments don't all have equal impact, and they certainly don't bear equal burdens either.
What is the basis for treating x alignment as though it's better than y?

Better defined in what terms? Unless you have a problem with the concept that certain alignments are better suited for certain purposes than others.

The game by the way does not treat alignments equally. If it did,the Ant-Paladin would be equally matched with his opposite. He isn't. The game has a definite bias against evil alignments and there are far more evil creatures in the bestiaries than good... for good reason. It's also considrably easier for players who don't know each other to come together to form good and neutral parties than it is for evil ones. So yes, that's another way of showing how it's not all equal.

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