So is semi-forcing paladin to commit evil, evil?


Advice

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Silver Crusade

Worldbuilder wrote:
I think lose-lose is fine, just as long as they aren't over used. Sometimes in real life all options are lose-lose too unfortunately, its a part of life.

The trouble is, lose/lose only appears when paladins are around. They are mysteriously absent until then. They must be waiting to pounce.

On Monday I played my new paladin for the first time with the party's Druid. That PC's player then did the write-up in character, describing me as 'A stuck-up paladin', despite me not doing anything remotely stuck-up and in fact deliberately making one who is not!

Unlike any other class, people think they know exactly what a paladin is like personality-wise! 'All paladins are stuck-up!' 'They are all Lawful Stupid!' 'They all wear full plate!' (seriously! I get accused of this while wearing light armour!)

I deliberately make PCs who are not stereotypes, and other players usually appreciate that. But when I make a paladin who isn't a stereotype then they either ignore it and make the same old assumptions or say, 'You're not a real paladin if you're not wearing heavy armour!'

[/rant]


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Prince, it was an attempt at humor. I'm also trying to model what the other party members could do in this scenario. That would definitely be the rogue or ninja's take, for example. The idea that no other player at the table can or will do something here is laughable.

The Exchange

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I have to admit, having the Arcane Trickster use 'legerdemain' to swap the child for a mannequin during the villainous monologue would totally be worth having to sit through the melodrama of paladin vs. baby-eater.

(Hm. Note to self: ask GM which Craft skill to use for making hostage-substitution mannequins.)


You're the GM: you know your players best.

No-wins are bad, forcing a player to die is bad, forcing a character to fall from grace is bad, failing to give PCs important information when they ask the correct questions is bad.

However, if you have spoken to your players, each understands the ramifications of action, and you are willing to allow creative problem solving to win the day, I would say you may well have a very good final scene.

Personally, when the pits open, I would let everyone take a smoke break to think it all through. While it is important to maintain suspense, it isn't fair to force them to decide. Instead, I would let them come up with a plan together, and then assign time for each action they take. Then, if they are satisfied with the 5 round constraint, let them roll/role it out and see the results.

This is also a time I would allow for some action/force/divinity/destiny points. If, for instance, the paladin does something particularly in line with the code of his or her order, award a 1 round boon (+2 to a roll in the next round or something to that effect). Same sorts of things for the other characters if they help. If you're maniac is going to call on Hell, Heaven had best be available to help the heroes.

Liberty's Edge

Dwarfakin wrote:
Does it really seem like a no win scenario?

Really, everyone dies or the paladin kills an innocent kid? How does that not seem like a no win situation? Horrible idea I say and I would be highly annoyed if it was me.


Ooh! Cast web as a net beneath you all, but above the mist!


princeimrahil wrote:

How is going into the bowels of Hell because you refused to compromise on morality a "lose" situation? That's an opportunity for some bad-a$$ heroics right there.

Old and busted: GMs who make it hard to play a paladin
New hotness: Paladin players who think it's unfair that the GM ever makes them consider the requirements of the Paladin code.

Becuase the DM didn't indicate in any way shape or form this has anything to do with "going into the bowels of Hell " (and not immediately dying on the spot). The choice is between murder and death. And, not only the paladin's death, but his companions death. So making that choice for them is "murdering them"- paladin FAIL!

"If not, (he pulls another lever) the floor beneath you all of you will fall away into that swirling red mist to certain death. "


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Let me get this straight. You have automatic closing iron doors in the room that are flush with the walls and a drop away floor, which we assume was built over a swirling pit of red mist that leads to Hell, meaning the BBEG had all this purpose built to make adventurers face a moral quandary, basically for BBEG giggles. Ok, so he's crazy as stated, but...

This is wrong on so many levels. First off, it assumes that the PCs won't spot automatic closing doors and/or disable them, or won't spot a drop-away floor, which is a trap by any definition, and disable that - before even entering the room. Second, it assumes that the PCs don't have any means to bypass all this trap-age (flight, teleportation, blowing out a section of wall, creating a new floor, having Climb skills or Spider Climb, OR you're planning to make all those options ineffective by GM fiat, so that the "choice must be made" - your entire scenario depends on it happening when the PCs should have 101 ways of preventing it from happening in the first place.

You're too attached to the idea of potentially making the Paladin fall. If/when a Paladin falls, it should happen without the GM even trying. It'll be the player's choice (mistake), not something you set up. Like Sir Boris falling from grace after axe-murdering his Rogue companion over the distribution of loot, or reasoning that one of the three suspects is guilty of demon-worship so he's justified in axe-murdering all three just to be on the safe side.

Also: You have a portal to Hell and are using it as a garbage chute. That by itself is just about the least cool thing you could do with a portal to Hell.

Example: "Welcome Heroes! I see you are eager to rescue this boy!"
<SHOVE BOY THROUGH PORTAL TO HELL, WHILE HEROES DISCOVER WALL OF FORCE BLOCKING THEIR WAY>
"This is a one-way portal to Hell. I wonder how long he'll last without you to save him! Ta-ta!!"
<BBEG TELEPORTS TO SAFETY, WALL OF FORCE SOON DROPS>

Once in Hell, the party discovers the boy is actually a Simulacrum, meaning they have to not only escape Hell, but still have to rescue the boy as well.


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Fig wrote:
Personally, when the pits open, I would let everyone take a smoke break to think it all through.

Smoke break?!? Ah so, the choice is PC death or Player death? Man, you are mean.

;-)


Helic wrote:
OR you're planning to make all those options ineffective by GM fiat, so that the "choice must be made" - your entire scenario depends on it happening when the PCs should have 101 ways of preventing it from happening in the first place.

Actually, the OP stated in the first post that there were other ways to handle the scenario, and in a later post he stated that the party would likely come up with methods he hadn't thought of as well.

So I don't think it's fair to assume he'll render creative solutions ineffective.


My advice may go against the grain, but here it is anyway...

First off, exploration of the "paladin's fall" theme is not a bad thing, particularly if you've already discussed things with the paladin's player regarding that exploration and they agree to it. You don't have to hide things from your player to keep it interesting, and yes, you can bop them on the head for metagaming if they are clearly attempting to avoid the scenario that they are now aware of.

However, the exploration of the "paladin's fall" is one of the most common scenarios that GMs present to paladin players; it's overdone, to say the least. If your group has never explored that before, that's fine, and it's a valid trope to traipse through, and to be fair... If your Big Bad Evil Guy knows that one of the characters is a paladin, they might take a certain gritty pleasure in setting up scenarios where the paladin is likely to fall, but there are always ways out.

Your paladin's player can simply choose to refuse your test. The paladin is not choosing to let his companions die, he's choosing not to violate his faith (which is a perfectly valid choice). You end up punishing your other players for the paladin making a perfectly valid in-character choice that in no way violates his faith. He's not committing any evil or sin by allowing his companions to fall victim to the Big Bad Evil Guy's schemes (that are outside of his control anyway) any more so than if he allowed his companions to die of old age (which is also outside of his control). In this regard, this would be a situation of "you're doing it wrong" directed at the GM, not the player of the paladin.

If there's a way out where everybody lives and everybody gets to have fun, that's a different story. If your choices are "fall or die", then you've set up your own little kobiyashi maru that's not fair to your players and is not a clever expression of your abilities as a GM. Present multiple avenues for success (be it "fall and start your descent into anti-paladinhood", "foil the Big Bad Evil Guy's plans", "destroy the Big Bad Evil Guy" or "descend into Hell and fight your way out") and your players won't feel railroaded. Of course, if the player makes a mistake by their own foolish choices, then you can later explain to them the multiple avenues that they had to be successful.

Then again, if you wish, you can always have your paladin's god reward him for his faith and save him from certain death. Consider your options carefully.

Best wishes!


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No offense but its situations like this that caused me to decide to never play a Paladin as they are written. Its like there is a disease that causes all DM's to automatically start considering how to cause a Paladin fall the second one is introduced into a game.

Fall... or your entire party literally falls into hell. Really? Its like the poster child of no win situations. But you left obscure clues that they may or may not find in time. Im sorry but I have to agree with many of the other posters. This is just a bad idea.

The only way this would be cool would be if you talked to the player and explain what you want to do and he gives his ok... and you explain that it wont be a TPK if he chooses the leave the kid alive. Otherwise its just unfair imo.

Silver Crusade

If it seems like lose/lose (even if it really isn't) then your players will react as if you had presented a lose/lose situation, and the fact that this lose/lose scenario appears as soon as a paladin does will confirm their fears.

Such things can be upsetting! It can lead to table flips, character suicide or 'acting out' (I kill the noble's son as well! I've already lost my paladinhood! I might as well cause as much mayhem as I can until this now useless PC dies and I can roll up another, and then the next one will be chaotic ev...I mean...'chaotic neutral'!). It can even break up a group and/or lose real life friendships.

Of course, everything may be 'just fine'!

Do you want to gamble with your friendships?

Silver Crusade

Dragonamedrake wrote:
Its like there is a disease that causes all DM's to automatically start considering how to cause a Paladin fall the second one is introduced into a game.

Testify!

Tell it like it is, brother!

It is said by some that a paladin's possible fall is as much a designed weakness of the class as a wizard's spellbook. Although that's debatable, why don't you count the threads dealing with fall/fall scenarios and compare that with all the threads dealing with how DMs start to plot against the spellbook the moment a wizard appears!


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

If it seems like lose/lose (even if it really isn't) then your players will react as if you had presented a lose/lose situation, and the fact that this lose/lose scenario appears as soon as a paladin does will confirm their fears.

Such things can be upsetting! It can lead to table flips, character suicide or 'acting out' (I kill the noble's son as well! I've already lost my paladinhood! I might as well cause as much mayhem as I can until this now useless PC dies and I can roll up another, and then the next one will be chaotic ev...I mean...'chaotic neutral'!). It can even break up a group and/or lose real life friendships.

Of course, everything may be 'just fine'!

Do you want to gamble with your friendships?

It's funny that in over two and a half decades of gaming, I've never had this happen. Maybe I'm just lucky, or maybe I've just made better choices of GMs and tables.

But I've had this basic situation (the forced moral choice - even for Paladins!), and similar situations in numerous other games, come up - and because the players all play under the assumption that the GM is not out to set them up for a TPK, they roll with the drama, no one flips the table, and in several cases, the resultant role-playing is incredibly memorable.

If we're presenting anecdotal evidence here, then my anecdotal evidence would that the outcome here will be "just fine".

Silver Crusade

Fair enough.

There are a few posters even in so small a sample as this thread who have sworn never to play a paladin again because of the urge of many DMs to make a paladin fall.

In my entire 35 year gaming experience I have never heard of anyone who refused to play a wizard again because of any DM urge to constantly target the spellbook.


While no ones flipped a table(thankfully) I have seen players walk out or get fed up with things on numerous occasions and in several different settings. My anecdotal evidence suggest it varies with the situation. Also mind you I've rarely had a GM who respects any sort of GM-Player agreement and many who have taken steps too far and have 'gambled friendship' on being funny or dramatic at the cost of my fun.

I've seen several posters say they wouldn't play a wizard with someone who goes out of their way to burn their spell book Malachi. I've also seen people call them mean names, and people who don't want to deal with the constant moral dilemma disrespectful to the paladin or people who don't want to play them. Everyone is different and wants different things at the table. In this case since I don't know the players I have to suggest you not put them in a lose-lose. If those players are the types who are willing to go through with it and enjoy it then its an okay decision, but not my preferred one.


roguerouge wrote:

Prince, it was an attempt at humor. I'm also trying to model what the other party members could do in this scenario. That would definitely be the rogue or ninja's take, for example. The idea that no other player at the table can or will do something here is laughable.

Sorry, RR (I like your handle, btw). I'm in the middle of a semi-flamewar with some other folks on the web who are so seriously lacking in a sense of irony that I'd lost the capacity to detect it myself.


DrDeth wrote:
Fig wrote:
Personally, when the pits open, I would let everyone take a smoke break to think it all through.

Smoke break?!? Ah so, the choice is PC death or Player death? Man, you are mean.

;-)

By the sounds of it, some one has to kick it. 8b

All told, this scenario could work quite well, but everyone has to be on the same page before the scene. A break (be it smoke, pit or KitKat) could get everyone there before actions begin.

It's a bold, perhaps boisterous, move on the GM's part, and with some players, it will go over well.


Say what you want... but Paladins are unique

If you want to play a Paladin because you like the mechanical class you have to accept the "Moral Dilemma" baggage that comes attached because of the paladin code.

No other class has this. Some cleric deities can be tricky and Druids cant wear metal.... whoo hooo. Every other class has to have the player CHOOSE to add that moral stand. Because of this the DM should talk to the player to see whether he wants it to play a big part in his story. If not... then don't force stupid lose/lose situations on him. Let him play a paladin.

Just my opinion.

Silver Crusade

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MrSin wrote:
I've seen several posters say they wouldn't play a wizard with someone who goes out of their way to burn their spell book Malachi.

So have I. 'If a DM were to constantly target my spellbook then I wouldn't play a wizard with him.'

Not 'DMs always target a wizards spellbook out of sheer badness so I'm never playing the class again ever!'

But you do get that with paladins!


well like i said earlier, the PCs are free to figure out any possible way out of this situation that they can think of. I always reward creativity. I didn't think of this as a lose-lose situation. I just didn't describe the options of escape. They exist, but perception checks need to be made, and ideas need to be thought of etc. I do plan on giving them a 5 min break when it needs to happen just so i don't totally screw them over. But the party consists of:

LVL 10 Druid (Pack Lord Archetype)

LVL 10 Ranger (Guide Archetype)

LVL 10 Paladin (Hospitaler/Holy Vindicator)

LVL 9 Rogue (Scout Archetype)

I feel that the party has the resources and are clever enough to escape this, without killing the kid, or going into hell. I mean heck they have slippers of spider climb, the druid can turn into something that can fly/hover and carry the kid. The rogue is small enough to be carried by the flying druid. The Druid can also cast fly on the paladin, or the paladin can hang on to the guy with spider-man's shoes. That is plenty of time as it is a 20' drop before they even enter the portal.

The paladin is also a goofy build cause he's part cleric, oracle, and paladin. If he does kill the kid it would be a triple whammy. But I know that the paladin won't kill the kid, and immediately begin looking for an out. His deity is extremely protective over children. Failing is not an option for the paladin. I took that into account and made escape routes from this scenario. The challenge really is can the party work together, find the out, exploit the hell out of it (no pun intended), to get to the BBEG and stop him until he dies from it. Should they be sent into hell, they have many options on how to get out.

I will tell my players that there are ways out but they have to find them. It wouldn't be very exciting if i spoonfed all the resources to them.


After listening to your explanations, I okay with it. I'm against situations designed to make paladins fall, but this isn't one of those. It's kind of like when the evil overlord says, 'submit or die!' and the players do anything but.

Just make sure that the players know it's the evil guy saying 'these are your only options' not you.

If I was playing, one of the first things my character would do is start figuring out that business with the portal. Devils tend to be touchy about people randomly opening doors to their plane.


After listening to your explanations, I okay with it. I'm against situations designed to make paladins fall, but this isn't one of those. It's kind of like when the evil overlord says, 'submit or die!' and the players do anything but.

Just make sure that the players know it's the evil guy saying 'these are your only options' not you. Villains, unless they are comically bad ones, tend not to tell the heroes, 'Oh yes, and then there is always options C, stop my evil plan.'

I think a certain amount of the flak you've been getting stems from the thread's title. You aren't semi-forcing the paladin to do anything, don't make it sound like you are.


lose or lose situations is bad juju, and doing so specifically to paladins is double bad juju. the fact that DMs have this obsession with making them fall for some reason is basically going "oh, you want to be a paragon of knightly knightitude and the church? you'd better play a cleric or a fighter, because you'll be the latter eventually over something i set up that you cant possibly avoid anyway!".
its not like THE GODS THEMSELVES know what they're doing when they choose a champion to channel their divine might, and always pick such weak-hearted folks without error, since every one of them does nothing but burn orphans and kick puppies because someone's got a hostage.

but i digress. in your scenario bit you're literally saying "you there, paladin! become a more useless version of the fighter or you'll all get sent to hell (to be killed) while i kill the boys anyway, completely nullifying everything the party has worked for! oh, by the way, after you kill the boy and fall, i'm probably just going to drop you all into hell anyway, because why not?"

obviously for the paladin the simplest answer is: yell to team mates to scramble, then smite+litany of righteousness the lever guy and throw his damn sword at him, as this guy is HILARIOUSLY evil. range penalties will be soaked by smite bonus and it will at least get him off the levers for the party to not get railroaded into a TPK in hell or completely gimping a party member for little more than your amusement.

oh whoops, didnt notice the BBEG is safely scrying them so that wont work. best hope the wizard readies wall of stone for a new floor i suppose!

also, this comes off as incredibly harsh, and i apologize. it's not you, its me dealing with crap like this too often.


Dwarfakin wrote:


I feel that the party has the resources and are clever enough to escape this, without killing the kid, or going into hell.

Which is fine, but this is a different discussion entered into the OP.

If they have a dozen options rather than submitting the the BBEG's false dilemma, then it's not semi-forcing the paladin to commit evil. It's just a villain with a hostage and trapdoor.


you know Ximen when you put it like that, i guess i'm not really forcing the paladin to do anything other than come up with a good plan in a short amount of time. but i do that all the time. So i guess you're right. So screw the internet! I'm Running this scenario!

Silver Crusade

Are wrote:

I'm not sure if the fact that one of the PCs is a paladin actually matters. As long as the party isn't made up of evil characters, I'd think most groups would balk at the idea of murdering a child in that type of situation, whether they had a paladin among them or not.

Yep. This, if there is no way out, would screw good barbarians, fighters, rogues, etc. as much as paladins.

It's not about class features. It's about wanting to play good characters that don't murder kids.


This is the least interesting kind of "moral dilemma" around. In that we've all seen "War Games" before.

Xaratherus wrote:
If it came down to it and the paladin (or the party) seemed to feel (in-character or out) that it was a no-win situation, then you pull out the "deity reassures the paladin silently that 'all will be well'" card.

"All is clear. The boy is promised to an afterlife of joy." :Stab:


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I have a feeling if this happened to our group, our consistently cowardly player would be outside the room when the doors fell, and we'd smash the mirror before the BBEG could finish his monologue. A lot of us hate listening to the BBEG yammer on and on.

This is a pretty ridiculous scenario. It stinks of railroading. Like Helic pointed out earlier, the dropping doors and falling floors are traps. The rogue should be able to spot and disable them; by level 10, most rogues I've seen have enough bonuses or equipment to catch traps more often than not. Making them unspottable would be bad GMing; they should get a fair chance to find it.


@RedEric: I would agree on allowing the Rogue to spot the trap.

Disarming it? That I'm not certain. The falling door, possibly. The floor trap? Any switch to disable it is likely to be in the room with the BBEG, and it's unlikely that you could access the mechanism in any way to disable it.

I know that Disable Device doesn't specify having access to the mechanism in order to disable it, but if you can't get to the components of the trap, how exactly do you jam it or shut it down? The final alternative is to somehow bypass it and leave it active, which is a higher DC, and (since there's a manual trigger for the trap) is somewhat unlikely to really help the situation.

@Journ-O-LST-3: I was thinking something more along the lines of "Have faith!"

Shadow Lodge

If he's forced into it, let him keep his powers. His falling is his guilt.


He said in his first post that he has other ways out of it if the pally makes the rolls...as long as there is a way around the dilema and not just death to the innocent/lose your powers, or the party gets dumped in the circle of death then I don't see anything wrong with it.

Funny if the child is a demon and under a polymorph/hide alignment spell:)


Dwarfakin wrote:
So i have a plan for my PCs to go tracking down a crazy evil mad person for the sake of the good of the world. I plan on having a scenario where the Paladin is forced to commit an evil act, or have himself, and the rest of the PCs cast into a swirling red abyss (portal) that leads to Hell. (Mind you there are other options for the paladin to take but they will be difficult to spot) Is this a bit too cruel as a GM, am i playing my BBEG too evil, or am I doing it baby bear style and be just right.

In my opinion, Paladins are the worst class to pose with moral dilemma because they typically lose no matter what.

A lawful good warrior faced with this decision is going to make the choice and roleplay out how his character feels about this. The Paladin is distracted from the dilemma by the fact that he might lose all his class features.


princeimrahil wrote:
roguerouge wrote:


I take it that murdering the child, then casting resurrection later is not an option? Because that would be, what, wrong?

Well, in a word... YES! Do you want to know why? It's that word that you use in the first sentence: "murdering."

Jeez.

Why exactly? In the real world we don't have resurrection, so our real world views of killing and death don't apply. What happens to someone when they are dead is pretty vague(probably to leave room for DMs), but there is no evidence that any longlasting damage is done aside from the negative level.

Based on the available material, killing and then resurrecting someone(plus restoring negative levels) is no different than knocking someone unconscious


Dwarfakin wrote:
So i have a plan for my PCs to go tracking down a crazy evil mad person for the sake of the good of the world. I plan on having a scenario where the Paladin is forced to commit an evil act, or have himself, and the rest of the PCs cast into a swirling red abyss (portal) that leads to Hell. (Mind you there are other options for the paladin to take but they will be difficult to spot) Is this a bit too cruel as a GM, am i playing my BBEG too evil, or am I doing it baby bear style and be just right.

As a player of a paladin... I hope you have some kickbutt adventure plans for our stay in the Abyss. Because he wouldn't 'kill a kid' and if the other choice was Hell... then that's where he'd go, and FIGHT his way back ;)

Which could be an awesome campaign.

But if you give the player options... you'd better be prepared for him to chose ANY of those options ;)

Silver Crusade

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johnlocke90 wrote:
princeimrahil wrote:
roguerouge wrote:


I take it that murdering the child, then casting resurrection later is not an option? Because that would be, what, wrong?

Well, in a word... YES! Do you want to know why? It's that word that you use in the first sentence: "murdering."

Jeez.

Why exactly? In the real world we don't have resurrection, so our real world views of killing and death don't apply. What happens to someone when they are dead is pretty vague(probably to leave room for DMs), but there is no evidence that any longlasting damage is done aside from the negative level.

Based on the available material, killing and then resurrecting someone(plus restoring negative levels) is no different than knocking someone unconscious

The trauma of being murdered is really just the tip of the iceberg of problems that still exist with this route. There's also no guarantee he'll come back, as raisings can be refused(and keep in mind this would be a child dealing with the soul-scarring trauma of being murdered by someone he might very well would have looked up to).


Mikaze wrote:
Are wrote:

I'm not sure if the fact that one of the PCs is a paladin actually matters. As long as the party isn't made up of evil characters, I'd think most groups would balk at the idea of murdering a child in that type of situation, whether they had a paladin among them or not.

Yep. This, if there is no way out, would screw good barbarians, fighters, rogues, etc. as much as paladins.

It's not about class features. It's about wanting to play good characters that don't murder kids.

Seems that it's less about the Paladin being a problem for the DM and more of Good characters in general not being liked from what I've seen.

Silver Crusade

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Icyshadow wrote:
Mikaze wrote:
Are wrote:

I'm not sure if the fact that one of the PCs is a paladin actually matters. As long as the party isn't made up of evil characters, I'd think most groups would balk at the idea of murdering a child in that type of situation, whether they had a paladin among them or not.

Yep. This, if there is no way out, would screw good barbarians, fighters, rogues, etc. as much as paladins.

It's not about class features. It's about wanting to play good characters that don't murder kids.

Seems that it's less about the Paladin being a problem for the DM and more of Good characters in general not being liked from what I've seen.

Although this scenario should bother any good person, the fact is that DMs don't think up scenarios like this unless the existence of a paladin triggers his knee-jerk 'paladin!-Must-Make-Him-Fall' response.


Yeah, the existence of the Paladin code (and the interpretations of it) make the problem that much worse.

I still wonder how much backlash would it cause if DMs started making a habit of forcing Clerics to change alignment from single deeds.

"Your Cleric of Sarenrae did one Evil deed*, now she's True Neutral and loses all her powers!!" - I know I wouldn't play with a DM like that for long.

* = Said deed was not giving a coin to a beggar.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

As others have said, this dilemma feels particularly contrived, engineered at great personal expense by a genre-savvy villain.

What reason would the Paladin even have to trust this villain at all? Unless the party can rally the proper magic to avert falling into the pit and saving the boy, it's pretty much resign yourself to dying.

I think Helic's scenario is a pretty good one, though I would modify it. He pushes the hostage into Hell, and the party has the option of following to protect, or attempting to engage the BBEG. I'd also let them actually rescue the kid if they pursue him into Hell and manage to protect him.

Not only to allow them a well deserved win, but also because it makes sense from the villain's POV. If they do a rescue and it turns out to be a simulacrum, they'll never pay attention to any "hostage" the villain has. It would be so much easier to just take another hostage later.

Silver Crusade

Yeah! Simulacra are expensive, hostage kids are cheap!

Seriously, from the BBEG's POV, what is he getting out of it? Such an expensive and contrived way to ensure his own downfall!


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

Yeah! Simulacra are expensive, hostage kids are cheap!

Seriously, from the BBEG's POV, what is he getting out of it? Such an expensive and contrived way to ensure his own downfall!

Cheap laughs? Then again, only a Demon would be that bored, and a Demon would aim MUCH higher for his/her amusement.


I have no problem with challenging a paladin's moral code. This scenario is a bit too straight-forward and... bludgeoning(?) to me. Unless the
BBEG has spent past time trying to coerce the paladin into doing circumspect actions prior and this is his end-game, pull-out-the-stops and make-a-choice-once-and-for-all move, it seems too clearly unbelievable.

First, do not single out the paladin character. This situation is fine as long as the BBEG is addressing the entire party, testing them as a whole, Yes, the presence of a paladin likely will influence what will happen, but when you single out the paladin the rest of the players may feel that is a 'spotlight' situation and not act or offer advice so as not to interfere with what is clearly a custom-designed encounter based on one PC. They might hesitate or not act when they would in an otherwise 'party' situation.

You don't want to be the guy that walks in, sees Inigo Montoya beaten by the six-fingered man (the villain he's searched his whole life for) and then shoot the six-fingered man right as Inigo starts to rise and begin his "Hello..." speech.

And really, the BBEG probably views the paladin as being weaker for following his code and principles, he would use it to his advantage to make fighting or catching him harder. If you're fighting a guy who, for whatever reason, is holding himself back from cheating in a fight to take advantage of every opportunity, why in the world would you ruin your advantage by goading that person into suddenly realizing he really does see it as okay to go and kill your wife and torture your plans and location out of your kid and use a napalm strike on the village of otherwise innocent people you're hiding in just to get to you.

The loss of that one guy's paladin powers had better be really worth it, or be done in the presence of people who respect and trust him, like making him do the act where the church or townsfolk see him and lose faith in him themselves.

A better situation would allow the paladin a chance to shine. For instance, instead of a child hostage, it's an older man, the father of a child hostage. He's bound in a circle in the room that's mystically linked to a crystal stalagtite or other structurally tough object. The BBEG or his image, or his lieutenant appears, makes a taunting reference about having the man's child. The stalagtite fires a beam of damaging energy at the party every round and the man cries out as his life is drained. The party fights some mooks who aren't effected by the beam. The man can talk but can't be moved from the circle until some item from the BBEG's lieutenant is retrieved (he can be killed though, if the party wants to stop the crystal blasts every round.) There's two other ways out of the room, one leads right to the lieutenant but it's covered by an impenetrable magic barrier, while the normal way takes them through more rooms of traps and bad guys.

The trapped man knows how the device works, having overheard the BBEG and knows it can only drain Lawful Good people for energy and without the lieutenant's control rod to release him only a willing person can take his place. He says the person in the circle can also fire the crystal in addition to the person with the control rod (but doing so drains more life, which he has little of and since the mooks had some kind of protection there was no point in it). He does say he will give up his life to blast down the barrier, leading quicker to the BBEG eventually, and the lieutenant immediately (though getting the control rod will be moot for him them). He begs them to go free his son, but to hurry, since the crystal keeps draining his life. There may be another LG PC or the paladin might offer to take the man's place while the rest rush through the complex or through the barrier if the paladin expends life (gains 2d4 negative levels or somesuch, deathward doesn't help.) He'll also have to give up being in the fight and trust his party to get the control rod and free him.

That won't get your party to Hell or the Abyss though. You could use a similar situation where the BBEG escapes into a portal to the Abyss held open by the life force of chained children. The can free the children and close the portal, letting him get away or chase him. If they free the children they can open the portal by expending life force (preferably later after getting the prisoners to safety, but the BBEG will have been able to prepare or move his plans).

In whatever case, let us know what you choose and what happens.


Haladir wrote:
Dwarfakin wrote:
I plan on having a scenario where the Paladin is forced to commit an evil act, or have himself, and the rest of the PCs cast into a swirling red abyss (portal) that leads to Hell.

*Sigh*.

Don't do this.

Seriously... Don't do this.

Making a paladin violate his code is a totally cliche "bad GM" move that will NOT endear you to your players.

Forcing a paladin into a no-win situation is, IMAO, a terrible thing for a GM to do. People who choose to play paladins generally want to be white-hat good guys. Presenting a paladin's player with a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" dilemma is sloppy encounter design at best and simply being a jerk at worst. And if you do go down that path, you're only going to sow ill will between you and your players.

I just don't get why so many GMs seem to want to screw with paladins like this. (Other than simply being a jerk, of course.)

A well-played lawful good character of any class will look at the situation you present as a false dilemma and will come up with something creative that does not break their code-- including self-sacrifice if it comes to that.

I hate to say this, but if someone goes into playing a palidin to be the "white-hat good guy", has entirely missed the point.

The whole narrative function of the class is built around two pillars "the fall/redemption" and "personal sacrifice for a greater ideal."

These are the reason why palidins have codes.

You can play the purer than pure, holy warrior as a cleric or fighter. That what hat player, he can do that, without strapping the kick me sign, that is paladinhood to their back.

Because that is what paladins are, in a narrative sense, they are a sign to the GM that you want to face the tough choices.

That said, I do something that breaks may code, or the whole party dies, is a relatively poor choice, it has to many metagame implications. The pressure of being responcible for death of all the player characters can make a player make a decision his character would not, and leave a bad taste in the mouth.


The BBEG does pick on the rest of they party earlier in the dungeon, again testing their moral code. The paladin however is the only one that has ill effects should he choose wrong. Which is why i brought this topic up. Which I may rework the scenario a bit cause in the other tests of morality no real threat is directed toward the party. I may do what someone suggested and have the BBEG push the kid into the portal and stand there to see what the party does. Do they swan dive into the portal to save the kid or do they say screw the kid chase the BBEG as he makes a break for it?


On the one hand, achieving paladinhood means willingness to live and die by the choices you make, and selflessness for teh greater good (your campaign may be different). So, the paladin would choose one of the two fates and ultimately know he (or she) make the right choice. I mean, what are we role-playing here? A set of class features or a code of conduct?

On the other hand, I don't encourage railroading. There are times its acceptable when the party just needs to get a move on. Maybe they don't know what to do next, or the entire table understands that they are saving time and thus getting on to the fun stuff. I believe that what you are doing is constructing what you see as an epic finish. The player will probably not feel it as awesome as you do. If a situation like yours does arise, it should be because the paladin/party has make a series of other bad choices beforehand and the consequnces finally catch up to them.


To many people assume Paladins are stupid. You're doing that. It's not a true moral test because the person administering the test and determining the outcome via rigging it, is a liar. The BBEG will kill the kid, or trick the players no matter what. So either die pointlessly in this scenario, or kill the BBEG and protect all the other innocents he will kill/torture if you don't put him down now. Also don't forget you also have an open portal to the Abyss in the mortal world. Yeah, lets leave that open and allow the demons to flow out of it?

I find the scenario sloppily crafted. If you want to test the morals of the group, do so over the course of the campaign via Role-Playing and seeing how the players act.


Icyshadow wrote:

Yeah, the existence of the Paladin code (and the interpretations of it) make the problem that much worse.

I still wonder how much backlash would it cause if DMs started making a habit of forcing Clerics to change alignment from single deeds.

"Your Cleric of Sarenrae did one Evil deed*, now she's True Neutral and loses all her powers!!" - I know I wouldn't play with a DM like that for long.

* = Said deed was not giving a coin to a beggar.

I actually played with a DM like that once. I ended walking away from the table and never looking back because well, they were crazy. Essentially they tagged deities with whatever they felt like would be part of the deities expectations and if you failed them you fell as a divine class. Wasn't fun, felt like being told how to role play. Lots of expectations, little in return.


Mikaze wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:
princeimrahil wrote:
roguerouge wrote:


I take it that murdering the child, then casting resurrection later is not an option? Because that would be, what, wrong?

Well, in a word... YES! Do you want to know why? It's that word that you use in the first sentence: "murdering."

Jeez.

Why exactly? In the real world we don't have resurrection, so our real world views of killing and death don't apply. What happens to someone when they are dead is pretty vague(probably to leave room for DMs), but there is no evidence that any longlasting damage is done aside from the negative level.

Based on the available material, killing and then resurrecting someone(plus restoring negative levels) is no different than knocking someone unconscious

The trauma of being murdered is really just the tip of the iceberg of problems that still exist with this route. There's also no guarantee he'll come back, as raisings can be refused(and keep in mind this would be a child dealing with the soul-scarring trauma of being murdered by someone he might very well would have looked up to).

Is it more traumatic then going to Hell though? If you explain it to him, I think the kid would understand what you are doing(Even if he didnt like it) and would agree to do it.

I know that if I were given the options "Go to hell, where you will have to fight/make deals with devils and possible have your soul stuck there" or "Get murdered and come back a few weeks later" I would go with the second.

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