how to handle an aggressive 'lawful stupid' paladin?


Advice

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Artanthos wrote:
Claxon wrote:
I disagree so much so. Again, lawful isn't only about obeying laws. Lawful is about a personal code, and paladins definitely have one.

Robin Hood, the poster child for Chaotic Good, had a strong personal moral code.

He did not, however, respect the laws of the society in which he lived.

He wasn't chaotic because he didn't respect the laws of the society (at least not only because of that), he was chaotic because he didn't respect the laws of the society, he was a loose canon, he had no order, he was disrupting the order of the society and the land and had no plan whatsoever other than wait for the return of the rightful king and his armies to take back the throne.

Shadow Lodge

Claxon wrote:
Actively evil intents means about to commit actions which are evil. Not thinking "Hey, I really don't like that guy and it'd be nice to kill him" but never actually intends to. It means the "neutral" guy about to commit his first armed robbery/murder will detect as evil as he's waiting for his drunk target to stumble down the street.

Temporary intent to kill is not worthy of death.

A 5th good-aligned level adventurer who has just seen a loved one killed and is filled by a genuine urge to slowly and painfully kill their loved one's murderer will detect as evil because they intend to perform an evil act (torture for reasons of revenge). This does not mean that a paladin ought to slay that adventurer.

HNNNNNNG wrote:

Does casting infernal healing on a paladin remove all of their abilities?

The spell says that the target detects as an evil creature, and they can sense the evil in the magic, but has no affect on alignment.
And since paladins can't be associating with evil...

No 1st level spell should be able to semi-permanently cripple a character.


Weirdo wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Actively evil intents means about to commit actions which are evil. Not thinking "Hey, I really don't like that guy and it'd be nice to kill him" but never actually intends to. It means the "neutral" guy about to commit his first armed robbery/murder will detect as evil as he's waiting for his drunk target to stumble down the street.

Temporary intent to kill is not worthy of death.

A 5th good-aligned level adventurer who has just seen a loved one killed and is filled by a genuine urge to slowly and painfully kill their loved one's murderer will detect as evil because they intend to perform an evil act (torture for reasons of revenge). This does not mean that a paladin ought to slay that adventurer.

That sir is debateable depending on the tennats of your deity and your indivdiual GM. Under what conditions is the paladin encounter this individual waiting to take revenge and torture the other individual? Does the paladin come up them in the ally after the attack has begun? Without having some further knowledge about the situation the Paladin may use detect evil, find that the apparent aggressor is evil, and then slay him to protect what is believed to be an innocent person. Of course, there are many ways the whole situation could go, and for something like this a GM should provide some clarity on the situation.

The paladin needn't necessarily slay the person wronged, but without outside knowledge it may be the only viable option, and one he shouldn't be penalized for.

Edit: I've been trying to find for about the past 20 minutes a paladin spell I once saw. I think it was from a 3rd party source, and called something like Sword of Justice. I don't remember exactly how it worked, but basically if you cast it and then struck at a creature the spell caused your attack not to connect if the creature was innocent. Paladins need something like that, just all the time. An item or a weapon enchant that does it would be excellent.


I have played plenty of Paladin and just some quick advice.

Killing everything evil on sight

1. Communication - There is nothing in the books wrong per se for trying to kill everything that is evil. However, I think a good GM should tell the Paladin things that they should know about Detect Evil.

2. Evil can sometimes mask themselves.
3. There are multiple reasons why people might have an evil alignment. (i.e. race, country).
4. Paladin should know that Detect Evil is not foolproof.

For me it seems to me that you should explain that because of game mechanics he should know that Detect Evil is not 100% accurate. It would make more sense for a Paladin to figure out whether his Detect Evil was accurate before slaying the person.

His character would know this information and therefore he make make of it what he will. If he is a reasonable person he would understand that smithy everything that glows red will end up wasting his smite evil into people and creatures that are not evil. (Personally I would draw up an encounter where this happens)

I disagree that killing evil people on sight makes you Chaotic. I think the answer depends on the GM and player.

Whether slaying people looses his Paladinhood or not comes down to how you feel.

II. Retreat Scenario

1. Be Fair. Make sure to tell him that retreat is an option for his Paladin. Remember Paladin is a trained class meaning the character probably put years of their lives on being a Paladin. Should have a decent tactical IQ, he is a Paladin not a Barbarian (Sorry Barbarians)
2. Give a warning. Let him know that he is placing his character in needless peril. (This can be a vision from his God or a Celestial Messenger)

III. The Code

Use the Code as a flavor more than a strength jacket. Best GM that I have seen actually rewards Paladin's for using the Code. So you have the carrot approach.

This means if the Paladin does something really right (i.e. Bury an honorable foe, protect the weak, go out of his way to do something lawful) he should be rewarded.

The biggest mistake is that the Code is used as a Negative, do X Y or Z or you will loose your powers that takes the fun away. I rather be the player figuring it out that if you are a Paladin and if you act accordinly your God might smile more upon you and give you something. That way he is also rewarded for using the Code.


Claxon wrote:
Edit: I've been trying to find for about the past 20 minutes a paladin spell I once saw. I think it was from a 3rd party source, and called something like Sword of Justice. I don't remember exactly how it worked, but basically if you cast it and then struck at a creature the spell caused your attack not to connect if the creature was innocent. Paladins need something like that, just all the time. An item or a weapon enchant that does it would be excellent.

They call this a Phylactery of Faithfulness. Every Paladin needs one, in fact it should be a Class feature.


It is just so funny to me how fast these paladin alignment debates take off. It's like a spark in a dry forest.

I've said it before in other paladin threads and I'll say it again here: There is NO ONE WAY to play a paladin. Each paladin is a different character played by a different person who follows a different deity (which has specific tenets/codes) and has different ideas on what constitutes "lawful good."

The best way to get this sorted out is to look through the book Faiths of Purity under the tenets/codes for the Paladin's deity, talk to the Player about what you expect in your world (get the alignment situation figured out at the table), don't be a Richard and put them in unwinnable ethical quandaries all the time and let that player play their character. Once all of this is done, have fun.


DrDeth wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Edit: I've been trying to find for about the past 20 minutes a paladin spell I once saw. I think it was from a 3rd party source, and called something like Sword of Justice. I don't remember exactly how it worked, but basically if you cast it and then struck at a creature the spell caused your attack not to connect if the creature was innocent. Paladins need something like that, just all the time. An item or a weapon enchant that does it would be excellent.
They call this a Phylactery of Faithfulness. Every Paladin needs one, in fact it should be a Class feature.

Yes it's a very good item, and yes every paladin and cleric needs one. Too bad neither of the classes can get them (exept maybe a couple paladin archetypes) because it occupies the frigging headband slot, a slot that both classes need for their stat boosting item.


DrDeth wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Edit: I've been trying to find for about the past 20 minutes a paladin spell I once saw. I think it was from a 3rd party source, and called something like Sword of Justice. I don't remember exactly how it worked, but basically if you cast it and then struck at a creature the spell caused your attack not to connect if the creature was innocent. Paladins need something like that, just all the time. An item or a weapon enchant that does it would be excellent.
They call this a Phylactery of Faithfulness. Every Paladin needs one, in fact it should be a Class feature.

Actually, I think that Claxon is thinking of the Sword Against Injustice ability of an Inheritor's Crusader.

-TimD


leo1925 wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Edit: I've been trying to find for about the past 20 minutes a paladin spell I once saw. I think it was from a 3rd party source, and called something like Sword of Justice. I don't remember exactly how it worked, but basically if you cast it and then struck at a creature the spell caused your attack not to connect if the creature was innocent. Paladins need something like that, just all the time. An item or a weapon enchant that does it would be excellent.
They call this a Phylactery of Faithfulness. Every Paladin needs one, in fact it should be a Class feature.
Yes it's a very good item, and yes every paladin and cleric needs one. Too bad neither of the classes can get them (exept maybe a couple paladin archetypes) because it occupies the frigging headband slot, a slot that both classes need for their stat boosting item.

True, so I just invented this class feature for home games:

Divine Connection: Paladins gain at first level a Divine Connection. This Divine Connection does not allow the Paladin to talk directly to their god, but the Paladin is aware of any action or item that could adversely affect his alignment and his standing with his deity, including magical effects. He acquires this information prior to performing such an action or becoming associated with such an item.

I literally just re-skinned the item into a class feature.

TimD wrote:

Actually, I think that Claxon is thinking of the Sword Against Injustice ability of an Inheritor's Crusader.

-TimD

And you are absolutely right. I think that should be a general class feature that becomes available to paladins without having to loose too much class progression.


I think that the item or the feature are not as important as the GM and the player sharing expectations as to what LG means, what this particular paladin's code is and be open out of character when more grey issues come up. That's not to say that moral dilemmas will never come up its part of the fun of playing a paladin but keeping open about how the GM is interpreting your characters actions and motives. GM's do not always interpret character actions the ways in which players expect.


Using Robin Hood is never a good example when discussing law during that period. It all gets a bit wonky once you you bring John, Richard, and the Magna Carta into the picture. In fact, English history in general has several periods like this where I would say the laws and needs of the society are not in line with the laws of the state - the War of Roses and The Anarchy both spring to mind. Sorry for the off-topic.

Shadow Lodge

Claxon wrote:
Weirdo wrote:

Temporary intent to kill is not worthy of death.

A 5th good-aligned level adventurer who has just seen a loved one killed and is filled by a genuine urge to slowly and painfully kill their loved one's murderer will detect as evil because they intend to perform an evil act (torture for reasons of revenge). This does not mean that a paladin ought to slay that adventurer.

That sir is debateable depending on the tennats of your deity and your indivdiual GM. Under what conditions is the paladin encounter this individual waiting to take revenge and torture the other individual? Does the paladin come up them in the ally after the attack has begun? Without having some further knowledge about the situation the Paladin may use detect evil, find that the apparent aggressor is evil, and then slay him to protect what is believed to be an innocent person. Of course, there are many ways the whole situation could go, and for something like this a GM should provide some clarity on the situation.

The paladin needn't necessarily slay the person wronged, but without outside knowledge it may be the only viable option, and one he shouldn't be penalized for.

No, I wouldn't penalize a paladin for killing a good person who was engaged in an evil act assuming the paladin doesn't know the full situation. That is not the paladin performing a "willing evil act" in my book. That doesn't mean that the paladin should have killed the aggressor - it wasn't the best action to take and the person didn't deserve to die. I would expect a paladin to feel guilty over the action even if it didn't represent a fall from grace. Even paladins who favour slaying evil want to be very sure that they don't take their swords to the wrong person.

However, if I knew that one or more of my players wanted to play a character (paladin or otherwise) who was all about killing evil, I would not introduce a situation in which they were likely to kill an innocent by mistake. If my players weren't already inclined to talk to or restrain opponents, I'd give enough warning that they'd know something was up. For example, maybe they personally know the aggressor and that threatening innocents is out of character for them. It feels too much like a trick otherwise.

I do want to point out that the bolded phrase continues to make the assumption that a person who detects as evil is evil, that is to say that they have done evil things and will likely continue to do evil things with regularity in the future if not stopped. Going strictly by the rules, Detect Evil is far from infallible. A paladin who relies solely on it will eventually kill innocents from carelessness, and a paladin ought to be bothered by that thought. Some tables avoid "false positive" situations for Detect Evil in the interests of making sure that anyone who detects as evil does deserve a good smiting, and again if I were running a game for a smite paladin I'd avoid introducing anything that detects as evil that wasn't OK to smite. As someone who's played an unsubtle druid, it's nice to be able to unleash righteous wrath on an unambiguous target.


Paladins are a touchy subject. Talk with your player beforehand and if you don't have very very similar concepts of what a Paladin "should do", don't do it. Have him play a Cleric or a Fighter/Cleric. Or a Fighter with a Holy Sword. Or check out Multiclass archetypes and make a Fighter/Cleric that way. Either the Paladin or you or both will be miserable if you don't have a good idea of what to expect and what's expected of you going in.


Booksy wrote:
But a Paladin walking through a crowded city street, while a child is pursued by members of the city watch...maybe the child is guilty? If I had reasons to put a Paladin is such a situation I would hope they would step in - possibly catching the child themselves, but only to make sure any judgements/punishments are fair. Stepping in more may result in the unlawful escape of a shapeshifting murderer, inversely ignoring it may result in the death of child stealing bread for a sick sibling. Both would be a gross injustice and should force any Lawful Good player - paladin or not - to do some soul searching.

IMO, the correct answer would be "Catch the child, then question his pursuers as to the nature of the kid's offense." In case of the classic "stealing of food" scenario, just pay for what the kid took or give the item back and feed the kid yourself.


When you start holding someone accountable for things they absolutely could not ever possibly know, you're overdoing it. You're pulling a 'gotcha', and that's bad.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
DrDeth wrote:
Eric Saxon wrote:

Any paladin that kills any evil runs the risk of becoming evil himself.

Example: A Lawful Evil lawyer is traveling through the woods with 2 bodyguards. You meet him. The lawyer has NO scruples and ZERO moral compass. By definition he is EVIL.
Killing him, simply because he detects as EVIL will have several consequences.

He doesn't detect as evil. Read the spell.

A) You should read the spell.

B) How do you know the lawyer is not 5 or higher HD?
C) A Lawful Neutral cleric of a Lawful Evil god pings as evil from level 1 (Aura class ability).


Zhayne wrote:
When you start holding someone accountable for things they absolutely could not ever possibly know, you're overdoing it. You're pulling a 'gotcha', and that's bad.

The whole point of Evil is that it's deliberate. While anyone can perform an act that has bad consequences/increases suffering, it's not necessarily Evil unless you knew that would be the outcome and did it anyway.

Silver Crusade

leo1925 wrote:
Mikaze wrote:
leo1925 wrote:


For the paladin of Torag: Any other paladin wouldn't fall (except maybe a paladin of Erastil from Sandpoint) but not a dwarf paladin of Torag, he has to slay the enemies of his people and scatter their families.

He already slew the enemies. "Scattering their families" doesn't mean "murder their families".

Torag's code is more a call to destroy evil cultures rather than a call to genocide. Or at least that's the only way I can read it that doesn't drop his beardy ass straight to LE.

That is your interpretation of Torag's dogma, from what i have gathered Torag's children (dwarves) and orcs and goblinoids have all commited genocide to each other many times in their history.

And no i don't believe that genocide of being who belong to an evil race isn't evil.

Anyway if you want to play a paladin who belongs to a specific churches order of paladins and want to play that paladin as always seeing the good in others, believing that everyone can be saved from the dark vile claws and tentacles of evil then play a paladin of Serenrae or better yet Shelyn, if you want that paladin to be a more "traditional" paladin then play a paladin of Iomidae, if you want to play a champion of civilization, opener of roads and stuff then play a paladin of Abadar and if you want to play a harsh paladin who has the guts to do what he must then play a paladin of Torag or Erastil.

Different perspectives and all that. I'm admittedly used to describing those paladins that stick their necks out to show mercy, save and/or redeem others regardless of the pressuring of others as having the guts to do what they must too. :)

Dark Archive

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Ah, Paladins. A Lawful Good class that seems to be catnip for Chaotic Evil players, who then spend entirely too much time rationalizing why it's totally 'Lawful Good' to be merciless, cruel, genocidal, hateful, lawless and otherwise a horrible, horrible person.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Set wrote:

Ah, Paladins. A Lawful Good class that seems to be catnip for Chaotic Evil players, who then spend entirely too much time rationalizing why it's totally 'Lawful Good' to be merciless, cruel, genocidal, hateful, lawless and otherwise a horrible, horrible person.

+1.

If you want to be one, BE one.

Shadow Lodge

Artanthos wrote:
Claxon wrote:
I disagree so much so. Again, lawful isn't only about obeying laws. Lawful is about a personal code, and paladins definitely have one.

Robin Hood, the poster child for Chaotic Good, had a strong personal moral code.

He did not, however, respect the laws of the society in which he lived.

Awhile back, I wrote a piece in which I argued that Robin was actually a lawful-good ranger/paladin multiclass.

He respected legitimate authority -- but Prince John was a usurper and a tyrant. Even if John were a legitimate king, he was still evil, and Robin could not in conscious obey him.

Silver Crusade

Set wrote:

Ah, Paladins. A Lawful Good class that seems to be catnip for Chaotic Evil players, who then spend entirely too much time rationalizing why it's totally 'Lawful Good' to be merciless, cruel, genocidal, hateful, lawless and otherwise a horrible, horrible person.

Well obviously, if you're CE, the paladins are always messing up your schemes, kicking your ass (so unjustifiably!) and killing your minions.

I think its akin to seeing a criminal who routinely gets arrested for say drug possession, beating his wife, resisting arrest and the like (You know the 'victim') play a cop and then play said officer as an abusive psychopath who abuses his authority all the time.

Evil doesn't comprehend good, and sadly I think some players don't comprehend it either (whether they're evil or not is up for debate).

I still remember seeing some guy try to posit that lawful good was the most evil alignment for 'oppressing' free thought or some similar track of madness.


Spook205 wrote:
Set wrote:

Ah, Paladins. A Lawful Good class that seems to be catnip for Chaotic Evil players, who then spend entirely too much time rationalizing why it's totally 'Lawful Good' to be merciless, cruel, genocidal, hateful, lawless and otherwise a horrible, horrible person.

Well obviously, if you're CE, the paladins are always messing up your schemes, kicking your ass (so unjustifiably!) and killing your minions.

I think its akin to seeing a criminal who routinely gets arrested for say drug possession, beating his wife, resisting arrest and the like (You know the 'victim') play a cop and then play said officer as an abusive psychopath who abuses his authority all the time.

Evil doesn't comprehend good, and sadly I think some players don't comprehend it either (whether they're evil or not is up for debate).

I still remember seeing some guy try to posit that lawful good was the most evil alignment for 'oppressing' free thought or some similar track of madness.

In these days of Jack Bauer mentality, lawful good "gets in the way". When was the last time you saw a LG character that wasn't a comedic caricature, an idealistic twit or simply doomed to die in north american popular culture?


I think I saw someone like that in The Avengers not too long ago. Mind you, that's the movie version. Captain America in the comics is on the road to becoming a parody of himself.

Silver Crusade

You have to go back a while. Its why I tend to watch older media. Modern media is governed by this cynical jackassery that seems designed to teach us idealistic rubes that objective morality, truth, traditions, standards and the like are pipe dreams.

I admit one of my archetypes for the paladin isn't Superman. Its Joe Friday from Dragnet. Unwavering, direct, polite, but also possesed of a simmering rage towards evil-doers (that doesn't overcome his professionalism), working within the system, with a distinct love of representative democracy, his city and country, and its people even with its foibles.

I think thats part of the problem. [oldman] Kids these days [/oldman] don't really have the same archetypes we did back in the day. We had Joe Friday, and Superman before he got 'nuanced' into uselessness, we had the Batman television show in all its campy re-runny glory, Duke and Optimus Prime.

My heart weeps when someone tries to tell me that characters like Anderson from Hellsing are Lawful Good or that 'Lawful Good characters need to compromise their beliefs to achieve the greater good!'


Back to the topic at hand. When I run (and most GMs that I play under) Lawful Stupid is considered an ethos violation and justification to fall. This is known up front, since there are a couple players who often play a paladin in our groups. It's become even more likely for Pathfinder AP's, since alignment DR/10 is often used pretty early into the game at least once or twice before the party can expect to have the proper equipment to bypass it. It often makes a difference between an reasonably easy encounter and a TPK.


Set wrote:

Ah, Paladins. A Lawful Good class that seems to be catnip for Chaotic Evil players, who then spend entirely too much time rationalizing why it's totally 'Lawful Good' to be merciless, cruel, genocidal, hateful, lawless and otherwise a horrible, horrible person.

I'd say it's an even split between evil players who want to corrupt-and-destroy the concept of the paladin from within, and those who simply want to Kill All Paladins on sight.

Heroism really, really bothers some people.


Spook205 wrote:
My heart weeps when someone tries to tell me that characters like Anderson from Hellsing are Lawful Good or that 'Lawful Good characters need to compromise their beliefs to achieve the greater good!'

D:<

Who...

Silver Crusade

Liath Samathran wrote:
Spook205 wrote:
My heart weeps when someone tries to tell me that characters like Anderson from Hellsing are Lawful Good or that 'Lawful Good characters need to compromise their beliefs to achieve the greater good!'

D:<

Who...

"Paladin Arthur Anderson" an agent of the vatican from the horror anime Hellsing. He's essentially a murderous, zealous lunatic who kills people with bayonets. Since the majority of the cast 'heroic' or otherwise consists of murderous lunatics, he's admittedly one of the nicer ones.

Its a confusion that people have mistaking every "holy warrior" as a paladin these days it seems. Although in Anderson's case, its in his bloody in-world title.

But yeah, lawful stupid to the 'burn all the unbelievers' extreme usually results in loss of paladinhood. Ironically it often results in the 'paladin' being chased by /genuine/ paladins.


Spook205 wrote:
Liath Samathran wrote:
Spook205 wrote:
My heart weeps when someone tries to tell me that characters like Anderson from Hellsing are Lawful Good or that 'Lawful Good characters need to compromise their beliefs to achieve the greater good!'

D:<

Who...

"Paladin Arthur Anderson" an agent of the vatican from the horror anime Hellsing. He's essentially a murderous, zealous lunatic who kills people with bayonets. Since the majority of the cast 'heroic' or otherwise consists of murderous lunatics, he's admittedly one of the nicer ones.

Its a confusion that people have mistaking every "holy warrior" as a paladin these days it seems. Although in Anderson's case, its in his bloody in-world title.

But yeah, lawful stupid to the 'burn all the unbelievers' extreme usually results in loss of paladinhood. Ironically it often results in the 'paladin' being chased by /genuine/ paladins.

D:<

Thrice-damned Burners!

Silver Crusade

In all srsness, yeah know about Anderson enough to go "lolwut" at the notion of him being ANY kind of good. But that note does make me that much more eager to start playing Wrath of the Righteous and start punching demons and Burners alike. ;)

Silver Crusade

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You'd be amazed at the people I've heard who some wanted to class as a 'paladin.

Its like they see knightly virtues, and a general religious sensibility and they run with it.

I do fear too that sometimes we do go to the opposite extreme though. Some folks also argue that you can't be a paladin if you do like wading into warfare and cracking the skulls of the enemy.

Its like people try to limit paladins to either 'FOR THE EMPEROR' style space marine genocidal lunatics or people in pleated tie-dyed armor carrying peace-placards. I like to bring up the G'Kar quote in that case though..

"I can’t recall the last time I was in a fight like that. No moral ambiguity, no… hopeless battle against ancient and overwhelming forces. They were the bad guys, as you say, we were the good guys. And they made a very satisfying thump when they hit the floor."


Weirdo wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Weirdo wrote:

Temporary intent to kill is not worthy of death.

A 5th good-aligned level adventurer who has just seen a loved one killed and is filled by a genuine urge to slowly and painfully kill their loved one's murderer will detect as evil because they intend to perform an evil act (torture for reasons of revenge). This does not mean that a paladin ought to slay that adventurer.

That sir is debateable depending on the tennats of your deity and your indivdiual GM. Under what conditions is the paladin encounter this individual waiting to take revenge and torture the other individual? Does the paladin come up them in the ally after the attack has begun? Without having some further knowledge about the situation the Paladin may use detect evil, find that the apparent aggressor is evil, and then slay him to protect what is believed to be an innocent person. Of course, there are many ways the whole situation could go, and for something like this a GM should provide some clarity on the situation.

The paladin needn't necessarily slay the person wronged, but without outside knowledge it may be the only viable option, and one he shouldn't be penalized for.

No, I wouldn't penalize a paladin for killing a good person who was engaged in an evil act assuming the paladin doesn't know the full situation. That is not the paladin performing a "willing evil act" in my book. That doesn't mean that the paladin should have killed the aggressor - it wasn't the best action to take and the person didn't deserve to die. I would expect a paladin to feel guilty over the action even if it didn't represent a fall from grace. Even paladins who favour slaying evil want to be very sure that they don't take their swords to the wrong person.

However, if I knew that one or more of my players wanted to play a character (paladin or otherwise) who was all about killing evil, I would not introduce a situation in which they were likely to kill an innocent by mistake. If my...

I agree with you whole heartedly. The best course of action isn't necessarily to have killed the agressor, especially in a city where he could be locked up and tried for his crimes under proper authority. Though if the agressor were strong enough the paladin may not be able to disable without killing, but thats a separate issue. Certainly a paladin could feel guilt and remorse if he has to resort to killing humanoids, though I can also see a validity to Judge Dredd types that wouldn't do so either.

You sounds like a good and nice GM who doesn't purposely try to make paladins fall, like someone I would enjoy playing a paladin under.


Intentions do not matter. Alignment is based solely on actions. The paladin himself could stand there steaming with rage, feeling the urge to slowly and painfully kill someone, but so long as he doesn't act on it, he's fine.

If we're getting into 'intentions', we get to the 'guy thinks slaughtering a village was a good act, so that makes it a good act' nonsense.

Shadow Lodge

Intentions matter in that a character who actively intends to perform an evil act will temporarily detect as evil according to the description of Detect Evil.

That doesn't mean that those intentions make them evil, or that intending to perform an evil act is an evil act, but it does change how they Detect. Just like being the target of Infernal Healing temporarily causes you to detect as evil but has no actual effect on your alignment.

That also doesn't mean that doing an evil thing with good intentions is a good act.

Claxon wrote:

I agree with you whole heartedly. The best course of action isn't necessarily to have killed the agressor, especially in a city where he could be locked up and tried for his crimes under proper authority. Though if the agressor were strong enough the paladin may not be able to disable without killing, but thats a separate issue. Certainly a paladin could feel guilt and remorse if he has to resort to killing humanoids, though I can also see a validity to Judge Dredd types that wouldn't do so either.

You sounds like a good and nice GM who doesn't purposely try to make paladins fall, like someone I would enjoy playing a paladin under.

Thank you. I think that the most important thing (especially in a case like the OP's) is to make sure that the character and the campaign are well suited to each other and that the player is aware of any expectations for their character's behavior. If the GM thinks that a character is not a good fit for the campaign, the GM should talk to the player to either adjust the character and/or the campaign. Examples of bad fits include a smite knight in a game with a lot of ambiguously evil opponents and monster orphanages, a redeemer in a game where most enemies can't be redeemed, a character specialized in social intrigue in a game that will be combat-heavy, or a character who has sworn never to run from battle in a game where some encounters will be well above CR. Players should also be warned about any expectations that their race/class/organization will place on them - are half-orcs or tieflings subject to a lot of prejudice? Are druids required to be vegetarian? What sort of commands should the Order of the Lion cavalier expect from his king? Sorting this stuff out beforehand prevents later GM-player conflict resulting from mismatched expectations.


Weirdo wrote:

Intentions matter in that a character who actively intends to perform an evil act will temporarily detect as evil according to the description of Detect Evil.

That doesn't mean that those intentions make them evil, or that intending to perform an evil act is an evil act, but it does change how they Detect. Just like being the target of Infernal Healing temporarily causes you to detect as evil but has no actual effect on your alignment.

That's ... ridiculous.


Zhayne wrote:
Weirdo wrote:

Intentions matter in that a character who actively intends to perform an evil act will temporarily detect as evil according to the description of Detect Evil.

That doesn't mean that those intentions make them evil, or that intending to perform an evil act is an evil act, but it does change how they Detect. Just like being the target of Infernal Healing temporarily causes you to detect as evil but has no actual effect on your alignment.

That's ... ridiculous.

and yet true :P

Shadow Lodge

Poppy seeds can make you fail a drug test. Something harmless being mistaken for something harmful due to key similarities.

It's a perfectly reasonable thing to change, but "intentions matter" is the default for Detect Evil (not alignment in general) and thus situations involving evil intent but not evil action are relevant to the question "If it detects as evil, should the paladin smite it?"

It's a very good idea to be clear on exactly what Detect Evil will tell someone, whether that means going exactly with the book description, ruling that intentions don't register, making the strength of aura based on intensity of evil rather than HD, etc.

I could see someone taking advantage of the "intentions detect" rule in interesting ways. For example, by the same rule any person acting with genuinely good intentions at the moment would detect as Good - and possibly simultaneously Evil, since the "intentions count" rule doesn't specify that you no longer detect according to your true alignment. Makes abilities that detect any or all auras, like the Inquisitor's, more interesting because you could figure out if someone currently has intentions at odds with their general nature - and you can spot those with transient evil intent and hopefully prevent them from following through rather than only spotting those with ingrained evil habits.


This might not be a popular opinion, but why not take a more laid back DM style. No great evil plots. LG means going forth and killing bad stuff.

Sovereign Court

KenderKin wrote:


This might not be a popular opinion, but why not take a more laid back DM style. No great evil plots. LG means going forth and killing bad stuff.

That's ridiculous! How can you play a fantasy RPG with objective, defined forces of good and evil? Don't you know that a game you play to relax and have fun should be chocked full of relativistic moral quandries designed to make sure a martial class has a bad time at the table?


Just to be clear on this "intends" business that some people are seeming to have a problem with, again its someone waiting to perform their first robbery and murder on a schmuck who walks down the alley. Not on someone who thinks it would enjoyable flaying the skin of the annoying child down the street but doesn't actually plan on doing it.

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