Paladin= game ruiners


Advice

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Starbuck_II wrote:

Um, no. Killing a man in cold blood is what cops do. They don't hate the criminal. They are just following the law.

And the Paladin isn't killing for no reason: he knows they are evil. Very evil as they are 5th level or higher or serve evil powers.
So as murder can be defined as illegal killing, it isn't always evil.
Thus, while chaotic, he can't fall for it.

The Police (in general) don't kill in cold-blood. Quite to opposite. Almost all (if not actually all) police officers that wind up using their side arm to take a life wind up in therapy and off their beat for weeks, months or even years. They are wracked by guilt and doubt. Some retire or end their career in other, more violent, ways.

There is an investigation and inquiry and a ton of work that goes into proving that the action that took the life was necessary.

Comparing that kind of moral dilemma with "That dude pinged as evil, I'mma go stab him 'til he falls over" seems callous and uninformed. It also seems, to me, to dehumanize the people that put their lives on the line to keep people safe.

*Edited to remove a grumpy comment from my end*


Starbuck_II wrote:
Gwaithador wrote:

There's an interplay between the class,the paladin's particular religion, the code he follows, his origin and the society he's currently operating within. In a society built on laws, a paladin who takes the law into his own hands has assuredly committed a chaotic act. A paladin who kills a man in cold blood on the streets of a city in a realm governed by reasonable laws, has committed an evil act. The act of murder.

You should warn the paladin about these sorts of behaviors and enforce atonement,and ultimately have the paladin fall, if he does not stop acting in such a manner.

Um, no. Killing a man in cold blood is what cops do. They don't hate the criminal. They are just following the law.

And the Paladin isn't killing for no reason: he knows they are evil. Very evil as they are 5th level or higher or serve evil powers.
So as murder can be defined as illegal killing, it isn't always evil.
Thus, while chaotic, he can't fall for it.

One of my prior bosses was a person that most would define as 'evil.' Not necessarily serving dark gods and trying to bring about the end of creation, but still evil. He was positively gleeful when he would catch someone making a mistake so he had an excuse to scream and yell at them. He spent more hours trying to find loopholes in contracts so he wouldn't have to give customers what they wanted, when it would have been faster and cheaper to just do it the right way. He got a real thrill out of firing people. However, the best for him was when he managed to get someone so upset they quit in tears rather than face him anymore. Etc...

But as far as I know, he was very careful to never actually commit a crime. Certainly nothing that would qualify for a death sentence.

My understanding of what most people say for equivalents, he would easily be a 5th level lawful evil expert. He would ping evil on the paladin's evil-o-meter.
A paladin who chopped off his head for 'ping' would be committing murder. He should be arrested and tried for murder.

Now I would say a paladin would be justified in using a 'ping' as suspicious and deserving of further investigation. But not just killing out of hand.


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Scavion wrote:


Doing anything blindly is likely to be bad. No one said Good should kill when you don't need to.

Actually, you yourself did. "Smite on Sight" is, I believe, the phrase you used.


Starbuck_II wrote:
Gwaithador wrote:

There's an interplay between the class,the paladin's particular religion, the code he follows, his origin and the society he's currently operating within. In a society built on laws, a paladin who takes the law into his own hands has assuredly committed a chaotic act. A paladin who kills a man in cold blood on the streets of a city in a realm governed by reasonable laws, has committed an evil act. The act of murder.

You should warn the paladin about these sorts of behaviors and enforce atonement,and ultimately have the paladin fall, if he does not stop acting in such a manner.

Um, no. Killing a man in cold blood is what cops do.

Actually, no. A cop that actually killed "in cold blood" would be off the force almost instantly. There are rules regarding when they can kill people, and even discharging a weapon without (lawful) reason can be grounds for disciplinary action.

Now, yes, there are lots of reasons that cops can and kill people they don't "hate"; if someone pulls a gun on a cop, or even if the cop believes someone is pulling a gun, that turns it into a self-defense situation. But, for example, shooting a fleeing felon in the back is usually a no-no.


Cardinal Chunder wrote:
Surely all this depends on that particular deities code that the paladin follows?

A good deity would not demand evil actions (such as smite on sight) from his followers. A neutral deity might demand them, but a good paladin of such a deity would not obey those demands.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
Cardinal Chunder wrote:
Surely all this depends on that particular deities code that the paladin follows?
A good deity would not demand evil actions (such as smite on sight) from his followers. A neutral deity might demand them, but a good paladin of such a deity would not obey those demands.

Torag requires Smite on Sight. Strangely Pathfinder made him LG despite his code.

Scarab Sages Reaper Miniatures

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Any Good character would be riddled with doubt and self-loathing for taking another life so casually. No one with a good alignment can take a life easily or carelessly and walk away saying "but he glowed as evil when I detected evil". this is what GOOD means - a respect for the sanctity of life and of others.

A paladin has a duty to oppose Evil, and sometimes that means they must take a life. In RPGs like Pathfinder, this happens in fact disturbingly often to our party of murderhobos. But "oppose Evil" does not mean "smite on sight".

If you have a character that is doing this, they need to be stopped. This needs to be addressed at the player level, so the player understands that even in made-up-world, this is not how the righteous behave. Somebody else brought up that redemption fails, and sometimes they do more evil - yes. Your paladin will have to live knowing that because they did good, evil yet lives. but this is better than for them to do evil to stop evil.

Scarab Sages Reaper Miniatures

Starbuck_II wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Cardinal Chunder wrote:
Surely all this depends on that particular deities code that the paladin follows?
A good deity would not demand evil actions (such as smite on sight) from his followers. A neutral deity might demand them, but a good paladin of such a deity would not obey those demands.
Torag requires Smite on Sight. Strangely Pathfinder made him LG despite his code.

Funny that priests of Torag live in Absalom, which also has priests of Asmodeus and yet they never seem to be killing each other on sight.

Liberty's Edge

Starbuck_II wrote:
Torag requires Smite on Sight. Strangely Pathfinder made him LG despite his code.

This is almost entirely incorrect. To quote the only remotely relevant section of Torag's code:

Torag's Code wrote:
Against my people's enemies I will show no mercy. I will not allow their surrender, except to extract information. I will defeat them, and I will scatter their families. Yet even in the struggle against our enemies, I will act in a way that brings honor to Torag.

"Anything I detect as Evil." =/= "my people's enemies" The second is a lot more specific in many ways (though it can theoretically include both Neutral and Good creatures as well).

Orcs probably count as both, if high enough level. Known devotees of Rovagug ditto. LE Cleric of Abadar or Evil Dwarf merchant? Clearly do not.

Torag's more Smite First than most other LG deities...but hardly justifies killing anything that sense as Evil on sight.

Bryan Stiltz wrote:
Funny that priests of Torag live in Absalom, which also has priests of Asmodeus and yet they never seem to be killing each other on sight.

Firstly, Paladin codes are more restrictive than those of Clerics. Secondly, as I note above, Clerics of Asmodeus are almost certainly not "my people's enemies" in any real sense, and thus not necessary to smite.


Deadmanwalking wrote:


This is almost entirely incorrect. To quote the only remotely relevant section of Torag's code:

Torag's Code wrote:
Against my people's enemies I will show no mercy. I will not allow their surrender, except to extract information. I will defeat them, and I will scatter their families. Yet even in the struggle against our enemies, I will act in a way that brings honor to Torag.
"Anything I detect as Evil." =/= "my people's enemies" The second is a lot more specific in many ways (though it can theoretically include both Neutral and Good creatures as well).

There's also the issue that "show no mercy" is not the same as "smite on sight"; it's still better for a Paladin of Torag to apprehend, try, and execute an enemy by process of law than it is for them simply to go vigilante. It provides an opportunity to educate the public about the virtues of law in a way that a private killing does not: Even in the struggle against our enemies, I will act in a way that brings honor to Torag.

Liberty's Edge

Orfamay Quest wrote:
There's also the issue that "show no mercy" is not the same as "smite on sight"; it's still better for a Paladin of Torag to apprehend, try, and execute an enemy by process of law than it is for them simply to go vigilante. It provides an opportunity to educate the public about the virtues of law in a way that a private killing does not: Even in the struggle against our enemies, I will act in a way that brings honor to Torag.

This is true to some extent. At least assuming they're criminals and not enemies on the battlefield.


I think the point is that paladins ARE NOT just another form of barbarian. They have to think. They have to weigh their actions. You can haul off and kill an evil guy, but who's to say why he's evil? Who's to say that an evil person cannot care about anyone? Maybe this guy doesn't give a rip about most people, but he loves his kids and he's their sole-provider. Enter paladin who's "saving the day" with his shiny sword and a righteous twinkle in his eye, now you have a dead man who MIGHT have been up to something bad and two kids that now have no way to survive.

Who gives a damn? JUSTICE!!!!!!

This is the whole problem with the good/evil dichotomy, it encourages people to believe that context doesn't matter. Don't think about anything, just do whatever you want and say it's righteous.

Why role-play when you can roll-play, right?


colemcm wrote:

I think the point is that paladins ARE NOT just another form of barbarian. They have to think. They have to weigh their actions. You can haul off and kill an evil guy, but who's to say why he's evil? Who's to say that an evil person cannot care about anyone? Maybe this guy doesn't give a rip about most people, but he loves his kids and he's their sole-provider. Enter paladin who's "saving the day" with his shiny sword and a righteous twinkle in his eye, now you have a dead man who MIGHT have been up to something bad and two kids that now have no way to survive.

Who gives a damn? JUSTICE!!!!!!

This is the whole problem with the good/evil dichotomy, it encourages people to believe that context doesn't matter. Don't think about anything, just do whatever you want and say it's righteous.

Why role-play when you can roll-play, right?

The person you describe isn't evil however. To be Evil they'd have to deliberately harm others in some fashion. It's not enough to just not give a damn about others. The Father is neutral and thus the Paladin has nothing to do with him.

Your hostility is unappreciated. What does Roll-playing have anything to do with this conversation besides it being a perfectly fine playstyle for some folks?


colemcm wrote:

I think the point is that paladins ARE NOT just another form of barbarian. They have to think. They have to weigh their actions. You can haul off and kill an evil guy, but who's to say why he's evil? Who's to say that an evil person cannot care about anyone? Maybe this guy doesn't give a rip about most people, but he loves his kids and he's their sole-provider. Enter paladin who's "saving the day" with his shiny sword and a righteous twinkle in his eye, now you have a dead man who MIGHT have been up to something bad and two kids that now have no way to survive.

I think it's simpler -- or perhaps more subtle -- than that.

Good is supposed to oppose evil. But it's not necessarily supposed to kill evil things -- and, in fact, is explicitly supposed to avoid that if possible.

But that also doesn't mean that anything you do in opposition to evil is itself good. The D&D Blood War is an example of that.


Scavion wrote:


The person you describe isn't evil however.

Sure he is. He's a retired cleric of an evil god.

Even if he's actively hurting other people, though.... to render his children fatherless injures them -- and that's an evil act on the paladin's part.


Ciaran Barnes wrote:
This is a player problem, not a paladin problem. A sociopath pretending to be lawful good isn't actually following the paladins' code of conduct. Strip him of his powers. Not quite sure how he got them in the first place.

Or work with him! Ask him if he'd like to be an anti-paladin who is convinced that he is still and paladin and that every murder he commits is right and just. And then over time he realizes that his granted powers are coming from a darker place than he could have ever known in his previous life.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
Scavion wrote:


The person you describe isn't evil however.

Sure he is. He's a retired cleric of an evil god.

Even if he's actively hurting other people, though.... to render his children fatherless injures them -- and that's an evil act on the paladin's part.

Define retired. Ex-Cleric?

And then it's a good act to find them a better home.

Destroyed Evil- Check
Find Kids a Better Home and Rendering them providerless balances out.


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Scavion wrote:


Destroyed Evil- Check
Find Kids a Better Home and Rendering them providerless balances out.

Nope. Paladins don't get to do good deeds to "balance out" their evil ones.


Guys, please remember this is d&d. It's medieval fantasy. Back then it was ok to kill people just for being evil. You can rule it however you wish in your games but the "you can't kill them just because they're evil" is a much more modern mind set.

If d&d follows the setting it tries to emulate, all you have to do is convince the people (not hard with lie detection spells) that the person was indeed evil, ergo deserving of death.


There was no hostility intended. I apologize if it came across that way. I was simply pointing out the absurdity of the assertion that there's no distinction between a person who mugs people and a demon.

It's untrue that evil requires deliberate actions. Look at the description of the evil alignment:

Evil implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil
creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without
qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil,
killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master.

Implies is not requires. The above mentioned character may have no qualms about hurting someone, but has never actually done it.

When it gets to the part about, "Others actively pursue evil. . .", you can see that action is not a prerequisite of being evil. If it was, then this statement would serve no purpose.

For instance, take a guy who takes pleasure in another person's suffering. He doesn't cause it, it just makes him happy inside. He could watch a child drown in a stream and have a picnic at the same time. Under a strict definition of evil that requires that an evil person deliberately harm someone, he would not be evil. However, that doesn't really track. He's obviously a twisted and sick individual.

I bring up roll-playing because too often on these boards I see people who just want the mechanics of a class and will go to crazy extremes to justify why they can get around the rules of the class. So reducing it to, "He detects as evil, so I can kill him with impunity.", strikes me as being in this vein.


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Thomas Long 175 wrote:
Guys, please remember this is d&d. It's medieval fantasy. Back then it was ok to kill people just for being evil. You can rule it however you wish in your games but the "you can't kill them just because they're evil" is a much more modern mind set.

If only this were a thing of the past. The idea that you can kill whoever you want because they're evil is still alive and kicking.


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-I find these arguments over paladins a sign of the amorality of the times.
-60 years ago they would not have such arguments.


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HarbinNick wrote:

-I find these arguments over paladins a sign of the amorality of the times.

-60 years ago they would not have such arguments.

That's not really true. The idea that people are less moral than they used to be is a fallacy.

My dad thinks that people were nicer in the '50s and they were. . . if you were a white kid living in middle-class suburbia. It wasn't so good for a lot of other people.

A little over 60 years ago the U.S. gave immunity to Japanese scientists who had engaged in gruesome biological and chemical experimentation on Chinese citizens in exchange for the results of their research. If you don't believe me, look up Unit 731. It's well documented.

There is no Golden Age. Every generation has to learn what it means to be moral.

Shadow Lodge

There's two main approaches to handle it, one is at the table, the other is taking the player aside:

One, talk to the player, and go over with them why what their doing is jacked up. Even how going around using the evil-dar on every NPC can be kind of off putting. They're kind of going around glaring at everyone.

Two, and this can be the more fun way, depending on the player. Leader of the town, the savior of the townsfolk, lawful evil. You could even make the guy as lawful evil as the day is long, but the townsfolk are his. He's good to them, so they love him. Possibly to the point that, The adviser to the king, casts misdirection on them self so they show up as evil instead of the leader, if the Paladin has a reputation for always detecting evil.

The other consideration would be a bit of catering to the players. Having a Paladin in the group gives you an opportunity to hit some of the morality stuff that is normally glossed over, if the group can handle it.

It comes down to the kind of Paladin that the player wants to play. Is it the 'I am the shining example of my god's ideals , and I live this every day, or the 'I am the wrath of my god made flesh' kind of Paladin They both work and they're both kosher, so the constant detect evil may e because the player doesn't feel like they're contributing any other way.


HarbinNick wrote:

-I find these arguments over paladins a sign of the amorality of the times.

-60 years ago they would not have such arguments.

They might not have taken place in the same context, but these sort of questions go back pretty much as far as philosophy does, and presumably much further...we were talking about things long before we were writing about them.


Orfamay Quest wrote:

I think it's simpler -- or perhaps more subtle -- than that.

Good is supposed to oppose evil. But it's not necessarily supposed to kill evil things -- and, in fact, is explicitly supposed to avoid that if possible.

But that also doesn't mean that anything you do in opposition to evil is itself good. The D&D Blood War is an example of that.

That's actually exactly what I've stated in my other posts on this subject.


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Orfamay Quest wrote:
Scavion wrote:


The person you describe isn't evil however.

Sure he is. He's a retired cleric of an evil god.

Even if he's actively hurting other people, though.... to render his children fatherless injures them -- and that's an evil act on the paladin's part.

Retired as in no longer serves him.

Or
Retired as no longer actively serves him, but still quietly praises the evil god.

He can be neutral but pings in case 2.
But his aura is his own alignment in case 1.

A paladin fears only his own action when/if he desires to fall. If you kill a demon lord, you make his demon children orphans, but that was the father's fault: he chose to be evil.

A paladin doesn't truly fear falling. That is what protects scum FROM him.
To quote a Paladin:
"You seem to be under the misconception about what I am, what I do. I am a paladin, that is true; but as a paladin I don't fear falling... I look forward to it."
The cultist shot a nervous look at the rest of the party, we were all looking at each other, not sure what was about to happen. The cultist opened his mouth to speak, but Sir Peter cut him off.

Sir Peter:
"As a paladin, I walk on a razor's edge. Not between good and evil, I could never be something like you, but between "law" and "justice". The "law" I follow doesn't permit me to harm you, but I could be "justified" in anything I did to you in order to save innocent lives. ANYTHING!"

"You don't know what it is like to be me. You don't know the pain of having to store all your anger, all your fury, all your sense of justice, and hold it inside you, all day every day for the rest of your life. Doing the right thing doesn't mean I get to stop all evil, I just get to trim it when it becomes overgrown. The path I walk is not about vengeance, or what's right; it's about moderation in the face of power, restraint and compassion for scum like you. "

"This is why paladins don't fear falling. We don't spend all day looking for ways to prevent ourselves from doing evil and giving in to the darkness -- we actively seek it out. Every time we face evil, we ask ourselves, 'Is this the threat that I'm going to give it all up for? Is this what I am going to give up my ability to help others in the future, in order to bring it down now. Is this the evil that I am willing to forsake my God and my power to stop?!'".
At this point, he stands up suddenly and swings his arm against the chair he was sitting on. Sending it flying and shattered against a wall, he then kicks over the chair the cultist was sitting on, he leaps and straddles his chest, flinging him about for a few seconds in pure rage, before calming once more.

He looks the cultist straight in the face, both their noses just inches from each other.
"What you should be asking yourself now, what you really need to be thinking about, is: 'Is what I'm doing something that will make this guy want to fall?' Because you should know that once I fall, all those rules which protect you from me are gone. No longer will I be able to be stopped by you, or by my order, or by my God. If I give everything, and I mean give everything, I will never stop. If you escape me today, I will hunt you down and grab you into the pits of hell myself. Even if that means that I have to invoke the wrath of every demon in creation, just so they throw open a pit and drag me down where I stand, because when they do drag me down, I will make sure that my fists are wrapped firmly around your ankles and you go down with me. I want you to listen to me now, and I mean really listen, because Hell truly hath no fury like a paladin scorned."


Starbuck, that is fracking awesome


Claxon wrote:
Starbuck, that is fracking awesome

Indeed!


Starbuck_II wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Scavion wrote:


The person you describe isn't evil however.

Sure he is. He's a retired cleric of an evil god.

Even if he's actively hurting other people, though.... to render his children fatherless injures them -- and that's an evil act on the paladin's part.

Retired as in no longer serves him.

Or
Retired as no longer actively serves him, but still quietly praises the evil god.

He can be neutral but pings in case 2.
But his aura is his own alignment in case 1.

Cite? As far as I know, there are no rules about "retiring" from class levels.


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Starbuck_II wrote:


A paladin fears only his own action when/if he desires to fall. If you kill a demon lord, you make his demon children orphans, but that was the father's fault: he chose to be evil.

A paladin doesn't truly fear falling. That is what protects scum FROM him.
To quote a Paladin:
"You seem to be under the misconception about what I am, what I do. I am a paladin, that is true; but as a paladin I don't fear falling... I look forward to it."
The cultist shot a nervous look at the rest of the party, we were all looking at each other, not sure what was about to happen. The cultist opened his mouth to speak, but Sir Peter cut him off.

Sir Peter:
"As a paladin, I walk on a razor's edge. Not between good and evil, I could never be something like you, but between "law" and "justice". The "law" I follow doesn't permit me to harm you, but I could be "justified" in anything I did to you in order to save innocent lives. ANYTHING!"

"You don't know what it is like to be me. You don't know the pain of having to store all your anger, all your fury, all your sense of justice, and hold it inside you, all day every day for the rest of your life. Doing the right thing doesn't mean I get to stop all evil, I just get to trim it when it becomes overgrown. The path I walk is not about vengeance, or what's right; it's about moderation in the face of power, restraint and compassion for scum like you. "

"This is why paladins don't fear falling."

Piffle. Paladins such as Scavion describes don't fear falling; they relish it. Which is why they don't stay paladins for longer than a week.

"Doing the right thing doesn't mean I get to stop all evil, I just get to trim it when it becomes overgrown. The path I walk is not about vengeance, or what's right; it's about moderation in the face of power, restraint and compassion for scum like you." What Scavion describes -- Smite on Sight -- is specifically not "moderation in the face of power, restraint and compassion for scum."

"The "law" I follow doesn't permit me to harm you," That's something that Sir Peter understands, but that Scavion's paladin doesn't.

"Every time we face evil, we ask ourselves, 'Is this the threat that I'm going to give it all up for? Is this what I am going to give up my ability to help others in the future, in order to bring it down now. Is this the evil that I am willing to forsake my God and my power to stop?!'". The answer, is "yes," demonstrably. A real pity you're willing to trade your God-given gift for so, so little.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
Starbuck_II wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Scavion wrote:


The person you describe isn't evil however.

Sure he is. He's a retired cleric of an evil god.

Even if he's actively hurting other people, though.... to render his children fatherless injures them -- and that's an evil act on the paladin's part.

Retired as in no longer serves him.

Or
Retired as no longer actively serves him, but still quietly praises the evil god.

He can be neutral but pings in case 2.
But his aura is his own alignment in case 1.

Cite? As far as I know, there are no rules about "retiring" from class levels.

If hes an Ex-Cleric he loses all cleric abilities such as his aura. If he really dropped being a Cleric he could have retrained those levels for something else.


Nice story! I disagree with it entirely, but it's well written and compelling.

Not every life that a paladin takes puts him at risk of falling. He IS a warrior and that's the means he uses to achieve his purpose. However, a paladin tempers those means with justice. This means that, whenever possible, he acts with forethought and restraint.

When facing a demon, this process is rendered moot. A demon is a creature spawned of evil. It is literally formed from evil.

When facing an evil human, this gets complicated. A human's current status depends on its past actions, but it is not a definite indicator of what they will be in the future. After all, everyone who ever tried anything probably failed until they succeeded.

So in my example, the point isn't that orphaning the kids is evil. The point is that killing somebody with no evidence besides your magic evil-detector pinged is an evil act. It is murder. Killing a person who is not directly threatening you or anyone else is murder. Killing a person just because you believe that they might hurt someone in the future is murder. It's as simple as that. Justice is necessarily an after-the-fact event.


Scavion wrote:


If hes an Ex-Cleric he loses all cleric abilities such as his aura.

Cite?


Orfamay Quest wrote:
Starbuck_II wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Scavion wrote:


The person you describe isn't evil however.

Sure he is. He's a retired cleric of an evil god.

Even if he's actively hurting other people, though.... to render his children fatherless injures them -- and that's an evil act on the paladin's part.

Retired as in no longer serves him.

Or
Retired as no longer actively serves him, but still quietly praises the evil god.

He can be neutral but pings in case 2.
But his aura is his own alignment in case 1.

Cite? As far as I know, there are no rules about "retiring" from class levels.

Ex-Cleric is retiring.


Starbuck_II wrote:


Ex-Cleric is retiring.

Cite?


Orfamay Quest wrote:
Scavion wrote:


If hes an Ex-Cleric he loses all cleric abilities such as his aura.

Cite?

Ex-Clerics wrote:
A cleric who grossly violates the code of conduct required by her god loses all spells and class features, except for armor and shield proficiencies and proficiency with simple weapons.

Or if he really wanted to drop being a Cleric, He'd retrain.

Silver Crusade

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colemcm wrote:
HarbinNick wrote:

-I find these arguments over paladins a sign of the amorality of the times.

-60 years ago they would not have such arguments.

That's not really true. The idea that people are less moral than they used to be is a fallacy.

My dad thinks that people were nicer in the '50s and they were. . . if you were a white kid living in middle-class suburbia. It wasn't so good for a lot of other people.

A little over 60 years ago the U.S. gave immunity to Japanese scientists who had engaged in gruesome biological and chemical experimentation on Chinese citizens in exchange for the results of their research. If you don't believe me, look up Unit 731. It's well documented.

There is no Golden Age. Every generation has to learn what it means to be moral.

Hell, look at how much less gamers in general are accepting of genocide as a "good" thing compared to 30 years ago.

I'll take now over then any damn day of the week.


Scavion wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Scavion wrote:


If hes an Ex-Cleric he loses all cleric abilities such as his aura.

Cite?

Ex-Clerics wrote:
A cleric who grossly violates the code of conduct required by her god loses all spells and class features, except for armor and shield proficiencies and proficiency with simple weapons.

In what sense does retiring "grossly violate the code of conduct"?

Dark Archive

I think the problem here is, yes, the player more than the class, but I think the real answer is to let the character face the consequences of his actions.

Ie, killed a random evil dude in the streets? Congrats, the whole city thinks you're an evil, mad, crazed lunatic who runs around and murders people.

If a villain escapes the character - let them scry/spy/so-on the character to find out how the paladin cracked his case, and then use his behavior against him (misdirection/undetectable alingment/etc).

Let a villain use the paladins approach: An Assassin who uses ring of mind shielding, dresses in shiny armor and acts all goody-two-shoes and proclaims being a paladin in service of (some vengeful good deity), slaughters his targets and claims they were evil and criminals.

Not all baddies are evil - use a CN type who plans to profit by simple trickery, blackmail and missdirection, but whose plan fails and turns into a rather sticky situation.

Also: Set up moral traps and dilemmas. Your very just and generally well liked and loved LG king sent you on a quest to retrieve this macguffin from somewhere. Then have the players find out that the macguffin isn't exactly what the king thought it would be - rather, it is somewhat dangerous, (possibly corrupting) evil artifact. Do the characters return it to the king as requested (possibly releasing an evil, dangerous and corrupting artifact to the hands of the court) or destroy the artifact (opposing a direct order by the king, possibly earning them their exile)? Can the characters make the decicion regarding it's destruction by themselves, or should they hand it to the king and risk that it will not be destroyed?

Have the powerful wizard/mystic/cleric/something, highly respected advisor of the LG King send the characters off to kill a witch (in behalf of the kingdom in order to secure safety and peace, etc) that reportedly use black magic. No need to bring her head, just make sure she faces punishment and dies. When they get there, the witch is actually an old woman in the woods, does not ping evil, and nothing in her cottage point to any questionable act. To kill her is certainly not good - you can't prove that she's evil (even if she turns out to be a witch), but to not kill her is to oppose someone who quite possibly got the orders directly from the King himself - and even if she did not, she's pretty much the second highest authority in the land.

HINT: Instead of giving players two good options, force them to choose between two bad results, and watch them squirm as they realize that they are screwed, no matter what they do!


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Tomppa wrote:
I think the problem here is, yes, the player more than the class, but I think the real answer is to let the character face the consequences of his actions.

This answer seems to airbrush away the fact that one of the explicit, game-defined consequences of the character's actions is that he's now a fighter without bonus feats, not a paladin.

Quote:


Also: Set up moral traps and dilemmas.

This, on the other hand, I consider to be unfair.


Orfamay Quest wrote:


In what sense does retiring "grossly violate the code of conduct"?

I think the original comment was meant the other way around.

"grossly violating the code of conduct" = retiring from Paladinhood.

Paladinship? Paladinism?

Whatever.


aboniks wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:


In what sense does retiring "grossly violate the code of conduct"?
I think the original comment was meant the other way around.

Nope. I specifically raised the issue of a retired cleric of an evil God. Who apparently needs to be "smited on sight" according to the antipaladins around here.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
aboniks wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:


In what sense does retiring "grossly violate the code of conduct"?
I think the original comment was meant the other way around.

Nope. I specifically raised the issue of a retired cleric of an evil God. Who apparently needs to be "smited on sight" according to the antipaladins around here.

Aha. I stand (or rather lounge) corrected.

Clerics get to cheat though...I've never seen a cleric played as if it even *had* a code of conduct, let alone a defined one specific to the deity in question.

Even most Paladins I've seen didn't have a deity/order specific code of conduct aside from the bare-bones stuff in the class description. From my experience they're all played pretty much identically, switch out gods and orders and they look basically the same, behaviorally speaking.

Not to say to isn't done, I've just never seen it. When was the last time you met a pally whose faith had a weird quirk built into their code?

Clerics should be falling left and right, but that whole mechanic seems to get a handwave for them pretty consistently.


aboniks wrote:


Aha. I stand (or rather lounge) corrected.

Clerics get to cheat though...I've never seen a cleric played as if it even *had* a code of conduct, let alone a defined one specific to the deity in question. Even most Paladins I've seen didn't have a defined code of conduct aside from the bare-bones stuff in the class description.

Well, it's sort of in the hands of the DM -- which is to say, munchkins conveniently forget that it exists and whine when the DM reminds them of it.

Clerics also have a certain amount of leeway in the one-step rule; a cleric of Torag doesn't need to be Lawful, a cleric of Asmodeus doesn't need to be Evil, et cetera. But by that same token, a cleric of Torag is not permitted to act in a chaotic evil fashion.

But, implicitly, one of the things about the Pathfinder alignment system is that it's defined by explicit actions, not motivations and certainly not by thoughts and faith alone. That's why, for example, casting infernal healing is evil, even if you do it for a "good" purpose. (The Lutherans on this board should love PF's alignment system: sola scriptura!)

Turning that around, you're not evil (and hence not smite-worthy) if you refrain from evil actions. Which, of course, ties well into our modern notion of "lawful" as well; only an actions can be the basis of prosecution, not merely a status.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
aboniks wrote:


Aha. I stand (or rather lounge) corrected.

Clerics get to cheat though...I've never seen a cleric played as if it even *had* a code of conduct, let alone a defined one specific to the deity in question. Even most Paladins I've seen didn't have a defined code of conduct aside from the bare-bones stuff in the class description.

Well, it's sort of in the hands of the DM -- which is to say, munchkins conveniently forget that it exists and whine when the DM reminds them of it.

Fair point, I suppose. I'd lay it (the blame) equally on a DM who ran a divinely-powered PC but didn't take the time to specify a code of conduct for their order. I speak only to non-society play, of course, because who has time for that sort of thing when interchangeable smite-sprockets is exactly what you need, for simplicities sake.

My current PC is fiddling about with a divine PrC beholden to a deity of shadows, for instance. He doesn't have to deal with alignment issues, but:

Oath of Shadows wrote:
Oath of Shadow (Ex): A Shadow Fist may never activate, cast, or wield any item, spell, or weapon that creates light or fire, or has the light or fire descriptor. Doing so results in an immediate loss of all Shadow Fist class abilities (including Monk Abilities and spells gained from this class) until the Shadow Fist is the recipient of an Atonement spell cast by a cleric of her deity.

Not saying it's badwrongfun to treat the code of conduct for divine classes generically, but it sure seems pretty bland to me.

Dark Archive

Orfamay Quest wrote:
Tomppa wrote:
I think the problem here is, yes, the player more than the class, but I think the real answer is to let the character face the consequences of his actions.
This answer seems to airbrush away the fact that one of the explicit, game-defined consequences of the character's actions is that he's now a fighter without bonus feats, not a paladin.

It's entirely up to the GM to decide how he wants to solve the situation - Either you can declare that killing evil stuff at random is grounds for falling from grace as the deity withdraws the power given to the pc. If the pc/player/group/dm argues that "KoS all that is evil" is actually within the code, then the character should face (for example) social punishments as described above for their actions.

As this is the advice forum, my advice is thus:
If you want to discourage "kill all that is evil"-behavior, you can either do it through mechanical consequences (ie, losing powers) or IG social consequences (getting ran out of the city because you are a maniac and murder people in the streets).
(OR a combination of both.)

Quote:
Quote:


Also: Set up moral traps and dilemmas.
This, on the other hand, I consider to be unfair.

I... Hope that was sarcasm? Obviously, different groups and different players enjoy different kinds of games and challenges.

Some of the best games we've had are not about "rolling a crit and beheading the monster" but rather, sitting around and spending an hour just discussing what we should do, and how we should do it, and why, simply because the situation is not always so simple as just "clear the Dungeon". Roleplaying games have the potential to be so much more than simply very complicate tactical boardgames - and decicions made should be harder and more complicated than just "should I pick Lightning bolt or Fireball?".

Of course, those are just my opinions.


aboniks wrote:


My current PC is fiddling about with a divine PrC beholden to a deity of shadows, for instance. He doesn't have to deal with alignment issues, but:

Oath of Shadows wrote:
Oath of Shadow (Ex): A Shadow Fist may never activate, cast, or wield any item, spell, or weapon that creates light or fire, or has the light or fire descriptor. Doing so results in an immediate loss of all Shadow Fist class abilities (including Monk Abilities and spells gained from this class) until the Shadow Fist is the recipient of an Atonement spell cast by a cleric of her deity.
Not saying it's badwrongfun to treat the code of conduct for divine classes generically, but it sure seems pretty bland to me.

I couldn't find that text when I looked,.... but I think part of the reason it seems generic is that it's not tied to anything. ("spell cast by a cleric of her deity" Yeah, that could be anything... but it has to be if you don't know about the specific deity.)

But I think there's also a tendency among many PF players to look for explicit rules when there is not (and need not be). One example of that is the insistence by many people here that they need a developer to step in and issue a ruling about a specific spell, but another example is the idea that if Erastil doesn't have a secition entitled "Code of Conduct," there's no way of figuring out how he expects people to behave.

This, I think, is narrowminded and unimaginative. From Erastil's writeup in River's Run Red, for example, "he believes that it is man's duty to help others, that cooperation leads to friendship and safety, and that if man respects the gifts of nature, she will sustain them." It's not hard to infer from this that Erastil would not approve of wantonly slaughtering the village militia when they try to arrest a cleric for a crime he did not commit. ("Cooperation leads to friendship and safety.") A cleric who made a habit of this would be "grossly violating" Erastil's will.

Of course, to some extent all LG deities would feel the same way, but this is because they're all fundamentally LG, and LG believes in community, cooperation, and mutual respect.


Tomppa wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Tomppa wrote:


Quote:
Quote:


Also: Set up moral traps and dilemmas.
This, on the other hand, I consider to be unfair.

I... Hope that was sarcasm? Obviously, different groups and different players enjoy different kinds of games and challenges.

Not at all, I'm afraid.

Quote:


Some of the best games we've had are not about "rolling a crit and beheading the monster" but rather, sitting around and spending an hour just discussing what we should do, and how we should do it, and why, simply because the situation is not always so simple as just "clear the Dungeon". Roleplaying games have the potential to be so much more than simply very complicate tactical boardgames - and decicions made should be harder and more complicated than just "should I pick Lightning bolt or Fireball?".

Agreed, and with specific attention to paladins -- moral challenges are among the fundamental tropes of the Arthurian legends upon which the paladin is based. But those are moral challenges, not moral dilemmas. There's always a right answer and a way out of the dilemma, even if the casual reader may not see it.

A true moral dilemma -- "force them to choose between two bad results, and watch them squirm as they realize that they are screwed, no matter what they do," as you put it -- is simply sadistic, because there's literally no way that they can win. I don't think it's fair or fun to put characters in a combat situation where they can neither retreat, negotiate, nor win. I similarly don't think it's fair or fun to put characters in a moral situation from which they can neither retreat, negotiate, nor win.

One of the essential points of the Arthurian moral challenges is that God is Good, and therefore if you obey God's will, you will do the right thing (and triumph over all moral challenges in the process). This works, of course, in a world where there actually is an omnipotent and omnibenevolent God who has defined a code of conduct that will, in fact, always win. The standard trope in those stories is like a detective story -- what seems to be the case about what is right and wrong is in fact misleading (e.g., the women in Castle Anthrax are actually fiends), and it requires detective-like discernment (which Galahad always has, and Lancelot may or may not have) to figure out the truth of the matter.


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Scavion, this is your quote:

Here is what Detect Evil pings off of,

1. Powerful(5 HD) Evil Aligned Creatures
2. Undead, which are pretty KoS, Ghosts are an exception though even then most are evil.
3. Evil Outsiders get the smite no questions asked. Should I listen in case this is one of those silly special snowflake redeemed demons? Sure whatever. They've likely dealt with folks who have attacked first anyways.
4. Evil Cultists or heavens forbid an antipaladin. Definitely smite on sight. These people have pledged their lives to a greater evil power.
5. Misdirection'd innocents which a Paladin gets their tremendous save against.

Hesitation puts the lives of others at risk.

So if your Paladin were to come across a leader of a land, who pings evil, but is generally liked by the populace, by your rules he would have to attack on sight.

He may rule firmly but by the law, and his land is generally at peace due to his tight rein. By killing him outright, your Paladin causes unrest, a power vacuum that could result in the innocents being harmed in the end run.

In that case, that Paladin caused more harm than he healed because he didn't think. That is why being a Paladin is difficult, they have to weigh their actions against the greater good, ALWAYS. If it were as easy as "is evil, SMASH" there would never be a fallen Paladin...ever. Playing a Paladin is hard, and it should be. It's also some of the fun that goes into playing a Paladin. Their decisions matter, but watering the complex character down to a cheap Hulk knockoff ("Paladin smash evil!") is doing the class itself a great disservice.

In the case above, the Paladin would be causing farm more harm than good by outright slaying the Evil Leader. However, the Paladin could still work against the leader, stopping the evil where the leader puts it into action, thwarting him at each turn until the people start to see him for what he is. He is working for a far greater good that way, and ultimately, yeah, he'll probably still get to smite the evil lord at some point.

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