My Paladin PC just slaughtered a village of good alligned creatures.


Advice

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Final ramble and then I have to get back to this thing called "work".

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SCENARIO 1: You and I sit down at a PFS table. I am your GM. You are playing a paladin. (Yes, it's fantasy here.) I say, "You see a goblin hobbling through town in the dark, his dog slicer drawn, giggling quietly to himself."
You: "I cut him down."
Me: "Ha ha! He was a good goblin, just worried about his own protection, and giggling about a joke he just heard at the tavern!"

I am a jerk GM, and I have resorted to trickery to make you fall.

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SCENARIO 2: You and I sit down at a PFS table. I am your GM. You are playing a paladin. (Yes, it's fantasy here.) I say, "You see two adult goblins hobbling through town in the dark, leading a child."
You: "I cut them down."
Me: "They do not appear to be armed."
You: "It doesn't matter. Goblins are evil. I cut them down."
Me: "You cut down the female. The male scoops up the youngling and tries to flee. His tiny legs are no match for you, and you chase him down, cornering him against a fence. As you menace him, he babbles pleadingly in a language you cannot understand. He still brandishes no weapon, and now that you are closer you are fairly certain he has none. As the child looks at you, eyes wide with fear, you see that it is carrying a quill and parchment, and its hands are stained with ink."
You: "I cut them down."

Y'know. I gave you every chance, and you didn't listen. Unless you're a paladin of Torag, you just fell.

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The OP's post *sounds* more like #2 happened. I wasn't at the table, but if it was more like #2, I disagree with the claim of trickery. As a GM, I don't want to have to say, "You'll fall if you do that," every time the paladin wants to be stupid. That's what a Periapt of Faithfulness is for. I want to make the situation absolutely crystal-clear, and I'll even answer questions, but I want the paladin to make his or her own decision without baby-sitting.

EDIT: And I'll only agree with Wraithstrike insofar as I won't play in, much less GM, a game where all creature alignments are "absolutes" so it's OK to cut down an xxx just because it's an xxx. And my players all know this, so you could argue I am not resorting to trickery because that information is implicit in my GMing.


@wraithstrike please see the comment I made directly above yours. Not getting into legal trouble is much different than adhering to morality. You definition is lawful, but not good. A paladin is both, but in the case that they conflict then he is good before lawful.


To avoid these kinds of misunderstandings again I suggest you tell your players that:

You will not tell them the entire story, even in an exposition piece where the local goblin hunter tells them nearly everything about the goblin tribes in the area. If a tribe is left out, or mentioned with no real information given, it means they need to start scouting, interrogating, and researching to find out more.

You will not tell them when to make Sense Motive checks, so any time any NPC says anything they should begin rolling their d20s.

I will assume that all of the PCs are not from Sandpoint, or else you would have told them to roll Knowledge(local) with a DC of 10(or less)to ID Nualia. The AP says she can be identified through Tsuto's drawings at DC 15 so I assume meeting her in the flesh makes it dead simple. You should tell them that whenever they arrive at a new location or see something new they should begin rolling Knowledge checks for everything because these things are new and the character they play may know something.

When your Paladin gets his powers back give him this bit of advice: Always use Detect Evil! An apparently injured woman in the middle of nowhere? Could be a trap. A member of a race of creatures known to be mostly evil? Maybe not evil. An NPC/PC that has left his sight for more than a minute before returning? Could be an evil shapeshifter.

The downside to Detect Evil is that it is unreliable at low levels, unless his enemies are all Outsiders, Undead, or divine casters. Otherwise he could use DE on an average goblin(CR 1? 1/2?) that is torturing a baby and come up with nothing.


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You know, Sense Motive checks vs Bluff (which this very much was) are an OPPOSED check, meaning you shouldn't have to specifically roll for hem. Much like Perception vs Stealth, your character is not suddenly blind and deaf because he didn't say "I roll Perception".

You should at the least be rolling these checks behind the scenes.


Shadowkire wrote:

The downside to Detect Evil is that it is unreliable at low levels, unless his enemies are all Outsiders, Undead, or divine casters. Otherwise he could use DE on an average goblin(CR 1? 1/2?) that is torturing a baby and come up with nothing.

That's not true at all!!!!

(what if that baby is an evil outsider) :D


I haven't read all of this but went through roughly the first 20ish posts.

My suggestion is in case the ex-paladin wants to atone but can't or won't raise or resurrect the goblins.

Looking at what were originally considering doing, I might expand on the idea. Make him do physical labor, night and day, until he passes out from exhaustion a number of times equal to the number of innocents he killed (don't give him time to fully recover between passing out and starting work again, and if there are any of the goblin tribe left alive have him do the work in their village). Each time he passes out ask him to make a fortitude check check equal to 5 + the number of days worked and if he fails he loses 1 CON until he can rest long enough to fully recover. At the end of this give him the benefits of the atonement spell without the associated cost.

A light version of the above could be a fort check DC 5 + half the number of days worked or each time he fails he loses half a point of CON, only losing one every two times he fails the roll.

I understand that the paladin could very well die doing the above, but consider it something roughly equal to a raise dead on every creature he killed/helped kill, and it represents the pain he put the goblin tribe through to begin with.

P.S. I'm a jerk of a GM. =D


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I dunno, this seems like a trap to me. You are told all about the evil goblin tribes and the horrors they commit, but the good tribe (the one that is most distinctive from other goblins) is left out. You are asked to get rid of this threat, and you do so.

Some posters above have mentioned that since they were killing babies and people trying to surrender they were obviously doing evil, but the OP also said that once they realized what had happened they were all horrified and repentant. That says to me that while they were committing these acts they didn't realize what was happening. Clearly the OP felt that they should have know (and should have picked up on his clues) but just as clearly they didn't know and didn't pick up on his clues.

THE GM is the eyes and ears of the players. They rely on him to convey impressions of situations, the nature of people they meet and things like that. For whatever reason, it seems that communication was pretty ineffective here.

I also think that most players overlook some things on purpose when presented with a plot hook. Often their can be holes in a story, or perhaps the motivation wouldn't be sufficient to get them to go, but they go anyway, because that is a the polite thing to do when your GM has spent hours building an adventure.

The Paladin fell unintentionally because he was tricked and didn't realize what he was doing. The atonement spell should be at no GP cost, but some good role playing to demonstrate remorse is appropriate.


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Rynjin wrote:

You know, Sense Motive checks vs Bluff (which this very much was) are an OPPOSED check, meaning you shouldn't have to specifically roll for hem. Much like Perception vs Stealth, your character is not suddenly blind and deaf because he didn't say "I roll Perception".

You should at the least be rolling these checks behind the scenes.

this is true. I hate my players metagaming as well, so have them roll it an hour ahead of time, roll it for them, or however else you want to handle it. Make sure they get the check one way or another though


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Generally speaking paladins should always Have room ro communicate. When you encounter creatures and the sm doesn't start calling initiative if you declair "we draw our weapons a d attack" its a sign things will go badly.

If you cut the gpblins down and the dm says "two smaller goblins exit a small building that looks like a school the one on the left has pig tails..." and you still cut them down you have gone well last any alignment trap issues.

But assuming there is no ignment trap by the gm I think stopping the runelord of grees would be suitable to restore his powers.

Really I get the impression lore wise when a paldin does more than an oopsie it can take a lot. I thi k in the sodden lands a guy has been caring for people for 30 years in aronement.


jimibones83 wrote:
@wraithstrike please see the comment I made directly above yours. Not getting into legal trouble is much different than adhering to morality. You definition is lawful, but not good. A paladin is both, but in the case that they conflict then he is good before lawful.

And players conform to GM styles and what they are used to, so a GM does have to dictate "other than normal" preferences up front.

I have had to tell players they can't just kill everything without going to jail in Eberron because they were used to it in Forgotten Realms, where you could murder orcs, goblins, and so on without getting into any trouble. The written adventures and novels supported that.


There is also this, how much leeway a paladin has ALWAYS varies by GM, so you as the GM should let the player know he is about to mess up. Yeah, I know a magic item exist for that, but it should not exist. This looks like a setup to me, but since it is done the atonement with no loss of gp should be good enough.

edit: Yeah I hit the FAQ button in the opening post.


jimibones83 wrote:
Rynjin wrote:

You know, Sense Motive checks vs Bluff (which this very much was) are an OPPOSED check, meaning you shouldn't have to specifically roll for hem. Much like Perception vs Stealth, your character is not suddenly blind and deaf because he didn't say "I roll Perception".

You should at the least be rolling these checks behind the scenes.

this is true. I hate my players metagaming as well, so have them roll it an hour ahead of time, roll it for them, or however else you want to handle it. Make sure they get the check one way or another though

This is a great idea. I'd be very tempted to as standard get every player to roll a couple of sense motive checks at the beginning of every session and note down the results, regardless of whether an NPC will be bluffing them this session. That way you give them a fair chance to use the skill but don't tip off the metagamers when they fail a roll.


Mojorat wrote:
Generally speaking paladins should always Have room ro communicate.

That is one thing I never understood about how I've heard paladins are played (hardly representational, since it usually just comes up in 'falling' threads). I mean, they had good hit dice, good armor, they have some of the best saves in the game, and they have access to a swift action healing ability. With that much tankage, I'd imagine they would always have the most room to serve as diplomat/distraction without worrying too much about being taken out.

I add distraction since, while I do like the idea of someone optimistically coming into every encounter with sentient being as an opportunity to communicate and negotiate... I understand that tactically sound decisions need to be made. So have everyone else flank around the area and have the readied actions set to 'shoot/charge/blast anything that starts looking at goody-two-shoes funny.' If things go poorly, the rest of the party can still ambush the enemies; if they go well, they can circle back around and introduce themselves.

But that is just how I view it. Obviously, if you are ambushed, you have all the excuse to dispense with such pleasantries. And this plan is not applicable to all situations. Still, letting the other side strike first as much as possible, even if they don't actually get their attacks off first, seems like a good bit of cushioning against falling.


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wraithstrike wrote:
jimibones83 wrote:
@wraithstrike please see the comment I made directly above yours. Not getting into legal trouble is much different than adhering to morality. You definition is lawful, but not good. A paladin is both, but in the case that they conflict then he is good before lawful.

And players conform to GM styles and what they are used to, so a GM does have to dictate "other than normal" preferences up front.

I have had to tell players they can't just kill everything without going to jail in Eberron because they were used to it in Forgotten Realms, where you could murder orcs, goblins, and so on without getting into any trouble. The written adventures and novels supported that.

Murdering fleeing children in a defenseless village of sentient beings, whatever the race, is an evil act in any non-dystopian setting I've ever played in. I certainly don't remember Forgotten Realms being a "child murder is Lawful Good!" setting. I won't speak to the novels, as they were basically garbage.

Whether you could get into trouble for it is another question entirely. Yes, you probably could raze a defenseless, pacifist goblin village without getting in trouble in both FR and Golarion. That doesn't mean you didn't violate the paladin's code, nor that it wasn't an evil act.


Seems a bit like a Paladin trap to me. My view of pathfinder goblins is that they're all conniving evil creatures, even the 'children'. Definitely should have been covered early on that the campaign would include creatures that don't follow typical alignment (if it wasn't mentioned). Paladin should have received significant cues that he was committing evil throughout the attack and probably fallen before the village was entirely slaughtered.

That said, evil is evil and paladins fall regardless of whether they intend it. Atonement should not be very onerous in my opinion. It can be difficult reading cues like this from the players' perspective when they're just excited to play.


Munchwolf wrote:

How soon into the act does the Paladin fall? Does he fall after killing the first good aligned goblin, or after everything is said and done?

If he falls as soon as he transgresses, it might have been a hint that the party was screwing up, and his atonement would have been less.

I prefer this approach. You fall when you commit the act of evil. Not when the fight's done. On the spot.

That might have provided an even more interesting bit of roleplay. Assuming the paladin realized what he'd done fast enough.

That and a lot less dead goblins to atone for.


blahpers wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
jimibones83 wrote:
@wraithstrike please see the comment I made directly above yours. Not getting into legal trouble is much different than adhering to morality. You definition is lawful, but not good. A paladin is both, but in the case that they conflict then he is good before lawful.

And players conform to GM styles and what they are used to, so a GM does have to dictate "other than normal" preferences up front.

I have had to tell players they can't just kill everything without going to jail in Eberron because they were used to it in Forgotten Realms, where you could murder orcs, goblins, and so on without getting into any trouble. The written adventures and novels supported that.

Murdering fleeing children in a defenseless village of sentient beings, whatever the race, is an evil act in any non-dystopian setting I've ever played in. I certainly don't remember Forgotten Realms being a "child murder is Lawful Good!" setting. I won't speak to the novels, as they were basically garbage.

Whether you could get into trouble for it is another question entirely. Yes, you probably could raze a defenseless, pacifist goblin village without getting in trouble in both FR and Golarion. That doesn't mean you didn't violate the paladin's code, nor that it wasn't an evil act.

this is exactly what I'm saying as well. Just because the whole world views it as acceptable doesn't mean that its morally good, which is what a paladin must be


A day and night of work? How many days and nights were stolen from the goblins?1000GP? The paladin can just kill some other sentient life forms to get that. Instant fall, with a lifetime of repentance for any chance of redemption.

At level 1 a paladin gains the ability to cast a certain spell as a move action, and learn in that amount of time what would take any other spell caster in the universe three standard actions. The divine gifts were bestowed upon a warrior who has proven unworthy.


lemeres wrote:
Mojorat wrote:
Generally speaking paladins should always Have room ro communicate.

That is one thing I never understood about how I've heard paladins are played (hardly representational, since it usually just comes up in 'falling' threads). I mean, they had good hit dice, good armor, they have some of the best saves in the game, and they have access to a swift action healing ability. With that much tankage, I'd imagine they would always have the most room to serve as diplomat/distraction without worrying too much about being taken out.

I add distraction since, while I do like the idea of someone optimistically coming into every encounter with sentient being as an opportunity to communicate and negotiate... I understand that tactically sound decisions need to be made. So have everyone else flank around the area and have the readied actions set to 'shoot/charge/blast anything that starts looking at goody-two-shoes funny.' If things go poorly, the rest of the party can still ambush the enemies; if they go well, they can circle back around and introduce themselves.

But that is just how I view it. Obviously, if you are ambushed, you have all the excuse to dispense with such pleasantries. And this plan is not applicable to all situations. Still, letting the other side strike first as much as possible, even if they don't actually get their attacks off first, seems like a good bit of cushioning against falling.

Most issies with paladins are a human one relates to the people in a given group. The paladim code is honeztly easy to follow but the human element confuses thimgs.

For one players need to know if the game is going to be about heart felt moral decisions or kicking down doors for loot. You can play a paladin in both these games but you need to be aware which genre your in.

For example I have a friend whem he dmed every single encounter became a moral dilema. Nearly every bad guy group had people surrender. It was tedius not fun and slowed the whole game down.


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blahpers wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
jimibones83 wrote:
@wraithstrike please see the comment I made directly above yours. Not getting into legal trouble is much different than adhering to morality. You definition is lawful, but not good. A paladin is both, but in the case that they conflict then he is good before lawful.

And players conform to GM styles and what they are used to, so a GM does have to dictate "other than normal" preferences up front.

I have had to tell players they can't just kill everything without going to jail in Eberron because they were used to it in Forgotten Realms, where you could murder orcs, goblins, and so on without getting into any trouble. The written adventures and novels supported that.

Murdering fleeing children in a defenseless village of sentient beings, whatever the race, is an evil act in any non-dystopian setting I've ever played in. I certainly don't remember Forgotten Realms being a "child murder is Lawful Good!" setting. I won't speak to the novels, as they were basically garbage.

I disagree. It depends entirely on the setting, and how a GM runs that setting.

IRL sentient beings have the inherent ability to become anything from good to evil regardless of their parents. In our world, sentient beings make choices that determine their alignment, but in pathfinder and other setting it's sometimes the other way around.

I've played in many a FR setting where it is stated that evil races are all evil no if and or butts about it. In this setting, goblin children are as evil as their parents. A goblin child who gets away is now just a hungry psychopath who will probably slaughter some innocent child if it catches them alone in the woods.

Keep in mind, I'm not saying that this is the way the world ought to be played, was played by the OP, or even the default way, but it is at least a semi-common way people play pathfinder. (it does help remove unnecessary and unintentional moral dilemmas).


Ciaran Barnes wrote:
At level 1 a paladin gains the ability to cast a certain spell as a move action, and learn in that amount of time what would take any other spell caster in the universe three standard actions. The divine gifts were bestowed upon a warrior who has proven unworthy.

If it matters, good and neutral people can be bad too, or if you can't accept that at least do bad things. Your detect only goes so far.


The paladin should have fallen the moment he tried to kill the first goblin. That would have been a clue.


Karmic punishment: Make their characters play "We Be Goblins" ingame as a means of repentance. Probably too meta.


Are we still talking about paladins and when they fall instead of if its a good idea to let him work it off?


Sub_Zero wrote:

I disagree. It depends entirely on the setting, and how a GM runs that setting.

IRL sentient beings have the inherent ability to become anything from good to evil regardless of their parents. In our world, sentient beings make choices that determine their alignment, but in pathfinder and other setting it's sometimes the other way around.

I've played in many a FR setting where it is stated that evil races are all evil no if and or butts about it. In this setting, goblin children are as evil as their parents. A goblin child who gets away is now just a hungry psychopath who will probably slaughter some innocent child if it catches them alone in the woods.

Keep in mind, I'm not saying that this is the way the world ought to be played, was played by the OP, or even the default way, but it is at least a semi-common way people play pathfinder. (it does help remove unnecessary and unintentional moral dilemmas).

How dare you bring sense and reasonableness to a paladin thread?!?!? (Yes, finished my handoff at work, thanks!)

Yes, it depends on the players, the group, and the GM. Paladin threads are so heated because every person has a different opinion as to how paladins should be played properly. Some groups hate moral ambiguity, and any creature with an "E" in the Bestiary or any being that detects as Evil is an automatic kill. Some players love trying to puzzle out what the correct "good" thing to do is.

So although I fear the sun will dim for my saying so, I'm going to agree with Wraithstrike here: What *should* happen depends on what the GM's pact with the players was on paladin behavior and "evil" creatures when the campaign started.

I love to fling examples. In our RotRL campaign, one of my players played the single-best-played paladin I've ever seen. Absolutely epic. So we're starting WotR and EVERYONE wants to be a paladin. I've told them, "No. Don't. You cannot play a paladin to my expectations. You will fall. You will fall so hard your seventh generation will be trying to dig themselves out of your fall. You can't handle my expectations."

And they say, "That's cool. We want to try."

Expectations set. I will *not* be starting a paladin thread for Wrath of the Righteous. They have been warned...
...and that's really the entire point of paladin threads. Did the player have fair warning, or not?


Sub_Zero wrote:
blahpers wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
jimibones83 wrote:
@wraithstrike please see the comment I made directly above yours. Not getting into legal trouble is much different than adhering to morality. You definition is lawful, but not good. A paladin is both, but in the case that they conflict then he is good before lawful.

And players conform to GM styles and what they are used to, so a GM does have to dictate "other than normal" preferences up front.

I have had to tell players they can't just kill everything without going to jail in Eberron because they were used to it in Forgotten Realms, where you could murder orcs, goblins, and so on without getting into any trouble. The written adventures and novels supported that.

Murdering fleeing children in a defenseless village of sentient beings, whatever the race, is an evil act in any non-dystopian setting I've ever played in. I certainly don't remember Forgotten Realms being a "child murder is Lawful Good!" setting. I won't speak to the novels, as they were basically garbage.

I disagree. It depends entirely on the setting, and how a GM runs that setting.

IRL sentient beings have the inherent ability to become anything from good to evil regardless of their parents. In our world, sentient beings make choices that determine their alignment, but in pathfinder and other setting it's sometimes the other way around.

I've played in many a FR setting where it is stated that evil races are all evil no if and or butts about it. In this setting, goblin children are as evil as their parents. A goblin child who gets away is now just a hungry psychopath who will probably slaughter some innocent child if it catches them alone in the woods.

Keep in mind, I'm not saying that this is the way the world ought to be played, was played by the OP, or even the default way, but it is at least a semi-common way people play pathfinder. (it does help remove unnecessary and unintentional moral dilemmas).

They're welcome to it. That would be a dystopian setting in my book. I've never, ever played an FR game where this was considered "good". I have played FR games where this was considered acceptable, or where people in-universe considered it good, but the paladin code transcends popular morality. If the townsfolk--nay, the entire kingdom--want the defenseless goblin village razed and its children murdered, it is the paladin's job to say "no, and I'll stop any of you who tries".

That is the norm. I see no reason to warn players ahead of time that murder is murder.


Mojorat wrote:

Most issies with paladins are a human one relates to the people in a given group. The paladim code is honeztly easy to follow but the human element confuses thimgs.

For one players need to know if the game is going to be about heart felt moral decisions or kicking down doors for loot. You can play a paladin in both these games but you need to be aware which genre your in.

For example I have a friend whem he dmed every single encounter became a moral dilema. Nearly every bad guy group had people surrender. It was tedius not fun and slowed the whole game...

Quite correct. I am not advocating that you try to play nice with the demons trying to sacrifice the princess. Or the magically mutated alligators in the chaos swamp (well, unless they start talking...but that is so out of the norm that it would honestly be a trap since animals usually do no even have alignments, so the usual 'detect evil' stuff probably not work too well anyway). Typically, those things are enough of a direct threat (due to all the weird abilities and SLAs) that I can understand a more direct approach.

Still, they are what? 3-4 levels in and dealing with low level goblins. Such creatures are usually not the master spellcasters or dominating outsiders/abominations that need a 'shoot first, ask questions using Speak with Dead later' policy. Goblins usually do not present enough of a threat unless they have the kind of preparations and equipment that would obviously show their general intent (fortifications, lots of weapons and soldiers, haphazard traps, maybe a nice little canyon that is the only entrance with rocks perched on top; essentially, anything you'd expect from a Tucker game; not school houses and school children).

They had plenty of room to scope things out without it being too likely that things will go irrevocably south. Heck, maybe grab one of the buggers wandering outside of the town and drag him to that linguistic bard for info. It would be a reasonable enough approach to make sure that they didn't secretly serve something nastier that would 'just happen' to come by for tribute at that time, or that if they had some heap of treasure/macguffins. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, as they say.

Scarab Sages

I believe your Paladin should try to rectify the situation. Put him on a sidequest to make things right to either restore the tribe or to make sure the tribe is solidified in the history books.


I am sorry but I think this was poor DMing, they were given information on all the tribes, but nobody mentioned one was good? That is daft. Was that not pertinent information? It's the biggest outlier and should have been mentioned. Of course if it was ignore me :)

I also think the paladin falling should have happened on the spot, before the entire village was slaughtered, warning them all and making atonement less problematic.

The OP is also a DM and we DMs tend to think all our hints and clues are easy to pick up on, trouble is everything is easy when you know the answer and the players do not. I think this sounds like a real fun sap for your players, though I hope I am wrong.

My advice would be to allow the paladins player the chance to make a new character, or retrain to another martial class and gradually earn redemption. Could be pretty awesome if he genuinely tries to redeem himself to restore his paladinhood when the group are in real dire straits.


Titania, the Summer Queen wrote:
Um they need to get a loan and resurrect the children. Bring them all back.

Why? They're in a better place now.

The Exchange

Broken Prince wrote:

I am sorry but I think this was poor DMing, they were given information on all the tribes, but nobody mentioned one was good? That is daft. Was that not pertinent information? It's the biggest outlier and should have been mentioned. Of course if it was ignore me :)

I also think the paladin falling should have happened on the spot, before the entire village was slaughtered, warning them all and making atonement less problematic.

I agree, and I get the gist that the Unmentioned Tribe may have been added in after the party originally got info on the goblins in the area because someone may have have thought it was a cool twist. If I was GMing there would have been a ton of sense motive checks to figure out that the goblins weren't a threat. I also may have thrown in a couple of gobbos holding up holy symbols of good gods and such. 23+ deaths and the party obviously wasn't given decent enough hints to stop the slaughter. The paladin and his party are only half to blame, the other half lies on the GM that gave no foreknowledge and poor hints to a strange encounter.

Heck my first thought if someone described a bunch of gobbo kids running out of a building with writing equipment is that they are being trained in mystical arts at a young age or being made to create blasphemous writing or something.


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Note that Erastil is a god of farming and family. Did the Paladin just slaughter a farming village, down to fleeing children, without any investigation? Even if the Paladin has sincere regret, his deity is PISSED at him.

Here is my thoughts as a GM to get the campaign "back on track" while also smacking the Paladin upside the head - in a way the player will remember for years!

The Atonement spell should work, and you could even nullify/reduce the cost if its out of whack for your campaign (thats your call as GM). BUT I feel you should have Erastil give your Paladin a test of faith.

Have Erastil tell the Paladin that the evil deed was too great, and that the Paladin must submit to the remaining goblins for judgement, alone. The goblins decide to execute the player. If the player allows this to go forward (all the way!), he has proven that he is truly Lawful and truly repents for his evil act. Erastil resurrects him and all the casualties on the spot. If the Paladin refuses to submit to the goblins or refuses to be executed, then he is beyond Atonement. I would have an emissary of one of the evil gods offer your Paladin a chance to join Team Evil (A Growth Industry!). If he accepts, Anti-Paladin.

Its a little bit Deus Ex Machina, but if thats what you need to put the campaign on track, then do it.


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@Sub_Zero

It doesn't matter, evil is not punishable. Only specific crimes are punishable and the punishment must fit the crime. The only exceptions to this are irredeemably evil races.


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Mulet wrote:

First, if you are one of my party members, please leave this thread. Spoilers ahead. I need this post to make sure I'm not bullying Justin.

** spoiler omitted **...

I say there was a lot of misunderstanding and some misapplication of the rules:

1)[the rules] When an NPC lies to the players it is a bluff vs sense motive check, meaning it is up to you to tell the players they need to roll for sense motive. Otherwise your players will spend every following conversation with a NPC rolling SM to catch lies instead of listening to what the NPC is saying.

2)[lack of info and past in-game experience] You had Shalelu(the local goblin hunter) tell the players about a bunch of different evil goblin tribes in detail then mention this 6th(7th?) tribe without any details given. Then you say "They just needed to ask Shalelu!!!1!!". They did, in that meeting where she was telling them about half a dozen goblin tribes, YOU left out Shalelu saying "Oh, but there is 1 tribe of good goblins that are peaceful, so don't go murderhobo on them." At that point in the AP the players should have fought between 12-20 goblins, seen them kill 3 dogs, attack a child, kill that child's father, and possibly slaughter an entire building of people. At no point in this game has anyone even mentioned a NEUTRAL goblin, let alone a good one.

3)[bad description] These are level 1-2 PCs going up against 20+ goblins on their home turf, and with apparently no indication these goblins are any different from the last couple dozen they have fought. So lets not be surprised they struck hard and fast. But what kind of description did you give the players when, after the players were told those were good goblins, they were surprised and repentant? The goblins are running away? That is what half the enemies in the AP do when you are winning the fight, and usually it is a strategic retreat to regroup with the BBEG.

4)[Racism] This AP, as written, reinforces the X race is always Y alignment trope, and you don't appear to have given your players any indication otherwise until after they killed a village.

5)[What did the PALADIN do?] After saying "the paladin even took the first shot!" we were told what the party did, that they killed children and begging goblins. Did the paladin kill the children? The surrendering goblins?

6)[Locals?] I already mentioned this in my last post, but if any of the PCs that met "Natalie" lived in Sandpoint for more than 5 years, they should have received an easy chance to use knowledge(local) to identify her.

I don't think you meant to spring a gotcha! moment on your paladin(and party), but you pretty much did.


MrSin wrote:
Ciaran Barnes wrote:
At level 1 a paladin gains the ability to cast a certain spell as a move action, and learn in that amount of time what would take any other spell caster in the universe three standard actions. The divine gifts were bestowed upon a warrior who has proven unworthy.
If it matters, good and neutral people can be bad too, or if you can't accept that at least do bad things. Your detect only goes so far.

It's worth spending the move action to check.


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blahpers wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
jimibones83 wrote:
@wraithstrike please see the comment I made directly above yours. Not getting into legal trouble is much different than adhering to morality. You definition is lawful, but not good. A paladin is both, but in the case that they conflict then he is good before lawful.

And players conform to GM styles and what they are used to, so a GM does have to dictate "other than normal" preferences up front.

I have had to tell players they can't just kill everything without going to jail in Eberron because they were used to it in Forgotten Realms, where you could murder orcs, goblins, and so on without getting into any trouble. The written adventures and novels supported that.

Murdering fleeing children in a defenseless village of sentient beings, whatever the race, is an evil act in any non-dystopian setting I've ever played in. I certainly don't remember Forgotten Realms being a "child murder is Lawful Good!" setting. I won't speak to the novels, as they were basically garbage.

Whether you could get into trouble for it is another question entirely. Yes, you probably could raze a defenseless, pacifist goblin village without getting in trouble in both FR and Golarion. That doesn't mean you didn't violate the paladin's code, nor that it wasn't an evil act.

Nothing in PF says killing kids is more evil than killing adults. It might not be in good taste, but that does not make it evil. I am sure some giant's kids can be a real threat to an adventurer.


jimibones83 wrote:
blahpers wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
jimibones83 wrote:
@wraithstrike please see the comment I made directly above yours. Not getting into legal trouble is much different than adhering to morality. You definition is lawful, but not good. A paladin is both, but in the case that they conflict then he is good before lawful.

And players conform to GM styles and what they are used to, so a GM does have to dictate "other than normal" preferences up front.

I have had to tell players they can't just kill everything without going to jail in Eberron because they were used to it in Forgotten Realms, where you could murder orcs, goblins, and so on without getting into any trouble. The written adventures and novels supported that.

Murdering fleeing children in a defenseless village of sentient beings, whatever the race, is an evil act in any non-dystopian setting I've ever played in. I certainly don't remember Forgotten Realms being a "child murder is Lawful Good!" setting. I won't speak to the novels, as they were basically garbage.

Whether you could get into trouble for it is another question entirely. Yes, you probably could raze a defenseless, pacifist goblin village without getting in trouble in both FR and Golarion. That doesn't mean you didn't violate the paladin's code, nor that it wasn't an evil act.

this is exactly what I'm saying as well. Just because the whole world views it as acceptable doesn't mean that its morally good, which is what a paladin must be

IF the ENTIRE campaign setting allows it, then the paladin would not fall.


Sub_Zero wrote:

[

I disagree. It depends entirely on the setting, and how a GM runs that setting.

IRL sentient beings have the inherent ability to become anything from good to evil regardless of their parents. In our world, sentient beings make choices that determine their alignment, but in pathfinder and other setting it's sometimes the other way around.

I've played in many a FR setting where it is stated that evil races are all evil no if and or butts about it. In this setting, goblin children are as evil as their parents. A goblin child who gets away is now just a hungry psychopath who will probably slaughter some innocent child if it catches them alone in the woods.

Keep in mind, I'm not saying that this is the way the world ought to be played, was played by the OP, or even the default way, but it is at least a semi-common way people play pathfinder. (it does help remove unnecessary and unintentional moral dilemmas).

Exactly what I was trying to say.


NobodysHome wrote:


So although I fear the sun will dim for my saying so, I'm going to agree with Wraithstrike here: What *should* happen depends on what the GM's pact with the players was on paladin behavior and "evil" creatures when the campaign started.

That is the best thing anyone could do.. :D


blahpers wrote:


That is the norm. I see no reason to warn players ahead of time that murder is murder.

Technically all adventurers are murders unless they country they are in has given them permission to carry out "justice".

So by that logic every paladin ever should fall.

Now the only way to be sure to avoid trouble at the table it is to know that not everyone plays like they do and let them know how much leeway they have while being murdering hobos.


Broken Prince wrote:

I am sorry but I think this was poor DMing, they were given information on all the tribes, but nobody mentioned one was good? That is daft. Was that not pertinent information? It's the biggest outlier and should have been mentioned. Of course if it was ignore me :)

I agree. They were given info on all the bad ones, and the good tribe was mentioned only in name. It looks like a setup to me.

If I give the name and info of 3 NPC's, and I only passingly give the name, and ONLY the name of NPC #4 most players will just assume he is not special.

The same idea applies here.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber
wraithstrike wrote:
You missed my point. Goblins as a whole are considered to be up to no good. In most campaign settings you can kill them, and not even get in legal trouble. Most players know this so they wont ask questions. That is why I said if the GM is running things so monsters step outside of the normal alignment he should let it be known up front, and no information was given on this "good" tribe according to the OP.

This. Goblins being evil is an understood part of the campaign setting. In this case, it's the players who are deceived by the GM changing the setting, even more so than the NPC spouting lies. If you're running a campaign setting where goblins are NOT always evil, this is something you should make sure your players are well aware of before the game.

Further, if the characters live in this world, they should be aware that goblins are not always evil. They should have at the least gotten an unasked for sense motive check to realise the goblins weren't evil.

It'd be like changing every traffic lights stop color to green in a modern setting. Then punishing a PC who gets in a traffic accident because he didn't look up the traffic rules before taking his character driving.


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Detect Evil does not work until you get 5HD unless you are an outsider or divine caster so that spell would have been of no use.

Grand Lodge

Kolokotroni wrote:
I would say that there was one goblin child who had happened to be playing hooky that day. As part of his atonement the paladin must raise, protect and edjucate this goblin child until it reaches maturity. Then have the goblin become a cohort, that starts as a liability, and eventually becomes an asset and an integral part of the story (for better or worse depending on how things progress)

I like this

Grand Lodge

Thaago wrote:

Note that Erastil is a god of farming and family. Did the Paladin just slaughter a farming village, down to fleeing children, without any investigation? Even if the Paladin has sincere regret, his deity is PISSED at him.

Here is my thoughts as a GM to get the campaign "back on track" while also smacking the Paladin upside the head - in a way the player will remember for years!

The Atonement spell should work, and you could even nullify/reduce the cost if its out of whack for your campaign (thats your call as GM). BUT I feel you should have Erastil give your Paladin a test of faith.

Have Erastil tell the Paladin that the evil deed was too great, and that the Paladin must submit to the remaining goblins for judgement, alone. The goblins decide to execute the player. If the player allows this to go forward (all the way!), he has proven that he is truly Lawful and truly repents for his evil act. Erastil resurrects him and all the casualties on the spot. If the Paladin refuses to submit to the goblins or refuses to be executed, then he is beyond Atonement. I would have an emissary of one of the evil gods offer your Paladin a chance to join Team Evil (A Growth Industry!). If he accepts, Anti-Paladin.

Its a little bit Deus Ex Machina, but if thats what you need to put the campaign on track, then do it.

I like this too


Make this a plothook, Get vengeance on the demon and repent by questing for some "Great resurrection" magic thing... with no levels of paladin

The whole party may want to jump in on it, except the rogue who has lined pockets.


wraithstrike wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:


So although I fear the sun will dim for my saying so, I'm going to agree with Wraithstrike here: What *should* happen depends on what the GM's pact with the players was on paladin behavior and "evil" creatures when the campaign started.

That is the best thing anyone could do.. :D

This is fair enough. My take on good and evil is 100% accurate, but not all games follow those standards. Some just want to allow a paladin to hack and slash through evil and don't really care about anything else. If that's the case though, they should be certain its evil they're hacking and slashing through, and in this case they didn't.

I agree with these guys though. Since there are 2 takes on it, the one that will he enforced should be defined before hand either way.


Shadowkire wrote:
When an NPC lies to the players it is a bluff vs sense motive check, meaning it is up to you to tell the players they need to roll for sense motive. Otherwise your players will spend every following conversation with a NPC rolling SM to catch lies instead of listening to what the NPC is saying.

You're saying whenever a player is lied to the GM should immediately say 'make a sense motive check'? That seems like a bit of a giveaway...


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Matthew Downie wrote:
Shadowkire wrote:
When an NPC lies to the players it is a bluff vs sense motive check, meaning it is up to you to tell the players they need to roll for sense motive. Otherwise your players will spend every following conversation with a NPC rolling SM to catch lies instead of listening to what the NPC is saying.
You're saying whenever a player is lied to the GM should immediately say 'make a sense motive check'? That seems like a bit of a giveaway...

GM: "She says <Stuff>"

*GM rolls some dice*

*GM does this for every RP encounter*


The Paladin should have fallen the moment he let the arrow fly.

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