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


Advice

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Shadowkire wrote:
Damon Griffin wrote:


Given the circumstances, should the paladin fall? Yes. It makes NO DIFFERENCE that the paladin believed the tribe was evil as is typically the case for goblins. A paladin's behavior should never be dictated by the moral code of others, but by his own. The goblins did not deserve to have their village put to the torch, their leader burned to death and their children slaughtered simply by existing. The nation of Cheliax is listed as Lawful Evil; would this paladin feel justified in murdering any of its human citizens on sight?
If the players knew they were killing children, I would agree. However, everything the OP has said in this thread and others makes me think that the DM didn't describe the children as being children, or even smaller than average goblins.

While killing a bunch of children is probably the most horrible thing, its not the only thing listed that's evil and deserving of difficult atonement


My advice would be to retcon the thing and allow them a chance to get the hints they should have gotten or right before the paladin attacked the first goblin have a stag show up and take the arrow for the goblin as a sign from Erastil saying he shouldn't do that or as others said when he kills/harms the first goblin he feels his powers sapped from him.


Damon Griffin wrote:
Arrow Tangent:
In the first season of the TV show "Arrow", the protagonist came back to his home town to "save the city." He did so by killing bad guys - no due process, just a series of vigilante executions. Later, he decided that he couldn't save the city by being a killer and modified his tactics...but there have been no consequences for his earlier behavior on any level. His allies basically think it's swell he doesn't murder criminals on sight any more, so it's as if he never did it. This is wrong. True, this comic/TV character is not a paladin, but morally reprehensible actions should have real consequences for professed good aligned characters.

Spoiler:
So, uh, Slade coming back, destroying his life and killing his mother doesn't count as a consequence? Because that's a direct result of him trying to kill Slade rather than cure him.

Plus I don't think killing a bunch of murderers and rapists is "morally reprehensible" myself. It's still murder, plain and simple, and he was in the wrong for doing it, but he was still walking that fine line between vigilante killer and serial killer.

Liberty's Edge

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I agree with the general consensus is that

(1) The Paladin deserves to fall for having slaughtered innocent good creatures for no other reason than they belonged to the wrong race without any further investigation.

BUT

(2) The OP was playing dirty pool with his players by giving them no background knowledge of this tribe of good goblins.

I want to ask the OP: why exactly did you decide to create this tiny tribe of good goblins that are GIVEN ROYAL PROTECTION FOR NO ADEQUATELY EXPLAINED REASON?

Because on the face of it, it sounds like you laid a trap in order to give grief your players. If that was your overt or covert intent, bravo sir. But I do not think I would want to play in the kind of games you run.


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They have royal protection? Lol, I missed that. That's ridiculous. That's doesn't change the fact that the paladin should fall, but to have a good, royally protected goblin tribe, that the goblin expert didn't know about is completely absurd. It sounds to me like neither you nor your players understand how to play this game


jimibones83 wrote:

@Sub_Zero He should care because he's a paladin, he cares only about good triumphing over evil, especially within himself. Things like race and the views of other should mean nothing to a paladin. There is no way for good to continually triumph unless with an unbiased outlook.

Not all crimes committed by evil characters are worthy of death. Because of this a paladin cant just slay evil on sight, though its more than reasonable to allow exception for creatures with the evil sub type.

I do realize some campaigns probably don't follow these guidelines, but these ARE the guidelines that govern a paladin. Allowing a setting to veer doesn't change this, it just means the writers sacrifised the paladins morals for the sake of their story, to allow the paladin more action and to make him easier to play. Playing a paladin correctly is no easy task

I don't think me and you disagree all that much. My biggest point is that we should keep in mind that much of this is relative to the campaign, player expectations, and degree that you want to deal with moral dilemmas.

I've played in plenty of campaigns where it's not considered a sacrifice of paladin morals for them to slaughter orcs and goblins. Keep in mind in these campaigns, these races are as inherently evil as Demons or undead though. In fact I've seen that being quite the norm in some areas. In a game world where that is the expectation, it is fine to have paladins walk in and murder a tribe of goblins, and be morally justified in doing so.

I think my biggest disagreement is that you hint at a right way to handle morals and paladins, and I don't think there is. Instead of black and white, I see a sea of gray.


@Sub_Zero That's definitely do-able, as long as the GM adds the evil subtype to those races and informs the players of the change before hand. Doing so would be the defining factor to me though. It would affect mechanics very little, yet enough to cause it to make sense, and it would justify it in an RP sense completely.

Yur right though, I do believe there is a right way to handle paladins and morals, but situations are often unique and thats why a paladin lives by a code rather than a set of rules. A rule for every situation won't result in what's right every time, but a code certainly can. While this makes it impossible to define what they can and can't do ahead of time, I feel I do a good job of call it in each situation

EDIT* I'd actually like to add that I think I kinda really like the idea of adding the evil subtype to goblins and/or orcs in ones own campaign. I wouldn't want the game to come stock that way, but making that little change yourself is as easy as it gets and would justifiably allow the paladin to see quite a bit more action


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
jimibones83 wrote:
They have royal protection? Lol, I missed that. That's ridiculous. That's doesn't change the fact that the paladin should fall, but to have a good, royally protected goblin tribe, that the goblin expert didn't know about is completely absurd. It sounds to me like neither you nor your players understand how to play this game

Just to clarify on behalf of Mulet based on info from the other thread, they have royal protection because the King of Varisia sees them as a potential bridge for peaceful coexistence with goblins. Apparently, Shalelu and the Mayor do have knowledge of them, but keep it secret to keep the village safe. Which, I suppose makes some sense. Except in the context of "Our village was just attacked by goblins! You, heroic adventurers! We entrust to you the task of unearthing what is going on with the goblins and preventing further attacks!". You would think that saying "Hey, there actually is a legit good goblin tribe, you might be able to talk with them to figure out what is going on." would be included with the mission briefing.

----------------------

It seems like the thread has reached a general consensus of in isolation for this event, the paladin should fall. The standard grey areas of innately evil expectations of goblin and the extent a paladin must go to show mercy apply, but those arguments will never be resolved.

The events leading to the fall are what brings it into question. It begins looking like a GM trap where information that should have been readily available to prevent the fall. For instance:

  • No Sense Motive behind the screen to determine the NPC was lying.
  • The omission of vital data from friendly NPCs about the existence of a good tribe of goblins when it really would make sense for it to be given to the PCs.
  • The fact that these goblins that embrace learning and culture somehow don't know Common when their less-educated brethren do.

Also, we don't know how clear it was that the goblins were crying and begging for mercy, and that there were clearly children fleeing for their lives in terror. Since goblins antics are so wild and varied, I could easily see the PCs not catching the behavior indicators, especially if the GM was not extremely careful in highlighting the indicators that differentiated it from standard CE goblins acting like goblins.


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From the OP (I didn't read the other 5 pages TBH I read page 1 and 5) I think your player should retire the paladin to rebuild and make amends.

Your players had a bard capable of talking goblin its a shame that he stayed in town that day but it happens both IRL and out of it.
Your players had the possibility of going and finding out about this tribe. They CHOSE not to.
Your players slaughtered and butchered wemon and children.

Ask them what a lifes worth ingame and out.

What matters is that a bunch of people invaded a friendly village and butchered all the inhabitants without so much as a how do you do. At this point it shouldn't matter what the villagers allignments are. A PALLADIN of a good and just god slaughters a village no chance at redemption or communion. Ignoring what should obviously be plea's and begging (in regards to your village elder comment) doesn't really matter the language.

If your players heard about another group ingame doing this would they (assuming good characters themselves) not hunt down the group and kill them? This in itself is something to keep in mind.

Attonement should be possible but certainly not ingame as something like this goes far beyond just an evil act.

TLDR: Your palladin and IMHO entire group dun f@@@ed up and I don't think they should be able to atone for it.

PS: Its easy to tell who here GM's and who only plays from the tone the posts take :P I feel like theres a lot more players trying to "make this all right" then there should be.

Silver Crusade

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I love how certain points keep getting glossed over with no answer...

Why do these "Good", and apparently literate, goblins not speak common... none of them... not a one. What language were they learning to read and write in I wonder?

Why did Shelalu not mention this tribe to the adventures? Especialy since she would have to know that they only speak goblin and can't communicate with others which is bound to lead to some misunderstandings and dead goblins.

Goblins are, per the bestiary, evil. Goblins are, per Golarian, evil. You can quote the write up about alignment being not absolute all you want, which is a general rule. But the specific bit (the bit that overrides the general) is that golbins and their kin are a special kind of evil (just read their entry).

Can you have outliers? Of course, there can always be exceptions even whole tribes of them. But unless you set up some precedent to the norm don't be surprised at the outcome.

Could the adventurers have noticed that these particular goblins weren't hostile and were no threat? Only if the DM adequetly set the scene and described as such. Which I am not saying was or was not the case.

Either way players paying any attention should have noticed that there was no attempt to fight back (which boggles my mind... even a tribe of "friendly" goblins would defend themselves... these were some seriously pacifist, turn the other cheek, goblins I guess). This should have led to a moment of, "What in the 9 hells are they doing..." opening up the opportunity for one of the literate but unable to speak a blasted word of common to scribble a note in the sand in, hopefuly a language one of the players knew, saying, "Please don't kill us, we be NICE!"

But I digress...

My arm chair interputation... both sides (DM and players) were at fault. There was a communication/attention to detail break down between the two sides of the GM Screen. GM's have to give information and Players have to ask for information. Otherwise you get what we had here... failure to communicate... which is how he wants it... and he gets it... (sorry, my Guns & Roses came out a bit there).


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It doubly makes no sense that they were learning to read/write but apparently only spoke Goblin.

Since there is no goblin writing, since goblins culturally not only are illiterate, but ANTI literate, how are they writing in Goblin? There wouldn't be an alphabet or anything.

So they'd have to borrow another culture's alphabet...which would probably be Common. And in learning the alphabet, surely SOMEONE would have picked up at the very least simple words like "Help", "Bathroom", and "No murder, please".


Rynjin wrote:

It doubly makes no sense that they were learning to read/write but apparently only spoke Goblin.

Worse yet, if they can't speak Common then they can't sing Goblin songs in Common :(


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Lets see, they are secretly learning to read and write a language that was not common? My vote is for Druidic. It is the only thing that makes sense.

Either that or it is Aboleth. Those jerks are behind everything.


Obeliske wrote:


Your players had a bard capable of talking goblin its a shame that he stayed in town that day but it happens both IRL and out of it.

In another thread the OP is looking for a way to punish a player for not following 'the script' (ie, not hanging out with the group). That player is the bard. I believe this scenario not only handles the troublesome paladin, but also is meant as a lesson for the bard player.

If that doesn't spell trap, dunno what does.


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@Tempestorm the points aren't getting glossed over, its been said several times that those things were the fault of the GM, theres no way to justify them.

But it doesn't matter, and neither does it that goblins in the beastiary and Golarion are evil. They don't have the evil subtype, there for they are not 'kill on sight without question' monsters, not for a paladin anyway. The GM did his job poorly, but the paladin still strayed from his moral code. In fact he threw that code in the trash, sprayed it with lighter fluid, and dropped a flaming book of matches down upon it. The fact that he now needs that bum fire to stay warm because his deity has left him out in the cold is the definition of both karma and justice.


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jimibones83 wrote:
But it doesn't matter, and neither does it that goblins in the beastiary and Golarion are evil. They don't have the evil subtype, there for they are not 'kill on sight without question' monsters, not for a paladin anyway.

This specifically I disagree with and think depends entirely on the group in question and how they choose to handle morality in their game.

I think my biggest qualm with statements like that, are that they are absolute without at least acknowledging that, there isn't some hard and fast rule that is actually backs it up. It's an opinion that's being touted as fact.

As for me, in my group this would be a fall worthy moment for the paladin, but I try my best to separate my group norms from others.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

jimbones,

I assume we all get they are playing Burnt Offerings

In case some aren't familiar

Burnt Offerings:

In the adventure all goblins are presented as pretty much irredeemably evil and worthy of killing on sight. As others have mentioned, Sandport, which is listed as neutral good , has a bounty on goblin ears. Reading through BO there's only one encounter with goblin woman and they're warriors like the men. There are no goblin children, even evil ones, though there's an option to put them in to mess with (more experienced) players by putting some in. Its pretty clear that PCs can hack their way through ever goblin they meet with no moral consequences, even for paladins, well except maybe for those of Sarenrae.

From what I've read of the paladin player his idea of a paladin and mine don't match up and that he wouldn't eventually fall with cutting him more slack than a paladin deserved. But he needed help and guidance not, to continue your analogy, the ticking incendiary timebomb that was handed to him.


Sub_Zero wrote:
jimibones83 wrote:
But it doesn't matter, and neither does it that goblins in the beastiary and Golarion are evil. They don't have the evil subtype, there for they are not 'kill on sight without question' monsters, not for a paladin anyway.

This specifically I disagree with and think depends entirely on the group in question and how they choose to handle morality in their game.

I think my biggest qualm with statements like that, are that they are absolute without at least acknowledging that, there isn't some hard and fast rule that is actually backs it up. It's an opinion that's being touted as fact.

As for me, in my group this would be a fall worthy moment for the paladin, but I try my best to separate my group norms from others.

Through a select, worthy few shines the power of the divine. Called paladins, these noble souls dedicate their swords and lives to the battle against evil. Knights, crusaders, and law-bringers, paladins seek not just to spread divine justice but to embody the teachings of the virtuous deities they serve. In pursuit of their lofty goals, they adhere to ironclad laws of morality and discipline. As reward for their righteousness, these holy champions are blessed with boons to aid them in their quests: powers to banish evil, heal the innocent, and inspire the faithful. Although their convictions might lead them into conflict with the very souls they would save, paladins weather endless challenges of faith and dark temptations, risking their lives to do right and fighting to bring about a brighter future.

Paladins are suppose to be the north star of good. You may disagree with me, but the above bolded text is the very fabric of what a paladin is actually suppose to be and is the hard and fast rule. An action being simply justifiable is not good enough for a paladin if there is a more exalted one available. This is what it means to "adhere to ironclad laws of morality and discipline". I don't see how it can be taken any other way.


jimibones83 wrote:
the above bolded text is the very fabric of what a paladin is actually suppose to be and is the hard and fast rule.

Actually, that's just flavor text. That is not a 'hard and fast rule' so much as a sexy posterchild to draw you in.

Rogue wrote:
rogues bank on their cunning, skill, and charm to bend fate to their favor.

Rogues can bend fate dude. FATE! They're supernaturally powerful like that. Except you know... They don't actually do that. Just a pile of text meant to make them look cool and attractive! They don't get to use skill, charm, or cunning to literally bend fate.

Ranger wrote:
Knowledgeable, patient, and skilled hunters, these rangers hound man, beast, and monster alike, gaining insight into the way of the predator, skill in varied environments, and ever more lethal martial prowess.

Every ranger is patient! Except the ones you roleplay otherwise. Ranger's don't have to be patient, but from the same type of flavor text you said is a 'hard and fast rule' they apparently are. They of course, aren't required to be.

I'm not saying you can't base a character off those few paragraphs, but that they definitely are not rules you have to abide by.


MrSin wrote:
jimibones83 wrote:
the above bolded text is the very fabric of what a paladin is actually suppose to be and is the hard and fast rule.

Actually, that's just flavor text. That is not a 'hard and fast rule' so much as a sexy posterchild to draw you in.

Rogue wrote:
rogues bank on their cunning, skill, and charm to bend fate to their favor.

Rogues can bend fate dude. FATE! They're supernaturally powerful like that. Except you know... They don't actually do that. Just a pile of text meant to make them look cool and attractive! They don't get to use skill, charm, or cunning to literally bend fate.

Ranger wrote:
Knowledgeable, patient, and skilled hunters, these rangers hound man, beast, and monster alike, gaining insight into the way of the predator, skill in varied environments, and ever more lethal martial prowess.
Every ranger is patient! Except the ones you roleplay otherwise. Ranger's don't have to be patient, but from the same type of flavor text you said is a 'hard and fast rule' they apparently are. They of course, aren't required to be.

You've forgotten why they are different. Those other classes are'nt required to adhere to those things, the paladin is.


jimibones83 wrote:

Through a select, worthy few shines the power of the divine. Called paladins, these noble souls dedicate their swords and lives to the battle against evil. Knights, crusaders, and law-bringers, paladins seek not just to spread divine justice but to embody the teachings of the virtuous deities they serve. In pursuit of their lofty goals, they adhere to ironclad laws of morality and discipline. As reward for their righteousness, these holy champions are blessed with boons to aid them in their quests: powers to banish evil, heal the innocent, and inspire the faithful. Although their convictions might lead them into conflict with the very souls they would save, paladins weather endless challenges of faith and dark temptations, risking their lives to do right and fighting to bring about a brighter future.

Paladins are suppose to be the north star of good. You may disagree with me, but the above bolded text is the very fabric of what a paladin is actually suppose to be and is the hard and fast rule. An action being simply justifiable is not good enough for a paladin if there is a more exalted one available. This is what it means to "adhere to ironclad laws of morality and discipline". I don't see how it can be taken any other way.

Nothing about the above statement contradicts my view of paladins. If you think it does, then I haven't made myself clear.

When I said there wasn't a hard and fast rule, I was referring to how we define morality and discipline within a setting. Spend any amount of time looking and you'll see that people argue over what is moral all of the time in the real world, let alone a fantasy world.

How a paladin, his god, the GM, and the player want to handle the Paladin's ethics is entirely up to them. This means at one table a paladin can be morally justified in killing surrendering bandits, while at another table he falls hard. Heck, it's the reason we're probably disagreeing right now (I tend to fall into the camp of situation ethics which while objective, is not the same as other peoples).


jimibones83 wrote:

Through a select, worthy few shines the power of the divine. Called paladins, these noble souls dedicate their swords and lives to the battle against evil. Knights, crusaders, and law-bringers, paladins seek not just to spread divine justice but to embody the teachings of the virtuous deities they serve. In pursuit of their lofty goals, they adhere to ironclad laws of morality and discipline. As reward for their righteousness, these holy champions are blessed with boons to aid them in their quests: powers to banish evil, heal the innocent, and inspire the faithful. Although their convictions might lead them into conflict with the very souls they would save, paladins weather endless challenges of faith and dark temptations, risking their lives to do right and fighting to bring about a brighter future.

Paladins are suppose to be the north star of good. You may disagree with me, but the above bolded text is the very fabric of what a paladin is actually suppose to be and is the hard and fast rule. An action being simply justifiable is not good enough for a paladin if there is a more exalted one available. This is what it means to "adhere to ironclad laws of morality and discipline". I don't see how it can be...

Except the only morality listed is their code... that seems ironclad and full of morality and discipline I guess.


jimibones83 wrote:
You've forgotten why they are different. Those other classes are'nt required to adhere to those things, the paladin is.

No, the paladin isn't. None of that text is actually a requirement of the paladin. Quote the code if you want, that's a rule, but not the flavor text. The paladin isn't a special case. Do not quote something that isn't a rule and claim that it is the rule. That's confusing and misleading.


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This does sound a bit like a paladin trap. It's common knowledge in Golarion that goblins are evil. That being said, nothing wrong with some good goblins.

But let me make this very very clear. The Paladin PC should not be punished as the PLAYER did not pick up on the clew.

Here's what any DM that might consider having.a paladin fall or who has a player that might have a problem getting out of the "kill them all... And steal their stuff mindset". Give them a Phylactery of Faithfulness.

Then, once that is in place, the ONLY time the paladin flasks is when the item warns himself and he does it anyway. This actually should be a paladin class feature.

" Did the paladin fall?" Then can be answered: "Did the Phylactery warn him?"
If no, then no. Simple. No interpretation. No surprises. No traps. No clews.

OP, you seem like a very imaginative DM, but I see issues with railroading and wanting the players to follow your script.

Players absolutely do not follow scripts. They hardly ever do what you want or expect them to. Trust me on this. You need to learn to go with the flow here. Loosen up. "Lighten up, Francis."

The one thing you can and should do is insist that the party not be split. Twice the work for you, half the fun for the players.

Have fun.


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A wise DM I once played under wrote:
Plot never survives contact with the players.


Sub_Zero wrote:
jimibones83 wrote:

Through a select, worthy few shines the power of the divine. Called paladins, these noble souls dedicate their swords and lives to the battle against evil. Knights, crusaders, and law-bringers, paladins seek not just to spread divine justice but to embody the teachings of the virtuous deities they serve. In pursuit of their lofty goals, they adhere to ironclad laws of morality and discipline. As reward for their righteousness, these holy champions are blessed with boons to aid them in their quests: powers to banish evil, heal the innocent, and inspire the faithful. Although their convictions might lead them into conflict with the very souls they would save, paladins weather endless challenges of faith and dark temptations, risking their lives to do right and fighting to bring about a brighter future.

Paladins are suppose to be the north star of good. You may disagree with me, but the above bolded text is the very fabric of what a paladin is actually suppose to be and is the hard and fast rule. An action being simply justifiable is not good enough for a paladin if there is a more exalted one available. This is what it means to "adhere to ironclad laws of morality and discipline". I don't see how it can be taken any other way.

Nothing about the above statement contradicts my view of paladins. If you think it does, then I haven't made myself clear.

When I said there wasn't a hard and fast rule, I was referring to how we define morality and discipline within a setting. Spend any amount of time looking and you'll see that people argue over what is moral all of the time in the real world, let alone a fantasy world.

How a paladin, his god, the GM, and the player want to handle the Paladin's ethics is entirely up to them.

That's not correct. Alignment is bigger than a deity, and this is why a paladin must be lawful good no matter who his deity is and is in fact why deities themselves are bound to an alignment.

I'm getting exhausted of this conversation. Its nothing you did. I appreciate your respectful manner in your debate. its just that I've been commenting on it for quite some time even before you came into it and expressing my views over and over is getting exhausting.

Before I go though I'd like to address one more thing that I missed earlier. As for me toting my opinion as a fact, its neither fact nor opinion. It is indeed a theory. Mind you gravity is also a theory, and much like it, there is a right answer, it just can not be proven with hard evidence

Thanx for the respectful debate Sub_Zero, Im outta here to watch movies with the ol lady


MrSin wrote:
jimibones83 wrote:
You've forgotten why they are different. Those other classes are'nt required to adhere to those things, the paladin is.
No, the paladin isn't. None of that text is actually a requirement of the paladin. Quote the code if you want, that's a rule, but not the flavor text. The paladin isn't a special case. Do not quote something that isn't a rule and claim that it is the rule. That's confusing and misleading.

Then what do you think that code is if not the text I bolded? Since it doesn't define it, perhaps its cannibalism in a society where such a thing is legal. Never mind, it doesn't matter. I've been debating this for to long. Think what you want, I'm out


jimibones83 wrote:
Then what do you think that code is if not the text I bolded? Since it doesn't define it,
Code of Conduct wrote:

A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class features except proficiencies if she ever willingly commits an evil act.

Additionally, a paladin's code requires that she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth), help those in need (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends), and punish those who harm or threaten innocents.


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jimibones83 wrote:

hat's not correct. Alignment is bigger than a deity, and this is why a paladin must be lawful good no matter who his deity is and is in fact why deities themselves are bound to an alignment.

I'm getting exhausted of this conversation. Its nothing you did. I appreciate your respectful manner in your debate. its just that I've been commenting on it for quite some time even before you came into it and expressing my views over and over is getting exhausting.

Before I go though I'd like to address one more thing that I missed earlier. As for me toting my opinion as a fact, its neither fact nor opinion. It is indeed a theory. Mind you gravity is also a theory, and much like it, there is a right answer, it just can not be proven with hard evidence

Thanx for the respectful debate Sub_Zero, Im outta here to watch movies with the ol lady

I'll preface this last statement with the acknowledgement that you're probably not going see it.

I too agree that there can be a right answer when it comes to morality/paladins/alignment/whatever, however the right answer is dependent entirely on what one means when they say moral.

I'll spoil my rant but it's here for those that dare look:

Spoiler:
One thing that leads to stable theories/paradigms is having a strong foundation in what you're defining.

To give an extreme example, if someone defined morality as "the way to cause others the most pain possible", then they'd be justified in torture/murder and calling it moral. Now in addition to being horrible, this would also be disingenuous since it doesn't fit with the average layman's definition of morality at all, and is likely to just cause confusion. The reason I bring this example up at all is that even small quibbles over what morality means can have profound impacts on what different people see as moral.

Now of course I'm not suggesting anything quite so extreme as "pain=moral", only that we can't talk about what the moral code of a paladin entails until we talk about what the people involved want morality to mean to them in their game.

Heck, we can move past objective morality in a heartbeat if we wanted since we're not even talking about our world, but rather a hypothetical fantasy world. That said, I do believe morals can be objective, but only so long as we define what it means to be moral first.

With that said, I think we've reached the point of going past the point of the OP's thread, and have moved to philosophy, which while interesting, isn't relevant for this thread at this time.

have a wonderful night with the wife, hope it's a good movie.


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Gah! How this subject does draw out the long winded chaps and lasses for some pedantic pontificating pompous wind baggery.


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Daenar wrote:
Gah! How this subject does draw out the long winded chaps and lasses for some pedantic pontificating pompous wind baggery.

I see what you did there :)


jimibones83 wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
jimibones83 wrote:

Anyone who says no is wrong.

Imagine if American troops went over to Africa and slaughtered a small indigenous tribe that they couldn't communicate with but refused to fight back. There elder was on his knees pleading with them, and just because they couldn't understand him, they threw him into a fire. Then as small children ran out of a building fleeing in different directions, they were all shot down. Just because some other tribes may be cannibalistic does not mean it would be ok to slaughter this one as it begs for its life.

Disagree if you like, it really only speaks as to your comprehension of right and wrong

EDIT* that wasn't directed at you Garg, just using the closing of your last statement as an opportunity is all

The game does NOT work like real life. In real like you can't just go around killing people and taking their stuff. Even if you kill them in self defense it is still stealing, but the game does not consider it to be stealing.

Anyone who does not realize you can't always use real life comparisons is wrong.

The laws are different from one place to the next, world to world, game to game, but morals are universal unless specifically outlined.

I never said you can ALWAYS use real life comparisons, I said you can use them here. Putting words in someone's mouth makes you wrong buddy

Fine. Remove the word "always" which I was not saying you said, and my point still applies. You don't get to randomly choose which parts of real life to apply. Well you can, but don't expect for the opposing view point to take it seriously.


jimibones83 wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
jimibones83 wrote:

You guys make fair points. The GM handled it as badly as the players, I can agree with that. But still, creatures running and begging as they are slaughtered should be enough to immediately question whether they are evil or not. They should have stopped and evaluated the situation, but they didn't and the paladin should certainly pay the price for that. I suppose it does sound like everyone handled it poorly, and I also suppose that I can see an explanation to both sides, though neither is good enough to justify their actions lol.

I disagree about comparing to real life though. If not compared to real life, then what standard is there? Nothing solid

So running away equals not evil now, really? O.o

I have my bad guys run away when they are getting their butts kicked Some of the AP's suggest the GM's have bad guys run once their hit points get below a certain point or X number of their buddies are killed.

So tell me with GM's like myself and the official games using the same idea, but still having the bad guys be evil, how does your point stand?

PS: If the PC's get a surprise round in my bad guys might retreat so they can regroup, so not fighting back is by no means a sign of "not evil", ESPECIALLY, among creatures that do nothing but cause trouble.

I don't know, does running away equal not evil? I think you've quoted the wrong person cuz I never said that. Or are you just putting words in my mouth again... I said it was enough that they should have paused and reevaluated the situation.

You know if you gotta keep taking what someone says out of context or twist their words to make a point maybe you don't actually have a point and you just like to argue

All I did was reply, so if that was not you then I apologize. I will check to be sure. In the mean time YOU need to stop accusing me of things. There is an inbox. You can ask me instead of accusing of me of lying. Thanks.

edit: I check and you said But still, creatures running and begging as they are slaughtered should be enough to immediately question whether they are evil or not.

Now if you were not trying to say running does not mean the paladin should have known they were not evil, then what did you mean, because that is how I read it.


jimibones83 wrote:

@Sub_Zero He should care because he's a paladin, he cares only about good triumphing over evil, especially within himself. Things like race and the views of other should mean nothing to a paladin. There is no way for good to continually triumph unless with an unbiased outlook.

Not all crimes committed by evil characters are worthy of death. Because of this a paladin cant just slay evil on sight, though its more than reasonable to allow exception for creatures with the evil sub type.

I do realize some campaigns probably don't follow these guidelines, but these ARE the guidelines that govern a paladin. Allowing a setting to veer doesn't change this, it just means the writers sacrifised the paladins morals for the sake of their story, to allow the paladin more action and to make him easier to play. Playing a paladin correctly is no easy task

Actually they govern a paladin in some games. Now you might want to argue they "should" govern a paladin in every game, and I would be inclined to agree, but my experience has let me know that many groups don't play like that, and even the paladin has a license to kill. Even if it is not an undead or outsider they are going after. That is why I had to give my players the "you can not kill everyone and everything speech" a few years back.


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I'm in the "GM is primarily at fault" camp here. Aside from the reasons previously mentioned, you made a few more errors:

First, the plan itself. RotRL is written pretty clearly with the intent that Nualia is supposed to be a tragic villainess, not a hated one. The reasons the PCs fight her is not supposed to be hatred, but to protect Sandpoint. Now, the GM is allowed to change the scenario if they like, but the fact remains that your desicion to do so here ultimately set this in motion.

Now this was said before, but it bears repeating. Tricking your players by withholding vital information they would've normally been given in the appropriate situation is cheating.

Your third and worst failing was you inability or unwillingness to IMPROVISE after your player went "off-script". Narratively speaking, the second the bard blew the quest off, you should've been figuring out a way to resolve the situation (Like, I dunno, LETTING THESE GOBLINS SPEAK COMMON LIKE ALL THE OTHERS).

The main reason I'm against having the Paladin fall is that every misstep they did make was facilitated, exabercated, or flat-out caused by your own actions and omissions.


I'm interested to see the Paladin Code that the Player and GM drew up together before play started.

IMO, no fall...

Sandpoint put a notice up offering a reward for goblin ears.

Don't think the Paladin in Sandpoint or the goblin expert in the region put an amendment saying "Except the ears of goblin children or the good goblins up the road".


Daenar wrote:
Gah! How this subject does draw out the long winded chaps and lasses for some pedantic pontificating pompous wind baggery.

I have been summoned forth by yet another pugilistic pugnacious paladin pastiche of -

... oh, uh, I mean, I don't know. Yeah. I have no idea. It's certainly not some secret eldritch abomination working with me to ensure that everyone manages to cross the lines in these threads and thus fail at their own morality for the purposes of acquiring their souls. Nope.


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When I first read your situation I just looked at it and said to myself...this is a trap.

You set your players up to do something horrible and then were surprised when they did it.

If you don't want your players to set off traps don't put them in their path.


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Because there are a ton of Paladin threads, this one is five pages long, and I really don't feel like re-reading all the argumentation (again) that are going to be along similar lines, I eventually skipped to the end.

So here I am. Some things might have been addressed. I dunno - I'm responding to the first page (or maybe up to two or three? it was late; I was tired and I don't recall). It's possible that I just missed something, too. That happens.

Anyway, I have to say, from my own experience, as a GM and as a player, I can see it both ways.

I can see the presumptions of a group with a morality that is not as nuanced as, say, Mikaze's or my own style of gaming (been in those games), and I can see a GM attempting (and failing) to convey what's going on to them. I've had it happen.

something like how it could have gone wrote:

GM: "Well, there's a strange goblin looking desperate and chattering something at you..."

Players: "I kill it before it completes the spell!"

GM: "Uh, you don't know what it's trying to say." *what am I describing wrong?* "It kind of looks like it's crying in anguish." *that ought to be clear enough!*

Players: *dang it! it's so furious that we're attacking, it's crazed* "Whoa! In that case, I kill it more quickly!"

GM: *what the...?!*

Players: "Hah! I rolled an 18! It's dead! Take that, evil goblin!"

GM: "... you're right. It's... dead." *where am I going wrong?* "Uh, well, okay, uh, you see a strangely well-built shack in the middle of the village-"

Players: "Arg! Some diabolical fire-scheme no doubt! Or maybe a powerful worg monster! I light it on fire before the monster inside bursts out!"

GM: "You... what?"

Players: "Yeah! That way it's sure to weaken, if not kill, whatever's inside it! There are a lot of goblins here, and I don't want to get caught between their champion monster and the rest of them swarming over us!"

GM: "But... they're kind of fleeing in panick right now."

Players: "Yeah! And it serves them right, to, what with attacking and nearly killing that poor woman out there!"

GM: *oh-crap-oh-crap-oh-crap* "Uh, but, you know, several of them are coming toward you, gibbering-"

Players: "How many adepts does this village have?! Arg! We'll all be cursed! Quick, mage, burning-hands them! Ranger, loose your fire arrow to light that shack up fast! Bard, inspire us to boost our saves! Fighter, rush forward and pray you can cleave like there's no tomorrow!" *rolls dice*

GM: "Wait, wait, who's doing what, when?"

Players: "Here's our initiative, here's our attacks, and damage! I'm pretty sure I cleave - and I'm pretty sure the shack burns down - and I suspect that these four are all dead thanks to my spell!"

GM: "... yes. Well," *seeing this is a lost cause* "you see a number of especially small goblins desperately climbing out of the building on fire in the middle of town..." *at least I'll get the children away...*

Players: "Arg! Mutants! We waste them all - they're pestilence shall not live to plague poor innocent travelers anymore!"

GM: "... you kill them all."

Players: "We're heroes!" *high-fives* "Hah! Take that, merciless monstrosities!"

Something similar - not identical, but similar - has occurred to me before. I ended up rolling with it, but later talking to the group out of character, explaining that they'd pretty well ruined a sub-plot.

Who's "at fault"? Well, I dunno: everyone? No one? At the same time? And does it really matter?

What really matters - to me - is the fact that the GM was attempting to play one kind of game (nuanced, but still objective morality, not-always-black-and-white, etc), while the players were attempting to play a game of strict heroics and daring'do (a straight-forward "evil creatures are always evil" morality system).

It looks to me that it's a play-style clash.

So... what should happen in-game? Depends on the table.

The GM needs to talk with his players.

Does he ret-con the action? Does he enforce it as "happened"? Does he allow for some minor retconning, but leaving the major thrust intact?

Does he have the paladin fall? Does he give the paladin a phylactery of faithfulness? Both? Neither?

Does he change the entire game to revolve around this new course? Does he have them re-roll new characters to pick up where the old ones "failed"? Does he stick with the original idea, presuming that they will eventually get the gold and free time to come back and "make amends"?

There are a lot of questions that they need to answer, and, frankly, the GM needs to talk to his players out of character (and needs to do so maturely, rationally, and mildly), and get their input. He needs to communicate the kind of game he's playing, and be clear on why he thinks they did a terrible thing.

But then work with them to come up with a solution that's (mostly-ish) acceptable (not necessarily "ideal", as that ship has sailed), but "acceptable" to all sides, GM and player alike.


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You really should have read the whole thread Tactics my boy, it would have saved yourself a ton of time.

It's come out that the GM was purposefully withholding information from the party, even when they were specifically asking for info on all the goblin tribes from Shalelu.

He then made it so they could only speak Goblin (despite the fact that they were supposedly working with the king or something, and learning to read and write...) in an effort to punish the Bard (and by extension the whole party) for going "off script".

The "kind of game he's playing" is one where he maliciously sets up scenarios where the party can never have all the information or deviate in the slightest from what he had planned, lest they be forced into some kind of punishment scenario.

This comes pretty closely on the heels of his last Paladin thread where he was dead set on making his Paladin fall for gambling, coming up with increasingly convoluted reasons to justify it.

I'm surprised he still HAS players at this point, honestly.


Not to jump on the "you're a bad GM" bandwagon but it does strike me as odd that you essentially want to punish the bard for not following a plot hook while also wanting to punish the paladin for following a plot hook.


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Mulet wrote:

The children Goblins run out from school (learning to write) and were smashed to bits, and the village Elder was put inside a flaming sphere while he begged for his town with tears in his eyes.

1 Day and 1 Night spent in the service of the community, a farmer or a builder. He must labour until exhausted, praying the whole time to Erastil for forgiveness. Plus 100GP donation to the local church.

"I slaughtered a bunch of children and tortured an old man to death with fire ... so 24 hours community service and $100 fine and I can get my record expunged right?"

Yeah that sounds about right, you're good.

The Exchange

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Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
Not to jump on the "you're a bad GM" bandwagon but it does strike me as odd that you essentially want to punish the bard for not following a plot hook while also wanting to punish the paladin for following a plot hook.

Which is why he has no business being a GM. He doesn't get that the story is outlined by him while the players actually write it. He wants the players to do exactly what he wants or they get punished. He should quit GMing. He sucks at it.


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As far as I'm concerned, inserting a village of happy, friendly, school-attending, poem-penning goblins into Golarion is an Evil Act.

No, I'm not commenting on the paladin issue itself. It's a paladin issue. F!+* that.

But seriously, haven't read the whole thread, but the "Good Goblin village" sounds like a cliche prank on the paladin.


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Rynjin wrote:

You really should have read the whole thread Tactics my boy, it would have saved yourself a ton of time.

It's come out that the GM was purposefully withholding information from the party, even when they were specifically asking for info on all the goblin tribes from Shalelu.

He then made it so they could only speak Goblin (despite the fact that they were supposedly working with the king or something, and learning to read and write...) in an effort to punish the Bard (and by extension the whole party) for going "off script".

The "kind of game he's playing" is one where he maliciously sets up scenarios where the party can never have all the information or deviate in the slightest from what he had planned, lest they be forced into some kind of punishment scenario.

This comes pretty closely on the heels of his last Paladin thread where he was dead set on making his Paladin fall for gambling, coming up with increasingly convoluted reasons to justify it.

I'm surprised he still HAS players at this point, honestly.

Okay, and now that I know this, I think I get things a bit more.

I'm gonna make a room in Age of Worms where it turns out the priests of Hextor are actually captives who worship Hector, god of bunnies. Hector has the exact same holy symbol, and the Hextorians let the Hectorians go around with defective weapons just for lols. And they only speak Lolpaladinese, so even their cries for help sound like curses and threats.

When your party wipes them out, I'll leap out of the bushes yelling "Aha!" And then the cleric of Olidammara will fall.


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OP, I have an idea for your next adventure.

Here's kinda how I think this actually went:

Before you, you see a decrepit, morbidly obese goblin dressed in rags. She leans upon a gnarled staff, and though her face is hidden, her breath comes out in a long, drawn-out hiss as she shambles towards you, eyes shining through the cloth. She points the staff at you, snarling something in her savage language...

"OH GOD IT'S A GOBLIN WITCH"
*Blasts*

Gotcha! It was the village elder, who was crying and begging for mercy! Okay, now you see numerous little creatures running out of a building. They look like tiny, malformed goblins, and they clutch scrolls and strange wands. They are running with almost inhuman speed, giving high-pitched shrieking battlecries.

"OH GOD CRAZY GOBLIN ABOMINATIONS"
*Blasts*

Gotcha! That was the goblin orphan school fleeing in terror. You just thought they were battlecries because you can't speak their language because the STUPID BARD STAYED BEHIND. This is basically all the bard's fault, is what I'm saying. Okay, now you see a roiling wave of flesh gushing forward. Amid the fatty surge wriggle half-formed limbs and a dripping tumorous face.

"LEMURE"
*Blasts*

Gotcha! It was a horribly diseased goblin who was begging you to cast Remove Disease.

"..."

:D

"...why was he Medium sized?"

Okay moving on.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:

OP, I have an idea for your next adventure.

Here's kinda how I think this actually went:

Before you, you see a decrepit, morbidly obese goblin dressed in rags. She leans upon a gnarled staff, and though her face is hidden, her breath comes out in a long, drawn-out hiss as she shambles towards you, eyes shining through the cloth. She points the staff at you, snarling something in her savage language...

"OH GOD IT'S A GOBLIN WITCH"
*Blasts*

Gotcha! It was the village elder, who was crying and begging for mercy! Okay, now you see numerous little creatures running out of a building. They look like tiny, malformed goblins, and they clutch scrolls and strange wands. They are running with almost inhuman speed, giving high-pitched shrieking battlecries.

"OH GOD CRAZY GOBLIN ABOMINATIONS"
*Blasts*

Gotcha! That was the goblin orphan school fleeing in terror. You just thought they were battlecries because you can't speak their language because the STUPID BARD STAYED BEHIND. This is basically all the bard's fault, is what I'm saying. Okay, now you see a roiling wave of flesh gushing forward. Amid the fatty surge wriggle half-formed limbs and a dripping tumorous face.

"LEMURE"
*Blasts*

Gotcha! It was a horribly diseased goblin who was begging you to cast Remove Disease.

"..."

:D

"...why was he Medium sized?"

Okay moving on.

To be honest, I wouldn't be shocked if it played out like that. Would explain why the OP always tries to ban his players from the threads he starts.


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The paladin should fall for killing an innocent. However and rather more importantly, the GM should fall for organizing the paladin's downfall in such detail I expect him to have an engineering degree.

1. Telling your party in great detail about SIX tribes of goblins that are all creatively malevolent and completely skipping the token tribe that just happens to be peaceful and the antithesis of all things goblin, while briefing the party about the local goblin tribes, in an AP that uses goblins as a massively prevalent menace, in a town that has repeatedly been attacked by goblin tribes over the last week, is either willful negligence or such gross incompetence I'd revoke Shalelu's ranger license in a heartbeat.

2. Nualia introduces herself as 'Natalie'? That's four passive Sense Motive checks. She's telling them a tale about an evil goblin tribe? That's another four sense motive checks. She's using disguise to cover up her demonic arm? Thats opposed by four perception checks. She accuses Aldern of being a rapist? That's another four Sense Motive checks.

Nualia has no ranks in either disguise or bluff, and a charisma modifier of +3. I find it unlikely that not a single PC could beat her D20+3 bluff/disguise results on the SIXTEEN opposed rolls you cheated them off. I also find it possible, if not probable, that the players did not make Sense Motive checks because they trusted you to know how Sense Motive actually works.

3. Goblins can and frequently will learn common. The goblins in Rise of the Runelords are an example of this. I find it extremely odd that this civilized, peaceful and literate tribe (with royal connections, no less) doesn't have a single translator. 

4. You say the paladin shot first. If so the paladin should have fallen the second that arrow left his bowstring, which is about as big a "you dun f@@$ed up now" sign as a paladin can get. However, apparently Erastil was busy watching Army Wives or something since he waited till all 20-something goblins were dead before kicking the paladin in the nuts. What happened? Dd they lose the paperwork or something?

If it was a single dead goblin, a low level paladin might just have a chance to set things straight. A Raise Dead spell followed by an atonement spell would devastate his savings, but he might actually be able to pull it off.

Saddling him with a VILLAGE of dead goblins... Barring GM fiat there is no way a 4th level paladin can rectify that.

Justin was cheated of opportunities to realize that he was being set up at least four times. Any one of these could happen to anyone and I'd chalk it up to simple misunderstanding or oversight. However, FOUR separate slip ups form a pattern.

The GM showed lack of rules understanding, spectacular lack of ability to improvise, and I find myself distinctly unconvinced that the description the players got of the goblin actions line up with how it's described here.

In short: Yes, you owe Justin an apology.

The best way to handle this is to apologize to the group and do a complete rollback. Replace the village encounter with the paladin finding a clearing in the woods. In the center of the clearing is a tree stub with a quiver of masterwork arrows. On the tree stub sits a gift basket holding a nice cheese platter, four bottles of elven wine and a phylactery of faithfulness to show you won't try to screw the paladin this way again.


Since this post garnered a lost of interest, I thought I post about how it's been solved.

The Ex-Paladin went to Father Zantus, and told him of what happened, and accepted the rebuke Zantus gave. Zantus also told that he can cast the Antonement spell, but he'll require some an appropriate magical symbol and some Gold. Since he was unaware of his misdeed at the time, Zantus feels confident he can skip the 2.5k worth of incense and offerings.

The Paladin is broke, so he's eager to delve some dungeons to earn some cash to fund this. The bank is available, but the Ex-Paladin believes that a loan is income without work, and therefore wrong. (His words, which was cool).

He then headed up to the Mayor for more information, and confessed what he did. This led to the party being arrested, and taken up for a trial in Magnimar. The Ex-Paladin spent the long ride praying in repentence, and wound up with the Exhausted state before they stated their case to the king.

The King's advisors recommended the party be put to the Sword, but the King was just and said they have 7 days to go bring Naulia before him, dead or alive (preferably alive). And they must restore Ravenroost, beginning with rebuilding the village, and safely escorting a known small group of good goblins to live in the restored Ravenroost. They also have Arcane marks on their hands, bound by a permanency spell each, to can function at locators for the king's magical guard.

The end result of this, was everyone becoming interested in dealing Naulia, the characters had a lot of inter-party drama, and we seeded an over-arching storyline based on player decision.

Most important of all, everyone had a lot of fun with it. :)

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Saying they had fun is all well and good but part of me wonders if any of them realise what has been going on and how badly you actually messed things up.

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