Ex- Paladins


Rules Questions


A paladin who ceases to be lawful good, who willfully commits an evil act, or who violates the code of conduct loses all paladin spells and class features (including the service of the paladin's mount, but not weapon, armor, and shield proficiencies). She may not progress any further in levels as a paladin. She regains her abilities and advancement potential if she atones for her violations (see atonement), as appropriate.

OK having an issue with some of the wording here and hoping i can clear this up before I (the DM) either piss off my player or make the game very interesting.

So here is the situation (Classic evil twin scenario). The evil twin is looking for something the paladin has or knows where it is. Has the parents and there home estate held hostage. Players confront the twin and start to fight her. The paladin joins the fight knowing and have been warned twice that her actions would have dire consequences to the people under her charge. (46 in total innocent lives)

Would the above constitute a knowing or willful act? The player insists that she couldn't have stopped the others if she had tried but didn't even make an effort to try and giving the player the benefit of the doubt and coming to you all before i move forward with stripping her of her paladin abilities.


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So turning the item over counts as helping evil, which might be willingly committing an evil act, so the paladin is doomed either way, depending solely on the GM's interpretation.

Or alternatively, the paladin isn't responsible for an evil person evilly taking hostages, and isn't committing evil acts by not immediately caving and following all orders given by the evil person.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If turning the item over is not an evil act than it is not a no win situation. However it looks like the player thinks handing over the item is evil and so has decided that if there is no way to come out of this a Paladin to take the enemy with him.

However my solution would be for my Paladin to commit Honorable Suicide , it avoids falling, it pisses the GM off and breaks the rails on his plot.

I NEVER put no win Paladin situations in games as that is an evil act in real life. There should always be options (see above about handing over the item) if all options are bad the Paladin should not be punished for attempting to take the least bad option. In the above situation attempting to rescue his family, means he is trying to do the right thing without actively cooperating with evil.

Even better is having you character fall because of other characters , bonus marks for GM's who do this.

So the other characters said "Screw this we don't negotiate with evil" and attacked. This may be dumb (depends on the tactical situation) but is not evil. Now the Paladin has 2 choices Stand by let the forces of evil fight his allies and hope that
a) they don't kill his family anyway
b)That is they win they will keep the deal
So standing by looks to be bad
or he can join his friends and hope that the forces of good triumph over the force of Evil and railroad lines.
Personally I would consider falling for the 1st option unless the character had a good reason (given word, attempting to rescue family while forces of evil busy etc).
If I was going to fall for the 2nd choice then frankly suicide and at a minimum never playing a Paladin/cleric in a campaign run by you again. Amoral Murder Hobo seems the only thing to plau


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Someone is not responsible for the willful actions of another being.


You should absolutely not strip the paladin of her abilities. You shouldn't even be THINKING of doing it in this kind of situation

She is not responsible for the actions of the evil twin and is doing what she considers to be the best option for stopping those actions. Giving over the item would be a ridiculous idea anyway: there is no assurance that the evil twin won't then slaughter the hostages.

Did you know that police and military are specifically trained not to drop their weapons when confronted with a criminal using a civilian as a body shield? As soon as you give up your potential threat (the item in this case, your gun as a police office), you've lost all bargaining power and deserve everything you get.

She wouldn't even be responsible if she knew with certainty that the villain would keep their word, unless the villain's request was reasonable. Asking them to give over an artifact of world shattering power (which i'm guessing your macguffin is) is not a resonable request.

*edit*

As an aside, I suggest you basically ignore the Paladin code and all it entails. Unless the Paladin is killing babies for fun and drinking the blood of innocents, she probably hasn't fallen yet.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As Vod Canockers says, the paladin is not responsible for the actions of another being. At all.

The paladin's role is to fight evil and punish evil, protect innocents, and do good deeds. Choosing to attack the evil twin is not evil. If innocents are harmed as a result of the paladin's actions, it doesn't matter at all, because the paladin is not directly responsible for that harm. In fact the paladin is working to punish the person directly responsible.

A paladin might agonise over the decision which has a consequence that results in harm to innocents, but they don't have to.

This appears to be a classic "no win" situation, on the surface, but at the end of the day the only questions are these:

Are the actions taken by the paladin evil? (Attacking the evil twin)
Does the player intend for their paladin to fall?
Are the consequences of the paladin's action (the likely death of the evil twin) evil?

As I said before, the resultant consequences of the consequences of the paladin's actions (if paladin kills evil twin, innocents will suffer) don't matter. Paladins act on what they know. They cannot be held accountable for the actions of others, even actions those others take in response to the paladin's actions. As long as the paladin does nothing evil (and I'd love to see an argument that striking a clearly evil person who is prepared to hurt innocents is, itself, an evil act), they do not fall.


Frankly, I'm baffled anyone would consider the Paladin's acts "evil" in any way, form or guise.
At worst, it was a poor judgement with an undesirable outcome. If that's evil, we're all Blackguards.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Try not to think of the Paladin as a character with a walking red button that you get to push on a lucky day.


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Scott Way wrote:

A paladin who ceases to be lawful good, who willfully commits an evil act, or who violates the code of conduct loses all paladin spells and class features (including the service of the paladin's mount, but not weapon, armor, and shield proficiencies). She may not progress any further in levels as a paladin. She regains her abilities and advancement potential if she atones for her violations (see atonement), as appropriate.

OK having an issue with some of the wording here and hoping i can clear this up before I (the DM) either piss off my player or make the game very interesting.

So here is the situation (Classic evil twin scenario). The evil twin is looking for something the paladin has or knows where it is. Has the parents and there home estate held hostage. Players confront the twin and start to fight her. The paladin joins the fight knowing and have been warned twice that her actions would have dire consequences to the people under her charge. (46 in total innocent lives)

Would the above constitute a knowing or willful act? The player insists that she couldn't have stopped the others if she had tried but didn't even make an effort to try and giving the player the benefit of the doubt and coming to you all before i move forward with stripping her of her paladin abilities.

A paladin is not required to roll over and play dead when a bad guy has hostages. Far from it.

Nothing in the paladin code of conduct precludes confronting the hostage-taker in combat, even if it is likely that the hostage-taker would retaliate against innocents. The hostage-taker, not the paladin, is responsible for any actions against the hostages. Taking this action is neither unlawful nor nongood--it's a classic "Do what you must, but I cannot allow you to continue to threaten innocent people" situation.

Note that this may vary depending on the paladin code. The above interpretation assumes the default (vague) paladin code from the CRB.

Note also that handing over the MacGuffin is also acceptable. There's no "gotcha" here.


This is a philosophy 101 question. An evil person takes people you love hostage and gives you a choice -- you can pick one person to be executed or he will execute them all. So you can either be responsible for one death or many. The philosophical truth is that you aren't responsible for any actions of someone with that mindset. You shouldn't be forcing a paladin into a Hobson's choice, and making his abilities dependent on it.

Liberty's Edge

Oh look, a "I want to strip my paladin of all his powers" thread. That's totally new and original and never been done before and a 30 second search certainly wouldn't have turned up thread after thread where this has been hashed out over and over again, allowing the O.P. to read and learn to his/her heart's content.


TyrKnight wrote:
This is a philosophy 101 question. An evil person takes people you love hostage and gives you a choice -- you can pick one person to be executed or he will execute them all. So you can either be responsible for one death or many. The philosophical truth is that you aren't responsible for any actions of someone with that mindset. You shouldn't be forcing a paladin into a Hobson's choice, and making his abilities dependent on it.

The trick is to charge at the hostage taker as fast as possible. Hostages only work if you care! Also, your GM won't use hostages again because you make it end badly every single time...

Not uhh... not personal experience or anything. [/shiftyeyes] Yeah.


Relevant.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Reverse wrote:


Or alternatively, the paladin isn't responsible for an evil person evilly taking hostages, and isn't committing evil acts by not immediately caving and following all orders given by the evil person.

This. Paladins aren't responsible for the actions of every evil-doer in the world. If they attempt to stop an evil-doer currently in the midst of committing an evil act, they're doing their best and shouldn't be penalized for it.

It's like saying a SWAT team who attempts to take out an armed and violent criminal is evil because the criminal threatened to shoot one of his hostages if anyone interfered. They're not. They're good people attempting to mitigate the actions of an evil person.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."


Paladin is fine. Don't hold your player's power hostage.

Digital Products Assistant

Removed an unhelpful posts and the replies to it.

The Exchange

ShadowcatX wrote:
...thread after thread where this has been hashed out over and over again, allowing the O.P. to read and learn to his/her heart's content.

"Learn"? Only thing I've ever learned from those threads is that an alarming number of my fellow gamers are willing to argue for days over irrelevancies.

But anyhow... I join my voice to those who say you should not say this justifies a fall. The paladin accepts the duty of being Lawful Good; she doesn't have some weird obligation to ensure that her enemies stick to Lawful Good actions too. Concern for the well-being of the hostages is definitely part of Lawful Good, but the paladin has a moral responsibility to her god and her alignment. If all it took to neuter a paladin was a thug with a knife at an innocent throat, the gods would never bother creating paladins.

Villain: Stop! One step closer and one of my minions who is watching through my magic mirror will give a bad haircut to an innocent person!
Paladin: Zounds! You cad! I have no choice but to obey you for the rest of my natural life!

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