Another Paladin thread...


Advice


Hello,

I'm looking for others' opinions on this Paladin's fall: Group approaches home-town-city to find it covered in thorny death vines and all citizens turned into undead scythe monsters. After scouting inside a little, the group finds one survivor inside a church of Iomedae (the Paladin's church). The Paladin recognizes him as Peter, one of the alter boys. Peter is acting crazy, saying he killed the high priest and plans to kill the Paladin next. He doesn't detect as evil, and, not knowing what else to do, the Paladin grapples him and knocks him unconscious and takes him with the group as they flee the city.

The group is pursued by the undead for three hours. Finally, the group makes the decision to stand their ground and defeat the undead. Afterward, the Paladin tries to pacify Peter, but nothing works (not praying the wickedness out of him, not talking to him, not sitting quietly and waiting for Peter to calm down (Peter is tied up now)). He can't leave Peter behind; he'll die in the wilderness. He can't bring Peter to the authorities; they're in the middle of nowhere (and the closest civilization has been destroyed). They can't bring him with them; he'll eventually hurt himself from his tenacious struggling, and definitely try to kill the party in their sleep if he breaks free. It's fairly clear that Peter has been struck insane. He's therefor not technically guilty of anything, and can't be held accountable for his current violent state.

Finally, he decides the only solution is Peter's death. The Paladin knew Peter growing up and knows that the alter boy has no inclination toward combat. The Paladin gives him the closest to a fair fight as he can by cutting him free, tossing a knife at his feet, and fighting him barehanded into submission, where he then quickly kills him with a blade.

He then begins digging a grave for Peter, leaving the cut he received from the fight on his arm open; the pain from his slashed muscle during the physical labor acting as payment for the disgusting deed he was forced to perform. After a frustrating conversation with the party cleric, where the Paladin insisted that he must dig the grave alone, the party Wizard decides it's a good time to search Peter's body for stuff. The Paladin, at his wit's end, stops digging and hits the wizard in the face with the shovel. The DM says that this act against the Wizard, since no warning was given, makes the Paladin fall.

Whew...sorry for such a long set up. So, it's my opinion that the situation the Paladin was put in in the first place was unfair, as there was no observable alternative to the problem, and any path taken could have very easily resulted in falling. Story-based falls are OK in my opinion, as long as they're discussed between the player and DM before hand. However, my second opinion is that the act that actually did result in falling did not come close to meeting the requirements.

Now, I know the general stance is that the DM should have warned the Paladin before he hit the Wizard that doing so would have made him fall. I'm not looking for confirmation on that. What I would like to discuss is mostly alternatives that the Paladin may have taken; a less obvious, more creative path that may have led to a less grey-area conclusion. And also, some way the DM may have handled the situation better.

Cheers!

Sovereign Court

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wow, hitting a guy with a shovel made the pally fall? The way I figure it the fall was just a matter of time anyways so alternatives are moot.


Obviously the entire scenario is pushing the limits of a paladin's code, but I don't see the shovel incident as being anything that would cause him to fall. Personally I would have asked the wizard not to loot the body or attempted to resolve the situation peacefully before resorting to a shovel, but unless you're playing with a code that is much stricter than normal, that wouldn't result in him falling.


Did the paladin try to say "hey wizard, have some tact, leave his stuff alone." prior to the shovelhit? How does Iomedae treat looting fallen allies in combat? One would think respecting the corpse of an innocent would fall into an honourable action.

Pretty sure if I were a devoted paladin, who'd just faced down a hoard of undead monsters that used to be my village, I would be pretty pissed at my god who decided I wasn't good enough because I took an improvised, non-lethal, reflexive swing at someone who offended my, and my god's sensibilities.


Only way that should have resulted in a fall was if the hit with the shovel had killed the wizard.


Actually if the wizard was attempting to rob the dead body of a friend of the paladins then no its not evil. There is a huge difference between looting villians and the innocent. I don't think the Paladin should fall at all, and maybe the wizard will learn to keep his grubby little paws to himself.

I swear the things DMs make paladins fall for. Though to be honest if my DM did things like this when Im playing my paladin I would just say screwe it, have my now useless paladin commit suicide since his god abandoned him, and then roll up some CE murderhobo.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
EsperMagic wrote:

Actually if the wizard was attempting to rob the dead body of a friend of the paladins then no its not evil. There is a huge difference between looting villians and the innocent. I don't think the Paladin should fall at all, and maybe the wizard will learn to keep his grubby little paws to himself.

I swear the things DMs make paladins fall for. Though to be honest if my DM did things like this when Im playing my paladin I would just say screwe it, have my now useless paladin commit suicide since his god abandoned him, and then roll up some CE murderhobo.

i once made a Paladin fall for removing a tag from a piece of furniture. You know the ones that say "Do Not Remove Under Penalty of Law". ? His god not only defrocked him, but smote him dead on the spot.


It never ends


Oh paladin threads, you always make my day. I'm not going to comment on what happened, I just want to watch the other comments roll on in.

The Exchange

Navarion wrote:
Only way that should have resulted in a fall was if the hit with the shovel had killed the wizard.

On one hand, one shovel blow to the face shouldn't hurt the average superhuman Player Character... but on the other hand, it is a Wizard, they're not exactly known for being meatshields...


For the record, the party is level 4. I agree that the Paladin shouldn't have fallen for striking the Wizard, but what i'm really looking for is any alternative solutions other experienced Paladins might have taken with dealing with the alter boy. I was expecting the Paladin to fall when he killed him, but I couldn't think of an any other way out for him.

Liberty's Edge

Tirq wrote:
On one hand, one shovel blow to the face shouldn't hurt the average superhuman Player Character... but on the other hand, it is a Wizard, they're not exactly known for being meatshields...

Whaddaya mean, wizards don't have meatshields? That's practically a class feature!

...oh, wait. You said being a meatshield? Urg. That's...gross. Dude, seriously, get some help. Blech. Talk about unnatural. Don't ever even think that way.

Sovereign Court

Cuup wrote:
For the record, the party is level 4. I agree that the Paladin shouldn't have fallen for striking the Wizard, but what i'm really looking for is any alternative solutions other experienced Paladins might have taken with dealing with the alter boy. I was expecting the Paladin to fall when he killed him, but I couldn't think of an any other way out for him.

This is really up to the individual table. For instance, at my table I wouldnt beat a pally up over this. Certainly not after the pally tried for a peaceful resolution and one just didnt seem to present itself. Once again I think being a pally at the OPs table is probably impossible. From what I have been given so far falling was inevitable so alternatives dont seem to matter.


No, there was no other reasonable option for the paladin in the scenario as set up by the GM. How much does the GM hate paladins, by the way?


I believe the DM was purposefully taking the Paladin to his limits with the alter boy situation, and tried to play off the shovel incident as the straw that broke Iomedae's back.

The Exchange

DeathSpot wrote:
Tirq wrote:
On one hand, one shovel blow to the face shouldn't hurt the average superhuman Player Character... but on the other hand, it is a Wizard, they're not exactly known for being meatshields...

Whaddaya mean, wizards don't have meatshields? That's practically a class feature!

...oh, wait. You said being a meatshield? Urg. That's...gross. Dude, seriously, get some help. Blech. Talk about unnatural. Don't ever even think that way.

Hey, man. I never said they were. On a scale of 1 to 10 they're probably close to a -4 on the "MEATIEST SHIELD-O-METER" Right above "Rat suffering of ailments unknown" but below "Gordon Ramsey's inside voice"


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What is it with DMs setting paladins up for a fall? #BADWRONGFUN


Embrace the dark side of the shovel and trade your paladin levels in for anti-paladin

Shadow Lodge

Smite GM.

Shadow Lodge

It's all because the wizard was robbing Peter to pay Paul.


Hmm...
Is there a spell that cures madness?


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krevon wrote:
Embrace the dark side of the shovel and trade your paladin levels in for anti-paladin

Yup. Rail against the unfairness of Iomedae. Take out the cleric quickly and split the loot with the wizard. Begin a new dark chapter of the story. Find seeds to the death vines and carry them to increasingly large towns and cities. Shake your fist at the cruel gods of self-proclaimed-goodness and wreak havoc upon the land.

Or do something more sissy-like.


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I agree the whole situation smacks of a lot of people not quite understanding Paladonic behaviors: the paladin shouldn't have gotten angry, but the GM looks like he was really gunning for the Pally so I don't know what could have been done to avoid it.

But to answer your actual question: If I were the Pally in question, and there was literally no other option than killing Peter, I would have done it as well, but without the pomp and circumstance; explain to him as best I can why he needs to die (in case the real him is in there somewhere,) snap his neck, then retire for a few hours of dedicated prayer for his soul. I would have accepted help to dig the grave, and I would have searched through the Alter boy's stuff myself to see if he had anything on him that might help explain what happened to him, or to see if he was carrying any personal effects that should be delivered to next of kin. If there is no next of kin, I would have kept the personal effects myself to make sure he wasn't forgotten, and delivered them to the first temple of my god we passed. And if he actually had something useful on him I would have taken it because when he was in his right mind I bet he'd want me to have it as I go avenging him and his town; I don't know who decided a Paladin's code meant burying people with their money, but it makes no sense, adventuring world or no.

The point of the Paladin is that the world IS full of horrible grey and no-win situations, and someone has to make the hard decisions. I'd say the only real place the Paladin fell short was making life even more dramatic than it needed to be (the self-torture sounds quite literally like its right out of a medieval chivalric romance novel) and letting his temper get the better of him when this sort of this is what being a Paladin means he signed up for in the first place.

Does that make sense?


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krevon wrote:
Embrace the dark side of the shovel and trade your paladin levels in for anti-paladin

Shovels can be used for the light side as well.

"Lucille, God gave me a gift. I shovel well. I shovel very well."


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

I honestly, hate how people apply their perceptions to alignment on whether or not someone is breaking their alignment. it isn't about how a person acts, but how they justify any given actions.

his action could have easily been seen as punishing those who harm or threaten the innocent(peter).

In my opinion, it depends on what were his motivations for harming the wizard.


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I'd ask the GM to explain exactly how hitting someone with a shovel for attempting to loot a dead body being prepared for burial is a consciously evil act.

Liberty's Edge

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Iomedae would likely not have problems with a Paladin taking a shovel upside the head of someone clearly in need of a shovel upside the head.


AdamMeyers wrote:

I agree the whole situation smacks of a lot of people not quite understanding Paladonic behaviors: the paladin shouldn't have gotten angry, but the GM looks like he was really gunning for the Pally so I don't know what could have been done to avoid it.

But to answer your actual question: If I were the Pally in question, and there was literally no other option than killing Peter, I would have done it as well, but without the pomp and circumstance; explain to him as best I can why he needs to die (in case the real him is in there somewhere,) snap his neck, then retire for a few hours of dedicated prayer for his soul. I would have accepted help to dig the grave, and I would have searched through the Alter boy's stuff myself to see if he had anything on him that might help explain what happened to him, or to see if he was carrying any personal effects that should be delivered to next of kin. If there is no next of kin, I would have kept the personal effects myself to make sure he wasn't forgotten, and delivered them to the first temple of my god we passed. And if he actually had something useful on him I would have taken it because when he was in his right mind I bet he'd want me to have it as I go avenging him and his town; I don't know who decided a Paladin's code meant burying people with their money, but it makes no sense, adventuring world or no.

The point of the Paladin is that the world IS full of horrible grey and no-win situations, and someone has to make the hard decisions. I'd say the only real place the Paladin fell short was making life even more dramatic than it needed to be (the self-torture sounds quite literally like its right out of a medieval chivalric romance novel) and letting his temper get the better of him when this sort of this is what being a Paladin means he signed up for in the first place.

Does that make sense?

Yes, and thank you for being almost the only person to try to address the actual thread topic! I like the idea of carrying Peter's belongings as a sort of conduit of his memory. Having that mind set just might have saved the Paladin from falling too, even if it wasn't deserved anyway. I think the situation at hand left the paladin with some less-than-rational behavior, hence digging the grave alone and lashing out at his friend who was just looting a body like any sensible adventurer might, but that's definitely a different way to have approached the problem.


Voadam wrote:
krevon wrote:
Embrace the dark side of the shovel and trade your paladin levels in for anti-paladin

Shovels can be used for the light side as well.

"Lucille, God gave me a gift. I shovel well. I shovel very well."

There should be an adventure path written around "The Shovel of Good and Evil"


While it's not practical, the Paladin could have decided to keep the boy until they got to civilization, and then see who might be able to care for him.

Or, could have headed straight to civilization to get him to a priest who might be able to restore his sanity.

Or, he could have insisted that the party do something to help this boy, the one survivor of a town massacred and destroyed.

I think the Paladin had a lot of choices to make - and I think killing the kid out of convenience is not a good solution. I might have made him fall for that. The wizard thing is just... meh.

I don't know all the details, maybe there was some kind of time sensitive campaign specific goal that has to happen and that the kid will never survive. If there isn't, then I don't like the players choice. If there is, then the GM was setting the paladin up to fall and maybe you should find a GM who understands how to run a game better.

It could very well be that the GM expected the paladin to try and save the kid and get him to someplace safe. I could certainly see that as a neat adventure hook. Crazy kid, you have to protect him until you can find your way to civilization where he can be saved. It will be hard and require extra work, but you can get him saved... oh - I guess you could just kill the little guy after you throw him a knife and pummel him to death too... never saw that one coming.

I have run a lot of games, and I have played more than 1 paladin. My paladins have never fallen, and I have never made a paladin fall - unless they totally deviated from the mission.


Lets super analyze this.

1. Peter is insane and will attempt to kill the party at the earliest convenience.
2. "He can't leave Peter behind; he'll die in the wilderness. He can't bring Peter to the authorities; they're in the middle of nowhere (and the closest civilization has been destroyed). They can't bring him with them; he'll eventually hurt himself from his tenacious struggling, and definitely try to kill the party in their sleep if he breaks free."
3. "the party Wizard decides it's a good time to search Peter's body for stuff. The Paladin, at his wit's end, stops digging and hits the wizard in the face with the shovel."

So first of all, being insane doesn't get you a free pass to kill anybody. In a more medieval society, that's a hanging. As a Lawfully minded individual and the empowered servant of his goddess Iomedae, I would think she'd have no qualms with putting down a rabid dog. Sarenrae on the other hand would likely have you go through the pains of trying(Futilely, as point 2 clearly indicates no other alternatives).

Secondly, point 2 makes it quite clear there are no alternatives.

Point 3. Imagine if you will. You're at an open casket funeral and someone starts to rummage through the body of the deceased. Smacking him upside the head and dragging him away for a stern talking is quite honestly totally in line with a Paladin. Seriously? Rummaging through the belongings of a dead man about to be buried? One of the Paladin's friends?

Of course the GM seems to be trying to make the Paladin fall which is as always a disgusting matter. I'd have a serious talk with the group before continuing.


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This really seems like the GM has a hate-on for Paladins, and was determined to make you fall, no matter what.


Didn't the party check Peter's person for stuff before making the difficult decision to kill him? The wizard at least should have detected magic on Peter to determine if he had something magical that could have been the source of his insanity. How cruel it would have been had he been wearing a cursed amulet under his shirt, only to be found after the paladin had completed the mercy killing.

So, I don't understand why the wizard even thought there would be something on Peter at all when he decided to loot the body. He showed brazen insensitivity for the choice the paladin just had to make, and deserved to have a shovel shoved in his munchkinly face.

Alternative course of action could include using charm or sleep spells to keep Peter quiet and incapable of harming the party members or himself while they traveled to the closest temple of Iomedae to turn him over for better care. You could have used divination spells, not just praying to Iomedae, to try to determine what caused his insanity and a route to restoring it.

Like Ubercroz, I honestly wonder if the GM meant for you to take Peter with you as some sort of story hook. In that case, the party missed the hints and the GM might have made the paladin fall in retaliation. Instead, the GM could have chosen to throw out more hints, perhaps have some mumblings/rantings from Peter that gave better indication of what caused his insanity, or the route the party is supposed to take.


This was like the shaggy dog story of paladin falls. All that and the shovel was what did it? -_-

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