Can paladins worship an evil deity?


Rules Questions

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Thomas Long 175 wrote:

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Anywhere else, and I would take RAI over RAW, but this is the rules forums. We argue RAW here.

Actually we try to find RAI here, that is supported by RAW. However if the two are opposed we tend to tell the people the intent.

In this case there is nothing in writing to support paladins being restricted to a deity one step from their alignment so to me I don't see it as a rule, even if I know it should be a rule.

PS: To anyone reading this yes I am saying that just because something should be a rule, that does not make it rule.


Googleshng wrote:
It keeps power gamers from breaking in-world logic by saying their character is an exemplar of everything that is good and just while making human sacrifices to honor the king of hell.

This has nothing to do with power gamers, and more to do with the mistake that people in general make of assuming other people will know what they mean, even when they don't say it.


James Jacobs wrote:
blahpers wrote:

I see. It comes down once more to your idea of what constitutes lawful or good behavior. I've found your previous assertions on the subject . . . unique, but hey, it's your game.

Since this isn't the time or place for that discussion, and since I'm pretty confident neither of us will influence the other in any meaningful manner, I withdraw.

Fair enough.

That said... someone at Paizo needs to be the person who makes the decision on how alignments work and what behaviors constitute those various alignments. That person happens to be me, as the company's Creative Director. Part of what I get paid for is to provide these baselines for the game.

How does the paladin work with respect to pantheon worship, or other types of polytheistic worship?


blahpers wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
blahpers wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
blahpers wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Thomas Long 175 wrote:
Trekkie90909 wrote:


2) A Paladin must worship a deity whose alignment is within one step of their own.

Once again, THIS IS FALSE.

That rule specifies only clerics and inquisitors. No one else has to follow that rule. It has been shown, quoted, linked to, and specified so many times it is becoming irksome. Stop bringing it up people. That rule does not apply to paladins.

It's not false. It's not in the rules, and that's a shame, but it's not false.

It should indeed apply to paladins. Moreso than any other class, in fact, since no other class has as strict an alignment restriction as do paladins.

How does this restriction--especially outside of Golarion (!)--improve the game?

By making paladins special and not muddying the waters about what a lawful good character can do.

Warpriest is our solution for folks who want a holy warrior type class to serve a deity of any alignment.

Just making sure that I understand this correctly:

1. A paladin doesn't even have to worship a deity, even in Golarion.
2. If a paladin does worship a deity, it must be within one step of LG, or else paladins aren't special.
3. Rule 2 applies even outside of Golarion.
4. If you deviate from these rules, paladins aren't special.

Is that a fair summary of your position?

Not really. More like:

1. A paladin doesn't even have to worship a deity, even in Golarion.
2. If a paladin does worship a deity, it must be within one step of LG, or else paladin is not behaving in a lawful or good manner.
3. Rule 2 applies even outside of Golarion.
4. If you deviate from these rules, the paladin you're playing is fundamentally different than the one assumed by the core rules.

I see. It comes down once more to your idea of what constitutes lawful or good behavior. I've found your previous...

So you think venerating the ideals of a chaotic good god could be done by a lawful good individual? They could possibly respect the orderliness of a lawful evil sort ... But venerate somone whose morality is explicitly 'evil'?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Caedwyr wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
blahpers wrote:

I see. It comes down once more to your idea of what constitutes lawful or good behavior. I've found your previous assertions on the subject . . . unique, but hey, it's your game.

Since this isn't the time or place for that discussion, and since I'm pretty confident neither of us will influence the other in any meaningful manner, I withdraw.

Fair enough.

That said... someone at Paizo needs to be the person who makes the decision on how alignments work and what behaviors constitute those various alignments. That person happens to be me, as the company's Creative Director. Part of what I get paid for is to provide these baselines for the game.

How does the paladin work with respect to pantheon worship, or other types of polytheistic worship?

A paladin only has to be lawful good. As long as her actions remain lawful and good, she can worship a pantheon. As a general rule, that means that the bulk of the pantheon should be lawful good, lawful neutral, or neutral good—there could be other alignments in the pantheon as well, but the paladin would minimize her devotion to those members of the pantheon and would instead focus on the LG, NG, and LN aspects. This is more or less how paladins in the Hellknight Order of the Godclaw function.


RDM42 wrote:

Sure, they could at least definitely do chaotic. they'd show up to the party with a manual on steps on how to go about getting drunk and throwing a wild party.

1) Imbibe large amounts of liquor
2) Hit on 3 girls in succession
3) Go outside and throw up
4) imbibe more liquor
5) Attempt to dance
6) put lampshade on head
7) knock over table accidentally while stumbling about.
8) Imbibe more liquor
9) pass out


James Jacobs wrote:
Caedwyr wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
blahpers wrote:

I see. It comes down once more to your idea of what constitutes lawful or good behavior. I've found your previous assertions on the subject . . . unique, but hey, it's your game.

Since this isn't the time or place for that discussion, and since I'm pretty confident neither of us will influence the other in any meaningful manner, I withdraw.

Fair enough.

That said... someone at Paizo needs to be the person who makes the decision on how alignments work and what behaviors constitute those various alignments. That person happens to be me, as the company's Creative Director. Part of what I get paid for is to provide these baselines for the game.

How does the paladin work with respect to pantheon worship, or other types of polytheistic worship?
A paladin only has to be lawful good. As long as her actions remain lawful and good, she can worship a pantheon. As a general rule, that means that the bulk of the pantheon should be lawful good, lawful neutral, or neutral good—there could be other alignments in the pantheon as well, but the paladin would minimize her devotion to those members of the pantheon and would instead focus on the LG, NG, and LN aspects. This is more or less how paladins in the Hellknight Order of the Godclaw function.

So, would it be fair to roughly summarize a Paladin in the Order of the Godclaw as have some respect/veneration for Asmodeus as a paragon of law and order, while still being wary of his evil tendencies and generally being more in line with the goodly deities of the pantheon?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Chengar Qordath wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Caedwyr wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
blahpers wrote:

I see. It comes down once more to your idea of what constitutes lawful or good behavior. I've found your previous assertions on the subject . . . unique, but hey, it's your game.

Since this isn't the time or place for that discussion, and since I'm pretty confident neither of us will influence the other in any meaningful manner, I withdraw.

Fair enough.

That said... someone at Paizo needs to be the person who makes the decision on how alignments work and what behaviors constitute those various alignments. That person happens to be me, as the company's Creative Director. Part of what I get paid for is to provide these baselines for the game.

How does the paladin work with respect to pantheon worship, or other types of polytheistic worship?
A paladin only has to be lawful good. As long as her actions remain lawful and good, she can worship a pantheon. As a general rule, that means that the bulk of the pantheon should be lawful good, lawful neutral, or neutral good—there could be other alignments in the pantheon as well, but the paladin would minimize her devotion to those members of the pantheon and would instead focus on the LG, NG, and LN aspects. This is more or less how paladins in the Hellknight Order of the Godclaw function.
So, would it be fair to roughly summarize a Paladin in the Order of the Godclaw as have some respect/veneration for Asmodeus as a paragon of law and order, while still being wary of his evil tendencies and generally being more in line with the goodly deities of the pantheon?

More or less, yeah. And said paladin would do her best to influence her order away from Asmodeus' influence as well. It's not a particularly pleasant place for a paladin to work, but then again, paladins should expect to have to face unpleasantness in their work.


"Asmodeus represents considerable discipline in his daily aims, and shows an admirable order - it is sad, however, that those aims are so misguided and I cannot, therefore, in due deference pay more than minimal respects to him. It is sad that discipline and order is wasted."

Shadow Lodge

Psyren wrote:
The same way any other restriction improves the game - by preventing incongruous concepts and enforcing thematic consistency in the world. Such as, say, preventing a holy warrior from worshiping an unholy entity, or punishing a code of conduct class that strays too far from the deity or ideal empowering it.
James Jacobs wrote:
That said... someone at Paizo needs to be the person who makes the decision on how alignments work and what behaviors constitute those various alignments. That person happens to be me, as the company's Creative Director. Part of what I get paid for is to provide these baselines for the game.

I appreciate the massive amount of work you put into PF, but does there really have to be someone at Paizo who decides what constitutes each alignment (outside of canon Golarion and PFS)? Why not leave that up to each table?

Uniformity is not really your design philosophy with other things, like ninja, samurai, firearms, and aliens, which have as this thread attests always been treated with a "throw it all in there and gaming tables can ignore what they don't like" attitude.

Since the whole point of objective morality is that good and evil don't vary regionally like culture and technology do, it makes sense that alignment is defined at the setting level - that Golarion should have a unified sense of morality. But it's not nonsensical to allow for variation in how exactly good and evil, or the role of deities, are defined at the system level (it's as easy as saying "clerics are empowered by deities or divine forces").

So if it's cool to have one AP feature aliens and another feature Baba Yaga, why is it that Asmodean paladins not only must be kept out of Golarion, but implicitly forbidden by the core rules? ("If you deviate from these rules, the paladin you're playing is fundamentally different than the one assumed by the core rules.")

Linguistic Aside:
RDM42 wrote:
Thomas Long 175 wrote:

Seeing as how they saw fit to specify deities on the cleric and not on the paladin, I'm inclined to heavily disagree. The sheer fact that they specifically stated the gods were the source of one classes' powers in one sentence and then went out of their way to create an ambiguous statement in the following statement would suggest that they didn't want it come from deities.

Otherwise, it would have been much simpler to simply call it out as coming straight from deities like in the previous statement. If anything, in this case the sheer fact that its ambiguous when they clearly did have a clear way of stating the deities in question means they were probably looking for a way to state it without using deities.

So you are basing your opinion of what IS rules as written based on what is NOT written, but(to you at least) 'implied' by the negative space of not being more clearly defined?

A bit convoluted way to reach a conclusion.

No, that's actually part of our basic language-processing equipment. Specifically, people infer things about an unfamiliar word using the presence (or absence) of adjectives, since the adjectives the speaker feels are necessary (or not necessary) to describe an object can say things about a typical member of the group (for example you say a “red glorp” because most glorps are blue – you would instead say a “tall glorp” if most glorps are short and red) or contrast it with other objects in context (you say a “tall glass” because a short glass is also present; the word “tall” is sufficient to inform a listener you want the glass instead of the (also tall) pitcher).

People have this really neat thing called “Theory of Mind” which means we can make decisions based not just what we know and think, but on what we predict other people know and think, and how we predict they will act given what we think they think.

Brains are awesome.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Weirdo wrote:
I appreciate the massive amount of work you put into PF, but does there really have to be someone at Paizo who decides what constitutes each alignment (outside of canon Golarion and PFS)? Why not leave that up to each table?

Everything is left up to each table. Including whether or not your wizards use spellbooks, or whether or not your clerics have to worship deities, or whether or not there are magic item shops, or whether or not you track encumbrance, or whether or not you use alignment at all.

Making sure that the way alignments are interpreted and handled is as important to me as making sure that we present any other element of our game in a stable, consistent way.

One defines a thing as much as by what it is as by what it isn't. Baba Yaga is part of our campaign world, but Hercules is not. There are aliens and robots in our world, but there are not mind flayers or hoop snakes. Some of the things we don't have in our game are because of legal reasons (mind flayers), some are things we don't have because we think they're just not the right thematic fit for the world (hoop snakes).

And we define our game such that there are no paladins of Asmodeus.

TO BE CLEAR: I am not saying you can't have paladins of Asmodeus in your game. It's your game, after all, and I have no right to decide how you play the game. What I'm saying is that I regret publishing the notion in the first place, since it gives the false impression that we have them in our game. It frustrates me to see an error take on a life of its own like that is all.

In any case... I'm backing out of the thread. I've said what I need to say, and probably shouldn't have become involved anyway since it's just annoying some folks and it's certainly stacking stress onto me, at what is the most stressful time of year for me. Not a good plan.

So! Enjoy your Paladins of Asmodeus as you will! Just don't expect to see them show up in our products!


Whoa Paladins don't have to worship a God? Wow...cool. Wonder how that works for the Sacred Servant Paladin?

Same for Anti-Paladins?


wraithstrike wrote:
Googleshng wrote:
It keeps power gamers from breaking in-world logic by saying their character is an exemplar of everything that is good and just while making human sacrifices to honor the king of hell.
This has nothing to do with power gamers, and more to do with the mistake that people in general make of assuming other people will know what they mean, even when they don't say it.

It got lost in the shuffle at one point, but what started this whole thing off was:

claudekennilol wrote:

Originally when I first asked it was because I was looking through all the different feat options from Inner Sea Gods with the prereqs of what deity you chose.

Then I was looking through paladin and noted that they don't have specific alignment restrictions like clerics/inquisitors/warpriests do (where it specifically states within one step of their deity)--it only says LG, it doesn't say anything about their deity having to be within one step of them. There are terms in there that aren't defined within the game to have specific meanings. What does it mean to "worship" a god? Does that cause association? I felt it wasn't defined enough and needed a question.

p.s. I also don't understand how a simple (seemingly) question can be "clear" enough to have a debate over 250 posts in a rules forum and hasn't been FAQ'd by a single person.

Looking for a loophole to take something which conveys a mechanical benefit despite flying in the face of established setting details fits my definition of power gaming pretty well. And coming from a setting-specific book makes a lot of the counter-arguments here a bit odd. If you aren't playing in Golarion,you shouldn't be looking at any ISG feats to begin with.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

In a world where gods demonstrably exist, I find the concept of atheism or agnosticism extremely unlikely. An atheist or agnostic would be treated as insane. Given that, it seems highly likely that people will choose to worship one or more deities, or at the very least pray to one or more, depending on the "portfolio" of the deity, the needs of the person, and the relative alignments of the two (I can't see a "good" person, even one who just hopes to be "good" having any dealings at all with an evil god — or an "evil" person having dealings with a "good" god.

Before someone brings it up, Rahadoum is neither atheist nor agnostic. The people of that nation know that gods exist, they simply refuse to worship them, or allow the worship of them in their country.

On alignment: I don't much like the mechanism. I think it's a poor attempt to describe the spectrum of beliefs and behaviors humans can hold. Like the political spectrum, it probably needs more than two dimensions. But it's what we have, so I try to work with it.

On paladins and other (not LG) alignments. Upthread I suggested that there should be a base class for "champions of x god" where x can be any god, of any alignment, and that each alignment could perhaps define an archetype, of which "paladin" would be the LG archetype, "anti-paladin" (I really wish I could think of a better description) would be the CE archetype, and there would be other archetypes for the other alignments. I see now that JJ has anticipated me, and as he says, the warpriest is Paizo's way of doing this.

More on paladins: I know three: Bahzell Bahnakson, Paladin of Tomanak, Paksennarion, Paladin of Gird, and a certain gunfighter who lives in late 1800s San Francisco. The question of deity or worship never came up for the last, afair, and besides I'm not sure he was actually LG - he seemed more like LN with good tendencies. The other two actually talk to (or in Bahzell's case, back to) their gods, and vice versa. Tomanak is a god of war, Gird was a peasant who was raised to demigod status (at least). Both are LG. That doesn't mean a god of a different alignment can't have paladins (specifically - they can certainly have warpriests) but I suspect that the relationship between a paladin and his god should be akin to the bond between a treecat and his human - so close that their alignments ought to be one and the same.

On this thread: I can't believe I've followed this thing for 513 messages. It's a silly argument. Why? Because the rules of the game are mutable (somebody described them as "arbitrary"; I suspect he doesn't know what that word means). What do I mean by mutable? Simply this: the guy running the show (the GM) can use or not use whatever he likes from the rules. IIRC, the CRB specifically says that. He can "house rule" whatever he likes. He may run into the guy who "ragequits" because he doesn't like a particular house rule or interpretation, but it's still the GM's call. Contrast that with some other games. I'm a Tournament Director for Contract Bridge. One of the rules of that game requires me to follow the rules in the book. I can't, for example, say when a player leads out of turn "it doesn't matter, just play on from there" because that's not in the rules. There are judgment matters, of course, but that's a different issue. Pathfinder, in fact PnP RPGs in general aren't like that. There is no "strictly by the rulebook" rule, no matter how much some people wish there was.

TL;DR: if you're the GM, run your game however you like. If you're a player, go along with the GM or find another game.

Shadow Lodge

Googleshng wrote:
If you aren't playing in Golarion,you shouldn't be looking at any ISG feats to begin with.

Guess I'll stop buying Campaign Setting books then. And I really liked Chronicle of the Righteous.

I know JJ has signed out, but for the sake of anyone else following...

James Jacobs wrote:

Everything is left up to each table. Including whether or not your wizards use spellbooks, or whether or not your clerics have to worship deities, or whether or not there are magic item shops, or whether or not you track encumbrance, or whether or not you use alignment at all.

...

TO BE CLEAR: I am not saying you can't have paladins of Asmodeus in your game. It's your game, after all, and I have no right to decide how you play the game. What I'm saying is that I regret publishing the notion in the first place, since it gives the false impression that we have them in our game. It frustrates me to see an error take on a life of its own like that is all.

I appreciate that. However, it also frustrates me when I encounter people on the forums who feel comfortable calling different takes on alignment or paladins "ridiculous" in a way that very rarely comes up in discussions of magic item shops, encumbrance, etc., even though people may have very strong opinions about the merits of those rules. GMs who ban the summoner or gunslinger for balance or flavour reasons, or who give out Weapon Finesse for free, aren't "ridiculous," but GMs who get rid of alignment or even just alignment restrictions are.

It's not everyone, and I know there are also people who feel free to declare official rulings ridiculous as well, but there's a definite subset of players who seem to feel that while they have no right to decide how I play the game, they have the right to make their contempt for it very clear because being closer to the official take makes them "more right." James Jacobs, you are the "royal we": if I'm not playing your game, then doesn't that mean I'm not playing Pathfinder? The result is that I feel sometimes excluded from the PF community because of how I like to play alignment. I'm honestly not sure whether I feel comfortable dropping by the Paizo table at GenCon to say hello & thank you because of that exaggerated sense that your Pathfinder is not mine.

Obviously I don't expect you to publish Asmodean paladins just because a small but vocal group thinks that they would be cool. But there's a difference between saying "we don't like and will never support X" and "X is fundamentally incompatible with the core game." The later is unnecessarily divisive and exclusionary - especially since the "incompatibility" is based on unwritten "self-evident" and "common sense" principles that are in fact neither (even if they are widely held).


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LazarX wrote:
pledging your obeisance and very soul to a Master of Evil, standing on a hill shouting "Hellfire, I am YOURS!" (Because that's what worship is.)

Sometimes, I feel that I encounter rather uncompelling caricatures of polytheistic attitudes in fantasy roleplaying, that seem basically like monotheism in differently aligned, competing flavors. It always annoys me a bit when you have a huge pantheon of gods but religious characters hardly ever seem to relate to these gods in a polytheistic fashion.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
JoeJ wrote:
Voadam wrote:
Having paladins be powered by Goodness and not gods and have it unrelated to their church attendance and participation in worship services can make sense and allow for different stories. The Godclaw type ones fit better here. A paladin is a special [GOOD] individual, without the focus being on the Good from his church or god in this type of story.

Especially if you base the deities in your world more on mythology than on modern fantasy. If the gods don't have individual religions but are worshiped as a pantheon, and if they don't have clearly identifiable alignments, then it makes more sense for paladins to be powered by the force of goodness rather than by a god. Perhaps nobody knows where a paladin's power really comes from; some people are just chosen while others, who appear to be equally good and lawful citizens, are not.

Completely irrelevant to the subject of this thread which is specifically about Paladins worshipping A deitiy of a specific alignment, in this case, evil. Pantheonic worship and gods without alignment are not relevant.


I don't think the rules in Pathfinder really allow a divine caster to worship a deity THAT removed from their own alaignment. But, I allow the variant Paladins from 3.5 in my games, so I wouldn't mind a Lawful Evil paladin.


Coriat wrote:
LazarX wrote:
pledging your obeisance and very soul to a Master of Evil, standing on a hill shouting "Hellfire, I am YOURS!" (Because that's what worship is.)
Sometimes, I feel that I encounter rather uncompelling caricatures of polytheistic attitudes in fantasy roleplaying, that seem basically like monotheism in differently aligned, competing flavors. It always annoys me a bit when you have a huge pantheon of gods but religious characters hardly ever seem to relate to these gods in a polytheistic fashion.

I think it's because religious characters by most standards are NOT polytheistic. The Clerics and Paladins ARE the types of characters who pick one god out of a pantheon and say THIS one is bestest, I follow HIM!!!

It's a matter of devoting their life to a specific cause. The true polytheistic characters are the general rabble. They may have one or two they prefer on principle... but when it storms they pray to the god of the weather, during harvest time it's the harvest god, during a birth it's the god of births... Whatever the need is, they throw offerings and lip service to the patron god of XXXXX.

But the PRIESTS... they're a lot more busy actually trying to strengthen and encourage THEIR god's worship. Sway people over to their god and get whatever power/influence/money that more worshipers bring with them.

I've done the polythesistic type that would shock and awe people by donating a little to the church of Umberlee just because they were taking a ship and he didn't want it to sink... No allegiance, but if that's what the customs are... he'll follow along.

my Paladin? Nope! Wouldn't be up for that.


Claxon wrote:
Thomas Long 175 wrote:

No offense, JJ but this is the rules forums. As such, I agree it probably should be in the rules. But it isn't. And thus it is false.

Claiming that isn't the way it should be does not change the fact that that is not the way it is.

It is false until it is added to the rules.

No offense, but I hate this line of thinking.

This is the line of reason that says Shield Master allows you to dual wield two shields with absolutely no penalties for iteratives, or for being blind, or for any reason whatsoever.

This is terrible logic, and needs to stop.

The rules are not intended to be read through some super legalistic parsing to get at the true meaning.

Language is complicated. Sometimes human cannot help but make errors. However, more often than not the intent of things is clear, even if not explicit. Arguing that "because it's not written it's wrong" is silly.

Realize that the intent of the rules is more important RAW. Now, when questions of intent arise sure, lets have a discussion. But when I see a 500 post thread discussing whether paladins, the mortal paragons of virtue and goodness, can worship evil gods....I have to wonder what is wrong with some people.

Are you just arguing to argue? Playing devils advocate? Do you simply wish to "stick it" to someone and be "right" that paladins can worship evil?

I like the RP opportunities that arise from a Paladin worshiping an evil deity. Maybe he was tricked or is doing it to stop some greater evil? Lots of opportunities for character development as he learns the truth.

By contrast, a LG paladin of a LG has much fewer opportunities for development. He is already good and surrounded by good guys.


johnlocke90 wrote:

I like the RP opportunities that arise from a Paladin worshiping an evil deity. Maybe he was tricked or is doing it to stop some greater evil? Lots of opportunities for character development as he learns the truth.

By contrast, a LG paladin of a LG has much fewer opportunities for development. He is already good and surrounded by good guys.

LET IT BE KNOWN. JOHN LOCKE HAS SPOKEN!

Truth be told I prefer Thomas Hobbes though.


FallofCamelot wrote:


You at home can invoke rule 0 and that's fine but every bit of printed Pathfinder material works with that assumption.

This part is false. In fact, the printed material does not work if you make that assumption.

The creative director wants the game to work from that assumption but several other authors of printed material do not(hence why we have at least 3 different books with Paladins directly worshiping evil gods or worshipping a Pantheon including evil gods).


Lemartes wrote:

Whoa Paladins don't have to worship a God? Wow...cool. Wonder how that works for the Sacred Servant Paladin?

Same for Anti-Paladins?

Antipaladins are much more closely tied to a master than Paladins. Technically an antipaladin could choose not to worship a demon, but doing so would mean he gets no Demonic Boon and thats a significant loss of power.

Sacred Servant explicitly says they worship a deity, unlike regular Paladins.


James Jacobs wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
I appreciate the massive amount of work you put into PF, but does there really have to be someone at Paizo who decides what constitutes each alignment (outside of canon Golarion and PFS)? Why not leave that up to each table?

Everything is left up to each table. Including whether or not your wizards use spellbooks, or whether or not your clerics have to worship deities, or whether or not there are magic item shops, or whether or not you track encumbrance, or whether or not you use alignment at all.

Making sure that the way alignments are interpreted and handled is as important to me as making sure that we present any other element of our game in a stable, consistent way.

One defines a thing as much as by what it is as by what it isn't. Baba Yaga is part of our campaign world, but Hercules is not. There are aliens and robots in our world, but there are not mind flayers or hoop snakes. Some of the things we don't have in our game are because of legal reasons (mind flayers), some are things we don't have because we think they're just not the right thematic fit for the world (hoop snakes).

And we define our game such that there are no paladins of Asmodeus.

TO BE CLEAR: I am not saying you can't have paladins of Asmodeus in your game. It's your game, after all, and I have no right to decide how you play the game. What I'm saying is that I regret publishing the notion in the first place, since it gives the false impression that we have them in our game. It frustrates me to see an error take on a life of its own like that is all.

In any case... I'm backing out of the thread. I've said what I need to say, and probably shouldn't have become involved anyway since it's just annoying some folks and it's certainly stacking stress onto me, at what is the most stressful time of year for me. Not a good plan.

So! Enjoy your Paladins of Asmodeus as you will! Just don't expect to see them show up in our products!

His point is that this strict definition of what a paladin is doesn't make sense in a world with aliens, ninjas, robots and guns. I mean, if Golarion was supposed to be a traditional fantasy game then it would make sense to have Paladins with such strict limitations on behavior, but Golarion isn't that sort of world.

So, we have a game where certain high fantasy tropes are strictly adhered to for thematic consistency while most are completely thrown out the window.

I mean, when my party has a three armed gnome alchemist and a tiefling gunslinger traveling to the moon to kill evil moon succubi, the Paladin of Asmodeus does not feel out of place.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
johnlocke90 wrote:


By contrast, a LG paladin of a LG has much fewer opportunities for development. He is already good and surrounded by good guys.

Really? In most cases, the Paladin has to deal with people who while not evil, are far from the ideals she generally embodies. There is no shortage of character development opportunities.


johnlocke90 wrote:
Lemartes wrote:

Whoa Paladins don't have to worship a God? Wow...cool. Wonder how that works for the Sacred Servant Paladin?

Same for Anti-Paladins?

Antipaladins are much more closely tied to a master than Paladins. Technically an antipaladin could choose not to worship a demon, but doing so would mean he gets no Demonic Boon and thats a significant loss of power.

That is most certain not true. An antipaladin loses nothing for not worshiping, just like a paladin.


johnlocke90 wrote:
FallofCamelot wrote:


You at home can invoke rule 0 and that's fine but every bit of printed Pathfinder material works with that assumption.

This part is false. In fact, the printed material does not work if you make that assumption.

The creative director wants the game to work from that assumption but several other authors of printed material do not(hence why we have at least 3 different books with Paladins directly worshiping evil gods or worshipping a Pantheon including evil gods).

i'm sure it's post like this that frustrates james. he has stated repeatedly that it was an error that slip through, yet some will not take the answer at face value.

there are no evil worshipping paladins in piazo's pathfinder, if you want it in your game you can, but paizo doesnt not support it and the rules as they exits in thier minds does not support it, but you are free to ignore those rules.

if you are not going to accept the answer, why bother asking the question in the first place.


ikarinokami wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:
FallofCamelot wrote:


You at home can invoke rule 0 and that's fine but every bit of printed Pathfinder material works with that assumption.

This part is false. In fact, the printed material does not work if you make that assumption.

The creative director wants the game to work from that assumption but several other authors of printed material do not(hence why we have at least 3 different books with Paladins directly worshiping evil gods or worshipping a Pantheon including evil gods).

i'm sure it's post like this that frustrates james. he has stated repeatedly that it was an error that slip through, yet some will not take the answer at face value.

there are no evil worshipping paladins in piazo's pathfinder, if you want it in your game you can, but paizo doesnt not support it and the rules as they exits in thier minds does not support it, but you are free to ignore those rules.

if you are not going to accept the answer, why bother asking the question in the first place.

I completely accept that it is an error that slipped through. I was addressing the claim that "every bit of printed Pathfinder material works with that assumption".

There are no evil worshipping Paladins in the headcanon of various developers, but that is completely different from saying the "printed material" does not have evil worshiping Paladins.

Its important to be clear that the world of Paizo's Golarion is *not* based from the printed material. Printed material is created by various authors who may think things are different than in Paizo's world. The world is based on developer headcanon, which is subject to change if the developers decide to change it. If you start trying to use printed material to explain Golarion, then you run into issues like this.


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ikarinokami wrote:


if you are not going to accept the answer, why bother asking the question in the first place.

To hear the reasoning, get different viewpoints, explore the issue, see what others think about the issue and why.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
johnlocke90 wrote:
FallofCamelot wrote:


You at home can invoke rule 0 and that's fine but every bit of printed Pathfinder material works with that assumption.

This part is false. In fact, the printed material does not work if you make that assumption.

The creative director wants the game to work from that assumption but several other authors of printed material do not(hence why we have at least 3 different books with Paladins directly worshiping evil gods or worshipping a Pantheon including evil gods).

and what 3 books are those?

And dont say Mother of Flies that has been fixed and doesnt count as james himself has said


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Its funny, I thought this thread was dead.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

paladin threads never die evidently
they just go around in circles until everyone either jumps off or throws up


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johnlocke90 wrote:


His point is that this strict definition of what a paladin is doesn't make sense in a world with aliens, ninjas, robots and guns. I mean, if Golarion was supposed to be a traditional fantasy game then it would make sense to have Paladins with such strict limitations on behavior, but Golarion isn't that sort of world.

So, we have a game where certain high fantasy tropes are strictly adhered to for thematic consistency while most are completely thrown out the window.

I mean, when my party has a three armed gnome alchemist and a tiefling gunslinger traveling to the moon to kill evil moon succubi, the Paladin of Asmodeus does not feel out of place.

The but ... Dragons exist!!!!! Fallacy ...

Just because some extraordinary or odd elements are put in does not mean that henceforth every single different or odd thing you can think of should also be in, suddenly.

The fact that aliens, ninjas, dragons, robots, guns, three toed sloths, flying purple people eaters, Gozur the Destructor, pencil sharpeners or the rest exist is UTTERLY AND IN ALL WAYS irrelevant to the question of if paladins worshiping Asmodeus exist. They are unrelated issues.

Shadow Lodge

johnlocke90 wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
I appreciate the massive amount of work you put into PF, but does there really have to be someone at Paizo who decides what constitutes each alignment (outside of canon Golarion and PFS)? Why not leave that up to each table?

Everything is left up to each table. Including whether or not your wizards use spellbooks, or whether or not your clerics have to worship deities, or whether or not there are magic item shops, or whether or not you track encumbrance, or whether or not you use alignment at all.

Making sure that the way alignments are interpreted and handled is as important to me as making sure that we present any other element of our game in a stable, consistent way....

His point is that this strict definition of what a paladin is doesn't make sense in a world with aliens, ninjas, robots and guns. I mean, if Golarion was supposed to be a traditional fantasy game then it would make sense to have Paladins with such strict limitations on behavior, but Golarion isn't that sort of world.

So, we have a game where certain high fantasy tropes are strictly adhered to for thematic consistency while most are completely thrown out the window.

I mean, when my party has a three armed gnome alchemist and a tiefling gunslinger traveling to the moon to kill evil moon succubi, the Paladin of Asmodeus does not feel out of place.

No, not my point.

Rather, it's that the design philosophy is inclusive with respect to most content, including regional climates, cultural variation, races (the ARG), classes (ninja, gunslingers), tech level (steel to firearms to robots), deities (Sarenrae to Ragathiel to Arshea) and general theme/tone (Wrath of the Righteous vs Way of the Wicked), but exclusive with respect to paladins alignment restrictions and a few aspects of evil like undead, magical cannibalism, and [evil] spells.

The argument I was responding to was that a universal interpretation of the paladin code and alignment restrictions is good/necessary because of uniformity. But Pathfinder and Golarion don't have much uniformity compared to, for example, World of Darkness. Therefore, I would like someone to explain why it's important that these particular issues be treated with uniformity in published material.

For example, one good reason to treat spellbooks with consistency is because there are a lot of mechanical rules surrounding them and variation would be confusing. Another is that it provides a gold cost (and material risk) to balance the wizard's versatility.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

captain yesterday wrote:
And dont say Mother of Flies that has been fixed and doesnt count as james himself has said

Just to be clear, it hasn't been "fixed", JJ has just said "Please ignore it". It still says exactly what it's always said.

There's also a number of books referencing the Order of the Godclaw and its Paladin members who explicitly venerate all 5 deities, including Asmodeus, which apparently don't count because "pantheon".

The point being, there is more than one place in the printed literature where these Asmodean paladins are referenced, and even JJ defended Mother of Flies, the most notorious of these, when it was first released, before later recanting. So at one point in time, the rules (which haven't actually changed) certainly supported the idea and there was solid canon backing them. Because of that, I can see how some people would view JJ's assertion that the rules don't accomodate that idea as being a little disingenuous, since the exact same rules did accomodate it once upon a time. JJ also noted the gulf between the current RAI and the RAW.

That being said, JJ has made his stance, and thus Paizo's stance, clear, so I don't think there's much being accomplished by continuing with this conversation. Yes, RAW allow for large variances between Paladin alignment and deity alignment, assuming he chooses a deity at all. No, Paizo does not support nor will they ever produce materials for Paladins of Asmodeus, and in their current version of Golarion there are no Paladins of Asmodeus. That's good enough. If you want to play PFS or a Golarion home game that holds to their vision, then you can't/shouldn't have Paladins of Asmodeus. If your homebrew version of Golarion or another setting accomodates the idea, then there's nothing in the printed rules stopping you.


A deity can be worshiped for certain aspects. A Lawful Neutral priest of Asmodeus can worship the Lawful aspect of Asmodeus, as many Hellknights do.

So...sure, let's throw some coal in the furnace, I say yes.


Weirdo wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
I appreciate the massive amount of work you put into PF, but does there really have to be someone at Paizo who decides what constitutes each alignment (outside of canon Golarion and PFS)? Why not leave that up to each table?

Everything is left up to each table. Including whether or not your wizards use spellbooks, or whether or not your clerics have to worship deities, or whether or not there are magic item shops, or whether or not you track encumbrance, or whether or not you use alignment at all.

Making sure that the way alignments are interpreted and handled is as important to me as making sure that we present any other element of our game in a stable, consistent way....

His point is that this strict definition of what a paladin is doesn't make sense in a world with aliens, ninjas, robots and guns. I mean, if Golarion was supposed to be a traditional fantasy game then it would make sense to have Paladins with such strict limitations on behavior, but Golarion isn't that sort of world.

So, we have a game where certain high fantasy tropes are strictly adhered to for thematic consistency while most are completely thrown out the window.

I mean, when my party has a three armed gnome alchemist and a tiefling gunslinger traveling to the moon to kill evil moon succubi, the Paladin of Asmodeus does not feel out of place.

No, not my point.

Rather, it's that the design philosophy is inclusive with respect to most content, including regional climates, cultural variation, races (the ARG), classes (ninja, gunslingers), tech level (steel to firearms to robots), deities (Sarenrae to Ragathiel to Arshea) and general theme/tone (Wrath of the Righteous vs Way of the Wicked), but exclusive with respect to paladins alignment restrictions and a few aspects of evil like undead, magical cannibalism, and [evil] spells.

The argument I was responding to was that a universal interpretation of the paladin code and...

My guess is that some of the devs think of Paladins as special. Paladins are knights of goodness and only intended for RPers who want to play as such. Lots of other classes have flexibility, but Paladins are supposed to be more rigid. Allowing them more options will just lead to a slippery slope that destroys the specialness of the Paladin.

It is unfortunate that Paladins are also probably the best mechanically designed martial classes in the core book.. They have good damage, a wide variety of utility and have good synergy with out of combat skills(Charisma).

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