I'm running Dalsine Affair with not 1, not 2, but 3 paladins, all of whom must fall. Wat do?


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The paladin code states that paladins must not aid those who commit crimes, and the entire premise of Dalsine Affair is to do exactly that. Therefore, I cannot in good faith overlook that issue. The paladins will have to fall, or refuse the mission and get no prestige. However, I hate doing that, and I am only doing it because the module forced my hand. Since I will not interpret things "creatively" in order to give the paladins a pass, what else is rules-legal to do? For example, can I do any of these?


  • Tell the players they should not run paladins, and give them pre-gens or something.
  • Tell the players flat-out that if they run these paladins, I will insist they either fail the mission, or fall?
  • Tell the players "your paladins will fall, but you can buy an atonement spell. Decide before we play if you're cool with that."
  • Don't give away anything, and allow them to play whatever, and just knock 'em down when they start aiding the smugglers and hiding evidence.
  • Tell the players, "I can't run this, sorry." This will involve everyone going home, because no one else is prepped to run this. But, if everyone feels it's the only option, I'll do it.

OR, are there any other good options you can think of (aside from "let paladins help the smugglers, and justify it somehow so that they don't fall")? I'm open to just about anything else.

Dark Archive

Paladins do not fall for following the plot of the mission. They are defending the Sarenrae worshipers, and are certainly allowed to do so.


Sarenrae worship is illegal in Taldor, because Sarenrae is allied with Qadira, the nation that attacked Taldor and sent it into decline. Also, these particular worshippers of Sarenrae are not even Taldoran people who happen to like the goddess -- they are actually, at least in one case (Pasha's sister), Qadirans who are secretly within the borders of Taldor to further this illegal behavior.

So they are not only lawbreakers, but they may actually be insurgents/infiltrators/some other word that describes that.

And they are not only lawbreakers and insurgents, but they are running an illegal smuggling ring, and the main goal of the mission is to help them escape punishment and cover up evidence of illegal activity.

Now, you may not cause a paladin to fall for helping with all of that in your games, but I absolutely, 100%, every single time, will force paladins to fall for doing that mission.

This is why I am asking for alternatives. And again, "don't make them fall, let them do it" is unacceptable to me. This is why I'm exploring other options.

Grand Lodge 4/5

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Technically, Sarenrae worship is not illegal. What's illegal is the Cult of the Dawnflower, a splinter group of radical Sarenites (which are the people you have to escape in Dalsine Affair).

Shadow Lodge 4/5

And what gods do the Paladins worship? Their deity specific paladin code may provide an amenable solution for all.


Jeff Merola wrote:
Technically, Sarenrae worship is not illegal.

From the module itself, page 10:

Quote:
The worship of Sarenrae has been illegal in Taldor since the Great Purge of 4528 A.R.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle aka The Great Rinaldo!

Paladins (and Lawful characters in general) are not expected to blindly follow all laws. They are to "respect legitimate authority", "act with honor", "help those in need", and "punish those who harm or threaten innocents". What happens when two of those come into conflict? A moral dilemma, that's what. Roleplay opportunity. And the player gets to decide what's right based on his choice of deity and/or oaths.

Jeff Merola wrote:
Technically, Sarenrae worship is not illegal. What's illegal is the Cult of the Dawnflower, a splinter group of radical Sarenites (which are the people you have to escape in Dalsine Affair).

Off topic aside:
I'm glad somebody else knows that. I built a Taldan Dawnflower Dervish just so that I can make that point in games. ;-)
Shadow Lodge 4/5

Conversation about this same issue in this thread


Sammy T wrote:
And what gods do the Paladins worship?

That's a good question, and I won't know until I arrive and meet with the players -- I don't know them and cannot contact them beforehand.

If you're super familiar with the gods, would you mind outlining a few that have tenets that allow the paladins to ignore the "don't aid criminals" rule? Maybe I'll get lucky and the paladins will all worship one of those gods.


Sammy T wrote:
Conversation about this same issue in this thread

From that thread:

Quote:
Best advice? Suggest he play a different PC for this scenario.

So, OK, I think that's what I'll do. I'll tell the players, "I suggest you play another PC." And if they do or do not, that's up to them. I won't give any other hints as to why.

Grand Lodge 4/5

aboyd wrote:
Jeff Merola wrote:
Technically, Sarenrae worship is not illegal.

From the module itself, page 10:

Quote:
The worship of Sarenrae has been illegal in Taldor since the Great Purge of 4528 A.R.

Yes, the scenario is wrong. However, the specific splinter group dealt with in the scenario is illegal, so in the grand scheme of the scenario it's not a huge difference.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

aboyd wrote:
The paladin code states that paladins must not aid those who commit crimes, and the entire premise of Dalsine Affair is to do exactly that.
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.

Can you point out where exactly the code conflicts here?

Keep in mind that the scenario describes the people attacking the cultists using lethal force and not taking prisoners for trial.

Dark Archive

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Yeah, there's nothing in the paladin code about not being able to aid lawbreakers. Please don't auto fall your paladins for committing the act of protecting unarmed fugitives.


TOZ wrote:
Code of Conduct wrote:
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.
Can you point out where exactly the code conflicts here?

I have bolded it. I understand that you will see the part that I bolded and disagree with me. I however will run the module based upon that.

I think the problem is solved anyway. I'm going to tell the players not to use their paladins.

Scarab Sages

TOZ wrote:
aboyd wrote:
The paladin code states that paladins must not aid those who commit crimes, and the entire premise of Dalsine Affair is to do exactly that.
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.

Can you point out where exactly the code conflicts here?

Keep in mind that the scenario describes the people attacking the cultists using lethal force and not taking prisoners for trial.

Refusing to help those in need, the Sarenites, could cause the paladins to fall.

Heavens help if any of the paladins actually follow Sarenrae.

Sarenrae Paladin Code:

  • I will protect my allies with my life. They are my light and my strength, as I am their light and their strength. We rise together.
  • I will seek out and destroy the spawn of the Rough Beast. If I cannot defeat them, I will give my life trying. If my life would be wasted in the attempt, I will find allies. If any fall because of my inaction, their deaths lie upon my soul, and I will atone for each.
  • I am fair to others. I expect nothing for myself but that which I need to survive.
  • The best battle is a battle I win. If I die, I can no longer fight.
  • I will fight fairly when the fight is fair, and I will strike quickly and without mercy when it is not.
  • I will redeem the ignorant with my words and my actions. If they will not turn toward the light, I will redeem them by the sword.
  • I will not abide evil, and will combat it with steel when words are not enough. I do not flinch from my faith, and do not fear embarrassment. My soul cannot be bought for all the stars in the sky.
  • I will show the less fortunate the light of the Dawnflower. I will live my life as her mortal blade, shining with the light of truth.
  • Each day is another step toward perfection. I will not turn back into the dark.

They would be committed to defending their brothers with their own lives.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

aboyd wrote:
I have bolded it.

So this is a Chaotic end then. What, pray tell, would the Lawful course be? Turn them over for execution?

As I said in the other thread, aiding their flight out of the country would be the Good course, and deportation is a legal means of punishing the criminal.

Accepting the mission does not cause a paladin to fall. How he pursues the mission does.


TOZ wrote:
aboyd wrote:
I have bolded it.

So this is a Chaotic end then. What, pray tell, would the Lawful course be? Turn them over for execution?

As I said in the other thread, aiding their flight out of the country would be the Good course, and deportation is a legal means of punishing the criminal.

Accepting the mission does not cause a paladin to fall. How he pursues the mission does.

As paladins, they must turn over Muesello, the cultists, and all the hidden evidence to the proper authorities, and allow the legal system to do its job. This causes the PCs to fail the mission and lose their prestige. If they wish to take that path, I happily allow it.

But again, it's a moot point. They won't be playing in my game tonight unless they hear me say "don't play with a paladin" and decide to do it anyway.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

aboyd wrote:
As paladins, they must turn over Muesello, the cultists, and all the hidden evidence to the proper authorities, and allow the legal system to do its job.

That's one way. (A more Lawful Neutral way.) Plenty of other Lawful Good courses to take as well.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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In a normal government, there are varying layers of authority that can overrule each other. The national government can overrule a city government.

I don't think it's strange to think that a NG deity can overrule the Taldan government on whether it's okay for paladins to work with followers of that deity.

In other words: when the Taldan government outlaws the worship of Sarenrae, it ceases (at least with regard to that matter) to be a "legitimate authority" for paladin code purposes.


Ascalaphus wrote:
In other words: when the Taldan government outlaws the worship of Sarenrae, it ceases (at least with regard to that matter) to be a "legitimate authority" for paladin code purposes.

I don't like that line of thinking. It is the "creative rule bending" that I feel is a cheaty way to get out of the paladin code. Paladins don't get to decide what's legal and what's not. They signed up for working within the law, and now they're stuck doing that, even if it's inconvenient. They could change the laws, but it's outside the scope of the module.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

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aboyd wrote:
I don't like that line of thinking. It is the "creative rule bending" that I feel is a cheaty way to get out of the paladin code.

And I don't like yours. It is the 'letter of the law and not the spirit' that I feel is just a way to punish paladin PCs without offering a meaningful choice. See this blog post.

But I have given my view, and how I run it, and you will do what you will with it. I hope that your table goes well.

Scarab Sages

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aboyd wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
In other words: when the Taldan government outlaws the worship of Sarenrae, it ceases (at least with regard to that matter) to be a "legitimate authority" for paladin code purposes.
I don't like that line of thinking. It is the "creative rule bending" that I feel is a cheaty way to get out of the paladin code. Paladins don't get to decide what's legal and what's not. They signed up for working within the law, and now they're stuck doing that, even if it's inconvenient. They could change the laws, but it's outside the scope of the module.

Would you force a paladin of Sarenrae to fall simply for entering Taldor?

Where does that leave the Paladin of Sarenrae, who also falls if his brothers are killed due the Paladins inaction?


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I would rule this under the heading of "alignment infractions," which is detailed very strongly in the guide to organized play.

Guide to Organized Play pg 34 wrote:

Alignment infractions are a touchy subject. Ultimately, the GM is the final authority at the table, but she must warn any player whose character is deviating from his chosen alignment. This warning must be clear, and the GM must make sure that the player understands the warning and the actions that initiated the warning. The PC should be given the opportunity to correct the behavior, justify it, or face the consequences. We believe a deity would forgive a one-time bad choice as long as the action wasn’t too egregious (such as burning down an orphanage full of children, killing a peasant for no good reason but sport, etc.). Hence, the GM can issue a warning to the player through a “feeling” he receives from his deity, a vision he is given, his conscience talking to him, or some other similar roleplaying event.

If infractions continue in the course of the scenario or sanctioned module or adventure path, an alignment change may be in order. If the GM deems these continued actions warrant an alignment change, she should note it on the character’s Chronicle sheet at the end of the session in the Conditions Gained box. The character may remove this gained condition through an atonement spell. If the condition is removed, the GM should also note it on the Chronicle sheet.

According to the GTOP, PCs are supposed to be given the opportunity to justify the behavior. Such as "hey, my god doesn't want me to let innocents be slaughtered without trial." It's not the GM's job to punish someone for playing a particular class in a particular scenario. It's our job to run the scenario to the best of our ability. And even if you do decide that accepting the mission requires a paladin to fall, you're required to give them an in character warning that his or her actions could cause him or her to fall.

And FYI, if I were a paladin on that table who fell, I would feel cheated. Paladins are allowed to cooperate with even evil companions if it serves the greater good, much less lead refugees into freedom. Remember that there are a lot of ways to roleplay lawful good, not only your own interpretation.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

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Erastil:

My community comes first, and I will contribute to it all that I can. If I don’t give something back, who will?

I must offer the poor in my community assistance, but I may not do the work for them—instead, I must teach them to contribute to the settlement. It is only through cooperation that a community grows strong.

When danger threatens, I am not a fool. I seek first to make sure the weak and innocent are safe, and then I quell the danger.

I keep to the old ways, the true ways. I am not seduced by the lure of money or power. I remember that true honor comes from within, not from the accolades of others.

I remember that reputation is everything. Mine is pure and upstanding, and I will repair it if it is broken or tarnished. I stand by my decisions, and live so that none shall have cause to blame me.

I show respect to my elders, for they have done much. I show respect to the young, for they have much left to do. I show respect to my peers, for they carry the load. And I shall carry it with them.

I am honest, trustworthy, and stable. If I must leave my lands and community, before I go, I ensure that they will be tended in my absence. Even when duty calls, my duties to my home come first—letting them lapse makes me a burden on my people.

Iomedae:

The paladins of Iomedae are just and strong, crusaders who live for the joy of righteous battle. Their mission is to right wrongs and eliminate evil at its root. They serve as examples to others, and their code demands they protect the weak and innocent by eliminating sources of oppression, rather than merely the symptoms. They may back down or withdraw from a fight if they are overmatched, but if their lives will buy time for others to escape, they must give them. Their tenets include the following affirmations.

I will learn the weight of my sword. Without my heart to guide it, it is worthless—my strength is not in my sword, but in my heart. If I lose my sword, I have lost a tool. If I betray my heart, I have died.

I will have faith in the Inheritor. I will channel her strength through my body. I will shine in her legion, and I will not tarnish her glory through base actions.

I am the first into battle, and the last to leave it.

I will not be taken prisoner by my free will. I will not surrender those under my command.

I will never abandon a companion, though I will honor sacrifice freely given.

I will guard the honor of my fellows, both in thought and deed, and I will have faith in them.

When in doubt, I may force my enemies to surrender, but I am responsible for their lives.

I will never refuse a challenge from an equal. I will give honor to worthy enemies, and contempt to the rest.

I will suffer death before dishonor.

I will be temperate in my actions and moderate in my behavior. I will strive to emulate Iomedae’s perfection.

sheylyn:

The paladins of Shelyn are peaceable promoters of art and beauty. They see the ugliness in evil, even when cloaked in the form of beauty, and their mission is to defend those who devote their lives to the creation of beauty, bring it forth themselves, and prevent the weak and foolish from being seduced by false promises. Their tenets include the following adages.

I see beauty in others. As a rough stone hides a diamond, a drab face may hide the heart of a saint.

I am peaceful. I come first with a rose rather than a weapon, and act to prevent conflict before it blossoms. I never strike first, unless it is the only way to protect the innocent.

I accept surrender if my opponent can be redeemed—and I never assume that they cannot be. All things that live love beauty, and I will show beauty’s answer to them.

I live my life as art. I will choose an art and perfect it. When I have mastered it, I will choose another. The works I leave behind make life richer for those who follow.

I will never destroy a work of art, nor allow one to come to harm, unless greater art arises from its loss. I will only sacrifice art if doing so allows me to save a life, for untold beauty can arise from an awakened soul.

I lead by example, not with my blade. Where my blade passes, a life is cut short, and the world’s potential for beauty is lessened.


You could argue that failing to protect the innocent is an even more egregious violation of the code of conduct.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

One wonders what happens in Aboyd's games when a Paladin walks into Geb.

Say a ghoul attacks a child and the paladin slays the ghoul. Does the paladin fall because in Geb it is legal for the undead to prey on the living and the paladin has just committed murder by Geb's laws?

Dark Archive 4/5

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It seems it's time to put it bluntly and ask you not to violate the more important rule of "Don't be a jerk." Please just have fun with the players and don't make them fall for arbitrary reasons. If you can't do that, please just don't run the scenario and find someone else who can do so in a way that is fun for all and allows them to play the characters they'd like. We're here to enjoy ourselves and not to nitpick every little rule in the name of adhering strictly to the rules.

Silver Crusade 5/5

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Aboyd, your thinking strikes me as closer to a Hellknight than a paladin. Lawful neutral, sticking to the letter of the law without regard to the morality of the action.

Paladins will automatically fall if they ever willingly commit an evil act. They do not automatically fall for willingly committing a chaotic act. When placed into a conflict between the law and what is righteous and good, the paladin should choose good every time.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

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Note that paladins don't fall for committing an illegal behavior. They fall for committing an EVIL action.

What you're referring to is a moderately chaotic act at best, depending on which set of 'laws' the paladins deem to be pre-eminent. It is perfectly within the rights of the paladins to ignore an unjust and biased law...and criminalizing the religion of one of the great gods of Good is one of those laws no paladin in their right mind is going to acknowledge as 'right and worthy of obediance'.

So the paladin did exactly what he should in defying the unjust law to help Good followers of Saranrae.

It probably should be noted that the royal family of Taldor also owes their power to Asmodeus, and illegalizing Saranrae's faith is exactly the kind of machination Asmodeus would put into place.

oh, and they are retconning the 'illegal faith' thing to just the Dawnflower sect.

Paladins should have no problem with the scenario. Choosing to enforce an unjust law over the goodness of Saranrae...THAT could very easily make them fall.

==Aelryinth

Silver Crusade 5/5

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First, I'd like to applaud your noticing the issue in advance and coming here for advice.

In PFS you HAVE to be very liberal as a GM in terms of judging alignment infractions or the game will just collapse. Paladins are legal characters in PFS even though they arguably work for an organization that more or less constantly breaks the law.

Quite frankly, you have to loosen up a lot or step down from GMing. In PFS, you can't impose your views of alignment except in the most egregious cases. And this doesn't even cone CLOSE to that line.

Sovereign Court

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Which is more likely?

A) Paizo publishes a PFS scenario with a giant "screw you" set up for a certain class.

B) This interpretation of the Paladin Code is pedantically punitive beyond all common sense.

Posit: The answer is B. And it will be an unfortunate single serving self-correcting problem because the GM will gain a very fast reputation for being a fun-sponge needlessly antagonistic GM that no one will want to play with in the future.

All because he HAD to be RIGHT!!!!111!!1oneelevenoneeleventyone.

Alternatively, step outside of the rules for a second and think, "if I were a player, what would I think of this interpretation being turned against me?" If you're thinking, "it would be shenanigans," then you are maturing as a GM and interested in providing a fun experience and not wielding the rules as a club with which to beat your fellow gamers.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
pauljathome wrote:

First, I'd like to applaud your noticing the issue in advance and coming here for advice.

In PFS you HAVE to be very liberal as a GM in terms of judging alignment infractions or the game will just collapse. Paladins are legal characters in PFS even though they arguably work for an organization that more or less constantly breaks the law.

Quite frankly, you have to loosen up a lot or step down from GMing. In PFS, you can't impose your views of alignment except in the most egregious cases. And this doesn't even cone CLOSE to that line.

Agreed. If I sat down at a table and the GM made me auto-fall just for having the temerity for playing a legal character in a certain scenario regardless of the actual play choices, I would have a chat with the VC. I would also make a mental note to never play with that particular GM again as well. That attitude is the opposite of fun to me.

3/5

Wow, really? So in your opinion, Paladins who break any law, no matter what it is, fall? I don't see that anywhere in the rulebooks. If their alignment changes from lawful, sure, they fall then. But one unlawful act isn't enough to change their alignment.

Sovereign Court 4/5

Freedom of religion is a higher law than that of civil authorities. I'm sure all paladins and their deities would agree that local governments lack the authority to surpress the exercise of their faith.

Grand Lodge

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Accepting a mission will never cause a fall. Ex: The Paladin accepts a quest to bring the Venture Captain the head of a local Lawful Good priest. The Paladin accepts. Does he fall? No. The Paladin simply brings the head (still attached to the body, very much alive, and unharmed) to the VC. Just because you see no possible course of action for a Paladin to act within his faith doesn't mean there aren't any. Give them a chance to role play.

As others have stated before:
Only EVIL acts cause instant fall and dis-ownership by his/her deity. An unlawful act doesn't but the Paladin may receive a reprimand. Until enough acts have caused an alignment shift to non LG, there aren't penalties. In home-brew I might suspend some abilities until the Paladin reflects on his mistakes as a lesser fall, but I wouldn't in PFS.

As much as I hate to say it, you may not be ready to adjudicate a game with questionable legalities associated with Paladins of mixed faiths you aren't familiar with.

Yes, you have rule 0 (GM's right) at your disposal, but using it to override rule 1 (Have fun) is seldom advised.

Unfortunately, your misconception is among the most common possible regarding Paladins and I commend you in seeking out advice on the forum before sitting at the table.

Good luck. Let us know how it turned out.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Low Templar in SE Asia wrote:
Freedom of religion is a higher law than that of civil authorities. I'm sure all paladins and their deities would agree that local governments lack the authority to surpress the exercise of their faith.

Well, "Freedom of Religion" in Pathfinder is a whole other thing.

Liberty's Edge

I think the OP should have a look at Champions of Purity. It makes it quite clear that a Paladin does not have to follow every legal system out there.

Honestly, taken to that excess, is there really ANY module where PCs are not breaking some local law or tradition ?

They do kill and loot after all.

Should the Paladin fall for helping fellow pathfinders (for example by healing them, or even just fighting on their side in a battle) because this help (i.e., the PCs' continued existence) could be turned to some "Chaotic purpose" somewhere down the line ?


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There are too many comments to respond to everyone, so to summarize: no, I did not insist that a paladin fall for "arbitrary" reasons. I think my reasons are solid, and 100% on target, and 100% by the rules, and I think anyone who classifies "help with smugglers and hide the evidence" as OK is breaking the paladinhood rules. I also insist that smugglers are not innocents, and helping them is not helping an innocent person. They are deliberately breaking the law both by smuggling, and by coming into the country to promote illegal worship. These cultists are bad people (or more accurately, people sowing chaos).

Also, slippery slope arguments don't impress me. I don't care about "what if" we take it to an extreme. This game didn't involve that, so I don't care about the slippery slope. I made decisions without considering that, and I think that's a good and responsible way to handle it.

In any case, all these posts have come after the game was already underway, and I've already run the game in such a way as to make all of you miserable and unhappy, apparently. I'm fine with that, because I don't think paladins should be a "don't make them fall it's unfun" thing -- falling is part of the deal when you pick the class and break the rules of that class. If you don't like it, don't play it. Taking the benefits of the class without the drawbacks is unfair and gives the paladins advantages that are not written into the class.

So, here's how it went down. The game started, and I announced, "Due to a massive freak-out online when I asked about paladins in this module, I must spoil a tiny part of the game, sorry. Paladins must fall in this scenario, or lose prestige by refusing part of the mission. The mission involves aiding smugglers and hiding evidence of an illegal cult as well (and hiding the smuggling-tax-evasion documents, too, which isn't even a noble cause)! This violates the code about helping people 'provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends.' Unfortunately, they totally use the aid for chaotic ends. So, still want to play?"

Two players decided to play paladins anyway. They were amazing. They did things that I never expected. For example, the cultists will leave on their own volition, when their leader turns out to be a disappointment, so to speak. But the PCs don't know that. Allowing illegal cultists to just be within the borders and having no problem with that would be super bad in my opinion -- and I expected nobody to challenge the cultists, so I was prepared to make a big stink of that and give the paladins their first "you are on the edge" warning, even if the cultists later left (because hey, the paladin didn't convince them or do anything right -- he was fine with them being there). But one paladin didn't wait -- he was role playing talking to them right from the start, to convince them of the error of their ways, and by getting out ahead of the problem, he definitely wasn't passive and -- thanks to great rolls and help from other party members -- had them convinced to leave long before the leadership trouble. In fact, it changed the game and kinda made the leadership problem explode earlier on, but that was cool and worked out fine.

So, I couldn't fault the paladins for passively allowing illegal Sarenrae worship -- they ended it right away. Then there is the whole issue with Muesello asking them to recover evidence and hide it. Instead, they role played a little outside the module (but I allowed it), by going to Muesello either while he was in jail or after he was let out on the streets, and convincing him to admit to the crimes and pay all the back owed taxes for everything they had ever smuggled. I kinda balked for part of that. I mean, Muesello could confess to everything, I decided, but I don't know if I can agree that he even has all that money (and the module's only option with Muesello is "cover up the crimes"), but then the paladins did something else: they refused to hide the evidence or aid the smuggling coverup in any way at all. At that point, Muesello almost didn't matter. I warned them this will lose a prestige point. They insisted.

So I narrated, "Muesello's worst fears come true: with multiple paladins making public the evidence of illegal actions by Pathfinder Society leadership, all of Pathfinder Society is expelled by the Taldan government. We are now branched into an instance of Golarion where the mission didn't go as planned, and everything you experience from now on should not involve PFS in Taldor." Or something like that.

Of course, I have no way to enforce that last bit at all. All PFS games are disconnected and no subsequent GM will know or care. But whatever -- they acted in line with paladinhood, lost a prestige, took a hit to PFS in Taldor honorably, and played their paladins super well. In fact, so well that I did not even expect them to get out ahead of all those issues, and face them down. Every place at which they could fall, or even just get a warning (!!!), they subverted, to their credit. The game ended well, and I was amazed by their role playing.

Silver Crusade

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Congratulations. You have successfully enforced the stereotype that paladins must be lawful stupid or be punished.

Maybe you are bitter about all the people that just play paladins for the powers; I've seen paladins I would call CN at best, so I can understand that. However, that reason does not excuse poor GM behavior. No, following the code shouldn't be a gimme, but it shouldn't be a game of "gotcha!" either.

Paladins mean a lot to me. I will jump at the chance to play one in any game. I buy into everything about them from the personality traits, the aesthetics, to the ideology. I have gotten lawful good on every alignment test I have ever taken. I am the target audience for paladins.

Because of my strong personal feelings about the subject, I usually try hard to stay out of these discussions, especially since the others earlier in the thread spoke so well on the subject. As someone who has always bought into the whole paladin shtick full-force, this kind of GM behavior turns my stomach. You really don't understand what a paladin is. Plenty of other people in this thread do.

I haven't made a paladin my first character in every edition I've played because I wanted to be a legalistic prick that nannies my party members and has to worry about become a featless fighter because he jaywalked. Nor do I want to be Stannis Baratheon, rigid and brittle as unworked iron. I want to play a front-line soldier on the battle against evil, a person dedicated to the ideals of good and justice, someone that believes in the best in people even when all he or she sees is the worst, someone that believes that people, their traditions, and their institutions should be treated as valid until proven otherwise, someone that tries to hold to principles in a world that doesn't share them. A knight in shining armor. That's the kind of character that captures my imagination. That is the role I want to play, and it's not the role you want to enforce.

What you think paladins are is not good for the game, not good for the community, and not lawful good either.

Silver Crusade

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Of course you think they did. You basically told them at the beginning that you were gunning for them. I've had GMs like that, too. They were quite happy with my performance as well.

You made it clear from the beginning what you thought paladins acted like, and they obliged you rather than have an argument and pay for an atonement.

I highly doubt they would have acted as they did with a different GM giving them different signals.


I'm totally fine with that. It was one of the options I was happy to explore right in my opening post here. I said I'd be happy to tell them up front, if that seemed like a not-breaking-PFS-rules thing to do. I don't think that in any way cheapens the outcome.

One of the paladin players went out to eat with me afterward, didn't voice any complaint and seemed to have had a good time. It seems to have gone fine... enough so that he wanted to hang out with me more and have good conversation.

*shrug*


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As a paladin lover as well as a lover of philosophy, I find this...heartbreaking. With all due respect, if I was your local VO, I would be deeply disappointed in you.

Honestly, there's nothing I can add here that hasn't already been said in terms of why this viewpoint is too stringent that hasn't been said already.

My only wish is that you would at least consider some of the statements, both opinion and actual guidelines listed in PFSOP Guide in the future regarding paladins at the table.


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If you were "deeply disappointed" in me for faulting a paladin for aiding smugglers and hiding evidence, I'd be disappointed in you right back.

PFSOP doesn't say "don't make them fall." It says "warn them." Which I would have, repeatedly, over the course of multiple incidents, if they ever got to a point that I would have needed to. They didn't. They were amazing.

PFSOP wasn't trampled and didn't even come into play. PFSOP was fine.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I commend the maturity of the Paladin players they handled a difficult situation very well.


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I agree. They were both great players. In fact, a bunch of other players were really cool too, helping the paladins and furthering their cause. It was a pretty cool night.

And that, I realize, puts this thread in perspective. This thread is mostly just casting aspersions and a tempest in a teapot. But the game itself was smooth and fun.

Realizing this, I think no further good can come of this thread, and it's time for me to bow out. However, if anyone else decides to keep posting in this topic, I hope it's fruitful for you.

I send my thanks to everyone, even the naysayers, because by stirring up a commotion, I knew that I must flat-out state how I was going to GM, so the players would have a head's up. Much appreciated.

Have a good night, everyone.

Liberty's Edge

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Here is hoping I never play with the OP as a GM in a PFS game, even if I am not playing a Paladin.

Great way to get people out of PFS real quick IMO.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Central Europe aka Thamius

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I think you missed the point, aboyd. The "difficult situation" wasn't the scenario, it was you as the GM.

4/5

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

To throw a couple coppers into the pot.

Firstly, I disagree with the notion that some of the posters in the thread have made that Taldor is not a legitimate lawful authority. I'd personally would hate to play my Paladin under a GM that wouldn't consider the laws of a major non-evil nation legitimate. So I understand where a GM could take issue with players helping an illegal cult that is aiding an enemy nation as against a paladin's code. [Though to be fair the goals of the Cult of the Dawnflower is heal the rift between Taldor and Qadira]

Here's the thing with alignment violations though, it's not about the GM who sees the big picture. It's about the character, and the way the character sees the situation.

That's why when a GM thinks that a player is going to break his code he's required to warn the player who is allowed to make an argument on why the player feels it isn't a violation for his character.

A GM going in with a hard line, my view is final isn't being fair to the players at the table.

For instance a Paladin in the Dalsine Affair may pick up the fact that it's a Taldan militia led by a local noble who is coming after the Cultist and that the fact that the group will murder people who put up no resistance.

Especially since the punishment for being a Sarenrae worshiper is not death usually.

That alone makes it easy for a Paladin to justify why helping this cult [the goals of which are to heal a rift between Taldor and Qadira] to escape from the lynch mob [though they wouldn't know that the one outside is actually legitimate] that is coming to kill them is not a violation of their paladin code. That's a perfectly valid justification on why helping the cultist is not an alignment violation.

Of course if the Paladin character doesn't see the militia an illegitimate authority then that character will have an issue and would potentially break his code.

Paladins will find themselves in situations where they will be tested in Pathfinder Society because of the roleplay restrictions the class has, but those same restrictions aren't a noose. They're a tool to guide the player and allows for even greater roleplaying opportunities even though it does carry the sting of failure.

A GM should go in with an open mind and present the facts as the Paladin knows them when deciding whether or not it's a code/alignment violation.

Sovereign Court 4/5

Jeffrey Fox wrote:


Firstly, I disagree with the notion that some of the posters in the thread have made that Taldor is not a legitimate lawful authority. I'd personally would hate to play my Paladin under a GM that wouldn't consider the laws of a major non-evil nation legitimate.

Of course Taldor is a legitimate lawful authority, just not the highest authority for a Paladin. A Paladin's powers come from his deity and so his main concern is are his actions in step with his deity.

I'm not trying to fire it up with you, because I agree with your post. I just think the OP situation of suggesting that Sarenrae would make her paladin fall because he aided Sarenrae worshippers in Taldor is wrong. Now are there ways that he could "aid" that could make him fall? Sure, but that puts the issue back on the actions of the paladin (where it should be) and not in the hands of the GM, who has an axe to grind going into the scenario.

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