Can a Paladin kill innocents for "their own good"?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Quote:


And stepping off a cliff isn't suicide, gravity is doing the killing, you just don't feel like stopping it.

The transference of kinetic energy between you and the object you hit kills you, not gravity. Gravity just gets you there.

The act and actor, in this picture, however, are the same.

+1 Ashiel. Agree wholeheartedly.


Ashiel wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:

+1 on recommending The Culling of Stratholme. Blizzard really had an awesome thing going in WarCraft III.

As for the fall of a deity, this has happened at least once, although we don't know for sure that an Outer God is responsible. Note that if a deity falls, Paladins tied to that deity may have a hard time resisting even if they want to.

IMHO, Arthas was totally justified in the culling of Stratholme. Those people were already essentially dead. It's just a matter of whether they're dead and slaves to the enemy or dead and free. Given the way undeath under the command of the dreadlords was presented, I'd be hard pressed to rule Arthas' actions in Stratholme as anything worse than Neutral and I'd dare say borderline good.

In fact, the only thing Arthas did in poor taste in the entirety of his campaign was betray the gnoll mercenaries and blame the burning of the ships on them. That was pretty terrible but in D&D, you're not expected to be entirely consistent in your alignment so at that point he's still a good guy just a good guy with a lapse of judgment.

What most people - especially the WoW fanbois (I play WoW too but WC III has my heart) - forget is that Arthas was pretty damn noble and altruistic right up until the end (the end in this case being the acquisition of Frostmourne). Even his taking up Frostmourne was done in Altruism. When Muradin Bronzebeard read the inscription and noted that the sword was cursed and dangerous to the wielder ("rends the spirit"), Arthas said with bitter sincerity "I will gladly bear any curse to save my people".

What Arthas hadn't counted on was the loss of his own soul in doing so and his becoming a sort of puppet in the process. At the end of the campaign it notes that he wanders off into Northrend's wilderness for quite some time, going mad from the whispers of Nerzul and the Frostmourne. Later he returns as the Death Knight champion of the Lich King and begins...

...a redeemed Arthas? HERESY!

Jokes aside, that would have been an interesting conclusion to his story arc. The books did imply Arthas still had a bit of good left in him, though that was not mentioned at all in Warcraft III and only mildly hinted at in World of Warcraft up until his final defeat in Icecrown Citadel. I am also of the (arguably unpopular) opinion that Garrosh shouldn't have been killed. That, and Thrall needing some kind of comeuppance for cheating in Mak'gora. That duel is supposed to be 1 vs 1, and using Shaman magic (calling the elements to help out) is NOT 1 vs 1. Too bad, though at least now Illidan is making a comeback.


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Angstspawn wrote:

Lets assume a ruling LG decides to end the world and take to heaven most souls. Forbidding suicide in his ethos he gave to his most faithful followers and paladins the order to kill all the population, especially the sinless ones.

1. How should paladins of that deity react?
2. Accepting the order, would paladins keep their status and alignment?
3. If some paladins refuse, can they still be paladin?
4. If paladins refusing loose their status, what should be their new alignment?

Depending on the campaign:

1) Like Abraham, they might balk at the request, but follow through (always faithful).
2) Yes.
3) No. Not to that deity, anyway.
4) Their status =/= their alignment. Not every LG fighter is a paladin. They would lose their paladin status, but could still be LG. (If you're asking: "Does disobedience shift one from Lawful to something else?", I'd say no. Alignment is more than a "1 action determines it" mechanic.

Sadly, to be true to their faith, at least 1 paladin would have to remain behind as he cannot kill himself after he has helped kill his brother/sister paladins. Makes kind of a cool "tragic hero" to be forced to make that ultimate sacrifice, and perhaps remain in Hell despite having been the most faithful of all his order.


The best thing I can add is that different deities/faiths have different definitions of "innocent" people.

Scarab Sages

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You should read The Redemption Engine

It's pretty much about this exact scenario, and it's a really good novel to boot.


Angstspawn wrote:

Lets assume a ruling LG decides to end the world and take to heaven most souls. Forbidding suicide in his ethos he gave to his most faithful followers and paladins the order to kill all the population, especially the sinless ones.

1. How should paladins of that deity react?
2. Accepting the order, would paladins keep their status and alignment?
3. If some paladins refuse, can they still be paladin?
4. If paladins refusing loose their status, what should be their new alignment?

See Book of Vile Darkness ("Intent and Context", page 6-7). In a RPG with alignment (and every action is connect with alignment), killing innocents like children and maiden is a VERY evil act.

Paladin's order and paladin's code is two different things - see Book of the Exalted Deeds ("Divided Loyalties", page 10). If a paladin refuse, that paladin onored their code - protect the innocents. Is so simple.


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I think the answer was posted 3 years ago in this thread.

Grand Lodge

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Angstspawn wrote:

Lets assume a ruling LG decides to end the world and take to heaven most souls. Forbidding suicide in his ethos he gave to his most faithful followers and paladins the order to kill all the population, especially the sinless ones.

1. How should paladins of that deity react?
2. Accepting the order, would paladins keep their status and alignment?
3. If some paladins refuse, can they still be paladin?
4. If paladins refusing loose their status, what should be their new alignment?

What?!

No! No to all of this! What even . . . I mean, wha-? I don't, I can't .... I mean, seriously, what?

Is this what all of our alignment debate has lead to?! Dear god what have we done?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Angstspawn wrote:


I wasn't giving much more detail because it's to consider that gods are supposed to have insights beyond what mortals can have and, as deities, very seldom explain, debate or justify their decisions to mortals.

They have more insight and at the same time they have less. Dieties have a form of tunnel vision because their awareness is defined around their portfolio. They tend to have blind spots outside of it. And they have considerably less free will than mortals because their concerns are wrapped up around their portfolio, that's why mortals are so important as chess pieces.


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The metagame is the important part here. There is no world with gods, just a DM and players. What sort of story are you trying to tell? Do you players understand what you're doing? Are you railroading them?

You could make a brilliant narrative with either option in this case, but you shouldn't club your players with it.

Beyond that, an all powerful LG god wants to "bring home" tons of followers and his best idea is to order his paladins and clerics to stab them to death and burn them?

That's weaksauce.

Open a portal to the home plane and have them walk through it. They can live there mortal and die happily of old age and then live there immortal.

It's a LG god. It's not going to settle for a lame murderfest. Too many options for chaotic mistakes happening. To much chance for traumatic harm.


PF, like D&D 3th edition, use the objective approach for the alignment. From the Book of Vile Darkness:

BoVD wrote:

(..) On a larger scale, an evil priest might believe that to better serve his dark god, he needs to destroy an entire village and sacrifice all the residents. Is that evil? Yes. Does the priest see it as evil? No, he sees it as a demonstration of his unending devotion and an aspect of his faith. Or perhaps he does see it as evil and doesn’t care.

A dictator might order the elimination of an entire race of good creatures because she believes them to be evil. She might seek to dominate the world and bring its people under her unyielding fist. But such a despot could also believe that she is a good person and that the world will be better off with her guidance. This attitude makes her no less a villain.

A king who orders the paladin "Go and kill all the innocent of the kingdom" is not a good king. And a paladin who obeys his command is not an honorable crusader. And for the Book of Exalted Deeds:

BoED wrote:
(...) If she has reason to suspect corruption, either in the court or in her own order, the paladin must attempt to uncover it, though it might mean being cast out of her order, punished under local law, or both. Her paladinhood and her exalted status remain intact, since she acted in the cause of good even when that required questioning the legitimacy of authority. Magistrates or knightly superiors who serve the cause of evil while posing as agents of good are not legitimate authority, and the paladin is right for exposing their corruption.

I want to make an example. Suppose a paladin is in the Cheliax, and that a judge orders execute a rebellious citizen. However ,we all know that Cheliax and Hell go hand in hand, that the magistrate is an evil and corrupt man, and that applies a cruel and oppressive law - so, what do you doing? Do you really believe that executing an innocent for an evil judge is a good act?

Macchiavelli said "The end justifies the means", but for this RPG the subjective approach is defeated by the objective approach. Are you a paladin and decide to kill a woman because she is the lover of an elf, and you consider elves an evil race? Sure, you can do it - but then there will be consequences. You decide to kill a woman who, in your saying, has committed a grave sin, but you killed an innocent for your racism . And this, for me, is an evil act.

Community Manager

Removed popcorn posts—they don't really help the discussion. In addition, please keep it civil, thank you.


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Ashiel wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:

+1 on recommending The Culling of Stratholme. Blizzard really had an awesome thing going in WarCraft III.

As for the fall of a deity, this has happened at least once, although we don't know for sure that an Outer God is responsible. Note that if a deity falls, Paladins tied to that deity may have a hard time resisting even if they want to.

IMHO, Arthas was totally justified in the culling of Stratholme. Those people were already essentially dead. It's just a matter of whether they're dead and slaves to the enemy or dead and free. Given the way undeath under the command of the dreadlords was presented, I'd be hard pressed to rule Arthas' actions in Stratholme as anything worse than Neutral and I'd dare say borderline good.

There's a difference between a tragic hero and a sympathetic villain. Arthas was a Paladin when that meant something. The heroic choice would be to try to save the people. Find a way to use the power granted to a champion of the Light to overcome that evil. It might be difficult, and it might be a doomed effort, but that's what a hero does.

He chose the expedient way, the way that can be justified with enough rationalization and self-deceit, the way that required the mass murder of innocent individuals, the way that saved no one. That's what a villain does.

Voluntary mass murder of the innocent is a clear marker that a choice is not heroic (and good), but rather it is villainous (and evil).


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Angstspawn wrote:

Lets assume a ruling LG decides to end the world and take to heaven most souls. Forbidding suicide in his ethos he gave to his most faithful followers and paladins the order to kill all the population, especially the sinless ones.

1. How should paladins of that deity react?
2. Accepting the order, would paladins keep their status and alignment?
3. If some paladins refuse, can they still be paladin?
4. If paladins refusing loose their status, what should be their new alignment?

Why would a LG deity not just use their godly power to end their worshippers lives painlessly in their sleep if they have come to the conclusion that the world needs to end?

If they have the power to destroy the world surely they have the power to painlessly end their followers lives and bring them into paradise?

Said another way, I reject the validity of your very premise and question. It makes 0 sense unless looked at through the filter of a RAW game rule question with no thought to story or common sense in world building.


Bandw2 wrote:
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I'd say Good, not Lawful, should be the dominant voice in the paladin's head when confronted with an innocent lycantropy victim. Let's not do this, though. Please no.
this is literally all i do in paladin threads.

This is literally all I do in Paladin threads.

Scythia wrote:

There's a difference between a tragic hero and a sympathetic villain. Arthas was a Paladin when that meant something. The heroic choice would be to try to save the people. Find a way to use the power granted to a champion of the Light to overcome that evil. It might be difficult, and it might be a doomed effort, but that's what a hero does.

He chose the expedient way, the way that can be justified with enough rationalization and self-deceit, the way that required the mass murder of innocent individuals, the way that saved no one. That's what a villain does.

Voluntary mass murder of the innocent is a clear marker that a choice is not heroic (and good), but rather it is villainous (and evil).

+1

Honestly, when I think "Paladin", the name that pops into my head is Vash the Stampede. Sure, he makes mistakes and he may not follow every little rule/law (nobody is perfect); but he never hesitates to do the right thing, even when against impossible odds.


Scythia wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:

+1 on recommending The Culling of Stratholme. Blizzard really had an awesome thing going in WarCraft III.

As for the fall of a deity, this has happened at least once, although we don't know for sure that an Outer God is responsible. Note that if a deity falls, Paladins tied to that deity may have a hard time resisting even if they want to.

IMHO, Arthas was totally justified in the culling of Stratholme. Those people were already essentially dead. It's just a matter of whether they're dead and slaves to the enemy or dead and free. Given the way undeath under the command of the dreadlords was presented, I'd be hard pressed to rule Arthas' actions in Stratholme as anything worse than Neutral and I'd dare say borderline good.

There's a difference between a tragic hero and a sympathetic villain. Arthas was a Paladin when that meant something. The heroic choice would be to try to save the people. Find a way to use the power granted to a champion of the Light to overcome that evil. It might be difficult, and it might be a doomed effort, but that's what a hero does.

He chose the expedient way, the way that can be justified with enough rationalization and self-deceit, the way that required the mass murder of innocent individuals, the way that saved no one. That's what a villain does.

Voluntary mass murder of the innocent is a clear marker that a choice is not heroic (and good), but rather it is villainous (and evil).

Only of there happens to be a Convenient mcguffin to stop the threat. If it is something that there is No hope for, being the hopeless optimist cam get EVEN more people killed siMply because you cannot make the choice.

A perfect example of this is zombie movies. The typical cliche of someone being bitten but hasnt turned yet. One of the characters fights to spare him saying, he ccould potentially save him some how. Then the guy ends up turning and kills some of his Friends. If they just shot him in the first place it would have been ok.


Scythia wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:

+1 on recommending The Culling of Stratholme. Blizzard really had an awesome thing going in WarCraft III.

As for the fall of a deity, this has happened at least once, although we don't know for sure that an Outer God is responsible. Note that if a deity falls, Paladins tied to that deity may have a hard time resisting even if they want to.

IMHO, Arthas was totally justified in the culling of Stratholme. Those people were already essentially dead. It's just a matter of whether they're dead and slaves to the enemy or dead and free. Given the way undeath under the command of the dreadlords was presented, I'd be hard pressed to rule Arthas' actions in Stratholme as anything worse than Neutral and I'd dare say borderline good.

There's a difference between a tragic hero and a sympathetic villain. Arthas was a Paladin when that meant something. The heroic choice would be to try to save the people. Find a way to use the power granted to a champion of the Light to overcome that evil. It might be difficult, and it might be a doomed effort, but that's what a hero does.

He chose the expedient way, the way that can be justified with enough rationalization and self-deceit, the way that required the mass murder of innocent individuals, the way that saved no one. That's what a villain does.

Voluntary mass murder of the innocent is a clear marker that a choice is not heroic (and good), but rather it is villainous (and evil).

For the most part I agree, though I think a Paladin can be forgiven if they have to make the choice for the greater good, but for that to be true it must be something that is many orders of magnitude greater. For the cost of one family, the paladin better be saving a medium sized metropolis. And that's only after ALL other possibilities have been exhausted.

Even then I'd probably require Atonement + quest.

Really, Paladins are just better off throwing themselves at the Evil in the vain hopes of winning and not surviving to see the aftermath.


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Pixie, the Leng Queen wrote:
Scythia wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:

+1 on recommending The Culling of Stratholme. Blizzard really had an awesome thing going in WarCraft III.

As for the fall of a deity, this has happened at least once, although we don't know for sure that an Outer God is responsible. Note that if a deity falls, Paladins tied to that deity may have a hard time resisting even if they want to.

IMHO, Arthas was totally justified in the culling of Stratholme. Those people were already essentially dead. It's just a matter of whether they're dead and slaves to the enemy or dead and free. Given the way undeath under the command of the dreadlords was presented, I'd be hard pressed to rule Arthas' actions in Stratholme as anything worse than Neutral and I'd dare say borderline good.

There's a difference between a tragic hero and a sympathetic villain. Arthas was a Paladin when that meant something. The heroic choice would be to try to save the people. Find a way to use the power granted to a champion of the Light to overcome that evil. It might be difficult, and it might be a doomed effort, but that's what a hero does.

He chose the expedient way, the way that can be justified with enough rationalization and self-deceit, the way that required the mass murder of innocent individuals, the way that saved no one. That's what a villain does.

Voluntary mass murder of the innocent is a clear marker that a choice is not heroic (and good), but rather it is villainous (and evil).

Only of there happens to be a Convenient mcguffin to stop the threat. If it is something that there is No hope for, being the hopeless optimist cam get EVEN more people killed siMply because you cannot make the choice.

A perfect example of this is zombie movies. The typical cliche of someone being bitten but hasnt turned yet. One of the characters fights to spare him saying, he ccould potentially save him some how. Then...

I think you are confusing the practical choice with the good choice. The idea of the noble hopeless fight is one that had been around since before writing systems were developed, and the Paladin is drawn from that tradition.

A Paladin does not commit the lesser evil to prevent the greater evil, a Paladin works toward the best outcome even if it is hopeless and leaves the practical answers in the hands of good or neutral aligned Fighters and Rogues.

The idea of playing a Paladin the way you're suggesting spawned it's own class in WoTC's Complete Scoundrel (Grey Guard), so if you want to play a compromising Paladin you should probably look there.


Scythia wrote:
He chose the expedient way, the way that can be justified with enough rationalization and self-deceit, the way that required the mass murder of innocent individuals, the way that saved no one. That's what a villain does.

Actually, taking the option that is less "heroic" but more pragmatic is a pretty solidly antiheroic act. :)


Shadowkire wrote:

{. . .}

If you BS that option away, the elves of Kyonin open their planetary gate and evacuate Golarion's people to Castrovel.
{. . .}

I've been getting the impression that most of the Elves wouldn't try to evacuate most of the non-Elvish people of Golarion, except for a few "pets", and might even give those Elves of truly good intent trouble if they tried to do more than this. Of course, such an impending disaster would give the Winter Council enormous power and likely even resurrect it if it had been disbanded. Elves are pretty much Human, after all . . . .

EDIT:

Pixie, the Leng Queen wrote:

{. . .}

A perfect example of this is zombie movies. The typical cliche of someone being bitten but hasnt turned yet. One of the characters fights to spare him saying, he ccould potentially save him some how. Then the guy ends up turning and kills some of his Friends. If they just shot him in the first place it would have been ok.

Now, now -- we don't call them "Zombies" any more, we call them "Mobile Deceased"(*).

(*)If you get the reference, you probably know how that ends . . . .


Knitifine wrote:
I think you are confusing the practical choice with the good choice. The idea of the noble hopeless fight is one that had been around since before writing systems were developed, and the Paladin is drawn from that tradition.

Could you show me where the CRB's Code of Conduct says "Must pursue entirely hopeless idealism rather than actually save people"" I must have skimmed that bit. :P


Knitifine wrote:
Pixie, the Leng Queen wrote:
Scythia wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:

+1 on recommending The Culling of Stratholme. Blizzard really had an awesome thing going in WarCraft III.

As for the fall of a deity, this has happened at least once, although we don't know for sure that an Outer God is responsible. Note that if a deity falls, Paladins tied to that deity may have a hard time resisting even if they want to.

IMHO, Arthas was totally justified in the culling of Stratholme. Those people were already essentially dead. It's just a matter of whether they're dead and slaves to the enemy or dead and free. Given the way undeath under the command of the dreadlords was presented, I'd be hard pressed to rule Arthas' actions in Stratholme as anything worse than Neutral and I'd dare say borderline good.

There's a difference between a tragic hero and a sympathetic villain. Arthas was a Paladin when that meant something. The heroic choice would be to try to save the people. Find a way to use the power granted to a champion of the Light to overcome that evil. It might be difficult, and it might be a doomed effort, but that's what a hero does.

He chose the expedient way, the way that can be justified with enough rationalization and self-deceit, the way that required the mass murder of innocent individuals, the way that saved no one. That's what a villain does.

Voluntary mass murder of the innocent is a clear marker that a choice is not heroic (and good), but rather it is villainous (and evil).

Only of there happens to be a Convenient mcguffin to stop the threat. If it is something that there is No hope for, being the hopeless optimist cam get EVEN more people killed siMply because you cannot make the choice.

A perfect example of this is zombie movies. The typical cliche of someone being bitten but hasnt turned yet. One of the characters fights to spare him saying, he

...

That is reckless immaturity and naivety that gets people killed for no reason at all. In the face of a disease with no cure that turns people into monsters if full gestation happens what do you expect the Paladin to do? Stand around hoping for a miracle and just let the guy suffer in horrid agony as he is slowly turned into an inhuman monstrosity?

Honestly, if anything, THAT is the cruel and heartless path.


Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Knitifine wrote:
I think you are confusing the practical choice with the good choice. The idea of the noble hopeless fight is one that had been around since before writing systems were developed, and the Paladin is drawn from that tradition.
Could you show me where the CRB's Code of Conduct says "Must pursue entirely hopeless idealism rather than actually save people"" I must have skimmed that bit. :P

"A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class features except proficiencies if she ever willingly commits an evil act." Pathfinder Core Rulebook, Page 63

Murder is an evil act, even if it might save lives. Even if it will save lives. A Paladin cannot commit murder, and thus if the only solution is murder their options include.

1. Stand about helplessly.
2. Commit murder and lose Paladin-hood.
3. Don't murder, and attempt to find another way even if there isn't one.

Of those options, 3 is the most rational if you want to keep your Paladin status.

It sucks when you're the Paladin faced with that dilemma, but that's how it is. Sometime a Paladin is not the right person for the job, which... shouldn't really shock anybody.


Knitifine wrote:
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Knitifine wrote:
I think you are confusing the practical choice with the good choice. The idea of the noble hopeless fight is one that had been around since before writing systems were developed, and the Paladin is drawn from that tradition.
Could you show me where the CRB's Code of Conduct says "Must pursue entirely hopeless idealism rather than actually save people"" I must have skimmed that bit. :P

"A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class features except proficiencies if she ever willingly commits an evil act." Pathfinder Core Rulebook, Page 63

Murder is an evil act, even if it might save lives. Even if it will save lives. A Paladin cannot commit murder, and thus if the only solution is murder their option include.

1. Stand about helplessly.
2. Commit murder and lose Paladin-hood.
3. Don't murder, and attempt to find another way even if there is one.

Of those options, 3 is the most rational if you want to keep your Paladin status.

And if there is no.cure? Where would he search? What would he.do? Easy to say "well he should do something" but what exactly would be that something? Its easy to tell a doctor he shouls find a cure for cancer. But the actual quest is almost impossible.


Scythia wrote:


There's a difference between a tragic hero and a sympathetic villain. Arthas was a Paladin when that meant something. The heroic choice would be to try to save the people. Find a way to use the power granted to a champion of the Light to overcome that evil. It might be difficult, and it might be a doomed effort, but that's what a hero does.

He chose the expedient way, the way that can be justified with enough rationalization and self-deceit, the way that required the mass murder of innocent individuals, the way that saved no one. That's what a villain does.

Voluntary mass murder of the innocent is a clear marker that a choice is not heroic (and good), but rather it is villainous (and evil).

Eh, I wouldn't say the expedient way.

There is literally no cure for the Plague of Undeath. Even the avatar/gods of the Holy Light, the Naaru, the power that Arthas draws from is unable to cure a man who was ailing from it. They could only make sure he doesn't rise again as the undead.

Wiping the town out was probably the best option. Otherwise their souls would be trapped in undead bodies, tormented for an eternity whilst watching third person as they ripped their loved ones apart.

But NAH, he was being totally villainous.


Moreover, in the case of the ambulatory deceased and you fail to eliminate the infected before they convert (so to speak), your lack of "pragmatic action" actually increases the amount of "evil" that must ultimately be fought.

Given the Rovagug scenario I posited above, any creature left alive on the planet feeds the beast until such time as he is able to escape Golarion and thus threaten the rest of the multiverse.

Perhaps this deity that is deciding to end the world and thus instructs his Paladin to ensure that Rovagug does not consume their souls, but ensures their heavenly reward is not only a pragmatic path, but a righteous one.

All presumtions of "murder" and "sanctity of life" are thrown out the window in apocalyptic scenarios.


Pixie, the Leng Queen wrote:
Knitifine wrote:
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Knitifine wrote:
I think you are confusing the practical choice with the good choice. The idea of the noble hopeless fight is one that had been around since before writing systems were developed, and the Paladin is drawn from that tradition.
Could you show me where the CRB's Code of Conduct says "Must pursue entirely hopeless idealism rather than actually save people"" I must have skimmed that bit. :P

"A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class features except proficiencies if she ever willingly commits an evil act." Pathfinder Core Rulebook, Page 63

Murder is an evil act, even if it might save lives. Even if it will save lives. A Paladin cannot commit murder, and thus if the only solution is murder their option include.

1. Stand about helplessly.
2. Commit murder and lose Paladin-hood.
3. Don't murder, and attempt to find another way even if there is one.

Of those options, 3 is the most rational if you want to keep your Paladin status.

And if there is no.cure? Where would he search? What would he.do? Easy to say "well he should do something" but what exactly would be that something? Its easy to tell a doctor he shouls find a cure for cancer. But the actual quest is almost impossible.

It depend entirely on the setting, character and their abilities.

Example - Warcraft III: Culling of Stratholme. Clear the parameter around the city, send runners to keep travelers away and evacuate nearby locations, send for priest of the light and work to furthering research to stop the plague in the future, evacuate any uninfected, and if there is somehow still time after doing as much as possible to get containment ready see to individual's comfort so their death is as peaceful as possible.

Example - The situation posed by the OP. The deity has clearly gone mad, likely from being influenced by some terrifying power and if they haven't already become evil they are well on their way to it. The proper course of action is to refuse the order, make sure other paladins refuse the order and put together a force of heroes to stop the apocalypse, calling upon the other deities to pull this single mad god into line.


Quote:


The deity has clearly gone mad..

Has he? How do you know?


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Quintain wrote:

Moreover, in the case of the ambulatory deceased and you fail to eliminate the infected before they convert (so to speak), your lack of "pragmatic action" actually increases the amount of "evil" that must ultimately be fought.

Given the Rovagug scenario I posited above, any creature left alive on the planet feeds the beast until such time as he is able to escape Golarion and thus threaten the rest of the multiverse.

Perhaps this deity that is deciding to end the world and thus instructs his Paladin to ensure that Rovagug does not consume their souls, but ensures their heavenly reward is not only a pragmatic path, but a righteous one.

All presumtions of "murder" and "sanctity of life" are thrown out the window in apocalyptic scenarios.

Okay. Let's stop right here.

You have ignored literally everyone correcting you about Rovagug, and that's the first problem. You continually attempt to contrive even more ludicrous scenarios in order to fulfill this "Unstoppable end of the world" premise.

The end of the world does not alter murder or the sanctity of life. In case you are not aware, the universe we live in cannot sustain life indefinitely and there is evidence that points to quite a few possible ends. This does not mean that murder or the sanctity of life change, nor will it mean it changes as the end of the actual world come closer, at least not to a system of objective morals.

So basically. Stop it, you're spamming the thread and ignoring people who point out your scenario has serious flaws. (Somehow the number of souls Rovugug consumes makes a difference, somehow the afterlives of the pathfinder setting aren't horrible mindwipe scenarios, somehow none of the combine forces of all the entities that have been popping up left and right since the first sealing cannot reseal him, etc etc etc.)


Quintain wrote:
Quote:


The deity has clearly gone mad..
Has he? How do you know?

"Let's destroy the world and abscond all of my followers to heaven." is a classic evil cult leader plan, it's also completely bonkers.

This is not a new scenario, the fact that a god had decided it does not mean they don't have the same alignment as a mere mortal cult leader, which pretty much always included one evil component.


Quote:


"Let's destroy the world and abscond all of my followers to heaven." is a classic evil cult leader plan, it's also completely bonkers.

Not all of my followers, *everyone*. And that is to prevent them from becoming food to a creature that at a certain point can't be stopped.

Quote:


You have ignored literally everyone correcting you about Rovagug, and that's the first problem. You continually attempt to contrive even more ludicrous scenarios in order to fulfill this "Unstoppable end of the world" premise.

Last I checked this is an RPG -- ludicrous scenarios happen all the time. If you want to not accept the premise, you have to disprove the premise. I have yet to see that premise being debated.

I'm looking for a larger discussion of in-game morals -- is dying by whatever means a preferable fate if your life allows greater evil to grow?

Moreover, Paladin status is determined by the deity. You cannot lose Paladin status if you are following the dictates of your deity. A paladin is first and foremost a warrior of his deity.

Your "you cannot do this as a paladin" when that "cannot" is directly contradictory to the dictates of the deity is the ludicrous part of your definition of paladin.

Murder and killing are not synonymous. Killing of an innocent is not necessarily murder. Murder is a legal definition. A deity transcends mortal legalities.

As a paladin, if your deity orders it, you do it. All else be damned.


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Quintain wrote:
Quote:


"Let's destroy the world and abscond all of my followers to heaven." is a classic evil cult leader plan, it's also completely bonkers.

Not all of my followers, *everyone*. And that is to prevent them from becoming food to a creature that at a certain point can't be stopped.

You're nitpicking, the scenario doesn't change no matter how many people you desire to abscond with. You are murdering innocent people, consigning them to a horrible afterlife (with varying levels of horrible depending on alignment).

And again, your scenario does not make sense. "Rovugug has been starved for years, but now the souls of the world will make him strong enough to beat all those people who beat him before, plus the new upstarts, also he now has the power to beat them long enough to consume those souls, after being starved, because starving makes you stronger..?"

Sovereign Court

Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Scythia wrote:
He chose the expedient way, the way that can be justified with enough rationalization and self-deceit, the way that required the mass murder of innocent individuals, the way that saved no one. That's what a villain does.
Actually, taking the option that is less "heroic" but more pragmatic is a pretty solidly antiheroic act. :)

Frankly - I'd peg most hardcore antiheroes as solidly neutral on the good-evil axis.

Blade.

The Punisher.

etc

Neutral. Not good. And both often flirt with going full on evil. (Probably are in some incarnations.)


Quintain wrote:
Last I checked this is an RPG -- ludicrous scenarios happen all the time.

This is false equivocation, as the type of lubricious scenarios that happen in Pathfinder are of a different bend, one that always has a solution due to the desire to create a narrative rather than be a dead end thought experiment.

Quintain wrote:
If you want to not accept the premise, you have to disprove the premise. I have yet to see that premise being debated.

Not I don't. You proposed a loaded question which included "Rovugug an entity with the follow characteristics that do not match the characteristics the entity has in the source material exists." as a already proven premise, but it is not. Rovugug the character exists, but your version of Rovugug does not, and until you can posit a scenario in which the character exists and makes sense the thought experiment of what to do about him is pointless.

Quintain wrote:
I'm looking for a larger discussion of in-game morals -- is dying by whatever means a preferable fate if your life allows greater evil to grow?

Then start your own topic.


Knitifine wrote:
Quintain wrote:
Quote:


"Let's destroy the world and abscond all of my followers to heaven." is a classic evil cult leader plan, it's also completely bonkers.

Not all of my followers, *everyone*. And that is to prevent them from becoming food to a creature that at a certain point can't be stopped.

You're nitpicking, the scenario doesn't change no matter how many people you desire to abscond with. You are murdering innocent people, consigning them to a horrible afterlife (with varying levels of horrible depending on alignment).

And again, your scenario does not make sense. "Rovugug has been starved for years, but now the souls of the world will make him strong enough to beat all those people who beat him before, plus the new upstarts, also he now has the power to beat them long enough to consume those souls, after being starved, because starving makes you stronger..?"

Again, no. Killing the innocent puts them in their heavenly reward on the upper planes. This is a good result of a life well lived.

While I'm not going back to re-read everything I wrote previously, I don't recall stating that Rovagug has been "starved" all these years. He's just been trapped. His followers sacrifices could have easily been feeding him in captivity, which allowed his escape, and now the millions of souls that populate the planet (not including the various co-existant planes) will further strengthen him.

I stated that by killing the populace of Golarion would starve him of the soul power to further threaten the multiverse. This is analogous to cutting off a limb that has gangrene. Sacrifice the limb to save the body.

Once he consumes all these souls -- which requires the vessels of said souls to be alive, that will allow him to further threaten the multiverse.

Your only chance at this point is to slam the door and prevent him from growing more powerful -- you can only evacuate so many people, the rest will become power for Rovagug.

Edit: If you don't want to discuss the scenario, simply don't respond to my posts. No need to get upset about it. I'm well within the subject matter. I'm simply fleshing out the details, while you are trying to refute the premise.

Sovereign Court

Quintain wrote:


Last I checked this is an RPG -- ludicrous scenarios happen all the time.

Mostly because people such as yourself make up silly & contrived situations in an attempt to hose paladins.


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Quintain wrote:

Moreover, Paladin status is determined by the deity. You cannot lose Paladin status if you are following the dictates of your deity. A paladin is first and foremost a warrior of his deity.

Your "you cannot do this as a paladin" when that "cannot" is directly contradictory to the dictates of the deity is the ludicrous part of your definition of paladin.

Murder and killing are not synonymous. Killing of an innocent is not necessarily murder. Murder is a legal definition. A deity transcends mortal legalities.

As a paladin, if your deity orders it, you do it. All else be damned

Paladin status is not determined by deity. You are mistaken.

You can lose your Paladin status if you ever commit an evil act, period. I already cited the Core Rulebook, you are wrong.

Your idea a Paladin is first and foremost a warrior of their deity is wrong. Try 4e DnD if you want to see a Paladin of that nature.

My "ludicrous" definition of a Paladin is rules compliant, yours is not.

Murder is not a legal definition, there is a legal definition for murder but it is also a word. A deity's status of transcending mortal laws is not a truth in the source material of the deities in Pathfinder and DnD (read: Primarily Greek and Norse mythology where the gods were just as flawed as mortals).

And on that final note, I'm done with this conversation. Talking to Quintain is a awful chore I no longer care to give my free time to.


Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Quintain wrote:


Last I checked this is an RPG -- ludicrous scenarios happen all the time.
Mostly because people such as yourself make up silly & contrived situations in an attempt to hose paladins.

If you look at my original response, I answered that not only would the Paladin retain his paladinhood, he would also stay lawful good in my view.

So how is that "hosing" said paladin? I'm not the one using contrived absolutes like "Paladins can't murder" to hose paladins.


Knitifine wrote:
Quintain wrote:

Moreover, Paladin status is determined by the deity. You cannot lose Paladin status if you are following the dictates of your deity. A paladin is first and foremost a warrior of his deity.

Your "you cannot do this as a paladin" when that "cannot" is directly contradictory to the dictates of the deity is the ludicrous part of your definition of paladin.

Murder and killing are not synonymous. Killing of an innocent is not necessarily murder. Murder is a legal definition. A deity transcends mortal legalities.

As a paladin, if your deity orders it, you do it. All else be damned

Paladin status is not determined by deity. You are mistake.

You can lose your Paladin status if you ever commit an evil act, period. I already cited the Core Rulebook, you are wrong.

Your idea a Paladin is first and foremost a warrior of their deity is wrong. Try 4e DnD if you want to see a Paladin of that nature.

My "ludicrous" definition of a Paladin is rules compliant, yours is not.

Murder is not a legal definition, there is a legal definition for murder but it is also a word. A deity's status of transcending mortal laws is not a truth in the source material of the deities in Pathfinder and DnD (read: Primarily Greek and Norse mythology where the gods were just as flawed as mortals).

Murder is very much a legal definition. Killing != murder. Murder is killing contrary to the current laws. There are plenty of examples of killing that aren't murder. Killing of enemy combatants in War happens to be an easy one.

Paladins gain their power through worship of a "deity" which is manifestation of a particular belief-set (some of them even have names).

Paladins can lose their paladinhood through two methods, the first is disobidience to the deity ("belief-set")...the second is change of alignment. You seem to think that killing in this scenario is murder and thus he is committing an evil act.

I do not see it that way. Your definition is a massive straight-jacket of ridiculous morality that pretty much ensures that there will never be paladins that do not fall.

Mine, at least, gives them some room to make proper moral decisions that aren't based on situation-less absolutes.


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I think that, from the amount of oblivious, stubborn, objectively incorrect crap coming from Quintain, we can likely all come to the conclusion that he is a troll poster and should be ignored so that the real discussion may continue.


Bloodrealm wrote:
I think that, from the amount of oblivious, stubborn, objectively incorrect crap coming from Quintain, we can likely all come to the conclusion that he is a troll poster and should be ignored so that the real discussion may continue.

You can continue as you like. Feel free.


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So why is this deity torturing its paladins and followers? Wouldn't it be better to instruct the paladins to gather the faithful and have the clerics shift them to the celestial planes? The people are still saved no blood is shed.


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Evil Finnish Chaos Beast wrote:

...a redeemed Arthas? HERESY!

Jokes aside, that would have been an interesting conclusion to his story arc. The books did imply Arthas still had a bit of good left in him, though that was not mentioned at all in Warcraft III and only mildly hinted at in World of Warcraft up until his final defeat in Icecrown Citadel. I am also of the (arguably unpopular) opinion that Garrosh shouldn't have been killed. That, and Thrall needing some kind of comeuppance for cheating in Mak'gora. That duel is supposed to be 1 vs 1, and using Shaman magic (calling the elements to help out) is NOT 1 vs 1. Too bad, though at least now Illidan is making a comeback.

Actually in WC-III: The Frozen Throne, when Arthas is heading to Northrend to try to save the Lich King and stuff, he displays some of his lost humanity with Kel'Thuzad, in a moment that's actually somewhat touching. He remarks that despite everything, Kel'Thuzad has become a good friend to him. It's clear he recognizes how odd it seems to say so yet it is true. It was a rare glimpse of the old Arthas even during his period as a Death Knight of Nerzul.

Arthas and Kerrigan are my favorite characters from their respective series'. Both are amazingly cool and well designed.


Grailknight wrote:
So why is this deity torturing its paladins and followers? Wouldn't it be better to instruct the paladins to gather the faithful and have the clerics shift them to the celestial planes? The people are still saved no blood is shed.

Because that would be called "taking a third option".

We don't do that in Paladin threads.

Seriously though, the premise of this thread is contradictory for a number of reasons. The easy way to remove these contradictions is to redefine alignments and change the Golarion lore, which takes care of everything nicely. Of course, if you do that all you are left with is "Is this act evil? If the GM wants it to be, yes." and the question is mute.


Quintain wrote:
Knitifine wrote:
Quintain wrote:
Quote:


"Let's destroy the world and abscond all of my followers to heaven." is a classic evil cult leader plan, it's also completely bonkers.

Not all of my followers, *everyone*. And that is to prevent them from becoming food to a creature that at a certain point can't be stopped.

You're nitpicking, the scenario doesn't change no matter how many people you desire to abscond with. You are murdering innocent people, consigning them to a horrible afterlife (with varying levels of horrible depending on alignment).

And again, your scenario does not make sense. "Rovugug has been starved for years, but now the souls of the world will make him strong enough to beat all those people who beat him before, plus the new upstarts, also he now has the power to beat them long enough to consume those souls, after being starved, because starving makes you stronger..?"

Again, no. Killing the innocent puts them in their heavenly reward on the upper planes. This is a good result of a life well lived.

While I'm not going back to re-read everything I wrote previously, I don't recall stating that Rovagug has been "starved" all these years. He's just been trapped. His followers sacrifices could have easily been feeding him in captivity, which allowed his escape, and now the millions of souls that populate the planet (not including the various co-existant planes) will further strengthen him.

I stated that by killing the populace of Golarion would starve him of the soul power to further threaten the multiverse. This is analogous to cutting off a limb that has gangrene. Sacrifice the limb to save the body.

Once he consumes all these souls -- which requires the vessels of said souls to be alive, that will allow him to further threaten the multiverse.

Your only chance at this point is to slam the door and prevent him from growing more powerful -- you can only evacuate so many people, the rest will become power for Rovagug.

Edit: If...

No - THIS is what you are doing;

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MovingTheGoalposts


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Pixie, the Leng Queen wrote:

That is reckless immaturity and naivety that gets people killed for no reason at all. In the face of a disease with no cure that turns people into monsters if full gestation happens what do you expect the Paladin to do? Stand around hoping for a miracle and just let the guy suffer in horrid agony as he is slowly turned into an inhuman monstrosity?

Honestly, if anything, THAT is the cruel and heartless path.

Why, hello, Carol.

If you murder someone for your own expedience, it's still murder. The choice to die should always be your own. THEN it would not be murder, but a charitable act. "Death by paladin," if you will.

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