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


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Gilfalas wrote:

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.

If you consider gods logic and approach being the same like mortals' ones, you reduce them to superhumans. This is the logic of Greek/Roman religions but many religions consider gods' logic to be unreachable by man. As a philosopher said once, God's being unlimited a limited (mortal) mind can't embrace him nor understand him.

Read The Apocalypse and you'll see my approach of a world ending is not "0 sense".


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Otherwhere wrote:
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.

You're definitely right.

Some say Judas was the most faithful and trustworthy of all the disciples of Jesus and was therefore chosen to make the most dirty of all jobs!


The situation you cooked up is totally ludicrous.

If I were playing a paladin in this scenario, I would probably switch to antipaladin and try to save as many lives as possible...

Hrm.

That doesn't seem right, does it?

If, as GM, you want to strip a players PC of his Paladin abilities, do it because he screwed up, not because you are a sadistic person yourself.

In a world where evil is a measurable, absolute concept, this kind of scenario would never happen.

It is literally something that would only make sense if the god was insane, or changed into being evil.

Sovereign Court

alexd1976 wrote:

If I were playing a paladin in this scenario, I would probably switch to antipaladin and try to save as many lives as possible...

I'd probably just take my character sheet and go home. I don't want to spend my free time dealing with that sort of catch-22 gotcha style DMing.


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Charon's Little Helper wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:

If I were playing a paladin in this scenario, I would probably switch to antipaladin and try to save as many lives as possible...

I'd probably just take my character sheet and go home. I don't want to spend my free time dealing with that sort of catch-22 gotcha style DMing.

Yeah, or that.

There is a reason Paladins are so rare.

I recall a thread where someone playing a Fighter gave himself the restrictions of a Paladin for roleplaying reasons (very cool, IMO), then the GM cooked up a no-win scenario, told the PC he had fallen...

I can only imagine how smug that player must have been when he informed the GM that he hadn't been playing a Paladin at all.

GMs can be jerks about that stuff for some reason.

Shadow Lodge

Knitifine wrote:
Murder is an evil act, even if it might save lives. Even if it will save lives.

This assumes a deontological ethical system. That's not a given.

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.

That's a houserule. A common houserule, but a houserule nonetheless.

CRB Divine Magic Section wrote:
Clerics gain spell power from deities or from divine forces. The divine force of nature powers druid and ranger spells, and the divine forces of law and good power paladin spells.
In Golarion, most paladins worship a deity but they don't have to. Their powers are "fueled" by their faith, and that doesn't have to be faith in a deity. It could be faith in an idea, a philosophy, a cause, or whatever. They need something to believe in. And if that belief isn't lawful good, it'd better be lawful neutral for the paladin to focus harder on the law than the good, or neutral good for the paladin to focus harder on the good instead of the law. The paladin herself remains lawful good, so in a way, its her ALIGNMENT that is the source of her power.


This is more of a DM can I currupt a paladin's god and in turn make the paladin (him/her) fall?

Of all the make a paladin fall schemes (ie the so called damned if you do, damned if you don't) this one takes the Deus ex machina to a whole new level!

The solution for the paladin in your scenario is to simply be picked up by a diety that has not lost all sanity....


Actually in this scenario, I would have the Paladin try to explain the situation to people, and offer a very painless option (drink the kool-aid...)

Gather the faithful together, have them drink a painless poison (paid for by the Church, naturally).

Alignment appropriate, quick, efficient.

If the GM made him fall, the GM is being a knob, as he created the dang situation in the first place.


alexd1976 wrote:

Actually in this scenario, I would have the Paladin try to explain the situation to people, and offer a very painless option (drink the kool-aid...)

Gather the faithful together, have them drink a painless poison (paid for by the Church, naturally).

Alignment appropriate, quick, efficient.

If the GM made him fall, the GM is being a knob, as he created the dang situation in the first place.

But that would mean the faithful are willingly accepting death, which would be suicide. That is against the ethos of the god.

No, the Paladins must instead snipe the faithful from a quarter of a mile away with Vital Strike ballista shots or max out stealth so they can jump random people and send them to their god (for their own good). Anything else is sacrilege.


Snowblind wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:

Actually in this scenario, I would have the Paladin try to explain the situation to people, and offer a very painless option (drink the kool-aid...)

Gather the faithful together, have them drink a painless poison (paid for by the Church, naturally).

Alignment appropriate, quick, efficient.

If the GM made him fall, the GM is being a knob, as he created the dang situation in the first place.

But that would mean the faithful are willingly accepting death, which would be suicide. That is against the ethos of the god.

No, the Paladins must instead snipe the faithful from a quarter of a mile away with Vital Strike ballista shots or max out stealth so they can jump random people and send them to their god (for their own good). Anything else is sacrilege.

I hate contrived scenarios specifically cooked up to rob a Paladin of their powers. Its so... lame.


Not sure how suicide can be against the ethos of a god who is clearly disregarding anything resembling sanctity of life, but ok
Not sure how a god can destroy a world, but only in such a way that they somehow don't kill all the mortals living on it automatically, either, so...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Knitifine wrote:
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.

What most people don't take into consideration is that Arthas was far from the only one to drop the ball that day. All of the major figures acted badly. Jaina walked away when what was severely needed was her emotional support, and Uther just took his dismissal and pouted back over to the King. Almost everyone pretty much took the worse of the options available to them.

Dark Archive

This threads make me laugh and cry at the same time.
Their are two kinds of people that answered on this thread, those who get it and those who don't.
By the way, all of guys who said they'd walk away from the table because you wouldn't play in a game where the GM was pulling off this BS to make ou fall, great job. You guys are the GM that you guys are so disgusted of. Since I don't remember seeing Angstspawn give a definitive what would happen. He asked US what should happen in our opinion.
Now for the debate between Quintain and the other whose name I didn't nother remembering. Quintain is not a troll, otherwise the whole thread is a troll thread, since he A) answered what he believed would happen and B) try and help define a bit more what was going on, because indeed the original premise is kinda iffy. And the other, well I think he flunked philosophy. Because instead of debatting the question at hand he kept b*!$$ing about said question making no sense within a set of strict parameters. (Make sure he doesn't watch Death Battles or I think he will die of yelling at the screen too much).
As for the subject at hand, I'd say the one who doesn't follow would fall. Now if it is to be done within a game to players I wouldn't have them fall till at least halfway down the campaign otherwise it would nullify the entire dilemma within 6 second.
Also I'd be totally up to play in that game, would be a great roleplay opportunity.


The Culling of Stratholme in the game itself is even worse as you kill the citizen AFTER they turn into zombies. You just destroy their houses to bring them out. The real start of darkness began when he betrayed his mercenaries after burning the ships an then pretending that muradin died by accident and tol the captain to not think too hard about it.

Yet again Paladins work differently in the Warcraft universe than in D&D. Their magical powers come from the Light, that is bestowed to good belivers, but losing its power is less obvious, as there are some characters empowered by the light that do not lose their powers immediately after turning bad.

Also historically there have been also EVIL Paladins, that forcibly siphoned the Light from the Naaru the get their powers.


alexd1976 wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:

If I were playing a paladin in this scenario, I would probably switch to antipaladin and try to save as many lives as possible...

I'd probably just take my character sheet and go home. I don't want to spend my free time dealing with that sort of catch-22 gotcha style DMing.

Yeah, or that.

There is a reason Paladins are so rare.

I recall a thread where someone playing a Fighter gave himself the restrictions of a Paladin for roleplaying reasons (very cool, IMO), then the GM cooked up a no-win scenario, told the PC he had fallen...

I can only imagine how smug that player must have been when he informed the GM that he hadn't been playing a Paladin at all.

GMs can be jerks about that stuff for some reason.

It's hard to think so but we all have different ways to play, still it's RPG!

Some DM & players enjoy more complex adventures. True, you can't solve this with a d20 roll (no matter how high is your BAB) but, sometimes, playing a "Kobayashi-Maru style" adventure (without cheating) is a great pleasure.

I don't try to convince anyone here.
If you're not interested by this tread, use your right to remain silent (and invisible)!
Again thanks to all contributions.


Angstspawn wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:

If I were playing a paladin in this scenario, I would probably switch to antipaladin and try to save as many lives as possible...

I'd probably just take my character sheet and go home. I don't want to spend my free time dealing with that sort of catch-22 gotcha style DMing.

Yeah, or that.

There is a reason Paladins are so rare.

I recall a thread where someone playing a Fighter gave himself the restrictions of a Paladin for roleplaying reasons (very cool, IMO), then the GM cooked up a no-win scenario, told the PC he had fallen...

I can only imagine how smug that player must have been when he informed the GM that he hadn't been playing a Paladin at all.

GMs can be jerks about that stuff for some reason.

It's hard to think so but we all have different ways to play, still it's RPG!

Some DM & players enjoy more complex adventures. True, you can't solve this with a d20 roll (no matter how high is your BAB) but, sometimes, playing a "Kobayashi-Maru style" adventure (without cheating) is a great pleasure.

I don't try to convince anyone here.
If you're not interested by this tread, use your right to remain silent (and invisible)!
Again thanks to all contributions.

I am going to stand by my idea of having the Paladin explain the situation and gently poison people.

If the GM is gonna declare that to be suicide, have the Paladin consult his god for an answer.

Running around slashing people to death won't accomplish much anyway, it's WAY more efficient to take out an entire city at a time.

When in doubt, ask the one responsible for creating the situation. :D


alexd1976 wrote:
Angstspawn wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:

If I were playing a paladin in this scenario, I would probably switch to antipaladin and try to save as many lives as possible...

I'd probably just take my character sheet and go home. I don't want to spend my free time dealing with that sort of catch-22 gotcha style DMing.

Yeah, or that.

There is a reason Paladins are so rare.

I recall a thread where someone playing a Fighter gave himself the restrictions of a Paladin for roleplaying reasons (very cool, IMO), then the GM cooked up a no-win scenario, told the PC he had fallen...

I can only imagine how smug that player must have been when he informed the GM that he hadn't been playing a Paladin at all.

GMs can be jerks about that stuff for some reason.

It's hard to think so but we all have different ways to play, still it's RPG!

Some DM & players enjoy more complex adventures. True, you can't solve this with a d20 roll (no matter how high is your BAB) but, sometimes, playing a "Kobayashi-Maru style" adventure (without cheating) is a great pleasure.

I don't try to convince anyone here.
If you're not interested by this tread, use your right to remain silent (and invisible)!
Again thanks to all contributions.

I am going to stand by my idea of having the Paladin explain the situation and gently poison people.

If the GM is gonna declare that to be suicide, have the Paladin consult his god for an answer.

Running around slashing people to death won't accomplish much anyway, it's WAY more efficient to take out an entire city at a time.

When in doubt, ask the one responsible for creating the situation. :D

Yeah, all a killing spree will accomplish is mass panic, which inevitably leads to otherwise good people committing evil acts to survive, which defeats the entire purpose of the exercise

And this is a best case scenario, where mass murder of innocents is somehow a good act

Sovereign Court

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Angstspawn wrote:


Some DM & players enjoy more complex adventures. True, you can't solve this with a d20 roll (no matter how high is your BAB) but, sometimes, playing a "Kobayashi-Maru style" adventure (without cheating) is a great pleasure.

I don't try to convince anyone here.
If you're not interested by this tread, use your right to remain silent (and invisible)!
Again thanks to all contributions.

And some apparently enjoy being condescending.

Edit: While being poor at spelling/grammar, which is always an amusing combination.


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Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Angstspawn wrote:


Some DM & players enjoy more complex adventures. True, you can't solve this with a d20 roll (no matter how high is your BAB) but, sometimes, playing a "Kobayashi-Maru style" adventure (without cheating) is a great pleasure.

I don't try to convince anyone here.
If you're not interested by this tread, use your right to remain silent (and invisible)!
Again thanks to all contributions.

And some apparently enjoy being condescending.

Yeah, I'm all for role-playing, but if I was in a situation like this, I would try the poison thing, talk to my god, and if that didn't resolve things...

Probably start playing on my phone. There isn't much room to role-play in a mass genocide situation.

That would make me very uncomfortable. Unless the campaign was going towards evil, then I would totally have my paladin fall while slaughtering the innocent, and go antipaladin.

This sort of crosses over into alignment discussions though, which get complicated...


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Alignment threads are putting my kids thru college.


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Everyone knows that a Paladin listening to a "LG" leader who tells them to kill everyone, mostly the pure of heart, will turn all their levels into the Rouge class and change alignment to "TS", True Stupid. Same alignment as the "LG" leader.

And everyone knows (or will know) that a DM trying to pull this s$!$ won't have a group to DM for anymore.

Honestly, it's not "complex" or anything, just really stupid.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Insane, evil and lawfull.

Dont know were it comes the Insane = Chaotic trope.


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rename this thread 'new Warhammer canon'


Darklord Morius wrote:

Insane, evil and lawfull.

Dont know were it comes the Insane = Chaotic trope.

Most insane characters are chaotic because of their erratic behavior

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Most insanities are orderly and repetitive behaves and patterns.


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Darklord Morius wrote:
Most insanities are orderly and repetitive behaves and patterns.

Which version of the DSM says THAT?

:D

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Somehow we've got a new generation of DMs who think that putting Paladins in no-win morality traps is the way to develop their street cred as "edgy".


LazarX wrote:
Somehow we've got a new generation of DMs who think that putting Paladins in no-win morality traps is the way to develop their street cred as "edgy".

Now now, let's not be ageist.

Maybe the GM is just bad at it.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
alexd1976 wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Somehow we've got a new generation of DMs who think that putting Paladins in no-win morality traps is the way to develop their street cred as "edgy".

Now now, let's not be ageist.

Maybe the GM is just bad at it.

If he was the only person on this board who'd posted a Paladin trap as a great idea, you'd be right.

Sadly however, that is far from the case.


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LazarX wrote:
Somehow we've got a new generation of DMs who think that putting Paladins in no-win morality traps is the way to develop their street cred as "edgy".

That's wierd. I thought these sort of Paladin Traps were an old school type deal.

New school is way more gray and black. Having a paladin murder an orphanage and *not* fall is more along the lines of what I would expect (and even that is way too heavy handed unless the orphans are training to be terrorists or something).


lazar you say a lot of negative things
but in this case that was just basically complete balls

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Snowblind wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Somehow we've got a new generation of DMs who think that putting Paladins in no-win morality traps is the way to develop their street cred as "edgy".

That's wierd. I thought these sort of Paladin Traps were an old school type deal.

New school is way more gray and black. Having a paladin murder an orphanage and *not* fall is more along the lines of what I would expect (and even that is way too heavy handed unless the orphans are training to be terrorists or something).

You notice how no one asks these questions about lawful good clerics? or clerics of lawful good gods? Or lawful good characters of any other class? It's always Paladins because any of the others can still continue as they are even if they change alignments. It's the appeal of that big red button that draws people to create these threads, just like the same reason many people go to trapeeze acts. They want to be there when the poor schmuck misses.


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smells like burning tires


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I think it's because the Paladin is the class that is most affected by these sorts of questions. Even if you play where clerics can be abandoned by their deities or whatever, they have to grossly violate their faith in major ways, and even then you could always just be a cleric of a different faith (most clerics with Knowledge [religion] probably know more about other peoples faiths than their typical follower 'cause they've studied).

The Paladin class is the only one that seriously has "my #1 weakness is a d-bag GM" so they get more stage time in these discussions.


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LazarX wrote:
Snowblind wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Somehow we've got a new generation of DMs who think that putting Paladins in no-win morality traps is the way to develop their street cred as "edgy".

That's wierd. I thought these sort of Paladin Traps were an old school type deal.

New school is way more gray and black. Having a paladin murder an orphanage and *not* fall is more along the lines of what I would expect (and even that is way too heavy handed unless the orphans are training to be terrorists or something).

You notice how no one asks these questions about lawful good clerics? or clerics of lawful good gods? Or lawful good characters of any other class? It's always Paladins because any of the others can still continue as they are even if they change alignments. It's the appeal of that big red button that draws people to create these threads, just like the same reason many people go to trapeeze acts. They want to be there when the poor schmuck misses.

That still doesn't justify why it is a new generation of GMs.

First off, the stereotypical "goblin babies" nonsense is a really old trope. It's been around for a while.

Second, sticking paladins in a no-win situation isn't actually very interesting. They pretty much self destruct as soon as you try unless you are very lenient with the code, and in that case the Paladin gets out of it easy because whatever they choose is clearly OK(since they didn't break their code and fall). There aren't any hard choices. No meaningful losses. No regretted decisions. Nothing. Just:if ("Did I follow the code") then "I am a paragon of justice, and my choice was Right" else "I fall, and there is nothing I could have done about it". It's actually rather bland. The only real thing the no-win situation does is torment the Paladin's player, and that is more of a stereotypical 1st edition "players vs DM" style grognard GM (although really, a-hole GMs are in every generation).


Snowblind wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Snowblind wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Somehow we've got a new generation of DMs who think that putting Paladins in no-win morality traps is the way to develop their street cred as "edgy".

That's wierd. I thought these sort of Paladin Traps were an old school type deal.

You stuff
... unless you are very lenient with the code, and in that case the Paladin gets out of it easy because whatever they choose is clearly OK(since they didn't break their code and fall).

The code is "lenient" although there are always people trying to make it say what they think it says rather than what it actually says.

Always discuss the code and how you see it with the DM ahead of the game or the DM is going to be surprised when you do something he "thinks" is incorrect behavior; and as a player you are going to be surprised when the DM arbitrates your "fall" for something you think is nonsense!

Example #1 holding a trial for and executing the unrepentant scoundrel....


LazarX wrote:
Somehow we've got a new generation of DMs who think that putting Paladins in no-win morality traps is the way to develop their street cred as "edgy".

I'll take the "new generation of DMs" as a compliment.

It's not a trap to make a paladin (or any other Good class) fall or any player having his/her character humiliated, it's more about experiencing something different.

A paladin trap would be to send him/her to negotiate a peace treaty with an evil enemy ambassador after being defeated...


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Angstspawn wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Somehow we've got a new generation of DMs who think that putting Paladins in no-win morality traps is the way to develop their street cred as "edgy".

I'll take the "new generation of DMs" as a compliment.

It's not a trap to make a paladin (or any other Good class) fall or any player having his/her character humiliated, it's more about experiencing something different.

A paladin trap would be to send him/her to negotiate a peace treaty with an evil enemy ambassador after being defeated...

The trap bit is where the GM is engineering a scenario in which the Paladin is absolutely going to fall.

There is a fundamental difference between putting a player in a position where they can choose to have their character fall (and depending on the particulars of their character, they might very well go through with that choice) and putting them in the position where the character will fall, regardless of what the player does. The first can be interesting. The second is upsetting for the player, because the GM effectively used thinly veiled fiat to strip their powers. It would be much less passive aggressive for the GM to just straight up tell the player that they lose most of their class features because the GM thinks it might be "different" or whatever stupid justification they have. At least then they are being honest with their players.


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Charon's Little Helper wrote:
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.)

That part of my post was just debating the "villain" label, which is way too simplistic.

The following was written before I wrote the above quote in response to Scythia, not CLH.

I don't support any system that gives a paladin a "fall or fall" choice. Sometimes paladins have to make tough calls. You can run your paladins however you like, but no-win scenarios aren't fair to any class. I believe the current rules intend paladins to be just a little bit more flexible.

I find the alternative to be, in a word, boring—you're pushing all paladins to give the exact same answer to a problem. Which wouldn't even be as big a problem if the answer ("Let these people die so I can keep my moral purity") wasn't so terrible.

Darklord Morius wrote:
Most insanities are orderly and repetitive behaves and patterns.

AAAH! AN INTERESTING AND ORIGINAL LINE OF DISCUSSION! GET IT OFF THE SCREEN!

Age of Worms (Gathering of Winds) Mild Spoilers:
One of my favorite "Crazy Lawfuls" is Flycatcher, a Lawful Neutral shadow spider who's become obsessed with the contents of an ancient tomb in A Gathering of Winds. Flycatcher stumbled upon the tomb by chance, and became very interested in finding out what lay beyond the wards. Eventually, Flycatcher grew obsessed, then convinced that it was his duty to guard the tomb.

Flycatcher has multiple personalities, utterly twisted logic, and a manic, obsessive nature, but he deploys all that to an insane sense of a duty that he himself invented.

Crazy lawfuls are pretty cool. I love Flycatcher.


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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?

#1 They would take on a level of inquisitor to get to the bottom of where these "orders" are coming from.....

#2 They would never accept the order and prevent their fellows from doing so as well.

#3 Only those who refuse the unlawful order can remain paladins
Would need atonement for involentarily committing an evil act.....

#4 Paladins refusing should not lose anything


So, hey, why does this have to be a paladin thread? Memes aside, wouldn't this work better as a clerics/warpriests/inquisitors thread?

I've always wanted a thread about witches conflicting with their Patrons. Why can't we get one of those?


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Angstspawn wrote:
It's not a trap to make a paladin (or any other Good class) fall or any player having his/her character humiliated, it's more about experiencing something different.

Still a dick move by a DM to make the paladin fall.

In your example, the lawful good thing to do would be to not listen to the maniac calling for the good peoples' heads. If you make the paladin fall "because you didn't listen to your "LG" god", you just set him in a trap. Because refusing to kill innocent people shouldn't be the wrong answer to a lawful good character.

I know that I and many other players wouldn't ever let that person DM again. Because we really don't care for that "different experience" when someone tries to tell me that I f#@+ed up when I didn't draw the conclusion that killing innocents was the right answer.

And some players just don't like it when the DM f~!%s with their characters. Because it's just a "F$%$ YOU! YOU DON'T GET TO HAVE NICE THINGS, BECAUSE I SAY SO!".

I'm all for showcasing different ethical and moral dilemmas. But not if it means that some idiot does it to call me out on my "bad" decision, no matter what I do and even if it's the best one.
Ex:
Evil guy: "You need to choose who to save, paladin!".
Player: "Can't I rescue both?"
DM: "No, not possible in any way. And this means that you'll fall because no matter who you choose, you leave one to die".


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@ KC - While the question's clearly rhetorical, witches patrons are so vague that there's really nothing to conflict with unless the GM makes the patron someone in specific.

(Though making the Patron a specific entity DOES have its merits, especially once said entity begins interacting with the witch. The witch in my RoW game had a certain norn as her Fate patron - and the norn would send messages, warnings, etc., by messing with the witch's harrow deck.)

Personally, I'm a fan of how oracles can bitterly hate the source of their power and get their spells anyways =D


Kobold Cleaver wrote:

So, hey, why does this have to be a paladin thread? Memes aside, wouldn't this work better as a clerics/warpriests/inquisitors thread?

I've always wanted a thread about witches conflicting with their Patrons. Why can't we get one of those?

I think because Witches and Oracles just kind of get their power dumped onto them in the form of an ability of their own, rather than being continuously/continually granted portions of their deity's power.

However, there isn't really any other reason why there aren't discussions taking Clerics and the like into account.

So let's start:
What are the Clerics, Inquisitors, etc. of this reported "Lawful Good" deity instructed to do? What are they doing? What is happening to/happens to them?

Sovereign Court

Bloodrealm wrote:


So let's start:
What are the Clerics, Inquisitors, etc. of this reported "Lawful Good" deity instructed to do? What are they doing? What is happening to/happens to them?

I would say - they may lose their powers if they don't do it. (Depending upon the reason behind the god telling them. Whether crazy/being controlled/not really the deity saying it etc) In the first case - the deity going crazy - yes, they'd lose their powers if they refuse.

Though - they'd have to shift their alignment to evil if they do it.


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LazarX wrote:
Somehow we've got a new generation of DMs who think that putting Paladins in no-win morality traps is the way to develop their street cred as "edgy".

I don't do it all the time. In fact I have 2 paladins in game right now that I haven't threatened with falling once. The game just has different themes (in fact it's an issue they're exploring indirectly, as other NPC paladins have done heinous acts and not fallen). One NPC paladin even used it as his defense after slaughtering a village. He didn't lose his powers, so obviously the gods approved of his actions. I won't get into all the details, but we have specific cosmological reasons why this happened, not all of which the players have discovered so far.

I think it's interesting space to explore though. In fact when I play as a paladin (one of my favorite classes) I'd love if GM's pushed more traps on me. Either I'll figure out a way to get through it, or I'll die valiantly losing. That's my favorite space for paladins to exist in. Of course, I also enjoy a good heroic last stand for my characters.

One way I think about it, if a Paladin isn't presented with moral ambiguities and bad choices to choose from, the class feels like a poorly written superman comic. I don't see the traps as traps, but rather opportunities for the players (when I'm GM) or me (when I'm the player) to define what paladinhood means. The worse the situation, the more chance there is to shine.


Bloodrealm wrote:
What are the Clerics, Inquisitors, etc. of this reported "Lawful Good" deity instructed to do? What are they doing? What is happening to/happens to them?

I wasn't thinking this thread only as a paladin one, I used paladin as someone strongly linked to a specific good deity's faith. I think the clerics, inquisitors, oracles, etc... would react the same way(s) described by the various contributors of this thread.


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Irontruth wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Somehow we've got a new generation of DMs who think that putting Paladins in no-win morality traps is the way to develop their street cred as "edgy".

I don't do it all the time. In fact I have 2 paladins in game right now that I haven't threatened with falling once. The game just has different themes (in fact it's an issue they're exploring indirectly, as other NPC paladins have done heinous acts and not fallen). One NPC paladin even used it as his defense after slaughtering a village. He didn't lose his powers, so obviously the gods approved of his actions. I won't get into all the details, but we have specific cosmological reasons why this happened, not all of which the players have discovered so far.

I think it's interesting space to explore though. In fact when I play as a paladin (one of my favorite classes) I'd love if GM's pushed more traps on me. Either I'll figure out a way to get through it, or I'll die valiantly losing. That's my favorite space for paladins to exist in. Of course, I also enjoy a good heroic last stand for my characters.

One way I think about it, if a Paladin isn't presented with moral ambiguities and bad choices to choose from, the class feels like a poorly written superman comic. I don't see the traps as traps, but rather opportunities for the players (when I'm GM) or me (when I'm the player) to define what paladinhood means. The worse the situation, the more chance there is to shine.

If you have specific cosmological reasons, then you're playing with different rules than the norm and therefore are outside of the discussion, since there is an outlying reason for an exception. That's perfectly fine; it's just not applicable to the argument here.

If it's happening constantly, it stops being interesting. Not everything with a Paladin involved should be a huge moral/ethical dilemma with the Paladin struggling on the edge of falling.
What people mean by "traps" is things like the OP's presented situation: If they follow their god's orders, they're willingly committing hugely Evil acts, and fall. If they refuse, then they're not following their supposedly Lawful Good god, and fall. There's nothing they can do other than accept falling. There's no choice, no roleplaying opportunity.


Bloodrealm wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Somehow we've got a new generation of DMs who think that putting Paladins in no-win morality traps is the way to develop their street cred as "edgy".

I don't do it all the time. In fact I have 2 paladins in game right now that I haven't threatened with falling once. The game just has different themes (in fact it's an issue they're exploring indirectly, as other NPC paladins have done heinous acts and not fallen). One NPC paladin even used it as his defense after slaughtering a village. He didn't lose his powers, so obviously the gods approved of his actions. I won't get into all the details, but we have specific cosmological reasons why this happened, not all of which the players have discovered so far.

I think it's interesting space to explore though. In fact when I play as a paladin (one of my favorite classes) I'd love if GM's pushed more traps on me. Either I'll figure out a way to get through it, or I'll die valiantly losing. That's my favorite space for paladins to exist in. Of course, I also enjoy a good heroic last stand for my characters.

One way I think about it, if a Paladin isn't presented with moral ambiguities and bad choices to choose from, the class feels like a poorly written superman comic. I don't see the traps as traps, but rather opportunities for the players (when I'm GM) or me (when I'm the player) to define what paladinhood means. The worse the situation, the more chance there is to shine.

If you have specific cosmological reasons, then you're playing with different rules than the norm and therefore are outside of the discussion, since there is an outlying reason for an exception. That's perfectly fine; it's just not applicable to the argument here.

If it's happening constantly, it stops being interesting. Not everything with a Paladin involved should be a huge moral/ethical dilemma with the Paladin struggling on the edge of falling.
What people mean by "traps" is things like the OP's presented situation: If...

If you're trying to have a discussion with me, you should start off by at least accepting the premise that I'm allowed to speak my mind.

We're not in the Rules section by the way. We're allowed to discuss non-RAW things here, particularly in regards to roleplaying.


Entryhazard wrote:
The Culling of Stratholme in the game itself is even worse as you kill the citizen AFTER they turn into zombies. You just destroy their houses to bring them out. The real start of darkness began when he betrayed his mercenaries after burning the ships an then pretending that muradin died by accident and tol the captain to not think too hard about it.

Actually, if you play that episode on Hard Mode (as opposed to Normal), and you DON'T kill the villagers after destroying the houses but before they turn into Zombies, you run a high risk of losing to the Dread Lord Mal'Ganis, because you are explicitly put in a race against him to kill villagers not only before they spontaneously turn into Zombies (although thanks to the way the game triggers work this atually happens only after you destroy a house), but also before he accumulates a critial mass of Zombies by way of his own killing. I've tried that mission on Hard Mode both with and without doing this.

Entryhazard wrote:
Yet again Paladins work differently in the Warcraft universe than in D&D. Their magical powers come from the Light, that is bestowed to good belivers, but losing its power is less obvious, as there are some characters empowered by the light that do not lose their powers immediately after turning bad.

We should probably call it a different but recognizably related mechanism, since Paladin powers depend upon Outsider-equivalent beings that are indiidually well above mortals but well short of truly awesome divinity.

Entryhazard wrote:
Also historically there have been also EVIL Paladins, that forcibly siphoned the Light from the Naaru the get their powers.

Yes, the Blood Elves managed to imprison one of the Naaru and force it to give them Paladin powers. Very cinematic concept. Not totally alien to D&D/Pathfinder, but to pull this off in D&D/Pathfinder, you would have to capture a deity (in a campaign setting where Paladins are deity-dependent) or hack the Multiverse (in a campaign setting where Paladins are deity-independent or at least have a critical deity-independent component to their powers). In either case (especially the latter), if you can do that, you're probably better off just commissioning your own Holy Warrior class or prestige class (depending upon how much you are willing to trust some random worshipper off the street to be fully committed from the start -- this is one of the things that bugs me about Paladins and Inquisitors as base lasses, and I would say that both make more sense as prestige classes, but that's a topic for another thread).

Kobold Cleaver wrote:

So, hey, why does this have to be a paladin thread? Memes aside, wouldn't this work better as a clerics/warpriests/inquisitors thread?

I've always wanted a thread about witches conflicting with their Patrons. Why can't we get one of those?

Shhhhhh . . . Don't tell the Smurfs . . . .

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