The hellknights enigma


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've read the paladin code and joining what isn't evil isn't against the code, regardless of its name. I offered no hyperbole, you made it clear that joining a group based off its reputation from other orders of the group would be against the paladin code. And I countered the reputation of one shouldn't affect a paladin of another order.

I won't say your wrong. Cause in a way, you aren't. As I've said, this is one way for a paladin to view it. But you aren't right either. I'm not gonna argue any further and try and change your view any more because there would be no point. They are two different views and both have a place in pathfinder. The paladin order is vague enough for one to become a Hellknight so long as he commits no evil. Nothing can change that save for an errata or word from the creators.


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sylvansteel wrote:

{. . .}

Don't forget that on a planar level Law and Chaos are just as important as Good anmd Evil. Archons and Azatas may fight side by side, but thats because the the Agathions mediate between the to factions.
{. . .}

That WAS true in AD&D 1st/2nd Edition cosmology (at least in the major settings), but may not be correct for the Pathfinder Campaign Setting. I'm not quite ready to call it definitive, but I get the distinct impressino from reading stuff on www.pathfinderwiki.com and these boards that the Good-Evil axis is considered more important by MOST things in the Pathfinder Campaign Setting. Obviously, some things disagree, the most obvious relevant examples here being Hellknights and Oath Against Chaos Paladins.

Dark Archive

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Feels like a semantic / guilt by association thing to me. Paladins joining an organization that has Hell in the title are going to get looked at funny by people who can't draw a distinction between a *word* and actual evil, just like those who read that Hermea is run by a dragon seeking volunteers to better humanity, but see the word 'eugenics' and immediately think 'Hitler!' Doesn't matter how good an NPC or organization is, mechanically, if it gets tarnished with an unpopular word or concept that has been associated with an evil person or regime.

It's human nature to cast moral judgements on things based on how 'icky' or 'pretty' they are, hence bugs we don't like (roaches, flies, mosquitos, centipedes, etc.) or other unpopular critters, like snakes and vultures and hyenas being associated with evil forces and deities (such as Urgathoa, Ghlaunder, Ydersius, etc.), while 'pretty' animals like butterflies and deer and whatever being associated with nicer gods like Desna and Erastil. Similarly, fat, old and wrinkly, deformed, diseased, etc. people get associated with evil characters (going *way* back to the days when becoming ill was seen as a sign that you must have violated a taboo, or you wouldn't be sick), while good characters are more likely to be pretty and in shape and not having any 'evil' tattoos or body piercings.

This is just that, IMO. It's got 'Hell' in the title, so it can't possibly be not-evil.

Anything with an icky association is automatically icky itself, for having the poor taste to be associated with something icky, as if the icky is contagious, and the icky-adjacent person is morally suspect for not standing further away from the ick.

The game setting is, fortunately, a bit more nuanced than that, and there's a good goddess whose heavily focused on redemption, which kind of *requires* her faithful to get all up next to the icky and try to clean it off a bit, instead of retreating to the first range increment and shooting flaming arrows at it to 'cleanse the world of ick.'


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Why would Hell Knights be evil just because they have the word Hell?

Does that mean Witch Hunters are all witches?

Or Demon Hunters are all Demons?

Are we going to now say anyone who uses the spell Protection from Evil is also evil by default (afterall, it has the word evil right there in the spell!)

Perhaps we are going to say all Police are evil and cannot be lawful good because the Secret Police in the USSR, or Hitler's secret police?

Association of one group that fall under the umbrella does not reflect the temperament of all those in that same arena.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I can understand the yearning for a fantasy world to be less nuanced than our reality. I can imagine the desire to be able to tell black apart from white easily, unlike it is on this side of the rainbow. But I doubt Golarion was a world designed with absolute, dichotomous choices in mind.


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Tacticslion wrote:


Slithery D wrote:
Most Devils are promoted through a transformation process, not created by Pit Fiends mixing up lemures.

I know that this used to be true, but promotion isn't found in their entry, and I'd be very interested for a reference on this, if you have it elsewhere.

Book of the Damned, Volume 1.
Quote:
The breeds of devilkind are not stagnant. In the same way the greatest of infernal kind might recreate lemures into useful, sentient shapes, so too might other devils be lifted from the rank-caste implied by their form. In a process little understood outside of Hell but known to be one of the most excruciating tortures exacted upon the multiverse’s beings, a devil might be reshaped into a greater form. Such promotion can only be meted out by one of the lords of Hell, a fiend with the standing of an infernal duke or greater. Recognized as a minion of worth, the devil is subjected to a lengthy and terrifying torment befitting its would-be new incarnation. Should the creature survive this torture—a fate that is never assured—it emerges transformed into a new being, a member of a greater diabolical breed with all the rights and standing of that form. Procession through Hell’s infernal castes is not a direct path, as devils of any type might be promoted into a variety of forms. Typically, though, a fiend advances by small degrees, joining a slightly more powerful rank, and never is a lesser devil promoted to a greater devil without the careful consideration of its lord.


Awesome! Thank you so much!

That... does not sound like an easy or more common system than promotion from lemures, at least from my impressions gleaned from the text. Could just be the way I'm reading it, though! :)


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GreyWolfLord wrote:

Why would Hell Knights be evil just because they have the word Hell?

Does that mean Witch Hunters are all witches?

Or Demon Hunters are all Demons?
{. . .}

Funny you should mention that. In WarCraft III/TFT lore, Demon Hunters are themselves indeed partially transformed into Demons. (Not Pathfinder Campaign Setting, but a worthy literary precedent of sorts that unfortunately seems to have been at least partially swept under the rug in World of WarCraft. Of course, their Demons replace at least most of the types of Evil Outsiders in D&D/Pathfinder and span the spectrum from wanton bringers of destruction to highly regimented and carefully scheming plotters.)

Gorbacz wrote:
I can understand the yearning for a fantasy world to be less nuanced than our reality. I can imagine the desire to be able to tell black apart from white easily, unlike it is on this side of the rainbow. But I doubt Golarion was a world designed with absolute, dichotomous choices in mind.

If anything, the D&D/Pathfinder worlds have at least a theoretical opportunity (if often not exercised) to be MORE nuanced than ours -- at least in them, most things that understand morals/ethics at all seem to be able to understand a two-dimensional system thereof, whereas on Earth it seems to be hard to get many people to understand more than 2 points on a single dimension. (I have seen the occasional 2-dimensional political or personality graph unrelated to D&D/PF, but these seem to have never caught on outside academic circles.) Also, in D&D/PF worlds, although self-deception is not unheard of, most creatures seem to be at least more honest with themselves about their alignment.

Tacticslion wrote:

{. . .}

That... does not sound like an easy or more common system than promotion from lemures, at least from my impressions gleaned from the text. Could just be the way I'm reading it, though! :)

The book didn't say it was easy, just the normal method of advancement in Hell -- presumably this is Hells preference to use to get the job done right, and the Pit Fiend's Devil Shaping ability, which works a lot faster but is a lot less efficient in use of damned souls, is reserved for emergencies.


Tacticslion wrote:

{. . .}

That... does not sound like an easy or more common system than promotion from lemures, at least from my impressions gleaned from the text. Could just be the way I'm reading it, though! :)
UnArcaneElection wrote:
The book didn't say it was easy, just the normal method of advancement in Hell -- presumably this is Hells preference to use to get the job done right, and the Pit Fiend's Devil Shaping ability, which works a lot faster but is a lot less efficient in use of damned souls, is reserved for emergencies.
Quote:
The breeds of devilkind are not stagnant. In the same way the greatest of infernal kind might recreate lemures into useful, sentient shapes, so too might other devils be lifted from the rank-caste implied by their form. In a process little understood outside of Hell but known to be one of the most excruciating tortures exacted upon the multiverse’s beings, a devil might be reshaped into a greater form. Such promotion can only be meted out by one of the lords of Hell, a fiend with the standing of an infernal duke or greater. Recognized as a minion of worth, the devil is subjected to a lengthy and terrifying torment befitting its would-be new incarnation. Should the creature survive this torture—a fate that is never assured—it emerges transformed into a new being, a member of a greater diabolical breed with all the rights and standing of that form. Procession through Hell’s infernal castes is not a direct path, as devils of any type might be promoted into a variety of forms. Typically, though, a fiend advances by small degrees, joining a slightly more powerful rank, and never is a lesser devil promoted to a greater devil without the careful consideration of its lord.

The bold parts make it seem very much so like the entire process is not necessarily more common than a devil simply being made "bigger" than a new devil just straight up being made as-needed.

I might be missing something obvious, and that's fine. If so, where do you see this as the more typical thing than the pit fiend ability? Or where is the devil shaping ability stated (or implied) to be reserved for emergency?

Again, I'm not against the idea, but I'd love to see what I'm missing. Is it just in the text in a non-bold part? (I can't find it, if so.) Is it in a different part of the text that isn't quoted here? Thanks in advance!

EDIT: Ah, somehow I'd missed your use of "presumably" - hm... I'm not sure this is in any way more efficient, given that a devil can quite easily die during the process. I know that at least one devil* is merely reduced to a pile of lemures that re-spawn upon its destruction, though. Is that otherwise noted somewhere as a common thing, or restricted to the nature of high devils?

In that way, Hell might not lose devils, even if they lose devils. Now that is something that I could see Hell doing.

* Major major CoT Spoiler:
Leibdaga, if killed, is noted as dissolving into a mass of lemures that respawn in hell... but that will never again exactly be Leibdaga. The Leibdaga the PCs face is gone forever.


Hell’s Knight (Su): At 10th level, a Hellknight can grant a weapon he wields or touches the axiomatic, flaming burst, or unholy weapon quality. This weapon maintains this new quality as long as the Hellknight remains within 100 feet of the weapon—a Hellknight may maintain only a single weapon’s granted quality at a time. The Hellknight also becomes immune to fire while wearing Hellknight armor.

Summon Devil (Sp; Order of the Gate): The Hellknight may use summon monster V as a spell-like ability to summon 1 bearded devil. At 6th level, this spell-like ability is replaced by summon monster VI, allowing him to summon 1d3 bearded devils, or 1 erinyes. And at 9th level, this spell-like ability is replaced by summon monster VII, allowing him to summon 1d4+1 bearded devils, 1d3 erinyes, or 1 bone devil.

This some powers of a hell knight... They are evil. Do not try fool your self the hole point this group is to corrupt Paladins and turn them evil. Yes fool yourself if you want please join the dark side we have cookies.


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and paladins would probably avoid orders with evil reputations/class abilities


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@Tacticslion: I haven't read exactly what I said "presumably" for above, but it makes sense mathematically: Consider: An Erinyes is 9 HD, and can come from 1 fallen Good soul or 1 fallen Angel, or be mooshed together from 9 Lemures in an emergency; the most exploitative Erinyes are in turn upgraded into Osyluths, which are 10 HD, and can also be made from mooshing together Lemures, but you need 10 of them. Now, if a Devil being upgraded by the normal slow tortorous process has a 50% chance of survival, a Lemure from a fallen Good soul has a 50% chance of surviving the upgrade to Erinyes and a compounded 25% chance of surviving the upgrade to Osyluth, which beats the 10% that you get from mooshing 10 Lemures together to make an Osyluth, and still beats the 11% that you get from mooshing 9 Lemures together to make an Erinyes. Admittedly, if the average survival chance is only 50%, this compounds at higher levels to come out in favor of using Lemures, but the survival rate is probably higher than 50% (just cannot be 100% to be "not assured"), and in addition, the description of the Devil Shaping ability under the Pit Fiend's entry says that they are reluctant to form other Pit Fiends (at least) in that way, since they don't have any control over them. I could see a potential situation in which Devils made by mooshing together Lemures might even be mentally unstable as a result, especially since Lemures have had their minds destroyed but not yet rebuilt into proper Infernal intellects -- this wouldn't be a problem to Hell from an ethical standpoint, but would be a problem from a practical standpoint -- they wouldn't want the new Devils going Chaotic on them, would they?

If the survival chance is 90%, then the compounded survival chance at 20 HD (non-advanced Pit Fiend) is a hair over 15% even if the progressive slow upgrade from Lemure (2 HD) to Pit Fiend went just 1 HD at a time (which is probably not the case, since not every number of HD has a corresponding non-templated Devil species), and the result will be thoroughly indoctrinated into Diabolical thinking.

@Tom S 820 (and Aelryinth): I actually am of the opinion that joining Hellknights will cause Paladins to fall . . . Eventually. Not necessarily right away. The Infernal Genius that plotted the manipulations necessary to get Daidian Ruel to form the original Hellknight order(*) (possibly even masterminding the creation of the Path of Grace and the associated White Plague) would not want to blow cover by causing Paladins to fall too quickly, and would seek to give them plausible compatibility with some (not necessarily all) Hellknight Orders to milk service out of them. Even if the fall of a Paladin Hellknight is inevitable, if it takes long enough, and can be used to facilitate some acts that are genuinely Good when taken by themselves, then one can find a noticeably greater than zeor number of Paladin Hellknights. In the meantime, the Paladin's powers, methods, and divine connections can be surreptitiously studied to further efforts to reverse-engineer their capabilities to work outside the Lawful Good alignment.

(*)Order of the Rack in its original incarnation.

In time, even Iomedae herself may be corrupted. Her dissection debriefing will prove most instructive . . . .


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Out of curiousity - Aelrynth, do you allow paladins of Abadar, Irori, and other lawful neutral deities?

Lawful neutral deities can have lawful evil followers, and a paladin of such a deity would be fully expected to work with such followers.

Based on your posts, I take it you would find that completely unacceptable?

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Removed a series of posts. I'm not convinced what has essentially started to turn into another heated paladin alignment argument thread is going to be all that useful. Let's keep this discussion civil and centered on the context of the Campaign Setting, or we'll have to close this one.


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Saying that a Lawful Neutral organization is really actually lawful evil, they are just in denial isn't helping your argument. It is also pretty far into the stupid end of lawful good characters.


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Set wrote:
...

put it better than I ever could.

To me, it's up the the individual hellknight order what their Alignment is. The order of the torrent is an excellent example. I do think there should be more examples of different hellknight orders fighting each other, or at the very least running afoul of each other.

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When 30% of Hellknights are actively LE;
When their name pays respect to Hell;
When one of the deities they actively admire is Asmodeus;
When the armor they wear is modeled on Hell's designs;
When their own Prestige class calls on diabolic powers and evil magic;
When whole orders actively embrace LE behavior;
When they pervert the teachings of LG gods to fit their own ends;
when they seek to emulate the military model of Hell;
When 'Chaos is EVil" justifies anything you might do;
When the devil-serving House of Thrune actively supports most of the orders;

calling them 'just' a Lawful Neutral organization is stretching any sense of credulity, if you are a paladin. It's an obvious trap to get you on the Road of Good Intentions. At the very best you could call it a LN (E) organization. And all the 'we're just lawful' protests are going to make me laugh.

==Aelryinth


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Aelryinth quit digging yourself into a hole, you are not going to sway anyone with your opinions, so unless the devs come out and change the rules completely Paladins can join the Hellknights and not fall


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Aelryinth wrote:
When 30% of Hellknights are actively LE;

Those who are not Lawful Evil tend to oppose their Lawful evil bretheren, sometimes violently.

Quote:
When their name pays respect to Hell;

Paladins can and do curse, without falling. They can join an organization that has hell in the name without losing their abilities.

Quote:
When one of the deities they actively admire is Asmodeus;

Admire is not worship. Many paladins admire their foes and some seek to redeem them.

Quote:
When the armor they wear is modeled on Hell's designs;

Aesthetic choices play no role in paladin code or powers.

Quote:
When their own Prestige class calls on diabolic powers and evil magic;

Noone in the world knows what a prestige class is. There are other prestige classes in the setting associated with Hellknights that have nothing to do with evil or hell.

Quote:
When whole orders actively embrace LE behavior;

Orders can and do fight each other.

Quote:
When they pervert the teachings of LG gods to fit their own ends;

This is not the providence of evil organizations alone, many good ones have issues with heresy and misunderstood doctrine, this is where inquaestitors come in.

Quote:
when they seek to emulate the military model of Hell;

Which is the same as heaven, just to a different lord and master.

Quote:
When 'Chaos is EVil" justifies anything you might do;

Many Lawful Good organizations feel the same way.

Quote:
When the devil-serving House of Thrune actively supports most of the orders;

Most. But not all.

Quote:
calling them 'just' a Lawful Neutral organization is stretching any sense of credulity, if you are a paladin. It's an obvious trap to get you on the Road of Good Intentions. At the very best you could call it a LN (E) organization. And all the 'we're just lawful' protests are going to make me laugh.

as the majority of Hellknights are flavors of Neutral and all are lawful, you only laugh at yourself. It's up to the individual paladin to decide if the order of Hellknights they are joining or starting is up to muster, and their duty to purge it if it is not.

==Aelryinth


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Few more thoughts on this -

1) A Hellknight Paladin of Erecura, Dispater's LN wife, is perfectly legal. (Though she's a goddess of soothsayers; a paladin of her would be pretty out there.)

2) Aside from the alleged issue of paladins can't be in an organization that has evil members (which pretty much bars paladins from joining neutral organizations), keep in mind that Golarion deities have alternate paladin codes. I'd expect being a paladin of Shelyn or Sarenrae to be completely incompatible with being a Hellknight. Paladins of Iomedae, Torag, Adadar, and Irori are another matter entirely.

3) Hellknight's a bad-ass name. I can't recommend reading too much into it, though. Because by-and-large, it's just a name and uniform. The Order of the Gate's the closest Order to being actual diabolists (and doesn't have paladins at all, IIRC) - and they view devils as intelligent weapons of mass destruction, not objects of veneration.


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Zhangar wrote:
2) Aside from the alleged issue of paladins can't be in an organization that has evil members (which pretty much bars paladins from joining neutral organizations), keep in mind that Golarion deities have alternate paladin codes. I'd expect being a paladin of Shelyn or Sarenrae to be completely incompatible with being a Hellknight. Paladins of Iomedae, Torag, Adadar, and Irori are another matter entirely.

last i heard paladins had to follow both codes if said paladin takes one from his deity as well

edited to clear up my statement


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Aelryinth wrote:
Paladins of LN deities are allowed because the rules explicitly allow them.

And Hellknight Paladins are allowed because the setting material- which is the only place Hellknights show up- explicitly allows it.

For similar reasons, I'm sure.


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Blackvial wrote:
Zhangar wrote:
2) Aside from the alleged issue of paladins can't be in an organization that has evil members (which pretty much bars paladins from joining neutral organizations), keep in mind that Golarion deities have alternate paladin codes. I'd expect being a paladin of Shelyn or Sarenrae to be completely incompatible with being a Hellknight. Paladins of Iomedae, Torag, Adadar, and Irori are another matter entirely.
last i heard paladins had to follow both codes

That doesn't seem right. I mean, for example, the Iroran paladin archetype calls out that Irori doesn't have a standard paladin code - rather, all of his paladins are expected to come up with their individual codes.

Which I supposed reflects that Irori isn't your boss, he's your teacher.

Inner Sea Gods simply describes the codes in it as "a sample code that a holy warrior of the faith would follow." I've understood that to mean "replace" rather than "add to."

Was Faiths of Purity where Paizo started coming up with the alternate codes? I don't have that handy.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Cole Deschain wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:
Paladins of LN deities are allowed because the rules explicitly allow them.

And Hellknight Paladins are allowed because the setting material- which is the only place Hellknights show up- explicitly allows it.

For similar reasons, I'm sure.

Setting FLUFF allows it.

Setting FLUFF also allowed Paladins of Asmodeus and Milani, and is in contradiction with the rules.

So, nopes. 'The setting allows it' isn't a 'rules' argument.

And I never said they 'couldn't' join. I stand by the statement that no paladin in their right mind, following their code, 'would' join, without one of two things: Being blindingly stupid and oblivious to the implications of their actions; or 'attempting to reform from within'.

neither of which excuses the implications to their paladin code.

==Aelryinth

Silver Crusade

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Aelryinth wrote:
Setting FLUFF also allowed Paladins of Asmodeus and Milani, and is in contradiction with the rules.

No, no they don't. Asmodean Paladins we're never supposed to be a thing and have been retconned.

The Paladin of Milani was simply an error.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Aelryinth wrote:

Setting FLUFF allows it.

Setting FLUFF also allowed Paladins of Asmodeus and Milani, and is in contradiction with the rules.

So, nopes. 'The setting allows it' isn't a 'rules' argument.

But setting FLUFF is all you're objecting to, because it's the only place Hellknights show up. Your "rules argument" is framed purely in aesthetic and setting-relevant language.

Literally every objection you have is based upon stubbornly trying (and thus far, failing) to prove that the SRD Paladin code is incompatible with joining any order whose members call themselves "Hellknights."

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Rysky wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:
Setting FLUFF also allowed Paladins of Asmodeus and Milani, and is in contradiction with the rules.

No, no they don't. Asmodean Paladins we're never supposed to be a thing and have been retconned.

The Paladin of Milani was simply an error.

Note the use of 'allowed', not 'allows'.

i.e. where Fluff contradicts with the rules, Fluff is overruled, unless it is explicitly spelled in the 'rules' of the setting.

I.e. Neutral zombies raised by juju oracle/witch docters. Also retconned to Evil because of the Rules.

i.e. Most Divine casters in Golarion MUST have a divine being behind them (barring Oracles, I believe). That's a Golarion Rule.

It's Golarion fluff that there are Paladin Hellknights, when the rules say it's nigh impossible for such a thing without some very specific exceptions (i.e. inflitrate and convert, or Mythic Idiot).
Which is an exceedingly defying reality for ALL paladin Hellknights.

==Aelryinth


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Whelp, all I learned from this is that I'm not playing a paladin anywhere near Aelryinth!

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Aelryinth wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:
Setting FLUFF also allowed Paladins of Asmodeus and Milani, and is in contradiction with the rules.

No, no they don't. Asmodean Paladins we're never supposed to be a thing and have been retconned.

The Paladin of Milani was simply an error.

Note the use of 'allowed', not 'allows'.

i.e. where Fluff contradicts with the rules, Fluff is overruled, unless it is explicitly spelled in the 'rules' of the setting.

I.e. Neutral zombies raised by juju oracle/witch docters. Also retconned to Evil because of the Rules.

i.e. Most Divine casters in Golarion MUST have a divine being behind them (barring Oracles, I believe). That's a Golarion Rule.

It's Golarion fluff that there are Paladin Hellknights, when the rules say it's nigh impossible for such a thing without some very specific exceptions (i.e. inflitrate and convert, or Mythic Idiot).
Which is an exceedingly defying reality for ALL paladin Hellknights.

==Aelryinth

And yet, Paladin Hellknights have been a thing since 3.5 and thus far, no retcons.


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Aelryinth wrote:
Mythic Idiot

Okay, that thing? That's really insulting. You've been doing that this whole thread - insulting anyone who disagrees with you, without apology, by proxy. Stop it. Thanks.

(And, for clarity, just in case people ask, when I did insult someone - and I did, to my shame; it has since been removed by the moderators -, I retracted it, explained how I was at fault, and apologized, and flagged my insult. I'd appreciate the same courtesy.)


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You need to remember that the paladin is LAWFUL good. Just because someone detects evil is not a reason enough to smite them, even if they don't want to change. Should the paladin smite the heartbreaker man that simply dedicates himself to making others fall in love with him for the sole purpose of breaking their hearts, even if the guy refuses to change his ways?
Also, what about a would-be Paladin of Erastil that finds that the only local knight order is a Hellknight one, which is helping protect his community?


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Aelryinth wrote:
i.e. Most Divine casters in Golarion MUST have a divine being behind them (barring Oracles, I believe). That's a Golarion Rule.

Actually, it's only clerics. While this is vague enough to go either way, things like this help clarify the concept.

Aelryinth wrote:

Which is an exceedingly defying reality for ALL paladin Hellknights.

==Aelryinth

This undermines your argument that paladins can't be Hellknights. If you mean to say, "All paladins that join the Hellknight organization inevitably fall." than, in general, I think you might want to clarify that's what you're talking about just so everyone's on the same page and we're not arguing about something else.

That is my guess as to what you mean. I don't know if that's actually what you mean, and if it's not that, then I can't divine a meaning from this statement that doesn't contradict the concept of paladins being effectively disallowed from joining the Hellknights.

As a reminder,

Chris Lambertz wrote:
Removed a series of posts. I'm not convinced what has essentially started to turn into another heated paladin alignment argument thread is going to be all that useful. Let's keep this discussion civil and centered on the context of the Campaign Setting, or we'll have to close this one.

... means we're discussing the Setting. Let's do that on the Setting's terms.

In terms of the Setting, unless something is contradicted in-setting or ret-conned, than it is correct as-printed.

What that means is that, except for very specific selections, even within retcons, most of the articles retain their accuracy as-written, unless the entire article was repudiated. That has not happened to paladins, Asmodeus, and the Hellknights, to my knowledge - a specific section of about one paragraph of the entry in Asmodeus' article, sure, but nothing else.

The reason "fluff-rules trump Core rules, unless otherwise stated" is that, if they did not, than clerics of Golarion would not require deities, as, in the Core, clerics do not require deities. After all, as noted in Core,

As their powers are influenced by their faith, all clerics must focus their worship upon a divine source. While the vast majority of clerics revere a specific deity, a small number dedicate themselves to a divine concept worthy of devotion—such as battle, death, justice, or knowledge—free of a deific abstraction. (Work with your GM if you prefer this path to selecting a specific deity.)

Hence, no matter one's views on anything, one must either accept that Setting-specific rules trump Core rules, or admit that one is arbitrating one's own vision upon something without regard to the written work of the Setting* (effectively, ignoring the Setting-specific rules). There is nothing wrong with doing the latter - but it should be clarified that one is, in fact, doing the latter, so as not to confuse others and come off... poorly.

For example, I arbitrarily ignore the repudiation of the Juju oracle - but it's an arbitration on my part.

That is a difference between setting rules and Core rules - the Core rules don't allow for the creation of non-evil undead, and the weight of what is written in fluff lends itself toward usually-evil or even always-evil undead, but there is no specific rule against having non-evil undead (though the creation thereof is always an evil act in Core rules; the setting-specific archetype that allowed a divergence was explicitly retconned).

Because of that, I don't quite play by the Setting rules - most people don't, in fact - but that's to be expected over-all. Different people have different concepts they like, and most people tweak the setting just a little anyway. Some people, however, don't, and accept only what is currently canon - so for those people, paladins can be Hellknights, but cannot be paladins of Asmodeus, the juju oracle cannot create non-evil undead, clerics must have a deity, and Hellknights can have lawful good orders and come into conflict with each other and Thrune, and so on.

* Or, you know, just persist in being wrong. That's an option, I suppose.

EDIT: Fixing coding.


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Aelryinth wrote:
3) Paladins don't admire Asmodeus. Hellknights do. Paladins despise him. He's the KING OF HELL. They don't forgive his Evil nature and Epic Sins as a minor quibble and irrelevant to his Lawfulness, unlike the HEllknights.

I'm fairly certain that the Hellknight Orders at least respect Asmodeus. And if there's one thing a smart paladin does regarding a clever enemy, it's respect them. For instance, a Paladin who's a part of the Fourth Crusade can despise Baphomet's infiltrators, and yet respect their tactics and their tenacity. If you don't respect them, if you just cast them off at all possible points as "deluded" or "misinformed" or "thralls to Hell" — then you're underestimating them. You're allowing them to play you like a fiddle.

That's something I've noticed about your posts, actually, Aelryinth. You seem to be dismissive of your opponents, almost talking down to them. A very disrespectful way of talking...

I'm just saying.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Tacticslion wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:
Mythic Idiot

Okay, that thing? That's really insulting. You've been doing that this whole thread - insulting anyone who disagrees with you, without apology, by proxy. Stop it. Thanks.

(And, for clarity, just in case people ask, when I did insult someone - and I did, to my shame; it has since been removed by the moderators -, I retracted it, explained how I was at fault, and apologized, and flagged my insult. I'd appreciate the same courtesy.)

You might have flagged yourself, but have you flagellated as well? Because if not, I'm afraid it doesn't count and it's straight to Hell for ya, you filthy LN(E) scum... ;)


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Zhangar wrote:
Blackvial wrote:
Zhangar wrote:
2) Aside from the alleged issue of paladins can't be in an organization that has evil members (which pretty much bars paladins from joining neutral organizations), keep in mind that Golarion deities have alternate paladin codes. I'd expect being a paladin of Shelyn or Sarenrae to be completely incompatible with being a Hellknight. Paladins of Iomedae, Torag, Adadar, and Irori are another matter entirely.
last i heard paladins had to follow both codes
That doesn't seem right.

As I recently pointed out in another thread, Abadar's entry in ISG is explicit on this point:

ISG wrote:

Of all the neutral gods, only Abadar supports and promotes a holy order of paladins. As the god of civilization and order, Abadar recognizes the value of holy warriors in advancing society’s aims. His paladins follow the standard paladin code of protecting the innocent, acting with honor and honesty, and respecting lawful authority. In addition, an Abadaran paladin upholds the following creed.


  • I am a protector of the roadways and keep travelers from harm. No matter their destinations or goals, if they are peaceable and legitimate travelers who harm no others on the road, I will ensure that they pass safely.
  • Bandits are a plague. Under my will they come to justice. If they will not come willingly before the law, where they can protest for justice in the courts, they will come under the power of my sword.
  • Corruption in the courts is the greatest corruption of civilization. Without confidence in justice, citizens cannot believe in their countries, and civilization begins to disappear. I will root out corruption wherever I find it, and if a system is fundamentally flawed, I will work to aid citizens by reforming or replacing it.
  • I am an aid to the markets. I ensure equitable trade between merchants and citizens. Theft and deceit on either side are intolerable.
  • I make opportunities, and teach others to recognize them. When I aid others, I open the way for them, but will not carry them—they must take responsibility.

Of particular note, there is no mention of associating with evil in it.


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Interesting. I think Abadar's the only one that cites specific parts of the standard code, and then adds to it. Iomedae, Shelyn, Sarenrae, etc. have described goals and then a list of sample tenets, that aren't always compatible with the standard code. (Torag's okay with misleading enemies to protect your people. Sarenrae's okay with fighting dirty. Etc.)

Incidentally, the Hell Unleashed section on Hellknights is our most recent info on them, until we get the book later this year.

Hell Unleashed notes that most Hellknights are lawful neutral but corruption is a very real concern for the Hellknights - and they know it, and lot of their rules are aimed at resisting it.

Lawful good Hellknights are rare, though some orders like the Scar and the Torrent are more compatible than others.

Though my favorite bit from the entry explains how the Test gets scaled with the power level of the aspirant. All the way up to the Hellknights being willing to gate in a pit fiend to duel the aspirant to the death, if the aspirant's that bad-ass.


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Aelryinth wrote:


Shall we start?

1) Oh, 30% of orders are LE. A fraction, under 10%, are LG. RARELY, there's some altercation between opposing factions and orders. Otherwise, it's simply business as usual. All of us Hellknights, together now!

You state nothing here that does not mean that Lawful Good orders do not exist and fight other orders that are in fact Lawful and Evil. They just do so using the same name and motif. Truth be told it might be a great way to inflitrate. How is stating that "<10% of orders are Lawful Good" an untruth? You just agreed with me in the first sentence by reaffirming their existence.

Quote:

2) Wow, what extremism. Of course they CAN join. They WOULDN'T join, just like most people wouldn't join an organization that calls themselves the "Nazi Knights." Do you have any idea how powerful the historical implication of being damned was? And now you're talking about a holy knight taking up service paying lip service to a LE power in a world where Hell actually Exists!

Wow. Do you have any idea what it means to have a LG heroic code at all?

This isn't earth. There are no historical implications here that relate to this at all in the slightest. This is a fantasy game. None of this is real. I wouldn't be this glib if it was.

And yes, they can join, provided the SPCIFIC ORDER THEY WERE JOINING was in fact lawful and good. Just because there's another chapter down the street that isn't lawful and good doesn't mean the one they join is not.

And Paladins don't have a lawful good heroic code. They have paladin code that is often strongly defined by that of the god they follow.

Quote:
]3) Paladins don't admire Asmodeus. Hellknights do. Paladins despise him. He's the KING OF HELL. They don't forgive his Evil nature and Epic Sins as a minor quibble and irrelevant to his Lawfulness, unlike the HEllknights.

Then why aren't paladin's attacking Sarenrae en masse, who worked with Asmodeus to imprision Rovagug, who was going to destroy the world? What Epic Sins are you talking about? I have seen the reflected in no book as part of the rules of this game. To the best of my knowledge, he's the Lawful Evil ruler of Hell, and all around jerk. I don't think a paladin could find much to admire about him outside of the lawfulness that he espouses with a great deal of clever wording.

Quote:
4) Aesthetic choices are about APPEARANCES. Go run around in swastikas and tell me appearances don't matter. Paladins are intensely aware of appearances, and being a Hellknight makes you appear as if you've submitted to Hell, however tangentially you want to argue it. Paladins are there to inspire and bring hope, not bring the Jackboot of Fear.

This is the second time you've gone on a nazi kick. You do realize this...isn't Earth, right? Asmodeus isn't real? That this is another world entirely? Nothing's wrong with making armor that looks like a snarling devil no matter what your alightment is. Go hanging out with the devil that the armor is based on, and then you have an alignment based problem. Maybe.

Quote:

5) 'Prestige class' is our meta concept for what every Hellknight actually knows exists, quit trying to rewrite reality. And the only other PrC's that are endemic to Hellknights, why, yes, they DO have something to do with Hell.

Seriously, you think that the Hellknights don't know the difference between a pure Fighter Hellknight and someone with X levels in the PrC? That's like saying they never notice the difference between Fighters and Paladins. You're making no sense. Of COURSE they know what it means to have the PrC.

As an aside, do you think that united states marines undergo some magical ritual that actually turns them into devil dogs? Because that's the same logic there...but I digress. There are several prestige classes available that would be of great use to a hellknight order that have nothing to do Asmodeus, hell, or anything evil. An order that was Lawful Good might even have good ones, but as stated above, that's up to the individual order.

Quote:

6)6) Rarely and only in active conflict. Where paladins would be driven to oppose them at EVERY TURN. Associate with them on a DAILY BASIS, possibly. And tell me, what kind of order would you join where you would be driven to fight other fellow knights like yourselves? You could join an order where you don't have to fight your fellows and do the same thing!

You're basically saying that infighting, which is a chaotic thing, is perfectly acceptable pastime for fellow Hellknights against one another! Glorious. And you want to JOIN this kind of dysfunctional knighthood?

Then there is a problem with Asmodeus in general then, because he has no problem with one Hellknight order fighting another, and he is a paragon of Lawful Evil. Hellknight orders fight each other. It happens. There is at least one adventure that revolves around this point. Are you aware of the concept of individiual Hellknight orders upholding different things? Please, check out the Order of the Torrent.

Quote:

7) And you don't see the irony of them perverting the teachings of Good deities, and the paladins just going along with it?

Uh Huh. Lawful Stupid paladins, there just to smite, I see.

I don't see the irony because there is an entire class dedicated to ensuring that misunderstandings of the faith do not occur and that dogmatic interpretations remain within a standard deviation. Noone is being Lawful Stupid here.

Quote:

8) Sure, the armies of Hell use tactics just like the armies of Heaven. Uh huh. Yep.

Are you actually serious with this statement?

As in that they are a lawful organization, yes. They march troops informations, etc. They aren't a rambling mess or disorganized mob.

Quote:

9) No. No, they don't. Because if they do, they aren't LG organizations anymore, they are LN at best, and more likely LE. You know, like the Hellknights. 'Chaos is Evil' is nowhere in the paladin code, and regarding CG, would probably cause a paladin to Fall instantly. It's a trick to distract people from the Evil they are already being crushed by.

And DO take note...just being 'LG' isn't what a paladin is. A paladin is very, very, very Good and Lawful. They are held to a higher standard.

Yes, yes they do. Lawful good opposes both chaos and evil. They do not focus on one over another. One can lose their paladin abilities for being chaotic, not just evil.

Quote:

10) Yeah, 80% are supported by Thrune, 20% of them are nominally independent, and none of them are actually opposed.

So, why would a paladin not join the Church of Iomadae, which is 100% not corrupted at all by Thrune, and avoid even the hint of subservience to devil-worshipers?
Because appearances matter.

Where in the world are you getting your percentages from...?

Nothing wrong with a paladin joining the church of iomedae. Nothing wrong with a paladin joining a lawful good organization as well. If there is a lawful good chapter of hellknights starting up, then he can join that too.
It's rare, but not impossible for one to exist.

Quote:

11) 3 of the 10 guys in the room with you are LE and happy with it. And you are a paladin who isn't supposed to work with Evil folk save in the most exceptional circumstances.

Or you could join a Knighthood made up of 100% LG types, instead.
No? Keep violating your code. 'Majority' means nothing to the code. If the Hellknights can't kick out their LE members, you need to go and find a LG knighthood that will satisfy your code.

Depending on what the organization is dedicated too, the organization could very well be the exceptional circumstance you speak of. A hellknight order could kick out people who violate the code of that order, and if it's a lawful good chapter, then...well...lawful evil guy has to go.

Quote:

===========

Seriously, every argument you're making here is 'paladins aren't actually held to a high standard, they can rules lawyer around their code without any problems to satisfy the fluff of the setting,
while violating the spirit and letter of the code right and left.'

Sorry, not a single valid argument there, Freehold.

Tons of vaild arguments here. I wouldn't want to play a paladin in a game your were running, as it seems that the first day I stopped and ate an an inn that was owned by an evil innkeeper, I would be found guilty of colluding with an evil force and fall.


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I agree with you Aelryinth that names and appearances should matter, and yeah I don't really like the whole dressing up as evil to fight evil (Hellknights, daredevil etc. but I can understand why they exist in literature) but it's a fact that at least in some parts of Golarion names and appearances don't really matter in some cases.

I (personally) take the whole paladins in Hellknight orders as an opportunity for corruption stories, redemption stories or hubris stories.


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So who is the highest level known paladin Hellknight? I know that the Order of the Godclaw has one of 3rd level. Are there any paladin Hellknights of high enough level to have taken the Test?

There are higher level Hellknights of lawful good alignment who have actual Hellknight levels, but none of the ones I have tracked down so far are paladins.


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Aelryinth wrote:

{. . .}

So, why would a paladin not join the Church of Iomadae, which is 100% not corrupted at all by Thrune, and avoid even the hint of subservience to devil-worshipers?
{. . .}

That is a REALLY unsafe assumption in Cheliax. Last time I checked (although I can't remember the reference location), the Church of Iomedae in Cheliax puts more emphasis on order and obedience and less on valor and rooting out Evil as compared to elsewhere, and the www.pathfinderwiki.com article on Cheliax says that "Every Chelaxian pays at least lip service to the Prince of Darkness" (scroll down to the Religion section to find this). This is enforced against the will of (at least some of) the affected people, but it is corruption nevertheless.


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David knott 242 wrote:

So who is the highest level known paladin Hellknight? I know that the Order of the Godclaw has one of 3rd level. Are there any paladin Hellknights of high enough level to have taken the Test?

There are higher level Hellknights of lawful good alignment who have actual Hellknight levels, but none of the ones I have tracked down so far are paladins.

I suspect you are asking about canon, but I play a Paladin 5/Hellknight 2 in PFS. I used a GM-star replay to set him up to

Spoiler:
kill the succubus in front of Damien Blakros in Hellknight's Feast
as his last scenario before sixth level. Took the very expensive boon on that chronicle as well, to finish out the backstory.
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