Fallen Paladin: Does attacking a possessed party member qualify as an Evil Act and Violation of the Paladin Code?


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John Napier 698 wrote:

I agree totally. For Paladins Good should take precedence over Law.

That's not really lawful good though, that's neutral good.


Bloodrealm wrote:
Quintain wrote:
Rysky wrote:

Paladins do not need a government's, any governments', permission to be a Paladin. They do not require any sort of Mark of Authority, a thing you made up, in order to be a Paladin.

They also absolutely do not have to come from a "lawful authority", a restriction you also have made up.

People in charge of a country do not determine a Paladin's abilities, or their ability to be a Paladin.

No one is saying that they require a government's permission to be a paladin.

What they can do, what actions they can perform, are very much under the auspices of the law, and is very much within the pervue of a government, however.

Simply "being a paladin" does not grant you any legal authority at all whatsoever.

Especially in lands that are not your own.

That doesn't mean they can't take action anyway in accordance to what they feel is right and just.

A Paladin wouldn't think ignoring the law of the land is just and right.

I mean, look at real life countries where the evil order was deposed and anarchy resulted in its place. A Paladin, being an advocate for law and order, would worry about that.

Grand Lodge

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So the last three or so pages of this as far as I can tell have been talking about Lawful behavior and Paladins. Can you guys make a separate thread about it and stop posting off-topic?


Bill Dunn wrote:
John Napier 698 wrote:

I agree totally. For Paladins Good should take precedence over Law.

That's not really lawful good though, that's neutral good.

Yeah, its important that your paladin can distinguish himself from a neutral good and chaotic good character.

I mean, a chaotic good character would say "I have a moral code I follow and I respect laws that are within that". If he didn't follow a moral code, he wouldn't be good.


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As I tend to see it... Law is the means, while Good is the end. They are not equal, and righteous warriors are far more likely to reconsider their methods than their goal. Law is important to them - they're not going to easily set it aside just because another option is available - but if it really and genuinely comes down to "pick one", they're probably going to pick being Good.

Nobody says they have to be Lawful Stupid - at least in my games, if a non-Lawful option is drastically better than the Lawful one, I wouldn't look down on them (or worse, try to punish them) for going with it. XD They're absolutely allowed to do the occasional chaotic act so long as their overall behavior remains lawful.


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Johnlocke90:

That's basically a condensed version of what I have been trying to get across. To a LG Paladin, Law is on the same level as Good. For only through adherence to the law is maximum good achieved. A LG Paladin would not forment anarchy even if the end result is a minor "good".

Anarchy ensures the suffering of the weakest, which the Paladin is pledged to protect.

I also reject the idea that the paladin can decide for himself what is and is not a "legitimate authority". If that were the case, then that clause of the paladin code would be essentially meaningless.

A Paladin cannot sit in judgment or judge his own actions as following the code or not for himself -- which is what deciding for yourself what is and is not a legitimate authority really is.


So I think the problem is when you talk about morality (which really is what we are discussing) you have to take into consideration the society the rules and laws are coming from.

most people agree murder is an unlawful and evil act but lets take a moment to imagine a world where murder is not. In fact I just remembered a literary reference that has imagined a world in that murder is a joyous occasion. Orson Scott Card's "Shadow of the hegemon"
The pequinnos when their bodies die they grow into trees and have a much more respected and fruitful life. (pun intended). In their culture murder is how one moves on to their maturity. so for them murder is not an evil act.

lets put a Paladin in here now lets say he was raised in a slaving village all his life he was trained by paladins that also always lived in a slaving village. How is the paladin even suppose to recognize slavery as evil hes like a fish in water. now lets say another paladin from another culture that views slavery as evil enters a village of slavers. He can try to convince people of his ways using logic he can use diplomacy and might eventually resort to war to stop what he views as an evil act. Is either paladin not being lawful good in relation to how they were taught?

now the counter to this subjective morality argument is an absolute morality where there is only one good choice but if this was the way for pathfinder all LG deities would have the same codes all NG would have the same codes and etc. so it makes me tend to think that the deities version of good varies from one to the next as well..


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now the counter to this subjective morality argument is an absolute morality where there is only one good choice but if this was the way for pathfinder all LG deities would have the same codes all NG would have the same codes and etc. so it makes me tend to think that the deities version of good varies from one to the next as well..

The counter to subjective morality is indeed absolute morality which is what D&D (and to an extend Pathfinder -- although this is being lost) was based on, but I disagree that this would mean that all LG deities would have the same code.

They might agree on the absolutes of the LG code, but would stress different aspects of how it implemented based on their portfolios.


Well if it is Absolute then all evil acts are weighted the same. If all evil acts are weighted the same then for one deity to punish one evil act more so then another would mean the deity is not as good as the one that punishes the heavier weighted evil act the good deities would be good in tiers. So the deity that punishes murder would be the most Good and the one that punished thievery would be a less good deity.


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johnlocke90 wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:
John Napier 698 wrote:

I agree totally. For Paladins Good should take precedence over Law.

That's not really lawful good though, that's neutral good.

Yeah, its important that your paladin can distinguish himself from a neutral good and chaotic good character.

I mean, a chaotic good character would say "I have a moral code I follow and I respect laws that are within that". If he didn't follow a moral code, he wouldn't be good.

on the other hand you can follow a moral code and be completely evil


second guessing things is a favorite past time on the message boards and when it comes to alignment it's the perfectly delicious mound of jello hydrated collagen that wobbles this way and that...

so your GM made a decision.

find out how much it's gonna cost, divide the cost among the party members that agree with you. Pay it and move on.

People here will have different ideas and that would hold in their game, but you are in your GM's game. If you've talked about it and he won't budge, just pay it and move on. It's not a big deal.


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Can we get this thread locked to prevent Quintain from reviving it with his constant s@%*posting?

@Vidmaster7 Pathfinder runs on absolute morality. The stances of different deities represents the different degrees of different aspects within those alignments. One deity of a particular alignment may focus more on a certain aspect than another. Deities are also separated by their portfolios, domains, and subdomains, representing their power over and focus on certain aspects. The way the planes of the cosmos work can't function if there is no absolute morality, and Pharasma would be out of a job.


Bloodrealm wrote:

Can we get this thread locked to prevent Quintain from reviving it with his constant s!!+posting?

I find your tears delicious.


All I can think to say at this point is that Quintain is a Lawful Neutral person in real life, and he's applying/confusing that view to the Lawful Good alignment. There are plenty of examples of definitive Lawful Good characters opposing the established law. Such as whenever Superman or Captain America have to fight against a government program because it clashes with their ideals.

Here's an example of how two Lawful Good deities handle the concept of surrender. Iomedae accepts surrender when in doubt, but Torag only accepts surrender when strategy warrants. So Torag accepts someone's surrender only when it benefits him, while Iomedae accepts surrender because she acknowledges the situation has become morally grey.

I'd throw Sarenrae's code in here for good measure, but she's Neutral Good. While her paladin order is Lawful Good by definition, it's tempered by Neutral Good teachings. So some sticklers might make an argument against her teachings when it comes to paladins.


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Quintain wrote:
Bloodrealm wrote:

Can we get this thread locked to prevent Quintain from reviving it with his constant s!!+posting?

I find your tears delicious.

Again, I find this to be very childish behaviour.


Bill Dunn wrote:
John Napier 698 wrote:

I agree totally. For Paladins Good should take precedence over Law.

That's not really lawful good though, that's neutral good.

Perhaps. I have taken the alignment test for the link several pages back, and my personal beliefs fall into the Neutral Good category. So, yes, my opinions would be influenced by this. But this doesn't invalidate them.

Now, the original topic of this thread was how to help a player whose Paladin character was made to fall by what appears to be GM fiat. Can we please try to get back on topic? This continual bickering on definitions of Lawful Good serves no purpose. In short, I'm calling for a return to sanity. Thank you all for your attention.


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No. if it comes right guy down to it and a paladin's liege passes a law saying that all nobles must sacrifice a baby on alternate tuesdays, the paladin pretty much WILL defy the edict or try to have the liege forcibly removed. They aren't going to say 'oh well. Thems the laws. THAT would be lawful neutral, at best.

Good is the ultimate goal, law is the proper means to achieve good, however law which accomplishes and I see aimed at evil is not 'legitiamate'. Now if there are proper legal channels which can address the evil and fix it, even if difficult? Sure. But the law is not going to be put above good.


I was planning on bringing it back around my point might of looped around to wide.

If the setting is a typical pathfinder (so Golarion right?) then the definition of LG is based on Golarion society and Golarion deities (now this absolute won't work for non golarion games they could have different pantheons and different pantheons alter it unless your going to try and tell me Norse Greek Babylonian and grey hawk gods all have the same concept of good which we could argue but you would need to start a new thread cause that is a huge assumption.)

but the game is being ran by a person. The dm and they for the terms of their game over ride even deities so on the front you could say that the DM can arbitrarily say what is right and what is wrong. However if they are going to allow you to play a character that is house ruled it is considered polite and in general a good idea to announce house rules. Such as a changes to the alignment system and what is expected.

assuming the house rules are not the cause the violation would have to go by strict reading of the paladins code and alignment. Now the next break down would be is the act at all evil if it is not then there is no reason it should cause a fall based on previous offenses (if he did something bad before that warranted it it should be hit then right? but doing a non evil act despite the past should not cause a fall) so the next step would be is what he did in the least bit evil or maybe even does the good outweigh the bad so the shift should still be overall positive.

So attacking an ally: generally evil (unless ally is evil). attacking a possessed ally is that evil? attacking a possessed ally who is trying to kill a good aligned stranger? If the attempt was to kill the ally when another option was available that could be an evil action. If the attempt was to KO the ally then knocking someone about to do something that they themselves would regret could be a good act. protecting good guys (presumably sliver dragon) from evil (the entity possessing the ally) is a good act. Doing it in a way that doesn't kill the ally is even better.

The exception like I said is if the house rule that allys are more important then strangers to either code or alignment. If that is true then its obvious. however As a DM I would have definitely warned my players about that house rule or rather all my house rules.

I think that about sums up everything. Get an atonement and then ask for all the house rules.


Quintain wrote:
Quote:


My comment was in response to the notion that I you smite one slaver in one country you're fine but if you 5ft step into the neighboring country and smite an equally evil slaver you would fall just because the man-made laws are different between the two counties.

That is not what I am saying.

You would be "good" to smite in either case. If you smite in the evil lands, you would be performing a chaotic act -- you have no jurisdiction. If you smite in uncontrolled lands, you are doing what you are supposed to do. No issues. If you do it in your lands, you are upholding the law.

That is the difference between Lawful *AND* Good, and lawful *OR* good.

This is what is called "Respecting Legitimate Authority". Which means you will obey the law of the lands in which you reside/travel.

Source for your definition of 'respecting the law of everywhere you travel"?


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Quintain wrote:
John Napier 698 wrote:
I just got back from doing something else and have been reading the posts to catch up. It seems to me that Quintain espouses the opinion that "My Lawful Good is superior to all others. And any who do not believe as I do is wrong, and must be punished." Unless I'm mistaken.

You are mistaken.

I want to give a real world example of this behavior, but I want everyone to get an understanding of what I am talking about first.

How familiar are all of you regarding the legal concept of reciprocity?

Quote:


And if the King/Queen are Evil then to a Paladin they are not legitimate, and neither are any laws they put forth.
Again, no. Legitimacy does not require the agreement of the Paladin. This is nothing more than anarchy.

No. anarchy would be respecting no law. This would be respecting a singular law which happens to be different than that of the state they are in. Two extremely different things.


Quintain wrote:

Johnlocke90:

That's basically a condensed version of what I have been trying to get across. To a LG Paladin, Law is on the same level as Good. For only through adherence to the law is maximum good achieved. A LG Paladin would not forment anarchy even if the end result is a minor "good".

Anarchy ensures the suffering of the weakest, which the Paladin is pledged to protect.

I also reject the idea that the paladin can decide for himself what is and is not a "legitimate authority". If that were the case, then that clause of the paladin code would be essentially meaningless.

A Paladin cannot sit in judgment or judge his own actions as following the code or not for himself -- which is what deciding for yourself what is and is not a legitimate authority really is.

He is not deciding for himself. The code he follows defines what authority Is truly legitimate. The precepts of his faith. Holy law. Natural law.


Vidmaster7 wrote:

I was planning on bringing it back around my point might of looped around to wide.

If the setting is a typical pathfinder (so Golarion right?) then the definition of LG is based on Golarion society and Golarion deities (now this absolute won't work for non golarion games they could have different pantheons and different pantheons alter it unless your going to try and tell me Norse Greek Babylonian and grey hawk gods all have the same concept of good which we could argue but you would need to start a new thread cause that is a huge assumption.)

but the game is being ran by a person. The dm and they for the terms of their game over ride even deities so on the front you could say that the DM can arbitrarily say what is right and what is wrong. However if they are going to allow you to play a character that is house ruled it is considered polite and in general a good idea to announce house rules. Such as a changes to the alignment system and what is expected.

assuming the house rules are not the cause the violation would have to go by strict reading of the paladins code and alignment. Now the next break down would be is the act at all evil if it is not then there is no reason it should cause a fall based on previous offenses (if he did something bad before that warranted it it should be hit then right? but doing a non evil act despite the past should not cause a fall) so the next step would be is what he did in the least bit evil or maybe even does the good outweigh the bad so the shift should still be overall positive.

So attacking an ally: generally evil (unless ally is evil). attacking a possessed ally is that evil? attacking a possessed ally who is trying to kill a good aligned stranger? If the attempt was to kill the ally when another option was available that could be an evil action. If the attempt was to KO the ally then knocking someone about to do something that they themselves would regret could be a good act. protecting good guys (presumably sliver dragon) from evil (the entity possessing...

The setting is Golarion. So basically what has to be discussed is the house rules before they are just dropped on the players and establishing what the alignment system means to everybody in the group.


Quote:


... There are plenty of examples of definitive Lawful Good characters opposing the established law. Such as whenever Superman or Captain America have to fight against a government program because it clashes with their ideals.

I have said repeatedly that Lawful Good characters can and should oppose unjust laws.

However, lawful good character can and should oppose the law within the confines of the law, in order maximize good for all concerned.

(Here's where you usually stop reading...)

Now, there are measures that a lawful good individual can oppose the law outside the law, and all are lawful in nature:

One is insurrection/rebellion - a declared rebellion is very much a lawful thing. (See the War for Independence).

The other is letters of marque -- again, getting permission from a higher authority to wage war. Joining an army or small group tasked with bringing down a foreign government -- very lawful.

There are numerous ways for lawful goods to counter unjust laws. You simply need to use your imagination and understand that you (as a PC) do not live in a vacuum. Nor are they an authority unto themselves.

Following the Paladin code or the code of their God is all fine and dandy, but the paladin code says to respect legitimate autority -- this part cannot be hand waved or decided by the paladin himself.

A paladin deciding for himself what is and is not a legitimate authority is along the same lines as to whether he commits an evil act or not. -- No one would ever think that the paladin gets to decide this. It's ridiculously abusable.

In order to be workable, the idea of legitimate authority has to come from an objective source. And that objective source is the law, which the paladin is not above.

A Paladin, unlike a superhero cannot be a vigilante, unless he is given special dispensation from the powers-that-be.

Quote:


The code he follows defines what authority Is truly legitimate.

Ok, then, show me this list of Golarion specific legitimate authorities. Thanks.

Quote:


Source for your definition of 'respecting the law of everywhere you travel"?

The Paladin code. Laws by definition, come from legitimate authority...otherwise they aren't laws.

Grand Lodge

Hey Quintain, I've been following the conversation and I just wanted to clarify one thing you seem to have a misconception about.

A Paladin can gain powers from being the epitome of Lawful Good, but in the case of a Paladin of a specific god their powers do in fact come from that god. That's why they have an altered Paladin code based upon their deities ideals. Also it's generally accepted that their deity's code replaces the default Paladin code.

Anyways, just my 2 cents on the matter.


Quote:


A Paladin can gain powers from being the epitome of Lawful Good, but in the case of a Paladin of a specific god their powers do in fact come from that god. That's why they have an altered Paladin code based upon their deities ideals. Also it's generally accepted that their deity's code replaces the default Paladin code.

I, initially, thought the same way myself. And personally, I prefer it this way -- it makes much more sense that all paladins should have to worship a deity and follow those edicts and not the "generic paladin code". It is much more nuanced that way, and ultimately more fun.

However, by RAW (at least as it was demonstrated to me in prior threads), that the Paladin getting his powers from Law and Good is not changed by him worshiping a deity. And where the code and deific edicts contradict, he has to follow the code.

At least that is according to RAW. -- I'm more than willing to play it as Deity-specific Paladins, myself. I would love this.

Grand Lodge

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Ah well then. I believe we've finally reached the crux of the issue.

Going back to the original issue that sparked all this controversy, Madokar simply needs to have a discussion with his GM about whether he is bound primarily to the default godless Paladin Code or to Iomedae's code.

This should make the GM's expectations clear and help avoid future unpleasant situations.

Dark Archive

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Here is my two cents on the matter. A controlled creature that is forced to do an evil act is subject to a shift in alignment as if he had done it willingly. Source the spells Absolution and Atonement

Ultimate Intrigue wrote:
Absolution ends all charm or compulsion effects affecting the target (including harmless compulsions, such as heroism) as per break enchantment. If the target was forced to perform any actions contrary to his alignment, monk vows, paladin oath, or similar code of conduct by that charm or compulsion effect, that action doesn't cause him to lose access to class abilities, including divine spellcasting.

The fact that these spells cause them to not shift, means the opposite is normally true. That a charmed or compulsed creature who goes against his alignment/vows/etc. suffers the negatives and loses their abilities tied to that. That means that a controlled creature that is performing an evil act, is performing it himself and is treated as such.

Stopping a creature from performing an evil act (such as killing a good aligned creature) is certainly a good act, so you're in the clear in that sense.
Now were your actions lawful? There is no law preventing you from stopping a controlled ally, therefore it is not unlawful. Nor is there a law saying you must stop all controlled allies, therefore it is not lawful. You performed a neutral good act, not warranting a fall for your character. Now your GM is god here, however. If he says you paladin turns into a half chicken half squirrel because a wizard in Gault rolled a nat one on his spell and tore a hole in the space-time continuum, then it happened. If having a casual conversation with your GM doesn't resolve the issue unfortunately your options become, make a new character or make new friends. Best of luck my friend.


RDM42 wrote:
No. if it comes right guy down to it and a paladin's liege passes a law saying that all nobles must sacrifice a baby on alternate tuesdays, the paladin pretty much WILL defy the edict or try to have the liege forcibly removed. They aren't going to say 'oh well. Thems the laws. THAT would be lawful neutral, at best.

Lawful doesn't necessarily mean 'follow every law' in the first place.

So that's not even necessarily putting good above his lawful alignment.


Jurassic Pratt wrote:

Ah well then. I believe we've finally reached the crux of the issue.

Going back to the original issue that sparked all this controversy, Madokar simply needs to have a discussion with his GM about whether he is bound primarily to the default godless Paladin Code or to Iomedae's code.

This should make the GM's expectations clear and help avoid future unpleasant situations.

Which is what we generally concluded several pages back, before someone "Frankenstiened" a dying thread.


One thing to consider is what your god wants. For example:

Iomedae wants to initiate a campaign against Cheliax so she can free her homeland from the yoke of Asmodeus. However, the Worldwound is drawing most of her attention, as it is the greater threat to the Material Plane and Golarion in particular.

Knowing that Iomedae would want to overthrow the Thrune regime of Cheliax if she had the chance, any paladin of Iomedae who finds themselves inside the borders of Cheliax is not beholden to follow the Infernal rule of the land simply by virtue of being the law.

It basically comes down to the fact that Divine Law supersedes Mortal law.

Now, for my particular issue, my GM has his opinion of what Iomedae's paladin code is and I have my interpretation. So we have to establish the difference. He's already given me what he believes is the proper code, and I agree with most of it.

But his "bros before foes" philosophy does not sit well with me, as it is too selfish a worldview to be of any Good alignment. So I have to have a talk with him and the group about what their definition of Good is.

Grand Lodge

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Madokar Valortouched wrote:


But his "bros before foes" philosophy does not sit well with me, as it is too selfish a worldview to be of any Good alignment. So I have to have a talk with him and the group about what their definition of Good is.

And that's the thread folks! The OP has his answer on what needs to be done to help fix the situation he finds himself in.

So let's stop with all the alignment arguments and move on shall we?


Jurassic Pratt wrote:
Madokar Valortouched wrote:


But his "bros before foes" philosophy does not sit well with me, as it is too selfish a worldview to be of any Good alignment. So I have to have a talk with him and the group about what their definition of Good is.

And that's the thread folks! The OP has his answer on what needs to be done to help fix the situation he finds himself in.

So let's stop with all the alignment arguments and move on shall we?

And I second that motion. If there are no objections, then I move that the OP's problem has been adequately resolved.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Thirded.


Jurassic Pratt wrote:


So let's stop with all the alignment arguments and move on shall we?

If you don't like the way the discussion has evolved you can just not look at the thread anymore?

Seems simpler than demanding everyone else stop posting to accommodate you.

Grand Lodge

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The thread devolved into an off-track argument that was not even addressing the crux of the OP's problem anymore. It was also getting heated to the point of ad hominem from some parties.

I'm not asking anyone to accommodate me, simply saying lets stop arguing about something that no longer matters as the OP's issue is resolved.


On the contrary, the nature of lawful good is pretty much a natural evolution of the OP's question. Yes, arguments get heated, but people don't need you trying to protect them with your faux moderating either.

Grand Lodge

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Sigh, no sure what about my post was "faux" moderating but ok. Also not sure who I was "trying to protect" as you put it.

But regardless, this is getting off topic and I'm done discussing it in this thread. Feel free to PM me if you have further issues with my posting style you'd like to discuss.


swoosh wrote:
On the contrary, the nature of lawful good is pretty much a natural evolution of the OP's question. Yes, arguments get heated, but people don't need you trying to protect them with your faux moderating either.

I wonder if the nature of Lawful Evil and Lawful Neutral ever get debates like this...


Madokar Valortouched wrote:
swoosh wrote:
On the contrary, the nature of lawful good is pretty much a natural evolution of the OP's question. Yes, arguments get heated, but people don't need you trying to protect them with your faux moderating either.
I wonder if the nature of Lawful Evil and Lawful Neutral ever get debates like this...

I rarely people see arguing over neutral on the good-evil axis directly. Usually it only ever comes up when contrasting neutral with good or evil behavior.

LE sometimes, but less so. There's inherent fuzziness because many lawful traits are also traits that modern society perceives as good, so occasionally there's disagreement over how it works. Usually in the context of a LE character being arguably better described as NE (because they don't really hold true to any lawful traits outside a superficial level) or LN (because their lawful traits prevent them from being truly evil).

It makes it a hard alignment to write and I personally think Pathfinder often runs into the problem of writing NE devils that masquerade as LE, but ultimately causes less contention because the typical Pathfinder adventure trends toward good and there's a core class built around LG while there isn't much LE exclusive outside niche options.


I'm moving along as well. I've heard so many of these circular argument sessions over my 28 years of playing/GMing that I could recite it all in my sleep. Furthermore, it was not us who hijacked the thread about alignment arguments. It was you alignment people who hijacked the thread about a player asking for advice. An issue that was resolved four pages back. This thread no longer serves its original purpose.

Madokar, if you need any further advice, feel free to PM me.


John Napier 698 wrote:

I'm moving along as well. I'v heard so many of these circular argument sessions over my 28 years of playing/GMing that I could recite it all in my sleep. Furthermore, it was not us who hijacked the thread about alignment arguments. It was you alignment people who hijacked the thread about a player asking for advice. An issue that was resolved four pages back. This thread no longer serves its original purpose.

Madokar, if you need any further advice, feel free to PM me.

Will do.

Community & Digital Content Director

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Locking, as this has veered quite far from the original rules question being asked.

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