Let's Start An Argument About Alignment! We'll start with Lawful Good.


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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You are both incorrect, allowing a person to die simply because you dont like them is evil. Refusing to help is indeed something neutral people do, its one of the evil things they do that balances out the good they do and makes them neutral.

Leaving a dying person in the hands of someone who you know will refuse to help them is just as evil as leaving a prisoner in the hands of someone you know will torture them.

A Paladin is not responsible for all the potential evil someone does. He is responsible for all the evil he allows. A villain escaping is not actively doing anything evil. A person refusing to heal a dying person, especially when theyre good, is. The Paladin should definitely prioritize the active evil being committed over the potential evil.


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I feel I made the right call.

I may have forgotten to specify, the other PC blasphemed not against the paladin, but against the NPC cleric.

She was the only way for the other PC to survive. This was known and she went to kill a villain rather than save a life.

I call that Wrath.

Also, a falling paladin isn't a big deal. She did a small quest and got an atonement. She played the same PC later in a planescape campaign where she met the dead PC in the afterlife. Was good stuff.


But what if the villain got away and did evil things? (Which we know they would because they're a villain). By your strict definitions, the paladin would be allowing evil to happen and therefore fall anyways.

I think this situation is exactly why I dislike GM ownership of paladin's status. The GM's sense of morality is never gonna line up with the player's and the GM temptation for adding dramatic lose-lose "choices" is pretty unfun from a player's perspective.


Also, letting your party member die to stop the villain in a world where resurrection magic is very available to adventurers has different ramifications than in "real life", no matter how you spin it.


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KujakuDM wrote:

I feel I made the right call.

I may have forgotten to specify, the other PC blasphemed not against the paladin, but against the NPC cleric.

She was the only way for the other PC to survive. This was known and she went to kill a villain rather than save a life.

I call that Wrath.

Also, a falling paladin isn't a big deal. She did a small quest and got an atonement. She played the same PC later in a planescape campaign where she met the dead PC in the afterlife. Was good stuff.

How does wrath lead to falling? Paladins of several deities (Ragathiel is the very first to come to mind) are pretty much divine wrath made flesh.

I'd say it would depend on the situation. If the paladin knew or could have assumed that letting the villain go would lead to widespread suffering and death then letting one person perish in order to prevent that isn't a fallable thing. It's not ideal but it certainly isn't evil.

The greatest good for the greatest number of people is a pretty fitting thing for Lawful Good.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think there's probably more to this story than we're hearing, because I don't see how wrath ties into it at all. For instance, was the villain the paladin's personal nemesis? Because then, okay, I can see the logic in that case. The paladin is choosing her own, possibly petty revenge over helping her fellow party member, and I can understand why they'd fall over that. But without being there, it's hard for me to say who did right. But it turned out alright in the end with your players, and that's all that's important.

Also, your NPC cleric is kind of a jerk. I'm assuming the spell Quest was out of reach for him, but the PC who offended him could have taken one voluntarily in exchange for healing, rather than being magically compelled.

Tangentially, I'm a little surprised there's not a lesser version of "Quest". Forcing blasphemers to accept a magical burden in exchange for healing, even at 1st level, seem like something all the deities could get behind.


IIRC (Campaign was years ago) it was low enough level that resurrection magic wasn't extremely viable, let alone when the only person who could do it wouldn't.

Also, I'm noticing a distinct lack of people realizing that the Player agreed that she was falling at that point, and that I openly stated that it was an offence.

This is litterally the only time I have had a paladin fall. I am always open with what I feel the actions they take are in regards to their Oath to make sure my feelings are in line with how the player feels.

And the opinion that DM's should not have "ownership" of paladin speaks more about adversarial role playing. I didn't own the falling, or even create the situation.

A GM should not create a situation where paladins fall, I didn't create that situation the other PC was close to death in a fight against a villain. It arose out of the situation, not by my specific addition.

As for the "Quest" spell, IIRC there is no way the other PC would have even bothered with it. They didn't like each other either.


Spastic Puma wrote:
But what if the villain got away and did evil things? (Which we know they would because they're a villain). By your strict definitions, the paladin would be allowing evil to happen and therefore fall anyways.

I don't feel I was being strict. By the same notion what if he got away and reformed and never did anything bad again?

IMO, the choice was between Mercy & Wrath. One is objectively more "Good" than the other.

There is also the fact that it was fixed with a single small atonement spell and a short quest.

Falling isn't a big deal.


Spastic Puma wrote:

But what if the villain got away and did evil things? (Which we know they would because they're a villain). By your strict definitions, the paladin would be allowing evil to happen and therefore fall anyways.

I think this situation is exactly why I dislike GM ownership of paladin's status. The GM's sense of morality is never gonna line up with the player's and the GM temptation for adding dramatic lose-lose "choices" is pretty unfun from a player's perspective.

A paladin.

Is not responsible.
for the evil.
he failed to stop.

A paladin.
is responsible.
for the evil.
he allows to happen.

A paladin.
is responsible.
for the good.
he fails to do.


Spastic Puma wrote:
Also, letting your party member die to stop the villain in a world where resurrection magic is very available to adventurers has different ramifications than in "real life", no matter how you spin it.

By this argument, torture to save the world is ok because there is healing magic. Paladins are allowed to torture.


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Baval wrote:
Spastic Puma wrote:
Also, letting your party member die to stop the villain in a world where resurrection magic is very available to adventurers has different ramifications than in "real life", no matter how you spin it.
By this argument, torture to save the world is ok because there is healing magic. Paladins are allowed to torture.

If you want to take my point past its limits to caricaturize it there are a lot more entertaining ways to do that. My example was given in the context of a greater good dilemma. Yours is lacking any greater good dilemma and attempting to take my reasoning outside the bounds I presented it in. Please take my words as I give them to you and refrain from running off with them.

Also, as fun and dramatic as your own paladin code may be, it's really not relevant here at all. The paladin WAS able to go after the villain. Thus, the villain escaping is the paladin ALLOWING evil to happen.

These ideas of what constitutes LG behavior are extremely narrow and honestly ridiculous. There are so many examples in AP's and modules where LG beings (including paladin's and heavenly outsiders) perform much more egregious actions in the name of the greater good.

In summation, you're allowed to have your own personal idea of what paladinhood and lawful goodness are in your own games as a GM. Hell, you can make the sky green and trolls ride around on motorcycles. However, as long as this discussion is taking place in the canon pathfinder universe, these restrictions are out of touch with what the literature has presented.


AnimatedPaper wrote:
I think there's probably more to this story than we're hearing, because I don't see how wrath ties into it at all. For instance, was the villain the paladin's personal nemesis? Because then, okay, I can see the logic in that case. The paladin is choosing her own, possibly petty revenge over helping her fellow party member, and I can understand why they'd fall over that. But without being there, it's hard for me to say who did right. But it turned out alright in the end with your players, and that's all that's important.

I'd say what sort of villain the Paladin was after is also a pretty important factor. Big difference between leaving a wounded party member behind to go after a mass-murderer who was planning to burn down an orphanage as soon as he gets away from the party, versus a pickpocket who tried to steal a couple gold from the PCs.


no, the paladin was NOT able to go after the villain because an innocent was dying. He had a moral obligation to treat the definite case of said innocent, who was also a comrade of his, dying rather than going after an enemy who only might go on to do more evil. Even if he was 99% sure the villain would cause more trouble before the Paladin caught up to him, he was 100% sure his comrade would die. It also would have only taken a single round for the Paladin to heal his comrade, 6 seconds wasnt going to change anything in his pursuit of the villain. If the Paladin couldnt heal his comrade, or legitimately thought the other person would heal, he could get away with it, but were told the Paladin chose not to heal the dying because he disliked them, and that he knew the other person would not heal them either. That is literally allowing someone to die because you dislike them. That is evil.

I didnt take your point anywhere past where you took it. You argued it was ok to let someone die because in the Pathfinder world its temporary thanks to magic. I said if its ok to let bad things happen to people because they can be fixed, you have to apply that logic across the board. Ergo torture is fine because it can be fixed. Or how about human sacrifice, thats fixed in the exact same way. Is it ok to sacrifice a woman if the villain says he'll come quietly if you do? After all, death is temporary right?

If you want to argue for "this is ok but only in this situation" then you arent defining an objective moral system, which Pathfinder is.

And are you seriously trying to argue against any of my points for my "personal code"? Lets go over them

A paladin is not responsible for the evil he failed to stop

If you argue with this one, you are saying not only does a Paladin fall for not being able to beat a villain before they do evil, he actually falls for anytime anyone does evil. This is dumb.

A paladin is responsible for the evil he allows to happen.

If you argue with this one, youre arguing with printed material saying a Paladin cannot knowingly hand prisoners over to be tortured.

A paladin is responsible for the good he fails to do.

You can argue this one, but then you cant fall or challenge the alignment of a paladin who hears an orphanage is burning and decides it isnt worth his time. He didnt start the fire so its not his fault, hes just choosing not to do good.

And to clarify, the good he fails to do means he is presented with the opportunity to do good and chooses not to, not because he is unable to due to inability or more dire matters.


Chengar Qordath wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
I think there's probably more to this story than we're hearing, because I don't see how wrath ties into it at all. For instance, was the villain the paladin's personal nemesis? Because then, okay, I can see the logic in that case. The paladin is choosing her own, possibly petty revenge over helping her fellow party member, and I can understand why they'd fall over that. But without being there, it's hard for me to say who did right. But it turned out alright in the end with your players, and that's all that's important.
I'd say what sort of villain the Paladin was after is also a pretty important factor. Big difference between leaving a wounded party member behind to go after a mass-murderer who was planning to burn down an orphanage as soon as he gets away from the party, versus a pickpocket who tried to steal a couple gold from the PCs.

I agree. If the villain was an immediate threat and the time taken to heal the downed comrade would have led to more deaths the Paladin was correct. However the story doesnt imply that to me, nor does the justification the DM provided

Shadow Lodge

Quark Blast wrote:

I was thinking one more level "deep" though.

How does a chaotic person change social norms? Changing social norms requires some degree of coercion. A CG person coercing people, who are otherwise good, seems a little hard to navigate.

I think there's a difference between changing social norms and encouraging people to be question norms and accept those who are less normative.

It's the difference between:

"Your priests take a vow of chastity? That's dumb. Sex is an important part of the human experience. Chaste priests are bound to be bitter and resentful of the sex other people are having."

"Are you sure that being chaste is actually helping your priests to focus on your priestly duties? Also, maybe don't ostracize that guy who dropped out of the priesthood to get married. Would you really want him serving a church he resents?"

Baval wrote:
If you want to argue for "this is ok but only in this situation" then you arent defining an objective moral system, which Pathfinder is.

Morality doesn't have to be deontological to be objective.


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Baval wrote:
no, the paladin was NOT able to go after the villain because an innocent was dying. He had a moral obligation to treat the definite case of said innocent, who was also a comrade of his, dying rather than going after an enemy who only might go on to do more evil..

An adventurer is by NO means a "innocent.


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I'm going to directly address the example of the goblin dilemma as I see it. My first question would be... what is the standing law of the land when it comes to goblins? In the land where the encounter transpires, do goblins bear a "kill on sight" order? Because then and only then is the Paladin obligated to kill the goblin in obeyance with the law, and even then they have their own personal latitude (depending on their nature) to interpret what may constitute an extenuating circumstance. In addition, only when they can conduct such actions without putting themselves and others in undo harm's way.

Then, we get into the really big philosophical point of this argument. Because we have to define what is good, and what is evil? This isn't as simple a question as you might suspect, and it's one that theologians and philosophers have wondered over for centuries. You see, one of the most classic views of good and evil is that they are opposite forces in constant conflict. Likes values on a number line, moving from the positive to the negative depending on intensity. This is often called the Manichean view of evil, and the struggle of good vs. evil is the point of most standard stories.

However, that isn't the only point of view of good and evil. Another (in very short summary) is frequently called the Augustinian view, and it alludes to another way of seeing both. What if evil was not an opposite of good, but rather a corruption of good? A sickness of the spirit that one who is good would rather see cured than eliminated if possible? This is the point of view that stresses redemption and compassion, and it's certainly the more difficult and challenging to carry out... but then, isn't good supposed to be about taking the more difficult but right way and evil is about taking the short cuts?

If any good character is faced with a circumstance where they have goblin captives and have to puzzle over what to do with them, those that subscribe to the Manichean view might see it as a matter of "I'm good, they are evil, and for good to win there need to be fewer evil things so I should kill them." The Augustinian view would be to judge their nature, and to consider if any amount of compassion would sway them to not be evil. Whether the corruption of their souls was too far gone to return towards goodness, or whether that one kind act of mercy might be the proper action that would put them on the path towards a better life; or risk more innocents to suffer harm at their hands. Which will require some input on the game master's part, whether they see certain creatures of certain alignments impossibly bound to their nature or whether they have sufficient sentience to rise above their bestial impulses to change and grow. Or, as might be the case of beings such as demons and devils, anchored towards their nature by forces greater than their own will?

Which is not to say that should the decision to not kill them be the final one that they would be permitted to carry on without some form of punishment. Even then, if there is to be punishment or execution of these goblins, it should never be carried out in a method that would be considered cruel. Goodness not only in result, but also in action.

Now, here's an interesting dilemma to consider. Let's say you have a helmet of opposite alignment. You might consider that to forcibly change the nature of another creature against their will is an evil act, as free will is valued and important. Ah, but if you view evil as a corruption of good, does this constitute a curative measure? An interesting topic to consider, don't you think?


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Baval wrote:
no, the paladin was NOT able to go after the villain because an innocent was dying.

Sure she could. Especially if the villain's escape would have led to many more deaths.

Baval wrote:
He had a moral obligation to treat the definite case of said innocent, who was also a comrade of his, dying rather than going after an enemy who only might go on to do more evil.

Wrong. As DrDeth pointed out, calling an adventurer "innocent" is a bit silly. Also, this is a villain we're talking about. By definition, they are going to commit more evil. Given that the paladin's friend was near death, that villain was obviously able to take someone's life. Thus, more lives are at stake other than the party member's.

Baval wrote:
Even if he was 99% sure the villain would cause more trouble before the Paladin caught up to him, he was 100% sure his comrade would die.

Both are LG options. Both would probably cause the Paladin to feelsbadman and have restless sleep. However, in that situation, neither choice is an evil act.

Baval wrote:
It also would have only taken a single round for the Paladin to heal his comrade, 6 seconds wasnt going to change anything in his pursuit of the villain.

We don't know that. If that's true, sure. Maybe the town guard is after them. Maybe some other party members could pick up the tab and lack any healing magic. However, that was not given in the example so making details up to support your argument is out of the question.

Baval wrote:
If the Paladin couldnt heal his comrade, or legitimately thought the other person would heal, he could get away with it, but were told the Paladin chose not to heal the dying because he disliked them, and that he knew the other person would not heal them either. That is literally allowing someone to die because you dislike them. That is evil.

Wrong. We were told the CLERIC didn't like them and refused to heal them for blasphemy. Check upthread and adjust yourself.

Baval wrote:
I didnt take your point anywhere past where you took it.

Oh?

Baval wrote:
You argued it was ok to let someone die because in the Pathfinder world its temporary thanks to magic. I said if its ok to let bad things happen to people because they can be fixed, you have to apply that logic across the board. Ergo torture is fine because it can be fixed. Or how about human sacrifice, thats fixed in the exact same way. Is it ok to sacrifice a woman if the villain says he'll come quietly if you do? After all, death is temporary right?

Yeah, there you go doing it right after you said you didn't. I was pointing out that resurrection magic does exist in pathfinder, and death can be only temporary. Especially for adventurers. I could imagine my 13th level group scolding this very same paladin for allowing BBEG get away and kill more people just to avoid a 5000g fine and a few casts of restoration. However, the DM has added that they were low-level and this magic was not available. So my point doesn't apply to this situation given the new information we were provided. Also, the whole "sacrificing a woman" thing makes it sound like you think they're vulnerable simply by being women. That's just silly.


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I think a more punishable offense would be associating with an evil cleric.

So this cleric hears some blaspheme once, and decides that it's an offense punishable by death? Why is the Paladin hanging around with a psychopath like that?


Baval wrote:
If you want to argue for "this is ok but only in this situation" then you arent defining an objective moral system, which Pathfinder is.

You don't seem to understand what "objective" means, much less "objective morality". It does not mean that every act is considered outside of context. Context matters -- as you so artfully point out in your latter use of the "paladin KNOWINGLY offering people to get tortured" example.

Baval wrote:

And are you seriously trying to argue against any of my points for my "personal code"? Lets go over them

A paladin is not responsible for the evil he failed to stop

If you argue with this one, you are saying not only does a Paladin fall for not being able to beat a villain before they do evil, he actually falls for anytime anyone does evil. This is dumb.

I'm not arguing with it. Please read my above posts.

Baval wrote:

A paladin is responsible for the evil he allows to happen.

If you argue with this one, youre arguing with printed material saying a Paladin cannot knowingly hand prisoners over to be tortured.

I'm not arguing with it. (Again) please read my above posts.

Baval wrote:

A paladin is responsible for the good he fails to do.

You can argue this one, but then you cant fall or challenge the alignment of a paladin who hears an orphanage is burning and decides it isnt worth his time. He didnt start the fire so its not his fault, hes just choosing not to do good.

I'm not arguing with it. Please (for the third time) read my above posts. (Also, nice job bringing up the burning orphanage example. Wouldn't be a paladin thread without one of those :P.

Baval wrote:
And to clarify, the good he fails to do means he is presented with the opportunity to do good and chooses not to, not because he is unable to due to inability or more dire matters.

In this example the "more dire matters" are an LG act. Therefore, this doesn't apply.


did you seriously just virtue signal feminism to avoid answering a point.

did you seriously just try to conflate "innocent" in the terms of a fantasy universe with "innocent" in the terms of our own to imply that a Paladin should find no adventurer innocent because they kill as part of their job.

Did you seriously miss the part where the DM said the PALADIN did not like the person dying, and the cleric wouldnt heal them for their blaspheme in the first post, and then snarkily suggest im the one who didnt read it properly?

Did you seriously miss the point that I used the burning orphanage literally because its a trope and dismiss my point based solely on that.

Did you seriously ignore roleplaying on a roleplaying centric class to boil death down to a 5000g fine instead of the traumatic experience that dying is.

Did you seriously say you need subjective context to determine objective morality.

I think im done here. Im so tired of arguing with people over whether murdering people is the valorous thing to do over literally any other good thing you can possibly do. You want your murder pally fine.

Two last examples, which i fully expect you to write off:

Would you think its ok for the Paladin to watch a PERSON (because apparently if im not gender neutral my whole argument is moot) bleed to death in front of him if the villain promises that if he does he will surrender immediately, and if he doesnt the villain will teleport away? Keep in mind this is literally the exact same scenario, except in the original example there was still a chance of the villain escaping anyway, and in this one there isnt. So there is even more benefit to the Paladin allowing this person to die.

If there was no villain in the original example, and the Paladin just let his ally bleed to death because he didnt like him, would you consider that an evil act? If so, do you think its ok for Paladins to do evil acts if it means catching bad guys?


Ventnor wrote:

I think a more punishable offense would be associating with an evil cleric.

So this cleric hears some blaspheme once, and decides that it's an offense punishable by death? Why is the Paladin hanging around with a psychopath like that?

The Paladin decided the person deserved to die because he didnt like that person. Psycopaths apparently travel in packs


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Llyr the Scoundrel wrote:

I'm going to directly address the example of the goblin dilemma as I see it. My first question would be... what is the standing law of the land when it comes to goblins? In the land where the encounter transpires, do goblins bear a "kill on sight" order? Because then and only then is the Paladin obligated to kill the goblin in obeyance with the law, and even then they have their own personal latitude (depending on their nature) to interpret what may constitute an extenuating circumstance. In addition, only when they can conduct such actions without putting themselves and others in undo harm's way.

Then, we get into the really big philosophical point of this argument. Because we have to define what is good, and what is evil? This isn't as simple a question as you might suspect, and it's one that theologians and philosophers have wondered over for centuries. You see, one of the most classic views of good and evil is that they are opposite forces in constant conflict. Likes values on a number line, moving from the positive to the negative depending on intensity. This is often called the Manichean view of evil, and the struggle of good vs. evil is the point of most standard stories.

However, that isn't the only point of view of good and evil. Another (in very short summary) is frequently called the Augustinian view, and it alludes to another way of seeing both. What if evil was not an opposite of good, but rather a corruption of good? A sickness of the spirit that one who is good would rather see cured than eliminated if possible? This is the point of view that stresses redemption and compassion, and it's certainly the more difficult and challenging to carry out... but then, isn't good supposed to be about taking the more difficult but right way and evil is about taking the short cuts?

If any good character is faced with a circumstance where they have goblin captives and have to puzzle over what to do with them, those that subscribe to the Manichean view might see it as a matter of "I'm good,...

This is good. Can we talk about how different characters could rationalize the same action to be entirely in accordance with their alignments based on their own personal philosophies on good and evil?


Baval wrote:
did you seriously just virtue signal feminism to avoid answering a point.

Uhhhh, how was I ignoring your point? I addressed your point (with a direct quote and follow up) and then pointed out that your example was rife with antiquated views on gender. If that's "virtue signalling feminism" than whatever. I don't think feminism is a bad word and I think discussing gender isn’t a bad thing.

Baval wrote:
did you seriously just try to conflate "innocent" in the terms of a fantasy universe with "innocent" in the terms of our own to imply that a Paladin should find no adventurer innocent because they kill as part of their job.

Nope. I did not reference innocence in our universe once. Are you even reading my posts?

Baval wrote:
Did you seriously miss the part where the DM said the PALADIN did not like the person dying, and the cleric wouldnt heal them for their blaspheme in the first post, and then snarkily suggest im the one who didnt read it properly?

Wrong again, bucko. The DM pointed this out upthread.

Baval wrote:
Did you seriously not miss the point that I used the burning orphanage literally because its a trope.

I "seriously did not miss the point". Invoking a trope can still be grabbing low-hanging fruit and I'll call someone out on it if I see fit. Just because one is aware of Godwin's law doesn't mean bringing up Hitler in a far-removed discussion isn't invoking it.

Baval wrote:
Did you seriously ignore roleplaying on a roleplaying centric class to boil death down to a 5000g fine instead of the traumatic experience that dying is.

It sure is traumatic. However, characters are aware in-game of the costs and penalties associated with dying. At 13th level, this is run-of-the-mill stuff. Letting the BBEG get away can lead to death, suffering, more trauma, etc. You are adventurers. You charge headfirst into dungeons with the expectations that at least one of you are going to die. Just because that's bad-wrong roleplaying at your table doesn't mean it is at mine.

Baval wrote:
Did you seriously say you need subjective context to determine objective morality.

No, read my post. I said you need context. Subjective context and objective context are not the same.

Baval wrote:
I think im done here. Im so tired of arguing with people over whether murdering people is the valorous thing to do over literally any other good thing you can possibly do. You want your murder pally fine.

You can always close your browser window, check out other threads, or simply come back later if you're tired of arguing about this topic.

Baval wrote:
Two last examples, which i fully expect you to write off:

I've addressed every point you've brought up. Why stop here?

Baval wrote:
Would you think its ok for the Paladin to watch a PERSON (because apparently if im not gender neutral my whole argument is moot) bleed to death in front of him if the villain promises that if he does he will surrender immediately, and if he doesnt the villain will teleport away? Keep in mind this is literally the exact same scenario, except in the original example there was still a chance of the villain escaping anyway, and in this one there isnt. So there is even more benefit to the Paladin allowing this person to die.

Your example is not "literally the same" because teleportation was never brought up. Try again.

Baval wrote:
If there was no villain in the original example, and the Paladin just let his ally bleed to death because he didnt like him, would you consider that an evil act?

Yes. Because stopping the person escaping is no longer LG because they are no longer a villain. Simple, no?

Baval wrote:
If so, do you think its ok for Paladins to do evil acts if it means catching bad guys?

No, I think it's suitable for a paladin to perform mostly good and lawful acts with the occasional neutral one.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Why is it that paladins are the only ones who ever catch moral dilemmas? I've only played 42 years and never seen a 'moral dilemma' afflict a non-Paladin. On the flipside, the entire campaign once devolved into fail chance each week, for 6 weeks. The player got tired of it and bailed. No more moral testing, despite the entire party being LG.


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I can just imagine it now. Pete the Pally kneels before Iomedae herself. "Your holiness, I have vanquished the reawakened Tar-Baphon and saved all of Golarion from an age of darkness and despair."

"Yeahhhhhhh, about that. I noticed you spent that final round full-attacking him and killing him before he got away instead of moving away, taking an AOO, and using Lay on Hands to save the party rogue who thought dumping con was a good idea. Hand over your gun and your badge."

"But... but..."

"Yeah yeah, he woulda escaped and wreaked untold havoc on the world. But here in Baval-land, the power of friendship is more important than stopping ancient evils from reawakening. Don't let the heavenly gates hit you on the way out!"


Spastic Puma wrote:

Wrong again, bucko. The DM pointed this out upthread.

only responding to this "bucko" because youre exhausting to talk to.

Heres the original post, in full, bolded for emphasis, "bucko"

KujakuDM wrote:

I've only had one paladin fall in a game I ran. She had to choose between slaying a minor villain or healing a party member she didn't like.

She left the healing to a NPC who swore to never help that other party member again after a blaspheme.

She knew the NPC would not heal the other character.

Wrath made her fall.

Snark yourself out of that one, "bucko"


Spastic Puma wrote:

I can just imagine it now. Pete the Pally kneels before Iomedae herself. "Your holiness, I have vanquished the reawakened Tar-Baphon and saved all of Golarion from an age of darkness and despair."

"Yeahhhhhhh, about that. I noticed you spent that final round full-attacking him and killing him before he got away instead of moving away, taking an AOO, and using Lay on Hands to save the party rogue who thought dumping con was a good idea. Hand over your gun and your badge."

"But... but..."

"Yeah yeah, he woulda escaped and wreaked untold havoc on the world. But here in Baval-land, the power of friendship is more important than stopping ancient evils from reawakening. Don't let the heavenly gates hit you on the way out!"

1.) the dm specified, and youve made it clear you cant or dont want to read, that this was a MINOR villain. Not someone literally on the cusp of unleashing an unspeakable evil.

2.) the combat was over, the villain was running away. this was not an active combat. after combat, preserving the life of the innocent, especially your comrades, is more important than hunting down and murdering people.

3.) funny how you lecture me on using details not in the original post when in Spastic Puma-land minor villains are apparently god-wizards summoning ancient cthullu beasts. Instead of, you know, minor villains in low level campaigns who in 6 seconds it takes you to heal someone will get at most 150 feet farther away from you (assuming they took the run feat)

4.) funny how you will use any excuse to get away with not healing someone who needed to be healed. "oh it was the rogues fault for dumping con". Not only is this a metagame excuse, but youre literally saying its ok to not heal the wounded if they have poor constitution. Only the strong deserve life apparently.


Bwang wrote:
Why is it that paladins are the only ones who ever catch moral dilemmas? I've only played 42 years and never seen a 'moral dilemma' afflict a non-Paladin. On the flipside, the entire campaign once devolved into fail chance each week, for 6 weeks. The player got tired of it and bailed. No more moral testing, despite the entire party being LG.

Two reasons.

1.) theyre the only ones it really super matters to. Doing the occasional evil act on a normal LG doesnt do anything worth noting, if its minor you probably wont even lose alignment.

2.) some people want to hold Paladins to a higher standard. after all thats why they get their powers. Then there are people like Puma here who think being a Paladin means exceptionally angry at evil, instead of a paragon for good


And with that im out of this thread. Im seriously tired of arguing why a Paladin should not make "kill the evil guys" their number one priority over literally anything and everything else. People here seem to think a Paladin can get away with anything as long as "I was punching a bad guy at the time though" applies.

Paladins are champions of good. Not holy assassins. Theres a difference. Figure it out

Or dont. Play your Paladins however you want. Not my game, I dont care.


Whoa whoa buddy, no need to call people names over an argument about fictional characters in a table top role playing game. There are forum rules, you know.


Baval wrote:
Spastic Puma wrote:

Wrong again, bucko. The DM pointed this out upthread.

only responding to this "bucko" because youre exhausting to talk to.

Heres the original post, in full, bolded for emphasis, "bucko"

KujakuDM wrote:

I've only had one paladin fall in a game I ran. She had to choose between slaying a minor villain or healing a party member she didn't like.

She left the healing to a NPC who swore to never help that other party member again after a blaspheme.

She knew the NPC would not heal the other character.

Wrath made her fall.

Snark yourself out of that one, "bucko"

It doesn't say anywhere there that the reason she made her decision was BECAUSE she didn't like the character. The villain was escaping and that was her reason. Hence, the whole "wrath" thing the GM pointed out.


Bwang wrote:
Why is it that paladins are the only ones who ever catch moral dilemmas? I've only played 42 years and never seen a 'moral dilemma' afflict a non-Paladin. On the flipside, the entire campaign once devolved into fail chance each week, for 6 weeks. The player got tired of it and bailed. No more moral testing, despite the entire party being LG.

Well, leaving aside the sort of GMs who like to make Paladins try to fall because that's their idea of fun...

I think it's mostly just that moral dilemmas without any major mechanical consequences to them rarely get people as fired up. As long as the party/group is more-or-less on the same moral page, moral dilemmas boil down to about two minutes of discussion, consensus, and moving on with the game.

My LG Skald in Kingmaker didn't really need to worry about losing all his class abilities when the group decided to hang several captured bandits. A Paladin ... well, depends on the GM. I've certainly known ones who would take a dim view of a Paladin imposing the death penalty.


Spastic Puma wrote:

Yes. Because stopping the person escaping is no longer LG because they are no longer a villain. Simple, no?

Its simple, but not in the way you want it to be. An evil act does not become a good or neutral act because youre doing it to do good. Torture is not good if you do it to save the world. You just agreed that allowing your ally to bleed out is an evil act, so therefore the Paladin was commiting an evil act. The fact that he was doing the evil act to do another good one doesnt matter any more than torturing to save the world does. The Paladin falls.

Objective. Morality.


Baval wrote:
Spastic Puma wrote:

Yes. Because stopping the person escaping is no longer LG because they are no longer a villain. Simple, no?

Its simple, but not in the way you want it to be. An evil act does not become a good or neutral act because youre doing it to do good. Torture is not good if you do it to save the world. You just agreed that allowing your ally to bleed out is an evil act, so therefore the Paladin was commiting an evil act. The fact that he was doing the evil act to do another good one doesnt matter any more than torturing to save the world does. The Paladin falls.

Objective. Morality.

No no no. I never brought up torture so I don't where that's coming from. I also said it was an evil act to let someone bleed out because you hate them. It's not evil to stop the BBEG from causing greater harm if it means your party member will die.

I'm not sure why I'm entertaining you with a response at this point. I addressed every single point you have made individually and provided my rationale as to why your view on this matter is not in line with pathfinder canon. You chose to cherry pick 2 of mine to straw man, ignoring the rest, and then conceded because I'm "exhausting" to talk with. Then you made a personal attack on me out of frustration before dramatically declaring that you were finished with this thread. Insults are not a substitute for an effective argument. Neither is
Typing. Like. This.


no but i figured if i typed. like. this. you might actually read what i said, instead of you know, actually making the strawman arguments.

You seem to not even understand that you can make examples of other things that follow the same logic as someones justification to prove why its wrong, and think you can only literally respond to exactly what they say, so i agree i dont know why im bothering to answer you either.

So let me break it down really simple for you:

No you did not directly say torture. Good for you! But in this example, were going to compare torture to letting your ally bleed out. See, thats because theyre both bad things. Grr. Now were going to compare catching a bad guy with saving the world. See, its because theyre both good things. Yay! Now, is it ok for a paladin to do a bad thing, like torture or letting your allies die, if it means you get to do a good thing, like save the world or catching the bad guy?

I hope you understand how similes work now.

I didnt make a personal attack on you out of frustration. I called you an idiot because you were being an idiot. I would like to believe that my above mocking retort explaining to you how similes work wasnt actually necessary and you were just being bull headed to avoid admitting you are wrong, but correct me if im wrong and you actually thought that people can only respond to things you actually physically type and not extrapolate on your logical conclusions.

Im not conceding at all. You are exhausting to talk to, because im forced to explain simple concepts to you constantly becuase you play dumb like you dont understand them, or try to get off on technicalities like "well the dm specifically mentioned that the Paladin disliked the dying player, but he didnt directly say that thats the reason he didnt heal the player so im sure that has noooooothing to do with it". Or "well im not going to answer your scenario because you added teleportation to it, which ups the stakes. even though you said the ENTIRE POINT of your example was to make healing your friend more punishing and not healing them more rewarding, this somehow invalidates it"

i did make a point to leave the thread, though it was mostly because I wanted to convince myself not to come back. didnt work. im masochistic like that.

Of course apparently you think its ok to let someone bleed out as long as you dont hate them. If youre just meh about them and choose to let them bleed to death, thats ok right? If you like them and let them bleed to death is that a good act then? Or...or....is it that letting anyone bleed to death when its easily within your power to save them an evil act no matter how you feel about them? hmmm. These are the questions of our age.


It would behoove you to do some research into what objectivity is. Especially in regards to morality. Pathfinder has objective morality and that means that there are literal cosmic and extra planar forces of good and evil in that universe. This means that, despite what ones culture, perspective, or individual experiences may inform them (these are all subjective forms of understanding), what constitutes good and evil exists as an empirical reality in the form of angels, Devils, alignment, etc. Subjecive morality exists in a world where there is no moral truth and one groups right could be another's wrong (arguably our own world).
This does NOT mean that the context an action takes place Is unworthy of consideration in pathfinder. Let's use your example you chose from pathfinder literature. A paladin handing over prisoners to someone is not evil. That's just part and parcel of the job. A paladin handing over prisoners while they KNOW they are going to be tortured is very different and problematic. What changed here? The context of the situation. What people know. What they're aware of. Motives. Arguing that context has no place in objective morality is silly. You even use an example of this in your argument which really just makes it unravel.


Speaking of which, how about that issue? nice dodging around the question with "oh you said teleport there was no teleport so its not exactly the same!" even though it makes no functional difference. So ok. Ill get rid of teleporting.

A Villain is standing in a room. He tells the Paladin "if you let my 1 hp 0 ac minion cut out your best friends eyes, I will not only give up right now, I will serve my sentence and repent and become a Paladin. If you dont, I will run away."

So now what we have here is:

1.) The bad guy is going to run away if the Paladin does anything to help his friend. Happy? no teleporting. this is the exact same negative outcome for choosing to stop the bad thing as the original premise.

2.) If the Paladin allows the bad thing to happen to his friend, he will get the maximum possible best outcome imaginable. Not only is he guaranteed to catch the bad guy, but he will redeem them. This is an even bigger win for good then the original premise

3.) the bad thing thats happening is better in all possible ways than death. The person will still be alive, and the regenerate spell that can fix the condition doesnt even cost gold. This is less of a penalty than the original premise

4.) the paladin still doesnt have to do anything personally evil, he just has to choose not to stop it. If he does choose to stop it the villain will get a 1 round head start on him. this is the exact same amount of responsibility placed on the Paladin as the original premise.

5.) the paladin does not dislike the person who the bad thing is happening to so the only motivation he would have to allow it to happen is to stop the villain from further evil. This is better than the original scenario where the Paladins motive could be questioned.

What should the Paladin do?


Spastic Puma wrote:

It would behoove you to do some research into what objectivity is. Especially in regards to morality. Pathfinder has objective morality and that means that there are literal cosmic and extra planar forces of good and evil in that universe. This means that, despite what ones culture, perspective, or individual experiences may inform them (these are all subjective forms of understanding), what constitutes good and evil exists as an empirical reality in the form of angels, Devils, alignment, etc. Subjecive morality exists in a world where there is no moral truth and one groups right could be another's wrong (arguably our own world).

This does NOT mean that the context an action takes place Is unworthy of consideration in pathfinder. Let's use your example you chose from pathfinder literature. A paladin handing over prisoners to someone is not evil. That's just part and parcel of the job. A paladin handing over prisoners while they KNOW they are going to be tortured is very different and problematic. What changed here? The context of the situation. What people know. What they're aware of. Motives. Arguing that context has no place in objective morality is silly. You even use an example of this in your argument which really just makes it unravel.

The context did not change, the act did.

The two acts are:

hand over a prisoner for imprisonment
and
hand over a prisoner for torture

Just because they both involve "handing over" doesnt make them the same action anymore than "shooting a target dummy" and "shooting a newborn" are the same just because they both involve shooting.

But yes, in an extremely strict interpretation context does matter, because of course it does or literally nothing is evil. "kill" is not evil all by itself without saying what youre killing. However the kind of context you want to imply is "evil actions can become good if theyre done for good reasons" and that kind of context does NOT exist in objective morality.


and to use your own example back against you, a Paladin leaving his ally to chase a villain is not evil. A Paladin leaving his ally who he KNOWS he can save and is about to die is very different and problematic.


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Baval wrote:


You seem to not even understand that you can make examples of other things that follow the same logic as someones justification to prove why its wrong, and think you can only literally respond to exactly what they say, so i agree i dont know why im bothering to answer you either.
I find this hilarious because you did the exact same thing you're accusing me of when I wrote my Pete the Paladin example.
Baval wrote:


No you did not directly say torture. Good for you! But in this example, were going to compare torture to letting your ally bleed out. See, thats because theyre both bad things. Grr. Now were going to compare catching a bad guy with saving the world. See, its because theyre both good things. Yay! Now, is it ok for a paladin to do a bad thing, like torture or letting your allies die, if it means you get to do a good thing, like save the world or catching the bad guy?

I hope you understand how similes work now.

That's not even a simile. A simile is comparing two unlike things to describe something, a la "being a paladin when your GM has a poor grasp on pathfinder's morality system is like being stuck between a rock and a hard place." I love it when someone tries to be condescending and it just backfires. I also have to point out how you've once again left out the fact that choosing to heal your ally could cause more deaths when the villain escapes. That's allowing evil to happen. That's evil by your own definition.

Baval wrote:

I didnt make a personal attack on you out of frustration. I called you an idiot because you were being an idiot. I would like to believe that my above mocking retort explaining to you how similes work wasnt actually necessary and you were just being bull headed to avoid admitting you are wrong, but correct me if im wrong and you actually thought that people can only respond to things you actually physically type and not extrapolate on your logical conclusions.

I can't read your mind so I have to go off of what you type. Also, insults are personal attacks and are not okay here. Please review the community guidelines below.


Baval wrote:


But yes, in an extremely strict interpretation context does matter, because of course it does or literally nothing is evil. "kill" is not evil all by itself without saying what youre killing. However the kind of context you want to imply is "evil actions can become good if theyre done for good reasons" and that kind of context does NOT exist in objective morality.

Yay, progress. You've admitted context matters. Now show me where it says that about "objective morality" in the literature. (I've put this term in quotation marks because you're still applying the term incorrectly, despite me explaining it to you.)


Baval wrote:
and to use your own example back against you, a Paladin leaving his ally to chase a villain is not evil. A Paladin leaving his ally who he KNOWS he can save and is about to die is very different and problematic.

What if the Paladin was traveling with a cleric who he knows will let others die for purely spiteful reasons and is therefore evil?


Baval wrote:
and to use your own example back against you, a Paladin leaving his ally to chase a villain is not evil. A Paladin leaving his ally who he KNOWS he can save and is about to die is very different and problematic.

It is different. It's a different situation. That's obvious.

It's problematic because it is a lose-lose. Letting the villain get away to commit more evil and cause suffering/death is not desirable. Neither is letting your party member die. However, put the two in a situation where one must CHOOSE creates an impossible dilemma where the paladin's actions will always create a situation where evil takes place. This is problematic.


Spastic Puma wrote:
Baval wrote:


But yes, in an extremely strict interpretation context does matter, because of course it does or literally nothing is evil. "kill" is not evil all by itself without saying what youre killing. However the kind of context you want to imply is "evil actions can become good if theyre done for good reasons" and that kind of context does NOT exist in objective morality.

Yay, progress. You've admitted context matters. Now show me where it says that about "objective morality" in the literature. (I've put this term in quotation marks because you're still applying the term incorrectly, despite me explaining it to you.)

No, no I did not. Not in the way you want me to.

so youre still ignoring what i say and choosing to read only what you want into it. K.

Can you even read? Half the time you responded to the exact opposite of what I actually said.

I do agree with one thing you said here, thats your simile: being in a campaign you DM'd would really be annoying to try and be a Paladin.

later.


Chengar Qordath wrote:
My LG Skald in Kingmaker didn't really need to worry about losing all his class abilities when the group decided to hang several captured bandits. A Paladin ... well, depends on the GM. I've certainly known ones who would take a dim view of a Paladin imposing the death penalty.

I'd love to see those GM's react to a Paladin devoted to Damerrich. That's the empyreal lord of executioners, those who perform (just) executions so others can keep their souls "clean" and remain "innocent".


Baval wrote:
Spastic Puma wrote:
Baval wrote:


But yes, in an extremely strict interpretation context does matter, because of course it does or literally nothing is evil. "kill" is not evil all by itself without saying what youre killing. However the kind of context you want to imply is "evil actions can become good if theyre done for good reasons" and that kind of context does NOT exist in objective morality.

Yay, progress. You've admitted context matters. Now show me where it says that about "objective morality" in the literature. (I've put this term in quotation marks because you're still applying the term incorrectly, despite me explaining it to you.)

No, no I did not. Not in the way you want me to.

so youre still ignoring what i say and choosing to read only what you want into it. K.

Can you even read? Half the time you responded to the exact opposite of what I actually said.

I do agree with one thing you said here, thats your simile: being in a campaign you DM'd would really be annoying to try and be a Paladin.

later.

I'm still waiting for that pathfinder official source that describes "objective morality" in your terms. Feel free to quote some text, put some page numbers, etc.


Spastic Puma wrote:
Baval wrote:
Spastic Puma wrote:
Baval wrote:


But yes, in an extremely strict interpretation context does matter, because of course it does or literally nothing is evil. "kill" is not evil all by itself without saying what youre killing. However the kind of context you want to imply is "evil actions can become good if theyre done for good reasons" and that kind of context does NOT exist in objective morality.

Yay, progress. You've admitted context matters. Now show me where it says that about "objective morality" in the literature. (I've put this term in quotation marks because you're still applying the term incorrectly, despite me explaining it to you.)

No, no I did not. Not in the way you want me to.

so youre still ignoring what i say and choosing to read only what you want into it. K.

Can you even read? Half the time you responded to the exact opposite of what I actually said.

I do agree with one thing you said here, thats your simile: being in a campaign you DM'd would really be annoying to try and be a Paladin.

later.

I'm still waiting for that pathfinder official source that describes "objective morality" in your terms. Feel free to quote some text, put some page numbers, etc.

likewise

I could point out an easy 3.5 source, seeing as Pathfinder uses 3.5s exact morality system, but im sure youd just say it doesnt count.


Baval wrote:
Spastic Puma wrote:
Baval wrote:
Spastic Puma wrote:
Baval wrote:


But yes, in an extremely strict interpretation context does matter, because of course it does or literally nothing is evil. "kill" is not evil all by itself without saying what youre killing. However the kind of context you want to imply is "evil actions can become good if theyre done for good reasons" and that kind of context does NOT exist in objective morality.

Yay, progress. You've admitted context matters. Now show me where it says that about "objective morality" in the literature. (I've put this term in quotation marks because you're still applying the term incorrectly, despite me explaining it to you.)

No, no I did not. Not in the way you want me to.

so youre still ignoring what i say and choosing to read only what you want into it. K.

Can you even read? Half the time you responded to the exact opposite of what I actually said.

I do agree with one thing you said here, thats your simile: being in a campaign you DM'd would really be annoying to try and be a Paladin.

later.

I'm still waiting for that pathfinder official source that describes "objective morality" in your terms. Feel free to quote some text, put some page numbers, etc.

likewise

I could point out an easy 3.5 source, seeing as Pathfinder uses 3.5s exact morality system, but im sure youd just say it doesnt count.

That's enough dodging around my request. Please show me an official pathfinder source/quote that backs up your claims. If you don't have one, show me a source/quote from 3.5 and then show me a source/quote from pathfinder that says golarion follows that same interpretation of morality that you so adamantly declare is "objective morality" within pathfinder.


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In taking to the player she said in her context there were two options. Make sure the other pc she didn't like survived (she could have at least tried to diplomacy or intimidate or something to the cleric more concrete than just leaving) or charge at a minor villain knowing that the cleric would not even bother with an minor healing spell to stabilize. She prioritized someone's life as NOT IMPORTANT enough to actually save because of her personal dislike. She instead chose to charge into melee. She chose her own wrath towards a bad guy to overtake her compassion towards others.

In both my and her opinion. The good thing to do. The objectively good thing to do was to do something more concrete to save a life she knew was going to end. It was not lose lose.

In another more serious situation (world ending, genocide, etc) yeah leaving someone's behind mind be objectively good. But in this situation it wasn't. I assumed the term MINOR villain would say that.

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