Subtly messing with the paladin help


Advice

Silver Crusade

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Ok, I'm the GM, and I don't go for obvious paladin dickery. I like messing with paladins in ways that make them really wonder if they are messing up or not. Knowing this, here is the setup so far...

The party cleric is on the edge of death and for story reasons he is out without major help. Que GM story shenanigans where the party is introduced to a hags coven. The hags ask for three tasks in exchange for a draught of regeneration which will restore said cleric. First task is recovering the living head of a troll. The second is fetching rare poisonous roots. The third is...?

I'm having trouble coming up with a doozy of a task that is not obviously evil. No steal a unicorns horn. No switch out a baby changeling wise, etc. Everything up till now has been possibly evil but in black and white terms has been not over the line given the circumstances.

Bonus Fun fact, the hags speak in rhyme. I've got 16 lines of rhyme for their main bit so far, and some 4 line bits for possible side questions.


The way I see it, subtle dickery is no less dickish than obvious dickery... Hopefully you aren't just leading the Palading to a lose-lose scenario just so you can shout "GOTCHA!" and take his class features away... :/


Does have to be over the line or just a difficult choice. I wouldn't put the paladin in the position of having to fall to save the cleric in the party. Whom does he worship? What is his code? Give him something tough but ultimately up to him to live with the consequences emotionally. But under no circumstances should you set him up to fall.

Silver Crusade

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Tabernero wrote:
The way I see it, subtle dickery is no less dickish than obvious dickery... Hopefully you aren't just leading the Palading to a lose-lose scenario just so you can shout "GOTCHA!" and take his class features away... :/

Don't really go for Gotcha's either. I'm looking for situations that run the line and can tip over should the paladin take a convenient route. Gotcha's are boring. I also use liberal hints from his god when he starts to cross the line. I.e. He suggested stealing for convenience once and his money pouch string broke (Abadaran).

Silver Crusade

Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
Does have to be over the line or just a difficult choice. I wouldn't put the paladin in the position of having to fall to save the cleric in the party. Whom does he worship? What is his code? Give him something tough but ultimately up to him to live with the consequences emotionally. But under no circumstances should you set him up to fall.

He'll fall if he blatantly goes over the line. I prefer a difficult choice where it forces him to succeed "his" way but still meet the victory conditions despite the "easy" choice being clearly evil, but not neon sign evil. Playing paladin imo requires the GM to challenge your "faith" periodically. Otherwise a big aspect of your class is ignored for GM convenience. I say this with paladins being my personal favorite class to play.

He worships abadar, and has been running a standard code and leans more law than good. Did I mention it was the paladins tactical idiot move that put the cleric in this position. Tried to get fancy and opened up the cleric to charge crit from a demon without realizing it.

Really fishing for ideas at this point.


Ahh, ask him to depose an evil, corrupt but efficient mayor. You can either have the mayor proven to be evil or have him actually be not evil but set up by the coven. But if it goes in the other direction, there should be an option for success without falling.


Dan Luckett wrote:
Don't really go for Gotcha's either. I'm looking for situations that run the line and can tip over should the paladin take a convenient route. Gotcha's are boring. I also use liberal hints from his god when he starts to cross the line. I.e. He suggested stealing for convenience once and his money pouch string broke (Abadaran).

Well... If that's the case, I suppose there's no harm in it...

Hmmm... How about a request to recover a magical amulet that protects its wearer from charm and compulsion... But the trick is that said amulet is currently being worn by a large, wild, skittish/dangerous animal, such as a tiger. The animal is also some sort of sacred beast (or someone's favorite pet) and for that reason cannot be harmed in any way.

With violence and charm/compulsion effects removed from their deck of options, this relatively simple quest will demand some ingenuity from your Paladin and his friends... Who knows... Maybe they'll get the tiger to stand still long enough for them to use Handle Animals on it... ^^.


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Deposing an evil but duly elected and popular mayor who is NOT corrupt.


Well, I'd say that you've already subtly messed with the paladin: All hags are evil.

You did say that the paladin is running a standard code.

Paladin Associates wrote:
While she may adventure with good or neutral allies, a paladin avoids working with evil characters or with anyone who consistently offends her moral code. Under exceptional circumstances, a paladin can ally with evil associates, but only to defeat what she believes to be a greater evil. A paladin should seek an atonement spell periodically during such an unusual alliance, and should end the alliance immediately should she feel it is doing more harm than good. A paladin may accept only henchmen, followers, or cohorts who are lawful good.

The paladin should have avoided working with the hags:

( 1 ) Hags are unrepentantly evil, thus consistently offending his moral code.
( 1 ) Hags habitually harass travelers, thus consistently offending his lawful code.
( 2 ) These are not exceptional circumstances warranting allying with evil associates as resuscitating the cleric is not a "greater evil."

Merely entertaining the idea of working with the hag coven should have garnered one of those liberal hints. Honestly, I'd say he's screwed the pooch and has fallen. However, since you didn't provide the hint, I'd suggest he get it next session, as in, "Slay the coven, take the regeneration potion."


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^Slaying the Coven when they haven't actually done anything evil that the Paladin knows of would be sure grounds for a fall. Of course, you could have somebody else suggest that to the Paladin -- preferably through a Neutral intermediary that they convince of the need for such an act so that they really believe it, so that just using the Evil detection radar isn't good enough to see through the ruse, no matter how high level the intermediary is.


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How about saving the Hags daughter? Obviously she would be a changeling. Make her young enough that she is just starting to feel the call. Make her a neutral sorceress who is in danger of heeding the call and turning into a hag herself. This gives the paladin the opportunity to save her not only from the danger she is in, but also her heritage. Play her as a basically decent person with some with some tendencies towards evil due to her mother. The paladin’s job is to save both her body and her soul even though he may not realize it at first. Don’t reveal the fact she is the hags daughter right away. This tests the paladin on multiple levels but is not a dick move.


I love Mysterious Stranger's idea.
That would be an interesting idea. And if he realizes who she is and what's her fate if he lets her meet her mother it will make some interesting roleplaying.

Silver Crusade

Mysterious Stranger wrote:
How about saving the Hags daughter? Obviously she would be a changeling. Make her young enough that she is just starting to feel the call. Make her a neutral sorceress who is in danger of heeding the call and turning into a hag herself. This gives the paladin the opportunity to save her not only from the danger she is in, but also her heritage. Play her as a basically decent person with some with some tendencies towards evil due to her mother. The paladin’s job is to save both her body and her soul even though he may not realize it at first. Don’t reveal the fact she is the hags daughter right away. This tests the paladin on multiple levels but is not a dick move.

Oh, did I not mention that the NPC the cleric is playing meanwhile is a changeling witch from the town? She's going to be part of the hook for the followup adventure we're doing currently in 4 levels. lol

I like this

For further detail. I wanted to avoid a pure arcanist to avoid stepping on other player's toes too much. Almost went oracle, but decided I liked the witch a little bit more, and will allow the cleric's PC to branch his knowledge a bit. Changeling was decided since there is some Dark Tapestry stuff in the mix, and wanted something weird but not too weird.

Then I started coming up with the scenario... Hags were something they're not supposed to run into during the course of their extended campaign. I wanted something the paladin wouldn't simply be able to "DUR HUR Smite". They're way outside the scope of the party to take on. CR 13 together? Party is APL 4. I am very much of the opinion that "It's evil and thus auto-killable" with intelligent creatures is just as evil as the creature is. Especially since the Hags are not known to currently be messing with the town (whether that's because they've recently arrived or have been cowed by the evil the players are eventually building to deal with isn't decided, and outside my current scope.)

As for the paladin working with the hags. Working with evil for a greater good or to put down a greater evil is within the realm of this IMO. Saving the cleric from death is unrepentantly good. Cleric of a good god, working unknowingly against a "Super smite" villain. So, saving greater good against greater evil to correct paladin screw up. IMO walks the paladin line, but doesn't go over.

I also disagree this is not exceptional. A close friend, story built relationship with another PC cleric will die and be outside the realm of raise dead without again the said hags (Only things close enough without abandoning the region to perform the recovery). I'm ok with this as the GM. Should make for an interesting story.


mardaddy wrote:
Deposing an evil but duly elected and popular mayor who is NOT corrupt.

I'm not sure if that's possible. They would have to be evil for completely non-traditional reasons, like the friendly necromancer.

You could try having a reformed evil outsider who isn't actually evil, but would still detect as such. The outsider doesn't need to actually be good, it could just be Lawful Neutral.


Melkiador wrote:
mardaddy wrote:
Deposing an evil but duly elected and popular mayor who is NOT corrupt.

I'm not sure if that's possible. They would have to be evil for completely non-traditional reasons, like the friendly necromancer.

You could try having a reformed evil outsider who isn't actually evil, but would still detect as such. The outsider doesn't need to actually be good, it could just be Lawful Neutral.

It's also possible to have a highly efficient LE mayor who maintains high employment and keeps the raiding orcs, goblems and ogres exceptionally dead because it's *his* city and nobody gets to mess with it.


RealAlchemy wrote:
Melkiador wrote:
mardaddy wrote:
Deposing an evil but duly elected and popular mayor who is NOT corrupt.

I'm not sure if that's possible. They would have to be evil for completely non-traditional reasons, like the friendly necromancer.

You could try having a reformed evil outsider who isn't actually evil, but would still detect as such. The outsider doesn't need to actually be good, it could just be Lawful Neutral.

It's also possible to have a highly efficient LE mayor who maintains high employment and keeps the raiding orcs, goblems and ogres exceptionally dead because it's *his* city and nobody gets to mess with it.

How about a popular elected official who legalizes a lot of evil practices, but this basically makes the crime rate 0, either because acts that would have formerly been crimes are currently not crimes, or because criminals can be punished in ways that eliminate the possibility of committing a crime in the future? Or maybe, doesn't change the crime rate, but alters the demographics so that most people just don't care? Capital punishment, mob lynchings, magic brainwashing, life imprisonment, etc. are all ways to do this. Legalizing "civilian justice" or something of the sort, and giving certain people more legal rights to use lethal force, less responsibility, and less punishment if they are caught culpable might serve this end. They could also write into law that certain people have less rights (first, voting rights, then afterwards, all the rest), cannot use certain public facilities, and must wear some mark of identification. if If you wanted to be creative, you could have a technicality of the law allow the official to commit otherwise illegal acts on prisoners, such as torturing them and permanently imprisoning them without trial. The technicality could be that the prisoners are A. on foreign soil and B. are "illegal combatants", and therefore do not have any rights. This could be brought to the point where the official legalizes mass imprisonment, mass deportation, or genocide, by drawing on the fear, jealousy, and selfishness of most of the populace to put this into law.


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^This sounds creepily familiar . . . .


UnArcaneElection wrote:

^This sounds creepily familiar . . . .

How's for 1710s America, 1900s Russia, 1930s Germany, 1940s Israel, 1970s Cambodia, and 2000s Zimbabwe?

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