So this came up in the Pathfinder discord recently, after the 2e preview of the Paladin went up (more because I mentioned a paladin character of my own as an example of why I figured the Paladin Code - in either edition - has a bit more flexibility than most people assume). Basically; can a paladin support several casual relationships and still retain their alignment and follow their code?
Now, just to clarify, I mean relationships where it's expressly set out at the beginning that it's not intended to be serious - so making sure the paladin's not leading the other person on even by accident. If it's a one-night-stand at an inn, for example, they make this clear when it's apparent they'll be heading upstairs together. There's no deception, no lying, no going back on your word. If it grows more serious then they're open and honest about it and work from there. That sort of thing.
So, bearing all of that in mind, could a paladin support a lifestyle that involves multiple casual sexual partners and still remain a paladin? The main point of contention when this came up on the discord server was that such relationships are not "committed" relationships and, ergo, are not in keeping with the lawful part of the alignment. That and that such relationships are not considered the norm among most societies. Personally; I think that if Golarion is open-minded about sexuality and gender identity (even if more callous individuals may just put that down to Paizo not wanting to offend anyone), it doesn't strike me as a massive leap to assume that such relationships might also be more accepted.
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I think it's fully acceptable.
To my mind, the "lawful" question is kind of covered by the care and thought put into the decision at first. Where a more chaotic soul might enter such a relationship without knowing where it could lead or what might become of them, the paladin enters such a relationship with ample forethought and open discussion with their partner. Even if it does evolve into something more, the paladin can then maintain that dialogue, keeping the status of the relationship clear.
That's just my thought, though. ^_^
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Wait, who believes that you cannot be committed to more than one person at the same time? Some religions have that as a basic belief, but not all.
I don't see any reason that multiple commitments mean that you've failed as a "lawful" paladin. Unless that's spelled out in the commitment to your deity, I'm not sure there's any in-game reason to impose an out-of-game stricture on your character
@Kalindlara - that was my thinking as well, I guess the person I was debating it with earlier on the Discord was of the mind that "friends with benefits" - and having several such friends at once - was more of a chaotic mindset.
@CrystalSeas - The conversation did acknowledge being committed to multiple people at once (ie; group marriages). The main point of contention seemed to be that the person I was debating this with was applying a "medieval society" mentality to Golarion (which, even in the places that closest match real-life medieval society, is still pretty divergent on a number of points) where sleeping around was not the social norm. Granted; it's probably not the norm in Golarion either, but it's a damn-sight easier/safer to do there than it was in, say, 12th century England.
I believe that it is acceptable for most paladins of most dieties with one additional caveat. He would NOT be knowingly helping the partner to cheat.
But, for example, I think that paladins of Erastil might take a stronger view on casual sex (frowning upon it at the least). Erastil is about family and a highly visible member of your clergy going through a series of casual one night stands is probably not the best way to go about promoting marriage
I also think that purchasing sex from prostitutes opens up a potential can of worms. In the real world, while there definitely ARE prostitutes who do it purely by their own choice the great majority are somewhere being coerced and forced into it. A paladin would not necessarily have any issues with the former but SHOULD have significant issues with the latter
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