Paladin Detect Evil


Prerelease Discussion


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Okay, I posted this in the Paladin Blog thread but it was quickly buried under 700+ posts on whether Paizo was doing right or wrong by not putting non-LG Paladins in the Core.

What I want to know is this: Do Paladins in PF2 retain their detect evil ability? It wasn't mentioned at all, yet this is a class feature that's been around since the very first hardbound edition of AD&D. I don't mind if it's removed, I just want to know ... was it not mentioned in the blog because it's gone, or because it was an oversight, or because it's a selectable option, or what?

Can any designer reply to this question?

Liberty's Edge

We know Detect Evil still exists (though it's a bit less reliable), so I certainly hope Paladins get it. It is indeed a core feature.

Liberty's Edge

If alignment detection still exists, and as Deadman said, we know Detect Evil does, it would seem a huge shame for the LG Paladin not to have it. We heard very little about their spells beyond the litanies, though, unless you count Lay on Hands.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Are you kidding?

It'd be AWESOME to not have that for Paladin.

They'd actually have to ROLEPLAY instead of using the EVILDAR ARRAY to discover the motivations and inclinations of PCs and NPCs, and they'd have plenty of coverage in the event that they were duped rather than having the MUST STOP EBIL alarm going on in their head every ten seconds.

It's a far more heroic story, after all, for a paragon of good to be duped into doing evil unawares and then making it right than side-stepping the whole thing because 'oh, that's evil, shouldn't touch it, or maybe even just preach that they're bad people and need to repent'.

Bring roleplay back to the forefront. Get rid of Paladin Detect Evil.

...and then the Code becomes a lot more powerful.

The Exchange

Either make detect evil actually detect evil or get rid of it. Characters who have an evil alignment are EVIL. Wishy washy characters are called neutrals. Having detect evil does not give you a license to kill unless you are in a theocratic state and even then the rule of law would apply because paladins are Lawful as well as Good. Just like in real life guilt must be proven in most courts even if the evidence is suspect. All that detect evil does is give the paladin a heads up that something is amiss. Just have it use spell points and its all good.

Paizo Employee Designer

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They have it as an option, though it kicks in more at the levels where characters actually have an evil aura to make it a more relevant choice, and as DeadManWalking says, it is much less of a black-and-white "Lord Evilor is the evil one now smite him" ability and more of "Something's not right about all of this and something evil is afoot, I can feel it in my bones. We'd better examine the evidence more carefully."

Liberty's Edge

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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


Are you kidding?

It'd be AWESOME to not have that for Paladin.

They'd actually have to ROLEPLAY instead of using the EVILDAR ARRAY to discover the motivations and inclinations of PCs and NPCs, and they'd have plenty of coverage in the event that they were duped rather than having the MUST STOP EBIL alarm going on in their head every ten seconds.

It's a far more heroic story, after all, for a paragon of good to be duped into doing evil unawares and then making it right than side-stepping the whole thing because 'oh, that's evil, shouldn't touch it, or maybe even just preach that they're bad people and need to repent'.

Bring roleplay back to the forefront. Get rid of Paladin Detect Evil.

...and then the Code becomes a lot more powerful.

...That's 100% fair, actually. It's definitely more heroic, and iconic, even, to see such a do-gooder get wrapped up into something more evil, or at least sketchy. I can see how some DMs or groups may have trouble with that aspect of play but I'd love to toy around with it more; not with the intent of having a Paladin fall, by any means, but it's good story telling.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
They have it as an option, though it kicks in more at the levels where characters actually have an evil aura to make it a more relevant choice, and as DeadManWalking says, it is much less of a black-and-white "Lord Evilor is the evil one now smite him" ability and more of "Something's not right about all of this and something evil is afoot, I can feel it in my bones. We'd better examine the evidence more carefully."

That sounds like a pretty marked step up over the current design on Detect Evil. Does this apply to all "Detect Alignment" abilities or just the class feature that Paladins are getting?

I for one approve of making it easier for a party ally to be secretly evil without jumping through a half dozen hoops, most of which must be magical.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Arachnofiend wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
They have it as an option, though it kicks in more at the levels where characters actually have an evil aura to make it a more relevant choice, and as DeadManWalking says, it is much less of a black-and-white "Lord Evilor is the evil one now smite him" ability and more of "Something's not right about all of this and something evil is afoot, I can feel it in my bones. We'd better examine the evidence more carefully."

That sounds like a pretty marked step up over the current design on Detect Evil. Does this apply to all "Detect Alignment" abilities or just the class feature that Paladins are getting?

I for one approve of making it easier for a party ally to be secretly evil without jumping through a half dozen hoops, most of which must be magical.

The paladin design is different than the spell, which is still less specific than the PF version but could be used to out an evil ally in a controlled environment...However! The paladin ability is also constantly active, whereas the spell requires forethought and preparation, and the spell isn't a given (as I said, we have better options for removing alignment entirely or deemphasizing if you want to do it, and part of that involves the ability to choose whether to include detect alignment).


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My disagreements with the alignment system aside, my main concern regarding detect evil, is whether Paladin's will still be able to Smite evil targets a limited number of times per day, and if so, will they have a reliable way of determining which targets are valid for the purposes of Smite Evil? Or will they just be stuck, unable to actually use their very limited pool of Smite Evil for fear of accidentally wasting valuable uses on encounters that turn out to have been totally neutral all along?


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Usmo wrote:
My disagreements with alignments aside, my main concern regarding detect evil, is whether Paladin's will still be able to Smite evil targets a limited number of times per day, and if so, will they have a reliable way of determining which targets are valid for the purposes of Smite Evil? Or will they just be stuck, unable to actually use their very limited pool of Smite Evil for fear of accidentally wasting valuable uses on encounters that turn out to have been totally neutral all along?

One way they could solve this is by making Smite Evil only count against your uses if it actually works. That'd introduce the problem of people using it to circumvent the restrictions on detect evil, though that could in turn be solved by making smite an explicitly verbal action that requires you to accuse the target of being smite-worthy. Loudly declaring the governor to be guilty of collaborating with demons just to check if he might be evil enough to do so would have some pretty serious repercussions if you happen to be wrong.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Usmo wrote:
My disagreements with the alignment system aside, my main concern regarding detect evil, is whether Paladin's will still be able to Smite evil targets a limited number of times per day, and if so, will they have a reliable way of determining which targets are valid for the purposes of Smite Evil? Or will they just be stuck, unable to actually use their very limited pool of Smite Evil for fear of accidentally wasting valuable uses on encounters that turn out to have been totally neutral all along?

We are firmly committed to the idea that you shouldn't have to waste your resources on "gotcha" moments like that. That's why we're much more interested in giving you smiting benefits without any need for a guessing game (let's be honest, even in PF1 it wasn't worth losing my full attack for the detect evil so I mostly just assumed the evil-seeming enemy was evil and it worked most of the time, Chrysalis Blacks aside, but it's still pretty frustrating when I waste it). However, the length of the necessary explanation was such that I didn't really have enough space to include it in the blog given the necessity of the other topics.


Mark Seifter wrote:
Usmo wrote:
My disagreements with the alignment system aside, my main concern regarding detect evil, is whether Paladin's will still be able to Smite evil targets a limited number of times per day, and if so, will they have a reliable way of determining which targets are valid for the purposes of Smite Evil? Or will they just be stuck, unable to actually use their very limited pool of Smite Evil for fear of accidentally wasting valuable uses on encounters that turn out to have been totally neutral all along?
We are firmly committed to the idea that you shouldn't have to waste your resources on "gotcha" moments like that. That's why we're much more interested in giving you smiting benefits without any need for a guessing game (let's be honest, even in PF1 it wasn't worth losing my full attack for the detect evil so I mostly just assumed the evil-seeming enemy was evil and it worked most of the time, Chrysalis Blacks aside, but it's still pretty frustrating when I waste it). However, the length of the necessary explanation was such that I didn't really have enough space to include it in the blog given the necessity of the other topics.

Fair 'nuff. Thanks for the response!


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Mark Seifter wrote:
That's why we're much more interested in giving you smiting benefits without any need for a guessing game... However, the length of the necessary explanation was such that I didn't really have enough space to include it in the blog given the necessity of the other topics.

Can you confirm if you have removed the damage bonus from smite?

I would actually approve, or if not remove the damage then a significant nerf. It was fine a lower levels, but at higher levels, especially with Aura of Justice, it was just too good against evil encounters.


Malthraz wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
That's why we're much more interested in giving you smiting benefits without any need for a guessing game... However, the length of the necessary explanation was such that I didn't really have enough space to include it in the blog given the necessity of the other topics.

Can you confirm if you have removed the damage bonus from smite?

I would actually approve, or if not remove the damage then a significant nerf. It was fine a lower levels, but at higher levels, especially with Aura of Justice, it was just too good against evil encounters.

I actually agree and disagree.

Having played a high level Paladin, the smite for the Paladin is not beefy compared to a Cavalier on his/her mount.

I'm struggling with die code +9(STR * 1.5) +2(Enh Bonus) +9 (2h power attack) most of the time, or die code +9 +2 +9 +10 (smite) for an avg of 25 - 35 per hit.

The Cavalier is smashing for 70+ and the Barbarian is pouncing for 90+

My smite damage is *not* too much.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

They never said they were limiting to LG Paladins in Core. They only said that for Playtest they were only previewing LG Paladins. Core isn't coming until a full year after Playtest. I'm sure Paizo will have a lot more fleshed out by the time the official PF2 is released.


I'm cool with detect evil coming online down the road. I hope they are keeping a certain level and condition of evil being required to ping?


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Plan, that is actually part of the design, by making it come online later it is less 'incapacitate the user' or 'inconclusive results' and more 'YEP, THAT THAR IS PURE EBIL!'

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
They have it as an option, though it kicks in more at the levels where characters actually have an evil aura to make it a more relevant choice, and as DeadManWalking says, it is much less of a black-and-white "Lord Evilor is the evil one now smite him" ability and more of "Something's not right about all of this and something evil is afoot, I can feel it in my bones. We'd better examine the evidence more carefully."

That sounds like a pretty marked step up over the current design on Detect Evil. Does this apply to all "Detect Alignment" abilities or just the class feature that Paladins are getting?

I for one approve of making it easier for a party ally to be secretly evil without jumping through a half dozen hoops, most of which must be magical.

The paladin design is different than the spell, which is still less specific than the PF version but could be used to out an evil ally in a controlled environment...However! The paladin ability is also constantly active, whereas the spell requires forethought and preparation, and the spell isn't a given (as I said, we have better options for removing alignment entirely or deemphasizing if you want to do it, and part of that involves the ability to choose whether to include detect alignment).

Oooo so it's more like "my Evil senses are tingling" rather than an Evil detecting spotlight?


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Rysky wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
They have it as an option, though it kicks in more at the levels where characters actually have an evil aura to make it a more relevant choice, and as DeadManWalking says, it is much less of a black-and-white "Lord Evilor is the evil one now smite him" ability and more of "Something's not right about all of this and something evil is afoot, I can feel it in my bones. We'd better examine the evidence more carefully."

That sounds like a pretty marked step up over the current design on Detect Evil. Does this apply to all "Detect Alignment" abilities or just the class feature that Paladins are getting?

I for one approve of making it easier for a party ally to be secretly evil without jumping through a half dozen hoops, most of which must be magical.

The paladin design is different than the spell, which is still less specific than the PF version but could be used to out an evil ally in a controlled environment...However! The paladin ability is also constantly active, whereas the spell requires forethought and preparation, and the spell isn't a given (as I said, we have better options for removing alignment entirely or deemphasizing if you want to do it, and part of that involves the ability to choose whether to include detect alignment).
Oooo so it's more like "my Evil senses are tingling" rather than an Evil detecting spotlight?

Yeesh, I can see a lot of folks taking their "sense tingle" as license to murder everything in sight.

Silver Crusade

Orville Redenbacher wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
They have it as an option, though it kicks in more at the levels where characters actually have an evil aura to make it a more relevant choice, and as DeadManWalking says, it is much less of a black-and-white "Lord Evilor is the evil one now smite him" ability and more of "Something's not right about all of this and something evil is afoot, I can feel it in my bones. We'd better examine the evidence more carefully."

That sounds like a pretty marked step up over the current design on Detect Evil. Does this apply to all "Detect Alignment" abilities or just the class feature that Paladins are getting?

I for one approve of making it easier for a party ally to be secretly evil without jumping through a half dozen hoops, most of which must be magical.

The paladin design is different than the spell, which is still less specific than the PF version but could be used to out an evil ally in a controlled environment...However! The paladin ability is also constantly active, whereas the spell requires forethought and preparation, and the spell isn't a given (as I said, we have better options for removing alignment entirely or deemphasizing if you want to do it, and part of that involves the ability to choose whether to include detect alignment).
Oooo so it's more like "my Evil senses are tingling" rather than an Evil detecting spotlight?
Yeesh, I can see a lot of folks taking their "sense tingle" as license to murder everything in sight.

A FALL IS FOR THEM!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Orville Redenbacher wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
They have it as an option, though it kicks in more at the levels where characters actually have an evil aura to make it a more relevant choice, and as DeadManWalking says, it is much less of a black-and-white "Lord Evilor is the evil one now smite him" ability and more of "Something's not right about all of this and something evil is afoot, I can feel it in my bones. We'd better examine the evidence more carefully."

That sounds like a pretty marked step up over the current design on Detect Evil. Does this apply to all "Detect Alignment" abilities or just the class feature that Paladins are getting?

I for one approve of making it easier for a party ally to be secretly evil without jumping through a half dozen hoops, most of which must be magical.

The paladin design is different than the spell, which is still less specific than the PF version but could be used to out an evil ally in a controlled environment...However! The paladin ability is also constantly active, whereas the spell requires forethought and preparation, and the spell isn't a given (as I said, we have better options for removing alignment entirely or deemphasizing if you want to do it, and part of that involves the ability to choose whether to include detect alignment).
Oooo so it's more like "my Evil senses are tingling" rather than an Evil detecting spotlight?
Yeesh, I can see a lot of folks taking their "sense tingle" as license to murder everything in sight.

People already do that, and as the bird pointed out, if they're Paladin they're probably gonna fall.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I don’t really expect Detect Evil turning into holy Spidey sense to result in any more sudden murder than the original did.


Yeah, even in first, smiting everything that detects as evil is a great way to fall sooner rather than later.


I've never understood the, "It is evil, I am allowed to kill it." Mentality.

Sure, in some cases, if it is an undead... I mean... Sure. Kill it. It is an abomination that is an active threat (even if it claims it isn't - IE a Vampire) and thus probably should be destroyed.

An evil human? Elf? Dwarf? Uh...

Okay, so it is evil. So are a lot of people. That doesn't mean they deserve to die. I've met plenty of people in real life who would likely have an E in their alignment... Many politicians... And yet they aren't exactly viable targets for a Paladin to smite on sight.


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"Evil senses tingling" is a lot more workable tbh because it prevents the Paladin from slowing down the game by scanning everything and everyone. And it will probably only go off in the presence of an actual evil aura (eg, a fiend) or active evil intent (someone wants to commit murder), and not go off in the face of passive evil (someone's just a selfish jerk).

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Fuzzypaws wrote:
"Evil senses tingling" is a lot more workable tbh because it prevents the Paladin from slowing down the game by scanning everything and everyone. And it will probably only go off in the presence of an actual evil aura (eg, a fiend) or active evil intent (someone wants to commit murder), and not go off in the face of passive evil (someone's just a selfish jerk).

*nods*

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