Paladin Code Debugging


Prerelease Discussion

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2Zak wrote:
BUT is there anyone truly innocent in the world? "Let the one who is without sin throw the first stone".

To bring a real-world religion into this conversation (christianity as taught by Christ): no one is innocent. All are sinners and thus are unable to be right with God (and it's only through the blood of his son Jesus... I won't preach here). Thus, from a very legalistic standpoint you could justify having your LG Paladin of Jesus kill everyone who isn't a Christian (see: the spanish inquisition; which nobody expects). The thing is though, you have mercy, and forgiveness, and this is what Jesus actually taught. This is also what most good deities in fantasy settings actually mean (usually).

This is also a good distinction between L. Good and L. Evil: in the Evil counterpart, you're guilty automatically. No save, just punishment. (LN would follow the law, but jury trial first or some such).

Also, I would think that attempting to save someone's life - even a known murderer - would rank high on a Paladins list of priorities. Evil but maybe redeemable bad-guy you caught and was about to fall off a cliff, do you jump to save him even though it might be a ploy to escape and cause more havok? Yes! Should a paladin lose his powers over not attempting? Probably not if it's the first time, but probably yes if it's part of a long string of oversights (unless the player is just that absent-minded).

The Raven Black wrote:
One essential thing for me on this specific topic is that people clearly understand that innocent and Good are completely different things

Yes. Very Much So.

Tallow wrote:
An Evil Kobold Child running around picking mushrooms and minding his own business could be considered innocent.

Maybe this can be an example in the CRB?? :-P


First let me apologize, interpreting and following the code or not following the code while in itself interesting and focus of this thread, isnt the main "problem" the code creates.

The problem the paladin has is the the amount of ressources it would take to play with one. I must confess I've never played with a paladin (be it me or another player). But following several threads on this topic makes it very clear that paladins and their musings about falling, codes and so are very time and energy consuming.

While yes every character concept creates certain "borders" in which a player tries to act, the paladin has some hardwired. If a player wants to play a neurotic fighter, with a stutter and maybe a tick to count steps. No one will blink an eye if he stops. Heck, its even an opportunity for good roleplay. And if it happens again, well maybe another time but its also easily cast aside. But if a paladin misbehaves he might lose a bigger part of his power. Simply because there was a misunderstanding or something else, than thats just tedious.

I get that playing by such a challenge can be very fun (my favourite is playing the "I-play-a-lawful-evil-wizard-what-reasons-could-he-have-to-be-nice-and-not- blast-all-the-stupid-lesser-monkeys-into-oblivion-today"-Edwin-Odeisseron-M emorial-Challenge a lot, its fun) but I would be remise to put my own fun in the forefront of everyone elses fun.

And if you really want to play by the rules, the life of a paladin sounds tremendously boring. While a paladin hardly ever is really endangered to fall (as has been pointed out), a paladin still has to keep up appearances with everything and has to drag his group behind him with that. Because while even not grossly violating the code he still has to do more then not being evil. He has to gather all the goody points as well. For the case that he missteps.

I guess reality looks like either groups ignore everything but the most soul-endangering stuff because its easier (and then whats the point), everyone plays a paladin and its the main point of the game or one player regularly takes the spotlight to annouce how many elderly widows he has carried on the other side of the street today.


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Wermut wrote:

First let me apologize, interpreting and following the code or not following the code while in itself interesting and focus of this thread, isnt the main "problem" the code creates.

The problem the paladin has is the the amount of ressources it would take to play with one. I must confess I've never played with a paladin (be it me or another player). But following several threads on this topic makes it very clear that paladins and their musings about falling, codes and so are very time and energy consuming.

Not at all. I play one in home and PFS. I've run for them in home and PFS. I've been playing them frequently for almost 30 years. They're easy. Sometimes, some people, have difficulty with them, it's rare.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Neo2151 wrote:

Question: Are the alignment descriptions changing from PF1 to PF2?

I ask because, as written, the Paladin code is too flimsy for a truly LG character, but fits rather perfectly for a NG character.

So how is this action (ignoring a tenet of the code for the greater good) not a perfect example of Neutral Goodness in action?

Huh? A Paladin's fourth highest priority of all priorities she can possibly have is obeying the law. The only times they can ever break it are when obeying it is an Evil act, when obeying it will harm an innocent, or when obeying it is dishonorable.

That's such a tiny fraction of the time that Paladins remain among the most law abiding people ever. Hell, they can fall for jaywalking if they're not doing it to save a life!

Also, prioritizing one's personal Code over the local laws is a perfectly acceptable Lawful position to take.

And finally, Paladins have always prioritized Good over Law. They have Smite Evil and Detect Evil, not smite Chaos and Detect Chaos, y'know?

Really, it's a horribly inappropriate Code for NG. NG wouldn't even have the 'respect laws' point, and probably wouldn't have the 'act with honor' point either, both are quintessentially Lawful. They'd keep the top two points, sure, but the bottom two wouldn't even be on their list (they'd presumably be replaced with other restrictions, I guess...though the fact that those are almost impossible to come up with for NG is one reason I'm in favor of the 'four corner' Paladin Alignments solution, I can easily come up with some for CG).

Minor sticking point, but acting honorably isn't really something that can be defined on the Law/Chaos axis. You know what fictional deity demands his followers act honorably? Khorne.

Scarab Sages

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Wermut wrote:

First let me apologize, interpreting and following the code or not following the code while in itself interesting and focus of this thread, isnt the main "problem" the code creates.

The problem the paladin has is the the amount of ressources it would take to play with one. I must confess I've never played with a paladin (be it me or another player). But following several threads on this topic makes it very clear that paladins and their musings about falling, codes and so are very time and energy consuming.

While yes every character concept creates certain "borders" in which a player tries to act, the paladin has some hardwired. If a player wants to play a neurotic fighter, with a stutter and maybe a tick to count steps. No one will blink an eye if he stops. Heck, its even an opportunity for good roleplay. And if it happens again, well maybe another time but its also easily cast aside. But if a paladin misbehaves he might lose a bigger part of his power. Simply because there was a misunderstanding or something else, than thats just tedious.

I get that playing by such a challenge can be very fun (my favourite is playing the "I-play-a-lawful-evil-wizard-what-reasons-could-he-have-to-be-nice-and-not- blast-all-the-stupid-lesser-monkeys-into-oblivion-today"-Edwin-Odeisseron-M emorial-Challenge a lot, its fun) but I would be remise to put my own fun in the forefront of everyone elses fun.

And if you really want to play by the rules, the life of a paladin sounds tremendously boring. While a paladin hardly ever is really endangered to fall (as has been pointed out), a paladin still has to keep up appearances with everything and has to drag his group behind him with that. Because while even not grossly violating the code he still has to do more then not being evil. He has to gather all the goody points as well. For the case that he missteps.

I guess reality looks like either groups ignore everything but the most soul-endangering stuff because its easier (and then whats the point), everyone plays a paladin...

I've played Paladins many times, and have made different choices than I would have with most of my other characters. I've also played with others who have played Paladins many times.

In general, as long as the Player isn't trying to game the code to do something questionable and/or the GM isn't trying to screw over the Paladin by creating a no-win situation, then there really isn't a lot of angst or argument surrounding the Paladin.


Tallow wrote:

I've played Paladins many times, and have made different choices than I would have with most of my other characters. I've also played with others who have played Paladins many times.

In general, as long as the Player isn't trying to game the code to do something questionable and/or the GM isn't trying to screw over the Paladin by creating a no-win situation, then there really isn't a lot of angst or argument surrounding the Paladin.

So the following is true then?

Wermut wrote:
I guess reality looks like either groups ignore everything but the most soul-endangering stuff because its easier (and then whats the point)

Scarab Sages

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Wermut wrote:
Tallow wrote:

I've played Paladins many times, and have made different choices than I would have with most of my other characters. I've also played with others who have played Paladins many times.

In general, as long as the Player isn't trying to game the code to do something questionable and/or the GM isn't trying to screw over the Paladin by creating a no-win situation, then there really isn't a lot of angst or argument surrounding the Paladin.

So the following is true then?

Wermut wrote:
I guess reality looks like either groups ignore everything but the most soul-endangering stuff because its easier (and then whats the point)

I would not say so. My good friend plays a Paladin exceedingly well. Honorable, doesn't even consider actions that go against their code, chastises our characters (off screen of course) for doing things that are exceptionally questionable, and agonizes over even the inkling something might be a moral conundrum. We all have fun playing with that character. Nothing is sugar coated, nothing trivialized, and nothing homogenized.


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Dragonchess Player wrote:
HWalsh wrote:

The scenario is simple:

If you do not kill the youth, he will expel the gas cloud and almost everyone in the city will die. You and the boy will be fine.

If you do kill the youth, only he will die.

And even THIS is horribly contrived to be honest.

The scenario is simple, but so is the decision:

With no other options (teleport to a distant location, plane shift, etc.), the paladin will ask the boy's forgiveness and kill him, even though he falls.

As the only way to save thousands of lives in a time-critical situation, killing one person and losing their paladin status would be the most palatable choice for a Lawful Good individual. Atonement afterword to regain Lawful Good alignment, even if they can never be a paladin again, and accepting any legal consequences for their act, but keeping their paladin status is not worth more than thousands of lives*.

*- this is one of the critical things to keep in mind, as the mindset of a paladin's status being worth more than even one innocent life is selfishness

This... is how a NG or CG Paladin would handle it. If you are Lawful, you believe that murder is wrong. Period. Every time. It is wrong to commit an evil act, it is not wrong that even a million people die provided that it was not your fault. The evil wizard murdered those thousands of people, not you. You are not morally responsible for their deaths, but only to bring justice to the killer.

Killing even one innocent to stop death is murder, and an attempt to play god. Fate has killed these people, who are you to stop it?


Just a bit of a observation about the whole

"No Evil spells"
"But what about Infernal Healing! Cast and fall, don't cast and fall!"

Example at the first post.

Um, isn't one of the big things that you won't need a Wand anymore? That there's other healing options to use? Mind you we don't know what they will be and can do but isn't Heal Skill supposed to be viable?

Spend some resources on having a good Heal check and don't worry about the Infernal Healing question.


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Wermut wrote:

First let me apologize, interpreting and following the code or not following the code while in itself interesting and focus of this thread, isnt the main "problem" the code creates.

The problem the paladin has is the the amount of ressources it would take to play with one. I must confess I've never played with a paladin (be it me or another player). But following several threads on this topic makes it very clear that paladins and their musings about falling, codes and so are very time and energy consuming.

Yep.


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Okay, here's a rather major one.

The paladin code from 1st edition:

Quote:

Code of Conduct: A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class features except proficiencies if she ever willingly commits an evil act.

Additionally, a paladin's code requires that she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth), help those in need (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends), and punish those who harm or threaten innocents.

Mostly it's the same tenets unordered. 2nd edition has taken out poison, added not taking advantage of others, and more emphasises protecting the innocent than punishing those who harm them.

But 1st edition also had this:

Quote:
Associates: 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.

I theorise a good chunk of trouble people have with paladins isn't what they will or won't do. It's them telling other party members what they can or can't do.

If druidic codes demanded nobody in the party used metal, I bet they'd be less popular for it.

The current code seemingly lacks this. It prohibits committing an evil act, but not permitting or witnessing one. It stipulates no cheating, lying, etc. but not stopping others doing so.

As long as the party isn't trying to directly cause innocents harm, or in a realm where the law calls for intervention by witnesses, it seems like the paladin can let others get their hands dirty to a far greater extent now. They can even work with evil, if it serves a greater good.

Pretty big change.


Dragonchess Player wrote:
HWalsh wrote:

The scenario is simple:

If you do not kill the youth, he will expel the gas cloud and almost everyone in the city will die. You and the boy will be fine.

If you do kill the youth, only he will die.

And even THIS is horribly contrived to be honest.

The scenario is simple, but so is the decision:

With no other options (teleport to a distant location, plane shift, etc.), the paladin will ask the boy's forgiveness and kill him, even though he falls.

As the only way to save thousands of lives in a time-critical situation, killing one person and losing their paladin status would be the most palatable choice for a Lawful Good individual. Atonement afterword to regain Lawful Good alignment, even if they can never be a paladin again, and accepting any legal consequences for their act, but keeping their paladin status is not worth more than thousands of lives*.

*- this is one of the critical things to keep in mind, as the mindset of a paladin's status being worth more than even one innocent life is selfishness

The Paladin would not kill the boy, because he fully believes in his Code. Even if he can't understand the reasoning, he knows its right and follows it.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Artificial 20 wrote:

Okay, here's a rather major one.

The paladin code from 1st edition:

Quote:

Code of Conduct: A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class features except proficiencies if she ever willingly commits an evil act.

Additionally, a paladin's code requires that she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth), help those in need (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends), and punish those who harm or threaten innocents.

Mostly it's the same tenets unordered. 2nd edition has taken out poison, added not taking advantage of others, and more emphasises protecting the innocent than punishing those who harm them.

But 1st edition also had this:

Quote:
Associates: 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.

I theorise a good chunk of trouble people have with paladins isn't what they will or won't do. It's them telling other party members what they can or can't do.

If druidic codes demanded nobody in the party used metal, I bet they'd be less popular for it.

The current code seemingly lacks this. It prohibits committing an evil act, but not permitting or witnessing one. It stipulates no cheating, lying, etc. but not stopping others doing so.

As long as the party isn't trying to directly cause innocents harm, or in a realm where the law calls for intervention by witnesses, it seems like the paladin can let others get their hands dirty to a far greater extent now. They can even work with evil, if it serves a greater good.

Pretty big change.

This was actually already the case in PF1, as opposed to 3.5.

The utter absence of the text should help people just forget the Associates clause, so that it gives less reason to Paladin players to order their teammates around or for GMs to make the Paladin fall for not ordering his teammates around enough

That said, I feel that the Paladin needs to be committed to his cause. If he is purposefully letting his teammates do the dirty work just so he can avoid falling, why is he even a Paladin ?


A good example of a LG paladin behavior in Game of Thrones is Jon Snow putting thousands of lives on danger because he refuses to lie to Cersei. The answer to Tyrion about that is very paladinesque.


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gustavo iglesias wrote:
A good example of a LG paladin behavior in Game of Thrones is Jon Snow putting thousands of lives on danger because he refuses to lie to Cersei. The answer to Tyrion about that is very paladinesque.

That's a horrible example - Jon Snow is an oathbreaker who is only 'honorable' when it suits him. As a Paladin he would have fallen several times over by this point in the series.

Ned is who you are thinking of - the guy who let his own wife think we was unfaithful (including everyone else) to protect his nephew. The guy that let his head get cut off rather than compromise once.

There is a reason Ned is the perfect Paladin, and why he's the first shocking death.

That said I don't think a single one of Charlemagne's knights would actually qualify either - but that's the way it goes :)


Ckorik wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
A good example of a LG paladin behavior in Game of Thrones is Jon Snow putting thousands of lives on danger because he refuses to lie to Cersei. The answer to Tyrion about that is very paladinesque.

That's a horrible example - Jon Snow is an oathbreaker who is only 'honorable' when it suits him. As a Paladin he would have fallen several times over by this point in the series.

Ned is who you are thinking of - the guy who let his own wife think we was unfaithful (including everyone else) to protect his nephew. The guy that let his head get cut off rather than compromise once.

There is a reason Ned is the perfect Paladin, and why he's the first shocking death.

That said I don't think a single one of Charlemagne's knights would actually qualify either - but that's the way it goes :)

Slight nitpick. Ned did actually compromise when he got his head cut off. He was offered a deal from Circe where if he sang her tune about the charges against him a messy civil war would be avoided, his children would be safe, and he'd live out the rest of his days on the Wall which he accepted ultimately. Granted the whole situation went to hell when Joffrey went off script and executed him but still, Ned's not quite perfect even if he's probably the best guy in the series besides Barristan the Bold.


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Ckorik wrote:

That's a horrible example - Jon Snow is an oathbreaker who is only 'honorable' when it suits him. As a Paladin he would have fallen several times over by this point in the series.

I did not say Jon is a paladin, but that the specific scene where he refuses to lie to Cersei and almost start a war because the idea of holding truth is more important is paladin behavior. No character with any depth is always attached to a single alignment, which is why people argue if Captain America, Batman or Superman are this or that alignment, because they move around.

Alignment is a game mechanic, that is helpful in the game, for severak reasons. But true characters of both real life and fiction don't have alignment, they have personality


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Big question can the new paladin play old AP's:
Let' us take an official campaign: Curse of the Crimson Throne.

Spoiler:
The first minute of the first book: There is a guy, let's call him Mr X, he's a petty criminal and each PC has something against him (they have to define it at character creation). Someone reunites the PCs and gives them the address of Mr X. The book expects the PCs to break in Mr X's house, kill his 4 guard and kill Mr X.

How doesn't this count as 5 murders ? Mr X is a small criminal, but there's no way any law allow random people to enter his house and kill him.

Can the new Paladin play it?

Liberty's Edge

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In fairness, Mr. X in the above example is, in fact, a wanted criminal. Trying to bring him in as a citizen's arrest is very likely to result in the exact same scenario unfolding (he's unlikely to come quietly), and is pretty indisputably Paladin safe.

We do still need that definition of murder to make absolutely sure, though.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Starbuck_II wrote:

Big question can the new paladin play old AP's:

Let' us take an official campaign: Curse of the Crimson Throne. The first minute of the first book: There is a guy, let's call him Mr X, he's a petty criminal and each PC has something against him (they have to define it at character creation). Someone reunites the PCs and gives them the address of Mr X. The book expects the PCs to break in Mr X's house, kill his 4 guard and kill Mr X.

How doesn't this count as 5 murders ? Mr X is a small criminal, but there's no way any law allow random people to enter his house and kill him.

Can the new Paladin play it?

How did the PF1 Paladin play it ?

Scarab Sages

My 2c is that if something is not permitted, it better be defined. If something is required, it better be defined.


The Raven Black wrote:
Starbuck_II wrote:

Big question can the new paladin play old AP's:

Let' us take an official campaign: Curse of the Crimson Throne. The first minute of the first book: There is a guy, let's call him Mr X, he's a petty criminal and each PC has something against him (they have to define it at character creation). Someone reunites the PCs and gives them the address of Mr X. The book expects the PCs to break in Mr X's house, kill his 4 guard and kill Mr X.

How doesn't this count as 5 murders ? Mr X is a small criminal, but there's no way any law allow random people to enter his house and kill him.

Can the new Paladin play it?

How did the PF1 Paladin play it ?

By trying to arrest him, and kill him if he does not submit, which is pretty standard for any other criminal.

I don't see an issue here, unless the thing we are worring about is the breaking into the house of the guy unlawfully. That's part of the problem of building an AP without knowing which one will play on it (something every AP writer has to face), but it's pretty easy to work around as a GM I think.


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The Raven Black wrote:
How did the PF1 Paladin play it ?

The PF1 Paladin didn't have a prohibition against murder, they couldn't perform evil acts, but they could commit murder.

If Mr. X is bad enough and the local authorities are unable or unwilling to stop him, then adventurers kicking his door down and killing him is (potentially) non-evil. It isn't potentially non-murder though.

I've said it many times in another thread, but using legal terms like 'murder' confuses the issue. The question should be good vs. evil, not legal killings vs. murder. Invoking the law in the code encourages people to invoke the law in these arguments. Example: Just now Deadmanwalking suggested that maybe it isn't murder because it is a citizen's arrest. Citizen's arrests don't work like that in the US, and the law of citizen's arrests has slipped quietly into a rules question in a way Paizo couldn't plausibly anticipate or intend.

Legally, if there is a crack house on my block and me and my three friends grab guns, head down there, kick the doors in, try to drag out the drug dealing owner, and kill five people inside when the inhabitants resist, oh boy have we committed some crimes. Five murders for a start. "I am an agent of divine goodness performing a citizen's arrest!" might get me in a psychiatric prison rather than a regular one, but I'm definitely going to prison.


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Note to self: If I ever run CotCT, I will insert Megaman 6 references into the early game.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Ring_of_Gyges wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
How did the PF1 Paladin play it ?
The PF1 Paladin didn't have a prohibition against murder, they couldn't perform evil acts, but they could commit murder.

Since murder is explicitly given as an example of an Evil act, no they could not


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

CoCrThr:

We didn't have a Paladin in our group but we had two Lawful Good folks (possibly three, memory is spotty, but including one Shelynite) who were reluctant to 'kick down the door' and 'charge in'.

Due to our method of approach, we ended up under attack in short order and the fight expanded throughout the location, and once we were 'in' we felt an obligation to ensure that there were no lingering threats to cause harm to the local community -- and bring the key NPC to Justice. Alas, the fires of battle proved too vigorous for said NPC (no tears shed, the entity was REALLY a jerk and probably deserved ten times worse)

Murder and Innocence need to be pulled out to get rid of the charged words.

The Code is strong enough to handle it with a simple substitution for those loaded terms.

Leaving them in will cause more 'falling' issues, I fear.


The Sideromancer wrote:
Note to self: If I ever run CotCT, I will insert Megaman 6 references into the early game.

I don't get it. Oh Mr. X was the guy in Megaman 6.

Largely underrated game though myself played the heck out of it.


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The Raven Black wrote:
Since murder is explicitly given as an example of an Evil act, no they could not

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Killing Karzoug is murder. Killing Karzoug is not evil and should not cause a Paladin to fall. Murder =! wrong. Murder = illegal.

Sovereign Court

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Ring_of_Gyges wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Since murder is explicitly given as an example of an Evil act, no they could not

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Killing Karzoug is murder. Killing Karzoug is not evil and should not cause a Paladin to fall. Murder =! wrong. Murder = illegal.

Under what justification is killing Karzoug not evil, but still meets a definition of murder?


Ring_of_Gyges wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Since murder is explicitly given as an example of an Evil act, no they could not

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Killing Karzoug is murder. Killing Karzoug is not evil and should not cause a Paladin to fall. Murder =! wrong. Murder = illegal.

you just caused some bad wrong fun there... making me think of a smiliar line in one of the elder scrolls games....


KingOfAnything wrote:
Ring_of_Gyges wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Since murder is explicitly given as an example of an Evil act, no they could not

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Killing Karzoug is murder. Killing Karzoug is not evil and should not cause a Paladin to fall. Murder =! wrong. Murder = illegal.

Under what justification is killing Karzoug not evil, but still meets a definition of murder?

Murder is defined as unlawful, premeditated killing.

Killing a evil ruler is murder. It can be morally justified, but murder doesn't care abut morals.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/murder


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KingOfAnything wrote:
Under what justification is killing Karzoug not evil, but still meets a definition of murder?

It's homicide, the killing of one human by another without a recognized legal authorization to do it.

If I go kill my neighbor "He was a bad guy who needed killing" isn't a defense. It's not a defense even if it is true. If I travel to a foreign nation, break into the home of the head of state, and kill him, it's still murder even if the head of state is a bad guy and even if the nation is Shalast.

It might be a good thing to do (Karzoug is a very dangerous fellow and a threat to thousands of lives, and there aren't many people who can stop him), but sure, how is it possibly not murder? Murder is a legal judgment, not a moral one.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

By those definitions, yes a paladin should fall for murdering Karzoug. That’s the point of having a paladin code in the first place.


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but I didnt murder him... I killed him with righteous fury, and that squeaky wheel got the boot nd boo took care of the details


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Ring_of_Gyges wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
Under what justification is killing Karzoug not evil, but still meets a definition of murder?

It's homicide, the killing of one human by another without a recognized legal authorization to do it.

If I go kill my neighbor "He was a bad guy who needed killing" isn't a defense. It's not a defense even if it is true. If I travel to a foreign nation, break into the home of the head of state, and kill him, it's still murder even if the head of state is a bad guy and even if the nation is Shalast.

It might be a good thing to do (Karzoug is a very dangerous fellow and a threat to thousands of lives, and there aren't many people who can stop him), but sure, how is it possibly not murder? Murder is a legal judgment, not a moral one.

It's murder under our laws.

Under our laws, going to an orc village to kill the raiders is a crime too. I can't just pick a group of friends, buy some weapons, go to a street gang and kill them all, even if they are evil, and criminals. That's the police job, and even them can't go there to kill them, they have to go there to arrest them, and then use lethal force to defend themselves if the gang is aggressive and do not complies. Yet not only is valid in Golarion, but townhalls often pay adventurers to do so.

So the laws in XXI century and the laws in fictional Golarion might not be the same, you know.


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gustavo iglesias wrote:
Ring_of_Gyges wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
Under what justification is killing Karzoug not evil, but still meets a definition of murder?

It's homicide, the killing of one human by another without a recognized legal authorization to do it.

If I go kill my neighbor "He was a bad guy who needed killing" isn't a defense. It's not a defense even if it is true. If I travel to a foreign nation, break into the home of the head of state, and kill him, it's still murder even if the head of state is a bad guy and even if the nation is Shalast.

It might be a good thing to do (Karzoug is a very dangerous fellow and a threat to thousands of lives, and there aren't many people who can stop him), but sure, how is it possibly not murder? Murder is a legal judgment, not a moral one.

It's murder under our laws.

Under our laws, going to an orc village to kill the raiders is a crime too. I can't just pick a group of friends, buy some weapons, go to a street gang and kill them all, even if they are evil, and criminals. That's the police job, and even them can't go there to kill them, they have to go there to arrest them, and then use lethal force to defend themselves if the gang is aggressive and do not complies. Yet not only is valid in Golarion, but townhalls often pay adventurers to do so.

So the laws in XXI century and the laws in fictional Golarion might not be the same, you know.

Which is why he picked an example where you are killing the head of state.

Karzoug definitely made it illegal to kill Karzoug.


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gustavo iglesias wrote:
So the laws in XXI century and the laws in fictional Golarion might not be the same, you know.

The law against murder is literally millennia older than the 21st century. The US law of murder is lifted basically intact from the common law of medieval England who lifted it from ancient Rome.

Sure, Magnimar might have some alien code where their definition of murder wouldn't be recognizable to a medieval or Renaissance person, but if so that makes murder's inclusion in the code even worse.

If Paizo is going to use a term in the rules, in the absence of information to the contrary we can only assume it is used in the normal way. They can provide specialized meanings for terms, but if they don't we have to assume they mean what those terms typically mean in English.

The question of what nation's law the Paladin has to follow is relevant though. If the Paladin travels to Cheliax do his obligations change? Obviously his lower priority 'obey the local laws' obligation changes, but do we really want the scope of his top level 'don't murder' obligation to change?

My position all along has been the law shouldn't be in the highest priority rule, the highest priority should be 'do no evil', not 'obey the law'.

Example. Suppose the Paladin travels to Razmiran. A Razmiri priest is killing some innocent peasants who failed to praise Razmir loudly enough and the Paladin tries to stop him. The priest responds violently, the Paladin does so also and kills him. Fall?

Surely not, who cares if Razmiran (a totalitarian theocracy) has a law saying "In this country any kiling of a Razmiri priest by a non-priest is always murder, no exceptions?" The code at that priority level shouldn't involve criminal law.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

You know, the paladin answers to a higher authority than local laws. Local laws may change, but the divine law against unjust killing doesn’t. Don’t conflate local definitions of murder with the divine proscription against evil.

The paladin’s definition of murder never changes. She may need to ask the gods (GM) for a definition, but it doesn’t change once defined.


*Cross-Posted*
I think they are using a *deontological approach (the same as D&D core previous) because the Paladin (unlike the cleric) is being asked to do things that serve their god/faith without stopping to contemplate the long term moral consequences. The *Teleological contemplation is more the domain of the clergy, with the Paladin serving as their instrument. Thus the Paladin needs some action oriented moral philosophy that allows them to defer to the judgement of others in the end.

*Deontological (philosophy) (of an ethical theory) regarding obligation as deriving from reason or as residing primarily in certain specific rules of conduct rather than in the maximization of some good

*Teleological ethics, (teleological from Greek telos, “end”; logos, “science”), theory of morality that derives duty or moral obligation from what is good or desirable as an end to be achieved. Also known as consequentialist ethics, it is opposed to deontological ethics (from the Greek deon, “duty”), which holds that the basic standards for an action’s being morally right are independent of the good or evil generated.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I may be mis-remembering, but I could have sworn it was 'wanton murder' in an earlier edition of D&D, which would change the dynamic and frame work SIGNIFICANTLY, right?


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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


I may be mis-remembering, but I could have sworn it was 'wanton murder' in an earlier edition of D&D, which would change the dynamic and frame work SIGNIFICANTLY, right?

1e Paladin Code:

Spoiler:

Law and good deeds are the meat and drink of paladins. If they ever knowingly perform an act which is chaotic in nature, they must seek a high level (7th or above) cleric of lawful good alignment, confess their sin, and do penance as prescribed by the cleric. If a paladin should ever knowingly and willingly perform on evil act, he or she loses the status of paladinhood immediately and irrevocably All benefits are then lost, and no deed or magic can restore the character to palodinhood; he or she is ever after a fighter.

1) They may never retain more than ten magic items; these may never exceed:
armor, 1 (suit)
shield, 1
weapons*, 4
any other magic items, 4

2)They will never retain wealth, keeping only sufficient treasures to support themselves in a modest manner, pay henchmen, men-at-arms, and servitors, and to construct or maintain a small castle. (Your DM will give details of this as necessary.) excess is given away, as is the tithe (see 3. below)

3)An immediate tithe (10%) of all income - be it treasure, wages, or whatever - must be given to whatever charitable religious institution (not a clerical player character) of lawful good alignment the paladin selects.

4) Paladins will have henchmen of lawful good alignment and none other; they will associate only with characters and creatures of good alignment; paladins can join a company of adventurers which contains non-evil neutrals only on a single- expedition basis, and only if some end which will further the cause of lawful good is purposed.

5) If possible, paladins will take service or form an alliance with lawful good characters, whether players or not, who are clerics or fighters (of noble status).

2e code:

Spoiler:

If a paladin ever knowingly performs a chaotic act, he must seek a high level (7th or more) cleric of lawful good alignment, confess his sin, and do penance as prescribed by the cleric. If a paladin should ever knowingly and willingly perform an evil act, he loses the status of paladinhood immediately and irrevocably. All benefits are then lost and no deed or magic can restore the character to paladinhood: He is ever after a fighter. The character's level remains unchanged when this occurs and experience points are adjusted accordingly. Thereafter the character is bound by the rules for fighters. He does not gain the benefits of weapon specialization (if this is used) since he did not select this for his character at the start. If the paladin commits an evil act while enchanted or controlled by magic, he loses his paladin status until he can atone for the deed. This loss of status means the character loses all his special abilities and essentially functions as a fighter (without weapon specialization) of the same level. Regaining his status undoubtedly requires completion of some dangerous quest or important mission to once again prove his worth and assuage his own guilt. He gains no experience prior to or during the course of this mission, and regains his standing as a paladin only upon completing the quest.

A Paladin may not possess more than 10 magical items

A Paladin never retains wealth

A paladin must tithe

A paladin does not attract followers once hitting 9th level or building a castle

A paladin may employ only lawful good henchmen. A paladin will cooperate with character of other alignments only as long as they behave themselves. He will try to show them the proper way to live through both word and deed. He will not abide the company of those who commit evil or unrighteous acts. Stealth in the cause of good is acceptable, though only as a last resort.


Note here that the big changes, if you are under compulsion you can atone after an evil act, and a the restrictions on who you can adventure with is loosened up (as long as they behave themselves).

3e code

Spoiler:

Code of Conduct:
A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all special class abilities if she ever willingly commits an act of evil. Additionally, a paladin’s code requires that she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, etc.), help those who need help (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends), and punish those that harm or threaten innocents.

Associates:
While she may adventure with characters of any good or neutral alignment, a paladin will never knowingly associate with evil characters. A paladin will not continue an association with someone who consistently offends her moral code. A paladin may only hire henchmen or accept followers who are lawful good.

A paladin who ceases to be lawful good, who willfully commits an evil act, or who grossly violates the code of conduct loses all special abilities and spells, including the service of the paladin’s warhorse. She also may not progress in levels as a paladin. She regains her abilities if she atones for her violations (see the atonement spell description, page 176), as appropriate.

Big change here is the loss of any punishment for committing an evil act while under compulsion - this would be brought back in Pathfinder - not through the actual class but through a new spell introduced to allow fast atonement for this kind of act - making the 'hidden assumption' that the prohibition was still in effect even though it was explicitly removed from the rules language.

Here we loose the magic item limit (consider that this was a serious design change with the 'big 6' items now a thing in the D20 rules - although we as players wouldn't really understand this until much later.)

Also note the 'who you can party with' was loosened up even more - giving more leeway to adventure with anyone except evil clerics (who would have an aura). Note also that the 'code' was not instant fall here - it was for 'gross violations' - giving the GM a huge amount of latitude over what constitutes 'falling'.

Lastly - 3rd was the edition that lost all mention of chaotic acts. The code here became about being good more than anything else.

There it is - the history of the Paladin up to Pathfinder (mostly).

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


I may be mis-remembering, but I could have sworn it was 'wanton murder' in an earlier edition of D&D, which would change the dynamic and frame work SIGNIFICANTLY, right?

To me "wanton" sounds Chaotic rather than Evil though. "Malicious" might fit better (not sure : I am not a native speaker).

What word could we use for the Evil act of killing a person ?


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

However, now that you've added the moral weight to it, there will be a lot of folks who will say *any* killing is evil, based on modern morality.

...and it basically renders the 'laws' section being fourth moot because it's still wedged firmly in the first.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:

This example assumes facts not in evidence. Specifically, that Infernal Healing exists, is an Evil spell, and that the Paladin is the only one who can use it (this last is actually the weirdest). It also assumes that such a spell is the only way to save her life.

Also, even assuming the example is correct about consequences, the right thing for the Paladin to do is to heal the woman, fall, and then do an atonement. Having to perform an atonement after using an Evil spell is a pretty reasonable thematic thing for a Paladin to need to do even if they have to cast such a spell for some reason.

Everyone talks about falling like it's something that makes the character ruined forever, but that's not actually quite how the rules work.

And if i get it right, you need to spend resonance to use a wand in PF2. After such battle is very doubtful that they will have resonance left.

And wand are moving away from "spell in a can", AFAIK.

Plus:"I will use a item that expose you and your unborn baby to evil energies to save you". I would use some other method even if it has a chance of failure.


Mark Seifter wrote:
R0b0tBadgr wrote:

The one thing I'd really like to point out, just to point out something that may or may not be obvious to some people.

The Paladin's Code seems very 3-Laws (or 3+0th Law if you've read all of the Foundation series). One of the things that Asimov did throughout the series is show how these three simple laws that most people would be like "Yeah, that seems foolproof" are actually *far* from foolproof, and can cause so much trouble all over the place.

I'm not trying to say we should stop trying to get the code as crystal-clear as possible, but there will always be loopholes. Hopefully Mark Seifter has read most of Asimov and realizes this, and thus does not get an aneurysm trying to make it 100% foolproof.

As an AI researcher before being a game designer, I am...shall we say at least somewhat aware. ;)

But as you say, in the case of a player who wants freedom to roleplay a character, having more options is probably better than a theoretical "perfect" code that determines all actions like you might want for intelligent robots.

Now I want to see Robot Paladins. . . .

Paizo Employee Designer

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UnArcaneElection wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
R0b0tBadgr wrote:

The one thing I'd really like to point out, just to point out something that may or may not be obvious to some people.

The Paladin's Code seems very 3-Laws (or 3+0th Law if you've read all of the Foundation series). One of the things that Asimov did throughout the series is show how these three simple laws that most people would be like "Yeah, that seems foolproof" are actually *far* from foolproof, and can cause so much trouble all over the place.

I'm not trying to say we should stop trying to get the code as crystal-clear as possible, but there will always be loopholes. Hopefully Mark Seifter has read most of Asimov and realizes this, and thus does not get an aneurysm trying to make it 100% foolproof.

As an AI researcher before being a game designer, I am...shall we say at least somewhat aware. ;)

But as you say, in the case of a player who wants freedom to roleplay a character, having more options is probably better than a theoretical "perfect" code that determines all actions like you might want for intelligent robots.

Now I want to see Robot Paladins. . . .

We built the robot paladins to protect us...and for a while, they did...but then they decided that none of humanity was innocent of sin, and that our mere existence was a threat to the innocent plants and animals of the natural world...thus began the dark times...the robo-paladin wars.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
R0b0tBadgr wrote:

The one thing I'd really like to point out, just to point out something that may or may not be obvious to some people.

The Paladin's Code seems very 3-Laws (or 3+0th Law if you've read all of the Foundation series). One of the things that Asimov did throughout the series is show how these three simple laws that most people would be like "Yeah, that seems foolproof" are actually *far* from foolproof, and can cause so much trouble all over the place.

I'm not trying to say we should stop trying to get the code as crystal-clear as possible, but there will always be loopholes. Hopefully Mark Seifter has read most of Asimov and realizes this, and thus does not get an aneurysm trying to make it 100% foolproof.

As an AI researcher before being a game designer, I am...shall we say at least somewhat aware. ;)

But as you say, in the case of a player who wants freedom to roleplay a character, having more options is probably better than a theoretical "perfect" code that determines all actions like you might want for intelligent robots.

Now I want to see Robot Paladins. . . .

We built the robot paladins to protect us...and for a while, they did...but then they decided that none of humanity was innocent of sin, and that our mere existence was a threat to the innocent plants and animals of the natural world...thus began the dark times...the robo-paladin wars.

Sir Alex of Merphy was killed in the line of duty. He was taken and rebuilt by Abadar Consumer Products - ACP. He is a fusion of man and divine. He is... Robodin.

Paizo Employee Designer

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HWalsh wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
R0b0tBadgr wrote:

The one thing I'd really like to point out, just to point out something that may or may not be obvious to some people.

The Paladin's Code seems very 3-Laws (or 3+0th Law if you've read all of the Foundation series). One of the things that Asimov did throughout the series is show how these three simple laws that most people would be like "Yeah, that seems foolproof" are actually *far* from foolproof, and can cause so much trouble all over the place.

I'm not trying to say we should stop trying to get the code as crystal-clear as possible, but there will always be loopholes. Hopefully Mark Seifter has read most of Asimov and realizes this, and thus does not get an aneurysm trying to make it 100% foolproof.

As an AI researcher before being a game designer, I am...shall we say at least somewhat aware. ;)

But as you say, in the case of a player who wants freedom to roleplay a character, having more options is probably better than a theoretical "perfect" code that determines all actions like you might want for intelligent robots.

Now I want to see Robot Paladins. . . .

We built the robot paladins to protect us...and for a while, they did...but then they decided that none of humanity was innocent of sin, and that our mere existence was a threat to the innocent plants and animals of the natural world...thus began the dark times...the robo-paladin wars.
Sir Alex of Merphy was killed in the line of duty. He was taken and rebuilt by Abadar Consumer Products - ACP. He is a fusion of man and divine. He is... Robodin.

In Neoabsalom, the last survivors of the paladin wars built the only champion they could conceive to break the paladin siege, the robot antipaladin Savior To Eliminate Paladin Hordes Enfilading Neoabsalom. With his Paladin Irradiation Grenades (or P.I.G.s), which he kicks into the midst of the paladin hordes, the mighty antipaladin protects the city mostly because the paladins piss him off.


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
We built the robot paladins to protect us...and for a while, they did...but then they decided that none of humanity was innocent of sin, and that our mere existence was a threat to the innocent plants and animals of the natural world...thus began the dark times...the robo-paladin wars.

Robot paladins would never fall, because they are just that much better than us.

https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/robot-revolution

Your post so reminded me of the setup to a bunch of different SMBC comics detailing various apocalypse scenarios that I decided to just look for the first one about robot uprisings I could find. I didn't look for long...that was today's comic.


Mark Seifter wrote:
In Neoabsalom, the last survivors of the paladin wars built the only champion they could conceive to break the paladin siege, the robot antipaladin Savior To Eliminate Paladin Hordes Enfilading Neoabsalom. With his Paladin Irradiation Grenades (or P.I.G.s), which he kicks into the midst of the paladin hordes, the mighty hordes, the mighty antipaladin protects the city mostly because the paladins piss him off.

From days of long ago, from uncharted regions of the multiverse comes a legend. The legend of Paladins. Mighty crusaders, loved by Good, feared by Evil. As the Paladins' legend grew, peace settled across Golarion, in the city of Magnamar a Council of Knights was formed. Together with the good peoples of Golarion they maintained peace throughout Varisia. Until a new horrible menace threatened the continent. Paladins were needed once more. This is the story of the special force of Pathfinders. Specially trained, and sent by the Society, to bring back Paladins, the Protectors of Varisia.

(Bonus points to whoever gets the joke...)

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