What Would A CG Paladin Code Look Like?


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The Raven Black wrote:
Many, many people see a clear difference between Law and Chaos. That they do not completely agree on what that difference is does not mean there is none

But it does make the difference between arguing for chaotic laws and codes versus lawful laws and codes and arguing that chaos can't even have laws and codes. The latter might be an intuitively correct interpretation of chaos, but not when the game has had chaotic codes and laws (demonic hierarchies, drow society, King Boranel, chaotic edict-abiding Cavaliers, etc.).


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MuddyVolcano wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:


Here is my general confusion. See, everything you'd listed could be an ordered trait, too. Old caste systems, the feudal system, were put in place in ways to ensure that power was maintained a certain way.

The leave no witness could be more of an evil trait than a chaotic one, in the end.

An ordered society would also need to have structures in place that argued for personal liberty--that is, limiting the ability of someone to murder one another, or the right of someone to speak out and to not be struck. It takes structures to enforce those limits--such as juries, or crafting laws that list rights which may not be taken. The traditional enemy of LG is LE, which is Tyranny.

With all of the gray inbetween, I am just not seeing much difference in real play, you know?

a CE society has rulers too. But the rule is "might makes right". While L societies,,) evil or not) give more credibility to things like birthright. A rule with "leave no witness, and we won't intervene" is a rule that incentivates betrayal, murder, and coup de etats. A LE society would have rules, made by those with the power, to investigate this kind of conspiration, including interrogating dead people, or divination spells, to stop it. Drows don't do that. They know house X killed house Y, but as they did their coup well enough, the rest don't care. It is fine for them, because killing the one above you is an acceptable social elevator for them. This is a good example of what I mean when I say C societies do have rules. Just that those rules promote C virtues and ideals.


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An example of different LG and CG organizations, partislly based on real life organizations I know. Imagine 2 charitable organizations that give shelter to the homeless. One of them have a rule about no animals. They have that rule because they want to protect the health and hygiene of the rest of sheltered people from possible diseases, fleas, etc. The other one chooses not to, because they know some homeless will not agree to go to shelter if they have to leave their dogs /cats behind.
Both organizations are extremely charitable, with capital G, in my opinion. Both are Paladin like. Both reasonings have merit. They just have different methods to their goodness


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Bodhizen wrote:
The fact that chaos doesn't follow codes is really only an issue when you attempt to shoehorn a code in. Chaotic people (or characters) may seem to do things without purpose (which is a completely chaotic thing to do in a pure sense of the word), and often times that's true, but they may also act irrespective of a code. That means that at times, their actions may be congruent with an existing code, or set of laws, but at other times they may not. The defining point here is that the rules don't matter. It doesn't matter if they exist, or if they don't exist. The chaotic character would do what they're going to do without any regard for rules or codes.

I don't disagree with this portrayal of chaotic characters.

Bodhizen wrote:

The lawful character would follow the rules unless they had a good reason not to. The neutral character would follow rules that they feel like following or that they agree with while not following rules they don't feel like following or that they disagree with. The chaotic character wouldn't even pay rules any mind because for the chaotic character, rules don't even matter to them. As such, with rules not even mattering, they wouldn't accept another entity placing rules upon them, as they would then be forced to at least tacitly acknowledge rules as appying or not applying to them.They would reject the notion that any being even has the authority to subject them to rules in the first place.

This does not mean that without having any regard for rules that the character cannot act in a good fashion. They act in a good fashion because they choose to, not because anything says that they must. It's like the atheist perspective; they don't rape, or kill, or steal because they don't want to rape, or kill, or steal, not because some mythical bearded man in the sky tells them that it's bad.

I agree with this, but to repeat what you said at the end, chaotic characters while not accepting outside rules, would accept rules they made themselves from their own ideals and ideas.

So while they may not follow a rule because it's "god's law", they follow it, because it parallels their own internal rules, and thus they might accept that god more than others (maybe even looking to them for inspiration in their life). And while they may not accept all of that god's tenets, as some might conflict with theirs, they might be granted power by that god for their tenets in common and their looking to them for inspiration.

This also fits with the theme of Paladins being bestowed power based on their past actions (back when it was the forces of alignment granting their powers to them, now it's the gods), instead of pleading with a deity for them (which could fit certain paladins, I'm not saying it's bad, just I like the image of the former over the latter).

Tangent:

Spinning off on a tangent right here because it's relevant, we know that's shelyns anathema has a couple different componenets
  • Don't strike first
  • Don't destroy works of art or allow one to be destroyed except to save a life or in pursuit of greater art
  • Accept surrenders

What if chaotic gods had a core anathema (ie shelyn's core would be protect art), and then a list of a few other anathemas that would suit them, and chaotic characters had to pick a couple others that matched their charracter, instead of being arbitrarily assigned all of them. I feel this would be a suitably chaotic way to approach things.

Bodhizen wrote:

I believe I already answered this above, but I think it bears repeating. The chaotic good character can be good because they want to be good, not because they'll be punished for not being good because of "Rules, man. Rules."

So, with regard to social interactions, a very basic one is a greeting. You say some form of hello to me, and I say some form of hello back to you. That's a pretty basic social convention. The chaotic character may say hello back to you, but not because it's the "socially acceptable" thing to do; things like "social acceptability" don't really matter to them. They say "hello" back to you because they want to. Or they nod their head and don't say anything at all. Or maybe they grunt a reply, or don't acknowledge you at all. They don't explicitly bow to the social convention of greeting you back.

I agree with this.

Bodhizen wrote:
While I don't inherently disagree with this, I find it problematic when one of the axes overwhelms the other to the point where the other is irrelevant. At that point, the law-chaos axis naturally settles to "neutral" because the neutral point in the axis prefers neither side of the law-chaos axis to the other.

I see what you mean here, and honestly it's one of the hardest problems to fix. If they're acting more G than C to the point where they seem more N than C, (this hurts me to say) the GM may want to talk with them (nicely) and ask if they really meant to be C, and explain why they're bringing this up. Also this is why there should be a NG paladin code as well in addition to the CG one ;P .

Bodhizen wrote:
I appreciate the respectful discourse as well! We may not agree, but that's part of the process, and if we eventually reach consensus, I will feel that this conversation was deeply rewarding. If not, it'll still be a good conversation. So, I say "Best wishes!" to you as well, good sir!

Indeed these conversation are quite stimulating, and help me come up with ways to portray my characters better. Best wishes to you as well good sir!


willuwontu wrote:
I agree with this, but to repeat what you said at the end, chaotic characters while not accepting outside rules, would accept rules they made themselves from their own ideals and ideas.

That's actually not what I said at all. The chaotic character wouldn't limit themselves with rules any more so than they'd allow an external influence to do so.

willuwontu wrote:
So while they may not follow a rule because it's "god's law", they follow it, because it parallels their own internal rules, and thus they might accept that god more than others (maybe even looking to them for inspiration in their life). And while they may not accept all of that god's tenets, as some might conflict with theirs, they might be granted power by that god for their tenets in common and their looking to them for inspiration.

I don't think that you're grasping what I'm getting at. What I'm attempting to state is this: a chaotic character acts completely irrespective of rules. For them, it's as if rules do not exist, period. It doesn't matter whether rules are "internal" or "external"; they're "rules" and therefore, they "do not exist" for that character. There's nothing to follow, because they simply do not interact with rules, period. If they happen to do anything at all (randomly, or with purpose), that just so happens to follow someone else's "rules", it's a complete coincidence that has absolutely zero impact upon that chaotic individual. They don't accept rules. They don't interact with rules. They simply act.

willuwontu wrote:
This also fits with the theme of Paladins being bestowed power based on their past actions (back when it was the forces of alignment granting their powers to them, now it's the gods), instead of pleading with a deity for them (which could fit certain paladins, I'm not saying it's bad, just I like the image of the former over the latter).

Sure, you could bestow power upon a chaotic good individual as a reward for "following rules" (not that the chaotic individual is "following rules", they're simply going about their business), but when they reach an as-yet-undefined threshold of "not following rules", it would have to be revoked. From a consistency standpoint, that would make for an utterly frustrating experience for people who wanted to play a chaotic good "paladin". Should the character just so happen to act in accordance with whatever "rules" that their chosen god would set forth, with the explicit purpose of maintaining their bestowed powers, if they did so in a consistent manner, they would no longer be chaotic; they'd be neutral at best.

Having said that, I also like the imagery set forth by gaining their powers based upon past actions, but it's less consistent within the context of a setting that contains deities.

willuwontu wrote:
I see what you mean here, and honestly it's one of the hardest problems to fix. If they're acting more G than C to the point where they seem more N than C, (this hurts me to say) the GM may want to talk with them (nicely) and ask if they really meant to be C, and explain why they're bringing this up. Also this is why there should be a NG paladin code as well in addition to the CG one ;P .

I think that a neutral-good paladin code would work (though it also carries with it the inherent problem that the neutral good character would be more likely to have their powers revoked and require atonement than the lawful good character just for doing what neutral characters do). A chaotic good code would have to be so incredibly loose in order for it to be applicable to a chaotic good character (in terms of it actually being followed) that it may not necessarily be recognizable as a code. Even so, the chaotic good character wouldn't follow it because it's there, though they may be rewarded for managing to stay within the loose confines of behavioural expectation. At least... until they spent sometime outside of those loose confines.

"Do good deeds" would make for such a loose expectation for a chaotic good character that it could be followed (more because the character is good than due to their chaotic nature). "Create a work of art" is another that works reasonably well, though not necessarily as well as "do good deeds" because it's slightly more defined, since the character has to create an artistic work. That artistic work could be a blood-stain pattern on the ground that is aesthetically pleasing and still qualify, mind you, so it's achievable. But, they're really only achievable because "good" in the context of a paladin-like character trumps "chaotic", and that can reduce or eliminate the relevance of the "chaotic" portion of such a code, rendering it effectively "neutral". I argue that a neutral-good "paladin" (paladin-like character) could exist for gods like Desna or Cayden Cailean, but you have to completely ignore the "chaotic" portion of "chaotic good" to create a code for a chaotic good "paladin".

I'd like to add, since it was brought up earlier in the thread, the setting of Menzoberranzan was one of the worst examples of a "chaotic evil" society that I've ever read. Don't get me wrong, I greatly enjoyed Salvatore's stories (particularly the earlier ones), but it was a very structured society, from the matriarchy being in power, to the social strata of society (down to the slaves), to the timing and responsibility of the lighting of Narbondel, to the killing of the third-born male child, to the punishments for violating the "rules". It screams "lawful evil" in nearly every sense of the word. Don't get me wrong, the setting is very interesting, and I've played around in it a ton (the Menzoberranzan boxed set was one of my prized possessions back in the day), but as an example of "chaotic evil" society, it utterly fails.

willuwontu wrote:
Indeed these conversation are quite stimulating, and help me come up with ways to portray my characters better. Best wishes to you as well good sir!

I'm very glad that they're useful to you! Best wishes!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'll just say it again--'Chaotic characters have no rules, period' is *demonstrably false* in Pathfinder lore. To suggest otherwise, you have to ignore not only the admittedly poorly written Antipaladin code, but also Chaotic Samurai and Cavaliers, all the Chaotic barbarian societies with incredible depth of tradition and taboos, the Chaotic Azatas and Fey who use feudal court structures, the Chaotic Good kingdom of Kyonin which has a Queen and rather strict laws especially as regards outlanders, ll the Chaotic God's that impose rules and the Chaotic Clerics who follow them, and that one of the most notable CG deities in the setting is *specifically noted* as having an inviolable code of ethics.


On the Kanigits of the Round Table tip, I never considered all of them to be Paladins, Lancelot is a Fighter, hence being the absolute badass master of combat, whereas Galahad is the real deal, and maybe Percival and Gawain (some levels at least!).


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Weather Report wrote:
On the Kanigits of the Round Table tip, I never considered all of them to be Paladins, Lancelot is a Fighter, hence being the absolute badass master of combat, whereas Galahad is the real deal, and maybe Percival and Gawain (some levels at least!).

It also depends which version of the stories you are reading. My go to version is The Once and Future King, and The Orkney brothers in that (Gawain et al) aren't terribly paladinic, although they are good guys.


Neriathale wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
On the Kanigits of the Round Table tip, I never considered all of them to be Paladins, Lancelot is a Fighter, hence being the absolute badass master of combat, whereas Galahad is the real deal, and maybe Percival and Gawain (some levels at least!).
It also depends which version of the stories you are reading. My go to version is The Once and Future King, and The Orkney brothers in that (Gawain et al) aren't terribly paladinic, although they are good guys.

Definitely which source will colour it, the Orkney thing I love, Sir Gareth, The Knight of Many Colours and all that (I named my Jackson Chameleon after him, back in the day).


Okay, yesterday posters were rattling off characters they would consider iconic representatives of a CG Paladin. I just saw Deadpool 2, and I'm going to have to throw out Deadpool (at least as depicted here) as such an example. Without going into spoilers, both his behavior and his goals were screaming chaos AND good in equal measure, especially when we get to his

Spoiler:
confrontation with Colossus towards the beginning of the second act. If anything is a textbook example of a LG Paladin and a CG Paladin having a fundamental disagreement about what is the right thing to do, it's those two.


Bodhizen wrote:
That's actually not what I said at all. The chaotic character wouldn't limit themselves with rules any more so than they'd allow an external influence to do so.
Bodhizen wrote:
I don't think that you're grasping what I'm getting at. What I'm attempting to state is this: a chaotic character acts completely irrespective of rules. For them, it's as if rules do not exist, period. It doesn't matter whether rules are "internal" or "external"; they're "rules" and therefore, they "do not exist" for that character. There's nothing to follow, because they simply do not interact with rules, period. If they happen to do anything at all (randomly, or with purpose), that just so happens to follow someone else's "rules", it's a complete coincidence that has absolutely zero impact upon that chaotic individual. They don't accept rules. They don't interact with rules. They simply act.

I think I see the cause of our division in views now, but let me double check that I understand what your getting at.

I believe you're saying that chaotic characters only act randomly, merely going along and taking action by their own whims of the moment. A CG person just merely happens to be one whose whims tend more to the G side of things.

If that's not right please ignore this section below (skip to next quote), or read along if you'd rather.

I'd say you're correct in that a true chaotic being would be like that. The big issue is the setting, as others have noted, we have societies for the chaotic tribes of barbarians, and the existence of chaotic samurai and cavaliers implies that there is a structure to chaos in the setting. While I don't disagree with your intrepretation (and indeed, cannot refute it), I think using it would require quite a bit of overhaul to the design of the game and it's world.

Also, I think that if we were to use your definition of a C person (as I interpret it above), C alignment character's (both PCs and NPCs) should be much more rare. I'd even go so far as to say it should be restricted from use by players. Overall, I think a loosely structured C alignment works better for the game as it is.

Bodhizen wrote:

Sure, you could bestow power upon a chaotic good individual as a reward for "following rules" (not that the chaotic individual is "following rules", they're simply going about their business), but when they reach an as-yet-undefined threshold of "not following rules", it would have to be revoked. From a consistency standpoint, that would make for an utterly frustrating experience for people who wanted to play a chaotic good "paladin". Should the character just so happen to act in accordance with whatever "rules" that their chosen god would set forth, with the explicit purpose of maintaining their bestowed powers, if they did so in a consistent manner, they would no longer be chaotic; they'd be neutral at best.

Having said that, I also like the imagery set forth by gaining their powers based upon past actions, but it's less consistent within the context of a setting that contains deities.

Indeed, it would definitely be frustrating (I agree as a C person they should be breaking their code and falling if played faithfully), which would cause consistency issues. Unfortunately, I also see no ways to fix that, which is an issue, other than to say that the player would need to work with the GM on the timings of their fall so they don't lose their powers at a crucial moment.

I also agree with that last point, but I do note that maybe instead of pleading for their deities power, instead they've just been loyal to the deity (a faithful worshipper) and are rewarded without expecting it. Also randomly bestowing power fits a C deity much more than a L one.

Bodhizen wrote:

I think that a neutral-good paladin code would work (though it also carries with it the inherent problem that the neutral good character would be more likely to have their powers revoked and require atonement than the lawful good character just for doing what neutral characters do). A chaotic good code would have to be so incredibly loose in order for it to be applicable to a chaotic good character (in terms of it actually being followed) that it may not necessarily be recognizable as a code. Even so, the chaotic good character wouldn't follow it because it's there, though they may be rewarded for managing to stay within the loose confines of behavioural expectation. At least... until they spent sometime outside of those loose confines.

"Do good deeds" would make for such a loose expectation for a chaotic good character that it could be followed (more because the character is good than due to their chaotic nature). "Create a work of art" is another that works reasonably well, though not necessarily as well as "do good deeds" because it's slightly more defined, since the character has to create an artistic work. That artistic work could be a blood-stain pattern on the ground that is aesthetically pleasing and still qualify, mind you, so it's achievable. But, they're really only achievable because "good" in the context of a paladin-like character trumps "chaotic", and that can reduce or eliminate the relevance of the "chaotic" portion of such a code, rendering it effectively "neutral". I argue that a neutral-good "paladin" (paladin-like character) could exist for gods like Desna or Cayden Cailean, but you have to completely ignore the "chaotic" portion of "chaotic good" to create a code for a chaotic good "paladin".

Indeed while a NG person would likely follow their code than a LG person, it still fits their capabilities relatively well. I would also understand if we never got a CG code due to the difficulties involved in creating one, but I can hope. I also think you could have a NG paladin for a LG deity as well.

Bodhizen wrote:
I'd like to add, since it was brought up earlier in the thread, the setting of Menzoberranzan was one of the worst examples of a "chaotic evil" society that I've ever read. Don't get me wrong, I greatly enjoyed Salvatore's stories (particularly the earlier ones), but it was a very structured society, from the matriarchy being in power, to the social strata of society (down to the slaves), to the timing and responsibility of the lighting of Narbondel, to the killing of the third-born male child, to the punishments for violating the "rules". It screams "lawful evil" in nearly every sense of the word. Don't get me wrong, the setting is very interesting, and I've played around in it a ton (the Menzoberranzan boxed set was one of my prized possessions back in the day), but as an example of "chaotic evil" society, it utterly fails.

Agreed, it definitely rings LE more than CE.

Bodhizen wrote:

I'm very glad that they're useful to you! Best wishes!

Best wishes to you too!


willuwontu wrote:

I think I see the cause of our division in views now, but let me double check that I understand what your getting at.

I believe you're saying that chaotic characters only act randomly, merely going along and taking action by their own whims of the moment. A CG person just merely happens to be one whose whims tend more to the G side of things.

They don't act completely randomly (i.e. Two-Face flipping a coin), but there's no codified set of behaviours that they adhere to.

willuwontu wrote:

If that's not right please ignore this section below (skip to next quote), or read along if you'd rather.

I'd say you're correct in that a true chaotic being would be like that. The big issue is the setting, as others have noted, we have societies for the chaotic tribes of barbarians, and the existence of chaotic samurai and cavaliers implies that there is a structure to chaos in the setting. While I don't disagree with your intrepretation (and indeed, cannot refute it), I think using it would require quite a bit of overhaul to the design of the game and it's world.

That is a big issue. The poor writing of what "chaotic societies" would look like in Pathfinder has been particularly astonishing to me. Chaotic societies are anarchic, pretty much by definition. Paizo hasn't done "chaotic societies" any more justice than Salvatore did Menzoberranzan. The only reason that these chaotic tribes of barbarians, and chaotic samurai, and chaotic cavaliers even exist is because multiple someones attempted to shoehorn representative sampling into the game in order to say, "See? Chaos exists!" They took neutral structures (at best) and slapped the "chaotic" label onto them for some strange reason, even though they don't remotely represent chaos in any meaningful interpretation of the word. An overhaul isn't explicitly what's needed. What's needed is for people who write for chaotic representation to actually write chaotic examples and stop slapping the "chaos" label onto things just to add a sense of "wild west lawlessness" into the setting.

willuwontu wrote:
Also, I think that if we were to use your definition of a C person (as I interpret it above), C alignment character's (both PCs and NPCs) should be much more rare. I'd even go so far as to say it should be restricted from use by players. Overall, I think a loosely structured C alignment works better for the game as it is.

I'd agree with you that a loosely structured chaotic alignment works better for the game. Chaos is even more difficult to play than lawful is. Law at least has rules to follow (and break). Most interpretations of chaos I've seen (both in this thread and in the game) are perfect representations of neutrality, and completely terrible representations of chaos. Chaos may not be 100% random, but for it to be <50% random (or at least seemingly random) would be every bit as much of an injustice as forcing characters to be lawful at all times.

Going back to Tectorman's example of Deadpool being a chaotic character (I just got out of Deadpool 2 myself), Deadpool actually plays by the rules (by choice) sometimes, and explicitly does so knowing that there are rules to play by and that he's choosing to do so. He breaks that "chaotic" part of his character from time to time, but generally speaking, he adheres to chaotic principles. He does what he wants to do and G-d damn the rules. He's not a perfect example of a chaotic character, but he's about as good as it's going to get.

willuwontu wrote:

Indeed, it would definitely be frustrating (I agree as a C person they should be breaking their code and falling if played faithfully), which would cause consistency issues. Unfortunately, I also see no ways to fix that, which is an issue, other than to say that the player would need to work with the GM on the timings of their fall so they don't lose their powers at a crucial moment.

I also agree with that last point, but I do note that maybe instead of pleading for their deities power, instead they've just been loyal to the deity (a faithful worshipper) and are rewarded without expecting it. Also randomly bestowing power fits a C deity much more than a L one.

The suggested fix by quite a few people (and myself, in days of yore) is to play neutral good and call it chaotic good. It doesn't quite work that way, and it doesn't even work well. It has often (in games I've been a part of and games I've DMed) devolved into arguments of, "You're playing neutral (or lawful), not chaotic! You should lose your powers!" It was even more of a nightmare than the arguments surrounding lawful good paladins and their fall conditions, since it came up pretty much every single game and gaming session. You pretty much have to ignore "chaotic" in order to get it to work at all.

Random boons from gods is totally in keeping with chaotic behavior!

willuwontu wrote:
Indeed while a NG person would likely follow their code than a LG person, it still fits their capabilities relatively well. I would also understand if we never got a CG code due to the difficulties involved in creating one, but I can hope. I also think you could have a NG paladin for a LG deity as well.

The problem you run into is that the lawful good god would get peeved at the neutral good character for not attempting to follow their code like the lawful good characters do and probably cast them out at some point. However, a neutral good deity would laud such a character for maintaining some semblance of balance.

willuwontu wrote:
Agreed, it definitely rings LE more than CE.

So do antipaladins. I think it's an injustice to the antipaladin to label them as chaotic evil when in order to represent a genuine and interesting threat, they should be lawful evil. They're not mindless savages randomly sowing discord and terror. They should be precision forces of destruction, toppling specific governments in order to sow terror as opposed to wrecking random stuff just for the glee of wreckage.

willuwontu wrote:
Best wishes to you too!

Once again, best wishes to you, good sir!


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Bodhizen wrote:
willuwontu wrote:
I agree with this, but to repeat what you said at the end, chaotic characters while not accepting outside rules, would accept rules they made themselves from their own ideals and ideas.

That's actually not what I said at all. The chaotic character wouldn't limit themselves with rules any more so than they'd allow an external influence to do so.

willuwontu wrote:
So while they may not follow a rule because it's "god's law", they follow it, because it parallels their own internal rules, and thus they might accept that god more than others (maybe even looking to them for inspiration in their life). And while they may not accept all of that god's tenets, as some might conflict with theirs, they might be granted power by that god for their tenets in common and their looking to them for inspiration.

I don't think that you're grasping what I'm getting at. What I'm attempting to state is this: a chaotic character acts completely irrespective of rules. For them, it's as if rules do not exist, period. It doesn't matter whether rules are "internal" or "external"; they're "rules" and therefore, they "do not exist" for that character. There's nothing to follow, because they simply do not interact with rules, period. If they happen to do anything at all (randomly, or with purpose), that just so happens to follow someone else's "rules", it's a complete coincidence that has absolutely zero impact upon that chaotic individual. They don't accept rules. They don't interact with rules. They simply act.

willuwontu wrote:
This also fits with the theme of Paladins being bestowed power based on their past actions (back when it was the forces of alignment granting their powers to them, now it's the gods), instead of pleading with a deity for them (which could fit certain paladins, I'm not saying it's bad, just I like the image of the former over the latter).
Sure, you could bestow power upon a chaotic good individual as a reward for "following rules" (not that the chaotic...

so your view of a chaotic indivifual is someone who is so random as to br unplayable?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Frankly, per Bodhizen's definition, literally *nothing* in Pathfinder, roleplaying at large, or real life can accurately be called Chaotic.

Exo-Guardians

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I've gone back to the second edition D&D core book to try and parse through the oldest instance of the alignment system I could find.
This is what I found on it, and I think it is valid, if a bit dusty.

Spoiler:
Characters who believe in law maintain that order, organization, and society are important, indeed vital, forces of the universe. The relationships between people and governments exist naturally. Lawful philosophers maintain that this order is not created by man but is a natural law of the universe. Although man does not create orderly structures, it is his obligation to function within them, lest the fabric of everything crumble. For less philosophical types, lawfulness manifests itself in the belief that laws should be made and followed, if only to have understandable rules for society. People should not pursue personal vendettas, for example, but should present their claims to the proper authorities. Strength comes through unity of action, as can be seen in guilds, empires, and powerful churches.

Those espousing neutrality tend to take a more balanced view of things. They hold that for every force in the universe, there is an opposite force somewhere. Where there is lawfulness, there is also chaos; where there is neutrality, there is also partisanship. The same is true of good and evil, life and death. What is important is that all these forces remain in balance with each other. If one factor becomes ascendant over its opposite, the universe becomes unbalanced. If enough of these polarities go out of balance, the fabric of reality could pull itself apart. For example, if death became ascendant over life, the universe would become a barren wasteland.

Philosophers of neutrality not only presuppose the existence of opposites, but they also theorize that the universe would vanish should one opposite completely destroy the other (since nothing can exist without its opposite). Fortunately for these philosophers (and all sentient life), the universe seems to be efficient at regulating itself. Only when a powerful, unbalancing force appears (which almost never happens) need the defenders of neutrality become seriously concerned.

The believers in chaos hold that there is no preordained order or careful balance of forces in the universe. Instead they see the universe as a collection of things and events, some related to each other and others completely independent. They tend to hold that individual actions account for the differences in things and that events in one area do not alter the fabric of the universe halfway across the galaxy.

Chaotic philosophers believe in the power of the individual over his own destiny and are fond of anarchistic nations. Being more pragmatic, non-philosophers recognize the function of society in protecting their individual rights. Chaotics can be hard to govern as a group, since they place their own needs and desires above those of society.

http://www.purpleworm.org/rules/

Chapter 4 is Alignment and it is really in depth. I think it's worth looking at

Liberty's Edge

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Revan wrote:
Frankly, per Bodhizen's definition, literally *nothing* in Pathfinder, roleplaying at large, or real life can accurately be called Chaotic.

That seems a bit harsh. I've seen what's described being played, and it's doable, though rare.

Bodhizen wrote:
That is a big issue. The poor writing of what "chaotic societies" would look like in Pathfinder has been particularly astonishing to me. Chaotic societies are anarchic, pretty much by definition. Paizo hasn't done "chaotic societies" any more justice than Salvatore did Menzoberranzan. The only reason that these chaotic tribes of barbarians, and chaotic samurai, and chaotic cavaliers even exist is because multiple someones attempted to shoehorn representative sampling into the game in order to say, "See? Chaos exists!" They took neutral structures (at best) and slapped the "chaotic" label onto them for some strange reason, even though they don't remotely represent chaos in any meaningful interpretation of the word. An overhaul isn't explicitly what's needed. What's needed is for people who write for chaotic representation to actually write chaotic examples and stop slapping the "chaos" label onto things just to add a sense of "wild west lawlessness" into the setting.

Rather than giving you a point by point response on the last few posts, I will say that I think our definitions differ mainly in the following way:

I think the third or maybe quarter (assuming Neutral Alignments are more common) of the population (or societies) who come closest to meeting a Chaotic ideal qualify as Chaotic. Just as I think about the same percentage who come closest to it qualify as Lawful.

You seem to be of the opinion that most of those I believe would qualify as Chaotic would be Neutral, with only the real extreme fringe being Chaotic.

And that's a completely valid viewpoint from the Alignment descriptions of either Law or Chaos, but not IMO an ideal way of looking at Alignment from a playability perspective (assuming you want Law and Chaos to be commonly played, anyway), and not especially reflective of Golarion or most other settings I've seen (as you acknowledge here).

I will say that most Paizo supplements seem to favor my interpretation, which is irrelevant in a wider context, but certainly valid for whether Paizo should consider a CG Paladin (the thread's original point). What would be required for it to be a good idea would be for it to be CG by the standards used by Paizo, which I think are a lot less strenuous in regards to who can be Chaotic than yours are.


Try a system of beliefs instead of a code. A CG person is benevolent because they believe in being benevolent not because it's in their code. And won't like their beliefs codified.


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I disagree with the posters that said Drow are more LE than CE because they have rules. That is a circular reasoning, Imho ("they are lawful because they have rules, and they have rules becsuse they are lawful".).

It is a pretty clear example of CE society (power makes right, cruelty, betrayal, their word is worth crap, take what you want by force, etc) and their rules are improving this Chaotic ethos too (incentivate betraying, murdering and leave no witness alive, fear as an extension of power, you can only rule if you kill your rivals, etc). People reject the example just because they start from the dogma that no chaotic society can have rules, and dismiss any proof that shows the opposite. It is the same than saying pirates were lawful because they had codes about gambling on board, no women in the ship, duels with sword and pistol on shore, and captains and officers value in salvage.


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You have to move on from the core rulebook descriptions of the alignment themselves. They are less core tenets of each side and more like abridged version for quickly getting the hang of it.

I like to think there is Soft and Hard version of each alignment. Like Soft Chaotic is a mortal rebel, the barbarian, the anarchist and other things. Hard Chaotic is the proteans and free will and non-deterministic concepts that are really hard for humans to make up, like us real life humans.

I can say, mortality is a lawful concept. Imagine a world where everyone can choose if they die or not. That would be a chaotic concept. And that kind of world where that it is in effect is really hard for me to imagine in very deep detail.


gustavo iglesias wrote:

I disagree with the posters that said Drow are more LE than CE because they have rules. That is a circular reasoning, Imho ("they are lawful because they have rules, and they have rules becsuse they are lawful".).

It is a pretty clear example of CE society (power makes right, cruelty, betrayal, their word is worth crap, take what you want by force, etc) and their rules are improving this Chaotic ethos too (incentivate betraying, murdering and leave no witness alive, fear as an extension of power, you can only rule if you kill your rivals, etc). People reject the example just because they start from the dogma that no chaotic society can have rules, and dismiss any proof that shows the opposite. It is the same than saying pirates were lawful because they had codes about gambling on board, no women in the ship, duels with sword and pistol on shore, and captains and officers value in salvage.

The way I see it is that any society that needs to function cohesively to survive, needs rules/laws/guidelines. Once a society (as a whole) embraces that, they move away from the Chaos spectrum toward the Lawful. I try to view it from a third person objective stance as much as I can. The hard part is that it's not so cut and dry. People can move in and out of the spectrums when they see fit. Especially when there is no authoritative figure to reward/punish them for doing so. It reminds me of the book of Judges from the Bible, where it stated twice "In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit." The nation at that time was Chaotic as a whole, but if you studied particular cities or families you'd find them pretty lawful. The problem is they don't share the same Laws and there is no cohesion as a whole, therefore the nation is Chaotic. The same can be said of the American Wild West. At that time individual towns, districts, etc could be quite lawful. But other ones were not. Since the Government didn't have the means/resources to govern that part of the country, it was pretty chaotic as a whole. The same goes for the Pirate example, the Pirate Code varied from ship to ship. The Pirates needed laws for them to function in their trade. (running a ship to steal from other ships) But they were Chaotic as a whole because the rules changed from ship to ship. When they were off the ships, I imagine they didn't care much about any rules... I see the Drow as LE for the reason that the few Laws that they have are paramount for the society as a WHOLE. If it were more like the previous examples I gave then I'd say it was a Chaotic society.

That being said I'm speaking from a Societal standpoint solely. Furthermore, in the real world we don't speak of "Neutral" societies. So from an alignment stand point I may be speaking about Neutral societies. But in the real world I can't think of anyone who has embraced chaos as a society. So how can we tackle this issue if it's so alien to our reality? I agree with Bodhi's summation of what is Chaotic, but I wonder if it can be realistically enacted at the table? (generally speaking)

Deadmanwalking wrote:
I will say that most Paizo supplements seem to favor my interpretation, which is irrelevant in a wider context, but certainly valid for whether Paizo should consider a CG Paladin (the thread's original point). What would be required for it to be a good idea would be for it to be CG by the standards used by Paizo, which I think are a lot less strenuous in regards to who can be Chaotic than yours are.

So for clarity's sake, what ARE the standards used by Paizo?...

Edit: Actually on further inspection, my idea of a Chaotic Society may be the same as Bodhis. (I would love to hear your thoughts Bodhi) But in the end my discussion does not answer the questions on how to play a Chaotic character or even a Chaotic Good Paladin. But I think it was worth speaking on...


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I always found it strange that Barbarians and primitive cultures tend to be Chaotic in RPGs. Normally a primitive hunter-gather society is going to be strongly collectivistic (which I'd argue is a lawful trait) because they rely on everybody contributing to stay alive. Your value as an individual is primarily measured in the contributions you can make to your tribe. The best hunter, the best fisher, the strongest warrior, and the one who knows the best places to collect berries are all important figures because they are best able to support their clan. There's not much room for individualism or self-actualization when everybody's pulls together on the great mammoth hunt or else everybody starves to death. When your ability to contribute is sufficiently diminished or reaches a negative value (say from suffering a crippling injury or becoming elderly), you'd might even be encouraged to wander off into the wilderness to die since the tribe can't afford to feed you.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Revan wrote:
Frankly, per Bodhizen's definition, literally *nothing* in Pathfinder, roleplaying at large, or real life can accurately be called Chaotic.
That seems a bit harsh. I've seen what's described being played, and it's doable, though rare.

It was also a complete mischaracterisation of my position on the matter, but I feel that you've addressed that adequately, so thank you kindly, good sir!

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Bodhizen wrote:
That is a big issue. The poor writing of what "chaotic societies" would look like in Pathfinder has been particularly astonishing to me. Chaotic societies are anarchic, pretty much by definition. Paizo hasn't done "chaotic societies" any more justice than Salvatore did Menzoberranzan. The only reason that these chaotic tribes of barbarians, and chaotic samurai, and chaotic cavaliers even exist is because multiple someones attempted to shoehorn representative sampling into the game in order to say, "See? Chaos exists!" They took neutral structures (at best) and slapped the "chaotic" label onto them for some strange reason, even though they don't remotely represent chaos in any meaningful interpretation of the word. An overhaul isn't explicitly what's needed. What's needed is for people who write for chaotic representation to actually write chaotic examples and stop slapping the "chaos" label onto things just to add a sense of "wild west lawlessness" into the setting.

Rather than giving you a point by point response on the last few posts, I will say that I think our definitions differ mainly in the following way:

I think the third or maybe quarter (assuming Neutral Alignments are more common) of the population (or societies) who come closest to meeting a Chaotic ideal qualify as Chaotic. Just as I think about the same percentage who come closest to it qualify as Lawful.

If you're attempting to qualify something as lawful or chaotic for the purposes of representation, I can see this.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
You seem to be of the opinion that most of those I believe would qualify as Chaotic would be Neutral, with only the real extreme fringe being Chaotic.

That's probably accurate. Chaotic "societies" (anarchies) are exceptionally rare and are almost universally transitional conditions.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
And that's a completely valid viewpoint from the Alignment descriptions of either Law or Chaos, but not IMO an ideal way of looking at Alignment from a playability perspective (assuming you want Law and Chaos to be commonly played, anyway), and not especially reflective of Golarion or most other settings I've seen (as you acknowledge here).

I don't expect law or chaos to be common, truth be told. Most people are more neutral than anything else in real life. Playing toward the lawful or chaotic end of the spectrum takes as much work as it would actually acting that way in real life, but I do understand what you're saying.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
I will say that most Paizo supplements seem to favor my interpretation, which is irrelevant in a wider context, but certainly valid for whether Paizo should consider a CG Paladin (the thread's original point). What would be required for it to be a good idea would be for it to be CG by the standards used by Paizo, which I think are a lot less strenuous in regards to who can be Chaotic than yours are.

This is, generally speaking, true. While I feel that Paizo has done a poor job representing what chaotic is in any meaningful sense of the word, if you go by Paizo's standard, pretty much anything "neutral" could easily be considered chaotic; not by its nature of actually being chaotic, but by virtue of slapping the chaotic label onto it via a nebulous set of quasi-but-not-really-guidelines.

What aspects of a character's life need to be represented by chaos in any meaningful sense of the word to consider the character chaotic? Exactly how many rules would they follow and still be considered chaotic? Are we assuming that chaos is "self-interest" while lawful is "altruism" when approaching chaotic good and lawful good? Are we defining chaos versus law as "this is my personal internal code that is irrespective of anyone else's personal internal code" versus "my personal internal code is identical to the socially accepted external code"?

Paizo isn't very clear on what those standards are, and they don't really match up with any reasonable interpretation of "chaos". Paizo's standards, to all appearances, are both mechanically and metaphysically identical when determining what is "neutral" and what is "chaotic". The only difference seems to be the label.

d20pfsrd.com wrote:

Lawful characters tell the truth, keep their word, respect authority, honor tradition, and judge those who fall short of their duties. Chaotic characters follow their consciences, resent being told what to do, favor new ideas over tradition, and do what they promise if they feel like it.

Law Law implies honor, trustworthiness, obedience to authority, and reliability. On the downside, lawfulness can include closed-mindedness, reactionary adherence to tradition, self-righteousness, and a lack of adaptability. Those who consciously promote lawfulness say that only lawful behavior creates a society in which people can depend on each other and make the right decisions in full confidence that others will act as they should.

Chaos Chaos implies freedom, adaptability, and flexibility. On the downside, chaos can include recklessness, resentment toward legitimate authority, arbitrary actions, and irresponsibility. Those who promote chaotic behavior say that only unfettered personal freedom allows people to express themselves fully and lets society benefit from the potential that its individuals have within them.

Neutral Someone who is neutral with respect to law and chaos has some respect for authority and feels neither a compulsion to obey nor a compulsion to rebel. She is generally honest, but can be tempted into lying or deceiving others.

The entry for neutrality is particularly telling, as it implies that chaotic characters are compelled to rebel, which is a definition that I don't believe that anyone is using. This is why I'm not especially fond of using Paizo for the standard when it comes to alignment.

In any case... You and I generally appear to be reaching at least a tentative consensus on the matter. Woot!

Iron_Matt17 wrote:
Actually on further inspection, my idea of a Chaotic Society may be the same as Bodhis. (I would love to hear your thoughts Bodhi) But in the end my discussion does not answer the questions on how to play a Chaotic character or even a Chaotic Good Paladin. But I think it was worth speaking on...

It appears that they are consistent, yes.

========== Having said all that... ==========

Going by Paizo's definition of what's chaotic, they still value unfettered personal freedom, and resent authority. A code would contradict that (it would explicitly attach fetters).

However...

Going by some of what Deadmanwalking has been saying about the power of a (we'll call them "holy warrior" for the moment) holy warrior could spring forth spontaneously from within without the need for a godly being. This may be mechanically similar to paladins, and so we'll call this holy warrior (for the purposes of further discussion) a Templar. Assuming that this Templar is a chaotic good character that follows an internal code of behavior (which isn't consistent with chaos, but it follows Paizo's lackadaisical standards for chaos), here's what I'd propose for their code:

  • I shall make my own way, and that way shall be one of kindness and benevolence. I shall allow my conscience to guide me. I will not willingly commit an act of evil, unless that act is done to create or preserve a greater good. Even then, I shall seek atonement for the evil that I have wrought.
  • I shall lead by example, not by force. My ways shall serve as an example unto others of goodly behaviour, but I shall not force others to follow my example, as that would force me to exert control over them.
  • Control is not freedom. Laws and regulations are unnecessary mechanisms of control, not protection for the people. People will do good if you give them the chance to do so freely, and so I will work to convince others of the inherent goodness of people and seek to sever the yoke of law whenever good people suffer from its burden.
  • Tyranny and slavery are an abomination. I shall not allow anyone to be subjected to them without challenge, and I shall devote myself to the downfall of such practices.
  • I shall question what is known. I shall actively seek out knowledge and truth, but only when I have questioned facts and beliefs will I find truth. I shall question the way that things have always been, for stagnation is death, and exploration is life.
  • Justice shall be dealt by my own hand. I shall not look to others to mete out justice in my stead. I shall act upon what is good and truthful, even if it conflicts with the expectations of others. Those that pass judgment must be the ones to swing the sword, and I shall not stand in the way of others delivering justice by their own hands, unless that justice comes at the expense of what is good and true.

It's different from what Deadmanwalking has proposed, and it does attempt to maintain some semblance of internal consistency with prioritization of goodly behaviour. It's not chaotic in any meaningful way, but it's about as loose as one would get and still allow a chaotic good character to find some appeal in this set of tenets.

As always, everyone, best wishes!

Liberty's Edge

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Iron_Matt17 wrote:
So for clarity's sake, what ARE the standards used by Paizo?...

Well, since you ask, let me quote some Chaotic philosophies from Paizo supplements:

Champions of Purity wrote:
Chaotic good characters vary widely, especially in terms of their zeal for their beliefs. Some chaotic good characters seem to be fanatical examples of their alignment, while others apply these ideals more loosely in their lives. These carefree souls follow their own whims and pleasures, harming no one unless their personal sense of justice is inflamed. They find slavery an utter abomination, and fight against all instances of it they encounter. The following examples showcase just a few of the possible approaches to this alignment.

Followed by the sample Philosophies a CG person might follow:

-Activist (who wish for everyone to question and examine the nature of their own and others beliefs, and ensuring that people are truly honest and thinking for themselves)
-Freedom Fighter (Who believe nobody should be a slave or beholden to a government that ignores their fundamental rights and believe liberty is a fundamental right and must be defended)
-Vigilante (Who believe that the laws and system they have to deal with do not punish wrongdoers and take justice into their own hands. Making life better for others by ensuring that wrongdoers don't get to keep operating)

All have a listed Code, though it's more a general philosophical guide than hard and fast rules (that's true of the LG Codes in this book as well).

There's also a longer bit on the advantages and disadvantages of being CG, which talks about them generally not planning ahead too much, usually believing the best in people until proved otherwise, having no compunction against breaking laws, thinking that laws that force people into a particular behavior pattern are usually damaging and make things worse for everyone, and are willing to sacrifice themselves for the good of others but not willing to sacrifice the few for the good of the many outside themselves.

All of those are definitely on the Chaotic end of the Alignment spectrum, but all also have defined principles that they clearly stick to.

Champions of Balance wrote:

Chaotic neutral characters are a widely divergent bunch. For some, chaos is the principle upon which they fight. Others see it as the essential quality of their lifestyles. And there are those who hold chaos as the water in which they swim. Whether chaotic neutral individuals view chaos as simply an absence of law and appreciate it for that reason, or see chaos as the fundamental nature of reality, characters drawn to raw, untrammeled dynamism in any form may be attracted to this alignment.

Philosophies:

Finding a consistent philosophy among chaotic neutral individuals is a near impossibility. Some break every law they can on principle; others point out that this is just as predictable and boring as slavishly following those same laws. The following examples showcase just a few of the possible approaches to this alignment.

Followed by sample Philosophies again:

-Impulsiveness (Basically just what it sounds like. This is for CN characters who lack a philosophy per se, and would probably be Chaotic under Bodhizen's standards.)
-Rebels (Want to destroy the current regime, whether specific to one state or general to the 'cage of obedience' that effects all of human existence. Kneejerk defiant when commanded to do things and may or may not have a replacement system in mind.)
-Saboteurs (Similar to the Rebel in some ways, but fights 'instruments of oppression' rather than the oppressor. Breaking down systems of social control rather than attacking a tyrnat directly, or the like.)

Again, all have a listed Code, and the Rebel and Saboteur's both have actual principles they stick to (though both are defined by resistance to authority).

There's also, once again, a longer description, noting them as often driven by emotions and lacking in foresight, prone to flightiness or obsession, but with drive and initiative.

Here we get some people who don't have a defined ethos, but only some, with others having definite principles they stick to.

Champions of Corruption wrote:

Chaotic evil characters live at the mercy of their own toxic passions. Their goals and methods may change on a whim, and they often crave novelty and variety in their lives. While still capable of planning, they may have a hard time with patient, long-term scheming, preferring immediate satisfaction and direct action. For some, spreading chaos and destruction is a deliberate goal, yet more often chaotic evil characters are those who simply don’t care whom their desires may hurt. They may see a certain nobility in their refusal to be bound by any conventions or creeds, or they may simply indulge their greed, hatred, and lust with no thought to the consequences. They may be emotionally or mentally unstable, letting their inner turmoil and turbulence spill out uncontrollably into others’ lives. Yet, they need not be insane—their savagery can be deliberate and intentional, unleashed in carefully directed and rationed bursts. Serial killers, demon cultists, arsonists, dangerous hedonists, and others lured to atrocity by passion are drawn to this alignment.

Philosophies:

Some chaotic evil characters have coherent philosophies or ideas that guide their actions. However, many—if not most—are driven from within by strong, usually poisonous and unpredictable emotions. Below are some of the more common chaotic evil personality types.

-Devotees (Philosophically devoted to some CE deity or Chaos and Evil themselves and foster Chaos and Evil for their own sake. They're nihilists to some degree, believing Chaos is the natural state of everything and helping to return things to that state.)

-Furies (Angry at the world and just want to take that rage out on others. These folks would probably be Chaotic by Bodhizen's definitions.)
-Hedonists (Simply indulge their own desires. This one would also be Chaotic by even the most stringent definitions.)

All have listed 'codes' but only the Devotee's is really an ethos beyond 'do what I want'.

And, once again, there's a longer description of what CE is like. With the note that their tendency to expedience makes it difficult to get the upper hand on them, while their resistance to being controlled makes on the most iron-handed attempts at control at all effective. They're also usually very emotional, which can sometimes make them easy to manipulate.

So, coherent philosophies are rarest among the CE, but they clearly and explicitly exist even here, as the Devotee and the general text (which I bolded) show.


Quote:

I shall make my own way, and that way shall be one of kindness and benevolence. I shall allow my conscience to guide me. I will not willingly commit an act of evil, unless that act is done to create or preserve a greater good. Even then, I shall seek atonement for the evil that I have wrought.

I shall lead by example, not by force. My ways shall serve as an example unto others of goodly behaviour, but I shall not force others to follow my example, as that would force me to exert control over them.
Control is not freedom. Laws and regulations are unnecessary mechanisms of control, not protection for the people. People will do good if you give them the chance to do so freely, and so I will work to convince others of the inherent goodness of people and seek to sever the yoke of law whenever good people suffer from its burden.
Tyranny and slavery are an abomination. I shall not allow anyone to be subjected to them without challenge, and I shall devote myself to the downfall of such practices.
I shall question what is known. I shall actively seek out knowledge and truth, but only when I have questioned facts and beliefs will I find truth. I shall question the way that things have always been, for stagnation is death, and exploration is life.
Justice shall be dealt by my own hand. I shall not look to others to mete out justice in my stead. I shall act upon what is good and truthful, even if it conflicts with the expectations of others. Those that pass judgment must be the ones to swing the sword, and I shall not stand in the way of others delivering justice by their own hands, unless that justice comes at the expense of what is good and true.

This is a pretty non restricting "code" Which is the problem with attempting to create a chaotic good paladin. Codes that don't actually restrict behavior that might be fine for a standard pc of that alignment fall somewhat short thematically, of paladin.


Ryan Freire wrote:
Quote:

I shall make my own way, and that way shall be one of kindness and benevolence. I shall allow my conscience to guide me. I will not willingly commit an act of evil, unless that act is done to create or preserve a greater good. Even then, I shall seek atonement for the evil that I have wrought.

I shall lead by example, not by force. My ways shall serve as an example unto others of goodly behaviour, but I shall not force others to follow my example, as that would force me to exert control over them.
Control is not freedom. Laws and regulations are unnecessary mechanisms of control, not protection for the people. People will do good if you give them the chance to do so freely, and so I will work to convince others of the inherent goodness of people and seek to sever the yoke of law whenever good people suffer from its burden.
Tyranny and slavery are an abomination. I shall not allow anyone to be subjected to them without challenge, and I shall devote myself to the downfall of such practices.
I shall question what is known. I shall actively seek out knowledge and truth, but only when I have questioned facts and beliefs will I find truth. I shall question the way that things have always been, for stagnation is death, and exploration is life.
Justice shall be dealt by my own hand. I shall not look to others to mete out justice in my stead. I shall act upon what is good and truthful, even if it conflicts with the expectations of others. Those that pass judgment must be the ones to swing the sword, and I shall not stand in the way of others delivering justice by their own hands, unless that justice comes at the expense of what is good and true.
This is a pretty non restricting "code" Which is the problem with attempting to create a chaotic good paladin. Codes that don't actually restrict behavior that might be fine for a standard pc of that alignment fall somewhat short thematically, of paladin.

You're absolutely right, and that is one of the downfalls of having a chaotic good "paladin" (which is why I use separate terminology). It's one of the reasons why I feel (after many years of going over these exact issues) that "chaotic good" and "paladin" are not a good matchup. Anything that would be restrictive as a code would set off the warning alarms for a chaotic good character, and anything that isn't really restrictive doesn't feel paladin-like.


Ryan Freire wrote:
Quote:

I shall make my own way, and that way shall be one of kindness and benevolence. I shall allow my conscience to guide me. I will not willingly commit an act of evil, unless that act is done to create or preserve a greater good. Even then, I shall seek atonement for the evil that I have wrought.

I shall lead by example, not by force. My ways shall serve as an example unto others of goodly behaviour, but I shall not force others to follow my example, as that would force me to exert control over them.
Control is not freedom. Laws and regulations are unnecessary mechanisms of control, not protection for the people. People will do good if you give them the chance to do so freely, and so I will work to convince others of the inherent goodness of people and seek to sever the yoke of law whenever good people suffer from its burden.
Tyranny and slavery are an abomination. I shall not allow anyone to be subjected to them without challenge, and I shall devote myself to the downfall of such practices.
I shall question what is known. I shall actively seek out knowledge and truth, but only when I have questioned facts and beliefs will I find truth. I shall question the way that things have always been, for stagnation is death, and exploration is life.
Justice shall be dealt by my own hand. I shall not look to others to mete out justice in my stead. I shall act upon what is good and truthful, even if it conflicts with the expectations of others. Those that pass judgment must be the ones to swing the sword, and I shall not stand in the way of others delivering justice by their own hands, unless that justice comes at the expense of what is good and true.
This is a pretty non restricting "code" Which is the problem with attempting to create a chaotic good paladin. Codes that don't actually restrict behavior that might be fine for a standard pc of that alignment fall somewhat short thematically, of paladin.

Yeah, that's right. That's why I think that the CG Paladin or "Templar" should have something else other than a Code of Conduct. The Code itself is too restrictive or Lawful to make sense for the class. I don't know what alternative there would be, but I'd love to explore that...


Iron_Matt17 wrote:


Yeah, that's right. That's why I think that the CG Paladin...

God based divine powered archetypes that apply to other classes rather than a base class all on its own.


Ryan Freire wrote:
Iron_Matt17 wrote:


Yeah, that's right. That's why I think that the CG Paladin...
God based divine powered archetypes that apply to other classes rather than a base class all on its own.

Interesting. I was thinking more of getting down to what the core purpose of the Code and somehow getting the same basic end goals but doing it a different way. (I'm using very generic terms because I don't have a plan or outlook of that presently) Something that gets away from the Choatics getting the same powers but with little responsibilities. It may be an impossible mission but I'd like to give it a try...


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The issue is, imo, as a golarion centric rpg there's no reason for nethys and caiden, and irori, and rovagug to use even remotely similar base chassis for their holy warriors. The modularity of "class feats" lets each god have an archetype that slots onto 1 or 2 different classes and modify say, a rogue or alchemist, or monk into a holy warrior. Paladin, on its own can be a fine base chassis for gods like iomedae, sarenrae, torag, abadar and the like. It begins to stretch as a chassis for norgorber, or nethys, or rovagug.


Ryan Freire wrote:
The issue is, imo, as a golarion centric rpg there's no reason for nethys and caiden, and irori, and rovagug to use even remotely similar base chassis for their holy warriors. The modularity of "class feats" lets each god have an archetype that slots onto 1 or 2 different classes and modify say, a rogue or alchemist, or monk into a holy warrior. Paladin, on its own can be a fine base chassis for gods like iomedae, sarenrae, torag, abadar and the like. It begins to stretch as a chassis for norgorber, or nethys, or rovagug.

That's a neat idea...


Iron_Matt17 wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
The issue is, imo, as a golarion centric rpg there's no reason for nethys and caiden, and irori, and rovagug to use even remotely similar base chassis for their holy warriors. The modularity of "class feats" lets each god have an archetype that slots onto 1 or 2 different classes and modify say, a rogue or alchemist, or monk into a holy warrior. Paladin, on its own can be a fine base chassis for gods like iomedae, sarenrae, torag, abadar and the like. It begins to stretch as a chassis for norgorber, or nethys, or rovagug.
That's a neat idea...

Plus its a good way to add content to a book about inner sea gods.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ryan Freire wrote:
The issue is, imo, as a golarion centric rpg there's no reason for nethys and caiden, and irori, and rovagug to use even remotely similar base chassis for their holy warriors. The modularity of "class feats" lets each god have an archetype that slots onto 1 or 2 different classes and modify say, a rogue or alchemist, or monk into a holy warrior. Paladin, on its own can be a fine base chassis for gods like iomedae, sarenrae, torag, abadar and the like. It begins to stretch as a chassis for norgorber, or nethys, or rovagug.

In contrast it works as a very good chaise for Groum and not a great one for Erastil IHO. It could also work as a fine chaise for Zon-Kuthron.


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Ryan Freire wrote:
The issue is, imo, as a golarion centric rpg there's no reason for nethys and caiden, and irori, and rovagug to use even remotely similar base chassis for their holy warriors. The modularity of "class feats" lets each god have an archetype that slots onto 1 or 2 different classes and modify say, a rogue or alchemist, or monk into a holy warrior. Paladin, on its own can be a fine base chassis for gods like iomedae, sarenrae, torag, abadar and the like. It begins to stretch as a chassis for norgorber, or nethys, or rovagug.

Why is it that we can dial down the spellcasting and dial up the martial prowess to go from Clerics of Iomedae, Torag, Abadar, etc., to Paladins of the same, but dialing down the spellcasting and dialing up the martial prowess for Clerics of Cayden, Nethys, Gorim, etc., gives us "HP Error 404 Not Found"? Does the game or the setting implode when you have a Cleric 10/ Fighter 10 of one of the not-LG deities who was built alternating each class in turn? Why would consolidating that into a more elegant base class using 95%+ of the same chassis as the LG Paladin be any different?


Because gods like iomedae torag, abadar et-al make sense for a heavily armored warrior with a mount of some kind, whereas dialing down the spellcasting is not really an in theme thing for nethys to do, nor is being heavily armored for cayden, or norgorber. While making their holy warriors archetypes of swashbuckler, rogue, bard, or in the case of nethys mage/sorceror/magus is a profoundly stronger fit thematically.

Also because no one seems able to come up with a chaotic or evil code that provides anything resembling a similar behavior restriction.


Deadmanwalking has presented a great Chaotic Paladin Code. I like it a lot. As has been pointed out a few times, the having to respect others autonomy and not force them into anything or allow them to be forced into something has interesting possibilities for making a Chaotidin's life hard.

Not expecting to 'convert' anyone in the LG only camp. Same as no argument yet made against CG Paladins holds any water to me. The opinions in the two camps are strongly held, no budging there.

That said I really like the idea of Deities having archetypes of classes 'aligned' to their interests for worshipers to follow. It does not slake my Chaotic Paladin lust in the slightest, and I see no more issue with Cayden Cailean having a heavily armored warrior worshiping him (Like the iconic Fighter for instance) than I do Erastil having the same.

But completely independent of CG Paladins, 'Deity Archetypes' would be something cool I'd like to see.

Post Deadmanwalking's Code again:
1) You must never willingly commit an evil act, such as murder, torture, or casting an evil spell.

2) You must not take actions that you know will harm an innocent, or through inaction cause an innocent to come to immediate harm when you knew your action could reasonably prevent it. This tenet doesn't force you to take action against possible harm to innocents or to sacrifice your life and future potential in an attempt to protect an innocent.

3) You must always defend the autonomy of innocents from those who would violate it. If one person is forcing an innocent to do anything against their will, you must attempt to stop this act, using words if possible and force if necessary.

4) You must personally respect the autonomy of others, never forcing them to engage in any particular course of behavior. You may advise and admonish, but never actually force them to do as you wish them to. Except as necessary to fulfill the higher tenets, of course (ie: jailing a criminal who harmed or violated the autonomy of innocents is acceptable in order to prevent such behavior).

Is a good'un. Excellent for inspiring 'Vive la Resistance!' tendencies without making the Chaotidin about 'FREEDOM!' over Good in general.


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Ryan Freire wrote:

Because gods like iomedae torag, abadar et-al make sense for a heavily armored warrior with a mount of some kind, whereas dialing down the spellcasting is not really an in theme thing for nethys to do, nor is being heavily armored for cayden, or norgorber. While making their holy warriors archetypes of swashbuckler, rogue, bard, or in the case of nethys mage/sorceror/magus is a profoundly stronger fit thematically.

Also because no one seems able to come up with a chaotic or evil code that provides anything resembling a similar behavior restriction.

You didn't answer the question. I can make a Cleric of all those deities. I can have a Fighter devoted to all those deities. I can mix those two classes in any ratio, including 1:1. No matter how unthematic you may find it, neither the game nor the setting disappear in a puff of logic when I make a Fighter 10/Cleric 10 of Nethys or Cayden or Norgorber or Gorum or Pharasma. So why does that change by making the mechanical representation of such a character a single base class?


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You CAN make an army of LN drizzt clone fighter drow too. It doesn't mean it fits as a major portion of the setting.


we dont need or want a clone army of drizzt. what do you think this is? star wars? starfinder? the FR?
This is PAthfinder!!!


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Ryan Freire wrote:
You CAN make an army of LN drizzt clone fighter drow too. It doesn't mean it fits as a major portion of the setting.

and we run into that wall again: is the Paladin the blessed warrior with a code and a patron, or is it a beefed up cavalier order of LG knights? If you see it (as I do) as the blessed warrior class, then yes, Cayden sure would have them, tgey might fight differently, but equipment is props, at least imho.


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Rob Godfrey wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
You CAN make an army of LN drizzt clone fighter drow too. It doesn't mean it fits as a major portion of the setting.
and we run into that wall again: is the Paladin the blessed warrior with a code and a patron, or is it a beefed up cavalier order of LG knights? If you see it (as I do) as the blessed warrior class, then yes, Cayden sure would have them, tgey might fight differently, but equipment is props, at least imho.

Except you can't mandate CG and manage a behaviorally restrictive code that holds any meaning at all.


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Ryan Freire wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
You CAN make an army of LN drizzt clone fighter drow too. It doesn't mean it fits as a major portion of the setting.
and we run into that wall again: is the Paladin the blessed warrior with a code and a patron, or is it a beefed up cavalier order of LG knights? If you see it (as I do) as the blessed warrior class, then yes, Cayden sure would have them, tgey might fight differently, but equipment is props, at least imho.
Except you can't mandate CG and manage a behaviorally restrictive code that holds any meaning at all.

Chaotic gods (good, neutral, or evil) having anathema and chaotic clerics (good, neutral, or evil) abding by those anathema says you totally can.


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Tectorman wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
You CAN make an army of LN drizzt clone fighter drow too. It doesn't mean it fits as a major portion of the setting.
and we run into that wall again: is the Paladin the blessed warrior with a code and a patron, or is it a beefed up cavalier order of LG knights? If you see it (as I do) as the blessed warrior class, then yes, Cayden sure would have them, tgey might fight differently, but equipment is props, at least imho.
Except you can't mandate CG and manage a behaviorally restrictive code that holds any meaning at all.
Chaotic gods (good, neutral, or evil) having anathema and chaotic clerics (good, neutral, or evil) abding by those anathema says you totally can.

Yes, it is very true. But Paladins have an anathema AND and a Code. Anathemas are general guidelines that are generic enough to be not too restrictive on the individual. The traditional Code (by its very nature) pushes it much farther and is too restrictive on the Chaotic individual.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Iron_Matt17 wrote:
Tectorman wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
You CAN make an army of LN drizzt clone fighter drow too. It doesn't mean it fits as a major portion of the setting.
and we run into that wall again: is the Paladin the blessed warrior with a code and a patron, or is it a beefed up cavalier order of LG knights? If you see it (as I do) as the blessed warrior class, then yes, Cayden sure would have them, tgey might fight differently, but equipment is props, at least imho.
Except you can't mandate CG and manage a behaviorally restrictive code that holds any meaning at all.
Chaotic gods (good, neutral, or evil) having anathema and chaotic clerics (good, neutral, or evil) abding by those anathema says you totally can.
Yes, it is very true. But Paladins have an anathema AND and a Code. Anathemas are general guidelines that are generic enough to be not too restrictive on the individual. The traditional Code (by its very nature) pushes it much farther and is too restrictive on the Chaotic individual.

Except..it isn't, in RAW it is not, CE Anti-Paladins manage just fine with a code, as do C(whatever) Cavaliers, you can head canon chaotic being gibbering lunacy, but RAW it isn't, another nail in the coffin of the endless LG best G arguments.


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Iron_Matt17 wrote:
Yes, it is very true. But Paladins have an anathema AND and a Code. Anathemas are general guidelines that are generic enough to be not too restrictive on the individual. The traditional Code (by its very nature) pushes it much farther and is too restrictive on the Chaotic individual.

After giving it some thought, I've come to terms with the fact that though I feel my previous statement is true, that is not how the game is formatted presently. So I've come up with perhaps an alternative... (I am going to present it as my preferred end goal of having the 4 Axis-adins, LG, CG, LE, CE. But it can work for "Any Good" Paladins, etc as well.)

I propose that we keep the 1st point of the Code for the Chaotidins. The other 3 points will be chosen from a list (maybe 6-8) that the player and GM work through to fit the specific Chaotidin. Order of importance can be chosen at this point as well. I can even imagine Paizo publishing multiple fully formed Codes for the Chaotidin for ease's sake...

This separates the Paladin from the Chaotidin (as well as their evil counterparts) mechanically and conceptually. All LG Paladins have the same Code. That way when you encounter a Paladin, you know exactly where he/she stands. But if you meet a CG Chaotidin, you have no idea where they stand because each Chaotidin is so patently diverse. Thus you are embracing the spirits Lawfulness and Chaos...

The only downfall that I can think of is the unfairness to the Paladin players. "Why can't I choose my own code?, etc..." I'm not sure that everyone would understand the reasoning behind it. It's probably just a balancing thing. But as a LG-only Paladin player, I think it would be a suitable compromise for everyone.

Liberty's Edge

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Iron_Matt17 wrote:

This separates the Paladin from the Chaotidin (as well as their evil counterparts) mechanically and conceptually. All LG Paladins have the same Code. That way when you encounter a Paladin, you know exactly where he/she stands. But if you meet a CG Chaotidin, you have no idea where they stand because each Chaotidin is so patently diverse. Thus you are embracing the spirits Lawfulness and Chaos...

The only downfall that I can think of is the unfairness to the Paladin players. "Why can't I choose my own code?, etc..." I'm not sure that everyone would understand the reasoning behind it. It's probably just a balancing thing. But as a LG-only Paladin player, I think it would be a suitable compromise for everyone.

I'm totally down with this. Just for the record.

Though I think they should probably keep the top 2 rather than just the top 1. Protecting innocent lives is pretty key to the whole 'Paladin' concept, and having to only pick two Code Options and decide on their ordering is less overwhelming than three.


Iron_Matt17 wrote:
Tectorman wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
Rob Godfrey wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
You CAN make an army of LN drizzt clone fighter drow too. It doesn't mean it fits as a major portion of the setting.
and we run into that wall again: is the Paladin the blessed warrior with a code and a patron, or is it a beefed up cavalier order of LG knights? If you see it (as I do) as the blessed warrior class, then yes, Cayden sure would have them, tgey might fight differently, but equipment is props, at least imho.
Except you can't mandate CG and manage a behaviorally restrictive code that holds any meaning at all.
Chaotic gods (good, neutral, or evil) having anathema and chaotic clerics (good, neutral, or evil) abding by those anathema says you totally can.
Yes, it is very true. But Paladins have an anathema AND and a Code. Anathemas are general guidelines that are generic enough to be not too restrictive on the individual. The traditional Code (by its very nature) pushes it much farther and is too restrictive on the Chaotic individual.

For the record, while I'm fine with the traditional Paladin Code as written being in the game and setting, I also have no qualms with it being 100% separate from the class. So while I agree that Paladins HAVE both a Code and an anathema and that the anathema is far less restrictive than the Code, I cannot see the Code or its chaotic counterpart being a necessity. Not at the "class" stage of the game.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Iron_Matt17 wrote:

This separates the Paladin from the Chaotidin (as well as their evil counterparts) mechanically and conceptually. All LG Paladins have the same Code. That way when you encounter a Paladin, you know exactly where he/she stands. But if you meet a CG Chaotidin, you have no idea where they stand because each Chaotidin is so patently diverse. Thus you are embracing the spirits Lawfulness and Chaos...

The only downfall that I can think of is the unfairness to the Paladin players. "Why can't I choose my own code?, etc..." I'm not sure that everyone would understand the reasoning behind it. It's probably just a balancing thing. But as a LG-only Paladin player, I think it would be a suitable compromise for everyone.

I'm totally down with this. Just for the record.

Though I think they should probably keep the top 2 rather than just the top 1. Protecting innocent lives is pretty key to the whole 'Paladin' concept, and having to only pick two Code Options and decide on their ordering is less overwhelming than three.

Good point, good point.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Iron_Matt17 wrote:
Iron_Matt17 wrote:
Yes, it is very true. But Paladins have an anathema AND and a Code. Anathemas are general guidelines that are generic enough to be not too restrictive on the individual. The traditional Code (by its very nature) pushes it much farther and is too restrictive on the Chaotic individual.

After giving it some thought, I've come to terms with the fact that though I feel my previous statement is true, that is not how the game is formatted presently. So I've come up with perhaps an alternative... (I am going to present it as my preferred end goal of having the 4 Axis-adins, LG, CG, LE, CE. But it can work for "Any Good" Paladins, etc as well.)

I propose that we keep the 1st point of the Code for the Chaotidins. The other 3 points will be chosen from a list (maybe 6-8) that the player and GM work through to fit the specific Chaotidin. Order of importance can be chosen at this point as well. I can even imagine Paizo publishing multiple fully formed Codes for the Chaotidin for ease's sake...

This separates the Paladin from the Chaotidin (as well as their evil counterparts) mechanically and conceptually. All LG Paladins have the same Code. That way when you encounter a Paladin, you know exactly where he/she stands. But if you meet a CG Chaotidin, you have no idea where they stand because each Chaotidin is so patently diverse. Thus you are embracing the spirits Lawfulness and Chaos...

The only downfall that I can think of is the unfairness to the Paladin players. "Why can't I choose my own code?, etc..." I'm not sure that everyone would understand the reasoning behind it. It's probably just a balancing thing. But as a LG-only Paladin player, I think it would be a suitable compromise for everyone.

Sounds fair enough, I would like Champions on the Paladin chassis for most faiths (can't see the Outer Gods or Great Old Ones having them, simply because they don't care) as empowered and bound enforcer/champion/thug/hero, works for most deities, and having some arise from the nature of the planes isn't to much of a stretch (heaven chooses it's representatives, champions of a god yet to ascend/be born, so do the Hells etc) then as stated that the Anathema come first in the paladin twitch talk, the code follows, over ridden by the deities quirks, and we have holy warriors down.


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Ryan Freire wrote:
Because gods like iomedae torag, abadar et-al make sense for a heavily armored warrior with a mount of some kind, whereas dialing down the spellcasting is not really an in theme thing for nethys to do, nor is being heavily armored for cayden, or norgorber. While making their holy warriors archetypes of swashbuckler, rogue, bard, or in the case of nethys mage/sorceror/magus is a profoundly stronger fit thematically.

But I can totally build an Erastil paladin with light armor and a bow in PF1. And it's a paladin. A fully functional, rule-abiding paladin, who fits the lore of the LG god.

Sometimes, reading the forum, it seems that some people do not only want to restrict everybody else concept of paladin to LG, but to specifically a Sir Galahad clone.

You can be a gnome LG paladin with two revolvers in PF1.


Rob Godfrey wrote:


Sounds fair enough, I would like Champions on the Paladin chassis for most faiths (can't see the Outer Gods or Great Old Ones having them, simply because they don't care) as empowered and bound enforcer/champion/thug/hero, works for most deities, and having some arise from the nature of the planes isn't to much of a stretch (heaven chooses it's representatives, champions of a god yet to ascend/be born, so do the Hells etc) then as stated that the Anathema come first in the paladin twitch talk, the code follows, over ridden by the deities quirks, and we have holy warriors down.

Interesting ideas. I'm specifically focussing on the Code itself. But if their were to be Neutral versions of the Code, (for Neutral Deities) I'd expect them to be able to choose whether they take the full Lawful Code or make their own Chaotic like one.

Also side note, I was under the impression point 1 in the Code is equal to the Anathema followed by points 2-4. Not Anathema first, then Code... But that's a minor quibble.

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