GM help with paladin pc.


Advice


I have a player that likes to play paladin. The problem is he plays the detect evil, if evil then kill. Witch normally isn't a problem. But I have some other players that want to play a lawful evil or a nutral evil in a game and the nutral wizzard is wanting to do necromancy.The last time that player raised a zombie the paladin attacked and killed it then attacked the wizzard. Normally id just not invite him, but my group of friends only have time for one game so itd be the same as kicking him out of the group. Is he doing anything wrong though?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Paladins generally can't travel with Evil characters at all, due to the Code of Conduct; only exception is when facing a far greater evil, and even that carries some restrictions and requirements. And if your friend plays Paladin as "kill evil on sight", he's probably not going to go for the nuances of that exception.
So either your paladin friend needs to branch out and play something else, or the rest of the party can't play evil.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Have him play an Antipaladin.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Killing a creature just because it pings as Evil is not Lawful (no legal process) nor Good (no respect for life)

And Detect Evil is so easy to mislead that it should not be used as a reliable measure of guilt


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

All games require discussion among the players to ensure that their characters and expectations are compatible. Adding a necromancer to a game with an exiting paladin would be a bad idea, adding a paladin to a game with an existing necromancer is equally bad.
For a new campaign one of the concepts may be a worse fit than the other and so would give way, failing that I would expect that if for one campaign a player had to make a concession so that another player could have his concept then in the next campaign he would expect concessions from the player who won out the first time.

Also given your description of the paladin players play style he would have fallen in short order in any campaign I ran since I was 14, he may have got away with it then but that was a long time ago.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Remember most things below level 5 don't ping evil. :)

Silver Crusade

How high in level are the characters in the campaign?


Generally, our group has a "No Evils" rule unless we are playing an explicitly evil campaign. It causes too many issues and it's usually just an excuse for the player to be a dick to everyone else, PC and NPC alike.

That being said, I agree with what others have said, that is not behavior of a LG Paladin and he will fall. Also he is behaving just as badly as the Evil players. He is using his alignment as an excuse to be an ass and hijack the game for himself.

Tell him he can't play a Paladin, since that choice will directly conflict with 3/4ths of the group. Maybe next game.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I strongly suggest a session zero where the players talk about they kind of party they want to have (even if alignments are compatible, a player that is looking for glory and renown might have serious issues in an sandbox style game.)

If there is a set campaign plot/theme like in a AP, each of the characters should be built to fit into that AP, and in a complimentary way (the AP players guides and traits are designed to help with this).

Generally speaking, I have so ground rules of things that are considered out bounds unless all the players agree to them. Paladins are one of those, evil characters are another. If any player doesn't want to have a paladin and deal with the restrictions that presents or if any player doesn't want to deal with the complexities that can result from an evil party member, then those aren't allowed. I think that is a pretty good base rule.

I also like to go a step further a lot of the time. Getting the players to think about why the other characters would want their character to be part of their team and building up either a shared background or working as a group to come up with reasons why their characters once they meet would want to work together long term.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

The first time this paladin murders a Lawful Neutral priest of Asmodius he’s going to fall so hard he bounces.

Bonus points if the priest happens to be a local judge or prominent politician.

*remember, clerics have auras that match their diety’s, not necessarily their personal alignment.

Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

Moved thread to advice forum.


Volkard Abendroth wrote:

The first time this paladin murders a Lawful Neutral priest of Asmodius he’s going to fall so hard he bounces.

Bonus points if the priest happens to be a local judge or prominent politician.

*remember, clerics have auras that match their diety’s, not necessarily their personal alignment.

THIS.

Good catch, I had forgotten this. Throw in LN Kuthite or N Norgobite for good measure. Hard to argue straight up murdering the lawfully elected city Mayor because you "stared into his soul."


If you are going to bait the paladin, you could send a 'redeemed' outsider(evil) creature. They will ping evil, but can be aligned good.

However, rather than going for felling the paladin, just make his smite fail. Remember, that works on the true alignment, not the apparent alignment, and his god will know.

If the failure of his smite fails to alert him, and he kills the creature, then have him loose his paladin abilities until he makes amends. You can use fortune tellers, prophets, mentors, and dreams as ways to alert him to his falling.

As a side note, be sure to remind him at the beginning of the session where he will have the encounter how 'falling' happens. The gives him a heads up about a potential issue, and no excuse to say he didn't know.

/cevah


Varactor wrote:
I have a player that likes to play paladin. The problem is he plays the detect evil, if evil then kill. Witch normally isn't a problem. But I have some other players that want to play a lawful evil or a nutral evil in a game and the nutral wizzard is wanting to do necromancy.The last time that player raised a zombie the paladin attacked and killed it then attacked the wizzard. Normally id just not invite him, but my group of friends only have time for one game so itd be the same as kicking him out of the group. Is he doing anything wrong though?

People really need to do a session zero. You should not allow good and evil PCs in the same party, and that's something to discuss and enforce in session zero.

While paladins have a bunch of problems, this isn't really a paladin problem. It's a game table problem. But now you know how to fix it for the next campaign.

Sounds like an evil campaign (with two effectively evil PCs), so the paladin PC should be switched to another character, something viable.


Cevah wrote:

If you are going to bait the paladin, you could send a 'redeemed' outsider(evil) creature. They will ping evil, but can be aligned good.

However, rather than going for felling the paladin, just make his smite fail. Remember, that works on the true alignment, not the apparent alignment, and his god will know.

/cevah

Smiting an outsider with the evil subtype with smite evil always works regardless of actual alignment so a redeemed demon who is now lawful good can now be smote by smite evil, good, chaos and law and those smite would be doing extra damage because they are an outsider also while they may have a god, paladins don't need a god to be a paladin.


Kimera757 wrote:
People really need to do a session zero. You should not allow good and evil PCs in the same party, and that's something to discuss and enforce in session zero.

As long as the players know what they are doing it is perfectly reasonable to have evil and good aligned people in the same party.


doomman47 wrote:
Kimera757 wrote:
People really need to do a session zero. You should not allow good and evil PCs in the same party, and that's something to discuss and enforce in session zero.
As long as the players know what they are doing it is perfectly reasonable to have evil and good aligned people in the same party.

That's not happening this time, and IME it's pretty rare that players can handle this... especially when you have a PC who, by the rules, is punished for doing so.


Varactor wrote:
The problem is he plays the detect evil, if evil then kill. Witch normally isn't a problem.

o_O


Having played a Necromancer with a paladin in the group before (this was way back in 2nd edition D&D) the first thing you need to do is sit down with everyone and put down the expectation that the group will work together toward a goal. This is an OOC commitment first and IC commitment second that everyone needs to agree to. The paladin doesnt have to overlook the transgressions of the evil PC but they do have to put them on hold at least till the conclusion of the adventure.

When I played out the previously mentioned scenerio my necromancer was unapologetic about his use of necromancy and both PCs got into heated debates.I was playing a LE necromancer who was very academic and honest about who he was, what he wanted out of life, and his eternal pursuit of knowledge and power. He would often say things like "I never agreed to follow your laws or code of morality, forcing them on me is no different from a tyrant or zealot forcing their beliefs on others. Do you mean to be a tyrant?" By the end of our adventure our two characters split and went their seperate ways without violence and with a bit more respect for views outside their own. However none of that could have happened if we hadnt agreed OOC that there would be no IC fights, heated debates, name calling, and even the morale argument were all fine but no fighting was going to take place till the adventure was done. If your players can make the same agreement then I think youre fine and you might even get some cool stories out of it. However, if the Paladin refuses...well, you may not be able to bring him in on this campaign and I would encourage them to play something else.

It is my personal opinion that the "detect evil = death mentality" is the wrong way to play a paladin. I feel that the random and unchecked use of detect evil is akin to illegal search and seizure. Taking it to violence is akin to a paladin acting as a vigilante, judging and potentially executing someone for having commited no crime besides having a certain outlook on the world. However opinions vary on that and while my opinion works for my game it may not work for someone elses


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Class Deck, Companion Subscriber

I know it's not the main point here, but I'd like to point out that detect evil is only a tool, not a foolproof "kill that" marker.

Besides the things that don't show up to detect evil (or only show as faint) but are actually things that needs killing, the bigger problem is the things that DO show up to detect evil but don't need killing.

  • Characters who are evil at heart but still manage to live in a society. Evil doesn't necessarily mean murder and torture.
  • Neutral Clerics of Evil deities
  • Neutral Clerics of Neutral deities who chose to channel negative energy? I can't remember...
  • Anyone (including Good adventurers) recently exposed to a serious source of evil, such as destroying an evil artifact.
  • Anyone (including Good adventurers) currently or recently under the effects of an Evil spell. (Such as if someone misunderstood how to use Corruption Resistance or used a Follow Aura spell to find a Good character, got hit by Undine's Curse or Malediction, infected with Contagion or tortured with Agonize - oh, wait, or had a teammate give them Infernal Healing. Yeah, the best non-combat heal in the game leaves an Evil mark based on the caster's level.)

Paladins should be seriously careful when attacking anything their detect flags as evil, killing many of them is an evil act itself.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Actually making him fall seems like a good idea. If he's a bit murderhobo it might make sense that he goes too far and starts allying with evil to kill more stuff.

I believe you could use the... Vindictive Bastard Archetype? It's like a neutral Paladin and I think they have a modified smite that works on everyone.


The Raven Black wrote:
Killing a creature just because it pings as Evil is not Lawful (no legal process) nor Good (no respect for life)

It may not be legal everywhere, but it can easily be "lawful", if it is part their own codes. And respecting life is not inherently good in Pathfinder. There are good deities that are fine with killing their enemies, with Torag being the poster boy for this, "Against my people’s enemies, I will show no mercy".

The only real issue for the paladin is this, "a paladin's code requires that she respect legitimate authority". Even then, the paladin is free to kill the evil individual, but they must then subject themselves to the legal ramifications for doing that.

But besides all of the Paladin legalities, it's just a super bad idea to have a paladin in a non-good party. Unless the players are wanting to waste most of their time infighting, someone should change their character concept for this campaign. And this doesn't really have to be a paladin thing. This could be an inquisitor of Torag and things would be even worse, because the inquisitor doesn't even need to be honorable when killing what detects as evil.


Melkiador wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Killing a creature just because it pings as Evil is not Lawful (no legal process) nor Good (no respect for life)
It may not be legal everywhere, but it can easily be "lawful", if it is part their own codes. And respecting life is not inherently good in Pathfinder. There are good deities that are fine with killing their enemies, with Torag being the poster boy for this, "Against my people’s enemies, I will show no mercy".

Following a code is not in and of itself lawful. Even antipaladins have codes; they're just looser and easier to follow, as both chaos and evil tend to be.

Mindlessly butchering people based on detect evil alone carries little weight on the lawful/chaotic axis. Both a lawful inquisitor and a chaotic vigilante could use the same approach.

As for good, respect for life might not imply good, but good does imply respect for life. It's right there in the definition of "good" in the CRB:

Additional Rules wrote:
Good implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others.

A paladin does not murder with nothing but a notably unreliable spell as a discriminator. That may or may not be lawful, but it is definitely not good.


We don't have a solo definition of what is lawful, but we do have Lawful Neutral, which is basically the same thing:

Quote:
A lawful neutral character admires order and tradition, or seeks to live by a code.

So, living by a code does qualify as lawful by the core rules. Anti-paladins are just an aberration and possibly even a mistake.

Quote:
A lawful good character at the extreme end of the lawful-chaotic spectrum can seem pitiless. She may become obsessive about delivering justice, thinking nothing of dedicating herself to chasing a wicked dragon across the world or pursuing a devil into Hell. She can come across as a taskmaster, bent upon her aims without swerving, and may see others who are less committed as weak. Though she may seem austere, even harsh, she is always consistent, working from her doctrine or faith. Hers is a world of order, and she obeys superiors and finds it almost impossible to believe there's any bad in them. She may be more easily duped by such imposters, but in the end she will see justice is done—by her own hand if necessary.

And the paladin doesn't have a reason to think the ability given to them by their god to discern evil isn't reliable. That would just be metagaming. It would be the same as saying their god isn't reliable.

And this isn't to say that a paladin HAS to murder evil on sight. That's an extreme of paladins. But it is something paladins can do. And it's something that inquisitors can be way worse about, because they can detect evil today and then murder evil in its sleep tonight.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Melkiador wrote:
So, living by a code does qualify as lawful by the core rules.

I disagree. There is a lot more to the lawful alignment description than that one sentence.

Basically, it is saying their are two sorts of lawful: Lawful for Everyone or Lawful for the Individual. You can be lawful with an I don't care what you do, but I will behave in a certain way attitude or you can be Lawful and think everyone needs to behave in a certain way.

However, for either one, that certain way has to be 'Lawful.'

"Lawful characters tell the truth, keep their word, respect authority, honor tradition, and judge those who fall short of their duties. "

"Law implies honor, trustworthiness, obedience to authority, and reliability."

Now you can probably drop an aspect or two of the above lists, but you can't just throw them all away.

If your character has a code of "I'll do whatever I feel like at the moment" you aren't lawful no matter how well you follow that code. A code that doesn't impose order and reliability isn't a code that will count as 'lawful.'

Having either a personal code or adhering to law and tradition are necessary but not sufficient requirements to having a lawful alignment.


The code can't be something as simple as "I do what I want", but that wasn't what was being discussed here. At any rate, a paladin who follows the paladin code and his god's laws and his own personal code is certainly acting lawfully, regardless of whatever the law of the land is. And if his god's code or his own code says to kill evil, then that's certainly lawful. Very obviously not chaotic behavior.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I absolutely agree that 'lawful' as related to alignment is not a synonym for legal. You could have a chaotic legal code just as you can have a chaotic personal code.

Of course a Paladin following the paladin code is following a lawful code more or less by definition (no other personal code required).


Hey... Had a player justify a LE Goblin monk that randomly killed and ate people as part of his personal code.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
MageHunter wrote:
Hey... Had a player justify a LE Goblin monk that randomly killed and ate people as part of his personal code.

If your code specifies doing something "randomly", then it probably isn't lawful. But a lawful code could include something like getting all of your nutrition from eating people, which would have pretty much the same effect. It really doesn't even have to be that strict. A code that simply said to eat people whenever possible, could still be lawful.

The point is that you don't have to obey local laws to be acting lawfully. You just have to have a justifiably lawful code you live by.


Melkiador wrote:
MageHunter wrote:
Hey... Had a player justify a LE Goblin monk that randomly killed and ate people as part of his personal code.

If your code specifies doing something "randomly", then it probably isn't lawful. But a lawful code could include something like getting all of your nutrition from eating people, which would have pretty much the same effect. It really doesn't even have to be that strict. A code that simply said to eat people whenever possible, could still be lawful.

The point is that you don't have to obey local laws to be acting lawfully. You just have to have a justifiably lawful code you live by.

Yes, but that's not that the player was thinking. :P


Thinking of a random lawful code, I wonder if Two-Face from Batman qualifies. He certainly seems to stick to that code whether it works for or against him, at least in most tellings.


Melkiador wrote:
So, living by a code does qualify as lawful by the core rules. Anti-paladins are just an aberration and possibly even a mistake.

Again, that's getting it backwards. A lawful character might seek to live by a code, but living by a code is not necessarily lawful.

Melkiador wrote:
Anti-paladins are just an aberration and possibly even a mistake.

Is it an aberration/mistake, or is it a counterexample?

Melkiador wrote:
And the paladin doesn't have a reason to think the ability given to them by their god to discern evil isn't reliable. That would just be metagaming. It would be the same as saying their god isn't reliable.

No, it would simply be acknowledging that the ability granted by their god is "detect the presence and strength of evil energy/vibes/impressions/whatever", not "detect thing-my-god-says-to-kill". It's not metagaming for a paladin to know the properties and limitations of an at-will, gods-given ability. Using detect evil isn't the equivalent of asking one's deity "CAN I KILLS IT, HUH?" It can detect creatures with evil character but without the means and/or opportunity to act on it; those with actively but transient evil intent; creatures possessed by evil spirits/entities; creatures who've recently been close to a powerful evil magic item; unwilling recipients of an evil spell; and so on. It's certainly something to notice, but it isn't carte blanche to murder. That is not something a paladin can do and expect to retain their deity's blessing.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder RPG / Advice / GM help with paladin pc. All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.