Avoiding falling as a paladin in korvosa


Advice


So, my group has recently started running the curse of the crimson throne ap, and I decided to play a paladin. After a few sessions, I got bad marks as a paladin for killing an ettercap, as it was a sentient being.(when I found it, it was chewing on a corpse, I might resent the GM a little for this) If I do fall, that's unfortunate but oh well. Anyways I was just hoping for advice to try to avoid falling if at all possible.

Silver Crusade

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Talk to your GM about what is acceptable and what isn't. Once you're both on the same page, the issue will hopefully be resolved.


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So, to begin with, have you written up a formal code of conduct for your paladin? Two paladins might have very different approaches to the same problem, so it's useful to have a written code before you start.

For example, here's two different codes based on two core deities:

Quote:

Paladins Of Abadar

Paladins of Abadar defend the weak, protect the innocent and act as lawful authority figures wherever they travel.

• I am a protector of the roadways and keep travelers from harm. No matter their destinations or goals, if they are peaceable and legitimate travelers who harm no others on the road, I will ensure that they pass safely.
• Bandits are a plague. Under my will they come to justice. If they will not come willingly before the law, where they can protest for justice in the courts, they will come under the power of my sword.
• Corruption in the courts is the greatest corruption of civilization. Without confidence in justice, citizens cannot believe in their countries, and civilization begins to disappear. I will root out corruption wherever I find it, and if a system is fundamentally flawed, I will work to aid citizens by reforming or replacing it.
• I am an aid to the markets. I ensure equitable trade between merchants and citizens. Theft on either side is intolerable.
• I make opportunities, and teach others to recognize them. When I aid others, I open the way for them, but will not carry them—they must take responsibility.

Compare to the following:

Quote:

Paladins Of Shelyn

The paladins of Shelyn are peaceable promoters of art and beauty. They see the ugliness in evil, even when cloaked in the form of beauty, and their job is to prevent the weak and foolish from being seduced by false promises. Their tenets include:

• I am peaceful. I come first with a rose. I act to prevent conflict before it blossoms.
• I never strike first, unless it is the only way to protect the innocent.
• I accept surrender if my opponent can be redeemed—and I never assume that they cannot be. All things that live love beauty, and I will show beauty’s answer to them.
• I will never destroy a work of art, nor allow one to come to harm unless greater art arises from its loss. I will only sacrifice art if doing so allows me to save a life, for untold beauty can arise from an awakened soul.
• I see beauty in others. As a rough stone hides a diamond, a drab face may hide the heart of a saint.
• I lead by example, not with my blade. Where my blade passes, a life is cut short, and the world's potential for beauty is lessened.
• I live my life as art. I will choose an art and perfect it. When I have mastered it, I will choose another. The works I leave behind make life richer for those who follow.

A formal means of justifying your actions with the GM can go a long way towards avoiding alignment infractions in the first place, plus it makes a great roleplay tool!


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Just to state this outright, killing a sentient creature isn't grounds for falling as a paladin.

Paladins have all sort of class features that help them be better at killing. Beyond that, Ettercaps are evil aberrations. Killing them is exactly the sort of thing a Paladin would do, unless there are other circumstances that the paladin would know about that would instruct them not to.

Sounds like your GM might be a bit unreasonable here. Talk with them and clarify between the two of your what your expectations for paladins behavior should be.

Grand Lodge

Why would you avoid it?
In a Campaign like that, redeeming yourself or changing your belief to another God/Goddess could give you great roleplaying posibilities.
But you need to plan this a bit with your GM so he can provide/make plans for this in the Campaign. And you should not fall from grace by accident, it should be a decision you make to make your Character evolve and grow.
Perhaps another god/goddess is trying to recruit you to its cause by sending you dreams and visions to make you doubt your god? This could make you take different actions and stray from your code of conduct...


I really hate when people see paladins as a game to see how quickly they can make the player fall from grace.

You met something clearly evil. Doing evil things to a corpse it did an evil thing to in order to make it a corpse it could then do evil things to as a corpse because it is something clearly evil. Savvy?

THATS WHY ITS CALLED SMITE EVIL.

I would ask the question what "good" a paladin does if not smite flesh eating killers.


Kermon wrote:
So, my group has recently started running the curse of the crimson throne ap, and I decided to play a paladin. After a few sessions, I got bad marks as a paladin for killing an ettercap, as it was a sentient being.(when I found it, it was chewing on a corpse, I might resent the GM a little for this) If I do fall, that's unfortunate but oh well. Anyways I was just hoping for advice to try to avoid falling if at all possible.

Im sorry to say that, but from your example i must say:" your gm is a fool"

Iomedae is THE paladin in Golarion and im sure she would absolutely slaughter that ettercap. My advice? Play another character. In this campaign are really hard decisions for your paladin, but if THAT was problematic allrdy? Just stop play this character.


Killing an ettercap simply because it's an ettercap is evil.

Killing an ettercap because it's chewing on a corpse that it almost certainly murdered is not evil.

Either way, if you and your GM aren't in alignment (heh) as to proper paladin conduct, either discuss it or switch to a class (or archetype--vindictive bastard is fun) with more flexibility.


Ok to start off, I have not yet fallen, and I'm following both the standard paladin code and the shelyn code. I am going to talk to my GM about this, I think he gave me bad marks as so far I've been dealing with things non-lethaly and I switched to lethal for what I figured was an evil creature, again I'm going to talk to him about this.


I agree. Talk to the GM about it.

However, another thought. Did the ettercap register with your Detect Evil aura? Or did you just kill it without using an action to determine it was evil?

The above posts are correct. There are ways for you to justify your actions according to the Paladin code and your deity. The most important thing, in my opinion, is that your character make some effort to determine whether or not the code is being violated before they act. This could be the Detect Evil aura, a Knowledge roll to determine the creatures alignment, a Knowledge roll to determine if the creature is undead, declaring that an atonement spell might be necessary and other such actions.


There's a lot missing from the scenario description, but in a great many situations a ping on detect evil is not sufficient metric to warrant summary execution. Paladins are not empowered to murder petty bureaucrats who skim from the petty cash box and take an unhealthy pleasure in making people fill out forms in triplicate. The compromising situation in which the ettercap was discovered seems like a much better justification.


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

On the other hand, there are many dangerous creatures that need to be killed even if they aren't evil -- especially if they are of animal intelligence or less.

I am pretty sure that my GM would be willing to let a paladin skip the detection of evil for an ettercap caught eating a sentient being.


Mine too.


Y'all missed my point there. Which is: Very little is absolute in Pathfinder. The Paladin studying the ettercap for three rounds would have determined the strength of the creature's evil aura. Was it a starving creature eating whatever it could put in it's mouth? Or did it truly kill it's prey for a meal? (I don't know since I haven't looked up the info on ettercaps)

Having been a GM myself, I would give the Paladin some leeway if they make that determination before they act. Conversely, I would make it known that the Paladin's deity is angry if they just kill everything they see because they assumed it was evil. Any compromise in between is workable provided that the player/character handles the situation is some manner appropriate to their code and their deity.


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It's also possible that the DM chiefly gave the warning to encourage you to pause and consider the evidence before assuming something is automatically evil.

There could be a number of upcoming encounters where if you go by appearances, you could end up "killing" some really cool roleplay/story opportunities.


Yeah, the main problem in my case is I didn't detect evil, and was mostly going off of an assumption that killing it was a good thing to do.


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Kermon wrote:
Yeah, the main problem in my case is I didn't detect evil, and was mostly going off of an assumption that killing it was a good thing to do.

if your DM is going to penalize you for killing an obviously evil creature, i think you & him would benefit from reading this;

Powder Keg of Justice:
Background

We've been running our D&D group for quite some time (D&D 3.5), and we were around the 11-13 level range. The game had reached the point where the characters were now 'players' in a kingdom's politics and were national heroes. One of the characters, a paladin, was the youngest son of the now-deposed king. In his youth, he had disappeared for 10 years without a trace and broke his father's heart, the king went into decline and dragged his kingdom with him. Eventually, knowing of the weakness, a coup was launched by a tyrant and now the tyrannical betrayer rules the land with an iron fist.

6 years after the coup, the youngest son returns, now a paladin. What happened to him for all that time has yet to be revealed, but the player and DM had it all worked out.

So anyway, even though the game had revolved pretty much around us trying to get our paladin buddy to reclaim his rightful throne, and most of the plot was centered around it, the player in question decided he was bored with the character and wanted to roll something new.

The DM was a little pissed at this, but he could hardly force the guy to play the character. So, he let him roll up a new guy and drafted in his buddy Chris, who was staying with him for a few weeks to play the paladin "Sir Peter Fairgrave."

I hadn't gamed with Chris before but he seemed like a pretty cool guy -- no complaints -- and he really wanted to know all the details of the plot and everything about our characters citing that he actually wanted to do a proper job of playing the character and to "not let us down."

I didn't know what to expect, but hey, he seemed really into it. So we played.

Anyway, in terms of the current plot: we were forced to waylay our plans to overthrow the tyrant, as a more serious threat had emerged, that of some form of sinister cult.

We had been dealing with this cult for years, but we had never taken them overly seriously. They were just some messed up guys who occasionally got in over their heads, you know. Often they'd make a bid for power, f%@~ it up, and we'd have to clean up the deadly deadly mess.

The cult had clearly been playing their Warcraft 3, as they had gotten it into their heads to infect the kingdom's food stores (on a mass scale) with some form of virus that would make the population subservient to some demon the cult venerated.

In game
It was our 11th hour, we'd hounded the streets for days trying to round up cult agents and get information out of them.

We found out the plague was already in most of the food and water, as they had been at it for months, but a ritual needed to be completed for it to become active.

The cultists were hard to break, and our group (generally not the nicest folks) wanted to torture it out of them. Naturally, Sir Peter was opposed.

"We can't preserve freedom while denying it to others. It's not right, we can't do it, and I won't allow it."
Chris wasn't being a dick, he was just playing the character. As much as our characters might not have liked it, we as players were having lots of fun. The added drama really worked.

We managed to capture a high priest of the cult, someone responsible for conducting the ritual in this part of the land. It turns out the ritual needed to be conducted at the same time in several parts of the kingdom at once, in order to deliver the maximum effect.

We need to know the other locations, or else all our efforts would have just saved one northern barony and not the whole land. He gave us no choice but to beat it out of him.

Sir Peter wanted no part of this: "If you're going to treat a man like some animal for the slaughter, then don't expect me to sit by and watch." He then stormed out, and let us carry on in our work.

We'd been at it hours, and we couldn't get the guy to crack. He just wouldn't tell us anything. He was covered in cuts, had lost a toe at our hands, was dripping in his own blood, but still won't give us want we needed. We were going to give up and try another method, when all of a sudden, our doorway darkens and in walks Sir Peter. He's wearing nothing but his tunic and pants, unarmed, bar for a half drank jug of some form of strong booze in hand.

In steps into the room and announces:

"If you're going to do this, do it right..."
He walks over to the bound cultist, tosses aside his bottle, lifts the chair and sits in front of the beaten man.

Sir Peter:

"I don't want to hurt you, I just need to know the locations of your brethren, then this can be all over for you, I will make sure you are safe and cared for."
Cultist:

"Ha! I know who you are, Sir Peter Fairgrave; kingdom breaker, runaway child, father slayer. You can't threaten me: I know what you are. Your order, your God won't allow you to lay your hands on me, otherwise you'll fall, and you won't be able to help a soul."
Sir Peter:

*sighs* "You seem to be under the misconception about what I am, what I do. I am a paladin, that is true; but as a paladin I don't fear falling... I look forward to it."
The cultist shot a nervous look at the rest of the party, we were all looking at each other, not sure what was about to happen. The cultist opened his mouth to speak, but Sir Peter cut him off.

Sir Peter:

"As a paladin, I walk on a razor's edge. Not between good and evil, I could never be something like you, but between "law" and "justice". The "law" I follow doesn't permit me to harm you, but I could be "justified" in anything I did to you in order to save innocent lives. ANYTHING!"
"You don't know what it is like to be me. You don't know the pain of having to store all your anger, all your fury, all your sense of justice, and hold it inside you, all day every day for the rest of your life. Doing the right thing doesn't mean I get to stop all evil, I just get to trim it when it becomes overgrown. The path I walk is not about vengeance, or what's right; it's about moderation in the face of power, restraint and compassion for scum like you.
"This is why paladins don't fear falling. We don't spend all day looking for ways to prevent ourselves from doing evil and giving in to the darkness -- we actively seek it out. Every time we face evil, we ask ourselves, 'Is this the threat that I'm going to give it all up for? Is this what I am going to give up my ability to help others in the future, in order to bring it down now. Is this the evil that I am willing to forsake my God and my power to stop?!'".
At this point, he stands up suddenly and swings his arm against the chair he was sitting on. Sending it flying and shattered against a wall, he then kicks over the chair the cultist was sitting on, he leaps and straddles his chest, flinging him about for a few seconds in pure rage, before calming once more.

He looks the cultist straight in the face, both their noses just inches from each other.

"What you should be asking yourself now, what you really need to be thinking about, is: 'Is what I'm doing something that will make this guy want to fall?' Because you should know that once I fall, all those rules which protect you from me are gone. No longer will I be able to be stopped by you, or by my order, or by my God. If I give everything, and I mean give everything, I will never stop. If you escape me today, I will hunt you down and grab you into the pits of hell myself. Even if that means that I have to invoke the wrath of every demon in creation, just so they throw open a pit and drag me down where I stand, because when they do drag me down, I will make sure that my fists are wrapped firmly around your ankles and you go down with me. I want you to listen to me now, and I mean really listen, because Hell truly hath no fury like a paladin scorned."
"So I ask you, one last time: tell me where the other rituals are being held, or I swear to all on high that I will fall, and fall hard, just so I can show you what it is that paladin truly keeps his code in order to hold back..."
At this point the player, Chris, just stops talking and looks at us. We are all kind of stunned by his speech, naturally.

He just picks up a D20, looks at the DM and says "I wish to roll intimidate."


Toolbag wrote:

Y'all missed my point there. Which is: Very little is absolute in Pathfinder. The Paladin studying the ettercap for three rounds would have determined the strength of the creature's evil aura. Was it a starving creature eating whatever it could put in it's mouth? Or did it truly kill it's prey for a meal? (I don't know since I haven't looked up the info on ettercaps)

Having been a GM myself, I would give the Paladin some leeway if they make that determination before they act. Conversely, I would make it known that the Paladin's deity is angry if they just kill everything they see because they assumed it was evil. Any compromise in between is workable provided that the player/character handles the situation is some manner appropriate to their code and their deity.

I mean I guess its possible it was feeling hungry and was walking by a room and there was a dead body already in it and he was like "waste not want not" but... yeah no.


avoid falling and why would you want to avoid.... role play hooks....
no wrong way to play a paladin, in either searching it out and over coming it, or to play one that avoids it.
both can make for good experiences...

all comes down to:
rather talk( diplomacy, bluff, intimidate) remember Bluff does not mean straight up lie... Bluuf can be used to confuse and trick as well.
rather fight
rather observe
whether or not it puts others( either npcs or party members) at risk

how to avoid falling in Korvosa now?

You asking this to the person whos paladins would rather watch the place burn to the ground, but would be honor bound to prevent it and save as many as possible if unable to stop it....
needless to say they wouldnt start it either...

echo others speak with DM


I am Nemesis wrote:
Kermon wrote:
Yeah, the main problem in my case is I didn't detect evil, and was mostly going off of an assumption that killing it was a good thing to do.
if your DM is going to penalize you for killing an obviously evil creature, i think you & him would benefit from reading this;** spoiler omitted **...

This is good. I'm glad Nemesis posted this as it illustrates my point exactly.

Sure, the Paladin was obviously drunk, but the fact is that the Paladin justified what he was doing according to the code and his deity by taking time to spell it out in game. At the very worst, I as a GM would have penalized him for his actions yet made it possible for him to get back into the good graces of his deity through an atonement spell or some equivalent action. Which would also have provided the roleplay hook Steelfiredragon was talking about.

The OP might have fouled up but there is a chance of atonement which would keep him from falling.


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blahpers wrote:
Paladins are not empowered to murder petty bureaucrats who skim from the petty cash box and take an unhealthy pleasure in making people fill out forms in triplicate.

They certainly are in my world!

On a more serious note:

I am Nemesis wrote:
if your DM is going to penalize you for killing an obviously evil creature, i think you & him would benefit from reading this;** spoiler omitted **...

Personally I've never liked this as an example of how a Paladin should be played. It is a perfectly valid interpretation, and some good role playing and obviously enjoyed by everyone which are all good things.

That said, I think most Paladins would, and should, honestly believe that being good and supporting lawful behavior is the best way to combat evil. The notion that Paladin's should really believe that chaotic good morals are superior, but are willing to follow rules in exchange for super powers strikes me as profoundly mistaken.


Uhhh it's an ettercap. It isn't going to go to jail. It isn't going to go through a trial. It isn't going to convert to good and redeem itself. It ate a dude. It's a spider faced monster that ate a dude. It's a venomous spider faced monster with sickles for hands that ate a dude.

I mean I'm 100% behind the idea of letting the law do what it does best. But just keeping it in focus to the situation.


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I'd like to think that upon seeing a creature eat another person, assuming a middle ages mindset, the typical response would be to destroy it.

Like if I walk in on a Dragon chowing down on a pile of corpses, my first response isn't "Excuse me, sir, did you kill these people you are eating? Please don't lie, I need to know whether or not you are merely starving or I should beat you unconscious and bring you to trial. Oh, you just found these corpses? Excellent. Would you like my entire satchel of rations or for me to find you a new source of meat? Perhaps a local farmer would sell you cows at 50gp a head?"

The response is "The dragon has a taste for human flesh, for the slaughter of these citizens I sentence you to death. Anything to say in your defense before I strike you down?"


There's a lot of conversation around Detect Evil going on here that is ignoring a fundamental limitation of the ability that I am of the opinion that every paladin would be acutely aware of, which is..

It's an Ettercap. They have 4HD. It is not powerful enough to have an aura. Paladins should know that not every single thing in the world that's evil has an aura. It's not a 100% reliable tool - sometimes you have to use your judgment.

I think the problem, from the sounds of things, is that either no, or insufficient questions, were raised by the paladin in question prior to turning the murder switch on. Next time questions like:

"does it look like it was recently killed."
"is there blood in the area."
"is the body covered in webbing (assuming you know anything about ettercaps)"
"Does the ettercap have any wounds or signs of a recent fight."

etc, etc.

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