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View Full Version : [3.5] Does an evil cleric/paladin need to worry about "falling"?



newbDM
2008-12-20, 04:53 AM
This just struck me. Since in oD&D-3.5D&D Evil and Good, along with Chaos and Law, are supposedly eternally equally balanced in the multiverse, does that mean evil clerics and paladins need to constantly worry about "falling" from the side of evil?

I know traditionally it has not been played out like that in fantasy media, but again in D&D Evil and Good are supposed to be two equal and balanced forces.

JaxGaret
2008-12-20, 05:30 AM
Yes, of course. A Paladin who does not retain their alignment loses access to all of their powers, whether they are a Paladin of Honor, Freedom, Tyranny, or Slaughter.

AngelSword
2008-12-20, 05:37 AM
Evil gods have unbreakable tenants just like their do-gooder counterparts. They're often not seen, though, as their worshipers are mostly bloodthirsty psychopaths who revel in the thought of fulfilling their god's need to have every sacred pool desecrated with their followers' bodily fluids.

But I digress. I'd say that yes, evil clerics and paladins need to worry about displeasing their god as the good pillars of D&D society. Take a look at Lolth. It is easy to lose her favor if you're not quick to offer up the scrumptious, puny male she so often demands.

Starscream
2008-12-20, 05:51 AM
Well, if an evil cleric becomes good, their deity will presumably stop granting them spells, so yes they will in effect have fallen. However, I'm pretty sure they can just start worshiping another deity. Maybe they'll have to be ordained by that god's church or go on a quest to prove their worthiness or something similar, but that depends on the deity and the DM.

And clerics do not actually have to be devoted to a god at all, you can just worship a cause like "law" or "neutrality". Dunno what the procedure is for that. Seems like you'd need a bit more than to say "Fine, be that way! I'll just start focusing really hard, and the fundamental forces of the universe will give me magic!"

As for evil paladins, I'm assuming you mean the variant ones from Unearthed Arcana. Each of them has some sort of code to follow similar to that of the "normal" kind of paladin, so yeah, they'll lose all their powers if the violate it.

Devils_Advocate
2008-12-20, 03:05 PM
Worshiping a source of divine power causes it to grant spells to you automatically (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/divine/divineRanksAndPowers.htm#grantSpells). Deities can choose to withhold spells from whoever they want; unconscious forces obviously can't do that, since they don't make choices.

Important, pervasive phenomena are potential sources of divine power. Nature, Magic, Weather, Life, Fire, Flight, Balance, Law, Good; stuff like that. A cause embraced by many, like Justice or Civilization or Revelation, totally counts.

Getting cleric spells by worshiping, say, blueberry muffins, is probably out. Of course, this all comes down to what the setting / your DM allows in any case.


This just struck me. Since in oD&D-3.5D&D Evil and Good, along with Chaos and Law, are supposedly eternally equally balanced in the multiverse, does that mean evil clerics and paladins need to constantly worry about "falling" from the side of evil?
You can run alignment so that helping others only counts as Good if you do it for the sake of helping them, but hurting innocents counts as Evil no matter what. Lame, IMO, and definitely contrary to the concept of Good and Evil as balanced opposites, but if you do that, it makes it easy for Evil characters to avoid rising. They don't have to worry about avoiding any sort of means to their preferred ends, they just need to hurt innocents somewhere in there.

J-H
2008-12-20, 03:18 PM
What happens to a Blackguard who converts? Can he trade in levels toward being a Paladin, or...?

There's also the mechanic of giving an evil character a "Helm of Opposite Alignment".

Fax Celestis
2008-12-20, 03:21 PM
What happens to a Blackguard who converts? Can he trade in levels toward being a Paladin, or...?
It'd be a houserule, albeit a not-unreasonable one.

Curmudgeon
2008-12-20, 06:34 PM
What happens to a Blackguard who converts? Can he trade in levels toward being a Paladin, or...? This one's tricky, because the WotC folks really didn't think things through. Their assumed bias is that most every PC will start out as non-evil, though they may become evil later. So there are base classes that require good, lawful, neutral, and nonlawful alignments. But there are no base classes requiring evil, or even non-good alignments. There are only prestige classes that require such alignments. So with this flawed WotC assumption you can start out as a Paladin and become a Blackguard, but you can't ever start out as a Blackguard.

Two ways to go with this: just house-rule it with the standard classes; or redo the Blackguard into a base class that's mechanically like the Paladin with an alignment reversal.

Saph
2008-12-20, 06:59 PM
Really, evil clerics and paladins should have just as many restrictions as good ones.

The way I'd do it would be that you don't need to worry about 'falling' to neutrality or good, but you can still lose your powers for not living up to the specific kind of evil your god represents. A cleric of Shar's expected to be sneaky, cruel, and vengeful, a cleric of Bane's expected to establish dominion whenever he can, a cleric of Gruumsh is expected to kill elves at every opportunity.

A cleric of Gruumsh who treated elves well would be at risk of losing his powers, even if he stayed Chaotic Evil. This represents the gods of evil not getting on with each other - it's not enough to be on the evil side, you have to be on their side and you'll get whacked if you don't.

- Saph

SurlySeraph
2008-12-20, 07:04 PM
This one's tricky, because the WotC folks really didn't think things through. Their assumed bias is that most every PC will start out as non-evil, though they may become evil later. So there are base classes that require good, lawful, neutral, and nonlawful alignments. But there are no base classes requiring evil, or even non-good alignments. There are only prestige classes that require such alignments. So with this flawed WotC assumption you can start out as a Paladin and become a Blackguard, but you can't ever start out as a Blackguard.

Two ways to go with this: just house-rule it with the standard classes; or redo the Blackguard into a base class that's mechanically like the Paladin with an alignment reversal.

Dread Necromancer? Hexblade? You're right that there are no core classes like that, though. Probably because, remembering the anti-DnD uproar some groups caused in the 70s, they didn't want anyone to think they were encouraging people to play as evil.

Paramour Pink
2008-12-20, 07:10 PM
So with this flawed WotC assumption you can start out as a Paladin and become a Blackguard, but you can't ever start out as a Blackguard.

Actually, there is one, it's just not in any official source. :P

Page 46 of the Quintessential Paladin II. I have lots of books when I'm not even used to the normal DnD rules thans to friends helping me.

Curmudgeon
2008-12-20, 07:18 PM
Dread Necromancer? Hexblade? You're right that there are no core classes like that, though. Probably because, remembering the anti-DnD uproar some groups caused in the 70s, they didn't want anyone to think they were encouraging people to play as evil.
Even the classes you referenced don't require evil alignments.
Alignment: Not all dread necromancers are evil, although the best of them could easily be described as evil-tolerant. No dread necromancer can have a good alignment.
Alignment: Any nongood. I don't know of any base classes that require evil alignment.

Kris Strife
2008-12-20, 07:23 PM
No, good clerics/paladins fall, druids autumn, blighters spring and evil clerics/paladins rise.

Dacia Brabant
2008-12-20, 07:27 PM
Even the classes you referenced don't require evil alignments. I don't know of any base classes that require evil alignment.

I was about to say the Assassin base class that's out there, but even it doesn't require an evil alignment--which is just silly.

SurlySeraph
2008-12-20, 07:30 PM
Even the classes you referenced don't require evil alignments. I don't know of any base classes that require evil alignment.

Well, there's the Paladin of Tyranny and Paladin of Slaughter. But since those are class variants, it's arguable whether they count.

Devils_Advocate
2008-12-20, 08:02 PM
I'm pretty sure that they didn't design everything around the assumption that everyone is gonna be Good or Neutral at level one. If only because NPCs are made using the same basic rules as PCs. Clerics of Nerull, Vecna, and other NE deities have to be Evil. That's not a whole class, of course, but how many classes require you to be Good? I can't think of any base class but paladin.

I don't think that options for fallen paladins are actually there to help fallen paladins in general to not be screwed. If they were, they wouldn't require them to switch all the way to Evil or Chaos. They're just concepts that at least potentially include ex-paladin in them.

So they didn't design an option for ex-blackguards for the same reason that they didn't design options for ex-paladins, I'd say. (I guess said reason is roughly "Screw you, open-ended character development!"?)

Narmoth
2008-12-21, 03:30 AM
What happens to a Blackguard who converts? Can he trade in levels toward being a Paladin, or...?

Not really by the mechanics. But if he had paladin levels and converted to blackguard, and then converted back again, he would have the paladin level powers again, and he would still have the attack bonus from blackguard and paladin stacked.

On general basis, I think he should keep the sneak attack and poison use abilities, as they aren't keyed to divine power


...but how many classes require you to be Good? I can't think of any base class but paladin.

Rangers?
Then there's also all the lawful / chaotic alignment restrictions

Tengu_temp
2008-12-21, 06:14 AM
Rangers?


Only in AD&D. There are prestige classes that require good alignment, but no base classes apart from paladins in 3.x.

It's worth noting that all clerics, no matter their alignment, can fall if they do something their deity is not happy with. It's something many groups forget about.

If you ask me, playing a cleric of an ideal in a setting with an established pantheon (apart from Planescape) is very cheesy - it's trying to get all the power of a cleric without any of the RP responsibilities. Not to mention you get to choose your own domains...

Lentava-Heppa
2008-12-21, 06:48 AM
The thing is that it is just as easy for a paladin to fall to non-lawful than it is to fall to non-good.

Paladins need to obey local authorities. Why? There is massively important reason for that. That way paladins can have headquarters even in cities that are ruled by evil authority. They can help the poor and do the little that they can because the lords know that paladins aren't going to arm rebels, poison the leaders, etc... Paladins can act as diplomats, prevent wars, etc. because they follow their code of not backstabbing the authority.

Well, what happens if a good rebel comes and asks for protection? Paladins need to choose between doing the lawful thing (giving him over to authorities to secure that they can continue the good that they do) and doing the good thing (saving him). This kind of decisions are tough and though I don't want to start alignment discussion if either of those are really evil etc., it is important to understand that paladins need to face such problems.

Now, look at lawful evil. They face the very same problems for the very same reasons. The reason why a good lord in a city can let blackguard organization stay, recruit, preach, act as diplomats, etc. is that he must know that they won't help rebels and evil cults and do similar stuff. So blackguards have very similar codes of conduct as good paladins. Yes, blackguards get poison use but that ability only affects poisons on a weapon, it still doesn't mean that they would be allowed to poison foods and drinks of leaders. And when it comes to doing what is best for the organization at the expense of those codes... Blackguards can fall.

Chaotic evil ones are perhaps the ones with easiest to stay in their position as they get to do whatever feels best... But they can still have codes based on the religion. For example a cleric of gruumsh might have to kill anyone who tries to betray him or overthrow any leaders he sees too weak but that might be difficult to cope with in any sort of diplomatic situation.

And feeling any compassion towards anyone puts you in a high risk of becoming to "fall" towards good.

Tengu_temp
2008-12-21, 08:45 AM
Disobeying an authority you do not consider legitimate is not a chaotic act.

jcsw
2008-12-21, 08:57 AM
Disobeying an authority you do not consider legitimate is not a chaotic act.

Well it's not as if it's lawful.

Starsinger
2008-12-21, 09:03 AM
Well it's not as if it's lawful.

Actually, it is. Standing up to unjust authority is indeed a lawful act. Or would be, if the Law-Chaos axis made sense.

Prometheus
2008-12-21, 09:42 AM
I like Nobilis's rule "treat no mortal as your equal" for an evil paladin. Of course, substitute mortal for "creature weaker than you". That means you cannot show mercy, and that all creatures you work with is either because you recognize their power over you or they recognize yours over them (law).

Wulfram
2008-12-21, 09:57 AM
The thing is that it is just as easy for a paladin to fall to non-lawful than it is to fall to non-good.

You fall for any (willing) evil act, but you don't fall for a chaotic one unless your alignment changes


Paladins need to obey local authorities.

Thay have to "respect legitimate authority". Questions of legitimacy gives you a lot of wiggle room, particularly if you consider that the ruler is still bound by both law and custom. Even if you can't work find reason to consider the authority illegitimate, respect does not necessarily require obedience. Fundamentally, Paladins need to remember that they serve an authority higher than that of any mortal rulers.

Lentava-Heppa
2008-12-21, 10:00 AM
Disobeying an authority you do not consider legitimate is not a chaotic act.

I did not fall to the "lawful = obeying laws" trap. However:

Choosing to not consider the official authority as legitimate just because your views of how things should be don't fit theirs is indeed very chaotic act in my opinion. If we live in a medieval world where kings have always passed their power forward to the next leader through inheritance and a paladin chooses that it should stop immediatelly when the next king would be evil... How is that "No matter of the traditions that uphold the order, let's do things as I feel best" lawful in any way?

And despite that, even if it is not chaotic to break laws, it is chaotic to break the moral code that guides your life and the said code would no doubt include obeying the local authorities.

Why? If even the evil authorities know that the Knights of Heironeus in the city won't backstab or poison the rulers, won't arm rebels or incite rebellions, etc... Even any evil ruler allows them to be there. The knights can still help the poor (even if king doesn't), destroy monstrous threats to common people, preach about their god, act as diplomats that can prevent wars... Do a lot of good. But the moment that the rulers can't trust that the knights won't protect rebels or do anything like that they have no option but to tell the knights to leave city.

And avoiding that scenario is the reason behind paladins' codes. The gods don't require them to have such. Clerics gain more from gods without having such. It is to ensure that they can work in any part of the world and do good instead of having to only do that where the ruler is good enough to make them unnecessary except for times of war.

Tengu_temp
2008-12-21, 10:15 AM
Choosing to not consider the official authority as legitimate just because your views of how things should be don't fit theirs is indeed very chaotic act in my opinion.

Here is where we disagree - choosing to consider the authority non-legitimate because you disagree on something would be chaotic, but doing so because following them means performing evil acts or helping perform evil acts is not. A paladin needs to follow only just laws, not tyrannical ones.

This discussion further proves how badly written the alignments in DND are.

Ravens_cry
2008-12-21, 10:29 AM
I would say a legitimate authority is one who serves the needs of it's people.
Say you have a petty bureaucrat who uses his position to hire friends into important positions, irrespective of their qualifications, and to block due process for personal enemies. Not legitimate.
However, let us say you have a barbarian king who fearlessly protects his tribal kingdom from monsters and raiders. His standard of living may be higher then the average, but that is his reward for the risk he puts himself into for his people. Legitimate.

Heliomance
2008-12-21, 10:37 AM
Worshiping a source of divine power causes it to grant spells to you automatically (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/divine/divineRanksAndPowers.htm#grantSpells). Deities can choose to withhold spells from whoever they want; unconscious forces obviously can't do that, since they don't make choices.

Important, pervasive phenomena are potential sources of divine power. Nature, Magic, Weather, Life, Fire, Flight, Balance, Law, Good; stuff like that. A cause embraced by many, like Justice or Civilization or Revelation, totally counts.

Getting cleric spells by worshiping, say, blueberry muffins, is probably out. Of course, this all comes down to what the setting / your DM allows in any case.


One of the games I'm in has a cleric of Rock and Roll.

Ravens_cry
2008-12-21, 10:41 AM
One of the games I'm in has a cleric of Rock and Roll.

Did they look like THIS (http://pwbeat.publishersweekly.com/blog/wp-content/2007/01/kiss_destroyer.jpg)?:smallbiggrin:

Riffington
2008-12-21, 11:09 AM
I would say a legitimate authority is one who serves the needs of it's people.
Say you have a petty bureaucrat who uses his position to hire friends into important positions, irrespective of their qualifications, and to block due process for personal enemies. Not legitimate.
However, let us say you have a barbarian king who fearlessly protects his tribal kingdom from monsters and raiders. His standard of living may be higher then the average, but that is his reward for the risk he puts himself into for his people. Legitimate.

Mmm... legitimate authority only has to have avoided major cultural taboos regarding its succession, and to avoid active tyranny.
The petty bureaucrat in your example might well still be a legitimate authority. A Paladin would dislike him, but would still have to obey his rules.
Now, if that bureaucrat were calling hits on his enemies, or were discovered to have an Elvish great-grandfather (if the law calls for him to be a pureblooded human)... then the Paladin can stop considering him legitimate authority.

Eerie
2008-12-21, 11:53 AM
Evil paladin can`t fall (unless he becomes so evil that even his evil gods reject him).

What evil paladin can do is RISE.

Curmudgeon
2008-12-21, 11:59 AM
I would say a legitimate authority is one who serves the needs of it's people.According to the Dictionary (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/legitimate), the primary definition of legitimate is:
1. according to law; lawful: the property's legitimate owner. Specifically because your definition doesn't meet the standard one, the American colonies felt it necessary to announce to the world why they were rebelling against legitimate authority in the "Declaration of Independence". D&D is modeled loosely on historic elements that substantially predate this first successful revolution of a people. Your anachronistic definition is at odds with the game's conventions. That doesn't necessarily make it wrong; it just makes it not D&D.

Eclipse
2008-12-21, 12:03 PM
Legitimate authority is simple. It's whatever the GM says it is in a particular setting. It's also something that should be talked about beforehand between the GM and any alignment bound character, along with the nature of good and evil in the setting, so everyone knows the expectations of the game beforehand.

Curmudgeon
2008-12-21, 12:58 PM
Legitimate authority is simple. It's whatever the GM says it is in a particular setting. It's also something that should be talked about beforehand between the GM and any alignment bound character, along with the nature of law and chaos in the setting, so everyone knows the expectations of the game beforehand.
I fixed your post for you. We're talking about authority here, right?

monty
2008-12-21, 01:48 PM
One of the games I'm in has a cleric of Rock and Roll.Did they look like THIS (http://pwbeat.publishersweekly.com/blog/wp-content/2007/01/kiss_destroyer.jpg)?:smallbiggrin:

/steal

A campaign idea waiting to happen.

Kris Strife
2008-12-21, 04:42 PM
Evil paladin can`t fall (unless he becomes so evil that even his evil gods reject him).

What evil paladin can do is RISE.

Hey! I made that joke already. :p I even got druids and blighters in there.

Waspinator
2008-12-21, 05:00 PM
And this is why you get a Phylactery of Faithfulness.

Assassin89
2008-12-21, 05:33 PM
Falling is a serious matter, which results in 1d6 per 10 feet of damage. Evil paladins and clerics can fall if doing action which are not favored by the deities.

Dervag
2008-12-21, 06:55 PM
Falling is a serious matter, which results in 1d6 per 10 feet of damage. Evil paladins and clerics can fall if doing action which are not favored by the deities.Or if someone kicks them into a pit or something.
________

Seriously, I think that an evil paladin or cleric who fails to serve their god or their cause properly should "fall" (rise?) just like a good one who fails in the same way. If a demon is giving you magic powers to be the most psychotic murderer ever, then you're probably going to get in trouble and get your powers cut off if you start walking the path of virtue.

Devils_Advocate
2008-12-22, 04:37 PM
Is there any base class besides Paladin that even requires non-Good alignment?

Evil clerics, blackguards, fiends, etc. "rise". Opposite of falling. Traditional Planescape terminology. The Good-aligned Outer Planes are "Upper", and the Evil-aligned ones "Lower". It's a consistent metaphor.

Of course, you can fall out of favor with a source of divine power without shifting your alignment on the Good/Evil axis, so "fall" also winds up as a generic term for such falling out of favor and it's all a bit confusing. It's like how Evil deities have unholy symbols, but "holy symbol" is used as a generic term.


It's worth noting that all clerics, no matter their alignment, can fall if they do something their deity is not happy with. It's something many groups forget about.
The thing is, while the Cleric class description explains that a cleric falls for grossly violating the code of conduct required by his god... those codes of conduct are, like, not there. Maybe they're lying around in setting specific material, but I'm pretty sure that even Deities and Demigods doesn't give specific codes of conduct for its deities. The PHB sure doesn't, which is annoying, since it really should provide sufficient information for a player to play a cleric of one of the deities it contains.

In theory, this is something for the DM to flesh out, but since the rules pretty much skip over it, it can be easy to forget that it's even an issue. I don't think that it's one of the campaign world aspects that the DMG talks about addressing.

This also makes Chaotic Neutral deities, whose clerics implicitly must follow an externally established code of conduct and explicitly must be Chaotic, wacky as hell. But then maybe they're supposed to be. :smallamused: (Or maybe not all deities have codes of conduct. It doesn't say that they do, so maybe you just have to follow one if your god has one. So you could totally run Boccob as genuinely completely uncaring in your own generic setting. (In Greyhawk he's all balance-happy.))


If you ask me, playing a cleric of an ideal in a setting with an established pantheon (apart from Planescape) is very cheesy - it's trying to get all the power of a cleric without any of the RP responsibilities. Not to mention you get to choose your own domains...
It also means that you don't have a deity or a church backing you up. A godless cleric is actually a non-optimal choice in Eberron, which plays up churches supporting their faithful, where it's easy to get a lot of domain combination from one of the two big pantheons, and where your cleric can be corrupt as hell and still keep his powers anyway.

Of course, in theory, you could be cleric of a cause and have a patron deity. Now that would be cheesy, at least potentially.


The thing is that it is just as easy for a paladin to fall to non-lawful than it is to fall to non-good.

Paladins need to obey local authorities. Why? There is massively important reason for that. That way paladins can have headquarters even in cities that are ruled by evil authority. They can help the poor and do the little that they can because the lords know that paladins aren't going to arm rebels, poison the leaders, etc... Paladins can act as diplomats, prevent wars, etc. because they follow their code of not backstabbing the authority.

Well, what happens if a good rebel comes and asks for protection? Paladins need to choose between doing the lawful thing (giving him over to authorities to secure that they can continue the good that they do) and doing the good thing (saving him). This kind of decisions are tough and though I don't want to start alignment discussion if either of those are really evil etc., it is important to understand that paladins need to face such problems.
Actually, the Paladin code clarifies issues like these. Paladins are to never commit an Evil act. So if they ever have to choose between Lawful Evil and Chaotic Good, they're to choose Chaotic Good, period. But wait, it gets better! Since helping those in need is part of their code, that can help to justify things that might otherwise be Chaotic as non-Chaotic! It's more that they're obligated to help the needy through the most legitimate means available.

But, you object, maybe staying in an evil king's good standing allows an order of paladins to accomplish more good over the long run, so turning over a Good rebel is the morally superior choice! Well, again, the code clarifies. Paladins are forbidden from associating with Evil beings. Now, we can argue about exactly what that means and whether given applications of it are dumb, but forbidding paladins from helping Evil people to achieve Evil goals is clearly both intended and sensible. So that's not something a paladin can do and stay a paladin, even if she does judge that it would be for the greater good. (Call this the Anti-Corruption Clause. Paladins never knowingly serve as soldiers of Evil, even part-time. They're kept trustworthy to decent people first, and to those in power second, because the forces of Lawful Good are more interesting in supporting decency than they are in supporting authority in general.)


Now, look at lawful evil. They face the very same problems for the very same reasons. The reason why a good lord in a city can let blackguard organization stay, recruit, preach, act as diplomats, etc. is that he must know that they won't help rebels and evil cults and do similar stuff. So blackguards have very similar codes of conduct as good paladins. Yes, blackguards get poison use but that ability only affects poisons on a weapon, it still doesn't mean that they would be allowed to poison foods and drinks of leaders. And when it comes to doing what is best for the organization at the expense of those codes... Blackguards can fall.

Chaotic evil ones are perhaps the ones with easiest to stay in their position as they get to do whatever feels best... But they can still have codes based on the religion. For example a cleric of gruumsh might have to kill anyone who tries to betray him or overthrow any leaders he sees too weak but that might be difficult to cope with in any sort of diplomatic situation.
Paladins of Slaughter and Paladins of Tyranny have to be Chaotic Evil and Lawful Evil respectively. Clerics of Evil gods need to stay in their respective deities' good standing. (This does not necessarily mean following orders. Lolth's commands are sometimes mutually incompatible. She thinks this is funny as hell.) Blackguards just have to stay Evil.


And feeling any compassion towards anyone puts you in a high risk of becoming to "fall" towards good.
If you take helping people to be Good regardless of motive, some blackguards might wind up going off occasionally to brutally slaughter whole inconsequential little villages, so that they can maintain beneficial cooperative relationships with benevolent powers and still be sure to retain Evil alignment (and thus their blackguard powers). And if you see blackguards as being empowered by a fundamentally sadistic, malevolent, Evil-promoting force, this really makes perfect sense.

Chaotic Evil is not doing "whatever feels best". (What alignment is a guy who just does whatever the hell he wants? That depends entirely on what he wants to do, duh.) CE is only inherently easier to maintain than other alignment if you decide that Law and Good are restrictive but Chaos and Evil aren't. If it means that you have to hurt and defy others way more than you help and obey them, it's actually sort of limiting.


A paladin needs to follow only just laws, not tyrannical ones.
Dragging the concept of "justice" into the alignment system and/or the paladin's code makes things waaaaaaaay more complicated than they need to be. If you do that, you're adding another term that needs to be rigidly defined for game-relevant things to have consistent meanings.

I have no problem with things being called "just" or "unjust". But having this as an actual part of the rules seems like a bad idea. Actually clarifying alignment and the paladin code requires boiling them down to non-vague, non-subjective standards.

A tyrant (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyrant) is just someone who seized political power through extralegal means instead of obtaining it from a preexisting power structure (like inheriting the title of monarch, getting elected, being appointed by a ruler or committee, whatever). A tyrant can rule kindly and equitably, and need not come to power through violence. Every regime necessarily begins as a tyranny. Opposition to all tyranny means supporting continual anarchy over the establishment of government where there was none.

Also: All government, by its very nature, controls the populace. Different governments do so by widely varying means and to widely varying degrees, but exerting control is a constant. Any government tries to restrict what people do: preventing them from robbing or killing citizens, for example, is fairly universal. So if that's tyranny, all governments are tyrannies. Even a democracy is a tyranny of the majority.


Standing up to unjust authority is indeed a lawful act. Or would be, if the Law-Chaos axis made sense.
What do you mean by "unjust"? And what's nonsensical about Law as obedience to potentially unjust authority?


One of the games I'm in has a cleric of Rock and Roll.
Well, rock is definitely an important, pervasive phenomenon. :smallamused: Admittedly, it's a little specific. And in a setting where it's a weird new genre that only the cleric and his friends know about, it doesn't quite work very well by Complete Divine standards. But it would work in the real world, if Earth weren't such a darned low-magic setting.

A cleric of Music, though, is entirely appropriate in a game where godless clerics are allowed. That's nearly Bards' whole power source, like Nature is for druids.

Tengu_temp
2008-12-22, 05:43 PM
A tyrant (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyrant) is just someone who seized political power through extralegal means instead of obtaining it from a preexisting power structure (like inheriting the title of monarch, getting elected, being appointed by a ruler or committee, whatever). A tyrant can rule kindly and equitably, and need not come to power through violence. Every regime necessarily begins as a tyranny. Opposition to all tyranny means supporting continual anarchy over the establishment of government where there was none.


What made you think I was using the dictionary definition of "tyranny" there?

Curmudgeon
2008-12-22, 05:53 PM
A tyrant (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyrant) is just someone who seized political power through extralegal means instead of obtaining it from a preexisting power structure (like inheriting the title of monarch, getting elected, being appointed by a ruler or committee, whatever). Huh? You're all mixed up. The Dictionary (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/tyrant) definition of tyrant is:
1. a sovereign or other ruler who uses power oppressively or unjustly.
2. any person in a position of authority who exercises power oppressively or despotically.
3. a tyrannical or compulsory influence.
4. an absolute ruler, esp. one in ancient Greece or Sicily. There's nothing in the definition about how the ruler came to power; only about how that power is used. A big part of the "explanation" section (why the Colonies were revolting) in the Declaration of Independence was devoted to painting George III as a tyrant. George III acquired the throne of England through legitimate succession upon the death of George II.

Riffington
2008-12-22, 10:22 PM
There was a period in time where a tyrant was "someone who came to power through force". That is not the current meaning or the original meaning.
The original meaning was "a ruler with absolute power".
The current meaning is "a ruler who abuses his power in particularly bad ways"... which is in many ways related to the original meaning...

unrelatedly:
Certain aspects of Western thought support the notion that supernaturally good creatures (including Paladins) can fall of their own volition, whereas supernaturally evil creatures (including anti-Paladins) do not simply rise. They can be redeemed by a combination of their own merit and the assistance of a higher Good power. Even trying is risky - he may be killed by his former master, by the Good power whom he beseeches for aid, or by those he has previously wronged (he is especially vulnerable while he has neither Vile or Righteous power.)

holywhippet
2008-12-22, 11:01 PM
Paladins need to obey local authorities. Why? There is massively important reason for that. That way paladins can have headquarters even in cities that are ruled by evil authority. They can help the poor and do the little that they can because the lords know that paladins aren't going to arm rebels, poison the leaders, etc... Paladins can act as diplomats, prevent wars, etc. because they follow their code of not backstabbing the authority.

Well, what happens if a good rebel comes and asks for protection? Paladins need to choose between doing the lawful thing (giving him over to authorities to secure that they can continue the good that they do) and doing the good thing (saving him). This kind of decisions are tough and though I don't want to start alignment discussion if either of those are really evil etc., it is important to understand that paladins need to face such problems.



Code of Conduct

A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class abilities if she ever willingly commits an evil act.

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

While she may adventure with characters of any good or neutral alignment, a paladin will never knowingly associate with evil characters, nor will she continue an association with someone who consistently offends her moral code. A paladin may accept only henchmen, followers, or cohorts who are lawful good.

Working in a city ruled by evil would probably violate the non-association rule from my point of view. Assuming the ruler was openly evil.

Handing over a good aligned rebel would count as an evil action IMO.

I kind of doubt that a paladin would be working in a city prone to evil - like Zhentil Keep in the Forgotten Realms. If they were there it would be as part of an invading army.

Trizap
2008-12-23, 12:02 AM
I think an evil paladin falling would actually count as "rise" since a good paladin would "fall" from doing an evil act, a evil paladin would instead "rise"

hey makes sense to me

Riffington
2008-12-23, 09:14 AM
If the government is actually Evil (Lawful or otherwise), a Paladin cannot work with it. They cannot support a system that is actively tyrannical.

However, if a government is Neutral, then the Paladin would have to support it. Not only as a means to retaining the ability to keep doing good... but also because they support the continued rule of law even when the specific law is problematic. In this situation, they might well turn over a Chaotic Good rebel to the authorities, and would face the sort of dilemma Lentava-Heppa describes.

It gets even more complicated when the local government is a different alignment than the national government...

Coplantor
2008-12-23, 09:50 AM
PHB says that if a cleric grossly violates the codes of his god, said cleric will loose his favour and stop gaining powers, this goes both for good and evil clerics.

Now, evil paladins presente in the UA are just a joke and shouldnt be considered as actual classes, their code of conduct is as restrictive as the regular paladin but also stupid.

If you are fighting to overthrow a goverment that is lawful it doesnt necessarily turns you into chaotic something. You overthrow a goverment but you replace it for another lawful one. Alignment isnt as circumstancial as you make it look, if so, a frenzied berserkerer would be changing alignment an awful lot, and so some barbarians.

Ravens_cry
2008-12-23, 11:46 AM
Rise puns aside, I would say Blackguards do fall. After all, if paladins fall for committing an evil act, then blackguards should fall, in the sense of losing their powers, for good acts. After all, if good deities are not pleased by evil acts, why should evil deities be any more tolerant? If anything, an evil deity would be less so, especially a lawful evil deity. A good deity might be willing to forgive, but it couldn't give paladins powers until the fallen blackguard hit lawful good, which would take a couple of weeks at least.

Coplantor
2008-12-23, 12:02 PM
I find though, that the good acts that should make a blackguard fall are hard to define. Wich acts of good should deprive them from their powers? Risking their life for someone else? In case of a strong devotion towards the deity, that's what they are doing probably. Is it truly love? Probably, though in some twisted way.

Morty
2008-12-23, 12:17 PM
I find though, that the good acts that should make a blackguard fall are hard to define. Wich acts of good should deprive them from their powers? Risking their life for someone else? In case of a strong devotion towards the deity, that's what they are doing probably. Is it truly love? Probably, though in some twisted way.

Simple- helping others without hoping for personal gain is weakness. And <instert evil diety here> doesn't tolerate weakness.

Coplantor
2008-12-23, 12:26 PM
Simple- helping others without hoping for personal gain is weakness. And <instert evil diety here> doesn't tolerate weakness.

Good point. Intresting, how the way of those who try to live by the higher standards of both good and evil is a lonely one.

Ravens_cry
2008-12-23, 12:28 PM
Well, and this is why lawful and good are and should be separate, I would say disobeying the deity for one.
"Slaughter that village, my unholy hand of doom, smite them with my Evil!"
"No."
*fall*
Or from fraternizing with good aligned people.
"Any idea for what we should do?"
"Lets go about and incite nonviolent protest!"
"I think you have a speech impediment, I keep hearing the sound 'non' just before you say 'violent'."
"No, I don't."
*fall*
Or from good acts.
"Agh! Blackguard! ! !"
"Um, I am supposed to slaughter you, but ugh, I don't want to today. So, um, just stay here for now."
*fall*
"Aha! Fallen Blackguard! ! !"
*stab*

Coplantor
2008-12-23, 12:31 PM
...Or from good acts.
"Agh! Blackguard! ! !"
"Um, I am supposed to slaughter you, but ugh, I don't want to today. So, um, just stay here for now."
*fall*
"Aha! Fallen Blackguard! ! !"
*stab*...

Not killing is not a good act (this sounds wierd, I know), and is even more far from good if the reason was lazyness

Ravens_cry
2008-12-23, 12:45 PM
Not killing is not a good act (this sounds wierd, I know), and is even more far from good if the reason was lazyness
I say if DM are goind to be pricks about paladins they should be pricks about blackguards. I hoped the' ums', gave a signs that his reasons given were rather dissembling.

Blue Ghost
2008-12-24, 12:50 AM
Good point. Intresting, how the way of those who try to live by the higher standards of both good and evil is a lonely one.


Lonely because no one ever tries to do it. Good and evil are mutually incompatible, after all.
I would say that evil clerics and paladins could fall, probably more easily than can good ones. Just look at Lolth.

Deepblue706
2008-12-24, 01:09 AM
I think "falling" as an evil cleric/paladin is different from those that are good; a normal Paladin is not just Lawful Good, but they also adhere to a strict code. I believe the Evil versions just happen to have codes that are in their nature evil.

Evil can do things that happen to be good, so long as they don't conflict with their code. For example, I doubt many evil gods have a rule that says, "All orphans must die; no exceptions"...so, a Paladin of Tyranny (or whatever) should not "fall" because he actually decided to save one from a burning building. Maybe he just happened to like the little bugger.

A normal Paladin, on the other hand, needs to not only stay to his code, but also keep up the Lawful Good alignment...which is hard to do if we, say, reverse the scenario and have our hypothetical PC think, "Nah, screw the kid. He was a dork, anyway."

I'd say this tiny difference exists not within these classes, but the nature of Good and Evil. Evil can regularly do Good things, and still be Evil. Good can do Evil things, but not often regularly, and the good who do wrong generally try to make amends, somehow. Good has to stick to what's right, and Evil does whatever the hell he feels like. Evil doesn't lose powers from their god because they did too many good things; they did it because their god say "don't effin' do that".

Rei_Jin
2008-12-24, 01:40 AM
A few posters have brought up the issue of what code of conduct is required by the different deities. It's one of those things that was left out of the core books, and even Complete Divine and Deities and Demigods doesn't cover it. For the core gods you need to read through the Greyhawk Gazeteer - It has information on their dogma and what the expected behaviour is.

For other settings, you'll need to check the source material - for example, Faiths and Pantheons is the book you need for the Forgotten Realms.

Simanos
2008-12-24, 11:02 AM
Certain aspects of Western thought support the notion that supernaturally good creatures (including Paladins) can fall of their own volition, whereas supernaturally evil creatures (including anti-Paladins) do not simply rise. They can be redeemed by a combination of their own merit and the assistance of a higher Good power. Even trying is risky - he may be killed by his former master, by the Good power whom he beseeches for aid, or by those he has previously wronged (he is especially vulnerable while he has neither Vile or Righteous power.)




Now, evil paladins presente in the UA are just a joke and shouldnt be considered as actual classes, their code of conduct is as restrictive as the regular paladin but also stupid.


I agree with that. At least have the decency to call them Anti-Paladins or Dark Knights or something. The word Paladin is strongly associated with something different already.
Also note that the bonuses a Paladin gets are balanced by the restrictions he gets from his alignment and code. An evil version just can't provide similar role played handicaps. At best it can provide handicaps in a game-mechanics way, but with poor RP justification.

Aside from that evil Clerics (or Blackguards or Dark Knights or whatever) would perhaps "fall" in some situations that aren't complete mirrors of what it takes a Paladin to fall.
The correct word for "fallen" would be risen or redeemed? What do you think?
Also why did they remove the restriction from rangers (being good)? I'm curious.

Coplantor
2008-12-24, 11:33 AM
I dont know, I cant actually remember why were the ranger restricted to good only in 2nd ed. I'll check that once I get home.

Abourt evil beings, I think it should be easier for an evil cleric to fall than to a blackguard or an "evil paladin". Yes, 3rd ed strongly asociates paladinhood with religion, but the paladins are actually living examples of one common ideal. Tying a paladin to a god, and placing them on some religious hierarchy is a dangerous thing to do. Paladins are supposed to be errant knights, much like Don Quixote pretended to be.

Rei_Jin
2008-12-24, 07:14 PM
The other thing to remember is, that you don't need to shift alignment to fall from the grace of your deity. All you need to do is to work against its ideals in some way that upsets it enough to have it remove your powers.

Shifting alignments is a completely different thing. Now, the two can be related, but they don't have to be.

So, to fall from grace is the correct term for all divine classes. However, a shift in alignment is either a fall into evil, or a rise to good. If we were talking about law and chaos, the term becomes harder to use. Personally, I prefer the term shift to fall or rise, as it works better in all respects, and also avoids the old analogy that heaven is up, and hell is down.

Riffington
2008-12-24, 07:52 PM
I wanted to agree with Rei_Jin and DeepBlue. I think this also holds true even if you have no deity. An anti-paladin cannot be an examplar of "all that is evil". There are too many mutually-contradictory ways to be evil. If you are a champion of slaughter, you should despise deserters as much as Paladins do...

Simanos
2008-12-26, 02:46 PM
Yeah shifting alignment doesn't matter so much to a deity since already priests are allowed to be one step away from their god. Of course if you worship a good god and start neutral, then if you shift towards evil I would rule that you lose your granted powers (probably spells too for a while) even before considering deity ideals.