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Blackjackg
2009-05-25, 10:52 AM
In a homebrew world, The Silver Knight lives in a manor house on a private island. He's a renowned hero in his world, a paragon of goodness beloved by nobility and peasantry alike. If the characters become famous enough for doing good deeds, they may receive an invitation to visit him on his island. If they become famous enough for doing evil deeds, he may come out and mess them up.

In reality, The Silver Knight is a made-up character played by a Rakshasa for unknown reasons. He appears human using his Change Shape ability. He doesn't have a secret torture chamber/sacrificial altar/human breeding farm in his basement. He truly is doing good deeds, despite being profoundly evil by nature. Is he mad, or are his methods simply too inscrutable to guess? If the characters learn his true nature (either by finding the mysterious holes in his story, or through a True Seeing spell) and destroy him, are they ridding the world of an evil outsider or of a true hero?

Those questions aren't actually for you all to answer, they're rhetorical questions that the players may have to face when they encounter the character. In this world, there are creatures who are objectively evil by their nature (mainly evil outsiders), and the Rakshasa is one of them. Take that as a given leading into my actual question: how can I make it work, crunchwise?

What I have now is for him to be a Knight (PHB2) with a magic item that gives a permanent Misdirection effect, essentially swapping his alignment with that of a Celestial Tiger that he allows to live on his island (probably strictly for that purpose). So while he is a Lawful Evil knight, he appears to be a Lawful Good knight.

What I'd really like, however, is for him to seem to be a paladin. This is tricky, as the paladin has certain abilities that are difficult to mimic. So I'm asking if anyone knows of any combination of classes, feats, or spells that would allow an evil character (ideally chaotic evil, but I'm easy on this) to effectively convince people that he is a paladin?

EDIT: I'm looking for a CR between 12 and 16, if possible.

Hat-Trick
2009-05-25, 11:00 AM
Wait. Is the character Good or not? Because natural tendencies aren't personal actions. They have a Lawful Good Succubus running around somewhere. She reads evil and chaotic if tested, but also reads good and lawful when tested. You said he actually is doing good deeds, right? Then his personal alignment would be Good as well. He could just be a Core paladin that way, no hoops, just backstory.

Blackjackg
2009-05-25, 11:12 AM
Thanks for your input, HT. I recognize that, in general, the point is debatable, but in this homebrew world, the character is evil. By its nature, that's all it can be. It seems to do good things, but for inscrutable (possibly illogical) evil reasons. I realize many people will disagree with my interpretation of alignment, but this isn't a thread to debate that. I'm looking for ideas as to how a character who is evil could fool intelligent, seasoned adventurers into believing that he is a paladin.

woodenbandman
2009-05-25, 11:16 AM
Thanks for your input, HT. I recognize that, in general, the point is debatable, but in this homebrew world, the character is evil. By its nature, that's all it can be. It seems to do good things, but for inscrutable (possibly illogical) evil reasons. I realize many people will disagree with my interpretation of alignment, but this isn't a thread to debate that. I'm looking for ideas as to how a character who is evil could fool intelligent, seasoned adventurers into believing that he is a paladin.

If he acts like a paladin, he'll probably be thought of as a paladin by all. Just have him storm in and save some peasants, nobody will question him after that. Not for a goodly while.

RavKal
2009-05-25, 11:23 AM
You should have his house lined with lead. :smalltongue:

Hat-Trick
2009-05-25, 11:26 AM
Use summon monster to simulate a special mount. Cast cure spells to simulate lay on hands and Remove Disease by the spell. Smite evil may be harder to simulate.

Wulfram
2009-05-25, 11:30 AM
Divine Champion could give you some powers that would help you pass for a paladin.

Vizen
2009-05-25, 11:31 AM
Smite evil may be harder to simulate.

I'm sure its possible to make a Power Attack seem like a Smite Evil, if played right.

Raroy
2009-05-25, 11:32 AM
Just give him paladin abilities. You don't need over complicated class combination to make up a mimic paladin. Your the dm, if the guy has an ability to hurt evil creatures then give him smite evil. You can cut a lot of corners by refluffing crunch. He doesn't have to actually be a paladin to act like a paladin.

Narmoth
2009-05-25, 11:34 AM
Ordained champion of Hextor (LE deity) gets smite spells. If your world don't have Hextor, homebrew him to any philosophy/deity that values honour, might, duells, and oppressing the weak.

Could he take a vow of poverty? Then he would get undetectable alignment and a lot of other nice stuff

What else? A paladin has lay on hands and he has a special mount. Make the mount a charmed good celestial creature. A unicorn or something
That alone should throw the group of the track.

Find a sword that has a lot in common with a holy weapon.

For lay on hands, use ordinary, clerical healing

Chronos
2009-05-25, 11:59 AM
Thanks for your input, HT. I recognize that, in general, the point is debatable, but in this homebrew world, the character is evil. By its nature, that's all it can be. It seems to do good things, but for inscrutable (possibly illogical) evil reasons.If you're going to make this work, you're going to need to figure out what those evil reasons are, and make it at least possible for your players to figure them out, too. Otherwise it amounts to "This guy is everything a good person should be, but he's evil because I say so, even though he has no traits of evil whatsoever".

Kylarra
2009-05-25, 12:04 PM
I suppose the obvious thing would be the evil paladin variants.

EarFall
2009-05-25, 12:06 PM
The thing I'm most confused about is why you want chaotic evil... that meshes with none of the following:
- A master plan that he might have
- Being a paladin
- Being a knight
- Being a rakshasa
- Doing good deeds to "Maintain" a standard...

Really, what you're describing, if he does have some evil plan, is an archetype of lawful evil. Chaotic evil might plan, but they abandon plans at the first trouble, or they have haphazard plans.

Now, if you want him to ACTUALLY be good, chaotic evil still makes no sense... so can I ask why you want a chaotic evil rhakshasa pretending to be a paladin?

Kylarra
2009-05-25, 12:10 PM
The thing I'm most confused about is why you want chaotic evil... that meshes with none of the following:
- A master plan that he might have
- Being a paladin
- Being a knight
- Being a rakshasa
- Doing good deeds to "Maintain" a standard...

Really, what you're describing, if he does have some evil plan, is an archetype of lawful evil. Chaotic evil might plan, but they abandon plans at the first trouble, or they have haphazard plans.

Now, if you want him to ACTUALLY be good, chaotic evil still makes no sense... so can I ask why you want a chaotic evil rhakshasa pretending to be a paladin?He seems to be an LE Rakshasa


So while he is a Lawful Evil knight, he appears to be a Lawful Good knight.

MustacheFart
2009-05-25, 01:11 PM
Chaotic Evil Rhakshasa + Helm of Opposite Alignment + Failed Will Save + Levels in Paladin = Typical, stick-up-the-butt, LG Paladin!


You're welcome LOL!

UserClone
2009-05-25, 01:39 PM
Have you considered Hospitaler? It requires no such strictures as a paladin, and pretty much covers your basic abilities.

Blackjackg
2009-05-25, 01:51 PM
If you're going to make this work, you're going to need to figure out what those evil reasons are, and make it at least possible for your players to figure them out, too. Otherwise it amounts to "This guy is everything a good person should be, but he's evil because I say so, even though he has no traits of evil whatsoever".

Ultimately I'm cool with "he's evil because I say so." ;) I'm speaking partially in jest. I'm not trying to be on a DM power trip, but I don't see any reason why the motives of an evil outsider have to make sense to your typical human adventurers. Or to human players, or even DMs, for that matter. Realistically, the goals of a Rakshasa have every reason to be entirely alien to us, so I don't sweat it too much. Plus, if I put the secret sacrificial altar in the basement, I don't give my characters much of a moral tangle to sort out. So really, I'm comfortable with laying it to rest at "He's crazy (by human standards), and he wants to play knight for some reason."


The thing I'm most confused about is why you want chaotic evil... that meshes with none of the following:
<snip>

The main reason I was thinking chaotic was simply that he has this elaborate fantasy life, which he may or may not believe to any number of degrees. In some ways, he has conceptual roots in White Wolf's Fair Folk (Exalted) or True Fae (Changeling). To me, that implies chaos. But your points are well taken, and Lawful certainly makes more sense in R.A.W. Which is why I suggested chaos, but noted that lawful is fine too.

Everyone, thanks for the suggestions. Many are being taken into consideration, and I'd be happy to hear more if you've got 'em.

Devils_Advocate
2009-05-25, 02:14 PM
This is tricky, as the paladin has certain abilities that are difficult to mimic.
Just out of curiosity, which ones are you thinking of?

Smite Evil: Hit bad guy real hard.
Detect Evil: "That guy is totally evil. I can tell."
Special Mount: Buy a horse.

Lay on hands, maybe? He could maybe prep some Stilled, Silenced Cure spells in case he ever really needs to demonstrate that. Failing that, "I'm out of that for today."

If this guy seems to be a good guy in all respects, how does that allow for a dilemma for the PCs? :smallconfused: They'll have no reason to think he's Evil. They may find out that he's not really exactly what he appears to be, but there's a big leap from that to "OMG he must be evil!"

Blackjackg
2009-05-25, 02:38 PM
If this guy seems to be a good guy in all respects, how does that allow for a dilemma for the PCs? :smallconfused: They'll have no reason to think he's Evil. They may find out that he's not really exactly what he appears to be, but there's a big leap from that to "OMG he must be evil!"

Absolutely, and that's a big part of the dilemma. Because it shouldn't be as simple as "He's evil, so let's kill him." It's more a question of how deep do they dig, and how do they handle what they learn. This isn't the BBEG for the campaign (or at least, it doesn't have to be), it's more of a curiosity, a mystery and an opportunity for roleplaying. Frankly, I'd be delighted if they learn the truth and just let it go, because then everyone learns something about these characters.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-05-26, 12:51 AM
Crusader from ToB, slightly refluffed. Lay on Hands is duplicted by the healing strikes, Devil's Advocate covered a few, and the Special Mount could be the Celestial Tiger, he just allows the mount to roam free most of the time because he rarely needs the aid.

BobVosh
2009-05-26, 01:57 AM
Pious Templar has smite. Not smite evil/good/etc just smite.

Don't forget a Rak has sorcerer casting equal to his HD. That should help a bit, although I don't know which spells. Possibly mount to summon a horse.

As for DE: He is too cool to spend actions DE? I dunno, some item which is
his holy symbol, that has DE at will.

So ECL 12(13? meh not looking it up) for Rak levels, 2 pious templar levels and you got all the more noticable Paladin Powers. Except for aura of good, which I don't know how to replicate. Seems hard too.

Haven
2009-05-26, 02:13 AM
This is kind of a false dilemma. Unless you can come up with a better reason than "He thinks he's doing evil when he's actually doing good, because he is a ridiculously specific and convenient kind of crazy", I'd say that the phrase "inherently evil" has no meaning in your story. The cues you'll give as DM will prime your players to think there's some moral dilemma, and they'll be let down I think.

My suggestion, if you really want to go with this: make his motive that he's trying to gain people's trust so he can betray them later on. Acting as a paladin will let him do that.

But as you've presented the scenario, I don't think there's actually any dilemma here. It might be more interesting if you take the basic idea, but make it so the rakshasha's struggling against his evil nature to do good deeds, which is a fairly standard story (see, say, Angel from Buffy). But the wrinkle it seems like you could go for here is that he's also deeply ashamed of his evil nature, rather than guilty about it, and that's why he's going to such great lengths to present himself as a paladin and hide his nature.

As it stands now, though, it relies too much on fiat and artificial constructs of the world; I imagine your players might be confused, and think that they're not "playing the game right" if they don't go after him, because as it stands, the only real reason to think this guy's evil is that presented in-universe. So it's not a moral dilemma, just a "wait, really? The rules say rakshashas are always chaotic evil? Hum."

Khanderas
2009-05-26, 02:38 AM
Seeing alot of good ways to fake paladin powers up there. Most of wich shouldnt need to be used since with his reputation noone suspects him of anything.
Not using a celestial unicorn for a mount can be "laying low so to not endanger the townspeople". Any mission he has that he needs backup from the PC's shoud be against some evil that can and will use innocent hostages. (if asked he does use his special mount when on simple solo missions to root out warrens and similar dangers in the wild where discression is not an issue).

A magical item shaped like a holy symbol would be very in character. Such as touching his amulet when curing disease with a prayer for example.



A deep hidden reason to do what he does could be that since the forces of balance always keeps the good and evil farily even, he plans to have the world be overwhelmed by goodness so when the balancing force adjusts like a rubber band in favor of evil, he is in a positon to assassinate alot of the top commanders of Good. This to "snap" the rubber band and evil to rule forever.

Weather such a balancing force exists or its just something he thinks will work is open for GM adjustments. Weather he still believes this or it was only the reason he started (and is now "converted") also up to the GM.

elliott20
2009-05-26, 02:45 AM
This is kind of a false dilemma. Unless you can come up with a better reason than "He thinks he's doing evil when he's actually doing good, because he is a ridiculously specific and convenient kind of crazy", I'd say that the phrase "inherently evil" has no meaning in your story. The cues you'll give as DM will prime your players to think there's some moral dilemma, and they'll be let down I think.

My suggestion, if you really want to go with this: make his motive that he's trying to gain people's trust so he can betray them later on. Acting as a paladin will let him do that.

But as you've presented the scenario, I don't think there's actually any dilemma here. It might be more interesting if you take the basic idea, but make it so the rakshasha's struggling against his evil nature to do good deeds, which is a fairly standard story (see, say, Angel from Buffy). But the wrinkle it seems like you could go for here is that he's also deeply ashamed of his evil nature, rather than guilty about it, and that's why he's going to such great lengths to present himself as a paladin and hide his nature.

As it stands now, though, it relies too much on fiat and artificial constructs of the world; I imagine your players might be confused, and think that they're not "playing the game right" if they don't go after him, because as it stands, the only real reason to think this guy's evil is that presented in-universe. So it's not a moral dilemma, just a "wait, really? The rules say rakshashas are always chaotic evil? Hum."

^ this.

I honestly can't think of why this rakshaka would be... well... evil.

what you got here is essentially what happens when you take deterministic alignment to it's logical conclusion. As of right now, he's basically a good guy. I mean, I get it, the Rakshaka in question might be the most evil thing in existence, but is just doing good right NOW for some nefarious end that is too complex for the human mind to grasp. That's what you want to get across.

But then if his reasoning is that complex, that convoluted, and that mysterious, how does that make YOU able to simply declare he is evil? you got nothing there. At some point, you NEED to define what exactly does he do that makes him so irredeemably evil that a lifetime of good work cannot undo. Otherwise, his "evilness" cannot be related to.

Having said that, if you're still insisting on doing this, you can do MOST of these via a cleric.

Darwin
2009-05-26, 03:39 AM
Having a simple Belt of Healing (MiC) could let him mimic the Lay on Hands class feature of the Paladin. That + his own word that he's a Paladin would be enough to convince my players, and probaly your players as well :smallsmile:

Farlion
2009-05-26, 05:21 AM
Hmmm... some input from me here:

The Rakshasa loves to see people suffer, not just physically, but mostly mentally. He loves to bathe in the cries of the mournful, every scream sendig a shiver down his spine. He has been in this world for some time, but the people here are so blunted, that even killing the ones closest to them, does not lead to enough grief for the Rakshasa to bathe in.
The Rakshasa comes up with an idea to restore the full state of sorrow in the land. He starts making "good" deeds, allowing the people to gain hope. Their moral rises, deaths and sorrow are few. Life is good, the crops grow, bandits are rare, there are great festivals of joy.
In his ill mind the Rakshasa craves all the sorrow and pain he will get, once he unleashes his evil plan on the countryside, but the outlook for even more agony if he keeps up his "good" deeds for some more time let him postpone his plan into the future. In this state the Rakshasa has now persisted for a long time, too weak to put his plan to an end.

Essentially he is performing good deeds to follow an absolutely evil plan.

Cheers,
Farlion

Triaxx
2009-05-26, 08:05 AM
I homebrewed a class that takes care of most of what you want, with the only alignment required being lawful, which can be waved if you want. It's very similar to a paladin as well.

Cavalier

Alignment: Any Lawful.

Hit Die: d10

Class Skills: The Cavalier's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration (Con), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (religion) (Int) Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex).

Skill Points at 1st level: (2 + Int Modifier) x4
Skill Points at Each additional Level: 2 + Int Modifier

{table=head]Level|Base Attack<br>Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special
1st|
+1|
+1|
+0|
+0|Lay on Hands, Aura of Law 1/day,
2nd|
+2|
+2|
+0|
+0|Knightly Grace, Bonus Feat
3rd|
+3|
+3|
+1|
+1|Smite Foe 1/day
4th|
+4|
+4|
+1|
+1|Improved Shield Bash
5th|
+5|
+4|
+1|
+1|Dodge
6th|
+6/+1|
+5|
+1|
+1|Bonus Feat, Smite Foe 2/day
7th|
+7/+2|
+5|
+2|
+2|Aura of Law 2/day
8th|
+8/+3|
+6|
+2|
+2|Noble Mount 1st-Tier
9th|
+9/+4|
+7|
+2|
+2|Smite Foe 3/day
10th|
+10/+5|
+7|
+2|
+2|Bonus Feat
11th|
+11/+6/+1|
+8|
+3|
+3|Ride-by Attack
12th|
+12/+7/+2|
+8|
+3|
+3|Smite Foe 4/day
13th|
+13/+8/+3|
+9|
+3|
+3|Cleric Domain-1st, Lance Knight
14th|
+14/+9/+4|
+9|
+3|
+3|Bonus Feat, Noble Mount 2nd-Tier, Aura of Law 3/day
15th|
+15/+10/+5|
+10|
+4|
+4|Smite Foe 5/day
16th|
+16/+11/+6/+1|
+10|
+4|
+4|Combat Reflexes
17th|
+17/+12/+7/+2|
+11|
+4|
+4|Cleric Domain-2nd
18th|
+18/+13/+8/+3|
+11|
+4|
+4|Bonus Feat, Smite Foe 6/day
19th|
+19/+14/+9/+4|
+12|
+5|
+5|Cleric Domain-3rd
20th|
+20/+15/+10/+5|
+13|
+5|
+5|Bonus Feat, Stalwart Champion, Noble Mount 3rd-Tier[/table]

Class Features:
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Cavaliers are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, with all types of armor (heavy, medium, and light), and with shields (except tower shields).

Lay on Hands: As per the Paladin ability.

Aura of Law: Aura of Law is a Cavalier's final defense. Used when foes close in around him the Cavalier summons his knowledge of right and law, and projects a feeling of defenslessness and clumsiness against neutral and chaotic foes. Neutral foes take a -1 penalty to AC and BAB, while Chaotic Foes take a -2 penalty to AC and BAB. This effect lasts for 1 round per Cavalier level. The aura can be resisted by a (DC10 + Cavalier level + Cavalier's CHA mod) Will save. A Cavalier may use Aura of Law once per day at first level, and gains additional uses every seven levels.

Stalwart Champion: In exchange for -1's to his Reflex and Will Saves, the Cavalier gain's +1 to his fort save.

Mounted Combat: The Cavalier is treated as always having the mounted combat feat.

Smite Foe: As per the Smite Evil ability, but only against Chaotic or Neutral Foes. A Cavalier gains one use at third level, and an additional use every three levels there after.

Knightly Grace: At 2nd level, a Cavalier has been trained to fight on horseback, and when mounted on a horse or pony gains a +2 competence bonus when attempting to control an untrained animal. When mounted on a warhorse, or warpony, the Cavalier gains a +1 bonus to mounted melee attacks.

Bonus Feat: A Cavalier is granted bonus feat in addition to those she normally receives. Bonus feats may be selected from the fighter bonus feat list.

Improved Shield Bash: At 4th level Cavalier is treated as having the Improved Shield Bash feat while mounted, even if he or she does not meet the requirements.

Dodge: From 5th level on, when mounted a Cavalier is treated as having the dodge feat even if he or she does not meet the requirements for it.

Cleric Domain: A Cavalier, while not necessarily a religious warrior is looked upon with favor by his or her god. At 13th level, a Cavalier may choose one of his or her gods domain's, and use the first level domain power as a Cleric of one quarter the Cavalier's level. At 17th level, the Cavalier gains the second level domain power, as a cleric of one quarter Cavalier level, and at 1th, gains a third level domain power, as a cleric one-quarter of the Cavalier's level. Cavaliers cast based on CHA as Sorcerors, Bards, and Paladins.

Ride-by Attack: At 11th level, if not taken before the Cavalier gains Ride-by Attack while mounted, even he or she does not otherwise qualify.

Combat Reflexes: If he has not taken it at an earlier level, at 16th level, the Cavalier is treated as having Combat Reflexes.

Lance Knight: At 13th level, the Cavalier has become a master of mounted combat, and as such is able to deal double damage when charging mounted wielding with a Sword, or Axe and Shield. Charging with a lance deals triple damage instead. The Cavalier's BAB, and chance to hit rolls are unaffected. The Cavalier also is able to disregard the -2 AC penalty while charging mounted.

Noble Steed: At 8th Level, a Cavalier may spend 1d4 days familiarizing himself with a particular mount, and bind himself to it. In doing so, it becomes a first tier mount. At level 14, it becomes a second tier mount, and at level 20, it becomes a third tier mount. While mounted on his Noble Mount, the Cavalier gains a +1 to his Reflex and Will saves.

If the Cavalier's Noble Steed is killed, it takes a year and a day to become familiar enough with another mount to replace it. Upon the steeds death, the Cavalier loses 200xp per level, with a fort save for half. In addition, the Cavalier must make a fort save, or be treated as having one half his total ride skill until he gains another Steed. Making the fort save reduces the penalty to three-quarters his ride skill. If the Cavalier's Steed is resurrected, the penalty to his ride skill is negated.


Noble Steed
{table=head]Tier|HD|Natural <br> Armor|Str. Adj.|Special
1st|
+2|
+2|
+1|Improved Mounted Combat, DR5/Silver
2nd|
+4|
+4|
+2|Shield Mount
3rd|
+6|
+6|
+4|Mounted Archery, DR10/Silver[/table]


Shield Mount:While mounted on his Noble Steed, the steed gains the Cavalier's Shield Bonus to it's AC against melee attacks.


Three levels of this will give you everything you want to play paladin and the rest of the levels can go to knight.

paddyfool
2009-05-26, 09:53 AM
I really think you need a motivation for this being to do what he's doing. Not to reveal to the players, but so you, as the DM, know why he's doing what he's doing, and can therefore ad-lib what he'd do to react to your players thinking outside the box when the moment arises. Basically, the fact that he's being comprehensively good suggests that either he's got a really meticulous streak, or a huge stake in acting as he does, or both. Here's a few:

Vengeful refugee
The Rakshasa is in hiding from other, more powerful, beings of his own kind of a related nature, and has long fled his home and taken up this act. As a "noble knight", he can step in and heroically thwart his long-time rivals, without them suspecting his true nature, never mind identity. He maintains his disguise meticulously and is every part the hero, complete with a false redemptive backstory to convince others, such as the party, who might find out his true nature. Essential motivation: fear and hatred.

Bored gambler
He's been evil for millennia, and got curious about how the other half lived. Once he'd started his dress-up, he was further interested in how differently people reacted to him... and he's maybe got a high stakes bet going based on how long he can keep this up, and his nature concealed. Essential motivation: Entertainment

Player of a slow game
Basically, he's infiltrating the defenders of this world to get to know their strengths and weaknesses, so that he and other dark allies can at some point in decades or centuries to come, when a really good opportunity presents itself, move in and take over. Until that point, he's also clearing any rivals off the turf. (I like this one the least - it's too obvious, and would give him ample motivation to have the party eliminated if they find out his true nature, which dissolves the moral dilemma). Essential motivation: ambition

Lapak
2009-05-26, 10:55 AM
paddyfool has some good suggestions. Another:
Vengeful Obsessive
As 'vengeful refugee', but he's not just hiding. Some evil god offended him in a way that there is no atoning for - destroyed his family's souls, prevented the Silver Knight's one shot at ascending to godhood, or some such - and the Knight will settle for nothing less than the offender's utter annihilation. Being a god of evil (and/or chaos), there is no way for him to attack it directly, but that's not a problem for an evil, immortal super-genius. His research indicated that he can undermine the god's power and make it vulnerable only by substantially improving the overall Goodness of the material world, eliminating his worshipers and reducing the amount of suffering in the world, as all suffering feeds Evil God's power. Make the world a Good enough place, and the god's power will fade. It's a long-term revenge where the god will see and feel his influence being gradually eroded but be unable to do anything about it, until at last he either perishes or becomes vulnerable to mortal attack.

The Knight is not doing Good for Good's sake; he is doing it specifically to destroy a hated enemy. He is utterly obsessed and committed, so until his goal is met he will NOT veer from his course of promoting Goodness and defying Evil. The conflict: as long as he does not succeed, he is one of the most dedicated and devoted crusaders for Goodness there is, who will not wander into atrocity or cruelty because that would undermine his goals. The minute that the Evil God is overthrown, though, he'll revert to his behavior of centuries past.

Blackjackg
2009-05-26, 10:59 AM
*Deep Breath*

I didn't really want to get into this, but it looks like it's the only way I can put this topic to rest. Try and bear with me, and keep an open mind. Remember that what I'm saying is specific to MY outlook and MY campaigns, and is not meant as a blanket statement about how D&D should be. And if you don't feel like reading the whole thing, you can just skip to the last paragraph where it's all summed up.

Alignment is a nebulous concept, one of which there are many varied interpretations. I have come up with an interpretation that works well for me, works well for my players, and generally fits both game balance and my personal philosophy. In a nutshell, it is this:

Alignment has two axes: moral (good-evil) and ethical (lawful-chaotic). The latter concerns itself with what people do. The former concerns itself exclusively with why people do what they do. Thus, sacrificing a peasant on an unholy altar isn't necessarily an evil act (it probably is, but you never can tell). What matters is why you sacrificed the peasant. If you truly believed in your heart that it was the only way to save the world, that's a good act. Or at least a neutral one. By the same token, you could slay the most sadistic red wyrm dracolich in the land, but if you did it for the wrong reasons, it's evil. Now, your position on the ethical axis affects which acts you will commit in order to accomplish your good or evil goals, but that doesn't impact the discussion at hand, so I'll drop it for the moment.

Now, I'm a big believer in free will, so I'm one of those people who believes "if it's got an intelligence score, it's got a choice." Doesn't matter if the entry for gold dragon says "Always Lawful Good," there's always a chance that a gold dragon may make choices that are evil. The EXCEPTION to that is outsiders (and maybe some fey). Creatures like fiends and archons are literally made of materialized conceptions of law and good and evil. An archon is physically incapable of putting its needs before the needs of others. A demon is utterly unable to be anything but selfish and cruel. They might be able to hide it with actions (lawful or chaotic, as the case may be), but underneath, their motives are anything but pure.

The rakshasa, despite being a native outsider, is one of these creatures. It's a nightmare monster from beyond (beyond what, we're not sure). By its basic nature, it can only ever be selfish. This rakshasa in particular is eccentric, and gains some perverse pleasure out of playing hero. He does good deeds, but not for others. He isn't capable of doing things for the sake of others. He only wants to play his game, soak up the adulation, and laugh privately about his little "trick." Thus, despite doing "good" deeds, he is still fundamentally evil. Remember, this is a nightmare creature from beyond... its motives even at its most lucid are not likely to make sense to mortal humans. When one gets a little off-center like this guy, there's no way to fathom the depths of its inhuman mind.

That being said, there are many ways he could react to an open and overt challenge to his fantasy, depending on the context. If they challenge him in private, he may just slay them and hide the bodies. If they "out" him publicly, he may try to draw them into his game, making them out to be deceivers, enchanters and villains in his demented shadow play. Think Don Quixote with a twist. Or maybe the PCs will learn the truth and just let it go, realizing that as long as he's playing pretend, he's not harming anyone. It's a roleplaying challenge.

I realize my conception of alignment is probably not the same as yours. I haven't tried to force my way of playing on anybody at this forum, and I won't. Keep in mind that I've been playing this game for almost twenty years, and DMing for more than ten. My players have universally loved my games, my NPCs and my ideas. I do know what I'm doing. I started this thread to ask for input on mechanics, and many of you have given me just that. I'm grateful. To those of you who are more concerned with alignment: I appreciate that you're trying to be helpful, but when you argue with me about how I create my metaphysics or conceptualize my characters, you aren't giving me what I've asked for and you're not helping.

Thank you.

Devils_Advocate
2009-05-26, 06:19 PM
You should know better than to think that you can say controversial things about alignment and have a group of D&D players disregard them just because they're completely irrelevant to what you're asking. :smalltongue:

Seriously, though, if you want to prevent tangential discussions in an internet message board thread, you're probably better off not presenting an obvious avenue for tangential discussion. Forbidding people from following said avenue is unlikely to help. It is probable that several individuals will not honor such a request.

If you think about it, it's a little domineering. "I'm going to bring up something irrelevant to my question, because I feel like sharing it with you, but you're not allowed to discuss it." Even assuming that the original poster should be allowed to determine what discussion takes place, doesn't this seem like a bit of an abuse of that power? You're not really supposed to use that unofficial authority to decide what will be discussed by everyone but you. It's only polite to follow the same restriction that you'd put on everyone else.

You could have just said "I want to know how to make a Rakshasa Knight seem to be a paladin. I already know how to fake his alignment." Or words to that effect.

Flickerdart
2009-05-26, 06:29 PM
Why not have him be working for the "lesser good"? He has very good PR, but his acts are calculated to bring about the best ratings with the least amount of good actually done. In the choice between saving the baby or killing the demon, he saves the baby. He helps few inconsequential peasants every once in a while, but in doing so can't also make it to protect the castle from the dragon. He doesn't have to be very good at being Good.

Blackjackg
2009-05-26, 08:10 PM
<What he said.>

You make a very good point, and your screen name is right on the money. In retrospect, I regret including the background information, but it was included only as that: background information. It wasn't really my intention to stymie conversation, but frankly, I was frustrated. As a DM, I generally know what I'm doing, and it was frustrating to have to defend my creation against multiple challenges when a simple "Trust me, it'll work" should have sufficed.

But, as I said, your point is well taken. I'll try to be more circumspect, and more courteous in the future.

Lapak
2009-05-26, 08:56 PM
You make a very good point, and your screen name is right on the money. In retrospect, I regret including the background information, but it was included only as that: background information. It wasn't really my intention to stymie conversation, but frankly, I was frustrated. As a DM, I generally know what I'm doing, and it was frustrating to have to defend my creation against multiple challenges when a simple "Trust me, it'll work" should have sufficed.

But, as I said, your point is well taken. I'll try to be more circumspect, and more courteous in the future.I, for one, appreciate that you recognize where you went astray. Personally, the reason that I went down the motives-rather-than-methods road was that your original question had already been answered in several different ways - your problem was dealt with already, but the scenario you presented was interesting for more than just your own purposes. I don't think anyone was questioning that you knew what you were doing for your own scenario; we were exploring the possibilities of the basic setup for our own interest. That's not a bad thing, I don't think!

KillianHawkeye
2009-05-26, 09:26 PM
Personally, I enjoy threads like this that contain interesting ideas. I frequently read something on these boards that I may wish to use or imitate (making alterations to better fit my own game and players), so it's beneficial to me as a reader when a bunch of people suggest alternative story concepts, interesting combinations, or character builds.

elliott20
2009-05-26, 09:35 PM
see, now THAT right there is cool. Your take on alignment, believe it or not, makes a lot more sense to me than just letting the end result of the action speak for itself.

The crux is, he DOES have a sinister side, but it just doesn't manifest itself openly.

the thing is, that would be a great source of drama right there. After all, why have all this hidden sinister intent if it never surfaces, right? :) I believe I will have to yoink this idea later on.

btw, let me reinforce using a cleric for him to emulate all the paladin abilities.

Heliomance
2009-05-26, 09:51 PM
paddyfool has some good suggestions. Another:
Vengeful Obsessive
As 'vengeful refugee', but he's not just hiding. Some evil god offended him in a way that there is no atoning for - destroyed his family's souls, prevented the Silver Knight's one shot at ascending to godhood, or some such - and the Knight will settle for nothing less than the offender's utter annihilation. Being a god of evil (and/or chaos), there is no way for him to attack it directly, but that's not a problem for an evil, immortal super-genius. His research indicated that he can undermine the god's power and make it vulnerable only by substantially improving the overall Goodness of the material world, eliminating his worshipers and reducing the amount of suffering in the world, as all suffering feeds Evil God's power. Make the world a Good enough place, and the god's power will fade. It's a long-term revenge where the god will see and feel his influence being gradually eroded but be unable to do anything about it, until at last he either perishes or becomes vulnerable to mortal attack.

The Knight is not doing Good for Good's sake; he is doing it specifically to destroy a hated enemy. He is utterly obsessed and committed, so until his goal is met he will NOT veer from his course of promoting Goodness and defying Evil. The conflict: as long as he does not succeed, he is one of the most dedicated and devoted crusaders for Goodness there is, who will not wander into atrocity or cruelty because that would undermine his goals. The minute that the Evil God is overthrown, though, he'll revert to his behavior of centuries past.

I have to say, I really love this one.

Haven
2009-05-26, 11:01 PM
Well, I apologize if anything in my post came across as rude, that's not how I intended it. It was meant as constructive criticism.

But the idea that you are so far above everyone else that no other input can possibly be helpful isn't a very healthy attitude. If you disagree with my suggestions specifically, that's fine, but disagreeing with the very idea of suggestions is literally unreasonable.

That said: I would like to hear how this turns out. It sounds like, if it assumes that (for instance) saving people is the same as murdering them, then its reputation is completely a lie and unearned, and it's going to be rather anxious about talking to the PCs, as it thinks this is just a huge bluff it has to make in order to be able to keep on continuing to pillage the land (or actually, save it).

Which sounds like an interesting setup for both drama and--maybe it's just me?--comedy; it's nervous because it's leading a life of virtue and good deeds.

graymachine
2009-05-26, 11:18 PM
Well, you could take a page from CAPHIAS CAIN, HERO OF THE IMPERIUM. He is seen as a paragon of martial virtue and faith, but is (from his perspective) a decadent coward. While in books he is always presented as True Neutral he is, in theory based on his own thoughts, more Neutral Evil leaning. Taking his lead you could make him appear good by downplaying the virtues of the others in his order. This could be accomplished by trumpting the virtue and nobility of knights, but by the same token expessing their reputation for excessive zeal for war and their destain for the common people. He could subvert these attitudes for his own ends while appearing "good."

Also, give him a connection to a regular supply of Wands of Glibness to soothe things over.

Doresain
2009-05-27, 01:06 AM
he could be playing the role of "good guy" in order to prevent an even greater evil from wiping out the world or whatever...hes not really good, its just the things he does to prevent a greater evil could be considered good

paddyfool
2009-05-27, 03:30 AM
The rakshasa, despite being a native outsider, is one of these creatures. It's a nightmare monster from beyond (beyond what, we're not sure). By its basic nature, it can only ever be selfish. This rakshasa in particular is eccentric, and gains some perverse pleasure out of playing hero. He does good deeds, but not for others. He isn't capable of doing things for the sake of others. He only wants to play his game, soak up the adulation, and laugh privately about his little "trick." Thus, despite doing "good" deeds, he is still fundamentally evil. Remember, this is a nightmare creature from beyond... its motives even at its most lucid are not likely to make sense to mortal humans. When one gets a little off-center like this guy, there's no way to fathom the depths of its inhuman mind.


I'm satisfied with this; put simply, as I understand it, the essential motive is entertainment, and he's just enjoying his ability to mislead people. Sounds like you've got it all worked out. [/alignment debate sidestep]

Devils_Advocate
2009-05-27, 04:33 PM
In retrospect, I regret including the background information, but it was included only as that: background information.
Well, some people have Chaotic Neutral tendencies. They'll just comment on whatever they feel like sharing their thoughts about, even if this is of no obvious help to anybody.

You can designate something as not being for commenting on, but this only encourages them. :smallamused: If you want no side discussions, you're probably best off limiting what you share.


As a DM, I generally know what I'm doing, and it was frustrating to have to defend my creation against multiple challenges when a simple "Trust me, it'll work" should have sufficed.
No, man, you don't get it. It doesn't matter that what you're doing works for you and your group. You're running the game *gasp* THE WRONG WAY! :smalleek: That's not acceptable!

This is especially true as regards alignment. It's a system of ZOMG OBJECTIVE MORALITY, which obviously means that there's only one right way to run it. Of course, the PHB just says a bunch of ultimately vague stuff about alignment and never really specifies what the right way is, but still, it's obvious which way is right. My way! How do I know that my way is right? I just told you, it's obvious, duh!

:smalltongue: :smallwink:

Mark Hall
2009-05-28, 03:46 PM
One of my favorite characters in the Forgotten Realms is Semmemon, as of the 3e FRCG. He's evil, through and through, but he's working with the forces of good (who know him to be evil) in revenge against his evil former comrades. He inspired me to make a thoroughly neutral bard, who didn't care about good and evil... but acted like a hero because he wanted fame, money, and girls, and people gave all of those to heroes.

What is the Rakshasha gaining from his actions? What are his motivations behind his acting like a good guy? Maybe he's testing a theory of evil... he's evil, himself, but wants to know if concerted good acts can make him good, despite his nature. Maybe he's discovered a ritual that will give him phenomenal powers... but it requires a certain number of selfless acts, and his attempting to perform these is self-defeating (since it's being done for selfish purposes, rather than for the value of the acts themselves). Maybe he's got a long-term plan for world domination, and figures that wiping out other evil people is the key... his gifts to heroes put them in his debt, and may contain secret flaws that allow him to invalidate them at will (they work just fine before that, but they can't harm him, or he can dispel them at will, or something like that).

Je dit Viola
2009-05-28, 08:04 PM
Oh, hey! This is awesome! I had the exact same idea except backwards - a Good knight who is on the villian's...except it's for a book instead of a game.

This thread has helped me come up with possible reasons how it could happen, even though those posts were on a tangent and off-topic.


On topic, though, I think that you just have to imitate some key abilities of Paladins (maybe using another class, magic items, or minions hidden nearby who have one or two paladin-like abilities) and have people noise around how paladin-like he is. Then the players will most-likely assume that he is a LG paladin, automatically.

erikun
2009-05-28, 08:58 PM
First off, thanks for the explanation. I like seeing how others create and run badguys, as it helps give me ideas on what to use when I'm DMing. :smallredface: And since the conversation about the Rakshasa has taken a turn to the worse, I'll leave it at that.

Secondly, will the party ever be fighting with the Knight? Because if not, I don't see why you'd need to reproduce all of the paladin's fighting abilities. After all, the layperson isn't going to know the difference between Lay on Hands and a healing spell, or between smiting and Power Attack - they just know he goes around, helps people, and kicks badguy butt.

My first thought for replicating Smite Evil is to give the Knight a magical sword that produces the smiting. It would make sense for an "Evil Overlord" magical weapon to have a smite-evil ability, as evil overlords would spend more time keeping minions in line that fighting heroes. :smalltongue: For that matter, anything used in the demon/devil war will be an evil weapon geared towards fighting evil, an so smiting evil wouldn't be that strange.

Cleric would seem the most obvious for a class, although hiding the Knight's real holy symbol is a concern. Right off hand, I'd think that if the Knight could get some kind of magical tattoo burned into his arm - which is kept covered by his armor - he could still carry around a false holy symbol of another diety and be very convincing. This probably works best if he's a cleric of Vecna, or some other diety of secrets - a non-obvious tattoo doesn't seem to fit into Hextor's mindset, after all.