View Full Version : Asking for specific GM advice

2009-09-23, 04:01 PM
I want the advice of fellow DM’s. I’m running a mostly sandbox adventure with a group of players that ranges from months to years of role playing experience.
Group consists of:
2 fighters

The other night the paladin in the group wanted to detect evil on the new fighter that just joined the group. The paladin didn’t find evil on the fighter, however he did on something in the fighter’s cart.

So, late at night on his watch, the paladin goes over and sees what is evil. He finds the secret compartment in the cart, and with the rogue’s help in the party, discovers the cache of illegal drugs and various items.

The fighter was a drug runner for a Crime Boss. He knew nothing about the evil item.

Evil item is a candle. Evil necromancer created it. When it’s lit everyone in a 30 ft radius makes a Fortitude save or falls asleep. Unconcious bodies are a particular favorite for necromancers.

Paladin doesn’t light the candle, but he doesn’t destroy it either. He just keeps it.

When they get to town, they deliver the drugs to the crime boss. The paladin lied to the crime boss, saying the candle was broken during a goblin battle they’d had earlier.

So, here’s the summary:

Paladin is going around town with an evil item on his
person (more or less)

Paladin lied to a crime boss.

Paladin gave a crime boss drugs.

The paladin won't fall because of this. These are… at best minor infractions with his faith, well except maybe the drugs thing, but I’m not sure about that either. You can give advice on that, if you feel differently.

I want the crime boss to call out the paladin. If Crime Boss grabs a random paladin (lawful good cleric, something along those lines) off the street, and explains the situation, I was thinking it would go something like this.

“Paladin over there delivered my shipment. He willingly stole part of it from me and then lied about it. I want him punished for this.”

Paladin would ask for proof.

Crime lord says, “Easy. Detect evil on him. The item in question was an evil candle. I was purchasing it to try and destroy it, keep it off the streets.”

(small bluff check that the crime boss can easily pass)

Oblivious Paladin detects evil on Guilty Paladin, and behold evil candle is present. Oblivious Paladin now has proof of theft, lying, and not immediately trying to destroy something that has an evil purpose in this world. (of course, no one except for the crime boss knows what purpose that is)

What would Oblivious do? Arrest him? Challenge to a duel?
Should the Crime Boss even go to a paladin for this?
Should he do something else? Is there a better way to deal with this situation?

And, what would the player’s defense be for his character’s actions? I don’t think he would mention drugs, because then the Paladin is willingly admitting that he helped in a crime, besides super charismatic crime boss will simply deny that part, and show false papers of very legal goods being traded between towns.

But, I’m also thinking the paladin simply wants to keep it out of the crime bosses hands. This explains the theft and lying. And since he wants to know more about it, he would of course not destroy it and keep it with him. This explains why he has it on him. Doesn’t it?

This sounds like a great plot hook, twist. And in my mind it looked very cool, but also I don’t want to throw it out there and have the player’s call it B.S. for being stupid.

Any ideas, help, suggestions or similar stories of your own are appreciated.

2009-09-23, 04:07 PM
Wouldn't the Paladin detect evil on the crime boss first?

2009-09-23, 04:10 PM
Well... hmm. You could do it that way, the gullible paladin sees the candle, and yeah, proof that the paladin stole it, lied, etc etc. Now gullible paladin demands to be fair, to witness the destruction of such evil item. Maybe crime boss does, or doesnt. If he does witness it, now crime boss has a real hatred towards the paladin, and might send assassins after him. The gullible paladin doesn't like the paladin ether. So now party has two fonts of enemies, both good and bad. Paladin tries to tell gullible paladin that assassins are being sent by crime boss, and paladin would ask for proof first.

So, an entire town that has enemies and no allies. Could be fun.

2009-09-23, 04:44 PM
I'd say your gullible paladin is most likely to simply confront the PC paladin and demand an explanation. Paladins share a code, and and no matter how gullible your NPC paladin is, the NPC will assume that your PC paladin is either operating within the code or hasn't deviated far from it. Paladins all know that their deity watches over the behavior of everyone in the order and enforces the code without the need for mortal intervention (i.e. through fall from grace and atonement).

If the PC paladin fumbles his explanation for possession of the candle, confiscation of the stolen goods and/or a monetary fine or arrest for theft is most appropriate. A duel to the death for carrying (but not using) a magic candle would be...overreacting.

As for the player's defense -- that's easy. Coming up with an explanation is the player's problem, not yours. You don't have to worry about it.

Also, how does your crime lord plan to deal with it when the fact that he was accepting shipments of illegal drugs comes to light? You don't get to be a crime boss by being stupid, and your crime lord is basically begging to have TWO angry paladins come bust up his drug-running operation.

2009-09-23, 05:06 PM
Paladin didn't detect evil on the crime boss. If he would have, would have known crime boss is evil. Then again, paladin might have just assumed the evilness of the man, since he's on the receiving end of a drug shipment.

As for both paladins, honestly didn't think that the paladin would admit to (more or less) running drugs for the crime boss. Crime boss can prove through fake shipping documents that his goods were legit.

Would it be stupid to bring another paladin into this? Crime boss more or less controls the town. At least, he's on the verge of it. He has the watch in his pocket, enough protection to make him think he's comfortable.

Then again, would this simply be asking for a purge? The paladins recruiting more holy avengers to get rid of this menace from town?

Definitely don't want the crime boss to be lawful stupid. I'm hoping to have him aslawful evil... he has the law on his side, and can prove the paladin did shady business around him.

Not sure if I can do that though.

Perhaps a legitimate wizard who was going to purchase the candle from the crime boss? Someone who knows nothing about the drug running? Then he can't be held liable for the drug thing, and doesn't have to lie to oblivious paladin.

2009-09-23, 06:23 PM
Hmmm it depends what the pc paladin is like, is he more lawful than good? If he see's the crime boss is doing the town a favour by being in control, like people are getting fed and everything is ticking over without a huge disruption maybe helping the organisation is a good thing. Alighment plays a huge part in the planes but taking a bad situation and seeing the other side is important too.
The crime lord would question the pc paladin but maybe have another another class question the pc instead? because why would another paladin work for the crime boss without detecting evil on him first?

I ran a paladin that dealt with devils because sometimes you need to question scum to know what other scum is thinking think Batman.
Hmmm Batman as a paladin now there's a thought.

2009-09-24, 03:00 AM
The PC's spent most of the day after that gathering information in the town, and seeing just what kind of a crime boss this guy was.

He wasn't horrible. People weren't rioting in the streets or anything. The duke of the city had recently became reclusive and most of the watch is now on full duty protecting him at his castle, so the crime boss has used this as an opportunity to take over.

I honestly just created the situation not knowing what the PC's would do. I set up the town, gave them the information. I think they've discussed everything from taking the crime boss out, to helping him, to doing random quests for him.

I do like the idea of an NPC wizard becoming involved. That will make things much more interesting. I did have a wizard living at the end of town, who happens to have a pet octopus.

2009-09-24, 04:06 AM
So, you have three points of contention.

1) Drugs. The crime lord won't admit to having, or even knowing about them. The Paladin can get away with OFFICIAL repercussions from this.. but it may become a point of blackmail later.

2) Paladin lied to a crime boss. Lying in order to do good isn't a fall-able offense, so this is really a moot point.

3) Paladin is carrying an Evil magical item on his person. This is the only real point of contention I can see; If he's bringing it to be destroyed, then it can be handed over/clearly taken to someone who knows how to deal with it. Otherwise, you'll really have to play it by ear... but using an Evil magic item is an Evil act. Make sure to warn him of such.

2009-09-24, 05:53 AM
Eeeh, I think I don't like it.

When you're a crime boss, you just plain don't want to get the 'authorities' involved in your business. If you report some stolen goods, that opens it up for someone to examine the goods that got delivered, half of which are illegal. Unless you already 'own' the cop in question, that doesn't end well.

Think like a crime boss- someone steals from your stash, you don't call the cops. You send Johnny and Louie over to have a brief discussion on morality, youknowhatI'msayin?


EDIT: Also, lying for the sake of avoiding a confrontation, and for the sake of not having to take a moral position is pretty much *specifically* against the Paladin's Code. You don't have to say "It's in my pocket," but you aren't allowed to weasel out of it. The correct response is "A candle? What kind of candle? Really? Well, what are you doing with evil artifacts, then? Because I'm not going to be a part of that."

2009-09-24, 06:07 AM
OHOHOH An idea biased on the posts above

Have one the bosses underlings get the paladin to do more work. Work on getting him to fall to the dark side. A Paladin falling is a major coup for any evil person. Even a lawful evil crime boss, it is one self righteous SOB waiting to kick in his door.

If the Paladin does not play ball; time to get rough.

Totally Guy
2009-09-24, 06:20 AM
I'd say this is a last resort of the crime boss. Once he's beaten he can use this and then, whilst the authorities are distracted, act on an escape plan.

2009-09-24, 02:00 PM
Oh, lots of good ideas. I like this a lot.

Ok. Have him wait until he's defeated, surrender... and then when he goes to trial point out everything that happened. That will include lying, stealing, and carrying around an evil weapon with no intent to destroy it.

I like that idea a lot.

I think I will make it so that the crime boss gets them to do more work. Morally biased things. I don't really know how to go about making a paladin fall. Wasn't my real intention. I just wanted to give him morally ambiguous dilemmas that would be fun and challenging for a paladin.

Well, for any of the characters, to be exact.

What sort of morally gray challenges should a crime boss give for adventurers to do around the city for him?

2009-09-24, 07:25 PM
Does the crime boss actually know that the paladin still has the candle?

Sure he probably didn't buy the "goblins did it and ran away" line (I'm assuming a poor Bluff score for the Pally and a good Sense Motive for the criminal) but isn't he more likely to believe that the Paladin destroyed the candle instead of keeping it?

2009-09-24, 07:30 PM
It's a good idea and there should really be two ways it goes
Buddy comedy
The duel happens if the PC paladin doesnt give a good reason why he hasnt dealt with the evil candle, and if he acts stupidly and defensively
Buddy comedy, the two paladins team up to destroy the candle when it is agreed that PC paladin is not evil
Make your player role play for the easy option
bad roleplay equals bad result

2009-09-24, 11:20 PM
The paladin may not have fallen, but he is walking a fine line. The code a paladin must follow requires that he "respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying)" as two of its tenets. By trafficking in illegal drugs and lying openly about having taken the candle, the paladin has already defied both of those. The only question is whether that in itself constitutes "grossly" violating the code.

To that, I would say no at this point. However, a lot depends on what sort of drugs the crime lord is dealing in. If they are addictive enough that people will beggar themselves to get them, or if they present an immediate threat to users' health, then the paladin has knowingly and willingly aided an evil person in harming (more or less) innocent people. And that should cost him his paladin abilities for sure.

As for the crime lord's response, I agree with the others who have said he probably doesn't want to get the law involved. If he knows (or just believes) the party still has the candle, he should be sending goons to get it back, and to teach the party a lesson about skimming from him while they're at it.

2009-09-25, 12:29 AM
Sending people to get it back makes sense. I can create goons for that purpose. It shouldn't be too hard to even look for the candle. A simple detect evil on a paladin who is not supposed to be carrying it will give them all the incentive they need to think he has it on him.

Maybe I should have a talk with the paladin's character. The drugs (I didn't really look into D&D drugs) were meth, heroin, pot, cocaine, pretty much an entire candy store of goodies for the crime boss. It was a big shipment.

Oh, what if the shipment of drugs was bad? Hmmm, people start dying, going into catatonic shock? A plot hook there, perhaps.