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Squeejee
2010-09-02, 02:50 AM
So the Paladin's code basically makes them the vanguard's of society and order - they put the needs of others first, and their own selfish impulses second. But how would a love dynamic influence that Paladin's actions? Would they snub their lover in favor of their duty, or would they consider said interest a duty if equal import? Maybe it's wrong to view love as a "duty" at all, but how else would a Paladin view it, especially if you throw in the added complication of marriage vows? What if the love interest is alignment-opposed to the Paladin? Does love, arguably the purest expression of "good" in the world outweigh the potential risk of aiding and abetting an evil act? Would a Paladin have to take the fall if they defended an evil or chaotic lover, not necessarily becoming a Blackguard but something else entirely?

Here's the situation as it happened: a Paladin-in-training-who's-skills-include-ladykilling is up against an enemy he knows he can't defeat, and opts to use his 18 Cha to seduce her instead. It just so happens that this woman is a Drider, and in addition to being an awesome idea for a sitcom, most cases would seem to disqualify our hero from any such relationship. But here's the catch: He's a Paladin of the Goddess of Love and Passion. Does his faith overrule the typical Code in this case, or does he fall as well?

I would tell you the current consensus we (me and a few friends who talked about this) came to, but I want to know what YOU think, as well as any other complications that can arise between a Paladin and his/her love interest I haven't thought of yet.

BobVosh
2010-09-02, 03:44 AM
I would question the paladin using seduction to influence a contest, but I guess with a love god(ess) that can slide.

I had a paladin in the game I'm running fall in love and betrothed to a succubus. It was amusing what happened after he found out.

Now while the case is different, I will say this falls under knowingly associating with an evil entity. Even with a love/passion deity I would say he would fall for trying to make a romantic relationship with her.

Math_Mage
2010-09-02, 03:45 AM
If the Goddess of Love and Passion advocates defeating/converting your foes by becoming friends with benefits, that's a marked plus for him. But calculated seduction in order to save your own skin is a false passion--a definite minus. So the question is whether the paladin is genuine in his desire to get into it with the drider woman.

Peregrine
2010-09-02, 04:20 AM
Some of the problems become simpler if we adopt the definition of love -- uncommon in fiction, where love is all-consuming and cannot be denied, but arguably more realistic -- that love is as much a choice and an action as an emotion. Regardless of your personal opinions, this is certainly a plausible way for a lawful character to look at love; paladins in general are probably not the types to let themselves get carried away by passion and do something rash or foolish.


So the Paladin's code basically makes them the vanguard's of society and order - they put the needs of others first, and their own selfish impulses second. But how would a love dynamic influence that Paladin's actions? Would they snub their lover in favor of their duty, or would they consider said interest a duty if equal import?

Different lawful characters, and therefore different paladins, will see this differently. Some will takes vows of chastity, considering intimate relationships to be "selfish impulses", or at least considering them something that, while good, is a sacrifice they're willing to make. Others would consider love and fidelity to be among the highest expressions of good, and even consider holding down a steady relationship and maybe raising children as a moral duty, as you suggest.

Either way, in general, a paladin wouldn't snub their lover. Whatever a paladin does, they ought to do whole-heartedly and with dedication; they will either take a lover and stand by them come hell or high-level wizard, or forswear such relationships.

This doesn't mean that a paladin has to wait until marriage and wed for life. Specific views on short-term dalliances, and on divorce, would be influenced by the laws and customs of their realm and religion, and lawful characters will tend to be conservative about it. But if it's socially accepted, a paladin ought to be quite free to "play the field", as long as his or her romances are pursued with honesty and for the benefit of both partners.


What if the love interest is alignment-opposed to the Paladin?

A paladin should not fall in love with someone who is of an incompatible alignment. This comes back to love being more than a feeling; a paladin might become infatuated with someone who is wrong for them, but they ought to be wise enough to realise it would not work out. (And yes, if the potential love interest is evil, then pursuing the infatuation even briefly could count as associating with an evil creature.)

What happens if a lover's alignment changes to something incompatible? Ah, now there's a dilemma to put the tired old "kill the baby or doom the world" discussion to shame. :smalltongue:


Here's the situation as it happened: a Paladin-in-training-who's-skills-include-ladykilling is up against an enemy he knows he can't defeat, and opts to use his 18 Cha to seduce her instead. It just so happens that this woman is a Drider, and in addition to being an awesome idea for a sitcom, most cases would seem to disqualify our hero from any such relationship.

Sounds iffy. Assuming the drider is evil, it's really a no-go. Seduction-as-deception (i.e. you don't actually go through with anything, just bluff your way into getting the upper hand) might be a problem, but might be allowable, especially depending on what exactly your code says about lying. Actually entering into a relationship under false pretenses, such as with the intention of bringing down your lover/enemy, is surely not on.

But, if your paladin wants to actually try and bring the drider on as an ally and a genuine partner... well... if she's not evil, then I guess it would be okay, especially for...


...a Paladin of the Goddess of Love and Passion. Does his faith overrule the typical Code in this case, or does he fall as well?

Particular religions should vary certain specifics of the paladin's code. (They won't "override" the code; the paladin ought to have taken a suitable code in the first place.) However, they won't alter the fundamental nature of a paladin, which is a lawful good champion of justice and upstanding behaviour.

Calmar
2010-09-02, 04:43 AM
How would it benefit your game if that would cause the paladin to fall? :smallsigh:

A paladin is the literal knight. Wooing a (albeit disgusting) lady is nothing that contradicts this.

FelixG
2010-09-02, 04:53 AM
Look at it this way. The character saw the good potential in her, he seduces her, using their love to show her her inner good and change her over slowly to his way of thinking and alignment

Love is just another redeeming feature, so would i personally punish a pali in this situation? Not at all, it is a gambit that if works is quite unique, and i value players thinking outside the box.

If this is 3.5 standard, not FR, then the godess really has nothing to do with the code...BUT this would be a good way to incorporate the gods theme with the redeeming of an evil creature/character

FoE
2010-09-02, 04:54 AM
A Paladin shall know no anger, nor hatred, nor love.

hamishspence
2010-09-02, 05:03 AM
I prefer the Altisian Jedi perspective. Love is fine. Attachment is fine. Unreasonable attachment- "obsession" is the problem.

BoED states there is nothing requiring an Exalted character (including paladins) to be celibate- but does suggest paladins and similar characters should avoid being involved in exploitative relationships of any kind.

Kobold-Bard
2010-09-02, 05:08 AM
Is he in love with her, or just seducing her so she won't kill him? I'm confused.

dsmiles
2010-09-02, 07:28 AM
I prefer the Altisian Jedi perspective. Love is fine. Attachment is fine. Unreasonable attachment- "obsession" is the problem.

BoED states there is nothing requiring an Exalted character (including paladins) to be celibate- but does suggest paladins and similar characters should avoid being involved in exploitative relationships of any kind.

This. Love is the ultimate expression of selflessness. Real, true love, not selfish love.


Sonny, true love is the greatest thing, in the world-except for a nice MLT - mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe they're so perky, I love that.

hamishspence
2010-09-02, 07:36 AM
This. Love is the ultimate expression of selflessness. Real, true love, not selfish love.

I think the standard Jedi Order see all romantic love as inherently too selfish, and passionate, to be acceptable- only compassion- defined as love for people in general rather than specific people, is acceptable.

Which was one of the big flaws in that Order.

The old version of the code made more sense- not:

"There is no passion, there is serenity" but:

"Passion, yet serenity"

http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Jedi_Code

Noneoyabizzness
2010-09-02, 08:34 AM
the lying about love and passion may be an issue.

now seducing to convert to the side of beauty and love is more proselytizing than doing and evil act.

SurlySeraph
2010-09-02, 08:36 AM
He's a paladin of a love deity. Converting evil to good in a mutual enjoyable manner is his job. He shouldn't fall for that unless he allows said Drider to keep doing evil around him.


What happens if a lover's alignment changes to something incompatible? Ah, now there's a dilemma to put the tired old "kill the baby or doom the world" discussion to shame. :smalltongue:

Oh, that's easy. Sovereign glue them to a church pew and sic the evangelists on them. /offtopic

hamishspence
2010-09-02, 08:47 AM
He's a paladin of a love deity. Converting evil to good in a mutual enjoyable manner is his job. He shouldn't fall for that unless he allows said Drider to keep doing evil around him.

The angel who converted the famous succubus paladin to the side of good may have been an example of a similar approach. Good, even Lawful Good, may still be willing to take advantage of intimacy to steer villains toward goodness.

JBento
2010-09-02, 11:00 AM
Ah, paladin thread - must be one of the days of the week that ends in -day. :smallsmile:

Depends WHAT code you're using - if you're using the one in the PHB, then it's a no-no.

Paladins will not associate with Evil creatures (as I assume that drider is) for any remarkable length of time.

On the other hand, Evil or not, the paladin has to be really careful when seducing: he can't lie (like, at all - he can't say she's the most beautiful woman she's ever seen if he doesn't believe her to be). He can't also mislead the seducee (does that exist? it does now) into thinking he's in it for the long-term if he's not (which most adventuring paladins won't be).

Umael
2010-09-02, 11:15 AM
Paladins will not associate with Evil creatures (as I assume that drider is) for any remarkable length of time.

I think the definition of "associate" is up for question.

If a paladin is trying to convert someone who is evil, that paladin has to spend time in that person's presence. There are stories of missionaries who walk into the den of evil to talk to evil men and get them to renounce their ways.

As for the OP's question, I think the defining factor is the answer to the question, "Why did he do it?"

If the paladin seduced the drider to save his own skin, then he is acting out of fear or conflict ("I cannot defeat her through strength of arms, so I shall strike her in her heart"). If he is trying to save her as a person (i.e., "You are evil, but there is hope and good in the world for you"), then I see no issue.

If it is a situation of trying to kill two birds with one stone ("I cannot defeat her, and since saving an evil soul is a good thing to do, I will do both by seducing her"), then what matters is the follow-through. If the paladin devouts time and energy and emotion into the drider, making it clear that he well and truly loves her, then he is good. If he abandons her, then he abandons his duty (possibly enough that he will need to atone).

Runeclaw
2010-09-02, 02:45 PM
he can't lie (like, at all - he can't say she's the most beautiful woman she's ever seen if he doesn't believe her to be).

Paladins can certainly lie, if the situation calls for it and is sufficiently dire. I'd cut them some slack on social nicities, as well.

JBento
2010-09-02, 02:58 PM
By the Core RAW, they most certainly CANNOT lie, not if they want to keep being paladins. It's says right there, from the srd:


Additionally, a paladinís code requires that she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth)

Of course, the OP may use different rulings, but that's beyond the point of this discussion: obviously, if in his games paladins can lie, then they can lie. But they explicitly can't by Core RAW.

Missionairies can walk wherever they want - they're not paladins. A common definition of "associate" is "have a relationship with". If the paladin doesn't intend to have a relationship with the drider, he's in the clear.... unless he leads her to think he is, in which case he better go find the nearest cleric for the daily Atonement.

Voidhawk
2010-09-02, 03:18 PM
I had a paladin in the game I'm running fall in love and betrothed to a succubus. It was amusing what happened after he found out.

Interestingly, in a game I'm in our LG Cleric of Tea and Crumpets (don't ask) seduced an Erenyes, and has been going steady with her for a while. She was quite confused by all the squishy (love) feelings she was experiencing as this opposing cleric behaved nicely to her for no reason at all, as she was only really used to hate, battle-fervor and bordom due to hellish paperwork.

The real kicker though? The use of an atonement spell during their first "alone-time" :smallbiggrin:, resulting in her switching to LG and switching devilish abilities for angelic ones. After all, if an angel can fall, why can't one rise?

We now have the catchphrase "The hot Lawful-D***ings will continue, until moral improves." :smalltongue:

Telonius
2010-09-02, 03:29 PM
For the case in question? Well, it's treading a very fine line, but it could be possible. Paladins aren't required to use force to solve all difficulties, and that includes Drider enemies.

If he's really, genuinely attempting to reform the Drider? Sure, why not! The real catch is going to be whether or not he's being honest to the drider, and whether or not he's being honest with himself. If he really thinks that no being is beyond redemption, is really willing to love that drider (scary-looking claws and all), and is prepared to back up that conviction with his own actions, then that's perfectly Paladin-y. But if he's using his relationship with the Drider exclusively as a means to an end, then that's neither honorable nor honest.

hamishspence
2010-09-02, 03:33 PM
By the Core RAW, they most certainly CANNOT lie, not if they want to keep being paladins.

Of course, the OP may use different rulings, but that's beyond the point of this discussion: obviously, if in his games paladins can lie, then they can lie. But they explicitly can't by Core RAW.


The phrase used is " a paladin falls if they grossly violate their code of conduct"

A lie is always a violation- but it's not always a gross violation. This is brought up in one of the OoTS bonus strips in War & XPs- when a couple of paladins lie to Miko and do not fall.

And (if you go by BoVD) a lie is not automatically an evil act, either.

Reis Tahlen
2010-09-02, 03:34 PM
May I add there are rules in the BoED to use Diplomacy in order to convert Evil people to the good side?

Squeejee
2010-09-02, 03:34 PM
Very interesting, but I think I've made a critical mistake - the word "Seduce" implies a more malicious intent than was intended. It was more an idea of "we don't all have to die here - let's try this nonviolent solution!" He proceeded wholeheartedly and was careful to emphasize that his character was acting purely (which he later backed up via RP).

Abies
2010-09-02, 03:43 PM
I'm not really certain how a deity of Love and Passion can be Lawful Good to begin with. Are you following the "one-step" alignment follower rule and the deity is NG? Because that's just about the only configuration that makes remote sense. Unless this is a Paladin of Freedom, and is therefore allowed to be chaotic (which fits love/passion far better imo).

Just for clarity a love/passion deity would be Neutral or CN in my assessment.

JBento
2010-09-02, 03:44 PM
Cheating doesn't have to be Evil, either - neither is the use of poison (despite what the alignment books may say, as exemplified by the Poison spell lacking the Evil descriptor). Paladins have to be Good, and Lawful, and do X, Y, and Z, things that aren't necessarily connected.

If the drider isn't known for doing Evil stuff to nice people, then that seems to be a possible course of action for the Paladin. If she is, that's another story: again from the srd, "Additionally, a paladinís code requires that she (...) punish those who harm or threaten innocents." It's still perfectly fine if she does Evil stuff to Evil people. Huh. :smallconfused:

Abies
2010-09-02, 03:45 PM
Very interesting, but I think I've made a critical mistake - the word "Seduce" implies a more malicious intent than was intended. It was more an idea of "we don't all have to die here - let's try this nonviolent solution!" He proceeded wholeheartedly and was careful to emphasize that his character was acting purely (which he later backed up via RP).

But why would a Drider care at all unless there was coersion? Broken Diplomacy mechanics aside, a bloodthirsty CE enemy won't just decide to become a friend for no actual reason. They will stab you in the throat while you talk.

hamishspence
2010-09-02, 03:49 PM
If the drider isn't known for doing Evil stuff to nice people, then that seems to be a possible course of action for the Paladin. If she is, that's another story: again from the srd, "Additionally, a paladinís code requires that she (...) punish those who harm or threaten innocents." It's still perfectly fine if she does Evil stuff to Evil people. Huh. :smallconfused:

There's a difference between "punishing villains" and "doing evil stuff- as exemplified by the fact that "Murder is one of the most horrible acts a being can commit (BoVD) and a very severe corrupt act (FC2) but "Execution for serious crimes is widely practiced and does not qualify as evil" (BoED).

A paladin may never commit an Evil act, without Falling. Not even if the victim is an evil being. So, if the paladin chose to "punish those who threaten innocents" by torturing them, or murdering them, they would Fall.

The tricky question is- what counts as "Murder" and what "Execution"?

Telonius
2010-09-02, 03:57 PM
But why would a Drider care at all unless there was coersion? Broken Diplomacy mechanics aside, a bloodthirsty CE enemy won't just decide to become a friend for no actual reason. They will stab you in the throat while you talk.

The Paladin's back is up against the wall, in this case. He knows his strength won't work, so he tries something else. That something else happened to work, for whatever reason. Maybe his belief that no being is beyond redemption is actually correct. Maybe the Drider was so surprised that she momentarily forgot about using his spleen as a wall decoration. Maybe the whole thing is just a ruse on the Drider's part, a set up so she can mess with him before she kills him. Whatever the case, the Drider did not rip the guy's throat out.

Agrippa
2010-09-02, 03:57 PM
I think the standard Jedi Order see all romantic love as inherently too selfish, and passionate, to be acceptable- only compassion- defined as love for people in general rather than specific people, is acceptable.

Which was one of the big flaws in that Order.

The old version of the code made more sense- not:

"There is no passion, there is serenity" but:

"Passion, yet serenity"

http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Jedi_Code

That's because Old Order Jedi weren't paladins. They were glorified Judges (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judge_(2000_AD)) as far as I'm concerned.

hamishspence
2010-09-02, 04:09 PM
Some Jedi might have been paladinish (there was even an order of force users loosely allied to the Jedi, who used guns and other weapons more than lightsabers, and called the Grey Paladins).

Still, by Yoda's era, Jedi had become the government's enforcers more than other things.

JBento
2010-09-02, 04:13 PM
@Hamishspence:

I may have been less than clear there - my "It's still perfectly fine if she does Evil stuff to Evil people." refers to the drider, not the paladin. :smallsmile:

Execution tends to be easy (though it might not be): it's generally assumed that someone with the authority (king, judge, etc., depending on the power system in place) has convicted them in a fair trial.

Murder is... trickier. I consider killing stuff that has attacked you without big provocation (like being threatened) not murder. If you challenge them and they accept, then I don't call it murder either. Going into the orc camp (when the orcs are just hunting and similar, not raiding nearby villages) and killing them is murder, just like putting poison in the nearby lake.

hamishspence
2010-09-02, 04:18 PM
Murder is... trickier. I consider killing stuff that has attacked you without big provocation (like being threatened) not murder. If you challenge them and they accept, then I don't call it murder either. Going into the orc camp (when the orcs are just hunting and similar, not raiding nearby villages) and killing them is murder, just like putting poison in the nearby lake.

Agreed- that's pretty much what BoED says- and one of the reasons I can forgive its other idiosyncracies.

As to the drider- strictly speaking, even if "evil acts" don't just include harm to innocents, but harm to non-innocents, a paladin might be required to at least try and stop them, though they might not be obliged to punish the drider, on a "standing by while evil is committed, is not on" principle.

So, "prevent evil deeds from being done" might apply to the situation even if "punish those who harm innocents" doesn't.

Runeclaw
2010-09-29, 07:14 PM
By the Core RAW, they most certainly CANNOT lie, not if they want to keep being paladins. It's says right there, from the srd: Additionally, a paladinís code requires that she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth)

Right, but saying "Lying is a violation of the Paladin's code" is not the same as saying "Paladins can lie."

Paladins can violate the Paladin's Code and not fall, as long as the DM does not rule that the violation is "gross". This is a very important aspect to understand about Paladins. They fall only for:

A) "gross" violations of the code
B) willfully commiting evil acts
C) changing alignment


But they explicitly can't by Core RAW.

To say that a Paldin "cant'" do something implies either that they are simply incapable of it or at the very least that doing so would immediately render them not a paladin. Neither is necesarily the case for lying. Only "grossly" lying. Lying in a situation where it was the only way to avert a great evil would almost certainly not be considered a gross violation of the code.

Honestly, the text on associates is pretty unclear, since it says "a paladin will never do this" but doesn't explicitly state "this is against the code" or "this will make the paladin fall". The best interpetation is probably that associating with evil beings is against the code and therefore doing so grossly will result in a fall.

Zhalath
2010-09-29, 09:19 PM
the first thing I think of when viewing this thread is redemption, which leads me to the awkward redemption rules in BoED. I personally would ignore those, and ask your GM about redeeming the drider and bringing it to the path of good (do note that you don't want the character as some sort of cohort, unless you take Leadership. It's an easier sell then). Is it wrong to associate with an evil creature if you're trying to make it not evil?

Peregrine
2010-09-29, 11:48 PM
Is it wrong to associate with an evil creature if you're trying to make it not evil?

I think "associate with" is poorly defined; that's probably intentional, but I still think a better term could have been used.

Some things should definitely not be counted as fall-worthy "association". One example: casually encountering evil people in day-to-day life without smiting them -- like the misanthrope who kicks his neighbours' cat and poisoned their fruit trees because they blocked his morning sun. A paladin can pass him on the street every day, not smiting him nor lecturing him on his evil ways, without "associating" with him. Another example: holding captives. Travelling with, or daily working with, evil people is just fine for paladins when they're your captives.

This second one can probably be generalised to the case where the evil individual is somehow restrained from committing evil acts. And that brings us to an answer to your question: No, it's not wrong to associate with an evil character whom you're trying to redeem, if the first step in its redemption was keeping it from further evil actions.

Other cases (e.g. person too powerful to restrain -- maybe you're the captive!) might also be acceptable. Emphasis on "might".