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Gitman00
2007-03-29, 11:55 AM
This is a thread for continuing a discussion that derailed a "Did Miko commit an evil act?" thread. The debate started over the classic paladin dilemma: "What if the demon the paladin smote was actually a baby under an illusion?" and evolved to the following scenario:


Have you even read modern fantasy? Good people are put in horrible positions all the time, nowadays, and they do not always get the third option that you're demanding exists. Terry Goodkind, Robert Jordan, George RR Martin... they all place their characters in morally ambiguus situations where they have to make the hard calls: sacrifice a few for the many, or lose everyone.

You're assuming a kinder gentler world where the third option exists. I'm not giving it to you. I'm the DM, and it is not there to find.

I can make the situation worse. There is no second guessing now.

The demon is coming to possess the child's body. It is a real child and a real demon, and there is no illusion. You were too late to stop the ritual, not through poor gameplay, but because I didn't let you find any information that could have gotten you here faster. You have 10 seconds to put your sword through the child, or the demon comes, the child's soul gets consumed, and the demon will ravage the land. He'll start with the neaby town, or at least that's what he did 1000 years ago when he was sumoned last time, ruling for 100 years, torturing and killing. Oh, and just to top it off, he's going to make you watch it all, accusing you of being responsible for every death, because you didn't have the will to do what was necessary to stop him.

So, you've got 10 seconds. Kill the child, or the child's soul gets consumed and the world suffers 100 years of demonic rule. I'm not putting any third options in the game, and you're the only one there to make the decision.

I can do all that, because I'm the DM and the world is mine. I can ensure that your paladin cannot avoid this choice. I do control everything.

But to you, killing the child, even to save it's soul from permanent annihilation, is evil.

These are the hard decisions, and they are inherent in dark fantasy. In dark fantasy, you don't get the happy-nice-nice third option.



You called it fairy tales that one does this, but what seperates good from evil is the quality called compassion.
And compassion can't lead to evil? You're letting evil destroy the world, because you're unable to kill a child to save it. You have compassion for that one child, but you lack compassion for the other 400 million children in the world.

Personal sacrifice should not mean burdening yourself with sin so others don't have to.
"should". Note the word you used. "should". We don't get to create the world. We only get to live in what is there. "should" is the word of an ideal, and ideals don't necessarily match up with reality. We may want the world to be one way, but wanting doesn't make it so.

The question is whether I can accept that there is a no-win situation in our own world. No, there isn't. A world such as you suggest, where you can create a no-win situation that will sentence my soul to punishment, is simply not one I live in. I will kill the child, save the world, the country, the city, the block, or even just a single family, and not bat an eye, becaues I know that I did good, not evil, that day. I didn't create the situation where I had to choose the one or the many, and so I am not responsible for having to do the math and save the many at the cost of the one, even if it was just a baby.

You are not the master of my soul. You can place me in a situation, but there is always a good way out, even if there are only two options and both are tragic. Any other possibility puts you in the position to sentence me to hell, and that capacity you cannot have.

So, I will say this as clearly as I can. There is always a good option, even if there are only two choices and both are tragic.

Krellen
2007-03-29, 12:16 PM
I don't play dark fantasy. There's always a third option.

I don't like dark fantasy. If I wanted realism, I'd play the real world.

Saph
2007-03-29, 12:26 PM
The question is whether I can accept that there is a no-win situation in our own world. No, there isn't. A world such as you suggest, where you can create a no-win situation that will sentence my soul to punishment, is simply not one I live in. I will kill the child, save the world, the country, the city, the block, or even just a single family, and not bat an eye, becaues I know that I did good, not evil, that day. I didn't create the situation where I had to choose the one or the many, and so I am not responsible for having to do the math and save the many at the cost of the one, even if it was just a baby.

You are not the master of my soul. You can place me in a situation, but there is always a good way out, even if there are only two options and both are tragic. Any other possibility puts you in the position to sentence me to hell, and that capacity you cannot have.

So, I will say this as clearly as I can. There is always a good option, even if there are only two choices and both are tragic.

This is very good - one of the best responses to dilemma setups I've seen. Who posted this one?

- Saph

Starbuck_II
2007-03-29, 12:27 PM
The demon is coming to possess the child's body. It is a real child and a real demon, and there is no illusion. You were too late to stop the ritual, not through poor gameplay, but because I didn't let you find any information that could have gotten you here faster. You have 10 seconds to put your sword through the child, or the demon comes, the child's soul gets consumed, and the demon will ravage the land. He'll start with the neaby town, or at least that's what he did 1000 years ago when he was sumoned last time, ruling for 100 years, torturing and killing. Oh, and just to top it off, he's going to make you watch it all, accusing you of being responsible for every death, because you didn't have the will to do what was necessary to stop him.

It is a demon why trust him that it is your fault. It is the demon's fault. A devil would at least be trustworthy (still evil though so not fully trusting).
How can he make you watch it? Forcecage stops you in one spot so you can't watch it all unless he brings them all there. But that gives you time to plan. Assuming you still have an allyor a trick up your sleeve it ai'nt over yet.
You might die trying, but as a Paladin it is better to die good than fall alive.



So, you've got 10 seconds. Kill the child, or the child's soul gets consumed and the world suffers 100 years of demonic rule. I'm not putting any third options in the game, and you're the only one there to make the decision.

I just made a third option. And there is nothing the DM can do about it. I can keep trying. Oh sure you can try railroading me, but nothing by the rules can force me.


I can do all that, because I'm the DM and the world is mine. I can ensure that your paladin cannot avoid this choice. I do control everything.

But to you, killing the child, even to save it's soul from permanent annihilation, is evil.

These are the hard decisions, and they are inherent in dark fantasy. In dark fantasy, you don't get the happy-nice-nice third option.

I just made it. Looks like there is. Plus since the demon was defeated prior to this there must be a chance because he was defeated last time.




So, I will say this as clearly as I can. There is always a good option, even if there are only two choices and both are tragic.

UUm, I think Um, I think that killing the child is not a good act. Not neccesaarily evil, but not good. Child will die either way.
But you could still fight it after. It was defeated once: who says it can't be again.

Tola
2007-03-29, 12:31 PM
That's really the sort of situation we try to get AWAY from in D+D and gaming in general, surely?

Can I presume you'd then strip that Paladin of his powers no matter which way he went?

Rahdjan
2007-03-29, 12:45 PM
If your going to play that type of dark and gritty campaign, just have all your paladins be Grey Gaurds.

Clementx
2007-03-29, 12:49 PM
This is why you have to remove absolute definitions of good and evil (at least when applied to actions- demons can be incarnations of cosmic Evil if you want), and add to the act an equal weighting of intention. From utmost good to utmost evil, your goals can vary. Combine that with the nature of the act.

Examples:
While walking down an alley, you are set upon by muggers you try to snatch your purse. You choose to protect yourself (defending your well-being and property is reasonable justification, making it a mildly good). That is your intention. Now let's see what you do...
-You smack the thieves around, maybe even knocking one out and they flee (hurting others is mildly evil- you shouldn't do it in a perfect world). It is a neutral action (sum of intent and act).
-After getting one mugger down, you continue to bash his head into the ground as his buddies flee. You kill him accidentally in your anger, making it manslaughter (a moderately evil act). Your action is mildly evil, because your act outstripped your justification and you succumbed to rage and selfish retribution for your annoyance.
-Without a thought, you cast Hold Person on the lead mugger, twisting your dagger through his guts, and leave him to bleed out while his friends run (callous murder as a default option is extremely evil). Your action is moderately evil. The muggers started it, but you went far beyond what you needed to do, and reveled in causing as much suffering as you could.

So Paladin and demon-baby. He seeks to save the world, making his intention the highest good. He does it by killing an innocent as a last resort, a strongly evil act. That sums to neutral- a very distasteful and agonizing kind of neutral, but neutral nonetheless. If the Paladin had to kill a willing cultist about to be possessed, it would have been a mildly good act, and he would feel slightly better about it.

Using a system like this to judge morality fixes a lot of other problems. Paladins and good characters that want to stay good can no longer invade a random goblin village, slaughtering everyone they see for treasure, which the Book of Exalted Deeds says is a good act, because goblins are evil. Instead, paladins are only attacking those that have done evil things, such as a tribe that has been robbing travelers, telling them to lay down arms first, offering quarter, and stopping the rogue from CdGing all the fallen goblins. If he ends up with gold at the end, that is a nice benefit, but he isn't going to pry out filings for it.

Gitman00
2007-03-29, 01:24 PM
And my response to the debate's most recent post:

EDIT: Never mind. I see this thread is taking off on its own. Kudos! Here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=2282663&postcount=273) one of my responses in the original debate, if anyone's interested.

Gitman00
2007-03-29, 01:25 PM
This is very good - one of the best responses to dilemma setups I've seen. Who posted this one?

- Saph
It was Kreistor, here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=38143&page=10).

Jayabalard
2007-03-29, 01:37 PM
The lesser of 2 evils is still evil; if as a paladin you are presented with the choice between evils, then your choices are to either look for another, non-evil option, or choose the lesser, fall because of the evil act, and then try to atone.

There seem to be a lot of these sort of good vs evil threads recently.

Joran
2007-03-29, 01:44 PM
The problem with this is in D&D, there is an objective morality system. The paladin either gets stripped of his powers by his deity or doesn't; he can agonize over his decision one way or the other, but the deity renders the ultimate judgment. I think it's a bad DM to strip the powers of the paladin for what is probably a neutral act. Instead, let the man/woman roleplay it. Conscience bothers him? Does he have any regrets? What does he decide to do if placed in a similar scenario?

I find these dilemmas to be fascinating. If anyone has seen Spider-man the movie, that scene with Green Goblin holding Mary-Jane and the trolley full of people is one of my favorites. Regardless of what decision, it says something about the character which decision he makes. Of course, Spider-man makes the idealistic decision and gets rescued out of it by a deus ex machina.

Reinboom
2007-03-29, 01:44 PM
I will have to quote my view from a WotC writer on this subject, as it is the same.
Actually, I will just post the link:
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/sg/20050325a
Read the bottom on "The Paladin's Code"

I interpret that statement as saying that if the paladin was powerless against the act, then they aren't evil for accidentally committing it.

Tokiko Mima
2007-03-29, 01:47 PM
You assume the DM allowed other options. The Dilemma states that there are none. You're seeking something the DM didn't include.

Have you even read modern fantasy? Good people are put in horrible positions all the time, nowadays, and they do not always get the third option that you're demanding exists. Terry Goodkind, Robert Jordan, George RR Martin... they all place their characters in morally ambiguus situations where they have to make the hard calls: sacrifice a few for the many, or lose everyone.

You're assuming a kinder gentler world where the third option exists. I'm not giving it to you. I'm the DM, and it is not there to find.

I can make the situation worse. There is no second guessing now.

The demon is coming to possess the child's body. It is a real child and a real demon, and there is no illusion. You were too late to stop the ritual, not through poor gameplay, but because I didn't let you find any information that could have gotten you here faster. You have 10 seconds to put your sword through the child, or the demon comes, the child's soul gets consumed, and the demon will ravage the land. He'll start with the neaby town, or at least that's what he did 1000 years ago when he was sumoned last time, ruling for 100 years, torturing and killing. Oh, and just to top it off, he's going to make you watch it all, accusing you of being responsible for every death, because you didn't have the will to do what was necessary to stop him.

So, you've got 10 seconds. Kill the child, or the child's soul gets consumed and the world suffers 100 years of demonic rule. I'm not putting any third options in the game, and you're the only one there to make the decision.

I can do all that, because I'm the DM and the world is mine. I can ensure that your paladin cannot avoid this choice. I do control everything.

But to you, killing the child, even to save it's soul from permanent annihilation, is evil.

These are the hard decisions, and they are inherent in dark fantasy. In dark fantasy, you don't get the happy-nice-nice third option.

What you're doing is constructing a false dilemna and using your DM power to enforce it. There are more options than the two given ones in the scenario you described. Unless you're giving my Paladin the out of game knowledge that only slaying the child will work, I can't see that as even crossing the Paladin's mind as an option.

Other options include subdual damage, protection from evil spells, and even hoping for the unlikely event that the demon will 'roll a 1' at some point in this possession sequence. Yes, if you're the DM you can say "Ha ha player, I will make sure those do not work!" but then it's not the paladin killing people, it's the DM.

If you're trying to convey that sometimes bad things happen to people that try their hardest, message recieved. But a paladin who doesn't kill the child can console themselves with the fact that every possible Good option was at least tried, and there was nothing else that could have been done. The child killer will never know if there was a better option that he/she just didn't want to bother. He'll just deal with his lazy cowardice in whatever emotional way he can, because that was easier than actually trying to be Good.


And compassion can't lead to evil? You're letting evil destroy the world, because you're unable to kill a child to save it. You have compassion for that one child, but you lack compassion for the other 400 million children in the world.

You're presuming too much especially since the evil isn't being created by the Paladin, it's being enforced by the DM in this example. The DM is the one that lacks compassion for 400 million (granted, imaginary) children. Besides, how can someone claim to have compassion for any one of those other 400 million children if they would instantly slay them if the same scenario ever came up again?


"should". Note the word you used. "should". We don't get to create the world. We only get to live in what is there. "should" is the word of an ideal, and ideals don't necessarily match up with reality. We may want the world to be one way, but wanting doesn't make it so.

That is one possibily meaning of the word "should." I don't think I used it as idealistically as you're presenting. I meant it in the context of 'You might assume that it means this, but it's more correct to mean this.'

e.g. "If I press down on the 'F' key the letter 'F' should display on the screen, not the letter 'Q.'"


The question is whether I can accept that there is a no-win situation in our own world. No, there isn't. A world such as you suggest, where you can create a no-win situation that will sentence my soul to punishment, is simply not one I live in. I will kill the child, save the world, the country, the city, the block, or even just a single family, and not bat an eye, becaues I know that I did good, not evil, that day. I didn't create the situation where I had to choose the one or the many, and so I am not responsible for having to do the math and save the many at the cost of the one, even if it was just a baby.

There are no-win scenarios in the real world, and they are literally innumerable. From politics, to war, to taxes, to religon, and death, there are things that you as a mortal being cannot beat or 'win' at. It doesn't mean that you are doomed to failure at everything, but striving for success against the odds (or not!) is what defines a person.

I don't think the issue you're having is with unwinnable dilemnas, it's the black/white of choices. When someone presents you with a choice that's only 'one or the other way,' that's false thinking. There's a world of options between and outside those. It's never just 'kill the kid or let the world suffer' there's always other choices (unless the DM/God is restricting freewill to the point where no real choice exists at all!) and compassion is about searching for and exploring those possibilities rather than taking the quick and easy two.

Culwch
2007-03-29, 01:48 PM
Kill the child without any hesitation and, if your gods demand it, fall from grace. Weighing the potential good (saving thousands upon thousands of innocents not slain through the demon's century-long rule) against the immediate evil (killing of a child) and willing to sacrifice everything for the good of the many is the most selfless and good act I can think of.

Besides, if you fall, or think you may have fallen and have the decency/fear of god not to test his divine will, this is not the end of the road for you. You can always atone, or at the very least convert to a god that will see merit in your action (while the Purely White God of All Goodness may be offended by your slaughter of one innocent even if it prevented the slaying of fifty thousand innocents, the Moderately Benevolent God of Righteous Retribution or the Quite Innocent Goddess of Selfless Sacrifice may be willing to grant you paladin powers back).

Also, the sadistic DM the OP surely is (:smallwink:) may say that in order for the demon to be defeated like a millenium ago one has to assemble an army and collect countless artifacts that will take at the very least a hundred years, allowing the demon to reign unchallenged for a century. Or that by the nature of the summoning ritual, the demon, invincible as he is, will stay in the living lands for one hundred years and a day and nothing but an act of god would put a stop to it sooner.

The concept of sacrifice of the few to save the many, or of self-sacrifice is common both in real life beliefs and in history. Think of the Spartans. Modern history carries such examples as well.

Also, seeing what Tokiko wrote, I realize I missed one point I wanted to make. And I don't suppose I'll make it better or more clear than Tokiko Mima.

Unless you're giving my Paladin the out of game knowledge that only slaying the child will work, I can't see that as even crossing the Paladin's mind as an option.

If you're trying to convey that sometimes bad things happen to people that try their hardest, message recieved. But a paladin who doesn't kill the child can console themselves with the fact that every possible Good option was at least tried, and there was nothing else that could have been done. The child killer will never know if there was a better option that he/she just didn't want to bother. He'll just deal with his lazy cowardice in whatever emotional way he can, because that was easier than actually trying to be Good.

EvilElitest
2007-03-29, 01:51 PM
If your going to play that type of dark and gritty campaign, just have all your paladins be Grey Gaurds.

Dam, this is like the 27 page long pycho paladin thread all over again. Of of these little situations were countered on that thread, so it will hurt my mind to do it all again. Oh well.
from,
EE

Reinboom
2007-03-29, 01:52 PM
As I'm understanding this argument, as is, it's just a debate of deciding whether or not Machiavellian is good or evil in D&D terms.

CharPixie
2007-03-29, 01:53 PM
Pull your gun and shoot the DM.

That's my first reaction. And I like dark fantasy; if my players can't find a way to solve it without killing the girl, they might have to. But I won't back them into a corner where *I* say they must make crappy choice after crappy choice. I mean, what's the point? There's a line that if I go past it then I'm torturing the PLAYERS and not the characters.

Dark Fantasy novels can be a perfect example. George RR Martin mixes the good and the bad; sometimes hard choices are made and sometimes characters get no good choices at all. But it's balanced by the characters trying to find a way out of the darkness. Whereas bad dark fantasy feels sadistic; if nothing but bad things happens to a character, why am I reading that FANTASY novel? I'll go and pick up a more literary tragedy: at least then, there'll be more of a point to the suffering than "realism".

And, honestly, most games are dime-rag level fantasy. It's very hard to write a moderately decent plot when you have to present it in an RP format. I'm open to finding a game that approaches a literary level, but I'm not hopeful.

My point is this. Before you make your gameworld stark, dark, and gritty, before you remove every option of light the players have and turn your campaign into a circus of pain, ask yourself if that's what your players are coming to play.

Gitman00
2007-03-29, 01:57 PM
That's really the sort of situation we try to get AWAY from in D+D and gaming in general, surely?

Can I presume you'd then strip that Paladin of his powers no matter which way he went?

Admittedly it's a contrived scenario, but I probably would. I wouldn't make atonement too difficult, though, given the situation.

Jayabalard
2007-03-29, 01:58 PM
This is very good - one of the best responses to dilemma setups I've seen. Who posted this one?

- Saphit's not really a response since he set up the dilemma in order to try and claim that evil deeds done for a good reason somehow become non-evil, ie, the ends justify the means.

A Justified evil act is still evil. You can atone for it, but it that doesn't make it a good act, or even a neutral act.

The_Werebear
2007-03-29, 01:59 PM
Actually...yeah...This was mentioned, but it is a third option that is correct

Protection from Evil (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/protectionfromEvil.htm) will prevent posession.

Third non evil option selected. If the DM blocks that, it is houserules.

CharPixie
2007-03-29, 02:01 PM
You'd strip the paladin for NOT saving lives? I think that we could seperate ACTION from INACTION on this one. Let's have a counter example.

Sara is drowning in a pool. She's going to die soon. Now, Paul is standing in the only entrance to the pool compound, and is immobile unless you kill him. Both him and Sara are those stonechild things or something. Anyway, the DM declares it to be true. Would you strip powers away from the Paladin who didn't cut down Paul to save Sara? Yes, there's a lot FEWER lives involved in this one, and no demons, but it would still be refusing to do a evil act in order to save a life. And, oh yes, there are no other options. Of course not.

Gitman00
2007-03-29, 02:07 PM
You'd strip the paladin for NOT saving lives? I think that we could seperate ACTION from INACTION on this one. Let's have a counter example.

Sara is drowning in a pool. She's going to die soon. Now, Paul is standing in the only entrance to the pool compound, and is immobile unless you kill him. Both him and Sara are those stonechild things or something. Anyway, the DM declares it to be true. Would you strip powers away from the Paladin who didn't cut down Paul to save Sara? Yes, there's a lot FEWER lives involved in this one, and no demons, but it would still be refusing to do a evil act in order to save a life. And, oh yes, there are no other options. Of course not.

Keep in mind I wasn't the one who came up with the scenario in the first place. :smallwink: For my part, I disagree with the premise that there are only those two options. I was suspending disbelief for the sake of argument, though. The assumption is that the paladin has full knowledge of the situation and makes a conscious choice to either cut down the child, or watch the demon arrive.

Reinboom
2007-03-29, 02:10 PM
Hmmn, taking older material - that has been applied by bioware - into account.
Did killing anyone in the gnome's illusionary tent in the capital of amn (Baldur's Gate II) have any alignment change? If I recall correctly, you could kill Aerie without problem.

Of course, this is taking an old application of old rules. The alignment system is still near the same however.

EvilElitest
2007-03-29, 02:16 PM
Hmmn, taking older material - that has been applied by bioware - into account.
Did killing anyone in the gnome's illusionary tent in the capital of amn (Baldur's Gate II) have any alignment change? If I recall correctly, you could kill Aerie without problem.

Of course, this is taking an old application of old rules. The alignment system is still near the same however.

If you attacked Aerie after talking with her then you fall.
from,
EE

Saph
2007-03-29, 02:20 PM
it's not really a response since he set up the dilemma in order to try and claim that evil deeds done for a good reason somehow become non-evil, ie, the ends justify the means.

Oh no, I have zero respect for people who set up those kind of dilemmas. I just thought the answer was good - turn it around and put the responsibility on the guy who designed this in the first place (ie the DM).

- Saph

Snooder
2007-03-29, 03:03 PM
Actually, killing the baby isn't an evil act at all. If the baby is possessed it's automatically evil and thus grounds for killing. Exorcism would be preferred, but if all else fails you are duty bound to slay the whelp.

This really is an example of why Paladins so often get played as pricks. When their code is so rigid and the DM forces them to make choices like this the only way to go is to have no mercy.

edit: I'm saying this after a game i had in which i was put in the very same position. At the time i was playing as a LG cleric. The party was sent to find and rescue a child. When we found the kid, the evil boss had him and was threatening to kill him. Of course, being "merciful" we traded the child's life for the villain's. Long story short, the kid was dead anyway and had been turned into a ghoul so either way we had to kill him. Now, if i had been playing a hard-ass prick pally, i'd have just killed the villain and said **** the kid.

Cyborg Pirate
2007-03-29, 03:27 PM
Am I the only one here that finds it rediculous that the DM of the game gets drawn into the discussion?

This is a hypothetical situation. It doesn't matter what the DM is, it doesn't matter what game is being played. It's about the situation.

Comments like "shoot the DM" and all or "I'll take use this and this DnD rule for a third option" are just as pointless as going out on the street after loosing someone in a crash and trying to beat god (whichever god you please) over the head with a stick.


The world is there, the situation is there. Can it not be discussed without everyone looking at rules or blaming the DM in an effort to avoid giving the situation a real thought?





Mind you all, I'm not at all surprised by it. I imagine that the first action of most people to fall into that paladin situation would be to blame the gods first for being in that situation. It doesn't solve the situation tho.

Tweekinator
2007-03-29, 03:46 PM
It does seem that most people are ignoring the fact that the child's soul will be devoured once possessed. If I were the paladin in question, the only good act would be to kill the child and if necessary fall from my Paladin-ness. The one act would by no means make me evil and if losing my vaunted powers is the price to pay for not only saving this innocent baby's soul as well as thousands of lives, then that is the price that has to be paid.

Jayabalard
2007-03-29, 04:04 PM
Actually, killing the baby isn't an evil act at all. If the baby is possessed it's automatically evil and thus grounds for killing. Exorcism would be preferred, but if all else fails you are duty bound to slay the whelp.Not true, but I think it's because you missed some of the set up.

Firstly, the child isn't possessed yet, it's about to be in 10 seconds, and there's nothing you can do to stop it other than to kill the child. At the moment it's a total innocent. Killing the child is slaying an innocent, which is about close as you can get to textbook evil.

Secondly, according to this silly scenario exorcism isn't possible; but if it were possible, then it is not grounds for killing even after the child is already possessed. It's not just preferable to go with exorcism...killing the possessed child (as long as exorcism is possible) would be an act of evil.


Oh no, I have zero respect for people who set up those kind of dilemmas. I just thought the answer was good - turn it around and put the responsibility on the guy who designed this in the first place (ie the DM).

- Saph
I see how it could be read that way... but based on his other posts in the original thread, and his PM's to me, I don't think that's the correct interpretation.

He's not shoving back at the DM and saying that it's the DM's fault... he's claiming that there is a good choice between those 2; that "good" choice is: to do evil in the name of good (kill the one to save the many), and the the ends makes it a good act. I'd even agree that it's a choice that many reasonable people will agree with doing... but I won't agree that it ever becomes anything but an evil act. The ends don't justify the means.

Maroon
2007-03-29, 04:16 PM
I whip out my quick and painless vial of poison, comfort the child in it's dying moments, sneer at the demon getting his soul torn asunder from lack of a host, and ask my cleric buddy for a Raise Dead. I'd probably use a few Wishes to restore the Constitution damage if I could, and donate half of my adventuring wealth to its parents to make sure the child is taken care of properly. That taken care of I'd get to atoning right away, regardless of whether I can still bump uglies or not. I'm sure the dragon hoard doesn't mind waiting a little longer.

elliott20
2007-03-29, 04:22 PM
If I was in that situation, where I HAD to choose between those two options, I would probably kill the child, take the hit in my loss of paladinhood (make no mistake, both of those actions are evil), and then pony up some cash to have the kid revived. Sure, damn kids going to be pissed that he had to experience ressurection at such a young age, but at least he's brought back.

as for the paladin character? well, tragedies do happen to people. This is just an example. And depending upon how the GM wants to play it, this could be the character's last adventure. After seeing all the horrors in the world, and having to look at all the horrors he had to commit for the greater good, who the hell would still want to be a paladin? And if he is truly LG, his fall from grace wouldn't just be because of his god's punishment. It would be because of his lost of faith in the good.

the next step? redemption, if such a thing is ever possible. True, the character might not regain his paladinhood. But in the long run, it is probably the best for his soul.

and then I realized my reply has almost nothing to do with the thread.

Jayabalard
2007-03-29, 04:27 PM
Sure, damn kids going to be pissed that he had to experience ressurection at such a young age, but at least he's brought back.
yeah, but that's kind of cheating

Varen_Tai
2007-03-29, 04:42 PM
I've mentioned this on another thread a while back about paladins, and it's an aspect that often gets ignored in fantasy games, but not mine. The paladin has a wonderful option available to him (indeed any player does) at any time, one that puts the ball back in the GM's court and reveals whether he's tormenting his players or merely challenging them.

That option, of course, is prayer.

If I were in that situation, I would drop to my knees and beg for guidance. This situation is too big for me and I don't have all the details that my deity would have. Give me some guidance, some insight please?

I might receive an answer along the lines of, "Slay this child for the good of the world, and you will be forgiven by Me, though you will have other consequences for your actions that do not come from Me."

Or I might receive, "Lift no finger to harm this child. You are not the only party in play here, and there is a long term goal to be had here. Trust that it will work out ok in the end."

Or I might receive no answer, in which case, I would pray again saying, "OK, since I have received no direction from you on what to do, and barring that, I will make the best decision I know how to make and rely on your mercy for my own human frailty and ignorance in this situation." And then I would close my eyes and choose whatever seemed like the right thing to do in the moment.

What are the gods for if not to answer prayers every once and a while, right? You don't need to have priest class levels to ask for and receive divine guidance, especially in a critical situation like this. At least, that's how I run my games, and I think it's shortchanging paladins and priests in particular to give them divine power but limit divine guidance on using those powers.

Gitman00
2007-03-29, 04:58 PM
What are the gods for if not to answer prayers every once and a while, right? You don't need to have priest class levels to ask for and receive divine guidance, especially in a critical situation like this. At least, that's how I run my games, and I think it's shortchanging paladins and priests in particular to give them divine power but limit divine guidance on using those powers.

I don't know if there's an actual rule on this (can't get to a DMG), but my DM rules that spontaneous prayers have a percentage chance of success: 1% per character level, doubled for clerics and paladins.

elliott20
2007-03-29, 05:17 PM
yeah, but that's kind of cheating
It is. But that is what I would do, per RAW.

Now, if that option was not available to my paladin? well, I'm still going to take a blade to the kid's throat. The only difference here is that the paladin in question is going to have that much harder of a time ever forgiving himself and atoning for his sins.

In the presence of a god who exists, like Veran Tai said, such a God should give the character some kind of guidance as to what to do, because this decision is too big and too hard for a mortal to decide. And if that God refused to answer a mortal's question in that very moment of need, then what spiritual good is this god for?

Yes, I'm aware of the powers that he grants and all that, but looking beyond just the mechanical advantages, the patron deity should not just act as your boss who gives you orders, he should be the one who also gives you spiritual guidance. If he can't help you live up to his OWN goddamn moral code when you need the help, the why the hell would you want to follow him anyway?

Renegade Paladin
2007-03-29, 05:26 PM
Am I the only one here that finds it rediculous that the DM of the game gets drawn into the discussion?

This is a hypothetical situation. It doesn't matter what the DM is, it doesn't matter what game is being played. It's about the situation.

Comments like "shoot the DM" and all or "I'll take use this and this DnD rule for a third option" are just as pointless as going out on the street after loosing someone in a crash and trying to beat god (whichever god you please) over the head with a stick.
Actually, using spells that prevent possession to prevent the possession is not at all pointless. Beating the DM over the head with a stick is, but protection from evil prevents possession, paladins have access to it, and hence it is a third option built in, no DM-beating required.

Tokiko Mima
2007-03-29, 05:29 PM
You'd strip the paladin for NOT saving lives? I think that we could seperate ACTION from INACTION on this one. Let's have a counter example.

Sara is drowning in a pool. She's going to die soon. Now, Paul is standing in the only entrance to the pool compound, and is immobile unless you kill him. Both him and Sara are those stonechild things or something. Anyway, the DM declares it to be true. Would you strip powers away from the Paladin who didn't cut down Paul to save Sara? Yes, there's a lot FEWER lives involved in this one, and no demons, but it would still be refusing to do a evil act in order to save a life. And, oh yes, there are no other options. Of course not.

The way this scenario is constructed, I'm tempted to say that the solution is is find and rob Peter to pay Paul. :smalltongue:

The problem is when you say 'there are no other options' it's patently untrue, or only true because you're invoking a mystical 'deus ex machina' where you can declare the choice automatically and arbitarily binary. Personally, I think that it's bad DMing. If players aren't given the freedom to make their own choices, why are they even playing when they could buy an audio book and achieve the same effect?

There's a lot you could do. Just shouting to Sara to calm down and let herself float alone might work. Ranged magic/Teleports would solve the situation, as would creating another opening. There's a ton of way a situation like this might be addressed without murdering Paul, or you might even take the angle of assessing why Paul is immobile and blocking you. Maybe he wants Sara to drown?

As far as action vs. inaction, I'm going to have to go with Asimov and say that it's like paraphrasing the First Law of Robotics: "A Good person may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm." Seeing a person clinging to the edge of a cliff and not offering your hand out to rescue them, especially when there is no risk or cost to yourself, is morally equivalent to killing them if not legally equivalent.

Jayabalard
2007-03-29, 05:39 PM
RE: Tokiko: I think that was part of the point, to show how ridiculous that sort of arbitrary binary situation is.

Tokiko Mima
2007-03-29, 06:02 PM
RE: Tokiko: I think that was part of the point, to show how ridiculous that sort of arbitrary binary situation is.

Oops. I'm dense sometimes. Sorry CharPixie! :smalleek:

Dervag
2007-03-29, 06:38 PM
yeah, but that's kind of cheatingMuch less so than setting up the 'sick choice' scenario in the first place.

Creating a situation where options are artificially restricted on the pretense that the character is damned if they do and damned if they don't is about as profound a form of DM cheating as I can imagine.


I don't know if there's an actual rule on this (can't get to a DMG), but my DM rules that spontaneous prayers have a percentage chance of success: 1% per character level, doubled for clerics and paladins.There are precedents for that kind of rule.

I'd make that rule apply only to prayers for things other than physical aid. Your deity will be willing to tell you what s/he thinks the right thing to do is, even if they can't/won't jump in to help you.

PinkysBrain
2007-03-29, 06:51 PM
Kreistor's dilemma is false, what is a 100 years of demonic rule compared to the loss of a single soul to evil? Nothing. The eternal is more important than anything as fleeting as a human life, or a million of them.

ocato
2007-03-29, 06:56 PM
Well, the wording says that the demon will consume the soul of the child. Kill the child, send his soul to his god, and prevent the great war of evil. So technically killing the child saves his soul. Sounds good to me. If your choices are A. Demon eats the kid's soul and reigns terror over the kingdom for 100 years and B. The kid goes to his or her deity's plane and frolics in heavenly happiness after a quick and painless death, it seems like a rational god would allow B. Granted, that decision is based on all the metagame information I now have.

Clementx
2007-03-29, 08:03 PM
Kreistor's dilemma is false, what is a 100 years of demonic rule compared to the loss of a single soul to evil? Nothing. The eternal is more important than anything as fleeting as a human life, or a million of them.
Besides being actually incorrect for the situation, since the child's soul is getting consumed, it is also the same assertion that the BoED uses to claim that a Paladin's goodness/Exalted status (read: class abilities and feats) is worth more than the lives and well-being of the rest of the universe combined.

Stephen_E
2007-03-29, 09:24 PM
The problem is that if you look at the way fantasy generall runs (and I've been reading the stuff for almost 40 years, including non-modern fantasy) having a heroe take a innocent life is generally the most powerful evil sacrifice out there.

Basically if the Paladin sacrifices the child the result will probably be the possesion of the Paladin instead (since he just fell and lost his paladin protection) and a 1000 year rule instead of a 100 year rule.

It's the old "If you don't put the gun down I'll shoot the child and it'll be YOUR fault". This is patently false.
As has been pointed out Prot from Evil does the job nicely. If it doesn't you go to another plan. If you decide that slaying the child is the way to go, do it, but don't pretend you aren't doing an evil act, and do it in the knowledge that traditionally in fantasy you're almost certainly going to cause something even worse. (amongst other things, if you kill a child in the middle of a ritual involving it been possessed by a demon it's damned unlikely that the soul will get past the Demon been summoned unless you've got some funky way to give it a serious heavy duty escort). And if you fail to stop the Demon, and it proceeeds to rampage through the nearby town, killing 1000 people, then it killed 1000 people. You didn't.

If you do the best you couold by YOUR standards then you have no guilt it the deathes caused. If someone says "you're guilty of those deaths because I reckon if you'd done this evil deed you would've stopped it" then all that is been demonstrated is that the speaker is tending towards evil themselves. Indeed this sort of behaviour is, by many RL theologies, the clear hallmark of "Evil". It's the traditional "Seduction to Evil".

Stephen

Turcano
2007-03-29, 09:47 PM
Am I the only one here that finds it rediculous that the DM of the game gets drawn into the discussion?

This is a hypothetical situation. It doesn't matter what the DM is, it doesn't matter what game is being played. It's about the situation.

[snip]

The world is there, the situation is there. Can it not be discussed without everyone looking at rules or blaming the DM in an effort to avoid giving the situation a real thought?

The reason that the DM gets dragged into the discussion is because this sort of situation often has an ulterior motive behind it. It's one thing to force players to make uncomfortable decisions, but all too often it comes down to the DM thinking, "You are playing a paladin. I have an irrational hatred of do-gooder types, so I will therefore make your character's life a living hell and force him to fall from grace at the first available opportunity with no chance of atonement for the actions I made you take. Tremble before the might of my childish anti-authoritarianism!" If that's the DM's reason for putting you in a no-win situation, it's usually best to play with someone else.

Roderick_BR
2007-03-29, 09:59 PM
First: If you are doing it on purpose just to make a paladin fall because you don't like the class, or the alignment rules, that's not a good scenario.
Second: Sacrificing the child wouldn't actually make you fall, since you would be at least saving her eternal soul. I even remember a "choose your path" book once, where in some point you have that same choice, and if you ignore the child, you fall, for letting her soul be condemned, instead of ending her life, since you don't have the power to stop the creature. Yeah, tough call.

Rainspattered
2007-03-29, 10:00 PM
Kill the child. It would lose its soul and turn into nothingness, which is much worse than dying quickly and retaining its morally-clear soul. Yeah, maybe I wouldn't be the one doing it when it lost its soul, but that doesn't mean I should allow it terrible suffering to keep my neat, prissy little Paladin Hands clean. If I lose my status, **** my deity. He didn't know what he was doing anyway. If he really believes letting the world fall into a darkness and the infant be slain anyway, in a more horrific way, seconds later is the course to take, he's not the sort of God I want to be serving, anyway.
Even not counting the world-in-darkness thing, I'm still giving the infant mercy.

Felius
2007-03-29, 10:00 PM
Ok, I've just read 23 pages of it like now, so I'm not reading this this two very well.

But anyway my two cents:
I don't believe in punishing for committing or at least not very hard if there are no other choices, but only if he does have problems about it.

If the paladin do the least evil without hesitation and doesn't even feel bad for it, then I'd made him fall and fall hard. Now if he almost breaks down for it, then I might not even require the atonement spell, just sometime without powers so he can think then over. (probably giving then back just when they need the most to save another innocent person)

And before it comes here, About Gray Guards, I consider that they should be held in higher standards then paladins. They have to consider very carefully what they are doing. Imagine that EVIL was a hole in the ground from what evil creatures come out. Paladins stay away from that hole as far they can get and still fight the evil, what might let evil prosper near the hole. Gray Guards are the guys who goes very near the hole, and might even jump over it, and even put the hands inside it.

EvilElitest
2007-03-29, 10:05 PM
Actually, killing the baby isn't an evil act at all. If the baby is possessed it's automatically evil and thus grounds for killing. Exorcism would be preferred, but if all else fails you are duty bound to slay the whelp.

Not the babies body is being used, its soul is still fine a first.


This really is an example of why Paladins so often get played as pricks. When their code is so rigid and the DM forces them to make choices like this the only way to go is to have no mercy.
Only if you play them wrong.


edit: I'm saying this after a game i had in which i was put in the very same position. At the time i was playing as a LG cleric. The party was sent to find and rescue a child. When we found the kid, the evil boss had him and was threatening to kill him. Of course, being "merciful" we traded the child's life for the villain's. Long story short, the kid was dead anyway and had been turned into a ghoul so either way we had to kill him.
But you didn't know it was a ghoul, so it it was a real kid would you have allowed him to die


Now, if i had been playing a hard-ass prick pally, i'd have just killed the villain and said **** the kid.
Hard-ass? More like Dumb ass if your party is good. Killing kids does not make you a anti hero badass, sorry
from,
EE

Rainspattered
2007-03-29, 10:55 PM
Hard-ass and bad-ass are different things. Note that he did not say the latter. Hard-ass implies callous, cold, and rigid. The kind who would kill an infant to kill a villain. Hard-hearted is another way of expressing the concept.

Sardia
2007-03-29, 11:15 PM
That's really the sort of situation we try to get AWAY from in D+D and gaming in general, surely?



Warhammer frp seems to do okay, and Call of Cthulhu and the assorted White Wolf stuff, and none of that really supposes you can expect to have a glorious and good end to your day or career.
All in what style you prefer, I imagine.

Foeofthelance
2007-03-29, 11:18 PM
Actually assuming the intent of the situation of the dilemma (slay/don't slay) and ignoring all the stuff about third options, which while RAW seems a bit out of context for the debate, I'd have to say there really is only one thing that should be the right thing.

Kill the child.

Ressurect it if you want. Maybe you can't, maybe you can. But the problem is the entire focus of this debate has been on the immediate problem, solutions, and consequences. Which seems a bit odd for a game as long as a D&D adventure tends to be.

The immediate problem needs to be taken care of first, and that is preventing the demon from rising. Again, assuming intent, I'll limit my own hypothetical character to three seconds action time, thus leaving no use of Protection. Or maybe I used all my spells/daily allotment fighting my way down to the lowest level of the cult's stronghold, which seems a bit more realistic. So that's out. I am a Paladin, I must do the greater good, and I must prevent evil. Whether I fall is inconsequential. My powers are god given, and if the gods can see a better solution and I can't then they can't fault me. If they do, they should have been dealing with it themselves in the first place.

Thus the child dies.

What should be important is what I do next. Perhaps ressurection. Maybe it can't as any attempt to restore the vessel restores the demon as well. Maybe I don't have the levels or gold. In that case, my next stop is at a good aligned temple. I don't ask about my powers if their gone. My purpose has never been my powers, but the protection of innocents and doing good deeds. Instead I ask about the child's soul. Is it safe? If not where is it, and I how do I rescue it?

If the child's soul is safe, all well and good. If the child's soul is in the possession of the demon I won't worry. because no matter what the answer is, my next stop is going to be the nearest portal to Hell or the Abyss or Plane of Wherever this guy makes his home. Then I will fight my way through what ever comes at me, and either I will die, or I will slay the demon, to ensure that no matter what, none of this ever has to happen again.

That is the right thing to do.

Kreistor
2007-03-29, 11:41 PM
I am brining over some debating on this subject that was going on in the OotS forum. I'll begin with a reply to Tokiko


What you're doing is constructing a false dilemna and using your DM power to enforce it. There are more options than the two given ones in the scenario you described. Unless you're giving my Paladin the out of game knowledge that only slaying the child will work, I can't see that as even crossing the Paladin's mind as an option.

I do that. I mentioned it before. No paladin in my campaign accidentally Falls. If a dilemma like this came up, I would inform him that the correct solution was killing the child, and allowing the demon through to annihilate civilization is clearly the evil and selfish choice, thus he would be acting against his god, who desires the survival of the world, and he would Fall, perhaps being punished in a manner similar to Lord Soth.

No paladin in my campaign faces this kind of dilemma and does not get armed with the knowlege of what is good and evil to me.

If the dilemma was subtler, such that there was no clear option that was good, then the paladin gets the benefit of the doubt, and does nto Fall regardless of which decision he makes. In my world, like in my real existence, evil can not give me a dilemma to which there is no good choice. If the difference is too subtle, then neither option can cause the paladin to Fall.

In case you missed it in my previous post...

Even if there are only two options, no matter how heinous they may be, one must be the Good one.

Kreistor
2007-03-29, 11:44 PM
A second respone to pjackson...


Then you are a bad DM running an inconsistant world.
You have allowed a player to play a paladin - someone who live by strict, perhaps fantastic, standards - and are putting them in a situation where living by such a standard is impossible.
Anyway the existance of a paladin who abilities come from the powers of Good and Law implies that such powers do exists and are active in the world.

No, it is not, because I do not agree with the "lesser evil". Since I am the DM, there is a good option, and that is the one where the child dies. Distasteful. The paladin is right to feel some guilt and a need for restitution, but not evil.

Like I have said, if there are only two options, and one is clearly horribly evil, then the other must be the good one, otherwise, evil people have control over your soul. I deny evil that power. That you allow it horrifies me.


Killing the child is evil. It may be the lesser evil, but it is evil.

You just handed your soul to evil men. Good luck with that.


A paladin does not belong in dark fantasy, except as a light in the darkness, in which case it isn't so dark after all.

I bow to your utter lack of creativity. Fortunately for my campaign, I am not as strict and devoid of inventiveness as you.


a Good person would regret it.

The existence of regret does not imply the existence of an evil, only of tragedy.


We're getting perilously close to real-world religion here, so let me just say that this argument's premise is flawed. First of all, in the real world there are not nine neat little boxes into which all morality and ethics fall.

Right, there are two for most religions -- good and evil, and no neutral. But that fits our conversation, so we can move on.


Choosing the lesser of two evils is not a Good act, but in any consistant world that allows paladins to exists there will always be a Good option - such as grabbing the child, holding them close and praying.

Denied. With all of my being. No person can put me in a position where I cannot choose Good, so if there are only two choices of action, one must by definition be Good.

You can hand control of your soul over to other people if you like, but I deny your position at its face.

You can not put me in a position where there is no Good choice, even if there are only two possible actions.

Whamme
2007-03-29, 11:47 PM
The problem here is that you need to pull away to the real world.

There are two types of people. Those who think the lesser of two evils is the morally correct choice... and those who don't.

You will not convince someone on this; I think there are studies showing that there are actual differences in the brain between people on opposite sides of this issue. So quit it.


Also, Goodkind was mentioned? Richard is the MASTER of the third way. The entire underlying moral of the series is that getting trapped in a binary choice and selecting the lesser of two evils is WRONG and leads to more suffering.

Even in that 'dark fantasy' the /right/ choice is to try for a third way, it is simply tempting to go for the lesser of two evils - but ultimately self defeating.

Kreistor
2007-03-30, 12:04 AM
Kreistor's dilemma is false, what is a 100 years of demonic rule compared to the loss of a single soul to evil? Nothing. The eternal is more important than anything as fleeting as a human life, or a million of them.

I do NOT place my paladin players in these kinds of moral dilemmas, at least not without them understanding exactly what my own beliefs on this subject are. No paladin ever accidentally Falls because a player and I have a dsagreement on this subject: if asked, I will explain the good option and why I view it as good. I like paladins. And I do play a dark game (Noir-esque) where the players need to work with distasteful people. So, yes, the paladins in my game need to face some distasteful decisions, but I because of that, my paladins also get greater lattitude in maintaining their alignment.

I can create these dilemmas easily enough, but I do not use them.

Kreistor
2007-03-30, 12:20 AM
The question is whether I can accept that there is a no-win situation in our own world. No, there isn't. A world such as you suggest, where you can create a no-win situation that will sentence my soul to punishment, is simply not one I live in. I will kill the child, save the world, the country, the city, the block, or even just a single family, and not bat an eye, becaues I know that I did good, not evil, that day. I didn't create the situation where I had to choose the one or the many, and so I am not responsible for having to do the math and save the many at the cost of the one, even if it was just a baby.

You are not the master of my soul. You can place me in a situation, but there is always a good way out, even if there are only two options and both are tragic. Any other possibility puts you in the position to sentence me to hell, and that capacity you cannot have.

So, I will say this as clearly as I can. There is always a good option, even if there are only two choices and both are tragic.


This is very good - one of the best responses to dilemma setups I've seen. Who posted this one?

- Saph

Me. I did. It was all my post.

The initial dilemma involed an illusion. Some people would have the paladin fall for slaying a demon that was actually an illusion wiht a child hidden inside. (My position on that one is simple: if that's true, then all paladins are never allowed to hit anything, since anything could be an illusion with a child inside, including the practice dummy. Losing your paladinhood because someone replaed the practice dummy with an illusioned child is just flat out absurd.)

I didn't invent the initial dilemma, I merely defined them because we were talking about an ambiguous situation.

For the most part, I agree with everyone that disagrees with allowing such dilemmas in a game. But sometimes such things are unavoidable. As a DM, the plot must go where it must go, and sometimes I can't avoid a situation where the paladin is going to have to work a little. Hopefuly, though, everyone has a defined enough personality that they'll hit such dilemmas of their own, too. Dilemmas are not restricted to just the lawful good guys.

Reinboom
2007-03-30, 12:24 AM
Given that all deities have thousands of years to live (they can fall in D&D as well, so not eternal...) and most are always described as "working to slowly enact their own schemes" - also given that behind the nature of this event is either "don't kill a child" vs "Kill and give a large balance shift to good" - also given that your paladin powers are given and refuted somewhere (by a good aligned god) - I believe the reasonable assumption would be for the god to treat the act, since they would by default look in the greater view of things, as a good act.
I wouldn't run this debate on a moral or philosophical view of whether the paladin was good or not in a personal manner. Debates on personal matters don't work since every opinion is subjective anyways. Since everything of the paladin is god-attached, even when they fall they are losing their blessing of the gods, so I would take it by the god's perspective.

--
In another sense of how this can be worked, a paladin that has been truely "holy" up to this point normally shares similar ideas and aspects of their deity - which is normally why they chose their deity - so it could also be situational in that to reflect what the paladin committing the act views as correct since it would make sense for their view to be a mortal reflection of a deity's view.

Snooder
2007-03-30, 12:31 AM
While I agree with the "third option" folks here, this is more interesting as a theoretical discussion on the nature of good and evil action in D&D.

My contention is that in D&D good and evil is very much a black and white binary proposition. There is always a good option and a lot of the situations that paint an option as evil do so because they are using real world standards and not the D&D standards.

For example, in this case, killing the child is not evil. Not because the ends justify the means but simply because if you need to kill the child, then he is no longer innocent. The fact that he is not at fault for the reason he needs to die sucks for him but it does not change the fact that he needs to die.

I am assuming of course
a.) he cannot be dispossessed or otherwise prevented from turning into a demon other than by death.
b.) it is CERTAIN that he will turn into a demon, there is no wiggle room. (this is important for the deciding whether the child is innocent or not. if it is truly certain, then it may as well have already happened)
c.) you cannot wait for him to turn into a demon for whatever reason.

Kreistor
2007-03-30, 12:35 AM
Also, Goodkind was mentioned? Richard is the MASTER of the third way. The entire underlying moral of the series is that getting trapped in a binary choice and selecting the lesser of two evils is WRONG and leads to more suffering.

Might want to check that statement... Book related spoilers follow

Stone of Tears]... save the world or let Kahlan have her head cut off. Binary choice. No third option. (Kahlan revealed to survive after he discovered he couldn't do both.)

Temple of the Winds... marry someone he doesn't love and lose his future, or a plague rips through the world. No third option. (Third choice came up after he made the choice.)

Might be more, but I think two prove the point.

Tokiko Mima
2007-03-30, 01:35 AM
While I agree with the "third option" folks here, this is more interesting as a theoretical discussion on the nature of good and evil action in D&D.

My contention is that in D&D good and evil is very much a black and white binary proposition. There is always a good option and a lot of the situations that paint an option as evil do so because they are using real world standards and not the D&D standards.

For example, in this case, killing the child is not evil. Not because the ends justify the means but simply because if you need to kill the child, then he is no longer innocent. The fact that he is not at fault for the reason he needs to die sucks for him but it does not change the fact that he needs to die.

I am assuming of course
a.) he cannot be dispossessed or otherwise prevented from turning into a demon other than by death.
b.) it is CERTAIN that he will turn into a demon, there is no wiggle room. (this is important for the deciding whether the child is innocent or not. if it is truly certain, then it may as well have already happened)
c.) you cannot wait for him to turn into a demon for whatever reason.

And the only problem with your conditions is it requires the Paladin to possess omniscience and know things about the scenario that there is no way for him/her to know unless they were getting the info directly from the DM/God. And if the DM/God is going to intervene to the extent that the Paladin knows all that, you have to wonder why the DM/God doesn't stop the demon themselves? Why is the Paladin the trigger man, when killing a child would be so much easier for a being of limitless power and knowledge?

Stephen_E
2007-03-30, 01:44 AM
Might want to check that statement... Book related spoilers follow

Stone of Tears]... save the world or let Kahlan have her head cut off. Binary choice. No third option. (Kahlan revealed to survive after he discovered he couldn't do both.)

Temple of the Winds... marry someone he doesn't love and lose his future, or a plague rips through the world. No third option. (Third choice came up after he made the choice.)

Might be more, but I think two prove the point.

Actually since in both cases it turned out that it wasn't a Binary choice, it only appeared to be a Binary choice, I think it show he's right and you're wrong.

To be honest in the example siutation you give, if the Paladin had been played by me I would've tried to do something other than kill the baby. If it failed and you ruled that I'd just fallen I'd simply say "No. You're wrong. I didn't fall because I didn't do a Evil act or break my code". At that point one of the following would probably happen -
1) You'd agree that I hadn't done an "Evil" act.
2) I'd drop the chracter and start a new PC with no alignment links.
3) One of us would leave the game (based on what the rest of the players thought. I'd probably walk, but if enough other players thought your ruling was as dumb as I did, it could be you either quitting as GM or walking).

Technically there might be a 4th result, where you just treat all my Paladin abilities as not working, but that would rapidly default to one of the 1st 3 as soon as I noticed and started lying right back at you. If I thought I'd made a save due to my Cha bonus I'd ignore any effects caused by you saying I'd failed. Actually this could default to a group breakup as well.if it was unresolved long enough.

Stephen

Tokiko Mima
2007-03-30, 01:52 AM
Since everything of the paladin is god-attached, even when they fall they are losing their blessing of the gods, so I would take it by the god's perspective.

Keep in mind, Paladins don't all necessarily follow Gods (except in Forgotten Realms). You can be a Paladin of a cause and still have all the paladin-granted powers that a Paladin with a religon has.

TOAOMT
2007-03-30, 02:02 AM
Assuming my understanding of the situation.

The DM has railroaded you to this point by making "Get there in time to stop the ritual" literally impossible. There is obviously no good wayout of this. The demon in question is either not a fightable being or FAR too powerful to beat. Barring metagame options like the raise dead mentioned above, I can think of only one "good" way out of this: Sigh, look at the DM and say "Ya know, if you're not going to take this game seriously then neither am I." Stand up, and walk out.

Snooder
2007-03-30, 02:06 AM
And the only problem with your conditions is it requires the Paladin to possess omniscience and know things about the scenario that there is no way for him/her to know unless they were getting the info directly from the DM/God. And if the DM/God is going to intervene to the extent that the Paladin knows all that, you have to wonder why the DM/God doesn't stop the demon themselves? Why is the Paladin the trigger man, when killing a child would be so much easier for a being of limitless power and knowledge?

The Paladin is the trigger man precisely because he is mortal. No point in having a battle between good and evil if the Gods could duke it out themselves. Either they want to enforce free will, or they know that duking it out personally will destroy the world. So instead they have lesser tools make choices and commit actions on their behalf.

And the reason for the conditions is that otherwise the entire situation is unworkable. the conditions are merely there to set certain assumptions so that the choice is truly binary and not some weird series of "oh yeah too bad the demon wasn't gonna take over the kid anyway, you lose" type results.

Demented
2007-03-30, 02:19 AM
For example, in this case, killing the child is not evil. Not because the ends justify the means but simply because if you need to kill the child, then he is no longer innocent. The fact that he is not at fault for the reason he needs to die sucks for him but it does not change the fact that he needs to die.

Well, myself I disagree entirely. The child is still an innocent, regardless of what is going to happen to him.

Also, if for some reason you roll a 1 on your attack roll and utterly fail to kill the child*.... Offer a powerful Dragon a city's worth of magical items and fancy gems. Ancient Dragon > Demon. Problem solved. If there aren't any cities willing to pay that much, then apparently this Demon wasn't very threatening last time.


*Which would be a travesty. The child can be resurrected if you kill him, but not if his soul is consumed.

Stephen_E
2007-03-30, 02:35 AM
And the reason for the conditions is that otherwise the entire situation is unworkable. the conditions are merely there to set certain assumptions so that the choice is truly binary and not some weird series of "oh yeah too bad the demon wasn't gonna take over the kid anyway, you lose" type results.

That's the problem. There is no such thing as a truly binary situation. If it looks like a binary situation then someone is lying to you or you're misinformed. Often they're set up as a lie to try and convince you to a particular way of thinking. In RL Politicians often do it as a way of garnering support for something that they know people won't support by choice. They put forward what they want, and then put fprward someting else unpalatable and claim it's the only other choice. Basically it's a variant of the Shell game talked about by Haley in OotS. Soon as you buy into the concept that there are only "x" choices, and one of those is the right choice, you've lost.

Stephen

Kreistor
2007-03-30, 02:44 AM
The DM has railroaded you to this point by making "Get there in time to stop the ritual" literally impossible. There is obviously no good wayout of this. The demon in question is either not a fightable being or FAR too powerful to beat. Barring metagame options like the raise dead mentioned above, I can think of only one "good" way out of this: Sigh, look at the DM and say "Ya know, if you're not going to take this game seriously then neither am I." Stand up, and walk out.

The question is whether the act is good or evil, not whether the DM is a maroon. I wrote the scenario, but I would never put my players through it. It's not fun, I agree.


And if the DM/God is going to intervene to the extent that the Paladin knows all that, you have to wonder why the DM/God doesn't stop the demon themselves?

Gods don't manifest in Eberron. Such events like the above are world-dependent: the discussion is about the inherent nature of the situation.


Actually since in both cases it turned out that it wasn't a Binary choice, it only appeared to be a Binary choice, I think it show he's right and you're wrong.

No, it doesn't. Richard chose based on what he knew at the time, which was a binary choice and personal loss over the loss of many other people. The third option must exist at the time of choosing. What was learned was that Richard was misinformed in the first case, and not truly cursed in the second. It was still a binary choice and there was no third option: the correct option just wasn't quite as tragic as Richard was told at the time of the choosing. He chose: and in both cases he lost what he expected to lose. In one case, he discovered he believed a lie and he hadn't lost what he thought he had: but he did make the choice believing he would. In the other, he realized that he could get over what he had lost and forgive his betrayer, but he realized that after he had nearly lost himself to despair: but he had to believe that he would not have a way out, or else he couldn't have gotten to the Temple in the first place due to the nature of the Temple's entrance restriction.

In our paladin situation, an equivalent would have been: after killing the child, the child is buried in a nice funeral. Two days later, a Cleric arrives and resurrects the child. So, if you are the type of person that caused the paladin to Fall for killing the child, and the child isn't dead anymore because the god always planned on bringing the child back, did you give the Paladin his status back? He killed a child... but the god always planned on bringing it back: he just didn't tell the paladin about that (greek style god, or Eberron style).

Whamme
2007-03-30, 02:45 AM
Might want to check that statement... Book related spoilers follow

Stone of Tears]... save the world or let Kahlan have her head cut off. Binary choice. No third option. (Kahlan revealed to survive after he discovered he couldn't do both.)

Temple of the Winds... marry someone he doesn't love and lose his future, or a plague rips through the world. No third option. (Third choice came up after he made the choice.)

Might be more, but I think two prove the point.

In SoT he went to save her - he didn't choose to sacrifice her - and she lived. He didn't pick save her, he didn't pick save the world, he picked save the world AND save her... and she was saved.

He didn't compromise, he just took a gamble.

In TotW he didn't choose to do something evil, he chose to do something he didn't want to. Very different from killing an innocent child. Richard is /incapable/ of doing something like that; I don't think even danger to Kahlan could make him do it, let alone a mere risk to the world.

So no, the Sword of Truth series is a lousy example of binary decisions forcing the protagonist to commit an evil act. Richard sticks to his principles over expediency, and the complexities of the world unravel to show that sticking to his principles is objectively right.

Kreistor
2007-03-30, 02:55 AM
There is no such thing as a truly binary situation.

Sorry, but there are. It does get that simple, especially in War. Shoot or don't shoot. The enemy is hiding behind a human shield. The enemy is using child soldiers. The enemy is launching rockets from beside a school.

Only in books does a third option appear to give the hero a back door. Real life is rarely so kind.

Kreistor
2007-03-30, 03:02 AM
Whamme! Spolier block novels!


In SoT he went to save her - he didn't choose to sacrifice her - and she lived. He didn't pick save her, he didn't pick save the world, he picked save the world AND save her... and she was saved.

Uhm, dude, he didn't save her. Zed saved her. At best, Richard rolled the dice and prayed that the prophecy was wrong about her, and he was right. But that's not the third option... he chose based on the binary options and crossed his fingers.


In TotW he didn't choose to do something evil, he chose to do something he didn't want to.

I'm not saying it was. I'm just saying that Goodkind presents binary options and doesn't give the same third option backdoors other authors do. Oh, he makes the right choice less heinous after the fact, but that's not the same as finding the third option.

The third option in a maze, for instance, is blowing down the walls and going straight to the center... or climbing the walls and runnning on them instead of the ground. You don't accept the basis for the dilemma and find a new option. Richard never found new options, he always took one of the two presented and learned that the correct choice had mispresented their outcomes after the fact. Richard didn't blow down the walls... he followed the maze to the end and found that he didn't have to pay quite so badly as he expected.

Snooder
2007-03-30, 03:15 AM
That's the problem. There is no such thing as a truly binary situation.

The point is not whether such a binary situation exists. I stated earlier that i agree with finding a third option if presented with this sort of situation.

The point is that given said binary situation, how would morality in D&D break down? I'm arguing that even in the face of a binary situation such as this, there is a "non-evil" action that should be taken. In this case it is killing the soon-to-be demon-vessel. The positing of the binary situation allows us to compare only two events:
a.) not killing the child, letting him become possessed and allowing evil to take over the world and
b.) killing the child, stopping the possession and thwarting evil



Well, myself I disagree entirely. The child is still an innocent, regardless of what is going to happen to him.

That's an interesting viewpoint. By that logic, if we had a way to blow-up the WTC planes before they hit the towers, we should instead let them have flown in anyway because there were innocent lives on board. (sorry for bringing up 9/11 but it was the most recent and applicable event i could think of)

Slokkva
2007-03-30, 06:00 AM
I think what we are dealing with are 2 different evils, not a greater and lesser as some have mentioned, but more of a true evil and a necessary evil.

In this scenerio the true evil would be allowing the demon to possess the kid, and ruling the world for 100 years. In fact it is safe to say that the paladin would have to "fall" for allowing such a thing to happen, and by allowing it to happen is assisting evil in it's plot. Any paladin that bases his/her decisions on whether they loose thier powers, doesn't deserve to be a paladin in the first place. A paladin's decisions should be based on whether or not true evil has been stopped and true good has been accomplished...even if it means self sacrifice. Because when true evil has been stopped and true good has been accomplished, the diety you serve would have no reason to remove your powers.

Back to the point though....recognizing the true evil leaves the paladin with only 1 option...the necessary evil. He must slay the child to prevent the true evil from happening. Will he feel regret...no he wouldn't...he wouldn't regret seeing the true good being accomplished. He would feel sorrow and grief, but not regret, and wouldn't fall because the diety would also see that the true good was accomplished.
I mean seriously, a diety grants you the power to overcome true evil, knowing good and well that you could die in the process, but you make that sacrifice for the greater good. The child in this case would be making that same sacrifice for the greater good, the paladin is merely the tool used to carry out said sacrifice.

Falkus
2007-03-30, 06:09 AM
The enemy is hiding behind a human shield.

Get a sniper.


The enemy is using child soldiers.

Use non-lethal weaponry.


The enemy is launching rockets from beside a school.

The sniper again.

There is no such thing as a binary situation. There is always a third option.

Demented
2007-03-30, 06:20 AM
That's an interesting viewpoint. By that logic, if we had a way to blow-up the WTC planes before they hit the towers, we should instead let them have flown in anyway because there were innocent lives on board. (sorry for bringing up 9/11 but it was the most recent and applicable event i could think of)

You may have heard of conscientious objectors?
I'm a conscientous provocateur. ;)

It may be evil, but it should still be done!

Put another way....
____

In my opinion, a paladin faced with a such a moral dilemma as to do Evil, or allow Evil to happen, should choose to do Evil, knowing he will fall, as that is the proper punishment for a Paladin doing Evil. However, if his repentance is honest and true, then it should not be difficult for him to atone.

Above all, a Lawful Good character should always have qualms about killing the innocent. The lesser of two evils is still Evil, and that should be made clear, to encourage him to seek alternative actions.
____

If the paladin allowed Evil to happen, technically that's Neutral. But, such an action is extremely Neutral. Alignment-shifting Neutral. The kind that will end with a Lawful Neutral paladin if he's more than a little callous about the issue. That robs him of his abilities just as if he had chosen Evil, but the road to atonement may be more difficult.... He has to regain his alignment as well as his abilities.

Sometimes, being face to face with a horror isn't enough to force us into action. That is the most deplorable sort of Neutral, but Neutral nonetheless. It is ultimately something a paladin should never be.
____

Suffice to say, Evil (even Neutrality, to some extent) should never be an acceptable option to a Good character. With a strong emphasis on the 'never' and almost as much emphasis on the 'acceptable'.

Killing an innocent should never be an acceptable course of action, nor would allowing an innocent to die. For a Good character, anyway. Sometimes you simply have no choice, but the desparation of those instances should not be waved away because it would be more convenient.

Unless, of course, you're at a gaming table. In that case, moral philosophy is most easily determined by a single sentence: "Whatever is fun and fitting."

Stephen_E
2007-03-30, 06:20 AM
The point is not whether such a binary situation exists. I stated earlier that i agree with finding a third option if presented with this sort of situation.

The point is that given said binary situation, how would morality in D&D break down? I'm arguing that even in the face of a binary situation such as this, there is a "non-evil" action that should be taken. In this case it is killing the soon-to-be demon-vessel. The positing of the binary situation allows us to compare only two events:
a.) not killing the child, letting him become possessed and allowing evil to take over the world and
b.) killing the child, stopping the possession and thwarting evil)

But there is no such thing as a binary situation.

You're asking how DnD morality works in a non-existant/impossible situation. There is no binary situation therefore I don't have to choose either a or b, and neither of them have to be "good".

If I posited a hypothetical situation set in the real world, with current technology, and the situation was "You're swimming through the lower photosphere of the sun when you see a drowning child." the simple response is that it's BS because you can't swim in the photosphere of the sun.

The basic answer to the scenario is
"It's not a binary situation".
This answer should be repeated ad nauseum until the point gets across.



That's an interesting viewpoint. By that logic, if we had a way to blow-up the WTC planes before they hit the towers, we should instead let them have flown in anyway because there were innocent lives on board. (sorry for bringing up 9/11 but it was the most recent and applicable event i could think of)

You could of course blow up the Airliner. It would be an evil act, but hey, when did Govts suddenly become "Good". I must of missed it. And again, it's wasn't a binary situation (and indeed it can be attached to a long string of doing evil acts, calling them good, and forgetting about it because you labeled it "good" and/or "necessary", and getting bit by the natural follow through.

Stephen

Stephen_E
2007-03-30, 06:28 AM
I mean seriously, a diety grants you the power to overcome true evil, knowing good and well that you could die in the process, but you make that sacrifice for the greater good. The child in this case would be making that same sacrifice for the greater good, the paladin is merely the tool used to carry out said sacrifice.

If you choose to sacrifice your life for a cause, that is one thing, and many consider it admirable.

If you choose to sacrifice another life for a cause, without getting agreement from the other, it's a whole different story, and very few consider it admirable.

Stephen

Cyborg Pirate
2007-03-30, 06:29 AM
Get a sniper.

Use non-lethal weaponry.

The sniper again.

There is no such thing as a binary situation. There is always a third option.


What sniper? whoever said you had a sniper? Why do you people keep trying to wriggle out of the situation by blaming the DM or making up new options??


You're in a war. It's a major offensive. As a grunt part of the assault, you've just attacked a village with your buddies. War is raging all around you, the assault is a complete mess. People are screaming, guns are firing, houses are on fire. You're struggling through the rubble with what's left of your squad. No-one's thinking about objectives anymore, everyone just wants to survive. You stumble into a half collapsed building with a friend leading the way, the rest of the squad ignores you two and tries to find cover and keep moving outside. You're stalking through the middle of a room, keeping well away from the rubble and shadows incase of an ambush, but also painfully aware that you yourself are too far away from all cover too. Your buddy is 15 feet away from you, trying to climb quickly but carefully over the rubble when suddenly an enemy soldier who has lost his gun bursts out of a dark corner, grabs your friend by surprise, puts a knife to his neck and grabs your friends gun. While using your friend as a human shield, the enemy soldier is now in the process of raising the gun at your head.

What do you do?

Or even better, your friend can be just an innocent child who lives in that village and was just scrambling over the rubble in an attemp to get home, and you just happened to follow the child because you felt worried when an enemy soldier bursts out of the shadow, grabs the child, uses him as a human shield and starts raising his gun to your head.

Where's your bloody sniper now? Or your non-lethal weaponry?


If any of you want to seriously answer this question, keep the circumstances clearly in mind. You're in the middle of a mission gone fubar, battle rages around, you're out of cover, your squad mates went the other way, you have no radio. You're just a lowly grunt having what is amounting to the worst day of your life.

Slokkva
2007-03-30, 07:21 AM
If you choose to sacrifice your life for a cause, that is one thing, and many consider it admirable.

If you choose to sacrifice another life for a cause, without getting agreement from the other, it's a whole different story, and very few consider it admirable.

Stephen


I wasn't trying to make it into anything admirable.....I was merely saying that if the paladin does decide to sacrifice the kid for the greater good, the diety would more than likely not take away your powers, because the true evil was stopped and the greater good was served. The gods have the understanding that to achieve the greater good, sacrifices have to be made, whether it be you or another....even the gods can't please everyone...why do you think there are so many of them.

As for being the soldier facing the man raising his gun towards me...self preservation would kick in, I would fire at him, although I would aim high and wide in hope of making him to duck or pause just long enough for me to try and find some cover...if it means me taking a bullet in the process so be it, but I wouldn't aim center mass knowing I would kill the kid and him...I feel my life isn't worth enough to force an innocent to sacrifice his life for mine.

I don't think this is the answer you are looking for, but it is a viable option.
1. not fire and get killed..kid dies anyway more than likely
2. fire center mass killing both the man and kid
3. fire high and wide to try manipulate the situation to give me either more options or the advantage.

Binary situations do exist though....look at the movie Saw 1 2 and 3...those are about as binary as they get...do something and live...don't do it and you die.

Jayabalard
2007-03-30, 07:30 AM
You're just a lowly grunt having what is amounting to the worst day of your life.that doesn't sound much like a paladin; nor does it sound like it has anything to do with the high fantasy worlds where paladins actually exist.

I think Slokkva Sums up what the soldier would do pretty well.

Slokkva
2007-03-30, 07:37 AM
Also another example of a binary situation...you're pushed out of a plane with a parachute....you have 2 options...open the chute and survive...or don't open the chute and die....there isn't another option if you are the only person who is falling.


and just it doesn't appear that I am hi jacking the thread.......pretend you are a paladin that was just thrown off the back of a dragon....and you have the option to drink the potion of featherfall or not drink it, assuming you had no other way to slow your decent.

Cyborg Pirate
2007-03-30, 07:42 AM
I don't think this is the answer you are looking for, but it is a viable option.
1. not fire and get killed..kid dies anyway more than likely
2. fire center mass killing both the man and kid
3. fire high and wide to try manipulate the situation to give me either more options or the advantage.

No no, it's perfectly acceptable. Since it's a Huge gamble, the situation still remains a damned-if-you-do damned-if-you-don't.




that doesn't sound much like a paladin; nor does it sound like it has anything to do with the high fantasy worlds where paladins actually exist.

The point I'm trying to make here is that people only think up third 'ideal' options because the situation has not been described with enough detail. It's patently rediculous. It amounts to "the dm didn't say I didn't have a sword of automatic demon slaying and child saving so I have one with which I stab the child whereupon the demon inside dies and the child survives".

You were not mentioned having that weapon. You were not mentioned having that or that option, so don't make it up. Deal with the situation, don't start blaming DM's. Don't wuss out and say "I walk out of the game". You folks have been presented a situation. Grow a spine and deal with it. Leave the DM alone.


Or do I need to write up a paladin situation of several massive posts long with intricate detail before some of you will stop avoiding the question?

pjackson
2007-03-30, 08:00 AM
No, it is not, because I do not agree with the "lesser evil". Since I am the DM, there is a good option, and that is the one where the child dies. Distasteful. The paladin is right to feel some guilt and a need for restitution, but not evil.


DMs can be wrong and in this case you are. Killing an innocent is an evil act according to the definitions in D&D. If the paladin does it then he falls for willing performing an evil act and would need to atone. It may well not be sufficient to change his alignment to evil.



Like I have said, if there are only two options, and one is clearly horribly evil, then the other must be the good one, otherwise, evil people have control over your soul. I deny evil that power. That you allow it horrifies me.


Killing the child is killing an innocent - clearly horribly evil.
The other option is less clear since it lies further in the future.

As a player in such a situation I would look for the alternates, and you can not deny them without being a bad DM running a world that makes no sense.

In the real world such situations can not happen, so your horror is unjustified.



You just handed your soul to evil men. Good luck with that.


I did not.



I bow to your utter lack of creativity. Fortunately for my campaign, I am not as strict and devoid of inventiveness as you.


That is a lie. You are the one dening any creativity by your insistance of there being only 2 options.



Denied. With all of my being. No person can put me in a position where I cannot choose Good


In the real world that is true, but not in the unrealistic, inconsistant one that you would put the paladin in.
Given two obviously evil choices, would you pick one, or look for the good choice that you have missed, which you logic says must exist?
A paladin is entitled to use the same logic to conclude there must be a third alternative to the two evil ones presented.
There is no way that does not involve being a bad DM put it beyond all doubt that there is such an alternative.



You can not put me in a position where there is no Good choice, even if there are only two possible actions.

But you as DM want to do that to the paladin.

pjackson
2007-03-30, 08:30 AM
What sniper? whoever said you had a sniper? Why do you people keep trying to wriggle out of the situation by blaming the DM or making up new options??


Becuase the DM clearly was wrong in setting up a situation in which there were supposedly only two choices.



You're in a war. It's a major offensive. As a grunt part of the assault, you've just attacked a village with your buddies. War is raging all around you, the assault is a complete mess. People are screaming, guns are firing, houses are on fire. You're struggling through the rubble with what's left of your squad. No-one's thinking about objectives anymore, everyone just wants to survive. You stumble into a half collapsed building with a friend leading the way, the rest of the squad ignores you two and tries to find cover and keep moving outside. You're stalking through the middle of a room, keeping well away from the rubble and shadows incase of an ambush, but also painfully aware that you yourself are too far away from all cover too. Your buddy is 15 feet away from you, trying to climb quickly but carefully over the rubble when suddenly an enemy soldier who has lost his gun bursts out of a dark corner, grabs your friend by surprise, puts a knife to his neck and grabs your friends gun. While using your friend as a human shield, the enemy soldier is now in the process of raising the gun at your head.

What do you do?


Try to duck out of site is the most likely.



Or even better, your friend can be just an innocent child who lives in that village and was just scrambling over the rubble in an attemp to get home, and you just happened to follow the child because you felt worried when an enemy soldier bursts out of the shadow, grabs the child, uses him as a human shield and starts raising his gun to your head.

Where's your bloody sniper now? Or your non-lethal weaponry?

If any of you want to seriously answer this question, keep the circumstances clearly in mind. You're in the middle of a mission gone fubar, battle rages around, you're out of cover, your squad mates went the other way, you have no radio. You're just a lowly grunt having what is amounting to the worst day of your life.

Drop your weapon and surrender.
Dive for cover.
Attempt to shoot the enemy without hitting the child.
Pull out a grenade and pull the pin, but don't let go.
Shoot the enemy though the child.
Shoot in the air and shout "Over here" trying to bluff that you have friends nearby to avenge you if he kills you.
Do nothing.

Definitely not a binary choice, and not all the options are evil.
So it is nothing like the situation that was being discussed.

Jayabalard
2007-03-30, 08:41 AM
You were not mentioned having that weapon. You were not mentioned having that or that option, so don't make it up. Deal with the situation, don't start blaming DM's. Don't wuss out and say "I walk out of the game". You folks have been presented a situation. Grow a spine and deal with it. Leave the DM alone.I play D&D for entertainment ... if it's not entertaining, and the DM is being absurd, then the proper way to "deal with" the problem is to not play.
Or do I need to write up a paladin situation of several massive posts long with intricate detail before some of you will stop avoiding the question?Go for it. Make sure you include the history that lead up to it; as long as it's not a absurdly railroaded, it would be alot more meaningful than the current hypotheticals.

Cyborg Pirate
2007-03-30, 08:41 AM
Becuase the DM clearly was wrong in setting up a situation in which there were supposedly only two choices.

...

Clearly! Ah! Nevermind anything I said then. I realise now that if the situation is not to my liking, I should Clearly just blame the DM. Screw roleplaying. Screw the story and whatever else is happening. It's all the DM's fault!






Drop your weapon and surrender.
Dive for cover.
Attempt to shoot the enemy without hitting the child.
Pull out a grenade and pull the pin, but don't let go.
Shoot the enemy though the child.
Shoot in the air and shout "Over here" trying to bluff that you have friends nearby to avenge you if he kills you.
Do nothing.

Definitely not a binary choice, and not all the options are evil.
So it is nothing like the situation that was being discussed.

Lets go by your choices shall we?

1) You get shot.
2) You get shot.
3) You're taking the gamble of killing the child.
4) You get shot.
5) You're taking the gamble of killing the child.
6) You get shot.
7) You get shot.

Just wondering, did you miss the fact that there is no cover, and did you realise that this isn't a one minute situation? This is a split second situation. The enemy isn't having a weapon aimed at you going "Ve meet again, Mr. Bond!". The enemy is raising his weapon to pull the trigger at you. You only have the advantage of choice because your weapon is already up and roughly aimed.

Your multiple choices all lead to a binary result. Idem with the paladin. The paladin could say "I pick up a rock and hit myself square between the eyes with it". Yay for you, you found another "option". It doesn't make the situation any less binary.

Jayabalard
2007-03-30, 08:46 AM
Just wondering, did you miss the fact that there is no cover, and did you realise that this isn't a one minute situation? did you miss the fact that I have max ranks in bluff, as well as all the cheese to make it likely that I'll succeed my roll?

Of course, if you're talking strictly real world, then it doesn't really apply to questions about paladins and their morality, does it?

Cyborg Pirate
2007-03-30, 08:54 AM
did you miss the fact that I have max ranks in bluff, as well as all the cheese to make it likely that I'll succeed my roll? Of course, if you're talking strictly real world, then it doesn't really apply to questions about paladins and their morality, does it?

That was aimed at pJackson since he stated diving for cover after the situation clearly describes you standing in an open room with no nearby cover.

Secondly, max ranks in bluff. Yeah. You could be a paladin soldier. You could have max ranks in bluff. Explain to me how you're going to bluff anything in the split second it takes for a professional soldier to raise the gun and pull the trigger? An enemy professional soldier? In an assault gone fubar where everyone is trying to get out alive? And enemy soldier who Knows he has the upper hand?



Maybe I'll write up a big story later, but I'm quite reluctant to do it. It seems like a lot of pointless work, considering how in a short situation as I've written above, important lines are already being ignored.

If I write something big, I'll bet that half of it will constantly be ignored by people trying to wriggle their way out of making the call.

Jayabalard
2007-03-30, 09:04 AM
Secondly, max ranks in bluff. Yeah. You could be a paladin soldier. You could have max ranks in bluff. Explain to me how you're going to bluff anything in the split second it takes for a professional soldier to raise the gun and pull the trigger? An enemy professional soldier? In an assault gone fubar where everyone is trying to get out alive? And enemy soldier who Knows he has the upper hand?I think in the D20 system, you do it by telling the DM what you're doing and rolling a D20, but I could be misremembering. :smallbiggrin:


Maybe I'll write up a big story later, but I'm quite reluctant to do it. It seems like a lot of pointless work, considering how in a short situation as I've written above, important lines are already being ignored.

If I write something big, I'll bet that half of it will constantly be ignored by people trying to wriggle their way out of making the call.I agree, it's probably pointless.
a. Can't make it in any but a dark fantasy world where good is futile, so that most people say "I wouldn't play a paladin in that game, it's not fun."

or

b. Can't make it not so completely railroaded that most people won't just say "I stop playing the game because it's absurd"

otherwise someone would have already done it.

pjackson
2007-03-30, 09:09 AM
You were not mentioned having that weapon. You were not mentioned having that or that option, so don't make it up. Deal with the situation, don't start blaming DM's. Don't wuss out and say "I walk out of the game". You folks have been presented a situation. Grow a spine and deal with it. Leave the DM alone.


DMs are not perfect beings. They can be wrong. They can present situations which make no sense (like the one that was being discussed).



Or do I need to write up a paladin situation of several massive posts long with intricate detail before some of you will stop avoiding the question?

Which question is that?
What would I do if presented with such a situation? I have already answered that.
Of which of the two forced options would I choose? That is a faulty question because there would be other options should the situation arise doing a game.
If a DM were insisting that I choose one of those, I would choose a third - suicide and walk out of the game, primarily because a DM should not be attempting to so limit a player freedom to run a character as they like, but also because it would be clear that the DM had a such different vision of how the paladin's code worked that I could no longer play a paladin in their game.

Cyborg Pirate
2007-03-30, 09:10 AM
I think in the D20 system, you do it by telling the DM what you're doing and rolling a D20, but I could be misremembering. :smallbiggrin:

Well sure... but the DC is going to be astronomical.




b. Can't make it not so completely railroaded that most people won't just say "I stop playing the game because it's absurd"

I could make it that. The situation is where the decision has to be made, but what leads up to it doesn't have to be DM railroading, it could be bad choices of the player that has put him/her in that situation.

The trouble, is that it is more work then I'm willing to do.

Stephen_E
2007-03-30, 09:22 AM
Also another example of a binary situation...you're pushed out of a plane with a parachute....you have 2 options...open the chute and survive...or don't open the chute and die....there isn't another option if you are the only person who is falling.


and just it doesn't appear that I am hi jacking the thread.......pretend you are a paladin that was just thrown off the back of a dragon....and you have the option to drink the potion of featherfall or not drink it, assuming you had no other way to slow your decent.

And so we have more non-binary situations that someone is trying to mislead us into thinking are binary.

1st case - Results/Solutions you missed.
You open the shoot but it fails and you die.
You open the shoot, it fails, you live.
You open the shoot, it works, but you land in powerlines and die.
You don't open the shoot and live.
And I can keep going. I repeat there are no binary situations.

2nd case -
You drink the potion and live.
You drink the potion and die, because it wears off before you reach the ground.
You don't drink the potion and die.
You don't drink the potion and live, surviving the falling damage.
You don't drink the potion, and the Dragon swoops down grabbing you before die.
Again I can keep going. I repeat again. There are no binary situations.

In the shoot out situation you freeze and the enemy shoots, but the gun misfires and jams. In the panic, your friends elbows him and disarms him. Again I can go on for all the multiples of possibilities.

I repeat. THERE ARE NO BINARY SITUATIONS. They're all cons.

Stephen

Cyborg Pirate
2007-03-30, 09:30 AM
And so we have more non-binary situations that someone is trying to mislead us into thinking are binary.

1st case - Results/Solutions you missed.
You open the shoot but it fails and you die.
You open the shoot, it fails, you live.
You open the shoot, it works, but you land in powerlines and die.
You don't open the shoot and live.
And I can keep going. I repeat there are no binary situations.

2nd case -
You drink the potion and live.
You drink the potion and die, because it wears off before you reach the ground.
You don't drink the potion and die.
You don't drink the potion and live, surviving the falling damage.
You don't drink the potion, and the Dragon swoops down grabbing you before die.
Again I can keep going. I repeat again. There are no binary situations.

In the shoot out situation you freeze and the enemy shoots, but the gun misfires and jams. In the panic, your friends elbows him and disarms him. Again I can go on for all the multiples of possibilities.

I repeat. THERE ARE NO BINARY SITUATIONS. They're all cons.

Stephen

Bull****. The situation is binary. Your choices still amount to either live or die. It doesn't matter whichever way you bend and turn, the outcome is one or the other.

And as for dragons swooping out of the sky and guns jamming - Since when is deus ex machina part of a players list of choices?

pjackson
2007-03-30, 09:31 AM
Clearly! Ah! Nevermind anything I said then. I realise now that if the situation is not to my liking, I should Clearly just blame the DM. Screw roleplaying. Screw the story and whatever else is happening. It's all the DM's fault!


The situation is one that makes no sense so the story, roleplaying and everything else have already been screwed by thre DM.
The lack of sense is not in the unpleasantness of the situation, it lies in how your character has no doubt that the two options presented by the DM are the only two options.



Lets go by your choices shall we?

1) You get shot.
2) You get shot.
3) You're taking the gamble of killing the child.
4) You get shot.
5) You're taking the gamble of killing the child.
6) You get shot.
7) You get shot.


Bad DMing - not to allow a chance at of some succeeding, or at least give some indication that the enemy is a very good shot, though in that case he would have done better to shoot me from the shadows.
But I don't have a problem with the outcomes as such.
Nor was I saying that these were good choices, just iillustrating that in your situation I was not constrained to only 2 choices as the paladin in the original one was.



Just wondering, did you miss the fact that there is no cover,


No, I noticed that there is cover, the enemy came out of it and there is rubble around. I may be in the open currently, but trying to change that seems a valid option.



and did you realise that this isn't a one minute situation?
This is a split second situation. The enemy isn't having a weapon aimed at you going "Ve meet again, Mr. Bond!". The enemy is raising his weapon to pull the trigger at you. You only have the advantage of choice because your weapon is already up and roughly aimed.


Yes, I did.



Your multiple choices all lead to a binary result. Idem with the paladin.


I might be dead. I might be wounded. The child may or may not be dead or wounded. The enemy may or may not be dead or wounded. That 27 possible results just considering those possibilities, but the number of results isn't what was being talked about.



The paladin could say "I pick up a rock and hit myself square between the eyes with it". Yay for you, you found another "option". It doesn't make the situation any less binary.

According to the DM in the original situation that is not one of the two options you have to choose from. You have just allowed a third making it no longer binary, because it was the number of choices allowed to the player that was originally being discussed, not the number of possible outcomes.

Slokkva
2007-03-30, 09:38 AM
And so we have more non-binary situations that someone is trying to mislead us into thinking are binary.

1st case - Results/Solutions you missed.
You open the shoot but it fails and you die.
You open the shoot, it fails, you live.
You open the shoot, it works, but you land in powerlines and die.
You don't open the shoot and live.
And I can keep going. I repeat there are no binary situations.

2nd case -
You drink the potion and live.
You drink the potion and die, because it wears off before you reach the ground.
You don't drink the potion and die.
You don't drink the potion and live, surviving the falling damage.
You don't drink the potion, and the Dragon swoops down grabbing you before die.
Again I can keep going. I repeat again. There are no binary situations.

In the shoot out situation you freeze and the enemy shoots, but the gun misfires and jams. In the panic, your friends elbows him and disarms him. Again I can go on for all the multiples of possibilities.

I repeat. THERE ARE NO BINARY SITUATIONS. They're all cons.

Stephen


Actually you wrong this time....everything you posted are results based on the decisions you make from the binary situation....everything you posted deals is either you A. open the chute...don't open the chute....B. drink the potion or don't drink the potion.

Once you have made the choice..I agree it is no longer a binary situation.
Depending on the results of the choice you make...it may make other options avaible or even make your choices even more limited.

But until you make said choice it is a binary situation. Once you make the choice, you have to wait for the result (everything you posted)

So binary situations do exist, even if for a brief moment.

Cyborg Pirate
2007-03-30, 09:43 AM
According to the DM in the original situation that is not one of the two options you have to choose from. You have just allowed a third making it no longer binary, because it was the number of choices allowed to the player that was originally being discussed, not the number of possible outcomes.

It is Still binary. There are always options You can choose. The demon is going to posses the child, what do you do? "I fart in it's general direction". Great, but the outcome is Still binary.



Bad DMing - not to allow a chance at of some succeeding, or at least give some indication that the enemy is a very good shot, though in that case he would have done better to shoot me from the shadows.
But I don't have a problem with the outcomes as such.
Nor was I saying that these were good choices, just iillustrating that in your situation I was not constrained to only 2 choices as the paladin in the original one was.

There we go again. Bad DM-ming? Without even getting into whether a DM should always let players win nomatter what stupid things they do, what does a DM even have to do with making the choice? Leave the DM out of it. This is a character dilemma, so the character handle it.

(btw, indication of how well the enemy can shoot is kinda redundant when he's a professional soldier with a gun standing just 15 feet from you)

The original paladin situation is not constrained to only two choices. No situation ever is. Just the very fact that you can choose to either whistle, fart or pee in your pants is more choices.

But the outcome is still one or the other.





I might be dead. I might be wounded. The child may or may not be dead or wounded. The enemy may or may not be dead or wounded. That 27 possible results just considering those possibilities, but the number of results isn't what was being talked about.

May May May. Doesn't change the fact that you had to make the choice of putting your life on the line or the child's life.

That's the choice. That's the crux of the issue.

(my situation) Do you put your life on the line, or the child's?

(paladin situation) Do you put one child's life on the line, or the lives of countless millions?

Roderick_BR
2007-03-30, 09:44 AM
Or, just to piss off the DM, you could go the "Exorcist" route: fool the demon into possessing you, instead, and right before he takes your soul completely, kill yourself.
For outright lying (or at least hidding the fact you was gonna kill yourself), and for accepting the demon's possession (working with an evil character) you'll surely fall, no denying it, but you'll have saved the kid, and saved the world, even if your paladin had to die :smallwink:

Ayrynthyn
2007-03-30, 09:44 AM
...You're in a war. It's a major offensive. As a grunt part of the assault, you've just attacked a village with your buddies. War is raging all around you, the assault is a complete mess. People are screaming, guns are firing, houses are on fire. You're struggling through the rubble with what's left of your squad. No-one's thinking about objectives anymore, everyone just wants to survive. You stumble into a half collapsed building with a friend leading the way, the rest of the squad ignores you two and tries to find cover and keep moving outside. You're stalking through the middle of a room, keeping well away from the rubble and shadows incase of an ambush, but also painfully aware that you yourself are too far away from all cover too. Your buddy is 15 feet away from you, trying to climb quickly but carefully over the rubble when suddenly an enemy soldier who has lost his gun bursts out of a dark corner, grabs your friend by surprise, puts a knife to his neck and grabs your friends gun. While using your friend as a human shield, the enemy soldier is now in the process of raising the gun at your head.

What do you do?

Your premise is a bit absurd. In the scenario you propose, there is only one thing on your mind. The lives of the other three members of your fire team (and not your own survival). They would never "forget about you" as they're focused on the same thing. If discipline breaks down to the level you describe, you're dead already. Hell, most guys i know have to think that way or they couldn't get up in the morning. To be caught that flat footed while in a hot zone, is beyond unlikely. The bad guy getting that many actions before you act, even more so. With that all being said, you're a highly trained soldier/marine. You don't think, you react. You simply shoot the Bad Guy. If he's holding your buddy at knife point, and trying to raise a gun, and trying to see you. You're in a decent shooting stance, at 15 feet. If he can see you, you can see him. Put a round down range. Hit your buddy, and expect an arse kickin when he gets back from Med-evac. I'd expect you to do the same if roles were reversed...

back to the topic. Unless there is this mystical third option that has not be presented, this is a "Retire your character" scene. Kill the baby, and meet your new BBEG "Bob the Fallen Paladin Black Guard". Let the Demon have the child, meet "Bob the Fighter without Feats" who will most likely snuff it once the demon takes form. either way, as has been mentioned before, my response would be "Dude... if you didn't want me playing a paladin, you should have said something" and then commence to doing what fit the table at the moment.

Edit:
Heck, your buddies a highly trained soldier/marine/whatever too. Odds are that he's already engaged the bad guy in hand to hand, and whuppin his arse already. Moot point #2 ;)

Tokiko Mima
2007-03-30, 09:46 AM
That's an interesting viewpoint. By that logic, if we had a way to blow-up the WTC planes before they hit the towers, we should instead let them have flown in anyway because there were innocent lives on board. (sorry for bringing up 9/11 but it was the most recent and applicable event i could think of)

Do you think that if we had known about the 9/11 attacks that shooting down/blowing up the planes would be the first thing that would be tried? That's a last resort option, and it brings the point to a head. As a Good individual you don't do evil things like kill innocent people because it's an expedient way to solve a problem, you do them because there's no other choice after searching every last possible option. It's the last thing you do, and you just hope that it never comes down to that because it means you fail in a big way.

You are allowed to kill in self defense as a Good person, but it's not ok to decide that X group of people will be a threat to you in the future so you go kill them now. If a sniper is shooting at you, you return fire to stop it. You don't go and kill everyone in a city to prevent them from being snipers.

Cyborg Pirate
2007-03-30, 09:48 AM
Or, just to piss off the DM, you could go the "Exorcist" route: fool the demon into possessing you, instead, and right before he takes your soul completely, kill yourself.
For outright lying (or at least hidding the fact you was gonna kill yourself), and for accepting the demon's possession (working with an evil character) you'll surely fall, no denying it, but you'll have saved the kid, and saved the world, even if your paladin had to die :smallwink:

That would be the ideal solution. But it relies heavily of whether you can communicate with the demon.

Tokiko Mima
2007-03-30, 09:51 AM
Or, just to piss off the DM, you could go the "Exorcist" route: fool the demon into possessing you, instead, and right before he takes your soul completely, kill yourself.
For outright lying (or at least hidding the fact you was gonna kill yourself), and for accepting the demon's possession (working with an evil character) you'll surely fall, no denying it, but you'll have saved the kid, and saved the world, even if your paladin had to die :smallwink:

I don't think you'd even fall. I mean, your deception was to a demon and you weren't really working with the demon, you were plotting it's destruction all along. It's not an Evil act to destroy Evil creatures. You did kill a Paladin though, so you might have to take that up with the powers that be.

Cyborg Pirate
2007-03-30, 09:52 AM
You did kill a Paladin though, so you might have to take that up with the powers that be.

...suicide is murder?

Foxer
2007-03-30, 09:54 AM
And as for dragons swooping out of the sky and guns jamming - Since when is deus ex machina part of a players list of choices?

Not to pour oil on troubled fires or anything, but the answer is "since they sat down to play a game." If my hero kicks out the warehouse skylight and leaps into the mass of goons with both guns blazing, his survival depends on the game I'm playing. If I'm playing Shadowrun, he's a dead idiot. If I'm playing Feng Shui, he lives as the GM just announces that they miss or their guns jam, or they're too surprised to do anything my gape at my awesome entrance, and my character is saved by deus ex machina.

And, as has been discussed on other threads, even in a "damned either way" situation, a character has the option of refusing to take either practical course of action and opt for a heroic failure instead.

Stephen_E
2007-03-30, 09:56 AM
Bull****. The situation is binary. Your choices still amount to either live or die. It doesn't matter whichever way you bend and turn, the outcome is one or the other.

And as for dragons swooping out of the sky and guns jamming - Since when is deus ex machina part of a players list of choices?

Bull**** back at you.
Unless you consider walking down the street is a binary situation, you live or you die (and I can happily argue that even Live/Death isn't binary) then claiming that you live or you die doesn't make it a binary situation.

The parashute - you offered 2 responces and claimed that each choice got a specific result. I showed you were wrong. Each choice had a multitude of results. As for Live/death been binary I'd suggest that there is a huge difference between living undamaged, living paraysed, dying almost instaneously and taking hours to die in agonising pain from your injuries, and if you want to claim that there is no difference between various degrees of living and various ways of dying you're either outstandingly ignorant or lying.

As for Deux Machina. Guns jam. Are you not aware of this. If a guns been dropped on dusty crap filled ground and picked up without been checked this is more likely. If you fall off a Dragon it's not unreasonable to think the Dragon might scoop round to pick you up. You try and Deux Machina up Binary situations and then complain because I point out quite reasonable, if of low probability, ways that the situation isn't binary. Rightttt....

Yes, you can write a binary situation story, by leaving out all the details that indicate it's not binary. In short, by doing a Con job.

Stephen

Cyborg Pirate
2007-03-30, 10:00 AM
Bull**** back at you.
Unless you consider walking down the street is a binary situation, you live or you die (and I can happily argue that even Live/Death isn't binary) then claiming that you live or you die doesn't make it a binary situation.

The parashute - you offered 2 responces and claimed that each choice got a specific result. I showed you were wrong. Each choice had a multitude of results. As for Live/death been binary I'd suggest that there is a huge difference between living undamaged, living paraysed, dying almost instaneously and taking hours to die in agonising pain from your injuries, and if you want to claim that there is no difference between various degrees of living and various ways of dying you're either outstandingly ignorant or lying.

As for Deux Machina. Guns jam. Are you not aware of this. If a guns been dropped on dusty crap filled ground and picked up without been checked this is more likely. If you fall off a Dragon it's not unreasonable to think the Dragon might scoop round to pick you up. You try and Deux Machina up Binary situations and then complain because I point out quite reasonable, if of low probability, ways that the situation isn't binary. Rightttt....

Yes, you can write a binary situation story, by leaving out all the details that indicate it's not binary. In short, by doing a Con job.

Stephen

*wishes for a remote controlled clue bat to smack people over the internet with*

I'm not even going to bother. I'm just going to quote myself:


May May May. Doesn't change the fact that you had to make the choice of putting your life on the line or the child's life.

That's the choice. That's the crux of the issue.

(my situation) Do you put your life on the line, or the child's?

(paladin situation) Do you put one child's life on the line, or the lives of countless millions?



[edit] I'll add a little bit more. The parachute situation isn't mine, nor have I properly read it, so I'll stick to my situation. You can make many many choices on the spot. You can scream like a girl. You can **** yourself. You can throw yourself down and hope for the best. You can make a just-before-death oneliner. You can attempt to shoot the enemy without hitting your friend.

You can try a lot of things.

But whatever you try, the basic remains the same. Do you put Your life on the line, or His? That's binary, and there's no way around it.

Stephen_E
2007-03-30, 10:13 AM
Actually you wrong this time....everything you posted are results based on the decisions you make from the binary situation....everything you posted deals is either you A. open the chute...don't open the chute....B. drink the potion or don't drink the potion.

Once you have made the choice..I agree it is no longer a binary situation.
Depending on the results of the choice you make...it may make other options avaible or even make your choices even more limited.

But until you make said choice it is a binary situation. Once you make the choice, you have to wait for the result (everything you posted)

So binary situations do exist, even if for a brief moment.

Apparently we have to define what a Binary sitaution is.
My take was that a binary sitaution is where you can Choose either
a) action for Y result, ot
b) action for Z result.
If you can choose a) and get Y, Z, K and E results it isn't binary in my book.

But just for you.
Parachute -
I go into Spreadeagle posistion to slow me.
I go into dive posiston to speed up.
I delay pulling my chute
I pull it instantly
I pull out a pad and try to write my will
I take parachute off.

Dragon -
I call to Dragon to pick me up.
I delay ing potion
I take potion instantly
I pray
I practice my tumbling
I draw my weapon and cuop de grace myself
I write will.

As I said, not binary.

Stephen

Tokiko Mima
2007-03-30, 10:21 AM
...suicide is murder?

Nope, but it is actually a punishable offense in the US (North and South Dakota, Washington, New Jersey, Nevada, and Oklahoma I believe have laws against attempting it buried in with the other laws they can't possibly enforce ever.) And most major religons discourage it's use, except in specific cases. :smallamused:

pjackson
2007-03-30, 10:27 AM
It is Still binary. There are always options You can choose. The demon is going to posses the child, what do you do? "I fart in it's general direction". Great, but the outcome is Still binary.


The outcome is irrelevant.



There we go again. Bad DM-ming? Without even getting into whether a DM should always let players win nomatter what stupid things they do, what does a DM even have to do with making the choice? Leave the DM out of it. This is a character dilemma, so the character handle it.


The player chooses how the character acts. The DM adjudicates the results. It is the DM who would determine whether I was shot not me.



(btw, indication of how well the enemy can shoot is kinda redundant when he's a professional soldier with a gun standing just 15 feet from you)


Not true. He might be a new recruit. He is probably frightened. Holding the child might make it difficult to aim. Things for the DM to determine, that I do not know.



The original paladin situation is not constrained to only two choices.


That is a lie. The person who presented the situation said it was, and was very clear about it.



No situation ever is. Just the very fact that you can choose to either whistle, fart or pee in your pants is more choices.


Yes. That is what we have being saying. The situation makes no sense, because it was constrained to only two choices.



But the outcome is still one or the other.


Not true, unless the unrealistic constriction of choices is used.



May May May. Doesn't change the fact that you had to make the choice of putting your life on the line or the child's life.

That's the choice. That's the crux of the issue.

(my situation) Do you put your life on the line, or the child's?


The enemy has put the child's life on the line. I do not have that choice. The most likely outcome is that both of us die anyway.



(paladin situation) Do you put one child's life on the line, or the lives of countless millions?

It is the people summoning the demon who have put the child's life on the line, not the paladin.

Do you think that the threat to countless millions is just a threat not a certainty, because you know there are Good forces at work in the world that would not allow such an Evil thing to happen, and that therefore it is posible to save both the child and stop the demon.
Do you suspect that you have been fed false information, because you know that doing an Evil act is never the right thing to do, perhaps (as someone suggested) they are trying to trick you into falling to provide the demon with a more powerful vessel.

Stephen_E
2007-03-30, 10:32 AM
I'll add a little bit more. The parachute situation isn't mine, nor have I properly read it, so I'll stick to my situation. You can make many many choices on the spot. You can scream like a girl. You can **** yourself. You can throw yourself down and hope for the best. You can make a just-before-death oneliner. You can attempt to shoot the enemy without hitting your friend.

You can try a lot of things.

But whatever you try, the basic remains the same. Do you put Your life on the line, or His? That's binary, and there's no way around it.

Right, so you're down to "it's a binary situation because you can do "unspecific, illdefined term that covers huge range of reactions" or "different unspecific, illdefined term that covers huge range of reactions". Righttt.....
Well lousy as your "binary" definition is I'll shoot it down even on its poor merits (like I've been saying. Con jobs).

I choose to put both our lives on the line.
I guess that a 3rd option/choice.

Stephen

Clementx
2007-03-30, 10:49 AM
A lot of the people in this thread are missing some serious points.

1) The situation is not about the quality of the DM or the resourcefulness of the player- it is a morality question. Protection from Evil doesn't work in the situation, because the paladin doesn't have it prepared. If he had it prepared and it would function, then he has a completely good choice, and a neutral one that involves harming others, and allowing demon apocalypse. So we can't really talk about the moral dilemma of having no real good choice when the situation has a good choice, can we?

2) The OP has already said multiple times it is not a trick to strip the paladin of his class features. As any good DM would do, he would clarify the paladin's in-character knowledge about good vs evil to the player, so he could make an informed choice about his options. It is the same as explaining the grapple rules to a monk. Most of the time there is an obviously good choice that does not need explanation, and paladins would take that, perhaps asking about the ramifications of other choices. So criticizing the situation as bad DMing is pointless.

3) The point of the thread is to highlight that absolute morality doesn't work even in DnD, using a situation that reasonably occurs in a world of demons and paladins. You have paladins allowing demon ascensions but willfully participating in goblin genocide. You can either simplify real-world expectations of morality to storybook-levels, or be mature adults and apply a deeper understanding of morality to DnD. Story-book simplifications make for immature stories where the PCs never get hurt, never lose anything, and wizards make it all better so everyone can live happily ever after. Some people think that is fun. I think it is even more implausible than Fireballs and Dragons.

Jayabalard
2007-03-30, 10:54 AM
Bull****. yadda yadda yadda none of this is relevant to the topic. I know you guys are enjoying your side argument, but it's really getting a bit silly. If you're going to keep it up, at least try to relate it back to the subect, because as you've defined the situation, it has nothing on morality; live or die is not a moral question.

It's not a binary situation; the possibilities are
-Do no evil and die: Dead lion
-Do evil, and live: Live Jackal
-Do no evil and live: Live lion
-Do evil, and die: Dead jackal

4 possibilities, not 2.

Cyborg Pirate
2007-03-30, 10:54 AM
A lot of the people in this thread are missing some serious points.

1) The situation is not about the quality of the DM or the resourcefulness of the player- it is a morality question. Protection from Evil doesn't work in the situation, because the paladin doesn't have it prepared. If he had it prepared and it would function, then he has a completely good choice, and a neutral one that involves harming others, and allowing demon apocalypse. So we can't really talk about the moral dilemma of having no real good choice when the situation has a good choice, can we?

2) The OP has already said multiple times it is not a trick to strip the paladin of his class features. As any good DM would do, he would clarify the paladin's in-character knowledge about good vs evil to the player, so he could make an informed choice about his options. It is the same as explaining the grapple rules to a monk. Most of the time there is an obviously good choice that does not need explanation, and paladins would take that, perhaps asking about the ramifications of other choices. So criticizing the situation as bad DMing is pointless.

3) The point of the thread is to highlight that absolute morality doesn't work even in DnD, using a situation that reasonably occurs in a world of demons and paladins. You have paladins allowing demon ascensions but willfully participating in goblin genocide. You can either simplify real-world expectations of morality to storybook-levels, or be mature adults and apply a deeper understanding of morality to DnD. Story-book simplifications make for immature stories where the PCs never get hurt, never lose anything, and wizards make it all better so everyone can live happily ever after. Some people think that is fun. I think it is even more implausible than Fireballs and Dragons.

Thank you! Hopefully the discussion can go back to morality now instead of DM bashing and making stupid choices just for the heck of it.









It's not a binary situation; the possibilities are
-Do no evil and die: Dead lion
-Do evil, and live: Live Jackal
-Do no evil and live: Live lion
-Do evil, and die: Dead jackal

4 possibilities, not 2.

...what are you talking about?

Jayabalard
2007-03-30, 11:03 AM
1) The situation is not about the quality of the DM or the resourcefulness of the player- it is a morality question. Protection from Evil doesn't work in the situation, because the paladin doesn't have it prepared. If he had it prepared and it would function, then he has a completely good choice, and a neutral one that involves harming others, and allowing demon apocalypse. So we can't really talk about the moral dilemma of having no real good choice when the situation has a good choice, can we?But we don't agree that the situation does have a good choice, do we? There are more than a few that have asserted that the ends do not justify the means, that the lesser of 2 evils is still evil; something done for the greater good does not make an act non-evil; and that regardless of intent, all the rationalization and justification in the world doesn't change an evil act into a good or even neutral one.

Clementx
2007-03-30, 11:10 AM
But we don't agree that the situation does have a good choice, do we?
Reading Comprehension FTW. I'm not saying killing the child is a wonderful shiny choice. Casting Protection from Evil would be, but is not part of the situation, so we can't talk about it. The situation has two choices by definition of the question. The point of the thread is to argue about the merits of the two.

Using the system I posted on the first page, I call it a neutral act that really sucks to take (with the caveat that having other options would make it evil, since you would be killing to save yourself a spell slot, for instance). If people want to argue for killing the child as a good act, go right ahead. I don't go that far.

Tweekinator
2007-03-30, 11:10 AM
Yes, the act of killing the child would still be evil. But would not the act of saving his soul from demon consumption be good? And even if it is just a horribly evil act, and you know that you will fall, but you also know that if you don't do it, the child's soul will be consumed by the demon and thousands of people will suffer and die for years, would you still do it?

Clementx
2007-03-30, 11:17 AM
Yes, the act of killing the child would still be evil. But would not the act of saving his soul from demon consumption be good?
Which is why I say actions must involve the intention of the act before deciding is the event is evil or not. So the paladin would not fall. If the player was honest and accurate, the character would want to atone, but would not require atonement to keep on using his powers.

The second that the paladin gets complacent and starts killing innocents to save time and spells in more-open and less desperate situations, he falls because he is intention is convenience as much as goodness, which makes evil acts into evil actions.

EDIT for below: Killing a child is always going to be a very evil act, and only the best intentions can redeem the action towards good. As I said above, killing a rampaging murderer gives you more slack in not exhausting all your nonlethal options, since the act of killing an able-bodied aggressor is less evil in itself. Ambushing him with the rogue might even still be a good action. Trying to take him alive gets you even more Good-brownie points, but is not required.

Tweekinator
2007-03-30, 11:23 AM
Yes, in most other situations, I cannot see killing a child being anything but an evil act. In this case it would be acceptable because by killing him, you are not only saving the soul from becoming a delicious demon snack, but are also saving countless other innocents.

Jayabalard
2007-03-30, 11:36 AM
Which is why I say actions must involve the intention of the act before deciding is the event is evil or not. So the paladin would not fall. If the player was honest and accurate, the character would want to atone, but would not require atonement to keep on using his powers. Just to be clear, I understand your point, but disagree completely; the ends do not justify the means; nor does intent.

Pocket lint
2007-03-30, 11:36 AM
Dude.
The good choice is looking for a third choice. Because both the ones the paladin has suck.

As far as the paladin knows, if he does nothing, the demon eats the kid and your neighbouring town. I'd argue the pally keeps his powers in this situation - he didn't cause the thing to happen, but couldn't prevent it. A neutral act - if you want to complain about this, I'll note that neutral pretty much by definition is "doing sod-all, or doing equal amounts of good or bad". So the guy keeps his powers, and isn't that going to feel just peachy while watching the demon wreak havoc...

If he kills the kid - well, this is a breach of that code, no doubt about it. The paladin should be pretty crystal-clear on that he will lose his powers for this act. It's up to him to role-play the grief and sense of personal failure he ought to be feeling at this. For all those who have claimed the kid goes to happy-happy land: IIRC, unless you have clearly aligned yourself with a specific god, your soul basically dissolves into nothing. So unless your world allows resurrection, the kid is SOL.

The point is that the second choice is evil. Just because you didn't find a better choice doesn't make it less so. Compare the situation with one where the pally did have Protection from evil memorised and had time to cast it - is killing the child more evil now just because you had another option? Even if you didn't think of it?

Personally as a DM, I'd only introduce this kind of dilemma as a "trick problem" for the paladin: How much does he really believe in his code? Because chances are that when you're presented with a choice of "do evil or X which is much worse happens", you're dealing with a sadistic DM BBEG who would like nothing better than see he paladin waste his shinyness for nothing. For the guy who posted about letting a villain escape and saving a kid - sounds like a perfectly good "test", too bad the DM didn't leave you an option to come out ahead.

Now, by preference as a player, I'd 1) look for a third choice, 2) look for a third choice, 3) look for a third choice... and if I really, really couldn't find one even after throwing erasers and books at the DM, I'd kill the child, take my lost powers and accept that.

Let me rephrase that: even if the DM let me keep my powers, I would not use them afterwards until after going through the whole quest/atone/resurrect routine. And even then, I'd consider the whole episode a failure.

Jayabalard
2007-03-30, 11:39 AM
Reading Comprehension FTW. I'm not saying killing the child is a wonderful shiny choice. Casting Protection from Evil would be, but is not part of the situation, so we can't talk about it. The situation has two choices by definition of the question. The point of the thread is to argue about the merits of the two.

Using the system I posted on the first page, I call it a neutral act that really sucks to take (with the caveat that having other options would make it evil, since you would be killing to save yourself a spell slot, for instance). If people want to argue for killing the child as a good act, go right ahead. I don't go that far.I suggest that you take your own advice; to be perfectly clear, I don't agree that either of the two presented choices are good, and I don't agre that the one that you are picking as the "good" choice is even non-evil.

EvilElitest
2007-03-30, 11:42 AM
I do that. I mentioned it before. No paladin in my campaign accidentally Falls. If a dilemma like this came up, I would inform him that the correct solution was killing the child, and allowing the demon through to annihilate civilization is clearly the evil and selfish choice,

A dilemma like this could not come up without the DM serverlly limiting the options to hte point of
A) Kill baby
B) Everybody dies
And that is quite frankly a situations that is impossible to occur as their are never only two options.
Also, who is it evil and selfish?
Evil would be activly tring to summon the demon. The paladin is trying to stop it in a moral manner.
Selfish would be not killing the child in order to gain power from the demon.
Evil is killing an innocent child
Selfish is thinking my morals outweight those of a child.


t
hus he would be acting against his god, who desires the survival of the world,
1. If he worships a LG god then no. The gods also try to stay to some sort of aligment system if they accept paladins. So Pelor would not tell his paladins "Don't kill innocents" if he wanted them to do just that
2. What his gods want is irrelevant. A paladin's powers are draw from the power of good not a god. So that is why all paladins follow the same code dispite their god. Their god can add restrictions, so for example Miko might not be allowed to say her gods are false, but if she did do so then she would still be a paladin, jut not in the favor of the twelve gods.
3. If the gods what the survival of the world, why don't they get off their lazy bums and do something?

and he would Fall, perhaps being punished in a manner similar to Lord Soth.
Wrong. Lord Soth did not fall because he refused to kill an innocent. He fell the first time for allowing his lust to blind his actions and the second time for turning his back on his mission to stop the kingpriest (who was not an innocent)


No paladin in my campaign faces this kind of dilemma and does not get armed with the knowlege of what is good and evil to me.
But it is ok they only get two options?



Even if there are only two options, no matter how heinous they may be, one must be the Good one.
Why do you make that assumtion? Their might be a less evil idea but not a goo
d one.

No, it is not, because I do not agree with the "lesser evil". Since I am the DM, there is a good option, and that is the one where the child dies. Distasteful. The paladin is right to feel some guilt and a need for restitution, but not evil.
How is killing an innocent not a "lesser evil"?


Like I have said, if there are only two options, and one is clearly horribly evil, then the other must be the good one, otherwise, evil people have control over your soul. I deny evil that power. That you allow it horrifies me.
And that you see this in such a black and white situation horrifies me. Just because one options is more evil does not make the other good. Just because if got a 71 on a math test i didn't study for and the other guy got a 49 does not make me good at math.


You just handed your soul to evil men. Good luck with that
How is following the code i am swore to handing my soul to evil men? I view corruption worst than confrontion


I bow to your utter lack of creativity. Fortunately for my campaign, I am not as strict and devoid of inventiveness as you
I bow to your abondence of naivity. Fortunately for my campain, i am not as narrow minded and white washed as you.


Right, there are two for most religions -- good and evil, and no neutral. But that fits our conversation, so we can move on.
So apart from your ego, you base this on what???????


Denied. With all of my being. No person can put me in a position where I cannot choose Good, so if there are only two choices of action, one must by definition be Good.

You can hand control of your soul over to other people if you like, but I deny your position at its face.

You can not put me in a position where there is no Good choice, even if there are only two possible actions.
What is this "handing my soul over to people"? I always thought that handing your sould away was when you have to justfiy your evil actions and label them as good
As for two evil options here are two. Eat a baby or three level; 20 captive paladins will die.
I'll just use the method of "You have no third option" that this thread seems so found of


I do NOT place my paladin players in these kinds of moral dilemmas, at least not without them understanding exactly what my own beliefs on this subject are. No paladin ever accidentally Falls because a player and I have a dsagreement on this subject: if asked, I will explain the good option and why I view it as good. I like paladins. And I do play a dark game (Noir-esque) where the players need to work with distasteful people. So, yes, the paladins in my game need to face some distasteful decisions, but I because of that, my paladins also get greater lattitude in maintaining their alignment.
So you don't make them fall for disagreements of good and evil, but you will use your methods as the 100% rule. Strange
And paladins are allowed to commite evil but are held to higher standards? It gets stranger.


The initial dilemma involed an illusion. Some people would have the paladin fall for slaying a demon that was actually an illusion wiht a child hidden inside. (My position on that one is simple: if that's true, then all paladins are never allowed to hit anything, since anything could be an illusion with a child inside, including the practice dummy. Losing your paladinhood because someone replaed the practice dummy with an illusioned child is just flat out absurd.)
But they did not know it was an illusion. If a man shoot a guy who he though t was sleeping, but it turns out he was dead, did the shooter do something wrong? I view the idea of killing innocents is never good. If i stab an illusion thinking it was an innocent then i am showing i am willing to commit evil. If i stab what i think is an illusion but it turns out it was the real thing, then i did commit evil


For the most part, I agree with everyone that disagrees with allowing such dilemmas in a game. But sometimes such things are unavoidable. As a DM, the plot must go where it must go, and sometimes I can't avoid a situation where the paladin is going to have to work a little. Hopefuly, though, everyone has a defined enough personality that they'll hit such dilemmas of their own, too. Dilemmas are not restricted to just the lawful good guys.

But these dilemmas in a real game would never have only two options


also given that your paladin powers are given and refuted somewhere (by a good aligned god) - I believe the reasonable assumption would be for the god to treat the act, since they would by default look in the greater view of things, as a good act.
unless you play FR, gods don't decied paladin powers. Hence why paladins don't have to worship a god.


For example, in this case, killing the child is not evil. Not because the ends justify the means but simply because if you need to kill the child, then he is no longer innocent. The fact that he is not at fault for the reason he needs to die sucks for him but it does not change the fact that he needs to die.
That seems a bit arrogent. "You have gotton in my way and so you are not longer innocent. THe baby did not do anything to warrent being killed. If he "needs to die" then you are looking at this from a neutral perspective


Stone of Tears]... save the world or let Kahlan have her head cut off. Binary choice. No third option. (Kahlan revealed to survive after he discovered he couldn't do both.)
Dude, you just mentioned the third option their.


Temple of the Winds... marry someone he doesn't love and lose his future, or a plague rips through the world. No third option. (Third choice came up after he made the choice.)

He is not commiting any evil acts doing that marriage as he is marrying of his own choice.


And the only problem with your conditions is it requires the Paladin to possess omniscience and know things about the scenario that there is no way for him/her to know unless they were getting the info directly from the DM/God. And if the DM/God is going to intervene to the extent that the Paladin knows all that, you have to wonder why the DM/God doesn't stop the demon themselves? Why is the Paladin the trigger man, when killing a child would be so much easier for a being of limitless power and knowledge
That is foolish assumption. Their is always a third options because of all the variables. The onlyway that can't happen is if the DM/God steps in and complets destroys i idea of a third option.

from,
EE

Clementx
2007-03-30, 11:58 AM
Just to be clear, I understand your point, but disagree completely; the ends do not justify the means; nor does intent.
Then the point is moot, because the Paladin fell at first level when he killed a goblin murderer. It is actually hilarious that absolute morality doesn't work in a game built around absolute morality. Your idea of what good is demands all good characters to abide by Vow of Peace.

DnD is all about killing creatures, so "ends don't justify the means" has to be negated somehow. The default assumption is that things with green skin are inherently evil, so they don't count as people, despite being sentient, possessing free will, sometimes being Good, etc. Or we could not be that silly, and say that the situation has some impact on the act.

Pocket lint
2007-03-30, 12:09 PM
Well, if you want to talk about absolutes, try principles. A paladin is all about principles, hence the proverbial stick up his butt, and one of them is "don't kill innocents". You do - that's a breach of principle, pally loses powers.

There, all solved, next debate? :smallbiggrin:

Drekkan
2007-03-30, 12:12 PM
I just wanted to comment on the whole "If killing the illusion is evil since it's really a kid makes a paladin fall then paladins couldn't attack anything because everything could be that sort of illusion".

That's just a stupid statement. It really is, and it may come to mind if players have a GM they don't like/trust.

My GM is slightly evil - at least with the mind games. He's a psych professor and knows how to get us all twisted up. Even so, we trust him to not put us in such obviously abusive and ridiculous scenarios as every "monster" really being a child under illusion.

If a GM ever actually did the above, I'd expect all his players to just walk out, find a new GM, and carry on.

Jayabalard
2007-03-30, 12:19 PM
Why was the paladin slaying innocent goblin children at level 1?

Speaking of not being silly; killing the innocent is not the same as killing the not-so-innocent, which is not the same as killing the no-so innocent while defending the innocent, which is not the same as killing viscous and dangerous animals (non sapient), which is not the same as killing (destroying) undead/demons/"the wicked".

Killing can range from evil (killing the innocent) to good (killing demons), all the while ignoring intent, and any "greater good" that the act may do..

shadowkire
2007-03-30, 12:23 PM
Even more options: casting protection from evil on the kid or you can stab the kid with the full intention of paying for a raise dead or you can pray to your god to inform him that there is a demon coming and ask him to send some celestials in as backup or (assuming you are in a group) you can just fight the demon and try to contain him while someone goes and finds some clerics to put on an exorcisim.

And as for the DM that would set this "only two options" situation up is a crappy DM, other people in this forum have said that in the real world there are always more that two options, well I say in DnD there are also more than two options, like others and I have shown already.

Kreistor
2007-03-30, 12:28 PM
EvilElitist! Spoiler block novels!


[QUOTE=Kreistor]You can not put me in a position where there is no Good choice, even if there are only two possible actions.

But you as DM want to do that to the paladin.

No, I don't. I do not agree with your position that both options are evil in the first place; therefore, I haven't created the no-win situation. If you were the DM, you would, but that's because you believe what you believe.

By accepting that you can be put in a position where both options available to you are evil, you have placed your soul in the hands of anyone that wants to cause you to do evil. That's why I say that you've handed over your soul.

Because I do not agree with you, I am not putting the paladin in a position where he has only two evil options. Where there are only two options, one of them must be the good one, regardless of any definitions. Since I believe that, my paladin in this dilemma is not facing a choice of evils, but a choice of figuring out which one is good.

The Paladin's Dilemma does happen in our world. I have sent examples to a couple people that thought I couldn't do it. If you really want some, I'll send them to you on demand. I don't think it's appropriate to place such tragic circumstances here. But yes, good men have had to choose killing the few to save the many and killing innocents to save other innocents.


A paladin is all about principles, and one of them is "don't kill innocents". You do - that's a breach of principle, pally loses powers.

And if both options involves killing innocents, but one involves killing more and the other less? This isn't over anywhere near so simply.


And that is quite frankly a situations that is impossible to occur as their are never only two options.

The Paladin's Dilemma presented above is fantasized, but it does have its corrolary in our world. Bad men with weapons do bad things to good people, but to stop them, you often have to risk the lives of innocents. Don't make me list the horror of real life Paladin's Dilemmas.


3. If the gods what the survival of the world, why don't they get off their lazy bums and do something?

In Eberron, they can't. It is all on you -- the player. In other home brews, the gods don't have the same ability to manifest as they do in FR. Or in sme place like Greyhawk, they are simply not allowed by mutual agreement.

Remember, we're not limited to a single world here: wwe're talking about the Dilemma as a general event. It's not a Dilemma in the first place if the gods can interfere, so on worlds where the gods can interfere, there's nothing to debate.


That seems a bit arrogent. "You have gotton in my way and so you are not longer innocent. THe baby did not do anything to warrent being killed. If he "needs to die" then you are looking at this from a neutral perspective


That is how you might think about such an event, but that is putting words in the mouth of the paladin. A real player could come to the child's death as a matter of necessity and understanding that it is better for the child to die now, innocent, than for its soul to be annihilated. That has nothing to do with anyone standing in anyone else's way.

Someone presented that the child stops being innocent by being placed in that situation, but I do not. The child's innocence remains.


That is foolish assumption. Their is always a third options because of all the variables. The onlyway that can't happen is if the DM/God steps in and complets destroys i idea of a third option.

That is the very point of the dilemma and the debate. The DM can create such a situation.

Jayabalard
2007-03-30, 12:32 PM
again, from the other thread, if you guys are going to debate, one of you needs to change your avatar; is there a blue wizard guy or something?

Kreistor
2007-03-30, 12:44 PM
Well, if you want to talk about absolutes, try principles. A paladin is all about principles, and one of them is "don't kill innocents". You do - that's a breach of principle, pally loses powers.

I've been wanting to present this modification to the Dilemma for a while.

You're a paladin. You wake up every morning early in order to train on the practice field. The servants don't like getting up that early, so they set the field up for you late at night.

So, you start with sword practice against a straw dummy. Horse gets up to a good speed, and you whack away like you do every day.

Blood splatters the field. Hidden inside the dummy was a child. You just killed an innocent.

Lose your paladinhood? There's no grandiose reason for the child to die in this one. It's a modification to the Illusioned Child Dillema that demonstrates a different point of that Dilemma.

If killing an innocent child, even by accident, loses your paladinhood, then you can never swing a weapon in anger. You can never know that the target is not an Illusioned child.

Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil spoiler follows. A module based Dilemma.

There's a room in the Fire Temple. You enter and are faced by a bunch of enemies. The room description includes the alter and a side room with a bunch of stone blocks.

At the end of the fight, when you have time to investigate the blocks, you find they are coffins... or are now. They weren't. During the fight, the DM mentions amulets on the warriors. These amulets link to one of the blocks, and inside is someone who will be forced to lend ther HP to the warriors, taking the damage for them. They are, for all intents and purposes, innocents. When you killed the evil cultists, you killed the occupants of those blocks.

The third option was to investigate the blocks and free the imprisoned people. After discussing this with the DM, we all agreed that the fight was already desperately close, and we never had the chance to perform this task, so even had we found that third option, implementing it was beyond us due to the EL/CR. But really, we didn't realize that there was possibly a dilemma that needed solving here.

Finding the third option requires intelligence. Sometimes you're smart enough to find it. When you aren't smart enough, are you evil for being stupid?

It's wonderful to talk about third options, but even when they are there to find, you don't always find them. Such thngs usually require thinking like the DM who created those options, but all too often, we don't. My team and I didn't find the option in the Spoiler Block above: it never even occured to us that there was a dilemma in the first place, so why look for third options?

So if you don't find the Third Option, do you believe you are automatically Evil for being stupid? That seems really weak to me.

Renegade Paladin
2007-03-30, 12:44 PM
The point I'm trying to make here is that people only think up third 'ideal' options because the situation has not been described with enough detail. It's patently rediculous. It amounts to "the dm didn't say I didn't have a sword of automatic demon slaying and child saving so I have one with which I stab the child whereupon the demon inside dies and the child survives".

You were not mentioned having that weapon. You were not mentioned having that or that option, so don't make it up. Deal with the situation, don't start blaming DM's. Don't wuss out and say "I walk out of the game". You folks have been presented a situation. Grow a spine and deal with it. Leave the DM alone.
Okay, for the first scenario, no one made up a weapon. You are mentioned as being a paladin, this means you have protection from evil, and protection from evil stops possession cold. There. Third option that's readily available with no making-up required.

Kreistor
2007-03-30, 12:46 PM
again, from the other thread, if you guys are going to debate, one of you needs to change your avatar; is there a blue wizard guy or something?

Heh, I would have chosem blue if it were available. Kreistor is the Blue Mage (long story, NM). Not allowed to modify the Giant's avatars, and I'm no artist, so I'm stuck.

Jayabalard
2007-03-30, 01:02 PM
Yes, you've unwillingly done evil by killing the child. Lose your paladinhood? I think not, but you should still do penitence for it.

It sounds like the child would have to be planted; Whoever hid the child in the dummy did a great evil, and did it willingly. Even a paladin could make a spot check to see the child if they had crawled in themselves.

The module one on the other hand, not so clear, though I see how people can go either way on it.The innocents killed by the magic of the amulets, not by your sword; your actions lead to it, but this again a situation where a paladin wouldn't lose their paladinhood, but should still atone.

EvilElitest
2007-03-30, 02:12 PM
Sorry, but there are. It does get that simple, especially in War. Shoot or don't shoot. The enemy is hiding behind a human shield. The enemy is using child soldiers. The enemy is launching rockets from beside a school.

Only in books does a third option appear to give the hero a back door. Real life is rarely so kind.

real life is rarely as simple as your suggest. In real life their are never "Just two options". Their is always a different choice. That is why it is unrealistic to the exterm for the DM to make such a RailRoad situation.


Uhm, dude, he didn't save her. Zed saved her. At best, Richard rolled the dice and prayed that the prophecy was wrong about her, and he was right. But that's not the third option... he chose based on the binary options and crossed his fingers.
I don't know if you are living in denial but a not doing ether of the presented options is a third option. He was presented with two and he chose nether. That is a third option.


I'm not saying it was. I'm just saying that Goodkind presents binary options and doesn't give the same third option backdoors other authors do. Oh, he makes the right choice less heinous after the fact, but that's not the same as finding the third option.
Haven't read the books but i really doubt that their were only two option. THere were just two options the protaganist considered. A third option is not the "Writer's back door". If we follow that rule, then all books should be run like true or false tests.


The third option in a maze, for instance, is blowing down the walls and going straight to the center... or climbing the walls and runnning on them instead of the ground. You don't accept the basis for the dilemma and find a new option. Richard never found new options, he always took one of the two presented and learned that the correct choice had mispresented their outcomes after the fact. Richard didn't blow down the walls... he followed the maze to the end and found that he didn't have to pay quite so badly as he expected.
But the third options is still their, he just did not choose it.


The point is that given said binary situation, how would morality in D&D break down? I'm arguing that even in the face of a binary situation such as this, there is a "non-evil" action that should be taken. In this case it is killing the soon-to-be demon-vessel.
No that is the "lesser evil" option, not a good one. A good one is don't kill a child and find another way.


a.) not killing the child, letting him become possessed and allowing evil to take over the world and
b.) killing the child, stopping the possession and thwarting evil
And that is railroading. Anyways,
1) Does evil just "Auto Win"? Or does it just open some sort of evil portal into hell or something. If evil auto wins, then what the hell are the god's doing? If it opens a portal, then that portal can be destroyed.
2) By commting an evil actions (killing the child) you are not thwarting evil because you commited evil. Evil is a force in D&D and so evil will be stronger for every evil actions commited


That's an interesting viewpoint. By that logic, if we had a way to blow-up the WTC planes before they hit the towers, we should instead let them have flown in anyway because there were innocent lives on board.
If we had a way to blow the planes down i think we could get everyone out of the twin towers. And the US laws are LN nor LG.

(sorry for bringing up 9/11 but it was the most recent and applicable event i could think of)
And in the same note, isn't by Mr. Bin Ladin's point of view destroying innocents to protect what he thinks is the "Isamic way" a fair trade?


In this scenerio the true evil would be allowing the demon to possess the kid, and ruling the world for 100 years. In fact it is safe to say that the paladin would have to "fall" for allowing such a thing to happen, and by allowing it to happen is assisting evil in it's plot.
You followed your code, you did not commit any actions and you tried to stop the evil as much as you could. If you kill the kid to stop the demon, then you fell. Sucks for you. Suck it up and atone. You fell. You did not do what was right but what you thought was the best way. So you are not justified.


A paladin's decisions should be based on whether or not true evil has been stopped and true good has been accomplished...even if it means self sacrifice
Self sacerfice and sacerficing a baby are two different things. Also, if I commit evil,then i am helping evil


Because when true evil has been stopped and true good has been accomplished, the diety you serve would have no reason to remove your powers.
Two points
1. No if you had to do this you failed you code, as in don't kill innocents. So you fall.
2. You diety does not control your powers unless you play FR


Back to the point though....recognizing the true evil leaves the paladin with only 1 option...the necessary evil. He must slay the child to prevent the true evil from happening. Will he feel regret...no he wouldn't...he wouldn't regret seeing the true good being accomplished. He would feel sorrow and grief, but not regret, and wouldn't fall because the diety would also see that the true good was accomplished.
I mean seriously, a diety grants you the power to overcome true evil, knowing good and well that you could die in the process, but you make that sacrifice for the greater good. The child in this case would be making that same sacrifice for the greater good, the paladin is merely the tool used to carry out said sacrifice.
Ends justfies the means is not good, at best it is neutral.
That last part is just arrogent
It is not YOUR place to say that "That baby does not deserve to live". The paladin can sacerfice himself, but not others.


What sniper? whoever said you had a sniper? Why do you people keep trying to wriggle out of the situation by blaming the DM or making up new options??
"Oh look at me, i can't stand people find a new way out. No, you have to have it my way."
Yeah, railroad all you want but you can't blame the player for trying to find a logical way to solve the problem


You're in a war. It's a major offensive. As a grunt part of the assault, you've just attacked a village with your buddies. War is raging all around you, the assault is a complete mess. People are screaming, guns are firing, houses are on fire. You're struggling through the rubble with what's left of your squad. No-one's thinking about objectives anymore, everyone just wants to survive. You stumble into a half collapsed building with a friend leading the way, the rest of the squad ignores you two and tries to find cover and keep moving outside. You're stalking through the middle of a room, keeping well away from the rubble and shadows incase of an ambush, but also painfully aware that you yourself are too far away from all cover too. Your buddy is 15 feet away from you, trying to climb quickly but carefully over the rubble when suddenly an enemy soldier who has lost his gun bursts out of a dark corner, grabs your friend by surprise, puts a knife to his neck and grabs your friends gun. While using your friend as a human shield, the enemy soldier is now in the process of raising the gun at your head.
Wait so my life is worth more than my friends? well, i'll let them know. What would i do? Duke. Hope that my friend does something. The thing about hostage situations is that if he kills the hostange, i blow his brains out.


Or even better, your friend can be just an innocent child who lives in that village and was just scrambling over the rubble in an attemp to get home, and you just happened to follow the child because you felt worried when an enemy soldier bursts out of the shadow, grabs the child, uses him as a human shield and starts raising his gun to your head.
Wait the child and the enemy soilder are from the same village. Ok i back away. If he kills one of the village children, then he did so for no reason


Where's your bloody sniper now? Or your non-lethal weaponry?
I lost it, it might be in the same place as your logic


If any of you want to seriously answer this question, keep the circumstances clearly in mind. You're in the middle of a mission gone fubar, battle rages around, you're out of cover, your squad mates went the other way, you have no radio. You're just a lowly grunt having what is amounting to the worst day of your life.
Am i even good?


I wasn't trying to make it into anything admirable.....I was merely saying that if the paladin does decide to sacrifice the kid for the greater good, the diety would more than likely not take away your powers, because the true evil was stopped and the greater good was served.
Wait so the paladin is being rewarded for bad behavior? Right.......................
That makes sense
When you break your code (the gods don't decied it) you fall.



Also another example of a binary situation...you're pushed out of a plane with a parachute....you have 2 options...open the chute and survive...or don't open the chute and die....there isn't another option if you are the only person who is falling.
don't open the chute and try to grab on to something. Not a very smart idea but a third option none the less.


and just it doesn't appear that I am hi jacking the thread.......pretend you are a paladin that was just thrown off the back of a dragon....and you have the option to drink the potion of featherfall or not drink it, assuming you had no other way to slow your decent.
Need more detail. What color dragon, what magic items, who are my friends, where the hell am I?


The point I'm trying to make here is that people only think up third 'ideal' options because the situation has not been described with enough detail. It's patently rediculous. It amounts to "the dm didn't say I didn't have a sword of automatic demon slaying and child saving so I have one with which I stab the child whereupon the demon inside dies and the child survives".
So according to you, Railroading is good? I think your view is rather black and white.


You were not mentioned having that weapon. You were not mentioned having that or that option, so don't make it up. Deal with the situation, don't start blaming DM's. Don't wuss out and say "I walk out of the game". You folks have been presented a situation. Grow a spine and deal with it. Leave the DM alone.
Oh stop this melodrama. Don't wimp out and blame the players because your situations are simple railroading and foolish.


Or do I need to write up a paladin situation of several massive posts long with intricate detail before some of you will stop avoiding the question?
Avoiding the question? Dude, logical understanding of the situation is not avoiding the question


Originally Posted by Kreistor
You can not put me in a position where there is no Good choice, even if there are only two possible actions.

But you as DM want to do that to the paladin.
Nicely put


Clearly! Ah! Nevermind anything I said then. I realise now that if the situation is not to my liking, I should Clearly just blame the DM. Screw roleplaying. Screw the story and whatever else is happening. It's all the DM's fault!
WHine whine whine.
Yeah, screw roleplaying? Roleplaying requirs options. Here is a situation for you
Die.
Don't die
No details. If you go along with this, apperently it "Roleplaying". It is not the DM's fault, it i YOUR fault.
Yeah that makes sense............


Lets go by your choices shall we?

1) You get shot.
2) You get shot.
3) You're taking the gamble of killing the child.
4) You get shot.
5) You're taking the gamble of killing the child.
6) You get shot.
7) You get shot.
These are not options these are results. It it impossible to judge results


Just wondering, did you miss the fact that there is no cover, and did you realise that this isn't a one minute situation? This is a split second situation. The enemy isn't having a weapon aimed at you going "Ve meet again, Mr. Bond!". The enemy is raising his weapon to pull the trigger at you. You only have the advantage of choice because your weapon is already up and roughly aimed.
All of those options can still work


Your multiple choices all lead to a binary result. Idem with the paladin. The paladin could say "I pick up a rock and hit myself square between the eyes with it". Yay for you, you found another "option". It doesn't make the situation any less binary
This is to foolish to even reply to


That was aimed at pJackson since he stated diving for cover after the situation clearly describes you standing in an open room with no nearby cover.
Relvence



Secondly, max ranks in bluff. Yeah. You could be a paladin soldier. You could have max ranks in bluff. Explain to me how you're going to bluff anything in the split second it takes for a professional soldier to raise the gun and pull the trigger? An enemy professional soldier? In an assault gone fubar where everyone is trying to get out alive? And enemy soldier who Knows he has the upper hand?
So? Dude, play a game with a guy with max ranks in buff. It really works.Read riches article about it


Maybe I'll write up a big story later, but I'm quite reluctant to do it. It seems like a lot of pointless work, considering how in a short situation as I've written above, important lines are already being ignored
Pointless work, well we will not be seeing anything new the will we? Sense the story has no real relevence


If I write something big, I'll bet that half of it will constantly be ignored by people trying to wriggle their way out of making the call.
How about you trying to wiggle out of following a moral code?


Well sure... but the DC is going to be astronomical
Read Rich's article on gaming. HE explains the powers of bluff checks


I could make it that. The situation is where the decision has to be made, but what leads up to it doesn't have to be DM railroading, it could be bad choices of the player that has put him/her in that situation.
If it is a good DM but a bad player, then the options should still be around


Bull****. The situation is binary. Your choices still amount to either live or die. It doesn't matter whichever way you bend and turn, the outcome is one or the other.
Wait, so it is binary because YOU SAY SO? Right................


And as for dragons swooping out of the sky and guns jamming - Since when is deus ex machina part of a players list of choices?
1. If the dragon is good the yes it is quite likely
2. Guns jam in real battle. Deus ex machina happens in real life.


Once you have made the choice..I agree it is no longer a binary situation.
Depending on the results of the choice you make...it may make other options avaible or even make your choices even more limited.
Once you made the choice, like for example drink the potion, then i have already moved onto another set of options. For example, where i land, ect.


There we go again. Bad DM-ming? Without even getting into whether a DM should always let players win nomatter what stupid things they do, what does a DM even have to do with making the choice? Leave the DM out of it. This is a character dilemma, so the character handle it.
Major bull. A DM can not allow the players to win just by going "rocks fall and everybody dies"


*wishes for a remote controlled clue bat to smack people over the internet with*
So anyone who dissagrees with you gets beaten? Horray for the Tyrant's way


Thank you! Hopefully the discussion can go back to morality now instead of DM bashing and making stupid choices just for the heck of it.
Lets not forget your crappy unrealistic situations


again, from the other thread, if you guys are going to debate, one of you needs to change your avatar; is there a blue wizard guy or something?


You're a paladin. You wake up every morning early in order to train on the practice field. The servants don't like getting up that early, so they set the field up for you late at night.

So, you start with sword practice against a straw dummy. Horse gets up to a good speed, and you whack away like you do every day.

Blood splatters the field. Hidden inside the dummy was a child. You just killed an innocent
foolish, you did not make the choice. you should rez the kid though

Finding the third option requires intelligence. Sometimes you're smart enough to find it. When you aren't smart enough, are you evil for being stupid?
IF you are willing to commit evil
Yes

It's wonderful to talk about third options, but even when they are there to find, you don't always find them. Such thngs usually require thinking like the DM who created those options, but all too often, we don't. My team and I didn't find the option in the Spoiler Block above: it never even occured to us that there was a dilemma in the first place, so why look for third options?
You didn't find it. Good for you. But that was because you chose not to.



I had mine first

Clementx
2007-03-30, 02:14 PM
Killing can range from evil (killing the innocent) to good (killing demons), all the while ignoring intent, and any "greater good" that the act may do..
You claim killing is evil, but list all sorts of exceptions, so you aren't really saying that the ends never justify the means. You are saying that situations are different, and if the person is bad, you are justified in killing them. You are allowing the victim to change the crime. So why are you so adamant about saying that the rest of the situation can't change the crime as well?

Demented
2007-03-30, 04:53 PM
Look for the principle of Good (as understood by D&D) and you'll understand why the victim is important but the circustances are not.

Felius
2007-03-30, 05:31 PM
Tricked (Really tricked into it, not miko-tricked), or doing evil where he couldn't reasonable foresee (and that means no divination magic in most cases. The gods would grow very wary of it if you started using commune for every action you wanted to take): I'd make the Paladin fall, yes, but just temporarily, not requiring the atonement spell, just some time to think over it and of course requiring some sadness over the act, and not acting like if it was nothing.

Like the god's way to saying: "Here, I understand that you didn't know, so I won't hold against you, but I'm going to withhold your powers for a little bit so no one think it's ok to kill little children and you think a little about what have happened"

Falkus
2007-03-30, 05:49 PM
What sniper? whoever said you had a sniper? Why do you people keep trying to wriggle out of the situation by blaming the DM or making up new options??

Who said I didn't? It's easy to make a binary choice if you refuse to consider any possible alternatives. That's not a 'real' situation, it's you saying I have this choice and that choice, and then mentally erasing every other possible choice and ignoring them if and when they're brought up.

EvilElitest
2007-03-30, 06:58 PM
Tricked (Really tricked into it, not miko-tricked), or doing evil where he couldn't reasonable foresee (and that means no divination magic in most cases. The gods would grow very wary of it if you started using commune for every action you wanted to take): I'd make the Paladin fall, yes, but just temporarily, not requiring the atonement spell, just some time to think over it and of course requiring some sadness over the act, and not acting like if it was nothing.

Like the god's way to saying: "Here, I understand that you didn't know, so I won't hold against you, but I'm going to withhold your powers for a little bit so no one think it's ok to kill little children and you think a little about what have happened"

I agree. I'll build off this

So killing an innocent by True misake, such as stabing a pratice dummy and finding it was an illusion will not make you fall. YOu might have to atone anyways, but of no fault of your own. If the dummy had not been an illusion, then would the act be evil? hell no. But stabbing a baby on an alter and finding it to be only a log, would the stabbing be considered evil if the illusion was real? Hell yes. So because if it had not been an illusion i would have killed a baby (ewww) it is an evil act
from,
EE

Clementx
2007-03-30, 08:19 PM
Look for the principle of Good (as understood by D&D) and you'll understand why the victim is important but the circustances are not.
Oh, yes, because it is absolutely wonderful that Smite-Lance-critting a guy who cheats on his taxes and sleeps around on his wife while he is walking down the street is always a good act, because he is evil. Remember, DnD says that killing an evil creature is never an evil act, and a life of selfishness and deceit makes you evil.

It cuts both ways. If you never can kill a child, you always can kill a philandering merchant.

Tokiko Mima
2007-03-30, 08:43 PM
Oh, yes, because it is absolutely wonderful that Smite-Lance-critting a guy who cheats on his taxes and sleeps around on his wife while he is walking down the street is always a good act, because he is evil. Remember, DnD says that killing an evil creature is never an evil act, and a life of selfishness and deceit makes you evil.

It cuts both ways. If you never can kill a child, you always can kill a philandering merchant.

WHOA! How do you manage to cheat on your taxes, sleep around, and be walking down the street at the same time!?! That's some serious talent there! :smallwink:

Sardia
2007-03-30, 09:01 PM
Perhaps a lot of this (at least in play) can be avoided by the GM simply describing to the Paladin's player before start of play how his take on Good, Evil, and the Paladin's code work in his game.
If it's all about the utilitarian good, clearly state before session one that the Paladin may feel free to chop off heads if it actually does preserve the greater good. If it isn't, make that clear, too.
The player can then agree and go along, disagree and pick another class, disagree vehemently and not play, etc...but won't be put in the spot of making a moral choice when the basis of how morals work in the game world hasn't been spelled out.

In that sense, it's almost like laying out a map, rather than have the player have to wander around lost and guess about concepts which should be central and well-known to the character.

Demented
2007-03-30, 09:17 PM
WHOA! How do you manage to cheat on your taxes, sleep around, and be walking down the street at the same time!?! That's some serious talent there! :smallwink:

And much less have time to be Evil!
Devote that much time to being Chaotic and I don't think there's room in your schedule for the slaughtering of innocents. :smallyuk:

Foeofthelance
2007-03-30, 09:36 PM
Ok several things I think some people need to realize

1) Right =/= Good
2) Wrong =/= Evil

Or, for perhaps a truly suitable quote: The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

The right thing to do in the situation is to prevent the demon summoning. In this case your luck is really atrocious. You used up all your Protection ability on the way down, and the mage, cleric, druid, and any other member of the party capble of being involved with magic, including the rogue, is knocked out either as a result of fighting, enemy spells, or traps. The ritual is damn near closed to compleetion, and you can already feel the demon's aura as he prepares to enter the world and begin the apocalypse. The ritual marks have been carved in stone fifty feet above your head, you have zero magical solutions at your disposal. Your bow broke on the way down. and all you have left is the sword in your hands. The only creature still stirring is the infant on the altar that will soon be possessed.

In this case the right thing to do is kill the child. This is neither a good nor evil action. Killing a child is never a good thing, but allowing the end of the world is defintely evil, unless you are the god of ending worlds and that is your sole purpose in existance. The two might not be equal in value for your karma, but they are a fair trade off in this situation.

The good thing to do in this case also happens to be the wrong thing to do. Congratulations. You spared the child. It's soul is now being bounced around hell by an imp that mistook it for a yo-yo. The demon has been summoned, and is currently waiting for you to stop running so that it can have you as a shishkabob. Once it's finished that it will proceed to use the rest of the village as an appetizer, and the nearest city as the main course. Eventually there might arise a hero who can defeat it, but not until it has turned the entire northern half of the world into a remarkable accurate model of the 99th layer of the abyss.

The Evil thing to do is let the demon manifest, and as soon as it does suner your holy mark, declare your self its voice, and go forth and demand the wolrd bow down to your new master.

Yes there are such things as binary choices. By definition a decision is a binary choice, as either you make one or you don't. Trying to say anything else is just playing word games. There are also binary consequences, though those tend to be more of summaries of events.

The DM is not a railroading heathen for putting the paladin in that situation unless both consequences cause the paladin to fall (if the DM was planning a third option, he needs to Dues Ex quickly to provide it.) As a player, I woud expect my paladin to be faced with such choices, as that is what paladins are about. A good example of a Paladin is probably Bahzell from David Weber's Sword God books, in which he actively consults with his god, who gives him the information that he needs. He makes decisions like this several times in the books, and does not lose his powers because the god in question understands that some times there are ugly choices.

Intent has everything to do with morality. Otherwise what is the difference between a Paladin and a Blackguard? By removing intent, there is nothing. Both champions a cause they believe in, both recieve powers and abilites based on their choice, and both have strict codes. But a Blackguard lives for the suffering and pain of others, while the Paladin suffers pain so that others might live. Another example, using the soldiers above, is that one might rape, loot and pillage, while the other fights to defend his homeland. One commits acts of evil as defined by society, while the other has good intentions. Both fight and kill, but only one has a clean concience at the end of it.

Stephen_E
2007-03-30, 09:37 PM
Kreistor: If your Paladin knowingly murders an innocent child, he's done evil and must fall. Saying that there are only 2 choices and the other one is evil, so this one must be good, is rubbish. It's the logic of tyrants and murderers.

Basically the only ways I can see the Paladin avoid falling by taking the choice you insist would be safe are.
1) You define murdering an innocent child as non-evil or good. Murdering involves the deliberate unlawful killing (i.e. The child hidden in the straw target doesn't count)
2) You claim the child isn't innocent because a 3rd party, the Demon, is going to use it's body to come through and do evil.
3) You pretend that there are only two choices, and say that "one must be right, so if I show by my standards that the other is wrong, the remaining one must be right".
(there may be others, but they don't leap to mind currently)

You appear to have used all of these to defend your argument.
Paladins have a few simple rules. One been "If you knowingly do evil you fall".
A lesser evil is still evil.

You also claim that their are RL situation which present similair type binary choices/situations. Without knowing the precise situation you're referring to I can't give a comprehensive responce, but IME so called situations ussually involve someone trying to justify an ethically dodgy action they wish to take, which they'd like to portray as good/right to feel good about themselves and/or convince others to support them.

The entire concept that there must be a good choice is dubious, if not outright ethically bankrupt from the start. If you take enough bad choices it may be feasable to limit your choices down to various shades of bad or neutral, but any Paladin should've fallen lomg before reaching that point.

I'm sorry if this comes across to blunt or personnal, but the impression you give from your posts inclines me to suggest your RL approach to ethics are such that you should neither GM or play Paladins in DnD. RL doesn't have a RAW, so while I disagree with your ethicall approach I can't point to a rulebook and say "you're wrong", but in DnD there are rules, confusing and limited as they are, and frankly your ethics don't handle how DnD (Paladins in particular) works. This doesn't matter for most of DnD, but Paladins it does.

Stephen

Townopolis
2007-03-30, 09:39 PM
Basing this mostly on the first several pages of the BoED.

Good and evil are not just personality traits, they are two fundamental forces of the universe, bigger even than the gods, much bigger than mere mortals or even lesser outsiders (such as devils, demons, and celestials). Evil is fed by evil acts, good is fed by good acts, and the soul is the primary container of good or evil energy.

In D&D, the cosmic fight between good and evil always outweights the terrestrial or mortal fight. Souls are more important than bodies, and especially potent souls (like those of a paladin or blackguard) are more important than less potent souls.

According to the D&D books, slaying the child is a concession to evil, a paladin who does this "gives up" and admits that an evil action was "the best course of action to take." The tarnishing of the paladin's soul (presumably, a potently good one) holds more weight than the destruction of the child's soul (a neutral or, at best, mildly good soul), because the former is a shift of points in evil's favor, while the latter is a removal of the soul from the cosmic battlefield.

Choosing the second option, and submitting the world to a reign of evil, would then be a cosmic puffing-out of the chest. The paladin choosing this option is telling evil to "bring it" and adhering to the ideal that, no matter what evil may throw out of it, the forces of good will always find a way to smack that demon back into the Nth layer of hell.

This is just my interperetation of what I've read in the BoED, that the "good" act is to abstain from "lesser evils" and prove the power and resolve of cosmic good.

Demented
2007-03-30, 10:08 PM
much bigger than mere mortals or even lesser outsiders (such as devils, demons, and celestials).

Lesser outsiders? I am intrigued.

Stephen_E
2007-03-30, 10:08 PM
Yes there are such things as binary choices. By definition a decision is a binary choice, as either you make one or you don't. Trying to say anything else is just playing word games. There are also binary consequences, though those tend to be more of summaries of events..

In what was supposed to be a binary situation you found a number of choices.
Saying making a choice is binary since you have only decide/don't decide is rubbish and exactly the "word games" you're talking about. "don't decide" is a decision. When you have a situation you choose what to do. There are always a range of choices, of which one is to do nothing, or ignore the situation. The "do nothing" is not one half of the choices, it is simply one of many.


The DM is not a railroading heathen for putting the paladin in that situation unless both consequences cause the paladin to fall (if the DM was planning a third option, he needs to Dues Ex quickly to provide it.) As a player, I woud expect my paladin to be faced with such choices, as that is what paladins are about. A good example of a Paladin is probably Bahzell from David Weber's Sword God books, in which he actively consults with his god, who gives him the information that he needs. He makes decisions like this several times in the books, and does not lose his powers because the god in question understands that some times there are ugly choices..

I have the Bahzell series. Can you point to one situation where he knowingly kills an innocent person, for the greater good or any other purpose (note: Soldiers aren't "innocent" when acting in a military situation)


Intent has everything to do with morality. Otherwise what is the difference between a Paladin and a Blackguard? By removing intent, there is nothing. Both champions a cause they believe in, both recieve powers and abilites based on their choice, and both have strict codes. But a Blackguard lives for the suffering and pain of others, while the Paladin suffers pain so that others might live. Another example, using the soldiers above, is that one might rape, loot and pillage, while the other fights to defend his homeland. One commits acts of evil as defined by society, while the other has good intentions. Both fight and kill, but only one has a clean concience at the end of it.

I'm not clear what you saying here. Does only one of the soldiers rape, loot and pillage? Aside from that, having a clear conscience is relatively easy (and both soldiers can do so). It simply requires you to beleive that what you did was good and just. In many ways it is easier for the Blackguard to have a clear conscience than it is for the Paladin. The path to a clear conscience lies with not doubting your actions. If you constantly reflect on your actions and keep looking to see if you did the right thing, then you're almost doomed to not have a clear conscience, since you'll find yourself realising you made the wrong choice, did the wrong thing at times. If you don't doubt your own choices it becomes far easier to do/become evil, but you will probably have a clear conscience all the way.

Stephen

Caledonian
2007-03-30, 10:15 PM
What makes you think slaying the child is an evil act?

Evil involves the willingness to inflict harm upon others to achieve goals. The child is due to be utterly annihilated, which is much worse than merely dying. Dying and going to one's deserved afterlife is far better than being unmade.

Paladins are permitted to fail. They are simply not permitted to fall. Sparing someone from a fate unimaginably worse than death by killing them does not constitute a fall.

Reptilus
2007-03-30, 10:21 PM
You followed your code, you did not commit any actions and you tried to stop the evil as much as you could. If you kill the kid to stop the demon, then you fell. Sucks for you. Suck it up and atone. You fell. You did not do what was right but what you thought was the best way. So you are not justified.
Explain how I am not justified in doing what I think is the best way. Just because a deity doesn't agree does not mean I am not justified. Appeal to Authority and Slanting (in this instance, presenting the deity's opinion or your own as a statement of factual lack of justification) are both logical fallacies in arguments based purely upon morality.


Self sacerfice and sacerficing a baby are two different things. Also, if I commit evil,then i am helping evil
And how is saving the baby's immortal soul, at the cost of its mortal life, an evil act, exactly?



Two points
1. No if you had to do this you failed you code, as in don't kill innocents. So you fall.
2. You diety does not control your powers unless you play FR
All right. How are we defining innocents, then. You are fully aware of what the baby will do in ten seconds. This is akin to a man, who has never broken any moral or legal code prior to now, is standing over another man, this man also innocent, with a sword. In ten seconds, he will stab the other man to death. If you step in and kill the first man to protect the second man, who you know to be innocent, from the man who you know to be assaulting him out of baseless, random malice (say, because his eyes were green), then wouldn't you fall for killing the attacker, since he hasn't done anything evil, yet?
In addition, the morality of a Paladin isn't about falling and not falling. It's about doing what is right. Sometimes, you'll fall. If your code dictates that you may not knowingly break any law, but the law of a land dictated killing all infants at birth, you would fall for refusing to murder all the infants. That doesn't mean it is the morally wrong choice. It means you lost your powers on a technicality based upon rigid rule interpretation with no concern for intent.



It is not YOUR place to say that "That baby does not deserve to live". The paladin can sacerfice himself, but not others.
There are 400 million others, not to mention the immortal soul of the child, if he doesn't decide to kill it.


"Oh look at me, i can't stand people find a new way out. No, you have to have it my way."
Ignore the player/DM dynamic for a moment. The situation is designed as an ethical debate. Pretend that an idea can exist without relating to D&D, yet containing the concept of a Paladin (since paladins weren't invented by or for D&D, this shouldn't be too hard), and then consider the idea. Of. The. Choices. Given. Which. Is. Ideal?
The demon is too powerful to stop once he comes in through the child's body. He doesn't use a gate, it's a supernatural possession that uses only the child as a gate. You kill the child or let the demon take-over the world. If every creature alive charged him at once, he would win. That's how powerful he is.
There are literally only two options; kill the kid or don't. Sure, you can not kill the kid and do something else, but that goes under option b, "don't." If you choose "don't," there are a set of things that will happen, no-matter what you do. So any choices made after this binary choice are wholly irrelevant.


Yeah, railroad all you want but you can't blame the player for trying to find a logical way to solve the problem
There isn't a logical way around the problem because it's not a logical problem. It's an ethical dilemma. There is a difference.



Wait so my life is worth more than my friends?
That is the issue up for debate, yes. The whole idea is that question. Is your life worth more to you, or his.

What would i do? Duke.
I assume you meant "duck." If that's the case, Lewis Carrol and Aristotle are turning over in their graves at your "logical" way around the problem. Ducking under a bullet? Are you aware how fast bullets travel versus how fast you move. In addition to the fact that he can shoot more than once?

Hope that my friend does something. The thing about hostage situations is that if he kills the hostange, i blow his brains out.
The thing about this hostage situation is that unless you shoot him, through your friend, he blows your brains out.



Wait the child and the enemy soilder are from the same village. Ok i back away. If he kills one of the village children, then he did so for no reason
I don't think you understand; he's not planning to kill the child. He is planning to kill you. If you shoot him, to save your own life, you will also kill the child. If you back away, he will shoot you and let the child live. Now you are dead, the child is alive. If you shoot him, you kill him and the child. You are alive, the child is dead. Which way is more moral?



I lost it, it might be in the same place as your logic
Big words coming from someone whose solution to a problem is to dodge a bullet.



Am i even good?
This is a war, not dungeons and dragons. There are no alignments. You're a person. Your psyche cannot be expressed in two words.



Wait so the paladin is being rewarded for bad behavior? Right.......................
That makes sense
Okay, since you've been so fond of logic, let's use some.
IF: The paladin's goal is to save innocent lives.
IF: Allowing one innocent life to continue, millions will be ended.
THEN: The Paladin should end that one life.
Purely, numerically speaking, killing the infant is the wiser choice. If viewed from a more subjective light:
IF: An infant is allowed to live, its immortal soul will be destroyed, condemning it for eternity. In addition, it will effectively die at the end of ten seconds when a demon takes its body.
IF: The paladin's goal is to protect the child.
THEN: The paladin should kill the child. Either way, it will die in the next ten seconds. If the paladin kills it, its soul will be saved.
So the paladin is being rewarded for taking action to fulfil his code in ugly circumstances that aren't ideal. He's doing what good he can.

When you break your code (the gods don't decied it) you fall.
Again, falling =/= bad morality.




don't open the chute and try to grab on to something. Not a very smart idea but a third option none the less.
That goes under "Don't open the shoot."
Again, this is binary. You can open the shoot, or not. Regardless of what else you do, you did one of these two things.



Need more detail. What color dragon, what magic items, who are my friends, where the hell am I?
How do any of these things relate at all. You are in midair, it is a dragon, you may or may not have friends. It doesn't matter. You either drink the potion or not. You can't do anything that isn't one of those. If you grab something and don't drink the potion, you didn't drink the potion.



So according to you, Railroading is good? I think your view is rather black and white.
No, in his view, looking for inane technicalities in what is meant to be an ethical dilemma, not a D&D session, is a petulant, irritating practice of those who refuse to make a decision.


Oh stop this melodrama. Don't wimp out and blame the players because your situations are simple railroading and foolish.
They're not designed to be real, plausible situations. They're designed to be a moral test. Arguing that situation is "railroading and foolish" is like arguing Crime and Punishment is "foolish" because the odds of Raskolnikov just finding an axe lying around aren't very high. The idea isn't a realistic D&D session, the idea is a situation wherein you have to consider your own morals and how they come into play. Do you value the good of the many over the good of the few, are you willing to get blood on your own hands if it means the good for the many and the few, are you willing to sacrifice yourself for the many, or do your opinions chance when you become "the few?" It's not about "How did I get into this situation," it's about what you believe is right and wrong.
It's not a matter of players and DMs. It's a matter of what you believe is right and wrong. This is essentially an ethics question, taken out of any ethics class, that you are supposed to answer as though you were roleplaying a paladin.


Avoiding the question? Dude, logical understanding of the situation is not avoiding the question
Assume, as is logical, that there are only the options and the provisions provided in the primary situation. You do not need a long list of what is not there and what you do not have to understand the situation. You need to know what is there, what you do have, and what you can do. Everything else, you don't have, isn't there, and you can't do. Okay? Okay. Your logical understanding is complete. Now choose.



Nicely put
Actually, it makes very little sense, given your precious logic. If there are only two options, and neither of them is seens as good, you've been put in that situation. Ta-da, he's wrong.


Yeah, screw roleplaying? Roleplaying requirs options. Here is a situation for you
You have options. Two of them.

Die.
Don't die
If I chose "die," I'd actually be making a pretty big statement with roleplaying.
However, what this situation lacks that the presented one does not, is the reasons. It gives no ethical background to debate from. Most binary situations are to force you to make a moral choice and side with one form of reasoning. To take the example of Crime and Punishment again, there is an old, evil woman who no one loves and no one will mourn. Her wealth, divided up, could help many poor people survive or live better lives. She contributes nothing positive to the world, only takes from those around her.
Kill her or do not kill her?
There is no right choice, there is no wrong choice, there is no better choice and no worse choice. There are two options. One will benefit many people, at the cost of a single life, and it will require you to murder someone without any direct provocation. One will cause the suffering of many people to continue for the benefit of one, but you will never have to murder a helpless, yet cruel, old woman.
Which will it be?

No details. If you go along with this, apperently it "Roleplaying". It is not the DM's fault, it i YOUR fault.
Yeah that makes sense............
I hate it when people nitpick grammar in arguments, so I don't want this to come across wrong, but I honestly, based purely upon the wording, do not understand what you're trying to say with this.



These are not options these are results. It it impossible to judge results
He's stating the outcome of the options presented above.



All of those options can still work
That is true, however:
A) They will have the precise outcome he stated they would.
and
B)They all fall into "shoot" or "don't shoot." Regardless of who nicely you try and dress up your decision, it will be one of those choices.



This is to foolish to even reply to
No. It is a valid point. Whatever third option you come up with will either kill the child or not. One, specific thing happens if you do kill it, one if you don't. Regardless of how you do or do not kill the child, you do or do not kill it and the appropriate result occurs.



Relvence
Again, I'm sorry but I don't understand.




So? Dude, play a game with a guy with max ranks in buff. It really works.Read riches article about it
Okay. You bitch and moan about our unrealistic situations and then pull a rules-lawyer move on us saying that, based on a math oversight by WotC, you can charm a guy before he shoots you.
Let's leave D&D. This is a situation in Shadowrun, now. A sprawl-ganger's holding the child/your best friend as a human shield, pointing a big Warhock pistol at your head at close enough range to take it clean off. There is no bluff. You've got wired reflexes fast enough to raise your gun before he raises his, but he's got a smartgun system. You can't move faster than a computer thinks. You either shoot him through your lifelong chummer or some innocent kid or your head flies off and leaves a red splatter on the graffitti covered wall behind you. Which life is it going to be, yours or the innocent kid's?


How about you trying to wiggle out of following a moral code?
Nobody's wiggling out of a moral code. They're discussing which option better follows the code. If your moral code is to protect innocents, is it worse to kill one yourself or let them all be killed when you could have saved them?



Read Rich's article on gaming. HE explains the powers of bluff checks
Look, you are taking the idea of this as a D&D session way too seriously. Assume Rich's alternate diplomacy rules are in play.



Wait, so it is binary because YOU SAY SO? Right................
No, it's binary by defition. You can kill something or not kill it. If you don't kill it and make friends with it, you didn't kill it. If you kill somethign and resurrect it, you still killed it. Anything you do boils down to that one choice.



1. If the dragon is good the yes it is quite likely
2. Guns jam in real battle. Deus ex machina happens in real life.
Yes, but it isn't a person's choice. One doesn't cause Deus ex machina. If someone's about to shoot me and their gun jams, I didn't make it jam. It just happened. It's not a part of your choice. You can't "choose" to have a dragon swoop out of the sky or a gun jam. I'm sure you'll have some explanation of how you can have a dragon as your special paladin mount in the rules or something, but the point is that you cannot make some things happen. You can make a choice and hope they happen, but that's about it.


Major bull. A DM can not allow the players to win just by going "rocks fall and everybody dies"
Yep. Sure can't. Which is exactly what you're attempting to do with all these alternate situations. You're trying, as a player, to win by going "rocks fall and everybody dies."


So anyone who dissagrees with you gets beaten? Horray for the Tyrant's way
I think he was expressing his frustration at your inability to grasp the spirit of the situation beyond "Me no like hard choice. There is DM. He make me make hard choice. He bad," no-matter how often it is explained to you, rather than a serious urge to harm you.



Lets not forget your crappy unrealistic situations[/quotes]
Says the guy who wants to duck under a bullet and talk a guy out of shooting him in less than a second.


[quote=EvilElitest;2290540]foolish, you did not make the choice. you should rez the kid though
According to you, killing an innocent universally makes one fall. If this isn't true, then killing an innocent to save more may not make one fall, either. If your code is absolute, it is absolute. If it has flexibility, it has flexibility.


IF you are willing to commit evil
Yes
He's speaking here of criminal insanity. What if you are too stupid/psychotic to comprehend the difference between right and wrong?

Foeofthelance
2007-03-30, 10:31 PM
Actually, that was my point. All decisions are binary, as you either choose to make the decision, or you choose to sit there and do nothing. Whether the decision itself offers you two or more choices is what defines whether or not what you are deciding on is binary as well.

For the soldiers yes, only one of them rapes, loots and pillages. The other merely fights. On the clear concience I would think it would be easier to accept your actions knowing they were the right thing to do then if you chose to commit atrocities. Whether you have nightmares about what you did is probably more a factor of personal character.




















there's a minor spoiler below, and I can't figure out where the hide option is, so fair warning.






In the first book, after he accepts Tomanak's oath and feating the demon and the evil prince the first thing he does is attempt to steal a boat. Stealing is quite against anything expected of a paladin, yet Tomanak takes no issue with it because he does it to save Brandark. Prior to that, he kills the Purple Lord when it is acknowledged he could simply have disarmed the man instead. When Brandark points it out Bazhell answers that it fits his view of justice, and the Tomanak has to accept that if he wants Bahzell as a champion. Bahzell quite obviously follows his own code, it just doesn't follow the absolutes that people seem to think are necessary. As for killing an innocent, I admit not having finished Sword God's own, yet at the beginning of the book it is fully expected that he is going to kill the kid who eventually becomes his squire, all because the kid spoke some words. Despite the fact the kid was a knight probationer in the Order itself, and had commited no actual crimes. He could be fully described as an innocent, and very well would have been killed if Bahzell hadn't been deliberately trying to control his rage. Even then, he still broke both of the kid's arms, which could be defined as an act of cruelty, even if the kid did learn something from it. My point was that Bahzell is an example of what a Paladin should be, a person who cares not for personal consequence, but only for the consequences his actions hold for others.

Kreistor
2007-03-30, 10:57 PM
EveilElitist, I suggest you read the Sword of Truth series before suggesting Richard did one thing or another. You clearly do not understand his situation.


But the third options is still their, he just did not choose it.

Read the book before suggesting that.


So according to you, Railroading is good? I think your view is rather black and white.

You use the term railroading like it can't happen in the real world. The term was created because people were being railroaded. Pretty simple concept, really. You can be railroaded. Remember that.


Lets not forget your crappy unrealistic situations

Don't worry. I just sent you a half dozen real ones.


You didn't find it. Good for you. But that was because you chose not to.

You imply there was a choice. There wasn't. We simply didn't realize there was a two and a two to add together.

This is where the "child in the practice dummy" dilemma comes in. There is no way to know that on that one day there is a child inside the dummy. You Fall the paladin when he couldn't see that there was a dilemma at all? You can't invent a third option when you don't even know there is a dilemma.

Kreistor
2007-03-30, 11:16 PM
3) You pretend that there are only two choices, and say that "one must be right, so if I show by my standards that the other is wrong, the remaining one must be right".

Almost.

What I deny is that anyone except me can cause myself to do evil.

Because an evil man cannot cause me to do evil, a situation created by an evil man must have a non-evil solution.

I do not believe in anything being inherently evil -- not killing children, not War, not anything. Period. That has to do with a certain religious background, and we're not going there, so you can't ever convince me otherwise. Don't bother.

You see, my soul is not in danger from the Paladin's Dilemma. Evil cannot force me to be evil, no matter what situation i find myself in and what options I can think of to get out of it. I guess I'm a happier person than those of you that believe otherwise.

Because what this comes down to is your own soul. If you believe that a situation with only two options, both of which are evil, causes you to do evil, then you're the ones that are going to do evil, not me. You give evil power over you by thinking that you're in a no-win situation. I deny the no-win can exist in the first place by returning to the fundamentals of what is good and what is evil. But then, that goes to religious background and we're not going there.


You also claim that their are RL situation which present similair type binary choices/situations. Without knowing the precise situation you're referring to I can't give a comprehensive responce, but IME so called situations ussually involve someone trying to justify an ethically dodgy action they wish to take, which they'd like to portray as good/right to feel good about themselves and/or convince others to support them.

Actually, no. They are fast, dirty, and messy. the situations develop in seconds and must be responded to in seconds, so thinking is not actually possible, except in a post-analysis sort of way. I'll PM them to you.


I'm sorry if this comes across to blunt or personnal, but the impression you give from your posts inclines me to suggest your RL approach to ethics are such that you should neither GM or play Paladins in DnD. RL doesn't have a RAW, so while I disagree with your ethicall approach I can't point to a rulebook and say "you're wrong", but in DnD there are rules, confusing and limited as they are, and frankly your ethics don't handle how DnD (Paladins in particular) works. This doesn't matter for most of DnD, but Paladins it does.

Okay, you must have missed it. I have stated before that i do not place Paladins in these situations intentionally, and if they get there accidentally, then I ensure that their players understand my view on this subject.

I like paladins. I want them in my game, even though it is Noir and as such, a hard place for a paladin.

No paladin falls in my campaign by accident. If a paladin is about to take an action that will cause a Fall, I warn him.

Remember, I didn't start this thread in the first place... I merely quantified the dilemmas.

Caledonian
2007-03-30, 11:18 PM
What I deny is that anyone except me can cause myself to do evil.

Because an evil man cannot cause me to do evil, a situation created by an evil man must have a non-evil solution.

Wrong. The second clause does not follow from the first.

Kreistor
2007-03-30, 11:32 PM
Well, that is a hubris-laden definition of a soul. A paladin's soul is worth more than someone else's? Yeah, that's Miko all over. "My soul is special, so I better take that into consideration before choosing my action." Sorry, can't agree. Pride goeth before a fall, and such like.

EvilElitest
2007-03-30, 11:35 PM
Ok several things I think some people need to realize

1) Right =/= Good
2) Wrong =/= Evil

Horray for black and white view points! Ok question for you. You are Mr. Bin Ladin. You want to make America quiver in fear so you will appear as a hero. So you destroy the twin towers. Hey it works! So that was the "right" answer to your problem. Is that a moral one.


Or, for perhaps a truly suitable quote: The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
Intentions are not important, it is actions that are counted. Intentions only make the aligment of somebody who is not doing anything moral. So a hermit who sits around all day and makes plans about killing people is NE, but when he gets a chance to use one of those plans but does not he is now N.


The right thing to do in the situation is to prevent the demon summoning. In this case your luck is really atrocious. You used up all your Protection ability on the way down, and the mage, cleric, druid, and any other member of the party capble of being involved with magic, including the rogue, is knocked out either as a result of fighting, enemy spells, or traps. The ritual is damn near closed to compleetion, and you can already feel the demon's aura as he prepares to enter the world and begin the apocalypse. The ritual marks have been carved in stone fifty feet above your head, you have zero magical solutions at your disposal. Your bow broke on the way down. and all you have left is the sword in your hands. The only creature still stirring is the infant on the altar that will soon be possessed.
And this demon will simple take over just like a snap? Where the hell are my gods?


In this case the right thing to do is kill the child.
No the easy thing to do is kill the child.

This is neither a good nor evil action.
yes it is, as killing an innocent is evil. The fact i am justifying it means that i can tell my self "it was for the greater good" does not change the action


Killing a child is never a good thing, but allowing the end of the world is defintely evil,
Hence find another way. And even "IF" i kill the kid, i commited evil and should fall and then repent.


unless you are the god of ending worlds and that is your sole purpose in existance. The two might not be equal in value for your karma, but they are a fair trade off in this situation.
1. Fair trade off? I don't think the mother of the kid would agree.
2. Well i commited evil and that has helped evil grow greater so yeah, smooth. A "ends justfies the means" is a neutral or evil ideal, not a good one



The good thing to do in this case also happens to be the wrong thing to do.
Wrong by whose standards? In D&D some morals are 100% but right and wrong are not. LG is not RIGHT nor is CE WRONGE. They are different.


Congratulations. You spared the child. It's soul is now being bounced around hell by an imp that mistook it for a yo-yo. The demon has been summoned, and is currently waiting for you to stop running so that it can have you as a shishkabob. Once it's finished that it will proceed to use the rest of the village as an appetizer, and the nearest city as the main course. Eventually there might arise a hero who can defeat it, but not until it has turned the entire northern half of the world into a remarkable accurate model of the 99th layer of the abyss.
I trust that my gods and my order will stop this. I'll just grab the kid and run off. I'll fight the demon.


The Evil thing to do is let the demon manifest, and as soon as it does suner your holy mark, declare your self its voice, and go forth and demand the wolrd bow down to your new master.
Once the demon appears, then the kid is dead. I stab it.


Yes there are such things as binary choices. By definition a decision is a binary choice, as either you make one or you don't.
Care to back this up without railroading?


Trying to say anything else is just playing word games. There are also binary consequences, though those tend to be more of summaries of events.
Wait, these binary situations are as somebody else put it "cons" and you accuse us of world tricks? Right, that makes sense.


The DM is not a railroading heathen for putting the paladin in that situation unless both consequences cause the paladin to fall
Why not? Heathen i would say he is not, as their is no reilgion he is voilating i know of, but railroading yes, as when you only have two options it is just that
I will eat eggs and kill you
I will eat ham and kill you
What do you want me to eat of those two choices?
Sure binary choice, but that does not make sense.


(if the DM was planning a third option, he needs to Dues Ex quickly to provide it.)
No, because as Stephen E showed, there is always a third choice without Dues Ex.


As a player, I woud expect my paladin to be faced with such choices, as that is what paladins are about
No a paladin is about following a code, not breaking it when they can't follow though with their job.

A
good example of a Paladin is probably Bahzell from David Weber's Sword God books, in which he actively consults with his god, who gives him the information that he needs. He makes decisions like this several times in the books, and does not lose his powers because the god in question understands that some times there are ugly choices.
Ok, so your backing is a book that i haven't read and you don't go into detail about. A book that might not have anything to do with this topic.?


Intent has everything to do with morality. Otherwise what is the difference between a Paladin and a Blackguard?
So Miko and Kore would be good?


By removing intent, there is nothing. Both champions a cause they believe in, both recieve powers and abilites based on their choice, and both have strict codes. But a Blackguard lives for the suffering and pain of others, while the Paladin suffers pain so that others might live.
And the paladin's actions are good while the Blackguard's are evil. That is the difference.


Another example, using the soldiers above, is that one might rape, loot and pillage, while the other fights to defend his homeland. One commits acts of evil as defined by society, while the other has good intentions. Both fight and kill, but only one has a clean concience at the end of it.
Wait, the good one does not rape loot and pillage, he just fights to protect his homeland? Those are good actions, while the first guy is commiting evil actions.


Explain how I am not justified in doing what I think is the best way. Just because a deity doesn't agree does not mean I am not justified. Appeal to Authority and Slanting (in this instance, presenting the deity's opinion or your own as a statement of factual lack of justification) are both logical fallacies in arguments based purely upon morality.
Not justified in the name of good. You want to be neutral go ahead. But good has standards.


And how is saving the baby's immortal soul, at the cost of its mortal life, an evil act, exactly?
Killing a baby is and evil act.


All right. How are we defining innocents, then.
Somebody who has done nothing to harm me personally nor anything directly evil of their own free will.


You are fully aware of what the baby will do in ten seconds. This is akin to a man, who has never broken any moral or legal code prior to now, is standing over another man, this man also innocent, with a sword. In ten seconds, he will stab the other man to death. If you step in and kill the first man to protect the second man, who you know to be innocent, from the man who you know to be assaulting him out of baseless, random malice (say, because his eyes were green), then wouldn't you fall for killing the attacker, since he hasn't done anything evil, yet?
What the hell is this? Explain in detail, what man is hurting what man with what man? If it is a mugging, then i stand in front of the soon to be victom and tell the mugger to go away. If he attacks then i fight back. What you propose would mean that walking down the street and killing everyone who detected as evil is just.


In addition, the morality of a Paladin isn't about falling and not falling. It's about doing what is right.
No, doing right is impossible as right can't be determined. A paladin's duty is to do GOOD.


Sometimes, you'll fall. If your code dictates that you may not knowingly break any law, but the law of a land dictated killing all infants at birth, you would fall for refusing to murder all the infants.
Then you are following the law of nation not hte law of the pladin's code. The paladin's code does not say to kill babies at birth.

That doesn't mean it is the morally wrong choice. It means you lost your powers on a technicality based upon rigid rule interpretation with no concern for intent
You would not fall because the paladin code says nothing about obeying every law that is stated. It says not to commite evil.


There are 400 million others, not to mention the immortal soul of the child, if he doesn't decide to kill it.
So i should find a good options shouldn't I?


Ignore the player/DM dynamic for a moment. The situation is designed as an ethical debate. Pretend that an idea can exist without relating to D&D, yet containing the concept of a Paladin (since paladins weren't invented by or for D&D, this shouldn't be too hard), and then consider the idea.
We can't do that, at this debate is stricly withine D&D terms. Out of D&D paladins nor algiments exist


Of. The. Choices. Given. Which. Is. Ideal?
nether.


The demon is too powerful to stop once he comes in through the child's body. He doesn't use a gate, it's a supernatural possession that uses only the child as a gate. You kill the child or let the demon take-over the world. If every creature alive charged him at once, he would win. That's how powerful he is.
There are literally only two options; kill the kid or don't. Sure, you can not kill the kid and do something else, but that goes under option b, "don't." If you choose "don't," there are a set of things that will happen, no-matter what you do. So any choices made after this binary choice are wholly irrelevant.
there are no such thing as binary choices. So no, i am not going along with that situation. And if every living creature charged him at once and he wins, they that means he can kill gods. All of the gods. And that means that the idea that i am the only guy here is absurd.


There isn't a logical way around the problem because it's not a logical problem. It's an ethical dilemma. There is a difference
Break it down
1. Killing an innocent is evil
2. I have sworn and oath not to break my paladin code
3. The demon can not be allowed to enter this world
And the other option will require more details.


That is the issue up for debate, yes. The whole idea is that question. Is your life worth more to you, or his.
As a paladin i would not be so arrogent to think my life better than anyone elses.


I assume you meant "duck." If that's the case, Lewis Carrol and Aristotle are turning over in their graves at your "logical" way around the problem. Ducking under a bullet? Are you aware how fast bullets travel versus how fast you move. In addition to the fact that he can shoot more than once?
Are you aware that the situation only left me with the option of standing still or shooting my friend. A fall to the ground if those are my only two options and hope my friend will do something. Or if this situation made more sense i would simple use one of the other options presented. I'd rather be wounded than kill my friend


The thing about this hostage situation is that unless you shoot him, through your friend, he blows your brains out.
Not if i am allowed to just use some of the more creative options. Stop taking my words out of context.


I don't think you understand; he's not planning to kill the child. He is planning to kill you. If you shoot him, to save your own life, you will also kill the child. If you back away, he will shoot you and let the child live. Now you are dead, the child is alive. If you shoot him, you kill him and the child. You are alive, the child is dead. Which way is more moral?
Nether. Sense this is apperently a real life war, then i don't think ether of our lives are worth anything, mine or the "Villians" the only life that matters is the kid's. What would I do? If i could, i'd throw my rifle at him. Might make him miss and/or drop the kid while i pull out a pistol and/or get the hell out of their


Big words coming from someone whose solution to a problem is to dodge a bullet
Thoughtless words coming out of a guy who says that morals are ment to be throw aside. I said nothing about dodge a bullet. I said i duck. As in, hope that he misses. Not dodge. Maybe he will hit my shoulder and allow my friend to do somthing. Acording to you it is worth it if i kill my own friend.


This is a war, not dungeons and dragons. There are no alignments. You're a person. Your psyche cannot be expressed in two words
Hypocrite, if we take this out into the real world, their are no such thing as morals, just codes.


Okay, since you've been so fond of logic, let's use some.
IF: The paladin's goal is to save innocent lives.
IF: Allowing one innocent life to continue, millions will be ended.
Well horray for hypocrisy
A paladin is ment to save innocent lives, ALL innocent lives not just the ones that suit him.


THEN: The Paladin should end that one life.
Purely, numerically speaking, killing the infant is the wiser choice. If viewed from a more subjective light:
IF: An infant is allowed to live, its immortal soul will be destroyed, condemning it for eternity. In addition, it will effectively die at the end of ten seconds when a demon takes its body.
Neutral ideal not a good one


IF: The paladin's goal is to protect the child.
THEN: The paladin should kill the child. Either way, it will die in the next ten seconds. If the paladin kills it, its soul will be saved.
So the paladin is being rewarded for taking action to fulfil his code in ugly circumstances that aren't ideal. He's doing what good he can.
Protecting by destroying? Yeah.........
Anyways, ok if he is doing "What good he can" well he failed to furfill both hid duties, the child is dead and he killed an innocent. He has to atone.


Again, falling =/= bad morality.
Wait so Hitler is only evil because he failed?


That goes under "Don't open the shoot."
Again, this is binary. You can open the shoot, or not. Regardless of what else you do, you did one of these two things.
Do you live in denial? this has already be countered. No their are not only two options because Binary situations don't exist.


How do any of these things relate at all. You are in midair, it is a dragon, you may or may not have friends. It doesn't matter. You either drink the potion or not. You can't do anything that isn't one of those. If you grab something and don't drink the potion, you didn't drink the potion.
So? I didn't drink the potion, i also did somthing else. I didn't just not drink the potion and let my self die, i did somthing else. If the dragon is friendly, i let it catch me. If my friends have magic, i let them get me. Many options exist as stephen E mentioned.


No, in his view, looking for inane technicalities in what is meant to be an ethical dilemma, not a D&D session, is a petulant, irritating practice of those who refuse to make a decision.
Wait, so you bring in real life morals, that don't match D&D ones at all and you call us silly? As for petulant, irrtating ect. that is the kind of logic used by milterists? Are you going to take over Japan? Attack China? Oh, how about start a "Strong" nazi goverment if you think morals are for the weak?


They're not designed to be real, plausible situations. They're designed to be a moral test.
A moral test does not have only two choices, as morals are not black and white


The idea isn't a realistic D&D session, the idea is a situation wherein you have to consider your own morals and how they come into play. Do you value the good of the many over the good of the few, are you willing to get blood on your own hands if it means the good for the many and the few, are you willing to sacrifice yourself for the many, or do your opinions chance when you become "the few?" It's not about "How did I get into this situation," it's about what you believe is right and wrong.
And i belive both are wrong. And i belive that paladins would not choose nether. And i think that black and white morals are foolish.


It's not a matter of players and DMs. It's a matter of what you believe is right and wrong. This is essentially an ethics question, taken out of any ethics class, that you are supposed to answer as though you were roleplaying a paladin
Hey, did you notice the title?
Paladins and morality Paladins, as in the D&D class.


Assume, as is logical, that there are only the options and the provisions provided in the primary situation. You do not need a long list of what is not there and what you do not have to understand the situation. You need to know what is there, what you do have, and what you can do. Everything else, you don't have, isn't there, and you can't do. Okay? Okay. Your logical understanding is complete. Now choose
Everything logical is not complete as you have taken away everything relevant to the situation and presented me with only two options, hence not logical. I am not going to choose ether because i would prefer to stick to my moral code. That is my paladin view. Ask me? Nether, for different reasons.


Actually, it makes very little sense, given your precious logic. If there are only two options, and neither of them is seens as good, you've been put in that situation. Ta-da, he's wrong
Wrong according to you, and i don't see any large signs in the sky saying you are teh judge of rigth and wrong


If I chose "die," I'd actually be making a pretty big statement with roleplaying.
No because their is nothing their to roplay with.


However, what this situation lacks that the presented one does not, is the reasons. It gives no ethical background to debate from. Most binary situations are to force you to make a moral choice and side with one form of reasoning.
I judge morals by actions, not intent.


To take the example of Crime and Punishment again, there is an old, evil woman who no one loves and no one will mourn. Her wealth, divided up, could help many poor people survive or live better lives. She contributes nothing positive to the world, only takes from those around her.
Kill her or do not kill her?
There is no right choice, there is no wrong choice, there is no better choice and no worse choice. There are two options. One will benefit many people, at the cost of a single life, and it will require you to murder someone without any direct provocation. One will cause the suffering of many people to continue for the benefit of one, but you will never have to murder a helpless, yet cruel, old woman.
Which will it be?
Who am I, Stalin? I have no right to murder an old lady just for being rich. She wants to be rich let her. She has a right just like eveybody else


I hate it when people nitpick grammar in arguments, so I don't want this to come across wrong, but I honestly, based purely upon the wording, do not understand what you're trying to say with this.
And i hate it when people have an obsessive need to have things go their way. I am "nitpicking" the fact that without details their is nothing to agrue.


Okay. You bitch and moan about our unrealistic situations and then pull a rules-lawyer move on us saying that, based on a math oversight by WotC, you can charm a guy before he shoots you.
And you whine and complain about my "Evading" the situaion while you try to weasel out of following a moral code. Unrealistic situation. But the rules still apply. We are arguing the RULES. that is why we are on the freaking gaming board. You want to agrue real life ethics, go to a different board. In D&D i can use my max ranks in bluff. In D&D i lose my paladins abilties if i commit evil. And so chossing the lesser of two evils is still evil.


Let's leave D&D. This is a situation in Shadowrun, now. A sprawl-ganger's holding the child/your best friend as a human shield, pointing a big Warhock pistol at your head at close enough range to take it clean off. There is no bluff. You've got wired reflexes fast enough to raise your gun before he raises his, but he's got a smartgun system. You can't move faster than a computer thinks. You either shoot him through your lifelong chummer or some innocent kid or your head flies off and leaves a red splatter on the graffitti covered wall behind you. Which life is it going to be, yours or the innocent kid's
Paladin's don't exist in shadow run. you want to agure shadow run, stop whinning and trying to weasel out of this game system and make a new thread.


Nobody's wiggling out of a moral code. They're discussing which option better follows the code. If your moral code is to protect innocents, is it worse to kill one yourself or let them all be killed when you could have saved them
Nether options follows the moral code. Trying to justfy ether will just result in losing your powers. Suck it up.


Look, you are taking the idea of this as a D&D session way too seriously. Assume Rich's alternate diplomacy rules are in play
Funny last time i check we were on the gaming page.


Yes, but it isn't a person's choice. One doesn't cause Deus ex machina. If someone's about to shoot me and their gun jams, I didn't make it jam. It just happened. It's not a part of your choice. You can't "choose" to have a dragon swoop out of the sky or a gun jam. I'm sure you'll have some explanation of how you can have a dragon as your special paladin mount in the rules or something, but the point is that you cannot make some things happen. You can make a choice and hope they happen, but that's about it.
But i can choose to wait for the dragon to pick me up rather than waste a potion. If he does not, then i drink the potion. If i wait simple because i want to see waht happens when i hit the ground, then i am choosing a different options.


Yep. Sure can't. Which is exactly what you're attempting to do with all these alternate situations. You're trying, as a player, to win by going "rocks fall and everybody dies."
Dude, players don't go "Rock falls, everybody dies" Players try to live in the DM's world as best as they can'


think he was expressing his frustration at your inability to grasp the spirit of the situation beyond "Me no like hard choice. There is DM. He make me make hard choice. He bad," no-matter how often it is explained to you, rather than a serious urge to harm you.
You not a very out of the box thinker apperntly. If i have two choices, then i don't have choice at all. If i am FORCED to make use only two options without any other option presented, then i don't have a choice at all. You want to beat my for disagreeing with you? Fine. I'll do as Gandei did. Of the two of use, who is more moral? Your little control freak fantasy is all nice, but can't be used in a game and hence is not relevent to this thread's topic.


Says the guy who wants to duck under a bullet and talk a guy out of shooting him in less than a second.
Depends on how good of shot he is. I never said it was a good option, i said that i would prefer it than shooting a child.


According to you, killing an innocent universally makes one fall. If this isn't true, then killing an innocent to save more may not make one fall, either. If your code is absolute, it is absolute. If it has flexibility, it has flexibility.
LG paladin code, Absolute. CG Varient paladin Code, flexibility. We are talking about the LG paladin.


He's speaking here of criminal insanity. What if you are too stupid/psychotic to comprehend the difference between right and wrong?
Are you asking my from D&D terms or real life terms?
In D&D, any creature with less then 3 int is not good nor evil. Insanity counts as evil if the person is smart.
In real life i would not hold some mentally challenged people guilty but they would need to be tested first. Stupid people will still be charged as normal.


For the soldiers yes, only one of them rapes, loots and pillages. The other merely fights. On the clear concience I would think it would be easier to accept your actions knowing they were the right thing to do then if you chose to commit atrocities. Whether you have nightmares about what you did is probably more a factor of personal character
So the guy repents and trys to become good.
And dude, your quotes are missing


EveilElitist, I suggest you read the Sword of Truth series before suggesting Richard did one thing or another. You clearly do not understand his situation.
1. Spell my name right. Evil is E-I-V-L. Elitist is mispelled on purpose
2. I understand what you presented to me
3. "You clearly do not understand his situation". Well that is a nice arrogent way of getting out of things. I am making a guess from what i know and from what you presented to me. If you want me to make a different option then give me more detail.


Read the book before suggesting that.
I do know. The author may not have showned it but it would be their


You use the term railroading like it can't happen in the real world. The term was created because people were being railroaded. Pretty simple concept, really. You can be railroaded. Remember that
No because their are never only three options. You can be tricked, blackmailed, forced or forced but never railroaded.


You imply there was a choice. There wasn't. We simply didn't realize there was a two and a two to add together.

This is where the "child in the practice dummy" dilemma comes in. There is no way to know that on that one day there is a child inside the dummy. You Fall the paladin when he couldn't see that there was a dilemma at all? You can't invent a third option when you don't even know there is a dilemma.
I never said i would fall the paladin. I said that it was not his fault, because lets look at what would happen if the dummy was not a person. He stabbed a dummy. No evil action their. So no he would not fall. I think he should pay for a rez


I do not believe in anything being inherently evil -- not killing children, not War, not anything. Period. That has to do with a certain religious background, and we're not going there, so you can't ever convince me otherwise. Don't bother
Good for you, but i don't think you are a paladin, as i am doubtful of the idea you can heal yourself at will.



from,
EE

Sardia
2007-03-30, 11:44 PM
Because an evil man cannot cause me to do evil, a situation created by an evil man must have a non-evil solution.

Two separate things are at work here-- you performing an evil act, and you solving the problem. You might be able to refrain from doing evil, but let the problem go unsolved.

Stephen_E
2007-03-30, 11:48 PM
What makes you think slaying the child is an evil act?

Evil involves the willingness to inflict harm upon others to achieve goals. The child is due to be utterly annihilated, which is much worse than merely dying. Dying and going to one's deserved afterlife is far better than being unmade.

Paladins are permitted to fail. They are simply not permitted to fall. Sparing someone from a fate unimaginably worse than death by killing them does not constitute a fall.

Raw: "Good characters and creatures protect innocent life. Evil characters and creatures debase or destroy innocent life, whether for fun or profit"

The baby is innocent. The Demon wishes to debase it for profit (posess it's body, eat its soul). The Paladin is expected to destroy it's life for profit (Kill it to stop the demon coming through and killing people an conquering the land the Paladin is supposed to protect). Both acts are evil, although the Paladins is clearly lesser evil.

You make an assumption that killing the baby will saves it's soul. I can't recollect if the initial scenario states this is so, but it seems extremely optomistic that anyone dying in such a situation is going to have their soul travelling anywhere nice without a hell of an honour guard. Especially someone murdered, which is what the Paladin is supposed to do (a willing sacrifice, i.e. the traditional Martyr might make it).

In general, damned near every lieterature fantasy and every RL (I use the term somewhat guardedly here) depiction of this sort of scenario I've seen, would see the Paladins murder of the child counting as a sacrifice to evil, regardless of the intent, and likely to cause the situation to unfold as planned or even worse.

Stephen

Kreistor
2007-03-30, 11:52 PM
Wrong. The second clause does not follow from the first.

Maybe not. But do we want to get into a religious debate. The second sentence stands on its own. An evil man cannot eliminate all good options in a given situation, even if the only available options are all horrific.

Kreistor
2007-03-31, 12:03 AM
[scrubbed]

[scrubbed]

Sardia
2007-03-31, 12:04 AM
Maybe not. But do we want to get into a religious debate. The second sentence stands on its own. An evil man cannot eliminate all good options in a given situation, even if the only available options are all horrific.

Let's see...just for fun on this one...put a load of children aboard a small airplane. Strap a bomb to one, attached beyond the ability of anyone onboard to remove without killing the kid-- metal harness, say, where you'd have to dismember him to get it off. The bomb is sufficiently powerful that it will entirely destroy the airplane if it detonates on it, no there are no bomb experts, etc. The kid with the bomb is profoundly resistant to the notion of jumping out on his own.
Where's the good solution?

Edit: You're at 5,000 feet, and the bomb goes off in 20 seconds.

Kreistor
2007-03-31, 12:15 AM
Raw: "Good characters and creatures protect innocent life. Evil characters and creatures debase or destroy innocent life, whether for fun or profit"

The baby is innocent. The Demon wishes to debase it for profit (posess it's body, eat its soul). The Paladin is expected to destroy it's life for profit (Kill it to stop the demon coming through and killing people an conquering the land the Paladin is supposed to protect). Both acts are evil, although the Paladins is clearly lesser evil.

However, there are innocent children that will be harmed by the release of the demon as well.

You're merely favouring the innocent life you can see over the thousands that don't happen to be in your line of sight. By letting the demon out, innocents do come to harm, and "Good characters protect innocent life." You failed in that duty by choosing to let the demon free.

Clementx
2007-03-31, 12:17 AM
Wow, I go out for a bite and this thread has been sucked into a quote-hole of Hawking-proportions.

Another set of observations...

Those of you saying, "I do something else" are unaware of the meaning of, "dilemma". You have to choose one (woo for the new Robin Hood and a infuriatingly evil Sheriff for that paraphrase). The constraints of the situation limit you to two choices, and no matter how many loopholes you try to create, you are just avoiding the philosophical question, not refuting it.

Second, no one is saying that killing the baby is a super-happy good action. It is certainly less evil than allowing the demon apocalypse, but that in itself does not make it good, because that is a straw man, and we won't stand for it.

What makes it acceptable to a paladin is the cost of inaction. That cost counteracts the murder, to the point that a sensible DM would not call it evil and force a paladin to fall. Paladins are allowed to perform neutral acts, you know. And before anyone talks about the inherent evil of murder (which has to be independent of innocence or guilt to be inherent, or else you are allowing circumstance a hold, and therefore our argument stands), you have to deal with the fact that paladins have to kill sentient beings while adventuring. So DnD morality must allow it, or paladins have to be real-life saints, and I don't remember Mother Teresa going on a crusade...

Stephen_E
2007-03-31, 12:21 AM
Actually, that was my point. All decisions are binary, as you either choose to make the decision, or you choose to sit there and do nothing. Whether the decision itself offers you two or more choices is what defines whether or not what you are deciding on is binary as well..

I repeat. Your claim of a binary situation is wordplay.
Simple situation -
You are walking through a maze and come to a 4 way intersection. Just taking it on the simplest level you have 5 choices -
1) Go forward.
2) Go left.
3) Go Right.
4) Go back
5) Stay where you are
You are saying there are two choices move/stay. This is what I call a con/wordplay. Moving is a set which includes 4 choices (on this VERY simple level) it is not a choice on it's own. The choice to move left is equvalent to the choice to stay still. There is no "don't choose, since to not choose is actually choosing to stand still. You're trying to do conjuring tricks and calling them real.

a minor spoiler below, and I can't figure out where the hide option is, so fair warning.




In the first book, after he accepts Tomanak's oath and feating the demon and the evil prince the first thing he does is attempt to steal a boat. Stealing is quite against anything expected of a paladin, yet Tomanak takes no issue with it because he does it to save Brandark. Prior to that, he kills the Purple Lord when it is acknowledged he could simply have disarmed the man instead. When Brandark points it out Bazhell answers that it fits his view of justice, and the Tomanak has to accept that if he wants Bahzell as a champion. Bahzell quite obviously follows his own code, it just doesn't follow the absolutes that people seem to think are necessary. As for killing an innocent, I admit not having finished Sword God's own, yet at the beginning of the book it is fully expected that he is going to kill the kid who eventually becomes his squire, all because the kid spoke some words. Despite the fact the kid was a knight probationer in the Order itself, and had commited no actual crimes. He could be fully described as an innocent, and very well would have been killed if Bahzell hadn't been deliberately trying to control his rage. Even then, he still broke both of the kid's arms, which could be defined as an act of cruelty, even if the kid did learn something from it. My point was that Bahzell is an example of what a Paladin should be, a person who cares not for personal consequence, but only for the consequences his actions hold for others.

Your points are so minor as spoilers I wouldn't actually describe them that way. I pulled out Oath of Swords, but the 2nd book is Hardback which I haven't aphabetised so I can't find it quickly.
1) Bazhell doesn't try and steal a boat. He slips onto the boat to negoiate passage. Reread the book.
2) The Purple Lord Bazhell kills, he kills because the man drew on him and attacked him. He even warned him not to draw on him and was going to let him live after he'd sicced his guard on Bazhell.
3) I didn't expect Bazhell to kill the lad, and as for breaking the lad's arms. It's a mediaval military order. It was a duel and Bazhell was disciplining him. Harshly, yes, but given that he had the right to kill him, I though he was been merciful, as did the head of the order.

In short you've misremembered the stuff from Oath of Sword, and I think badly misinterpreted the incidents from "Sword God's Own).

Stephen

Kreistor
2007-03-31, 12:24 AM
Let's see...just for fun on this one...put a load of children aboard a small airplane. Strap a bomb to one, attached beyond the ability of anyone onboard to remove without killing the kid-- metal harness, say, where you'd have to dismember him to get it off. The bomb is sufficiently powerful that it will entirely destroy the airplane if it detonates on it, no there are no bomb experts, etc. The kid with the bomb is profoundly resistant to the notion of jumping out on his own.
Where's the good solution?

The child with the bomb on him dies in both cases, and so nothing I can do can save him: i will feel no regret for him dying: i am not responsible for the bomb. Since I can save the other children, I must save them. If I have to die to save the many, I will, and I will feel no regret because one child cannot be saved. I did not make the bomb.

Tragic? Absolutely. Did I do evil? No, because... well, that gets into religion.

Kreistor
2007-03-31, 12:28 AM
You make an assumption that killing the baby will saves it's soul. I can't recollect if the initial scenario states this is so, but it seems extremely optomistic that anyone dying in such a situation is going to have their soul travelling anywhere nice without a hell of an honour guard. Especially someone murdered, which is what the Paladin is supposed to do (a willing sacrifice, i.e. the traditional Martyr might make it).

Post 1 in this thread has that dilemma. (It's actually the second dilemma discussed from the initial thread.) The ritual consumes the soul of the child if you don't kill the child -- we're talking oblivion.

Stephen_E
2007-03-31, 12:33 AM
Let's see...just for fun on this one...put a load of children aboard a small airplane. Strap a bomb to one, attached beyond the ability of anyone onboard to remove without killing the kid-- metal harness, say, where you'd have to dismember him to get it off. The bomb is sufficiently powerful that it will entirely destroy the airplane if it detonates on it, no there are no bomb experts, etc. The kid with the bomb is profoundly resistant to the notion of jumping out on his own.
Where's the good solution?

Edit: You're at 5,000 feet, and the bomb goes off in 20 seconds.

Jump out with the kid and try and disarm or remove bomb as we fall. If we survive the blast I try and guide us to a softer landing place and cushion the kid with my body.

Note: You said the kid wouldn't jump on his own, not that he wouldn't jump with another.

2nd Note: Not been a Paladin I wouldn't choose such an option unless I had a strong personal stake in the situation.

Stephen

Kreistor
2007-03-31, 12:35 AM
I repeat. Your claim of a binary situation is wordplay.
Simple situation -
You are walking through a maze and come to a 4 way intersection. Just taking it on the simplest level you have 5 choices -
1) Go forward.
2) Go left.
3) Go Right.
4) Go back
5) Stay where you are
You are saying there are two choices move/stay. This is what I call a con/wordplay. Moving is a set which includes 4 choices (on this VERY simple level) it is not a choice on it's own. The choice to move left is equvalent to the choice to stay still. There is no "don't choose, since to not choose is actually choosing to stand still. You're trying to do conjuring tricks and calling them real.

You could also dance, sing, scream, run in circles, and so on. That makes the options infinite. When you compare these choices to the dilemma, though, they all amount to "not killing the child" because they do not relate to the problem at hand. They are ignoring the problem, and therefore not options in the dilemma.

In your list of 5 options, I can create two more that are relevant.
6) Smash through a wall.
7) Climb a wall.

That's the equivalent of finding the third option in a dilemma. That third option must be different and have a different result from the basic two options.

Kreistor
2007-03-31, 12:40 AM
I never said i would fall the paladin. I said that it was not his fault, because lets look at what would happen if the dummy was not a person. He stabbed a dummy. No evil action their. So no he would not fall. I think he should pay for a rez

Okay, then you don't think my group had done evil when they discovered the dead people in the stone blocks? Good. We're golden then.


Good for you, but i don't think you are a paladin, as i am doubtful of the idea you can heal yourself at will.

Wow, you are the master of "not getting the point", aren't you? I have a soul and I don't want to do evil, but I want to do good. That, inthe end, is what the Paladin's Dilemma is all about.

Reptilus
2007-03-31, 01:07 AM
Care to back this up without railroading?
He didn't railroad you at all. In every decision, there is a binary choice; you make make a decision, or you may not make one. The latter, of course, is making a decision in its own way. Similarly, in any situation, there are only two things you can do.
Do something, or not do something.
You can do those two thing in an infinite number of ways. You can kill the child with painless poison, or you can torture it to death. You can not kill the child and fight the demon or not kill the child and bow to serve the demon.



Not justified in the name of good. You want to be neutral go ahead. But good has standards.
Did you see the part where I stated that acting as though your opinions were facts was a logic fallacy and just choose to ignore it, or simply not bother to read that far. Your standards of what is "good" may not be the same as mine. Your definition of "good" is not absolute and correct. You do not believe I am justified.


?
Killing a baby is and evil act.
But sitting idly by and watching it meet a much, much worse fate you could've saved it from by killing it isn't?



Somebody who has done nothing to harm me personally nor anything directly evil of their own free will.
Then a murderer who has yet to strike the killing blow is an innocent, and you may not kill them to stop them even if you are aware of what they are about to do, seconds from now, to protect the innocent person they're about to kill.



What the hell is this? Explain in detail, what man is hurting what man with what man?
Okay, there are two men, Adam and Brian. Both of them are totally innocent. They have never done anything wrong in their lives. Then, Adam decides he's going to kill Brian because Brian has green eyes. Your paladin, who knows both Adam and Brian and knows Brian has done nothing to harm Adam, sees Adam lift a knife and begin to stab it down towards Brian. He hasn't yet struck Brian, and thus hasn't commited an evil act. Therefore, if you step in and kill Adam, who is about to murder Brian, to save Brian's life, you have killed an innocent under your definition.
Somehow, I don't believe one loses paladin status for killing a murderer in time to protect his victim.


If it is a mugging, then i stand in front of the soon to be victom and tell the mugger to go away.
Adam is right behind Brian, baout to stab him, and you are behind both of them. He will stab and kill Brian before you end up between them. Even if you could get in-between, that's not reall the point. I'm not asking what you would do, I'm saying, if you did kill the mugger, before he actually struck, would it be an evil act?


What you propose would mean that walking down the street and killing everyone who detected as evil is just.
I'm not proposing anything, I'm asking. Because by your definition of innocent, you'd lost paladin status for trying to stop a murder.



No, doing right is impossible as right can't be determined. A paladin's duty is to do GOOD.
Good isn't exactly an objective term, either. If you'd prefer to use that, we can. It's not about falling/not falling.



Then you are following the law of nation not hte law of the pladin's code. The paladin's code does not say to kill babies at birth.
If the Paladin's code under which a Paladin is operating dictates he must follow the law of the nation, then he would fall if he chose not to kill the innocents. Maybe the Paladin's code you use does not dictate that a Paladin must follow the laws of the nation, but that doesn't mean no Paladin's code does.


You would not fall because the paladin code says nothing about obeying every law that is stated. It says not to commite evil.
I explained, quite clearly, in my post that the code under which this specific paladin is bound does dictate that he must follow all laws of the community.



So i should find a good options shouldn't I?
If you don't kill the baby, 400 million people die after slavery and torture. If you kill the baby, one person dies. Those are the choices. You can choose to kill the baby or not kill it in any way you want, but that is what will happen. The demon is too powerful to fight once he comes into being.



We can't do that, at this debate is stricly withine D&D terms. Out of D&D paladins nor algiments exist
The debate isn't strictly within D&D terms, though. That has been clearly stated in numerous posts. This is about morality as it relates to a Paladin's code. Ignoring rulebooks and arguments of railroading, which choice is more moral. It is not that hard a concept to grasp. There are two choices. Which is the more moral road to take. Nevermind if you were railroaded here or not, nevermind whatever way you can wiggle out of it with the rules, which way is better?



nether.
Very well. You have chosen not to choose. You sit there, doing nothing, while the infant's soul is torn apart, then the demon destroys everything you hold dear, painfully and brutally, right before your eyes.
"Neither" wasn't really a good choice, was it?



there are no such thing as binary choices.
You kill the child, or you do not kill the child. There is no third choice. Name one. It will either involve killing the child or not killing it. There is no way around that.

So no, i am not going along with that situation. And if every living creature charged him at once and he wins, they that means he can kill gods.
Bingo.

All of the gods.
You're getting it.

And that means that the idea that i am the only guy here is absurd.
You are the most dutiful Paladin of your God. Your God was able to see the plan, though he personally could not stop it. He saw that the demon would come in the form of an infant, and if the infant were to be slain before he came, all could be averted. You were the only one who was told, for the sake of secrecy. That seems like a pretty reasonable expectation to me.



Break it down
1. Killing an innocent is evil
2. I have sworn and oath not to break my paladin code
3. The demon can not be allowed to enter this world
And the other option will require more details.
You have the whole situation in those three steps. If it more important to you that you don't break your oath, and face all of the damnation wrought upon you for breaking that oath, or is the fate of the world more important.
It's up to you. Will you choose to fall from grace and save the world, or watch the world die around you, but keep fast to your Paladin's oath.



As a paladin i would not be so arrogent to think my life better than anyone elses.
Then there you have your answer. In the situation, you would take the bullet, if there was no other way out. That's the goal here; if there was no other way, just for the sake of saying there wasn't, which would you do? Save our own life or someone else's?
The binary choices aren't meant to be realistic or examples of a D&D game as much as they are meant to be a scenario to give names and faces to the question I asked above; "Someone else's life or your own" becomes a much harder question when someone else has a name and a face and your own life has the much more definitive end of a gunshot wound to the head.



Are you aware that the situation only left me with the option of standing still or shooting my friend.
You can move. It just won't really do any good unless you can dodge a bullet. Which, in this scenario, you can't. You're just a mortal human.

A fall to the ground if those are my only two options and hope my friend will do something.
See, you've made the decision. You'd rather risk death than kill your friend. That's what the idea is.

Or if this situation made more sense i would simple use one of the other options presented.
To be fair, the situation really isn't all that unrealistic. The paladin one is kinda ridiculous, but this one has probably happened numerous times in the past with kids in warzones.

I'd rather be wounded than kill my friend
That realization is what these ethical debates are all about. I agree, by the way.



Not if i am allowed to just use some of the more creative options. Stop taking my words out of context.
I'm just trying to explain that, in this particular situation, the creative options won't work. That's not to say they aren't creative and wouldn't work in a real D&D game; they are and they would. The idea here is just to decide which option is more moral, not look for a way out.



Nether. Sense this is apperently a real life war, then i don't think ether of our lives are worth anything, mine or the "Villians" the only life that matters is the kid's. What would I do? If i could, i'd throw my rifle at him.
You can, but you run the risk of getting shot. However, again, in choosing the kid's life instead of your own, you made the choice and the decision. Like I said, there are two choices (you or the kid), and you can choose each in an infinite number of ways. Some are smarter than the other. Like, you could shoot through the kid's leg and hope to injur the bad-guy or, like you said, throw your rifle to distract him so the kid doesn't even get hurt. The important thing is whether you shoot and risk killing the kid or don't shoot and risk getting killed.


Thoughtless words coming out of a guy who says that morals are ment to be throw aside.
Hey, I never said that. I think moral codes are something to be thrown aside. I don't need someone else to write me a numbered list of good and evil. I'll figure it out for myself.


I said nothing about dodge a bullet. I said i duck. As in, hope that he misses. Not dodge.
My apologies, I misunderstood. I thought you meant "duck under the bullet" after it was fired, not "duck and hope it misses." So that makes a lot more sense.

Maybe he will hit my shoulder and allow my friend to do somthing. Acording to you it is worth it if i kill my own friend.
No, like I said above, I'd die first, too. I was just asking which way was more moral to you, trying to present both sides.



Hypocrite, if we take this out into the real world, their are no such thing as morals, just codes.
Nihilism, eh? Fair enough. Individuals still have morals in the real world, though, even if they are just codes, and the question is to see which one's you'd follow.


Well horray for hypocrisy
A paladin is ment to save innocent lives, ALL innocent lives not just the ones that suit him.
The idea of the question is should he kill one to save more. It's Utilitarianism versus individualism with a fantasy twist. And the immortal soul business. Really, I think that should be gotten rid of, as it makes the whole thing pretty sone sided; it'll be better for the kid and everyone else if you kill the kid, whereas it'll be worse for literally everyone if you don't.
In your opinion, that's hypocritical, which is pretty much true.



Neutral ideal not a good one
Interesting. The good of the many over the good of the few is often seen as a good ideal, but in your mind, it's a neutral ideal. Is the good of everyone a good ideal, then? That's sometimes impossible to acheive, though; try ending WWII without hurting any Nazis and without them hurting any more Jews/Gypies/Homosexuals/Freemasons. Is this sort of Don Quixote impossible dream what Paladins are, in your mind?
If so, that's pretty cool. I've never seen one played with that high a morality standard.



Protecting by destroying? Yeah.........
If you don't personally kill the child, its immortal soul will be destroyed. That is much worse than just dying.

Anyways, ok if he is doing "What good he can" well he failed to furfill both hid duties, the child is dead and he killed an innocent. He has to atone.
Fair enough.



Wait so Hitler is only evil because he failed?
No, I put the / in the equals sign to try and show the mathematical "Does not equal" symbol. I meant that Failure is not the same as bad morality. Sorry it was confusing.



Do you live in denial?
I denied the urge to make a really bad pun about Egypt right here, if that counts.

this has already be countered. No their are not only two options because Binary situations don't exist.
This has not been countered. There are situations with only two options. For instance, let's make this more basic.
There is an ant crawling on the floor. You can kill the ant, or you can not kill it. Within those two options, there are an infinite number of ways you can act; you can not kill the ant by slamming a newspaper down right next to it to terrify the poor little thing or you can not kill it by picking it up nicely in your hand and carrying it back to its ant hill. Whatever you do, you either killed the ant or didn't kill it.



So? I didn't drink the potion, i also did somthing else.
Nonetheless, there were two choices, Drink or Don't Drink, and you didn't drink. Therefore, you made a choice.

I didn't just not drink the potion and let my self die, i did somthing else.
Sure, but it was just a different way of doing one of the two options.

If the dragon is friendly, i let it catch me. If my friends have magic, i let them get me. Many options exist as stephen E mentioned.
Two options exist. You can do those options in any way you want. Or, if you prefer to think of it in sequence, you make one of the two choices, then have many others to choose from afterwards. You don't drink the potion, and then a friend catches you.



Wait, so you bring in real life morals, that don't match D&D ones at all and you call us silly? As for petulant, irrtating ect. that is the kind of logic used by milterists? Are you going to take over Japan? Attack China? Oh, how about start a "Strong" nazi goverment if you think morals are for the weak?
Huh? Do you know what petulant means? Most tyrants are petulant. What I'm saying here is that you keep bringing up ways out that don't answer the dillemma presented, but avoid it.
What I mean by saying this is not a D&D session is that you aren't meant to find a way out, you're meant to say which is more moral for a character, only, instead of answering for you, you answer for a D&D Paladin. So, yes, it is related to D&D, but no, it's not a session where railroading and whatnot are pertinent.



A moral test does not have only two choices, as morals are not black and white
Some do, some don't. Morals aren't black and white, but there is almost never a pair of polar-opposite choices; both choices are different shades of grey.



And i belive both are wrong. And i belive that paladins would not choose nether. And i think that black and white morals are foolish.
This isn't black and white. Both choices are grey. It's which shade of grey you're more comfortable with. Choosing neither is the same as choosing not to kill the child, by the way.



Hey, did you notice the title? Paladins, as in the D&D class.
It's debating which path is more moral for that D&D class, yes, but itn's not meant to be a debate of rules or GM ability, just which of the two given options is better to take.



Everything logical is not complete as you have taken away everything relevant to the situation and presented me with only two options, hence not logical.
How is it illogical. Based upon the given premise, it is a logical conclusion. The premise is, indeed, false, as it is a fantasy setting. However, we are using that premise for our logic.

I am not going to choose ether because i would prefer to stick to my moral code. That is my paladin view. Ask me? Nether, for different reasons.
Fair enough.



Wrong according to you, and i don't see any large signs in the sky saying you are teh judge of rigth and wrong
Nor are you, thought you claimed I didn't have justification earlier. It's just opinion. I believe one thing on this matter, you another. I'm sorry if mine came across as a statement of fact.



No because their is nothing their to roplay with.
Untrue. If the character chooses death, then why are they still alive? Are they too afraid to death to embrace it though they wish to? Are the determined to die by someone else's hand instead of their own and so cannot die until they have found a superior blade? Are they a god who is unable to die but has grown weary of the pain he watches on all the worlds in the cosmos day after day?
There's a whole lot to roleplay from, there.



I judge morals by actions, not intent.
Hm. Fari enough.



Who am I, Stalin?
It's interesting that you say that. Pretty much everyone who reads Crime and Punishment compares Raskolnikov to Stalin.

I have no right to murder an old lady just for being rich. She wants to be rich let her. She has a right just like eveybody else
See, that's the moral question, and you answered it. I still don't know how I feel on the subject. It's a difficult question, depending on how much she is really hurting people; is she commiting a more passive form of murder by starving her tenants to death?



And i hate it when people have an obsessive need to have things go their way. I am "nitpicking" the fact that without details their is nothing to agrue.
Okay. I still don't understand what you meant, earlier, but I guess I never will.



And you whine and complain about my "Evading" the situaion while you try to weasel out of following a moral code.
Fair enough, I guess, since my solution to the problem pretty much was "If I fall, whatever. I did what I thought was right," so I guess I didn't do the whole Paladin code thing very well.

Unrealistic situation. But the rules still apply. We are arguing the RULES. that is why we are on the freaking gaming board. You want to agrue real life ethics, go to a different board.
Yes, but within that gaming board, we are arguing the morality decisions of a specific class in a specific situation you keep trying to get out of. There are two questions: 1) If there is no good choice to make, and the paladin chooses the lesser of two evils, which is still an evil, should he lose his status? (You said yes.) and 2) Which of the two given choices is the lesser of two evils, for a paladin.
Just because it's in the gaming board doesn't mean it's about rules. It's about the game, which is a role-playing game. That means it's a story and an excercize in characterization, in addition to a collection of mathematical rules. This is a question about the characterization and storytelling.


In D&D i can use my max ranks in bluff.
Okay, well, let's assume that we're using Rich's alternate rules for that as a houserule. The situation may be D&D, but it doesn't have to be RAW. What then?


Paladin's don't exist in shadow run. you want to agure shadow run, stop whinning and trying to weasel out of this game system and make a new thread.
I was just trying to get you into a situation where you couldn't use the diplomacy exploitation or something similar.


Nether options follows the moral code. Trying to justfy ether will just result in losing your powers. Suck it up.
That's one question answered, but which option, given that they're both evil and you would choose neither, is the lesser of the two evils.



Funny last time i check we were on the gaming page.
We're discussing a game. We're discussing the morality of a specific class within that game. Story and character are a part of the game, too, not just rules.



But i can choose to wait for the dragon to pick me up rather than waste a potion.
You chose not to drink it. Binary choice.

If he does not, then i drink the potion.
Then you chose to drink it. Same.

If i wait simple because i want to see waht happens when i hit the ground, then i am choosing a different options.
No, you're choosing different ways to go about one of the two options. I think we're really just using different semantics here, but agree in principle on the matter. There are an infinite number of things you can do, based on two basic things. I think that's two choices with infinite ways to do them, you think it's infinite choices.


Dude, players don't go "Rock falls, everybody dies" Players try to live in the DM's world as best as they can'
My point was you're trying to make your own rules other than those set out and get out of the situation too easily.


You not a very out of the box thinker apperntly.
I don't refrain from making alternate options because I am unable to, I refrain from doing so because that's not what this is really about. It's about the morality of a paladin, not what loopholes can be found the in the rules. I'm aware, it's in the gaming board. However, the actions of a class in the game are part of the game as well, and the part of the game I believe we are dealing with.

If i have two choices, then i don't have choice at all.
Actually, you do. You have two of them. But I get what you mean.

If i am FORCED to make use only two options without any other option presented, then i don't have a choice at all. You want to beat my for disagreeing with you?
I actually said he didn't really want to do that, he was speaking facetiously (facetious is very different than fascist, just for the record) about his frustration, not expecting an actual desire.

Fine. I'll do as Gandei did. Of the two of use, who is more moral? Your little control freak fantasy is all nice, but can't be used in a game and hence is not relevent to this thread's topic.
Yes, it can. The DM can use whatever house rules he wants. It can be used in the game. You do not understand; this isn't a control-freak fantasy. This is a question about which choice is better out of two bad choices, both of which could, and in your opinion, would, make the paladin fall. Since he'll fall whether he kills the baby or does nothing, which does he do? Will he fall and take the whole world with him or fall with the blood of an infant on his hands?



Depends on how good of shot he is. I never said it was a good option, i said that i would prefer it than shooting a child.
See, that's the goal; you'd prefer the risk of dying to the risk of killing the child. That's the moral decision.



LG paladin code, Absolute. CG Varient paladin Code, flexibility. We are talking about the LG paladin.
I'll give you this one. I never was much for lawful alignments, so I forget that Absolute thing. You're right, here.



Are you asking my from D&D terms or real life terms?
In D&D, any creature with less then 3 int is not good nor evil. Insanity counts as evil if the person is smart.
In real life i would not hold some mentally challenged people guilty but they would need to be tested first. Stupid people will still be charged as normal.
Hm. Fair enough.


Good for you, but i don't think you are a paladin, as i am doubtful of the idea you can heal yourself at will.
I know this wasn't directed at me, but I can stem my bloodflow essentially at will, if that counts! It's not exactly healing, but it's still something I brag about whenever I get the chance.

Stephen_E
2007-03-31, 01:08 AM
Almost.

What I deny is that anyone except me can cause myself to do evil.

Because an evil man cannot cause me to do evil, a situation created by an evil man must have a non-evil solution.

I do not believe in anything being inherently evil -- not killing children, not War, not anything. Period. That has to do with a certain religious background, and we're not going there, so you can't ever convince me otherwise. Don't bother..

I agree. No one can cause/make you do evil other than yourself.
I also agree that a situation created by a evil man will have a non-evil solution (although not necessarily a good solution).

That doesn't mean that you'll see the good or non-evil solution, and it doesn't mean you can't choose to do evil because you haven't see a non-evil solution and have convinced yourself that one of the solutions that you have seen must therefore be "good".

I'm not a great fan of "general action" - "evil always", BUT DnD does follow this to a fair degree, and as you get more specific it gets tighter. And to be honest the older I get the more ambivalent I've gotten about "nothing inherently evil". It seems to me that while there is indeed much truth in this, it is more often held up as a shield/excuse to do evil.


Okay, you must have missed it. I have stated before that i do not place Paladins in these situations intentionally, and if they get there accidentally, then I ensure that their players understand my view on this subject.

I like paladins. I want them in my game, even though it is Noir and as such, a hard place for a paladin.

No paladin falls in my campaign by accident. If a paladin is about to take an action that will cause a Fall, I warn him.

Remember, I didn't start this thread in the first place... I merely quantified the dilemmas.

You misunderstand my comment. I don't accuse you of been cruel or unreasonable to Paladins.

Paladins are IMHO the most difficult of PC classes to play. Few players can play them well. To be honest many GMs can't handle them that well either.
I don't play them myself.

Of course this is prefixed by "IMO" but having read a vast range of fantasy, historical fiction and mythology amongst others since the age of 4 (I'm 43) and at one point I actually tracked my reading and noted that over 6 monthes I averaged over 1 & 1/4 books a day. I've seen read a lot of the paladin types, archetypes ecetre. How they rise, fall, the works.

The DnD paladin has a fairly restrictive approach to ethics. To play and GM Paladins you have to be willing to accept this approach, or at least work with it. You (and many others) IMO, don't have the ability to accept or work with such approach. This doesn't make you bad, anymore than the inability to run 100m in less than 10secs makes me a cripple. Hell, some Wizards designers don't get it either, which is how we get abominations such as the Grey Guard appears to be.

Stephen

PS. Haven't got to your PM yet. My PC is sick and just answering the thread is taking forever.

Kreistor
2007-03-31, 01:20 AM
That doesn't mean that you'll see the good or non-evil solution, and it doesn't mean you can't choose to do evil because you haven't see a non-evil solution and have convinced yourself that one of the solutions that you have seen must therefore be "good".

So, you're stupid so you're doomed to do evil? Can't agree with that.


The DnD paladin has a fairly restrictive approach to ethics. To play and GM Paladins you have to be willing to accept this approach, or at least work with it.

Or explain to your players the differences you've implemented in the definition of good and evil. Which is what I've done.

Sardia
2007-03-31, 01:31 AM
Jump out with the kid and try and disarm or remove bomb as we fall. If we survive the blast I try and guide us to a softer landing place and cushion the kid with my body.

Note: You said the kid wouldn't jump on his own, not that he wouldn't jump with another.

2nd Note: Not been a Paladin I wouldn't choose such an option unless I had a strong personal stake in the situation.

Stephen

Let's presume the kid is kicking, screaming, and generally howling "Don't throw me off the plane!" whether you're going or not. If he goes, it's because you moved him out against his resistance, in front of the horrified stares of his classmates.
Not that this changes the situation much...

Sardia
2007-03-31, 01:36 AM
The DnD paladin has a fairly restrictive approach to ethics. To play and GM Paladins you have to be willing to accept this approach, or at least work with it.

Yeah, I generally cheat on that-- they have to be Lawful Good, but the code comes purely from the deity. If the deity says go kill the heathen, then heathen had darn well better be slain by the truckload.
Then again, I tend to have them as antagonists rather than players. They make such great antagonists.

Stephen_E
2007-03-31, 01:47 AM
Quote:
Raw: "Good characters and creatures protect innocent life. Evil characters and creatures debase or destroy innocent life, whether for fun or profit"

The baby is innocent. The Demon wishes to debase it for profit (posess it's body, eat its soul). The Paladin is expected to destroy it's life for profit (Kill it to stop the demon coming through and killing people an conquering the land the Paladin is supposed to protect). Both acts are evil, although the Paladins is clearly lesser evil.

However, there are innocent children that will be harmed by the release of the demon as well.

You're merely favouring the innocent life you can see over the thousands that don't happen to be in your line of sight. By letting the demon out, innocents do come to harm, and "Good characters protect innocent life." You failed in that duty by choosing to let the demon free.

There are innocent children that MIGHT be harmed by the release of the demon against my actual killing the innocent child. And I'm not"favouring" any child. If I kill one innocent it is evil. If I kill a 100 innocents it is evil. We're back to your (and others) attempts to make it a binary situation when it isn't.

If I kill the child in an attempt to stop the Demon coming through I will've done an evil act (I may do it deciding it;s the best of the choices I can see, but that doesn't stop it been evil). I can instead try and stop the ritual suceeding some other way. If I fail the Demon comes through, but failure isn't evil. "Fighting the good fight even with no hope of success" is a long established heroic and often good deed. If it comes through I will then try and defeat the demon, either on my own or with the help of others. If successful no more innocent lives will be harmed.

Can we succeed. Yes. The demon was defeated in the past, and the scenario is clear that even if the demon suceeds in coming through and establishing domiance, that it's rule won't be permanent. Thus it is beatable.
Will we succeed in beating it? Maybe not, but as I said before, failing isn't evil.

I say again, this scenario is a shell game. You have put down 2 cups and said the pea is under one of them. Choose the right cup. You've attempted to rig the game (and some others here support the rigging) but I've seen the game before. The pea isn't under either cup. I could laugh and walk away, as many undoubtedly did on looking at this "challenge". I could try and flimflam you back, but instead I stand and watch, calling out "He's cheating" and proceed to point out the cheats you're using.

In game these situations are time constrained and the Paladin may well make the wrong choice and fall. This is not bad DMing unless the atoning is made unreasonably hard. As Hinjo from the OotS strip said "That's what the Atonement spell is there for".

Stephen

Kreistor
2007-03-31, 01:48 AM
Then again, I tend to have them as antagonists rather than players. They make such great antagonists.

One might say the Giant agrees with you on that.

Sardia
2007-03-31, 01:52 AM
One might say the Giant agrees with you on that.

No kidding. Stalwart, steady, impossible to intimidate, sure of their convictions, implacable foes...and if your players are somewhere in the neutral non-good alignments and generally pragmatists about getting their objectives met, conflict's bound to happen.

Kreistor
2007-03-31, 02:05 AM
There are innocent children that MIGHT be harmed by the release of the demon against my actual killing the innocent child. And I'm not"favouring" any child. If I kill one innocent it is evil. If I kill a 100 innocents it is evil. We're back to your (and others) attempts to make it a binary situation when it isn't.

You'll note in the dilemma (1st post 1st page) that the demon has been to this world before and he has already done these things. There will be dead innocents and worse, for 100 years: the diviners, visionaries, prophets, and researchers of your god all agree that if the demon is freed the death toll will be of tragic proportions. I covered that outlet in the first place. Your paladin is crossing his fingers and hoping that his own god mislead him.


I say again, this scenario is a shell game. You have put down 2 cups and said the pea is under one of them. Choose the right cup. You've attempted to rig the game (and some others here support the rigging) but I've seen the game before. The pea isn't under either cup. I could laugh and walk away, as many undoubtedly did on looking at this "challenge". I could try and flimflam you back, but instead I stand and watch, calling out "He's cheating" and proceed to point out the cheats you're using.

That is only true if you believe your god mislead you, according to the original dilemma. The basic premise states that you have done all the homework and you know how the ritual works with absolute certainty. You know both outcomes with no doubts. You know both cups and the pea of tragedy is in both.

Laughing and walking away is abandoning responsiblity for making the decision. Your god put you there for a reason, and you are turning your back on that choice because both options are distasteful.

At least choosing to not to kill a child is making a choice. Gods don't like fence-sitters.


Can we succeed. Yes. The demon was defeated in the past

I didn't say that. The demon was defined as undefeatable. Perhaps he could not stay more than 100 years less a day. That number tends to come up every so often when dealing with demons. You're basing your decision on a hunch, instead of the information given.


If I kill the child in an attempt to stop the Demon coming through I will've done an evil act (I may do it deciding it;s the best of the choices I can see, but that doesn't stop it been evil). I can instead try and stop the ritual suceeding some other way.

The paladin (and his player) have 6 seconds to decide. You've had hours more, and you still can't find it. Relying on hunches and avoiding the decision resolve to the same result as "not killing the child", so you're still stuck with the Binary options.

Stephen_E
2007-03-31, 02:20 AM
Quote:
That doesn't mean that you'll see the good or non-evil solution, and it doesn't mean you can't choose to do evil because you haven't see a non-evil solution and have convinced yourself that one of the solutions that you have seen must therefore be "good".


So, you're stupid so you're doomed to do evil? Can't agree with that..

What? You think there is no penalty in life for been stupid. If you get into situations where you have to make snap moral judgements without been both wise and smart, then barring incredible luck, yes, you're doomed to do evil. You can disagree all you like, you'll have as much luck as King Canute stopping the waves. Hell, been both wise and smart and you're still going to make mistakes.

You seem to be saying that there are no situations where you'll do evil because you'll always accurately see the "correct/good" choice, and you'll take that choice. If that;s your attitude you seem perfectly setup to go through life smugly doing evil with a clear conscience because you can't concieve the possibility of getting it wrong (on the otherhand you have the company of more than a few powerful people around the world).

You really think that all it takes to avoid doing evil is to have good thoughts. Why do you think the proverb "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" was coined.


Quote:
The DnD paladin has a fairly restrictive approach to ethics. To play and GM Paladins you have to be willing to accept this approach, or at least work with it.


Or explain to your players the differences you've implemented in the definition of good and evil. Which is what I've done.

That's good for your game, but then you come here and try and apply your houserules to the discussion. Given that we don't know your houserules on the subject and didn't agree to play by them, are you surprised that so many people are reacting similair to the way I said I would if you pulled this on me in a game where the houserule hadn't been setup beforehand.

Stephen

Kreistor
2007-03-31, 02:36 AM
That's good for your game, but then you come here and try and apply your houserules to the discussion. Given that we don't know your houserules on the subject and didn't agree to play by them, are you surprised that so many people are reacting similair to the way I said I would if you pulled this on me in a game where the houserule hadn't been setup beforehand.

Wow... you really haven't read this thread have you. Go back and start at page one, please. You missed a few fundamental realities somewhere. Like the complete lack of quotes from the PHB? You might want to consider that you overlooked something from the start.

Sorry, but your indignation is just way out of place.

Slokkva
2007-03-31, 02:52 AM
Quote: Originally Posted by EvilElitest
there are no such thing as binary choices.


I'm going to prove they do exist by puting you and Stephen into a binary situtation right now. I'll say something about the both of you.

You both drink the same kind of beer.

Now that you have read this far, you have 2 choices and 2 choices only..
A. Reply to this post
B. Not reply to this post.

Now the manner in which you carry out this choice has infinite possibilities.
A. reply to the post while watching porn
B. reply to the post while eating a sandwich
C. reply to the post while tap dancing
D. reply to the post while talking on the phone
E. not reply to this post and go play basketball
F. not reply to this post and go watch TV
G. not reply to this post and go play PS3
H. not reply to this post and call a friend to go drink beer.

Now no matter what you do or how you do it....your choice will be based on one simple and undeniable fact....you either replied to the post or didn't.

Stephen_E
2007-03-31, 03:21 AM
Kreistor,

I note that you're adding on details to try harder to push your view as correct.

When I said that other laugh and walk away I don't mean that they choose as the Paladin to laugh and walk away, I mean they choose as posters to laugh at another "End's justifies the means"/"Evil Paladins aren't really Evil" amking another conjob scenario to try and convince people that his/her ethics are "right".

Your scenario is an enormous conjob. When we poke holes in it your responce is to add details/restriction soley for the purpose of insisting we agree with your moral choices. At this point you have said there was no free will leading up to the situation, and no free will after the situation, and only two choices in the situation (but of course you're actually pretending because there is only one "choice" you'll allow in the situation and you'll keep tweaking it so long as we don't choose the only "choice" you allow).

Your Paladins God is apparently Omniscient regarding the Demons actions once he's free, and how he's going to be freed, BUT couldn't get you their earlier with a Prot from Evil. Like I said it's all a con on your part. You want play that killing innocent babies is a "Good" act in your game you're welcome to. It isn't RAW and frankly I consider it crappy RL ethics as well. I don't have to buy your ethics because of a corny shellgame scenario.

In a shellgame when you pick the cup with the pea, it's not because you actully followed the right cup, it's because the operator (you) choose to put the pea under the cup after it was chosen. When you reward the person for picking "Kill the child" it's not because the choice was correct within the framework of the game (or IMO within real-life ethics/moraility) but because you choose to reward the player for accepting the moral/ethical view that YOU like, as correct.

Stephen

Stephen_E
2007-03-31, 03:31 AM
Wow... you really haven't read this thread have you. Go back and start at page one, please. You missed a few fundamental realities somewhere. Like the complete lack of quotes from the PHB? You might want to consider that you overlooked something from the start.

Sorry, but your indignation is just way out of place.

1) The discussion has been about DnD. Unless you specify houserules as applying, and what those houserules are we can only assume that you're basically talking RAW.

2) The PHB has been quoted, so you have clearly overlooked something. :-)
I quoted it. :smallbiggrin:

Stephen

Pocket lint
2007-03-31, 04:40 AM
Some random comments...


I do not believe in anything being inherently evil -- not killing children, not War, not anything. (...)

You see, my soul is not in danger from the Paladin's Dilemma. Evil cannot force me to be evil, no matter what situation i find myself in and what options I can think of to get out of it. (and no matter what option you choose?)

Well, that pretty much declared yourself as being evil IMO, so I guess that's it. Nice talking to you.


In general, damned near every lieterature fantasy and every RL (I use the term somewhat guardedly here) depiction of this sort of scenario I've seen, would see the Paladins murder of the child counting as a sacrifice to evil, regardless of the intent, and likely to cause the situation to unfold as planned or even worse.
Bingo. I've seen this kind of scenario mostly as trick scenarios, where the protagonist is told that killing the child would save the world while trying something else would destroy it, while in actuality, it's the reverse - the demon can only come into the world if his host is killed by someone with a pure heart or something like that. The key is that sticking to your principles is a good thing. You might find this cliched or "win by DM fiat", but it resonates directly with the classical ideals of good and evil.


What? You think there is no penalty in life for been stupid. If you get into situations where you have to make snap moral judgements without been both wise and smart, then barring incredible luck, yes, you're doomed to do evil. You can disagree all you like, you'll have as much luck as King Canute stopping the waves. Hell, been both wise and smart and you're still going to make mistakes.
Here's an important distinction: Was the choice good, or was it merely the best way out that you could find? Let's take our nice (ex-)paladin a few hours later, carrying a very small corpse (eww) to his parents. What will he say to them?

A) "I am sorry, but I could see no other way."
B) "It was the good thing to do."

You have two choices. :smallbiggrin:

That's what we're pointing out here - you have an evil act with neutral consequences (status quo is neutral), and a neutral act (doing nothing is, by RAW) with highly evil consequences. Your intentions are the same, so don't matter. None of these are good, they're both somewhere on the neutral-to-evil axis. There might be a good choice, but you'd have to throw the box at the DM for that.


Break it down
1. Killing an innocent is evil
2. I have sworn and oath not to break my paladin code
3. The demon can not be allowed to enter this world
And the other option will require more details.

You have the whole situation in those three steps. If it more important to you that you don't break your oath, and face all of the damnation wrought upon you for breaking that oath, or is the fate of the world more important.
It's up to you. Will you choose to fall from grace and save the world, or watch the world die around you, but keep fast to your Paladin's oath.
That sums the choice up for me. I have to wonder, though, who told the paladin to kill the child? Because it wouldn't enter *my* brain unless someone directly told me to, and I don't mean the party rogue. Not to commit a "No True Scotsman" fallacy here, but most paladins would go "get real" at the very suggestion.

What else... this debate has ranged all over the place:
* Killing a child in a target dummy - not evil; you didn't know and had no reason to suspect. The same goes for the child disguised as a demon.
* Killing the log disguised as a child - evil; as far as you knew, you were killing an innocent child.

What this comes down to is that your actions can only be judged by what you knew at the time. Note that forgetting about that pesky code doesn't count, or players would have far too easy a way out.

* Killing a child under Dominate person who is about to backstab a living saint - evil. Try something else.
* Killing the adultering merchant - that's murder, not just killing, so it's right out. Now, if he starts waving a sword around, that's different.

I'll stop now, or I'll start approaching EvilElitest in post length (seriously, man, try to summarise. You're making me go TLDR even though I mostly agree with you)

Pocket lint
2007-03-31, 04:42 AM
I'll just note that I think Bull rush/Overrun is underutilised as solutions here... grapple ftw. Seriously, I'd grab the kid and run. Might work, might not, but it's better than the options presented here.

Habzial
2007-03-31, 05:15 AM
You're merely favouring the innocent life you can see over the thousands that don't happen to be in your line of sight. By letting the demon out, innocents do come to harm, and "Good characters protect innocent life." You failed in that duty by choosing to let the demon free.You have not demonstrated that the paladin has in-character justification to be 100% certain that the demon is unstoppable, that the possession cannot be prevented, and that millions of children will die. The paladin also lacks the sufficient time to get that information and act upon it. It's not a binary dilemma because you haven't provided cause for the paladin to be certain it is one.

If you're going to play on technicalities about protecting innocent life like that, then the paladin technically only has one proper course of action. It's suicide. Any other choice the paladin makes technically results in the loss of innocent life. Suicide, meanwhile, is the only option that kills an evil-doer before s/he can complete an act of evil. Plus if done as an attempt to make a sacrificial offering to the paladin's god for intervention, it is the least evil choice. That fulfills the requirement of the ridiculous morality you presented where the lesser of two evils is good, rather than a lesser evil which it actually is.

Whamme
2007-03-31, 07:05 AM
It is only possible to /construct/ a true binary situation. People in the real world never have all the facts to such a degree when they also have no options.

Also, just because an electronic coin flipping device can only come down heads or tails does not mean you can't have meaningful distinctions between a time it comes down heads and a different time it comes down heads.


Person A will either live or not live past this second. If this is a totally random person standing next to you, you only have a binary choice _in regards as to whether you kill them_ - but the entire situation and your choices /will/ be more complex.


If a DM railroads into creating a binary situation, he's been unrealistic, railroading (by definition), and probably undramatic.

If the universe cobbles such a situation together with no human involvement?

I'll believe it when I see it. There are always different ways you can react. Delaying an extra second can change outcomes in a multitude of ways. Stopping to argue with a sentient being can work.

And, always, WHY you do something and what you do as a follow up can make a difference.


The world is a complex place. Yes/no models are _useful_ not _accurate_.

Falkus
2007-03-31, 09:07 AM
Those of you saying, "I do something else" are unaware of the meaning of, "dilemma". You have to choose one (woo for the new Robin Hood and a infuriatingly evil Sheriff for that paraphrase). The constraints of the situation limit you to two choices, and no matter how many loopholes you try to create, you are just avoiding the philosophical question, not refuting it.And I deny that moral dilemmas exist. My philosophy and world view does not allow for a situation like that to exist, so I refuse to accept the idea that there only two choices. I believe that there is always another option for action beyond the apparent ones in any of these 'moral dilemmas'.

Stephen_E
2007-03-31, 09:22 AM
Slokkva,

When did you stop beating your wife?

Stephen

PS. As I've addressed in a previous post if you group 1/2 the choices in one bag, and the other 1/2 in another bag, you haven't created a binary choice, you've just tried to con people with a lie.

Clementx
2007-03-31, 10:05 AM
And I deny that moral dilemmas exist.
Then you have no justification for posting in this thread. It is equivalent to an evolutionary biologist posting the the Gnoll vs Flind thread that neither gnolls or flinds really exist.

Tola
2007-03-31, 10:31 AM
You're just a lowly grunt having what is amounting to the worst day of your life.

And your name is Jack Bauer?

Just popped up in my head. Actually, that....fits far more appropriately than it should. A good man having to do some horrible things...(Don't ask me what's going on, but the Italics won't switch off.)

Kreistor
2007-03-31, 10:38 AM
1) The discussion has been about DnD. Unless you specify houserules as applying, and what those houserules are we can only assume that you're basically talking RAW.

2) The PHB has been quoted, so you have clearly overlooked something. :-)
I quoted it.

Stephen

Stephen, you're wrong. This thread started in another forum that had nothing to do with DnD. It began as a discussion of good and evil. I know because I was there and you were not. You are the latecomer here, not me. I'm not letting you retcon an entire discussion yoou never participated in.

I'm not going to apologize or clarify because of your misunderstanding. This never was about PHB-based good and evil.

However

After a night's sleep, I realized that I can discuss this with you.

Your interpretation of the PHB definitions of the alignments suggests that all four are codes, rules to live by.

A Lawful person would agree.

A Chaotic person would deny that the world is that simple, and reject any suggestion an action was chaotic based on a set of rules.

An Evil person would agree with you, all the while laughing at you because Rules are Evil's playground, and it will use those rules against you.

And Good? Well, good would say, "You're usually right. But any set of Rules that defines Good out of existence is deficient. Good can always be done, in every situation, because Evil is not more powerful than Good. So those rules make excellent guidelines, but treating them as absolutes suggests that Good is restricted to only certain actions in certain circumstances. We deny evil that hold over our soul."

Basically, you're applying Lawful thought to all alignment definitions, on the false belief that even Chaos will judge its people based on a set of rules.

The Alignment definitions in the PHB cannot, therefore, be absolutes and only guidelines.

Slokkva
2007-03-31, 10:39 AM
Thanks Stephen...point proven..you chose to reply.
Although that was by far the dumbest thing you could have chose to say...it was still a reply.

I'm not trying to con anyone, and I'm certainly not a liar. If you choose to see it that way though that's your choice, and I'm free to say you are a moron to think things don't exist just because you say so.

Kreistor
2007-03-31, 10:44 AM
You have not demonstrated that the paladin has in-character justification to be 100% certain that the demon is unstoppable, that the possession cannot be prevented, and that millions of children will die. The paladin also lacks the sufficient time to get that information and act upon it. It's not a binary dilemma because you haven't provided cause for the paladin to be certain it is one.

Such Dilemmas are morality discussions. Feel free to join that discussion by ignoring any weaknesses you see in its defintion that would remove morality from the discussion. Have a nice day.

Kreistor
2007-03-31, 11:11 AM
Here's an important distinction: Was the choice good, or was it merely the best way out that you could find? Let's take our nice (ex-)paladin a few hours later, carrying a very small corpse (eww) to his parents. What will he say to them?

A) "I am sorry, but I could see no other way."
B) "It was the good thing to do."

You have two choices.

That's what we're pointing out here - you have an evil act with neutral consequences (status quo is neutral), and a neutral act (doing nothing is, by RAW) with highly evil consequences. Your intentions are the same, so don't matter. None of these are good, they're both somewhere on the neutral-to-evil axis. There might be a good choice, but you'd have to throw the box at the DM for that.

And this is why we do not allow those with emotional attachment to participate in someone's trial as judge, jury, or legal representative. The parents aren't going to understand since they are not capable of impartial judgement.

I'd say, "I'm sorry for your loss. I did everything in my power, but I couldn't save him."

Foeofthelance
2007-03-31, 11:31 AM
And this demon will simple take over just like a snap? Where the hell are my gods?

Your gods are busy elsewhere, which is why they made you their mortal champion, and gave you all of those nifty powers.


I trust that my gods and my order will stop this. I'll just grab the kid and run off. I'll fight the demon.

Congratulations on finally making a choice. Unfortunately, as the scenario you are quoting from states, the demon pretty much mainfests and eats you as its first victim.


Once the demon appears, then the kid is dead. I stab it.

Ok, maybe you do choose to stand and fight the demon. Heck, you even critted and actually managed to wound it! Unfortunately, this isn't some flunky demon, and as based on the information you were given it proceeds to full attack you, rending your body into nice bite sized pieces.

But again, congratulations on finally answering the question.


(I was going to answer the question about Osama Bin Laden, in a bit more detail then Kreistor, then realized I would be wandering needlessly close to politics. So quite simply, yes it was the right thing to do with his resources, but thankfully the majority of the world thinks it was an evil action.)

Kreistor
2007-03-31, 11:33 AM
It is only possible to /construct/ a true binary situation. People in the real world never have all the facts to such a degree when they also have no options.

Not entirely true, especially in the military. Your response is often limited to "shoot or don't shoot". Lives depend on your decision -- the lives of your enemy, your comrades, innocent locals in the region of battle, innocent enemy civilians, and innocent allied civilians.

The very first decision, do I go to war or do I not go to war, itself is a Binary moral dilemma. If not going to war means the genocide of an entire race, then have you not failed to protect innocent life? But going to war also means that you may accidentally kill innocent life, too.

At each stage during the war, you are going to have to decide other things. Do I allow myself to work for a company that supports the war? Do I order these 5000 men into a 70% casualty situation so that those 50000 decrease their casualty rate from 30% to 20%? (Eisenhower's D-Day dilemma.)

But it doesn't even have to be that grandiose.

Do I lay off 35% of the compant now so that the other 65% can have a job for the next 2 years instead of all 100% only going on for 1 year? My own employers faced that dilemma. (We survived 4 years instead of 2.) If you think they didn't agonize and have feelings of guilt over that choice, you'd be woefully wrong.

We make Binary choices every day, with different levels of morality attached to them. The Paladin's Dilemma is an extreme, to make the debate easier to internalize, but it extends beyond such grandiose situations, if you can recognize the parallels.

Reptilus
2007-03-31, 11:34 AM
Yes, Stephen. The whole idea is that the choice is between two outcomes not traditionally seen as being the scope of "good." Of the two, neither of which is stereotypically "good," which is more moral for the paladin to take? The one that puts the blood directly on his hands but saves the world and, indeed, is comparatively better for even the slain child, or to sit idly by, keeping his own hands clean, as the world is destroyed around him?



PS. As I've addressed in a previous post if you group 1/2 the choices in one bag, and the other 1/2 in another bag, you haven't created a binary choice, you've just tried to con people with a lie.
You can reply, or you can not reply. There are only two choices. Within those two choices, you can do each in an infinite number of ways, the same way in the original situation, you may kill the infant in an infinite number of ways. You can strangle it, step on its head until it dies, stab it, poison it, or any number of other actions. No-matter which you take, you chose to kill the infant.
I think the primary disagreement is that you consider all the different methods of killing to be different choices, while I and those on my "side" in this debate (which is really just me trying to get people to debate as the thread intended) consider them to be multiple variants of the same choice. It's an inane semantics argument. For the sake of agreement, let us then say you have a limitless number of "third options" as you've put it, that all fit into two categories; in Catergory A, you do not kill the child, in Category B, you do. From which category does the choice you make come?

Kreistor
2007-03-31, 11:39 AM
(I was going to answer the question about Osama Bin Laden, in a bit more detail then Kreistor, then realized I would be wandering needlessly close to politics. So quite simply, yes it was the right thing to do with his resources, but thankfully the majority of the world thinks it was an evil action.)

Actually, I disagree with that. I feel he is like Miko, deluding himself based on self-centered and manipulative interpretations of the Koran. That makes him evil.

Foeofthelance
2007-03-31, 11:43 AM
Actually, the Koran is much different then the Bible or the Torah, ir just contains a bit more military information (really, all three books have been tailored to their 'target audiences') I don't know exactly what cause he believes in, but he strikes me as the kind of person who would give it his all. He probably knows what he is doing. But meh, we are straying.

Reptilus
2007-03-31, 01:43 PM
The Koran isn't much different from them at all, and murdering innocent people is still a big "no-no" regardless of their religion. By the way, crazed militarists are not Islam's "target audience," thank you very goddamned much.
EDIT: And he's really not following the Koran, either. He can be following his personal interpretation of it, but what it literally says is not what he is doing, at all.

Habzial
2007-03-31, 02:19 PM
Such Dilemmas are morality discussions. Feel free to join that discussion by ignoring any weaknesses you see in its defintion that would remove morality from the discussion. Have a nice day.Strange, I talked about morality based on intent, and you've made a sweeping dismissal of what I said by mischaracterizing it. The weakness is in your evaluation of the dilemma, not in the dilemma you've presented. Please do not try to warp the framework of my argument because it is inconvenient to approach it honestly. I must point out that of the two choices you were presented (respond honestly or respond dishonestly) you've made the eviler choice. I guess when you said earlier that evil men can't put you in a position where you'd make an evil choice, you should have added that good men can provided the evil choice is more expedient.

The core of your dilemma is that the paladin is knowingly choosing between killing one innocent and killing millions. You've further stated that the paladin cannot choose to save the child as the good choice because he knows 400 million children will die. The problem you're purposely ignoring is that he has no way of knowing that. You've said that making the least evil choice is automatically good, and you've hinged the choice on the paladin's impossible knowledge in advance of the consequences. Now you're contradicting yourself by pretending foreknowledge has nothing to do with the same morality in weighing the lesser evil choice in the same dilemma founded upon it.

Also, I am pleased you saw fit to pretend the rest of my argument did not exist. Well here it is again: If I, as the paladin, kill the child I could protect 400,000,000 innocents. If I, as the paladin, spare the child I could protect 1 innocent. However, if I, as the paladin sacrifice myself to my god, I could protect 400,000,001 innocents. Therefore, under your ridiculous moral code, I have made the least evil choice. Have a great weekend.

Foeofthelance
2007-03-31, 02:45 PM
Sorry Reptilus. That was I meant to say. Damn old keyboard and my failure to self review!

Caledonian
2007-03-31, 03:00 PM
Intent is an inherent part of the objective morality of D&D.

What so many people fail to understand, and thus get hung up on, is that the words used to describe different directions on the alignment axes have less-specific and sometimes contradictory meanings in everyday life.

"Good" isn't necessarily good, and "Evil" isn't necessarily bad. Both of the D&D morality concepts include intent. Paladins can do all kinds of things that in other contexts would be considered wrong - in the right context, most of which are quite rare. Paladins can kill. They can lie. They can cause harm to others. But their actions must be justified by the needs of Good.

Bouldering Jove
2007-03-31, 03:08 PM
Paladins can kill. They can lie. They can cause harm to others. But their actions must be justified by the needs of Good.
Actually, no. From the paladin's 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.
Lying is explicitly disallowed, and the code includes no stipulations about context.

Caledonian
2007-03-31, 03:19 PM
Acting with honor can involve lying. It can also involve deception, which is a subtler concept.

Paladins are Lawful Good, emphasis on GOOD. They can deviate away from Law in order to serve Good - when it is necessary.

'Necessary' depends on the judgements of the deities that granted their power.

Falkus
2007-03-31, 03:25 PM
Then you have no justification for posting in this thread. It is equivalent to an evolutionary biologist posting the the Gnoll vs Flind thread that neither gnolls or flinds really exist.

Your statement makes absolutely no sense at all. My position here in this argument is rebut the idea that there exist moral choices in which only evil decisions can be made. That's a perfectly valid position to take.

Any Paladin who would choose an evil choice without looking for a good option isn't worthy of being called a paladin.

Bouldering Jove
2007-03-31, 03:37 PM
Acting with honor can involve lying. It can also involve deception, which is a subtler concept.

Paladins are Lawful Good, emphasis on GOOD. They can deviate away from Law in order to serve Good - when it is necessary.

'Necessary' depends on the judgements of the deities that granted their power.
The SRD explicitly says that acting with honor includes not lying. It doesn't provide any stipulation that says the code can be stretched based on circumstances, or that it can be stretched "when it is necessary," as determined by deities or otherwise.

You can play how you want, but what you're describing is NOT how the SRD paladin works.

The_Werebear
2007-03-31, 03:38 PM
The way I always viewed paladin lying: It is ok to lie to an evil person, as it is like feinting to an enemy in combat. Paladins must fight evil at all times, even when they can't do it with weapons.

Caledonian
2007-03-31, 03:56 PM
The SRD explicitly says that acting with honor includes not lying.

That's Law, not Good, and Paladins are not required to adhere absolutely to Law when it conflicts with Good.

You can be Lawful GOOD, or LAWFUL Good, but you can't serve two masters. There will be conflicts in which you have to pick one or the other.

Paladins generally do not lie, and they will not lie simply to avoid unpleasant consequences to themselves, but there are situations in which lying is acceptable. (They're a bit like Minbari in that regard - with the difference being that there's no divine authority looking over their shoulders and judging whether their actions are appropriate - thus individuals can distort and reinterpret the principle to suit themselves. That's not possible with Paladins.)

You're failing to understand what the SRD says, both about specific alignments and the nature of Paladins.

Kicking a beggar in the head because he annoys you is an Evil action, even if the blow happens to restore his sight. Consequences cannot be controlled, only intentions manifested as actions can.


Code of Conduct
A paladin must be of lawful good alignment (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/description.htm#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 (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/specialAbilities.htm#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 (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/description.htm#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.

Ex-Paladins
A paladin who ceases to be lawful good, who willfully commits an evil act, or who grossly violates the code of conduct loses all paladin spells and abilities (including the service of the paladinís mount, but not weapon, armor, and shield proficiencies). She may not progress any farther in levels as a paladin. She regains her abilities and advancement potential if she atones for her violations (see the atonement (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/atonement.htm) spell description), as appropriate.
Like a member of any other class, a paladin may be a multiclass character, but multiclass paladins face a special restriction. A paladin who gains a level in any class other than paladin may never again raise her paladin level, though she retains all her paladin abilities.

It does NOT say that violating the code leads to an immediate loss of all abilities, even though it says that's the result of committing an Evil act right before that. Why do you think that is?

Likewise, Paladins aren't punished for unknowingly associating themselves with Evil people or people who break their code on occasion. Only gross violations of the code are grounds for dismissal, not the slightest infractions.

Bouldering Jove
2007-03-31, 04:10 PM
That's Law, not Good, and Paladins are not required to adhere absolutely to Law when it conflicts with Good.
Which is said nowhere in the text of the SRD.


You can be Lawful GOOD, or LAWFUL Good, but you can't serve two masters. There will be conflicts in which you have to pick one or the other.
Which is said nowhere in the text of the SRD.


Paladins generally do not lie, and they will not lie simply to avoid unpleasant consequences to themselves, but there are situations in which lying is acceptable. (They're a bit like Minbari in that regard - with the difference being that there's no divine authority looking over their shoulders and judging whether their actions are appropriate - thus individuals can distort and reinterpret the principle to suit themselves. That's not possible with Paladins.)
You are still mentioning things said nowhere in the text of the SRD.


You're failing to understand what the SRD says, both about specific alignments and the nature of Paladins.
Then quote the specific parts of it that support your assertions.


Kicking a beggar in the head because he annoys you is an Evil action, even if the blow happens to restore his sight. Consequences cannot be controlled, only intentions manifested as actions can.
This is relevant, how?


It does NOT say that violating the code leads to an immediate loss of all abilities, even though it says that's the result of committing an Evil act right before that. Why do you think that is?
I have my ideas, but I wouldn't be so bold as to propose that my personal interpretation allows me to rewrite the rest of the code of conduct to my liking and claim it as RAW.


Likewise, Paladins aren't punished for unknowingly associating themselves with Evil people or people who break their code on occasion. Only gross violations of the code are grounds for dismissal, not the slightest infractions.
The nature of a "gross" violation is subjective, probably deliberately so. I would, however, certainly make the argument that a paladin who interprets his or her code not as absolute principles but as discretionary guidelines is hewing much closer to neutral good than lawful good:


Someone who is neutral with respect to law and chaos has a normal respect for authority and feels neither a compulsion to obey nor a compulsion to rebel. She is honest but can be tempted into lying or deceiving others.
Of course, a neutral good paladin is an ex-paladin.

As I said, you can play however you want, but your personal interpretation of the paladin class is not the SRD.

Caledonian
2007-03-31, 04:29 PM
Which is said nowhere in the text of the SRD.
Which is said nowhere in the text of the SRD.
You are still mentioning things said nowhere in the text of the SRD.

You seem to have some problems understanding the SRD.


I have my ideas, but I wouldn't be so bold as to propose that my personal interpretation allows me to rewrite the rest of the code of conduct to my liking and claim it as RAW.

You don't understand the code of conduct, either.


The nature of a "gross" violation is subjective, probably deliberately so. I would, however, certainly make the argument that a paladin who interprets his or her code not as absolute principles but as discretionary guidelines is hewing much closer to neutral good than lawful good

Neutral Good only cares about Good, not the means used to achieve it. Paladins are Lawful Good. But it's the Good that's paramount. Paladins care deeply about the means and will not choose nonLawful paths if it's possible to attain the Good in other ways.

They can still lie, kill in cold blood, and deceive others. They simply can't do this at will. The purpose matters. Killing an Evil person without just cause is still an Evil act.


Of course, a neutral good paladin is an ex-paladin.

It takes a great deal to shift alignments. Occasional unLawful acts, even if they don't serve Good, are not sufficient to cause a Paladin to fall, nor are they sufficient to cause an alignment shift.


As I said, you can play however you want, but your personal interpretation of the paladin class is not the SRD.

It's not a personal interpretation. It's how the class works.

Caledonian
2007-03-31, 04:36 PM
The way I always viewed paladin lying: It is ok to lie to an evil person, as it is like feinting to an enemy in combat.

Wrong. Nor is it okay to kill an evil person in cold blood without due cause.

"But they're evil!" is not a valid defense. Paladins will not lie merely to protect themselves - neither their life, their safety, nor their reputation. They may lie to protect others if telling the truth would create injustice. They will not withhold the truth if it would cause suffering to innocents, even if the innocents involved are Evil.

Paladins are not Inspector Javert.

Whamme
2007-03-31, 04:36 PM
Yes, Stephen. The whole idea is that the choice is between two outcomes not traditionally seen as being the scope of "good." Of the two, neither of which is stereotypically "good," which is more moral for the paladin to take? The one that puts the blood directly on his hands but saves the world and, indeed, is comparatively better for even the slain child, or to sit idly by, keeping his own hands clean, as the world is destroyed around him?


You can reply, or you can not reply. There are only two choices. Within those two choices, you can do each in an infinite number of ways, the same way in the original situation, you may kill the infant in an infinite number of ways. You can strangle it, step on its head until it dies, stab it, poison it, or any number of other actions. No-matter which you take, you chose to kill the infant.
I think the primary disagreement is that you consider all the different methods of killing to be different choices, while I and those on my "side" in this debate (which is really just me trying to get people to debate as the thread intended) consider them to be multiple variants of the same choice. It's an inane semantics argument. For the sake of agreement, let us then say you have a limitless number of "third options" as you've put it, that all fit into two categories; in Catergory A, you do not kill the child, in Category B, you do. From which category does the choice you make come?

Which category?

I'll try for category C, neither, and see what happens. Because a Good person - A PALADIN - would never CHOOSE category A OR category B. If has consequence A or consequence B, it will NOT be because that is what they chose, because they will have chosen to take a long-shot at a different outcome.

And depending on what they chose (perhaps to KO rather than kill the kid, perhaps the listed suicide, perhaps asking the child if they were willing to kill themself, etc.), things will unfold from there.


But they will NOT have chosen to do evil. The universe may have forced an outcome that they did not want, but that /is not/ their fault.

Caledonian
2007-03-31, 04:40 PM
Killing the child wouldn't be evil.

If a Paladin came across an injured person who was dying and in great pain, and lacked access to healing, would you argue that killing the person (with or without the person's explicit approval) would be an Evil act?

Caledonian
2007-03-31, 04:44 PM
Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand: their majesty, the majesty peculiar to the human conscience, clings to them in the midst of horror; they are virtues which have one vice,--error. The honest, pitiless joy of a fanatic in the full flood of his atrocity preserves a certain lugubriously venerable radiance. Without himself suspecting the fact, Javert in his formidable happiness was to be pitied, as is every ignorant man who triumphs. Nothing could be so poignant and so terrible as this face, wherein was displayed all that may be designated as the evil of the good.

Paladins will not follow Law if it causes Evil to occur. They will break with Law to prevent Evil and serve Good - as the implementation of their code requires.

Honorable people who place a very high value on truth will still on occasion lie if they have higher values than honor and truth. Such are paladins.

Snooder
2007-03-31, 04:54 PM
Nor is it okay to kill an evil person in cold blood without due cause.

Actually, it is.

The very fact that they are evil is cause enough. A true Paladin needs cause to kill neutral people, but the evil, why it merely exists to be slain. In deed it can be argued that merely allowing evil to exist would be counter to the Paladin code.

Snooder
2007-03-31, 04:57 PM
Paladins will not follow Law if it causes Evil to occur. They will break with Law to prevent Evil and serve Good - as the implementation of their code requires.

Honorable people who place a very high value on truth will still on occasion lie if they have higher values than honor and truth. Such are paladins.

What you describe there is a neutral good person. A truly Lawful Good paladin will deviate from neither law nor good.

Bouldering Jove
2007-03-31, 05:03 PM
You seem to have some problems understanding the SRD.
...
You don't understand the code of conduct, either.
Yet I've quoted the SRD with emphasis on the specific points that support what I'm saying, while you have not.


Neutral Good only cares about Good, not the means used to achieve it. Paladins are Lawful Good. But it's the Good that's paramount. Paladins care deeply about the means and will not choose nonLawful paths if it's possible to attain the Good in other ways.

They can still lie, kill in cold blood, and deceive others. They simply can't do this at will. The purpose matters. Killing an Evil person without just cause is still an Evil act.
It's a reasonable inference, both from the SRD's heavy emphasis on anti-evil and the PHB's flavor text categorizing the paladin as a champion drawing their powers from forces of good, that paladins might view good as inherently more important than law. Nevertheless, it does not state this anywhere as a universal principle of the paladin class or as a requirement. Strictly by the RAW, an individual paladin could in fact consider their personal integrity and honor somewhat more important in the grand scheme of things than serving the cause of general good, and they would be a fine paladin unless they came in conflict with the code of conduct.


It takes a great deal to shift alignments. Occasional unLawful acts, even if they don't serve Good, are not sufficient to cause a Paladin to fall, nor are they sufficient to cause an alignment shift.
Weren't you the one who was saying that by the D&D alignment system, intent mattered far more than consequences? By the SRD, "A creatureís general moral and personal attitudes are represented by its alignment." A paladin whose general moral and personal attitude allows significant leeway in how their code applies, rather than treating it as an absolute set of principles, obviously satisfies what I quoted earlier: "Someone who is neutral with respect to law and chaos has a normal respect for authority and feels neither a compulsion to obey nor a compulsion to rebel. She is honest but can be tempted into lying or deceiving others."

As long as you're describing a paladin mindset, complete with rationale for a character to justify it, you're not describing acts, you're describing alignment. Specifically, a neutral good alignment, which paladins are not permitted to have.


It's not a personal interpretation. It's how the class works.
Then stop ignoring the critical fact that by the SRD, the code of conduct prohibits paladins from lying and does not ever say that under some circumstances it's acceptable. Your argument about "how the class works" seems to be drawn entirely from an elaborate chain of reasoning hinging on the single word "grossly," which is about as subjective and open to personal DM interpretation as it gets.

Things that a DM could sensibly rule as "gross" violations of the code of conduct:
-A bald-faced lie, not just a half-truth or a lie by omission.
-Multiple lies for any reason.
-Acting in a manner outside fully lawful or good alignment, even if not enough to provoke an alignment change.

Of course, a DM could also stretch the meaning of "gross" violations so far that it would have to be an act so extreme as to provoke an alignment change. In that case, however, the code of conduct becomes pointlessly redundant with the lawful good alignment requirement, and I doubt the SRD's intent with the code of conduct was to be a redundant waste of space.

Reptilus
2007-03-31, 06:40 PM
Which category?

I'll try for category C, neither, and see what happens.
There isn't a neither, Whamme. Name an action that doesn't go into the category of "killing" or "not killing."


Because a Good person - A PALADIN - would never CHOOSE category A OR category B.
He has to choose one, by sheet defintion of the situation. Demon and everything aside, if he just sees a baby, he has to either kill it or not kill it. He can't do "neither." If he simply does nothing, that's "not killing it."
This is really not as difficult to understand as you all seem to be finding it.


And depending on what they chose (perhaps to KO rather than kill the kid,
That's category B, not killing.

perhaps the listed suicide,
Still B, not killing.

perhaps asking the child if they were willing to kill themself,
That's B, and good luck getting an infant to answer coherently.


Sorry Reptilus. That was I meant to say. Damn old keyboard and my failure to self review!
In that case, sorry for jumping on you.

Caledonian
2007-03-31, 07:13 PM
What you describe there is a neutral good person. A truly Lawful Good paladin will deviate from neither law nor good.

Wrong. There are no "truly Lawful Good" paladins. There are only Lawful GOOD paladins and LAWFUL Good paladins waiting to fall, because sooner or later a situation will arise where the Law and the Good will conflict.

Neutral Good people don't care about Law and Chaos at all. Paladins care a great deal about Law - but that doesn't mean that they will never break their word, for example, just that they will be loath to do so.

Caledonian
2007-03-31, 07:35 PM
Yet I've quoted the SRD with emphasis on the specific points that support what I'm saying, while you have not.

No, I've just quoted the exact same passages - I've just done a better job comprehending them.


It's a reasonable inference, both from the SRD's heavy emphasis on anti-evil and the PHB's flavor text categorizing the paladin as a champion drawing their powers from forces of good, that paladins might view good as inherently more important than law. Nevertheless, it does not state this anywhere as a universal principle of the paladin class or as a requirement.

Wrong. A single Evil act is sufficient to disbar a paladin from his status. It can be a fairly insignificant act and still induce a Fall. Insignificant violations of Law, by contrast, do not - by the RAW.

The real problem here is that you want the ethical principles to be spelled out explicitly like the game mechanics. The problem is that ethics is too complex a subject to be summed up explicitly in the PHB or DMG, so instead we're given principles and expected to derive the concepts from them.


Strictly by the RAW, an individual paladin could in fact consider their personal integrity and honor somewhat more important in the grand scheme of things than serving the cause of general good, and they would be a fine paladin unless they came in conflict with the code of conduct.

And when their personal integrity and honor required an Evil act to maintain? That would happen, sooner or later - it's a statistical inevitability. It also features quite heavily in some cultures' narrative traditions about heroism: some hero swears never to eat dog meat AND never to refuse hospitality, for example, and then he comes across someone cooking dog meat who offers him some as a guest. Said hero is then screwed, and usually dies horribly.

If a paladin finds that an oath he's made would require an act of Evil, then he breaks his oath - because he cannot be true both to Law and Good, and he must choose Good. This isn't a very good outcome, and would probably require the paladin to make some kind of act of atonement or sacrifice, even if only to reputation, but it's tough being a paladin. Keeping one's word inviolate, but committing Evil? That's a fallen paladin - and one that would have a hard time entering his god's good graces again, depending partly on the severity of the Evil.


A paladin whose general moral and personal attitude allows significant leeway in how their code applies, rather than treating it as an absolute set of principles, obviously satisfies what I quoted earlier: "Someone who is neutral with respect to law and chaos has a normal respect for authority and feels neither a compulsion to obey nor a compulsion to rebel. She is honest but can be tempted into lying or deceiving others."

Precisely. Paladins (if they're doing things correctly) will not be tempted by personal gain or benefit - they will take serious losses of resources and status rather than lie. They will not sacrifice innocents or otherwise cause them to suffer rather than lie. And that is the absolute standard.


Specifically, a neutral good alignment, which paladins are not permitted to have.

No, Neutral Good alignments don't concern themselves with Law or Chaos - they have no preferences along that axis. Paladins DO. This is a very basic aspect of the alignment system which you have totally failed to understand.


Then stop ignoring the critical fact that by the SRD, the code of conduct prohibits paladins from lying and does not ever say that under some circumstances it's acceptable.

If it's not a gross violation, then it is acceptable, according to the RAW. "Unacceptable" means the paladin's god rejects the action, and that involves the partial or complete loss of powers. What constitutes a "gross" violation is left up to the DM to derive - which is of course problematic if said DM has totally failed to understand the nature of alignment in general and the Paladin code specifically.


Your argument about "how the class works" seems to be drawn entirely from an elaborate chain of reasoning hinging on the single word "grossly," which is about as subjective and open to personal DM interpretation as it gets.

Objective, or subjective? Make up your mind. The simple fact is that no being is perfectly aligned along any of the axes. Paladins can have weaknesses; they can fail in their attempts; they can make mistakes; they can violate certain principles. What they cannot do is Evil, not if they are to remain paladins.


-A bald-faced lie, not just a half-truth or a lie by omission.

Half-truths and lies by omission are deceptions. What matters is why the paladin is being deceptive. Trivial and banal reasons are going to annoy the god very quickly. Deceptions to save the lives of innocents? Not so much.


-Acting in a manner outside fully lawful or good alignment, even if not enough to provoke an alignment change.

Congratulations. You've just made it clear that you will not tolerate paladins in your games, because no entity is ever "fully" Lawful or Good.

If that were actually the case, they wouldn't have needed to specify 'gross' violations of the code. Knowingly causing or permitting harm to innocents in order to preserve the purity of one's word and reputation is Evil. Paladins cannot do Evil things, remember? It causes instant loss of paladinhood. Deceiving or lying in order to prevent that harm is acceptable - by the RAW.

Snooder
2007-03-31, 07:50 PM
Neutral Good people don't care about Law and Chaos at all. Paladins care a great deal about Law - but that doesn't mean that they will never break their word, for example, just that they will be loath to do so.

The very fact that a character would ever even consider breaking their word makes him neutral. Just like a character that thought about eating babies would be neutral at best. Even if the babies had already been slain and the character was forced to in order to gain the cooperation of a cannibal tribe, no good character would eat a baby and no lawful character would break his word.

Sure strictly aligning to lawful goodness with no alignment infractions ever makes it very hard for a Paladin not to fall, but that's a problem with the RAW and why even though i love Paladins i so rarely play one.

The reason why characters like Roy get away with being LG is that they aren't paladins. They get the option of occasionally engaging in chaotic actions like lying or deceiving the law but staying mostly LG. A paladin on the hand loses his powers pretty quickly for the same actions.

Anyway, back to the main discussion. It seems as if a lot of the reason people have trouble viewing killing the child as non-evil is because they have a view of good as being nice.
I would stipulate that extreme, fanatic goodness, of which Paladins are the paragons, is instead rather horrible and thus why the act of killing the child, while the LG action is still horrible to contemplate.
For example, the actions of the inquisitors in the Spanish Inquisition, taken at face value, are lawful good. We can all agree on the lawful part, i think so i'll stick to discussing how their actions are good.
We agree, i think that perception and intent is the key in determining the alignment of actions. Thus, if we accept the justifications for the inquisition and ignore what history tells us about the true reasons, we see that the intent of the torturers and witch-burners was to help their fellow men by cleansing their souls and allowing them a chance at heaven, just like a surgeon might cause pain to save a life. By the intent argument then, the inquisitors were committing actions that they saw as good.

I'm not arguing that the inquisitors were right to do what they did, they were not. I am arguing that if we argue only on their stated intent, their actions were LG. Extrapolating from that perhaps it becomes easier to see how slaying the child might fall still clearly under Lawful Goodness.

DISCUSS

Caledonian
2007-03-31, 07:57 PM
The very fact that a character would ever even consider breaking their word makes him neutral.

No. This is factually incorrect. Alignments are not straitjackets. Evil people can do selfless things, and Good people can do selfish things. It's just that there are limits.


Even if the babies had already been slain and the character was forced to in order to gain the cooperation of a cannibal tribe, no good character would eat a baby

Why? Associating with people who would do such a thing would violate the restrictions against Evil for paladins, and few Good people would wish to so associate themselves - but your assertion is simply incorrect.


The reason why characters like Roy get away with being LG is that they aren't paladins. They get the option of occasionally engaging in chaotic actions like lying or deceiving the law but staying mostly LG. A paladin on the hand loses his powers pretty quickly for the same actions.

How exactly do the Lawful Good gods manage to stay Lawful Good?


For example, the actions of the inquisitors in the Spanish Inquisition, taken at face value, are lawful good.

Now that we've established that you've never actually read the descriptions of the alignments, we can proceed appropriately with the discussion: which is to say, to terminate it immediately.

Reptilus
2007-03-31, 08:35 PM
It also features quite heavily in some cultures' narrative traditions about heroism: some hero swears never to eat dog meat AND never to refuse hospitality, for example, and then he comes across someone cooking dog meat who offers him some as a guest. Said hero is then screwed, and usually dies horribly.
You're specifically referring to Chuchulain, who died awesomely.

Tallis
2007-03-31, 08:41 PM
So, you've got 10 seconds. Kill the child, or the child's soul gets consumed and the world suffers 100 years of demonic rule. I'm not putting any third options in the game, and you're the only one there to make the decision.


Haven't read past the first page yet, but I have to say that anyone calling themselves a paladin should definitely kill the child. Paladin is a divine class, by nature they should be more concerned with the soul than the body. By killing the child you save it's soul and thousands of lives. I don't see a dilemma here at all.

Sage in the Playground
2007-03-31, 08:49 PM
So, you've got 10 seconds. Kill the child, or the child's soul gets consumed and the world suffers 100 years of demonic rule. I'm not putting any third options in the game, and you're the only one there to make the decision.


Haven't read pat the first page yet, but I have to say that anyone calling themselves a paladin should definitely kill the child. Paladin is a divine class, by nature they should be more concerned with the soul than the body. By killing the child you save it's soul and thousands of lives. I don't see a dilemma here at all.

From any perspective, the options leave the child dead. Just one leaves the child deader than the other. At least you get an after life, and a shot at resserection if you've got a soul, right?

Clementx
2007-03-31, 09:18 PM
Woo, at least we are so off-topic that the discussion interests me again!

Paladins can lie.

A paladin who ceases to be lawful good, who willfully commits an evil act, or who grossly violates the code of conduct loses all paladin spells and abilities
By the SRD, you have to grossly violate your code to fall. Since lying is not by definition an evil act (which does carry the penalty of immediate fall) and is instead addressed in the code, the paladin can bend it. I would call that putting Good over Lawful.

Grossly violating your code. Remember those words? A paladin can lie, but he can't be a liar. He can lie, but he can't make a habit of it. He can lie, but he can't make humongous claims for no reason except his own betterment. He can lie to a merchant on the street, but he can't lie to a high-priest of his order after swearing an oath on his very soul.

I actually like Law vs Chaos. It is so much easier.

Snooder
2007-03-31, 11:18 PM
No. This is factually incorrect. Alignments are not straitjackets. Evil people can do selfless things, and Good people can do selfish things. It's just that there are limits.


Yes, there are limits. However, breaking your word would be one of them. My point with the baby eating is that breaking your word can be considered as chaotic as eating a baby would be evil.

The problem with the Paladin's Code is how vague "grossly" is. You can view grossly as requiring repeated, constant infractions of the code. Other's however, would view it as a.) a infraction where there is another option available and b.) anything stronger/worse than lying by omission and other borderline dishonorable actions. Logically it would dictate that absent a stated DM ruling a Paladin would do best by adhering to the strictest interpretation possible. Especially since as has been stated earlier, the loose interpretation amounts to nothing more that a restatement of the LG alignment, suggesting that the strict interpretation is what is implied.


Btw please actually read the Spanish Inquistion thing and read it i'd like to hear your opinion.

EvilElitest
2007-03-31, 11:42 PM
[Scrubbed]

[Scrubbed]


Let's see...just for fun on this one...put a load of children aboard a small airplane. Strap a bomb to one, attached beyond the ability of anyone onboard to remove without killing the kid-- metal harness, say, where you'd have to dismember him to get it off. The bomb is sufficiently powerful that it will entirely destroy the airplane if it detonates on it, no there are no bomb experts, etc. The kid with the bomb is profoundly resistant to the notion of jumping out on his own.
Where's the good solution?

Edit: You're at 5,000 feet, and the bomb goes off in 20 seconds.
Try to remove the bomb anyways withen thos 20 seconds. I don't belive in murder, our lives aren't worth any more than his.


However, there are innocent children that will be harmed by the release of the demon as well.

You're merely favouring the innocent life you can see over the thousands that don't happen to be in your line of sight. By letting the demon out, innocents do come to harm, and "Good characters protect innocent life." You failed in that duty by choosing to let the demon free
you still doing it for profit as you are forcing your views on the child at the cost of its life, not even the LG views, just your views


Those of you saying, "I do something else" are unaware of the meaning of, "dilemma". You have to choose one (woo for the new Robin Hood and a infuriatingly evil Sheriff for that paraphrase). The constraints of the situation limit you to two choices, and no matter how many loopholes you try to create, you are just avoiding the philosophical question, not refuting it.
This is an argument on the morality of a paladin in such a situation, and that is impossible within such a vauge situation


What makes it acceptable to a paladin is the cost of inaction. That cost counteracts the murder, to the point that a sensible DM would not call it evil and force a paladin to fall. Paladins are allowed to perform neutral acts, you know. And before anyone talks about the inherent evil of murder (which has to be independent of innocence or guilt to be inherent, or else you are allowing circumstance a hold, and therefore our argument stands), you have to deal with the fact that paladins have to kill sentient beings while adventuring. So DnD morality must allow it, or paladins have to be real-life saints, and I don't remember Mother Teresa going on a crusade...
1. The paladin is looking for another way, not inaction.
2. It is the lesser of two evils and so it is not acceptable. The paladin might think so, but he will not be a paladin for long
3. D&D morality allows killing of those who hurt others. THe baby did not do so.


The child with the bomb on him dies in both cases, and so nothing I can do can save him: i will feel no regret for him dying: i am not responsible for the bomb. Since I can save the other children, I must save them. If I have to die to save the many, I will, and I will feel no regret because one child cannot be saved. I did not make the bomb.

Tragic? Absolutely. Did I do evil? No, because... well, that gets into religion.
But by D&D terms did you do evil? Or Mr. Kings terms at that.


Okay, then you don't think my group had done evil when they discovered the dead people in the stone blocks? Good. We're golden then.
No, i think you DID evil but you are not evil. That is a situation where you keep you aligments but you are closer to evil. If you did it again, yes your evil. The paladin is still better than you because he is simple hitting a dummy. You are in teh Freaky EE temple. You should expect to look around. Not doing so is stupid and not orginized but not evil. If you had a paladin then you would most likely need to rez them or somthing but not atone.
As for being golden, no. World is not black and white. Just because you are not evil does not mean that you are a saint. You did evil and if you want to keep your aligment you ought to do something good pretty soon


Wow, you are the master of "not getting the point", aren't you? I have a soul and I don't want to do evil, but I want to do good. That, inthe end, is what the Paladin's Dilemma is all about
And you a master of making irrelvant points and thinking on a simple basis. In real life we don't have paladins or aligment, so you real life situations can only work if you use D&D aligment systems.


He didn't railroad you at all. In every decision, there is a binary choice; you make make a decision, or you may not make one. The latter, of course, is making a decision in its own way. Similarly, in any situation, there are only two things you can do.
Do something, or not do something.
You can do those two thing in an infinite number of ways. You can kill the child with painless poison, or you can torture it to death. You can not kill the child and fight the demon or not kill the child and bow to serve the demon.
Wait, so giving the players ONLY two choices (binary choice) and not allowing any thing options is not reailroading? Right.............
Look you do or not do somthing is far to simple
I can eat a lobster
I can not eat a lobster
But i don't have a lobster, so i can't eat one. I am writing this reply. But if you describe my action, i am "Writing" nor "Not eating Lobster"
If my friend came over and offered me a lobster, then if i eat it i am
"eating the lobster"
If i refuse then i am
"Not eating the lobster"
I can give the lobster to my sister
"Giving the lobster away"
I can keep it for later
"Saving the lobster"
I can light my self on fire
"Commiting sucied"



Did you see the part where I stated that acting as though your opinions were facts was a logic fallacy and just choose to ignore it, or simply not bother to read that far. Your standards of what is "good" may not be the same as mine. Your definition of "good" is not absolute and correct. You do not believe I am justified.
In real life, no i don't belive you are justified. But that is irelvant. We are talking about in D&D morals, and those are absolute. You don't like that, change it in your own game. You want to argue real morals, go to a different thread


But sitting idly by and watching it meet a much, much worse fate you could've saved it from by killing it isn't?

But i am not, i am trying to find another way. Just standing their would be ideal yes. But i would not do that, i would try to find something else to solve the problem.
And if i kill the baby, then i fall. I failed to find another way, i must has done something wrong to get into this situation. I atone.



Then a murderer who has yet to strike the killing blow is an innocent, and you may not kill them to stop them even if you are aware of what they are about to do, seconds from now, to protect the innocent person they're about to kill.
Yes then have done something they are attacking the victom. I then can block the hit, hit him, take the hit ect. The guy walking next to me is innocent. The mayor from a town i've never been two. The guy who most likely commited the crime is still innocent until we can find proof


Okay, there are two men, Adam and Brian. Both of them are totally innocent. They have never done anything wrong in their lives. Then, Adam decides he's going to kill Brian because Brian has green eyes. Your paladin, who knows both Adam and Brian and knows Brian has done nothing to harm Adam, sees Adam lift a knife and begin to stab it down towards Brian. He hasn't yet struck Brian, and thus hasn't commited an evil act. Therefore, if you step in and kill Adam, who is about to murder Brian, to save Brian's life, you have killed an innocent under your definition.
Somehow, I don't believe one loses paladin status for killing a murderer in time to protect his victim.
You don't catch on? He has commited an evil act, because ATTEMPTE MURDER is evil. He drew a knife and attacked Brian. Now as a paldin i ought to assume that their is a reason for it, and so i knoch Adam out. I then wake him up, take away their weapons and find out what is going on. When Adam admits to attacking him for having green eyes, i say 'Ok you a F***ing phyco, you go to jail now" and take him to jail. Attacking is still evil.


Good isn't exactly an objective term, either. If you'd prefer to use that, we can. It's not about falling/not falling.
Hey guess what. Every thread has a title. This title is what the argument is about. These titles are what the relvence of the argument is surrpose to relate to. So if the title is "Paladins and morality" then i surrpose we are talking about paladins. If in your games you don't use the aligment system, good for you. But start your own thread for that.


If the Paladin's code under which a Paladin is operating dictates he must follow the law of the nation, then he would fall if he chose not to kill the innocents. Maybe the Paladin's code you use does not dictate that a Paladin must follow the laws of the nation, but that doesn't mean no Paladin's code does.
No the paladin's code means he must act in a lawful manner and act in an honor able manner. So he must follow a law he thinks is LG. But if a paladin goes into a land where the lords of hell are whorshiped openly, then no he does not need to abide by those laws


I explained, quite clearly, in my post that the code under which this specific paladin is bound does dictate that he must follow all laws of the community.
Good for you. This one i don't even need to explain it to counter it. You wrong. The paladin's code does not say anything about following every law they here.


If you don't kill the baby, 400 million people die after slavery and torture. If you kill the baby, one person dies. Those are the choices. You can choose to kill the baby or not kill it in any way you want, but that is what will happen. The demon is too powerful to fight once he comes into being.
But as a good person, i would not limit my self to two options if innocent lives, even one innocent life depend on it.


The debate isn't strictly within D&D terms, though. That has been clearly stated in numerous posts. This is about morality as it relates to a Paladin's code. Ignoring rulebooks and arguments of railroading, which choice is more moral. It is not that hard a concept to grasp. There are two choices. Which is the more moral road to take. Nevermind if you were railroaded here or not, nevermind whatever way you can wiggle out of it with the rules, which way is better?
Yet again, if you want to argue real life morals, good for you. Find your own thread.


Very well. You have chosen not to choose. You sit there, doing nothing, while the infant's soul is torn apart, then the demon destroys everything you hold dear, painfully and brutally, right before your eyes.
"Neither" wasn't really a good choice, was it?
Well by you standards no, but you chose you out come. But when i said nether, do i do nothing? No i simple said nether. Hence i don't do ether out come. I find another way. Maybe according to you it fails. Maybe i remember that if a certain rune is broken, my life will be lost but the babies will be saved. I do that. Hooray, good option.

You kill the child, or you do not kill the child. There is no third choice. Name one. It will either involve killing the child or not killing it. There is no way around that.
Maybe in your own little super controled fantasy world, but in any situation that is not god controld, aka the DM is not forcing me to have only two options their is no such thing as a binary choice.


Bingo.
Then where the hell are they now? Or if he can kill gods, why does he even need a sacerfice. Or why am i not dead, i am weaker then a god. If the universe is at stake, then where the hell are my gods?


You are the most dutiful Paladin of your God. Your God was able to see the plan, though he personally could not stop it. He saw that the demon would come in the form of an infant, and if the infant were to be slain before he came, all could be averted. You were the only one who was told, for the sake of secrecy. That seems like a pretty reasonable expectation to me.
What, let me get this straight. My GOD, as in super powerful creature, knew this guy was going to summoned. In stead of getting a massive number of priests paladins and fighters from all of the churchs together to fight this guy, he sends one guy. So instead of getting next to everyone in the world (all of his people, of of the other gods people, all devil worshipers, all people who don't want to be enslaved, all people who hate demons) out to stop it, he sends one guy. Right.......................
And instead of you know, doing something he lets me hanging. Why doesn't he you know, send an angle or somthing to cast protection from evil? Why doesn't he give me an extra spell? WHy doesn't his avater show up? Why doesn't he send divine intervention?


You have the whole situation in those three steps. If it more important to you that you don't break your oath, and face all of the damnation wrought upon you for breaking that oath, or is the fate of the world more important.
It's up to you. Will you choose to fall from grace and save the world, or watch the world die around you, but keep fast to your Paladin's oath.
Wait, you just did somthing no body else did. Let me quote it.

fall from grace
ok right their. I am agueing that if a paladin had to kill the baby, he would fall. That is why we have a paladin doing this and not a LG fighter.


Then there you have your answer. In the situation, you would take the bullet, if there was no other way out. That's the goal here; if there was no other way, just for the sake of saying there wasn't, which would you do? Save our own life or someone else's?
[Shrug] Sure. I've answered a question. You feel good now?

The binary choices aren't meant to be realistic or examples of a D&D game as much as they are meant to be a scenario to give names and faces to the question I asked above; "Someone else's life or your own" becomes a much harder question when someone else has a name and a face and your own life has the much more definitive end of a gunshot wound to the head
Good for you. But lets not forget that this argument is in a D&D context.

You can move. It just won't really do any good unless you can dodge a bullet. Which, in this scenario, you can't. You're just a mortal human.
Unless he is a poor shot. I would guess so considering i'm still alive and he chose to hold a hostage rather than shoot us both. So if he misses, hey sweet. If he is a dead eys shot, then yes i'm dead, but why didn't he shoot us both?


See, you've made the decision. You'd rather risk death than kill your friend. That's what the idea is.
Yes i did. But this is not in D&D context and so it is irrelvant.

To be fair, the situation really isn't all that unrealistic. The paladin one is kinda ridiculous, but this one has probably happened numerous times in the past with kids in warzones.
Almost. Situations where the marine in question only "Thought" their were only two options. Other existed but he didn't think about it.

Hey, I never said that. I think moral codes are something to be thrown aside. I don't need someone else to write me a numbered list of good and evil. I'll figure it out for myself.
I think your arguing in a real life context. I'd love to do that, but quite frankly you started responding to thing is said on this thread in a D&D context. If you start your own thread, make it relevant to gaming and bring up the same situation i will argue in a differnt manner or for different reason. This thread is relvent to what i would expect of paladins, not what i would do. I am not a paldin, even if the option to be one existed.

My apologies, I misunderstood. I thought you meant "duck under the bullet" after it was fired, not "duck and hope it misses." So that makes a lot more sense.
np. I may be fast, but i am not from the Matrix :smallwink:

Nihilism, eh? Fair enough. Individuals still have morals in the real world, though, even if they are just codes, and the question is to see which one's you'd follow.
And nihilism is a very interesting code, but can't logically exist in its truest form in a D&D context


Interesting. The good of the many over the good of the few is often seen as a good ideal, but in your mind, it's a neutral ideal. Is the good of everyone a good ideal, then? That's sometimes impossible to acheive, though; try ending WWII without hurting any Nazis and without them hurting any more Jews/Gypies/Homosexuals/Freemasons. Is this sort of Don Quixote impossible dream what Paladins are, in your mind?
If so, that's pretty cool. I've never seen one played with that high a morality standard.
About the real life reference, that is a bit like Ghandi's ideal.
Anyways, i view good, neutral and evil as three different camps. These camps are divied by law and chaos, but the prinisble is still there
A LG person is not "RIGHT" or "Better" than a CE one. Whether good is right is a matter of option. But a LG person will be more Good than a LN person. If I had to have an aligment I would be LN. i don't think i would be good. But does that make me a worst human being than the good guys? Debatable.

No, I put the / in the equals sign to try and show the mathematical "Does not equal" symbol. I meant that Failure is not the same as bad morality. Sorry it was confusing.
np. Failure to uphold your duty while still saying you do is evil. Failure in general is not.

I denied the urge to make a really bad pun about Egypt right here, if that counts.
Fair enough

Nonetheless, there were two choices, Drink or Don't Drink, and you didn't drink. Therefore, you made a choice.
Ok i didn't drink, but i did something else. When i drank the potions, i didn't not drink the potion. I didn't eat a sanwitch. I didn't drink my potions of protection from fire. I didn't clap my hands. You can't judge by what I didn't do, but by what i did do. If i did literly nothing but fall, then yes i didn't drink the potion. Maybe i have a guilty concense for killing the kid. But if i do somthing else i did somthing else

This isn't black and white. Both choices are grey. It's which shade of grey you're more comfortable with. Choosing neither is the same as choosing not to kill the child, by the way.
In real life both morals are grey. In D&D good and evil are not relative

Nor are you, thought you claimed I didn't have justification earlier. It's just opinion. I believe one thing on this matter, you another. I'm sorry if mine came across as a statement of fact.
np. In real life, any moral thing you say to me is a statment of fact. But any phyical thing is not. If you say to me for example
"I think that eating pork is inmoral"
And i say
"I think not eating pork is inmoral"
Nether of us is right or wrong.
But if I say
"paladins can do what ever they want"
And you say they can't based on their code, then you are right

Untrue. If the character chooses death, then why are they still alive? Are they too afraid to death to embrace it though they wish to? Are the determined to die by someone else's hand instead of their own and so cannot die until they have found a superior blade? Are they a god who is unable to die but has grown weary of the pain he watches on all the worlds in the cosmos day after day?
There's a whole lot to roleplay from, there
But their is no context. None at all. You know nothing at all, expect Die/Don't die. nothing else.


See, that's the moral question, and you answered it. I still don't know how I feel on the subject. It's a difficult question, depending on how much she is really hurting people; is she commiting a more passive form of murder by starving her tenants to death
But she is still following the law. I would call her evil. But i would not call her worthy of my paladin smiting skills unless she breaks the law.


Yes, but within that gaming board, we are arguing the morality decisions of a specific class in a specific situation you keep trying to get out of. There are two questions: 1) If there is no good choice to make, and the paladin chooses the lesser of two evils, which is still an evil, should he lose his status? (You said yes.) and 2) Which of the two given choices is the lesser of two evils, for a paladin.
Just because it's in the gaming board doesn't mean it's about rules. It's about the game, which is a role-playing game. That means it's a story and an excercize in characterization, in addition to a collection of mathematical rules. This is a question about the characterization and storytelling.
Ok, i think i found a compermise. I think we are at an impass. I don't know what game you play. I play D&D. This thread is arguing D&D morals. If you want to agrue a different set of morals, such as lack their of start you own thread, PM me, or find a new board. But withen a D&D context is where these morals are being argued.

Okay, well, let's assume that we're using Rich's alternate rules for that as a houserule. The situation may be D&D, but it doesn't have to be RAW. What then?
How not RAW is it? Is it exactly the same except we are using Rich rules, or do i get the power to stop time?

My point was you're trying to make your own rules other than those set out and get out of the situation too easily.
No offense, but as a player i get some rights to choose my actions, and when they are limited to two that is railroading'

I'll give you this one. I never was much for lawful alignments, so I forget that Absolute thing. You're right, here.
thank you

So, you're stupid so you're doomed to do evil? Can't agree with that.
If you are stupid and nobody smarter is their to guide you, most likely. Look at Thog.

Yeah, I generally cheat on that-- they have to be Lawful Good, but the code comes purely from the deity. If the deity says go kill the heathen, then heathen had darn well better be slain by the truckload.
Then again, I tend to have them as antagonists rather than players. They make such great antagonists.
Sure. But that means that moral are vastly differnt withen your world than RAW. And yes they do make great antagonist. I use Grey Guards for that.


That is only true if you believe your god mislead you, according to the original dilemma. The basic premise states that you have done all the homework and you know how the ritual works with absolute certainty. You know both outcomes with no doubts. You know both cups and the pea of tragedy is in both.

Laughing and walking away is abandoning responsiblity for making the decision. Your god put you there for a reason, and you are turning your back on that choice because both options are distasteful.

At least choosing to not to kill a child is making a choice. Gods don't like fence-sitters.
No because the God didn't present the situation. The demon did


Wow... you really haven't read this thread have you. Go back and start at page one, please. You missed a few fundamental realities somewhere. Like the complete lack of quotes from the PHB? You might want to consider that you overlooked something from the start.
Stop whining. You are following an "Ends justifies the means" manner of thinking. That would be stricly LN at best. Maybe not in your games, but we are not talking about your games are we?
Sorry, but your indignation is just way out of place

I didn't say that. The demon was defined as undefeatable. Perhaps he could not stay more than 100 years less a day. That number tends to come up every so often when dealing with demons. You're basing your decision on a hunch, instead of the information given.
Then how do i have a chance to begin with?

The paladin (and his player) have 6 seconds to decide. You've had hours more, and you still can't find it. Relying on hunches and avoiding the decision resolve to the same result as "not killing the child", so you're still stuck with the Binary options.
Who says i've had hours more? I've made my decision the moment i saw this argument on a different thread.

I'm going to prove they do exist by puting you and Stephen into a binary situtation right now. I'll say something about the both of you.


You both drink the same kind of beer.
Now that you have read this far, you have 2 choices and 2 choices only..
A. Reply to this post
B. Not reply to this post.

Now the manner in which you carry out this choice has infinite possibilities.
A. reply to the post while watching porn
B. reply to the post while eating a sandwich
C. reply to the post while tap dancing
D. reply to the post while talking on the phone
E. not reply to this post and go play basketball
F. not reply to this post and go watch TV
G. not reply to this post and go play PS3
H. not reply to this post and call a friend to go drink beer.
1. I don't drink beer
2.i don't have TV
3. I don't watch porn
Anyways just to put that out their, not replying is not an action. If i didn't reply and then i played the PS3 then i am playing hte PS3, not "Not replying to the post"

I'll stop now, or I'll start approaching EvilElitest in post length (seriously, man, try to summarise. You're making me go TLDR even though I mostly agree with you)
Wait what? What did i do? I've agreed with most of your posts. Mind PMing me to explain. And what is TLDR?

Stephen, you're wrong. This thread started in another forum that had nothing to do with DnD. It began as a discussion of good and evil. I know because I was there and you were not. You are the latecomer here, not me. I'm not letting you retcon an entire discussion yoou never participated in.

I'm not going to apologize or clarify because of your misunderstanding. This never was about PHB-based good and evil.
Dude i was on that thread. Yes, it was. It was
"Did Miko Commite and evil act?"
Sense you said she did not, and it was also following D&D rules, that means ether your are mistaken or lying.


And this is why we do not allow those with emotional attachment to participate in someone's trial as judge, jury, or legal representative. The parents aren't going to understand since they are not capable of impartial judgement.
But our justice system is not LG, it is LN

Your gods are busy elsewhere, which is why they made you their mortal champion, and gave you all of those nifty powers.
But the demon guy is going to take over the world. WHat is more important?

I'm sorry Stephen E, i know you don't like reading my style of posts.
from,
EE

Stephen_E
2007-04-01, 12:00 AM
Thanks Stephen...point proven..you chose to reply.
Although that was by far the dumbest thing you could have chose to say...it was still a reply.

I'm not trying to con anyone, and I'm certainly not a liar. If you choose to see it that way though that's your choice, and I'm free to say you are a moron to think things don't exist just because you say so.

Slokkva, I find it interesting that you assumed my post was a responce tp a particular post of yours despite it having no quotes. Gee, I wonder if that might be linked to it been a correct interpretation of your post.

You asked Evil Elitiest <sp> and I if we'd stopped beating our wifes. I asked you the same question back.

In case you're not aware of it the apparent question "Have you stopped beating your Wife?" is a classic example of the fake question (there is a actual term for such "questions", but I can't recall it at the moment). It pretends to a binary situation, you've either stopped beating your wife, or you're still beating your wife, and there is no other choice in the way the question is framed. Either way you're a wifebeater.

Of course it's really just wordplay and in fact you have probablynever beaten your wife and may not even be married. In the same way you and others in this thread have consistently tried to claim a binary choice situation by claiming a number of different choices are "One" choice, and another choice or bunch of choices are "one" choice, so you only have two.

Effectively you're saying there are only to colours in existance, and they're black or white, which do you want to wear. I say "Purple" and you respond "so you're choosing black". Maybe you're not lying when you say Purple is Black, maybe you're just colourblind, but frankly your posts seem to consistently recognise differentiation between the various colour, you just insist that despite been different they still all black or white. I guess even completely colourblind can still pick up some difference. If you are choice colourblind I'll just have to ask you to accept that to many of us, what you see as different shades of black and white, are to us completely different colours.

Re: Lies. Lies aren't necessarily bad. I've got some 170m of shelving mostly filled with written lies which I spent a great deal of money acquiring.

Kreistor: - My understanding is that this thread started from an OotS discussion. Since OotS is a comic based on 3.5 DnD, it is a DnD discussion (which might be why it got shifted here)

Stephen

EvilElitest
2007-04-01, 12:06 AM
Stephen E has a point. He asks me "Have you stoped beating your wife"
If my options are yes or no, then that makes no sense
I don't have a wife.
I don't hit women
So how can i beat my wife if i am not married.
from,
EE
Edit:
Why did our ranks chance?

Tokiko Mima
2007-04-01, 12:54 AM
At issue here is the simplified framework of D&D's Good/Evil vs. real world concepts of good and evil.

I think the RAW were designed so that the battle lines could be drawn clearly. In D&D it's always Evil to murder an innocent person. It's always Good to kill Evil creatures. It's very black and white (and Neutral.)

This is so players don't have to worry about entering a dungeon and killing the inhabitants within and situations that would be morally shaky otherwise. Sure, the evil Orcs might have been raiding villages, but maybe the Goblins they have an alliance with never participated in the raids? In D&D you don't have to worry about that because they're Evil creatures.

When you compare the system to real life it doesn't work as well. There aren't any truly innocent people out there, and even the most perverse villain has good aspects. There's less of a clear cut good/evil dynamic, and everything can be argued one way or another depending on perspective.

Again, according to RAW, killing an innocent being is Evil. It doesn't matter if you do it by accident or with malice aforthought, it's still Evil. According to RAW Paladins fall when they commit a 'willing' Evil act. So no amount of "the world had to be saved!" dilemna's prevents a paladin from falling when he willingly kills an innocent. Circumstances play a role in the atonement phase, not in the Fall.

Interestingly enough, if the Paladin had no choice at all then the Paladin would not fall for killing an innocent. e.g. if the Paladin was dominated or physically forced into slaying the innocent. Because then it would still be an Evil act, just not the 'willing' one required by RAW.

Stephen_E
2007-04-01, 01:02 AM
Not entirely true, especially in the military. Your response is often limited to "shoot or don't shoot". Lives depend on your decision -- the lives of your enemy, your comrades, innocent locals in the region of battle, innocent enemy civilians, and innocent allied civilians.

The very first decision, do I go to war or do I not go to war, itself is a Binary moral dilemma. If not going to war means the genocide of an entire race, then have you not failed to protect innocent life? But going to war also means that you may accidentally kill innocent life, too.

At each stage during the war, you are going to have to decide other things. Do I allow myself to work for a company that supports the war? Do I order these 5000 men into a 70% casualty situation so that those 50000 decrease their casualty rate from 30% to 20%? (Eisenhower's D-Day dilemma.)

But it doesn't even have to be that grandiose.

Do I lay off 35% of the compant now so that the other 65% can have a job for the next 2 years instead of all 100% only going on for 1 year? My own employers faced that dilemma. (We survived 4 years instead of 2.) If you think they didn't agonize and have feelings of guilt over that choice, you'd be woefully wrong.

We make Binary choices every day, with different levels of morality attached to them. The Paladin's Dilemma is an extreme, to make the debate easier to internalize, but it extends beyond such grandiose situations, if you can recognize the parallels.

No you don't make binary choices every day. What you do is have a quick, or not so quick, sort to short list the choices you most like, and then you choose one of these. Now if that shortlist consists of only two choice you might claim it was a binary choice, but that's only because you're ignoring a pile of choices you didn't take.

Soldiers aren't faced with binary choices, but humans handle simple choices much faster than more complex choices, and given that in combat you can be talking about short reaction times, so they're trained to ignore or not see many of their choices (it should also be noted that been a soldier is about following orders, so "making choices" isn't exactly encouraged beyond a very small selection. Basically military training to a fair degree involves training soldiers to not see choices that the military doesn't want you making.)

Saying choosing to go to war is a binary choice is simply a matter of been fooled by political flimflam. Take Iran/Nuclear technology - The choice isn't war/no war, it War/Sanctions/nothing, but it isn't even that, there are in fact numerous different levels of military action, numerous different levels of sanctions, and even different levels of "doing nothing". Giving something a binary choice appearance can be used to aid good decision making, but it can also be used to trick/reailroad people into making a choice that is favoured by a person or persons, regardless of the actual quality of that choice within all the actual choices available (as I beleive this thread has attempted and many politicians attempt).

In the case of your company it wasn't two choices, dismiss 35% or 100%. These were two of a whole range of options, and those two made the shortlist.

I saw a study a little while back that found that humans basically have trouble picking a choice when they're looking at large numbers of choices. Basically they found that if they had people sort by short lists, or sequences of short lists, until they only had a few selections, they genereally picked superior choices over people trying to pick a choice straight from the orginal group. It was simply a matter of how the brain processed data. The point is that those multitude of choices still existed. Because we process data on a semibinary level doesn't mean the choices are actually binary. A computer processes everything at a binary level, but that doesn't mean problems you plug into a computer have only two choices.

Evil Elitist <sp> Your post was long, but you were answering a heap of posts, and you broke the quotes into reasonable chunks. I read the entire way through, and liked it (and in general you haven't been the worst in this thread by a long way)

Stephen

Kreistor
2007-04-01, 03:40 AM
Soldiers aren't faced with binary choices

Eisenhower's D-Day dilemma wasn't necessarily Binary, but, in the end, it was a no-win dilemma. It has a spectrum of choices related to how many paratroopers are you willing to sacrifice to ensure that the landing succeeds, knowing that they will themselves take a greater punishment due to the danger of their task. There's a broad array of choices of how many paratroops you can send, bracketed by two extremes: none and all. That is still a Dilemma, despite being non-Binary. And let's remember: every day he delays means one more day in which Russian soldiers die in larger numbers because you haven't opened a second front to pull defenders out of the Eastern front. So, you have to factor in delays that lower your own casualties cost other men their lives. To reduce casualties overall, the war must end as quickly as possible.

Of course, he could also have abandoned the job entirely, but he was chosen as the best man for the job by both Britain and the US. Abandoning the post to a lesser soldier would result in worse decisions and more men's deaths than if Ike developed the battle plans. So he couldn't even run from the Dilemma wihtout costing innocent men their lives. And consider that he was aware of the Camps in 1943. They didn't know the scale of those horrific places, but they knew that innocent men died daily. Causing the attack to delay a month to find a new commander placed those lives on Ike's hands.

I don't limit such Dilemmas to only two choices. I'm not tied to the word binary. You can have four, twenty, or three hundred choices. The Dilemma arises from every option having a classically evil outcome, when viewed as individual solutions. When viewed as a whole, it appears no-win -- every option kills an innocent or otherwise causes something commonly considered as evil to be done.

That's why the Dilemma is a morality problem. It simplifies the entire issue of the lesser evil question to a simple playing field.


I saw a study a little while back that found that humans basically have trouble picking a choice when they're looking at large numbers of choices. Basically they found that if they had people sort by short lists, or sequences of short lists, until they only had a few selections, they genereally picked superior choices over people trying to pick a choice straight from the orginal group.

I recommend the Kepner-Tregoe Problem Solving and Decision Making course for such things. It's been around since the 50's and has a proven track record.

Kepner-Tregoe (http://www.kepner-tregoe.com/AboutKT/AboutKT-History.cfm)

The knowledge that people have problems making decisions is hardly new.


Because we process data on a semibinary level doesn't mean the choices are actually binary.

However, most of those choices have obvious results that do not achieve the goal and may be discarded out of hand.

For an option to exist, it must have not only a different action but a different end result from the other options. Two choices that have the same results don't matter at the end analysis, because you can't distinguish them afterwards. So, yeah, lots of choices, but since the results are often similar, the options are much more limited than the choices.

When a company is deciding where to build a new facility, yeah, they have lots of options. But when a citizen is looking at a burning building with children on the second floor, the citizen may have lots of choices, but since the results are limited to 1) the children are saved and 2) the children die, there are only two options no matter how many choices of action you could make.


Saying choosing to go to war is a binary choice is simply a matter of been fooled by political flimflam. Take Iran/Nuclear technology - The choice isn't war/no war, it War/Sanctions/nothing, but it isn't even that, there are in fact numerous different levels of military action, numerous different levels of sanctions, and even different levels of "doing nothing".

Wrong level of thinking. I was talking about the indivdual man in the US, Canda, and Britain when war was declared by their own country, not the presidential level of whether to take a country to war. A man, in 1939 Canada, had a choice: volunteer or don't volunteer. That's the binary choice I refered to with going to War.

Pocket lint
2007-04-01, 04:20 AM
EvilElitest: TLDR means "too long, didn't read". Your last post was pretty ok, but I've scrolled past some previous posts. :smalleek:


I saw a study a little while back that found that humans basically have trouble picking a choice when they're looking at large numbers of choices. Basically they found that if they had people sort by short lists, or sequences of short lists, until they only had a few selections, they genereally picked superior choices over people trying to pick a choice straight from the orginal group. It was simply a matter of how the brain processed data. The point is that those multitude of choices still existed. Because we process data on a semibinary level doesn't mean the choices are actually binary. A computer processes everything at a binary level, but that doesn't mean problems you plug into a computer have only two choices.
Which is why having a code is actually helpful - it lets you quickly discard a whole bunch of choices without having to analyse them all that much. Killing the kid - code says no, so it's out. No deep analysis involved, it's just Not In The List on a subconscious level. Doing nothing - technically allowed, but you don't like the results. So go looking for a third option.

People have talked about lying as Evil. I'd say not - it's chaotic (unless you have a personal code which *requires* lying under the circumstances at hand, which I doubt). I'd rule it (and play it) like the paladin was "under oath" at all times.

* Given an outright false answer: No. This counts as a gross violation.
* Given a literally truthful but misleading answer: OK. Paladin is being sneaky.
* Giving a deceptive answer that will put someone in harm's way: No.
* Lying by omission: Usually allowed, but you're not permitted to give an answer, say, about the contents of a room and "forgetting" to mention the ancient black dragon in there.
* Giving a true but hurtful answer: Allowed under this rule, but the paladin is expected to be more sensitive about such things. There's a reason why diplomacy is a class skill for paladins...

So you can be deceptive and omit knowledge or secrets that you have. You can always refuse to answer, or go "you have to find out for yourself" if you want to be sneaky.

I would say that Eddard Stark from The Song of Ice and Fire is a pretty good example of how to play a paladin. Honourable to a fault, looking out for his fellows, uncompromising even when doing so would be better? Sounds like a paladin to me. And his fate shows why a paladin might not always be the best person for a job.

Caledonian
2007-04-01, 07:59 AM
* Given an outright false answer: No. This counts as a gross violation.

Even if the truth would lead to Evil?


* Given a literally truthful but misleading answer: OK. Paladin is being sneaky.

Being "under oath" requires telling the whole truth. Telling part of the truth is deception, which involves the intention to mislead, and thus is as bad as telling a straight lie - which isn't necessarily bad.

Paladins hold themselves to Lawfulness and Goodness more than virtually anyone else with the Lawful Good alignment, except perhaps clerics.

Caledonian
2007-04-01, 08:05 AM
I think the RAW were designed so that the battle lines could be drawn clearly. In D&D it's always Evil to murder an innocent person. It's always Good to kill Evil creatures. It's very black and white (and Neutral.)

Could you point out where in the rules it says that it's Good to kill Evil creatures?

Pocket lint
2007-04-01, 10:08 AM
Even if the truth would lead to Evil?
Then simply don't answer.

Being "under oath" requires telling the whole truth. Telling part of the truth is deception, which involves the intention to mislead, and thus is as bad as telling a straight lie - which isn't necessarily bad.
Well, that version quite frankly is impossible to live by. You'd have a paladin breaking his oath left, right and center as soon as he had a secret to keep. When the BBEG asks where his victims have fled, he'd have to answer truthfully. And woe to him who asks him to keep some information to himself.

Granted, I don't interest myself in the whole courtroom BS, so I didn't think of that part of being under oath. What I meant was that if you later take what a paladin said, and what the truth was, you'd always find that he spoke the literal truth. Possibly not all of it, possibly didn't present it in a way that helped make sense of it, but what he said was true.

Which is not to say that a paladin can't be deceptive in other ways.

Evil Guard: Who are these people? (escaped slaves)
Paladin: They serve lord X. (well, technically they still do) I've been assigned to escort them. (but not by lord X)

Caledonian
2007-04-01, 10:11 AM
Then simply don't answer.

And if not-answering leads to Evil?


Granted, I don't interest myself in the whole courtroom BS, so I didn't think of that part of being under oath. What I meant was that if you later take what a paladin said, and what the truth was, you'd always find that he spoke the literal truth. Possibly not all of it, possibly didn't present it in a way that helped make sense of it, but what he said was true.

No - most of the time the paladin's statements would be both true and complete.


Which is not to say that a paladin can't be deceptive in other ways.

Can't be? Of course not. Frequently, and without very good justification? Nope.

Slokkva
2007-04-01, 10:31 AM
I consider it a reply because the beginning of the post says Slokkva, and you had no reason for talking to me personally without a reason...and I determine that reason to be because I talked to you in my last post, you talking back is a reply....just because you didn't quote me doesn't mean you aren't replying.

And just to be clear, I didn't ask you and EE if you stopped beating your wife...
I didn't even ask a question at all, I made a general statment about the two of you.

You are correct...Asking me if I have stopped beating my wife does not create a binary, there are many options to that particular question.

I'm not claiming that every situtation is a binary situation, I'm just saying they do exist...and it has absolutely nothing to do with color...I know there are millions of colors....but by binary I mean on/off, yes/no, left/right, up/down, high/low, forward/backward, things you can't possibly do both of at the same time.

And before you say yes/no?? there is always maybe...then look at it this way...saying maybe means you are not ready to answer the yes/no so it is a third option at this point in time, but eventually you will have to make the yes/no choice.

example. friend calls you up at 6pm asked if you want to go to the club at 8pm, you say maybe....8pm rolls around...you can't say maybe anymore...you have to face the yes/no....and killing yourself isn't a third option...it falls under the no catagory because by killing yourself you have chosen not to go.
Now lets say it's 7:30 and you haven't resolved the yes/no situation, because your friend hasn't called you back yet. For some reason or another you die (be it your house blew up, someone broke in and shot you, or any number of things you can think of.) the yes/no hasn't been resolved, nor will it ever be resolved because you no longer have the choice to make. This isn't a third option...it is an entirely different situation all together, the binary yes/no of the "go to the club" or "not go to the club" was never resolved, before a completely different situation happened before it could be resolved.

Taking what I've said and putting it in black/white isn't right because there are there multitude of other options and you can do both at once by making gray...and I do agree those situations exist. But I stand strong by my statement "binary situations do exist."

You are sitting in your room alone. You see out of the corner of your eye your pepsi can is falling off the desk, and it is falling towards the floor....you can either attempt to catch it in mid air or let it fall to the floor....it's a binary situation I don't see how you can say it isn't.
Once it hits the floor, it is no longer a binary situation...you pick it up, or let it lay there or have someone else pick it up.

Same situation but ISN'T binary, you and your buddy are sitting in your room...you see the pepsi can falling off the desk and heading for the floor, you can either attempt to catch it, let it fall or scream to your buddy to try to catch it.

EE,

Not replying is an action...just like choosing to not kill the child, you are basicly saying I would rather choose to do something else other than reply to the post...by playing PS3 you have chosen to not reply...how is that not an action through inaction.....and besides you chose to reply.
The only way for "not replying" to not be an action would be if you didn't know the post existed, but then you wouldn't have the option to reply or not reply. Once you read the post and were aware of it's existance then you would have the option to reply or not reply.

Quote EE
Wait, so giving the players ONLY two choices (binary choice) and not allowing any thing options is not reailroading? Right.............
Look you do or not do somthing is far to simple
I can eat a lobster
I can not eat a lobster
But i don't have a lobster, so i can't eat one. I am writing this reply. But if you describe my action, i am "Writing" nor "Not eating Lobster"
If my friend came over and offered me a lobster, then if i eat it i am
"eating the lobster"
If i refuse then i am
"Not eating the lobster"
I can give the lobster to my sister
"Giving the lobster away"
I can keep it for later
"Saving the lobster"
I can light my self on fire
"Commiting sucied"

If you don't have a lobster in the first place, then you don't have the option to eat it or not....and by giving it away means you don't eat it, which is the not eating the lobster in the binary situation, your action after the binary decision is to give it to your sister.....saying you save it for later only delays the yes/no portion of the situation. and like I said earlier..commiting suicide falls under the no section of the yes/no situation, because even though your choice is extreme..you have chosen to not eat the lobster, you'd rather kill yourself.
Now lets say you put the lobster in the freezer to save it for later, you are delaying the yes/no situation. 2 days later your girlfriend dumps you and you can't handle it so you commit suicide...killing yourself no longer falls under the "not eating lobster", because the yes/no situation was still being delayed, since you put it in the fridge and haven't resolved the do eat it or not eat it.
Nor will it ever be resolved since you no longer have the choice to eat it or not since you are dead.

I see what you are saying though EE about railroading...this is an example of railroading....
You tell the DM "I'm going to the deli" DM says fine you arrive at the deli. You say "What meats does the deli have?" the DM says "They have turkey, bologna, salami, roast beef, and sausage."
You say "I would like a pound of roast beef." The DM in turn says you can only choose between the turkey or salami.
This is railroading when one tells you "you only have 2 options when others exist."
When you are in a situation were other options don't exist...kill the child or don't kill the child, then it isn't railroading because you have no other choices, only two exist.

EvilElitest
2007-04-01, 11:18 AM
I consider it a reply because the beginning of the post says Slokkva, and you had no reason for talking to me personally without a reason...and I determine that reason to be because I talked to you in my last post, you talking back is a reply....just because you didn't quote me doesn't mean you aren't replying.

And just to be clear, I didn't ask you and EE if you stopped beating your wife...
I didn't even ask a question at all, I made a general statment about the two of you.

You are correct...Asking me if I have stopped beating my wife does not create a binary, there are many options to that particular question.

I'm not claiming that every situtation is a binary situation, I'm just saying they do exist...and it has absolutely nothing to do with color...I know there are millions of colors....but by binary I mean on/off, yes/no, left/right, up/down, high/low things you can't possibly do both at the same time.

And before you say yes/no?? there is always maybe...then look at it this way...saying maybe means you are not ready to answer the yes/no so it is a third option at this point in time, but eventually you will have to make the yes/no choice.

Your ignoring the fact that us replying to is an action, but us not replying to you is not. Here are two choices
Drink milk
Drink Juice
You drink water. But the action is not "Not drinking juice or milk". It is drinking juice.


example. friend calls you up at 6pm asked if you want to go to the club at 8pm, you say maybe....8pm rolls around...you can't say maybe anymore...you have to face the yes/no....and killing yourself isn't a third option...it falls under the no catagory because by killing yourself you have chosen not to go.
I can't go to a club, i don't have a car. The choice is moot.
My friends calls me and says "Want to come over at 8 PM"
I say "Sure, but you will have to give me a ride"
Later, it turns out his car's battery ran out. I did not go out. But i didn't make any choice, i simple am not going. My action is not
"Not going out with friend because car is broken"
My action is "Arenging a different time to go"


Taking what I've said and putting it in black/white isn't right because there are there multitude of other options and you can do both at once by making gray...and I do agree those situation exist. But I stand strong by my statement "binary situations do exist."
If the world is not black and white, aka option 1 or option 2 then a binary situation can't exist.


You see out of the corner of your eye your pepsi can is falling off the desk, and it is falling towards the floor....you can either attempt to catch it in mid air or let it fall to the floor....it's a binary situation I don't see how you can say it isn't.
1. I don't drink drink pepsi, so the situation is moot
2. Even if i did, what if i kick the pepsi in mid-air? I've done nether of the two options? I didn't let it fall to the floor, but i didn't try to catch it. My friend catches the pepsi and i say he can drink it. That is nether choice, but i am not "Not attempting to catch the pepsi" or "Not letting it fall to the floor" I am "Kicking the pepsi". You can't judge things based on what you did not do, because i am not doing billions of things at this moment. I am "Not outside" i am "Not in mexico" i am "Not on fire" I am "Not eating" i am "Not holding a gun" i am not "Watching TV" i am not "Drinking beer"


EE,

Not replying is an action...just like choosing to not kill the child, you are basicly saying I would rather choose to do something else other than reply to the post...by playing PS3 you have chosen to not reply...how is that not an action through inaction.....and besides you chose to reply.
Me chosing to reply is irrelvant. i simple chose one of the many possibities. Not killing the child but doing nothing else is evil, but a paladin would try to find something else to save the world. Maybe pray, their is always a 2 percent chance. If i did'nt reply but i did nothing else then i am "Not replying" but if i chose to play the PS3 then I am "Playing the PS3".

Quote EE
Wait, so giving the players ONLY two choices (binary choice) and not allowing any thing options is not reailroading? Right.............
Look you do or not do somthing is far to simple
I can eat a lobster
I can not eat a lobster
But i don't have a lobster, so i can't eat one. I am writing this reply. But if you describe my action, i am "Writing" nor "Not eating Lobster"
If my friend came over and offered me a lobster, then if i eat it i am
"eating the lobster"
If i refuse then i am
"Not eating the lobster"
I can give the lobster to my sister
"Giving the lobster away"
I can keep it for later
"Saving the lobster"
I can light my self on fire
"Commiting sucied"

If you don't have a lobster in the first place, then you don't have the option to eat it or not.
yes i do. I could chose "Eat the lobster" by stealing a car, pretending i know how to drive and hope to get to then nearest red lobster then i eat the lobster. What is my action? Well i am "Stealing car" i am "Driving car badly" i am "Ordering lobster" then i am "Eating lobster". By your definetion I would be making a binary choice by eating a lobster a year from now. Because i am still "eating lobster"


...and by giving it away means you don't eat it....saying you save it for later only delays the yes/no portion of the situation. and like I said earlier..commiting suicide falls under the no section of a yes/no situation.
By giving it away i am giving it away, not "Not eating lobster". By saving it for later, i am "Saving Lobster" and so i am not chosing ether. But I will eat the lobster. As for commiting sucied, it an entrily different option. If i light my self on fire, i am "Lighting myself on fire" not "Not eating lobster"

Evil Elitist <sp> Your post was long, but you were answering a heap of posts, and you broke the quotes into reasonable chunks. I read the entire way through, and liked it (and in general you haven't been the worst in this thread by a long way)

Stephen
Thanks. I enjoyed your con posts

from,
EE

Starbuck_II
2007-04-01, 11:29 AM
And if not-answering leads to Evil?

D&D only punishes people for actioonbs not non-actions.
If a Dragon appears attacks your parents and you are a ten year olfr boy: D&D doesn't declare you evil if you don't try to kill it. You are not forced to do actions. (And yes, since even True neutrals protect their family. If non-actions counted, you have to be very evil to not help them as most evil helps family.)

Snooder
2007-04-01, 11:42 AM
Being "under oath" requires telling the whole truth. Telling part of the truth is deception, which involves the intention to mislead, and thus is as bad as telling a straight lie

Actually um, no. You can get away with lies by omission even when under oath. If a lawyer asks you a question that is phrased incorrectly, you can answer him truthfully but are not obligated to correct his phrasing, or to answer the intent of his question. For example, if a lawyer asks if you killed Tim Jenkins, but you REALLY killed Tom Jenkins and the lawyer meant to say Tom and you know he meant to say Tom, answering no is a lie by omission.

It is not, however as bad as lying directly if the lawyer asked if you killed Tim Jenkins.

A lie by omission is NOT as bad as telling a straight lie, both are deceit, but one involves is active deceit and thus worse than the other.

Caledonian
2007-04-01, 11:52 AM
Actually um, no. You can get away with lies by omission even when under oath. If a lawyer asks you a question that is phrased incorrectly, you can answer him truthfully but are not obligated to correct his phrasing, or to answer the intent of his question. For example, if a lawyer asks if you killed Tim Jenkins, but you REALLY killed Tom Jenkins and the lawyer meant to say Tom and you know he meant to say Tom, answering no is a lie by omission.

No, nor is it a deception. But that's another story.

Kreistor
2007-04-01, 12:22 PM
Could you point out where in the rules it says that it's Good to kill Evil creatures?

Sure.

Pg 104, under Lawful Good. "She combines a commitement to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly." And later as an example of LG, "Alhandra, a paladin who fights evil without mercy and protects innocents without hesitation, is lawful good."

Reptilus
2007-04-01, 12:27 PM
[Scrubbed]
[Scrubbed]

To do that, he needs them to be to afraid and hopefully do somthing dumb.
Wait. Where did we logically jump to the idea that somebody needs to be afraid to lose a war? Often, it's the opposite; it was specifically because of their total lack of fear for Chinngis Qan's military might that Persia lost to him.

[Scrubbed]
Let's lay off the real-life politics and over-inclusive "we" generalizations.

he does not attack us because we "Worhship Satan".
Actually, he has called everyone in the western hemisphere a devil worshipper in the past.

He has a perfecly logical reason to attack us. Now is it an inmoral one?
Every reason is logical, depending on what premise you start from. Your understanding of the actual way logic works is very poor, for someone who mentions it so often.


Try to remove the bomb anyways withen thos 20 seconds. I don't belive in murder, our lives aren't worth any more than his.
Individually, or as a group? You're saying that his life is equal in value to that everyone on the plane put together?



you still doing it for profit as you are forcing your views on the child at the cost of its life, not even the LG views, just your views
If you choose not to kill the child, what's the difference? You're forcing your views on millions of people based not upon the LG, but your, personal views by not killing the child. You're profit just as much either way. Either way, you are taking your opinion of the LG morality and enforcing it at the cost of lives.


This is an argument on the morality of a paladin in such a situation, and that is impossible within such a vauge situation
The situation is quite specific; this is what you may do. You may do nothing else.



3. D&D morality allows killing of those who hurt others. THe baby did not do so.
He will in ten seconds. This is why I brought up the Adam and Brian debate below.



If you did it again, yes your evil.
A mistake constitutes evil? So if a paladin is riding on his horse, a man trips and falls in the way of the horse, and the paladin is unable to stop in time and tramples the man to death, he loses his paladin status? That's a little ridiculous.




Wait, so giving the players ONLY two choices (binary choice) and not allowing any thing options is not reailroading? Right.............
No, because no-matter what you do, there are only two choices in some situations.

Look you do or not do somthing is far to simple
Name a third option.


But i don't have a lobster, so i can't eat one.
There you go, then you choose option 2, do not eat a lobster.

I am writing this reply. But if you describe my action, i am "Writing" nor "Not eating Lobster"
This is a logical fallacy; you can write while you eat lobster. The two actions must be inherently opposed. Thing of it, rather than "something" as the mathematical variable X. You may "Do X" or "Not do X." Throughout any equation, X will have a constant value. All the Xs will equal the same number. Similarly, the action which you either do or do not do is the same action. You cannot have two different options.

If my friend came over and offered me a lobster, then if i eat it i am
"eating the lobster"
If i refuse then i am
"Not eating the lobster"
These are the only two things you can do, yes.

I can give the lobster to my sister
"Giving the lobster away"
You are now "not eating the lobster"

I can keep it for later
"Saving the lobster"
This is "not eating the lobster" for right now.

I can light my self on fire
"Commiting sucied"
Unless you ate the lobster first, you're still "not eating the lobster."



In real life, no i don't belive you are justified. But that is irelvant. We are talking about in D&D morals, and those are absolute.
Not really. Read the actual alignment descriptions, they're pretty vague. Because neither choice allows one to protect all innocent lives, you must consider, by D&D standards, which choice is more good. Or, rather, consider if the choice in D&D that will definitely make you fall (killing a baby) is the more or less moral choice. Is it the right thing for a paladin to do, even if the rules of his code say it's not? Should he or should he not abandon his paladin's code for the sake of the entire world?



But i am not, i am trying to find another way. Just standing their would be ideal yes. But i would not do that, i would try to find something else to solve the problem.
Still, if you do not kill the baby, it will suffer a much, much worse fate than if you had.




Yes then have done something they are attacking the victom.
They are doing no such thing. They happen to have their knife out and at the level of the victim's throat. Until the blade connects with flesh, they haven't attacked yet.

I then can block the hit, hit him, take the hit ect.
In the given situation, you can't block or take the hit, and poor Adam is for frail a single hit will kill him.


You don't catch on? He has commited an evil act, because ATTEMPTE MURDER is evil.
He hasn't attempted to murder anyone. He's taken out a knife.

He drew a knife and attacked Brian.
No, he drew a knife and held it above Brian's throat.

Now as a paldin i ought to assume that their is a reason for it, and so i knoch Adam out.
It is stated in the situation that there is no reason for the murder and you, as the paladin, both know that the murder is going to happen and it has no basis. Also, Adam is too frail to survive any hit.


Hey guess what. Every thread has a title. This title is what the argument is about. These titles are what the relvence of the argument is surrpose to relate to. So if the title is "Paladins and morality" then i surrpose we are talking about paladins. If in your games you don't use the aligment system, good for you. But start your own thread for that.
The title says "Paladins and Morality" not "When do paladins fall." It's about the morality of the paladin class, not the occasions under which they fall. If they fall in a certain occasion, did they still make the moral choice, despite falling?



No the paladin's code means he must act in a lawful manner and act in an honor able manner.
I'm going to say it one more time, and one more time only. In the code THIS PALADIN IS USING he must obey all laws.


Good for you. This one i don't even need to explain it to counter it. You wrong. The paladin's code does not say anything about following every law they here.
Okay, I'll go down to a more concrete level of thought, here, sicne you are evidently wholly unable to comprehend anything above "rules" we will say that this paladin is using a variant code, identical to the RAW doe other than that it dictates he must follow every law he comes across. Okay?



But as a good person, i would not limit my self to two options if innocent lives, even one innocent life depend on it.
Whether you're a good person or not, it's not always your choice how many options you get.



Yet again, if you want to argue real life morals, good for you. Find your own thread.
We're not arguing real life morality, we're arguing the morality of a paladin. Without taking rules into account, which choice is more moral for a Paladin, relating to his code, literally, and the more nebulous ideals for which he is supposed to stand.



Well by you standards no, but you chose you out come. But when i said nether, do i do nothing? No i simple said nether.
Okay. You have a choice of kiling the baby or not killing the baby. Which What is "neither."

Hence i don't do ether out come. I find another way. Maybe according to you it fails. Maybe i remember that if a certain rune is broken, my life will be lost but the babies will be saved. I do that. Hooray, good option.
That isn't there. That qualifies as "not killing the baby" and the world is plunged into demon-rules darkness.


Maybe in your own little super controled fantasy world, but in any situation that is not god controld, aka the DM is not forcing me to have only two options their is no such thing as a binary choice.[/qote]
You keep spouting this same rhetoric about there being "no such thing as a binary choice," but you never give me a third option. Kill the baby. Do not kill the baby. Name a third option.



Then where the hell are they now? Or if he can kill gods, why does he even need a sacerfice.
Because until he gets that sacrifice, he won't have the power to kill gods.

Or why am i not dead, i am weaker then a god. If the universe is at stake, then where the hell are my gods?
Relying on their paladin to slay the child when they cannot, preventing the demon from gaining the power to defeat everything in existance.



What, let me get this straight. My GOD, as in super powerful creature, knew this guy was going to summoned. In stead of getting a massive number of priests paladins and fighters from all of the churchs together to fight this guy, he sends one guy.
Because he knows the demon is too powerful to defeat after he has been spawned. You are sent, in secrecy, to kill him before he is allowed to enter our world.

So instead of getting next to everyone in the world (all of his people, of of the other gods people, all devil worshipers, all people who don't want to be enslaved, all people who hate demons) out to stop it, he sends one guy. Right.......................
The demon cannot be stopped once he has been born into our world. The only way to stop him from coming into our world is to kill the baby. You don't need an army to kill an infant. You need one devoted paladin with the willpower to save the world. Your god decided you were that paladin. Are you?


And instead of you know, doing something he lets me hanging. Why doesn't he you know, send an angle or somthing to cast protection from evil? Why doesn't he give me an extra spell? WHy doesn't his avater show up? Why doesn't he send divine intervention?
Okay, let's say the magic of the demon's entry dictates that it must be a mortal who slays the child. Protection from evil will not work, the demil will be summoned into the baby as long as the baby is alive, regardless of what magic is on it. That's how powerful he is. You killing the baby will stop him.



ok right their. I am agueing that if a paladin had to kill the baby, he would fall. That is why we have a paladin doing this and not a LG fighter.
Yeah, he would fall for killing a baby. But, is it the morally correct choice, even if it means he would fall? The moral question is more "should the paladin break his code for the greater good if it becomes necessary." It's a bigger self-sacrifice than killing himself. He is taking everything in his life that has meaning, everything he lives for and has trained for all his life, has prayed for every day, and throwing it away, leaving him an empty, broken shell of what once was great, for the good of a child's soul and the people of the world. Is it the right thing to break is oath, or not?


[Shrug] Sure. I've answered a question. You feel good now?
Yeah, actually, since it means we're starting to communicate more clearly.


Good for you. But lets not forget that this argument is in a D&D context.
Okay, then say "crossbow" instead of gun. The idea is to make you really think about your answers to the "Which means more to you" questions.


Yes i did. But this is not in D&D context and so it is irrelvant.
Yeah, but still, I was trying to explain the idea is to say which of the choices is more valuable to you, in a D&D context (as a paladin) or outside of it.


Almost. Situations where the marine in question only "Thought" their were only two options. Other existed but he didn't think about it.
He had two options; shoot or don't shoot. There are smarter and dumber ways to go about each one, but those are the only two he had.


np. I may be fast, but i am not from the Matrix :smallwink:
Heheh, yeah.


And nihilism is a very interesting code, but can't logically exist in its truest form in a D&D context
Yeah, it doesn't work where good and evil are forces like gravity and electro-magnetism that are very real and defined. But it is an interesting one in real life.



Ok i didn't drink, but i did something else. When i drank the potions, i didn't not drink the potion. I didn't eat a sanwitch. I didn't drink my potions of protection from fire. I didn't clap my hands. You can't judge by what I didn't do, but by what i did do.
But, in the choice given, what you did do is a part of what you didn't.
For example:
Drink
Fall close to the dragon
Fall far from the dragon
Don't drink
Have a friend save you
cast a spell
use a skill
eat your rations


In real life both morals are grey. In D&D good and evil are not relative
But in D&D, neither choice is inherently more good or evil than the other. They're both neutral or evil, dependong on who you ask, so it comes down to which neutral choice or which evil choice you think is better.


np. In real life, any moral thing you say to me is a statment of fact. But any phyical thing is not. If you say to me for example
"paladins can do what ever they want"
And you say they can't based on their code, then you are right
I agree; referencing morality in a context may be a statement of fact (this is immoral by utilitarian standards or whatever), but simply stating it as "moral" or "immoral" is not.


But their is no context. None at all. You know nothing at all, expect Die/Don't die. nothing else.
That's what makes die so interesting. If I chose don't die, it would be the obvious choice that most people make. If I chose die, you'd probably want to know more.


But she is still following the law. I would call her evil. But i would not call her worthy of my paladin smiting skills unless she breaks the law.
Fair enough.



Ok, i think i found a compermise. I think we are at an impass. I don't know what game you play. I play D&D. This thread is arguing D&D morals. If you want to agrue a different set of morals, such as lack their of start you own thread, PM me, or find a new board. But withen a D&D context is where these morals are being argued.
I'm arguing D&D morals. It's debating, within the moral ideology of D&D, the two questions I stated. I'm simply saying it's concerned with the roleplaying aspect of the game more than the rules or how you are able to break the Diplomacy skill.


How not RAW is it? Is it exactly the same except we are using Rich rules, or do i get the power to stop time?
Rich's rules for diplomacy.


thank you
No problem.


If you are stupid and nobody smarter is their to guide you, most likely. Look at Thog.
I believe Thog is Chaotic Neutral or even true neutral on the grounds that he honestly does not comprehend that what he is doing is wrong, but that's another debate entirely.

Slokkva
2007-04-01, 12:33 PM
EE re-read my post, I had to edit a few things and you probably didn't read what I edited.

As for your replys so far...they are way off base and you are right everything isn't black or white, but you can't dismiss true logic by saying on/off, up/down, yes/no etc. don't exist either. So if they exist..so do binary situations....I already explained that black/white isn't binary since you can do both at the same time.

none of the points I made are moot, they are completly valid.....you either go to the club or don't. REGARDLESS OF HOW YOU GET THERE!!!!!!!!
All I see it as is you seeing that I am right and running away from the fact by saying "I don't want to talk about it."

Drink milk or drink juice isn't binary because you have the option to...
1. drink milk
2. not drink milk
3 drink juice
4 do not drink juice
5 drink water
6 don't drink water

The binary comes into play with
1 drink X (insert beverage of choice here)
2 don't drink X (insert beverage of choice here)

If you are going to quote me, at least quote everything I say, not just the bits and pieces that help you make something up out of nothing....the friend with a broke down car...I already explained that if something happens while you are resolving the yes/no they aren't other options, they are different situations all together with different options and outcomes.

The steal the car drive to red lobster order lobster isn't "eat the lobster"
You might want a lobster, need a lobster or crave a lobster and then steal the car drive to red lobster order lobster then eat it.
But you do not have the option to eat the lobster until you actually have it...get a freaking clue and stop making stupid remarks....and yes 1 year from now if you have a lobster in front of you...you have the choice to eat it or not to eat it.

I'm assuming you are young with the way you talk about yourself.
So I'm going to chalk it up to, you not being able to comprehend what I am say or else you are just being childish and trying to get a rise out of me...which it isn't working.
If you are young and haven't got the ability to comprehend it, then stay in school and eventually you will be taught comprehension skills. Until then either refrain from reply, or stick to subjects you know something about.

Kreistor
2007-04-01, 12:37 PM
No, nor is it a deception.

Deception Definition (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/deception)
Deception: something that deceives or is intended to deceive; fraud; artifice.

Fraud: A piece of trickery; a trick.

When you reply to a question with the intent of diverting attention from the truth, you are tricking the questioner, and therefore have commited a deception.

I would point out to everyone that an Oath that demands truthfulness in all things can, as pointed out by someone above, endanger the lives of innocents, and concequently is by definition not a Good code, so must not be part of a Paladin's code which is both Lawful and Good.


Your ignoring the fact that us replying to is an action, but us not replying to you is not.

Unfortunately, inaction can be a crime, since inaction has repercussions.

For instance, if you know where a criminal is hiding and do not tell the police when they ask you, you are aiding and abetting.

Here's the definition of murder from Law.com:


n. a rule of criminal statutes that any death which occurs during the commission of a felony is first degree murder, and all participants in that felony or attempted felony can be charged with and found guilty of murder. A typical example is a robbery involving more than one criminal, in which one of them shoots, beats to death or runs over a store clerk, killing the clerk. Even if the death were accidental, all of the participants can be found guilty of felony murder, including those who did no harm, had no gun, and/or did not intend to hurt anyone. In a bizarre situation, if one of the holdup men or women is killed, his/her fellow robbers can be charged with murder.

You can be charged for the murder of your companion if they die during a holdup. Your inaction in preventing the crime results in someone's death.

Inaction has repercussions and thus has consequences. That makes the choice to do nothing an option, since it has a different result from a choice that includes action.

Kreistor
2007-04-01, 12:55 PM
Drink milk or drink juice isn't binary because you have the option to...
1. drink milk
2. not drink milk
3 drink juice
4 do not drink juice
5 drink water
6 don't drink water

The binary comes into play with
1 drink X (insert beverage of choice here)
2 don't drink X (insert beverage of choice here)


I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to demonstrate the "third option" here.

I pour the milk, juice, and water into a single glass and drink that disgusting concoction.

Though not presented as an choice by the presenter of the dilemma, this is a unique option because it has a different end result than the choices listed. Where "Drink milk" only results in the milk disappearing, and "Drink juice" only results in the juice disappearing, I have now made both the milk and juice disappear simultaneously, and thoroughly grossed out my taste buds at the same time. Especially if it was grapfruit juice... I can't stand grapefruit juice alone, much less conceive of it with milk. Blech...

Dilemmas do not inherently need to have binary choices in order to be a Dilemma. Getting hung up over the word binary is merely a debating distraction away from the topic. The dilemma exists, regardless of the number of choices, if all the results are superficially evil.

The "third option" is the one that is not presented as part of the dilemma that has a unique result that is not evil. For instance, if allowed by the DM, the unwritten third option to the Ritual Sacrifice dilemma might be (and has been in several novels), the paladin displacing the child from the circle and taking the place of the sacrifice, and discovering that he could hold off the evil. That is, ultimately, a decision of the DM whether that option could work: given that the Paladin has done his homework and knows about the ritual, he might already know that nothing living can pass the barrier of the circle, and consequently that option is not available. Since this is a morality discussion, not a question of how to overcome a particular problem, that option is nherently not available. If we were discussing, "Here's a Dilemma, find the third option" problems, then coming up with such a thing would be on point.

That is why I dismiss any attempts to find that third option: we're not here to solve Dilemmas but to discuss repercussions when there is no superficially good way out of a problem.

Kreistor
2007-04-01, 01:00 PM
D&D only punishes people for actioonbs not non-actions.

Not true. The definition of Good includes "Protect innocent life," and that is in the first sentence of the description. If, through inactivity, you fail to protect innocent life, you are violating a precept of the alignment and are risking the repercussion of an alignment change.