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MonkeySage
2015-02-23, 10:05 AM
If one of the terms of the contract involves the preservation of a creature that later turns out to be evil, is the paladin at odds with his code no matter what his decision is? lets say the paladin did not have augury at the time he signed on

comicshorse
2015-02-23, 10:12 AM
I'd say if the Paladin was deliberately lied to, was told 'go save this good and innocent creature' then he's fine breaking the contract as the person he made it with has already broken it by misleading him.
If the other person simply said 'go save this creature' and the Paladin neglected to check up on it first then he's in trouble

Waar
2015-02-23, 10:26 AM
If one of the terms of the contract involves the preservation of a creature that later turns out to be evil, is the paladin at odds with his code no matter what his decision is? lets say the paladin did not have augury at the time he signed on

That would surely depend on the code, which isn't given.

Mr.Moron
2015-02-23, 10:26 AM
As a GM I certainly wouldn't extend the Paladin "Code"* to include contracts that were made in bad faith, when circumstances have greatly changed the nature or scope of the agreement after the fact, or agreements that were made off a limited understanding of the situation.


*in the vaguely, generic d20-ish version of the concept.

endur
2015-02-23, 10:30 AM
If one of the terms of the contract involves the preservation of a creature that later turns out to be evil, is the paladin at odds with his code no matter what his decision is? lets say the paladin did not have augury at the time he signed on

There is nothing above that indicates a paladin would be in violation of his code.

If a damsel (or anyone else) is in distress, a Paladin is not required to check alignment before saving the person in distress. If a paladin rescues a town from destruction, there may well be one or more evil people in the town who were saved. The SRD makes the distinction that the paladin should ensure that their help is not used for evil or chaotic ends. i.e. The paladin should not save people from lawful executions.

"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." SRD (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/classes/paladin.htm)

The SRD does state that the Paladin should act with honor, which would mean that the paladin should honor contracts. However, suppose a paladin signed a contract that require evil deeds. In that case, the Paladin would have to find a way to lawfully end the contract without having to perform the evil deeds.

One last comment on Paladin codes, as a GM, if the player is attempting to role play their behavior within a paladin's code, then I delegate the determination of whether they are successful to the player. If the player tells me that his or her character has fallen, than that is up to the player. I also do the same for the players of Clerics and Druids (some of whom can stray pretty far from a particular God's alignment).

Nerd-o-rama
2015-02-23, 11:05 AM
An honorable Paladin will honor contracts he makes in good faith, but I don't feel "honor" covers a contract made to intentionally mislead him/not made in good faith. Even if it dings him for an Atonement, a Paladin should always choose to do the Good thing over the legalistic thing.

A wise Paladin (or the rare intelligent one) would insist on a moral termination clause, i.e. "the Paladin may cancel this contract at any time if its execution would lead to Evil or Chaotic ends, as defined by <preferably some third-party supernatural arbiter>."

TheOOB
2015-02-23, 11:09 AM
If one of the terms of the contract involves the preservation of a creature that later turns out to be evil, is the paladin at odds with his code no matter what his decision is? lets say the paladin did not have augury at the time he signed on

Assuming you're talking about a classic D&D paladin, their duty to never perform evil outweighs their duty perform lawful acts. While a paladin should uphold a contract when possible, if the contract was made under false pretenses or would require them to perform an evil act they need to defy it. As per the 3e code they wouldn't even need atonement for that.

theNater
2015-02-23, 11:49 AM
If one of the terms of the contract involves the preservation of a creature that later turns out to be evil, is the paladin at odds with his code no matter what his decision is?
A lot of people make the mistake of assuming that the "punish" in the paladin's code means "kill". It does not. A paladin can quite easily preserve a creature which is in a prison cell or, in extreme cases, has been turned to stone.

Note also that in addition to the moral termination clause Nerd-o-rama suggests, most contracts carry a default clause; penalties that will be levied in the case that the primary obligations of the contract go unfulfilled. A paladin who violates the primary obligation and pays the penalty is still honoring the contract.

ComaVision
2015-02-23, 11:57 AM
By law, a contract that is purposely misleading and outright lies is void already. A paladin that learns that the contract had a false basis wouldn't have any obligation to fulfill it.

Zyzzyva
2015-02-23, 12:16 PM
Short answer: no. A paladin shouldn't go around casually violating agreements they've made, obviously, but they don't need to be held to the letter of everything they've ever said. If they've been tricked into helping out the bad guys, saying "no, this is garbage" and walking away is perfectly legitimate, IMO.

Plus, all of the stuff people have said above about actual real-world contracts, IANAL.

johnbragg
2015-02-23, 12:31 PM
The most paladin-y thing I've ever had a paladin do was to break a contract at the cost of losing his Paladin status.

His brain had been eaten (mostly) by a mind-flayer, bringing him down to Int 6 or so. He made a verbal agreement with an NPC "theurgist" (homebrewed 2nd Edition 36 Cleric-36 Wizard-36 homebrewed "theurgist" class taken from a fantasy book series) to perform a service in return for restoring his intelligence. With a temporary Int of 6, he said "A-yup" without asking any questions.

Commanded to turn on the party fighter and kill him, my paladin refused. (Party fighter was CN and totally down with killing the paladin.) DM pulls my Paladin status, I say my guy doesn't care, betraying a friend is dishonorable and he's not going to do it just to hold on to his paladin powers.

That was the first time we actually roleplayed instead of murderhobo'd.

Karl Aegis
2015-02-23, 12:33 PM
Don Quixote would be disappointed you didn't live up to your just and reputable reputation. You wouldn't want to disappoint the great Don Quixote, would you?

johnbragg
2015-02-23, 12:48 PM
Don Quixote would be disappointed you didn't live up to your just and reputable reputation. You wouldn't want to disappoint the great Don Quixote, would you?

Don Quixote De La Mancha, Knight of the Woeful Countenance and bearer of the Golden Helmet of Mambrino would have torn off his armor and broken his sword over his knee before he harmed Sancho or the Lady Dulcinea.

Solaris
2015-02-23, 01:01 PM
One last comment on Paladin codes, as a GM, if the player is attempting to role play their behavior within a paladin's code, then I delegate the determination of whether they are successful to the player. If the player tells me that his or her character has fallen, than that is up to the player. I also do the same for the players of Clerics and Druids (some of whom can stray pretty far from a particular God's alignment).

I'd like to call attention to the genius of this statement. While it doesn't work with someone playing a murderhobo paladin, I think it pretty much solves every player-DM conflict involving paladins and a lot of the problems with other people playing in the same party as a paladin.

Beta Centauri
2015-02-23, 01:14 PM
I'd like to call attention to the genius of this statement. While it doesn't work with someone playing a murderhobo paladin, I think it pretty much solves every player-DM conflict involving paladins and a lot of the problems with other people playing in the same party as a paladin. It is genius and it does work with any kind of paladin. The player gets the outcome that they think makes sense. If it's a punishing outcome, then they think that makes sense, and are bought into it; their enjoyment is enhanced, not dampened. If a punishing outcome doesn't make sense, then it just doesn't occur. I highly recommend letting players decide things like this. If it vastly changes the way the GM expected the game to work, then the players clearly didn't want to play that game or that way, and forcing it would have just caused problems.

Jay R
2015-02-23, 02:18 PM
A classic theme in medieval fiction and folk takes, from Chaucer's "The Franklin's Tale" to "The Brave Little Tailor" to Sir Orfeo, is making an oath which turns out to commit you to something you didn't intend. And in all such tales, the hero goes ahead and agrees to keep his word, and somehow it turns out that either you don't have to ("The Franklin's Tale"), or that doing so winds up being the best thing anyway.

The king offers his daughter's hand in marriage and half the kingdom to whoever can slay the giant, but instead of a great noble knight, it's a peasant - the brave little tailor. But he turns out to rule well and honestly, as a good husband and king.

In Sir Orfeo, the king of the fairies offers a filthy wandering bard any reward he asks, and the bard asks for the beautiful captive lady.
'Nay,' said the king, 'that would not do!
A sorry sight, you'd make, ye two.
for thou art black, and rough, and lean,
and she is faultless, fair and clean.
A monstrous thing then would it be
to see her in thy company.'

'O sir,' he said, 'O gracious king,
but it would be a fouler thing
from mouth of thine to hear a lie.
Thy vow, sir, thou canst not deny,
Whate'er I asked, that should I gain,
and thou must needs thy word maintain.'

The king then said: 'Since that is so,
now take her hand in thine, and go;
I wish thee joy of her, my friend!'

But the dirty disheveled bard turns out to be her husband, Sir Orfeo, who's been looking for her for ten years.

If I had such a situation in my game, the paladin would need to keep his word, and doing so would somehow turn out to be the right thing.

From Shakespeare in Love:
"Strangely enough, it all turns out well."
"How?"
"I don't know. It's a mystery."

veti
2015-02-23, 03:20 PM
A wise Paladin (or the rare intelligent one) would insist on a moral termination clause, i.e. "the Paladin may cancel this contract at any time if its execution would lead to Evil or Chaotic ends, as defined by <preferably some third-party supernatural arbiter>."

I think this is the correct answer. It should be part of the paladin's basic training, not to sign anything without a get-out clause.

It might not be as simple as "may cancel at any time" - you might have to go through some formal procedure of repudiating the contract and/or compensating the other party - but the basic form would be "I don't have to go through with this if it would require doing something inconsistent with my code".

icefractal
2015-02-23, 03:27 PM
If you're talking about a D&D Paladin, they're not Lawful Good, they're Lawful Good. They can do the occasional un-lawful act, especially for the purpose of preserving good.

Which also means johnbragg's Paladin shouldn't have fallen either, even if the contract was legitimate. Which it wasn't - you think any court would honor a contract made while one of the parties was significantly mentally impaired, and the other party was entirely aware of that fact?

Strigon
2015-02-23, 03:28 PM
First of all, paladins aren't bound by oath to seek out and destroy every evil creature they come across. A low-level paladin wouldn't fall for not finding and fighting that Great Wyrm Red Dragon that hasn't been terrorizing anyone yet.
However, dishonoring a contract is much more iffy. As others have said, if it were deliberately misleading the paladin (save this innocent guy, make sure he's okay), then of course the paladin could ignore it.
On the other hand, if it was something like "There's a person being held prisoner by goblins; bring him to me without harm", then even if that person were evil, the paladin has no reason to renege on his deal. If, however, he learns that fulfilling it will lead to innocents being harmed, then nothing is stopping him from taking appropriate action. (Note: appropriate action does not have to mean death.)

johnbragg
2015-02-23, 03:55 PM
If you're talking about a D&D Paladin, they're not Lawful Good, they're Lawful Good. They can do the occasional un-lawful act, especially for the purpose of preserving good.

Which also means johnbragg's Paladin shouldn't have fallen either, even if the contract was legitimate. Which it wasn't - you think any court would honor a contract made while one of the parties was significantly mentally impaired, and the other party was entirely aware of that fact?

Well, of course he shouldn't. HE fell because "Paladin Sux! Lawful Stoopid!" But it was really the first time anyone in our group actually roleplayed something besides "find things to kill, kill them and take their stuff." (My friend thought about having his fighter try to kill the (suddenly ex-) paladin anyway because it was a chance to kill something and take his stuff, and it would have been funny.)

Coidzor
2015-02-23, 04:14 PM
If one of the terms of the contract involves the preservation of a creature that later turns out to be evil, is the paladin at odds with his code no matter what his decision is? lets say the paladin did not have augury at the time he signed on

If it means that the contract was made in bad faith, then the Paladin will invoke the severance clause though if they need to bust some heads and be a big damn hero, they'll bust some heads and be a big damn hero.

If a paladin was coerced into a contract in the first place, well, they're not going to respect that sort of unlawful behavior, either. How they'd go about things after that depends on how they were forced into it in the first place and what's set up to keep them there.

Now, for instance, if it's capturing an evil creature for magical research or something, they're not going to be especially likely to break their contract and kill the captured specimen once they find out it's evil unless they find out that the researchers are going to use it for evil ends.

illyahr
2015-02-23, 05:46 PM
"Go to this place and escort a person to this other place. Make sure he isn't harmed."

If this is actually "Pick up murderer from a jail and transport him to his trial and make sure he is unharmed" he still has to fulfill his contract even if it means protecting an Evil man from Good citizens.

If this is actually "Pick up this woman from her kidnapper and transport her to the slaver she is being sold to" then he is not obligated to help and, in fact, would be more bound to help the woman escape.

goto124
2015-02-23, 10:06 PM
Contract says 'give the woman to the slaver'. Give her to the slaver... and immediately take her back :P

May not work well, but the thought amused me.

Mark Hall
2015-02-24, 12:37 PM
Even assuming the Paladin MUST honor the contract (which I think there's some wiggle room, as noted, for contracts made in bad faith, though not ones entered into out of negligence on the paladin's part), the Paladin is better breaking the contract that committing evil.

After all, chaotic acts can be Atoned. Evil acts are harder to get forgiven, and preserving something that's Big E Evil is going to be more difficult to atone than breaking a contract.

(Of course, there's always the option of "I preserved it from that threat, as specified in the contract; I then killed it myself, because it was an abomination.")

illyahr
2015-02-24, 12:39 PM
Paladins fall if they willingly commit an Evil act. They also fall if they grossly violate their Paladin's code. One infraction, especially if it's for a good reason, hardly qualifies as a gross violation in most cases.

The Random NPC
2015-02-24, 07:27 PM
This reminds me of a story I heard once. A paladin was tricked into an agreement by an evil necromancer, to bring the necromancer the head of the king. So the paladin does so. Along with the rest of the body, in full armor, and backed up by the king's army.

Othniel
2015-02-24, 08:46 PM
The short answer is not necessarily. Obviously, a Paladin with a brain wouldn't enter into a contract that would blatantly require he commit an evil or unlawful* act. If a Paladin enters into a mundane contract and for whatever reason is unable to complete it, he breaches the contract. This happens to normal people every day. Breaching a contract does not make you an unlawful person. If a Paladin signs a contract in good faith, and for some reason is unable to fulfill it, I would think it would be permissible to provide immediate notice to the injured party, and be 100% willing to pay damages. What WOULD probably test his alignment is if he refuses to pay the damages resulting from his breach. If, on the other hand, the Paladin signs a contract, and then decides, "Eh, I don't wanna" and skips town to avoid fulfilling the contract, then we have an issue.

*With certain exceptions, of course. In my opinion, a Paladin could, for example, agree to save someone from execution if he knows or is convinced that the person is innocent, but he should not commit an evil act while doing so (such as killing a guard).

Darth Ultron
2015-02-24, 09:35 PM
I think most paladins would be very careful about entering any contract. By default, a paladin will follow a contract like a robot.

There is a tiny bit of wiggle room. If they discover they are doing evil or have been tricked into doing evil, they can break the contract. But anything less then that and they are stuck. They can't just ignore the contract if they don't like it. They might be able to twist the wording though....but only a little bit. The best thing they can do is simply get out of the contract.

Jay R
2015-02-24, 10:24 PM
If the goal of the game includes in some way entering into a medieval frame of mind, then the paladin must keep his word as given, and the story will somehow make that the right choice.

[And if the goal of the game does not includes in some way entering into a medieval frame of mind, then what's with all the swords?]

Coidzor
2015-02-24, 10:42 PM
If the goal of the game includes in some way entering into a medieval frame of mind, then the paladin must keep his word as given, and the story will somehow make that the right choice.

[And if the goal of the game does not includes in some way entering into a medieval frame of mind, then what's with all the swords?]

That's the worst possible answer because then you're punishing players of Paladins for trying to do the right, honorable, and good thing and also for not following the rails blindly and mindlessly. :smalleek:


I think most paladins would be very careful about entering any contract. By default, a paladin will follow a contract like a robot.

There is a tiny bit of wiggle room. If they discover they are doing evil or have been tricked into doing evil, they can break the contract. But anything less then that and they are stuck. They can't just ignore the contract if they don't like it. They might be able to twist the wording though....but only a little bit. The best thing they can do is simply get out of the contract.

Thinking that Paladins should default to acting like robots in any situation is part of the problem with Paladins, I'd say. They shouldn't ever turn their brains off to the consequences and ramifications of what they're doing.

Nah, they also should keep an eye out for dishonorable things or things that are unscrupulous but not technically Evil or even illegal, but are still wrong.

goto124
2015-02-24, 10:58 PM
I'd assumed that the contract appeared to be normal at first, but the ugly things were revealed only after the paladin had dug very deep into the situation [so he couldn't have found out beforehand].

BeerMug Paladin
2015-02-24, 11:18 PM
Always, no. But I think a paladin would be wary of entering a contract they do not understand and avoid open-ended contracts with unclear rules (such as a contract to 'obey'). Once inside the contract, it would be their duty to honor it as best as possible.

I don't think fulfilling the letter of the contract while violating the spirit of the contract would be okay for a paladin to do. Unlike others here, I don't think the paladin would insist on a morality escape clause either, since angling for a way to escape the contract could easily be seen as a dishonest negotiation tactic.

I think if the contract must be violated in order to avoid committing an evil act, it first requires a good faith effort on the part of the paladin to still try doing it without committing an evil act. Success with these new, not known before constraints may be far-fetched, but if it's simply beyond the possible, that's not something that one can help.

For example, making a contract to rescue someone who is about to be killed is a worthy contract. Learning afterwards that the person to be rescued is evil and is about to be slain as a consequence of their own evil deeds does not invalidate the paladin's contract to save them. Because the contract requires the attempt, not success on the paladin's part.

If the evil person to be rescued is due to be executed as a matter of a town's laws (and those laws are to punish the evil act the evil person has committed), the paladin would still have to make a good-faith effort to stop the execution while still working within the law. But they must at least make whatever attempt is within their means and their moral code.

That is how I would play it. But I wouldn't necessarily run it that way, preferring some input from the player-run decision to fall or not. For the reason that different people view these matters of honor and lawful good slightly differently and there's plenty of room for ambiguity. However, if the players' actions are obviously way out of step with their claims of alignment, I would step in there.

Solaris
2015-02-25, 12:16 AM
Unlike others here, I don't think the paladin would insist on a morality escape clause either, since angling for a way to escape the contract could easily be seen as a dishonest negotiation tactic.

I'd have to disagree. It's dishonorable and shady business to not write in escape clauses in contracts, especially when they're things like morality clauses in contracts with paladins.

Nalak
2015-02-25, 12:30 AM
Always, no. But I think a paladin would be wary of entering a contract they do not understand and avoid open-ended contracts with unclear rules (such as a contract to 'obey'). Once inside the contract, it would be their duty to honor it as best as possible. True I agree with you there.



I don't think fulfilling the letter of the contract while violating the spirit of the contract would be okay for a paladin to do. Unlike others here, I don't think the paladin would insist on a morality escape clause either, since angling for a way to escape the contract could easily be seen as a dishonest negotiation tactic. I get what you mean about not insisting on an escape clause, but it is understood that if the circumstances change too much from presented then the contract would be null unless it could be proved that the other party did not know about these circumstances. For example a paladin is hired to save a Alice's friend who was abducted by a group of heavily armed individuals. The paladin goes off to save Alice's friend and discovers that the men who abducted him were bounty hunters and that the friend is wanted for serious crimes. (Which to save on complexity we'll assume charges that are agreed as heavy like poisoning water or murder and not weird things that could go into cultural issues.) If the paladin believes Alice was unaware of these charges then we're still operating under good faith in which case contract goes on only with legal restrictions added. If the paladin believes Alice knew about these charges and deliberately withheld the information to try and get her friend saved from facing punishment (let's say he sees her wanted poster and she's got a bigger rap sheet and asking around causes a flood of victims and witnesses to the crimes) then the paladin would be justified in decided the contract is invalid because the contract was agreed to under false pretenses.


I think if the contract must be violated in order to avoid committing an evil act, it first requires a good faith effort on the part of the paladin to still try doing it without committing an evil act. Success with these new, not known before constraints may be far-fetched, but if it's simply beyond the possible, that's not something that one can help.

For example, making a contract to rescue someone who is about to be killed is a worthy contract. Learning afterwards that the person to be rescued is evil and is about to be slain as a consequence of their own evil deeds does not invalidate the paladin's contract to save them. Because the contract requires the attempt, not success on the paladin's part.

If the evil person to be rescued is due to be executed as a matter of a town's laws (and those laws are to punish the evil act the evil person has committed), the paladin would still have to make a good-faith effort to stop the execution while still working within the law. But they must at least make whatever attempt is within their means and their moral code.

That is how I would play it. But I wouldn't necessarily run it that way, preferring some input from the player-run decision to fall or not. For the reason that different people view these matters of honor and lawful good slightly differently and there's plenty of room for ambiguity. However, if the players' actions are obviously way out of step with their claims of alignment, I would step in there.

Yeah if the argument the player makes is way out of line then its a different story. As I've said if the situation changes drastically enough that the job is basically on a different scale then it comes down to whether or not the person who hired the paladin would be believed to have prior knowledge of these changed circumstances. Cause I will agree I'm not going to hold it against a paladin for trying to save someone they said they would save, but I also won't hold it against them if the paladin renegs on a contract if it turns out they were maliciously mislead regarding everything about the deal.

Segev
2015-02-25, 12:38 PM
I would be inclined to say that a Paladin has to honor the letter of the contract, and to honor its spirit as close to how he understood it when he agreed to it as possible. A paladin will never neter into a contract in bad faith; he will always be honest about what he thinks it means and will do what he agreed to even if it turns out to be a worse deal than he anticipated (harder/more dangerous than he thought, the reward is less rewarding due to later developments such as an antidote that turns out not to be necessary after all, etc.).

He will adhere to it even if he finds out that the other party entered into it in bad faith, but he is then free to play the Literal Genie insofar as it results in justice and righteousness. Bonus points if he can still make it come out as he thought he was agreeing.

He will not be coerced by a contract into performing evil. However, he should do all in his power to figure out how to follow it WITHOUT performing evil, even if it becomes clear that the evil was the intent of the other party.


It is a Chaotic thing to say, "that wasn't what I was agreeing to, so I won't do it." Paladins CAN do this, but it tends to be a near-last resort, because chaotic acts are against their nature and niggle at their order-seeking consciences.

But if it isn't enough to make them lose their Lawful alignment, they can get away with it. They just shouldn't make a habit of it.

Belial_the_Leveler
2015-02-25, 01:20 PM
A paladin with a contract to save an evil person from their lawful execution that just found out the bad guys tricked him can easily do so by explaining things to the authorities. The authorities stage the rescue. The paladin, having completed his contract, escorts the evil person to its co-conspirators. The authorities, having quietly followed, capture the entire gang and now execute all of them instead of just one.


Turns out the contract never specified what should happen to said person after the rescue. Whoops!

veti
2015-02-25, 02:12 PM
For example a paladin is hired to save a Alice's friend who was abducted by a group of heavily armed individuals.

Question is - and I don't mean to pick on Nalack especially, this applies to practically all the examples in this thread - why would you even suggest a "contract" in that case? Once Alice tells the paladin what has happened, chances are you'd have to hold him down to stop him from going after them right then and there. I guess he might hesitate if he has some other more pressing issues to deal with first, but a contract wouldn't make that go away either.

The only reason for even suggesting a contract is, if you think it's likely that the other party is going to be motivated to change their mind at some point.

Darth Ultron
2015-02-25, 02:45 PM
Thinking that Paladins should default to acting like robots in any situation is part of the problem with Paladins, I'd say. They shouldn't ever turn their brains off to the consequences and ramifications of what they're doing

The problem is when it's said ''a paladin can just do anything, whatever they want, and call it good'' is pointless.


A paladin with a contract to save an evil person from their lawful execution that just found out the bad guys tricked him can easily do so by explaining things to the authorities. The authorities stage the rescue. The paladin, having completed his contract, escorts the evil person to its co-conspirators. The authorities, having quietly followed, capture the entire gang and now execute all of them instead of just one.

I agree that this is what a paladin will be forced to do. They can't just toss away and ignore the contract and become a murderhobo and kill loot repeat...and just say ''oh yea, I'm still a paladin, because''


The only reason for even suggesting a contract is, if you think it's likely that the other party is going to be motivated to change their mind at some point.

A contract is all because that people don't have trust. I'd say it's even evil. But contracts are very, very much a Lawful thing.

Coidzor
2015-02-25, 03:21 PM
The problem is when it's said ''a paladin can just do anything, whatever they want, and call it good'' is pointless.

Nice strawman, I didn't notice anyone setting them up to scare the crows away from the paladin corn. :smallamused:

For real, though, it should be fairly obvious that acting morally/righteously =/= acting like a robot =/= acting in any manner whatsoever.

Paladins should have the leeway to actually use their judgment otherwise their morality becomes meaningless.


I agree that this is what a paladin will be forced to do. They can't just toss away and ignore the contract and become a murderhobo and kill loot repeat...and just say ''oh yea, I'm still a paladin, because''

Nice strawman. :smalltongue:


A contract is all because that people don't have trust. I'd say it's even evil. But contracts are very, very much a Lawful thing.

And to have formalized understanding of what the situation is and what one another's expectations are. Which means that if the contract was made in bad faith or predicated upon misinformation, it's not actually doing its job properly.

icefractal
2015-02-25, 03:22 PM
I agree that this is what a paladin will be forced to do. They can't just toss away and ignore the contract and become a murderhobo and kill loot repeat...and just say ''oh yea, I'm still a paladin, because''They absolutely can. Well, maybe not the "become a murderhobo" part, but Paladins do not fall just for committing a chaotic act. Falling would only happen if the Paladin consistently breaks contracts, enough that they're no longer lawful - which a single action would not do, especially with a good reason.

Again, Paladins are about Good, with a side order of Law. When those two come into conflict, Law is going to get the short end of the stick.

illyahr
2015-02-25, 03:29 PM
I would suggest not drawing Darth Ultron into a discussion on the nature of Law vs. Chaos. It doesn't end well. Let's just remember that this is an opinion piece and leave it at that.

Obak
2015-02-25, 03:54 PM
It is not a sin to kill a heathen, it is the path to heaven!
And to break contracts is okay too.

Acacia OnnaStik
2015-02-25, 04:02 PM
A paladin with a contract to save an evil person from their lawful execution that just found out the bad guys tricked him can easily do so by explaining things to the authorities. The authorities stage the rescue. The paladin, having completed his contract, escorts the evil person to its co-conspirators. The authorities, having quietly followed, capture the entire gang and now execute all of them instead of just one.

Turns out the contract never specified what should happen to said person after the rescue. Whoops!

(Quoted as example, multiple people have said things like this.)

See, that kind of Literal Genie tricksiness really doesn't say "paladin" to me. Apart from anything else, I wouldn't say the contract's been completed at all- the paladin knows full well that the supposed rescuee is still going to be executed, just on a different date.

If the "bad faith = contract is void" approach seems too easy, how about this. Any contract is likely to specify what the penalty for breaking it is, otherwise it's completely toothless. I'd imagine that a paladin who decides they just can't go through with a contract would just willingly eat the penalty, respecting the contract's bindingness even as they don't complete it. And of course any payment already rendered will be returned in full. That's probably part of the penalty already, but it wouldn't have to be.

Also, even though the paladin should fully intend to fulfill their part of the bargain, an especially harsh cancellation clause should set off "DO NOT SIGN THIS THING" red flags. Nobody's going to be expecting a paladin to try to get out of a contract that's morally acceptable, after all, so if they're going to great lengths to address such an attempt, they probably know something they're not telling.

Darth Ultron
2015-02-25, 04:05 PM
And to have formalized understanding of what the situation is and what one another's expectations are. Which means that if the contract was made in bad faith or predicated upon misinformation, it's not actually doing its job properly.

But to say a paladin can ignore a contract, for any reason, just like a evil person or criminal can....makes being a paladin pointless.

''I am a good and lawful paladin....except when I decide I'm not, but still no matter what I do I'm always good and lawful and never, ever break my code'' makes for a very boring, pointless character.


They absolutely can. Well, maybe not the "become a murderhobo" part, but Paladins do not fall just for committing a chaotic act. Falling would only happen if the Paladin consistently breaks contracts, enough that they're no longer lawful - which a single action would not do, especially with a good reason.

Again, Paladins are about Good, with a side order of Law. When those two come into conflict, Law is going to get the short end of the stick.

I wonder what you'd consider a Chaotic act though? Are you saying breaking, bending or ignoring a contract is a chaotic act? If so, it's not....it's still a Lawful act. Lawful people are the ones that make and change and enforce and break and ignore the rules and laws that they or other lawful people made and they agreed to follow willing. Only the lawful people even care about the rules or laws.

Flickerdart
2015-02-25, 04:10 PM
But to say a paladin can ignore a contract, for any reason, just like a evil person or criminal can....makes being a paladin pointless.
Breaking a contract is neither an Evil act nor (in some cases) even a crime.

A paladin only falls for gross violations of the code, so a massive breach of a significant contract (such as refusing to come to his liege's aid in a desperate war) may be considered a gross violation. Paladins don't fall for simply performing a non-Good or non-Lawful (or even Chaotic) act.

icefractal
2015-02-25, 04:14 PM
But to say a paladin can ignore a contract, for any reason, just like a evil person or criminal can....makes being a paladin pointless.That doesn't follow. A Paladin can also eat a bowl of soup, just like an evil person or criminal can. Following contracts is not the core essence of a Paladin (not most Paladins, anyway).


I wonder what you'd consider a Chaotic act though? Are you saying breaking, bending or ignoring a contract is a chaotic act? If so, it's not....it's still a Lawful act. Lawful people are the ones that make and change and enforce and break and ignore the rules and laws that they or other lawful people made and they agreed to follow willing. Only the lawful people even care about the rules or laws.Then what are you even on about? Are you saying that breaking a contract is inherently evil? If so, that's ridiculous. And if it's not chaotic or evil, why is it a concern to a Paladin? Because of the code? That's going to vary from Paladin to Paladin.

elliott20
2015-02-25, 04:34 PM
I particularly like this scenario as it actually really helps zero in on what is the essence of paladinhood.

There are several perspectives to view this through. But the most pertinent is probably through legal contract law. And that's the first thing we must all understand, a contract is an agreement with legal enforcement powers, sure. But it is not immutable, neither is it THE law. At the end of the day, what is considered a contract "honored" is between the two people making the contract. It is not so clear and dry as to just say, "paladin, therefore his word is sacred and cannot be reversed".

So, if a contract DOES involve said paladin having to break his tenets, it is well within his right to reconsider the contract and then figure out a way to get out of it. Having said that however, the paladin, as any individual, must also realize that there are consequences for breaking the contract. The counterparty, after all, should have recourse, especially if this contract is one that is a fairly common one within the context of legal framework both parties operate under. So, in the example stated above about Alice's friend, if the paladin truly feels that saving Alice's friend would be a grave violation of his own code, then I as a GM would be okay with him breaking the contract if he tries to square things with his client first. i.e. tell him that he cannot follow through, and thus will reimburse Alice for any material exchange. In this scenario, I don't think it makes sense for the paladin to be punished, since he is simply trying to restore things to where they were before the contract. And once he's released from contract, it is up to him if he wants to now turn around and ensure Alice's friend gets delivered to the authorities.

It is for this reason, technically saving Alice's friend while actually leading both Alice and her friend to their doom is actually a GREATER breach of the contract simply because while the letter of the agreement is, "find my friend and bring him here unharmed", the essence really is, "save my friend". By bring the authorities to their doorstep, you have effectively done the exact opposite. So while you have satisfy the precise wording of the contract, you have violated it's spirit. And THAT is an LN action at best.

Darth Ultron
2015-02-25, 04:36 PM
Breaking a contract is neither an Evil act nor (in some cases) even a crime.

A paladin only falls for gross violations of the code, so a massive breach of a significant contract (such as refusing to come to his liege's aid in a desperate war) may be considered a gross violation. Paladins don't fall for simply performing a non-Good or non-Lawful (or even Chaotic) act.

I think breaking a contract falls on the Evil acts of Lying, Cheating and most of all Betrayal.


That doesn't follow. A Paladin can also eat a bowl of soup, just like an evil person or criminal can. Following contracts is not the core essence of a Paladin (not most Paladins, anyway).

Core essence what?



Then what are you even on about? Are you saying that breaking a contract is inherently evil? If so, that's ridiculous. And if it's not chaotic or evil, why is it a concern to a Paladin? Because of the code? That's going to vary from Paladin to Paladin.

At best, it's betrayal and/or lying or cheating. And those are all evil acts.


Ok...I'm going to say it like this. It's just like killing. A paladin can not just kill. They have to have very good and lawful reasons to kill. So it's the same with a contract: a paladin must have very good and lawful reasons to break a contract.

hamishspence
2015-02-25, 04:40 PM
Keep in mind that BOVD, which lists those 3, also specifically says that lying isn't always evil.

For killing, it was (in BOED) "Just Cause" "Good Intentions" (and a bit of "be discriminate - recognize that there are such things as noncombatants") that allows some killing to qualify as nonevil.

elliott20
2015-02-25, 04:42 PM
I think breaking a contract falls on the Evil acts of Lying, Cheating and most of all Betrayal.

You're assuming that said broken contract is in the form of the paladin actively cheating on his agreement. The difference here is intent. To lie, for example, requires intent of deception. Not honoring a contract because of your ignorance of the job is sloppy, but there is no malicious intent here. The paladin should very well be held liable for breaking the contract, but there is a difference here between a paladin that just outright lies to someone and one that says, "oh crap, I messed up. I can't do this".

icefractal
2015-02-25, 04:58 PM
At best, it's betrayal and/or lying or cheating. And those are all evil acts.Not trying to Godwin this thread, but - Schindler's List. The morality of those acts depends on the circumstances.

Coidzor
2015-02-25, 05:08 PM
I think breaking a contract falls on the Evil acts of Lying, Cheating and most of all Betrayal.


So it's the same with a contract: a paladin must have very good and lawful reasons to break a contract.

So which is it, then? Do you view breaking a contract as some kind of Ultimate EvilTM or do you view it as something that can be in keeping with a Paladin's judgment and morality? :smalltongue:


But to say a paladin can ignore a contract, for any reason, just like a evil person or criminal can....makes being a paladin pointless.

Then you're arguing against something you've created in your own head and not anything that has been espoused in this thread. I can't really help you deal with arguments that haven't been made.

That's why I pointed out that you're just making your own strawmen to grapple with.


You're assuming that said broken contract is in the form of the paladin actively cheating on his agreement. The difference here is intent. To lie, for example, requires intent of deception. Not honoring a contract because of your ignorance of the job is sloppy, but there is no malicious intent here. The paladin should very well be held liable for breaking the contract, but there is a difference here between a paladin that just outright lies to someone and one that says, "oh crap, I messed up. I can't do this".

Well, unless the contract is itself illegal. Like, say, a contract that had a clause about assassinating the head of state or grossly violating the laws of the nation by injuring or maiming officers of the law/courts hidden in the fine print. Or not hidden, as the case may be, though that's unlikely to be the case with anything a Paladin would sign, so it'd generally have to be hidden for our purposes.

And, yeah, there's a big difference between violating a contract by intentionally sabotaging the construction one was supposed to be overseeing and exiting a contract because they hired one to exterminate mundane rats but what they actually had was an infestation of Were-Rats and Awakened Dire Rats.

Flickerdart
2015-02-25, 05:32 PM
I think breaking a contract falls on the Evil acts of Lying, Cheating and most of all Betrayal.
None of those are evil.

hamishspence
2015-02-25, 06:07 PM
None of those are evil.

BoVD does treat them like they are though - that said - if it made a specific "Usually evil, but not always" clarification for Lying - maybe the other two deserve one as well.

Nalak
2015-02-25, 06:15 PM
Question is - and I don't mean to pick on Nalak especially, this applies to practically all the examples in this thread - why would you even suggest a "contract" in that case? Once Alice tells the paladin what has happened, chances are you'd have to hold him down to stop him from going after them right then and there. I guess he might hesitate if he has some other more pressing issues to deal with first, but a contract wouldn't make that go away either.

The only reason for even suggesting a contract is, if you think it's likely that the other party is going to be motivated to change their mind at some point.

Oh no issue at all. In my mind I'm using more of the verbal contract. You know:
Alice: You have to help me my friend has been kidnapped.
Paladin: Alright just tell me what happened and I'll see what I can do.
Alice proceeds to spill the details. Paladin: Alright I've got it. Is there anything else you can think of that might help me, or that I should know before I go?
Alice thinks for a moment: Nothing comes to mind.
Paladin: Alright I'm off, don't worry.

I still feel my prior example stands though. If the circumstances change to such an extent that it turns into an entirely different affair then the paladin has the right to refuse if they believe it was malicious deception. To give an example where I think I would have serious issue if the paladin did break the contract when the circumstances changed. A small group of farmers selling their goods (probably no more than 2-3 enough so everything can basically fit on a single cart/wagon) approach a paladin and explains they had some misfortune on the way to town and so lack the funds to pay for proper protection for the odd chance of bandits goblins or something attacking them on the way home after buying the supplies they needed. The paladin agrees to serve as protection should they need it on the journey and charges little to nothing maybe just that he/she be allowed to share in their meals on the journey. They travel and it turns out that the farmers misfortune is waiting for them at the entrance to their property aka the group of bandits, from the nearby bandit camp, who have basically shown up and starting taking everything they could from the farmers for "protection" and that this has been a situation that has been going for months now. So in this case the paladin knows these people lied because it wasn't a case of "We would feel a lot better if we had someone who could actually fight in case something bad happened," and was actually, "We need someone to deal with the bandits who have been making it difficult to impossible for us to live." The agreement is technically void because the people lied about their circumstances, however, they are in trouble and need help. At this point it would be wrong of the paladin to just leave them on the grounds of "Not what I signed up for f*ck you." Because the deception wasn't malicious they just figured if they presented the real situation they would get no help at all.

I will point out I wouldn't require the paladin to fight off the entire bandit camp by himself and would accept it if the paladin did something to prevent the bandits from being a problem for a small time and then went to get help because he/she did not want to die. I would also allow it.

goto124
2015-02-25, 09:02 PM
If a paladin had later realised that an evil [not necessarily Evil] act was required to fulfil the contract, she would first talk to the other guy and see if they can revoke or change the contract. If it turns out it was made in bad faith, and rules-lawyering is needed to avoid performing the evil act/dodge the evil consequences [killing Alice after rescuing her, bringing the head of the king with the rest of his body and his entire army], a paladin should be able to do it without Falling. That's after she already tried hard to not go against the intent of the contract.

Good before Lawful. The paladin sees Lawful as the best means to Good, a means that works 99% of the time. If she has already exhausted all her Lawful options to be Good, something slightly Chaotic should be alright.

How else is the player/PC going about it anyway? It's hard enough for the player/PC to come up with a technically-fulfils-the-contract solution already. The player/PC doesn't want to Fall usually.

Flickerdart
2015-02-25, 09:24 PM
BoVD does treat them like they are though - that said - if it made a specific "Usually evil, but not always" clarification for Lying - maybe the other two deserve one as well.
The PHB calls lying a Chaotic act, and it's the primary source, so BoVD can go suck a fiendish lemon.

hamishspence
2015-02-26, 02:23 AM
The PHB calls lying a Chaotic act, and it's the primary source, so BoVD can go suck a fiendish lemon.

I've seen it associate "telling the truth" with Law, at least:

http://www.d20srd.org/srd/description.htm
Law Vs. Chaos
Lawful characters tell the truth, keep their word, respect authority, honor tradition, and judge those who fall short of their duties.

Chaotic characters follow their consciences, resent being told what to do, favor new ideas over tradition, and do what they promise if they feel like it.

"Law" implies honor, trustworthiness, obedience to authority, and reliability. On the downside, lawfulness can include close-mindedness, reactionary adherence to tradition, judgmentalness, and a lack of adaptability. Those who consciously promote lawfulness say that only lawful behavior creates a society in which people can depend on each other and make the right decisions in full confidence that others will act as they should.

"Chaos" implies freedom, adaptability, and flexibility. On the downside, chaos can include recklessness, resentment toward legitimate authority, arbitrary actions, and irresponsibility. Those who promote chaotic behavior say that only unfettered personal freedom allows people to express themselves fully and lets society benefit from the potential that its individuals have within them.

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.

Devotion to law or chaos may be a conscious choice, but more often it is a personality trait that is recognized rather than being chosen. Neutrality on the lawful-chaotic axis is usually simply a middle state, a state of not feeling compelled toward one side or the other. Some few such neutrals, however, espouse neutrality as superior to law or chaos, regarding each as an extreme with its own blind spots and drawbacks.

Animals and other creatures incapable of moral action are neutral. Dogs may be obedient and cats free-spirited, but they do not have the moral capacity to be truly lawful or chaotic.

Still, that wouldn't stop lying from being "usually Chaotic, sometimes Evil" - and there's probably Lawful liars as well.

goto124
2015-02-26, 02:42 AM
IMHO Lawful people prefer deception- telling things that are technically true, rules-lawyering [lol], mathematicans' answers, etc, over outright lying.

hamishspence
2015-02-26, 06:47 AM
Possible exception might be the archdevil Baalzebul and his followers:

"Lord of the Flies, Lord of the Lies" as BoVD puts it.

Satinavian
2015-02-26, 07:38 AM
I think this is the correct answer. It should be part of the paladin's basic training, not to sign anything without a get-out clause.

It might not be as simple as "may cancel at any time" - you might have to go through some formal procedure of repudiating the contract and/or compensating the other party - but the basic form would be "I don't have to go through with this if it would require doing something inconsistent with my code".
Contracts are made with 2 parties. The paladin has to get the other part to agree to any get-out-clause. And that might prove difficult for any such vague ones that are completely based on the paladins moral assessment of the situation.


If a paladin had later realised that an evil [not necessarily Evil] act was required to fulfil the contract, she would first talk to the other guy and see if they can revoke or change the contract. If it turns out it was made in bad faith, and rules-lawyering is needed to avoid performing the evil act/dodge the evil consequences [killing Alice after rescuing her, bringing the head of the king with the rest of his body and his entire army], a paladin should be able to do it without Falling. That's after she already tried hard to not go against the intent of the contract. And what, if the contract was made in good faith and only a new situation makes it difficult now ? But the other party is still very much interested in getting it done ?

It's a bad situation with no easy option. But yes, i would probably see violating an otherwise legitimate contract which was made without decieving the paladin and was honored by the other party as as grave a violation as many evil acts. Even worse than minor evil acts.

OTOH i would never as DM make a situation where a PC paladin has to fall. I probably would avoid the penalty for the lesser of the two offenses completely (if a paladin choses the best option, he should never fall) and make atonement very easy to come by for the worse option as it was such a difficult desision.


But paladins derive from the ideal of knights. Their word should be extremely important and fealty to their liege lord unwavering, even if they would not do those things otherwise.

Coidzor
2015-02-26, 08:28 AM
And what, if the contract was made in good faith and only a new situation makes it difficult now ? But the other party is still very much interested in getting it done ?

There's a reason there's such a thing as renegotiation, aye.


But paladins derive from the ideal of knights. Their word should be extremely important and fealty to their liege lord unwavering, even if they would not do those things otherwise.

So they should be paladins up until the point where they're asked to become blackguards and then be blackguards, essentially. That's just as flawed as the Paladin who is willfully complicit in torture.

Satinavian
2015-02-26, 09:25 AM
The legitimate ruler giving out orders that conflict with the interests or ideals of their vassals is one of the classical conflicts in knightly tales.
And most agree, that the only honorable thing is to still fullfill the order. Breaking an oath of fealty is one of the most vile things a feudal society can imagine. Killing innocents is nothing compared to it. That is why oaths are explicitly mentioned in the paladin code.

Now a contract is not an oath. But the idea is the same. The paladin must not break a contract and he must not do explicitly evil. If those things contradict, neither one gets priority per se, but a paladin has to choose the lesser transgression. What evil deed is ist ? What kind of contract is it ?

That is already removed from historical paladin stories and places more value on modern ideas of good and evil. But i really wouldn't go any further.

Segev
2015-02-26, 09:26 AM
As others have mentioned, contracts have reasons beyond "I don't trust you."

In fact, a contract between two LG individuals would need no "teeth;" their word would be good enough. The purpose of such a contract would be to clearly spell out exactly what is required, what each party considers adequate completion of the agreed-upon terms. LG types will usually, if they're experienced/clever enough, have cancellation and renegotiation clauses at least as strong as "if both parties agree, this can be changed." Because LG types would still feel in some way wrong if they both decided they didn't like how the contract was requiring things, but would have to break it to change it. They may not be robots, but that doesn't make it feel "okay" to violate their word.

Of course, "Lawful" doesn't always mean "intelligent" or "wise," and even two LG types can enter into an ill-worded agreement with foolish clauses or lack of useful ones.

Such individuals, finding themselves in a situation where they're unhappy with the contract (particularly if both sides don't like it), but feel bound to its letter, may turn to somebody clever to help them find a way to rules lawyer around it.

And in the end, an LG type who realized that the contract required or promoted evil and could not find a way around it has to choose one or the other. A single act isn't likely to change their alignment, but if they foolishly find themselves in this situation frequently, the pattern of choice they make will push them more towards neutrality on at least one axis. (And, arguably, towards TN if they keep alternating.)

Paladins, in general, are expected to err on the side of Good, unless the act would be overwhelmingly more chaotic than its alternative would be evil. (Let an innocent child stub his toe or break your sworn oath and violate the lawfully-given orders of your leige-lord while neglecting your duties. The mild evil you permit in letting the kid have a stubbed toe and a few minutes of limping is not worth so grossly chaotic an act.)

theNater
2015-02-26, 09:42 AM
Contracts are made with 2 parties. The paladin has to get the other part to agree to any get-out-clause. And that might prove difficult for any such vague ones that are completely based on the paladins moral assessment of the situation.
Frankly, anyone who isn't willing to entertain such a clause is probably not someone with whom a paladin should be entering binding agreements. I could see someone demanding a massive penalty attached to such opting out, but insisting that the contract is more important than the paladin's service to their deity should be a gigantic warning sign that maybe this isn't somebody the paladin should be associating with.

Satinavian
2015-02-26, 10:09 AM
Get out clauses have been traditianally far less prevalent than they are nowadays. Even if people agree to one, it probably wouldn't be one which basically says that the paladin can retreat from the contract whenever he feels like. More likely specific conditions or external arbitrators are mentioned in such a clause.

And then, of course the paladin can just refuse to sign a contract. But then he won't get whatever he wants from the other party. Even if it is important.

No one signs a contract just for fun.

GungHo
2015-02-26, 10:46 AM
I'm really not sure I've understood why people are so fascinated about making a paladin's life hell. It's like because someone decided to be a big damn hero they have earned an unending series of karmic practical jokes.

Segev
2015-02-26, 10:51 AM
I'm really not sure I've understood why people are so fascinated about making a paladin's life hell. It's like because someone decided to be a big damn hero they have earned an unending series of karmic practical jokes.

1) I don't think this particular thread is actually playing into that normal "paladins must be punished" line.

2) The reason it happens is because Paladins have as part of their class design an explicitly challenging code of conduct. They are the one class in the game that actively have a moral quandary option built into their mechanics.

Law and Good are also viewed as the alignments with the most overt restrictions on your behavior, so combining them means you must have high standards and a lot of chance for them to conflict. Thus, they're the ones that are most likely to be seen as, in one person, leading to "hard choices."

So the fact that it's the "hard choices" alignment AND it's built into that specific class's mechanics is what makes it like waving a red cape in front of a bull in terms of telling a DM, "Mess with me here! It's a CHALLENGE!"

Mark Hall
2015-02-26, 11:30 AM
I'm really not sure I've understood why people are so fascinated about making a paladin's life hell. It's like because someone decided to be a big damn hero they have earned an unending series of karmic practical jokes.



2) The reason it happens is because Paladins have as part of their class design an explicitly challenging code of conduct. They are the one class in the game that actively have a moral quandary option built into their mechanics.


I find myself wondering how many people would make a CE anti-paladin atone for telling the truth, if lying is enough of a chaotic act to cause problems for a real paladin. :smallbiggrin:

Flickerdart
2015-02-26, 12:41 PM
I find myself wondering how many people would make a CE anti-paladin atone for telling the truth, if lying is enough of a chaotic act to cause problems for a real paladin. :smallbiggrin:
Philosophers have chased after the essence of truth for millenia. I don't think a divinely-inspired thug risks wandering upon it. :smalltongue:

Darth Ultron
2015-02-26, 01:38 PM
It's always tricky to talk about a topic like this, as everyone will say something different. Even the people that agree that a paladin can break or ignore a contract will disagree on how and why they can do so.

Lets try to break it down to examples(maybe others can give examples too)

Paladin Sal wanders and enters the kingdom of Ar. He goes to king Kang and offers his services as a knight of the realm until the next full moon. The king and the paladin both sign a contract: the knight will obey the king in all things in exchange for room, board, pay and a boon at the end of the contract. Sal detects no evil in the king(but...it's there just magically hidden)

A week later, Sal learns the king is evil. What does Sal do?

1. Immediately break the contract, and simply do whatever he wants. The contract utterly means nothing and he can follow it or not follow it.

2. Sal will immediately go to the king and ask to have the contract to be cancelled. If the king refuses then Sal will sit out the contract time in jail and will not serve the king.

3. Sal will accept the failure of being tricked himself. He will follow the terms of the contract. Sal can not just randomly break a contract just as he wants too, or even if he finds out the king is evil.

So other then the first one of ''whatever Sal'', the other two will likely be stuck in the contract until it ends. Sal will refuse to do an evil act if ordered two, and will surrender to the punishment of a knight that shows insubordination to his king. Otherwise, Sal will be the best knight he can and serve the king for the time remaining. Sal will try his best to soften the kings evil ways, for example he will ask nicely when he collects taxes. But Sal won't speak out against the king or take any action against him.....until the full moon.

I think that Sal would do number three, walk the line and make the best of it. He will stay free to do good, and do his best to soften the kings ways, but draws the line at doing evil.

illyahr
2015-02-26, 02:05 PM
It's always tricky to talk about a topic like this, as everyone will say something different. Even the people that agree that a paladin can break or ignore a contract will disagree on how and why they can do so.

Lets try to break it down to examples(maybe others can give examples too)

Paladin Sal wanders and enters the kingdom of Ar. He goes to king Kang and offers his services as a knight of the realm until the next full moon. The king and the paladin both sign a contract: the knight will obey the king in all things in exchange for room, board, pay and a boon at the end of the contract. Sal detects no evil in the king(but...it's there just magically hidden)

A week later, Sal learns the king is evil. What does Sal do?

1. Immediately break the contract, and simply do whatever he wants. The contract utterly means nothing and he can follow it or not follow it.

2. Sal will immediately go to the king and ask to have the contract to be cancelled. If the king refuses then Sal will sit out the contract time in jail and will not serve the king.

3. Sal will accept the failure of being tricked himself. He will follow the terms of the contract. Sal can not just randomly break a contract just as he wants too, or even if he finds out the king is evil.

So other then the first one of ''whatever Sal'', the other two will likely be stuck in the contract until it ends. Sal will refuse to do an evil act if ordered two, and will surrender to the punishment of a knight that shows insubordination to his king. Otherwise, Sal will be the best knight he can and serve the king for the time remaining. Sal will try his best to soften the kings evil ways, for example he will ask nicely when he collects taxes. But Sal won't speak out against the king or take any action against him.....until the full moon.

I think that Sal would do number three, walk the line and make the best of it. He will stay free to do good, and do his best to soften the kings ways, but draws the line at doing evil.

I'm actually in agreement with you on this. The alignment of the King doesn't change the nature of the contract. Pali Sal would probably do his best to honor it and still stay within his code.

Segev
2015-02-26, 02:14 PM
If evil King Kang is a wise evil king, and he knows Paladin Sal's alignment and proclivities, he will set Sal to tasks upholding the laws with which even good people tend to agree. If he is foolish, then Sal is likely to strive as long as he can to uphold the King's commands without actually engaging in evil. He will, under any circumstances, exercise as much discretion as he can in HOW he carries out the orders.

He also is under no compulsion not to offer aid of his own substance. Have to tax the poor peasants for evil King Kang? He can still take his own wealth and gift it to those peasants after following the letter of the law and taxing their current possessions.

He will also, whether Kang is wise enough to arrange it on purpose or not, seek to take on duties like tracking down the serial killer who is murdering the townsfolk, or slaying the evil troll that is eating the farmers' and shepherds' sons who try to defend the crops and flocks at night.

It is only if Kang is the sort to delight in putting paladins in moral quandaries - perhaps for the purpose of cheating him out of that boon by making him have to break his orders - that Sal is going to have to worry about serious conflicts of obedience vs. conscience. (Okay, a particualrly chaotic evil King Kang might capriciously order cruelty for the sake of cruelty without actually planning to torment the paladin, but that would likely have been obvious despite the lack of evil being detected just from looking at Kang's court.)



Also, now I want to name a werewolf "King Kang." He'd be the lord of Kang's Garu Court.

Mr.Moron
2015-02-26, 02:18 PM
He can do anything number of things, but if I was playing him I'd stay on contract with the king following any agreeable commands. Now knowing he is doing evil I'd spend my time in my service trying to investigate what he's doing in the realm, hoping that way I can find out what exactly is making evil ping and how to stop it.

Though I find the idea of swearing total obedience to entirely earthly authority like a king, especially one that's not done anything prior to inspire said confidence in their righteousness to be really weird as a paladin. I've already sworn total loyalty to a higher cause.

I cannot give my obedience "in all things", it is no longer mine to give. In this case the breach of conduct was not made when I broke the contact but when I signed it.

veti
2015-02-26, 03:10 PM
Contracts are made with 2 parties. The paladin has to get the other part to agree to any get-out-clause. And that might prove difficult for any such vague ones that are completely based on the paladins moral assessment of the situation.

Well, they're going to have to suck it up, because that's the only way the paladin will sign it at all. You can take the paladin's verbal assurance that she'll do her best, or you can get her to sign a piece of paper committing to a specific course of action, but in the latter case, the paladin will insist on certain safeguards, and if you don't like those, there's still Option A.


And what, if the contract was made in good faith and only a new situation makes it difficult now ? But the other party is still very much interested in getting it done ?

"Difficult" is fine. Difficult is why contracts were invented in the first place, and it wouldn't in itself stop the paladin from making their very best efforts.

But "contrary to other established principles" is another matter. Most contracts don't have an explicit get-out clause saying that it can't force either party to break the law, because the law itself already assumes that clause is present. If you sign a contract agreeing to murder someone and then say "no, I won't do it", no court is going to rule that you have to.


But paladins derive from the ideal of knights. Their word should be extremely important and fealty to their liege lord unwavering, even if they would not do those things otherwise.

"Fealty to their liege lord" is indeed all-important, and it's a good reason not to sign anything in the first place - because it may introduce conflicts with that loyalty, and "conflicts of loyalty" is exactly how paladins fall. But they don't have a "contract" with their liege lord: they have an oath, which is quite a different animal.

theNater
2015-02-26, 03:49 PM
Even if people agree to one, it probably wouldn't be one which basically says that the paladin can retreat from the contract whenever he feels like.
Of course not. It would be one that says the paladin can retreat from the contract, probably with penalties, if the contract conflicts with his code. That's nowhere near the same as "whenever he feels like it".

Frozen_Feet
2015-02-26, 03:51 PM
The correct answer has already been given, but to beat a dead horse: since the time of romans, there's existed this concept of "illegitimate order". Any contract that turns out to violate a higher principle of justice is null and void. What the higher principle of justice is will vary based on the situation; it could be the cosmic forces of Law and Good, it could be creature rights of some person, it could be the Paladin's code or even the mundane law of the land. For example, if someone asks you to look after some property and it turns out to be stolen, it's perfectly acceptable for the Paladin to return it to its rightful owner. If a king overturns an order given by a general, it's okay for the Paladin to follow - or vice versa, if following the king's orders would unjustly place people in peril, it's okay to keep following the general's orders.

Sith_Happens
2015-02-26, 04:05 PM
If one of the terms of the contract involves the preservation of a creature that later turns out to be evil, is the paladin at odds with his code no matter what his decision is? lets say the paladin did not have augury at the time he signed on

I'd actually say that, as long as (a) the would-be beneficiary isn't too evil and (b) the thing they need your protection from isn't something they brought upon themselves or otherwise had coming, you could go either way (i.e.- honor the contract or not) without a code violation. If either of those two conditions aren't met, on the other hand, then the correct thing to do is tear up the contract and have a stern talking-to with whoever talked you into it.

Frozen_Feet
2015-02-26, 04:34 PM
If we want to talk about a time and place when the Paladin has to protect someone even if they turn out to be evil, the earlier example of escorting a criminal to a trial or prison is a good one. A similar situation would be if the person has been called or ordered to serve as a witness. The common vein here is that the additional information doesn't breech the terms of the contract.

To use the reverse of the stolen property example, the Paladin might be asked to look after property of some person who is under trial. Even if that person turns out to be guilty of heinous crimes, it could be the property is still rightfully his, so it's not okay for the Paladin to just abandon post or damage the property.

icefractal
2015-02-26, 04:36 PM
The legitimate ruler giving out orders that conflict with the interests or ideals of their vassals is one of the classical conflicts in knightly tales.
And most agree, that the only honorable thing is to still fullfill the order. Breaking an oath of fealty is one of the most vile things a feudal society can imagine. Killing innocents is nothing compared to it. That is why oaths are explicitly mentioned in the paladin code.The RL feudal system wasn't/isn't Good though. Lawful Neutral at best. And while knightly Paladins are often seen, they're not the only possibility - the 'lone marshal of justice' archetype would fit just as well.

I have to agree with Mr. Moron - the Paladin serves (depending on setting) either a god or the principle of law and good. Compared to that, the authority of any mortal ruler is chaff in the wind. The questionable part of Sal's actions was agreeing to follow Kang without reservation in the first place - he should know that's not possible, and (unless a very good reason otherwise exists) should have informed Kang about that at the time of agreement.

The question still arises - what if an agreement is made (with an appropriate escape clause), Sal later determines Kang to be evil, but Kang hasn't and doesn't order him to commit any evil acts, even indirectly? Even evil kings sometimes need good things accomplished, after all. That's something I could see going either way.

Grek
2015-02-26, 04:41 PM
Paladin Sal wanders and enters the kingdom of Ar. He goes to king Kang and offers his services as a knight of the realm until the next full moon. The king and the paladin both sign a contract: the knight will obey the king in all things in exchange for room, board, pay and a boon at the end of the contract. Sal detects no evil in the king(but...it's there just magically hidden)

A Paladin should never do this. They're champions of Good who are required to obey the law. Promise to defend the realm against evil? Sure. Promise to aid in goodly works? Alright. Promise to obey the king in all things? No, absolutely not. A paladin's first loyalty should be to goodness, and that ought to be reflected in any deal the Paladin agrees to. That's the point of being a Paladin.

Segev
2015-02-26, 04:50 PM
Re: the Feudal System.

Like many systems of governance, it can be Good. It takes the King and most (if not all) of the primary nobles in power being Good, and having enough wisdom and talent for ruling well that they can provide Good-aligned and well-thought-out decisions and rulings to their people.

As with any system of governance, power attracts corruptible people, and when given to people who do not have the proper perspective, can raise them to be corrupt. Because it's a totalitarian system at its core, the corruption sets in swiftly with one bad seed.

You can argue that the nature of the lack of freedoms on the serf level are inherently bad, but recall that it was actually a good deal from their perspective when it first started: they HAVE land and thus income, and are NOT slaves and DO own some of their harvest. That we now have much better and that evil men returned many serfs to practical slavery is a consequence of the flaws of the feudal system, but not an inherent part of the system.

A Good And Wise King with sufficient ability to guide his nobles to be also Good and Wise would be able to lead a prosperous kingdom of people with a great deal of practical freedom and safety.

Paladins as depicted in D&D are the knights in shining armor who really do bring the best of noblesse oblige to the people. They absolutely can uphold a feudal system, seeking to bring out its virtues.

One virtue of such a system is that a highly competent, GOOD king can turn around a kingdom much faster than anybody can turn around a REpublic.

Frozen_Feet
2015-02-26, 04:57 PM
The question still arises - what if an agreement is made (with an appropriate escape clause), Sal later determines Kang to be evil, but Kang hasn't and doesn't order him to commit any evil acts, even indirectly? Even evil kings sometimes need good things accomplished, after all. That's something I could see going either way.

Legitimate orders are legitimate. Refusing to follow the law when there's nothing objectionable to it, only because you object to the person who made it, is sort of being a prick, don't you think? Even Stalin drank Vodka.

icefractal
2015-02-26, 05:23 PM
Legitimate orders are legitimate. Refusing to follow the law when there's nothing objectionable to it, only because you object to the person who made it, is sort of being a prick, don't you think? Even Stalin drank Vodka.Well for example, if King Kang is as bad as Stalin, then Sal might decide he needs to be overthrown. Being lawful, it's not a course of action he'd take lightly, and considerations such as "without the tyrant, does the kingdom's infrastructure collapse?" would be taken into account, but it's possible that on balance Kang needs to go.

In that case, I don't see a Paladin as working for the king while simultaneously plotting against him. He'd more likely declare his opposition officially (by note if necessary, he doesn't have to be foolish about it).

But other than that, sure, the laws themselves can be just even if the people making them were unjust.

Mr.Moron
2015-02-26, 05:33 PM
Well for example, if King Kang is as bad as Stalin, then Sal might decide he needs to be overthrown. Being lawful, it's not a course of action he'd take lightly, and considerations such as "without the tyrant, does the kingdom's infrastructure collapse?" would be taken into account, but it's possible that on balance Kang needs to go.


Though I'll note typically I think the answer here should be "No", or "It would be if not for this worthy successor, or noble civilian group ready to take over". At least when you're running a game where a magically-empowered knight of goodness goes around toppling tyrants.

Maybe it's just me but I tend to find "Magic GodKnight" and "Complex Realities of Unjust Power Structures" are a bit at odds with each other in terms of tone.

Segev
2015-02-26, 05:49 PM
Maybe it's just me but I tend to find "Magic GodKnight" and "Complex Realities of Unjust Power Structures" are a bit at odds with each other in terms of tone.

Nah. If the tone seems in conflict, it just means that the Magic GodKnight is probably destined to take over.

Mark Hall
2015-02-26, 05:54 PM
If we want to talk about a time and place when the Paladin has to protect someone even if they turn out to be evil, the earlier example of escorting a criminal to a trial or prison is a good one. A similar situation would be if the person has been called or ordered to serve as a witness. The common vein here is that the additional information doesn't breech the terms of the contract.

He might, for example, be bound to bring him to the 3:10 to Yuma.

veti
2015-02-26, 06:02 PM
In that case, I don't see a Paladin as working for the king while simultaneously plotting against him. He'd more likely declare his opposition officially (by note if necessary, he doesn't have to be foolish about it).

"To: His Most Awesome Majesty, Kang, by the Grace of Fate, King of Oppressia, Lord of the Crushed Isles, Sovereign of Iron Boots, Defender of the Privileged, Master of the Unnecessary Punishment.

From: Sal.

Sire,

It has recently come to my attention that some actions committed in your name could be construed as not entirely within the scope of purposes that benefit the common people by the even-handed application of justice tempered with charity. Further investigation has determined to my satisfaction that you personally ordered some of these actions. One witness, who shall be nameless here for obvious reasons, quotes you directly as saying "To Gehenna with the peasants, I want my noodles! If that means murdering the firstborn daughter of every pleb in Scumsville, get on with it!"

In the circumstances, I cannot in conscience continue to fulfil my contract. Please find enclosed a refund of $20.47 representing the value of my time until the end of the contracted period.

If you need to contact me for any reason, I'll be plotting your downfall and the prompt establishment of a new regime dedicated to justice, honesty and achieving the best possible outcome for all. Please excuse me for not including contact details, as it is my earnest wish that you not be able to locate me for the foreseeable future.

I remain, Sire, etc."


Maybe it's just me but I tend to find "Magic GodKnight" and "Complex Realities of Unjust Power Structures" are a bit at odds with each other in terms of tone.

I agree, and for me it's the Magic GodKnight that gives way every time. "Reasonably plausible politics" is infinitely more interesting than "righteous smiting solves everything".

Sith_Happens
2015-02-26, 06:27 PM
"To: His Most Awesome Majesty, Kang, by the Grace of Fate, King of Oppressia, Lord of the Crushed Isles, Sovereign of Iron Boots, Defender of the Privileged, Master of the Unnecessary Punishment.

From: Sal.

Sire,

It has recently come to my attention that some actions committed in your name could be construed as not entirely within the scope of purposes that benefit the common people by the even-handed application of justice tempered with charity. Further investigation has determined to my satisfaction that you personally ordered some of these actions. One witness, who shall be nameless here for obvious reasons, quotes you directly as saying "To Gehenna with the peasants, I want my noodles! If that means murdering the firstborn daughter of every pleb in Scumsville, get on with it!"

In the circumstances, I cannot in conscience continue to fulfil my contract. Please find enclosed a refund of $20.47 representing the value of my time until the end of the contracted period.

If you need to contact me for any reason, I'll be plotting your downfall and the prompt establishment of a new regime dedicated to justice, honesty and achieving the best possible outcome for all. Please excuse me for not including contact details, as it is my earnest wish that you not be able to locate me for the foreseeable future.

I remain, Sire, etc."

Thread over, everyone go home.


I agree, and for me it's the Magic GodKnight that gives way every time. "Reasonably plausible politics" is infinitely more interesting than "righteous smiting solves everything".

http://cdn.meme.am/instances/250x250/59526649.jpg

Magic GodKnight encounters Complex Realities of Unjust Power Structures and discovers the hard way that fixing things will require more than just Righteous Smiting. He can probably win out eventually, yes, but it will be a long, hard process requiring him to engage in Reasonably Plausible Politics without compromising his principles. Still with some Righteous Smiting along the way, though, because the Unjust Power Structure is most certainly going to be trying to kill you so you might as well return some its strategically-placed members the favor.:smallamused:

Mr.Moron
2015-02-26, 06:59 PM
I agree, and for me it's the Magic GodKnight that gives way every time. "Reasonably plausible politics" is infinitely more interesting than "righteous smiting solves everything".

Different strokes for different folks I guess. I've had more than enough gritty realism to last me at least the rest of the decade.

Besides, game that doesn't focus on unpleasant realities doesn't have to be all "Righteous Smiting Solves Everything". There's tons of space to explore that's in tone with "Magic God Knight" that isn't just finding and clobbering everything you can. Even clobbering him though, sometimes it's just nice know when playing a game that you can topple evil king ****-bag without also maybe causing the peasants to starve.

Sometimes you just want a game where your positive actions that and the "Complex" twist, or things having unconsidered repercussions are the rare exception rather than the rule.

illyahr
2015-02-26, 07:38 PM
Thread over, everyone go home.

Agreed. Veti wins the thread.

Flickerdart
2015-02-26, 10:49 PM
"To: His Most Awesome Majesty, Kang, by the Grace of Fate, King of Oppressia, Lord of the Crushed Isles, Sovereign of Iron Boots, Defender of the Privileged, Master of the Unnecessary Punishment.
...
I remain, Sire, etc."



I feel like you have confused Good with Polite. Nobody said a Paladin had to be nice.

goto124
2015-02-27, 12:32 AM
But it's smart to be polite. Especially when talking to someone with an inflated ego. Not Good, Not Evil, just smart.

Coidzor
2015-02-27, 03:03 AM
I feel like you have confused Good with Polite. Nobody said a Paladin had to be nice.

Well, you know, it can make the cheek all the worse when couched in such politeness.

Acacia OnnaStik
2015-02-27, 03:27 AM
Yeah, I didn't read that as nice, I read it as devastatingly deadpan. And I love devastatingly deadpan.

Satinavian
2015-02-27, 03:45 AM
I feel like you have confused Good with Polite. Nobody said a Paladin had to be nice.
It uses the quote of the king to contrast its own tone. This way it claims not only moral superiority but also superiority in etiquette and self-controll.

It's nothing but an additional slander aimed at the king.

GungHo
2015-02-27, 09:18 AM
He might, for example, be bound to bring him to the 3:10 to Yuma.

Westerns are some of the best Paladin movies.

Mark Hall
2015-02-27, 11:02 AM
Westerns are some of the best Paladin movies.

D&D is really just a Western in Medieval drag.

Segev
2015-02-27, 11:13 AM
"To: His Most Awesome Majesty, Kang, by the Grace of Fate, King of Oppressia, Lord of the Crushed Isles, Sovereign of Iron Boots, Defender of the Privileged, Master of the Unnecessary Punishment.

From: Sal.

Sire,

It has recently come to my attention that some actions committed in your name could be construed as not entirely within the scope of purposes that benefit the common people by the even-handed application of justice tempered with charity. Further investigation has determined to my satisfaction that you personally ordered some of these actions. One witness, who shall be nameless here for obvious reasons, quotes you directly as saying "To Gehenna with the peasants, I want my noodles! If that means murdering the firstborn daughter of every pleb in Scumsville, get on with it!"

In the circumstances, I cannot in conscience continue to fulfil my contract. Please find enclosed a refund of $20.47 representing the value of my time until the end of the contracted period.

If you need to contact me for any reason, I'll be plotting your downfall and the prompt establishment of a new regime dedicated to justice, honesty and achieving the best possible outcome for all. Please excuse me for not including contact details, as it is my earnest wish that you not be able to locate me for the foreseeable future.

I remain, Sire, etc."


To: Sal

From: His Most Awesome Majesty, Kang, by the Grace of Fate, King of Oppressia, Lord of the Crushed Isles, Sovereign of Iron Boots, Defender of the Privileged, Master of the Unnecessary Punishment.

Sir Knight,

Thank you for your timely missive, and your thoughtful observations of the policies as effectuated in Oppresia and the Crushed Isles. We, the august Sovereign of Iron Boots, are always grateful for feedback from those in our employ.

We are sorry to see you go, and look forward to our future engagements. Should you require references, please do not hesitate to contact our Royal Clerk. Your dedication to improving the processes of governance will be most dutifully noted to your next employer.

In light of the reasons stated for your termination of our arrangement, we thank you for the $20.47 remitted by your own hand, and reciprocate with the remainder of your severance package.

To wit and in closing, we prepared Explosive Runes this morning.

Your Sovereign and Defender, etc.

King Kang

Deophaun
2015-02-27, 11:44 AM
Unlike others here, I don't think the paladin would insist on a morality escape clause either, since angling for a way to escape the contract could easily be seen as a dishonest negotiation tactic.
We are talking about a contract here, though. Such things are not unreasonable or even odd.

Now, if this was an oath or even a promise, it would be a different story.

Mr.Moron
2015-02-27, 12:04 PM
We are talking about a contract here, though. Such things are not unreasonable or even odd.

Now, if this was an oath or even a promise, it would be a different story.

There's an implicit assumption of such a "clause" in all things.

If Sir BadButtom the Awful asks a paladin "Here. Please deliver this shipment of rice to the home for hungry orphans. I want those poor starving children to eat it." and then later it turns out the rice is poisonous or whatever the paladin isn't on the hook for anything. Sir BadButtom didn't lie and the paladin didn't say "Yes. Only if the rice isn't poisoned" but the agreement is still void, because the earthly promise doesn't rank higher than the heavenly calling. Also it was a **** promise made to a total douche who wants to poison orphans.

The code isn't there as hook for "Gotchas!" based on technicalities, changing circumstances or bad faith actors. Seriously all it says is basically:


Be a solid bro to everyone.
Don't keep ****ty mother****ers in your posse.
Play things on the level and be a straight shooter when you can.
Follow the rules and respect the local customs, so long as doing so doesn't keep you from being a solid bro to everyone.

Deophaun
2015-02-27, 12:13 PM
There's an implicit assumption of such a "clause" in all things.

If Sir BadButtom the Awful asks a paladin "Here. Please deliver this shipment of rice to the home for hungry orphans. I want those poor starving children to eat it." and then later it turns out the rice is poisonous or whatever the paladin isn't on the hook for anything. Sir BadButtom didn't lie and the paladin didn't say "Yes. Only if the rice isn't poisoned" but the agreement is still void, because the earthly promise doesn't rank higher than the heavenly calling. Also it was a **** promise made to a total who wants to poison orphans.
"I'm sorry Reverend Mother, but the rice we were commissioned to bring you is poisoned. We shall now dispose of it and be more wary of those we deal with in the future."


The code isn't there as hook for "Gotchas!" based on technicalities, changing circumstances or bad faith actors. Seriously all it says is basically:


Be a solid bro to everyone.
Don't keep ****ty mother****ers in your posse.
Play things on the level and be a straight shooter when you can.
Follow the rules and respect the local customers, so long as doing so doesn't keep you from being a solid bro to everyone.

Which would make paladins generally fine people but not exemplars of Good or paragons of virtue. I, personally, have no problem waving the Paladin's Code along with the bulk of the falling mechanics because I find it unnecessarily confining. But, I've gamed with players that want to live up to the class's expectations, and in those cases, just being decent is not enough.

Mr.Moron
2015-02-27, 12:43 PM
"I'm sorry Reverend Mother, but the rice we were commissioned to bring you is poisoned. We shall now dispose of it and be more wary of those we deal with in the future."


Which would make paladins generally fine people but not exemplars of Good or paragons of virtue. I, personally, have no problem waving the Paladin's Code along with the bulk of the falling mechanics because I find it unnecessarily confining. But, I've gamed with players that want to live up to the class's expectations, and in those cases, just being decent is not enough.

A paragon of virtue doesn't deliver poison rice because he totally said he would when being deceived by someone even if they "technicality" made factual statements while doing so. That's at best a paragon of bureaucracy or maybe a guardian of procedure. At worst it's foolishly narrow-minded, or recklessly detached from actual circumstance.

There is no good achieved by delivering the rice. Literally the only thing it can do is bring harm. It's dangerous just existing, and besides those kids need actual food. It is the home for hungry orphans after all, they're already starving.

When he entered that agreement there was ton that was implicitly understood because that's how person-to-person agreements work. One such implicit understanding is that the rice is for the kids to get nourishment from and not to die from.

Also implicit:

The wagon that the rice is in is not actually a well-disguised child-eating* mimic.
The rice has not been cursed to summon the Demonic Rat King.
The rice has not any-convoluted-or-underhanded-thing-that-isn't-feeding-hungry-children.

*actually only eats some children. It finds those with brown hair to be unpalatable.

The "agreement" is null and void because there never was an agreement. BadBottom was saying "Here. Go kill these kids with this rice" and the paladin said "Sure. I'm happy to make sure those children are healthy and have full bellies".

If anything the paladin should be burning the rice, or maybe providing to a community (that can safely) use it as pest control. Then probably finding a way to buy a wagon of not-poison rice and delivering that. Then maybe having words with BadBottom.


EDIT: tl;dr this guy is not the world's greatest paladin:

http://i.ytimg.com/vi/hou0lU8WMgo/hqdefault.jpg

Deophaun
2015-02-27, 01:02 PM
A paragon of virtue doesn't deliver poison rice...
Right. Just as a paragon of virtue is very careful about giving his word to someone.

Your theoretical paladin had already failed before he realized the rice was poisoned by treating his own word lightly. It is now on him to both fulfill his promise and ensure no harm comes to the orphans, such as by paying to have purify food and drink on the shipment.

It's not a "Gotcha!" moment. Threading the needle and fulfilling all aspects of the Paladin's Code is an RP benefit of the class.

Flickerdart
2015-02-27, 01:07 PM
It's not a "Gotcha!" moment. Threading the needle and fulfilling all aspects of the Paladin's Code is an RP benefit of the class.
That's exactly what a gotcha moment is - you're coming up with a way to punish the paladin for accepting a quest which is the fundamental premise of how the entire game works. Playing this way, a paladin could never promise anyone anything without having to come up with torturous legalese that dilutes the concept of a holy warrior more than anything.

Mr.Moron
2015-02-27, 01:09 PM
Right. Just as a paragon of virtue is very careful about giving his word to someone.

Your theoretical paladin had already failed before he realized the rice was poisoned by treating his own word lightly. It is now on him to both fulfill his promise and ensure no harm comes to the orphans, such as by paying to have purify food and drink on the shipment.

It's not a "Gotcha!" moment. Threading the needle and fulfilling all aspects of the Paladin's Code is an RP benefit of the class.

Agreeing to deliver food to hungry orphans when you've no reason to suspect anything shifty is going is not "Treating your word lightly", it's called acting with virtue.

Your interpretation of paladin's code would seem to require damn near Omniscience, or a paranoid level of skepticism so high that it would effectively prevent them from interacting with anyone.

Deophaun
2015-02-27, 01:13 PM
That's exactly what a gotcha moment is - you're coming up with a way to punish the paladin for accepting a quest which is the fundamental premise of how the entire game works.
I'm not punishing him for accepting a quest. No where in the quest is there a requirement for the paladin to give his word that the food will reach the orphans. That is something the paladin choose to do on top of the quest.

And it's not punishment. It's character spotlight. There are multiple solutions to the conundrum. It's only punishment if the orc ambush on the way to the delivering the food is also punishment for the ranger with favored enemy: orcs. "Ha! You shouldn't have taken that quest! Here are arrows to your face!"

Flickerdart
2015-02-27, 02:15 PM
It's only punishment if the orc ambush on the way to the delivering the food is also punishment for the ranger with favored enemy: orcs. "Ha! You shouldn't have taken that quest! Here are arrows to your face!"
The ranger gets to apply his class feature. The paladin gets to lose his. That's the opposite of the same.

Deophaun
2015-02-27, 02:56 PM
The ranger gets to apply his class feature. The paladin gets to lose his. That's the opposite of the same.
Only if the paladin's character chooses to lose his.

Let's back up a second, because the scenario was proposed by Mr.Moron, and I take it that is something he would do to a paladin if that's how he thought the class worked. That just means Mr.Moron would not be the proper DM for someone playing a Paladin that wanted to live up to the Code and not fall.

Instead, let's create the scenario where the DM is mindful of the Code and treats it as a class feature for those that actually want to play it. How would this look?

The party is contacted by Lord Definitely Notavillain, who is concerned about the poor town of Orphanbrook that's beyond the Frozen Pass. Winter is coming, and Frozen Pass is going to live up to its name and freeze, preventing any deliveries to Orphanbrook until late Spring. Normally, this wouldn't be a problem because Orphanbrook builds up its food stores throughout Summer and Autumn, but this year a group of orc raiders, who Lord Notavillain definitely did not hire, have stolen most of the food shipments. Orphanbrook might starve if they don't get a food shipment. Lord Notavillain asks the party to make sure that doesn't happen. After they've agreed, Lord Notavillain states that he's got a shipment of food ready to go. They just need to escort it.

Now, look at what the quest is: deliver food to Orphanbrook. It is not deliver this food to Orphanbrook. That paladin is free to swear by the light of Pelor that Orphanbrook will not starve, and he now has an open-ended quest to fulfill his vow. This at first seems like a simple task. There are a few abortive attacks by the orcs, but the light raiding parties are no match for our heroes. It's happy trails until the ranger spots a sick wild boar stumbling around their camp. It soon dies, and he traces its steps back to the grain. A quick investigation reveals that it's poisoned. Treachery!

At this point, a non-Paladin party could torch the grain and go storm Lord Notavillain's estate. But we have a Paladin, and he knows that with the Frozen Pass soon to be closed, there's not enough time to do that and save Orphanbrook. The player could still choose that exacting justice upon Lord Notavillain is more important than the hundreds of people he condemns to starvation. In which case, because he has talked to me before and made clear he was playing a Paladin, and didn't simply have levels in the paladin class, I make a note, see if the behavior continues, and maybe plan for a divine vision in the future, or a visit from the church inquisitor. Otherwise, this is where we punish that foolish Paladin player by shining the campaign's spotlight on him and giving him the justification to lead the party on a quest to keep his vow.

How does he do this? How have I not set him up in my inescapable web that will inevitably lead to his Fall? Well, for starters, I like to make sure I have three known solutions to the problem. The first, in this case, is getting some Clerics to purify food and drink on the poisoned food they do have. The second is to attack the orc raiders to recover the stolen food. The third is for when the Paladin's player isn't feeling it and confesses his failure to the mayor of Orphanbrook, who will then point the Paladin towards a solution I saw as obvious, but the players did not. Are those the only solutions? Absolutely not. My players could surprise me and use sending to call in a favor from the airship pilot they befriended two levels ago. But those were the ones I came up with and feel are suitably accessible.

In the end, this is a puzzle, nothing more. And puzzles are challenges, and challenges award XP. And we know "award XP" is just another synonym for "punish."

Darth Ultron
2015-02-27, 02:58 PM
Agreeing to deliver food to hungry orphans when you've no reason to suspect anything shifty is going is not "Treating your word lightly", it's called acting with virtue.


I think it would be better for the paladin to refuse to do such mundane things. Everyone oddly thinks that just as a paladin is a good guy, that he must do menial tasks. But that makes no sense to me. I don't see why people would say a powerful warrior like a paladin would deliver food. Now, sure, it's a good thing to do and lots of good people would be asked to do it....but not a paladin.

The paladin has such a strict code that he could not accept even if he wanted to. After all, he would need to make sure the food was good and clean and pure and un poisoned. The paladin can't risk doing evil. A normal good person can, but not a paladin.

Deophaun
2015-02-27, 03:03 PM
The paladin has such a strict code that he could not accept even if he wanted to. After all, he would need to make sure the food was good and clean and pure and un poisoned. The paladin can't risk doing evil. A normal good person can, but not a paladin.
Here's a man who gets it. A Paladin's word is a weighty thing, heavier than Moradin's anvil, and not to be given lightly.

Nalak
2015-02-27, 03:04 PM
I'm not punishing him for accepting a quest. No where in the quest is there a requirement for the paladin to give his word that the food will reach the orphans. That is something the paladin choose to do on top of the quest.

And it's not punishment. It's character spotlight. There are multiple solutions to the conundrum. It's only punishment if the orc ambush on the way to the delivering the food is also punishment for the ranger with favored enemy: orcs. "Ha! You shouldn't have taken that quest! Here are arrows to your face!"

*joking chastisement* You're not allowed to play or run paladins anymore.

Let me outline the proposed scenario as I'm confident the rest of us are seeing it in case there's a detail that you think is inherent to the scenario, but is not from the rest of our view. A local noble*,with an admittedly cartoonishly evil sounding name, requests that you deliver some of his surplus grain to an orphanage. Sir Badbuttom the Awful requests that it be done quickly or maybe just quietly because dang it those orphans are starving and need something to eat and he doesn't want to do it because it would tarnish his title of "the Awful." The paladin has no reason to suspect the lord of doing anything bad with this because "His last name is Badbuttom" is not normally a judge of moral character. The paladin agrees to handle and says Sir Badbutton can rest assured that the delivery shall be done as quickly as he can manage it and he has his word on that. So unbeknownst to the paladin Sir Badbuttom the Awful is kind of a massive jerk and has made sure to basically bath the entire batch of grain in rat poison or some other horrible poison with the intent of killing the orphans. The paladin delivers the poisoned grain and in your argument now bears full responsibility for delivering poisoned grains to orphans. Your argument is then that it is the paladins fault for not assuming anyway that the grains are poisoned and checking anyway. Then the paladin must find a way to deliver the poisoned grain to those orphans but not let them get hurt, because he gave his word to a dude who had planned to poison starving orphans. Then finally failing to distrust what would normally be considering a normally good and noble deed or upon finding out that the grain is bad or poisoned returning to Badbuttom and informing him that the grain was not delivered because it was tainted then the paladin should fall. With of course your additional point that this is also equivalent to the ranger being allowed a combat bonus against a random encounter.

So unless there's something we're not cued in on - like Sir Badbuttom the Awful received his title after his amazing feat of delivering a baby and then making sure the mother watched as he hurled it half a mile into the open and waiting mouth of his pet lion and that he swear he would managed it with the other baby if the bloody rooster hadn't started crowing and made him flinch- that would make him an inherently mistrusted character to the paladin. Your argument doesn't have a lot of validity.


*I'm assuming that he is referred to as Sir Badbuttom the Awful** means he has at least a low rank noble title to justify the Sir in his name.
**Yes I know the name was chosen as a joke I'm just pointing out that there is nothing inherent in the scenario outside of the name that justifies suspicion on the guy.

Deophaun
2015-02-27, 03:36 PM
Let me outline the proposed scenario as I'm confident the rest of us are seeing it in case there's a detail that you think is inherent to the scenario, but is not from the rest of our view.
I trust that the scenario I swordsaged yours with is sufficient to answer. But yes, since that's apparently the kind of situations you like to put Paladins into, strictly enforcing the Paladin's Code for your players would be bad form.

Darth Ultron
2015-02-27, 03:37 PM
Here's a man who gets it. A Paladin's word is a weighty thing, heavier than Moradin's anvil, and not to be given lightly.

For example the paladin might agree to guard the food, or even escort the food through some dangerous terrain, but in no way will be take full responsibility for the food. A paladin(or any person really) can only be held responsible for their own actions. So unless the paladin made the food by hand, or knows it came from a good source he trusted 100%, he would not in any way attach himself to it.

This would be a big Role Play part for a game. It is very rare that evil King Kang would seem 100% good with no hints as to his true nature. Most evil people often do evil things, but can hide behind details or avoid the truth. For example, King Kang, might have killed others with poisoned food......oh, but it was proved to not be the king at all just one lone crazy cook who was action by himself. Or was he? Sadly the cook was killed and his body burned to ashes...so no speak with the dead. But case closed, the king is innocent. Or is he? This type of thing will normally follow a person forever.

Though even if King Kang was good, well bad things happen to everyone. But quite often the evil people have more ''bad'' things, more gray areas, and lots more conspiracies.

icefractal
2015-02-27, 03:38 PM
This discussion does lead me to the conclusion that Paladins should not generally be signing contracts or swearing oaths at all. For one thing, you follow a higher calling, it would be dishonest to pretend that some guy's contract has even the slightest chance of trumping your holy duty.

For another - you're a ****ing Paladin. Does Sir Badbuttom comprehend what that means? It is an insult that he would think a contract was required for you to behave honorably. He should feel ashamed for having asked. You will deliver the rice because it's the right thing to do, not because of some legal agreement.

And when the rice is found to be poisoned, Sir Badbuttom's days are numbered. Noble titles and mortal laws are no shield against divine judgment.

But then, I feel like someone who's an avatar of divine justice - that's a scary thing, especially to many of those in authority. Paladins might be cuddly to those they they protect, but their sharp side is very sharp.

Mr.Moron
2015-02-27, 03:51 PM
This discussion does lead me to the conclusion that Paladins should not generally be signing contracts or swearing oaths at all. For one thing, you follow a higher calling, it would be dishonest to pretend that some guy's contract has even the slightest chance of trumping your holy duty.

For another - you're a ****ing Paladin. Does Sir Badbuttom comprehend what that means? It is an insult that he would think a contract was required for you to behave honorably. He should feel ashamed for having asked. You will deliver the rice because it's the right thing to do, not because of some legal agreement.

And when the rice is found to be poisoned, Sir Badbuttom's days are numbered. Noble titles and mortal laws are no shield against divine judgment.

But then, I feel like someone who's an avatar of divine justice - that's a scary thing, especially to many of those in authority. Paladins might be cuddly to those they they protect, but their sharp side is very sharp.

In my scenario there was no contact. It was a simple promise or agreement, "Hey can you do this for me?". As that was lowest bar the post was I addressing put forward as beyond the exception of bad actors or changing circumstance.

As for Sir BadBottom yeah, he's an idiot. An idiot who likes to send arbitrarily sending poison to orphans. I'm sure his other hobbies including kicking puppies, twisting his mustache, and beating up servants who drop dishes. Also he lates love, like as concept it offends him. We'll Chaulk the fact our paladin hasn't seen any of this up to bad luck and timing. They're meeting away from his normal station, and his PR department is totally bitchin'.

Nalak
2015-02-27, 03:54 PM
I trust that the scenario I swordsaged yours with is sufficient to answer. But yes, since that's apparently the kind of situations you like to put Paladins into, strictly enforcing the Paladin's Code for your players would be bad form.

Not my situation you're the one making the case. No clue what swordsaged is supposed to mean to you didn't say anything. You and Ulthron seem to have this absurd notion that a paladin should distrust everyone. That because they have a cause and have dedicated themselves to good they must actively assume everyone is an evil baby eater and take absurd precautions because they get in trouble if someone tricks them. I have to ask what kind of twisted jerk is the dm in your games?

Deophaun
2015-02-27, 04:24 PM
Not my situation you're the one making the case.
Um, that is precisely your situation. No one even mentioned the paladin finding out the food was poisoned after it had been delivered. The entire point of Mr.Moron's scenario was for the Paladin to be forced to deliver food he knew was poisoned ahead of time, and my scenario had a ranger discover it before delivery.

So yes, that is entirely a scenario of your concocting.

You and Ulthron seem to have this absurd notion that a paladin should distrust everyone.
Seem to you. Maybe Ulthron does, he can speak for himself. I more have the attitude of a cop show where the rookie detective gets chewed out by his superiors for swearing to find the killer to the victim's parents/spouse/children, not because the parents/spouse/children are untrustworthy, but because that vow carries weight and the detective might not be able to deliver, despite their best efforts.

I have to ask what kind of twisted jerk is the dm in your games?
As it is you who immediately went to a twisted scenario without prompting, I am happy to say not your kind.

Nalak
2015-02-27, 05:19 PM
Um, that is precisely your situation. No one even mentioned the paladin finding out the food was poisoned after it had been delivered. The entire point of Mr.Moron's scenario was for the Paladin to be forced to deliver food he knew was poisoned ahead of time, and my scenario had a ranger discover it before delivery.

So yes, that is entirely a scenario of your concocting.

Seem to you. Maybe Ulthron does, he can speak for himself. I more have the attitude of a cop show where the rookie detective gets chewed out by his superiors for swearing to find the killer to the victim's parents/spouse/children, not because the parents/spouse/children are untrustworthy, but because that vow carries weight and the detective might not be able to deliver, despite their best efforts.

As it is you who immediately went to a twisted scenario without prompting, I am happy to say not your kind.

Read the scenario and read your responses. The scenario implies the paladin doesn't know its poisoned your suggestion of having it hit with a spell to cleanse it of poison requires that the paladin is aware the food is poisoned or at least suspects it. The scenario I brought up was to elaborate because using magic to clean poison off food that you have no reason to suspect is poison makes no sense. No you never said anything implying the ranger discovered the food was poisoned you said "And it's not punishment. It's character spotlight. There are multiple solutions to the conundrum. It's only punishment if the orc ambush on the way to the delivering the food is also punishment for the ranger with favored enemy: orcs. 'Ha! You shouldn't have taken that quest! Here are arrows to your face!' " Which is asinine there are solutions but they are solutions to a problem the player is unaware exists and your suggestion is that it is a failing to not mistrust everyone. Your cop comment is absurd. There is a difference between the weight and obligations that is bloody well obvious to anyone when the difference is, "You have my word I will deliver this package where you want it to go," vs "You have my word I will not rest until I find the man responsible for this murder." Now quit with the bloody appeal to extremes.

Deophaun
2015-02-27, 05:27 PM
Read the scenario and read your responses. The scenario implies the paladin doesn't know its poisoned...
Really? So Paladins should just randomly burn rice instead of giving it to starving orphans?

If anything the paladin should be burning the rice, or maybe providing to a community (that can safely) use it as pest control. Then probably finding a way to buy a wagon of not-poison rice and delivering that. Then maybe having words with BadBottom.
Moving on

No you never said anything implying the ranger discovered the food was poisoned
Then what's this?

It's happy trails until the ranger spots a sick wild boar stumbling around their camp. It soon dies, and he traces its steps back to the grain. A quick investigation reveals that it's poisoned. Treachery!
Nalak, you know nothing of what you speak.

Nalak
2015-02-27, 05:47 PM
Really? So Paladins should just randomly burn rice instead of giving it to starving orphans?
I didn't say they should just burn random grain I said if the paladin has no reason to believe its poisoned why would he do anything beyond deliver it?



Then what's this? A different scenario then you were arguing the paladin was entirely at fault for.


Nalak, you know nothing of what you speak.

I disagree.

Deophaun
2015-02-27, 05:56 PM
Oh yes this from the person arguing that a paladin should be untrusting enough to assume any random gift for people is in fact a sinister trap. I didn't say they should just burn random grain I said if the paladin has no reason to believe its poisoned why would he do anything beyond deliver it?
Says the person arguing Paladins should skin orphans alive and bathe in the blood of angels while listening to the choir of those whose souls they sacrificed to Pazuzu without consequence.

See? I can straw man, too.

I would say that when you're ready to respond to what I actually have said, I would be here. But honestly, as much as I'd like to, I doubt I'll be around for the heat death of the universe.

Flickerdart
2015-02-27, 06:01 PM
Says the person arguing Paladins should skin orphans alive and bathe in the blood of angels while listening to the choir of those whose souls they sacrificed to Pazuzu without consequence.
If you're a Paladin of Slaughter, you fall unless you do that.

Deophaun
2015-02-27, 06:04 PM
If you're a Paladin of Slaughter, you fall unless you do that.
Damn.

And I just ran out of cookies.

goto124
2015-02-28, 02:47 AM
'I put the laughter in slaughter!'

Anyway, I would let most of my players' ideas work, whatever they come up with, as long as it's not eat the children stupidity. The code is theirs, not mine, and helps a lot with playability.

How did the paladin find out about the poison in the rice anyway?

Sith_Happens
2015-02-28, 08:25 AM
To: Sal

From: His Most Awesome Majesty, Kang, by the Grace of Fate, King of Oppressia, Lord of the Crushed Isles, Sovereign of Iron Boots, Defender of the Privileged, Master of the Unnecessary Punishment.

Sir Knight,

Thank you for your timely missive, and your thoughtful observations of the policies as effectuated in Oppresia and the Crushed Isles. We, the august Sovereign of Iron Boots, are always grateful for feedback from those in our employ.

We are sorry to see you go, and look forward to our future engagements. Should you require references, please do not hesitate to contact our Royal Clerk. Your dedication to improving the processes of governance will be most dutifully noted to your next employer.

In light of the reasons stated for your termination of our arrangement, we thank you for the $20.47 remitted by your own hand, and reciprocate with the remainder of your severance package.

To wit and in closing, we prepared Explosive Runes this morning.

Your Sovereign and Defender, etc.

King Kang

[thread-winning intensifies]


Westerns are some of the best Paladin movies.


D&D is really just a Western in Medieval drag.


Seriously all [The Paladin's code of conduct] says is basically:


Be a solid bro to everyone.
Don't keep ****ty mother****ers in your posse.
Play things on the level and be a straight shooter when you can.
Follow the rules and respect the local customers, so long as doing so doesn't keep you from being a solid bro to everyone.


[saved for future sig-extension]

BeerMug Paladin
2015-02-28, 10:28 AM
The code isn't there as hook for "Gotchas!" based on technicalities, changing circumstances or bad faith actors. Seriously all it says is basically:


Be a solid bro to everyone.
Don't keep ****ty mother****ers in your posse.
Play things on the level and be a straight shooter when you can.
Follow the rules and respect the local customers, so long as doing so doesn't keep you from being a solid bro to everyone.


You know, my personal favorite paladin character (Lister (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=16580664&postcount=47)) I've had didn't have a single class level as a paladin. He just called himself one because one day, he decided to be one. And this is precisely how I had him act as his ethical code.

Given some responses in the thread, I think I understand why few people I've met want to ever play the actual class.


This discussion does lead me to the conclusion that Paladins should not generally be signing contracts or swearing oaths at all.

Duke Mustachio Twirlio: "So you see, Lister, these bandits are attacking this trade route skirting this small village and thus, the village has not seen new supplies all throughout this harsh winter."

Sir Lister: "Surely, someone must be around assist them! And bring these outlaws to justice for their crimes!"

Duke Mustachio Twirlio: "...that is actually why I've been telling you all this. I've been hoping that you might do this for completely honest and worthwhile reasons. The local mercenaries you see, may have connections to these bandits and as such they have been asking far too much money for our limited coffers to reasonably pay for their service. I, of course am willing to provide fair and up front payment, but their demands are simply extortion of the desperate."

Sir Lister: "Oh, I see! Then you have my word, I shall save the village, bring the bandits to justice and investigate their connections immediately!"

Duke Mustachio Twirlio: "I'm afraid it is not that simple. You see, while I may accept your word at its face value because I know you'll keep your promise, the king himself is not knowledgeable of your honor, nor your dedication. Unless I show him proof I have acquired help for this task within the next few days, he will capitulate to the exorbitant demands of the mercinaries. Which will, unfortunately, drain the royal treasuries of the monies needed for tending to the needy. And for that, I need your signature on a document officating our arrangement."

Sir Lister: "I understand the law can't always run on trust! Just show me what you want me to sign."

Duke Mustachio Twirlio: "Wonderful! Captain Nefarious!" *A figure in black armor and a concealing face plate come forwards. A glowing blood red cloak drapes the back of the armor. The figure hands over a piece of paper*

Sir Lister: "That's some pretty awesome armor you've got there!" *Lister accepts the paper and pen and gives it a look over for a little bit. "There's a lot of big words here. But it looks pretty much right to me. Sign anywhere?"

Duke Mustachio Twirlio: "On the dotted line, please."

Sir Lister: "Ohhh! That must explain the one time..." *Scribble scribble* "There you go. I'll gather my things and set off at once!" Maybe I went a bit overboard with this response.

Coidzor
2015-02-28, 04:16 PM
How did the paladin find out about the poison in the rice anyway?

Well, Kirk found out his grain was poisoned when it killed the Tribbles that ate it, so...

Sith_Happens
2015-02-28, 05:45 PM
Well, Kirk found out his grain was poisoned when it killed the Tribbles that ate it, so...

Ah, Tribbles. Is there any problem they can't solve?

...Wait.

goto124
2015-02-28, 08:17 PM
Is that plot from the FFRP section of these forums? Anything to do with Inari?

Mark Hall
2015-02-28, 10:39 PM
You know, the Paladin writing a letter to an evil king reminds me of my witch in Rifts writing a letter to his demon lord, explaining why he wasn't going to take his demonic powers anymore.

Coidzor
2015-03-01, 02:40 AM
Is that plot from the FFRP section of these forums? Anything to do with Inari?

That's the Trouble with Tribbles, you know. Every time they show up, people think it's a fanfic or derivative work.


Ah, Tribbles. Is there any problem they can't solve?

...Wait.

:smallamused: They're certainly handy for annoying Klingons. Probably good at detecting Orcs, too.

I suppose noticing that all of the rats and mice that normally follow the party around and nibble on things have been dropping dead around the grain would also become an increasingly obvious tip-off that there was something suspect about it.

veti
2015-03-01, 03:20 PM
You know, my personal favorite paladin character (Lister (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=16580664&postcount=47))

Off topic maybe... do you know what connotations (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Lister) that name has, at least to some of us? I find it very hard to take that character seriously.

BeerMug Paladin
2015-03-01, 07:39 PM
Off topic maybe... do you know what connotations (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Lister) that name has, at least to some of us? I find it very hard to take that character seriously.

His home village was named Smeg. So yes, he's a joke character. He was just way more successful than I expected.

Coidzor
2015-03-01, 08:18 PM
His home village was named Smeg. So yes, he's a joke character. He was just way more successful than I expected.

I just hope that there wasn't anyone called Ma Smeg in his backstory.

SpoonR
2015-03-01, 09:24 PM
I think this thread is missing a more interesting scenario: paladin must temporarily ally with villain because reasons (paladin gave word, only way to rescue prisoner, geas) so there's effectively a contract of "work together, no backstabbing". Paladin knows the villain is 99% likely to betray them when the paladin is no longer needed :smallmad: What do you do?

Jim Butcher seems to like this one - Dresden Files Skin Game and book 2 or 3 of Codex Alera both had an instance. Seems like his answer was the Paladin can make preparations in case of betrayal, but honors the contract until (and if) the betrayal happens.

(For the discussion upthread, my first choice would be 'that is why the player should write down a list of things his paladin must & must not do'. Alternately, I like the player deciding when Pally falls. As far as poisoned grain, I'm confused. Does the Paladin find out before or after the orphans eat it?)

Sith_Happens
2015-03-01, 11:42 PM
Paladin knows the villain is 99% likely to betray them when the paladin is no longer needed :smallmad: What do you do?

Be ready. Be very, very ready.

McStabbington
2015-03-02, 12:13 AM
Just as an FYI, a contract is a legally-enforced bargained-for consideration reflecting the meeting of the minds between the two parties. If the Paladin does something purely as a gift out of the goodness of his heart, the is no contract because there's no something-for-something exchange going on, and contract law wouldn't apply. Similarly, if the only means of obtaining the Paladin's consent was through trickery or deceit, then again, no contract because no meeting of the minds took place.

Admittedly, this is part of the reason why I tend to stick to Paladins of Torm rather than a Paladin of Helm, because Helm really came across as a letter-of-the-law rather than observing its spirit kind of deity.

Deophaun
2015-03-02, 12:16 AM
As far as poisoned grain, I'm confused. Does the Paladin find out before or after the orphans eat it?
Before it's even delivered. Otherwise, there can be no conflict about whether the Paladin has to honor his oath.

Nalak
2015-03-02, 02:14 AM
Says the person arguing Paladins should skin orphans alive and bathe in the blood of angels while listening to the choir of those whose souls they sacrificed to Pazuzu without consequence.

See? I can straw man, too.

I would say that when you're ready to respond to what I actually have said, I would be here. But honestly, as much as I'd like to, I doubt I'll be around for the heat death of the universe.

Actually you aren't using a straw man since it doesn't address anything in my argument. Now if we go with my description of your argument being a straw man then your argument is that a paladin can't risk doing something that would be evil and should err on the side of caution even if they come off as a little paranoid. Ie to just go with the base element of the story of a gift of poisoned grain to orphans then the paladin should make sure its not tainted or poisoned before the delivery just in case. Because it may have poisoned either for malevolent reasoning (psychotic noble gifting it, psychotic noble framing other noble, grain was meant to kill the noble doing the gifting and the gifting noble is unaware etc.) or just misfortune (poisoned grain for dealing with pests got mixed in with the good grain, improper storage lead to rodents or some sort of vermin tainting it, etc.) Which can come off as the paladin seeming rather distrusting as I said.

Whereas my case has been repeatedly stated, if there is no reason to mistrust the grain then there's no reason to detox it. Obviously if a situation arises wherein said paladin has a reason to suspect then the check inspection and ,if necessary, detox are required to the best of the paladins means. Which does not feed into skinning orphans, bathing in angel blood, nor listening to choirs of those they've personally damned.
Now amusingly a friend pointed out an alternate detail in the case that something were to happen in a contract that would make it difficult to fulfill without violating your moral code. If a substitution is possible then you can go with that. For example Paladin Phil is tasked with saving a person who's going to be executed. Unfortunately for Phil, it turns out that the person was actually guilty and the only persuasion used to convince the person to do the deed was they were paid. Phil is still fulfilling his contract if he attempts to get a lighter sentence for the potential execution victim, you know life imprisonment, a certain number of high danger jobs for the community, etc. If those fail and Phil did all he could then Phil failed the job and that's that. Now in your scenario with the ranger present there actually is an alternate option if the paladin and his companions have no means of detoxifying the grain. Save the grain you can and if you have means of saving more for later saving , you know spells capable of being cast the next day or the like,do that to the best of your means. You also have a recently dead boar which can be used to make up some of the lost food after the cleaning and prep work. Then you have two other things after you deliver the current balance of food to the orphans. First the presence of the boar implies the possibility of other game animals and you have at the least a friendly ranger who can probably be persuaded to help acquire a few more game animals and other food stuffs to try and break even for any grain which had to be destroyed. As a last resort you know there are orcs in the area and have a ranger who views them as his favored enemy. There is a non-zero chance the orcs have some food stuff back at the camp from their raids against individuals who were less able to defend themselves than your group. That would likely be the thing you want to resort to last, but your a paladin so you'll probably need to address it later anyway if only to try and ensure things are safer for future travelers why not see if there's any salvageable food left.

Frozen_Feet
2015-03-03, 05:38 AM
Before it's even delivered. Otherwise, there can be no conflict about whether the Paladin has to honor his oath.

If he gets to know before it's delivered, there's no conflict either, because paladins are prohibited from using poison and feeding poison to others ie Evil. The contract is automatically annulled, because it is Evil and would breech the Paladin's conduct. This before we even get to the extremely good chance of poisoned grain being illegal, a fact which would immediately authorize the Paladin to arrest the other party.

Wardog
2015-03-03, 06:14 PM
(Quoted as example, multiple people have said things like this.)

See, that kind of Literal Genie tricksiness really doesn't say "paladin" to me. Apart from anything else, I wouldn't say the contract's been completed at all- the paladin knows full well that the supposed rescuee is still going to be executed, just on a different date.


I agree - in fact, I could easily see that (or see a paladin seeing that) as worse than merely breaking the contract.

To me, a big part of the essence of the paladins' code and concept is that a paladin is trustworthy.

A paladin saying "A contract made under duress/false pretences is not binding - I reject your plot to manipulate me into doing evil" seems to me to be far less a violation of trustworthiness than one rules-lawyering themselves into a way of pulling a "Lol - gotcha! You never saw that coming, suckers!" reversal.

veti
2015-03-03, 06:38 PM
I agree - in fact, I could easily see that (or see a paladin seeing that) as worse than merely breaking the contract.

To me, a big part of the essence of the paladins' code and concept is that a paladin is trustworthy.

A paladin saying "A contract made under duress/false pretences is not binding - I reject your plot to manipulate me into doing evil" seems to me to be far less a violation of trustworthiness than one rules-lawyering themselves into a way of pulling a "Lol - gotcha! You never saw that coming, suckers!" reversal.

Good point. I'd say the "gotcha" approach is really more like CG than LG, because it undermines the credibility of contracts and laws in general. Whereas saying, openly and directly, that it's null and void and you're going to ignore it - that, at least, respects the integrity of "contracts in general, as a concept", because it acknowledges that you need to do something specific (in this case, openly repudiate the contract) in order to get out of it, rather than just underhanded weaselling.

And presumably, the paladin would also accept whatever penalty clauses the contract includes for non-fulfilment at that point.

Segev
2015-03-04, 03:19 PM
I think a paladin CAN do the "hah, gotcha" type of trick...but only if he knew that the person to whom he's doing it was deliberately disingenuous in their intent and had meant to pull it on him.

The reason being that, if Lord Mustachio O'Twurl were designing the contract such that it wounded like it meant one thing, and then was going to reveal (or let the paladin discover) that it's really compelling the Paladin to do this other, horrible thing, there's no trust to break.

Trust goes both ways, as the saying goes; by having played the "ah, but you still have to do it even though it's not what you thought!" card, Lord O'Twurl has made the ONLY thing that binds the Paladin to him be the exact wording of the contract. The spirit on which any trust might have been built is revealed to have been dead from the get-go.

So when the Paladin fulfils the letter of the contract in a way that preserves good and kittens and punishes evil Lord O'Twurl, he's kept well within the spirit that the contract really had.


Even better if he can Third Option his rules lawyering such that his twisting of the wording of the contract still lets him fulfil the original spirit in which he signed it, and in which Lord O'Twurl pretended to.

Deophaun
2015-03-04, 04:05 PM
If he gets to know before it's delivered, there's no conflict either, because paladins are prohibited from using poison and feeding poison to others ie Evil. The contract is automatically annulled...
There was no contract. I suggest you go back and read the actual scenario and the debate that already took place, instead of trying to rehash it from the beginning.