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8BitNinja
2016-05-10, 01:36 PM
As a paladin, I must face every day with the stereotype that I am a sacred stick in the holy mud. Every day, people think I am less of an agent of order and benevolence and more like the Spanish Inquisition. Every time someone talks to me, I think that they might refer to me as lawful stupid, because most people do. And it's kind of every paladin's fault, including me

Well paladins have high charisma for a reason, and we're going to use that to break the stereotype.

So what ways do you think a paladin can still be a fun guy to hang around? How do you think he could be less than a Babysitter in Shining Armor and more of a Friend to Have a Pint of Mead With in Shining Armor?

Quiver
2016-05-10, 02:05 PM
I'm trying to do this with my (first!) character in a play-by-post game.

Ely. She's a paladin dedicated to Shelyn.

My take on it is that, if a paladin serves a diety, they should embody that dieties values. Not preaching, or telling people what they can or can't do; that's the job for the religious elite. Instead, a paladin should be an example of how to live according to those values.

So, in the case of Ely...Shelyn is the goddess of art, love and beauty. So Ely, she interprets that as Two things:
-Love is the highest ideal a person can live by, so you should love everyone.
-Art is the highest thing a person can create, and everything is art.

So the result is...she's a paladin who wears her heart in her sleeve. She's happy, she has a zest for life, because everything -cooking, knitting, painting- is an art form of some kind, and she wants to experience it all.

She's also blindly optimistic and niave, but she believes the best in everyone. She wants everyone to be friends (platonic love), and encourages that through socialising and partying and encouraging social events.
She's not a paladin of the "Do or die" tradition, as much as the "Try, and I'll help you try again," side.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-10, 02:17 PM
An exemplar, rather than a bully.

8BitNinja
2016-05-10, 05:02 PM
I'm trying to do this with my (first!) character in a play-by-post game.

Ely. She's a paladin dedicated to Shelyn.

My take on it is that, if a paladin serves a diety, they should embody that dieties values. Not preaching, or telling people what they can or can't do; that's the job for the religious elite. Instead, a paladin should be an example of how to live according to those values.

So, in the case of Ely...Shelyn is the goddess of art, love and beauty. So Ely, she interprets that as Two things:
-Love is the highest ideal a person can live by, so you should love everyone.
-Art is the highest thing a person can create, and everything is art.

So the result is...she's a paladin who wears her heart in her sleeve. She's happy, she has a zest for life, because everything -cooking, knitting, painting- is an art form of some kind, and she wants to experience it all.

She's also blindly optimistic and niave, but she believes the best in everyone. She wants everyone to be friends (platonic love), and encourages that through socialising and partying and encouraging social events.
She's not a paladin of the "Do or die" tradition, as much as the "Try, and I'll help you try again," side.


An exemplar, rather than a bully.

Living by example seems to be what people like most in a paladin

Good thing I don't yell at everyone for doing things I don't like

Deepbluediver
2016-05-10, 06:26 PM
One of my favorite depictions ever of the paladin was in the novel "The Deed of Pakesnarrion" by Elizabeth Moon. There are anecdotal accounts that it was written at least in part because the author was tired of people playing Paladins badly at conventions- i.e. the way you described them as being un-fun.

But IMO the real issue is that a paladin is a very roleplay heavy class, and you need to know what kind of things the setting you are in is going to throw at you, which really means the GM. If I were you I'd sit down the GM beforehand and discuss how you want to play a Paladin and what they expect out of you- when I GM I require this from my players (I also make the Paladin a PrC, but that's another story). The GM shouldn't be looking to make the paladin fall, and nor should game-mechanics constrict the paladins choice of actions to the point where it becomes unfun for most everyone involved. By the same token, you don't want to try and dictate other people's actions or have to resort to PvP- talking to the other players isn't a bad idea either.
Essentially if you want to play a paladin you need to be more flexible, and the hard part is doing that without completely falling out of character. If you're not confident you can, it might be better to just multiclass as a Fighter/Cleric.

If I was ever in one of those stories where a GM put me in a situation where I had no good options and essentially fell no matter what, my response would probably be "My character looks around in horror at what he's done, then slits his own throat and bleeds to death. I'mma go role up a sorcerer now." Because that's not a scenario I want to be in.

So yeah, communication about intent and behavior, with both your GM and fellow players, is the most important thing IMO.

Rumpus
2016-05-10, 06:28 PM
Play him as a bon vivant: You'd want to hang around with a paladin for the same reason you'd hang around with anyone else: because you have fun! Paladins are religious warriors, not monks. There's no reason a paladin shouldn't be leading drinking songs, chatting up attractive members of the opposite (or whatever) sex, and engaging in the occasional good-natured brawl. Or maybe make your paladin a naturally athletic nerd: he's perfectly capable of smiting evil, but he'd rather collect butterflies, study architecture, or chat about the local cricket club.

Play him as McConaughey as the quarterback in a high-school sports movie: he genuinely likes people, he defaults to "nice to everybody", and everybody wants his approval. People want to be around him to bask in his awesomeness. His team follows him because he will lead them to victory (and maybe beer and/or girls). He's the first one to take off when the coach calls for another round of wind sprints, he's always willing to pitch in when there's work to do, and he's a sympathetic ear when everybody else is tired of your angsty drama. He enjoys some good-natured ball-busting among friends, but never to the point of humiliation. He definitely intervenes if he sees anything that looks like real bullying. He makes you want to be a better version of yourself.

For a more adult version of this guy, look at Michael from the Dresden Files: competent, calm, collected, reliably does the right thing, willing and able to curb stomp evil in defense of the innocent. Who wouldn't want to be that guy's friend?

-edit-

What DeepBlueDiver said. You really need to have a talk with your DM before playing a paladin. In my games, I have my Paladins and Clerics draw up a short list of principles that they live by (kind of a Ten Commandments, but usually only 4-5 items). Even within the same alignment, different deities (and DMs) may have vastly different ideas of what constitutes "Good" (and "good enough"). Paladins are fallible mortals just like every other PC, and I would allow a paladin who made a choice in a no-win situation to explain why it was the best choice according to the tenets of his faith. I would only rule that a paladin had fallen if he did something that deliberately violated the tenets of his faith (i.e. he had a good option, but deliberately chose a bad one instead). I'm obviously pretty generous with paladins, but I've never had a player abuse it.

8BitNinja
2016-05-10, 10:24 PM
I'm obviously pretty generous with paladins, but I've never had a player abuse it.

Strange, my brothers in faith and arms always seem to abuse their role as a paladin, but only when I'm not playing paladin

Strange

Deepbluediver
2016-05-10, 10:48 PM
Strange, my brothers in faith and arms always seem to abuse their role as a paladin, but only when I'm not playing paladin
Well yeah, there are just bad players, too. People can take the opportunity to play as if "I'm good and therefor nothing I do can be evil and/or I can always justify it after the fact" or "my DM won't want to punish me so I'll push the paladin's code as far as I can.

That's why I made the paladin a PrC- so that I both have a chance to see how someone plays before they take on an RP-heavy role, and so that I have an in-game reason to veto someone. It's easier in my experience to stop problems before they start than to stop someone who's gonna use their divine-granted authority to wreck your campaign world.

digiman619
2016-05-10, 11:28 PM
To properly play a paladin, there are two points to never forget: Firstly, always remember, you are righteous, not self-righteous. That LG on your character sheet doesn't make you any more virtuous, courageous, or all-around "good" than my CG Barbarian. If you want that, your actions rather than your alignment is what matters. And secondly, remember that while you have a cause and honor, that's not all you are. You need to have hobbies, things you carer about, things you hate; something else other than the cause needs to motivate you, or else you become flat, uninteresting, and not believable as a real person.

goto124
2016-05-11, 12:42 AM
What makes a paladin different from a cleric?

lacco36
2016-05-11, 03:43 AM
The GM shouldn't be looking to make the paladin fall, and nor should game-mechanics constrict the paladins choice of actions to the point where it becomes unfun for most everyone involved.

I both agree and disagree. GM shouldn't be actively trying to make the paladin fall. On the other hand, by stating you want to play a paladin in one of my games, you are telling me that you want specific kind of story - story about tough choices, about people who are expected to shine light in otherwise gray world, that you want to set an example by your actions and you - the player - want to be the guy who will choose the hard but right way before the easy but morally gray option.

However, you get a fair warning about this before you start creating a paladin. So I won't be pulling anything out of my hat - if you want to play a guy in armour, I will tell you to play a knight. But paladin means tough choices. Lots of tough choices.

For example - if you chased a villain who would surrender - and you knew the courts in this country were corrupt and he had most of the judges in his pocket, killing him would make you fall if you were a paladin serving a god of justice - you would commit a murder. But there are still options. Trial by combat/fire/anything else valid for the setting is one option - it would be at his conditions (=the hard way), but still not a murder and not reason to fall.

As I stated - I also agree with the advice - and the one about talking to GM is great one. Tell him the story you want to play and if you have a good GM, it will work. And GM shouldn't be looking to make the paladin fall - only present tough choices. If he chooses the easy way out... then did he want to play a paladin, or just Smitey McLayonhands? :smallsmile:

Deepbluediver
2016-05-11, 10:00 AM
I both agree and disagree. GM shouldn't be actively trying to make the paladin fall. On the other hand, by stating you want to play a paladin in one of my games, you are telling me that you want specific kind of story - story about tough choices, about people who are expected to shine light in otherwise gray world, that you want to set an example by your actions and you - the player - want to be the guy who will choose the hard but right way before the easy but morally gray option.
...
For example - if you chased a villain who would surrender - and you knew the courts in this country were corrupt and he had most of the judges in his pocket, killing him would make you fall if you were a paladin serving a god of justice - you would commit a murder. But there are still options. Trial by combat/fire/anything else valid for the setting is one option - it would be at his conditions (=the hard way), but still not a murder and not reason to fall.
Fair enough, though I don't like the idea that a paladin has to be lawful-stupid or lawful-oblivious. If a Paladin wants "trial by combat" to be part of his code, then fine, but not every paladin has the same code and if the bad guy starts chucking fireballs at you, that's gonna count most of the time IMO. The idea that you have to beat him once, have him surrender, heal him up, then beat him again "in trial" just sounds ridiculous to me.

Most of what I was talking about before was that the paladin shouldn't try or shouldn't have to try to dictate the actions of the rest of the party. If you are going to be in a group with a Warlock, a kleptomaniac Rogue, and a Cleric of Hextor, I'd probably veto any request to play a Paladin in that game because there is just no way that can end well. Unless all 4 players petitioned me that they could make it work, then I'd might let them try. By the same token if a Rogue steals something or a Fighter chops someones head off in battle, I'm not usually going to lay blame for that on the Paladin unless there's significant evidence that the Paladin could have and should have prevented it. There's a very fine line between not acting our of character and demanding that everyone else follow your code as well.

Part of the reason I made Paladin a PrC is that I want people to be able to prove (to the GM and in-story to the gods) that they can handle this kind of power and authority FIRST, and then once you've sufficiently proven yourself, you're kind of granted a double-O (as in James Bond 007) license from the gods. There are still limits, but you're allowed more latitude so long as you are actually effective and right. If a player surrenders to you, then they are also surrendering to your authority as a representative of the gods-on-earth.
Players playing paladins don't want to mess up because the gods have a direct-access hotline to their soul, but they are also supposed to be working in an imperfect world, and sometimes that means being flexible because not everyone else is CAPABLE of following your code. And you shouldn't go around attacking people for that. Things like temperance and mercy as also supposed to be characteristics of a Good (capital G) character.

grimsly
2016-05-11, 11:00 AM
What makes a paladin different from a cleric?

In my understanding, Clerics work for a god while paladin's work for the greater good. So where a cleric might try to sell you on their religion, a paladin isn't trying to sell you anything. He's just here to protect you from the terrifying forces that would destroy your way of life. Of course, he might try proselytizing in his spare time, but it's not his job.

Honestly, the best analogy I can think of is Super heroes. Most super heroes are paladins. They fight for Truth, Justice, and the American/ British/ Martian/ Wakandan/ maybe Canadian sometimes Way. Some Super heroes are Clerics, they fight for a specific government or group. So, to reference a movie, War Machine acts like a Cleric, Captain America acts like a paladin.

But that's all just my take on it.

As for how to play a likeable paladin, ideally everyone will be onboard with having a paladin in the group before the game starts, which basically means everyone is somewhere toward the good end of the alignment spectrum, and acts like it. It would be disingenuous for a paladin to condone murder ( goblins do not count, nor should they), widespread theft, or anything that threatens society at large, so don't even start a group he might have to. Once that's avoided, all you have to do is find a likeable persona. I personally like the reformed thief, the wide eyed acolyte, or the guy in way over his head.

But let's say you bring a paladin to a con. First of all, don't. But if you do, and if you're playing a one shot, might I suggest Lawful Gullible? If you must object to something, let them talk their way out of it easily, then move on. Do not drag the game to a hault. You can grin and bear it for one adventure. But seriously, don't bring a paladin to a con.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-11, 11:10 AM
What makes a paladin different from a cleric?

Snarky answer? Hit dice, weapons, attack table, spell list...

2D8HP
2016-05-11, 11:11 AM
As a paladin, I must face every day with the stereotype that I am a sacred stick in the holy mud. Every day, people think I am less of an agent of order and benevolence and more like the Spanish Inquisition.
Actually those darn snotty Wizards bug me more.
With Paladins I never expect the Spanish Inquisition.
*drops mic and quickly runs away*

eru001
2016-05-11, 11:13 AM
Step one, don't be a stick in the mud.

Being Lawful and Good does not preclude one from camaraderie and fun. Tell jokes, hoist a tankard with the party. Be a friend. And when some other member of the party does something that your paladin feels is wrong. Don't get all high and mighty and "STOP EVILDOER YOU HAVE VIOLATED THE LAW", put that charisma to good use, approach as a friend, something more along the lines of "hey buddy, I think (insert action here) might not have been the right thing to do, people who didn't deserve to got hurt, why don't we work together to make this right." would probably be better received.

Red Fel
2016-05-11, 11:17 AM
An exemplar, rather than a bully.

Well put. Concise and accurate.

I've played a Paladin before. It's true! And not even a "secretly Evil posing as a paragon of Good" character, or a "Paladin who will soon face a crisis of faith and become terror incarnate" character. A proper Paladin. Know what my code was? Put simply, it was this:

Every day, I strive to be a better person than I was yesterday.

That's it. That's the whole premise. Be kinder. Be more helpful. Be more just. Be more noble. Just a bit, each day, from now until forever. Let people see that and appreciate it. Don't push it. Don't hold other people to that standard.

And generally? People love that. You're not being a stick in the mud. You're being a great person. A shoulder to lean on. A drinking buddy. A helper and volunteer. A storyteller. A good listener. Just an all around great person. A person everyone likes to be around. A person some people would want to emulate.

Boom. Done.

Geddy2112
2016-05-11, 11:27 AM
Like any character concept, it needs to be group and setting friendly. If the rest of the party wants to play street thugs and run a criminal empire, a paladin is not gonna fit in. Same as how Hannibal Lecter has no place in a party of good aligned vegetarians.

Being a paladin is all about action, not what you say. Proselytizing and evangelism are for clerics, unless specifically asked you should not be constantly going on and on about your deity.

I second that you are not a monk either. Unless your deity specifically forbids or frowns on sex, drugs, and rock and roll, get down with the party. Certainly not to any dangerous excess, but have some fun and lighten up every now and again.

Third, pick a cool deity. In all settings, there are pally deities that are total sticks in the mud, and some that are way more chill. Some deities basically command their followers to seek and smite, and others just want you to be a good person and help your friends, family, and community. Likewise, if you don't have a particular deity pick a cool oath or ideal that works with the group and setting.

The two best paladins I played with were a Wyvern paladin of valor(worshiped all gods in the setting that embodied this) and a Kitsune Gunslinger paladin of the meek. Both were raging drunks, neither proselytized, neither would seek and smite(although they made sure evil pricks who came knocking knew that they would the minute they try anything) and never sought to police the actions of the party. They certainly showed and voiced disapproval of some of the more chaotic stupid or nongood actions, but they were always the first into the fray, putting the lives of the party over their own. Several times each was near death, but the moment they got back up they kept going.

The kitsune ended up giving his life to save the party when fighting a powerful ghost. He was out of smite evil, grit, and then both of his gunbarrels jammed halfway through the fight. So he charged the ghost and used lay on hands to blast it with positive energy. The ghost stopped attacking the rest of the party(doing less damage), seeing the positive energy as a threat, and proceeded to telekinesis him with a heavy stone chair. Even at low HP, he continued to hurt it instead of using the energy to heal himself, even as the chair finally crushed him.

applevalley
2016-05-11, 11:41 AM
The underlying theme of a Paladin is that their faith has called them to do what they do. They're a faithful creature by their nature, so play that aspect up among their friends. Not religious faith, but faith in their friends, faith in what they're doing - you're the buddy that's ALWAYS THERE. Yeah, maybe you didn't come UP with the plan to have a massive party to lift the town's spirits, but you're the guy lugging the huge barrels of ale from table to table with a grin on your face and making cracks about sacred drinks. Perhaps you're feeling a bit dubious about the value of the archer buying a suit of plate armour just because he got mauled in the last fight, but instead of griping you'll joke about how the helmet really brings out his eyes.

8BitNinja
2016-05-11, 01:21 PM
The underlying theme of a Paladin is that their faith has called them to do what they do. They're a faithful creature by their nature, so play that aspect up among their friends. Not religious faith, but faith in their friends, faith in what they're doing - you're the buddy that's ALWAYS THERE. Yeah, maybe you didn't come UP with the plan to have a massive party to lift the town's spirits, but you're the guy lugging the huge barrels of ale from table to table with a grin on your face and making cracks about sacred drinks. Perhaps you're feeling a bit dubious about the value of the archer buying a suit of plate armour just because he got mauled in the last fight, but instead of griping you'll joke about how the helmet really brings out his eyes.

I'm pretty sure religious faith is important too. In fact, a paladin is pretty much a knight who fights for his religion, like a knight errant.

But whatever you say, boss

Honest Tiefling
2016-05-11, 01:58 PM
In my understanding, Clerics work for a god while paladin's work for the greater good. So where a cleric might try to sell you on their religion, a paladin isn't trying to sell you anything. He's just here to protect you from the terrifying forces that would destroy your way of life. Of course, he might try proselytizing in his spare time, but it's not his job.

I never really liked this take on things. Sure, a cleric might serve a god, but there are godless clerics. It also doesn't sit well with me that the paladin is somehow always the most goodly of the goodly. What about the cleric who can literally summon in agents of good and purity in and have a chat with god? What of the rogue who just...Is a good person without the flashy powers? When paladins are assumed to be the most good of the good is when I stop being interested in them. Firstly, it often negates the RP of others ALSO trying to do the same thing with their own class (especially clerics), and secondly, people who do it tend to be the ones to murder children and insist it is a good act because they're paladins.

Wait a moment...*Looks at OPs username* tsk, tsk. Your con is showing.

Red Fel
2016-05-11, 02:31 PM
I'm pretty sure religious faith is important too. In fact, a paladin is pretty much a knight who fights for his religion, like a knight errant.

But whatever you say, boss

False, depending on edition. I can't speak to 4e or 5e, but in 3.0/3.5, a Paladin is not tied to, nor required to be tied to, any deity. There are specialist Paladins - Paladins who trade or gain class features while in service to a particular deity - but these are exceptions, not the rule.

A Paladin fights for his principles, which may or may not include religion and faith. He fights for morality, virtue, and justice, which may or may not be based on his worship of a particular deity.

lacco36
2016-05-11, 02:47 PM
Know what my code was? Put simply, it was this:

Every day, I strive to be a better person than I was yesterday.



:a tear rolls down one of my cheeks as I loudly applaud:

Yes, I'd love to GM for a paladin like that. I think we can close this down - the answer was provided :smallsmile:

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-11, 03:02 PM
Well put. Concise and accurate.

I've played a Paladin before. It's true! And not even a "secretly Evil posing as a paragon of Good" character, or a "Paladin who will soon face a crisis of faith and become terror incarnate" character. A proper Paladin. Know what my code was? Put simply, it was this:

Every day, I strive to be a better person than I was yesterday.

That's it. That's the whole premise. Be kinder. Be more helpful. Be more just. Be more noble. Just a bit, each day, from now until forever. Let people see that and appreciate it. Don't push it. Don't hold other people to that standard.

And generally? People love that. You're not being a stick in the mud. You're being a great person. A shoulder to lean on. A drinking buddy. A helper and volunteer. A storyteller. A good listener. Just an all around great person. A person everyone likes to be around. A person some people would want to emulate.

Boom. Done.


Exactly -- don't be the guy who keeps trying to make people follow the faith, but rather be the guy who inspires people to follow the faith. Let the preachers preach, you've got too much leading by example to do.

8BitNinja
2016-05-11, 04:46 PM
False, depending on edition. I can't speak to 4e or 5e, but in 3.0/3.5, a Paladin is not tied to, nor required to be tied to, any deity. There are specialist Paladins - Paladins who trade or gain class features while in service to a particular deity - but these are exceptions, not the rule.

A Paladin fights for his principles, which may or may not include religion and faith. He fights for morality, virtue, and justice, which may or may not be based on his worship of a particular deity.

Is it still okay that most paladins I have either bumped into in games and all the ones I have played were extremely religious?

Just wondering

2D8HP
2016-05-11, 07:38 PM
Is it still okay that most paladins I have either bumped into in games and all the ones I have played were extremely religious?

Just wonderingPerfectly O.K. If I read the fluff right (1e and 5e only, I don't know the other editions well enough) the important part is that their inspired to do good. As to how important the source of the inspiration (faith, family honor, nation etc.)? Yeah that's probably way too real world to get into here (PM me if you want to know my baseless speculations).
As to why so many seem prejudiced against Paladins? Hmmm..well in Oe terms while the Cleric started out as sort of undead fighting specialists, they quickly became the party healers, whereas Paladins have always wielded swords and have been sworn to fight Evil. Maybe too many PC's are anxious about what side of the line between good and evil they actually are? Also the 1e Paladin was limited in how much wealth they could retain, which could not be given away to other PC's and people often resent when altruism is directed "outside the tribe".
Of the three types of 5e Paladins? Well the Devotion Paladin can't lie or cheat, so maybe there's friction when the party wants to fool/trick the bad guys. The Ancients Paladin? Well really, unless you insist on being miserable I really don't see why anyone who was not actually evil would object to them except for...The Vengeance Paladin. Really while I can see why so many raised on Batman and Charles Bronson want to play them, their whole "fight my sworn foes, NO MATTER WHAT THE COST!", is kind of douche. If anyone's going to resist the Ancients Paladins mission to "Kindle the Light" it's them.

O. K. I think you know more about the subject than me but if you can spare the time, here are some non D&D world films that shape my view of what a "Paladin" is"
Billy Budd,
The Grapes of Wrath,
Saving Private Ryan;
Schindlers List, and
Selma (all are probably emotionally PG and R movies).
O.K. for more DnD like worlds, you've probably seen or read LotR.
Don't look at Aragorn, Frodo or Gandalf.
Look again at Sam, humble Sam.
And if you haven't seen it (don't watch this with young kids, I was 12 or 13),

Excalibur!

Did you see it? Take notes?
Not Arthur, not Lancelot, certainly not Gawain (in this movie and Malory, "Gawain and the Green Knight" is another story),
Percival.
The one who achieved the Grail.
That's a Paladin!
Does that help?

Bohandas
2016-05-11, 10:14 PM
I think that Paladins should, mechanically, be retooled to more resemble Carrot Ironfounderson from the Discworld novels, who behaves much in the same way I imagine paladins as acting


False, depending on edition. I can't speak to 4e or 5e, but in 3.0/3.5, a Paladin is not tied to, nor required to be tied to, any deity. There are specialist Paladins - Paladins who trade or gain class features while in service to a particular deity - but these are exceptions, not the rule.

Moreso than specialist paladins there are deity specific feats and prestige classes for paladins. If you follow Heironeous you can carry a gat.

Michael7123
2016-05-11, 11:29 PM
Well, if nothing else, I feel like I should link this. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?34312-Lessons-for-paladins-rules-discussion-disguised-as-prose) I've found it very helpful myself.

While a lot of good things have been said in this thread, there is something that I think many of you are overlooking:

The world will hate you.

Oh don't get me wrong, you save a life, you'll be called a hero. You'll get some thanks for healing your pals. The cities you save will give you honors.


But if you approach people about why you do these things- and how, yes, everyone does have the obligation to do the same to some extent, even in the most respectable and charismatic manner, many will oppose you. I'm not saying everyone is called to be a paladin- but lawful goods do belie that, yes, lawful goodness is the best way to live. Everyone (beings of pure metaphysical evil excluded, potentially) can be lawful good. And if your call in life is to be a baker, that does not make your life worth any less than that of a paladins.

But nobody likes being told they are wrong about morality, that they need to be better people, even when they are told and explained why. This is largely because being good is hard, and lawful good is harder. You have to put others before yourself, and many people are largely unwilling to do this. Sure, they love it when you do it for them- but they don't plan on returning the favor.

It goes without saying that you have to be a shining example of lawful goodness, always, and at all times. Be humble, because everyone's just got one soul, and in the end that's all that matters. Be wary of your own faults and shortcomings. What Red Fel mentioned about his paladin is a great idea- every day, challenge yourself to be more virtuous. Any lawful good character should take up this advice. Be kind. Love your God, Family, and Friends with all your heart, and never betray them. Put the interests of others before your self. Be willing to lay down your life for a total stranger should the situation call for it. Fulfill justice with mercy. Forgive those who wrong you. And above all else, do no evil, and always do what is good.

And should you fall? Rise again, atone for your misdeed, and make up for it threefold.

But don't tolerate evil. You can't. If evil is happening, paladins don't have a choice about stopping it- they have an obligation to stop it. It doesn't matter if everyone agrees that it's acceptable, it doesn't matter if you have to stand alone. It doesn't matter if people agree to it. The majority opinion on an issue, in of itself, does not grant it any moral weight.

Of course, the solution in this case is not to punish all evil doers with divine light and fire. Such behavior is more chaotic good than anything else. Law wants to bring people into the fold, to build them up, not tear them down. Speak to them. Use that high charisma score. Show them that you are a paladin, not a pala-dunce. Show them why what they do is wrong, and be ready and willing to provide redemption.

But you can't just go and let evil happen for the sake of appeasing others. To do so is cowardice and an act worthy of falling. At most, you can delay handling an evil at the moment in order to more effectively solver the problem. For example, work to overturn a unjust law rather than overthrowing an entire government to see it removed.

Don't do this because you want people to love (using the word in the broadest sense of the term) you. Do it because you love them, no matter how much they hate you.

Will all of this make your character miserable until the day they die? Quite possibly. But paladins don't do this because being good makes them happy- even though it does, in the end.

You do it because it's right.

Illven
2016-05-11, 11:53 PM
Well, if nothing else, I feel like I should link this. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?34312-Lessons-for-paladins-rules-discussion-disguised-as-prose) I've found it very helpful myself.

While a lot of good things have been said in this thread, there is something that I think many of you are overlooking:

The world will hate you.

Oh don't get me wrong, you save a life, you'll be called a hero. You'll get some thanks for healing your pals. The cities you save will give you honors.


But if you approach people about why you do these things- and how, yes, everyone does have the obligation to do the same to some extent, even in the most respectable and charismatic manner, many will oppose you. I'm not saying everyone is called to be a paladin- but lawful goods do belie that, yes, lawful goodness is the best way to live. Everyone (beings of pure metaphysical evil excluded, potentially) can be lawful good. And if your call in life is to be a baker, that does not make your life worth any less than that of a paladins.

But nobody likes being told they are wrong about morality, that they need to be better people, even when they are told and explained why. This is largely because being good is hard, and lawful good is harder. You have to put others before yourself, and many people are largely unwilling to do this. Sure, they love it when you do it for them- but they don't plan on returning the favor.

It goes without saying that you have to be a shining example of lawful goodness, always, and at all times. Be humble, because everyone's just got one soul, and in the end that's all that matters. Be wary of your own faults and shortcomings. What Red Fel mentioned about his paladin is a great idea- every day, challenge yourself to be more virtuous. Any lawful good character should take up this advice. Be kind. Love your God, Family, and Friends with all your heart, and never betray them. Put the interests of others before your self. Be willing to lay down your life for a total stranger should the situation call for it. Fulfill justice with mercy. Forgive those who wrong you. And above all else, do no evil, and always do what is good.

And should you fall? Rise again, atone for your misdeed, and make up for it threefold.

But don't tolerate evil. You can't. If evil is happening, paladins don't have a choice about stopping it- they have an obligation to stop it. It doesn't matter if everyone agrees that it's acceptable, it doesn't matter if you have to stand alone. It doesn't matter if people agree to it. The majority opinion on an issue, in of itself, does not grant it any moral weight.

Of course, the solution in this case is not to punish all evil doers with divine light and fire. Such behavior is more chaotic good than anything else. Law wants to bring people into the fold, to build them up, not tear them down. Speak to them. Use that high charisma score. Show them that you are a paladin, not a pala-dunce. Show them why what they do is wrong, and be ready and willing to provide redemption.

But you can't just go and let evil happen for the sake of appeasing others. To do so is cowardice and an act worthy of falling. At most, you can delay handling an evil at the moment in order to more effectively solver the problem. For example, work to overturn a unjust law rather than overthrowing an entire government to see it removed.

Don't do this because you want people to love (using the word in the broadest sense of the term) you. Do it because you love them, no matter how much they hate you.

Will all of this make your character miserable until the day they die? Quite possibly. But paladins don't do this because being good makes them happy- even though it does, in the end.

You do it because it's right.

I keep feeling the urge to put in my sig that Lawful good is not better then chaotic good. :smallsigh:

Michael7123
2016-05-12, 12:07 AM
I keep feeling the urge to put in my sig that Lawful good is not better then chaotic good. :smallsigh:

I was speaking from the perspective of Paladins, who do go for the whole "law" thing for a reason. This isn't to say that chaotic goods are evil- far from it. Just that Paladins are, by and large, convinced that lawfulness is more beneficial then chaos.

After all, if they didn't think that, they'd probably just say "why dilute goodness with anything else" and be neutral good. They certainly care more about goodness than order.

goto124
2016-05-12, 02:40 AM
Snarky answer? Hit dice, weapons, attack table, spell list...

Sometimes I feel that paladins are better off played fluff-wise like clerics, but with different mechanics (hit dice, weapons, attack table, spell list...). Assuming clerics aren't the "proselytizing and evangelism" type.


It also doesn't sit well with me that the paladin is somehow always the most goodly of the goodly. What about the cleric who can literally summon in agents of good and purity in and have a chat with god? What of the rogue who just...Is a good person without the flashy powers? When paladins are assumed to be the most good of the good is when I stop being interested in them. Firstly, it often negates the RP of others ALSO trying to do the same thing with their own class (especially clerics), and secondly, people who do it tend to be the ones to murder children and insist it is a good act because they're paladins.

Isn't the point of the paladin to be a paragon of good?


The world will hate you.

Oh don't get me wrong, you save a life, you'll be called a hero. You'll get some thanks for healing your pals. The cities you save will give you honors.


But if you approach people about why you do these things- and how, yes, everyone does have the obligation to do the same to some extent, even in the most respectable and charismatic manner, many will oppose you. I'm not saying everyone is called to be a paladin- but lawful goods do belie that, yes, lawful goodness is the best way to live. Everyone (beings of pure metaphysical evil excluded, potentially) can be lawful good. And if your call in life is to be a baker, that does not make your life worth any less than that of a paladins.

But nobody likes being told they are wrong about morality, that they need to be better people, even when they are told and explained why. This is largely because being good is hard, and lawful good is harder. You have to put others before yourself, and many people are largely unwilling to do this. Sure, they love it when you do it for them- but they don't plan on returning the favor.

It goes without saying that you have to be a shining example of lawful goodness, always, and at all times. Be humble, because everyone's just got one soul, and in the end that's all that matters. Be wary of your own faults and shortcomings. What Red Fel mentioned about his paladin is a great idea- every day, challenge yourself to be more virtuous. Any lawful good character should take up this advice. Be kind. Love your God, Family, and Friends with all your heart, and never betray them. Put the interests of others before your self. Be willing to lay down your life for a total stranger should the situation call for it. Fulfill justice with mercy. Forgive those who wrong you. And above all else, do no evil, and always do what is good.

And should you fall? Rise again, atone for your misdeed, and make up for it threefold.

But don't tolerate evil. You can't. If evil is happening, paladins don't have a choice about stopping it- they have an obligation to stop it. It doesn't matter if everyone agrees that it's acceptable, it doesn't matter if you have to stand alone. It doesn't matter if people agree to it. The majority opinion on an issue, in of itself, does not grant it any moral weight.

Of course, the solution in this case is not to punish all evil doers with divine light and fire. Such behavior is more chaotic good than anything else. Law wants to bring people into the fold, to build them up, not tear them down. Speak to them. Use that high charisma score. Show them that you are a paladin, not a pala-dunce. Show them why what they do is wrong, and be ready and willing to provide redemption.

But you can't just go and let evil happen for the sake of appeasing others. To do so is cowardice and an act worthy of falling. At most, you can delay handling an evil at the moment in order to more effectively solver the problem. For example, work to overturn a unjust law rather than overthrowing an entire government to see it removed.

Don't do this because you want people to love (using the word in the broadest sense of the term) you. Do it because you love them, no matter how much they hate you.

Will all of this make your character miserable until the day they die? Quite possibly. But paladins don't do this because being good makes them happy- even though it does, in the end.

You do it because it's right.

Ever felt you have to let evil happen because you want to stay alive, be able to have food to eat, and to not anger the ones who enable you to continue living?

Being Good is about doing things the hard way. The sticks-in-the-mud come about when they insist on the hardest way all the time. Where do we draw the line? How do we balance doing Good, with doing anything at all? Or doing things fun for everyone at the table?

Will all of this make your character miserable until the day they die? How do I balance between making my character miserable, making myself miserable, and making the entire party miserable? Are we not, in the end, playing a game? To, above all, have fun?

I already feel miserable thinking about this. I'm gonna take a break.

Honest Tiefling
2016-05-12, 03:20 AM
Isn't the point of the paladin to be a paragon of good?

Yes. And the point of a bard. A cleric. A druid. Or anyone else with the good alignment. Nothing said about a paladin striving to be a better person couldn't apply to any other class. Why is the holy beatstick better then then at being good aligned? Why do gods not bless such people with the power to summon angels, but give that power to lesser servants?

goto124
2016-05-12, 03:39 AM
Yes. And the point of a bard. A cleric. A druid. Or anyone else with the good alignment. Nothing said about a paladin striving to be a better person couldn't apply to any other class. Why is the holy beatstick better then then at being good aligned?

Seems that the source of a lot of frustration is that the bard, druid, and even cleric aren't held up to the same sky-high expectations of "being and doing Good" the way paladins are. Paladins even have the "do Evil and you'll lose your powers" thing.


Why do gods not bless such people with the power to summon angels, but give that power to lesser servants?

Because you ARE the angel! Cleric: Give me a Summon Paladin spell then!

RyumaruMG
2016-05-12, 04:32 AM
My guiding spirit when playing a Paladin is His Grace His Excellence Sir Samuel Vimes, Duke of Ankh-Morpork. I mean, mostly he's my guiding spirit when playing Lawful Good in general, but he works pretty well for Paladins.

Lord Raziere
2016-05-12, 04:34 AM
???

A bard, clerics and Druid's job is to be a paragon of good?

thats news to me. a Bard is anything but that- they are non-lawful that is all, they don't follow any rules. Clerics can be of any religion and therefore alignment, and Druids are about nature, and nature can be pretty evil- Kill or Be Killed.

and its not really hard to turn off the goodness for a paladin to make them a generic holy fighter. or just play a warpriest, its basically your divine fighter without the paladin alignment restrictions but even stronger and better than a paladin. its on the Pathfinder SRD.

as for playing a paladin well: go read about the Knights of the Cross from the Dresden Files, particularly Michael Carpenter, take notes on how he behaves, he is the example you should be following for paladin-hood.

don't be the grim broody knight guy who is harsh with everyone, leave that sort of thing to the dark knights in black armor who are trying to redeem themselves.

also keep in mind that just because one is a paladin doesn't mean they are all the same. an old veteran of a war, a nervous young girl with glasses just getting used to being a paladin, a tough guy who came from a poor family, a reckless royal guy I can see all being paladins and having their disagreements and clashing personalities even if they all follow the same code and are on the same page morality wise. just because a bunch of people are lawful good, doesn't mean they agree on everything. in fact they are likely to argue over the little details of their lawful goodness and whether or not doing this is paladin-y or not and so on, because they care so much about it.

why I bet you could make quite a great game just doing a full party of nothing but paladins and examining how since you all have to follow the same code, what conflicts would arise and how they would all have fun together and what they agree would be acceptable, if anything, and how you'd be different since your all the same class so you'd have to find some other way of differentiating yourselves. I'd GM it, and call it "Paladin Squad".

IntelectPaladin
2016-05-12, 07:42 AM
I hope this isn't the "fixes" thread starting up again.
So,
my advice might be rather obvious, I know, but it's 5:00 a.m. and I need to contribute.
When a paladin is benefiting the party, people tend to accept the little eccentricities.
Such as leaving the town intact.
Well, mostly intact. Don't try to ask them to not set it on fire, just tell them they can loot more if they get all the people out first. Asking them to NOT seems to be going too far, sadly.
Thank you for reading this, and I hope you have a better day today!


My guiding spirit when playing a Paladin is His Grace His Excellence Sir Samuel Vimes, Duke of Ankh-Morpork. I mean, mostly he's my guiding spirit when playing Lawful Good in general, but he works pretty well for Paladins.
The man managed to actually cause a dark awareness within his mind to run for it's life, unconsciously.
If that isn't a paladin's action, I don't know what is. Which would be awkward, given my profession.

Kelb_Panthera
2016-05-12, 08:10 AM
But IMO the real issue is that a paladin is a very roleplay heavy class, and you need to know what kind of things the setting you are in is going to throw at you, which really means the GM. If I were you I'd sit down the GM beforehand and discuss how you want to play a Paladin and what they expect out of you- when I GM I require this from my players (I also make the Paladin a PrC, but that's another story). The GM shouldn't be looking to make the paladin fall, and nor should game-mechanics constrict the paladins choice of actions to the point where it becomes unfun for most everyone involved. By the same token, you don't want to try and dictate other people's actions or have to resort to PvP- talking to the other players isn't a bad idea either.
Essentially if you want to play a paladin you need to be more flexible, and the hard part is doing that without completely falling out of character. If you're not confident you can, it might be better to just multiclass as a Fighter/Cleric.

This guy gets it. Communication is absolutely -key- to having the game go well when alignment plays a major role; something you might reasonably expect in a game where someone's playing a paladin.


To properly play a paladin, there are two points to never forget: Firstly, always remember, you are righteous, not self-righteous. That LG on your character sheet doesn't make you any more virtuous, courageous, or all-around "good" than my CG Barbarian. If you want that, your actions rather than your alignment is what matters. And secondly, remember that while you have a cause and honor, that's not all you are. You need to have hobbies, things you carer about, things you hate; something else other than the cause needs to motivate you, or else you become flat, uninteresting, and not believable as a real person.

Fully agreed. The exemplar is a much more palatable paladin than the enforcer.

That said, the enforcer -is- doable if you're careful and the party isn't incompatible (no evil or overtly dishonorable allies). Any reasonable paladin -must- realize that others do things differently from how he does things. Sometimes this might make a paladin uncomfortable but results talk as long as there's no overt wrong-doing (no evil actions or actions that besmirch the honor of the paladin by association with the actor).

I prefer the exemplar, myself, most of the time but it can be entertaining to go hard-line when the opportunity (rare as it is) comes up.


What makes a paladin different from a cleric?

I can't speak to earlier or later editions but in 3e the distinction is this:

A cleric is granted power by his deity and upholds the tennets of his faith as the best way to do things. He's gifted by his faith with the power to act on his deity's behalf and in its name. In the -rare- instance of an unaffiliated cleric of an ideal he's able to bind himself directly to the divine power on which the gods draw and use to empower their followers.

A paladin, on the other hand, is empowered directly by the cosmic forces of good and law to uphold the ideas associated with those forces and combat their oppositional forces. They exist to protect the common good of all and to destroy that which threatens it. The power granted is somewhat lesser since its not being filtered through the usual channels from the cosmic to the mortal.

In short: good and lawful clerics serve good and lawful ideals, respectively, and the gods that espouse those ideas while lawful good paladins serve law and good themselves and -sometimes- the gods that are associated with those forces as well.

noob
2016-05-12, 08:22 AM
Paladin is a dip for doing to shenanigans to remove the possibility of you having to do an evil action for having the outcomes you want(thanks to truename dispel and diplomacy for changing how English works).
So if you see someone telling you he will take a paladin dip and that he have truenaming and diplomacy and 15 levels in wizard he is going to make the universe fundamentally different through sheanigans which can turn anybody crazy.

Deepbluediver
2016-05-12, 11:24 AM
Personally I've never really liked the "nonspecific cosmic force" sort of explanation; in my setting every Cleric worships a specific deity. I'm willing to stretch this a little and let people make a custom-deity IF they come up with an interesting backstory, but there are mechanical penalties for doing so (because in-story-sense your deity is less well-known and less powerful).
To make a Paladin though actually requires the input of SEVERAL deities at once.

In my setting (and again, this is only my preference I'm not saying it's the only right way to do things) a Cleric is the one who's more likely to say "thou shalt not open the wrong end of a banana!". That's because they have only one voice in their head and that voice SOUNDS LIKE THIS!

A Paladin has several voices in his head, but what this means is that they actually temper each other a bit. Because no two deities can agree that it's wrong to wear mixed fabrics or eat shellfish, Paladins basically don't sweat the small stuff nearly as much. Someone else in the thread put it very well- you want to be righteous, not self-righteous.


I try not to dictate how people should play their characters, but what I really want to see in Paladins is people who can be friendly (that high Charisma stat has to show up somewhere afterall). They'll sit down at the end of a day, have a beer with everyone, laugh at bad jokes, etc. And then when someone stumbles into the tavern and screams that an orc-horde is only minutes away from attacking the town, the Paladin will march out, alone if necessary, and tell 200 frothing berserkers that "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!". No cleric of any deity (again in my setting) is going to be required to do that. In fact some of them might even be discouraged from doing something like that, because their deity has invested phenomenal cosmic power in making them a cleric and while it's a tragedy that the villagers are going to get slaughtered, in the purely pragmatic sense the cleric is more valuable to the deity than your average Joe Schmo and it's better to live to fight another day.

Another thing I like to take inspiration from is the Silk Hiding Steel (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SilkHidingSteel) trope. And while I wouldn't say that paladins are "meek", they can certainly do humble or pass through a place unnoticed if they want. But when the gloves come off, the Paladin is the one wearing gauntlets underneath. Their armor goes from dusty to shimmering in an instant, and the person you though merely a world-weary-warrior suddenly has a fiery gleam in their eyes. That's a paladin to me.

Bohandas
2016-05-12, 11:59 AM
Yes. And the point of a bard. A cleric. A druid. Or anyone else with the good alignment.

Not necessarily. Not even for the cleric or druid. The cleric is only expected to be a paragon of goodness if they follow a deity dedicated to the ideal of goodness (one who offers the Good domain). Otherwise regular goodness is sufficient.

8BitNinja
2016-05-12, 12:08 PM
Well, if nothing else, I feel like I should link this. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?34312-Lessons-for-paladins-rules-discussion-disguised-as-prose) I've found it very helpful myself.

While a lot of good things have been said in this thread, there is something that I think many of you are overlooking:

The world will hate you.

Oh don't get me wrong, you save a life, you'll be called a hero. You'll get some thanks for healing your pals. The cities you save will give you honors.


But if you approach people about why you do these things- and how, yes, everyone does have the obligation to do the same to some extent, even in the most respectable and charismatic manner, many will oppose you. I'm not saying everyone is called to be a paladin- but lawful goods do belie that, yes, lawful goodness is the best way to live. Everyone (beings of pure metaphysical evil excluded, potentially) can be lawful good. And if your call in life is to be a baker, that does not make your life worth any less than that of a paladins.

But nobody likes being told they are wrong about morality, that they need to be better people, even when they are told and explained why. This is largely because being good is hard, and lawful good is harder. You have to put others before yourself, and many people are largely unwilling to do this. Sure, they love it when you do it for them- but they don't plan on returning the favor.

It goes without saying that you have to be a shining example of lawful goodness, always, and at all times. Be humble, because everyone's just got one soul, and in the end that's all that matters. Be wary of your own faults and shortcomings. What Red Fel mentioned about his paladin is a great idea- every day, challenge yourself to be more virtuous. Any lawful good character should take up this advice. Be kind. Love your God, Family, and Friends with all your heart, and never betray them. Put the interests of others before your self. Be willing to lay down your life for a total stranger should the situation call for it. Fulfill justice with mercy. Forgive those who wrong you. And above all else, do no evil, and always do what is good.

And should you fall? Rise again, atone for your misdeed, and make up for it threefold.

But don't tolerate evil. You can't. If evil is happening, paladins don't have a choice about stopping it- they have an obligation to stop it. It doesn't matter if everyone agrees that it's acceptable, it doesn't matter if you have to stand alone. It doesn't matter if people agree to it. The majority opinion on an issue, in of itself, does not grant it any moral weight.

Of course, the solution in this case is not to punish all evil doers with divine light and fire. Such behavior is more chaotic good than anything else. Law wants to bring people into the fold, to build them up, not tear them down. Speak to them. Use that high charisma score. Show them that you are a paladin, not a pala-dunce. Show them why what they do is wrong, and be ready and willing to provide redemption.

But you can't just go and let evil happen for the sake of appeasing others. To do so is cowardice and an act worthy of falling. At most, you can delay handling an evil at the moment in order to more effectively solver the problem. For example, work to overturn a unjust law rather than overthrowing an entire government to see it removed.

Don't do this because you want people to love (using the word in the broadest sense of the term) you. Do it because you love them, no matter how much they hate you.

Will all of this make your character miserable until the day they die? Quite possibly. But paladins don't do this because being good makes them happy- even though it does, in the end.

You do it because it's right.

This is very well written

Wow, I guess I am a paladin in real life then. People always seem to get angry when they ask me something, and I go against the popular idea because of my beliefs.

And no playground, that does not mean I wear plate armor, ride a holy mount, use holy power, and smite evil. (But if there is a way to do that, sign me up :smallsmile:)

Also, it's good to see you on this thread, every time you appear, you always bring new aspects to the conversation we all seem to forget or miss

digiman619
2016-05-12, 12:10 PM
One more important thing to remember concept =/= class. You can easily build a honorable, virtuous, knight with a Ranger. (or a Cavalier or Warpriest if you're playing Pathfinder). Oh, and it bears repeating, LG is not more "good" than CG, just more lawful. (Personally, I find that CG is, or at least has the potential to be. a greater good than LG. LG gets conflicted To Be Good Or Lawful. CG always does what's right.)

Honest Tiefling
2016-05-12, 01:00 PM
???

A bard, clerics and Druid's job is to be a paragon of good?

If they wrote down good on their character sheet, yeah. How many times do people jot down a good alignment and go...Nah, I'll only be mildly good. Just a teensy bit good.


One more important thing to remember concept =/= class. You can easily build a honorable, virtuous, knight with a Ranger. (or a Cavalier or Warpriest if you're playing Pathfinder). Oh, and it bears repeating, LG is not more "good" than CG, just more lawful.

This is more what I was getting at. How annoyed would those players be, if told their honorable virtuous knight wasn't as honorable or virtuous as some other guy's character because the other guy wrote down paladin for the class? Not for any other reason, just that one.

The second part is also a pet peeve of mine, but I don't think it is related to paladins.

2D8HP
2016-05-12, 01:24 PM
My guiding spirit when playing a Paladin is His Grace His Excellence Sir Samuel Vimes, Duke of Ankh-Morpork. I mean, mostly he's my guiding spirit when playing Lawful Good in general, but he works pretty well for Paladins.I very much 2nd this. Vimes is an example of a "Vengeance" Paladin done well. Normally I don't like them because "at any cost" includes others and not just themselves. While the "does it take a Stalin to defeat a Hitler" question is interesting I don't want to play "lesser evils for the greater good" stories, but playing a Vimes? That could be good.


Ever felt you have to let evil happen because you want to stay alive, be able to have food to eat, and to not anger the ones who enable you to continue living?

Being Good is about doing things the hard way. The sticks-in-the-mud come about when they insist on the hardest way all the time. Where do we draw the line? How do we balance doing Good, with doing anything at all? Or doing things fun for everyone at the table?

Will all of this make your character miserable until the day they die? How do I balance between making my character miserable, making myself miserable, and making the entire party miserable? Are we not, in the end, playing a game? To, above all, have fun?

I already feel miserable thinking about this. I'm gonna take a break.Oops!
While they are fun/lighthearted films set in D&D like worlds (Princess Bride and maybe Stardust), all of the films I listed before that for me exemplify "Paladinhood" are kind of downers, probably because for me the struggle for good while worthwhile ultimately is tragic, because there never are permanent wins (sorry to be a buzzkill). But that makes it more heroic and a story worth telling (unless it's Game of Thrones, where increasingly it looks like heroism doesn't even have temporary results! ).


If you can spare the time, here are some non D&D world films that shape my view of what a "Paladin" is"
Billy Budd,
The Grapes of Wrath,
Saving Private Ryan;
Schindlers List, and
Selma (all are probably emotionally PG and R movies).
O.K. for more DnD like worlds, you've probably seen or read LotR.
Don't look at Aragorn, Frodo or Gandalf.
Look again at Sam, humble Sam.
And if you haven't seen it (don't watch this with young kids, I was 12 or 13),

Excalibur!

Did you see it? Take notes?
Not Arthur, not Lancelot, certainly not Gawain (in this movie and Malory, "Gawain and the Green Knight" is another story),
Percival.
The one who achieved the Grail.
That's a Paladin!
Does that help?I used movies for examples instead of novels because, even though (or maybe because) I spend more time reading than watching, I find that film can affect me emotionally usually stronger than printed fiction (but I'm enough of a sap that OOTS has made me teary as well as laugh).
So I tried to think of a film with a Lawful good hero that made me smile and not cry, and it's:
Hot Fuzz!
Made by the same guys who made the only Zombie apocalypse movie I could bear to watch in the last 30 years (Shaun of the Dead), and it's hilarious, but in the end you still respect the protagonist.


I keep feeling the urge to put in my sig that Lawful good is not better then chaotic good. :smallsigh:From my earlier list, Tom Joad, as portrayed by Henry Fonda (maybe because he reminded me of my grandfather) in "The Grapes of Wrath", is for me a quintessential Chaotic good "Paladin" (the character in the original book however is a little too "complex" too qualify). But since the GoW is only "fun" for brief moments, for a light hearted fun Chaotic good hero who could reasonably be considered a "Paladin":
Errol Flynn as "Robin Hood".
For a serious film that features a charming villain and makes you question just who is the bad guy: The Third Man.
And one last film that if you see it and you think it's rubbish, just ignore the rest of my recommendations:
Casablanca .
The hero (played by Humphrey Bogart) goes from Neutral to Good, a "Rogue" (played by Claude Rains) is not what he seems, and it shows how a "Paladin" (Victor Laszlo) can work with a "Rogue".
If your superstitious, do not see this with anyone you love however, because you will be destined to part (that's probably just because of the age most people are when they first see it, but still why take the chance?)!
In so many of my previous posts I'm joking, and I can see why it would look like I'm being "ironic" in this one; but I am actually quite serious for a change, and I'd love for someone to debate me on my choices. Please and thank you.

Red Fel
2016-05-12, 02:12 PM
You want a real Paladin? You want a symbol of Law and Good, a representation of justice, compassion, and mercy, a pillar of strength, an upright gentleman, and a truly decent soul?

Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird. For best results, see the 1962 film starring Gregory Peck.

Good father. Pillar of the community. Moral man in a corrupt world. Educated man in a backwards time. Standing tall in the face of adversity, advocating for justice and compassion.

For a generation of people, Atticus Finch represented what it meant to be a good father, a good lawyer, a good citizen, a good human being. He was a paragon of virtue and principle.

That's a Paladin.

2D8HP
2016-05-12, 02:33 PM
-snip-
Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird.
-snip-
That's a Paladin.

OMG.
Red Fel?
I am stunned by how right you are (sorry)
Well done Sir or madam!

Lord Raziere
2016-05-12, 03:05 PM
If they wrote down good on their character sheet, yeah. How many times do people jot down a good alignment and go...Nah, I'll only be mildly good. Just a teensy bit good.


there is a difference between "paragon good" "reasonably good" and "good in name only"

please don't exclude "reasonably good"/the middle from the equation, its unreasonable to hold everyone to the Paladin's standards, and the Paladin is there for people who want to be held to those standards, while other heroes may not want to be held to that, especially some character concepts that are completely good but would HATE to have be a "paragon" because that implies Goodness has to be immaculate and pure and anyone not Good Enough to be that isn't good at all, which is a dangerous precedent to set. once you start demanding that every Good person be a paragon, you start thinking of good as an elite club thats fighting against the entire reality of the world, which only pushes things more into extremes and into being unforgiving of anything less than a Paladin's Standard.

Any good Paladin recognizes that not everyone wants to hold themselves to those standards and allows them that. A Paladin holds themselves to their standard so that nobody else has to. Their burden is to be the voluntary sacrifice who goes and beyond what is expected of even Good. not only would this dilute other classes and alignment of Good itself by expecting everyone to hold to those standards, but it would also dilute the paladin of its own unique experiences of being the guy willing to take the fall more than anyone else. just because a superhero isn't Superman and isn't willing to go as far as him in his morality, doesn't mean they aren't heroes worthy of looking up to and admiring.

RyumaruMG
2016-05-12, 03:06 PM
Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird.

... so why does this forum not have a "thumbs-up" button again?

Red Fel
2016-05-12, 03:18 PM
... so why does this forum not have a "thumbs-up" button again?

Because of my posts, probably.

What am I going to do with all these thumbs?

Honest Tiefling
2016-05-12, 03:26 PM
Because of my posts, probably.

What am I going to do with all these thumbs?

Make a thumb fort!


there is a difference between "paragon good" "reasonably good" and "good in name only"

Oh there is, and you did show why it is important for the setting for such differences to exist. Most players I've encountered don't usually go for such subtlety. However, imagine you are told that your character can never become as much of a paragon of goodness as the other dude because you picked different classes. That's the core of my complaint, that such a paragon is tied to only one class.

Through reading this thread, I wonder if 'paladin' should even be a class. The example Red Fel presented was a lawyer and unrelated to being a beatstick at all. I guess Atticus Finch would have probably picked up a gun to defend his children from demons, but I don't remember it being broached in the novel or the movie at all.

Red Fel
2016-05-12, 03:42 PM
Through reading this thread, I wonder if 'paladin' should even be a class. The example Red Fel presented was a lawyer and unrelated to being a beatstick at all. I guess Atticus Finch would have probably picked up a gun to defend his children from demons, but I don't remember it being broached in the novel or the movie at all.

Atticus' idea of defending his family would have been for such a paragon of righteousness to exist that concentrated evil (i.e. the hypothetical demon) could not coexist in the same place. Illustration: He stares down a mob intending to break into the prison to kill his client, armed not with weaponry, but with simple presence.

That said, let's not forget that Paladin originally wasn't a class. In early editions of D&D, it was an offshoot of the Cleric, in much the same way that Bard and Ranger were prestige classes. (In 3.5, Unearthed Arcana contains rules for making a Prestige Paladin, as well.)

The fact is, I happen to think that tying a class so intrinsically to a moral code is a bad idea. A general connection, like requiring dark priests specializing in human sacrifice to be Evil, or requiring selfless faith healers to be Good, is understandable. But Paladin goes beyond that, and makes alignment both a class feature and a profoundly restrictive element, and overall I happen to find it a bad deal. There is, in my mind, no reason that Paladin couldn't simply be an archetype of Cleric - more martial bent, less spellcasting, but a few attack-boosting powers.

That said, it is what it is. We are not now, if we ever were, in a position to change the TTRPG perspective of the Paladin. It is a thing entrenched in TTRPG history and culture; it is an artifact that will likely remain undisturbed.

Deepbluediver
2016-05-12, 04:14 PM
That said, let's not forget that Paladin originally wasn't a class. In early editions of D&D, it was an offshoot of the Cleric, in much the same way that Bard and Ranger were prestige classes. (In 3.5, Unearthed Arcana contains rules for making a Prestige Paladin, as well.)

The fact is, I happen to think that tying a class so intrinsically to a moral code is a bad idea. A general connection, like requiring dark priests specializing in human sacrifice to be Evil, or requiring selfless faith healers to be Good, is understandable. But Paladin goes beyond that, and makes alignment both a class feature and a profoundly restrictive element, and overall I happen to find it a bad deal. There is, in my mind, no reason that Paladin couldn't simply be an archetype of Cleric - more martial bent, less spellcasting, but a few attack-boosting powers.

That said, it is what it is. We are not now, if we ever were, in a position to change the TTRPG perspective of the Paladin. It is a thing entrenched in TTRPG history and culture; it is an artifact that will likely remain undisturbed.
My solution was in fact to make the Paladin a PrC, for just the sort of reasons you outlined. And even then I had to do a lot of un-conventional stuff with it to make it feel like it actually fit the theme at all.

If you didn't want to go through all that though, I could totally see making "Paladin" a divine blessing bestowed upon people at the god's (GM's) will. Give people combat or skillcheck bonuses separate from their class as a reward for being good, essentially. That way there is an incentive to be slightly less murder-hobo-ish, but even if you lose the blessing it isn't the be-all and end-all of your character.

Honest Tiefling
2016-05-12, 04:45 PM
I kinda like the PRC or template idea. Maybe use Mythic Adventures (Or something like it) for multiple paladin paths. Doesn't really make sense that all a paladin's powers focus on beating things up anyway.

8BitNinja
2016-05-12, 04:49 PM
I kinda like the PRC or template idea. Maybe use Mythic Adventures (Or something like it) for multiple paladin paths. Doesn't really make sense that all a paladin's powers focus on beating things up anyway.

Out of the 45 paladin spells, only 4 are for beating people up, and that's including mark of justice

Honest Tiefling
2016-05-12, 04:54 PM
Out of the 45 paladin spells, only 4 are for beating people up, and that's including mark of justice

Which edition? I looked at the SRD for 3.5, and level 1 alone has Bless, Bless Weapon, Divine Favor, Magic Weapon, and Virtue, which are all spells made for combat.

Also, I exaggerated for comedic effect, because you'd think paladins would have more diplomacy powers or something.

Deepbluediver
2016-05-12, 05:13 PM
I kinda like the PRC or template idea. Maybe use Mythic Adventures (Or something like it) for multiple paladin paths.
Speaking of which, does anyone have any experience with alternate-alignment paladins, like the versions from Unearthed Arcana? I don't have any objection to them in theory, but a lot of the role-play stuff and personality traits that make a Paladin more than just a Cleric/Fighter (in my mind anyway) get really screwy when you try to flip them on their head.


Doesn't really make sense that all a paladin's powers focus on beating things up anyway.
I agree with you, though in 3.5 I think that was at least in part because Paladin's were so MAD they had to mainly focus on combat at the expense of almost everything else.

Honest Tiefling
2016-05-12, 05:18 PM
Speaking of which, does anyone have any experience with alternate-alignment paladins, like the versions from Unearthed Arcana? I don't have any objection to them in theory, but a lot of the role-play stuff and personality traits that make a Paladin more than just a Cleric/Fighter (in my mind anyway) get really screwy when you try to flip them on their head.


Second on the interest here. I want to know what people's take are on these guys.


I agree with you, though in 3.5 I think that was at least in part because Paladin's were so MAD they had to mainly focus on combat at the expense of almost everything else.

That, or making a diplomancer requires an real life reflex save from flying books...

Bulhakov
2016-05-12, 05:51 PM
I remember some threads on the subject popping up from time to time:
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?447260-Paladins-Knights-Lawful-Do-Goodniks-Dos-and-Don-ts
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?288426-Paladin-Rules

8BitNinja
2016-05-12, 05:58 PM
Which edition? I looked at the SRD for 3.5, and level 1 alone has Bless, Bless Weapon, Divine Favor, Magic Weapon, and Virtue, which are all spells made for combat.

Also, I exaggerated for comedic effect, because you'd think paladins would have more diplomacy powers or something.

Oh, I thought you were talking strictly about attacking when you said "beating people up"

You still have to remember there is the word "knight" in holy knight

Honest Tiefling
2016-05-12, 06:01 PM
Oh, I thought you were talking strictly about attacking when you said "beating people up"

You still have to remember there is the word "knight" in holy knight

Again, comedic effect, but they do have a surprising lack of diplomacy based powers. Not just spells.

As for the Knight part, it is a part of being a paladin, but the part most people seem to latch onto is that of a Paladin, or someone of great moral virtue. Which may or may not be a knight. Few people seem to be talking about their weapon handling (tee hee), but more their strength of character. For how many people is the knight part the relevant part?

8BitNinja
2016-05-12, 06:03 PM
Again, comedic effect, but they do have a surprising lack of diplomacy based powers. Not just spells.

I think it's because many diplomacy based powers involve deception, which is a big no-no for paladins

Bohandas
2016-05-12, 07:06 PM
I never really liked this take on things. Sure, a cleric might serve a god, but there are godless clerics. It also doesn't sit well with me that the paladin is somehow always the most goodly of the goodly. What about the cleric who can literally summon in agents of good and purity in and have a chat with god?

I just remembered, aren't 3.5e paladin mounts canonically special horses that have been summoned from the upper planes?


I think it's because many diplomacy based powers involve deception, which is a big no-no for paladins

Deception and/or mind-control.


Which edition? I looked at the SRD for 3.5, and level 1 alone has Bless, Bless Weapon, Divine Favor, Magic Weapon, and Virtue, which are all spells made for combat.

Also, I exaggerated for comedic effect, because you'd think paladins would have more diplomacy powers or something.

What if we added Sanctuary to their spell list?

grimsly
2016-05-12, 07:14 PM
Yes. And the point of a bard. A cleric. A druid. Or anyone else with the good alignment. Nothing said about a paladin striving to be a better person couldn't apply to any other class. Why is the holy beatstick better then then at being good aligned? Why do gods not bless such people with the power to summon angels, but give that power to lesser servants?

They aren't. I can understand that people think that, and that that's a big part of the issue here, but it isn't the truth. Just because we're saying it's part of the paladin's flavor doesn't mean we're saying it's exclusively theirs, nor that they're necessarily great at it.

But speaking statistically, the average paladin is more good than the average person, because only good people get to be paladins.

2D8HP
2016-05-12, 07:52 PM
I think it's because many diplomacy based powers involve deception, which is a big no-no for paladins
True for the 1e (and I presume 2, 3, and 4e) but in 5e there are 3 different Paladin "Sacred Oaths":
Devotion; which are good characters, and a lot like the 1e Paladins (and still can't lie or cheat).
Ancients; which remind me a lot of the 1e Ranger, and may actually be even more awesome that the 5e Ranger (compared to 1e Rangers, 5e ones are a bit lamer).
and then there is,
Vengeance; which are well.... basically douches, but not as creepy as "Warlocks".

McNum
2016-05-12, 08:18 PM
There's one thing mentioned earlier in this thread that I felt I needed to ask about. Why wouldn't it be the Paladin suggesting to host a huge victory party after, say, slaying a dragon who terrorized a village? I know the one I'm playing right now would... because she already did so once on a smaller scale.

I totally see the whole fighting evil, and going out to face those that threaten peace and safety of the common people, and stepping up in the name of justice or your god or your king or vengeance whatever cause you've taken up arms for. And looking good (pun intended) while doing so. That is certainly part of the Paladin package, but it's not the entire Paladin package, is it? Mechanically, yes, they're combat machines. A Paladin should be very bad news to any fiend of appropriate level that encounters one.

But... that doesn't really save the village, it just destroys the fiend or dragon or whatever was threatening it. Coming back with the head of the beast, and throwing a huge victory party for everyone, showing them a good time and making their heroes seem a little approachable, plus giving everyone a little time to realize that yes, the threat is gone. Then make a bad joke with everyone and make sure everyone are enjoying themselves. It does help that, at least in 5e, Lay on Hands cures poison, so a Paladin has a built in hangover cure. If they suddenly need to leap into action mid-party, they can cancel their buzz and get to smitin'.

I think my current Paladin exemplar would be Wonder-Red (http://the-wonderful-101.wikia.com/wiki/Wonder-Red) from The Wonderful 101. He's a leader of men, naturally gifted to make every one of the 101 heroes act at their very best, and lead them to victory against the alien invaders. He's also Will Wedgewood, school teacher, and he considers that equally important to stopping aliens from blowing up Earth. Someone has to inspire the next generation so they can surpass his own. He might fight giant alien robots in the big picture, but he worries just as much about the little picture. Which, of course, ends up overlapping in the game's story thanks to his student Luka, who holds the key to Earth, but he's not important right now. There's also that little note that Laambo, the giant lizard-man who killed Red's father, comes back to taunt him, but Red doesn't hesistate for one second. There's a town to save, so save it he will, Laambo will have to wait until the over the top boss fight with him later. To me, Red is one of the essential Paladin exemplars. Dutibound, good, and always putting the team and civilians ahead of his own needs.

I based my Paladin in part on him. And I am kind of hoping for an opportunity to use his "Diplomacy has failed!" shtick at some point since it's amusing.

Deepbluediver
2016-05-12, 09:00 PM
There's one thing mentioned earlier in this thread that I felt I needed to ask about. Why wouldn't it be the Paladin suggesting to host a huge victory party after, say, slaying a dragon who terrorized a village?
Personally, I have absolutely no objections to that. Not every Paladin needs to be a grim, stoic death-machine. A paladin (of certain alignments anyway) might have an internal sense of responsibility that keeps them from getting falling-down drunk and sleeping with half the village, but boosting morale and lifting spirits is totally something they would do. If perhaps the situations was a bit to dire to throw a "party", they might instead suggest memorial service where you celebrate the heroism off the fallen and commemorate the best parts of their lives.
It's all in how you spin it.

8BitNinja
2016-05-12, 11:04 PM
True for the 1e (and I presume 2, 3, and 4e) but in 5e there are 3 different Paladin "Sacred Oaths":
Devotion; which are good characters, and a lot like the 1e Paladins (and still can't lie or cheat).
Ancients; which remind me a lot of the 1e Ranger, and may actually be even more awesome that the 5e Ranger (compared to 1e Rangers, 5e ones are a bit lamer).
and then there is,
Vengeance; which are well.... basically douches, but not as creepy as "Warlocks".

This might be why I think this, I'm still using an AD&D book for paladin roleplaying reference

veti
2016-05-13, 12:15 AM
Fun fact: the Spanish Inquisition was much misunderstood.

Imagine a world where, when heresy takes root in a province, the church asks the secular powers to re-establish order, and they do it by sending an army that burns, pillages, rapes and kills every living human they find. (Why? Knights and nobles want paying, the only "currency" worth a damn is land, and the surest way to establish a claim on land is to kill the people who already live there. So whenever the feudal nobility think they can get away with it, that's what they'll do. That's how the system works.)

The church, shocked at this brutality, sets up to replace it a special office charged with investigating and trying individuals accused of heresy, examining the evidence, questioning the accused, giving them every chance to recant, and only punishing them if they wilfully and repeatedly refuse to do so. Wouldn't you call that an improvement?

The moral of this little discursion is that context matters. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to "what would a paladin do?" The Spanish Inquisition may be seen, through modern eyes, as a sinister, repressive body that tortures and kills those it disapproves of; or it may be seen, through medieval eyes, as a measured and enlightened response to a serious problem, a body that - unusually, for its time - only tortures and kills when it has a very specific reason to do so, and incidentally doesn't get to keep the possessions and land of those it executes.

One of the worst of D&D's many crimes against culture is the way it's appropriated the word "paladin", and set up the ridiculous idea of a pseudo-medieval character with a modern moral outlook. The closest thing in any pre-D&D literature to a real D&D paladin would be Don Quixote. And he was insane.

Red Fel
2016-05-13, 08:48 AM
Fun fact: the Spanish Inquisition was much misunderstood.

I have two problems with what you said.

First is that I think we have two very different views of what the Spanish Inquisition actually was. And as I have no intent to debate history, I'll simply leave that there.

Second is that you're forgetting one important thing. Yes, context matters, and the Paladin in the game world exists within a very different set of sensibilities than our own. However, the player in real life has to be the one making the Paladin's decisions, and an inability to wrap one's head around the in-game set of sensibilities when one is so accustomed to modern-day sensibilities is going to hurt roleplay. This is true both for the Paladin's player, who must embrace these sensibilities, and for the other players, who must accept them as an in-game standard of goodness.

So while you're not wrong, you're ignoring the fact that it takes an incredible force of will or zen of roleplaying to divorce oneself from one's own sensibilities, and play the character solely according to the game world's. And that it imposes a burden of moralizing on the other players, who may not now attempt to justify their characters by modern-day sensibilities.

2D8HP
2016-05-13, 08:53 AM
This might be why I think this, I'm still using an AD&D book for paladin roleplaying referenceJust be sure to never apologize for remembering AD&D! If that's wrong I don't want to be right! (sheds tear begins to sing "the way we were")......memories, misty water colored memories....

The closest thing in any pre-D&D literature to a real D&D paladin would be Don Quixote. And he was insane.
Moi??
How did you know I've read Malory?!
(And have a copy of de Cervantes at my desk)
If that's wrong I don't want to be right! (yes when I'm in a downcast mood I do sometimes view to effort to be and do good as quixotic:smallfrown:, but still...)
C'mon everybody! Sing from "Man of La Mancha",.... "To dream the impossible dream, to fight the impossible fight....."
What? No one else?
Well OK then. Um...how about Led Zepplin's "Whole Lot of Love"?
:smallbiggrin:

goto124
2016-05-13, 08:55 AM
*hands 2D8HP a handkerchief, because that is apparently one of the marks of a good paladin*

McNum
2016-05-13, 09:06 AM
Personally, I have absolutely no objections to that. Not every Paladin needs to be a grim, stoic death-machine. A paladin (of certain alignments anyway) might have an internal sense of responsibility that keeps them from getting falling-down drunk and sleeping with half the village, but boosting morale and lifting spirits is totally something they would do. If perhaps the situations was a bit to dire to throw a "party", they might instead suggest memorial service where you celebrate the heroism off the fallen and commemorate the best parts of their lives.
It's all in how you spin it.
Of course a victory celebration a Paladin throws would be different from one a Bard throws, I don't see a Paladin not having a moment of silence before the main course for those who were lost, and things like that. It would be a bit more orderly and planned, than say a stereotypical Bard arranging it. I could see him hovering between the guests (maybe not literally), making sure everyone was enjoying themselves and had what they needed as well as trade silly banter with them. He'd do his best to make everyone feel welcome at the party. That image of the Paladin carrying around mugs of ale making sure everyone has a refill just seems right for a Paladin in that situation.

Because the Paladin will do all he can to save the hearts and minds of the people, too. And if he ends up inspiring some kid to take up his lead and becomes the next defender of justice, then that's just a great bonus. But healing the mental scars, making people smile and laugh again and just see a downtrodden village revive? Yeah. That's good stuff to a Paladin, too.

Paladins don't strike me as the "Win the battle, lose the peace" kind of characters. They know the work between the fights is just as important to further the cause of Good.

OldTrees1
2016-05-13, 09:27 AM
C'mon everybody! Sing from "Man of La Mancha",.... "To dream the impossible dream, to fight the impossible fight....."

"To dream the impossible dream, to fight the unbeatable foe, to bear with unbearable sorrow, to run where the brave dare not go"
"To right the unrightable wrong, ... , to try when your arms are too weary, to reach the unreachable star, ..."
"... And the world will be better for this, that one man scorned and covered in scars, still strove with his last ounce of courage, to reach the unreachable star"

To me this song embodies the driving motive of most Paladins: You feel the need to be an exemplar because you feel a duty to strive even beyond that towards impossible standards. For the world will be better for this, that you will be one that seeks the unreachable moral perfection. Both for the immediate good of your actions but also because it inspires others to become exemplars themselves.

khadgar567
2016-05-13, 09:39 AM
"To dream the impossible dream, to fight the unbeatable foe, to bear with unbearable sorrow, to run where the brave dare not go"
"To right the unrightable wrong, ... , to try when your arms are too weary, to reach the unreachable star, ..."
"... And the world will be better for this, that one man scorned and covered in scars, still strove with his last ounce of courage, to reach the unreachable star"

To me this song embodies the driving motive of most Paladins: You feel the need to be an exemplar because you feel a duty to strive even beyond that towards impossible standards. For the world will be better for this, that you will be one that seeks the unreachable moral perfection. Both for the immediate good of your actions but also because it inspires others to become exemplars themselves.

thats for me looks like a motive for any hero who wants to dare to world so dont temp the dm mate

2D8HP
2016-05-13, 09:42 AM
*hands 2D8HP a handkerchief, because that is apparently one of the marks of a good paladin*Thanks. *sniff* that helps.


A paladin (of certain alignments anyway) might have an internal sense of responsibility that keeps them from getting falling-down drunk and sleeping with half the village
Well not at the same time... I mean there are limits...

Fun fact: the Spanish Inquisition
I wasn't expecting that!:smallbiggrin:

goto124
2016-05-13, 10:08 AM
A paladin (of certain alignments anyway) might have an internal sense of responsibility that keeps them from getting falling-down drunk and sleeping with half the village,

I thought paladins have immunity to disease :smalltongue:

JAL_1138
2016-05-13, 10:19 AM
You want a real Paladin? You want a symbol of Law and Good, a representation of justice, compassion, and mercy, a pillar of strength, an upright gentleman, and a truly decent soul?

Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird. For best results, see the 1962 film starring Gregory Peck.

Good father. Pillar of the community. Moral man in a corrupt world. Educated man in a backwards time. Standing tall in the face of adversity, advocating for justice and compassion.

For a generation of people, Atticus Finch represented what it meant to be a good father, a good lawyer, a good citizen, a good human being. He was a paragon of virtue and principle.

That's a Paladin.

A paladin...who committed malpractice by not moving for a change of venue when he knew his client couldn't get a fair trial by an impartial jury locally.

But that's probably beside the point.

8BitNinja
2016-05-13, 11:55 AM
Just be sure to never apologize for remembering AD&D! If that's wrong I don't want to be right! (sheds tear begins to sing "the way we were")......memories, misty water colored memories....

Thank you, good sir, we will always remember.

It was a simpler time, except for wizards, it was hardcore for them.

2D8HP
2016-05-13, 12:42 PM
Thank you, good sir, we will always remember.

It was a simpler time, except for wizards, it was hardcore for them.

Wizards! Those snotty layabouts!
You can bet I've got some things to say about Wizards alright!
First off....*POOF*....Ribbit...Ribbit....

8BitNinja
2016-05-13, 01:15 PM
Wizards! Those snotty layabouts!
You can bet I've got some things to say about Wizards alright!
First off....*POOF*....Ribbit...Ribbit....

Wizard and Sorcerer are definitely my least favorite classes, I just don't like playing an arcane caster for some reason, mostly because I love to tank.

Kelb_Panthera
2016-05-13, 06:06 PM
Oh, and it bears repeating, LG is not more "good" than CG, just more lawful. (Personally, I find that CG is, or at least has the potential to be. a greater good than LG. LG gets conflicted To Be Good Or Lawful. CG always does what's right.)

LG is not more good than CG but neither is the reverse true. CG is too eager to do what the individual -thinks- is right without any concern for the collective good or the importance and relevance of social hierarchy. NG is probably "more good" than either of them. It's both willing to work within the established power structure for the common good and to ignore it when it oversteps and starts to become tyranical. Tyranny and anarchy are -both- wrought with problems and lawful and chaotic alignments lend themselves to those things, respectively.


I think it's because many diplomacy based powers involve deception, which is a big no-no for paladins

Deception is frowned upon if honor frowns upon deception. Honor is a culturally subjective matter, however, and even when it -is- dishonorable to decieve then doing so is merely frowned upon, not outright forbidden.

Some cultures, however, revere cleverness and the ability to lead people's minds to where you want them to go as long as you don't outright lie in the doing of it. Telling the truth in a misleading way to get things done is lionized rather than discouraged or punished (unless you fail, results matter more than principle to some peoples.)

8BitNinja
2016-05-13, 11:01 PM
Deception is frowned upon if honor frowns upon deception. Honor is a culturally subjective matter, however, and even when it -is- dishonorable to decieve then doing so is merely frowned upon, not outright forbidden.

Some cultures, however, revere cleverness and the ability to lead people's minds to where you want them to go as long as you don't outright lie in the doing of it. Telling the truth in a misleading way to get things done is lionized rather than discouraged or punished (unless you fail, results matter more than principle to some peoples.)

I'm going off of an honor code of Britain in the Dark Ages, since that is what the paladin also most likely follow based solely off design

Kelb_Panthera
2016-05-13, 11:18 PM
I'm going off of an honor code of Britain in the Dark Ages, since that is what the paladin also most likely follow based solely off design

There is some suggestion in the class' description and how they're described in a few other places that suggest the default is the chivalric code of honor but it is not necessarily restricted to that culture alone. Even amongst medieval european cultures, the exact details of the chivalric code vary from place to place though there is significant overlap. The classic English and German ideas would look pretty similar in a battlefield but their courtly manners would differ quite notabaly, for example.

8BitNinja
2016-05-14, 01:18 AM
There is some suggestion in the class' description and how they're described in a few other places that suggest the default is the chivalric code of honor but it is not necessarily restricted to that culture alone. Even amongst medieval european cultures, the exact details of the chivalric code vary from place to place though there is significant overlap. The classic English and German ideas would look pretty similar in a battlefield but their courtly manners would differ quite notabaly, for example.

Like I said, Medieval Britain.

Although with my ancestry, I should be basing it off of the German one myself.

Cool fun fact, I recently found out that my ancestors were German knights who may have directly served the king.

That means, by blood, I really am a paladin!

Templarkommando
2016-05-14, 01:30 AM
The thing that I hate most about the Paladin class is the tendency of people to get mired down in alignment arguments when in the same room with someone that's playing them. For this reason I have never actually played a Paladin in a long-term game just because I want to avoid an "I can be better than you" spitting contest. Typically I play a fighter that holds some high religious ideal so that the DM doesn't really help the bad guys if my fighter puts a toe out of line.

When I DM, I tend to let all but obviously evil shenanigans pass without argument. My alignment philosophy is slightly grayer than the letter of the law as written in the core rulebooks though. If I was to play a Paladin in a long-term situation, I would need to have some ground rules for how it's going to work at least verbally (but preferably in writing) from my DM. Those rules would need to lay out specific rules that the DM does not want my character to breach. As long as I have clear boundaries, I can at least find things tolerable. I would also need to know that the DM isn't going to try to play gotcha by giving me a dilemma that my character will fall or get an alignment change regardless of the action or inaction chosen. If I can't get that agreement, I would select some other class and play them like I would otherwise play a Paladin.

I would also need to know that my party is comfortable with a Paladin in the group. Pallies are famous for taking a moral stance against specific things, and if the other PCs don't want that sort of conflict in the campaign, it's time to look into playing some other thing.

The thing that I really *really* want to avoid while playing Pally is a situation where anyone (including myself) at the table feels the need to sulk in a corner or storm away from the table.

2D8HP
2016-05-14, 01:40 PM
I'm going off of an honor code of Britain in the Dark Ages, since that is what the paladin also most likely follow based solely off designIf it's not heresy to mention other RPG's, I am a big (King Arthur) Pendragon game fan (only from reading never playing, other non-D&D RPG's I have played have not been as much fun).
Where did you find the code?

Like I said, Medieval Britain.

Although with my ancestry, I should be basing it off of the German one myself.

Cool fun fact, I recently found out that my ancestors were German knights who may have directly served the king.

That means, by blood, I really am a paladin!

I once read that if U.S. citizens spoke the languages of their ancestors, then English speakers would be out-numbered by German and Yorb speakers in the U.S.A.
Also why do I have a fly in my mouth?

Honest Tiefling
2016-05-14, 01:58 PM
How...Did so many people of Yoruba ancestry get to the United States? If they mean via the slave trade, I'm pretty sure there's more then one ethnicity involved in that, so not all African Americans would even of Yoruba descent. If anyone's an expert, I'd like to hear more on this.

And given my own descent, the German Knights were probably the ones oppressing my ancestors.

Back on topic, since people are now talking about written agreements, how far does a paladin code need to go? I can't imagine forcing everyone trying to play the class being forced to complete a writing assignment, so how much of a code do people look for?

Winter_Wolf
2016-05-14, 05:25 PM
I got a bit lost in the morphing of the thread, but to answer the question of how to make a paladin people don't hate:

I have two real life models for that. One is my own cousin. Determined, dedicated, a decent guy who as far as I know does the right thing even if it is not the popular thing. Still likes to have fun and party (alcohol at most, not hardcore "party") but never loses sight of his goals or principles.

The other would be the brother in law of my best friend. The only way to really sum him up is truly, "just an all-around stand up guy." And he really is; there's just something implicit in his nature that makes him automatically trustworthy, he's kind but not a pushover, he's principled without being an overbearing self righteous A-hole.

8BitNinja
2016-05-14, 09:02 PM
And given my own descent, the German Knights were probably the ones oppressing my ancestors.

What is your descent?

Bohandas
2016-05-17, 07:26 PM
I'm going off of an honor code of Britain in the Dark Ages, since that is what the paladin also most likely follow based solely off design

Isn't the word "paladin" french though?

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-17, 08:38 PM
Isn't the word "paladin" french though?


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paladin

2D8HP
2016-05-17, 09:03 PM
Darn! I was really hoping that this would turn into a "What's your genealogy thread :smallwink:
Oh well back to Paladins! I believe the D&D inspiration for the Paladin class was the novel

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Hearts_and_Three_Lions
which was indeed inspired by "The matter of France" (but really, when it comes to Charlemagne shouldn't it be "The Matter of the European Coal and Steel Community"?).

8BitNinja
2016-05-17, 11:13 PM
Isn't the word "paladin" french though?

Charlemagne was German

Templarkommando
2016-05-18, 03:24 AM
Charlemagne was German

Yes he was, but there's a bit more to the story. Here is a map of Charlemagne's kingdom and surrounding countries circa 814 A.D. : https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9f/Europe_in_814,_Charlemagne,_Krum,_Nicephorus_I.png

As you can see from that map, the Empire that Charlemagne (who I'm going to call Charles, because it's easier to spell) ruled extended as far south as the border that modern France has with modern Spain. His people spoke a whole slew of languages including French, German, Italian, and others. His empire was even called the "Frankish Empire" which itself sounds more French than it does German. The word "Paladin" actually derives from Middle French and Late Latin words meaning "Imperial" as per http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/paladin

2D8HP
2016-05-18, 06:56 AM
Yes he was, but there's a bit more to the story. Here is a map of Charlemagne's kingdom and surrounding countries circa 814 A.D. : https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9f/Europe_in_814,_Charlemagne,_Krum,_Nicephorus_I.png

As you can see from that map, the Empire that Charlemagne (who I'm going to call Charles, because it's easier to spell) ruled extended as far south as the border that modern France has with modern Spain. His people spoke a whole slew of languages including French, German, Italian, and other
Like I said, the European Coal and Steel Community area
:smalltongue:

veti
2016-05-18, 07:12 AM
I once read that if U.S. citizens spoke the languages of their ancestors, then English speakers would be out-numbered by German and Yorb speakers in the U.S.A.

If US citizens spoke the languages of their ancestors, I'm guessing most of them would be fluent in at least a dozen modern languages...

Consider, you've got 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great-grandparents, etc. Go back about ten generations, and you are descended from a truly ridiculous number of people.

It'd be very surprising if there wasn't the blood of at least one royal family in your veins. And any number of penniless serfs, obviously.

ReaderAt2046
2016-05-18, 07:40 AM
Through reading this thread, I wonder if 'paladin' should even be a class. The example Red Fel presented was a lawyer and unrelated to being a beatstick at all. I guess Atticus Finch would have probably picked up a gun to defend his children from demons, but I don't remember it being broached in the novel or the movie at all.

Actually, it was. In one scene, there's a rabid dog running around town. There's no other choice, so Atticus steps up to kill it, and that's when Scout learns that her dad is the deadliest shot in the county.

8BitNinja
2016-05-18, 10:12 AM
Yes he was, but there's a bit more to the story. Here is a map of Charlemagne's kingdom and surrounding countries circa 814 A.D. : https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9f/Europe_in_814,_Charlemagne,_Krum,_Nicephorus_I.png

As you can see from that map, the Empire that Charlemagne (who I'm going to call Charles, because it's easier to spell) ruled extended as far south as the border that modern France has with modern Spain. His people spoke a whole slew of languages including French, German, Italian, and others. His empire was even called the "Frankish Empire" which itself sounds more French than it does German. The word "Paladin" actually derives from Middle French and Late Latin words meaning "Imperial" as per http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/paladin

I thought it came from the name of a hill.

The more you know

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-18, 10:51 AM
I thought it came from the name of a hill.

The more you know

Well, it kinda does: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paladin#Etymology

8BitNinja
2016-05-18, 12:07 PM
Well, it kinda does: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paladin#Etymology

Yay, I'm learning!

Thanks for posting these articles

veti
2016-05-18, 06:41 PM
Second is that you're forgetting one important thing. Yes, context matters, and the Paladin in the game world exists within a very different set of sensibilities than our own. However, the player in real life has to be the one making the Paladin's decisions, and an inability to wrap one's head around the in-game set of sensibilities when one is so accustomed to modern-day sensibilities is going to hurt roleplay. This is true both for the Paladin's player, who must embrace these sensibilities, and for the other players, who must accept them as an in-game standard of goodness.

So while you're not wrong, you're ignoring the fact that it takes an incredible force of will or zen of roleplaying to divorce oneself from one's own sensibilities, and play the character solely according to the game world's. And that it imposes a burden of moralizing on the other players, who may not now attempt to justify their characters by modern-day sensibilities.

I disagree that the roleplaying effort is "incredible". It's a mental adjustment, certainly, but in some campaigns I've been in - that's part of the fun.

Before it was ever the basis of tabletop games, "roleplaying" was used as an educational tool that helped students to appreciate why people in the past did - what they did. This kind of roleplaying is not, inherently, all that demanding - I remember doing it in history classes when I was about 12, before I'd ever heard of D&D. (Obviously, we did it pretty badly for the most part - doing it well takes practice and thought and understanding. But then, that's no different from any other kind.)

Now, I, personally, feel that the effort to empathise with people living in a very different moral climate from today's - is a worthwhile effort. It's a stretch you have to make anyway, if you want to understand older literature and culture, so making it in a roleplaying context - shouldn't really be that hard.

8BitNinja
2016-05-18, 07:29 PM
I disagree that the roleplaying effort is "incredible". It's a mental adjustment, certainly, but in some campaigns I've been in - that's part of the fun.

Before it was ever the basis of tabletop games, "roleplaying" was used as an educational tool that helped students to appreciate why people in the past did - what they did. This kind of roleplaying is not, inherently, all that demanding - I remember doing it in history classes when I was about 12, before I'd ever heard of D&D. (Obviously, we did it pretty badly for the most part - doing it well takes practice and thought and understanding. But then, that's no different from any other kind.)

Now, I, personally, feel that the effort to empathise with people living in a very different moral climate from today's - is a worthwhile effort. It's a stretch you have to make anyway, if you want to understand older literature and culture, so making it in a roleplaying context - shouldn't really be that hard.

You also have to realize back then, people had higher standards for what is socially acceptable then today. Many things allowed today would've never been thought of as morally acceptable them.

I'm not saying it's good or bad, just stating the facts

Templarkommando
2016-05-21, 03:29 AM
I thought it came from the name of a hill.

The more you know

I believe the hill in question was Palatine Hill which is the hill in the center of the fabled 7 hills of Rome. The hill is basically where the government was centered. A lot of the famous Senatorial families had their residence on Palatine Hill, and apparently more than one Emperor built his palace there.

8BitNinja
2016-05-21, 12:40 PM
I believe the hill in question was Palatine Hill which is the hill in the center of the fabled 7 hills of Rome. The hill is basically where the government was centered. A lot of the famous Senatorial families had their residence on Palatine Hill, and apparently more than one Emperor built his palace there.

So paladin comes from palace?

Makes perfect sense actually

Honest Tiefling
2016-05-23, 01:43 PM
What is your descent?

German and French peasants (and some people in regions that kept flip-flopping between the two).

Through now that I have thought about it, why does everyone assume the clerics would proselytize? Not all real life religions even do it, so why would every cleric do it, as opposed to trying to honor their god, their beliefs and what-have-you with great deeds?

8BitNinja
2016-05-23, 04:50 PM
Through now that I have thought about it, why does everyone assume the clerics would proselytize? Not all real life religions even do it, so why would every cleric do it, as opposed to trying to honor their god, their beliefs and what-have-you with great deeds?

Since a cleric is a representative of his deity, he is always proselytizing, even if it not with words.

Kitten Champion
2016-05-23, 04:56 PM
German and French peasants (and some people in regions that kept flip-flopping between the two).

Through now that I have thought about it, why does everyone assume the clerics would proselytize? Not all real life religions even do it, so why would every cleric do it, as opposed to trying to honor their god, their beliefs and what-have-you with great deeds?

I think there is a underlying sentiment, I suppose, that proselytizing is part of what differentiates it and similar classes. The cleric is the one who has access to wisdom and knowledge about their faith and deity, which they can disseminate in the form of sermons/blessings/rites and, yes, proselytizing. Otherwise there's very little room between a paladin and it.

There's also the fact that D&D religions tend to be more like fandoms for professional sports teams than real-world faiths, more one dimensional, arbitrary, and competitive for support and power in the same relative space.

Though, yeah, there's no issue for a cleric to refrain from doing so.

8BitNinja
2016-05-24, 04:34 AM
There's also the fact that D&D religions tend to be more like fandoms for professional sports teams than real-world faiths, more one dimensional, arbitrary, and competitive for support and power in the same relative space.

What do you expect from a game? Sure, Dungeons and Dragons has some in-depth lore, but that's because they are based around the game itself. While religion is important, it doesn't hold a lot of mechanical value other than clerical domains.

But that's my hypothesis

goto124
2016-05-24, 07:04 AM
What do you expect from a game? Sure, Dungeons and Dragons has some in-depth lore, but that's because they are based around the game itself. While religion is important, it doesn't hold a lot of mechanical value other than clerical domains.

In a world where gods literally exist, I'd think Knowledge (Religion) is pretty much Knowledge (Politics), and thus rather valuable.

AMFV
2016-05-24, 09:52 AM
You also have to realize back then, people had higher standards for what is socially acceptable then today. Many things allowed today would've never been thought of as morally acceptable them.

I'm not saying it's good or bad, just stating the facts

To be fair the reverse is equally true. After all, when's the last time you punched somebody for insulting you? That would have been acceptable as recently as fifty or so years ago in many modern countries?

Red Fel
2016-05-24, 10:01 AM
You also have to realize back then, people had higher standards for what is socially acceptable then today. Many things allowed today would've never been thought of as morally acceptable them.

I'm not saying it's good or bad, just stating the facts


To be fair the reverse is equally true. After all, when's the last time you punched somebody for insulting you? That would have been acceptable as recently as fifty or so years ago in many modern countries?

This. I'm not sure what facts you're citing, 8Bit, but "different standards" doesn't mean "higher." Yes, in some ways, they enforced their definition of morality with a severity that would give nightmares. But their definition of morality differed from ours in certain key, and frankly frightening ways. Certain people weren't people, but property; certain forms of physical abuse were not only permitted, but lauded; certain insults weren't shrugged off, but met with a duel to the death; certain sports were specifically designed to result in the maiming or death of the participants. These are not, by our modern sensibilities, "morally acceptable."

You need to avoid those blanket statements, 8Bit. Blanket generalizations are always, and without exception, an objectively horrible thing.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-24, 10:01 AM
To be fair the reverse is equally true. After all, when's the last time you punched somebody for insulting you? That would have been acceptable as recently as fifty or so years ago in many modern countries?

I'm not sure we're 100% better off without the understanding that at some point, things you say can cross a line and get you popped in the face.




You need to avoid those blanket statements, 8Bit. Blanket generalizations are always, and without exception, an objectively horrible thing.


Irony intended?

Red Fel
2016-05-24, 10:08 AM
Irony intended?

Does Westeros have worrisome fatality figures?

AMFV
2016-05-24, 10:35 AM
What do you expect from a game? Sure, Dungeons and Dragons has some in-depth lore, but that's because they are based around the game itself. While religion is important, it doesn't hold a lot of mechanical value other than clerical domains.

But that's my hypothesis

Well that's part of the core problem implementing Paladins. If you have a religious doctrine that makes sense you can figure out how a Paladin should act (even in no-win scenarios), since they'll have dogmas about that sort of thing (lawful religions tend to be that way). I think the key to developing a good Paladin character is figuring out how they view their religion (or their order). So you can determine how it would rule on a certain kind of issue one way or another.

Expanding the religions really gives your Paladins depth and can help fix a lot of problems in implementation.

Deepbluediver
2016-05-24, 01:53 PM
Well that's part of the core problem implementing Paladins. If you have a religious doctrine that makes sense you can figure out how a Paladin should act (even in no-win scenarios), since they'll have dogmas about that sort of thing (lawful religions tend to be that way). I think the key to developing a good Paladin character is figuring out how they view their religion (or their order). So you can determine how it would rule on a certain kind of issue one way or another.

Expanding the religions really gives your Paladins depth and can help fix a lot of problems in implementation.
I agree with you at east in part- in addition I think the major problem is not building a paladin that fees like a paladin, but building a paladin that feels like a paladin AND can get a long with other people. In particular because (in my experience) RPG players like to build characters that take things to extremes- paladins included. But the paladin is the only one who has mechanical rules for dictating who they can hang out with. Which makes it a problem when your party also includes the Rogue who steals everything that's not nailed down and Wizard who thinks fireballs are an appropriate substitute for diplomacy checks. The bloodthirsty Fighter doesn't really care, but the very laws of the (RAW) universe means the paladin isn't allowed to pal-around with these types.

Personally I think that if the GM is willing to be a little bit more flexible on that count, you can do all kinds of fun stuff that doesn't really affect your fellow players. Taking some real-world religions as inspiration, how about a paladin who never removes her armor ... because in her religion a woman isn't allowed to show her face in public. Or you've got a paladin who believes that the elder gods of evil (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?448397-The-Deep-Ones-Twisted-Seas-and-Alien-Light) live deep beneath the sea, which is why shellfish isn't kosher. Or something like that.
You could easily outline an entire set of behaviors that dictate nearly your every waking moment, but which everyone else just kinds of looks at you funny for. It's a bit like Durkon in the OotS comic and his vendetta against the trees- for him this is his races ancient and mortal enemy, but no one else really gets it.

8BitNinja
2016-05-24, 04:06 PM
I agree with you at east in part- in addition I think the major problem is not building a paladin that fees like a paladin, but building a paladin that feels like a paladin AND can get a long with other people. In particular because (in my experience) RPG players like to build characters that take things to extremes- paladins included. But the paladin is the only one who has mechanical rules for dictating who they can hang out with. Which makes it a problem when your party also includes the Rogue who steals everything that's not nailed down and Wizard who thinks fireballs are an appropriate substitute for diplomacy checks. The bloodthirsty Fighter doesn't really care, but the very laws of the (RAW) universe means the paladin isn't allowed to pal-around with these types.

Personally I think that if the GM is willing to be a little bit more flexible on that count, you can do all kinds of fun stuff that doesn't really affect your fellow players. Taking some real-world religions as inspiration, how about a paladin who never removes her armor ... because in her religion a woman isn't allowed to show her face in public. Or you've got a paladin who believes that the elder gods of evil (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?448397-The-Deep-Ones-Twisted-Seas-and-Alien-Light) live deep beneath the sea, which is why shellfish isn't kosher. Or something like that.
You could easily outline an entire set of behaviors that dictate nearly your every waking moment, but which everyone else just kinds of looks at you funny for. It's a bit like Durkon in the OotS comic and his vendetta against the trees- for him this is his races ancient and mortal enemy, but no one else really gets it.

I think that another thing to be flexible on is the amount of magic items you can carry. A limit of 10? Seriously?

2D8HP
2016-05-24, 05:38 PM
I think that another thing to be flexible on is the amount of magic items you can carry. A limit of 10? Seriously?
Paladin has10 magic item limit....?!!!
*gasp*
Unless you homebrewed a "code of conduct", you are playing Advanced Dungeons and Dragons!
You have my respect good sir.
:smallsmile:

8BitNinja
2016-05-24, 06:56 PM
Paladin has10 magic item limit....?!!!
*gasp*
Unless you homebrewed a "code of conduct", you are playing Advanced Dungeons and Dragons!
You have my respect good sir.
:smallsmile:

I have played AD&D, and I don't like that magic item limit

That needs to be changed

*reads something*

Oh, It did

Honest Tiefling
2016-05-24, 07:23 PM
In a world where gods literally exist, I'd think Knowledge (Religion) is pretty much Knowledge (Politics), and thus rather valuable.

"Guys? The clerics of the local lawful good deity keep summoning her avatar to yell at us. We might need to re-evaluate our urban renewal plan..."

AMFV
2016-05-24, 07:52 PM
I agree with you at east in part- in addition I think the major problem is not building a paladin that fees like a paladin, but building a paladin that feels like a paladin AND can get a long with other people. In particular because (in my experience) RPG players like to build characters that take things to extremes- paladins included. But the paladin is the only one who has mechanical rules for dictating who they can hang out with. Which makes it a problem when your party also includes the Rogue who steals everything that's not nailed down and Wizard who thinks fireballs are an appropriate substitute for diplomacy checks. The bloodthirsty Fighter doesn't really care, but the very laws of the (RAW) universe means the paladin isn't allowed to pal-around with these types.


To be fair, the association clause is separate from the rest of the code of conduct and appears to be dealing primarily with cohorts. I don't believe that this is as absolute an aspect of the code of conduct as others. Also a Paladin can completely hang out with those characters, depending on his reasons for doing so. And if you're playing a game where the Rogue steals everything that isn't locked down, the wizard shoots fireballs instead of talking to people, and the fighter is murdering people, you're probably not playing a super-serious game, so it's much easier to fudge on the Paladins' code.



Personally I think that if the GM is willing to be a little bit more flexible on that count, you can do all kinds of fun stuff that doesn't really affect your fellow players. Taking some real-world religions as inspiration, how about a paladin who never removes her armor ... because in her religion a woman isn't allowed to show her face in public. Or you've got a paladin who believes that the elder gods of evil (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?448397-The-Deep-Ones-Twisted-Seas-and-Alien-Light) live deep beneath the sea, which is why shellfish isn't kosher. Or something like that.
You could easily outline an entire set of behaviors that dictate nearly your every waking moment, but which everyone else just kinds of looks at you funny for. It's a bit like Durkon in the OotS comic and his vendetta against the trees- for him this is his races ancient and mortal enemy, but no one else really gets it.

You could definitely add all kinds of stuff like that. I think that's a significant part of making a believable Paladin. To construct their system of morals so it isn't somewhat simplistic. I also find it's better if you explore the code in detail. Once you've figured out why the Paladin isn't allowed to use poison, or what the reasoning is behind aspects of his code, it becomes a simple matter to determine how the code should actually play out in practice.

Edit:


"Guys? The clerics of the local lawful good deity keep summoning her avatar to yell at us. We might need to re-evaluate our urban renewal plan..."

Nah, you just work it in, it's a source of free slave labor with the proper binding spells, free food (if you aren't too squeamish), and free training and experience for your local militia.

goto124
2016-05-24, 08:20 PM
Once you've figured out why the Paladin isn't allowed to use poison, or what the reasoning is behind aspects of her code, it becomes a simple matter to determine how the code should actually play out in practice.

That reminds me, I think poison was disallowed because it could easily be used to attack someone outside combat (dishonorable), and it often led to debilitating disease effects that cause a lot of suffering.

DnD poison doesn't have any of those, as it's used in combat and just deals damage over time before wearing off quickly.

Honest Tiefling
2016-05-24, 08:26 PM
Even if you did use it in combat, poisoning people to incapacitate them makes a great deal of sense if your setting has no formalized rules about dueling. I really do like Deepbluediver's take on an individualized code, because sometimes it really doesn't make sense to have the Knight in Shining Armor archetype running around. There are settings where the vaguely European guy on a horse just won't work.

AMFV
2016-05-24, 08:34 PM
That reminds me, I think poison was disallowed because it could easily be used to attack someone outside combat (dishonorable), and it often led to debilitating disease effects that cause a lot of suffering.

DnD poison doesn't have any of those, as it's used in combat and just deals damage over time before wearing off quickly.

Exactly! And understanding those precepts is useful, because then you know that a Paladin wouldn't use other means to attack somebody outside of combat, or do other things that would cause undue suffering. Now instead of a kind of annoying hard rule, you have a fundamental principle, one you can apply to many different types of scenarios, and it answers a lot of questions about how a Paladin should operate.


Even if you did use it in combat, poisoning people to incapacitate them makes a great deal of sense if your setting has no formalized rules about dueling. I really do like Deepbluediver's take on an individualized code, because sometimes it really doesn't make sense to have the Knight in Shining Armor archetype running around. There are settings where the vaguely European guy on a horse just won't work.

Also true, which is why exploring the meanings behind Paladin's codes is so important. Because that gives them a moral character that is more or less independent of setting. If poison is disallowed because it is unduly cruel, then it's reasonable to assume that all Paladins would have rules against undue cruelty regardless of setting. While some might argue that poison isn't necessarily unduly cruel, it creates a better more setting agnostic code.

8BitNinja
2016-05-24, 11:42 PM
That reminds me, I think poison was disallowed because it could easily be used to attack someone outside combat (dishonorable), and it often led to debilitating disease effects that cause a lot of suffering.

DnD poison doesn't have any of those, as it's used in combat and just deals damage over time before wearing off quickly.

Well, D&D is a Role-Playing Game, as in you have to assume the role of what that character would do in "real life"

(As in they existed, not if they were in our world. Last time I checked, there are no Ogres or Trolls, but that was a while ago so I might be wrong)

goto124
2016-05-24, 11:53 PM
Well, D&D is a Role-Playing Game, as in you have to assume the role of what that character would do in "real life"

(As in they existed, not if they were in our world. Last time I checked, there are no Ogres or Trolls, but that was a while ago so I might be wrong)


Exactly! And understanding those precepts is useful, because then you know that a Paladin wouldn't use other means to attack somebody outside of combat, or do other things that would cause undue suffering. Now instead of a kind of annoying hard rule, you have a fundamental principle, one you can apply to many different types of scenarios, and it answers a lot of questions about how a Paladin should operate.

What we're doing here is figuring out how the code works in the first place. If I were to play a paladin who abhors poison, but I don't even know why my character abhors poison, how can I play the role of that paladin? I don't understand the paladin's motivations or thought processes!

Besides, if one lives in a world where poison just deals damage over time before wearing off quickly and is thus usable only in combat, why would my paladin not know that?

We're talking about playing paladins in a way that doesn't leave players intensely frustrated over how nonsensical and unplayable their paladins are. Here, we have paladins who abhor poisons even though the world's poisons ('poisons'?) are very different from poisons IRL. When the world itself is illogical (in the sense of having no reasonable train of thought that makes sense within the in-game world itself), it strains the ability to immerse myself in the world and thus roleplay in a non-frustrating manner.

AMFV
2016-05-25, 12:39 AM
What we're doing here is figuring out how the code works in the first place. If I were to play a paladin who abhors poison, but I don't even know why my character abhors poison, how can I play the role of that paladin? I don't understand the paladin's motivations or thought processes!

Besides, if one lives in a world where poison just deals damage over time before wearing off quickly and is thus usable only in combat, why would my paladin not know that?

We're talking about playing paladins in a way that doesn't leave players intensely frustrated over how nonsensical and unplayable their paladins are. Here, we have paladins who abhor poisons even though the world's poisons ('poisons'?) are very different from poisons IRL. When the world itself is illogical (in the sense of having no reasonable train of thought that makes sense within the in-game world itself), it strains the ability to immerse myself in the world and thus roleplay in a non-frustrating manner.

The other thing it may tell us about is poisons. If we suppose that the reason Paladins are not permitted to use poisons is because they are cruel, then that becomes a significant factor. It tells us that poisons are much more painful than simple wounds. Which is an important thing for us to learn about the world and how it works.

This is part of why examining codes and systems in a roleplaying game can work, since it may increase immersion. Once we start to develop a greater understanding of the world, we should be able to make it increasingly internally consistent.

Deepbluediver
2016-05-25, 10:06 AM
That reminds me, I think poison was disallowed because it could easily be used to attack someone outside combat (dishonorable), and it often led to debilitating disease effects that cause a lot of suffering.

DnD poison doesn't have any of those, as it's used in combat and just deals damage over time before wearing off quickly.
I think it was at least in part because in literary terms, poison was always used by the bad guys as a way to cheat, and so it got irrevocably associated with "EVIL!". Kind of like how there were magic spells that have the "EVIL!" descriptor for no apparent reason. A good portion of early D&D was less about realistic-realism and more about a psuedo hollywood-realism.

But yeah, poison struck me as one of those examples where a blanket-statement could have unintended consequences. Suppose you're trying to capture someone (alive) for whatever reason in the middle of a populated area. Why not just have the rogue roofie their drink, then we'll get them when they are asleep? Instead to many GMs would demand that your paladin march out and announce their arrest in a loud, clear voice, and the ensuing brawl, complete with property-damage and endangering civilians is somehow better.

I know that in-game morality is complicated, but personally I choose to evaluate it by a combination of action, intent, and result. Doing bad things for a good purpose is frowned upon, but if you're successful then the gods are willing to be slightly more lenient (so long as you don't make a habit out of it).
By that metric, the example I described above might go something like: using poison- questionable, arresting the head of the mafia- decent, without killing any of his bodyguards- good. And so it comes off as net-win.


Because playing a "fun" paladin requires input from both the player and the GM, and if as a GM you want people to consider choosing that paladin class, you might need to work WITH them a little

goto124
2016-05-25, 10:38 AM
Why not just have the rogue roofie their drink, then we'll get them when they are asleep? Instead to many GMs would demand that your paladin march out and announce their arrest in a loud, clear voice, and the ensuing brawl, complete with property-damage and endangering civilians is somehow better.

To be honest, in many shows and comic books where heroes engage in actions that should logically lead to property-damage and endangerment of civilians (e.g. superheroes smashing entire office buildings), the collateral damage just doesn't happen (and GMs could easily handwave such damage as well). Less because "poison is wrong" and more "the audience watches us for the action, we can't remove that". If I wanted to have more action, I wouldn't mind taking such a course of action... but I wouldn't play a paladin, I would play a fighter or barbarian.

So! Similar reasoning shown in your post could reasonably (har har, please forgive me) apply to many situations where sneaking is not only more effective but also less damaging than 'honorable' combat. The 'honorable' combat is supposed to give the other party a fair chance to defend themselves... at the expense of nearby people, who wouldn't even choose to be caught in the crossfire. And what if the other party already have a huge advantage over you, such as outnumbering you (Miko, orcs, no idea if she really planned for a fireball) or just being plain more powerful?

AMFV
2016-05-25, 10:54 AM
I think it was at least in part because in literary terms, poison was always used by the bad guys as a way to cheat, and so it got irrevocably associated with "EVIL!". Kind of like how there were magic spells that have the "EVIL!" descriptor for no apparent reason. A good portion of early D&D was less about realistic-realism and more about a psuedo hollywood-realism.


It's worth noting that in real life use of poisons in combat is strictly prohibited by the Geneva Convention, for a variety of reasons. The key one being that is causes undue suffering. I would be more likely to suspect that the suffering aspect is why Paladins are prohibited, not because it's a method to cheat. After all Paladins aren't prohibited from striking first or ambushes or what-not, just poison. So it stands to reason that part of honorable combat is not inflicting undue pain on your opponent.



But yeah, poison struck me as one of those examples where a blanket-statement could have unintended consequences. Suppose you're trying to capture someone (alive) for whatever reason in the middle of a populated area. Why not just have the rogue roofie their drink, then we'll get them when they are asleep? Instead to many GMs would demand that your paladin march out and announce their arrest in a loud, clear voice, and the ensuing brawl, complete with property-damage and endangering civilians is somehow better.


Well, for a Paladin, maybe it would be better. Again, a great deal depends on the reasoning behind a poison prohibition. We would need to determine why that's evil and therefore inappropriate. It's also worth noting that there are Exalted poison equivalents (in 3.5) that are permissible for Paladins to use, so I imagine that the problem with poisons is not so much their function but some other aspect of their use.



I know that in-game morality is complicated, but personally I choose to evaluate it by a combination of action, intent, and result. Doing bad things for a good purpose is frowned upon, but if you're successful then the gods are willing to be slightly more lenient (so long as you don't make a habit out of it).
By that metric, the example I described above might go something like: using poison- questionable, arresting the head of the mafia- decent, without killing any of his bodyguards- good. And so it comes off as net-win.


But that isn't how Paladins work. Paladins aren't allowed to do evil acts because they have a net-Good outcome. Period, that's a big part of what being a Paladin is, you don't compromise those particular ideals. If you do, then you aren't behaving as a Paladin, you're behaving like anybody else. Also you're attaching a moral significance to competency, which is a pretty big issue to my mind (both in game and out).

After all, for Paladins, doing the right thing and failing is better than doing the wrong thing and therefore succeeding.



Because playing a "fun" paladin requires input from both the player and the GM, and if as a GM you want people to consider choosing that paladin class, you might need to work WITH them a little

I'm certainly down for that, as I described, but I'm not okay with throwing the code out or causing it to become circumstantial.


To be honest, in many shows and comic books where heroes engage in actions that should logically lead to property-damage and endangerment of civilians (e.g. superheroes smashing entire office buildings), the collateral damage just doesn't happen (and GMs could easily handwave such damage as well). Less because "poison is wrong" and more "the audience watches us for the action, we can't remove that". If I wanted to have more action, I wouldn't mind taking such a course of action... but I wouldn't play a paladin, I would play a fighter or barbarian.

So! Similar reasoning shown in your post could reasonably (har har, please forgive me) apply to many situations where sneaking is not only more effective but also less damaging than 'honorable' combat. The 'honorable' combat is supposed to give the other party a fair chance to defend themselves... at the expense of nearby people, who wouldn't even choose to be caught in the crossfire. And what if the other party already have a huge advantage over you, such as outnumbering you (Miko, orcs, no idea if she really planned for a fireball) or just being plain more powerful?

Paladins aren't forbidden from sneaking though. And ambushing is not dishonorable, at least not by any metric I've seen. Attacking somebody when they're not expecting it isn't inappropriate. Now using false pretense to do so would be (but that would also be lying, which Paladins can't do anyways). But there's no rule saying that, in the arrest scenario, the Paladin needs to make the arrest right at that second, or that they can't take precautions to protect bystanders (which they should do anyways).

Also Good superheros VERY rarely smash office buildings deliberately, when there are people in them. And the collateral damage thing is frequently discussed. The cases where there is large scale collateral damage it's typically because said damage is worse than the alternative. For example, if I smash an office building and a few hundred people die, that sucks, but if the Earth gets terraformed and all people die, that's markedly worse. Sometimes you have to be willing to take a risk.

Now in the case of the Mafia arrest, I would argue that it might not be justified (depending on the circumstances) to put bystanders at risk, so it might be worth waiting for a better opportunity to make the arrest, but that still wouldn't make the use of poison acceptable for a Paladin.

Deepbluediver
2016-05-25, 11:08 AM
To be honest, in many shows and comic books where heroes engage in actions that should logically lead to property-damage and endangerment of civilians (e.g. superheroes smashing entire office buildings), the collateral damage just doesn't happen (and GMs could easily handwave such damage as well). Less because "poison is wrong" and more "the audience watches us for the action, we can't remove that". If I wanted to have more action, I wouldn't mind taking such a course of action... but I wouldn't play a paladin, I would play a fighter or barbarian.
I've never seen a D&D game lack for action. The problem is that you have multiple people in a party, each with their own skillset and motivations, but the paladin seems to have an outsized effect on how things get done and even what missions your team pursues. There's nothing mechanical stopping a Rogue from acting honorably (or at least faking honor), but you can't just reverse that and apply it to the Paladin. So over time, unless the entire party actively resists the paladins influence (often leading us back to the un-fun sort of paladin), things seem to get done more and more the way the Paladin wants, and I have to work harder to add rogue-ish elements (or magic-elements for a Wizard or punch-them-in-the-face-elements for a Fighter) back into the plot.

Frankly a Paladin seems like it could be a good opportunity to avoid the standard 4-man-band of tank, mage, skillmonkey, and healer, but a lot of D&D players still get paranoid if you try that.

Honest Tiefling
2016-05-25, 11:15 AM
I thought the Geneva convention was brought about by mustard gas. But in a magical world like DnD, there surely would be some poisons that are less painful then getting smacked about with a greatsword and having all of your guards getting killed because you didn't feel like accepting a challenge to honorably duel because that's a pretty dumb idea for you. Especially when he's covered head to toe in full plate and you're not a warrior.

Amphetryon
2016-05-25, 11:41 AM
Paladins aren't forbidden from sneaking though. And ambushing is not dishonorable, at least not by any metric I've seen. Attacking somebody when they're not expecting it isn't inappropriate. Now using false pretense to do so would be (but that would also be lying, which Paladins can't do anyways). But there's no rule saying that, in the arrest scenario, the Paladin needs to make the arrest right at that second, or that they can't take precautions to protect bystanders (which they should do anyways).

Also Good superheros VERY rarely smash office buildings deliberately, when there are people in them. And the collateral damage thing is frequently discussed. The cases where there is large scale collateral damage it's typically because said damage is worse than the alternative. For example, if I smash an office building and a few hundred people die, that sucks, but if the Earth gets terraformed and all people die, that's markedly worse. Sometimes you have to be willing to take a risk.I have known more than one DM who considered sneaking and/or ambushing to be tactics akin to lying, as far as a Paladin was concerned. Similarly, I have known more than one DM (not necessarily the same DMs, either) who would call letting a few hundred people die in order to protect the rest of the planet 'the lesser of two Evils,' with the obvious rider that 'Paladins are not allowed to do Evil without falling.'

In other words, playing a Paladin means discussing expectations for behavior with the DM ahead of time, to a greater degree than most other Characters.

AMFV
2016-05-25, 11:48 AM
I've never seen a D&D game lack for action. The problem is that you have multiple people in a party, each with their own skillset and motivations, but the paladin seems to have an outsized effect on how things get done and even what missions your team pursues. There's nothing mechanical stopping a Rogue from acting honorably (or at least faking honor), but you can't just reverse that and apply it to the Paladin. So over time, unless the entire party actively resists the paladins influence (often leading us back to the un-fun sort of paladin), things seem to get done more and more the way the Paladin wants, and I have to work harder to add rogue-ish elements (or magic-elements for a Wizard or punch-them-in-the-face-elements for a Fighter) back into the plot.


Why would those elements need to be absent? We aren't forbidden from doing rogue-like things, the only rogue-like thing the Paladin is forbidden from doing is using poison. And his compatriots can use poison (although the Paladin should probably object to that, strenuously if it's done more often, possibly even leaving). So there's nothing preventing a Paladin from being somewhat covert, although they can't be directly dishonest. I suspect that a Paladin would not hold a rogue to his code, and he's not really required to, unless the rogue is continually violating the precepts of the Paladin code, and if that is the case then possibly a Paladin (or the rogue) is a bad choice for the one of that particular party.

The point is this though. There's no reason that a Paladin wouldn't be able to participate in an adventure with magic elements or rogue-ish elements, and combat is their forte. The problem people usually have with Paladins is that they have more required social conventions. They have to behave in a certain way, and people find that restrictive. Their options in combat are generally not particularly restricted, save for a few rather simple things.



Frankly a Paladin seems like it could be a good opportunity to avoid the standard 4-man-band of tank, mage, skillmonkey, and healer, but a lot of D&D players still get paranoid if you try that.

A Paladin could be any of those.


I thought the Geneva convention was brought about by mustard gas. But in a magical world like DnD, there surely would be some poisons that are less painful then getting smacked about with a greatsword and having all of your guards getting killed because you didn't feel like accepting a challenge to honorably duel because that's a pretty dumb idea for you. Especially when he's covered head to toe in full plate and you're not a warrior.

The Geneva Convention did result in part from the weapons used in World War 1, but it does forbid the use of poisons. Prior to it, there were other similar conventions that forbade the use of poisons, and they were typically not used in combat even prior to that for a variety of reasons. The cruel nature of them is part of it.

There are Magical Poisons that Paladins are allowed to use (again in 3.5, in the BoED), they just aren't called poisons. Also it's not a matter of the Paladin not using poisons because he doesn't believe in harming, but because once one poison is allowed, then maybe another one would be. Then you start allowing poisons that do allow for people to suffer in the interest of expedience. The Paladin holds to his principles because that is the core of his being. Once you start eroding your principles, it becomes easier and easier to erode them. For that reason a Paladin should not (and would not) violate their code, even if it seemed more expedient.

Edit:


I have known more than one DM who considered sneaking and/or ambushing to be tactics akin to lying, as far as a Paladin was concerned. Similarly, I have known more than one DM (not necessarily the same DMs, either) who would call letting a few hundred people die in order to protect the rest of the planet 'the lesser of two Evils,' with the obvious rider that 'Paladins are not allowed to do Evil without falling.'

In other words, playing a Paladin means discussing expectations for behavior with the DM ahead of time, to a greater degree than most other Characters.

That's certainly true. I would discuss it extensively with other players and the DM. But I think one should do that with all characters. It's only with Paladins that game mechanics require it, but it's a good idea.

I suspect that there would be many orders of Paladins who would not sneak or ambush, and others that might. That's why dissecting the code is critical. Once you have the base principles you can figure out how a different order of Paladins might interpret it. Because they are likely to have differing interpretations and opinions about their codes, and it is worth looking at beforehand, since, orders of lawful Paladins are likely to have already discussed many of these potential problems at length.

Deepbluediver
2016-05-25, 12:03 PM
It's worth noting that in real life use of poisons in combat is strictly prohibited by the Geneva Convention, for a variety of reasons. The key one being that is causes undue suffering. I would be more likely to suspect that the suffering aspect is why Paladins are prohibited, not because it's a method to cheat. After all Paladins aren't prohibited from striking first or ambushes or what-not, just poison. So it stands to reason that part of honorable combat is not inflicting undue pain on your opponent.
I thought it was more because of their use as an AOE weapon in WWI and their non-discriminatory nature meaning they could affect civilians more than soldiers, i.e. even a dumb-bomb can be aimed more than a cloud of mustard-gas.

But as was pointed out- if the issue is not poison but "undue suffering" I'd argue that a a knockout-drug is still better than beating someone into unconsciousness, plus possibly fighting your way through their bodyguards also.


But that isn't how Paladins work. Paladins aren't allowed to do evil acts because they have a net-Good outcome. Period, that's a big part of what being a Paladin is, you don't compromise those particular ideals. If you do, then you aren't behaving as a Paladin, you're behaving like anybody else. Also you're attaching a moral significance to competency, which is a pretty big issue to my mind (both in game and out).
But "how paladins work" isn't fun (for most people); it's what lead us here in the first place. I'm not saying that you excuse every action, I'm saying that in service to the greater good then pragmatism should at least be given some consideration. A Paladin can agonize over the long-term affects of an imperfect solution, or get a stern talking-to from his diety, but letting evil win just because you didn't want to get your hands dirty doesn't strike me as very paladin-ish either.

Take violence, for example. I think it would be hard to argue that violence (combat) is ever inherently good; at best it's necessary to prevent a worse outcome. But unless you limit yourself to just fighting undead, outsiders, and the occasional dragon or aberration, fighting humanoids or other neutral creatures is GOING to come up at some point. If you're fighting bandits, maybe the "best" solution is to take 6 months to convert them to Pelor's faith, convince them to give up crime forever, and teach to be farmers (because people still gotta eat) but what about all the other evil going un-opposed while you do that? You don't need to summarily execute them, but there has to be a middle ground. Saying "Paladins never compromise" is how you get characters like Miko or Kore (http://www.goblinscomic.org/09172005/) (from Goblins!)- that is, bloodknights more obsessed with "honor" and "Good" (capital G) than actually being good (lowercase G) and helping people.


After all, for Paladins, doing the right thing and failing is better than doing the wrong thing and therefore succeeding.
That's were we'll have to disagree- because IMO it's treading dangerously close lawful-stupid or stupid-good.


I'm certainly down for that, as I described, but I'm not okay with throwing the code out or causing it to become circumstantial.
Which code though? That's why I think it's a good idea for the player and GM to talk about it ahead of time and work an individualized code or creed or set of taboos. Something like thieving is almost always wrong- I wont' even get into the "would you steal to feed a starving child"; I'd EXPECT paladins to look for a third path. But what is appropriate punishment for thievery? Execution? Dismemberment (chopping off a hand)? A special tattoo? 10 days in jail? 50 lashes?

Justice requires individualized judgement, and if a player wants to play a Paladin, I expect them to use their own judgement from time to time.


Now in the case of the Mafia arrest, I would argue that it might not be justified (depending on the circumstances) to put bystanders at risk, so it might be worth waiting for a better opportunity to make the arrest, but that still wouldn't make the use of poison acceptable for a Paladin.
And how long do we wait, letting The Don run his criminal syndicate, roughing up people for protection money, smuggling weapons into the city, selling opium, etc, while we look for the perfect opportunity? Someone else earlier in the thread said that "playing a paladin is about making hard choices". But if you never compromise, you're not ever actually making a choice. You're not playing a Paladin then, you're playing a robot- input X and get output Y.

Fine, maybe we don't poison him to death. Suppose we find out that when our BBEG gets sick he likes to visit an old family doctor. So we just poison him enough to make him ill, which will bring him to us in a place that we've prepared to keep the civilians from harm, but also doesn't mean we sit around twiddling our thumbs while evil perpetrates throughout the city. The Paladin might not be happy, but then again the Wizard wasn't happy that we didn't just let him Nova an entire city block with a couple dozen assorted deaths being "acceptable losses". Compromise moves the game forward without requiring anyone to carry the idiot-ball.

Deepbluediver
2016-05-25, 12:19 PM
Why would those elements need to be absent? We aren't forbidden from doing rogue-like things, the only rogue-like thing the Paladin is forbidden from doing is using poison. And his compatriots can use poison (although the Paladin should probably object to that, strenuously if it's done more often, possibly even leaving). So there's nothing preventing a Paladin from being somewhat covert, although they can't be directly dishonest. I suspect that a Paladin would not hold a rogue to his code, and he's not really required to, unless the rogue is continually violating the precepts of the Paladin code, and if that is the case then possibly a Paladin (or the rogue) is a bad choice for the one of that particular party.

The point is this though. There's no reason that a Paladin wouldn't be able to participate in an adventure with magic elements or rogue-ish elements, and combat is their forte. The problem people usually have with Paladins is that they have more required social conventions. They have to behave in a certain way, and people find that restrictive. Their options in combat are generally not particularly restricted, save for a few rather simple things.
It's about the way people actually play Paladins though. Even if it wasn't intended by the creators (though I find that doubtful) the way the material was presented seems to make most people think they HAVE to play a particular way. And as other's have mentioned, some DMs like to be super-harsh about it.
Yes when I'm making the adventure, I try to find ways so that everyone gets a chance to shine, their moment in the spotlight, etc. The problem is that to many people seem to think that playing a paladin means stopping other people from doing what they do best.

Plus, in my games at least, a lot of those social parameters you mentioned seem to bleed over into combat, or eventually lead to combat one way or another. Sure if all you're doing is raiding a dungeon, killing monsters, and taking their loot, it's less likely to come up. But in any kind of expansive or complicated campaign, things rarely seem to cut-and-dried.


A Paladin could be any of those.
I think it would be difficult for the RAW paladin (at least in 3.5) to be a skillmonkey, but aside from that, that was kind of my point. Since it's a hybrid-class anyway, it could be a good opportunity for either the entire party to be more focused or for other players to play less-specialized heroes.


Because they are likely to have differing interpretations and opinions about their codes, and it is worth looking at beforehand, since, orders of lawful Paladins are likely to have already discussed many of these potential problems at length.
So what I'm hearing is, to major in Paladin at AU (Adventurer's University) you have to take philosophy classes? :smallbiggrin:

When I design the world, Paladins are RARE. There aren't "orders of paladins" for people to consult with- maybe that's why I place more emphasis on personal judgement instead of overarching rules and regulation.

AMFV
2016-05-25, 12:20 PM
I thought it was more because of their use as an AOE weapon in WWI and their non-discriminatory nature meaning they could affect civilians more than soldiers, i.e. even a dumb-bomb can be aimed more than a cloud of mustard-gas.

Poisoned weapons are explicitly banned separately from chemical and biological agents. Also barbed weapons are banned by the convention. Those are both clearly bans intended to reduce suffering and the document says as much.


But as was pointed out- if the issue is not poison but "undue suffering" I'd argue that a a knockout-drug is still better than beating someone into unconsciousness, plus possibly fighting your way through their bodyguards also.


It's a matter of principles. For example, stealing a key you need to free a prisoner is easier, but if that's against a Paladin's code, they still wouldn't do it. Because Paladins do not believe that an action that is immoral can be justified by circumstances. A Paladin could lie to get the Don to go outside as well, but they shouldn't do that either. The code is not mutable, if it is you're not playing a Paladin, you're playing an (occasionally) principled fighter, which isn't at all the same thing.



But "how paladins work" isn't fun (for most people); it's what lead us here in the first place. I'm not saying that you excuse every action, I'm saying that in service to the greater good then pragmatism should at least be given some consideration. A Paladin can agonize over the long-term affects of an imperfect solution, or get a stern talking-to from his diety, but letting evil win just because you didn't want to get your hands dirty doesn't strike me as very paladin-ish either.


Paladins are NOT pragmatists. That isn't what they're about, I'm sorry, but you can't make a pragmatic Paladin (at least where morals are concerned) without making it NOT a Paladin. Again, you've got a principled fighter. Also I have to see a single scenario where refusal to violate the code leads to "evil winning" except for some that are contrived beyond measure. A Paladin can always choose a third option, that's what you need to be able to play a Pallie, the ability to find and reason through that third option.



Take violence, for example. I think it would be hard to argue that violence (combat) is ever inherently good; at best it's necessary to prevent a worse outcome. But unless you limit yourself to just fighting undead, outsiders, and the occasional dragon or aberration, fighting humanoids or other neutral creatures is GOING to come up at some point. If you're fighting bandits, maybe the "best" solution is to take 6 months to convert them to Pelor's faith, convince them to give up crime forever, and teach to be farmers (because people still gotta eat) but what about all the other evil going un-opposed while you do that? You don't need to summarily execute them, but there has to be a middle ground. Saying "Paladins never compromise" is how you get characters like Miko or Kore (http://www.goblinscomic.org/09172005/) (from Goblins!)- that is, bloodknights more obsessed with "honor" and "Good" (capital G) than actually being good (lowercase G) and helping people.


Paladins should not compromise, that doesn't necessarily wind-up with Miko or Kore, unless one not only refuses to compromise, but refuses to find other solutions. At least the do not compromise where their own morals are concerned. A paladin can show mercy to others, and doesn't hold others to his code, that wouldn't make sense. Now a Paladin should not spend a lot of time with those who violate their code, but that doesn't mean that a Paladin would be unable to be involved in a plan that is skirting his code (although he should be unhappy with it, and if he were deliberately skirting he should fall).



That's were we'll have to disagree- because IMO it's treading dangerously close lawful-stupid or stupid-good.

Hardly, you're claiming that it's evil to fail to do something. And that succeeding makes it more moral. That's saying that competency is good, and people who are incompetent are more evil. That's pretty lawful stupid from where I sit.



Which code though? That's why I think it's a good idea for the player and GM to talk about it ahead of time and work an individualized code or creed or set of taboos. Something like thieving is almost always wrong- I wont' even get into the "would you steal to feed a starving child"; I'd EXPECT paladins to look for a third path. But what is appropriate punishment for thievery? Execution? Dismemberment (chopping off a hand)? A special tattoo? 10 days in jail? 50 lashes?


Well why does the punishment matter for theft? The Paladin would probably follow whatever punishment their lord and the laws of the land require. The Paladin again doesn't hold others to their codes, that's not how it works.



Justice requires individualized judgement, and if a player wants to play a Paladin, I expect them to use their own judgement from time to time.


They should, but not where their code is concerned. If a situation comes up that is not directly dealt with they should use their judgement. But a scenario that requires them to violate their code is not such a scenario.



And how long do we wait, letting The Don run his criminal syndicate, roughing up people for protection money, smuggling weapons into the city, selling opium, etc, while we look for the perfect opportunity? Someone else earlier in the thread said that "playing a paladin is about making hard choices". But if you never compromise, you're not ever actually making a choice. You're not playing a Paladin then, you're playing a robot- input X and get output Y.


You find a third option. And refusing to compromise IS a choice, every time. The code isn't a set of computer instructions it's a set of rules. So poisoning the BBEG may be easier, but the Paladin has to find a third option. Because they do not do that, if they do, they're not a Paladin, they aren't a Paragon of their laws and code, they're just a fighter.



Fine, maybe we don't poison him to death. Suppose we find out that when our BBEG gets sick he likes to visit an old family doctor. So we just poison him enough to make him ill, which will bring him to us in a place that we've prepared to keep the civilians from harm, but also doesn't mean we sit around twiddling our thumbs while evil perpetrates throughout the city. The Paladin might not be happy, but then again the Wizard wasn't happy that we didn't just let him Nova an entire city block with a couple dozen assorted deaths being "acceptable losses". Compromise moves the game forward without requiring anyone to carry the idiot-ball.

Wait we're on something different now. I said The Paladin wouldn't poison the BBEG, I didn't say that he might not participate in a plan where that happens. The Paladin's companions are not bound to his code. And while the Paladin might object to the plan (and he should), he might understand that there is not a direct alternative. Just because he is unwilling to compromise where his own morals are concerned, doesn't mean he would hold others to his code, how did you get that from what I was arguing?


It's about the way people actually play Paladins though. Even if it wasn't intended by the creators (though I find that doubtful) the way the material was presented seems to make most people think they HAVE to play a particular way. And as other's have mentioned, some DMs like to be super-harsh about it.
Yes when I'm making the adventure, I try to find ways so that everyone gets a chance to shine, their moment in the spotlight, etc. The problem is that to many people seem to think that playing a paladin means stopping other people from doing what they do best.

Plus, in my games at least, a lot of those social parameters you mentioned seem to bleed over into combat, or eventually lead to combat one way or another. Sure if all you're doing is raiding a dungeon, killing monsters, and taking their loot, it's less likely to come up. But in any kind of expansive or complicated campaign, things rarely seem to cut-and-dried.

Certainly, which is what we're discussing, how to play a Paladin without needing to violate their code. I've never seen a no-win scenario that was not badly implemented or poorly written. Taking the third option is the way that a Paladin deals with the sort of situation you envision.



I think it would be difficult for the RAW paladin (at least in 3.5) to be a skillmonkey, but aside from that, that was kind of my point. Since it's a hybrid-class anyway, it could be a good opportunity for either the entire party to be more focused or for other players to play less-specialized heroes.

But we're not discussing exclusively the 3.5 Paladin. We're discussing the concept in general, which applies to a lot more games.



So what I'm hearing is, to major in Paladin at AU (Adventurer's University) you have to take philosophy classes? :smallbiggrin:

When I design the world, Paladins are RARE. There aren't "orders of paladins" for people to consult with- maybe that's why I place more emphasis on personal judgement instead of overarching rules and regulation.

They would have religious orders they could consult, and philosophers. And yes, a Paladin should do that. Paladins are Lawful. They should place more emphasis on rules and regulations over their personal judgement. Judgement can be flawed, the laws cannot (or so a Paladin would say). Yes, you should think about your Paladin's philosophy, because that's the core of who they are. The same way you should think about your other characters' motivations and reasoning.

Honest Tiefling
2016-05-25, 12:21 PM
There are Magical Poisons that Paladins are allowed to use (again in 3.5, in the BoED), they just aren't called poisons. Also it's not a matter of the Paladin not using poisons because he doesn't believe in harming, but because once one poison is allowed, then maybe another one would be. Then you start allowing poisons that do allow for people to suffer in the interest of expedience. The Paladin holds to his principles because that is the core of his being. Once you start eroding your principles, it becomes easier and easier to erode them. For that reason a Paladin should not (and would not) violate their code, even if it seemed more expedient.

So...It's okay to use poisons by any other name, but you can't use poisons called poisons because paladins apparently will go all giggling maniac with them? Most people who have used poisons in non-serial killer positions (Doctors and hunters come to mind) are pretty good about not dosing up random people with them. And this argument would actually apply just as well, if not more so, to a sword. See, a sword is a status item, and great for intimidation. It would be so easy to simply solve all of your problems with violence or the threat of harm. The sword is always there and always available, and most peasants don't even have weapons.

Not to mention that the paladin is essentially letting people suffer because they lack self control issues when it comes to little vials. I'm of the opinion that poison being evil makes as much sense as whacking people with maces being more 'humane'.

Through...Why would a paladin hold to unrealistic ideals more then be practical? What is the point of a shining knight in armor if interacting with the real world sullies them and forces them into greyer and greyer morality?

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-25, 12:24 PM
So if Paladin has a choice between pocketing the key piece of a doomsday ritual when the BBEG won't notice, or letting an entire city fry to death... does the Paladin say "I can't steal that thing and lie about it, that would be wrong", and then watch 40000 people die in agony with "a clean conscience"?

After all, he "didn't violate his principles".

AMFV
2016-05-25, 12:28 PM
So...It's okay to use poisons by any other name, but you can't use poisons called poisons because paladins apparently will go all giggling maniac with them? Most people who have used poisons in non-serial killer positions (Doctors and hunters come to mind) are pretty good about not dosing up random people with them. And this argument would actually apply just as well, if not more so, to a sword. See, a sword is a status item, and great for intimidation. It would be so easy to simply solve all of your problems with violence or the threat of harm. The sword is always there and always available, and most peasants don't even have weapons.


Hunters don't use poisons on people, and almost none of them use poisons on animals. Doctors don't really use "poisons" they use medication, the purpose and intent is completely different. Also Paladins aren't forbidden from using swords, only poisons, one is cruel, one is not. Also the poisons by any other name are explicitly good and created by the force of goodness.



Not to mention that the paladin is essentially letting people suffer because they lack self control issues when it comes to little vials. I'm of the opinion that poison being evil makes as much sense as whacking people with maces being more 'humane'.


Again, WE (in the real world) ban the use of poisons in combat, we don't ban the use of many other weapons. So there's definitely a real world precedent for it, now whether or not you think it makes sense, that may or may not be true. But a Paladin doesn't get to outwit or outfox their code of conduct. They obey it, because it's set down by people higher than them.

Also, in said scenario, the Paladin finds a third option, it's not that they don't have self-control. The possession of self-control is why they don't take an easy way out.



Through...Why would a paladin hold to unrealistic ideals more then be practical? What is the point of a shining knight in armor if interacting with the real world sullies them and forces them into greyer and greyer morality?

Ummm, they don't get sullied by "interacting with the 'real world'", they get sullied by violating their principles.


So if Paladin has a choice between pocketing the key piece of a doomsday ritual when the BBEG won't notice, or letting an entire city fry to death... does the Paladin say "I can't steal that thing and lie about it, that would be wrong", and then watch 40000 people die in agony with "a clean conscience"?

He takes a third option. There is no scenario where you are forced into only two options. Why can't the Paladin simply take the key by force? Why can't the Paladin stop the BBEG from using the key? Why can't he reason with the BBEG? Why can't he evacuate the city?

Also, the code doesn't prohibit stealing but if it did, the Paladin would go to whatever lengths possible to avoid doing that. And if the Paladin was unsuccessful I doubt their conscience would be clean. Following your principles is hardly easy.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-25, 12:35 PM
He takes a third option. There is no scenario where you are forced into only two options. Why can't the Paladin simply take the key by force? Why can't the Paladin stop the BBEG from using the key? Why can't he reason with the BBEG? Why can't he evacuate the city?

Also, the code doesn't prohibit stealing but if it did, the Paladin would go to whatever lengths possible to avoid doing that. And if the Paladin was unsuccessful I doubt their conscience would be clean. Following your principles is hardly easy.


And if the third option is also either a violation of his "the code", or allowing a terrible thing to happen?

"There's always another option" sounds great in fiction, where the writer can always contrive a way that keeps everyone's hands clean.

Meanwhile, sometimes, real people and characters in RPGs end up having to take the least bad option.

AMFV
2016-05-25, 12:41 PM
And if the third option is also either a violation of his "the code", or allowing a terrible thing to happen?

"There's always another option" sounds great in fiction, where the writer can always contrive a way that keeps everyone's hands clean.

Meanwhile, sometimes, real people and characters in RPGs end up having to take the least bad option.

I came up with several options that didn't violate the code in your scenario, without knowing any specifics. There's never only one third option, there's always many. And certainly a Paladin might fall for saving the city, but he should still fall for violating his code. After all, atonement isn't horribly difficult, and that's part of being a Paladin, if you choose to fall, you have to atone for it, it doesn't matter what the reasons are, the whys don't matter, breaking the code is breaking the code.

I do not believe that there is any scenario where you could not come up with at least one option that did not violate the code, again in yours (using a version of the code that prohibited theft), I came up with half a dozen, and that was without any thought on it, literally that was off-the-cuff. If I were a Paladin, who had a code that prohibited theft, I can guarantee I'd have given it thought beforehand.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-25, 01:31 PM
I came up with several options that didn't violate the code in your scenario, without knowing any specifics. There's never only one third option, there's always many. And certainly a Paladin might fall for saving the city, but he should still fall for violating his code. After all, atonement isn't horribly difficult, and that's part of being a Paladin, if you choose to fall, you have to atone for it, it doesn't matter what the reasons are, the whys don't matter, breaking the code is breaking the code.

I do not believe that there is any scenario where you could not come up with at least one option that did not violate the code, again in yours (using a version of the code that prohibited theft), I came up with half a dozen, and that was without any thought on it, literally that was off-the-cuff. If I were a Paladin, who had a code that prohibited theft, I can guarantee I'd have given it thought beforehand.

Doesn't violate "the code", and doesn't have a terrible outcome?

Sometimes, in real life, you ONLY have the choice of "this bad thing, or that bad thing, or another even worse thing, or... " Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something. Lie to someone, or break their heart. Drop a bomb, or launch an invasion, or starve the enemy for 30 years. Risk letting guilty people go free, or risk putting innocent people in prison.

Sometimes, in fiction, you can shoot the supervillain, or let him get away and kill several dozen people.

Sometimes, in a game, you can be lawful, or be good, and that's it, no other choices.

Deepbluediver
2016-05-25, 01:37 PM
It's a matter of principles. For example, stealing a key you need to free a prisoner is easier, but if that's against a Paladin's code, they still wouldn't do it. Because Paladins do not believe that an action that is immoral can be justified by circumstances. A Paladin could lie to get the Don to go outside as well, but they shouldn't do that either. The code is not mutable, if it is you're not playing a Paladin, you're playing an (occasionally) principled fighter, which isn't at all the same thing.
And IMO if you let people suffer when you have the power to stop it, simply because doing so violates your code, you're not playing a paladin either- you're playing a zealot, or maybe just an asshat*.

*I'm not trying to insult AMFV here, I'm making a distinction between players and player-characters. I've known plenty of very friendly people who are capable of playing extremely frustrating characters in-game, either intentionally or not.


Paladins are NOT pragmatists. That isn't what they're about, I'm sorry, but you can't make a pragmatic Paladin (at least where morals are concerned) without making it NOT a Paladin. Again, you've got a principled fighter. Also I have to see a single scenario where refusal to violate the code leads to "evil winning" except for some that are contrived beyond measure. A Paladin can always choose a third option, that's what you need to be able to play a Pallie, the ability to find and reason through that third option.
I didn't say paladins are pragmatists, I said they are allowed to take pragmatism into consideration as a PART of making a decision. Taking the oath doesn't immediately make a paladin forget everything they learned about the world and survival in general.

I believe that you can play as both a pragmatist and an idealist.


Hardly, you're claiming that it's evil to fail to do something. And that succeeding makes it more moral. That's saying that competency is good, and people who are incompetent are more evil. That's pretty lawful stupid from where I sit.
The key is that it's never so cut and dried- that's why I said intent, action, and outcome all figure into it, and if you're good at what you do, then the gods are willing be (on occasion) be somewhat more lenient.
So yes, I guess I am saying that being competent is being good (sometimes), but I don't see what's wrong with that? Why wouldn't the gods like and favor people who are strong, smart, brave, etc? You can be fantastically competent and still be horrifically evil.

Flirting with the line between good and evil is dangerous, which is why a paladin seeks to avoid it by a wide margin as much possible. But I'm not going to reward dogmatism while punishing pragmatism if I want my players to have fun- at least not for a paladin who claims to be both lawful AND good.


Well why does the punishment matter for theft? The Paladin would probably follow whatever punishment their lord and the laws of the land require. The Paladin again doesn't hold others to their codes, that's not how it works.
What if the law of the land is unjustly harsh? For that matter, why does your version of the paladin care about the law of the land anyway- don't they answer to a higher power?


And refusing to compromise IS a choice, every time. The code isn't a set of computer instructions it's a set of rules. So poisoning the BBEG may be easier, but the Paladin has to find a third option. Because they do not do that, if they do, they're not a Paladin, they aren't a Paragon of their laws and code, they're just a fighter.
...
Wait we're on something different now. I said The Paladin wouldn't poison the BBEG, I didn't say that he might not participate in a plan where that happens. The Paladin's companions are not bound to his code. And while the Paladin might object to the plan (and he should), he might understand that there is not a direct alternative. Just because he is unwilling to compromise where his own morals are concerned, doesn't mean he would hold others to his code, how did you get that from what I was arguing?
It seems to me like you're arguing semantics- the paladin can't bend his code even once, but he's just fine with standing by while someone else takes actions that would violate it? That's the letter of the law, but not the spirit.

Why does your paladin even have a code if he's not trying to set a good example for others- is it just for gits and shiggles? I'm honestly confused here how your paladin can be all about a code and hierarchy and obedience, and then just shrug off (with maybe a "we can't be friends anymore") everyone else's behavior.


Certainly, which is what we're discussing, how to play a Paladin without needing to violate their code. I've never seen a no-win scenario that was not badly implemented or poorly written. Taking the third option is the way that a Paladin deals with the sort of situation you envision.
We're not discussing that, actually, we're discussing how to make a FUN paladin.
And if you've never seen bad campaigns then you haven't played enough D&D- my point is that you give the paladin enough flexibility to deal with bad situations, whether it's one in-game or because of the meta-game. People blindly obeying rules is dangerous, and I have trouble picturing a code where this won't lead to trouble eventually.


But we're not discussing exclusively the 3.5 Paladin. We're discussing the concept in general, which applies to a lot more games.
If that's true, then there are other interpretations of the Paladin as well, although even 3.5 allowed for Paladins of different alignments with certain splatbooks.


Paladins are Lawful. They should place more emphasis on rules and regulations over their personal judgement.
...
But a Paladin doesn't get to outwit or outfox their code of conduct. They obey it, because it's set down by people higher than them.
To me that doesn't sound like you want a Paladin, it sounds like you're playing a Knight or Samurai, who obeys any and all orders from above without question. A paladin is lawful, yes, but a paladin is also good. You have to make the two work together. If a Fighter can be good without being lawful, then a Fighter can also be lawful without being good- there's nothing exclusive about law to the paladin.

The way I write the lore, paladins are granted powers because the gods CAN'T be everywhere and know everything, and it's the paladin's job to mesh the will of immortal beings with the actions of mortal creatures. You take a dash of divine power and determination, mix it with the adaptability and spirit of a human(oid), and you end up with a tasty paladin-cake that's more than the sum of it's parts. From your description of a Paladin it sounds like you want to strip out all the individuality and personal choice that makes RPGs so interesting to play.

AMFV
2016-05-25, 01:42 PM
Doesn't violate "the code", and doesn't have a terrible outcome?

Sometimes, in real life, you ONLY have the choice of "this bad thing, or that bad thing, or another even worse thing, or... " Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something. Lie to someone, or break their heart. Drop a bomb, or launch an invasion, or starve the enemy for 30 years. Risk letting guilty people go free, or risk putting innocent people in prison.


Those are only true when you grossly oversimplify all the factors involved. Furthermore:

Break somebody's heart. That's the Paladin option, taking the best option that's the least cruel and the most honest. Just because it isn't touchy-feely doesn't make it bad. No violations of the code, or even Evil actions.

The Paladin would likely drop a bomb or launch an invasion, in that scenario. I would argue that starvation would be out for the same reasons as poisons are. But no violations of code here.

So our Paladin is a litigator? That sounds slightly of their typical purview. And that's a gross oversimplification. The Paladin would likely try to determine whether more innocent people would wind up in prison, and what the guilty who were potentially going free were guilty of. A good Paladin would try to examine each case differently, weighing all the factors. As do people in the real world scenario you're referencing here. Even in reality it's not that simple.



Sometimes, in fiction, you can shoot the supervillain, or let him get away and kill several dozen people.


Why would shooting the supervillain be wrong? It's certainly not a violation of the Paladin's code... And supposing that it is, or that there is no justification for lethal force. That would require that we didn't know he was going to kill several dozen people since killing a villain in defense of others is generally considered to be moral.

Furthermore there is likely still even a third option.



Sometimes, in a game, you can be lawful, or be good, and that's it, no other choices.

You NEVER have only two choices in real life. That's why the proposition that there are only two alternatives to any given course of action is a fallacy. Again, present me with a real scenario where there's only two possible choices and I will demonstrate that. There is always a third option.

Edit:


And IMO if you let people suffer when you have the power to stop it, simply because doing so violates your code, you're not playing a paladin either- you're playing a zealot, or maybe just an asshat*.

*I'm not trying to insult AMFV here, I'm making a distinction between players and player-characters. I've known plenty of very friendly people who are capable of playing extremely frustrating characters in-game, either intentionally or not.

I didn't say that the Paladin couldn't intercede, only that I cannot conceive of any scenario where the only options are poison, or large-scale suffering. That seems far too arbitrary and far too simplistic. If a Paladin is looking at the world like that, then there's an issue.



I didn't say paladins are pragmatists, I said they are allowed to take pragmatism into consideration as a PART of making a decision. Taking the oath doesn't immediately make a paladin forget everything they learned about the world and survival in general.

But they should place their oath at a greater import than their own survival. Period. That's part of what makes them Paladins. That's really the fundamental truth of it.



I believe that you can play as both a pragmatist and an idealist.

You certainly can. But not as a Paladin, again, that's a principled fighter, or a cleric. Which is a fine character. But a Paladin is inherently not able to be pragmatic about some things. If they violate their code they fall. Pragmatism aside, that's a fundamental truth of Paladinhood.



The key is that it's never so cut and dried- that's why I said intent, action, and outcome all figure into it, and if you're good at what you do, then the gods are willing be (on occasion) be somewhat more lenient.
So yes, I guess I am saying that being competent is being good (sometimes), but I don't see what's wrong with that? Why wouldn't the gods like and favor people who are strong, smart, brave, etc? You can be fantastically competent and still be horrifically evil.


The Gods might favor them, but it has no bearing on their morality. You can try to be good and fail continuously and remain as morally upright as somebody who succeeded. That is something I would argue very strongly for.


1
Flirting with the line between good and evil is dangerous, which is why a paladin seeks to avoid it by a wide margin as much possible. But I'm not going to reward dogmatism while punishing pragmatism if I want my players to have fun- at least not for a paladin who claims to be both lawful AND good.

A Paladin should be dogmatic, that's what being lawful is about. There are few scant cases where you only have two alternatives (I would argue none), and the Paladin should not have to compromise their ideals and their code. That is what makes them the sort of characters they are.



What if the law of the land is unjustly harsh? For that matter, why does your version of the paladin care about the law of the land anyway- don't they answer to a higher power?


Well in this case, I was supposing that our Paladin was passing judgement on somebody in the land, with the law of the land. If they are passing judgement from a separate authority, they would follow the laws of their order, or the regulations of the authority that allows them to pass said judgement. If the laws of the land are unjustly harsh, they would probably attempt to either mollify them if possible, to pass judgement through their own authority (if appropriate), or to follow the guidelines of their deity or their order.



It seems to me like you're arguing semantics- the paladin can't violate his code even once, but he's just fine with standing by while someone else takes actions that would violate it? That's the letter of the law, but not the spirit.

I didn't say that he stands by while somebody else violates it. I said that he might not attempt to stop somebody from violating it. After all violating the code is not evil. And other characters aren't bound by it. The Paladin is NOT responsible for the actions of others unless they are under his direct command.




Why does your paladin even have a code if he's not trying to set a good example for others- is it just for gits and shiggles? I'm honestly confused here how your paladin can be all about a code and hierarchy and obedience, and then just shrug off (with maybe a "we can't be friends anymore") everyone else's behavior.

His code is for him, not for him setting an example. The same way as my religious beliefs are mine and mine alone. Setting a good example is a bonus, but it's not the reason for the code. It's not got anything to do with the why's of it.



We're not discussing that, actually, we're discussing how to make a FUN paladin.
And if you've never seen bad campaigns then you haven't played enough D&D- my point is that you give the paladin enough flexibility to deal with bad situations, whether it's one in-game or because of the meta-game. People blindly obeying rules is dangerous, and I have trouble picturing a code where this won't lead to trouble eventually.


That's a problem of your inherent philosophy. Paladins don't blindly obey the rules. They follow them always, but in a manner that is as intelligent and wise as possible.



If that's true, then there are other interpretations of the Paladin as well, although even 3.5 allowed for Paladins of different alignments with certain splatbooks.


To me that doesn't sound like you want a Paladin, it sounds like you're playing a Knight or Samurai, who obeys any and all orders from above without question. A paladin is lawful, yes, but a paladin is also good. You have to make the two work together. If a Fighter can be good without being lawful, then a Fighter can also be lawful without being good- there's nothing exclusive about law to the paladin.


Certainly true, but a Paladin has to be lawful. They cannot simply ignore their code, or even violate it for great cause without falling. And there's nothing wrong with falling and atoning for the right reasons in-character.



The way I write the lore, paladins are granted powers because the gods CAN'T be everywhere and know everything, and it's the paladin's job to mesh the will of immortal beings with the actions of mortal creatures. You take a dash of divine power and determination, mix it with the adaptability and spirit of a human(oid), and you end up with a tasty paladin-cake that's more than the sum of it's parts. From your description of a Paladin it sounds like you want to strip out all the individuality and personal choice that makes RPGs so interesting to play.

I think that you're having difficulty seeing outside your own playstyle on this one. You're envisioning something closer to a cleric or a Paladin of freedom. A Paladin is bound by the laws, but it's not that he follows the laws that matters, but how. And that is room enough to have an individual character. After all look at how many arguments over the exact nature of any laws there are in human religions, particularly those that do not excuse violating the laws ever.

A Paladin may not always succeed in following the laws, but he must always try.

Deepbluediver
2016-05-25, 01:47 PM
You NEVER have only two choices in real life. That's why the proposition that there are only two alternatives to any given course of action is a fallacy. Again, present me with a real scenario where there's only two possible choices and I will demonstrate that. There is always a third option.
First of all, keep in mind that we're talking about a game here- the entire world is devised and crafted by the GM (with occasional help from the players).

But now it sounds to me like you're making competency be good- just like you complained about me doing before. Suppose there is a third option, but the player can't think of it in time. Do we punish the character because their player wasn't smart enough or didn't follow the same train of thought that you did?

AMFV
2016-05-25, 01:56 PM
First of all, keep in mind that we're talking about a game here- the entire world is devised and crafted by the GM (with occasional help from the players).

But now it sounds to me like you're making competency be good- just like you complained about me doing before. Suppose there is a third option, but the player can't think of it in time. Do we punish the character because their player wasn't smart enough or didn't follow the same train of thought that you did?

This isn't a question of competency, it's a question of violating an oath. Different thing entirely. I don't think there's anything wrong with falling. That's the first thing you have to realize if you're going to play a Paladin, maybe the time will come when you fail to uphold your oath, when you fall. Then you go and atone, it's not complicated or expensive. You bring yourself back to the light. I suspect that violating the oath would be more emotionally wracking than anything else.

Edit: Also I edited my previous post with a response to your previous one, but it was lengthy so I didn't get it done before you posted this.

OldTrees1
2016-05-25, 02:02 PM
And IMO if you let people suffer when you have the power to stop it, simply because doing so violates your code, you're not playing a paladin either- you're playing a zealot, or maybe just an asshat*.

*I'm not trying to insult AMFV here, I'm making a distinction between players and player-characters. I've known plenty of very friendly people who are capable of playing extremely frustrating characters in-game, either intentionally or not.

Humans do not agree on what is and is not moral and even if they did, our opinions on the matter are based on our flawed intuitions rather than being reflective of the answer. As such you will encounter these bitter disagreements like between yourself and AMFV. Both of you are playing paladins, you are merely interpreting things through mutually incompatible moral theories.

And that is perfectly acceptable.

AMFV
2016-05-25, 02:07 PM
Humans do not agree on what is and is not moral and even if they did our opinions on the matter are based on our flawed intuitions rather than being reflective of the answer. As such you will encounter these bitter disagreements like between yourself and AMFV. Both of you are playing paladins, you are merely interpreting things through mutually incompatible moral theories.

My issue and claim is that Paladins, being lawful, are not based around a moral theory that could accept pragmatism or doing a little evil for a big good. And the BoED and other sources back me on this, at least on this being creator's intent. I think that the fun aspect of a Paladin is in how one implements the code, a Paladin is their code, that's the essence of what they are, and I think that's something that's necessary to have a really fun Paladin.

It's also worth noting that Paladins have the ability to sense evil, and commune directly with their deities, as well as a few other options. So they aren't nearly as hampered as the average person is in terms of solving moral dilemma.

Edit: I would agree that it's acceptable, certainly in real life it is.

Honest Tiefling
2016-05-25, 02:12 PM
It's also worth noting that Paladins have the ability to sense evil, and commune directly with their deities, as well as a few other options. So they aren't nearly as hampered as the average person is in terms of solving moral dilemma.

Which edition did they get this power from? And as pointed out, many people believe that paladins do not require, or might prefer not to be in the service of a god or gods. So...Who do they communicate with in that case? Or do they just chat with any friendly LG god willing to pick up the divine phone and have a friendly little chat anyway?

AMFV
2016-05-25, 02:16 PM
Which edition did they get this power from? And as pointed out, many people believe that paladins do not require, or might prefer not to be in the service of a god or gods. So...Who do they communicate with in that case? Or do they just chat with any friendly LG god willing to pick up the divine phone and have a friendly little chat anyway?

Certainly, or they send a message to their order. Even barring access to Commune, there's lots of options they have. if they don't have a religious order they can consult with other religious orders and religious leaders. I would argue that most Paladins should have some kind of order, or at least some kind of relationship to other Paladins.

To be fair, even if that option is absent, that only puts them at slightly better than us in terms of their ability to figure out moral dilemma (since they can sense evil, and have a firm code that outlines their good and bad aspects). So worst case is that they're only a little better than we are.

Deepbluediver
2016-05-25, 02:32 PM
That seems far too arbitrary and far too simplistic. If a Paladin is looking at the world like that, then there's an issue.
We're talking about a game-world here, things can and do boil down to simplistic choices.


But they should place their oath at a greater import than their own survival. Period. That's part of what makes them Paladins. That's really the fundamental truth of it.
That doesn't make sense to me- either from an in-game character perspective (why did the diety go through all the trouble of granting you power if you're just going to waste it) or from a player-fun perspective (no one likes to die).


You certainly can. But not as a Paladin, again, that's a principled fighter, or a cleric. Which is a fine character. But a Paladin is inherently not able to be pragmatic about some things. If they violate their code they fall. Pragmatism aside, that's a fundamental truth of Paladinhood.
Only according to the rules of 3.5 AFAIK, and maybe some later editions. There are other interpretations of a paladin, ones that favor good above law.


The Gods might favor them, but it has no bearing on their morality. You can try to be good and fail continuously and remain as morally upright as somebody who succeeded. That is something I would argue very strongly for.
But if you fail continuously why should the gods reward you with a portion of their power? Being morally upright is by itself not enough to become a paladin, at least not in my book. And there are plenty of good and lawful people in the game world that aren't paladins either.

If the gods are going to invest their time and energy in you, then you need to prove (or have proven) that you're worth it.


A Paladin should be dogmatic, that's what being lawful is about. There are few scant cases where you only have two alternatives (I would argue none), and the Paladin should not have to compromise their ideals and their code. That is what makes them the sort of characters they are.
I feel like you're missing the key aspect of also being good- a Paladin can't be one without the other. Yes, being disciplined and having a set of values is key, but those values can include things like alleviating suffering, and sometimes when your values clash you need to make a choice about which is more important.


I didn't say that he stands by while somebody else violates it. I said that he might not attempt to stop somebody from violating it.
I don't get the difference.


The Paladin is NOT responsible for the actions of others unless they are under his direct command. Then why can't they associate with whomever they choose?
One of the ways I contrast Order and Chaos is that chaotic people are very self-centered; not in that they are greedy but that they are almost solely interested in themselves and what they want and how they behave. A lawful person is very much interested in everyone else around them, because the whole point of a system of laws is to govern and guide lots of people.


His code is for him, not for him setting an example. The same way as my religious beliefs are mine and mine alone. Setting a good example is a bonus, but it's not the reason for the code. It's not got anything to do with the why's of it.
You were the one who pointed out that a character is supposed to explore their motivations, so yes the "WHY" is very important. Why do I have this code? Why do I follow it? Is the issue about poison or about suffering, and what's more important? If the your paladin is only following a code because they choose to, why can't my paladin choose differently?
Or if the paladin is only following it for the sake of power, that sounds much more like a "Deal with the devil" type of scenario.


That's a problem of your inherent philosophy. Paladins don't blindly obey the rules. They follow them always, but in a manner that is as intelligent and wise as possible.
Again, sounds like you're arguing semantics.


Certainly true, but a Paladin has to be lawful. They cannot simply ignore their code, or even violate it for great cause without falling. And there's nothing wrong with falling and atoning for the right reasons in-character.
And a paladin has to be good. You seem fixated on the "lawful" part to the exclusion of all else. Falling means you have failed, in some way. If it was because of a bad class, or a bad scenario, or an overly rigid GM, it's still failing. In general, people don't like to fail, so I want to fix as many of these things as possible.
Plus, you're assuming that your GM will even let you atone. Not every single Paladin has to follow the exact same character arc.


I think that you're having difficulty seeing outside your own playstyle on this one.
Ditto to you.


You're envisioning something closer to a cleric or a Paladin of freedom. A Paladin is bound by the laws, but it's not that he follows the laws that matters, but how. And that is room enough to have an individual character. After all look at how many arguments over the exact nature of any laws there are in human religions, particularly those that do not excuse violating the laws ever.
I don't play D&D to sit around and argue over in-game laws for 3 hours; I will remind you this thread is about how to have fun, not the "proper" way to play one single type of paladin.

Plus, I would expect a cleric bound to particular deity to be much more finicky about rules (which that deity mandates) than a paladin who is championing a cause- isn't the cause of righteousness and justice the most important thing of all?


This isn't a question of competency, it's a question of violating an oath. Different thing entirely. I don't think there's anything wrong with falling. That's the first thing you have to realize if you're going to play a Paladin, maybe the time will come when you fail to uphold your oath, when you fall. Then you go and atone, it's not complicated or expensive. You bring yourself back to the light. I suspect that violating the oath would be more emotionally wracking than anything else.
Why do you keep saying atonement is easy*? What's the point of it then? If I can violate my oath, say 10 hail-mary's, and be back up to full strength by morning, what is the point of even having a code?

This blase "**** happens then we fix it" attitude seems completely at odds with the rigid, dogmatic, code-bound character class you were describing earlier. I don't WANT paladins to fall, I certainly don't want EVERY paladin to fall, and saying "everyone messes up eventually" seems like the kind of bad, overly simplistic scenario you were criticizing earlier. I'd rather have a system that just allowed for a smidgen more flexibility in the first place.


*the Israelites had to spend 40 years wandering in the desert


Edit:

Certainly, or they send a message to their order. Even barring access to Commune, there's lots of options they have. if they don't have a religious order they can consult with other religious orders and religious leaders. I would argue that most Paladins should have some kind of order, or at least some kind of relationship to other Paladins.

To be fair, even if that option is absent, that only puts them at slightly better than us in terms of their ability to figure out moral dilemma (since they can sense evil, and have a firm code that outlines their good and bad aspects). So worst case is that they're only a little better than we are.
In the middle of a fight, there's not always time to stop and send a message to someone else asking for advice, or even to pause and debate things internally- you have to be able to make decisions on the fly.
In terms of fun, I prefer a system that allows for paladins that are people (and players that are people) and whom occasionally make mistakes without having to suffer the ultimate punishment for it.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-25, 02:35 PM
My issue and claim is that Paladins, being lawful, are not based around a moral theory that could accept pragmatism or doing a little evil for a big good. And the BoED and other sources back me on this, at least on this being creator's intent. I think that the fun aspect of a Paladin is in how one implements the code, a Paladin is their code, that's the essence of what they are, and I think that's something that's necessary to have a really fun Paladin.

It's also worth noting that Paladins have the ability to sense evil, and commune directly with their deities, as well as a few other options. So they aren't nearly as hampered as the average person is in terms of solving moral dilemma.

Edit: I would agree that it's acceptable, certainly in real life it is.


And when the only way to stop a big evil is with a little evil? This isn't about pragmatism, it's about whether your particular understanding of paladins has them being a force for good, or legalistic buttmonkeys who care more about "the code" than about people.


"There's always another way" is nothing but a platitude.

AMFV
2016-05-25, 02:44 PM
We're talking about a game-world here, things can and do boil down to simplistic choices.

A game world where the player is able to act in a fairly unlimited fashion. So no, things don't boil down to simplistic choices any more than life.



That doesn't make sense to me- either from an in-game character perspective (why did the diety go through all the trouble of granting you power if you're just going to waste it) or from a player-fun perspective (no one likes to die).


Maybe so that you could heroically sacrifice yourself at the appropriate moment. And most players are alright with death if it's a noble sacrifice. In which case the whole thing works much better.



Only according to the rules of 3.5 AFAIK, and maybe some later editions. There are other interpretations of a paladin, ones that favor good above law.


No, what you're doing is favoring Good and not law at all. A Paladin needs to give weight to both. Probably in equal measure.



But if you fail continuously why should the gods reward you with a portion of their power? Being morally upright is by itself not enough to become a paladin, at least not in my book. And there are plenty of good and lawful people in the game world that aren't paladins either.


Putting success ahead of your values isn't Good though, and Paladins are good. There are many lawful good people who aren't Paladins, yes. Paladins are held to a much higher standard than they are though.



If the gods are going to invest their time and energy in you, then you need to prove (or have proven) that you're worth it.

That depends on the motivations of said Gods. Which could be quite varied.



I feel like you're missing the key aspect of also being good- a Paladin can't be one without the other. Yes, being disciplined and having a set of values is key, but those values can include things like alleviating suffering, and sometimes when your values clash you need to make a choice about which is more important.

SO PRESENT ME WITH AN EXAMPLE WHERE I HAVE TO VIOLATE MY CODE... Sorry about the all caps but I've asked for this in literally every post in the past few posts. If you can provide me with any example where there is no third option, where you are stuck picking between them, I'll concede the point. But I think it's pretty unlikely that this is the case.



I don't get the difference.

Then why can't they associate with whomever they choose?
One of the ways I contrast Order and Chaos is that chaotic people are very self-centered; not in that they are greedy but that they are almost solely interested in themselves and what they want and how they behave. A lawful person is very much interested in everyone else around them, because the whole point of a system of laws is to govern and guide lots of people.

That's certainly not a game term, or even related to any of the game definitions. Law is about following a consistent moral code.



You were the one who pointed out that a character is supposed to explore their motivations, so yes the "WHY" is very important. Why do I have this code? Why do I follow it? Is the issue about poison or about suffering, and what's more important? If the your paladin is only following a code because they choose to, why can't my paladin choose differently?
Or if the paladin is only following it for the sake of power, that sounds much more like a "Deal with the devil" type of scenario.


Paladins aren't only following a code because they chose to, their code suffuses their entire being. It is who they are.



Again, sounds like you're arguing semantics.


And a paladin has to be good. You seem fixated on the "lawful" part to the exclusion of all else. Falling means you have failed, in some way. If it was because of a bad class, or a bad scenario, or an overly rigid GM, it's still failing. In general, people don't like to fail.
Plus, you're assuming that your GM will even let you atone. Not every single Paladin has to follow the exact same character arc.


The rules let me atone, if my DM has a problem with that, then I might consider a different table. Falling does mean that you failed, but sometimes failure happens.

Again, provide me with an example ONE fricking example, just one where a Paladin has to fall because he can only choose between his code and good. Any one example that I can't think of a third option, and I'll eat my hat. But I'm not going to have to eat my hat, because that example doesn't exist.




I don't play D&D to sit around and argue over in-game laws for 3 hours; I will remind you this thread is about how to have fun, not the "proper" way to play one single type of paladin.

Well, I love Paladins, and if I remove what they are, then I'm not playing a fun Paladin, I'm playing an ethical fighter.



Plus, I would expect a cleric bound to particular deity to be much more finicky about rules (which that deity mandates) than a paladin who is championing a cause- isn't the cause of righteousness and justice the most important thing of all?

A chaotic cleric wouldn't be. Nor a neutral one. A lawful cleric might be, but that would depend on his God. He wouldn't necessarily have the same rules as a Paladin though. Again provide me with an example where I would have to sacrifice rightness and justice to follow my code, I've got my hat ready here.



Why do you keep saying atonement is easy*? What's the point of it then? If I can violate my oath, say 10 hail-mary's, and be back up to full strength by morning, what is the point of even having a code?

Catholics have confession, and it is as you describe, and they still have moral laws. Paladins aren't supposed to fall, they try not to, but sometimes if it happens, they have an out. It isn't necessarily easy for the character, but it is easy for the Player. Which was my point.



This blase "**** happens then we fix it" attitude seems completely at odds with the rigid, dogmatic, code-bound character class you were describing earlier. I don't WANT paladins to fall, I certainly don't want EVERY paladin to fall, and saying "everyone messes up eventually" seems like the kind of bad, overly simplistic scenario you were criticizing earlier. I'd rather have a system that just allowed for a smidgen more flexibility in the first place.

*the Israelites had to spend 40 years wandering in the desert

Every Paladin doesn't fall. But falling once doesn't make you a bad Paladin, or not a Paladin, it means that you're a Paladin who screwed up. Obviously not screwing up is the worthier option.


And when the only way to stop a big evil is with a little evil? This isn't about pragmatism, it's about whether your particular understanding of paladins has them being a force for good, or legalistic buttmonkeys who care more about "the code" than about people.


"There's always another way" is nothing but a platitude.

THEN PROVE IT... provide me with an example. One example. Just one. And I'll concede, otherwise I'll have to assume that you are the one who is mistaken here. I have yet to see a Paladin provided with an example where they had to be evil.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-25, 02:45 PM
Those are only true when you grossly oversimplify all the factors involved. Furthermore:

Break somebody's heart. That's the Paladin option, taking the best option that's the least cruel and the most honest. Just because it isn't touchy-feely doesn't make it bad. No violations of the code, or even Evil actions.

The Paladin would likely drop a bomb or launch an invasion, in that scenario. I would argue that starvation would be out for the same reasons as poisons are. But no violations of code here.

So our Paladin is a litigator? That sounds slightly of their typical purview. And that's a gross oversimplification. The Paladin would likely try to determine whether more innocent people would wind up in prison, and what the guilty who were potentially going free were guilty of. A good Paladin would try to examine each case differently, weighing all the factors. As do people in the real world scenario you're referencing here. Even in reality it's not that simple.



Why would shooting the supervillain be wrong? It's certainly not a violation of the Paladin's code... And supposing that it is, or that there is no justification for lethal force. That would require that we didn't know he was going to kill several dozen people since killing a villain in defense of others is generally considered to be moral.

Furthermore there is likely still even a third option.



You NEVER have only two choices in real life. That's why the proposition that there are only two alternatives to any given course of action is a fallacy. Again, present me with a real scenario where there's only two possible choices and I will demonstrate that. There is always a third option.


That is a simplistic platitude. No matter how much you massage the hypotheticals, "there is always another choice" is a silly absolute, and nothing more. Sometimes, ALL the choices suck, and ALL you can do is pick the least-bad option.

Furthermore, it was clear from my post that some of the examples were not specifically about the paladin, but rather about the sorts of moral choices that can be run afoul of by anyone who insists that there is an absolute moral code that cannot be violated. They clearly were not meant to be "but the paladin", they were meant as examples of least-bad-option situations.

"There's always a third option" is just playing rules-lawyer with the precious precious "code", rather than the rules of the game itself.

AMFV
2016-05-25, 02:46 PM
That is a simplistic platitude. No matter how much you massage the hypotheticals, "there is always another choice" is a silly absolute, and nothing more. Sometimes, ALL the choices suck, and ALL you can do is pick the least-bad option.

Furthermore, it was clear from my post that some of the examples were not specifically about the paladin, but rather about the sorts of moral choices that can be run afoul of by anyone who insists that there is an absolute moral code that cannot be violated. They clearly were not meant to be "but the paladin", they were meant as examples of least-bad-option situations.

Provide me with an example. Any example where I have to violate my Paladin's code no matter what. I'll eat my hat.

OldTrees1
2016-05-25, 02:58 PM
My issue and claim is that Paladins, being lawful, are not based around a moral theory that could accept pragmatism or doing a little evil for a big good. And the BoED and other sources back me on this, at least on this being creator's intent. I think that the fun aspect of a Paladin is in how one implements the code, a Paladin is their code, that's the essence of what they are, and I think that's something that's necessary to have a really fun Paladin.

It's also worth noting that Paladins have the ability to sense evil, and commune directly with their deities, as well as a few other options. So they aren't nearly as hampered as the average person is in terms of solving moral dilemma.

Edit: I would agree that it's acceptable, certainly in real life it is.

I can program a Modron to do utilitarian ethics or Kantian ethics. Paladins being lawful is no more a problem for Consequentialist ethics than for Deontological ethics.

So despite how natural Deontological ethics are for me, I can see how someone might validly see Paladins through a Consequentialist ethic instead.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-25, 03:00 PM
Provide me with an example. Any example where I have to violate my Paladin's code no matter what. I'll eat my hat.

"Not violate your code" was NEVER the standard here.

You keep chopping off "and ensure that nothing evil or terrible happens through your action or inaction".

But then, clearly, "the code" is more important to your paladins than actually being a force for good. You keep saying "both good and law" and then immediately falling back on only law -- "but I haven't violated the code".

If a paladin puts his code about the lives of the innocent that he is in a position to save, then he's not "lawful good", he's "lawful neutral" or perhaps even "lawful evil".

Deepbluediver
2016-05-25, 03:03 PM
No, what you're doing is favoring Good and not law at all. A Paladin needs to give weight to both. Probably in equal measure.
If that's true, why is the law the more inflexible portion to you?


Putting success ahead of your values isn't Good though, and Paladins are good.
Putting codes ahead of good isn't good either though.


That depends on the motivations of said Gods. Which could be quite varied.
If that's true, then why can't there also be more varied paladins?


SO PRESENT ME WITH AN EXAMPLE WHERE I HAVE TO VIOLATE MY CODE
Ok, so what EXACTLY is your code- I don't think you've ever spelled it out. If it's straight from any of the handbooks, what edition are we going by?


That's certainly not a game term, or even related to any of the game definitions. Law is about following a consistent moral code.
To quote the 3.5 PHB- "Alignment is a tool for developing your character's identity. Is is not a straitjacket for restricting your character."


Paladins aren't only following a code because they chose to, their code suffuses their entire being. It is who they are.
Ok, but WHY did I choose to follow this code? I wasn't born into it, like a race (although you can pick your race in D&D), I had to choose to be a paladin at some point. Unless your universe operates on a conscription-system?


The rules let me atone, if my DM has a problem with that, then I might consider a different table. Falling does mean that you failed, but sometimes failure happens.
And I'd consider a different table if my DM made me fall when I put a single toe out of bounds, regardless of the circumstances.


Again provide me with an example where I would have to sacrifice rightness and justice to follow my code, I've got my hat ready here.
What is your code and how are we defining "rightness" and "justice"?


Catholics have confession, and it is as you describe, and they still have moral laws.
I'm pretty sure most D&D players aren't pretending to be Catholic- plus the penance that you receive is supposed to be in line with the sin you commit. Most people confess minor sins so they get minor penance. I don't know what the penance would be for a major sin/crime, but confession is not a get-out-of-jail-free card even for Catholics.
And a game world in which I lose all my paladin powers for something trivial doesn't sound like fun to me.


Paladins aren't supposed to fall, they try not to, but sometimes if it happens, they have an out. It isn't necessarily easy for the character, but it is easy for the Player. Which was my point.
How is it any easier for the player? They are their character, when it comes to the game.
It's not supposed to be easy unless the player doesn't care, in which case why are they playing a paladin in the first place?



"Not violate your code" was NEVER the standard here.

You keep chopping off "and ensure that nothing evil or terrible happens through your action or inaction".
That's a good point- is doing good to the best of your ability not also part of your code?

OldTrees1
2016-05-25, 03:09 PM
"Not violate your code" was NEVER the standard here.

You keep chopping off "and ensure that nothing evil or terrible happens through your action or inaction".

But then, clearly, "the code" is more important to your paladins than actually being a force for good. You keep saying "both good and law" and then immediately falling back on only law -- "but I haven't violated the code".

If a paladin puts his code about the lives of the innocent that he is in a position to save, then he's not "lawful good", he's "lawful neutral" or perhaps even "lawful evil".

Please take a moment to step outside of your own moral theory and view the larger picture with me. While your claims (rooted in consequentialist ethics as they are) end up approving only consequentialist ethics, those are not the only self consistent moral theories. Consider with me the question "What ought one do?". For every circumstance it has at least 1 valid answer. If your code was "Choose only valid answers to "What ought one do?" ", then you would always be doing what one ought by following such a code.

Now step back inside your own moral theory. While your moral theory is mutually exclusive with the one you are arguing against, hopefully you understand it better now than before.

Deepbluediver
2016-05-25, 03:11 PM
In case you are already replying to the other post- here's some more quotes about alignment:

Lawful Good
[a LG character] combines a determination to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly.
...
Lawful Good is the best alignment you can be because it combines honor and compassion.


Lawful Neutral
A lawful neutral character acts a law, tradition, or a personal code directs her.
...
[a LN character] may believe in personal order and live by a code or standard, or she may believe in order for all and favor a strong, organized government.


So yeah, most of what you said strikes me as far more Lawful-Neutral than Lawful Good, and even then there's that critical "OR", i.e. there is flexibility.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-25, 03:13 PM
Please take a moment to step outside of your own moral theory and view the larger picture with me. While your claims (rooted in consequentialist ethics as they are) end up approving only consequentialist ethics, those are not the only self consistent moral theories. Consider with me the question "What ought one do?". For every circumstance it has at least 1 valid answer. If your code was "Choose only valid answers to "What ought one do?" ", then you would always be doing what one ought by following such a code.

Now step back inside your own moral theory. While your moral theory is mutually exclusive with the one you are arguing against, hopefully you understand it better now than before.

That's nice.

If a character allows a city to burn because the only actions he could take to stop it are "violations of his code". then that character is not "good".

OldTrees1
2016-05-25, 03:17 PM
That's nice.

If a character allows a city to burn because the only actions he could take to stop it are "violations of his code". then that character is not "good".

If a character allows event because their only means to stop it are options they ought not do in these circumstances, then refraining from those options is morally obligatory.

To cast it in the consequentialist language: "If the only way to stop the deaths of hundreds is the deaths of millions, then refraining from killing those millions is morally obligatory."

PS: You don't need to use "good". You can use terms like moral, morally obligatory, morally prohibited, amoral, immoral, morally superogatory, and combinations there of.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-25, 03:23 PM
If a character allows event because their only means to stop it are options they ought not do in these circumstances, then refraining from those options is morally obligatory.

To cast it in the consequentialist language: "If the only way to stop the deaths of hundreds is the deaths of millions, then refraining from killing those millions is morally obligatory."

PS: You don't need to use "good". You can use terms like moral, morally obligatory, morally prohibited, amoral, immoral, morally superogatory, and combinations there of.


If your only choices are the deaths of millions or the deaths of hundreds, what's the "moral" course of action?

If the only way to stop the deaths of millions is to take the course that leads to the deaths of hundreds, what's the "moral" course of action?

If the only course of action that will stop the deaths of thousands is to commit an act that some "code" forbids... what's the "moral" course of action?


An interesting fact about kosher and Sabbath rules for Judaism, at least according to my Jewish friends -- it's long been a teaching that if the choice is between the rules and saving a life, you save the life. Even if you're not supposed to use the phone on the Sabbath, if you need to call an ambulance to save a life, you don't hesitate, you use the phone and call an ambulance. If the alternative is starving to death, then you eat the unkosher food that's offered to you. Etc.

OldTrees1
2016-05-25, 03:27 PM
If your only choices are the deaths of millions or the deaths of hundreds, what's the "moral" course of action?

If the only way to stop the deaths of millions is to take the course that leads to the deaths of hundreds, what's the "moral" course of action?

If using most consequentialist ethics: Letting hundreds die is the moral choice between letting hundreds die and killing millions.
Even consequentialists don't agree between "Letting millions die and killing hundreds" based upon weighting "Letting die vs killing" vs "millions vs hundreds".

However that was not the choice I gave as a translation for you. I said "Kill millions to prevent the deaths of hundreds" as an example of "Keeping to one's code, when violating one's code would be morally prohibited even in that case, is morally obligatory" but output via a consequentialist ethic rather than the deontological one.

AMFV
2016-05-25, 03:31 PM
That's nice.

If a character allows a city to burn because the only actions he could take to stop it are "violations of his code". then that character is not "good".

So provide me with an example where a Paladin's ONLY options are to violate his code or let the city burn. We'll use the 3.5 code since I know it, but I could do the same for any others as well.

OldTrees1
2016-05-25, 03:38 PM
So provide me with an example where a Paladin's ONLY options are to violate his code or let the city burn. We'll use the 3.5 code since I know it, but I could do the same for any others as well.

Seriously? Anyone can do that.
The paladin is restrained and given the credible ultimatum: "Fall(violate your code) within the next 3 seconds or I will burn the city". When the paladin decides to struggle, with the consequence of letting the city burn, rather than fall they will have chosen to let the city burn. (which might have been the right choice)

Such an example works for so many different deontological ethics and is one of the main reasons for the whole "Letting X might not be the same as doing X" discussion in philosophy.

McNum
2016-05-25, 03:38 PM
There's a whole lot of not fun Paladins on these pages. Just usual circular arguments about edge cases that only come up in games when someone has it out for the Paladin. As in, the least fun way to play Paladins.

How about this for a fun way to play Paladins: "A Paladin does not have to worry about falling unless the player intentionally expresses the desire to play a fallen Paladin."

Playing the tragic fall-from-grace character can be fun, too, as long as everyone is on board with that being the idea. But going out of the way to make a player's Paladin fall without the player expressing an interest in playing a fallen Paladin is just a jerk move and wholly not fun. Which is why the falling rules are barely there in the newer editions of D&D. It's not a core part of the class anymore, it's just fluff. Having to make a tough choice does not take away the Paladin's powers anymore, which is a significant improvement in the playability of the Paladin class, only beaten by the lack of rules about associating with others.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-25, 03:40 PM
So provide me with an example where a Paladin's ONLY options are to violate his code or let the city burn. We'll use the 3.5 code since I know it, but I could do the same for any others as well.

I don't care about the specific code, the details of one specific code are entirely meaningless to the point.

There will come a time when you only have bad options, and you have to pick the least-bad option (and not doing anything is just another option). The only way to avoid that situation is to live in faerie-tale-land where a benevolent author or GM will always be there to let you contrive a way out of it.

Per some sources, Batman has a Code Against Killing. It's only the author's contrivance that keeps him from ever eventually facing a situation in which he has the choice between pulling a Batterang in the Joker's brainpan, or letting the joker launch a grin-gas bomb that will kill thousands -- a situation in which he only has a split second, no other target, no convenient off-button to throw the batterang at instead, no way to reach the Joker in time, no other choices.

Likewise, eventually, some "code paladin" somewhere is going to face a situation in which they ARE going to face a "least bad option" choice. At that point, any paladin who puts his precious code ahead of saving one or more innocent lives, or ending a war that would drag on for years otherwise... isn't worthy of his spurs.

Deepbluediver
2016-05-25, 03:45 PM
If using most consequentialist ethics: Letting hundreds die is the moral choice between letting hundreds die and killing millions.
Even consequentialists don't agree between "Letting millions die and killing hundreds" based upon weighting "Letting die vs killing" vs "millions vs hundreds".

However that was not the choice I gave as a translation for you. I said "Kill millions to prevent the deaths of hundreds" as an example of "Keeping to one's code, when violating one's code would be morally prohibited even in that case, is morally obligatory" but output via a consequentialist ethic rather than the deontological one.
Hang on a sec, are you proposing we build a class around deontology or virtue-ethics instead?

OldTrees1
2016-05-25, 03:49 PM
There's a whole lot of not fun Paladins on these pages. Just usual circular arguments about edge cases that only come up in games when someone has it out for the Paladin. As in, the least fun way to play Paladins.

How about this for a fun way to play Paladins: "A Paladin does not have to worry about falling unless the player intentionally expresses the desire to play a fallen Paladin."

Playing the tragic fall-from-grace character can be fun, too, as long as everyone is on board with that being the idea. But going out of the way to make a player's Paladin fall without the player expressing an interest in playing a fallen Paladin is just a jerk move and wholly not fun. Which is why the falling rules are barely there in the newer editions of D&D. It's not a core part of the class anymore, it's just fluff. Having to make a tough choice does not take away the Paladin's powers anymore, which is a significant improvement in the playability of the Paladin class, only beaten by the lack of rules about associating with others.

Good reminder! Although I would point out that both of the kinds of Paladins being argued in these most recent pages can be quite fun. It is only having Paladin A being judged by the mutually incompatible moral theory B that is making these pages so twisted.

Both the consequentialist Paladin that does the little evil to cause the greatest good and the deontological Paladin that is an unwavering standard of virtue are great Paladins to play. Just, don't impose your Paladin's code as the only right code to play Paladins by.


Hang on a sec, are you proposing we build a class around deontology or virtue-ethics instead?
Well the Paladin can be either Consequentialist or Deontologist. Even with my meager understanding of virtue ethics I recognize that others have succeeded at playing Virtue Ethics Paladins.

All I am asking is that you (players) live and let live. Okay, technically I am also asking you to understand each other's sides, but I have never claimed to have low expectations about the virtue of others.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-25, 04:05 PM
Good reminder! Although I would point out that both of the kinds of Paladins being argued in these most recent pages can be quite fun. It is only having Paladin A being judged by the mutually incompatible moral theory B that is making these pages so twisted.

Both the consequentialist Paladin that does the little evil to cause the greatest good and the deontological Paladin that is an unwavering standard of virtue are great Paladins to play. Just, don't impose your Paladin's code as the only right code to play Paladins by.


Well the Paladin can be either Consequentialist or Deontologist. Even with my meager understanding of virtue ethics I recognize that others have succeeded at playing Virtue Ethics Paladins.

All I am asking is that you (players) live and let live. Okay, technically I am also asking you to understand each other's sides, but I have never claimed to have low expectations about the virtue of others.

IMO, in D&D terms, deontological morality would be the law vs chaos axis, and consequentialist ethics would be the good vs evil axis.

IMO, in real world terms... one can strictly follow and/or enforce a set of rules, and still be a terrible person.

Deepbluediver
2016-05-25, 04:15 PM
So provide me with an example where a Paladin's ONLY options are to violate his code or let the city burn. We'll use the 3.5 code since I know it, but I could do the same for any others as well.
You did see my quotes from the PHB regarding alignment, right?
Because the very fist line of the Code of Conduct is "A paladin must be of the lawful good alignment" and I interpret that as acting like a lawful-good character should act. Allowing evil to continue when you could have stopped it is not good.
Also, there is the line "a paladin's code requires that she...act with honor (not lying, not using poison, and so forth)." How do you interpret that last bit?

Also also, the "Associates" section is separate but directly after the code- and I think it's important for rolepaying. It says "[a paladin will not] continue an association with someone who consistently offends her moral code". Earlier you said that a paladin is not responsible for other's actions unless they are under her command, so how then do we determine what "offends a paladin's moral code"? I will remind you that the point of this thread is NOT to play the best-est by-the-book paladin that you can, but how to play a fun paladin, and presumably you've got a few other people playing with you as well. If your actions cause the party to fracture, either in-character or out, I'd argue that you've failed at roleplaying.


With all that in mind, I think it might be fun to explore how someone might approach a difficult scenario, so long as no one minds this turning into play-by-post for a bit. And of course anyone at all is welcome to chime in.

Lets go with the "take down the mafia boss" scenario I suggested earlier, fleshed out a bit.

The ruler of the city of Egtree has recently died. His heir is to young to take the throne, and the regent, while well-intentioned, lacks the force of will and political accumen to hold the city together. Into this power vacuum has stepped a dangerous ganglord, who is determined to bring the city entirely under his domination. His main source of income is through an addictive drug known as elfdust, though he also has ties to weapons-smuggling, alcohol production, a protection racket. He has "rented" one of the largest mansions in the city and partially fortified it, staffing it with an assortment of thugs and citizens press-ganged into service as high bodyguards. There are also lots of servants/slaves because why not?

The ganglord occasionally leaves his mansion, but always with a large retinue, both as a show of power and for use of human shields. Crowds of the most downtrodden also quickly gather around him, begging for either his mercy or for favors, which he will (occasionally) grant, to keep the people loyal.

The chief-of-police is a distant cousin of yours (and recently promoted to that position after the 3 previous chiefs all met untimely ends) and has asked for your help. The rest of the force is either corrupt, running scared, or dead. The chief says that every day in the city the murder-rate is rising and quality of life is diminishing, and has urged you to act as quickly as possible.

You are a Paladin, how do you respond?

Deepbluediver
2016-05-25, 04:22 PM
Well the Paladin can be either Consequentialist or Deontologist. Even with my meager understanding of virtue ethics I recognize that others have succeeded at playing Virtue Ethics Paladins.
Deontology actually seems to be what AMFV is arguing for, unless I've misunderstood.

Virtue-ethics seems interesting; I guess taking actions that represent and excess or deficient of your core value being akin to violating the paladin's code.

Personally I like combining elements of all of them as needed, which is why I keep pressing for the "flexibility" approach.


All I am asking is that you (players) live and let live. Okay, technically I am also asking you to understand each other's sides, but I have never claimed to have low expectations about the virtue of others.
Personally, I think that AMFV's version of the Paladin either gets very boring very quick, or just causes to much intra-party conflict (between other players and with the DM). If he wanted to play one in a game where I was DMing, I might let him, so long as he understood I'd judge him more based on the good he did rather than his personal code. The actions he takes would still be up to him. I doubt I'd play a Paladin in a game where he was DMing, because I don't want to be held to that rigid of a standard or fall.

8BitNinja
2016-05-25, 04:28 PM
I think it was at least in part because in literary terms, poison was always used by the bad guys as a way to cheat, and so it got irrevocably associated with "EVIL!". Kind of like how there were magic spells that have the "EVIL!" descriptor for no apparent reason. A good portion of early D&D was less about realistic-realism and more about a psuedo hollywood-realism.

But yeah, poison struck me as one of those examples where a blanket-statement could have unintended consequences. Suppose you're trying to capture someone (alive) for whatever reason in the middle of a populated area. Why not just have the rogue roofie their drink, then we'll get them when they are asleep? Instead to many GMs would demand that your paladin march out and announce their arrest in a loud, clear voice, and the ensuing brawl, complete with property-damage and endangering civilians is somehow better.

I know that in-game morality is complicated, but personally I choose to evaluate it by a combination of action, intent, and result. Doing bad things for a good purpose is frowned upon, but if you're successful then the gods are willing to be slightly more lenient (so long as you don't make a habit out of it).
By that metric, the example I described above might go something like: using poison- questionable, arresting the head of the mafia- decent, without killing any of his bodyguards- good. And so it comes off as net-win.


Because playing a "fun" paladin requires input from both the player and the GM, and if as a GM you want people to consider choosing that paladin class, you might need to work WITH them a little

If you think about it, pouring poison in Doug's Mountain Dew is pretty cheap. That's like winning a fist fight by repeatedly kicking someone in the groin. Sure, you win, but you did so in a really cheap and messed up way.

OldTrees1
2016-05-25, 04:39 PM
Deontology actually seems to be what AMFV is arguing for, unless I've misunderstood.

Virtue-ethics seems interesting; I guess taking actions that represent and excess or deficient of your core value being akin to violating the paladin's code.

Personally I like combining elements of all of them as needed, which is why I keep pressing for the "flexibility" approach.


Personally, I think that AMFV's version of the Paladin either gets very boring very quick, or just causes to much intra-party conflict (between other players and with the DM). If he wanted to play one in a game where I was DMing, I might let him, so long as he understood I'd judge him more based on the good he did rather than his personal code. The actions he takes would still be up to him. I doubt I'd play a Paladin in a game where he was DMing, because I don't want to be held to that rigid of a standard or fall.

Yes, AMFV is arguing for a specific Deontological Paladin.

I do not trust myself to be sufficiently accurate to speak towards Virtue Ethics. I'll just leave it at "It has been done successfully".

I suggest not allowing "flexibility" to excuse "lack of theory resulting in contradictory behavior". A Paladin does their job best when they know what good is (even if figuring out what they ought to do is trickier). Switching between various moral theories leaves you prone to 1) Not knowing what good is and 2) Following a self contradicting(aka demonstrably false) moral theory.

I would highlight that under Deontological ethics, the code is structured such that following it is equivalent to doing good (well, there is still a difference between morally permissible/morally obligatory/morally superogatory). However yes, the DM decides what moral theory is correct in his campaign and thus you would judge by your code and he would judge by his code.

Although if you can handle paladins of all 3 makes in the same party, then that would be a solution to share for this thread.

Deepbluediver
2016-05-25, 04:50 PM
If you think about it, pouring poison in Doug's Mountain Dew is pretty cheap. That's like winning a fist fight by repeatedly kicking someone in the groin. Sure, you win, but you did so in a really cheap and messed up way.
All true, but WHY are you kicking Doug in the nuts? Is it because you're a nasty person or because Doug is a ****head who beats his girlfriend?
I think most people would agree that assassination is bad, but (and may Godwin forgive me) I think that most people would also agree that the world would have been better off if any of the several assassination attempts on Hitler had succeeded.

Poison isn't evil- poison is a tool, just like a sword. It's what you do with it (and why) that matters. To me, saying "paladins don't use poison because it's evil" sounds like saying "carpenters don't use hammers because nails are evil! All hail nuts-and-bolts, the one true attachment device!" It's just completely nonsensical.

Honest Tiefling
2016-05-25, 05:49 PM
If you think about it, pouring poison in Doug's Mountain Dew is pretty cheap. That's like winning a fist fight by repeatedly kicking someone in the groin. Sure, you win, but you did so in a really cheap and messed up way.

I'd like to point out that groin stabbing has been a part of warfare for centuries. Yes, a silly point, except...What is fair and not fair varies from culture to culture. In one, it is an acceptable method. In another, it is a cheap shot. In yet another, it's called 'Didn't you pay attention to training, numbskull? Why are you betraying your fellows by not fighting properly?'.

The problem with poisons is that the argument is often 'it's against the code because it is' or it causes more suffering...Because getting hit repeatedly by a longsword doesn't freaking hurt a lot. Subduing a target with non-lethal force basically means you are pummeling the victim into unconsciousness in many systems.

Genth
2016-05-25, 06:09 PM
There will come a time when you only have bad options, and you have to pick the least-bad option (and not doing anything is just another option). The only way to avoid that situation is to live in faerie-tale-land where a benevolent author or GM will always be there to let you contrive a way out of it.

Per some sources, Batman has a Code Against Killing. It's only the author's contrivance that keeps him from ever eventually facing a situation in which he has the choice between pulling a Batterang in the Joker's brainpan, or letting the joker launch a grin-gas bomb that will kill thousands -- a situation in which he only has a split second, no other target, no convenient off-button to throw the batterang at instead, no way to reach the Joker in time, no other choices. .

Interesting example as in stories where that part of the Bats code is in play, the narrative *will always* offer him a (sometimes amazingly implausible) way out. Bats lives in a world where the benevolent(ish) gm trope *is* true

2D8HP
2016-05-25, 06:37 PM
To me, saying "paladins don't use poison because it's evil" sounds like saying "carpenters don't use hammers because nails are evil! All hail nuts-and-bolts, the one true attachment device!" It's just completely nonsensical.I'm a plumber not a carpenter, but I believe "glued and screwed" is held to be more secure than nailed. Just sayin'.:smallwink:
Also:
Oe Paladins = lawful
1e to 3.5 Paladins = lawful good
5e "Devotion" Paladins = "usually" lawful good
5e "Ancients" Paladins = "usually" neutral good
5e "Vengeance" Paladins = "usually" lawful neutral or True neutral.

Rysto
2016-05-25, 06:41 PM
5e "Vengeance" Paladins = "usually" lawful neutral or True neutral.

So says the PHB, but I don't buy it. The motto of the Vengeance Paladin, as I read it, is either "The ends justify the means" or "I am the law". Neither of those strike me as particularly lawful positions. I lean towards Chaotic Good for a Vengeance Paladin.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-25, 06:54 PM
Interesting example as in stories where that part of the Bats code is in play, the narrative *will always* offer him a (sometimes amazingly implausible) way out. Bats lives in a world where the benevolent(ish) gm trope *is* true



Exactly.

Without that benevolent author/GM, the whole thing falls apart.

Of course, at some point, Bats has to realize that Arkham never holds anyone for long, and that if he keeps putting villains in there, and never does anything to help make it more secure, he has a share of the blame for all the suffering caused by every villain that escapes -- and that those people are literally dying for the sake of HIS personal code.

Honest Tiefling
2016-05-25, 06:57 PM
Maybe a better question is, how can both types of paladins exist in a world where both are equally the champions of paladinhood? Those with a strict moral code they never violate, and those who emphasize the good as opposed to the law of their actions. A part of fun, is after all, allowing different opinions, so disallowing one is disallowing fun in many ways.

Deepbluediver
2016-05-25, 08:08 PM
Maybe a better question is, how can both types of paladins exist in a world where both are equally the champions of paladinhood? Those with a strict moral code they never violate, and those who emphasize the good as opposed to the law of their actions. A part of fun, is after all, allowing different opinions, so disallowing one is disallowing fun in many ways.
Well yeah, that's why I said that every player who wants to play a paladin should discuss it with the GM and work out the personality, the code, the limitations, etc. And the other thing is that in my world, paladins are rare, so in some cases the paladin is figuring stuff out for themselves as they go along. To some extent you can take confidence that gods have already reviewed your resume and entrusted you with a measure of their power. That doesn't mean you can go nuts with it, but neither should you need to drastically alter your playstyle.

Part of it is, if the gods could do everything, why do they need you? Because they can't- they need your help in some ways; and Paladins are the PCs who do just that.
Clerics have faith in the gods. Paladins are proof that the gods have faith in us.

Deepbluediver
2016-05-25, 08:23 PM
Of course, at some point, Bats has to realize that Arkham never holds anyone for long, and that if he keeps putting villains in there, and never does anything to help make it more secure, he has a share of the blame for all the suffering caused by every villain that escapes -- and that those people are literally dying for the sake of HIS personal code.
To be fair, if these people are so dangerous why doesn't the city of Gotham start using the death penalty? I'm not arguing that Batman('s writers) are always right or wrong, but if the obvious solution is to just end them why does Batman have to be the one to do it? Aside from comic-book tropes of course.

At least in this case, it seems like Batman might be following the letter of the law which makes him an entirely different kind of Paladin.

2D8HP
2016-05-25, 09:33 PM
So says the PHB, but I don't buy it. The motto of the Vengeance Paladin, as I read it, is either "The ends justify the means" or "I am the law". Neither of those strike me as particularly lawful positions. I lean towards Chaotic Good for a Vengeance Paladin.Chaotic Good? The alignment of rebels who fight tyranny? I just can't see it. Vengeance Paladins seem like almost evil characters themselves that fight evil (maybe my thinking is just too pacifistic). Please elaborate.
Thanks!

Rysto
2016-05-25, 10:20 PM
Chaotic Good? The alignment of rebels who fight tyranny?

A rebel who swears personal vengeance against a tyrannical regime is a classic trope. A Chaotic Good Vengeance Paladin is unconstrained by anyone's morality but their own. They have no compunctions about killing those they consider evil, but they'll also gladly work with petty criminals and the like if it advances their goals. They'll also bestow random acts of kindness on the helpless (like slipping food or some coins to a beggar girl), and they won't hesitate to stand up against someone preying on the weak, so long as they know that they can make a difference (Vengeance Paladins aren't big on futile gestures).

Now, if you play the class darker than this, then it tends towards neutral on both axes. But a Vengeance Paladin will never be Lawful. The tenet "By Any Means Necessary" is anathema to a Lawful creature of any alignment.

A great example of a Chaotic Good Vengeance Paladin would be Kelsier from Mistborn. His crusade to overthrow the regime of the Lord Ruler is fueled by the death of his wife. He considers all of the nobility serving the Lord Ruler fair targets. He feels no remorse for killing anyone who takes up arms on behalf of the nobility, even the skaa (serfs) who he's trying to free. His master plan is to trigger a civil war that will destabilize the nation and allow the skaa rebels to rise up and seize the capital. But he'll also stand up for the weak for their own sake -- his defining moment early in the book is when he slaughters a nobleman and his guards just to save the life of a single skaa girl.

2D8HP
2016-05-25, 10:32 PM
A rebel who swears personal vengeance against a tyrannical regime is a classic trope. A Chaotic Good Vengeance Paladin is unconstrained by anyone's morality but their own. They have no compunctions about killing those they consider evil, but they'll also gladly work with petty criminals and the like if it advances their goals. They'll also bestow random acts of kindness on the helpless (like slipping food or some coins to a beggar girl), and they won't hesitate to stand up against someone preying on the weak, so long as they know that they can make a difference (Vengeance Paladins aren't big on futile gestures).

Now, if you play the class darker than this, then it tends towards neutral on both axes.Thanks for the insight! I had viewed V.P.'s as a bit like Charles Bronson's character in the "Death Wish" movies or at best Brienne from the 5th season of Game of Thrones.

8BitNinja
2016-05-26, 12:42 AM
Here I go, ruining the fun after asking how paladins can be fun.

I actually don't like the paladins of other alignments. I always felt that the paladin was something for lawful good only. To me, the paladin was always what I envisioned a hero to be, and when Superman is suddenly the villain, things don't seem right.

But seriously paladin of slaughter, do you have to exist? There is already an antipaladin.

OldTrees1
2016-05-26, 06:48 AM
Maybe a better question is, how can both types of paladins exist in a world where both are equally the champions of paladinhood? Those with a strict moral code they never violate, and those who emphasize the good as opposed to the law of their actions. A part of fun, is after all, allowing different opinions, so disallowing one is disallowing fun in many ways.

Be careful about how you frame your questions. Deontological Paladins do emphasize the good as opposed to the law of their actions. It just so happens that the good is described by a strict moral code rather than by a strict calculator(Consequentialism). (Also Virtue Ethics still exists despite my low understanding of it.)

Can both exist in the same world as equally the champions of paladinhood? Yes, but it depends on the DM and the 2 paladins. If you have players that will disrupt the game by calling other moral theories evil, then don't allow multiple paladins (consider not even allowing that player to play a paladin). If your players can coexist with differing moral theories, then the question is how off does a paladin have to be before they become unplayable? If you have 2 paragons of good lead to a situation that puts one of their moral theories in conflict with the DM's, does that paragon of good become unplayable when they present the answer that is right to them but wrong to the DM?

2D8HP
2016-05-26, 07:27 AM
Here I go, ruining the fun after asking how paladins can be fun.

I actually don't like the paladins of other alignments. I always felt that the paladin was something for lawful good only. To me, the paladin was always what I envisioned a hero to be, and when Superman is suddenly the villain, things don't seem right.

But seriously paladin of slaughter, do you have to exist? There is already an antipaladin.Half way there with you. I mostly like 5e (previously I've only played 70's rules DnD, which had explicit behavior restrictions on the class).
5e has three different Paladin "Sacred Oaths" or "Tenets";
Devotion - which is like the "classic" Paladin "Aid others, protect the weak......." etc.,
Ancients - which pretty much has being "fun" be a class requirement!:
"Be a glorious beacon for all who live in despair. Let the light of your joy and courage shine forth in all your deeds."
"Delight in song and laughter, in beauty and art. If you allow the light to die in your own heart, you can't preserve it in the world."
"Where there is good, beauty, love, and laughter in the world, stand against the wickedness that would swallow it......" etc.
And then there is;
Vengeance - "My qualms can't get in the way of exterminating my foes....." etc. Yeah V. P.'s seem like jerks!
Basically, I'd want a D. P. as a friend, be an A. P., and I'd want V. P.'s out fighting evil somewhere that's far, far away!

AMFV
2016-05-26, 08:28 AM
I'd like to point out that groin stabbing has been a part of warfare for centuries. Yes, a silly point, except...What is fair and not fair varies from culture to culture. In one, it is an acceptable method. In another, it is a cheap shot. In yet another, it's called 'Didn't you pay attention to training, numbskull? Why are you betraying your fellows by not fighting properly?'.

The problem with poisons is that the argument is often 'it's against the code because it is' or it causes more suffering...Because getting hit repeatedly by a longsword doesn't freaking hurt a lot. Subduing a target with non-lethal force basically means you are pummeling the victim into unconsciousness in many systems.


All true, but WHY are you kicking Doug in the nuts? Is it because you're a nasty person or because Doug is a ****head who beats his girlfriend?
I think most people would agree that assassination is bad, but (and may Godwin forgive me) I think that most people would also agree that the world would have been better off if any of the several assassination attempts on Hitler had succeeded.

Poison isn't evil- poison is a tool, just like a sword. It's what you do with it (and why) that matters. To me, saying "paladins don't use poison because it's evil" sounds like saying "carpenters don't use hammers because nails are evil! All hail nuts-and-bolts, the one true attachment device!" It's just completely nonsensical.

Again, in the REAL world, a world where I am allowed to shoot somebody with a rifle to kill them, we do not allow the use of poisons in warfare. It's not a completely non-sensical argument because it is an argument that results from real world laws. Now, to be fair, in the real world there are a lot of other reasons why poisons are not allowed, but the end state is generally cruelty.

But again, according to the Geneva Convention, and LOAC, I can shoot somebody in the face, possibly with a high caliber weapon, but I can't poison a weapon. So it's not so far-fetched as you two appear to be making out. It's based on real world rules regarding the matter, and if we have similar rules in real life, it's pretty much not a stretch to assume that Paladins might in a fantasy world have similar quibbles.


Deontology actually seems to be what AMFV is arguing for, unless I've misunderstood.

Virtue-ethics seems interesting; I guess taking actions that represent and excess or deficient of your core value being akin to violating the paladin's code.

Personally I like combining elements of all of them as needed, which is why I keep pressing for the "flexibility" approach.

Well you also have to remember that the "flexibility" approach aligns more with your own moral views, for somebody with my moral views, it comes across as not holding to the code, and that's something that I wouldn't want as a Paladin.



Personally, I think that AMFV's version of the Paladin either gets very boring very quick, or just causes to much intra-party conflict (between other players and with the DM). If he wanted to play one in a game where I was DMing, I might let him, so long as he understood I'd judge him more based on the good he did rather than his personal code. The actions he takes would still be up to him. I doubt I'd play a Paladin in a game where he was DMing, because I don't want to be held to that rigid of a standard or fall.

I disagree, I think that exploring the nuances of the code is the most interesting part of playing a Paladin. At least for me. Also of note, I don't make Paladins fall in games I run almost ever. And I wouldn't make atonement a large deal, as I said. Part of having a rigid moral philosophy is having the ability to recover when you fail, since nobody is ever completely able to follow that rigid a moral code all of the time.

For example, let's say that somebody rubs poison oil on the Paladin's weapon while he sleeps. He stabs somebody with it, that means that he's used poison:

In your system, he would be judged based on the net-evil impact of it, since it's his action that implemented it (although I believe intent may involve itself here). But not so much on the letter of the code.

In my system, he probably wouldn't fall (since I factor intent in as well), but I would discuss the matter with the player. If he thought his Paladin might have a problem with it, I would do an atonement subquest. Because that's really the key, to maintain your Paladin status. Also (in versions where it applies), I generally remove any kind of purchase requirement to the Atonement outside of the roleplay requirement (and potentially a quest requirement)


You did see my quotes from the PHB regarding alignment, right?
Because the very fist line of the Code of Conduct is "A paladin must be of the lawful good alignment" and I interpret that as acting like a lawful-good character should act. Allowing evil to continue when you could have stopped it is not good.
Also, there is the line "a paladin's code requires that she...act with honor (not lying, not using poison, and so forth)." How do you interpret that last bit?

Well, to be fair, here's where Lawfulness actually comes in handy in a useful way. If the Paladin is not lawfully obligated to stop the Evil, or is lawfully unable to do so, he might try different means to reduce Evil. I would treat attempting to redeem somebody evil as morally better than stabbing them in the face. So as long as that's the Paladin's aim, I would relax the association clause.



Also also, the "Associates" section is separate but directly after the code- and I think it's important for rolepaying. It says "[a paladin will not] continue an association with someone who consistently offends her moral code". Earlier you said that a paladin is not responsible for other's actions unless they are under her command, so how then do we determine what "offends a paladin's moral code"? I will remind you that the point of this thread is NOT to play the best-est by-the-book paladin that you can, but how to play a fun paladin, and presumably you've got a few other people playing with you as well. If your actions cause the party to fracture, either in-character or out, I'd argue that you've failed at roleplaying.


I don't think so, conflict is not inherently bad. As long as it's discussed out-of-character. One thing to remember is that you can discuss what you're going to do out-of-character, and work with the DM and the other character to develop a solution that is the best for everybody. If you have a Paladin but try to remove the falling and moralistic aspects, it loses pretty much the keys to it being a Paladin, at least to my mind.



With all that in mind, I think it might be fun to explore how someone might approach a difficult scenario, so long as no one minds this turning into play-by-post for a bit. And of course anyone at all is welcome to chime in.

Lets go with the "take down the mafia boss" scenario I suggested earlier, fleshed out a bit.

The ruler of the city of Egtree has recently died. His heir is to young to take the throne, and the regent, while well-intentioned, lacks the force of will and political accumen to hold the city together. Into this power vacuum has stepped a dangerous ganglord, who is determined to bring the city entirely under his domination. His main source of income is through an addictive drug known as elfdust, though he also has ties to weapons-smuggling, alcohol production, a protection racket. He has "rented" one of the largest mansions in the city and partially fortified it, staffing it with an assortment of thugs and citizens press-ganged into service as high bodyguards. There are also lots of servants/slaves because why not?

The ganglord occasionally leaves his mansion, but always with a large retinue, both as a show of power and for use of human shields. Crowds of the most downtrodden also quickly gather around him, begging for either his mercy or for favors, which he will (occasionally) grant, to keep the people loyal.

The chief-of-police is a distant cousin of yours (and recently promoted to that position after the 3 previous chiefs all met untimely ends) and has asked for your help. The rest of the force is either corrupt, running scared, or dead. The chief says that every day in the city the murder-rate is rising and quality of life is diminishing, and has urged you to act as quickly as possible.

You are a Paladin, how do you respond?

What are my resources in the scenario? What are my level range and skills? The problem here is that there are still too many options. We'd need to narrow down the scenario a lot before I could determine what I felt best. Do I have legal authority to stop him? I mean it is a city, and those have laws, so there's an added wrinkle that I wouldn't have in a dungeon or a wilderness. Does the city want him dead or arrested, as far as the good rulership would go?


IMO, in D&D terms, deontological morality would be the law vs chaos axis, and consequentialist ethics would be the good vs evil axis.

IMO, in real world terms... one can strictly follow and/or enforce a set of rules, and still be a terrible person.

I note that you put your own personal ethics as Good - Evil. And my ethics as Law - Chaos. That strikes me as a little bit disingenuous, and not wholly accurate. Since again (at least in some editions of D&D) consequentialist ethics are directly ruled out, in the BoED again.


I don't care about the specific code, the details of one specific code are entirely meaningless to the point.

There will come a time when you only have bad options, and you have to pick the least-bad option (and not doing anything is just another option). The only way to avoid that situation is to live in faerie-tale-land where a benevolent author or GM will always be there to let you contrive a way out of it.

Then you fall, and atone. That's why Paladins have the ability to atone, because sometimes they can't think of a way out, sometimes they screw up.



Per some sources, Batman has a Code Against Killing. It's only the author's contrivance that keeps him from ever eventually facing a situation in which he has the choice between pulling a Batterang in the Joker's brainpan, or letting the joker launch a grin-gas bomb that will kill thousands -- a situation in which he only has a split second, no other target, no convenient off-button to throw the batterang at instead, no way to reach the Joker in time, no other choices.

Likewise, eventually, some "code paladin" somewhere is going to face a situation in which they ARE going to face a "least bad option" choice. At that point, any paladin who puts his precious code ahead of saving one or more innocent lives, or ending a war that would drag on for years otherwise... isn't worthy of his spurs.

First off, you have yet to go into a scenario where I can pick a "least bad option" I would argue that we (as players) have the same advantage as writers, we have infinite time or near infinite time to devise solutions to moral problems. We also can discuss them with DMs prior to implementing them, which is something that people in real life cannot do.


Exactly.

Without that benevolent author/GM, the whole thing falls apart.

The reverse is true though as well. Without an antagonistic DM who bends the rules against the Paladin, falling is rarely a concern. The only kind of no-win scenario you could create where a Paladin might fall results from a lot of contrivance, and therefore is as haynecked as a scenario where the DM wins every time.

goto124
2016-05-26, 08:41 AM
So wait, why would someone even WANT to play a paladin?!!

AMFV
2016-05-26, 08:47 AM
So wait, why would someone even WANT to play a paladin?!!

Eh, some of us like to discuss moral philosophy. For me at least, I want a character who strives to be morally upright, a character where the morality actually is a factor in-game, because that makes it more real and more grit, if you will.

OldTrees1
2016-05-26, 08:55 AM
So wait, why would someone even WANT to play a paladin?!!

Well, <insert Pinkie singing the Smile song>.

Some want to play Paladin to experience the role
Some want to play Paladin to examine the role (aka discuss morality/moral theory and/or test said positions)
Some want to play Paladin to test themselves in the role

For me it has always been that last reason although I have used the second reason as a means to that end. The Paladin's motive (Do what one ought to do because it is what one ought to do) is very familiar to me and thus a lot of my self identity is wrapped up in how well am I doing/how much can I improve/how much am I failing.

goto124
2016-05-26, 09:08 AM
That explains why I'm so adverse to the idea of playing a paladin character. I find that the stuff mentioned here are enjoyable in a forum discussion, but not in an actual game where my and my fellow players' fun are at stake.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-26, 09:11 AM
I note that you put your own personal ethics as Good - Evil. And my ethics as Law - Chaos. That strikes me as a little bit disingenuous, and not wholly accurate. Since again (at least in some editions of D&D) consequentialist ethics are directly ruled out, in the BoED again.


Nothing disingenuous about it. "Because I said so" is a terrible basis for ethics/morality.




First off, you have yet to go into a scenario where I can pick a "least bad option"


More than one of us has presented a scenario in which a paladin or paladin-like character MUST chose between his code and the lives of innocents, and there is no workaround.




I would argue that we (as players) have the same advantage as writers, we have infinite time or near infinite time to devise solutions to moral problems. We also can discuss them with DMs prior to implementing them, which is something that people in real life cannot do.


One thing you do not have in any game I ever run is "infinite time" -- you don't get to waste hours of other players time or put the game on hold trying to talk your way out of an immediate dilemma.

Of course, I'd also NEVER run a game using D&D's alignment system and then allow a character who defined their "morals" by "because I said so" call their alignment "good" -- "because I said so" morality is the definition of lawful neutral.

And yes, deontological ethics amounts to "because someone said so".

2D8HP
2016-05-26, 09:15 AM
So wait, why would someone even WANT to play a paladin?!!
Because they want to be heroes!
Every time the Fire department accepts applications they have the biggest lines! Far more than the Police Department who have better pensions and live longer.

AMFV
2016-05-26, 09:20 AM
Nothing disingenuous about it. "Because I said so" is a terrible basis for ethics/morality.

Which is why I referenced specific sourcebooks, instead of saying that, as you just did. Of course that may vary by edition.

To be fair both law-chaos and good-evil axis could be looked at with a consequentialist or a deontological light. Without too much stretching. A consquentialist law system would take into effect total order of an action, rather than total net good result. A deontological position would take into effect the principles behind it.

In any case, there's evidence against a consequentialist position, in 3.5, at least, with regards to at a minimum the Good-Evil axis.



More than one of us has presented a scenario in which a paladin or paladin-like character MUST chose between his code and the lives of innocents, and there is no workaround.

Nope, there has only been one such scenario, and that one was horribly contrived. Literally engineered only to make the Paladin fall: "Fall or I kill innocents." And I would hold that the only moral action there is not to fall. After all, you aren't killing innocents and you falling doesn't remove the innocents from being in danger.

The problem is that 99% of all "You fall automatically" scenarios are hostage scenarios. And as any hostage negotiator will tell you, simply giving the person what they want, is not usually the best way to go about it. That doesn't remove the hostages from danger, or remove the leverage the hostage taker has. If the hostage taker can kill an entire city, what incentive does he have to listen to you after you fall?

I would argue that even that scenario isn't an automatic fall, but rather a "insane lunatic was going to destroy the city anyways". Other than that, nobody has presented a single scenario that I haven't been able to suggest a workaround, usually with less than two minutes of thought on the matter. So that's equally bad in both consequentialist (because the hostages are not removed from danger, they just don't die that second), and deontologist (because you violated what was good) ethical systems.




One thing you do not have in any game I ever run is "infinite time" -- you don't get to waste hours of other players time or put the game on hold trying to talk your way out of an immediate dilemma.


If that dilemma is going to involve millions of innocents dying or my character falling, then you'd best give me at least a few minutes to think my way out of it. I can guarantee you that outside of the hostage situation (where doing what you're told doesn't really improve matters and is therefore equally bad in both systems of ethics).



Of course, I'd also NEVER run a game using D&D's alignment system and then allow a character who defined their "morals" by "because I said so" call their alignment "good" -- "because I said so" morality is the definition of lawful neutral.

And yes, deontological ethics amounts to "because someone said so".

Again, look at the BoED, source material disagrees with you, vehemently. It's possibly different in other editions, but as far as most of the material I've read, it's not. Deontological ethics is what the system espouses. Now one could make an argument for a houserule (and there's nothing wrong with that), but to argue that only your moral system is Good vs. Evil, is really poor form. Like that's outright unreasonably poor form for this sort of debate.

Edit: Also of not, deontological ethical systems don't translate to "Because I Said So," not even remotely. They translate to "the principles are sometimes more important than the end result as you observe it" Partially because nobody can really agree on how to measure the end result.

OldTrees1
2016-05-26, 09:21 AM
That explains why I'm so adverse to the idea of playing a paladin character. I find that the stuff mentioned here are enjoyable in a forum discussion, but not in an actual game where my and my fellow players' fun are at stake.

Well, a good deal of the characteristics of this "discussion" (sides not understanding each other and demonizing the other's position, & using lifeboat scenarios that don't translate to attempt to disprove each other) would be tolerable at best in an actual game. Legitimate discussion would be closer in characteristics to the in game discussions over pragmatic concerns (which I presume you have enjoyed from time to time).

But with all kinds of fun, only do that which is enjoyable. Not everything that is enjoyable to one person in one context will be enjoyable if either the context or the person changes.

AMFV
2016-05-26, 09:26 AM
Well, a good deal of the characteristics of this "discussion" (sides not understanding each other and demonizing the other's position, & using lifeboat scenarios that don't translate to attempt to disprove each other) would be tolerable at best in an actual game. Legitimate discussion would be closer in characteristics to the in game discussions over pragmatic concerns (which I presume you have enjoyed from time to time).

But with all kinds of fun, only do that which is enjoyable. Not everything that is enjoyable to one person in one context will be enjoyable if either the context or the person changes.

It's also worth noting that people tend to be friends with people who have more compatible ethical systems. Online this isn't generally the case, and therefore you get more heated debate than you might with your friends.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-26, 09:35 AM
Which is why I referenced specific sourcebooks, instead of saying that, as you just did. Of course that may vary by edition.

To be fair both law-chaos and good-evil axis could be looked at with a consequentialist or a deontological light. Without too much stretching. A consquentialist law system would take into effect total order of an action, rather than total net good result. A deontological position would take into effect the principles behind it.

In any case, there's evidence against a consequentialist position, in 3.5, at least, with regards to at a minimum the Good-Evil axis.



Nope, there has only been one such scenario, and that one was horribly contrived. Literally engineered only to make the Paladin fall: "Fall or I kill innocents." And I would hold that the only moral action there is not to fall. After all, you aren't killing innocents and you falling doesn't remove the innocents from being in danger.

The problem is that 99% of all "You fall automatically" scenarios are hostage scenarios. And as any hostage negotiator will tell you, simply giving the person what they want, is not usually the best way to go about it. That doesn't remove the hostages from danger, or remove the leverage the hostage taker has. If the hostage taker can kill an entire city, what incentive does he have to listen to you after you fall?

I would argue that even that scenario isn't an automatic fall, but rather a "insane lunatic was going to destroy the city anyways". Other than that, nobody has presented a single scenario that I haven't been able to suggest a workaround, usually with less than two minutes of thought on the matter. So that's equally bad in both consequentialist (because the hostages are not removed from danger, they just don't die that second), and deontologist (because you violated what was good) ethical systems.




If that dilemma is going to involve millions of innocents dying or my character falling, then you'd best give me at least a few minutes to think my way out of it. I can guarantee you that outside of the hostage situation (where doing what you're told doesn't really improve matters and is therefore equally bad in both systems of ethics).



Again, look at the BoED, source material disagrees with you, vehemently. It's possibly different in other editions, but as far as most of the material I've read, it's not. Deontological ethics is what the system espouses. Now one could make an argument for a houserule (and there's nothing wrong with that), but to argue that only your moral system is Good vs. Evil, is really poor form. Like that's outright unreasonably poor form for this sort of debate.

I don't care -- even the slightest bit -- about BoED, or the other "source material", arguing in favor of "the code defines right and wrong, because the code says it defines right and wrong".

I also don't care -- even the slightest bit -- about this "will the paladin fall here?" nonsense.

What I do care about is whether someone who puts their precious precious code above the lives of innocents can ever in any worthwhile moral/ethical system be called "good".

A character who puts their precious code or their status as a paladin above any and all other considerations is not good, and is in fact inherently "lawful selfish". They're the moral equivalent of the worst kind of rules lawyer.

An actually good character, an actual hero, would tell the gods or whatever mystical forces control their "paladinhood" to go stuff an egg up it, and do what needs to be done, "fall" or no "fall".

goto124
2016-05-26, 09:48 AM
Well, a good deal of the characteristics of this "discussion" (sides not understanding each other and demonizing the other's position, & using lifeboat scenarios that don't translate to attempt to disprove each other) would be tolerable at best in an actual game. Legitimate discussion would be closer in characteristics to the in game discussions over pragmatic concerns (which I presume you have enjoyed from time to time).

But with all kinds of fun, only do that which is enjoyable. Not everything that is enjoyable to one person in one context will be enjoyable if either the context or the person changes.

How do actual at-the-table discussions about morals and ethics typically go? I mean discussions that don't purely discuss pragmatic concerns.

Is not having fun key to finding what is fun? Am I going off topic?

AMFV
2016-05-26, 09:49 AM
I don't care -- even the slightest bit -- about BoED, or the other "source material", arguing in favor of "the code defines right and wrong, because the code says it defines right and wrong".

I would say that Paladins, and even alignment systems might not be for you then. At least not without heavy modification.



I also don't care -- even the slightest bit -- about this "will the paladin fall here?" nonsense.

What I do care about is whether someone who puts their precious precious code above the lives of innocents can ever in any worthwhile moral/ethical system be called "good".


I don't think we've done this yet, but lets aim for another example. Show me an example of where a Paladin can save the lives of innocents by violating his code and only violating said code.

You can't use the hostage example, because that doesn't actually result in anybody being saved. I mean possibly you could use a contrived magical curse, but at that point you're just doing things to screw the Pallie, and not for any reasonable reason.

The issue is not that the Paladin puts his code above the lives of innocents. Simply that he doesn't have to violate his code to save innocents. Being a Paladin is about finding another way to do things. Which is perhaps why I prefer playing Paladins, because in real life you don't always get that moral clarity. Sometimes following your principles can lead to bad things (and I would still follow my principles), but in a game, you can always find a third option.



A character who puts their precious code or their status as a paladin above any and all other considerations is not good, and is in fact inherently "lawful selfish". They're the moral equivalent of the worst kind of rules lawyer.


They're not putting their status of a Paladin above any other consideration. They're just not believing that violating their code is going to make anything better. And I would agree. Again, the only "You fall or innocents die" scenario that anybody has produced is one with a hostage scenario, and falling DOESN'T fix that, it's at best a temporary workaround. So if violating my code doesn't actually result in things being improved why would I do that?

At what point should I violate my code. Say, I violate my code to save one old lady? Then I'm not a Paladin, I don't atone. So now I am unable to save anybody in the future, since I'm no longer a Paladin. That's a net loss of lives by consequentialism. Hell, a Paladin might wind up saving the world at epic levels. So then even a city is a net loss for consequentialism.

So if you have an ends justify the means approach, it's important to note that losing your powers has a lot of impact that you might not see, like being unable to save people in the future, which might make that a worse option than you might assume it to be.



An actually good character, an actual hero, would tell the gods or whatever mystical forces control their "paladinhood" to go stuff an egg up it, and do what needs to be done, "fall" or no "fall".

You realize that there are many people in real life who are reasonably moral and upright who don't believe that the ends justify the means?

Also, I've agreed here, there are situations where a Paladin might fall in order to try to do good, then they go through an atonement and get back to being a Paladin, that's the whole reason they have atonements. Paladins (and nobody else) can be perfect, or can always come up with the perfect solution. They fail, then they atone.


How do actual at-the-table discussions about morals and ethics typically go? I mean discussions that don't purely discuss pragmatic concerns.

Is not having fun key to finding what is fun? Am I going off topic?

It's entirely group dependent to be honest.

Deepbluediver
2016-05-26, 10:06 AM
Here I go, ruining the fun after asking how paladins can be fun.

I actually don't like the paladins of other alignments. I always felt that the paladin was something for lawful good only. To me, the paladin was always what I envisioned a hero to be, and when Superman is suddenly the villain, things don't seem right.

But seriously paladin of slaughter, do you have to exist? There is already an antipaladin.
I think there is some overlap just because of the sheer number of classes published, and in this case a lot of later 3.5 material attempted to fix or improve upon earlier works.

For example, in Defenders of the Faith (a splatbook) there is a PrC called the Holy Liberator which is basically a Chaotic-good Paladin. Except that DoF was published AFTER Unearthed Arcana which already had the Paladin of Freedom anyway. But it exists, so there you go.

If you don't want to call them paladins then that's fine with me (personally I HATE the name Anti-Paladin, it's just so generic and boring), but I think there's room for the character archetype to exist. You just need to figure out how (and why) you can twist a paladin's motivations to work with/for evil instead.


Again, in the REAL world, a world where I am allowed to shoot somebody with a rifle to kill them, we do not allow the use of poisons in warfare. It's not a completely non-sensical argument because it is an argument that results from real world laws. Now, to be fair, in the real world there are a lot of other reasons why poisons are not allowed, but the end state is generally cruelty.
First, real-world laws can be and sometimes are totally nonsensical.
Second, we're not talking about the real world anyway, unless maybe you're playing d20 modern; this is high-fantasy.
Third, I want to construct a game-world where the rules make sense on a broad scale, and if your underlying motivation is that "it's cruel" you have to allow that there are also situations where poison might be able to avert cruelty. A cloud of poisonous gas that causes everyone in the area to die choking on their own lungs? Sure, that's bad. A poison that causes a single target to die quietly in their sleep- arguably less cruel than stabbing them to death.
Finally, which real-world rules are we applying? Not everyone subscribes to the Geneva convention, and in many places for most of history things like corporal punishment and torture were valid legal tools.


But again, according to the Geneva Convention, and LOAC, I can shoot somebody in the face, possibly with a high caliber weapon, but I can't poison a weapon.
See the "real world rules are sometimes nonsensical" bit above.


So it's not so far-fetched as you two appear to be making out. It's based on real world rules regarding the matter, and if we have similar rules in real life, it's pretty much not a stretch to assume that Paladins might in a fantasy world have similar quibbles.
Yes, but again players will want to know WHY, and "because I said so" or "because that's the way the real world does it" are bad arguments. People don't like them- they are playing fantasy to get AWAY from reality.


Well you also have to remember that the "flexibility" approach aligns more with your own moral views, for somebody with my moral views, it comes across as not holding to the code, and that's something that I wouldn't want as a Paladin.
No, it's because I recognize that there are different types of people in the world who may want to play different types of Paladins. I'm trying to make the class more fun for a broader range of players.


I disagree, I think that exploring the nuances of the code is the most interesting part of playing a Paladin. At least for me.
Agreed, but when you've got a strict moral code that doesn't seem to allow for much nuance IMO. It's the flexibility and the personal judgement that cause the most self-reflection and debate. What are the ends and the means? Does this justify it? How can I work around this obstacle? What will everyone else think? etc etc etc.


Also of note, I don't make Paladins fall in games I run almost ever. And I wouldn't make atonement a large deal, as I said. Part of having a rigid moral philosophy is having the ability to recover when you fail, since nobody is ever completely able to follow that rigid a moral code all of the time.
See, those two concepts strike me as being at odds with one another- falling should be rare, atonement and redemption are rarer still. If atonement is easy, then that makes me care about the code far LESS.

I think this is a major source of our disagreement- you hold tighter to the code because if you break it you allow for an easier cleanup. Whereas I allow more flexibility and would say only the more grievous sins would cause you to fall, because if you do then getting back in the saddle will be painful, difficult, and time-consuming, if it's even possible.


For example, let's say that somebody rubs poison oil on the Paladin's weapon while he sleeps. He stabs somebody with it, that means that he's used poison:

In your system, he would be judged based on the net-evil impact of it, since it's his action that implemented it (although I believe intent may involve itself here). But not so much on the letter of the code.
I would judge it on a variety of things, including the fact that not every paladin has a special oath that prohibits the use of poison in the first place.


In my system, he probably wouldn't fall (since I factor intent in as well), but I would discuss the matter with the player. If he thought his Paladin might have a problem with it, I would do an atonement subquest. Because that's really the key, to maintain your Paladin status. Also (in versions where it applies), I generally remove any kind of purchase requirement to the Atonement outside of the roleplay requirement (and potentially a quest requirement)
This is the first time you've indicated (as far as I can tell) that you would take intent into consideration as well- everything you've said up to this point seemed to indicate that you held the Paladin's code to inviolate, without the slightest bit of flexibility or leeway.


Well, to be fair, here's where Lawfulness actually comes in handy in a useful way. If the Paladin is not lawfully obligated to stop the Evil, or is lawfully unable to do so, he might try different means to reduce Evil. I would treat attempting to redeem somebody evil as morally better than stabbing them in the face. So as long as that's the Paladin's aim, I would relax the association clause.
The wasn't really the point- as a GOOD paladin, you are obligated to stop evil, and that is part of your code. And IMO, arguably the more important part. Yes it should all be considered, but if the minutia of your code becomes more important to you than the cause you are championing, you're not a Paladin any more, you're a bureaucrat.


I don't think so, conflict is not inherently bad. As long as it's discussed out-of-character. One thing to remember is that you can discuss what you're going to do out-of-character, and work with the DM and the other character to develop a solution that is the best for everybody. If you have a Paladin but try to remove the falling and moralistic aspects, it loses pretty much the keys to it being a Paladin, at least to my mind.
Inter-party conflict is itself not bad; I've played a lawful-good character in a party that was 3/5ths chaotic and had at least one member that found it difficult to stay on the heavenly side of neutral. However it seems like Paladins more than any other class take it upon themselves to be the moral-compass of the party and play their character as Obnoxious McPreachyperson.

I feel this is in part because the written material seemed to emphasize the wrong (or at least not the ideal) characteristics. Since we can't be there to hand-hold every single player and players often run with concepts in directions we hadn't planned, I'm trying to focus on concepts and characteristics that make the Paladin more fun for EVERYONE involved, including your fellow players and the GM.



What are my resources in the scenario? What are my level range and skills? The problem here is that there are still too many options. We'd need to narrow down the scenario a lot before I could determine what I felt best. Do I have legal authority to stop him? I mean it is a city, and those have laws, so there's an added wrinkle that I wouldn't have in a dungeon or a wilderness. Does the city want him dead or arrested, as far as the good rulership would go?
I left most of that blank because I wanted to see what direction you'd head in, and because the encounter is scaleable in terms of power. The ganglord can be everything from a simple thug to a mind-melting sorcerer. In terms of resources lets say you can recruit 2-4 other people of your choice of class so you can form your standard adventuring party, if that's important to you. Whoever you get though, a simple frontal assault will likely fail- the ganglord (lets give him a name, how about Tom?) simply has more firepower than you do, and a heckuva lot more bodies to throw into the meatgrinder (and presumably less qualms about doing so).

The next bit can be your first test though- suppose the Chief of Police (we'll call him Fred) deputizes you (and your party) so that you can legally act within the boundaries of the city. Fred is convinced that the world is better off with Tom dead; if you drive him away he'll simply come back once you've left or try this same schtick elsewhere, and if you arrest him the city will probably just execute him anyhow.

But then the regent (who's name is Larry) gets wind of the Fred's plan and sends you a message. It reads (approximately) "Oh god please no! If you try to stop him and fail things will get even worse for us! Do you know what Tom has threatened to do to me? To my family? Thank you very much for your concern, but please just leave. We'll get through this...somehow."
So do you "respect legitimate authority" and walk away?


The reverse is true though as well. Without an antagonistic DM who bends the rules against the Paladin, falling is rarely a concern. The only kind of no-win scenario you could create where a Paladin might fall results from a lot of contrivance, and therefore is as haynecked as a scenario where the DM wins every time.
How contrived are we talking here? It's not that far-fetched IMO for a world filled with violence and evil to create situations without a perfect solution. I'll describe something, you tell me where it starts feeling contrived or when people/monsters act out of character.

You, as a paladin, have agreed to escort the princess of one kingdom to another kingdom in time for her marriage. It's the typical end-of-years-of-war peace-for-our-land joining-of-these-two-houses blah blah blah you get the picture. Does this seem like something a paladin would do?

Along the way, you get captured by orcs. Doesn't really matter how- maybe the GM really thought you'd go through the Mountains of Mourning instead of across the Plains of Purgatory, but you didn't stop to check for reconnaissance before heading out, so you missed all those plot-relevant hints he was planning to drop from the cryptic old man in the tavern. So the GM has to scramble to come up with a random encounter and thanks to bad rolls, bad tactics, or even just a miscalculated Challenge Rating you lost the fight. And the GM couldn't bring himself to fudge 20 orcs spontaneously dropping dead.

But now the GM has to invent on the fly a reason both for the orcs to be here in the first place and for not executing you. So he says....that orcs are looking for the Sword of Gruumsh! Yeah that works. (Confession time- I like world-building where stuff happens AROUND the players they they aren't necessarily involved in. I think it adds a sense of depth and scale.) But whatever- your quest has managed to put it's foot right in a big steaming pile of someone else's quest.

The Orc leader has you dragged before him, you've been disarmed, you party is out of spells, etc etc etc. He says "You look like a seasoned adventurer, probably been around the world a few times- if you know anything about the ancient artifact I'm searching for I might have a reason to let you live. If not, well..." And he does the drag-finger-across-throat motion because why would we abandon cliche at this point?

So you've got very limited time to make a choice of:

A) Tell the truth- that you don't have a clue what he's talking about. Then you'll die, your party will die, the princess dies, land plunged back into war yada yada yada.

B) Lie- tell the orc you can lead him to the sword to try and buy time for an escape or something else. Assuming of course it's not all for naught anyway- the Orc COULD just be yanking your chain because he's a ****, so you'll have to decide if you want to take the chance.

C) What's your "third option"?


Now, maybe you'll call this contrived. Personally it all seems entirely reasonable to me. In games I've played, players go in unexpected directions. GMs sometimes have to think quickly and don't always have the best backstory prepped. Stuff happens that puts you in a bad situation despite everyone's best intentions. And I like all player-classes to have the flexibility to deal with bad scenarios without suffering crippling penalties for it.

AMFV
2016-05-26, 10:37 AM
First, real-world laws can and sometimes are totally nonsensical.
Second, we're not talking about the real world anyway, unless maybe you're playing d20 modern; this is high-fantasy.
Third, I want to construct a game-world where the rules make sense on a broad scale, and if your underlying motivation is that "it's cruel" you have to allow that there are also situations where poison might be able to avert cruelty. A cloud of poisonous gas that causes everyone in the area to die choking on their own lungs? Sure, that's bad. A poison that causes a single target to die quietly in their sleep- arguably less cruel than stabbing them to death.
Finally, which real-world rules are we applying? Not everyone subscribes to the Geneva convention, and in many places for most of history things like corporal punishment and torture were valid legal tools.


See the "real world rules are sometimes nonsensical" bit above.


Certainly true. But that doesn't mean that this one is, particularly since it's been applied to a lot more conventions than just this one. Now I'm not arguing for the use of poisons or against it. Only saying that having a rule forbidding it isn't necessarily ridiculous or nonsensical. This is why determining the reasoning behind the rule is so crucial.

Poison use, unlike torture or corporal punishment (still allowed in most places, by the way) has been forbidden or at the very least considered significantly distasteful for a much longer part of our history, over a much wider area.



Yes, but again players will want to know WHY, and "because I said so" or "because that's the way the real world does it" are bad arguments. People don't like them- they are playing fantasy to get AWAY from reality.


I'm saying that the thing to do is to figure out the why's beforehand, that was literally the first thing I said. And it doesn't necessarily need to mean that I would say, "because that's how it is in the real world", I would use that response if somebody said "but that's absurd", which is what I did, banning poison use is not particularly absurd, or unusual. Now you might think that's not a very good judgement, but it isn't a particularly unusual one.



No, it's because I recognize that there are different types of people in the world who may want to play different types of Paladins. I'm trying to make the class more fun for a broader range of players.

And there are people who want to play Wizards who don't memorize spells and cast them by the virtue of their blood. Once you chance the fundamentals you have a different class. Which is not in and of itself, a bad thing, but it does change the class completely.



Agreed, but when you've got a strict moral code that doesn't seem to allow for much nuance IMO. It's the flexibility and the personal judgement that cause the most self-reflection and debate. What are the ends and the means? Does this justify it? How can I work around this obstacle? What will everyone else think? etc etc etc.


I disagree entirely here. Strict moral codes allow for far more nuance than people give them credit for. After all systems of jurisprudence with few laws and a lot of judgement calls tend not to be all that developed. Whereas systems of jurisprudence with extensive laws, have many many many lengthy discussions about exactly how to interpret them. The same is true of moral systems.

After all, look at any debate on any legal document and the meaning of words and sentences and the placement of commas, those are big deals, and they lead to a lot more debate and discussion than just going with your gut. Although there are advantages to that as well, but it is certainly not likely to inspire the same level of complexity.



strike me as being at odds with one another- falling should be rare, atonement and redemption are rarer still. If atonement is easy, then that makes me care about the code far LESS.


I don't think that's necessarily the case, although it's certainly an argument you could make. The Paladin doesn't care about the code because he likes cool powers. The fall is not a problem for him because it's easy to deal with in game terms. I make the fall easy for the player to deal with. The Paladin cares about his code because it's fundamental to his being. Having to violate it is so painful as to be intolerable.

The thing is that the Paladin cares about his code because it's what he believes, not because he's afraid of falling.



I think this is a major source of our disagreement- you hold tighter to the code because if you break it you allow for an easier cleanup. Whereas I allow more flexibility and would say only the more grievous sins would cause you to fall, because if you do then getting back in the saddle will be painful, difficult, and time-consuming.

That's definitely a part of the issue.



I would judge it on a variety of things, including the fact that not every paladin has a special oath that prohibits the use of poison in the first place.


This is true, and I think that's fine. A Paladin can have a different code (I think that's an entirely reasonable thing to do, and something I often do). It's just that if said code involves poison, then I would take that into account.



This is the first time you've indicated (as far as I can tell) that you would take intent into consideration as well- everything you've said up to this point seemed to indicate that you held the Paladin's code to inviolate, without the slightest bit of flexibility or leeway.


As far as actions are concerned, I would say that I hold the code to be inviolate, if the Paladin puts poison on his weapon, he has an issue (although breaking the code once is not enough to fall). Although technically poison use is evil in 3.5 (although that's one that's a little goofy, I'm more okay with poison use being against a code than I am with arguing it's universally evil). But if he uses a weapon that has poison on it without his knowledge I would take it into account.

I would certainly take intent into account as to how difficult the deity makes the atonement. A Paladin who falls trying to do the right thing, is going to have an easier time atoning than one without remorse.



The wasn't really the point- as a GOOD paladin, you are obligated to stop evil, and that is part of your code. And IMO, arguably the more important part. Yes it should all be considered, but if the minutia of your code becomes more important to you than the cause you are championing, you're not a Paladin any more, you're a bureaucrat.

But does me not associating with somebody stop Evil? After all if I'm with them, I can certainly more actively prevent them from doing Evil, and can by my own example redeem them. Not that the association clause is necessarily bad, but that one tends to make the most problems for fun in terms of Paladins in my experience.



Inter-party conflict is itself not bad; I've played a lawful-good character in a party that was 3/5ths chaotic and had at least one member that found it difficult to stay on the heavenly side of neutral. However it seems like Paladins more than any other class take it upon themselves to be the moral-compass of the party and play their character as Obnoxious McPreachyperson.

I feel this is in part because the written material seemed to emphasize the wrong (or at least not the ideal) characteristics. Since we can't be there to hand-hold every single player and players often run with concepts in directions we hadn't planned, I'm trying to focus on concepts and characteristics that make the Paladin more fun for EVERYONE involved, including your fellow players and the GM.


I suspect it's more that the people who play Paladins are the type of people who would want to be moral compasses. So the key is finding a way for them to have that role, without interfering too much with the fun of others.



I left most of that blank because I wanted to see what direction you'd head in, and because the encounter is scaleable in terms of power. The ganglord can be everything from a simple thug to a mind-melting sorcerer. In terms of resources lets say you can recruit 2-4 other people of your choice of class so you can form your standard adventuring party, if that's important to you. Whoever you get though, a simple frontal assault will likely fail- Tom simply has more firepower than you do, and a heckuva lot more bodies to throw into the meatgrinder (and presumably less qualms about doing so).

Well we'd need to get that buttoned down for me to get anywhere with it. Otherwise, it's too big a hypothetical. The difference between, we have to sneak in, or we teleport in and assassinate him is pretty vast.



The next bit can be your first test though- suppose the Chief of Police deputizes you (and your party) so that you can legally act within the boundaries of the city. He is convinced that the world is better off with the ganglord (lets give him a name, how about Tom?) is better off with Tom dead; if you drive him away he'll simply come back once you've left or try this same schtick elsewhere, and if you arrest him the city will probably just execute him anyhow.

Does the Chief have the legal authority to assassinate Tom? Is that considered legally appropriate and acceptable?



But then the regent (who's name is Larry) gets wind of the Chief of Police (we'll call him Fred) 's plan and sends you a message. It reads (approximately) "Oh god please no! If you try to stop him and fail things will get even worse for us! Do you know what Tom has threatened to do to me? To my family? Thank you very much for your concern, but please just leave. We'll get through this...somehow."
So do you "respect legitimate authority" and walk away?

Larry isn't acting as a "legitimate authority", he's violating the laws and the auspices of his position. So no, what Larry says wouldn't have a tremendous bearing on my actions. I might try to get him and his family to safety or protection though, depending on my contacts in the city or outside it.



How contrived are we talking here? It's not that far-fetched IMO for a world filled with violence and evil to create situations without a perfect solution. I'll describe something, you tell me where it starts feeling contrived or when people/monsters act out of character.

You, as a paladin, have agreed to escort the princess of one kingdom to another kingdom in time for her marriage. It's the typical end-of-years-of-war peace-for-our-land joining-of-these-two-houses blah blah blah you get the picture. Does this seem like something a paladin would do?

Along the way, you get captured by orcs. Doesn't really matter how- maybe the GM really thought you'd go threw the Mountains of Mourning instead of across the Plains of Purgatory, but you didn't stop to check for reconnaissance before heading out, so you missed all those plot-relevant hints he was planning to drop from the cryptic old man in the tavern. So the GM has to scramble to come up with a random encounter and thanks to bad rolls, bad tactics, or even just a miscalculated Challenge Rating you lost the fight. And the GM couldn't bring himself to fudge 20 orcs spontaneously dropping dead.

But now the GM has to invent on the fly a reason both for the orcs to be here in the first place and for not executing you. So he says....that orcs are looking for the Sword of Gruumsh! Yeah that works. (Confession time- I like world-building where stuff happens AROUND the players they they aren't necessarily involved in. I think it adds a sense of depth and scale.) But whatever- your quest has managed to put it's foot right in a big steaming pile of someone else's quest.

The Orc leader has you dragged before him, you've been disarmed, you party is out of spells, etc etc etc. He says "You look like a seasoned adventurer, probably been around the world a few times- if you know anything about the ancient artifact I'm searching for I might have a reason to let you live. If not, well..." And he does the drag-finger-across-throat motion because why would we abandon cliche at this point?

So you've got very limited time to make a choice of:

A) Tell the truth- that you don't have a clue what he's talking about. Then you'll die, your party will die, the princess dies, land plunged back into war yada yada yada.

B) Lie- tell the orc you can lead him to the sword to try and buy time for an escape or something else. Assuming of course it's not all for naught anyway- the Orc COULD just be yanking your chain because he's a ****, so you'll have to decide if you want to take the chance.

C) What's your "third option"?

How does telling him improve my situation? The Orc just lets us go because he's really the good sort of murderer, the jolly kind who keeps his bargains. I have no reason at all to assume his honesty (he is after all willing to murder strangers for information). So that pretty much means that telling him isn't really any better than not telling him, since it doesn't actually help me. It doesn't improve my scenario or save my friends.

A much better option would be to try to fight your way out, yes, you'll probably die. But it's a helluva lot better shot than trusting a random murderer to keep their word. I wouldn't violate my code for that, not because it's a poor thing to do, but because it's unlikely to be effective or help with anything. I would try to fight. That's the third option (and the more noble I would say).

And frankly lying here is worse, there is literally about zero chance that the Orc is going to let you go till he verifies your info. And it's entirely possible that the whole thing is a test (to see if you are worth asking other questions). So lying gets you just as dead as the truth, it just takes slightly longer, and now not only has it taken longer, but you've violated your code, and you're dead.

OldTrees1
2016-05-26, 11:17 AM
How do actual at-the-table discussions about morals and ethics typically go? I mean discussions that don't purely discuss pragmatic concerns.

Is not having fun key to finding what is fun? Am I going off topic?


I only have a small anecdotal sampling so what I say next might be inaccurate in some cases:

In high school I was friends with several others that were philosophically inclined. Ran quite the gambit of positions too. Frequently our out of game discussion focused on exploring/explaining each other's positions/views. In game our characters frequently had personalities that were akin or at least compatible with our own ethics. Just like with amoral characters, when we came to a situation we talked as a group to decide how we should approach the situation. With pragmatic concerns this would be finding the approach that satisfied everyone's ends while managing risk and maximizing reward. With moral concerns this would be finding the approach that satisfied all the ethics as much as possible. Sort of like practicing what we already know of each other through these examples cases. Just like with pragmatic concerns this can split the party for a short period before regrouping. But the key to the discussion was that we were on each other's side and the goal was a solution that satisfied as many as possible. Coincidentally most of the ethics I have learned about (via asking people) have lots and lots of overlap in the morally superogatory category.

Summary: We encounter a circumstance and decide as a group how to proceed (either together, or rarely as multiple teams). Suicidal fighting for what is right was always a good backup plan.

I think asking how to find out what is fun is going off topic. I trust you have at least a sufficient answer to that question although I expect it is likely a very good answer to how to find out what is fun.

Deepbluediver
2016-05-26, 11:41 AM
Now I'm not arguing for the use of poisons or against it. Only saying that having a rule forbidding it isn't necessarily ridiculous or nonsensical. This is why determining the reasoning behind the rule is so crucial.
Ok, so what IS the reasoning behind it then? If it's "because poison is cruel" well lots of things that are cruel are still allowed, as you pointed out.

Chucking bombs at soldiers isn't against the rules, but filling the trenches with a gas that makes everyone quietly lie down and go to sleep (and never wake up) is. Explain that one to me.


banning poison use is not particularly absurd, or unusual. Now you might think that's not a very good judgement, but it isn't a particularly unusual one.
Fine, it's not unusual, but banning something just because everyone else does it doesn't show any particular great wisdom, which is something a paladin IS supposed to do.


And there are people who want to play Wizards who don't memorize spells and cast them by the virtue of their blood. Once you chance the fundamentals you have a different class. Which is not in and of itself, a bad thing, but it does change the class completely.
I'd rather have fewer, broader classes than 100 minutely-differentiated specialists. Are you aware of the Tier-list for 3.5? "Just like class X except for one thing" is how we ended up with a whole bunch of classes that lack serious power, and in many cases aren't very fun to play. And I won't even get into PrCs because that's the same problem just magnified.


I disagree entirely here. Strict moral codes allow for far more nuance than people give them credit for. After all systems of jurisprudence with few laws and a lot of judgement calls tend not to be all that developed. Whereas systems of jurisprudence with extensive laws, have many many many lengthy discussions about exactly how to interpret them. The same is true of moral systems.

After all, look at any debate on any legal document and the meaning of words and sentences and the placement of commas, those are big deals, and they lead to a lot more debate and discussion than just going with your gut. Although there are advantages to that as well, but it is certainly not likely to inspire the same level of complexity.
One of the key aspects of a system of laws is that the law has to be knowable- a major problem with many modern (western) legal systems is that the laws and regulations have gotten so numerous and obtuse that people can't tell if they are actually committing a crime (particular with the financial world). That's what's generating a lot of this so-called discussion.

I don't give paladins laws, I give them guidelines. Your ethical Fighter can and will lie for the greater good- that's your consequentialism at work. A Paladin doesn't LIKE to lie if at all possible, but they can. And if they are chastised by a god, it's not for lying, but for being put into a situation where they felt it necessary to lie. The failure is not the lie but a lack of preparation and foresight.


I would certainly take intent into account as to how difficult the deity makes the atonement. A Paladin who falls trying to do the right thing, is going to have an easier time atoning than one without remorse.
Fair enough, I guess. I'd rather just make falling a lot harder in the first place.


But does me not associating with somebody stop Evil? After all if I'm with them, I can certainly more actively prevent them from doing Evil, and can by my own example redeem them. Not that the association clause is necessarily bad, but that one tends to make the most problems for fun in terms of Paladins in my experience.
That's kind of my point- with this, as with other things, being a paladin means the gods trust YOUR judgement on the matter.


I suspect it's more that the people who play Paladins are the type of people who would want to be moral compasses. So the key is finding a way for them to have that role, without interfering too much with the fun of others.
Yes, and part of that IMO is de-emphasizing the stick-in-the-mud-code part of the Paladin.





Well we'd need to get that buttoned down for me to get anywhere with it. Otherwise, it's too big a hypothetical. The difference between, we have to sneak in, or we teleport in and assassinate him is pretty vast.
Assume that, at least initially, a direct fight is not likely to succeed no matter the circumstances- it's to simplistic a solution and Tom is never far from help. If you have, imagine that Tom has gotten his hands on an anti-teleport artifact, like the Dreamspike from Wheel of Time.


Does the Chief have the legal authority to assassinate Tom? Is that considered legally appropriate and acceptable?
Yes and no- assassination is not usually a legally sanctioned law-enforcement tool, however is someone dies while resisting arrest, no one will fault you for it (and Tom will most definitely resist). This is a legal grey-area, because our fantasy world is not always so cleanly cut into black and white.


Larry isn't acting as a "legitimate authority", he's violating the laws and the auspices of his position. So no, what Larry says wouldn't have a tremendous bearing on my actions. I might try to get him and his family to safety or protection though, depending on my contacts in the city or outside it.
Why do you assume Larry isn't a "legitimate authority"? There is a police force and laws, but the king (or in this case the king's representative- the regent (technically the crown-prince's representative :smallwink:)) is the ultimate arbiter of the law and can decide when, where, and how it is applied.
Our fantasy world doesn't necessarily operate under the same constitutional framework that a modern real-world society does.



How does telling him improve my situation? The Orc just lets us go because he's really the good sort of murderer, the jolly kind who keeps his bargains. I have no reason at all to assume his honesty (he is after all willing to murder strangers for information). So that pretty much means that telling him isn't really any better than not telling him, since it doesn't actually help me. It doesn't improve my scenario or save my friends.

A much better option would be to try to fight your way out, yes, you'll probably die. But it's a helluva lot better shot than trusting a random murderer to keep their word. I wouldn't violate my code for that, not because it's a poor thing to do, but because it's unlikely to be effective or help with anything. I would try to fight. That's the third option (and the more noble I would say).
I just said that you can buy time. You already tried fighting and it didn't work- you certainly can't give it another shot at the very least until you've had time to recharge and get your gear back.

The orc isn't likely to just let you go, but if he has to keep you alive for a while that's a chance for the orcs guarding you to get bored and sloppy, for a rescue party to catch up, for something else to happen that you can use to your advantage, etc.

In fact if you want to metagame, I'd say there is a very high chance of something like that happening specifically because the GM obviously isn't trying to kill you right away. They are offering you a (possible) way out of the sticky situation. Do you take it or just throw it back in their face?


And frankly lying here is worse, there is literally about zero chance that the Orc is going to let you go till he verifies your info. And it's entirely possible that the whole thing is a test (to see if you are worth asking other questions). So lying gets you just as dead as the truth, it just takes slightly longer, and now not only has it taken longer, but you've violated your code, and you're dead.
Lying is a chance, yes, there are no guarantees of the outcome one way or the other. The question is, do you consider that chance worth all the lives of people who certainly die if you don't.

AMFV
2016-05-26, 12:04 PM
Ok, so what IS the reasoning behind it then? If it's "because poison is cruel" well lots of things that are cruel are still allowed, as you pointed out.


I would argue that things that are cruel are NOT allowed. Stabbing somebody isn't necessarily cruel, only if it is done with intent to cause undue pain.



Fine, but banning something just everyone else does it doesn't show any particular great wisdom, which is something a paladin IS supposed to do.


The Paladin generally isn't responsible for developing his own code, rather for following it. If the Paladin were banning poison use of his own accord, then he might need more justification. Because it is against the code is sufficient reason.



I'd rather have fewer, broader classes than 100 minutely-differentiated specialists. Are you aware of the Tier-list for 3.5? "Just like class X except for one thing" is how we ended up with a whole bunch of classes that lack serious power, and in many cases aren't very fun to play. And I won't even get into PrCs because that's the same problem just magnified.


Well the problem is that at that point you start losing what a Paladin even is. The less defined you make the class, the less substantial the differences are.



One of the key aspects of a system of laws is that the law has to be knowable- a major problem with many modern (western) legal systems is that the laws and regulations have gotten so numerous and obtuse that people can't tell if they are actually committing a crime (particular with the financial world). That's what's generating a lot of this so-called discussion.


Hardly true, the most complex discussions are about the simplest matters of law. Look at any Supreme Court Case that deals with the Bill of Rights, and you'll the same. Those are all relatively simple laws, and they dominate for the most part, the discussion about how laws should be implemented. The simplest matters are often more complicated at least for interpretation than the most complex.



I don't give paladins laws, I give them guidelines. Your ethical Fighter can and will lie for the greater good- that's your consequentialism at work. A Paladin doesn't LIKE to lie if at all possible, but they can. And if they are chastised by a god, it's not for lying, but for being put into a situation where they felt it necessary to lie. The failure is not the lie but a lack of preparation and foresight.


I'm actually arguing against consequentialism, and for deontology. I would say that if you reduce the code to preferences, then it loses literally any meaning at all. It's again, just a principled fighter. And that's hardly worth a Paladin, at least to my mind.



Fair enough, I guess. I'd rather just make falling a lot harder in the first place.


By essentially removing all of the "Law" aspects of the code and reducing it to a set of base guidelines. That makes again, a principled fighter, not a Paladin. You can't remove the core of a Paladin, you can't remove the Good and have them remain a Paladin, likewise you can't remove the Law and have them remain a Paladin.



That's kind of my point- with this, as with other things, being a paladin means the gods trust YOUR judgement on the matter.


Which doesn't give me carte blanche to do as I like. I'm a Paladin, my judgement on the matter is that my code should be followed. But a big part of it is that the association bit doesn't actually occur in the Code of Conduct, and tend to be one of the things that I remove as a DM. At least in most cases. If a Paladin keeps that and makes it part of their code, then yes, I hold them to it.



Yes, and part of that IMO is de-emphasizing the stick-in-the-mud-code part of the Paladin.


Clearly, though, there are people who feel differently. I feel that playing a Paladin without the code isn't even playing a Paladin at all. For me the only fun way to play a Paladin is with the code, that's the entire draw of the class for me.





Assume that, at least initially, a direct fight is not likely to succeed no matter the circumstances- it's to simplistic a solution and Tom is never far from help. If you have, imagine that Tom has gotten his hands on an anti-teleport artifact, like the Dreamspike from Wheel of Time.


Again, we'd need to determine the exact logistics, or else it's all air.



Yes and no- assassination is not usually a legally sanctioned law-enforcement tool, however is someone dies while resisting arrest, no one will fault you for it (and Tom will most definitely resist). This is a legal grey-area, because our fantasy world is not always so cleanly cut into black and white.


I refuse the job. Period. A Paladin does not participate in illegal assassinations. Yes, Tom might cause more harm, but it isn't a result of what I'm doing, it's a result of what Tom's doing. Unless I have legal means to arrest him, pretty clearly we're going into a situation where the rules aren't in my favor, and where there are agendas that are wholly evil.



Why do you assume Larry isn't a "legitimate authority"? There is a police force and laws, but the king (or in this case the king's representative- the regent (technically the crown-prince's representative :smallwink:)) is the ultimate arbiter of the law and can decide when, where, and how it is applied.
Our fantasy world doesn't necessarily operate under the same constitutional framework that a modern real-world society does.

He's an illegitimate authority because he is violating the auspices of his office. Not because he's deciding how the law should be implemented. Of course if he has absolute authority in this case, and told me to leave. I probably would. It isn't my responsibility as a Paladin to go around murdering gang-lords. As a matter of fact, that's completely contrary to it. If I were a DM and a Paladin participated in that sort of assassination. They would fall, hard.






I just said that you can buy time. You already tried fighting and it didn't work- you certainly can't give it another shot at the very least until you've had time to recharge and get your gear back.

I certainly CAN give it another shot, you can fight as long as you can draw breath, that's what a Paladin should do when the lives of his friends are on the line, and the only way he can save them with any sureness is to win.



The orc isn't likely to just let you go, but if he has to keep you alive for a while that's a chance for the orcs guarding you to get bored and sloppy, for a rescue party to catch up, for something else to happen that you can use to your advantage, etc.


That's me wagering my code on a potentially lucky circumstance later. No, I wouldn't do that.



In fact if you want to metagame, I'd say there is a very high chance of something like that happening specifically because the GM obviously isn't trying to kill you right away. They are offering you a (possible) way out of the sticky situation. Do you take it or just throw it back in their face?


Not a very good way, and one that involves me having problems. If the DM is trying to set this scenario up, he's done so poorly. I'd fight till they knocked me unconscious and then one of my party members can do the lying.



Lying is a chance, yes, there are no guarantees of the outcome one way or the other. The question is, do you consider that chance worth all the lives of people who certainly die if you don't.

No, because the chance of saving them is so minuscule as to be almost worthless. I might certainly try to stall. But directly telling a lie is worse than that, because again, odds are high that he is just trying to find out if I'm going to lie, that's usually the first and most critical step in interrogating somebody.

Honest Tiefling
2016-05-26, 12:09 PM
Personally, I think stepping away from the code is better for the paladin. The Paladin in game has beings of wisdom that far surpass from varying planes to consult. The player has people of average intelligence of varying stages of drunk/caffeinated to consult.

I would wonder if a more abstract code or a code that can be adjusted as these situations come up (after all, exploration of morality is a completely valid style of storytelling) would be at all useful.

AMFV
2016-05-26, 12:14 PM
Personally, I think stepping away from the code is better for the paladin. The Paladin in game has beings of wisdom that far surpass from varying planes to consult. The player has people of average intelligence of varying stages of drunk/caffeinated to consult.

I would wonder if a more abstract code or a code that can be adjusted as these situations come up (after all, exploration of morality is a completely valid style of storytelling) would be at all useful.

I think there's certainly some use to having more abstract elements to the code. But I also think that it would be not exactly a very lawful thing to have the entirety of the code be abstract. To be fair the standard version contains some abstractions that can used to extrapolate. Actually quite a few abstractions.



A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class abilities if she ever willingly commits an evil act.

Additionally, a paladins 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.

So we have a few concrete things:

Lawful Good Alignment
No Evil Actions
No lying
No cheating
No using poison

And a few abstractions:
No Evil Actions
Act with honor
Respect legitimate authority
Punish those who harm or threaten innocents
Help those in need
No Cheating

So we have only a few rules that are explicitly spelled out, the rest are abstractions. It would be fairly easy to rewrite the code removing the concrete aspects and leaving only the abstractions. Of course the abstractions are likely to cause more trouble at a table. The only argument you're likely to get about not using poison is : "That doesn't make any sense", not "I wasn't using poison, it's more complex." Abstract rules are likely to cause a lot more interpretation dissonance.

OldTrees1
2016-05-26, 12:38 PM
Personally, I think stepping away from the code is better for the paladin. The Paladin in game has beings of wisdom that far surpass from varying planes to consult. The player has people of average intelligence of varying stages of drunk/caffeinated to consult.

I would wonder if a more abstract code or a code that can be adjusted as these situations come up (after all, exploration of morality is a completely valid style of storytelling) would be at all useful.

One example: "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law."

AMFV
2016-05-26, 12:42 PM
One example: "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law."

I think that Kantian ethics are too difficult to put into general practice. Trying to make a character who has to abide by them or fall is probably not the best or easiest thing to do. To be fair, I'm not fond of the Kantian Paladin either, or at least not particularly.

Deepbluediver
2016-05-26, 01:03 PM
I would argue that things that are cruel are NOT allowed. Stabbing somebody isn't necessarily cruel, only if it is done with intent to cause undue pain.
If that's the case then the Geneva convention should really outlaw guns and instead promote the use of dart-guns with some kind of painless toxin.


The Paladin generally isn't responsible for developing his own code, rather for following it. If the Paladin were banning poison use of his own accord, then he might need more justification. Because it is against the code is sufficient reason.
"Because that's the way things are" seems like a terrible rationale for a Paladin. The world is often a terrible place, and it is the Paladin's job to combat that status-quo. They, more than any other class, serve as an example of someone who is both moral and powerful (and effective).

Personally I build worlds where Paladins are rare, almost mythical figures. So while everyone THINKS they know what a paladin is like, no two people every really agree on the details. That's stuff each and every paladin has to figure out for themselves.


Well the problem is that at that point you start losing what a Paladin even is. The less defined you make the class, the less substantial the differences are.
I leave it more up to the player, true, but I still think it's possible for someone to play like a Paladin in a way that feels distinct from other classes. The fighter isn't going to get visions from the gods admonishing him for his behavior. The cleric might serve a single deity, but the Paladin has far more self-direction and a broader scope. None of that requires saying "you MUST have a code and you MUST never break it".


I'm actually arguing against consequentialism, and for deontology. I would say that if you reduce the code to preferences, then it loses literally any meaning at all. It's again, just a principled fighter. And that's hardly worth a Paladin, at least to my mind.
And I'm not arguing for anything in particular. If you can't play a character that feels like a Paladin without having an inviolable code, then you're not playing a paladin very well, you're playing the archetype more like a Judicar.

In addition, a Paladin should have mechanical abilities that are separate and distinct from both the Fighter and the Cleric, so there are in-game reasons for wanting to play a Paladin as well.


By essentially removing all of the "Law" aspects of the code and reducing it to a set of base guidelines. That makes again, a principled fighter, not a Paladin. You can't remove the core of a Paladin, you can't remove the Good and have them remain a Paladin, likewise you can't remove the Law and have them remain a Paladin.
I'm not removing the law- but remember what the PHB says about lawful neutral characters- "She may believe in personal order and live by a code or standard, OR she may believe in order for all and favor a strong, organized government." If, as you've admitted, that we can change the Paladin's code as needed for an individual character, I'd argue that I could make a Paladin without any PERSONAL code at all and not break a single rule.


Which doesn't give me carte blanche to do as I like. I'm a Paladin, my judgement on the matter is that my code should be followed. But a big part of it is that the association bit doesn't actually occur in the Code of Conduct, and tend to be one of the things that I remove as a DM. At least in most cases. If a Paladin keeps that and makes it part of their code, then yes, I hold them to it.
Fine, but what happens when one part of your code clashes with another- suppose you are in a situation like the ones we've been discussing where it is impossible to uphold all the strictures equally at the same time. What then?


Clearly, though, there are people who feel differently. I feel that playing a Paladin without the code isn't even playing a Paladin at all. For me the only fun way to play a Paladin is with the code, that's the entire draw of the class for me.
That's fine, and if YOU want to play your paladin that way, be my guest. But as a CLASS that has to appeal to a broad number of people, there should be room for other people to play paladins somewhat differently.



Again, we'd need to determine the exact logistics, or else it's all air.
Then start throwing out ideas- I've been trying to indicate that I'm pretty open about this.


I refuse the job. Period. A Paladin does not participate in illegal assassinations. Yes, Tom might cause more harm, but it isn't a result of what I'm doing, it's a result of what Tom's doing. Unless I have legal means to arrest him, pretty clearly we're going into a situation where the rules aren't in my favor, and where there are agendas that are wholly evil.
So you'd just walk away and leave an entire city of people to suffer because the paperwork didn't have all the i's dotted and t's crossed? That's the kind of thing that I'd seriously consider making a paladin fall for. Why bother giving you paladin-powers if you're not even going to try?


He's an illegitimate authority because he is violating the auspices of his office. Not because he's deciding how the law should be implemented. Of course if he has absolute authority in this case, and told me to leave. I probably would. It isn't my responsibility as a Paladin to go around murdering gang-lords. As a matter of fact, that's completely contrary to it. If I were a DM and a Paladin participated in that sort of assassination. They would fall, hard.
One of the key characteristics of someone who is lawful-good is "a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly". How does that fit with leaving someone to play petty-tyrant over an entire city? Again it seems to me like you're obeying the letter of the law rather than the spirit of good, and you should be lawful-neutral.




I certainly CAN give it another shot, you can fight as long as you can draw breath, that's what a Paladin should do when the lives of his friends are on the line, and the only way he can save them with any sureness is to win.
I'll tell you how this is going to go down-you struggle for a few moments against your bonds until someone beheads you with an Axe. Congratulations you've achieved nothing. Oh wait actually you've achieved worst than that, because there are going to be several more immediate deaths and then all the additional ones indirectly when the princess doesn't show up where she was going. But at least your precious code isn't smudged, and that's what's important, right?


That's me wagering my code on a potentially lucky circumstance later. No, I wouldn't do that.
Then you're a bad paladin- Paladin's are MADE to go into risky situations and do their best to come out on top regardless. Why did you want to be a paladin? Did you think it was because the universe was going to make things easy and always hand you victory on a silver platter?


Not a very good way, and one that involves me having problems. If the DM is trying to set this scenario up, he's done so poorly.
Yes, that's true. But it's still happening and as a player, it's up to you to make the best of it. DM's are not infallible any more than players are. When you end up in a circumstance like this because of whatever reason, you need to react appropriately. Sometimes even the GM needs help getting things back on the rails.d

Refusing to play along because "my character wouldn't do that" is just as bad as the rogue who won't stop stealing because he thinks that the one and only way to play that archetype, even when it annoys the other players and spoils the plot. Saying "things are effed up, so I'm going to eff them even further up because of reasons" is bad roleplay.
If that's how you play a Paladin, once the party is dead and rerolling I'd veto any further request by you to play that class.


I'd fight till they knocked me unconscious and then one of my party members can do the lying.
Orcs value physical strength, and as the melee-tank you are obviously your party's biggest, toughest member, and therefor the one in charge and best at everything. It doesn't matter if this is true or not, it's what the orcs think, and so it all comes down to you.


No, because the chance of saving them is so minuscule as to be almost worthless. I might certainly try to stall. But directly telling a lie is worse than that, because again, odds are high that he is just trying to find out if I'm going to lie, that's usually the first and most critical step in interrogating somebody.
How do you know the chances or escape are miniscule? Or that the odds are high he'll find out you're lying? You haven't even tried yet.

Red Fel
2016-05-26, 01:04 PM
I think that Kantian ethics are too difficult to put into general practice. Trying to make a character who has to abide by them or fall is probably not the best or easiest thing to do. To be fair, I'm not fond of the Kantian Paladin either, or at least not particularly.

I don't know. I could see a form of the Kantian Paladin working.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-D2R0hQqLDZ0/U0Rv5LRmV8I/AAAAAAAAAcY/ErgNsHwXMLU/s1600/dark+kantian.png

OldTrees1
2016-05-26, 01:06 PM
I think that Kantian ethics are too difficult to put into general practice. Trying to make a character who has to abide by them or fall is probably not the best or easiest thing to do. To be fair, I'm not fond of the Kantian Paladin either, or at least not particularly.

Forget about the fall for a moment and just consider the code. Concrete codes like the one for 3.5e Paladins are usually riddled with contradictions or failures to simulate what they intend to simulate (even Kant is subject to said critique). If you want deviating from the code to result in falling, at least do the Paladin the favor of having a consistent code.

However Kant's statement about only following maxims that one can wish be universalized is more a rule for coming up with rules than the Kantian rules itself.


@Red Fel
Ah, the Dark Kantian parody. :) Fitting that you have seen that.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-26, 01:09 PM
I don't know. I could see a form of the Kantian Paladin working.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-D2R0hQqLDZ0/U0Rv5LRmV8I/AAAAAAAAAcY/ErgNsHwXMLU/s1600/dark+kantian.png



YES.

Very appropriate to this discussion -- links to the full comics.

http://dresdencodak.com/2006/12/03/dungeons-and-discourse/
http://dresdencodak.com/2009/01/27/advanced-dungeons-and-discourse/

Red Fel
2016-05-26, 01:10 PM
@Red Fel
Ah, the Dark Kantian parody. :) Fitting that you have seen that.

"I am compelled to do evil, regardless of its utility."

8BitNinja
2016-05-26, 01:40 PM
Half way there with you. I mostly like 5e (previously I've only played 70's rules DnD, which had explicit behavior restrictions on the class).
5e has three different Paladin "Sacred Oaths" or "Tenets";
Devotion - which is like the "classic" Paladin "Aid others, protect the weak......." etc.,
Ancients - which pretty much has being "fun" be a class requirement!:
"Be a glorious beacon for all who live in despair. Let the light of your joy and courage shine forth in all your deeds."
"Delight in song and laughter, in beauty and art. If you allow the light to die in your own heart, you can't preserve it in the world."
"Where there is good, beauty, love, and laughter in the world, stand against the wickedness that would swallow it......" etc.
And then there is;
Vengeance - "My qualms can't get in the way of exterminating my foes....." etc. Yeah V. P.'s seem like jerks!
Basically, I'd want a D. P. as a friend, be an A. P., and I'd want V. P.'s out fighting evil somewhere that's far, far away!

Then I'm definitely a paladin of devotion every time I play a paladin, I just called it a paladin or pally.

AMFV
2016-05-26, 01:42 PM
If that's the case then the Geneva convention should really outlaw guns and instead promote the use of dart-guns with some kind of painless toxin.

If such a thing existed, they certainly would. But it does not, therefore it's not really a very valid argument. Also guns are about as close to painless as possible when used correctly (it's when used incorrectly that there are problems). Of course it isn't possible to have kind of perfect aim, so perfect usage is impossible.



"Because that's the way things are" seems like a terrible rationale for a Paladin. The world is often a terrible place, and it is the Paladin's job to combat that status-quo. They, more than any other class, serve as an example of someone who is both moral and powerful (and effective).

The status-quo of the world is not the problem. Paladins are following figures who are wholly and completely good, as such they would be wrong to assume that they were better or wiser than the Gods or Light itself.



Personally I build worlds where Paladins are rare, almost mythical figures. So while everyone THINKS they know what a paladin is like, no two people every really agree on the details. That's stuff each and every paladin has to figure out for themselves.


Well that does make it more difficult. But it doesn't mean that you should remove the code, you can keep it in play. Just have it be communicated some other way. That would make it more difficult.



I leave it more up to the player, true, but I still think it's possible for someone to play like a Paladin in a way that feels distinct from other classes. The fighter isn't going to get visions from the gods admonishing him for his behavior. The cleric might serve a single deity, but the Paladin has far more self-direction and a broader scope. None of that requires saying "you MUST have a code and you MUST never break it".


Again that's a Fighter/Cleric. That's not a Paladin. A Paladin's single most defining character aspect is their code. All variations of Paladins include some form of this, the code is what makes a Paladin.



And I'm not arguing for anything in particular. If you can't play a character that feels like a Paladin without having an inviolable code, then you're not playing a paladin very well, you're playing the archetype more like a Judicar.

Hardly, Paladins are defined by their code. The Archetype is so as well. Especially if you examine the medieval knights that are presented as being Paladin material.



I'm not removing the law- but remember what the PHB says about lawful neutral characters- "She may believe in personal order and live by a code or standard, OR she may believe in order for all and favor a strong, organized government." If, as you've admitted, that we can change the Paladin's code as needed for an individual character, I'd argue that I could make a Paladin without any PERSONAL code at all and not break a single rule.


Except the code in the PHB. Paladins aren't just Lawful Good, they are the epitome of it. That's an entirely different thing. You could make a Lawful Good fighter/cleric, which is what you're describing. And that still wouldn't be a Paladin.



Fine, but what happens when one part of your code clashes with another- suppose you are in a situation like the ones we've been discussing where it is impossible to uphold all the strictures equally at the same time. What then?

Then I find a third option or fall. As we're discussing. I don't believe that there are any options where falling is the only option. And I'm going into that in some detail. Again a hostage situation isn't a reasonable one, even the contrived one that you've developed. Also I've not ever seen a situation where one section of the code conflicts with another, could you elaborate on such a scenario?



That's fine, and if YOU want to play your paladin that way, be my guest. But as a CLASS that has to appeal to a broad number of people, there should be room for other people to play paladins somewhat differently.

Paladins AREN'T supposed to appeal to a broad number of people. Any more than the Assassin class is. They're supposed to appeal to a small and specific group of people.




Then start throwing out ideas- I've been trying to indicate that I'm pretty open about this.

I would probably start by trying to grind down his organization. Start arresting the small fish to build a case around him, patrol the areas where he might try reprisals and stop those from happening. Make him stretch himself thinner and make him more odious to the people by forcing him to react aggressively. That would give us more opportunity to arrest him.



So you'd just walk away and leave an entire city of people to suffer because the paperwork didn't have all the i's dotted and t's crossed? That's the kind of thing that I'd seriously consider making a paladin fall for. Why bother giving you paladin-powers if you're not even going to try?

I would determine a non-assassination themed method. If I can't take the man on directly, I would try an indirect method, start to whittle down his organization, start to encourage the people to defend themselves, while giving them training to do so, increasing my allies. Get other nobles involved. You're wanting a Paladin to do something that is so absolutely evil, that the only class designed around it, is restricted to evil, not even neutral-evil, but outright evil.



One of the key characteristics of someone who is lawful-good is "a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly". How does that fit with leaving someone to play petty-tyrant over an entire city? Again it seems to me like you're obeying the letter of the law rather than the spirit of good, and you should be lawful-neutral.

Being unwilling to assassinate somebody is following the letter of the law instead of the spirit? Absolute hogwash. I am unwilling to illegally assassinate others. I am willing to try to stop his organization through other more legal means though.






I'll tell you how this is going to go down-you struggle for a few moments against your bonds until someone beheads you with an Axe. Congratulations you've achieved nothing. Oh wait actually you've achieved worst than that, because there are going to be several more immediate deaths and then all the additional ones indirectly when the princess doesn't show up where she was going. But at least your precious code isn't smudged, and that's what's important, right?

The deaths aren't my fault. I was captured and threatened with death. I, very reasonably, and logically (as I've demonstrated) assumed that death was going to result from any other course but the one I took. So I took the course that was the least likely to lead to death. Lying has the same snowball's chance in hell of success, so you'd fault me for taking the snowball's chance in hell option that preserves my oath, over violating it for the same kind of tiny chance. That seems a really poor decision.



Then you're a bad paladin- Paladin's are MADE to go into risky situations and do their best to come out on top regardless. Why did you want to be a paladin? Did you think it was because the universe was going to make things easy and always hand you victory on a silver platter?

Okay, did you not read my section about continuing to fight? Until knocked unconscious or killed? That's an equally likely chance of success. So I take the option that doesn't violate my code, instead of taking the same minute chance of life and breaking my code. An extra minute of life isn't worth falling, particularly when I can potentially succeed the other way.



Yes, that's true. But it's still happening and as a player, it's up to you to make the best of it. DM's are not infallible any more than players are. When you end up in a circumstance like this because of whatever reason, you need to react appropriately. Sometimes even the GM needs help getting things back on the rails.d


If so then the DM should stop the game and discuss the matter. It's an out-of-game issue, it shouldn't need to be resolved in the game. Period. I would suggest if the DM did stop the game, that my character be knocked unconscious, or that another character talks over mine.



Refusing to play along because "my character wouldn't do that" is just as bad as the rogue who won't stop stealing because he thinks that the one and only way to play that archetype, even when it annoys the other players and spoils the plot. Saying "things are effed up, so I'm going to eff them even further up because of reasons" is bad roleplay.
If that's how you play a Paladin, once the party is dead and rerolling I'd veto any further request by you to play that class.

Things are 'effed up, I chose an in-character option that would not lead to things being any more 'effed up. That's not bad roleplay that's just regular roleplay. Certainly I might die. But that's what's going to happen regardless. Unless again the DM stops the game and tells me point blank that he's misplanned the scenario here.



Orcs value physical strength, and as the melee-tank you are obviously your party's biggest, toughest member, and therefor the one in charge and best at everything. It doesn't matter if this is true or not, it's what the orcs think, and so it all comes down to you.


Whelp, I keep fighting so it isn't really relevant to the whole scenario. Unless I have a solid chance at surviving, and I don't then breaking my code isn't even an option.



How do you know the chances or escape are miniscule? Or that the odds are high he'll find out you're lying? You haven't even tried yet.

Obvious deduction, from the reasoning I explained before. I went into the details, in my earlier posts. I don't see what you'd want me to do, as I have sound reasoning, and a sound belief that he would be lying.



Forget about the fall for a moment and just consider the code. Concrete codes like the one for 3.5e Paladins are usually riddled with contradictions or failures to simulate what they intend to simulate (even Kant is subject to said critique). If you want deviating from the code to result in falling, at least do the Paladin the favor of having a consistent code.

However Kant's statement about only following maxims that one can wish be universalized is more a rule for coming up with rules than the Kantian rules itself.


@Red Fel
Ah, the Dark Kantian parody. :) Fitting that you have seen that.

I don't think that Kant's Maxim is necessarily the best guide for ethical systems. It's certainly one that could be looked at, but I think it tends to fail in it's application. To be fair Paladins' ethics would likely have more in common with religious systems. Or at least such would be more logical to my mind. I personally, like to have several different Paladin orders with differing codes, since that matches more what I assume would be realistic.

Niek
2016-05-26, 01:44 PM
The Paladin is noble. Not in the aristocratic sense, not even necessarily in the moral sense, but in the sense of inviolability. They are the purest embodiment of their ideals made mortal flesh. They do not compromise and they do not cut corners, but neither will they hesitate or allow a greater evil to triumph over a lesser one in pursuit of a perfect solution that may not exist. They are bold and glorious, but always in service of their cause rather than themselves. They know exactly who they are and are ever honest to themself, and will spend themself in a moment if it would achieve more good or spare more harm than not to.

The Paladin is rare, for most do not have the fortitude to maintain one's mindset for long.

8BitNinja
2016-05-26, 01:45 PM
Dart Guns with toxin exist as a conventional weapon that could go head to head with an AR-15?

Oh, totally forgot

http://www.tf2tightrope.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/blutsaugersm.jpg

OldTrees1
2016-05-26, 01:47 PM
I don't think that Kant's Maxim is necessarily the best guide for ethical systems. It's certainly one that could be looked at, but I think it tends to fail in it's application. To be fair Paladins' ethics would likely have more in common with religious systems. Or at least such would be more logical to my mind. I personally, like to have several different Paladin orders with differing codes, since that matches more what I assume would be realistic.

Are you trying to have the code resemble the Knights Templar or have the code resemble moral excellence? Because the more you separate the code from moral excellence the more frequently breaking the code is what one ought to do. Personally I advise against making a class where the moral action is to fall. Thus I recommend rooting Paladins in philosophy rather than rooting them in dogma.

AMFV
2016-05-26, 01:51 PM
Are you trying to have the code resemble the Knights Templar or have the code resemble moral excellence? Because the more you separate the code from moral excellence the more frequently breaking the code is what one ought to do. Personally I advise against making a class where the moral action is to fall.

I'll be honest, I still don't think there's a scenario where the moral action with even the base Paladin code is to fall. Again as we've discussed with the hostage scenario, falling doesn't really do you any good, it doesn't save anybody, only for a brief second. At that point the Paladin should find another option. And we'd have to account the good the Paladin will do later (if we're being consequentialist), into the equation.

I would personally as I said, be most likely to find codes that resemble religious ones, probably religious ones that I consider to be morally excellent, but I won't go into too much detail about which ones those are. I think that it's difficult to separate a Paladin from the religious aspect, so instead of separating it, I dive into it. I try to figure out what that deity would want from their warriors, what might their doctrines be.

Basically I add additional precepts to the ones already present, and that actually adds quite a bit of clarity to the situation.

I have no general objection to Kantian ethics, it's just that I find them to be less easy to apply in practice and more generally unwieldy. The universal maxim thing requires a great deal of thought experimentation be done before you can reasonably do anything, and that can be problematic.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-26, 01:59 PM
If you pre-define "good" or "moral" literally as "follows the rules", then yeah, of course there's no way to follow the code and fall due to failure to "to the moral thing". I've seen rules fail to actually do the right thing, by intent or by outcome, so many times, that I find any such notion a trigger for bitter laughter.

AMFV
2016-05-26, 02:11 PM
If you pre-define "good" or "moral" literally as "follows the rules", then yeah, of course there's no way to follow the code and fall due to failure to "to the moral thing". I've seen rules fail to actually do the right thing, by intent or by outcome, so many times, that I find any such notion a trigger for bitter laughter.

That isn't how I define Good or moral... but let's play for a bit here, how do you define them, in terms of the game?

Also, there still isn't a scenario where you can guarantee a good outcome by breaking your code. If a villain says, "FALL OR I KILL EVERYBODY", you falling is not going to stop somebody who is willing to kill everybody for something minor from doing it anyways. There's no moral imperative to fall in either system, since the net result is still the same.

Deepbluediver
2016-05-26, 02:14 PM
If such a thing existed, they certainly would. But it does not, therefore it's not really a very valid argument.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvy7gJdufEU
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2707/whats-the-fastest-acting-most-lethal-poison

Now combine the two.


Also guns are about as close to painless as possible when used correctly (it's when used incorrectly that there are problems). Of course it isn't possible to have kind of perfect aim, so perfect usage is impossible.
Then shouldn't there be a "perfect" use of poison, too?


The status-quo of the world is not the problem. Paladins are following figures who are wholly and completely good, as such they would be wrong to assume that they were better or wiser than the Gods or Light itself.
Except that Paladins are not gods and they people they interact with are not gods- the paladin is what brings the HUMAN(oid) element into the equations.


Again that's a Fighter/Cleric. That's not a Paladin. A Paladin's single most defining character aspect is their code. All variations of Paladins include some form of this, the code is what makes a Paladin.
...
Hardly, Paladins are defined by their code. The Archetype is so as well. Especially if you examine the medieval knights that are presented as being Paladin material.
I disagree- a Paladin's defining characteristic is their determination to fight evil. That's why they have a class ability that is called "Smite Evil" and not "Smite Chaos". When you stop fighting evil just because you can't do it on your terms, you're no longer a Paladin.

Furthermore, the Knight class in 3.5 also has a rigid adherence to a personal code. Some versions of their eastern counterpart, the Samurai, might as well- I don't recall offhand.


Except the code in the PHB. Paladins aren't just Lawful Good, they are the epitome of it. That's an entirely different thing. You could make a Lawful Good fighter/cleric, which is what you're describing. And that still wouldn't be a Paladin.
You can make a Lawful-neutral Fighter or Knight, which is what you're describing, and they still wouldn't be a Paladin.


Again a hostage situation isn't a reasonable one, even the contrived one that you've developed.
How is it not reasonable? What part of it is characters acting our of character or representing something that is unbelievable in a tabletop game?


Also I've not ever seen a situation where one section of the code conflicts with another, could you elaborate on such a scenario?
On the previous page you outlined your version of the code- although it doesn't explicit say it, I would argue that "defending innocents to the best of your ability" is part of being lawful good. And sometimes that means bending or breaking other parts of the code. If you sacrifice someone's life just because you don't want to tell a lie, that's not lawful, and avenging them afterwards is not enough if you could have saved them.


Paladins AREN'T supposed to appeal to a broad number of people. Any more than the Assassin class is. They're supposed to appeal to a small and specific group of people.
Then we've been playing with different people because I can't think of a single player who never wanted to at least test out the assassin archetype.

The game is supposed to be fun, for EVERYONE- it's not just about one player. The Paladin (and every class for that matter) has to appeal to the group. The way the Paladin was written, it doesn't appeal to most groups.
Imagine if everyone in your party is relying on you to save them, and their characters that they've invested time and effort and emotion into, and you "nope, won't do it". How is that fun for other people?



I would probably start by trying to grind down his organization. Start arresting the small fish to build a case around him, patrol the areas where he might try reprisals and stop those from happening. Make him stretch himself thinner and make him more odious to the people by forcing him to react aggressively. That would give us more opportunity to arrest him.
Ok, a decent idea, but remember that you're just one group, and most of the rest of the police force is at best neutral. You can't be everywhere at once. Take into consideration what might happen in areas where you aren't directly intervening.


I would determine a non-assassination themed method. If I can't take the man on directly, I would try an indirect method, start to whittle down his organization, start to encourage the people to defend themselves, while giving them training to do so, increasing my allies. Get other nobles involved. You're wanting a Paladin to do something that is so absolutely evil, that the only class designed around it, is restricted to evil, not even neutral-evil, but outright evil.
...
Being unwilling to assassinate somebody is following the letter of the law instead of the spirit? Absolute hogwash. I am unwilling to illegally assassinate others. I am willing to try to stop his organization through other more legal means though.
I never said you had to directly assassinate him, nor that that was the only way to get him into a fight, that was you. I said you were following the letter of the law because you seemed prepared leave the city to it's fate just because you hadn't gotten permission first. And because of your quote "it's not a paladin's job to take down ganglords". It's a paladin's job to fight evil, and if Tom isn't evil, then who is?




The deaths aren't my fault. I was captured and threatened with death. I, very reasonably, and logically (as I've demonstrated) assumed that death was going to result from any other course but the one I took. So I took the course that was the least likely to lead to death. Lying has the same snowball's chance in hell of success, so you'd fault me for taking the snowball's chance in hell option that preserves my oath, over violating it for the same kind of tiny chance. That seems a really poor decision.
The way it's presented, I find that the odds of surviving under one course of action are far greater than the other.


Okay, did you not read my section about continuing to fight? Until knocked unconscious or killed? That's an equally likely chance of success.
Since you've already lost one fight under far better circumstance, no, it isn't. The chance of you winning this fight is zero. Any other plan has a higher success rate.


If so then the DM should stop the game and discuss the matter. It's an out-of-game issue, it shouldn't need to be resolved in the game. Period. I would suggest if the DM did stop the game, that my character be knocked unconscious, or that another character talks over mine.
So you'd rather break the pace of the game and disrupt roleplay rather than break character? Again, that doesn't seem to be roleplaying very well. Where's the nuance?


Things are 'effed up, I chose an in-character option that would not lead to things being any more 'effed up. That's not bad roleplay that's just regular roleplay. Certainly I might die. But that's what's going to happen regardless. Unless again the DM stops the game and tells me point blank that he's misplanned the scenario here.
Again, it's not just about you though. At the very least you should care about your fellow players, if not the hypothetical people inhabiting this fantasy world.


Whelp, I keep fighting so it isn't really relevant to the whole scenario. Unless I have a solid chance at surviving, and I don't then breaking my code isn't even an option.
That's my point- you've been given a chance at survival and more than that, a chance to save others as well. You just refuse to take it.

Suppose you stand before Pelor, and he says "explain this- did you really think that your honor was more important than you life, the lives of your companions, and all my other children? Are you that arrogant?"
What's your comeback?


Obvious deduction, from the reasoning I explained before. I went into the details, in my earlier posts. I don't see what you'd want me to do, as I have sound reasoning, and a sound belief that he would be lying.
So, when the orc says "give me a reason to keep you alive" the "obvious deduction" is that there's nothing you can do to survive this encounter?

OldTrees1
2016-05-26, 02:18 PM
That isn't how I define Good or moral... but let's play for a bit here, how do you define them, in terms of the game?

Also, there still isn't a scenario where you can guarantee a good outcome by breaking your code. If a villain says, "FALL OR I KILL EVERYBODY", you falling is not going to stop somebody who is willing to kill everybody for something minor from doing it anyways. There's no moral imperative to fall in either system, since the net result is still the same.

Warning: Assuming the threat is an assertion(will do the action regardless of your choice) rather than a credible threat(will do the action IFF you choose A) only examines the nave case. Continuing to only examine the nave case is damaging to your position.

AMFV
2016-05-26, 02:38 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvy7gJdufEU
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2707/whats-the-fastest-acting-most-lethal-poison

Now combine the two.


There's a LOT of problems with that, which is why police forces don't use poisoned stun darts... Not to mention that poison darts are relatively easy to protect against and don't have near enough range to be effective.



Then shouldn't there be a "perfect" use of poison, too?


I don't believe so, no. Poisons are generally intended to be easy to conceal, not extremely lethal, and generally even the fastest acting tend to be quite nasty in terms of the suffering inflicted. But we're getting lost in the weeds here. The point is this: It is not an unreasonable restriction, we can assume this because it is present in MANY MANY cultures and environments.



Except that Paladins are not gods and they people they interact with are not gods- the paladin is what brings the HUMAN(oid) element into the equations.

Which is why they can be wrong, where the Gods are unlikely to be. So a Paladin should trust the code they give him, even if it feels that his own gut is telling him it's wrong.



I disagree- a Paladin's defining characteristic is their determination to fight evil. That's why they have a class ability that is called "Smite Evil" and not "Smite Chaos". When you stop fighting evil just because you can't do it on your terms, you're no longer a Paladin.

When you violate your code and become somebody who is willing to do whatever it takes, you aren't a Paladin either.



Furthermore, the Knight class in 3.5 also has a rigid adherence to a personal code. Some versions of their eastern counterpart, the Samurai, might as well- I don't recall offhand.

Those are codes that emphasize entirely different things. And are completely different in implementation. Also those classes are essentially Paladin derivatives.



You can make a Lawful-neutral Fighter or Knight, which is what you're describing, and they still wouldn't be a Paladin.

I have NOT once suggested that a Paladin should put law over Good. I have only suggested that a Paladin need not compromise his code in order to good, and I think I've demonstrated fairly handily that this is possible.



How is it not reasonable? What part of it is characters acting our of character or representing something that is unbelievable in a tabletop game?


The fact that you keep insisting that the Orc would spare my life if I just break my code? That's pretty unbelievable to me. I don't believe a villain would respect their promise. And if they're pressuring me to break my code, that's even more the case.



On the previous page you outlined your version of the code- although it doesn't explicit say it, I would argue that "defending innocents to the best of your ability" is part of being lawful good. And sometimes that means bending or breaking other parts of the code. If you sacrifice someone's life just because you don't want to tell a lie, that's not lawful, and avenging them afterwards is not enough if you could have saved them.

And you (and everybody else) has yet to present me with a scenario where my lying is guaranteed to save a life. I mean as long as the big nasty Orc, keeps his word *wink wink*. There is no scenario I can think of, and none that we've been presented with where a Paladin lying would save a life. I would agree that the Paladin should try to save lives, but that shouldn't (and needn't) involve violating the code.



Then we've been playing with different people because I can't think of a single player who never wanted to at least test out the assassin archetype.


I don't. I'm a player.



The game is supposed to be fun, for EVERYONE- it's not just about one player. The Paladin (and every class for that matter) has to appeal to the group. The way the Paladin was written, it doesn't appeal to most groups.
Imagine if everyone in your party is relying on you to save them, and their characters that they've invested time and effort and emotion into, and you "nope, won't do it". How is that fun for other people?



We haven't come up with a scenario where I would not attempt to save people. Just scenarios where you try to shoehorn me into being forced to violate my oath.





Ok, a decent idea, but remember that you're just one group, and most of the rest of the police force is at best neutral. You can't be everywhere at once. Take into consideration what might happen in areas where you aren't directly intervening.


And that would likely still happen in the power vacuum after the gangster was assassinated. A Paladin can't be everywhere at once in any situation. And killing the gang-lord doesn't particularly change that fact, nor the existence of the criminal organization.



I never said you had to directly assassinate him, nor that that was the only way to get him into a fight, that was you. I said you were following the letter of the law because you seemed prepared leave the city to it's fate just because you hadn't gotten permission first. And because of your quote "it's not a paladin's job to take down ganglords". It's a paladin's job to fight evil, and if Tom isn't evil, then who is?

Tom IS evil, but the Paladin also has a responsibility to deal with challenges that they can handle. It isn't the Paladins' job to try to enforce the laws someplace so corrupt that they're trying to have me murder somebody. That isn't a reasonable expectation, the Paladin should try and find another option. Although the way the scenario is framed that seems unlikely.






The way it's presented, I find that the odds of surviving under one course of action are far greater than the other.

And I've outlined why that is not the case, in pretty thorough example throughout.



Since you've already lost one fight under far better circumstance, no, it isn't. The chance of you winning this fight is zero. Any other plan has a higher success rate.


Not so, not if both plans have a 100% or near that failure rate, and they both do.



So you'd rather break the pace of the game and disrupt roleplay rather than break character? Again, that doesn't seem to be roleplaying very well. Where's the nuance?


If the DM wants me to do something out of character, and not only out-of-character but violating the deepest principles of my character, causing me to fall and lose my abilities, then they had best discuss that with me out-of-character. That way we can figure out a good solution to the problem. A DM that puts you into this situation and then won't accept the very reasonable assumption that the Orc is either testing us or is going to kill us anyways, is already railroading pretty heavily.



Again, it's not just about you though. At the very least you should care about your fellow players, if not the hypothetical people inhabiting this fantasy world.

I do, which is why I would stop and discuss the matter OOC.



That's my point- you've been given a chance at survival and more than that, a chance to save others as well. You just refuse to take it.


I don't believe it to be a chance, why do you keep arguing that it's a chance, the Orc has no reason to operate in good faith, why do you insist that he does? And there's as ample a chance that this is a test to see if I'll lie, which is bad.



Suppose you stand before Pelor, and he says "explain this- did you really think that your honor was more important than you life, the lives of your companions, and all my other children? Are you that arrogant?"
What's your comeback?

"The Orc wasn't going to spare me, are you that stupid?" I mean he's a God, so I doubt he'd make the claim you're now making. But I don't think he'd believe my guess was unlikely. I imagine that the Orc would have us killed immediately after extracting information for us. After all our usefulness is done at that point.



So, when the orc says "give me a reason to keep you alive" the "obvious deduction" is that there's nothing you can do to survive this encounter?

The obvious deduction is that he's lying, or testing me to see if I'll lie. In either case either continuing to fight or being honest is still as good an option as any. I would say that the testing scenario is FAR FAR more likely than anything else. Since that's the first thing you do when interrogating a person, establish their reliability, by asking them a question you know the answer to.

Furthermore. Paladins don't lie. The Orc might know this, and so he would realize that you honestly don't know anything about this, and would respect the fact that you were honest, and therefore might try to find another use for you.



Warning: Assuming the threat is an assertion(will do the action regardless of your choice) rather than a credible threat(will do the action IFF you choose A) only examines the nave case. Continuing to only examine the nave case is damaging to your position.

Not so, here is a scenario where we have somebody of established bad character. If I choose to do the thing he asks and he continues to make demands, I have no recourse. Period, the villain is not incentivized in any way to listen to me or keep his word. And he's already proven himself to be of bad character. So why would the better option be to assume that he's being honest, since that is by far the less likely option?

I didn't say that he would do the action either way, I said that was a reasonable assumption, and that assuming that me falling helps matters is a significantly poor assumption. As far as the moral route goes, assuming that he is honest doesn't really wind up with any better positioning. as far as the moral action goes, in the end. And I suspect it winds up with the people still dead in the end.

Is there any good grounds to believe the latter case? Certainly, I can't think of any, if there are then that might be a good place to re-examine the scenario. But at that point we're getting to an absurdist level of contrivance, rather than an actual game scenario.

Edit: Any moral quagmire that involves the exclusion of reasonable conclusions based on the scenario itself, is probably getting to the point of being only really useful as an exercise rather than an actual scenario.

Genth
2016-05-26, 03:11 PM
This is probably a little rude, but to swan in on the 'Orc Sword-seeker' scenario:

Sense Motive exists. If I was playing that Paladin, I would ask for a Sense Motive check, a) to know if the Orc is telling the truth about letting us go/delaying killing us if we give him 'information', and b) to get a sense for how this tribe operates. If it's like most Orc tribes, I'd have the Pallie use Intimidate, not lie. A Paladin who isn't playing the 'murder anything with an evil alignment' character is likely to have decent social stats aside from Bluff.

"What makes you think you deserve this treasure, Cur! You don't have the strength to take me on in a fair fight, you really think you'll hold on to your precious prize for more than a minute before one of these real warriors takes it from you?!" - ensuring that in order to keep in line, the Orc boss will have to permit me to stand and fight properly.

It might help that my major Paladin character is a Half-Orc....

Guess my point is that in truth, I agree with the 'always a third option' viewpoint.. but that that third option usually involves being clever, and some GM leniency. My feelings are that you should decide what the Paladin's code is when you start your character, and stick to it. If the code is 'Do Not Lie', then you accept that you may need to break this code, and atone or be exceptionally clever to find third options. Protip - You don't actually need to fall to Atone. If you spoke a white lie to a child to preserve their innocence, then yes you broke your code, and you should pray for forgiveness. But you also should expect forgiveness.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-26, 03:24 PM
This is probably a little rude, but to swan in on the 'Orc Sword-seeker' scenario:

Sense Motive exists. If I was playing that Paladin, I would ask for a Sense Motive check, a) to know if the Orc is telling the truth about letting us go/delaying killing us if we give him 'information', and b) to get a sense for how this tribe operates. If it's like most Orc tribes, I'd have the Pallie use Intimidate, not lie. A Paladin who isn't playing the 'murder anything with an evil alignment' character is likely to have decent social stats aside from Bluff.

"What makes you think you deserve this treasure, Cur! You don't have the strength to take me on in a fair fight, you really think you'll hold on to your precious prize for more than a minute before one of these real warriors takes it from you?!" - ensuring that in order to keep in line, the Orc boss will have to permit me to stand and fight properly.

It might help that my major Paladin character is a Half-Orc....

Guess my point is that in truth, I agree with the 'always a third option' viewpoint.. but that that third option usually involves being clever, and some GM leniency. My feelings are that you should decide what the Paladin's code is when you start your character, and stick to it. If the code is 'Do Not Lie', then you accept that you may need to break this code, and atone or be exceptionally clever to find third options. Protip - You don't actually need to fall to Atone. If you spoke a white lie to a child to preserve their innocence, then yes you broke your code, and you should pray for forgiveness. But you also should expect forgiveness.

There a major difference between saying "there's usually another option" and saying "there's ALWAYS another option".

OldTrees1
2016-05-26, 03:25 PM
Not so, here is a scenario where we have somebody of established bad character. If I choose to do the thing he asks and he continues to make demands, I have no recourse. Period, the villain is not incentivized in any way to listen to me or keep his word. And he's already proven himself to be of bad character. So why would the better option be to assume that he's being honest, since that is by far the less likely option?

I didn't say that he would do the action either way, I said that was a reasonable assumption, and that assuming that me falling helps matters is a significantly poor assumption. As far as the moral route goes, assuming that he is honest doesn't really wind up with any better positioning. as far as the moral action goes, in the end. And I suspect it winds up with the people still dead in the end.

Is there any good grounds to believe the latter case? Certainly, I can't think of any, if there are then that might be a good place to re-examine the scenario. But at that point we're getting to an absurdist level of contrivance, rather than an actual game scenario.

Edit: Any moral quagmire that involves the exclusion of reasonable conclusions based on the scenario itself, is probably getting to the point of being only really useful as an exercise rather than an actual scenario.

Why are you presuming the villain is stupid enough to make a non credible threat rather than a credible threat? All they need to do is make it so going back on their word has a worse payout for them than keeping their word. As long as you are granting the Paladin a beginner's knowledge of game theory but denying the same to the villain, you are arguing against the nave case. Doing so has harmed your position and continuing to do so will harm it still further.

PS: Yes, I am presuming you know enough game theory to know about how poisoning your own payouts in a sequential game can alter the equilibrium back to your advantage. If my presumption of your knowledge is erroneous, please correct me.

AMFV
2016-05-26, 03:52 PM
Why are you presuming the villain is stupid enough to make a non credible threat rather than a credible threat? All they need to do is make it so going back on their word has a worse payout for them than keeping their word. As long as you are granting the Paladin a beginner's knowledge of game theory but denying the same to the villain, you are arguing against the nave case. Doing so has harmed your position and continuing to do so will harm it still further.

PS: Yes, I am presuming you know enough game theory to know about how poisoning your own payouts in a sequential game can alter the equilibrium back to your advantage. If my presumption of your knowledge is erroneous, please correct me.

Well the villain is attempting to kill an entire city just to make one Paladin fall. This leaves us with a few options:

A.) The Villain is mentally unhinged. If this is the case, then assuming he has knowledge of game theory or is going to behave rationally is a pretty poor plan.

B.) The Paladin falling will be something that will be more advantageous the villain than avoiding being known as somebody who would destroy a city. In which case we can assume that falling is still the wrong course, since the net result will probably be worse.

C.) The Villain is being dishonest, and doesn't intend to give up his leverage. This is the most likely outcome. Yes, if the Paladin uses game theory he'd call the villain's bluff, but that's not really that significant, since the villain can still kill a bunch of people and use them to whatever other ends.


D.) The Villain is honest, this is unlikely for many reasons. Although I suppose it could be possible if he were trying to prove his honesty, or prove that evil could be merciful. But then again, if this were the case he'd be unlikely to follow through on his threat in the first place, since it doesn't really get him anything.

We'd need to know more in order to actually make a solid assumption about the payout for the villain. If the long term payout is nastier than the death of a bunch of people, then falling is still the wrong choice. It is reasonable for the Paladin to make that assumption. Or for the Paladin to try to find an additional way out. Again we're at nearly maximum contrivance here though, this is the sort of situation the villain has to have designed, so it is reasonable to assume that he would have set the long-term payout at something supremely unpleasant.


There a major difference between saying "there's usually another option" and saying "there's ALWAYS another option".

Until somebody can present a scenario where there isn't some form of other third option. Then we must assume that there always is. There is no scenario where you really only have two choices.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-26, 04:02 PM
Until somebody can present a scenario where there isn't some form of other third option. Then we must assume that there always is. There is no scenario where you really only have two choices.


More absolutes and platitudes.

AMFV
2016-05-26, 04:05 PM
More absolutes and platitudes.

Then prove me wrong

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-26, 04:30 PM
Then prove me wrong

You're the one making the absolute claim, you probably should be the one proving it (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophic_burden_of_proof) -- "true until proven otherwise" isn't a standard you're going to get many people to accept.

We've already provided multiple instances in which the absolute claim is untrue, and you have replied (paraphrasing) "that's contrived" or "that's not possible" or "that's unreasonable".

So really, it amounts to you saying "this is absolutely true in any situation that I personally will accept as possible and reasonable".

2D8HP
2016-05-26, 04:55 PM
Then I'm definitely a paladin of devotion every time I play a paladin, I just called it a paladin or pally.Is that like calling a Classic Coke just a "Coke"?
:smallwink:
I admit that except for some less fun RPG's I've mostly played 70's rules D&D/AD&D and some 5e D&D, so I just don't know 2e AD&D or 4e D&D, and I barely know 3/3.5e but when you remove some minor add-on's (Warlocks creep me out) 5e is still old D&D at it's heart. I suspect all "editions" are.
Does the setting have:
Magic?
Swords?
Longbows?
Big Red Dragons sitting on bigger piles of treasure?
Then I want to play that game!
Do I want to play "Nazi's ask Immanuel Kant where Anne Frank is hiding"? No, not really nor would I DM such a scene, I just don't see the "fun" in that (maybe I'm just not educated or mature enough to).
Could I play or DM a "does Sir Gawain keep his word to the Green Knight and act honorably, despite temptation to act otherwise scenario? Well yes but I may decide to use the Pendragon RPG rules instead, but I would be fine rollin' it with DnD.
DnD was made to share a wide variety of stories, from a "Gray Mouser" like roguish character in search of Ale, Gold, and Wonderfully charming temporary companions to a "Galahad" in a quest for the Holy Grail. The conflict (if there is one) is when different people at the table have different goals for what kind of stories they want to share. I don't think that problem is unique to tables where someone wants to play a Paladin. I can recall that way back in the early 1980's I wanted to play a "Paladin" like character (and I have only ever seen a 17 Charisma rolled once using the 3D6 in order method, so no I actually don't remember seeing any Paladins played using 70's rules), so I noticed that half-orcs could be Fighter/Clerics so I decided to play one who had been an orphan raised by saintly types, and would act as a Paladin while hiding his face in a great helm. It didn't work, not because the concept can't be done (when I saw the "Paladin" illustration in the 5e PHB, I saw that I wasn't alone in wanting to play that concept), no the character couldn't be played because the other guys I RPG'd with just wanted to murder-hobo, and since it's a make believe game for fun, that's fine. Different people have different tastes at different times.
In the 90's it seemed everyone else wanted to play "grim, and gritty" "dark" settings which just wasn't for me (I mean Cyberpunk? I can go outside my front door to experience a setting that resembles that!). The trick always remains finding people which enjoy some of the same things you do, but isn't that always the human condition?

AMFV
2016-05-26, 05:39 PM
You're the one making the absolute claim, you probably should be the one proving it (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophic_burden_of_proof) -- "true until proven otherwise" isn't a standard you're going to get many people to accept.

We've already provided multiple instances in which the absolute claim is untrue, and you have replied (paraphrasing) "that's contrived" or "that's not possible" or "that's unreasonable".

So really, it amounts to you saying "this is absolutely true in any situation that I personally will accept as possible and reasonable".

Actually, I've presented third options in all of those scenarios, hell I even have a few for the city dilemma. There has yet to be a scenario where breaking the code was required. Not one, maybe you should reread the previous posts.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-26, 06:45 PM
Actually, I've presented third options in all of those scenarios, hell I even have a few for the city dilemma. There has yet to be a scenario where breaking the code was required. Not one, maybe you should reread the previous posts.

Attempting to rules-lawyer out of the only two possible choices is NOT "presenting a third option".

Again, as actually described -- a character with a "code against killing" is in a situation where he has only a moment to stop someone from unleashing weapon of mass death, and the only options are to kill (or at least very much risk killing) the villain, or let thousands die for the sake of his code. That's it' No other choices. No "but what about... " No third way. Just the choice between his precious code, and the lives of thousands of random innocents.

Making up other options is a dodge, an evasion, an attempt to avoid facing the actual choice at hand.

For the character, there is no "but what if I?" Wait even long enough to ask that question, and BOOM, too late, the weapon is launched.

Deepbluediver
2016-05-26, 07:17 PM
This has been an interesting conversation, AMFV, but I think we're arguing in circles at this point. I'll glad to read anything else you post, but I'm probably not going to keep replying, or get frustrated and say something I regret.

One last though- you might have the more "proper" way to play the Paladin, but I believe I've still got the most fun one.

AMFV
2016-05-26, 07:23 PM
Attempting to rules-lawyer out of the only two possible choices is NOT "presenting a third option".

Again, as actually described -- a character with a "code against killing" is in a situation where he has only a moment to stop someone from unleashing weapon of mass death, and the only options are to kill (or at least very much risk killing) the villain, or let thousands die for the sake of his code. That's it' No other choices. No "but what about... " No third way. Just the choice between his precious code, and the lives of thousands of random innocents.

Making up other options is a dodge, an evasion, an attempt to avoid facing the actual choice at hand.

For the character, there is no "but what if I?" Wait even long enough to ask that question, and BOOM, too late, the weapon is launched.

I knock the bad guy unconscious, using the feats I picked (since you know I built a character around nonviolence, and would therefore take options to make that feasible). Roll a diplomacy check to convince him not to do it, or at the very least to stall. Use a spell to knock him unconscious. Use a spell to damage or break the machine. Physically use whatever I was going to use to kill him on the weapon to disable it. Talk to him whilst one of my allies disables him or the machine. Make a speech so poignant he rejects his wicked ways. Use my knowledge of technology to stop the weapon. Use a miracle from my deity to stop the weapon in mid-air.


This has been an interesting conversation, AMFV, but I think we're arguing in circles at this point. I'll glad to read anything else you post, but I'm probably not going to keep replying, or get frustrated and say something I regret.

One last though- you might have the more "proper" way to play the Paladin, but I believe I've still got the most fun one.

Most fun for you, at least. Not for me, for me I have to have to code or it isn't any fun at all, it's not a Paladin for me. I think that's at least important to acknowledge, for you, what might fun, isn't for others. And for some of us, removing the code removes the essence of being a Paladin.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-26, 07:40 PM
I knock the bad guy unconscious, using the feats I picked (since you know I built a character around nonviolence, and would therefore take options to make that feasible). Roll a diplomacy check to convince him not to do it, or at the very least to stall. Use a spell to knock him unconscious. Use a spell to damage or break the machine. Physically use whatever I was going to use to kill him on the weapon to disable it. Talk to him whilst one of my allies disables him or the machine. Make a speech so poignant he rejects his wicked ways. Use my knowledge of technology to stop the weapon. Use a miracle from my deity to stop the weapon in mid-air.



All of which amounts to trying to game your way out of the dilemma. For every "option" you can try to add, there's a way to say "won't work this time". "But what if" is a two way street...

If you take the time to say even a few words to him or try to stall him, it's too late, he's already pressed the button. If you try to knock him out, he retains consciousness for the half second he needs to press the button. If you hit the weapon, the failsafe kicks in and it activates right there, killing both of you and 1000s of innocent people. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc.


It's already been stated -- you have two options. Nothing on your list is either of those options, and neither option appears on your list.


Every time you try to come up with a way out, you're missing the point. What is more important to the character -- the code, or the people he could save?

AMFV
2016-05-26, 07:52 PM
All of which amounts to trying to game your way out of the dilemma. For every "option" you can try to add, there's a way to say "won't work this time". "But what if" is a two way street...

If you take the time to say even a few words to him or try to stall him, it's too late, he's already pressed the button. If you try to knock him out, he retains consciousness for the half second he needs to press the button. If you hit the weapon, the failsafe kicks in and it activates right there, killing both of you and 1000s of innocent people. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc.


It's already been stated -- you have two options. Nothing on your list is either of those options, and neither option appears on your list.

Why would I be able to kill him any faster than I can knock him unconscious? After all this is an RPG, the two things take roughly the same amount of time and I'm built to be nonviolent?

I hit the machine, using my superior technical knowledge to defeat the failsafe, since I am Batman after all. (In this scenario).

I use a Powerword spell to paralyze him, freezing him so that I can get him away from the weapon. I use knockout gas, rendering him unconscious so that I can get to the weapon.

None of these are me "guessing a way out" these are all valid ways out, and if I'm playing with a DM who is such a total bag of ass that he won't let anything I attempt to do work, I would walk out of the game then and there. So there's a third option for you. Why would I play with somebody who restricts me down to two options, when that's not how real life works, or the game works or anything.

Certainly in real life there are points where lethal force is justified, but if I had taken a vow before God not to use it, I wouldn't.

Deepbluediver
2016-05-26, 08:08 PM
Most fun for you, at least. Not for me, for me I have to have to code or it isn't any fun at all, it's not a Paladin for me. I think that's at least important to acknowledge, for you, what might fun, isn't for others. And for some of us, removing the code removes the essence of being a Paladin.
Sure, but the difference is that you can play your Paladin at my gaming table, while I can't play my Paladin at yours.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-26, 08:22 PM
Why would I be able to kill him any faster than I can knock him unconscious? After all this is an RPG, the two things take roughly the same amount of time and I'm built to be nonviolent?

I hit the machine, using my superior technical knowledge to defeat the failsafe, since I am Batman after all. (In this scenario).

I use a Powerword spell to paralyze him, freezing him so that I can get him away from the weapon. I use knockout gas, rendering him unconscious so that I can get to the weapon.

None of these are me "guessing a way out" these are all valid ways out, and if I'm playing with a DM who is such a total bag of ass that he won't let anything I attempt to do work, I would walk out of the game then and there. So there's a third option for you. Why would I play with somebody who restricts me down to two options, when that's not how real life works, or the game works or anything.

Certainly in real life there are points where lethal force is justified, but if I had taken a vow before God not to use it, I wouldn't.


That IS how real life works. Sometimes, there are not good solutions, only the course of action that stinks the least. There are no miracles, and there's no author or director, and all the comic-book / Hollywood bullcrap doesn't work. The tooth faerie or the spirit of truth or some heroic moment... none of that is going to save the day.


Faced with a situation in which the character can only choose between breaking that vow, or allowing terrible things to happen to innocent people, what does the character choose?

You keep looking at this as a challenge for your character to overcome, when that is missing the point entirely. You keep getting lost in the details, when the details are meaningless -- the specifics of the situation don't matter, the details don't matter.

Only the answer matters.

If you say "he breaks the vow", that's the answer.

If you say "he doesn't break the vow", then that's it, no "but" -- that's the answer.


Once you start demanding details and specifics, you've missed the entire point of the question. What is more important to the character -- his vows, or innocent lives? His vows, or justice? His vows... or doing the right thing?


OldTrees1 (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/member.php?79226-OldTrees1) -- is there a better way to explain what I'm getting at here?

AMFV
2016-05-26, 08:49 PM
That IS how real life works. Sometimes, there are not good solutions, only the course of action that stinks the least. There are no miracles, and there's no author or director, and all the comic-book / Hollywood bullcrap doesn't work. The tooth faerie or the spirit of truth or some heroic moment... none of that is going to save the day.


There are always good solutions. Which is why I was able to come up more than a dozen to your problem, many of which didn't involve breaking my vow or letting innocent people die.

Also. This is a freaking game. It isn't real life. I don't play games because I want to shoot the 13-year old child before he sets up his SVEST and goes into the town square. I've had enough of that mess in real life. I play games because I want to play a character who might be able to get by without killing. As far as it goes D&D is Hollywood/Comic book bullcrap, and my Paladin characters definitely have the tools to avoid being trapped into those options.

The answer is that I am going to save the day. That's the point of Paladins, that's why you give them options, and why you equip them to deal with moral problems. But I would be VERY upset if a DM said "No, you can't do that," without a reason, or just continued to shut down ideas without any actual explanation of why they were shutting down ideas. I would be forced to assume that they were being petty, and as I said leave the game.



Faced with a situation in which the character can only choose between breaking that vow, or allowing terrible things to happen to innocent people, what does the character choose?

You keep looking at this as a challenge for your character to overcome, when that is missing the point entirely. You keep getting lost in the details, when the details are meaningless -- the specifics of the situation don't matter, the details don't matter.


Of course the specifics matter, because my argument is that there's always a third option. If you can come with a scenario that would inviolate that, then we can talk about the moral dynamic. My argument is that going straight to the moral dynamic is missing the point, because it's never only that.



Only the answer matters.

If you say "he breaks the vow", that's the answer.

If you say "he doesn't break the vow", then that's it, no "but" -- that's the answer.


Well then provide me with a legitimate scenario where those are the only two options? Again, I don't believe such a scenario exists. Period. And I've made ample examples of why it shouldn't. Nobody has yet provided me with a scenario where those are the only two options that could not be exploited, or was without error.

If that cannot be, then I must surmise that no such scenario exists.



Once you start demanding details and specifics, you've missed the entire point of the question. What is more important to the character -- his vows, or innocent lives? His vows, or justice? His vows... or doing the right thing?

No, you've missed my point entirely. It's never a question between, my vows as a Paladin, and "doing the right thing", there's always a way to maintain both, if you haven't come up with it you aren't trying to.

And then supposing that you are right, it would depend on the nature of my Paladin's vows, and what kind of person they were. But again, this isn't real life, and there's no situation where you only have two seconds to decide, and can't use your multiple magic items, spells, feats and build options to save the day, that's why a Paladin gets those, and why I pick them.

goto124
2016-05-26, 09:32 PM
How does telling him improve my situation? The Orc just lets us go because he's really the good sort of murderer, the jolly kind who keeps his bargains. I have no reason at all to assume his honesty (he is after all willing to murder strangers for information). So that pretty much means that telling him isn't really any better than not telling him, since it doesn't actually help me. It doesn't improve my scenario or save my friends.

A much better option would be to try to fight your way out, yes, you'll probably die. But it's a helluva lot better shot than trusting a random murderer to keep their word. I wouldn't violate my code for that, not because it's a poor thing to do, but because it's unlikely to be effective or help with anything. I would try to fight. That's the third option (and the more noble I would say).

And frankly lying here is worse, there is literally about zero chance that the Orc is going to let you go till he verifies your info. And it's entirely possible that the whole thing is a test (to see if you are worth asking other questions). So lying gets you just as dead as the truth, it just takes slightly longer, and now not only has it taken longer, but you've violated your code, and you're dead.


Isn't that the base reason for lying in nearly all cases where one would even think of lying, especially for adventurers who encounter life-and-death situations on a daily basis?

Also, for adventurers who encounter life-and-death situations on a daily basis, wouldn't pragmatic concerns (e.g. saving lives, the fates of entire countries or even dimensions) take much bigger precedence over those of morals and ethics? When there're a lot more concrete things to worry about, and such situations are already very hard to resolve even when going by pure pragmatism, thinking about morality gets rather idealistic and short-sighted.

I came imagine a Knight who has to follow by a set of rules placed upon her by a higher authority, and if she gets caught not following those rules she's in for punishment. This one doesn't have to lead to an argument over what actions she takes are 'good' or 'evil', just that if she takes actions that go against the rules, she'll have to hide her actions and/or deal with the consequences.


All of which amounts to trying to game your way out of the dilemma. For every "option" you can try to add, there's a way to say "won't work this time".

If you take the time to say even a few words to him or try to stall him, it's too late, he's already pressed the button. If you try to knock him out, he retains consciousness for the half second he needs to press the button. If you hit the weapon, the failsafe kicks in and it activates right there, killing both of you and 1000s of innocent people. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc.


It's already been stated -- you have two options. Nothing on your list is either of those options, and neither option appears on your list.

Every time you try to come up with a way out, you're missing the point. What is more important to the character -- the code, or the people he could save?

Why is the DM railroading me into a Fall?

Niek
2016-05-26, 09:47 PM
Any situation where the choice is between following the code and doing the right thing shows the code to be incoherent. The paladin lives and breaths their ideals and the code is a reflection of those ideals. If the paladin finds their morals in conflict with their code then it can't really have been their code to begin with, can it?

AMFV
2016-05-26, 09:48 PM
Isn't that the base reason for lying in nearly all cases where one would even think of lying, especially for adventurers who encounter life-and-death situations on a daily basis?

I'm not sure I'm following here. My point was that the lie in this case doesn't really increase your odds of survival.



Also, for adventurers who encounter life-and-death situations on a daily basis, wouldn't pragmatic concerns (e.g. saving lives, the fates of entire countries or even dimensions) take much bigger precedence over those of morals and ethics? When there're a lot more concrete things to worry about, and such situations are already very hard to resolve even when going by pure pragmatism, thinking about morality gets rather idealistic and short-sighted.


Thinking about morality as a Paladin isn't short sighted, it's the exact opposite. Pragmatism (to their mind) would eventually lead to evil, or at least significantly lead one away from Good. And that's a bad thing. The more you're willing to bend your code, the easier it gets and the bigger bends you have next time. Till eventually you aren't following a code at all.



I came imagine a Knight who has to follow by a set of rules placed upon her by a higher authority, and if she gets caught not following those rules she's in for punishment. This one doesn't have to lead to an argument over what actions she takes are 'good' or 'evil', just that if she takes actions that go against the rules, she'll have to hide her actions and/or deal with the consequences.

A Paladin isn't "caught", the instant they violate their rules they're punished. They're beacons for the divine, and so are their rules. They can't hide violating their code. They have to be forthright and open because the code cannot be duped or evaded. And that's a good thing

goto124
2016-05-26, 09:51 PM
This feels like playing a video game trying to play up the theme of "sometimes you have to do the wrong thing to do the right thing" or such, and then arbitrarily restricting you to two equally uninteresting choices. The point of an RPG is to be able to make interesting choices, and I'm not being given that chance.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-26, 09:51 PM
Why is the DM railroading me into a Fall?


The questions at hand goes far beyond game terms and DMs.

It's not about "the fall", it's about the choice, and finding out what's actually more important to the character.

It's about whether right and wrong are defined by intent and outcome, or by "word of gods".

And if the character is more concerned with "the fall" than with doing the right thing, then that character is probably more lawful-selfish than lawful-good. If the "forces" that decide whether the paladin falls or not are more concerned with the paladin following "the code" than they are with the intent and outcome of the character's actions, then those forces aren't worth venerating and following to begin with.



Is there a good apart from God, and, if so, is God good?


Most people -whether they openly acknowledge it or not- have an understanding of goodness that is separate and distinct from God. Their personal morality derives not merely from authority, but from basic principles of fairness, truth, and valuing others. These things, they might argue, come from God, but if God were to be unfair or untrue or cruel, that would not change morality - it would simply be a test, or God using evil to bring about a greater good.

Most people are not merely bullied by a giant sky wizard who tells them what to do. Most people have an innate understanding of right and wrong, and (conveniently) God usually lines up with that.

But, of course, that's not what the Bible says.

The most famous story about Abraham - the common spiritual ancestor of Judaism, Christianity and Islam - features ol' Abe being commanded to kill his own son.

Now, that is unambiguously evil. Granted, at this point in the Torah, the Ten Commandments still hadn't been written, but I think every hominid on this planet agrees that murdering your own innocent child is a bad thing to do. God wasn't merely telling Abraham to do something difficult. He wasn't merely telling Abraham to do something inconvenient. He wasn't telling him to give up something he liked. God was commanding Abraham to perform an evil deed.

Granted, an angel stayed Abraham's hand, but that's immaterial. God praised and rewarded Abraham for his willingness to prioritize His commands over basic ethics. The lesson of the story is that God may (conveniently) be good, but that God trumps good. If you want to be the father of nations, you'd better be prepared to perform acts of heinous evil (like stoning homosexuals or massacring Canaanites) in His name.

Many theists believe that atheists (and Satanists, like Ellen was in her teenage years) are abandoning God and therefore abandoning good. In my experience, though, most atheists and Satanists aren't abandoning God and good. They're abandoning God because they're choosing good over God. They throw down the knife and say - to quote Huck Finn (https://americanliterature.com/author/mark-twain/book/the-adventures-of-huckleberry-finn/chapter-31) - "All right, then, I'll go to hell."

You see that a great deal in modern protests around LGBT issues. Despite the flamboyance and flaunting of a typical Pride parade, when it comes time to rally for gay marriage or trans bathroom use, the argument is not "you should let us do this wicked thing", but rather "fairness and equality are inherently right, and if your religion is opposed to that, then it is your religion that is evil".

So what are the a priori axioms of ethics, if not the word of God? Supposedly there are six of them (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_foundations_theory). Personally, I identify with Care, with altruism and self-sacrifice. I believe Spock was acting righteously when he said "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xa6c3OTr6yA), regardless of what Vulcan god was waiting for him in the afterlife.