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sonofzeal
2008-02-11, 08:54 PM
You ever have times when, as a normal (ie sadistic) DM, you try to being PCs to the breaking point, and manipulate people to willfully do something horrible and destroy their PC? Yeah? We've all been there, you know it. Throw some moral dilemma at the Paladin, and watch as he cracks and violates every oath he ever swore.

Well, I once got a paladin to quite literally stab his best friend in the back, without warning or provocation, with no sort of magical charm, compulsion, or illusion. This was while the party rogue was being grappled.

How, you ask?

1) The creature grappling the Rogue was a Tsochar, technically ECL-appropriate but nigh-invincible to them with DR 10/adamantine.

2) They'd fought these things before, and knew they were screwed unless something happened

3) The sword that the paladin used was based on Torg's sword from Sluggy Freelance; the Paladin had been guarding up, but figured a powered-up Weeping God at the cost of his Paladin powers and stabbing his friend in the back was better than a TPK.

Can't say I blamed him, really, but watching the look on the friend's face was priceless. :belkar:

expirement10K14
2008-02-11, 09:09 PM
I don't understand why he killed the rogue. Did this cause the creature to leave, do special damage to it, or allow the paladin to get a adamantite (sp) weapon?

Tengu
2008-02-11, 09:12 PM
If I had a paladin and my DM would make him fall for giggles, I'd shove a d4 up his nose.

sonofzeal
2008-02-11, 09:46 PM
I don't understand why he killed the rogue. Did this cause the creature to leave, do special damage to it, or allow the paladin to get a adamantite (sp) weapon?
He didn't kill him so much as ventilate him slightly. Thing is, Weeping God is an artifact sword of great power, but only when activated. And it's activated by the blood of innocents. Hence the dilemma.


If I had a paladin and my DM would make him fall for giggles, I'd shove a d4 up his nose.
I didn't "make him fall". I gave them an even-CR encounter which, in theory, they had every chance of being able to take on without that. The paladin panicked and made a judgment call, and the fact that I was hoping he'd make that choice has absolutely nothing to do with it.

Tengu
2008-02-11, 09:55 PM
I didn't "make him fall". I gave them an even-CR encounter which, in theory, they had every chance of being able to take on without that. The paladin panicked and made a judgment call, and the fact that I was hoping he'd make that choice has absolutely nothing to do with it.

"The paladin has two choices - fall, or be screwed" sounds like a DM set on making him fall in my book.

horseboy
2008-02-11, 10:23 PM
What's up with all the threads lately about making paladins fall? Have paladins falling become the new monks sucking?

sonofzeal
2008-02-11, 10:26 PM
"The paladin has two choices - fall, or be screwed" sounds like a DM set on making him fall in my book.
In an even-CR encounter? Naw, they had a chance without that. They'd fought these things before and had trouble, but they'd acquired a bunch of loot since then and should have been able to manage it with a bit of intelligence. The challenge wasn't unfair, I just made them FEAR these things. Which is how it should be - heroes don't always know how powerful an enemy is, but when a mass of steely-black tentacles erupts from their former ally, they're liable to make snap choices that are not entirely rational.

Miles Invictus
2008-02-11, 10:42 PM
I hope his atonement was quick. I think the paladin made the right choice, and I'm not just talking about from a practical standpoint. He sacrificed his own powers to save his friends, which is the mindset a paladin should have.

That aside, entertaining to read.

CasESenSITItiVE
2008-02-11, 10:44 PM
why on earth was the paladin using a sword that was powered up by blood of the innocents?

sonofzeal
2008-02-11, 10:48 PM
I hope his atonement was quick. I think the paladin made the right choice, and I'm not just talking about from a practical standpoint. He sacrificed his own powers to save his friends, which is the mindset a paladin should have.

That aside, entertaining to read.
Yeah, I let him atone for pocket change, given the circumstances. No permanent harm done.


why on earth was the paladin using a sword that was powered up by blood of the innocents?
Well, he wasn't planning on using it. The intention was to prevent anyone else from using it.

Jack Zander
2008-02-11, 10:49 PM
If I was that paladin I would become emo and cut myself every night.

Bag_of_Holding
2008-02-11, 10:50 PM
He didn't kill him so much as ventilate him slightly. Thing is, Weeping God is an artifact sword of great power, but only when activated. And it's activated by the blood of innocents. Hence the dilemma.

If I was playing the paladin, I would've stabbed through his/her own hand/body (hand if it was one-handed, body/leg of it had to be wielded two-handed). Blood of an innocent (pure, at least) shed on the sword to kill an unkillable being. Certainly an honourable way to die. :smallsmile:

Jack Zander
2008-02-11, 10:53 PM
If I was playing the paladin, I would've stabbed through his/her own hand/body (hand if it was one-handed, body/leg of it had to be wielded two-handed). Blood of an innocent (pure, at least) shed on the sword to kill an unkillable being. Certainly an honourable way to die. :smallsmile:

Echo? blah blah blah

comicshorse
2008-02-11, 11:00 PM
In an even-CR encounter? Naw, they had a chance without that.

Really ?


1) The creature grappling the Rogue was a Tsochar, technically ECL-appropriate but nigh-invincible to them with DR 10/adamantine.

No not really.

What's everybody got against Paladins all of a sudden

sonofzeal
2008-02-11, 11:00 PM
We'd previously ruled it doesn't work like that, because {a} that'd be too easy, and {b} the sword I'm basing it on has never been used that way, and {c} it's less dramatic if the Paladin can activate the sword for every tiny fight by pricking his finger. The blood of a fallen/wounded comrade would have worked though.

Bag_of_Holding
2008-02-11, 11:02 PM
Echo? blah blah blah

I beg your pardon? What do you mean by "Echo?"? I'm just curious, ye know. :smalltongue:

Jack Zander
2008-02-11, 11:07 PM
Check my post right above yours. You'll notice it says the same exact thing but 39 words shorter.

VanBuren
2008-02-11, 11:07 PM
If I was playing the paladin, I would've stabbed through his/her own hand/body (hand if it was one-handed, body/leg of it had to be wielded two-handed). Blood of an innocent (pure, at least) shed on the sword to kill an unkillable being. Certainly an honourable way to die. :smallsmile:

If it's really based on Sluggy Freelance, then the blood of the innocent != the Blood of the Pure. At least not from what we've seen so far. In the Sluggy-verse, it's not clear on whether "innocent" is defined from the wielders P.O.V or not, but innocent seems to have less to do with being good-aligned and more to do with being untouched by evil.

For instance a small child would be "innocent", and yet the most Exalted Paladin would not be, because in facing his demons and becoming a champion he gave up that innocence.

Of course this is just my interpretation of that comic, and I don't know how strongly the two Swords are tied in function.

Swordguy
2008-02-11, 11:13 PM
What's up with all the threads lately about making paladins fall? Have paladins falling become the new monks sucking?

Because Pally players are really just closet masochists. They KNOW that at some point their code needs to be tested (otherwise, from a storytelling perspective,what's the point? It's like the gun on the mantle in Act I that never gets used.). They get off on not knowing when, where, or how it's gonna get tested. They love that pain of uncertainty.

We're just giving some more pain to hold tight to their chests when they aren't playing.


[/sarcasm]


What's everybody got against Paladins all of a sudden

Because an entire class centered around making the people around you behave how YOU want them to is antithetical to the entire concept of roleplaying (and free will, for that matter) for everyone else at the table. They deserve all the scorn we can give them.

comicshorse
2008-02-11, 11:22 PM
Because an entire class centered around making the people around you behave how YOU want them to is antithetical to the entire concept of roleplaying (and free will, for that matter) for everyone else at the table. They deserve all the scorn we can give them.

Well I'm glad to see you're open-minded on the subject :smallsmile:

That is however a massive oversimplification. All characters expect a certain give and take in behaviour. The dwearf expects you not to slaughter dwarves for their treasure, the Druids expect you not to burn down the forest to get the monsters, the Clerics expect you not to take the proverbial out of their beliefs.
Give and take is PART of the roleplaying experience.
Paladins can be overbearing but then so can any classes or races beliefs if badly roleplayed. ( Don't get me started on our Elf's bard anti- everybody who isn't an elf's racism)

VanBuren
2008-02-11, 11:25 PM
Because an entire class centered around making the people around you behave how YOU want them to is antithetical to the entire concept of roleplaying (and free will, for that matter) for everyone else at the table.

Yeah, that's a real problem when the Paladin gets feats for that like, "Detect Dissension" and "Smite Opposing Ideals".

Oh wait, that's right. The Paladin is centered around fighting Evil, isn't it?


They deserve all the scorn we can give them.

Except, y'know, they don't.

Swordguy
2008-02-11, 11:27 PM
Well I'm glad to see you're open-minded on the subject :smallsmile:

That is however a massive oversimplification. All characters expect a certain give and take in behaviour. The dwearf expects you not to slaughter dwarves for their treasure, the Druids expect you not to burn down the forest to get the monsters, the Clerics expect you not to take the proverbial out of their beliefs.
Give and take is PART of the roleplaying experience.
Paladins can be overbearing but then so can any classes or races beliefs if badly roleplayed. ( Don't get me started on our Elf's bard anti- everybody who isn't an elf's racism)

Nobody else really loses their class features if their friends don't keep up to snuff. The Paladin gets the reputation of being a **** to his comrades because he's got so much to lose if they slip up. It's bad game design.

And are you saying that forcing (and it IS force, by the way, via emotional blackmail or actual physical force if they go too far) your comrades to act the way YOU want them to doesn't impinge on free will? Are you seriously implying that? If so, I feel bad for your friends.

sonofzeal
2008-02-11, 11:32 PM
I just want to point out that I have nothing against paladins specifically. I think part of my job is to give tough choices to party members. I did a similar thing to a CN cleric once, who saw the whole party in serious trouble against a terrible foe, saw a clean avenue of escape.... and chose to stay and fight (ended up with two casualties but no fatalities).

On the other hand.... every single bloody paladin I've EVER seen played has fallen at some point. Still, they all led to good stories. Care to share yours?

comicshorse
2008-02-11, 11:35 PM
Nobody else really loses their class features if their friends don't keep up to snuff. The Paladin gets the reputation of being a **** to his comrades because he's got so much to lose if they slip up. It's bad game design.

Really, good clerics don't lose their spells if they hang around with a party that does things that their god totally disapproves of ?


And are you saying that forcing (and it IS force, by the way, via emotional blackmail or actual physical force if they go too far) your comrades to act the way YOU want them to doesn't impinge on free will? Are you seriously implying that? If so, I feel bad for your friends.

No I'm not. YOU are and on no evidence either. Of course forcing your friends to act against their wishes is a bad idea. That's why parties hammer out agreements about what each find unacceptable. Again this happens with roleplaying, bad roleplayers arm twist and scream but bad players will do that with any class

Swordguy
2008-02-11, 11:39 PM
I just want to point out that I have nothing against paladins specifically. I think part of my job is to give tough choices to party members. I did a similar thing to a CN cleric once, who saw the whole party in serious trouble against a terrible foe, saw a clean avenue of escape.... and chose to stay and fight (ended up with two casualties but no fatalities).

On the other hand.... every single bloody paladin I've EVER seen played has fallen at some point. Still, they all led to good stories. Care to share yours?

Every single paladin (save one) I've ever seen run has ended up attacking the party because he considered them having gone over to evil when they were willing to do evil things (lie, cheat, steal) for a greater good. The one exception joined in, got to make a habit of it, and eventually fell with full knowledge of what he was doing.

For the record, my adventures don't tend to be set-piece things. My players go out and do things within the world I've set up for them on their own, so it wasn't me putting them in these situations.

No other FIVE classes, no other alignment conflicts in the party (including a party mix of CG and LE) have ever produced as many bad feelings in and out of game as a Paladin. And it's all because of this:


...a paladin will never knowingly associate with evil characters, nor will she continue an association with someone who consistently offends her moral code.

Entire games have been unable to get off the ground because 1 person wanted to play a Pally, and everyone else wanted to play Chaotic Good types who were free to lie, cheat, and steal for the greater good.

Callista
2008-02-11, 11:44 PM
I hope his atonement was quick. I think the paladin made the right choice, and I'm not just talking about from a practical standpoint. He sacrificed his own powers to save his friends, which is the mindset a paladin should have.

That aside, entertaining to read.I think it was well-played. Not the "right thing" to do as a paladin, but definitely the right thing to do as a player. You're playing a character who's dedicated to good, but also ultimately human... and if the paladin in question would do that kind of thing, then the player's choice was a good one.

However, I don't see why the paladin didn't just stab himself. Probably a better "innocent" than his partner. Was there some character trait--pride, maybe--that made the rogue a better choice? Or does it have to be an unwilling innocent, or someone other than the wielder?

What was this pally's INT and WIS? Because if he didn't think of such an obvious solution, I'm thinking it wasn't very high...

Anyway, it's a rather minor transgression--hurt one person to save the lives of several--but obviously it's quite dishonorable. I think a good atonement quest should end up having the paladin ending up taking damage for somebody else. Kind of evening things out, so he gets to know what it feels like, and understands why stabbing your friends, even if you're trying to save their lives, isn't nice. :P

Another choice: Have the paladin sacrifice the weapon to help somebody else. (Obviously you will want to give him something of equivalent power in return.)

Have the power-up last until he gets his powers back, so you aren't nerfing the player too much. Playing a pally without his powers really sucks.

raistlin807
2008-02-11, 11:51 PM
Why didn't the Paladin use his own blood to activate the sword?

Callista
2008-02-11, 11:53 PM
Yeah, that's what I said. Or, part of it, anyway. I'm long-winded... I tend to lecture... and I wonder why I always get "Wizard" on D&D tests! (Or Paladin. But they tend to lecture, too.)

comicshorse
2008-02-12, 12:02 AM
Every single paladin (save one) I've ever seen run has ended up attacking the party because he considered them having gone over to evil when they were willing to do evil things (lie, cheat, steal) for a greater good. The one exception joined in, got to make a habit of it, and eventually fell with full knowledge of what he was doing.

So your argument isn't that the class is wrong its that you've never seen it played right ?

That's unfortunate ( and I can't help wondering if after the first couple it might become a self-fullfilling prophecy) but it doesn't prove there is a problem with the whole class. Here speaking as someone whose played a Paladin more than once, run in two games with Paladins ( other players) and run a game with a Paladin. None of which rwrecked the game, though they did cause sdome lively debates

Swordguy
2008-02-12, 12:06 AM
So your argument isn't that the class is wrong its that you've never seen it played right ?

That's unfortunate ( and I can't help wondering if after the first couple it might become a self-fullfilling prophecy) but it doesn't prove there is a problem with the whole class. Here speaking as someone whose played a Paladin more than once, run in two games with Paladins ( other players) and run a game with a Paladin. None of which wrecked the game, though they did cause some lively debates

If 14/15 different people can't figure out the "right" way to play the class, it's probably poorly designed.

Sure, it's anecdotal. Isn't everything on these forums? How big a sample size do you want before it becomes significant? And doesn't the continuing ferocity of the debates on how paladins, parties, and alignment interact after 25 years of having paladins (and a basically unchanged code of conduct) speak for anything?

Zincorium
2008-02-12, 12:10 AM
You know what the thing I've learned from this, and all the other paladin related threads, is?

I am entirely justified in my prohibition on new characters being paladins. If a player and I do not see 100% eye to eye on what being a paladin is all about, it's going to end in grief.

Thank you, giant in the playground forums, for providing me with examples of why I am legitimately recalcitrant.

Miles Invictus
2008-02-12, 12:10 AM
Entire games have been unable to get off the ground because 1 person wanted to play a Pally, and everyone else wanted to play Chaotic Good types who were free to lie, cheat, and steal for the greater good.

What the hell? Is that particular paragraph sacrosanct or something? Or do people just never think to ignore that part of the rules? Is there a secret cabal of pain-in-the-ass paladins, that prevents us from playing paladins who keep to their code without being a sanctimonious jerk?

Raistlin, Callista -- the wielder's blood can't activate the weapon.

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-02-12, 12:11 AM
The problem is the Paladins lack flexibility. As written, it takes some stretching to make the code work with "real life". I've played similar, and dealing with the average necessities of doing good generally brings you close to falling on a regular basis, and it's very hard not to dislike the class on that basis. Essentially, you can be a bastard around the group, ruining some missions that would have served the greater good, or you can turn into a fighter w/out bonus feats. Walking the line between the 2 extremes is impossible for many players. And that's just not right.

comicshorse
2008-02-12, 12:15 AM
If 14/15 different people can't figure out the "right" way to play the class, it's probably poorly designed

Where does this 14/15 figure come from ?
Interesting you should say that. I did I quick check and of the 13 people posting on this thread only 1 is anti-paladin.

Though if there are more please stand up and declare undying war on Paldins :smallsmile:

comicshorse
2008-02-12, 12:19 AM
Ah apart form the two people who posted while I wrote previous comment.
Sorry

Swordguy
2008-02-12, 12:20 AM
Where does this 14/15 figure come from ?
Interesting you should say that. I did I quick check and of the 13 people posting on this thread only 1 is anti-paladin.

Though if there are more please stand up and declare undying war on Paldins :smallsmile:

The 15 people I've had run Paladins (note, some have tried to run a Pally more than once). Referencing this:


Every single paladin (save one) I've ever seen run has ended up attacking the party because he considered them having gone over to evil when they were willing to do evil things (lie, cheat, steal) for a greater good. The one exception joined in, got to make a habit of it, and eventually fell with full knowledge of what he was doing.

Jack Zander
2008-02-12, 12:20 AM
Paladins are fun. I've seen them be played good and bad, but the only times they were played bad was by a person who always makes complete jerks of characters. he never did anything evil, but his paladin was always competing with my monk in duels to see who was better. (He only won one time, at level 1, with a lucky critical).

Callista
2008-02-12, 12:29 AM
I think it's such a problem because in America and a lot of the Western culture influenced by America, the predominant alignment is chaotic neutral--look out for yourself; love your friends; hate your enemies; do what you have to do. We're great lovers of freedom and individuality.

In a chaotic culture, individualism, individual rights, and personal opinions are all considered very important. People make decisions based on gut feeling instead of pre-existing principles. Most TV heroes are chaotic. Most people care more about their personal friends and family than about the organizations they belong to, including of course the entire country (in fact, most people probably believe it's actually wrong to care more about your country than your family). Politicians campaign, and people vote, depending on how they themselves can most benefit. Religion is extremely personalized. Even the Army--a very lawful organization--recruits using the rhetoric that advertises how much the Army can do for YOU. The news media uses emotion rather than logic; people make moral decisions based on their gut feelings.

Generally that's not a very good culture to produce D&D players who are adept at playing paragons of Law and Good--especially Law. Americans are just not the sort of people who naturally understand that kind of thing. (There are obviously exceptions. I would consider us an "often CN" society--meaning that only half the population actually fits that descriptor.)

I'll admit I'm a bit biased here, because I don't see things the way a fully integrated member of the American society would see them. I'm an immigrant and my culture is a mix of two: My birth culture, Germany (LN), and some elements of American culture. On top of that, I'm an Aspie, and that means I don't pick up culture very well. I feel like an anthropologist sometimes!

Anyway, all that to say: If you want to play a Pally, and you're anything like the average American geek, be prepared to play somebody who's very different from you. It's not for amateurs.

Tengu
2008-02-12, 12:30 AM
The 15 people I've had run Paladins (note, some have tried to run a Pally more than once).

You must've been very unlucky to run into that many bad roleplayers throughout your gaming career.


You know what the thing I've learned from this, and all the other paladin related threads, is?

I am entirely justified in my prohibition on new characters being paladins. If a player and I do not see 100% eye to eye on what being a paladin is all about, it's going to end in grief.

Thank you, giant in the playground forums, for providing me with examples of why I am legitimately recalcitrant.

What about evil and chaotic stupid characters?

sonofzeal
2008-02-12, 12:31 AM
I may as well say that my Paladin experiences haven't been as bad as some. They fall easily, but the worst interparty conflicts I've seen are actually caused by those CN characters. Paladins aren't nearly so bad, as long as you've got good Bluff checks and the rest of the party works together to keep them ignorant of the occasional bad act.

Example: we needed to take out this caravan, so we got ourselves hired to guard it through a bandit infested area. Ten minutes out, the Rogue yells "BANDITS", the Paladin goes "Where? Where?", and everyone else jumps the caravan dudes. The Paladin then turns to see the caravan guys counterattacking, and joins in the fun to help protect his friends. Never did figure out that WE were the bandits.

Yes, yes, somewhat contrived. But everyone OOC worked together to get it to work, and the end result, if lacking plausibility, was at least fun. In general, we tried to avoid doing bad things around the paladin, and the paladin's player helped with that as much as he could. He still fell eventually, after killing another party member in cold blood, but that's another story.

comicshorse
2008-02-12, 12:32 AM
The 15 people I've had run Paladins (note, some have tried to run a Pally more than once).

15 ! 15 bad experiences with Pladins ! 15 ! No wonder you hate 'em.

I'll put up a pitiful 6 good experiences but ....15 ! wow


Sleep now argue later

CrimsonShade
2008-02-12, 12:42 AM
You guys should count yourselves lucky that you have players that wont fall unless you put them into a trap. One of my players was a Paladin that got gipped on a dealing with a goblin...so he kills him. I count that as DEFINITELY going against Lawful Good, so I stripped him of his Paladin powers. He continues on as an ex-Paladin, builds up some money to buy himself an Atonement spell, completes the blasted quest and THEN THE VERY NEXT DAY, steals a sword from an enchantress, making me, yet again, strip his negligent butt of all his Paladin powers. He essentially traded his 11 levels of Paladin for a +1 Keen Longsword *bear in mind he has Weapon Focus and Improved Critical for a FALCHION*

I'm beginning to think he's planning on being a Blackguard at one point -_-

Swordguy
2008-02-12, 12:50 AM
You must've been very unlucky to run into that many bad roleplayers throughout your gaming career.

Really? I rather thought they were good about following the RAW. Y'know? The part about "don't associate with people who offend your morals?" The part that's basically impossible to interpret any other way?

Well, the party offended their morals. Instead of doing the metagaming thing and sticking with the party through high or low because it's "the party", they took the road of good RP and put themselves at odds with their former friends because they felt their former friends had turned to evil. Indeed, good RP is exactly the problem with paladins - if you play them accurately RAW, they can't generally adventure with any "marginal" characters (Rangers, Rogues, etc).

It's the RAW that's dumb.




What about evil and chaotic stupid characters?

As long as the evil character can work with the damn party, bully for them. Belkar comes to mind.

As for Chaotic Stupid characters, I find a swift boot to the head of the player tends to solve that problem. And no, I am not being metaphorical.

Tengu
2008-02-12, 01:00 AM
Players should make metagaming decisions in order to keep the group together - the paladin shouldn't feel offended and leave when the CG guy lies to someone (he might tell him he doesn't like that though), the rogue shouldn't steal from the party, the token evil guy in a good/neutral group should not openly perform evil deeds for the heck of it. Party mechanics are as important as individual character mechanics - if they do not manage to stick together, you just have a group of people bickering and trying to steal the spotlight from each other. That's not good RP.



As long as the evil character can work with the damn party, bully for them. Belkar comes to mind.

As for Chaotic Stupid characters, I find a swift boot to the head of the player tends to solve that problem. And no, I am not being metaphorical.

Good to know, but that was not a question to you.

Swordguy
2008-02-12, 01:09 AM
Players should make metagaming decisions in order to keep the group together - the paladin shouldn't feel offended and leave when the CG guy lies to someone (he might tell him he doesn't like that though), the rogue shouldn't steal from the party, the token evil guy in a good/neutral group should not openly perform evil deeds for the heck of it. Party mechanics are as important as individual character mechanics - if they do not manage to stick together, you just have a group of people bickering and trying to steal the spotlight from each other. That's not good RP.

See, normally I agree with this. However, the paladin forces this issue into the spotlight with the inflexible wording of the code, and the general idea of a paladin as someone who does not compromise his morals/code. Part of being a paladin is NOT taking the easy way - and be willing to compromise your morals just because those guys are your buddies is kinda taking the easy way, isn't it?




Good to know, but that was not a question to you.

Sorry, misread it.

John Campbell
2008-02-12, 01:12 AM
Swordguy nailed it. The problem with paladins isn't the code of conduct. (Or, at least, it'd be a much smaller problem if it were just the code of conduct.) Lots of classes have codes of conduct. It's that "Associates" clause. The other classes' codes of conduct only apply to them, and another PC's offenses generally have to be pretty egregious to force the code-bound PC past "agree to disagree". The paladin, however, is required to either force his code upon everyone else, or leave the party... and his code is so strict that even other Lawful Good types may find it a little over the top, while it basically forbids characters of any other alignment from actually playing in-character where the paladin can see them.

And, yeah, I've seen problems caused by the "Chaotic Neutral means I'm iNsAnE!" or "I'm Chaotic 'Neutral' because the DM doesn't allow Evil characters!" types, too. But those are player problems. The rules don't require (or even encourage) playing Chaotic Neutral that way, and good players don't. Playing a paladin who doesn't stifle the rest of the party requires both a good player and a DM who's willing to stretch the rules to allow the paladin to prioritize being an actually nice guy over being the mental hygiene enforcer of the group without falling because of it.

leperkhaun
2008-02-12, 01:46 AM
not to be classist but a pally stabbed a rogue for innocent blood?:smallbiggrin:

Tengu
2008-02-12, 02:17 AM
See, normally I agree with this. However, the paladin forces this issue into the spotlight with the inflexible wording of the code, and the general idea of a paladin as someone who does not compromise his morals/code. Part of being a paladin is NOT taking the easy way - and be willing to compromise your morals just because those guys are your buddies is kinda taking the easy way, isn't it?


I meant an OOC compromise, not an IC one - an agreement between the players not to screw each other over too much.

Serpent
2008-02-12, 02:28 AM
Every single paladin (save one) I've ever seen run has ended up attacking the party because he considered them having gone over to evil when they were willing to do evil things (lie, cheat, steal) for a greater good. The one exception joined in, got to make a habit of it, and eventually fell with full knowledge of what he was doing.

Well, the obvious solution to this is Paladin of Freedom. Then the pally can complain at the others for not being chaotic enough.

The Professor
2008-02-12, 02:34 AM
Heh, Paladin debate threads always give me a good chuckle.

I don't think the problem is with the RAW. I'd wager 9/10 groups make house-rules of some sort, so you really have to make certain everyone agrees what's good and not good for a Paladin to do before one is played.

Paladins are paragons of Law and Good, they're also holy crusaders against Evil. Being part of the clergy in any D&D church, I always figured, gave you an incredible amount of enlightenment to the functioning of the cosmos that Farmer John will just never have. A Paladin should know just how absolute the philosophies of Law and Good are, that being Evil is essentially a crime against the universe. Chaos, while certainly not filthy and repulsive like Evil, breeds dissension and total anarchy (in their eyes), and thus needs to be reigned in.

Paladins are one of the most difficult classes to play, if you ask me. It's hard to become a selfless, righteous engine of good and order; and what's worse, is that hardly anyone can agree on how to play just that.

Serpent
2008-02-12, 02:41 AM
I think part of what makes paladins so difficult is that many people often move their characters specifically to be antagonistic to the paladin simply because they are so short-fused. People don't act natural around a paladin, and a lot will go out of their way just to piss him off.

The Professor
2008-02-12, 02:48 AM
I completely agree.

Swordguy
2008-02-12, 02:56 AM
Heh, Paladin debate threads always give me a good chuckle.

I don't think the problem is with the RAW. I'd wager 9/10 groups make house-rules of some sort, so you really have to make certain everyone agrees what's good and not good for a Paladin to do before one is played.


If 9/10 groups have to make a house rule to deal with a situation, then the problem is VERY DEFINITELY with the RAW.

The Professor
2008-02-12, 03:00 AM
I apologize, I don't think I was quite clear. What I meant to emphasize, is that RAW is malleable, and that the real issue is with players agreeing on how best to handle a specific character concept and RP style.

horseboy
2008-02-12, 03:17 AM
I don't really have any stories of paladins falling. My first character was a paladin. Of course, back then that just meant I'd hit 10th level and didn't want to have to put up with the "stronghold" rules. I'm sure by the modern Nancy moral ambiguity crowd he'd have fallen a dozen times over. After all he kept this really cool skull collection of stuff he'd killed. Between quests, he'd have the neighbour kids over and give natural history style tours. He was also 20 years ago when things like "there's an orc, kill it!" was the expected play style.

Then there was Roderous. He was a paladin who got to go to Ravenloft. When he got out, a DM actually tried to swerve me by making the BBEG a woman. Back then paladins couldn't hit women. So I shield bashed her for subdual damage. That was the first time I'd gotten to use the rules for subduing something other than a dragon.

Then the one that got polymorphed into a centaur and threw himself a pity party. Not so much a "fall" as a "funk".

Then there was "Monsieur" Tharius. The 500+ year old Venture from France with the ghoul horse. :smallwink:

You know I've always held paladins as the one thing I always liked about D&D.

Mad Maudlin
2008-02-12, 04:40 AM
See, normally I agree with this. However, the paladin forces this issue into the spotlight with the inflexible wording of the code, and the general idea of a paladin as someone who does not compromise his morals/code.


While she may adventure with chcharacters of good or neutral alignment, a paladin will never knowingly associate with evil characters, nor will she continue an association with someone who consistently offends her moral code

See, I don't think this is inflexible at all. Or rather, I don't see how it can lead to a paladin strictly policing every action taken by the rest of the party - it says Good and Neutral alignments are fine, and it doesn't even mention Chaos.

Quite frankly, a paladin is dedicated to eradicating Evil, and punishing those that do innocents harm. So, as long as your character isn't actively (and, more importantly consistently) evil, you should be okay. Your Chaotic Neutral character may not be the paladin's best buddy, but there's nothing to suggest that a chaotic action would offend a paladin deeply enough that she would have to attack you for it.

I mean, I consider myself to be a good person (maybe not a perfect champion of virtue, but...), and it takes a lot more than lying and cheating towards the greater good to deeply offend me.

Anyway, back on the OP's topic - I happen to think there's a lot of roleplaying potential in introducing your character as a paladin who's already fallen, maybe with a few levels of some stereotypically chaotic class on top. Take backstory to the extreme: the whole sordid story of her fall from grace could come out over time as she begins to trust her party. Maybe there's something, some deep trauma, stopping her from seeking atonement, that she could face down and maybe return her paladin levels as the game progresses... It's not the most efficient build, but for roleplaying...

Um. *Runs off to the 'Challenge' thread*

Rutee
2008-02-12, 05:16 AM
See, I don't think this is inflexible at all. Or rather, I don't see how it can lead to a paladin strictly policing every action taken by the rest of the party - it says Good and Neutral alignments are fine, and it doesn't even mention Chaos.
Your quote mentions that her friends can't break her code either. Rogue wants to sneak in and OHKO someone by striking from surprise? Going by the wording of the code, Paladin falls; The paladin has allowed someone they associate with to break the "Never strike from surprise" bit... It also stifles somewhat character actions. The other players' characters might be more willing to Shoot the Dog (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ShootTheDog) or Do what they have to Do (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/IDidWhatIHadToDo) if they knew their actions wouldn't cause the Paladin's powers to flutter out the window like a lonely sparrow.

Which a reasonable DM would agree with, and not do, in my opinion. But that doesn't change the rules.

Tengu
2008-02-12, 05:23 AM
I don't play DND, but the most paladin-like of my players has fallen once - fortunately, another character who could fly (well, glide) grabbed him in mid-air before he hit the ground and turned into jelly.

Roderick_BR
2008-02-12, 05:27 AM
Hmm.. lemme see. The paladin had a sword that he though could kill a creature, but using the weapon at all would make him fall, is that it?

I wouldn't say that he fell for "stabbing his friend in the back". He was really aiming for the creature. He took the risk of hitting his friend. What made he fall was using the artifact. So, no, I don't think it was "breaking the paladin to violate his code". He assumed a risk at the cost of his powers. He didn't violate his code other than using the weapon itself.

edit:

Your quote mentions that her friends can't break her code either. Rogue wants to sneak in and OHKO someone by striking from surprise? Going by the wording of the code, Paladin falls; The paladin has allowed someone they associate with to break the "Never strike from surprise" bit... It also stifles somewhat character actions. The other players' characters might be more willing to Shoot the Dog (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ShootTheDog) or Do what they have to Do (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/IDidWhatIHadToDo) if they knew their actions wouldn't cause the Paladin's powers to flutter out the window like a lonely sparrow.

Which a reasonable DM would agree with, and not do, in my opinion. But that doesn't change the rules.
I don't think that the code forbids paladins from attacking by surprise. Using tactics in combat (surprise, flanking, etc), is just combat, it's not being "unfair". Compare him with the knight from PHB2, that actually forbids the knight from attacking in a surprise round, or to gain bonus from flanking (although he can still give flanking bonus to allies).

Shademan
2008-02-12, 05:59 AM
skrewing around with pallas are quite fun. XD
as long as youre not TO mean to them.

we once played with a paladin (started at lv 10) when we reached lv15 and approached the bloodgate (a gate that combine the evil planes. home-made) the paladin said: (Heroic voice) " We must destroy the gate!"
the rest of the part says: yeeeeh well.... you see... we kinda...WANT it to remain open..." We were all evil! and we had been all along!!! >8D
MUAHAHAHAHAA!
the paladin, shocked over our treason, drew his sword and unleashed all his might and holy items upon us. he brought down me(ranger) and the mage and paralyzed the fighter/cleric.

man that was a great game... we all died at the gate... the fighter reduced the paladin to -7hp but the paladin remained awake, and used his last bit of strenght to blow the gate up.

kamikasei
2008-02-12, 06:41 AM
Your quote mentions that her friends can't break her code either.

It says they can't "consistently offend her moral code", which is not quite the same as "violate her Paladin's Code". For one thing, read strictly, it applies only to moral (good-evil), not ethical (lawful-chaotic), actions. Also, it in no way mandates assaulting the party for "turning to evil" (this point directed at Swordguy above, not at Rutee).

A paladin can't work in a party with people whose actions are abhorrent to her. That doesn't mean she requires everyone else to live up to the exacting standards she sets for herself.

Swordguy
2008-02-12, 06:53 AM
It says they can't "consistently offend her moral code", which is not quite the same as "violate her Paladin's Code". For one thing, read strictly, it applies only to moral (good-evil), not ethical (lawful-chaotic), actions. Also, it in no way mandates assaulting the party for "turning to evil" (this point directed at Swordguy above, not at Rutee).

A paladin can't work in a party with people whose actions are abhorrent to her. That doesn't mean she requires everyone else to live up to the exacting standards she sets for herself.

From the SRD:

"...a paladinís [moral] 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."

If the party is consistently not following these guidelines, the paladin may not associate with them. It destroys the party, which is essentially equivalent to killing the game. The IC act will have OOC reprecussions. Again, bad game design, no better than killing the PC during character creation (*glares at Traveller, MechWarrior 3E*)

Mad Maudlin
2008-02-12, 07:00 AM
From the SRD:

"...a paladinís [moral] 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."

Ah, now I see where you're reading this differently from me - I don't think the Paladin's Code is the same thing as a moral code. Like Kamikasei said, morals are only half of the alignment system. Chaos shouldn't affect a person's morals.

But even if they are the same thing, it doesn't claim that a paladin can't associate with people who don't follow the Paladin's Code - That would be game-destroying. The only reason a paladin would have for not asociating with a character is (a) the character is evil, which is understandable for any good-aligned character, or (b) the character consistently offends her sense of morals. It doesn't say 'fails to live up to' the paladin's morals. You have to really offend her, and on a regular basis, to cause a problem. Which, again, is perfectly reasonable for any character. The only difference is a loss of class skills for sticking around.

kamikasei
2008-02-12, 08:02 AM
From the SRD:

"...a paladinís [moral] code requires...

Uh...

That the "paladin's code" and "a paladin's moral code" are not necessarily the same thing was rather my point. Editing "[moral]" in to the description of the paladin's code is rather missing the point.

I submit two things: a) it is not necessary to adhere to a paladin's code of conduct in order to avoid "consistently offending her moral code". b) "Consistently offending [a paladin's] moral code" is not a sign that party members have turned to irredeemable evil and must be smoten. If a paladin feels the party is behaving in a way she can't conscience, there are a whole heap of options available (starting with telling them that she finds their actions intolerable, and saying that she can't remain their comrade if they continue in the way they have, which is only what's appropriate for any principled character), and jumping right to the righteous smiting is, in my opinion, no kind of example of good roleplaying at all.

Swordguy
2008-02-12, 08:09 AM
Uh...

That the "paladin's code" and "a paladin's moral code" are not necessarily the same thing was rather my point. Editing "[moral]" in to the description of the paladin's code is rather missing the point.

I submit two things: a) it is not necessary to adhere to a paladin's code of conduct in order to avoid "consistently offending her moral code". b) "Consistently offending [a paladin's] moral code" is not a sign that party members have turned to irredeemable evil and must be smoten. If a paladin feels the party is behaving in a way she can't conscience, there are a whole heap of options available (starting with telling them that she finds their actions intolerable, and saying that she can't remain their comrade if they continue in the way they have, which is only what's appropriate for any principled character), and jumping right to the righteous smiting is, in my opinion, no kind of example of good roleplaying at all.

The entry is ABOUT a paladin's moral code.

Or another way:

The "Paladin Code of Conduct" IS a code of morals.


Furthermore, the [] tags when used in another's quotations are part of standard English - they're used to denote the subject of the quote. In this case, the "moral" code of a paladin.

If the code listed isn't the paladin's moral code, the what the hell is? Where else in the paladin entry does it list prohibited behaviors?

From the dictionary:
Morality (from the Latin "moralitaser "manner, character, proper behavior") has three principal meanings.

In its first descriptive usage, morality means a code of conduct held to be authoritative in matters of right and wrong, whether by society, philosophy, religion, or individual conscience.

In its second, normative and universal, sense, morality refers to an ideal code of conduct, one which would be espoused in preference to alternatives by all rational people, under specified conditions. To deny 'morality' in this sense is a position known as moral skepticism.[1]" (emphasis mine)

There's only one Code listed in the Paladin SRD entry. There's two codes referred to: the Paladin's Code of Conduct and the paladin's moral code. I submit that they're the same thing, since there's nothing else listed.

kamikasei
2008-02-12, 08:30 AM
The entry is ABOUT a paladin's moral code.

I disagree.

It's about a paladin's code of conduct, which is what she does or does not allow herself to do. It is not about her moral code, which is what she considers right or wrong. I don't see anything to suggest that a paladin would consider anyone who doesn't live by a paladin's code to be immoral, but that's more or less what you're suggesting, if her moral code and her paladin's code are one and the same. She judges her own actions by the paladin's code, but the actions of others by her moral code, and the former is more restrictive than the latter.


Furthermore, the [] tags when used in another's quotations are part of standard English - they're used to denote the subject of the quote. In this case, the "moral" code of a paladin.

Yes, I know that, and I don't see where I gave you cause to think otherwise. But you edited it in to indicate what you thought the sentence referred to; if we're contesting the meaning of a statement in the rules then quoting it with your interpretation interpolated isn't very helpful.

[QUOTE=Swordguy;3927055]If the code listed isn't the paladin's moral code, the what the hell is? Where else in the paladin entry does it list prohibited behaviors?

It's her code of conduct to which she herself has sworn to adhere; see above. And I don't see "offending someone's moral code" as requiring a list of prohibited behaviours set out in the rules. The same might be expected of any principled character, as I've said.


There's only one Code listed in the Paladin SRD entry. There's two codes referred to: the Paladin's Code of Conduct and the paladin's moral code. I submit that they're the same thing, since there's nothing else listed.

I don't think that's entirely unreasonable, but I do think that it's not the only interpretation that makes sense, and the one I lay out above has the advantage that it doesn't make paladins playable only in all-paladin groups where everyone agrees to adhere to the (same) paladin's code or be subject to mass smiting.

Look at it this way: Jane is a Lawful Good fighter. Bob is a Chaotic Neutral rogue. Jane is not a paladin and has no code of conduct to follow, but she does have a moral code, by which she judges her actions and those of the people around her to be good or bad, right or wrong. She's all about honesty, forthrightness, fair dealing, mercy, justice etc. Bob is a conniving rat who lies, cheats, steals and backstabs. Bob consistently offends Jane's moral code, even though she has no formal code of conduct to which he is failing to adhere. It's entirely plausible that Jane would tell him to crawl back to his hole and never show his face near her again once his tendencies become clear. On the other hand, if there's some good reason for it, she might suck it up and put up with him, trying to keep him in check while they do whatever she wants them to do.

In this situation, a paladin wouldn't have that option. And that's pretty much all that the "associates" section has to say.

its_all_ogre
2008-02-12, 08:50 AM
i disagree largely with swordguy.
lets see i as a person dislike racism hugely.
yet i have in the past had friends who leant towards it and used certain slogons during conversation.
when they did i asked them not to. if they value my friendship then they would stop, if not then they would no longer have my friendship.
is this really that harsh?
equally if a friend enjoys torturing small defenceless animals i would not be friends with them, if they rated my friendship as important they would stop this 'hobby' of theirs.

if i have friends that do not like certain issues brought up in conversation when i avoid discussing them whe around those friends. this is a real life example of just you know beinga decent human being. when around a friends house i try not to fart at the table if such behaviour offends them.
are they really oppressive? don't think so.

pasko77
2008-02-12, 09:05 AM
i think Kamikasei got the point. EVERYBODY has a moral code, and if clerics and druids weren't simply played as codzillas, i.e. just because are strong, they would be as intolerant as the pallies. Paladins are just explicitely forced to be coherent with their beliefs, therefore it takes a good player to use them.

Edit: Kamikasei: it's not Jane, it's Alice :)
(bad pun, i know)

Swordguy
2008-02-12, 09:16 AM
Yes, I know that, and I don't see where I gave you cause to think otherwise. But you edited it in to indicate what you thought the sentence referred to; if we're contesting the meaning of a statement in the rules then quoting it with your interpretation interpolated isn't very helpful.


What? That's the only thing it CAN refer to. Morals are, as noted above in the dictionary definition, a literal code of conduct. That's the only code of conduct there. There's nothing else in the paladin entry it can refer to, unless there's some text somewhere you have to highlight to read.

Assumption 1) Paladin's Code=moral code.
Assumption 2) Repeated breaches of the paladin's moral code by associates results in the paladin disassociating himself from them.
Conclusion 1) Therefore, associates must live by the paladin's moral code.
Final Conclusion) As the paladin's moral code=The Paladin's Code (as per Assumption 1), associates must live by the Paladins Code.

I cannot see another way to read this, using standard American English. Maybe there's an alternate-universe English that WOTC meant instead? Can you enlighten me on this?

Also, time to get to work. Early matinee today. Good discussion though. I'll see about popping back on with my laptop at intermission.

Saph
2008-02-12, 09:21 AM
Have to say, from my experience, Swordguy's way off base.

I've seen maybe 5-6 paladins in the games I've played. None of them caused any more problems for the party than any of the other characters. The alignments that I generally see cause problems for party dynamics are the "Chaotic Stupid/Stupid Evil" trio - CN, NE, CE.

As Kami points out, "will not associate with people who consistently offend her moral code" does NOT mean "Will not associate with people who don't follow the Paladin's Code". If they wanted to say that paladins can't associate with people who don't follow the Paladin's Code, they would have said that paladins can't associate with people who don't follow the Paladin's Code. They didn't.

There are also no listed consequences for a paladin who associates with characters who consistently offend her moral code. It's a fluff paragraph; it's designed to give you some guidance on how to play a paladin. It does not cause a paladin to fall.

Just to repeat this one, because people often miss it:

Associating with people does not cause a paladin to fall.

The three conditions under which a paladin can fall are:


ceases to be lawful good, willfully commits an evil act, or grossly violates the code of conduct

and that's it. Note that the word 'associate' is not mentioned in that paragraph. It's a common misconception (and the fact that Belkar seems to believe it in OotS probably hasn't helped).

- Saph

Edit:


Assumption 1) Paladin's Code=moral code.

The paladin's code of conduct specifically applies only to herself. The section on associates is separate.

The interpretation you're using isn't necessarily wrong, but it isn't necessarily right, either, and as you've discovered, it makes the class almost unplayable, so why not just use a more common-sense reading?

kamikasei
2008-02-12, 09:40 AM
What? That's the only thing it CAN refer to. Morals are, as noted above in the dictionary definition, a literal code of conduct. That's the only code of conduct there. There's nothing else in the paladin entry it can refer to, unless there's some text somewhere you have to highlight to read.

Assumption 1) Paladin's Code=moral code.
Assumption 2) Repeated breaches of the paladin's moral code by associates results in the paladin disassociating himself from them.
Conclusion 1) Therefore, associates must live by the paladin's moral code.
Final Conclusion) As the paladin's moral code=The Paladin's Code (as per Assumption 1), associates must live by the Paladins Code.

I cannot see another way to read this, using standard American English. Maybe there's an alternate-universe English that WOTC meant instead? Can you enlighten me on this?

Also, time to get to work. Early matinee today. Good discussion though. I'll see about popping back on with my laptop at intermission.

Okay: I think I see the heart of the problem, which is that you think if the text refers to a paladin's "moral code" that this must be a rules entity described elsewhere in a paladin's entry, and therefore can only be the Paladin's Code. I disagree; I think every principled character has a moral code of some sort, though it is generally not a Code, and that "a paladin's moral code" is not necessarily referring to anything defined in the rules but simply to "the character's sense of right and wrong".

I would back this up with a bit of reductio ad absurdum, but you've basically done that for me, except that you see the result as showing the absurdity of the rules whereas I see it as pointing to your Assumption 1 being incorrect. I agree, if a paladin's "paladin code of conduct" and her moral code were the same thing, paladins could only adventure with other people who adhere to the paladin's code. I regard it as fairly obvious that this is not the intent of the rules. Another consequence would be that, since a character's moral code isn't just what they live by but how they judge others, a paladin by your reasoning would pretty much have to regard every non-paladin as simply immoral, which is again in my opinion clearly not the intent or a particularly reasonable reading of the rules.

Dr Bwaa
2008-02-12, 11:02 AM
*paraphrase*
Why didn't he use his own blood? & co.




We'd previously ruled it doesn't work like that, because {a} that'd be too easy, and {b} the sword I'm basing it on has never been used that way, and {c} it's less dramatic if the Paladin can activate the sword for every tiny fight by pricking his finger. The blood of a fallen/wounded comrade would have worked though.

And as far as the moral code/paladin's code debate goes, unless I'm mistaken a paladin is someone who becomes a paladin because of his/her powerful sense of right and wrong. So even if a paladin's moral code is just "his sense of right and wrong," that should be what is making him follow the paladin's code in the first place, and he will not, I don't think, associate with people who do the "wrong" thing any more than he will associate with people who violate the Paladin's code.

EDIT: I agree with Saph, however, on the fact that associations will not cause a paladin to fall, and the importance of recognizing the association business as a fluff paragraph.

InkEyes
2008-02-12, 11:43 AM
I think it's such a problem because in America and a lot of the Western culture influenced by America, the predominant alignment is chaotic neutral--look out for yourself; love your friends; hate your enemies; do what you have to do. We're great lovers of freedom and individuality.

In a chaotic culture, individualism, individual rights, and personal opinions are all considered very important. People make decisions based on gut feeling instead of pre-existing principles. Most TV heroes are chaotic. Most people care more about their personal friends and family than about the organizations they belong to, including of course the entire country (in fact, most people probably believe it's actually wrong to care more about your country than your family). Politicians campaign, and people vote, depending on how they themselves can most benefit. Religion is extremely personalized. Even the Army--a very lawful organization--recruits using the rhetoric that advertises how much the Army can do for YOU. The news media uses emotion rather than logic; people make moral decisions based on their gut feelings.

Generally that's not a very good culture to produce D&D players who are adept at playing paragons of Law and Good--especially Law. Americans are just not the sort of people who naturally understand that kind of thing. (There are obviously exceptions. I would consider us an "often CN" society--meaning that only half the population actually fits that descriptor.)

I'll admit I'm a bit biased here, because I don't see things the way a fully integrated member of the American society would see them. I'm an immigrant and my culture is a mix of two: My birth culture, Germany (LN), and some elements of American culture. On top of that, I'm an Aspie, and that means I don't pick up culture very well. I feel like an anthropologist sometimes!

Anyway, all that to say: If you want to play a Pally, and you're anything like the average American geek, be prepared to play somebody who's very different from you. It's not for amateurs.

A bit late to the party but I've always felt that the reason chaotic alignments are so popular is because it allows players to act out impulses normally suppressed by society (American or otherwise). People don't enjoy being a lawful alignment because that's how they're forced to act on a daily basis and D&D is an escape from daily norms.

its_all_ogre
2008-02-12, 11:48 AM
unless the paladin magically knows all of her associates actions then you should be aware that the other party members can do whatever they want so long as the paladin does not find out.
and before anyone says this is straining belief think on this:

how many people cheat on partners for extraordinary lengths of time before slipping up and being found out?

thousands. and thats real life.
so a CG person could easily hang out with a paladin and do their 'non-lawful' good doing without the paladin finding out.

its_all_ogre
2008-02-12, 11:56 AM
A bit late to the party but I've always felt that the reason chaotic alignments are so popular is because it allows players to act out impulses normally suppressed by society (American or otherwise). People don't enjoy being a lawful alignment because that's how they're forced to act on a daily basis and D&D is an escape from daily norms.

just got to jump in here, but yes to a degree i agree woth this statement.
i have a friend who hates evil campaigns. really really hates them.
but i point out: i'm a nice guy to most people i meet, unless they're you know scum or something. i'm roleplaying somebody who is not me!
this is the point of the game.
if i were to roleplay good all the time it would be being me frankly.

horseboy
2008-02-12, 12:39 PM
There are also no listed consequences for a paladin who associates with characters who consistently offend her moral code. It's a fluff paragraph; it's designed to give you some guidance on how to play a paladin. It does not cause a paladin to fall. Given that a persons morals are very often defined by their culture and culture is regarded as "fluff" it's not surprising that D&D never mentions it in anything other than passing. If that was the ONLY acceptable moral code then all paladins would come from only one culture. That's silly. The same code of conduct could be said to apply to both a French knight (or paladin) as a samurai. Yet each both had different morals.


The three conditions under which a paladin can fall are: I'd also like to point out that the phrase is "grossly violates the code of conduct." Not "looks cross eyed at the code of conduct". It has to be a gross act that violates the code of conduct. You know like raping babies while setting them on fire. Well, maybe not that gross, but clearly there is a lot of leeway already built into the code. For some reason some players and DM's like to be as stringent as they can and use it to screw with other people. That's not cool.

Fawsto
2008-02-12, 01:24 PM
I sense an assault against the Paladin's code.. .I could smell it from miles away.

Geez... The Paladin's code is at the same time something good for the class and something bad for the class. It is just how you understand it and how you and your DM have decided to use it.

C'mon "Never associtating with evil characters". This is stupid. How the Paladin is supposed to redeem an evil character without dedicating some time to the task, and thus traveling together with the creature? He is always supposed to "Oh ****, it's evil! SMITE EVIL!!!" every Evil character around even if they have not commited any crime untill now? The Paladin leads by example. His ultimate hope is that dedicating himself to good and purity even the evil characters can see a light of hope.

The Paladin, however, will not turn back when he see a party member involved in evil acts. There is where the Paladin should interfere.

It is kind of mutual you know. When a Player says: I am making a Paladin and another Player says: I am making a CE Rogue. They Know that they are up to the conflict. Even if the Paladin's code did not exist I'd say that a Lawful Good character would have something to say to this CE Rogue. The Lawful Good allignment draws this. If the character would always ignore the CE Rogue's acts he would soon become Neutral and them Chaotic or Evil. Code or not.

AtomicKitKat
2008-02-13, 10:13 AM
What's up with all the threads lately about making paladins fall? Have paladins falling become the new monks sucking?

Paladins falling are actually more powerful than pure Paladins, but only if they take Blackguard(and use 10 of the previous Paladin levels to power it up).:smalltongue:

Nero24200
2008-02-13, 03:18 PM
C'mon "Never associtating with evil characters". This is stupid. How the Paladin is supposed to redeem an evil character without dedicating some time to the task, and thus traveling together with the creature? He is always supposed to "Oh ****, it's evil! SMITE EVIL!!!" every Evil character around even if they have not commited any crime untill now? The Paladin leads by example. His ultimate hope is that dedicating himself to good and purity even the evil characters can see a light of hope.
A few points

1. Wouldn't it be a priest's (cleric) job to convert?
2. If the Evil character in question hasn't "commited any crime", why would they be evil? Considering some crimes (like petty theivery, the sterotypical child street thief is hardly going to be spewing an aura strong enough to deck holy knights) might not even be considered evil?
3. The paladins ultimate goal is not simply to be a become a being of hope, it's also to fight evil (see main class feature "Smite Evil").


It is kind of mutual you know. When a Player says: I am making a Paladin and another Player says: I am making a CE Rogue. They Know that they are up to the conflict. Even if the Paladin's code did not exist I'd say that a Lawful Good character would have something to say to this CE Rogue. The Lawful Good allignment draws this. If the character would always ignore the CE Rogue's acts he would soon become Neutral and them Chaotic or Evil. Code or not.

I agree here. It may be the DM's "job" to design a fun game, but it's the player's job to make a party that works together. You wouldn't put an undead raising necromancer in the same party as a druid would you? You wouldn't choose to play a race like an Orc when theres a dwarf ranger in the party with favoured enemy "Anything that's green", so why would anyone play an evil character when they know there is a paladin in the party? It's antagonistic, and something worthy of a hefty kick in the *can't say it here*. If more players realised this, the whole "Association with Evil" thing would never be a problem except for NPCs.

Admittidly, one aspect that I don't think is addressed in the PHB, but is in the BOED. -Any- character, with a vow, oath, or code of some sorts, must be handled a little differently. The DM should allow the player to play in a way so that they are never in a situation that forces them to act outwith that code. Putting them in a situation that may test it, fair enough, but one where you hope they fall and lose their status? That doesn't strike me as a fun game to play, in fact, it strikes that the only way to enjoy that sort of game is to play a class that you know the DM likes. DM hates Clerics? Don't play one, he'll have your god take your powers away. DM hates Wizards? Don't be surprised to find yourself in constant Anti-Magic Fields.

In my honest opinion, I don't think the paladin's code is too strict, but regardless of whether it is or not, players should still have a right to play one without worry of falling every few seconds for not projecting the light of a star out of them (from a specific region I won't mention).

Rant out

Jayabalard
2008-02-13, 03:42 PM
I'd also like to point out that the phrase is "grossly violates the code of conduct." Not "looks cross eyed at the code of conduct". It has to be a gross act that violates the code of conduct. You know like raping babies while setting them on fire. Well, maybe not that gross, but clearly there is a lot of leeway already built into the code. For some reason some players and DM's like to be as stringent as they can and use it to screw with other people. That's not cool.Agreed

Associating with an evil person is a violation of the paladin's code.

Doing so with the intent of redeeming them and bringing them back to the light is not a gross violation of the code.
Doing so in order to accomplish a great good (while doing no evil) is not a gross violation.
Doing so and looking the other way while they rape babies is a gross violation.

Starbuck_II
2008-02-13, 05:40 PM
Agreed

Associating with an evil person is a violation of the paladin's code.

Doing so with the intent of redeeming them and bringing them back to the light is not a gross violation of the code.
Doing so in order to accomplish a great good (while doing no evil) is not a gross violation.
Doing so and looking the other way while they rape babies is a gross violation.


But what if the babies were evil? Than the Paly should help smite them, no?

Tokiko Mima
2008-02-13, 06:15 PM
What's up with all the threads lately about making paladins fall? Have paladins falling become the new monks sucking?

I think it's because deep down, every one of those paladin haters deeply miss Miko, who has not given them more reason to hate Paladins for over 65 comic strips now. :smalltongue:




Yeah, I bring this trouble on myself. What of it? :smallbiggrin:

horseboy
2008-02-13, 06:26 PM
But what if the babies were evil? Than the Paly should help smite them, no?

That would depend on the color of their fingernails (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080527/)!

Fawsto
2008-02-13, 11:52 PM
First... At least 70% of the evil persons do not commit directly evil acts such as murder and theft. They are simply evil commoners that are vain, selfish and... well, evil. They just don't do anything wrong on the open because they fear the punishment. Sometimes they don't even know or understand taht they are evil. Don't be fooled. In D&D or in the real life, if you had detect evil as a class feature, you would be very surprised when you take a look in that nighbour of yours. Assuming that you'd receive the grace of having such ability.

Yeah... Ignore the Paragon of Good. Make him a soulless smiter. One day the Paladin will wake up and notice that he has being fighting a lost battle while he kill demons and the such. A true Paladin knows that the greater battle stands not in the Abyss, not in Hell, not even in the material plane. The true battle remains inside every evil soul that can be redeemed, because every dark soul taht chooses light wilingly is a huge victory for the Good. While he smites those evil paragons he intends to show people that they can make a stand against evil by themselves. Not fighting directly, but becoming a tool in the "Good" hands.

Any good souled creature has the duty to bring hope. That's the essence of being good. You do not have to be a Cleric to redeem. You must only be a good person. Having mercy, being willing to forgive and giving your hand so he can stand up. This is to be good.

Also, the Game is composed of mutual interaction between the DM and the Palyers, without eachother it would never exist. A good DM understands what the Players are up to. And he works based on that so everyone will have fun and enjoy the game. A DM who cannot understand taht is just a tyranical bastard.

Any problem with those parties? I am playing one with 2 Paladins, me (trying to go exalted and FoR) and another one who is trying to achieve gray guard; 1 NN Druid who will soon become NE and a Barbarian/Necromancer. Wow. The party is ok right now. We are the proof taht such thing may exist. We live in a tight line. Anyoe can make a small slip and ruin everything, but we are mature enough to handle this situation and have a serious game.

- Faws

Fhaolan
2008-02-14, 01:54 AM
Personally, I believe that while the Paladin's Code vs Moral Code entry in the PHB does in fact read as if they are the same thing, it is due to sloppy editing rather than the true intent of the rules. I would like to believe that the RAI is that the Paladin's Code is something the Paladin strives for above and beyond what his/her Moral Code allows for.

Of course, I've never played 3.x by true RAW, working more in a RAI mode, because I find RAW close to unplayable. Not just because of Paladins, but because of many other similar glitches.

horseboy
2008-02-14, 01:56 AM
Exactly, otherwise a paladin couldn't be in a party with someone with a bow. :smalltongue:

Fhaolan
2008-02-14, 11:44 AM
I had an odd thought as I was driving into work this morning. I may have an explanation as to why I don't have a issue with a Paladin having a separate Paladin's Code from his/her Moral Code.

Because I, in RL, have a situation which feels similar to me. Not to the level of the Paladin, of course. :smallsmile:

I'm a professional engineer, and have been for many years. I personally have a Moral Code which I follow to the best of my ability. However, I also have the Engineer's Code of Ethics that I am required to follow by the Society of Professional Engineers.

Looking over the Paladin's Code, it reads a lot more like a Code of Ethics in my experience as opposed to a Moral Code. As part of my training as a professional engineer, a rather vague line was drawn between Ethics and Morals, but a line *was* drawn. This may be the source of confusion on my part. I need to find my textbooks from those courses, as I can't clearly remember what the difference was right now.

Wolfwood2
2008-02-14, 12:17 PM
As with many things in life, communication is key.

I think a lot of DMs are misled into believing that if a player plays a paladin PC, it means they are looking to get jerked around on the Code and made to risk falling. If this is not the case, the player should clearly communicate this fact and make it clear that he's only interested in the paladin fluff as a flavor thing.

Probably the most direct way to say this is to explain that you have no interest in playing a fallen paladin. Tell the DM that if your paladin loses his powers, you're just going to consider the character broken beyond repair, hand in the character sheet, and make a new character. Equating loss of paladinhood to loss of PC will likely make the DM avoid putting the PC in lose/lose situations as regards the code.

comicshorse
2008-02-14, 08:49 PM
Equating loss of paladinhood to loss of PC will likely make the DM avoid putting the PC in lose/lose situations as regards the code.

Oh if only that was true

Starbuck_II
2008-02-14, 08:57 PM
Oh if only that was true

Yep, some DMs like doing that to people.

Callista
2008-02-16, 02:37 AM
From the SRD:

"...a paladinís [moral] 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."

If the party is consistently not following these guidelines, the paladin may not associate with them. It destroys the party, which is essentially equivalent to killing the game. The IC act will have OOC reprecussions. Again, bad game design, no better than killing the PC during character creation (*glares at Traveller, MechWarrior 3E*)... but wouldn't that be true of just about any Good character? What I mean is, if you're a Good-aligned character, you just naturally wouldn't hang around with people who hurt innocents. At the most, you'd hang around with them because you can thus prevent them from doing so--kinda like Belkar.

This isn't a Paladin problem in my opinion, so much as it is a problem with role-playing in general: The party creates characters who would never, in real life, associate with each other. Then, because they're all wearing PC shirts, for some reason they adventure together. It really breaks suspension of disbelief for me.

This is why DMs usually ban Good characters in Evil parties, and vice versa. It's just not realistic. If you want to play the exception to the rule, your backstory had better explain why you are hanging out with these people whom you'd otherwise consider your worst enemies; and you as a player had better be prepared to hand in your character sheet if it doesn't work out.

By the way, I think most Paladins will at some point violate their codes of conduct, and many of those will lose their powers over it. When you demand perfection of an imperfect, usually mortal creature, that's simply what happens. That means that the DM needs to be ready with the Atonement spell (and matching quest, if necessary) if a Paladin finds himself with a non-LG alignment or an evil deed on his record. The risk of falling--and the reality that it'll eventually happen--is part of playing a Paladin. If your character would do something chaotic or evil, then have him do it. If he's a paladin, chances are he'll feel remorseful or wish there could have been some other way to do it (if it's a moral dilemma he couldn't figure a way out of). There's your solution to the paladin no-win scenario, by the way: If you can't find a third option, then go with the least evil and atone afterwards. It won't be a harsh atonement, not if I'm the DM.

By the way, I do think a Paladin's code should make exceptions for attempted redemption, carting around evil prisoners, that kind of thing. I'd rule-zero those, myself; they're not included in the spirit of the "don't associate with evildoers" rule. That's meant to be more of a "don't be influenced by bad company" than "stay away from the imperfect people" thing; otherwise a paladin would be LN. Good inherently means the possibility of redemption, as well as the willingness to offer mercy. He's got a high Charisma score and Diplomacy class skill for a reason.

sickler
2008-02-16, 03:13 AM
It depends to the extend that the party doesn't follow the guildlines. If a particular party rogue excessively enjoys the benefits of the Bluff skill, does that mean the paladin is going to Smite Evil him and not fall? Hardly.

A more likely response will be the paladin tells the rogue to simply tell the truth because the paladin will believe that by being honest, they'll reach the same goal without any foul play. If the rogue continues to lie/use poisons/refuse to help those in need/disrespect proper authorities/etc, all things that break the code of conduct, he still won't attack him. Either the rogue will be booted from the group or the paladin will leave. Sure, it'll break the group but that's what happens when you try to play with a group that wouldn't work to begin with.

If the rogue stabs some merchant in the face and starts rummaging through the corpse's pockets though, don't expect the paladin to simply scold him.

All relies on the player roleplaying his role properly. And if the DM or circumstance put the paladin in a lose/lose situation, that's just part of the game. It might frustrate the player till his face turns purple, but it's a reality of "life" that not everything works out perfectly. If it reaches that point, it's up to the DM to either be lenient or have a solution ready at hand for the party to quest for.

comicshorse
2008-02-16, 11:09 AM
No self-respecting Rogue should let the Paladin catch him lying. That's just being sloppy

Quorothorn
2008-02-17, 05:37 AM
... but wouldn't that be true of just about any Good character? What I mean is, if you're a Good-aligned character, you just naturally wouldn't hang around with people who hurt innocents. At the most, you'd hang around with them because you can thus prevent them from doing so--kinda like Belkar.

This isn't a Paladin problem in my opinion, so much as it is a problem with role-playing in general: The party creates characters who would never, in real life, associate with each other. Then, because they're all wearing PC shirts, for some reason they adventure together. It really breaks suspension of disbelief for me.

This is why DMs usually ban Good characters in Evil parties, and vice versa. It's just not realistic. If you want to play the exception to the rule, your backstory had better explain why you are hanging out with these people whom you'd otherwise consider your worst enemies; and you as a player had better be prepared to hand in your character sheet if it doesn't work out.

By the way, I think most Paladins will at some point violate their codes of conduct, and many of those will lose their powers over it. When you demand perfection of an imperfect, usually mortal creature, that's simply what happens. That means that the DM needs to be ready with the Atonement spell (and matching quest, if necessary) if a Paladin finds himself with a non-LG alignment or an evil deed on his record. The risk of falling--and the reality that it'll eventually happen--is part of playing a Paladin. If your character would do something chaotic or evil, then have him do it. If he's a paladin, chances are he'll feel remorseful or wish there could have been some other way to do it (if it's a moral dilemma he couldn't figure a way out of). There's your solution to the paladin no-win scenario, by the way: If you can't find a third option, then go with the least evil and atone afterwards. It won't be a harsh atonement, not if I'm the DM.
[snip]

QFT. And, another QFT: "It happens. They wouldn't have an Atonement spell if it didn't need to be used once in a while." - Teh H-man. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0409.html)


*Puts on :vaarsuvius: headband.*

A note on the "moral code" thing: I'd like to point out that "moral" is, in addition to the previously-given definitions, one way to refer to one of the two Alignment axes, with the other being "ethical"; as I recall, the former is Good-Evil whilst the latter is Law-Chaos. So a Paladin could hang with a Chaotic Good character with little problem (sure, there could be problems, depending on the individual characters, but there wouldn't have to be). As long as the CG-dude doesn't slip too far towards CN or CE, it's all Good (literally). Only a rather self-absorbed Paladin would hold others to their own Code of Conduct, IMO (that kind of arrogance is my only true beef with elves).

There's a reason (many, actually) there aren't many Paladins: you have to be LG, which is one of three Good Alignments (none of which can really be considered any "better" than the other two) , one of six non-Evil Alignments, and one of nine overall. Then there's the need to have good scores in STR, CON, WIS and CHA (no other Core Classes need four good Attributes, IIRC), the fact that according to PH you have to be specifically called...the list goes on a bit. Paladins are rare; this rarity does not grant them automatic "spexhulnez" in terms of lording it over everyone who doesn't have such tight restrictions (which would be all non-Paladins: not even Samurai, Monks or Cavaliers touch Paladins here); a Paladin who brow-beats his companions into being "Lawful Good" is a moron; and finally, the Paladin Code of Conduct is not the only way to uphold the values of Good, and Paladins who think that are straying dangerously towards Lawful Neutral (as in "my rules > you").

Sure, an Evil traveling partner (in whatever capacity) still presents issues, but...as mentioned before, Paladins aren't supposed to just kill Evil, much less KOS Evil (that's even leaving aside the flaws in Detect Evil). In fact, my personal take is that Good never, ever, wins out over Evil through sheer martial might: Good defeats Evil by being Good (see the Lord of the Rings, which is of course what D&D is based off of). That means respect, kindness, mercy, helping/allowing others on the path to redemption...that sort of thing. Also, putting a NE/CE character and a Paladin (or any Good, or even morally Neutral, person) in the same party is just asking for some kind of conflict: don't do it if you aren't interested in the issues. For that matter, as noted above, people on opposite sides of the moral scale rarely form adventuring parties, even without factoring in class restrictions. Parties generally function like Clerics: everyone is within one-two Alignment steps of each other.

A true Paladin, IMO, is one who Lays on Hands far more often than she Smites Evil, but who does not shy from Smiting if it is truly necessary (speaking somewhat metaphorically). Playing your Paladin as an Upholder-of-Good, rather than Smiter-of-Chaos, is more in keeping with the ideal of the Paladin. Sure, you can play a Paladin as Upholder-of-Good, Upholder-of-Law, Smiter-of-Evil, Smiter-of-Chaos or any combination thereof and they're all legitimate, but the first is not only the, ahem, "most correct", but also the one least likely to cause in-party issues (a Smiter-of-Chaos/Upholder-of-Law will likely cause absolute havoc in, like, 8-out-of-10 adventuring parties; the Smiter-of-Evil will generally not tolerate a live Belkar within twenty feet of them except under duress, but aside from that should do pretty well).


And now, enough rambling. *Takes off :vaarsuvius: headband.* If you'll excuse me, I have to go trample some other guy's entire civilization because I need to have something to use my battalions of deadly longbowmen upon. :xykon:

Tura
2008-02-17, 10:21 AM
(This has already been discussed to death and beyond. Why am I doing this? Evidently, I'm bored.)

If your only source is the SRD, Swordguy has a major point. The association clause is a minefield. Yes, it can be bypassed by house rules. Yes, it can be bypassed by assuming the Paladin's moral code is quite different from his Code of Conduct. (Incidentally, I completely agree with this interpretation. But not everyone does, and that's a problem.) And yes, it can be bypassed by good roleplaying, and sorting out with your DM all the fine print before the game begins. Still, it needs to be bypassed somehow, and that's a flaw in the design. We would all be very happier if the association clause never existed, and good old Common Sense was used its place.

However!
The SRD is pure crunch, and the Paladin's concept is much more fluff-dependent than most classes out there. (Or all of them). And in the primary source of fluff in this game, the PHB, it explicitly states that while evil acts are not tolerated, Paladins "are willing to work with a variety of people quite different from themselves."
There. Problem solved. :smalltongue:

PS- Political correctness aside, I personally hate Paladins from the bottom of my heart and have never in my life played a character who didn't gleefully make every Paladin's life miserable (or at least mock them to death). Still, I'm trying to be fair here... aren't I?

Callista
2008-02-18, 01:21 PM
I think you ought to re-think your paladin stance, in-game; it's pure metagaming. What happens when you meet a well-played one, and start making his life miserable without even thinking--and maybe without even knowing the guy's a paladin rather than just a particularly pious fighter? Of course, if said paladin's making an ass of himself, feel free to make his life miserable.