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    Default A Variant to the Paladin's Code of Conduct

    Under this variant, the paladin can modify their code of conduct at first level - however, the code must be arbitrary and correspond to their alignment conditions (which must not change, or the paladin will fall).

    A paladin's code has 4 major conditions (detailed in 'Tome of Fiends'), and 4 minor conditions (detailed in the 'D20 SRD').

    When a player elects to modify this code, they must meet a minimum quantity of restrictions equivalent to 4 major (violation of these usually results in necessary atonement) and 2 minor (more general conditions, slightly more lenient). Alignment conditions (ie. 'lawful good' or 'any evil') are always a major restriction.

    NOTE: A paladin of a different alignment than lawful good receives different class features from the standard lawful good paladin, in accordance to this other alignment. Review information on the three existing variants.

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    The code can otherwise include whatever the player wishes (assuming it agrees with the restrictions in the above sentences), however they must consult with the GM afterwards (assuming the GM agrees to allow this variant, initially) for the sake of correction, clarification and editing.

    At GM discretion, the paladin of the code can receive an additional minor feature at first level or a more powerful one at a higher level.

    The Existing Default Code

    From Tome of Fiends:
    Spoiler
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    The Use of Poison: If a park ranger hits a bear with a tranq dart, that's not an Evil act. Poison isn't any more or less Evil than a blade. Paladins can't use poison because they agreed not to – not because there's anything wrong with poison. Maybe Paladins only get to keep their magically enhanced immune system so long as they don't take it for granted by using things that would tax it on purpose. Maybe their concern for public safety is so great that they are only willing to use weapons that look like weapons. Whatever. The point is that Paladins have to be Good and they can't use Poison, and these are separate restrictions.

    Lies: A Paladin can't lie. Whether telling a lie is a good or evil act depends on what you're saying and who you are saying it to. But a Paladin won't do it. That means that if the Nazis come to the door and demand to know if the Paladin is hiding any Jews (she is), she can't glibly say "No." That does not mean that she has to say "Yes, they're right under the stairs!" – it means that she has to tell the Nazis point blank "I'm not going to participate in your genocidal campaign, it's wrong." This will start a fight, and may get everyone killed, so the Paladin is well within her code to eliminate the middle man and just stab the Gestapo right there before answering. That's harsh, but the Paladin's code isn't about doing what's easy, or even what's best. It's about doing what you said you were going to.

    Cheating: Paladin's don't cheat. They don't have to keep playing if they figure out that someone else is cheating, but they aren't allowed to cheat at dice to rescue slaves or whatever. Again, there's nothing Good about not cheating, it's just something they have to do in addition to being Good all the time.

    Association Restrictions: Paladins are not allowed to team up with Evil people. They aren't allowed to offer assistance to Evil people and they aren't allowed to receive assistance from Evil people. Intolerance of this sort isn't Evil, but it isn't Good either. It's just another thing that Paladins have to do.

    From the D20 SRD
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    A paladin’s 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.


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    Sample Modified Codes of Conduct

    The Vessel of Good

    This paladin has been granted their abilities by a deity of good alignment, or perhaps by some accidental phenomenon, they were bathed in empowered light that seeped into the material plane from a good aligned deity's domain. At higher levels, they learn how to further unlock these abilities as they become better warriors. The divine energy will part from their soul and body should they ever violate the code below.

    Major Restrictions

    Alignment: Any Good

    1. The Vessel of Good can only use weapons that deal slashing damage. If they wish to use weapons that deal piercing damage, they must be wielded as at least one handed or two handed weapons and they may never use light piercing weapons. They must also never conceal a weapon.

    2. The vessel of Good must drink holy water with at least one meal each week in order to retain their divinely granted powers.

    3. The vessel of Good must never attack an enemy whom is unaware of them.

    4. The vessel of Good must associate only with those her deity approves of (if unsure, they must consult their deity via prayer).

    Minor Restrictions

    They must also punish those who harm or threaten innocents and help those in need. Finally, the vessel of Good must spend at least 1 hour in prayer to their deity each day. At the end of prayer, their deity may send one missive to them - an option that disappears at the end of the day.

    The Assassin of Honesty

    A paladin who is in it entirely for themselves. They seek to prove their worthiness to their chaotic deity by not depending on others and punishing the lawful.

    Major Restrictions

    Alignment: Chaotic Neutral or Chaotic Evil

    1. The Assassin of Honesty may only use weapons that deal piercing and/or slashing damage. They must keep at least one weapon concealed at all times. Should a weapon be discovered, they must slay whoever discovers it with said weapon that was discovered (but not necessarily additional witnesses).

    2. The assassin of honesty must poison their weapons, whenever possible, and imbibe a poison at least once a month. For doing so, they receive 'poison use' at first level and a +1 to Fort saves to resist poison at 2nd level.

    3. The assassin of honesty must attack an enemy that is unaware of them, or flank them, whenever possible.

    4. The assassin of honesty must punish the arrogant and figures of authority, whenever they believe it is safest for them to do so.

    Minor Restrictions

    The assassin of honesty must never willingly associate with paladins of a lawful alignment or those with a code of conduct that contradicts their own. They can never directly depend on the help of others to achieve their own goals (ie. via asking for help). Finally, the assassin of honesty must always lie, to the exception of those they associate with.
    Last edited by imp_fireball; 2010-07-05 at 05:14 PM.

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    Default Re: A Variant to the Paladin's Code of Conduct

    Quote Originally Posted by imp_fireball View Post
    - The vessel of Good must associate only with those her deity approves of (if unsure, they must consult their deity via prayer).
    Blech. I never liked association restrictions anyway - what's to stop my paladin from being like Roy and keeping watch over Belkar, to try to lessen his evil? It certainly seems like something a paladin should do.

    This just makes it worse.


    Re the assassin of honesty: Blargh. This is completely unplayable and makes little sense.

    Though this little tidbit:
    Quote Originally Posted by imp_fireball View Post
    The [paladin] must never willingly associate with paladins of a[n opposing] alignment or those with a code of conduct that contradicts their own.
    I like very much.
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    Default Re: A Variant to the Paladin's Code of Conduct

    What's to stop my paladin from being like Roy and keeping watch over Belkar, to try to lessen his evil? It certainly seems like something a paladin should do.
    He'd have to ask his deity for permission first. Which is essentially GM discretion.

    I'll write in that the missive arrives at the end of prayer. The paladin can word however many questions he likes during the time of prayer.

    Re the assassin of honesty: Blargh. This is completely unplayable and makes little sense.
    Could you PEACH my rules for creating your own code of conduct?

    Those are just samples. Also, whether or not they are unplayable RP-wise is always matter of opinion.

    Note that the assassin of honesty can still adventure with a party and the party can still help them out in circumstances wherein they could reason that they were 'merely participating' - it's just that they can't ask for help or be aware of receiving help. They can invite people, but they can't word it as asking for help. And begging for help is an absolute no-no.

    It's a bit confuddling, but what paladin's code of conduct isn't? That's why I put the help thing under minor restrictions (minor restrictions have leniency and are thus negotiable).
    Last edited by imp_fireball; 2010-07-05 at 05:23 PM.

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    Default Re: A Variant to the Paladin's Code of Conduct

    Quote Originally Posted by imp_fireball View Post
    He'd have to ask his deity for permission first. Which is essentially GM discretion.
    Nah, that bit was aimed at the original Paladin's Code.

    Quote Originally Posted by imp_fireball View Post
    Could you PEACH my rules for creating your own code of conduct?
    Sure. I disagree that the major conditions you list from the original Code are actually all that major (association, yes. the others, not so much), but that's irrelevant.

    EDIT: It occurs to me that "major" does not mean how important it is, but whether or not the paladin is allowed to break it if it conflicts with another tenet...

    4 major + 2 minor is an interesting number (3/3 or 2/4 would make slightly more sense), but seems to be right about spot-on.

    Quote Originally Posted by imp_fireball View Post
    Those are just samples. Also, whether or not they are unplayable RP-wise is always matter of opinion.
    True enough. Though "must attack an unaware enemy whenever possible" and "must punish figures of authority" strike me as cause for the DM to make you kill everything even remotely lawful or law-abiding on sight. I wasn't really complaining about the rest.




    I think I'm going to make my own Paladin's code based on this, which may end up being posted with a rework of the Paladin class...
    Last edited by Siosilvar; 2010-07-05 at 06:27 PM.
    ze/zir | she/her

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    Default Re: A Variant to the Paladin's Code of Conduct

    Quote Originally Posted by Siosilvar View Post
    I think I'm going to make my own Paladin's code based on this, which may end up being posted with a rework of the Paladin class...
    Great! Wanna link it to this thread?

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    Default Re: A Variant to the Paladin's Code of Conduct

    Quote Originally Posted by imp_fireball View Post
    Great! Wanna link it to this thread?
    I will if I ever finish and remember this thread. Too many mechanic ideas, not enough time...
    ze/zir | she/her

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