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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    An idea for a cool npc and/or character came to me yesterday. In short:

    A paladin character who freely associates with a succubus. The succubus is a source of information on the criminal underworld/fiend cult scene, and is not doing much of anything Evil, as far as the paladin knows. She is a contact, and the paladin provides little assistance to her besides whatever a contact is due (be it money, small tokens, the occasional bottle of fine wine)

    Now, does the paladin fall for this?

    Alternative 1- if this was anything other than a paladin, such as a knight or crusader, would the character change alignment for these actions?

    Alternative 2- if a physical relationship is occuring, does that change the answer? Combine with above alternative as well.

    I'm looking more for how to approach this idea now that I've had it, so actual class crunch isn't as necessary, hence putting it here.
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    Default Re: Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    If he's a Grey Guard, he'd probably not fall so long as he's using her information to fight Evil.

    As a normal Paladin, however, it's debatable. Under a fairly strict interpretation of the standard Paladin code of conduct, he'd fall... unless he was trying to also turn her Good (or at least Neutral), where it's possible that he'd keep his abilities. A looser interpretation (particularly one that encourages more cunning Paladins) may allow this kind of relationship.

    If there's a sexual relationship, there's probably enough interaction that all but the loosest interpretations would have him fall unless he's been actively converting her to the side of Good.

    In none of these cases would I kick a character off of LG, so long as they are otherwise fairly consistent with the LG alignment. There is enough wiggle room in the alignment to allow for those who try to use Evil beings for Good ends, after all (see also: Roy).

    If the Succubus turns Good but continues to dwell in the underworld so she can keep up her services, that's her issue. A Paladin usually doesn't fall if his acquaintances use less than totally honest means to achieve their goals. If he does fall, it's because the DM is a jerk or the Paladin was foolish enough to take a rather strict pledge of conduct.
    Last edited by Mando Knight; 2011-09-26 at 01:54 PM.

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    Default Re: Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    I'm pretty sure that there's a rule in the Paladin's "No-No Book" against knowingly boinking an Evil creature of the Lower Planes. He's a Paladin, not the Witcher. His "Holy Avenger" should probably stay sheathed.

    I also doubt that his faith would look kindly upon his paying off said creature as well. There may be debate on whether or not he knows what evil the succubus is committing and whether or not that'd consitute a violation. I'd definitely say he'd be pretty naive to believe that it will end well for him.
    Last edited by GungHo; 2011-09-26 at 02:00 PM.

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    Default Re: Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    Eh. It could be an interesting plot. If the paladin genuinely loves her and is actively trying to turn her from her evil ways then I would rule he shouldn't fall regardless of whether the relationship is physical or not. If he's just boinking her because "hey, she's a hot sexy succubus!" then that's a bit more of a gray area. It's a bit chaotic, but no more inherently evil than bumping uglies with a good aligned character. He's allowed to associate with evil, but only as long as he is actively trying to redeem them.

    It's all about intent.
    Last edited by Anteros; 2011-09-26 at 02:51 PM.

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    Default Re: Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    Quote Originally Posted by Anteros View Post
    Eh. It could be an interesting plot. If the paladin genuinely loves her and is actively trying to turn her from her evil ways then I would rule he shouldn't fall regardless of whether the relationship is physical or not. If he's just boinking her because "hey, she's a hot sexy succubus!" then that's a bit more of a gray area. It's a bit chaotic, but no more inherently evil than bumping uglies with a good aligned character. He's allowed to associate with evil, but only as long as he is actively trying to redeem them.

    It's all about intent.
    I thought in DnD intent has nothing to do with Good and Evil. there are clearly defined, objective definitions of Good acts and Evil acts yes?

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    Default Re: Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    For a few acts (casting evil spells, rebuking undead) yes- but the BoVD also says that for many acts, intent and context do matter.

    So there is a certain amount of room for "not evil if the intent and context are right".
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    Default Re: Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty View Post
    I thought in DnD intent has nothing to do with Good and Evil. there are clearly defined, objective definitions of Good acts and Evil acts yes?
    Yep. And the devs were stupid about that. Seriously, using DROW POISON is an evil act! And just a flat-out swift kill is neutral or even good when used against evil!


    OT, if this is a paladin, that depends on how strict the DM is. If its a gray guard or a lawful good with no code of conduct, it doesn't fall, period.
    Last edited by Hiro Protagonest; 2011-09-26 at 03:04 PM.
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    Default Re: Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    He should be fine. Just because he's getting some...information, doesn't mean he's helping her do anything evil. Is a cop a criminal if he pumps the local gangs for information? Short answer; No.

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    Default Re: Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    Quote Originally Posted by Anderlith View Post
    He should be fine. Just because he's getting some...information, doesn't mean he's helping her do anything evil. Is a cop a criminal if he pumps the local gangs for information? Short answer; No.
    The problem isn't that the paladin is using an evil character for information, the problem is that the character has the [Evil] subtype. That's Evil with a capital E and its very existence should be removed according to some readings of the paladin code.
    Me? I've always felt that the paladin code is ridiculous, but if the player is actually using it I'd say that s/he's on the way to falling. Allowing a succubus to roam free is... well, not good at least.
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    Default Re: Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    Quote Originally Posted by Swiftmongoose View Post
    Yep. And the devs were stupid about that. Seriously, using DROW POISON is an evil act! And just a flat-out swift kill is neutral or even good when used against evil!
    And that kill stays that way even if its solely due to someone else using DROW POISON. 3.5 alignment system is another thing that goes into the good thought, horrible non-sense execution bin.

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    Default Re: Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    Quote Originally Posted by drakir_nosslin View Post
    The problem isn't that the paladin is using an evil character for information, the problem is that the character has the [Evil] subtype. That's Evil with a capital E and its very existence should be removed according to some readings of the paladin code.
    On the other hand, WotC published a bit about a Succubus Paladin and how it would likely work. Just because you have the subtype doesn't mean you actually have the alignment, though a Paladin can successfully smite a good Succubus anyway.

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    Default Re: Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    If indeed intent is important one should also question how actively pursue turning her good. I think we can all imagine such a relationship turning to a comfortable stalemate, the paladin in his hart wants to turn her to the good side, but any attempt at it is rebuked with a sly smile and "not today handsome" Should he actively pursue turning her good, and if it begins to show it doesn't work shouldn't he try differently/ give up and smite her anyway?
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    Default Re: Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    PHP Paladin code user falls to the Earth's core (You are associated with an evil creature knowingly). This reinforces how inane the PHP code is and that it is ultimately a suggestion, with the player and DM are meant to work out a code for a specific Paladin.

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    Default Re: Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." is a good motto for a Paladin who desires to destroy evil by converting it to good. Which is a nicely none-Miko way to play a Paladin, though harder to get away with for some DM.
    That being said, he is walking a fine line here if he isn't working to turn her to good. She is a succubus, she is pretty much literally made of Evil. While there is an exception and possibly others, he should be careful. Just because he does not see evil been done does not mean it isn't been done.
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    Default Re: Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    As long as it's done well, I think it could work fine.

    There was this amazing, extremely roleplay-heavy campaign record I saw a couple of years ago along relatively similar lines. The party's paladin discovered a disguised succubus, and she convinced him to spare her life by pleading with him to redeem her and as a totally honorable, noble soul, he agreed (and had a convent give her temporary residence, I think). She was apparently sincere about this, it turned into this weird, awesome mix of political/religious upheaval and knightly courtship. I think it was on ENWorld? (It also had an extremely specific breakdown of how a 15th-level druid brought down an entire army, a psychotic alienist PC, and some of the coolest Outsiders I've ever read.)

    Anyway, it played the paladin archetype much straighter than what you're suggesting, yet managed to work a similar angle. (The DM was obviously playing fast and loose with the Code, but the player was the model of a paladin so no one could reasonably complain about that.) As long as the story's interesting and the paladin is genuinely paladin-ish, stories like this can be really interesting.
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    Default Re: Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    Quote Originally Posted by gkathellar View Post
    As long as it's done well, I think it could work fine.

    There was this amazing, extremely roleplay-heavy campaign record I saw a couple of years ago along relatively similar lines. The party's paladin discovered a disguised succubus, and she convinced him to spare her life by pleading with him to redeem her and as a totally honorable, noble soul, he agreed (and had a convent give her temporary residence, I think). She was apparently sincere about this, it turned into this weird, awesome mix of political/religious upheaval and knightly courtship. I think it was on ENWorld?
    I forget the name, but I know the campaign you're talking about - ISTR it involved the big Lawful Good god trying to work out the "Lawful or Good?" dilemma for himself via the Paladin's actions, or some such... And it was indeed quite a good read.

    Anyway, as for the OP's question, it's... extremely iffy.

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    Default Re: Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    So would everyone agree it would be in the interests of this character to pursue other paths? Like in 3.5, become a Shadowbane Inquisitor?
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    Default Re: Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    well im thinking of it like how the cleric cadderly from the drizzt series acts, givin hes not a paladin but he does constantly deal with lower planes creatures such as imps and even balor, yet he always retained his allignment because he used those as contacts to further his gods (whos name i cant remember) will, and assist drizzt and his companions. if you dont know him, hes on the wiki if you do then you understand what i mean.

    as for relations with a succubus...well bad paladin bad *hits with a rolled up newspaper*

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    Default Re: Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    Quote Originally Posted by Swiftmongoose View Post
    Yep. And the devs were stupid about that. Seriously, using DROW POISON is an evil act! And just a flat-out swift kill is neutral or even good when used against evil!
    Incorrect- using drow poison is a non-evil act according to BOED- unlike using other poisons, which for some reason cause "excessive suffering".

    Also- killing someone who is evil can still be murder, depending on the situation- it requires good intentions, and is context-sensitive.
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    Default Re: Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    It really boils down to how you treat demonic entities like a succubus.

    If your general outlook is that demons are people, maybe a bit more prone to brutal and "evil" action, but can otherwise make choices based on contemplative thought processes etc., then this relationship is in its core not any more problematic than a relationship to a human that may or may not be a criminal (from what the paladin knows).

    Both relationships have three elements to them, that could be discussed seperately:

    1: Obtaining information
    There is not problem with that at all, regardles of the source.
    The source of the information comes into play when evalueating the trustworthynes of the information. But this is a responsiblity on the Paladins part, and is true for any information. With a succubus he may have to be a bit more careful. But again this is the paladins responsibility and the relationship itself is not relevant.

    2: The "Payment"
    You mentioned that the paladin receives the information not for free. In both cases, the maybe-criminal and the succubus, any return-services may be used for ends the paladin may not approve. If this is the case it might be a reason for him falling. But again, it is all in the responsibility of the paladin. If he chooses gifts of only personal value, or has reasons to trust that his money/goods are not beeing used for "evil" ends, then he will be fine.

    3: Sexual/romantic relationship
    Since romance and sex are unrelated to moraltiy, or "good" and "evil", there is no problem with that at all.
    Of course, if in the setting every time someone bumps uglies with a succubus, a newborn baby's soul is sucked into the Abyss or something, things might change

    In the end, the relationship with a maybe not trustworthy beeing is a risk for the paladin, but it is in his responsibility to evaluate this risk. If he makes mistakes, then it might be a reason for falling. If he is careful and considerate enough, he is fine.

    Of course, if you choose to uphold the PHB paladin code, you will fall for associating with an evil character. But you probably know this and the reason for this thread is that you choosed to ignore that part.


    On the other hand, a different aproach to what demonic entities are will not change any of these points. Instead, it will influence the possibilities of relationships with demons. If you see demons more as embodiments of a cosmic force, then a relationship you described will either be not possible, or the paladin would better not trust anything coming out of its* mouth.

    Bottom line: if you view demons as persons, then treat this situation like any other situation with persons.

    *Under this view, a demon is not a person anymore and doesnt have a gender, despite a female appearance.

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    Default Re: Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zombimode View Post
    If you see demons more as embodiments of a cosmic force,
    Of course, redeeming a cosmic embodiment of evil could be just about the coolest story you could get out of the Power Of Love trope. (It could also be the dumbest story, depending.)
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    Default Re: Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    Normally I'm against overly strict limitation of a paladin's behaviour, but a succubus is a demon. A paladin, the archetype of the good and chivalrous holy warrior, does not fraternise with demons, the embodyment of evil. Imagine people like the knights of the Round Table, Saladin, or Jeanne D'Arc hanging out with demons - wouldn't work.

    For some kind of ecclesiastical investigator I'd personally go with cleric/rogue.
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    Default Re: Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    If angels can fraternize with demons in places like Sigil, why not paladins?
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    Default Re: Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    If angels can fraternize with demons in places like Sigil, why not paladins?
    A paladin strives to achieve and maintain a state of full lawfulness and goodness, while an angel by nature already is purely good. The angel's insight in these matters is complete, so s/he can rather safely interact with evil. Someone who already has a finely cultivated garden may take a day off, someone who lives in untamed wilderness must ceaselessly work to achieve that state.
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    Default Re: Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    Being "purely good" by nature, doesn't make one immune to Falling- which is how devils came to be in the first place.

    Certainly paladins should be very cautious- but it's not that unusual for there to be situations where one must interact with fiends without using violence.
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    Default Re: Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    Quote Originally Posted by Calmar View Post
    Normally I'm against overly strict limitation of a paladin's behaviour, but a succubus is a demon. A paladin, the archetype of the good and chivalrous holy warrior, does not fraternise with demons, the embodyment of evil. Imagine people like the knights of the Round Table, Saladin, or Jeanne D'Arc hanging out with demons - wouldn't work.

    For some kind of ecclesiastical investigator I'd personally go with cleric/rogue.
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    Default Re: Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    Quote Originally Posted by Calmar View Post
    Normally I'm against overly strict limitation of a paladin's behaviour, but a succubus is a demon. A paladin, the archetype of the good and chivalrous holy warrior, does not fraternise with demons, the embodyment of evil. Imagine people like the knights of the Round Table, Saladin, or Jeanne D'Arc hanging out with demons - wouldn't work.

    For some kind of ecclesiastical investigator I'd personally go with cleric/rogue.
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    Default Re: Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    Quote Originally Posted by Arbane View Post
    I forget the name, but I know the campaign you're talking about - ISTR it involved the big Lawful Good god trying to work out the "Lawful or Good?" dilemma for himself via the Paladin's actions, or some such... And it was indeed quite a good read."
    Anyone know where this campaign record is? I'd like to give it a read.

    Anyway:

    A paladin character who freely associates with a succubus. The succubus is a source of information on the criminal underworld/fiend cult scene, and is not doing much of anything Evil, as far as the paladin knows. She is a contact, and the paladin provides little assistance to her besides whatever a contact is due (be it money, small tokens, the occasional bottle of fine wine)

    Now, does the paladin fall for this?
    I'd say no. I mean, it's kind of toeing the line a bit for a Paladin, maybe, but I wouldn't make him fall for it.

    Alternative 1- if this was anything other than a paladin, such as a knight or crusader, would the character change alignment for these actions?
    Most definitely not.

    I mean, unless the Succubus is draining babies right in front of them or otherwise being evil beyond just existing, no, the Paladin wouldn't fall and the alignment wouldn't change.

    Alternative 2- if a physical relationship is occuring, does that change the answer? Combine with above alternative as well.
    Uh. That's a thornier issue. If the Paladin is doing it out of genuine love and desire for redemption on the Succubus' part, I'd say no.

    If it's purely physical, that's probably a one-way ticket to Fallsville, Population: You.
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    Default Re: Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    If I remember correctly Asmodeus was charged with punishing wicked and he and his celestials kind of mutated into devils. In that case, why shouldn't a paladin try to reclaim a good soul that has strayed from the path? By RAW, however, he falls for associating with an evil creature.
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    Default Re: Issue of conduct (re: Paladin and Succubus)

    Its states in the Book of Exalted deeds that Fiends are being of pure evil and the simple existance of one on the Material Plane blights the land and helps evil, allowing one to exist makes your Paladin fall.

    Thats RAW in The BoED, not common sense or very fun to play but you want an official ruling, thats it. Using it and making the Paladin fall to Greyguard would be fun though actually, being in love with an evil being but still fighting for good is a rather cool concept IMO.

    Or you could take a more Ebberon style take on Alignment, or my personal favorite of The End Justifies The Means, always leads to some great Anti-Hero characters.

    Hope that helps!

    Edit:
    Quote Originally Posted by The Random NPC View Post
    In that case, why shouldn't a paladin try to reclaim a good soul that has strayed from the path? By RAW, however, he falls for associating with an evil creature.
    This is cool, its like to work for the Greater Good you cant be Lawful Good.
    Last edited by GodGoblin; 2011-09-27 at 09:28 AM.
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