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Paladins and Evil

Discussion in 'Dungeons & Dragons + Other RPGs' started by kuemper, Sep 13, 2005.

  1. kuemper Gems: 31/31
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    [​IMG] What does a paladin do when he/she finds out he/she's traveling with someone of an evil alignment? Is there anyway to justify a paladin being with said evil person, say to finish a quest?
     
  2. Felinoid

    Felinoid Who did the what now? ★ SPS Account Holder

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    1) Kill or reform.
    2) Only if the evil person is absolutely necessary and it serves the greater good. Just try to reform them in the meantime, and kill them afterwards if it doesn't work. :D

    Paladins are duty-bound to seek out and destroy evil wherever they may find it. Whether they do this by conversion or death matters very little.
     
  3. Faragon Gems: 25/31
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    If there's any chance of said evil person redeeming, the paladin should give that a shot. The paladin should only act on 'evil' if he witnesses it without doubt. Coming up on his 'evil-radar' is not good enough. For example a bullying kid, who enjoys this greatly, might come up as evil, but doesn't deserve death for his actions.
     
  4. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Depends how you regard your paladin -- as an accomplished goodie that won't harm a fly unless necessary, or a big smiter who will get things done the right way (sort of like Master Windu in Ep. III). There is no obligation to smite evil people on sight just because they are evil. In fact, it would even be wrong. However, a paladin isn't supposed to help criminals avoid justice and he may have some sort of obligation to bring the unrepenting criminal to justice.

    If I were to roleplay a paladin now, he wouldn't consider himself the appropriate judge of whether someone deserves life or death or anything for his actions unless appointed to a feudal or judicial or whatever such position. However, he would take what action necessary to protect others. He would believe in giving chances but not at the cost of a great danger to the populace. As for evil characters, he would first of all hate to interact with those and would hate to have anything to do with their designs. He would probably apprehend villains who have already been proclaimed guilty by a judge and turn them over to the appropriate authorities. He could cooperate with evil for a good cause (meaning the evil one would have some interest in furthering a good cause), but there would be no chit-chat with convicted felons.

    Note: fantasy kingdoms are somewhat different and hence an evil person who uses evil means in combatting other evil people (like competing thieves guilds etc) doesn't always have to be a threat for the general populace. Still, I doubt a paladin could find such company plausible.

    [ September 13, 2005, 18:38: Message edited by: chevalier ]
     
  5. kuemper Gems: 31/31
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    I got this Paladin/Sorceress/Spellsword I'd like to use, but I'm fairly confident at least one other party member will be evil. She's not a 'let's kill the evil-law breakers!' type. If she catches the evil person doing evil or breaking the law, she's taking him to justice. It's hard though. I know pallys don't knowingly travel with evil persons. There's not really a quest involved either. :o

    Her back story is that she was training as a pally and tried to lay hands on an injured person - *whoof* out streaks burning hands. She's not cast from her order (Mystra or Azuth, can't make up my mind), but asked to continue 'realizing' her sorcerous powers. Eventually, she learns how to wear armor and cast spells with little chance of failure.
     
  6. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    I think a paladin could travel with an evil person who is "just" evil but doesn't commit evil acts, in order to bring him or her back to the good side. But this path can lead to the Dark Side... Or you could use the good girl and bad guy love cliche.

    Much could also depend on the intensity of the evil aura. Personally, I believe even non-evil characters who have been doing bad things or having bad thoughts should radiate some dim evil aura. However, your typical "dim" is an average orc. Or a bully. Some dimly evil fighter or rogue wouldn't be so much of a problem as a high-level evil cleric of a dreadful deity or a necromancer.
     
  7. Oaz Gems: 29/31
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    If you want to go by the rules, this isn't permitted by the Paladin's code of conduct, so you might want to wrangle with your DM about giving you some wiggle room (or just adjusting the code altogether).
     
  8. kuemper Gems: 31/31
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    1) I don't want to 'convert' people. I'll leave that to the priests! :p

    2) I'm the DM, so I have more than enough wiggle room for the rules. ;)

    I want this character, yet at the same time, I want to follow the code of conduct. I say I can't, but others say it's okay (you guys and my DnD buddies). <sigh> She was more of a power character anyway. I could get by with fighter instead of pally, but all those cool abilities that come with the pally class...divine grace especially. :love:

    I could pull this little trick as the DM. Hee hee!
     
  9. Gnolyn Lochbreaker Gems: 13/31
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    It's already been noted, but strictly speaking once your Paladin becomes aware of an evil party member, they won't travel or associate with them willingly.

    Killing outright probably wouldn't be a reasonable reaction, unless there was some challenge involved, or the Paladin witnessed the other character committing a heinously evil act, such as murder. Depending on your Paladin's deity, they may attempt to reform them, but most D&D deities don't seem to have much of a 'redemption' streak. And if the PC's evil aura (or the evil act witnessed) were strong, the Paladin wouldn't be very likely to even consider reforming them.

    The clearest path would probably be to try and persuade the other party members to toss the 'evil' character out. Which could be tough if they've proved useful and haven't actually done anything evil. Failing that, the Paladin would have to leave the party. Continuing to associate freely with them would result in the Paladin losing their divine favour and becoming an ex-paladin.

    If they witnessed the evil PC committing an evil act, then they'd be determined to turn them into the authorities, assuming there are any and said 'authorities' are considered just and right by the Paladin.

    But I suggest you just go with it and see what happens. If the Paladin simply senses that the other character is 'evil', and the aura isn't strong or overwhelming, then it could be put down to 'suspicion'. The Paladin would be wary and watchful, looking for some form of proof - catching the evil PC in the act. At that point, then the Paladin would definitely be required to do something. Beyond the code of conduct the Paladin's actions will be driven by their deity's dogma, and the nature of the evil.

    In most games I've ever played, casting or using 'Detect Evil' (and other similar) spells on party members without some form of justification has always been considered a 'rude' act on the character's behalf. From the perspective of other charater's, think of it as if a new acquaintance were to run a background check on you, or rummage through your diary just to make sure you weren't up to something they didn't approve of. Once other characters catch on to what is happening, all hell usually breaks loose, and the offending PC ends up a little bloodied and very wary of casually using such abilities again. Basically, while you know that the PC is evil, your character doesn't and won't until they make an effort to find out, or witness and evil act.

    It'll definitely add some tension and conflict to the group, and sooner or later it will come to a head. As long as it doesn't become overly distracting or disruptive to the game, it will make things interesting.

    Something else to think about. Since this is your NPC in the party, this could turn into a whole side adventure. Paladin witnesses the evil PC doing something..well..evil. Attempts to convince the other party members to help him turn the evil PC in, or something like that. The party declines, and the Paladin leaves...to get the authorities, or some other willing help, to capture the evil PC AND the rest of the party (who, afterall, are now freely aiding the evil PC). And now the party is on the run from the Paladin, and/or local authorities (hanging posse). Instant adventure. (Note: the reverse would also work, with the evil PC on the run. But that's harder to DM since you've got two player groups that need to be kept unaware of the other's actions).
     
  10. olimikrig

    olimikrig Cavalier of War Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    ROFLMAO!

    Personally I would say that it came down to whether he caught the person not only doing something evil, but also doing something ilegal...
    Imho, hence the paladin is also a lawful character, not only by the terms honor deals, or respect the code of conduct, but more so when speaking in the terms of the law.

    Your Paladin could not kill this man/woman without doing something illegal, unless this man/woman had done an act not alone evil but also against the law.
    Thus did your Paladin kill this man/woman without righteousness on her site, then she would actually herself become a criminal, no?
     
  11. Lord Garak Gems: 7/31
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    I think the paladin would either try to reddem the evil person or kill him.
     
  12. Morgoroth

    Morgoroth Just because I happen to have tentacles, it doesn'

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    The paladin should probably ditch the guy, or try to redeem the fellow depending on how he sees it. Killing would not be an option unless the companion behaves criminally. Paladins are also lawful which should be remembered. Paladin codes also are a little different from deity to deity but I would assume that using someone as a "tool" no matter of what alignment they are would be trickery and not suitable behaviour for a paladin.

    As for the detect evil ability, and use it only as an ability to detect supernatural evil (such as demons, undead or other extremely evil beings) in disguise.

    Anyway it's really up to you how you play the character, there are allways ways to force the paladin to travel with someone who'se evil. The power of denial can be a strong one, and your character might know that the companion is evil but choose not to believe it. Not even paladins are perfect and it does not make one fallen if he travels with an evil character.
     
  13. Dall Gems: 3/31
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    Players handbook says that paladins re not allowed to travel with evil persons... So some kind of conflict will happen. Since the paladin is laful good i think he would try to safe and convert the evil character into his own faith, or at least bring him back to the path of goodness... But if he sees the evil character do an evil act, then can't a fight or a big conflict be denied.
     
  14. LKD Gems: 31/31
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    In a world without magical abilities to detect evil or alignment, I think that a Paladin would leave the company of an evil person or try to get him removed from the party if the person continually committed evil acts. But let's look at an example from the D&D books.

    Sturm Brightblade was as close to a paladin as the original Chronicles had (though he had no detection abilities). He had known Raistlin for a long time. When he realized that Raistlin had some evil in him, he didn't engage in knee jerk reactions and just kill the guy -- he knew everyone else in the party would likely take exception to that, and just because you are lawful good -- and/or a paladin to boot -- you are not a moron. He clashed with Raistlin frequently, but didn't kill someone he'd known for years on that basis.

    Now, in a fantasy world, where magic exists for a paladin to know the alignment, you'd have a difficult situation if the Paladin killed everyone evil they detected -- people of other alignments would soon run them out of most societies if they wandered around the marketplace detecting evil and killing anyone with the wrong aura. So, they would likely exercise some restraint.

    They would likely give most people an opportunity to redeem themselves -- evil is not eternal, and in order to survive in the wildrness or in a difficult situation, I think any paladin with a brain would stick with any available allies at least for long enough to survive.

    Another example pops into mind -- BG2 has Keldorn. Evil people annoy him; he clashes with Edwin, Korgan, and Sarevok. All of these are people who have chosen evil -- they could yet choose good, so he does not try to kill them.

    Viconia, on the other hand, is in his eyes evil to the core -- as a drow in a Faerun, she was born evil -- her, he eventually tries to kill or run out of the party. In his eyes, she cannot or never will choose good (this is belied if you play the romance the right way).

    A party that continually travels together in most campaigns would not likely have evil and Paladin characters, however, without some strong reason (like the ones I mentioned).

    End rant.
     
  15. Orichifunk Gems: 2/31
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    I definatily thinks it's ultimately up to the personality of the Paladin - how he regards his role as a just champion, how he regards the person that he discovered was evil, how he discovered it, etc. There are many factors. I believe that if a character was discovered doing a deed the Paladin would consider evil (backstabbing, stealing, murdering etc.) the Paladin would kill the partymember. However if he did not do that I think the most "just" thing to do would be to just abandon the member. It all comes down to personality though, IMHO.
     
  16. Milotus Gems: 1/31
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    If Paladin doesn't know that he/she is evil, they could co-operate. Although as someone already said that it is against the code of conduct that Paladin works together with evil aligned character...
     
  17. Ilmater's Suffering Gems: 21/31
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    the Paladin I typically RP is in "romantically" involved with a Lawful Evil character (all the relationships I RP are good girl/guy with evil girl/guy). Then again she strives to avoid violence (the Ilmaterian thing about not making others suffer) and is more content to try to guide her LE love towards good then simply smite him down (and shatter her own heart in the process). The god they adhere to would have alot to do with it as well, don't expect much sympathy from a Paladin of Helm/Torm/Tyr, but a Paladin of Lathander/Ilmater/Sune isn't likely to simply go off and just kill someone before they attempt a non-violent solution. Much of it is going to depend on whether the Paladin and his/her god is more lawful or more good.
     
  18. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    Question: except for detect evil - and it seems to work only if the person is really diabolical - how does a paladin differentiate between an evil act and evil behavior? A neutral character may act in a cold or heartless manner once or twice, should a paladin offer them to reform or leave (or die) after the very first time?
     
  19. kuemper Gems: 31/31
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    I would be on the lookout for party members deliberatly breaking the law. Talk to them; ask questions and for heaven's sake, find out *why* they did it. To me, there's huge difference between a person stealing a loaf of bread to feed himself/his family and a person stealing bread to resell at a high profit.
     
  20. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    @The Shaman: Detect Evil works on everything evil, just the intensity of the paladin's headache varies. :p

    It takes a really evil person to have earned himself a potent evil aura (think blackguard or high-level priest of an evil deity).

    Evil behaviour is the general manner and the state of being aligned with evil. Evil acts are the actual acts. Selfishness is evil behaviour. Denying help to a wounded person because you would stain your clothes is an evil act. Wishing someone death because you don't like him falls under behaviour, whereas actively procuring his demise is an evil act. At least that's how I see a reasonable division for the purpose of the game. Philosophically and morally, one could already claim thoughts as acts.

    And no, a cold or heartless manner isn't enough. I believe the whole "a paladin would not travel with an evil person" is a mental shortcut for "a paladin would not contract guilt even by association". So if your paladin's travelling with the character would cast part of the blame for the latter's acts on him, then your paladin shouldn't travel with that character. But this is true of all good characters, it's just higher standards are expected of paladins.

    It wouldn't be a good paladin who tried to punish someone rather than help him change his ways. If it comes to killing, unless we're talking about a war or killing in defence or a similar situation, it's always better to deliver the criminal to proper justice. That is because a paladin is called to fight but he isn't a judge unless he's given that task by virtue of some kind of lawful authority.

    This doesn't mean you should still try to convert an ogre or insist on taking to the court the kinds of felons the law allows you to execute the spot if caught red-handed. But doing something like, "Sorry, lad, but you've crossed your limit of thefts per lifetime. Now is time to die," is obviously not right. Now, imagine a raging civil war and roofs blazing even as you talk to the bad guys in question. You've just won a fight with some sort of evil usurper, there are urgent tasks at hand and you can't spare guards. "Do you ask pardon in the name of [insert_deity] and the rightful king, [insert_name]?" "May the flees of a thousand camels infest your and your king's armpits!" *splash*.

    Note that sometimes the deity will approve of the killing or won't mind but the society won't like it. Your deity's judgement isn't bound by the rulings of the courts of mortals (even if your deity expects you to follow mortal laws to the letter as a rule, it will judge you itself rather than defer to a mortal judgement). Sometimes you will lose powers and rot in jail. Sometimes you won't lose powers and won't rot in jail, either. Sometimes you will keep your powers but go to jail and sometimes you will be unpunished, even praised, but will lose your powers.

    I guess at least a little depends on your deity's alignment (LG, NG, LN or unnumerous CG exceptions). If you were a paladin and the lord of the nearby village, I don't think Mystra or Sune would cry into their beer over you ordering a necromancer killed without trial. On the other hand, perhaps Helm would like him tried? Maybe Tyr, though I'm not sure. On the other hand, an NG deity would be happy with you meting out harsh punishment just because the law prescribes it and the crimes in question are evil acts.

    [ February 03, 2006, 14:07: Message edited by: chevalier ]
     
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