*Archtypical Paladin Quandry* The 'Are you a Paladin?' Question.

Should Dudley be stripped of his powers for violation of the code?

  • Yes

    Votes: 20 12.4%
  • No

    Votes: 120 74.5%
  • He would receive a warning

    Votes: 21 13.0%

TheEvil

First Post
The most recent paladin thread reminded me of one of the questions which seems to invariably come up when the paladin's code of conduct is debated. I am curious how the board in general feels about it. Without further ado, the set up:

The party (containing a paladin, let's call him Dudley) needs to enter the Evil Overlord's city. At the gate, armed guards ask everyone entering the city if they are a paladin. Any answer in the affirmative will result in arrest and a very short trial followed by execution. When Dudley is asked if he is a paladin, he says no.

Now the poll:

Should Dudley be stripped of his powers for violation of the Code?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Laman Stahros

First Post
Why do they have to enter the city? If it is truley needed for them to enter the city (and in accordance with the paladin's code), then no warning would be needed because there would be no problem. If they needed to enter for some random reason, a warning would be proper.
 

TheEvil

First Post
Laman Stahros said:
Why do they have to enter the city? If it is truley needed for them to enter the city (and in accordance with the paladin's code), then no warning would be needed because there would be no problem. If they needed to enter for some random reason, a warning would be proper.

The party NEEDS to enter the city for very valid and completely unspecified plotline reasons. :p
 

Angel Tarragon

Dawn Dragon
No. Look at it this way, it might be morally wrong to tell a lie, but if that lie can save the live of hundreds of people, it is definetely worth it. The character and their deity would know this.
 

Amy Kou'ai

Explorer
I chose a warning, mostly because... well, let me try to explain.

Paladins stand for honor and justice and whatnot. They stand in the light. Working in the shadows is somewhat counter to what paladins usually stand for. Now, it makes sense to claim to not be a paladin in this case. You get the job done and do the good deed.

But the thing is, paladins stand for more than practicality -- they stand for an ideal. And claiming to not be a paladin somewhat violates that ideal. It's a bit like knifing someone in the back, but on perhaps a larger scale. It might be more expedient to not claim to be a paladin, but doing so involves, at least to some extent, a degree of subterfuge.

So it seems to me that what it comes down to is, as Tom Russell wrote on Monitor Duty the other day, "is it better to maintain moral high-ground or to deal with day to day realities?" I would argue that for a paladin, the former is more important than for your average LG character.

So, a warning. Trivial enough to not have powers stripped, but you have to be careful not to travel too far down the path. (This seems to be the same reason why Nightsong Enforcers and the like are seen as "on the edge.")
 

Michael Morris

First Post
I'd feign being unable to talk and let the rogue do the fast talking :) In which case I didn't tell a lie (though I would have been present when one was told).
 

Trickstergod

First Post
Frukathka said:
No. Look at it this way, it might be morally wrong to tell a lie, but if that lie can save the live of hundreds of people, it is definetely worth it. The character and their deity would know this.

If it's morally wrong, that right there defines it as a paladin-stripping event. Paladin's shouldn't follow that whole "Ends justify the means" thing.

In response to the original poster, though:

I see that sort of lie more a chaotic act than an evil one. Code of conduct doesn't say violating the code strips the paladin of his abilities, it says he loses them if he ever willingly commits an evil act. The ex-paladins part elaborates by saying a gross violation of the code of conduct strips abilities, too.

Now, a paladin should avoid violating the code of conduct, but lying and saying "I'm not a paladin" doesn't qualify as an evil act or a gross violating of the code of conduct. Nor does it immediately change the paladin from lawful good to neutral good.

So, no. The paladin's in the clear.
 
Last edited:




Accompanied by his best contemptuous sneer, the paladin says to the guard "That's the most ludicrous question I've ever heard. As though I would attempt to just walk in the front door if I were a paladin! Really, do you truly waste your time questioning everyone this way?"

:cool:

(And it is, BTW, a silly setup. But that's a different issue.)
 

shilsen

Adventurer
Stripped of powers? Absolutely and unequivocally, "No." Especially since a paladin needs to "grossly violate the code of conduct" to lose his powers. Paladins are allowed to indulge in subterfuge. That's why Undetectable Alignment is a paladin spell.

The only time I can see it being a problem is if both DM and player had together decided that complete honesty is a specific viture upheld by this individual paladin. But that's an individual case.
 

JRRNeiklot

First Post
If he needs to enter just to get supplies, or enact vengence on some hireling of the evil overlord who really means nothing and has little power, then yes, strip him of his powers. If he needs to sneak in so as to confront the overlord in his lair and end his threat to civilization as we know it, then absolutely not. Paladins should not deny their paladinhood just because it's inconvenient
 

RogueTom

First Post
The question in question is a bit meta-gaming isn't it? Why would the guard(s) ask about a character class? Isn't that a bit like assuming the individual joining your group who tells you they can handle themselves in a fight but only wears leather armor is a thief(rogue).
 

Fat Daddy

First Post
Frukathka said:
No. Look at it this way, it might be morally wrong to tell a lie, but if that lie can save the live of hundreds of people, it is definetely worth it. The character and their deity would know this.
I agree with Frukathka. I would say the Paladin does what is necessary to bring the most good to the most people while causing the least harm to the least amount of people possible. It's the whole, Greater Good concept. I am of the opinion that a Paladin, while he may not like it and may feel guilty afterward, would sacrifice 1 innocent to save 100 innocents (assuming all other avenues have been exhausted). JMHO.
IMC Paladins don't lie. As I mentioned in a previous thread, I once had a player of a Paladin bluff his way into an enemy stronghold without ever once telling a lie. He made somewhat ambiguous and misleading statements, "I am here to see how you are running things. Important people don't like what's been going on here and I'm here to do something about it."
That being said, ambigouus statements weren't possible in your scenario. I think the Paladin would do what was necessary to accomplish the greater good, but should know before doing it that he will receive a warning.
 

TheEvil

First Post
Spoony Bard said:
I'd feign being unable to talk and let the rogue do the fast talking :) In which case I didn't tell a lie (though I would have been present when one was told).

Those who cannot speak will need special dispensation to enter the city...
 

TheEvil

First Post
Mouseferatu said:
Accompanied by his best contemptuous sneer, the paladin says to the guard "That's the most ludicrous question I've ever heard. As though I would attempt to just walk in the front door if I were a paladin! Really, do you truly waste your time questioning everyone this way?"

:cool:

(And it is, BTW, a silly setup. But that's a different issue.)

Are you a paladin? Yes or No only.

(Yes, of course it is a silly set up, but it comes up every so often, so I figured it was worth a poll)
 

The AD&D answer, FWIW, is that this kind of a lie is a chaotic act, but not an evil one, and would represent a significant but forgivable violation of the paladin's code. (The paladin would need an atonement spell to recover her powers and continue advancing in her class.) The paladin class guide was pretty clear on this, I think.

In a 3e game, though, I'd rule this as a clear minor violation of the code of conduct. (The PH explicitly notes that paladins are required to "act with honor," which partly means "not lying.") I have no idea what the repercussions of a minor violation would be, though, and I do think the PH is silent on this. Since I'm still sympathetic to the idea of the code as representing a really serious commitment on the part of the paladin, I'd rule that paladins who commit minor violations of the code retain their powers, but they'd need to be subject to magical atonement in order to gain another paladin level.

I think in a 3e context, stripping the paladin of her powers (even temporarily) seems excessively draconian.
 

It's also an interesting question whether it's even dishonorable--in a sense relevant to paladins--to lie in response to a question unworthy of a serious answer. My intuition is that it is, but I'm not particularly convinced either way.
 

Endur

First Post
TheEvil said:
The party (containing a paladin, let's call him Dudley) needs to enter the Evil Overlord's city. At the gate, armed guards ask everyone entering the city if they are a paladin. Any answer in the affirmative will result in arrest and a very short trial followed by execution. When Dudley is asked if he is a paladin, he says no.

Now the poll:

Should Dudley be stripped of his powers for violation of the Code?

I voted no. Now let me explain.

A paladin would never be in this situation, so the paladin could never be stripped of his powers.

Dudley, if he does not have paladin powers, obviously was not a paladin.

There was no "stripping".

Put another way, if you are a Paladin, and you know that you can choose to lie or lose something valuable, you weigh what will be lost. Almost always, you choose to keep honor intact by not lying.
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top