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Is killing a Goblin who begs for mercy evil?

Mad Hamish

First Post
One of the Paizo people has stated it on these very forums a while ago, I think it was Erik Mona(but not sure): If you make a villain that forces a Paladin and his friends to go through many trials, pain, and loss, and then have the villain at the very end beg for mercy and the paladin will lose his powers if he does not forgive is a pretty jerk move.

The "I'm sorry because I got caught so please let me have a chance to redeem myself(but I really just want to get away to get my revenge)" doesn't fly with me personally. It's one thing if the evil wizard appears outside his tower and wants to talk about changing his ways; it's another thing if he waits at the very top and only surrenders because he has no other options left; he's exhausted every trap, monster, and spell.

I refer people to Death Masks in The Dresden Files and a certain incident with a surrendering ex-demon a couple of knights of the lord and a wizard with a baseball bat...
 

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Mad Hamish

First Post
Well, let's make the Paladin the king's executioner. He is to execute a convicted crimnal. The criminal begs for mercy. If the paladin executes the criminal, we remove his paladinhood for his Evil act, and if he fails to obey his liege, he loses his Lawful alignment. Any more beatings we can inflict for having the audacity to choose to play a Paladin?

A Paladin would not be the King's executioner
It might be legal to execute a forger but it's unlikely that a Paladin would agree to do so.
The exact crime the criminal commits would have a fair bit to do with what a Paladin would accept as appropriate punishment.


I'd say taking a life is never a good act ("respect for life" is listed under Good RAW, and "killing others" under Evil).

Depends, killing a Demon or Devil could well qualify as good.
Killing to defend others could well be a good act. (If you kill an evil high priest as he's about to sacrifice a baby for instance)



I'd also say that a plea for mercy needs to be considerd in context. A GM who has the villains beg for mercy, then turn on the characters, is training his players not to honour those pleas, and should not be surprised at the result.

Is the Goblin planning on tricking the Paladin long enough to stab him in the back? Then he has evil intent. Creatures with actively evil intent detect as Evil, per the spell. So the Paladin should be able to pause, Detect Evil on the begging goblin, and assess his sincerity. If his intentions are to turn on the Paladin if spared (whether immediately or by gathering allies), he detects as Evil. It is acceptable to kill him. IOW, I would not consider it an evil act to kill a foe who remains intent on evil. If his intentions are not evil (he truly intends to repent, or at least truly intends to behave to avoid the sword), then killing him is an evil act.

But the Paladin's Detect Evil is accurate. If the creature merits mercy, he will not detect as evil. If his evil intent remains, then he detects as such and can be slain as a non-evil, albeit non-good, act.

Based on my reading of Detect Evil the 'evil intent' means that a non-evil creature with evil intent radiates evil as if it was an evil creature rather than 'automatically detects as evil' so a low powered creature doesn't detect as evil irrespective of intent.
 

Varthol

First Post
re

Another thing to keep in mind is that some part of the paladin's ethics come from his faith. A paladin of a LN god might be more inclined towards a lawful/planned choice than others.

An example if I may, my friend used to play a Paladin of Sune in FR back in 3.X and, NO MATTER WHAT, he would never attack (or insult, or etc) women.

And a different person once played a paladin of Heironous who might as well be a heartless demon hunter.

Paladins unlike traditional viewpoint, are Very Rarely devoted to kings. They are devoted to their faith and obey its verdicts but that's how far it goes. They would typically display respect for a region's laws but if it goes against their religious ethics, they would (half-heartedly) break them.

[Also keep in mind that LG divine characters usually need a mission to drive them forward in a story. It is very rare (almost PC exclusive actually :p) that such a person would be an adventurer. Give such characters a means of communication or a connection to their mission or faith (without overshadowing other characters though) as the story progresses.]

As for the goblin choise, be easy on your players. Not even Gary Gygax should be able to roleplay a paladin 100% in the right way from the viewpoint of another DM. Have the player ask himself what would he think would be his faith's verdict on the issue at hand when a morally grey choice is required.
 

Herobizkit

Adventurer
Accepting a goblin surrender: honorable and good.

Refusing a surrender from/killing a known evil race: not so honorable (unless we're using Samurai instead of the chivalric code), and possibly bordering on chaotic, but not evil.

If the Paladin accepts the creature's surrender, then turn around and stabs the creature when he's not looking: not honorable, definitely chaotic, and probably evil at that point.
 

N'raac

First Post
If a goblin knows how to say "I surrender, don't hurt me," in common, it probably learned that from a victim that it then killed and ate (or killed by eating).

My, aren't we judgemental. Of course, the Goblin is not human, so we can decide they are hardwired for evil. In such case, it hardly seems unreasonable to put them down. But, if they are truly hardwired to that behaviour, it seems they are more neutral than evil, in that they lack the capacity for moral choice. They still need to be put down for the safety of others, though.

I prefer goblins with free will.

p 166 of the basic rules tells us good implies respect for life. Killing is, then, not a choice to be made on a whim, or without making every effort to find other options. Those options may not be convenience, but "Goopd characters make personal sacrifices to help others".

Evil, from the same page, implies killing others. Creatures who "have no compassion" and "kill without qualms if doing so is convenient" are explicitly noted as evil. Those who "have compunctions about killing the innocent, but may lack the commitment to make sacrifces to protect or help others" are neutral.

The question asked for RAW. Those are the RAW.


Good isn't stupid. There may well be situations where killing is the only choice, and accepting surrender just to be stabbed in the back on a recurrent basis is not required. But Good is also not about taking the path of least resistance, it's not always easy, and it's not about personal convenience.

My group handles this sort of thing as "a Paladin can refuse to accept a creature's surrender."

While goblins are free-willed, a normal goblin is raised to view nearly anything that isn't a goblin as prey.

In other words, if you facing something that views babies of your species as food, your paladin almost certainly has active authority to put it down. Co-existence is so remote an option that it might as well not exist.

That sounds EXACTLY like the citizens of that country we're always in border skirmishes with, so I guess we can put them down with impunity as well, right?

Actually killing helpless goblin babies is more complicated. They can be functional if they're brought up in a sane society that spare the resources to raise a bunch of midget pyromaniacs. But putting them down probably isn't any worse an act then putting down a litter of skunks born under your house. It's a distasteful task, but sometimes that just how it pans out.

Skunks are not sentient and lack the capacity to make a moral choice. That makes it different.

A society that is Good will "make sacrifices to help others", which means they will tighten their belts and make those resources available, not decide they're "just bad blood" and slaughter them without a second thought. This is, at best Neutral - not willing to make personal sacrifices to help others.

Now, actual evil outsiders are, in essence, malicious spirits given flesh and form. Accepting surrender from a demon has about as much meaning as accepting surrender from a rabid dog.

Outsiders follow a whole different set of rules. They are hard coded Evil, so they can reasonably be taken down. If, in your game, Goblins are the same, the same rules should apply. But if Goblins are hard wired Evil, we may as well hard wire the humanoid races Good while we're at it. Why have any deviation? What makes some races hard wired and others not, on this plane?

Lawful characters judge their actions by an external, consistent standard. Depicting what they set of ethics is would help it be clearer if their actions were lawful or good.

Lawful and Good are separate. Killing for an evil master is explicitly noted as evil. Paladins don't get to "just follow orders" - they must ensure their orders are consistent with Good.

Welcome to a topic that has been debated for around 40 years in RPGS (and thousands of years in philosophy)

Yup

The short answer is really "it depends on the game you're playing" games can vary between
"game of hats" to "extremely complicated shaded morality"

In a game of hats game then unless there's a reason to believe that a particular goblin isn't evil you can probably hack it down with a free concience.

Again, yup - "hats" - "hardwired alignment".

Also note that you only detect as evil if you've got a link to an evil force of the universe or you've got significant personal power (5HD or more) by the rules a goblin could be intending to prepare Human Baby Tartare and still wouldn't detect as evil.

Revisiting p 266 - 267, while "Creatures with actively evil intent count as evil creatures for the purpose of this spell", only creatires with 5+ HD actually have an aura of evil, so my previous comments are not accurate. I am inclined to consider that the "presence or absence of evil" is still detected (otherwise, that poor paladin has no actual ability for several levels, so why should he have it from L1 in the first place), but there will not be "evil auras" for the 2nd and 3rd round effects of the spell.

That makes killing them convenient, it doesn't mean that killing them isn't evil

Bingo!
 

El Mahdi

Muad'Dib of the Anauroch
@Donp

The RAW of alignment is not black and white, and that's by design. It allows for it to be interpreted based on the group and individual that are playing the game, rather than the rules dictating what "must" and "must not" be done. The "Rule 0" on alignment in the Pathfinder Core Book, is practically word for word from the 3.5E Players Handbook:

Pathfinder Core Rulebook pg. 167

Alignment is a tool for developing your character’s identity—it is not a straitjacket for restricting your character. Each alignment represents a broad range of personality types or personal philosophies, so two characters of the same alignment can still be quite different from each other. In addition, few people are completely consistent.

That means that even the DM shouldn't try to "restrict" a player based on alignment. However, a thorough discussion of the alignment of the player's characters before play, is acceptable and recomended. Once a player decides on their interpretation of their character's alignment, then it's okay in "general" terms for a DM to expect the player to follow it - but only in general terms. Even in the real world, people's behavior is far from consistent.

For classes like Paladins, where alignment is an integral part of the archetype, more restriction is acceptable...but, only after discussing what the player's views for their character is before play, and what the requirements of their church or order are (IMO, mostly determined by you but should be somewhat collaborative). If a player is being honest about what they feel is good and evil, you'll know. Just as you'll know when a player isn't being honest about their views, and is just taking actions to gain an "in game" advantage - like playing a Paladin with all of their cool abilities, but not adhering to the balancing alignment requirements.

In your case, it sounds like your players view is even more stringent than your interpretation, so I'd say let them roll with it. Besides, from an in-game perspective, if the Paladin believes that something is wrong, then to the Paladin it "is" wrong.

There's an appropriate quote about "belief" from one of my favorite movies, Bull Durham:

Crash Davis (Kevin Costner): If you believe you're playing well because you're getting laid, or because you're not getting laid, or because you wear women's underwear, then you are!

With Paladins and Clerics, alignment is a little more restrictive than other classes, but it's still just a tool to realize a character concept - not an absolutely rigid template of that characters behavior. Even within an organization (like a church or order), there are always conflicting opinions about what's right and wrong, or "Good" and "Evil". In such cases, I see those differences of opinion as fodder for adventure hooks and in-game interaction, rather than an opportunity for me (as DM) to hammer a player. The code of a Paladin is meant to highlight a facet of the class, that with great power comes great responsibility.

:)
 
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Viktyr Gehrig

First Post
Look, if you're the DM, the rule is simple: don't be a jerk. If the player of the Paladin is making an honest effort to do the right thing all the time, and he can make even a halfway decent argument for why what he did was the right thing, he is playing a Paladin properly and in accordance with the rules. Taking away his powers because you don't agree with his interpretation of Lawful Good is being a jerk; don't be a jerk.

Now, if you're a player it's a lot more complicated because then you have to worry about whether or not the DM understands this rule; judging by what happens in any thread on any D&D forum that so much as contains the word "Paladin", the vast majority of DMs do not. In my experience it is simply safer to refuse to play a Paladin under any circumstances, because it is impossible to win an argument over the Paladin's Code of Conduct. Once your Paladin falls, your only options are to replace the PC or replace the DM.

Finally realizing that roleplaying restrictions should only have roleplaying consequences may well be the smartest decision Wizards made in designing 4e.
 

ComradeGnull

First Post
Look, if you're the DM, the rule is simple: don't be a jerk. If the player of the Paladin is making an honest effort to do the right thing all the time, and he can make even a halfway decent argument for why what he did was the right thing, he is playing a Paladin properly and in accordance with the rules. Taking away his powers because you don't agree with his interpretation of Lawful Good is being a jerk; don't be a jerk.

Now, if you're a player it's a lot more complicated because then you have to worry about whether or not the DM understands this rule; judging by what happens in any thread on any D&D forum that so much as contains the word "Paladin", the vast majority of DMs do not. In my experience it is simply safer to refuse to play a Paladin under any circumstances, because it is impossible to win an argument over the Paladin's Code of Conduct. Once your Paladin falls, your only options are to replace the PC or replace the DM.

Finally realizing that roleplaying restrictions should only have roleplaying consequences may well be the smartest decision Wizards made in designing 4e.

Agreed. I think even if you're really into the deep-immersion style of RP'ing, it's far better to have a character who is conflicted over his moral code because of his own conscience than because of fear of losing his magical powers.

As a DM, I would be fine saying that for clerics and paladins that initiation as a divine character is a kind of indelible empowerment- until you pledge your soul to some other divinity, you keep your paladin/cleric powers. It allows players to think about these 'do baby orcs have souls' issues if they want that kind of a game, and ignore it otherwise.

On the question that prompted this thread, for instance, I think everyone has made it clear that there are completely valid arguments from both sides. A DM picking one and saying 'bad pally, no magic powers' without making it clear to the player in advance what the expectations are in that situation isn't gritty or realistic, it's just kind of obnoxious.
 

RigaMortus2

First Post
A Paladin would not be the King's executioner
It might be legal to execute a forger but it's unlikely that a Paladin would agree to do so.
The exact crime the criminal commits would have a fair bit to do with what a Paladin would accept as appropriate punishment.

I'm not so sure about that. If the Paladin's king orders him to be the royal executioner, what kind of act would it be for the Paladin to refuse the orders of his king? Hint: Not a Lawful one...

I liken this example to the deserter of The Wall in Game of Thrones.

Lets say that the person being executed was conscripted to be a solider to guard "the wall". He was a petty thief, and his choice was "die or pledge your life guarding the wall." He chose to live and guard the wall.

While at the wall, he comes face to face with horrible monsters. Rather then stand and fight, he cowardly turns tail and run, deserting his post. Deserting your post is an act of treason. Treason is punishable by death according to local laws.

So lets say we have a deserter/traitor about to be executed. Instead of Eddard Stark, we have a LG Paladin that was ordered by Eddard, his king, to do the beheading (all of the "the man that passes the sentence swings the sword" aside).

What does he do?

Also, taken from a Game of Thrones... When King Robert comes to Winterfell and "asks" Eddard Stark to be the new Hand of the King, while it appeared to be Eddard's choice, it really wasn't a choice at all. He was asked, so he kinda had to, duty (and his king) called for it.
 

Systole

First Post
Oh boy, another alignment thread.

Guess what? This is never going to be resolved. In real life, our society can't decide on what to do with enemy combatants. Moving the discussion to a fantasy world where demons and angels poke their fingers into everyday decisions doesn't make this discussion clearer. This is never going to be resolved -- it's just going to end up as another useless 5 page thread.

As a GM, you've got two choices:
1. Evil creatures are gleefully, maliciously 100% pure evil. They don't ask for mercy, or if they do, it's a trick and they should be slaughtered anyway. The path of LG is always clear, but not necessarily easy.
2. Alignment is fuzzy and dependent on intent. If a LG character thinks he is doing the right thing, then it's the right thing. Period, end of story, move along. (Note: This is different from "knows he's doing the wrong thing, but it rationalizing it away." It's a GM call.)

Otherwise, you end up with every RP session being a philosophical conversation between the paladin and his confessor. Which would be boring as hell.
 


Epametheus

First Post
That sounds EXACTLY like the citizens of that country we're always in border skirmishes with, so I guess we can put them down with impunity as well, right?

If the rank-and-file citizens of that country we're always in border skirmishes with are raiding our villages so that they can eat our flesh, then damn right. I'm not quite sure what you were actually trying to argue there.

As they're normally written, goblins, orcs, gnolls, derro, and the like have free will, but they are normally brought up to be utterly terrible. To them, mercy is a weakness to exploit, not a virtue to be honored. Some of those creatures, like hobgoblins or duergar, may actually have personal codes of honor and actually mean it. But most won't. Most probably wouldn't offer to surrender, either - if they don't give a damn when others try to do it, why would they expect differently?

If you run a campaign where those races are just neutral, don't really actively prey on other sentient creatures, and are misunderstood due to relentless propaganda, then sure, you'd be in the wrong to refuse surrender from one.

Likewise, hauling off and attacking a "monster" settlement that's actually living in peace and leaving its neighbors alone (ro even trading with its neighbors) is at best a chaotic act, if not an outright evil one.

But as normally written, most of the monster races form into what amount to bandit clans and enclaves, and launch raids on any of their neighbors at any time. The closest you can reach to peace with them is managing to hurt them badly enough that they'll stop attacking you. At least until their numbers recover...
 

N'raac

First Post
Notice, this is respect for ALL life, not a respect for "only neutral and good creature's lives"...

BINGO

"He would not be concerned with your life."

"No, he wouldn't. But if we stoop to their level, we are no better than them."

This is a good one, thank you for this scenario...

When we consider the Lawful Good alignment, so much emphasis gets put on the Good part. There are a lot of conflicts the DM can throw at us where doing the Good thing is not the Lawful thing, and vice versa. More often then not, the choice is made on the side of Good.

Your example is a great scenario where I think picking the Lawful option is the right thing to do.

Sparing his life would be Good.
Not sparing his life would not be Good, but it also would not be Evil. His crimes were obviously heinous enough to warrant a death penalty. Unless he is dying for an unjust reason (something silly, like being executed for cheating on his wife). But since you did not go into detail as to what he was convicted of and why he got a death sentence, I will assume it was just.

I think this demarcates an excellent point. The Paladin would, one must assume, not agree to serve a regime which itself is neither lawful nor good. If the laws of the kingdon allow unjust executions, then the Paladin simply cannot serve that kingdom.


A Paladin would not be the King's executioner
It might be legal to execute a forger but it's unlikely that a Paladin would agree to do so.

In such a regime, I would not expect the Paladin to serve that unjust law. To the first point, however, when the King asks the Paladin and his adventuring party to deal with the marauding Orcs plaguing a nearby village, how is acceptance of that mission not "being the King's executioner"?

Depends, killing a Demon or Devil could well qualify as good.
Killing to defend others could well be a good act. (If you kill an evil high priest as he's about to sacrifice a baby for instance)

Demons and Devils become a bit of an odd case. Are outsiders "living beings" to begin with? Killing them here just sends them back there. I would typically (some games may differ) classify them as manifestations of their alignment. They are Evil made manifest, and not "life".

To the second issue, the killing itself is not a good act. It is outweighed by the protection of innocent life, so the act as a whole becomes "good". A "more good" act would defend the inncocent without taking a life. But we live in an imperfect world.

Based on my reading of Detect Evil the 'evil intent' means that a non-evil creature with evil intent radiates evil as if it was an evil creature rather than 'automatically detects as evil' so a low powered creature doesn't detect as evil irrespective of intent.

I can definitely read it that way as well. But then I look at the context. These are 1st level spells. The Paladin gains this ability at 1st level. If it is nimpossible to Detect Evil on any being of less than 5 HD, in any way shape or form, what is the point of L1 characters having access to these abilities? Why not swap it with Divine Health - he won't ne using Detect Evil at L1 anyway, except to discover an Evil far too powerful for him to realistically deal with.

I choose to conclude these abilities have some impact, even at L1, and as such that "there is evil here" includes low level evil, and evil intent. That, however, opens up another can of worms. Even a Good person can commit an Evil act. A Detect at the wrong time may not provide the full picture. EVEN A PALADIN could intend to commit an evil act, then pull away at the last second and remain a Paladin. And only a Paladin is so constrained that the commission of even a single evil act will taint him.

Look, if you're the DM, the rule is simple: don't be a jerk. If the player of the Paladin is making an honest effort to do the right thing all the time, and he can make even a halfway decent argument for why what he did was the right thing, he is playing a Paladin properly and in accordance with the rules. Taking away his powers because you don't agree with his interpretation of Lawful Good is being a jerk; don't be a jerk.

First, I think the player should be advised that the DM considers the proposed action an evil act. The player may not, but in a world where evil is black and white, the Paladin should know the difference.

Second, in my view at least, there are no "Paladin's Dliemmas" that can cost the Paladin his status. If there is no right answer, then there can be no wrong answer.

Third, if you want Good, Heroic characters, then adherence to their morals must be rewarded, not penalized. It's easy to set the scene that the characters are in open warfare, and their Evil foes will use the vilest of tricks to achieve their ends. Shooting on sight is clearly not Good, but failure to do so is suicide. In such games, Heroic characters who remain true to the absolute ideals of Good are cannon fodder - they have no hope of survival, much less success. So we have two choices. Accept that the setting requires, at best Neutrals with Good tendencies who wish for a better world, or water down the standard for "Good" to allow it to mesh with a world that does not allow the ideals to succeed.

If your game is one where sparing Gollum means Evil Wins, then it is one where a Good character such as Frodo cannot thirve, so expect your players to learn not to play such characters.

I'm not so sure about that. If the Paladin's king orders him to be the royal executioner, what kind of act would it be for the Paladin to refuse the orders of his king? Hint: Not a Lawful one...

I liken this example to the deserter of The Wall in Game of Thrones.

Lets say that the person being executed was conscripted to be a solider to guard "the wall". He was a petty thief, and his choice was "die or pledge your life guarding the wall." He chose to live and guard the wall.

While at the wall, he comes face to face with horrible monsters. Rather then stand and fight, he cowardly turns tail and run, deserting his post. Deserting your post is an act of treason. Treason is punishable by death according to local laws.

So lets say we have a deserter/traitor about to be executed. Instead of Eddard Stark, we have a LG Paladin that was ordered by Eddard, his king, to do the beheading (all of the "the man that passes the sentence swings the sword" aside).

What does he do?

If the punishment does not fit the crime, then he must refuse. The Paladin must be both lawful and good, but a single Evil act removes his paladinhood, so it is pretty clear which is expected to prevail should the two conflict. Perhaps this means the setting is one where a character cannot remain true to the ideals of Good and survive/succeed.

If the rank-and-file citizens of that country we're always in border skirmishes with are raiding our villages so that they can eat our flesh, then damn right. I'm not quite sure what you were actually trying to argue there.

In such case, it does not matter whether the other country is Goblin or Human. We simply assume they cannot be reformed and should be killed on sight, their babies slaughtered so they never grow to avenge their parents.

If the Dwarves defile the ElvenWood for wood for their fires, the Elves are justified in killing Dwarves on sight.

As they're normally written, goblins, orcs, gnolls, derro, and the like have free will, but they are normally brought up to be utterly terrible. To them, mercy is a weakness to exploit, not a virtue to be honored. Some of those creatures, like hobgoblins or duergar, may actually have personal codes of honor and actually mean it. But most won't. Most probably wouldn't offer to surrender, either - if they don't give a damn when others try to do it, why would they expect differently?

I like the mention of Orcs. Last I looked, half orcs were a valid PC race. Slaughter all the children in that Orcish encampment, and a future PC is potentially slain. If they do not have free will, how is it that they are viable PC's?

If I am to take this position with free-willed Goblins, I must also apply it to the citizenry of any nation where they are born and raised to beliefs that oppose my own, must I not? Is it a Good act for the Paladin to wipe out those foreign devils, whether they are a different species (perhaps Goblin, perhaps Elf), worship a different God, or have skin of a different colour? The Orcs were raised in Orcish ways, and the Easterlanders were raised in the ways of Easterland. Both are Evil. Both must be wiped out to the last survivor.

But as normally written, most of the monster races form into what amount to bandit clans and enclaves, and launch raids on any of their neighbors at any time. The closest you can reach to peace with them is managing to hurt them badly enough that they'll stop attacking you. At least until their numbers recover...

The game can certainly be played on the basis that the only good Goblin (or Easternlander) is a dead Goblin (or Easterlander). The Paladin may well find himself in combat with such creatures, evil or neutral, and have no choice but to take their lives for the greater good. When he starts to consider it moral to take their lives, or even enjoy taking those lives, I don't see him as that heroic paragon of virtue he may see himself as.
 

TarionzCousin

Second Most Angelic Devil Ever
This sort of thing is why I don't play Paladins any more. Unless the DM and I agree before the game begins on what constitutes an "evil" act, this just cause problems. Alternately, the DM could never have this situation arise, but then the Paladin is overpowered--as his weakness/drawback will never come into play.

Of course, when I'm DM'ing, this is the sort of thing I love to throw at the Paladins. In my opinion, if you are playing a Paladin you are somewhat asking for these sorts of dilemmas to be included in the game.
 

TheAuldGrump

First Post
Has the Goblin Village done anything evil yet?

No?

Then the paladin doesn't have to wait to see if he will lose his powers by killing a surrendering goblin - he already has.

As mentioned above - Good is respect for all life, not only that fraction of life that agrees with you.

The Auld Grump
 

prosfilaes

Adventurer
If a goblin knows how to say "I surrender, don't hurt me," in common, it probably learned that from a victim that it then killed and ate (or killed by eating).

So basically if they can speak your language, they deserve to die, if they can't, then we don't care what they say?

My group handles this sort of thing as "a Paladin can refuse to accept a creature's surrender."

While goblins are free-willed, a normal goblin is raised to view nearly anything that isn't a goblin as prey.
If goblins are free-willed, then they can choose non-evil. If they can choose non-evil, then a paladin can not kill on sight. I don't particularly have a problem with paladins killing enemy combatants who try and surrender. But people who haven't raised arms against the paladin or his party, that's a different matter.

I can't accept as any sort of respect for life the broad attack on any "normally evil" creature. And I do have a problem with the impression I've got in D&D that if humans encroach on elf land, and the elves kill a few, the elves are isolationist but good; but if goblins or orcs do the same, it's because they're evil.
 
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Viktyr Gehrig

First Post
If goblins are free-willed, then they can choose non-evil. If they can choose non-evil, then a paladin can not kill on sight. I don't particularly have a problem with paladins killing enemy combatants who try and surrender. But people who haven't raised arms against the paladin or his party, that's a different matter.

Or if they'd raised arms against innocents. But otherwise, I absolutely agree with you. Paladins don't have to accept surrender, and they don't have to offer quarter or even declare hostilities-- but they're not allowed to make pre-emptive strikes. They don't get to just up and kill someone unless they know that the targets have done something wrong.
 

was

Explorer
As a DM, I have my paladin players write out their honor codes before hand. I do chime in with a few suggestions here and there, but leave it largely up to the character to define it. I find that there are much fewer arguments about code violations with this method.
 

N'raac

First Post
As a DM, I have my paladin players write out their honor codes before hand. I do chime in with a few suggestions here and there, but leave it largely up to the character to define it. I find that there are much fewer arguments about code violations with this method.

Seems like a good approach for consensus, and for individualizing Paladins. There's still a need to ensure the Code of Honor is reasonably restrictive and consistent with the ideals of LG.

"I vow to make my own decisions and follow no one else's orders"

or

"Enemies deserve no mercy and shall receive none"

would be grounds for some revision.

Good players would likely come up with some solid, and diverse, codes of honour.
 


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