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5E Moral Agency


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dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
First, welcome to the forums and have a "like". :)

I've never played a Paladin, so I can't help you otherwise but I am sure someone can. Good luck!
 

DM Dave1

Adventurer
Ultimately, the DM is going to determine how successful the Redemption attempt might be based on the actions taken by the Paladin (and their party) and based upon the characteristics of the NPC/creature. I'd say there might be a few thresholds to cross before some creatures are truly redeemed. For instance, a goblin who throws down her weapon in response to the Paladin's persuasiveness may simply be interested in self-preservation. It will take a bit of a longer personal journey, perhaps with guidance from the Paladin, for her to truly be redeemed and give up her evil ways. Other creatures, such as demons, might have no chance at redemption. Unaligned, unintelligent beasts may not be capable of moral agency in the first place - there's nothing to redeem. At the end of the day (or during session 0, perhaps) it's really up to the DM and the table as to how they want to run things.

Interesting topic. Thanks for posting!
 

Iry

Hero
Everything can be redeemed, even devils and demons. But that almost never happens in the timespan a regular D&D game covers. Sure, you might have a few NPCs you check in with to see how their therapy and coping mechanisms are going, but the really big ones are going to be almost entirely in the hands of your DM.

The problem you face is how to meaningfully apply your attempts at redemption. That means putting them in touch with a willing mentor, or just telling them about resources that can help them escape their terrible circumstance.

Another problem you face is institutional violence. A goblin might be totally redeemable, but so programmed by his culture and kin that he tries to kill you even when you offer him mercy. Thats a tough one, because he's not evil by our metric. He doesn't like kicking puppies, but thinks he must because [reasons].

So pick your "battles" and accept that your party is going to kill most enemies. You only have screen time to redeem the big ones - a few major villains, and a few beloved NPCs at most. Know the local resources like shelters, mentors, etc to offer to NPCs. And make sure to share the spotlight.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Something related came up in a big thread on Orcs awhile ago. Part of it seems to vary from world to world. Some DMs run evil humanoids as evil in the sense of the B/X edition from 1981 where monster types of Evil alignment (well, Chaotic back then) are irrevocably evil. Other DMs run things where all humanoids (or even other types of monsters) have free will and would thus be redeemable.

"Redeemers know that undead, demons, devils, and other supernatural threats can be inherently evil."

I would probably put most abberations on that list... but there is an example of a reformed beholder in the official product (Large Luigi).
 

Everything can be redeemed, even devils and demons.
I believe that's up to the DM. It would certainly never happen in my game.

Another problem you face is institutional violence. A goblin might be totally redeemable, but so programmed by his culture and kin that he tries to kill you even when you offer him mercy. Thats a tough one, because he's not evil by our metric. He doesn't like kicking puppies, but thinks he must because [reasons].
Or goblins are evil buggers by nature who universally enjoy kicking, drowning, and setting fire to puppies. Depends on the DM.

So pick your "battles" and accept that your party is going to kill most enemies. You only have screen time to redeem the big ones - a few major villains, and a few beloved NPCs at most. Know the local resources like shelters, mentors, etc to offer to NPCs. And make sure to share the spotlight.
Why limit redemption? Why not play the idealistic paladin who knows that goblins, devils, and demons are evil to the core, but strive to redeem them anyway because it's the right thing to do? The ends never justify the means.

That's how I'd play it, anyway.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Why limit redemption? Why not play the redemption paladin who knows that goblins, devils, and demons are evil to the core, but strive to redeem them anyway because it's the right thing to do? The ends never justify the means.

That's how I'd play it, anyway.
Challenge the powers that be to adjust the rules of the universe to be better, instead of just playing within them.

“Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?” - Gen 18:25
 

Iry

Hero
Why limit redemption? Why not play the idealistic paladin who knows that goblins, devils, and demons are evil to the core, but strive to redeem them anyway because it's the right thing to do? The ends never justify the means.

That's how I'd play it, anyway.
It's certainly possible to try, but it should be done in a way that respects the time of other players. If they are cool with it, then redeem all the things. But I've seen more than one table have 'the talk' with a redemption paladin player.

@Cadence has an amazing idea!
 

Its certainly not necessary to limit redemption, but it should be done in a way that respects the time of other players. If they are cool with it, then redeem all the things. But I've seen more than one table have 'the talk' with a redemption paladin player.
Play with a group who enjoys the things you do. If nothing else, find/start a new group.

Or, better yet, settle the matter like men: Trial by Combat! (Either between characters, or just bust out the judo mats and crush skulls in the living room.)
 


Very few groups enjoy everything you do to the full extent that you do. Cooperating despite reasonable differences is a good skill to have!
Which is why I am very selective about players I allow to join my table. Nevertheless, I have found 22 players (divided into two groups) who all fit wonderfully with my playstyle. If I can do it, I believe everyone can do the same, given sufficient desire and disagreeableness.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Ask your DM because it's going to vary depending on how they run your game.

In my campaign you could always try to redeem that demon, but honestly it's never going to work. You can try to rewrite the rules of the universe, but if a meer mortal can do it, some other power would have done it long ago.

But maybe it doesn't matter if you succeed or not, maybe all that matters is that you try.
 

chipinoh

Villager
Play with a group who enjoys the things you do. If nothing else, find/start a new group.

Or, better yet, settle the matter like men: Trial by Combat! (Either between characters, or just bust out the judo mats and crush skulls in the living room.)
The vengeance paladin and I are kinda figuring it's going to come to that eventually. He's probably going to do the math and determine that eliminating me allows him to eliminate more evil in the world more effectively and efficiently.
 

The vengeance paladin and I are kinda figuring it's going to come to that eventually. He's probably going to do the math and determine that eliminating me allows him to eliminate more evil in the world more effectively and efficiently.
Sounds like he is going to need redeeming.

Actually . . . does he already have a solid backstory and concept sorted? If not you could suggest that you have a linked story. - He is a powerful paladin who went too far and fell, and you redeemed him and are guiding him back to the path of righteousness. That way a lot of your redemption efforts are centred within the party and share the spotlight.

(Check with your DM about the setting and their stance of whether creatures of evil like devils, demons, paladins, goblins etc are actually capable of redemption. Proficiency in Religion and Arcana or History could be useful, so if another member of your party has those skills, that would a way of bringing them into your quest as well.)
 

Intending to change the laws of the universe to allow redemption to creatures that might otherwise not have free will? A linked background about two paladins, one who fell from grace and is struggling against her nature, while the other tries to guide her back to the path of the merciful?

Bravo, internet. Such beautiful storylines.
(Check with your DM about the setting and their stance of whether creatures of evil like devils, demons, paladins, goblins etc are actually capable of redemption. Proficiency in Religion and Arcana or History could be useful, so if another member of your party has those skills, that would a way of bringing them into your quest as well.)
Side note: I fall on the side that thinks demons and devils can be redeemed. Devils especially, since they are tortured souls of former mortals. But it's ultimately up to the DM, as everything is.
 

It's going to depend on how the DM views the setting's multiverse. In my Greyhawk campaign, almost everything mortal can be redeemed, but the likelihood is based on the individual type of creature. Inner planar creatures and fey will rarely change their alignment, but it's possible. Outer planar creatures are meant to be the epitome of their alignment, and any change for such creatures is going to be legendary. I consider aberrations to be mortal creatures corrupted by the far realm elder gods, and as such are completely irredeemable.
 

chipinoh

Villager
These are such great responses! Thank you for all the insights. Any thoughts on constructs? I'm assuming not capable of redemption, but curious if anyone disagrees.
 

Eltab

Hero
Constructs can be reprogrammed - see the Terminator movies.

That could really mess up a group (of rivals or BBEG's troubleshooters) that follows you into a dungeon and figures "we will catch up to those 'heroes' and trap them Here" ... you are gone and the room's guardian is giving them the sceptical data scan ...
Your group presently becomes aware of the sound of combat coming from behind you.
 

Eltab

Hero
P.S. I as DM hold that devils and demons are embodiments of their alignment so are unredeemable. An exception would become a myth / legend of that Paladin's faith, and is beyond a multiplayer campaign's scope - you would have to play that out solo with a supporting cast of NPCs.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
If Zariel was an angel that fell and became a devil, I'd find it very odd to believe that devils couldn't rise to become angels.

Same thing with the Fey Llolth becoming a demon. That can happen, but not in the opposite direction? Doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
 

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