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My Paladin killed a child molester (and now my DM wants to take away my powers!)

Vindicator

First Post
Okay guys, let's open up another can of worms.

Last night we were playing our Forgotten Realms campaign and my character, a 5th level Paladin, observed this shifty character go to the back room of the tavern we were carousing in. Suspicious, my Paladin followed the guy and found that he had a 10-year-old girl tied up in the storage room. My DM didn't get into gory description, but he told us, "It is obvious from the girl's physical appearance that she has been sexually violated."

Our campaign is a gritty one. These issues come up.

Then the guy (who still hadn't noticed my Paladin in the doorway) says, "Now let's teach you another lesson, missy." And he *undid his pants*.

With no hesitation, I attacked him with my sword. My DM cautioned me, saying, "Attacking him from behind, with your BAB and STR bonus, you realize that you will probably kill him with one blow. The dude's a lowly commoner."

"My intention is to cut off his head," I (my Paladin) replied.

I did so.

Long story short--now my DM has stripped me of my Paladinhood. I'm fighting him on it. His argument: "A cowardly, unjust, unlawful act." My argument: "A righteous, noble, just act."

My DM is a lurker but not a poster...he *will* be reading your responses to this situation. He has agreed to abide by whatever consensus you, the jury, arrive at. (For that I give him lots of credit.)

Discuss.
 

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Patman21967

First Post
I agree with your GM

In my opinion, a Paladin would have at the worst, given the guy the opportunity to defend himself, but optimally, have arrested the man and brought him before the Law. I could see any alignment other than " Lawful Good " doing what you did, but that is why I do not play Paladins. The God of law is whom, I forget...Lathander maybe? Yeah...arrested, or beaten into submission, then dragged before the courts...definately way to go

I hate Lawful Good....Dirty Harry was Chaotic Good
 

Crothian

First Post
Ya, a LG person first should have asked him to surrender to take him to the local law. Killing him in such an unhonorible way (attacking a man from behind who has his pants down) would go against a Paladins code. But lucky, in D&D attuning and being forgiven is not hard.
 

Dark Jezter

First Post
According to the paladin's Code of Conduct, a paladin must "punish those who threaten or harm innocents."

I'd say that your paladin deserves to keep his powers.
 

WayneLigon

Adventurer
Vindicator said:
Long story short--now my DM has stripped me of my Paladinhood. I'm fighting him on it. His argument: "A cowardly, unjust, unlawful act." My argument: "A righteous, noble, just act."
Cowardly, very dubious and only because the man's back was to him and the man was unaware. Unjust and unlawful? Feh. The paladin is just saving the courts time on this one. If anything his patron diety should reward him with something nice, like making his sword a Good weapon.
 

Sejs

First Post
In my opinion, a Paladin would have at the worst, given the guy the opportunity to defend himself
To exactly what point and purpose? 5th level paladin. "Lowly" commoner. The man's death is a foregone conclusion. Telling him to zip up, grab a club and defend himself would pointless sophistry - he can't defend himself against the paladin. It won't matter what he does, he is going to die in single combat against so supperior an opponent.

but optimally, have arrested the man and brought him before the Law.
Lawful means disciplined and organized, not follows local legal structure. Frankly, I have a hard time imagining the paladin walking up to whatever local constabulary is in the area and telling them "Hey guys, I walked in on this man about to rape this 10 year old girl ... again. She can testify to what happened. I killed the man in defense of the child." and having their response being anything other then "Oh. Alright then. Nicely done there, citizen. Thank you." And that's to say nothing of the fact that on the good/evil end of things it was the morally right thing to do. Defending the weak and innocent from the depredations of the wicked. The paladin was justified in what he did.

The God of law is whom, I forget...Lathander maybe?
Lathander's neutral good, actually. God of the Sun, Renewal and so forth. The god you're thinking of is Tyr, God of Justice. He's lawful good. Either can have paladins in their service, however.

My oppinion: the paladin did what was right and took what action was appropriate at the time. He should keep his powers and status.
 

Hi Vindicator,

I am currently playing two paladins, one of whom has lost his powers once but atoned.
Guess what, your guy should most likely follow the same path.

The following is "Old School" but most likely applicable to 99% of Paladins out there.

You attacked an unarmed opponent from behind without warning. The fact that he was in the act of commiting a grievous offence did not demand lethal action when a stern warning to cease followed by subsequent "punishment" if your orders were not followed was more appropriate.

If I was the mentor of said Paladin, I would have described to him what would have happened if an unscrupulous "friend" of the deceased said that you had raped the child and killed the man as he was trying to protect her and then pulled his pants down to cover your indiscretion?
To those looking upon the scene, they would most likely have seen through the falsehood but what if one or two did not? Your actions would come into question and you would have been brought to an unnecessary trial bringing undue and unwarranted pressure upon the church that you profess to follow.
Paladins are not renegades or vigilantes. They are required to follow the law and the processes there entailed. A Paladin must ALWAYS be above reproach and unquestioned in his actions. Your acts while expediating the process of the law did not render the law the respect it deserved.

However, while your character has shamed the ideals of his station, the emotional consequences of seeing a violated juvenile in the process of once again being victimized should be taken into account and not be denied. As such, a quest of atonement would be suitable so that your character could once again re-establish his righteous and divine link with his God. Having been guided back to the path of RIGHTEOUSNESS and justice, your character will then be a paragon of faith and virtue and a symbol to others who would follow your august journey to paladinhood.

Classic case of atonement in my opinion.
Apologies if this sinks you in it.

Best Regards
Herremann the Wise
 

res

First Post
Wow, this is a big can of worms.

What deity does your Paladin worship? I guess the punishment really depends on your god.

Helm - being the God of Protection, you could probably argue that you were protecting the girl.

Torm - you are to strive to maintain law and order, strike quickly and forcefully against the rot of evil

Tyr - Uphold the law wherever you go and punish those who do wrong under the law.

I took those from Faiths and Pantheons for FR (under the dogma) those are the usual big 3 Paladin religions.

For a Paladin to loose their abilitie they have to a) cease being Lawful Good, b) willfully commit an evil act or c) grossly violates the code of conduct. I wouldn't say you did either a or b. Maybe a strike against you for under a.

If you were a follower of Helm or Torm, I'd let you go. If you were a follower of Tyr, you're screwed.

You should probably have detained this man and made sure he got a fair trial. If you followed Tyr, you definatly should have done that and your GM was right to strip you of your powers (assumeing the law is innocent until proven guilty, or if the penalty for child molestation was not death, etc.)

Helm can chalk this kill up to defending the innocent. You definatly did that.

Torm can attribute this to your duty to strike quickly and maintain the law.

If you are a worshiper of someone else, well, I just wasted your time.

Did this help?
 

D+1

First Post
Vindicator said:
With no hesitation, I attacked him with my sword. My DM cautioned me, saying, "Attacking him from behind, with your BAB and STR bonus, you realize that you will probably kill him with one blow. The dude's a lowly commoner."

"My intention is to cut off his head," I (my Paladin) replied.

I did so.

Long story short--now my DM has stripped me of my Paladinhood. I'm fighting him on it. His argument: "A cowardly, unjust, unlawful act." My argument: "A righteous, noble, just act."
A couple of points. One, your DM was correct in giving you a warning. In many ways you have to take the consequences of your characters actions - even if YOU don't think it was a problem your DM did, and told you so before you took the last step.

Your DM was wrong though (IMO) in his basic stance and I think it's valid that you argue against it. From behind, from in front, in one blow or in 1000 is irrelevant. What matters is - whether the victim was deserving of the punishment that the paladin dealt to him; whether the paladin was "authorized" to be the one to deal out that punishment on the spot. My responses would be yes, and yes.

Rape and child molestation are hands-down qualified as Evil acts - the guy had it coming to him. The paladin is IN NO WAY required to tap him on the shoulder, get his attention, read him his rights, and THEN kill him. He's an evil man in the ACT of doing evil deeds and if the paladin can apply lethal punishment with complete safety because the target is blissfully unaware (or even incapable of mounting a worthwhile defense if he weren't) so much the better for all concerned.

This does not mean that your paladin can't take the attitude of not wanting to kill even an evil opponent without giving them a sporting chance of fighting back. He certainly can. He's just not OBLIGATED to do so. He could simply KO the guy, and have him incarcerated or otherwise turned over to metropolitan authorities (or whoever), but he's not OBLIGATED to do so by default.

Unless your DM has well-established beforehand the reasons why your paladin needs to be not just goody-two-shoes, but to go out of his way to give evil a fighting chance because it SEEMS cowardly or dishonorable on the face of it? Nonsense.
 

Stereofm

Adventurer
Supporter
Vindicator said:
Okay guys, let's open up another can of worms.

Last night we were playing our Forgotten Realms campaign and my character, a 5th level Paladin, observed this shifty character go to the back room of the tavern we were carousing in. Suspicious, my Paladin followed the guy and found that he had a 10-year-old girl tied up in the storage room. My DM didn't get into gory description, but he told us, "It is obvious from the girl's physical appearance that she has been sexually violated."

Discuss.
IMO you did alright !
Paladins are based loosely around the legends of the ideal medieval knight. In some versions of the Arthurian legends, king Arthur and Lancelot at some point encounter rapists (a giant living on an isolated small island if I remember). They only have a second hand report. Their reaction : immediately travel there and cut off its head. The guy, despite being a giant dies at the first sword stroke. They go home happily smiling that justice is done.

Morality : Knights were EXPECTED to take the law into their hands ! Mostly also, there was no law to speak of, and when it existed, it was often days away and uncaring if you were not a noble. When you think of medieval laws and medieval cities, think Lankhmar. only in worse.

Besides, most of you are thinking of the law of fantasy world as the modern day efficient police we have. Nothing could be more wrong. Give such a guy to a medieval "police" and three things could happen :
- He is thrown in a deep oubliette and dies for days
- He is executed by dismemberment on the public square
- OR : he pays a bribe, goes home and resume tormenting the girl.

In the first two cases, the paladin is in fact merciful in his treatment of the rapist, in the third, he prevents an horrible monster from tormenting innocents.

Congratulations Vindicator ! Your character is a paladin.
 

MrFilthyIke

First Post
Well, a LAWFUL man would have, knowing from the DM he's a low-level
commoner and will likely die, would have declared a subdual strike, as striking
a pervert about to attack from behind would be "protecting" her. Use the
flat-footed state and the likelyhood you'll gain Init to wail on him twice for
subdual and knock his arse out.

Then drag him to court, or if not court, to be lynched by the town, letting
SOCIETY decide his fate.

*I* would say this was a breach of LAWFUL behavior, but not of GOOD
behavior. Penance would be necessary, but maybe not as bad as losing
ALL powers.

*I* would say all powers cease functioning unless used in selfless-behavior.
(example: Pervert's friend attacks same girl, takes her to -1hp. YOU dive to
her side and Lay On Hands to heal her...it WORKS! But, you draw an Attack
of Opportunity. Those are the risks of being a hero.)

Just my 2cp,
 

Stereofm

Adventurer
Supporter
Sejs said:
To exactly what point and purpose? 5th level paladin. "Lowly" commoner. The man's death is a foregone conclusion. Telling him to zip up, grab a club and defend himself would pointless sophistry - he can't defend himself against the paladin. It won't matter what he does, he is going to die in single combat against so supperior an opponent.

.
This is meta gaming thinking, not roleplaying.

In medieval times, being given a chance to fight in such a case would be an unexpected chance to survive. Most people, criminal or not, were never given that.

Now since a lot of you insist on the rules, remember that it could have been a 5th lvl commoner.
 

D+1

First Post
WayneLigon said:
Cowardly, very dubious and only because the man's back was to him and the man was unaware.
To attack him BECAUSE his back is turned, but when facing him openly to instead attempt to take him into custody rather than go directly for his giblets - THAT'S cowardly. Not to mention unwise. The attack is not cowardly, it's simply opportune.
 

Anabstercorian

First Post
I think the only conceivable reason you might be berated for this act is that you let the girl see a man die with explosive horrible bloodiness.

You ARE a representative of the law. The punishment for rape of a child is death. You have absolute proof of his guilt - you're watching him preparing to do it. Killing him was not only justified - It was OBLIGATED. Well done. Nice, clean execution.

Though I would have knocked him out just for the girls sake, but I'm a softie that way.
 

Sejs

First Post
Tyr's dogma includes such lines as: reveal the truth, punish the guilty, right the wrong and always be true and just in your actions. Uphold the law wherever you go and punish those who do wrong under the law. Deliver vengeance to the guilty for those who cannot do it for themselves.

It also notes that clerics of tyr (and one would assume this would extend equally to tyr's paladins) 'bring law to lawless lands, often serving as judge, jury and executioner.'


Looks like even if he was a paladin of Tyr, he'd be in the clear.
 

jgbrowning

Explorer
Was the killing necessary? Was there no other option?

I'm assuming that it killing wasn't necessary and that there were other options that would result in protecting the innocent while punishing the guilty. Paladin's aren't "judge, jury, and executioner" especially when dealing with people who are within a society that has pre-determined methods for dealing with crime/evil/abberation.

Were this man an orc, or some other race known to be commonly evil and generally outside the arc of the human society, things may be different. As it is, you've broken the law by killing another man and will have to go to trial to justify your actions.

Actions which, IMHO aren't justifiable as you had many other options than choosing as your first option, lethal force in a surprise attack. Evil is bad, but that doesn't mean you can kill what or who you want, when or how you want. The fact that the man deserved to die (even this is questionable... in many times/countries raping children is not a killable offense.. i don't know how the crime fairs in that part of Forgotten Realms) doesn't remove the fact that you're not the one who should be making that decision except in situations that cannot be dealt with through normal channels.

For a paladin, both the means and the end must be done lawfully and goodly. You should have knocked him unconscious and delivered him to the proper authorities. That's the way to be both lawful and good.

And striking with lethal force from behind against an unarmed, unworthy opponent? That is utterly contemptable and base. Actions far from worthy for the title of Paladin.

joe b.
 

Stereofm

Adventurer
Supporter
MrFilthyIke said:
Well, a LAWFUL man would have, knowing from the DM he's a low-level
commoner

Then drag him to court, or if not court, to be lynched by the town, letting
SOCIETY decide his fate.

*I* would say this was a breach of LAWFUL behavior, but not of GOOD
behavior. Penance would be necessary, but maybe not as bad as losing
ALL powers.

Just my 2cp,
Letting society decide its fate : take a look at medieval society : is it not really doing the world a service ? Such a guy would likely walk free in medieval society. besides law was inefficient, and known criminals walked all over Europe unmolested, because they were either nobles (ruled by "divine" right), or known (valuable to the nobles) mercenaries.

In such a case letting society decide is a bit of hypocrisy. By the time society decides anything, if ever, the guy has so many years to escape and continue to hurt innocents. Clearly not desirable for a paladin. IMO at least
 

Zimri

First Post
The difference In my opinion is honor. Striking an unarmed, defenseless, unknowing, obviously weaker foe from behind is not honorable. I wouldn't say you have to take him to the authorities, or that you have to accept his surrender to you but you can not go around smiting people from behind.
 

the Jester

Legend
Let me get this straight.

Your paladin attacked an unarmed man from behind, with no warning; the dm warned you; and you're surprised you lost your paladinhood??

In my campaign, a paladin fights with honor and valor. Striking an opponent from behind doesn't qualify. Striking an unarmed and helpless opponent doesn't qualify.

Striking this guy down may have been fully justified, but not without warning. In my campaign, you'd have lost your paladinhood too. Especially given the dm's prior warning!

Striking this villain down, without warning, from behind, sounds like 'end justifies the means' to me. That's more NG (or, arguably, CG)- not LG.

Although your dm's willingness to listen to other opinions is laudable, I urge him to avoid dming by committee. It never makes the game better.

All, of course, imho.
 

Agemegos

Explorer
Sorry, but I'm with your DM. Killing this guy was not necessary to protect the girl. Insofar as you had a good purpose, it would have been served just as well by arresting the guy and handing him over for lawful punishment. You killed a man unnecessarily (which is therefore not Good), unlawfully, and unchivalrously (the surprise attack from behind was un-called for).

Repent!

Atone!
 

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