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


Registered User
Wulf Ratbane said:
Heh... I dunno. I don't play good characters.

I played what I thought was a chaotic neutral sociopath-- but since I pretty much confined my slaughter to evil-doers, he decided I was chaotic good.

So I guess that means, yeah, he did agree with that interpretation. My intent didn't matter (kill people-- just the bad people-- and take their stuff) but the net effect was a victory for good.

So "good" I was. (See the Story Hour in the sig...)

Read that, loved that. Poor halfling. As mentioned, I usually play chaotic good psychopaths. Do you know the old palladium alignment Aberrant Evil? That's it.

But back on topic: This was not a chaotic neutral paladin ;)

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Wulf Ratbane said:
The Book of Exalted Deeds does not D&D make. Your quotes from that book make me as happy not to have purchased it as I am not to have purchased its Evil counterpart.

True. But it explicitly addressed your statement. Killing women and children is evil. Even when they're orcs.

Oh, please. Violence is not always necessarily a victory for evil, not in the real world, and definitely not in D&D.

If every act of violence were a de facto victory for evil, there would be no good adventurers. You can hardly call this a tenet of D&D, unless you plan for your adventurers to treat every dungeon as a friggin' diplomatic opportunity.

Settlling a disagreement with words as opposed to violence is less "evil" than one settled by threat of violence. Settling a disagreement because of threat of violence is better than settlingone by violence.

At it's best violence can good only because it can oppose other violence. Either way, at the root of it violence is the problem. In D&D terms, it's evil, because it's selfish and is only acceptable as good when fighting selfishness (other violence) as a last resort.

The vast bulk of the D&D gaming experience is that violence is a perfectly acceptable solution, in some if not most encounters the characters will face.

That's often because it's provided as the only solution. The game's desiged around killing things, taking their stuff and getting more powerful by doing so. How many games even offer any form of diplomatic solutions as possible outcomes? That doesn't mean that doing so is considered "good" in the game.

Again, if you truly live by that quote, there will be few good characters in your D&D game. I do not play D&D for a chance to enter the dungeon and talk the goblins out of their evil ways, or to otherwise exhaust every other possible attempt to avoid kicking ass.

Nor do I expect you to. I'm simply saying that if you decide to kill the goblin women and children you're performing an evil act according the the game.

It's preposterous to say, "This is what D&D good is." It's no wonder that philosophy was relegated to an optional product. Frankly I'm surprised you can even find it there. It flies directly in the face of all of the FUN of D&D.

Fun doesn't mean good. It's often fun to be the bad guys. Realistically, a party is usually just a bunch of mercanaries who get together to go kill things and take their stuff. Why should I consider that good? Just because the creatures being killed aren't good? That doesn't necessarily follow. In other words, just killing evil doesn't make one good. There's a lot more to being good than killing evil, in fact, just killing evil and doing nothing else probably means that you aren't good.

Call me crazy, but thousands of years of relentless evil-good conflict abdicates the paladin from any, "Well, maybe this little goblin baby won't grow up to slaughter and pillage."

Evil is evil, and it is GOOD to kill it.


Evil is evil, and it's better to not have to kill it unless you absolutely have too. Does that make sense? I understand your viewpoint, but I'm saying that that viewpoint isn't supported by the supplements dealing with the subject matter. Although Alhandra may "fight evil without mercy and protect the innocent without hesitation..." that doesn't mean that she wouldn't be better off fighting evil with mercy. Because "Lawful good is the best alignment you can be because it combines honor and compassion."

joe b.


First Post
I'm not convinced by the arguements that it's better for the girl to confront her attacker in the courtroom or that she will somehow become more traumatized by watching the Paladin kill her assaulter. How is the Paladin supposed to know? My Paladin has ranks in Knowledge (religion) and Profession (judge) but not Knowledge (psychotherapy). Don't graft current theory onto this Paladin's decision--it's not fair to the character.

According to the PH, a Paladin is to "punish those who harm or threaten innocents." Not bring them to the nearest authority. Not make sure they are represented by council at a trial. Not try to convert every last orc in the forest. Punish them.

Of course, the PH also states the Paladin is supposed to act with honor and gives a few examples of dishonorable behaviour. If your Paladin found himself behind a demon who, somehow, hadn't heard his approach, would you spend the surprise round getting its attention or smiting it?

According to Faiths and Pantheons, Paladins of Tyr "without a civilized legal code with which to guide their judgements...often default to a doctrine roughly equivalent to 'an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth'." I have no idea what the greater cultural context of this event was since it might matter if it was an inn in Waterdeep for somewhere deep in the North. However, at the very least being allowd to "default" in such a manner implies that Paladins of Tyr have full rights to exact justice in a manner they see fitting at times, as long as the punishment fits the crime. I suppose we could carry the "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" thing a little too far and say the Paladin picked the wrong punishment, but that's not for grandmothers to read.


Darklone said:
Putting the swordblade on the shoulder of the guy and telling him to pull up his pants would have been so bad? It's what I would expect the good hero in a book to do. Old-fashioned, it seems.
[Old-Timer]You're telling me. Kids these days. Everything has to be done immediately, at once, in a flash. Can't even wait for the justice system to do its work. No patience. Now it's all these instant e-executions. Humph.[/Old-Timer]

Hey Wulf, from a D&D cosmology viewpoint, the "good" planes are almost free of violence while the "evil" planes are full of them. I think part of the defining of good and evil in both BoED and BoVD takes this basic cosmology into account.

In heaven there isn't murder, rape, or violence because there isn't a need for it. Any problems are dealt with peaceably, while in Hell violence is the mainstay for the rule of law.

Put in cosmological terms, any act of violence can be seen as a result of evil.

Just some thoughts...

joe b.

Feyd Rautha

First Post
Look, simply put the act of a vigilante is not a lawful act. It can be chock full of good intentions, but as a true paladin would say that's what the road to hell is paved with.

It sounds like you're in a gritty campaign world. Think of it this way then...you are Batman. Batman doesn't kill ANYBODY. He even tries to save those who are trying to kill him by risking his own life. Now granted Batman are stories that can fit into situations where nobody can die, but it is still possible in DnD. Regardless of whether you hold to that or not, that is where your DM is coming from I do believe. I would have done the same thing to you, but an atonement won't be a massive ordeal as this was a situation where your god could understand.

What should you have done? Grabbed the man by the back of the head, dragged him out into the common room of the in (pants still down), and declared before the town and your adventuring party what had happened and that someone should fetch the constable. If things weren't resolved swiftly then other actions might need to be taken. If you were travelling in an evil land and the populace didn't want to kill the guy outright then things get interesting, but a paladin's path is never easy. Sorry.

Your character isn't Sam Jackson ("Yes they deserved to die and I hope they burn in hell!") even if YOU feel that way when something like this happens.


First Post
IMO (Judge Dredd ;) ) your paladin did wrong, a LG Paladin is a very difficult class to properly play.
It appears he was very upset due to the age of the victim, would he have behaved the same if it were a woman or man? He must uphold the laws he is bound to by his god & church, but is his church acknowledged in this town, if not the people of the town would be highly upset.
As stated, there were other options as to the handling of the perp, plus let the punishment fit the crime, castrate the bugger & make him live with the reminder of what he has done - you don't go around killing every thief who steals do, but cutting off a hand would suffice.
Perhaps by your actions of sparing his life and teaching him the error of his ways he could be redeemed and who knows become a loyal follower of your god, it is better to make your god stronger with followers then kill everyone.
Yes, some of your powers should be "put on hold" until you atone, but not all. The act being committed is evil without question, but was the paladin 100% certain the perp was evil, acting under his will and not under some control?
If your paladin wants to play judge & jury he should bear in mind there are always circumstances which need to be explained before punshiment is properly doled out.
Best of Luck

I believe he did the right thing. Asking him to turn around and fight him fairly would've been little more than toying with the man. He deserved to die, the paladin saw that justice was carried out, end of story. My only issue with is was perhaps he should've dragged the guy into a doorway or something, to avert adding yet one more scar on the psyche of this child (as I'm sure watching a man, even such a loathsomely evil one, be beheaded would do). No penalty needed for the paladin.


First Post
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.

That doesn't excuse the act. Whether or not a man dies in combat is a matter of skill and expertise. *How* he dies is a matter of honor, and that is the pertinent point. A paladin isn't supposed to act honorable only to his equals... it applies to all, especially the weak.

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.

A Paladin's actions shouldn't be determined by how the local constabulary would feel about his actions. A paladin should go by how his God would feel about it. And I think this is the crux of it. Whether or not this is a matter of penance depends on the beliefs of his faith. If you're unsure of them, you should ask for a list of "commandments" from your DM before proceeding.

And while your character would consider being stripped of his powers to be a bad thing, it isn't necessarily so in terms of character development. Its a quest that will better define your character.


First Post
Sejs said:
Lawful means disciplined and organized, not follows local legal structure.

Thank goodness... I finally see that someone else sees that "Lawful" has nothing to do with "The Law". Gygax picked the absolute "WORST" word to describe that axis of alignment.

I'm sick of people thinking Paladins must always obey the law... I think with my next Paladin character I'll take a Vow of Nonviolence (indeed, every Vow in the Book) because every DM seems to think that a Paladin should never attack when he has the advantage anyway. What utter crap...

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