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


First Post
As with every other Paladin discussion, the ONLY things that matter are 1) The Paladin description in the PHB, 2) The aspects of the god that you follow, and 3) The aspects of the code that you follow. That's it. Nothing else. If your actions didn't violate any of the above, you're fine. And I can easily imagine a Paladin who did what yours did and who didn't violate any of the three points above.

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Registered User
mroberon1972 said:
Back it up son... That sounded a little like a personal attack. I ain't trucking with that.
I apologise if you understood it like that. It was not meant as a personal attack. I do have to admit that I was snippy. Real world examples do that to me.

But if someone has to lie, cheat and trick for the greater good... that is not lawful good to me in no manner appropriate to the rules system or any glorified fantasy literature or fantasy game.

Feyd Rautha

First Post
Wulf Ratbane said:

There is evil in the world. Irredeemable evil.

A paladin should exult when an evil creature is slain. The cause of Good has been served.

Again with this notion that violence and killing is always evil... Guys. Come on. You aren't redeeming that mind flayer.

Redemption is not the issue. Yes, a paladin should always strive to bring the stray members of the flock back into the fold, but if that fails then it is up to god to punish. Also, this is NOT a case of irredeemable evil. Someone else noted that there could very well have been a ruse or magical compulsion driving the "molestor". While it is unlikely, what would we all be saying if the guy who was the assumed molestor was under a dominate person or worse yet possessed by some evil? What if he was the girls loving father who was unfortunate enough to come across some great evil??? We wouldn't be having this discussion. The simple fact of the matter is that we'll never know. By blindly killing and slaughtering what he SEES as evil, a much greater evil could escape justice. He did the wrong thing. He should be stripped of his powers. The GM should require an atonement. And in my game, the atonement would be to rehabilitate an offender who would otherwise be put to death. (I'm not naive and thinking that sex offenders can be rehabilitated. They cannot.)

The main issue here is that of the paladin as a concerned citizen/lawman and the paladin as executioner. I wouldn't even say judge and jury in most of your interpretations so that's a bit of a problem. Anyway, Paladin posts will go round for round for round with little or no resolution so I'm signing off of this one. At some point maybe you all will just agree to disagree. Although I think a poll would have been a much better idea so each person could get one vote and that would be the standard instead of whoever took it upon himself to flood the board with posts...



First Post
Vae Victus said:
In my opinion, these are not good examples reflecting what a paladin should think like. Neither law enforcement officers mentioned above are expected to live according to a strict moral, social, religious, and martial code of thought and action demanding such strictures as ascetic struggle, chastity, and an exhausting and nearly unrealistic systematic order to how one does battle. I assume that most paladins are based on the religious orders of the crusades (Hospitalers, Templars, the Order of Santiago, the Teutonic Order) or after fantastic accounts such as the Song of Roland or Arthurian myth. In that case, the paladin would be required to take the more difficult and seemingly impractical route because they are not only serving a moral/religious ideal, they are also acting in accordance to the structure of the social order. By not taking the offender before the local magistrate for trial and execution, you have denied the authorities of their divine right to deal out justice thereby upsetting the social order.

Perhaps that was the 1st edition paladin, but we are now talking about a 3rd edition...

What's the differance? The 1st edition paladin was a nightmare for a GM due to it's near invulnerability to supernatural evil. The protection from evil aura allowed him so much protection, combined with his other abilities, so as to make him unusable by some gamemasters.

The 3rd edition is balanced (more or less) against the other classes. He has no advantage. The idea of placing strict moral handcuffs on the character can ONLY be balanced by his social power in the setting.

What did I just say? If he has to play by strict rules of conduct, then the GM better be giving the character power and leeway to match.

Otherwise, he's saying fighters loose all thier class abilities if they ever touch an axe. That ain't right.


Rotten DM
Please You dm wants the sick gritty parts but not the gritty justice. And just because it looks like a commoner does not mean he could be. UNLESS you paladin paged you at that moment and told you to go softly on criminal. No way you should lose you status. Now I would be up for your paladin being arrested by the cops and doing the trial thing.
What next if Demigorgon is chowing down on the orphaniage. You Paladin must stand in the middle of street and call him out like Matt Dillion

My suggestion get new dm.


First Post
Zimri said:
My goodness, we can honorably sneak up behind someone and run them through without warning now ?

pray tell HOW is that honorable ?
Keep in mind also that in 3.5 there IS NO front or back facing. There is flat-footed (usually but not always associated with being "aware" of your opponents existence) and flanked, but there are no backstabs and attacking from behind. There are simply varying degrees of defensibility.


Community Supporter
I find it almost inconceivable that the paladin should suffer a permanent penalty.

This shouldn't be an alignment issue, its a DM issue. If in the campaign the action would have warranted an alignment violation the DM should have told the player so rather than simply warning him he might kill the target with one blow. If the DM has previously covered this ground with the player, then perhaps a penalty is warranted, but if not the DM should have intervened prior to with a stronger warning or explanation of the moral situation as he saw it.

The mere fact there have been so many posts to this thread with so much dissension in such a short time is sufficient evidence to point to alignment being open to wide interpretations and adjudications. The player definetly deserves a break here.
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First Post
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."

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.)


I wouldnt have minded a bit more info specficly what god the PAladin followers and in which the town the event occured (The later effects whether it would have been worth while bringing him in and handing the sicko over to the authorities)

As for the scenario

Ok things to consider

Did the Paladin know that sicko was responsiable for the girls state?

Yes the Child molester practically confessed "Now let's teach you another lesson, missy." Therefore the paladin knew he would be slaying a evil and guilty person

Was the girl potentially in danger if the Paladin issued a challenge? Ie could the sicko have taken the girl hostage if a warning had been issued? Possably, I think its quite likely that the Sicko would have threatened the girls life in order to escape justice

So what was the result of the Paladins actions.

He stopped a crime from taking place

He prevented the Sicko from harming the girl furthur

As for stripping the Paladins powers.

Alignments a bad arguement in this case as the Paladins powers are ultimatly granted by a god not an alignment.

So the question is in the eyes of the paladins god did he comit a cardinal sin by attacking the sicko from behind

My view

Depending on your gods alignment

Only gods with 3 alignments can have Paladins (and Sune)

NG: A NG god would have had nothing bad to say about your Paladins act as they are only concerned about good (they would ignore the unlawfulness)

LG: A LG would be offended by the attack from behind but they are also concerned about good in effect the 2 things even out, a LG god would not reward your paladin nor would he punish him.

LN: If your Paladin follows a LN god then you might b in trouble, as a LN god is most concerned with the the Law and they would be unswayed by Good act of saving the girl, morality Good & evil isnt important only the LAw matters and in the eyes of a LN deity your Paladins actions where Unlawful so it might be justified in stripping the Paladins powers.

As you can see varied answers

Hopefully it will help

PS Ill just add that I didnt like what your DM did during the game

"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"

He should have never brought BAB and STR into the debate there game mechanics not tangiable things that your PC thinks about nor should he have told you that the Child Molestors a lowly commoner its infomation your Character doesnt have, for all he knows the sicko could be a Polymorphed Great Wyrm Red Dragon


First Post
Trickstergod said:
Divine mandate does not lawfulness make or secular authority trump.
Not secular authority lawfulness but it DEFINITELY makes for alignment lawfulness and it definitely trumps secular authority as far as a paladin is concerned. That's why the clause about respecting legitimate authority. Paladins can - and actually MUST - decide that some things take HIGHER precendence than obeying secular laws.
Being a paladin no more gives you the lawful right to kill evil than being the priest of a god of thieves would give you the lawful right to steal willy-nilly.
No, that's EXACTLY what being a paladin gives you.
They are no more exempt from the law than the aforementioned thief-god priest, and acting against it makes them not lawful, bit by bit.
As far as secular authority is concerned, maybe a paladin is not exempt, but maybe he is. It depends on the outlook of a particular secular authority as to whether paladins need to be treated as vigilantes or a community asset when they deal out lethal punishments.

As far as the paladin is concerned, he probably does realize that if he kills the molester on the spot he MIGHT be convicted of a crime by secular authority. Maybe that's alright with him - just something that goes with the territory of being guided by a HIGHER code. But he gets to decide which authority to give precedence to. His own does not necessarily demand the instant death of the molester - but it's not a violation of his code. He could well decide to turn the molester over to secular authority, but he can also decide that a delay of justice even a moment longer is unwarranted and kill the slime.


Not your screen monkey (he/him)
Zimri said:
My goodness, we can honorably sneak up behind someone and run them through without warning now ?

pray tell HOW is that honorable ?

And how is acting in a way that is not the epitome of honor an evil act? I certainly don't think it is. Would a CG character be penalized for this action as if it were an evil act? I don't think so. So why should a paladin?

To become an ex-paladin, the character has to grossly violate the code of conduct or commit evil. Considering that the paladin upheld 2 of the 4 listed points of the code (helping someone in need and pnushing someone harming an innocent) while only clearly violating one (acting with honor), I don't see that as a gross violation of the code. Minor infraction only. Say a bunch of Hail, Marys and get back to your job.

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