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

Abraxas

Explorer
Well I've waited to the very end to make a comment in this thread (although I participated in the Jury thread).

Agemegos, it seems (to me at least) that your arguments that Vindicator's paladin did wrong are based on the campaign your paladin is being played in. If Vindicator's paladin were being played in the campaign I play Abraxas in, his actions would have been seen as a touch rash - but would be seen in no way wrong. Paladins are judge, jury and if need be executioner in this campaign. In the campaign I play in

As Judge he weighs the evidence - he doesn't have to demonstrate this to the populace at large before he takes action.

As Jury he decides sentance - This may run him afoul of local secular law, but the sentence is based on the tenents of his faith. (In fact Abraxas has run afoul of local law many times because slavery is legal in Mulhurond, where he hails from)

As Executioner (if needed) he carries out the sentance in a way that does not include undo suffering. - if death is warranted.

There is no need for a public display to prove his lawfulness and there is no need for a public display for his actions to be lawful.

In addition, if you expect that a paladin should use non-lethal means in this situation, you would have to expect him to use non-lethal means in every situation that doesn't involve a demon/devil or mindless beast. All the possible what ifs that could have have made this go terribly wrong (possesed, mind controlled, faked, etc etc) would have to always be considered. And carrying this to an extreme, a paladin played in such a way should use non-lethal force at all times unless sanctioned ahead of time by his God even if by doing so he could possibly lose - because shouldn't he be willing to sacrifice himself so that a potential innocent isn't harmed?

Anyways - I'm not looking to continue this thread - Vindicator has gotten his verdict. Just something I've been meaning to say for a while and wanted to get it out of my head.

Peace
 

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Agemegos

Explorer
Dannyalcatraz said:
In the eyes of the law, "Deadly force" doesn't equal "used a weapon," it means force likely to cause serious bodily injury.

Okay then. Why do you discount the possibility of using force that would not be likely to result in serious bodily injury? It is an option that you do not even mention.

Subjective belief is all that is required.

Interesting. In the jurisdictions with which I am familiar, there is almost always a requirement that actions be based upon reasonable belief: the belief that a reasonable man would have held in the situation. This turns out in practice to be a very difficult test for juries to apply, and judges have from time to time established some very peculiar precedents about it.

As they say, it goes to state of mind. A Paladin in a high-class neigborhood may have felt more at ease- theoretically he has more potential allies in a "good" neigborhood, so merely raising a ruckus as he apprehends the scumbag would be sufficient. He would feel reasonably assured that he would have more allies in the area than the assailant- the city watch, the good people of the tavern, the law abiding taverner, etc.

If, on the other hand, the party is in a waterfront tavern frequented by ruffians, the Paladin has no expectation of assistance beyond his partymates. The taverner? Probably a smuggler. The other people in the bar might not have been the rapist's allies, but the call of "Hold, Miscreant!" could very well have started a rumble that could have left many dead and dying, and DEFINITELY would have held up any help the Paladin could have hoped for.

You believe that they were in a low waterfront tavern, and your subjective belief is good enough in Texas. I think there are no grounds on which a reasonable person would reach that belief in the evidence with which we are present.

I will concede that if the circumstances were such that the paladin could reasonably expect that if he dragged the rapist out of the room by the scruff of the neck justice could not be served and the girl would not be protected, then the paladin's actions were justified. But absent any evidence to that effect, I consider the argument unfounded speculation.

Ask yourself- don't you alter your behavior based on where you are? If you go into a gang-controlled neigborhood, aren't you a bit more wary of those around you? Aren't you more relaxed where the lighting is good, the cars are expensive and the cops are in sight?

I do indeed (or would if I ever did go into a gang-controlled neighbourhood: I live in a country town, and there isn't a gang-controlled neighbourhood withint three hundred miles). But I do not assume without evidence that every event I hear tell of occurs in such a neighbourhood.
 

Agemegos

Explorer
Abraxas said:
Agemegos, it seems (to me at least) that your arguments that Vindicator's paladin did wrong are based on the campaign your paladin is being played in.

I would have made a very different argument if I had been applying the standards of mediaeval England.

As Judge he weighs the evidence

No, that's what the jury does. The judge conducts the trial in accordance with due process.

As Jury he decides sentance

That is usually one of the duties of the judge. The jury hears evidence from both sides impartially and comes to a verdict that is based on that alone.

There is no need for a public display to prove his lawfulness and there is no need for a public display for his actions to be lawful.

Perhaps not. But there is a need of a public display to bring law to a lawless land.

In addition, if you expect that a paladin should use non-lethal means in this situation, you would have to expect him to use non-lethal means in every situation that doesn't involve a demon/devil or mindless beast.

No. The reason for the standard I expect in executing justice upon a neighbour does not apply in making war on an enemy. And my argument for using minimal force would not apply in circumstances where the paladin had a reasonable belief that that force would not be efficacious in protecting the girl and apprehending the rapist.


Shalom
 

Abraxas

Explorer
Sorry back one last time then I'm outta here :)

No, that's what the jury does. The judge conducts the trial in accordance with due process.
In a courtroom proceeding - but not in the phrase judge, jury and executioner - at least as far as the context in which the phrase is used in my neck of the woods - it means he judges the perp.

Perhaps not. But there is a need of a public display to bring law to a lawless land.
And in this case what makes you believe he was in a lawless land?

No. The reason for the standard I expect in executing justice upon a neighbour does not apply in making war on an enemy. And my argument for using minimal force would not apply in circumstances where the paladin had a reasonable belief that that force would not be efficacious in protecting the girl and apprehending the rapist.
So its OK to kill if King and Country says kill - the I was just following orders defence.
In the Vindicator's scenario - I think it was reasonable to think that lethal force was the most effective means of stopping the perp. That is probably where we disagree most - but thats easy to live with. :)
 

DM-Rocco

Explorer
Well, forgive me for not reading all 25 pages of posts, whew, this is a big one.

Really, this comes down to two things, what are the vows or code of conduct that you have sworn an oath to and what are the guidelines that the DM has laid out for you?

This is a bit old school, but a good example of the code of conduct can be found in the Unearthed Arcana, the old one written by Gary Gygax from May 1 1985. On page 16 it has a very well written code of conduct, something that I make all Paladins in my game swear too, with a few extras of my own.

For those that don't have it, this is what it says:

Noble service cheerfully rendered

Defense of any charge unto death'

Courage and enterprise in obedience to rule

Respect for all peers and equals

Honor to all above your station

Obedience and respect from all beneath your station
Scorn for those who are lowly and ignoble (this includes knightly limitations on weapons and armor)

Military prowess exercised in service to your lord

Courtesy to all ladies (if the cavalier is male)

War is the flowering of chivalry

Battle is the test of manhood

Combat is glory

Personal glory above all in battle

Death to all who oppose the cause

Death before dishonor



I usually add a few more, but this should be a basis for the code of conduct for any Paladin. Once more, it was written by the original creator of the game, so you get a feel for the intent behind the need for the code.



It speaks volumes about personal glory in battle and chivalry, but a few stick out at pertaining to this situation.



Scorn for those who are lowly and ignoble (this includes knightly limitations on weapons and armor)

While fighting for a noble purpose is right and just, a Paladin must always maintain the spirit of the law. They must lead by example. Scorn for those who are lowly means just that, but it doesn't dictate that one should slay all of the ignoble and lowly. As an example, it mentions including knightly limitations on weapons and armor, this meant, back in the day, that a Paladin will strive to use honorable weapons and quality armor. No clubs or missile weapons because you cannot gain honor in combat by hiding behind a log and firing arrows. If you take this to mean that you should slay all who use such weapons, then you will always be at war with the elves, good luck on that one.



Death to all who oppose the cause

This might be the one thing that could save your character, but you still have a reputation to maintain. If this child pervert is directly opposed to your cause, which I hope he would be, then you are partially just in your action. However, your actions are still not justifyable. You are a man of God and law and others in society constantly look towards you for guidance, leadership and morale fibers that keep everyone from becoming a mob. Let's take a quick note from recent history, President Bush and the prisoner scandal (note, I am not trying to be political here or trying to compare Bush with a Paladin, for any nut who wants to pick a political fight, keep it to yourself, I am just using this as an example to a recent event that I think he may be able to better relate to).

President Bush, if he were to walk into the prison and see members of his army doing these deeds that the American army is accused of, if he then picked up a gun and blew away his own men and women, he would be in the wrong, and that, to a degree, is what you did by killing this child molester without trail. It was not for you to play the role of the judge, jury and executor (you are not Judge Dread). You should have responded as President Bush did, place them on trail and let the courts deal with them.

On the other hand, you get a situation like Nick Burg, the American who had his head chopped off in retaliation for the prisoner abuse scandal. Whether you see it or not, your actions are more akin to the terrorist than to a Paladin. (Okay, I don't think I played any politicial card there, so let's not have any comments like, well Nader would have done this, or Kerry would have done that, okay)

About the only way you could twist this part of the code your way is if you were appointed as a magistrate for the city in question and had the political power to carry out such a one sided justice. However, you still didn't give the man a chance to talk. You seem to have a bit of a perverted and grim campiagn going on, so something like this might be common place, however, is that what happened really what happened.

Perhaps the man was going to his room to make love to his girlfriend, who was a halfling (who can at times appear as small children). Perhaps they had a kinky thing going on where they liked to role-play. I'm sure that is not what happened, but you never gave the man the chance to talk. You may have killed an innocent.


Death before dishonor

Really, you have dishonored your God and your beliefs. You should take your own life for the disgrace, but that is part of what atonement is for. If you did it again I would say that you are in a pickle.

Your DM

Ultimately it is up to your DM. He should have laid down a code for you to follow and if you broke it then it is your fault. If he didn't give you a code, you are still partially to blame since he did warn you that you would be killing and unarmed man from behind. This should have sent warning bells into your head.

I am not so worried from an Alignment stand point, PHB 3.5, page 103, a lawful good character may have a greedy streak that occasionally tempts him to take something or hoard something he has, even if that's not lawful or good behavior. While this is a bit more than stealing something, as a DM of 23 years, I might over look it, at least more than the breaking of the code.

The long of it short is, you are a morale pillar to the masses and must lead by example. You should have bound him and dragged him before a court of law. Unless you had either the weight of the city on your shoulders by being appointed to a position where you could have such authority (but you should still bring him in rather than kill him) or you are in a lawless land where Chaotic NPCs rule the country with an iron fist and bringing him to trial would result in a dismissal of the crime (but if you don't have previous knowledge of this you should still bring him to trail, you can't go on a hunch or the actions of a few local inn patrons)

Just for the record, I was on your side when I started out, however, I see many of different solutions that you could have made. Knowing only that fact that I saw on your first post, you have choosen poorly.
 

italianranma

First Post
Wow, what a touchy subject. I read the first and last page leading up to this post. As I see it, there are two arguements here: 1) is the act a Chaotic, and or Evil act, and 2) What should your DM do. At first these two may seem related, but I would hold that there not. Here's my peice: I've been rp-ing for 6 years and DMing for 4. While I'm sure this isn't on par with some of the people posting here I at least have seen some action on all sides. In fact in the very first game I played, the player sitting next to me was a paladin, and two gaming sessions later was disintigrated by his God for being cowardly. The result was a huge arguement like this one that ended in the player never sitting at our table again. I've had to sit through some troubled players, and disgruntled players, and even one guy who was a little crazy (full on mental problems). When you get down to it this is a game, and you win if you have fun. It's not only the players who need to have fun, it's the DM too. What you two need to do is find a compromise. Throw away who's wrong and right, and sit down and discuss until an agreement that is acceptable to both is reached, and finally if you can't reach one then you might try to find a new group. If your satisfaction level ever reaches the point that you'd be happier not playing then why would you stick around to play.
As far as question 1 goes, this is a debate that likely will not end. I'm no philosophy major (thank God) but I have taken a few classes, and the biggest thing I've gotten from them is that people (the race, not individuals in this context) have changed. The Greeks thought differently from the Romans who thought differently from the Franks, and so on. Good and Evil aren't objective values. Our society is trying it's best to come up with a firm set of standards to measure these two values by, but so far have failed. Our Chief Justices (who decide cases not only by right and wrong but by determining if such decisions are feasible) realise that they disagree not because of difference in knowledge, but by differences in opinion. Good and Evil will always be subjective. To make them directly objective in any context (such as a Forgotton Realms campaign) is rediculous. Such being said you can look at them with some objectivity.
When is killing an unarmed, unaware human in the defense of an innocent victum an evil or chaotic act. I'd say that in the 1400 the opinion at the time would vote this as definitly unhonorable. I would say that in 2000 we would consider this act as not unhonorable, not evil, and not chaotic. For evidence I offer the Tom Clancy hero. Or Matt Damon in the Bourne Identity, or the russian sniper in "Enemy at the Gates." I believe that subjectively judge the acts of these 'heroes' as not unhonorable because were they to boldly walk up to the enemy and offer them a 'fair fight' they'd not only be killed, but be ridculed for their stupid behavior. In Medival times sniping was very dishonorable, and the Bold Paladin could valiently walk up to an evil dark knight, issue a challange, and have said dark knight meet him for fair combat (or reasonably fair, if the Dark knight is evil, he might very well cheat). Now the next question; Does D&D emulate the modern, or the historical fantasy setting. I would say that the majority of players and DMs and even game designers use a fantasy setting with modern ideas: the deepwood sniper, the chapter 4 of the complete warrior, the feats system. 1st edition D&D was a very different game and it used very historical ideas. If a Player is forced to role play his paladin according to medival thought, but the rest of the world uses modern ideas, then the Paladin is rediculously underpowered and very unsatisfying to play. However I would say that many people (including game designers) still hold that idea. I say they are wrong. The game has evolved, the majority of playing styles have evolved. The Paladin has evolved. I remember another debate akin to this one were a Paladin lost his powers because he CDG a sleeping villian. That player was wronged.

This player;
President Bush, if he were to walk into the prison and see members of his army doing these deeds that the American army is accused of, if he then picked up a gun and blew away his own men and women, he would be in the wrong,
sorry to pick on you, but you're the closest post. I don't agree with this line of thinking: The president (btw, I just learned that if you talk about the president of the United States, it isn't capatilized) doesn't have said responsabilities on him. Cops don't have the authority to do that. Judges outside of court don't have that authority. There is only one breed of American who may deal death without the due course of the law and that is a soldier in combat. The Paladin however is empowered with the ability to lawfully deal death to the enemies of his God, Society, and the abstract notion of Goodness. The Paladin doesn't need to hold trial: he decides. The hard part is that he must decide correctly. If he was wrong about the rapist, if for example it was a law abiding citizen who happened to have an S&M relationship, then the paladin would have to atone. However I would still take offense to the ruling because the DM described it to him differently.
That's my piece.
 

D+1

First Post
DM-Rocco said:
Let's take a quick note from recent history, President Bush and the prisoner scandal (note, I am not trying to be political here or trying to compare Bush with a Paladin, for any nut who wants to pick a political fight, keep it to yourself, I am just using this as an example to a recent event that I think he may be able to better relate to).

President Bush, if he were to walk into the prison and see members of his army doing these deeds that the American army is accused of, if he then picked up a gun and blew away his own men and women, he would be in the wrong, and that, to a degree, is what you did by killing this child molester without trail. It was not for you to play the role of the judge, jury and executor (you are not Judge Dread). You should have responded as President Bush did, place them on trail and let the courts deal with them.
First, the abuses being brought up are not comparable to child rape.
Second, the President doesn't walk around with a sword (or gun) nor does he have the obligation to act as an avenger whereas a paladin does.
On the other hand, you get a situation like Nick Burg, the American who had his head chopped off in retaliation for the prisoner abuse scandal.
AFAIK it is pure speculation as to whether this was in direct retaliation. More likely is it's just militant, fascist, Islamic terrorists doing what they do.
About the only way you could twist this part of the code your way is if you were appointed as a magistrate for the city in question and had the political power to carry out such a one sided justice.
We were not given any information that the legal code within the city had any such requirement. In the absence of that it is safe to assume that the paladin is not just allowed, but obligated to act as his morals and code direct him. It is POSSIBLE that his morals and code would have been more specific than the PH and directed him to merely arrest and turn him over to OTHER authorities, but again, in the absence of such information it is perfectly reasonable that the paladin exercises his divine-associated authority to pass instant judgement and dispense immediate lethal punishment.
Ultimately it is up to your DM. He should have laid down a code for you to follow and if you broke it then it is your fault. If he didn't give you a code, you are still partially to blame since he did warn you that you would be killing and unarmed man from behind. This should have sent warning bells into your head.
That much is pretty much true. Even if the DM was wrong (and he was) he informed the player of his perspective and potential penalties for proceeding. Even so, it's pretty much just a formality to regain Paladin status at that point as it was not an evil act.
The long of it short is, you are a morale pillar to the masses and must lead by example.
Such as child rapists deserve no quarter and death as soon as possible? I see no problem there.
You should have bound him and dragged him before a court of law.
Assume for a moment the city has a law stating that convicted child rapists are not to be killed but merely incarcerated for a while. Not likely, but... In such a case if the paladins personal and religious beliefs are that child rapists MUST be killed then the secular law is not a "legitimate authority" as far as that paladin is concerned. He might STILL turn the rapist over but he might not.

Now assume that the city would execute the rapist. The paladins crime is sort of just a procedural violation. All he did was improperly speed up the process of what was undoubtedly going to happen anyway. That STILL leaves open the question of whether the paladins greater obligation is to secular legal authority or his own code and moral judgement. The answer is that his OWN CODE AND MORALS take precedence. They may not DEMAND the death of the rapist, but they most certainly can, regardless of what local law demands.
 

D+1

First Post
italianranma said:
There is only one breed of American who may deal death without the due course of the law and that is a soldier in combat.
Not true. They still have legal and moral obligations - they just happen to be somewhat different in combat because combat is in and of itself a much different legal and moral environment.
 

mroberon1972

First Post
You know, it has occured to me we are arguing the wrong issue.

The issue is between the player and the GM, not the character and his god.

In truth, a GM has several obligations:

1. Prepare a setting that entertains all players of the game.
2. Make sure that both the players and the GM have fun.
3. Abritrate the rules and setting in a way that does not prevent the fun listed in #2 for the greatest number of people.

In this, the GM may have failed. Let's be honest, the player got screwed in this one, and the GM did not deal well enough with the player to prevent him from coming here and complaining.

Just my opinion. And yes, I GM most of the time. I learned a long time ago that there are times the rules have to be second to fun.
 

Agemegos

Explorer
Abraxas said:
And in this case what makes you believe he was in a lawless land?

Nothing. I was addressing a statement that paladins have a duty to bring law to lawless lands. I could have let myself into an argument over whether we have any reason to believe that the land in question is lawless, but I wanted to make another point: that this was not a Lawful way to deal with a malefactor in either a Lawless or a lawless land.

If this was not a lawless land, then a Lawful character would have tended to leave judgement and punishment to the law.

So either way, whether the land was lawful or lawless, Vindicator's character in my opinion in this incident acted according to Chaotic norms. A single Chaotic act under considerable stress is no big deal, hence my votes that the character remain a paladin. It would only be if this was an example of a consistent unlawful tendency that I would consider an alignment change that threatened class abilities.

The reason that I make this point so forcefully is that a lot of posters insist that Vindicator's character did nothing whatsoever wrong. That may be true by a Chaotic Good or even Neutral Good standard, or by the laws of Texas. But I don't believe that those are the appropriate standards.

So its OK to kill if King and Country says kill - the I was just following orders defence.

Actually, I would be applying a 'Just War' defence, not a 'Just Following Orders' defence. And I would still judge the Lawful character's alignment according to a Lawful standard. It is just that the principles of Lawfulness that demand certain procedures in judging a neighbour and delivering justice to a community demand different procedures when killing an enemy of that community in open war.

In the Vindicator's scenario - I think it was reasonable to think that lethal force was the most effective means of stopping the perp. That is probably where we disagree most - but thats easy to live with. :)

'Most effective' != 'necessary' or 'appropriate'

Don't get a job as a cop or security guard. And don't try house-training a puppy ;)
 
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Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dannyalcatraz
In the eyes of the law, "Deadly force" doesn't equal "used a weapon," it means force likely to cause serious bodily injury.

Okay then. Why do you discount the possibility of using force that would not be likely to result in serious bodily injury? It is an option that you do not even mention.

Yes I did. I pointed out that someone who is a trained fighter who gets in a fight outside of a controlled environment (read: a prizefight, wrestling match, etc.) and uses ANY of his skills could be charged with use of deadly force. A Paladin is quite clearly a trained warrior.

To clarify further- there are all kinds of less-than-lethal (note: not NON-lethal) subdual techniques out there ranging from rubber rounds to joint-lock grips. And yet, any of those can be considered lethal force if used (properly or improperly) and serious injury or death results.

Essentially, almost any amount of physical force required to subdue a human being, however minimal, can be considered lethal force if the circumstances warrant. Its VERY fact sensitive.

To reiterate, someone who is a trained fighter runs the risk of being charged with use of deadly force any time he gets into a fight. Thus, if you ARE such a person-NEVER throw the first punch.
Quote:
Subjective belief is all that is required.

Interesting. In the jurisdictions with which I am familiar, there is almost always a requirement that actions be based upon reasonable belief: the belief that a reasonable man would have held in the situation. This turns out in practice to be a very difficult test for juries to apply, and judges have from time to time established some very peculiar precedents about it.

The standard is ostensibly still reasonableness, but it isn't the objective standard of the average reasonable person you find in most other laws. This area is much more subjective-what would be reasonable for someone like that person in an analogous situation. For example, a kid's use of deadly force in the defense of another will be judged differently from an ex-marines' use who will be judged differently from use of deadly force by someone who was victimized by a rapist in the past, etc.

As such, the objective reasonability standard collapses into subjectivity. Does this mean that justification defenses always succeed? No. Juries are more critical than you might think about discerning whether someone used deadly force appropriately.

I will concede that if the circumstances were such that the paladin could reasonably expect that if he dragged the rapist out of the room by the scruff of the neck justice could not be served and the girl would not be protected, then the paladin's actions were justified. But absent any evidence to that effect, I consider the argument unfounded speculation.

1) Rape is a violent crime. This guy was comitting a violent crime, not in a back alley, not in the underbrush, but in the storage room of a tavern, apparently without concern about being discovered. He was comfortable, even relaxed in his surroundings-implying that he may have acted similarly in this location at a previous time. As stated, the kid had obviously been violated before- perhaps it was even her he had been violating in this room prior to discovery and execution.

2) The Paladin saw the kid and her assailant immediately upon entering the room, so the kid wasn't off in some hidden corner of the room-she and her assailant were in direct line of sight of the door. If the tavern is in full swing (the original poster said his party was "carousing"), people are going to be going in and out of that storage room repeatedly. How could the taverner or one of his employees not have known about the girl's plight? How did this guy have free access to the tavern's storage room? (I'm surprised the Paladin stopped with killing the assailant.)

This does NOT sound like a tavern in a high-class neighborhood to me.

If it was, it was also obviously a front for SOMEBODY's illegal activity.
 

Agemegos

Explorer
Dannyalcatraz said:
Essentially, almost any amount of physical force required to subdue a human being, however minimal, can be considered lethal force if the circumstances warrant. Its VERY fact sensitive.

So the courts don't observe any distinction between grabbing a man by the collar of the coat and opening up without warning with a 12-gauge?

The standard is ostensibly still reasonableness, but it isn't the objective standard of the average reasonable person you find in most other laws.

I see. That's interesting.

Juries are more critical than you might think about discerning whether someone used deadly force appropriately.

I'm glad to hear it. Texas was beginning to sound like a scary place, and I was reconsidering my desire to visit some time.

1) Rape is a violent crime. This guy was comitting a violent crime, not in a back alley, not in the underbrush, but in the storage room of a tavern, apparently without concern about being discovered.

I must say that if the events had occurred thus either under my GMing or under the GMing of the bloke I most often play with, the fact that the paladin didn't even have to open the door to the room would have been highly significant. As a player, I would have taken it as a sign that the 'rape' was a trap that I was meant to see, set up from beginning to end. But this was evidently not the case in Vindicator's GM's world.

2) The Paladin saw the kid and her assailant immediately upon entering the room, so the kid wasn't off in some hidden corner of the room-she and her assailant were in direct line of sight of the door. If the tavern is in full swing (the original poster said his party was "carousing"), people are going to be going in and out of that storage room repeatedly. How could the taverner or one of his employees not have known about the girl's plight? How did this guy have free access to the tavern's storage room? (I'm surprised the Paladin stopped with killing the assailant.)

This is a point that others have raised. The rapist would seem to have had accomplices, possibly to have been a member or customer of a child-rape ring. If the paladin had taken him alive it might have been a lot easier to catch them. Fortunately, the PC party would seem to be of high enough level that their cleric (if they have a cleric) can cast Speak with Dead. Unfortunately, asking two or three questions of a corpse is not as satisfactory as interrogating a living perp.
 
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DM-Rocco

Explorer
I think this D+1 is just another account of the original poster. Oh, and thanks for bringing up the political thing after I asked nicely to not do so. But since you did, the translation of the 4 1/2 minutes of the tape leading up the beheading directly said this is to avenge our brothers who where disgraced in the prision. That aside, your completely wrong about this whole thing with the Paladin.


You may be a player in the campiagn, in that case you may have more information that we don't have, or the information you do have is buried within 25 pages of posts. However, given what we know, he over reacted.

I am pretty liberal with the letter of the law and the rules of the game when I DM, but if one of my players went around slaying unarmed people, for whatever reason, they would pay for it.

If the man had been armed and was about to strike the girl, then lethal force would have been justified. If the man had been stranggling the child, then lethal force would have been justified. The man was unarmed and could have been easily subdude into submission.

About the only way this, or your, Paladin could have gotten away with this was if the man had been armed (in which case you should challenge him or warn him of the battle), your God demands justice on child Molesters as part of your Dogma (in which it would have to say slay on sight) or the DM never gave him a code (which, even if he didn't give him a code, he gave him fair warning that what he was doing was wrong).

Bottom line is that your DM has the final say and the player admited that he knew that the man was unarmed and that his strike would kill the man. The DM gave him fair warning. Sorry, but I know that I am not the only one on this post that feels this way. Your Paladin over reacted, even if his Dogma or dedication to his God demanded that this man die, he would have to challenge him to a fight of honor on a field of battle, not stab him in the back like a rogue.

I think the issue is touchy because in the real world that is what we would love to do to these types of people. I was a player in a game of one of my friends. We entered a town in search of a Barbarian and a Cleric who had been riading the nearby towns. They left lots of death and destruction behind. The Evil Cleric, for reasons that we never found out, had a fettish for cutting off the hands and feet of the children in the town while they were still alive and then leave them for dead.

My first reaction as a person was that this was too much for role playing. My first reaction as a player was that this man must die. We were hoplessly out numbered, so I had to kill him later. But I was not a Paladin, I was a Rogue.

Reguardless, I think the Paladin over reacted. I think the person controlling the Paladin was in the right. The game can be hard to seperate at times from what are character should do as PCs and what we would do as players.

Now, if the Paladin would have simply said, "Vile fiend, defend yourself," I would say that it would be harder to argue this point, but since he stabbed him in the back, I think he lost all honor, reguardless of who the man was that he slew, and he is lucky that atonement is all he has to do.
 

kirinke

First Post
another reason why i never play paladins. i'm just chaotic at heart. but i do have to agree. your character did over-react.

Knocking him over the head would have been smarter. Personally, I would have knocked him over the head, delivered him to the nearest arch-mage and had him cast a permanent illusion on the man. Something along the lines of a buxom pretty and scantily clad girl and dropped him in the middle of the vilest neighborhood in the city. That would have been after I interrogated him. ^)^.
But then, I'm just mean.

Like the man says. If you kill em, they don't larn nuthin.
 
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Rabelais

First Post
Paladin Code of Conduct

I would say that you should keep your powers. However... If I were a DM I would have your god give you a real talking to the next time you went to sleep. Nightmares about becoming a Blackguard, horror stories along the lines of "It's a Wonderful Life" about what would happen were you NOT a paladin. I would make these alagorical nightmares so vivid and crystal clear, that your god was NOT PLEASED ONE LITTLE BIT, that your character would have to save vs. Will to keep from losing a level or two for a couple of days.

PLUS, your character would have to Atone somehow. Starting with submitting to the nearest legitimate legal authority. If that's not present, then by visiting the Home Temple (or whatever) of your order, then submitting to whatever punishment he deems worthy.

PLUS, your character would have to go to bed without his dinner.


Just telling the evildoer why you were putting him down like the dog he was would have been good enough. Pants down, unarmed sure... but being a Pally is about educating the evil...


"Hey You! You're evil... zorch" would have been good enough for me.
 

med stud

First Post
Agemegos said:
Okay then. Why do you discount the possibility of using force that would not be likely to result in serious bodily injury? It is an option that you do not even mention.



Interesting. In the jurisdictions with which I am familiar, there is almost always a requirement that actions be based upon reasonable belief: the belief that a reasonable man would have held in the situation. This turns out in practice to be a very difficult test for juries to apply, and judges have from time to time established some very peculiar precedents about it.



You believe that they were in a low waterfront tavern, and your subjective belief is good enough in Texas. I think there are no grounds on which a reasonable person would reach that belief in the evidence with which we are present.

I will concede that if the circumstances were such that the paladin could reasonably expect that if he dragged the rapist out of the room by the scruff of the neck justice could not be served and the girl would not be protected, then the paladin's actions were justified. But absent any evidence to that effect, I consider the argument unfounded speculation.



I do indeed (or would if I ever did go into a gang-controlled neighbourhood: I live in a country town, and there isn't a gang-controlled neighbourhood withint three hundred miles). But I do not assume without evidence that every event I hear tell of occurs in such a neighbourhood.

I think you are right assuming a modern juridical system. There is no chance in hell that anyone would think you did the wrong thing if you killed a child molester on the spot in old times.

Then, if we are keeping with the old times justice system, there was no such thing as prison sentences back in the days. The punishments were fines, mutilation and death. Child molesting was punished by death if blood money couldnt be brought up. The paladin was a witness to what happened and if his reputation wasnt enough he could be tried under a Zone of truth and his story thus confirmed. OK, mr Childmolester, enjoy being torn apart by horses. In that case the paladin just acted as the executioner of the local laws.

If on the other hand the society consider child rape as a mild crime it doesnt go together with any paladin code I have ever heard of. Then the paladin has to do the juridical process by himself; jury (just a minor point, juries are Anglo Saxian. There is nothing to say that fantasy worlds would have juries) to evaluate the evidence: The man was raping a little girl. Evidence is clear. Judge: Fitting punishment. Now this depends but if following a "medieval" line of thought death is a fitting punishment. Repentance is another option but if he doesnt have the time or resources there is a very big risk that the rapist will pay lip service and strike again. For the best of society and the extreme trauma on the victim death is probably a fitting punishment. Executioner: Pretty self explanatory.

One thing though is that the paladin as a servant of a good diety should give the molester a chance to save his soul before the execution. Do you prayers, convert to Heironyous, then please bow down your head. As afterlife in D&D is a known reallity (at least for paladins) the wellbeing of the criminals soul is far more important the the well being of the body.
 

Agemegos

Explorer
kirinke said:
i'm just chaotic at heart.

A lot of us are. I lean that way myself on lot of issues. But a lot of the attraction of gaming outside the dungeon is to look at these things from another point of view.

For example, I am not a Christian, and have correspondingly non-Christian views on a lott of things. So it was very interesting to look at the world through the eyes of Edmund Edwinson, paladin of Christ. Or on aother occasion through those of a Neutral Evil drow secret agent and worshipper of Fharlanghan. D&D is IMHO duller if you always play yourself-with-a-prosthetic-forehead. YMMV. YDWYDWP.
 

Maggan

Writer of The Bitter Reach
Who's having fun?

mroberon1972 said:
In this, the GM may have failed. Let's be honest, the player got screwed in this one, and the GM did not deal well enough with the player to prevent him from coming here and complaining.

Just my opinion. And yes, I GM most of the time. I learned a long time ago that there are times the rules have to be second to fun.

So who is entitled to "fun"? The player who plays in the DMs campaign, or the DM who runs the campaign? Whose need is the greatest?

The DM might have planned a really fun campaign based on the Paladin atoning his actions. And the player is missing out, because he does not accept the ruling of his DM.

Maggan
 
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Agemegos

Explorer
med stud said:
I think you are right assuming a modern juridical system. There is no chance in hell that anyone would think you did the wrong thing if you killed a child molester on the spot in old times.

I disagree. The authors of the Magna Carta insisted that "No freemen shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor
will we go upon him nor send upon him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land." 1215 is 'old times' enough for me. Those authors would plainly object to such a proceeding, at least if the rapist were a freeman. Also, in many cases someone (often the king) owned the property of anyone who was condemned for a felony. The owner of this 'right of high justice' would very likely be most annoyed if someone killed a [rich] felon before he could be convicted.

Child molesting was punished by death if blood money couldnt be brought up.

Again you are over-generalising about 'old times'. It seems from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles that the Norman Conquest introduced the practice of castrating rapists with a white-hot iron, with no option of paying a wergild.

just a minor point, juries are Anglo Saxian

Our twelve-member juries in modern common-law countries are indeed descended from Anglo-Saxon juries. But there were juries before there were Anglo-Saxons. For example, the Athenians used them, sometimes very lage ones (up to 501 members). If you had studied ancient Greek history you would recall that one of the reforms introduced by Ephialtes in about 462-461 BC was to pay members of juries while their courts sat. If you had studied ancient Roman history you might recall that in the famous speech Contra Verres (which is introductory remarks delivered by a state prosecutor) Cicero addressed separate remarks to teh judges (three of them) and the jury.

See http://www.nycourts.gov/Community_Outreach/history/timeline_jury.html.
 

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