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

Agemegos

Explorer
Torm said:
I hate to jump in here, but I think the difference between the puppy in your analogy and the pedophile-rapist is that the puppy, in piddling on the carpet, is not traumatizing anyone for the rest of their lives, or possibly killing them!

Let's not mistake a humorous example of an incidental point for the cornerstone of my argument.

In fact, the rapist was a low-level commoner. The paladin's actual belief was that he was a low-level commoner. In fact the rapist was unarmed. The paladin's actual belief was that he was unarmed. Therefore, both according to the actual situation and according to the paladin's belief about the situation, the paladin had at least two available alternatives to killing the rapist, either of which would have been just as effective in protecting the girl from further harm. Killing the rapist was not necessary to protecting the girl, and the paladin knew it.

So the paladin threw away the chance of saving the rapist if, for example, possession or compulsion, were involved. The paladin ran the risk of killing an innocent man and losing his powers if the situation were other than his first impression suggested (eg. because of illusions). The paladin threw away the chance of interrogating the rapist to discover who his accomplices (if any) were. The paladin threw away the chance of demonstrating the lawful dispensation of justice. And according to both the facts and his belief, he gained nothing by it.

That being the case, I cannot accept that there was absolutely nothing wrong with the paladin's choice. I agree that it doesn't constitute a 'lose-you-powers' offence. But if the paladin keeps behaving in such an intemperate and injudicious way he will soon commit such an offence.
 

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Torm

First Post
Agemegos said:
So the paladin threw away the chance of saving the rapist if, for example, possession or compulsion, were involved.

And herein lies my problem with a lot of these arguments. I believe that, unless the description gives some hint to the contrary (which the statement the rapist made certainly did not), you have the right to assume that people are acting of their own volition. And given that: I would not want the rapist saved!
 

Sir Elton

First Post
Torm said:
And herein lies my problem with a lot of these arguments. I believe that, unless the description gives some hint to the contrary (which the statement the rapist made certainly did not), you have the right to assume that people are acting of their own volition. And given that: I would not want the rapist saved!

The correct term is Pederast.
 


Agemegos

Explorer
Torm said:
And herein lies my problem with a lot of these arguments. I believe that, unless the description gives some hint to the contrary (which the statement the rapist made certainly did not), you have the right to assume that people are acting of their own volition. And given that: I would not want the rapist saved!

Given that, the 'if' clause evaluates as false and the sentence does not apply.

But that is not a given in a D&D world. In a D&D word, paladins actually are going to encounter illusions, and innocent people acting under possessions and compulsions. If they're Good, they are supposed to care about saving innocent lives where possible.
 
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Raven Crowking

First Post
Agemegos said:
Sure. No question. But you'd rather be taken down by a tazer, or wrestled to teh ground by a burly cop.

Assuming, of course, that being possessed by a demon does not make either of those options fail.

My point here is that the paladin had other means at his disposal, that (both according to the actual circumstances and according to his actual belief at the time) would have been equally effective in protecting the girl, and that would have 1) avoided the risk of killing an innocent man in the case of possession, compulsion, or illusion; 2) given a better chance of discovering any accomplices the rapist might have had; 3) reduced the risk of the rapist's relatives refusing to accept his guilt, and turning to feud; and 4) been more in accord with a Lawful standard of conduct.

1) It has been pointed out numerous times by numerous people that having to assume possession, compulsion, or illusion in all cases (and certainly in clear-cut cases such as this) would be unreasonable.

2) Clearly, the tavern owner is an obvious person to assume as an accomplice, as the girl is tied up in his tavern. Take it from there.

3) I have pointed out, and you have accepted, that "The simple fact that the paladin acted, and remains a paladin proves beyond all reasonable doubt that he is speaking the truth," thus allowing for proof superior to that of an open trial. If the miscreant's relatives do not accept the paladin's word, and seek him harm, the paladin cannot slay them out of hand, but he can attempt to show them that he is honorable (through word and deed) and convince them of the truth.

That said, suppose that the rapist was possessed by a demon. In this case, the paladin has made one of SirEuain's "unwilling breaches" and should find his paladin powers temporarily revoked until he atones. In fact, the revocation of paladinhood in this case should only occur if it is intended as a clue that the paladin, though speaking the truth as he understands it is nonetheless not speaking the truth.

I would accept this as a perfectly valid reason for the DM to remove paladin powers. After all, any magical measure of "absolute truth" or "absolute proof" (as I was arguing) cuts both ways! :)

4) Perhaps, but you still haven't convinced me that your idea of "lawful" is the idea of "lawful". Certainly, in your own campaign world, you can define terms however you like. In the case of "Law vs. Chaos" I would especially encourage this. You may also have special rules regarding paladins. However, barring that, and barring said rules being made available to players, the players have a reasonable assumption that the definitions given in the core rulebooks can be followed.

I don't think that that amounts of a case for stripping the paladin of his powers. But given that that's teh way it seems to me, neither can I accept that what the paladin did was perfectly alright by Lawful standards.

Ah, but the initial question is, effectively, "Does this amount to a case for stripping the paladin of his powers?" The question is not, "Was this the best solution?" but rather, "Should this have been an acceptable solution?"

Yes, the paladin should have taken the DM's (effective) "Are you sure you want to do that?" to mean "I may revoke your paladinhood if you do that" -- I would! :uhoh: And yes, he should have asked for clarification as to his role, and what was expected of him under the circumstances.

Even so, no one comes up with the best solution in all possible cases. Paladinhood should only be revoked when the violation is clear, although I grant that what is clear to the DM may not be clear to the players, as in the possession example above. (In this case, though, the ghost of the wronged man would visit the paladin in his dreams so the paladin understood his fault, were I running the game.)


RC
 

Raven Crowking

First Post
Agemegos said:
Let's not mistake a humorous example of an incidental point for the cornerstone of my argument.

In fact, the rapist was a low-level commoner. The paladin's actual belief was that he was a low-level commoner. In fact the rapist was unarmed. The paladin's actual belief was that he was unarmed. Therefore, both according to the actual situation and according to the paladin's belief about the situation, the paladin had at least two available alternatives to killing the rapist, either of which would have been just as effective in protecting the girl from further harm. Killing the rapist was not necessary to protecting the girl, and the paladin knew it.

At best, your examples would have only been as effecting in protecting the girl from further immediate harm, which is not the same this as protecting her from further harm. Without more information on the local law, and what would have happened had the paladin tried non-lethal methods, you cannot say that the paladin would have done more than delay the additional rape.

Even had the paladin taken the girl with him to raise, you cannot say that leaving the rapist to the law would not have allowed him to rape another. IMHO, one of the primary tenets of D&D is that there is no such thing as moral relativism. Good is good, and evil is evil. It is the duty of paladins to wage war on evil.

So the paladin threw away the chance of saving the rapist if, for example, possession or compulsion, were involved. The paladin ran the risk of killing an innocent man and losing his powers if the situation were other than his first impression suggested (eg. because of illusions). The paladin threw away the chance of interrogating the rapist to discover who his accomplices (if any) were. The paladin threw away the chance of demonstrating the lawful dispensation of justice. And according to both the facts and his belief, he gained nothing by it.

Again, in both facts and his belief he gained something extremely important: the future safety of the rapist's victim from the rapist.

RC
 
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Agemegos

Explorer
Raven Crowking said:
1) It has been pointed out numerous times by numerous people that having to assume possession, compulsion, or illusion in all cases (and certainly in clear-cut cases such as this) would be unreasonable.

But no-one has ever made an argument that it would be unreasonable to allow for the possibility when the cost or risk of doing so is small or, as in this case, non-existent.

I have pointed out, and you have accepted, that "The simple fact that the paladin acted, and remains a paladin proves beyond all reasonable doubt that he is speaking the truth," thus allowing for proof superior to that of an open trial.

It is not superior to an open trial in this respect: that an open trial can be held before the execution, whereas this test can only be conducted after the execution.

Ah, but the initial question is, effectively, "Does this amount to a case for stripping the paladin of his powers?"

True, and I made it clear back in post #99 and several times since that I do not consider it a case for stripping the paladin of his powers.

However, just because I agree that Vindicator's character ought not to have lost his powers does not mean that I accept every argument that has been put forward in his defence. In particular, it seemed to me that there is something wrong with the frequently repeated assertion that there was nothing whatsoever wrong with his action and that he did exactly the right thing and ought to go on doing things like it. That is the position that i am arguing against. Topic does drift, you know.

Even so, no one comes up with the best solution in all possible cases.

Indeed not, which is why I recommended and recommend taking action to adjust thecharcter's alignment only if this turns out to be one incident in a persistent pattern of Chaotic particularism and ad hockery, or if the character maintained that this action was the best solution.
 
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Agemegos

Explorer
Raven Crowking said:
At best, your examples would have only been as effecting in protecting the girl from further immediate harm, which is not the same this as protecting her from further harm.

No, at best my examples would have lead just as certainly to the rapist's death. At worst the rapist would have been left for the paladinto deal with decisively and extra-legally if necessary.

Without more information on the local law, and what would have happened had the paladin tried non-lethal methods, you cannot say that the paladin would have done more than delay the additional rape.

And without more information of the rapist's friends, associates, and family, you cannot say that his controversial death in a back room would not have led to a feud in which the victim and her family and their friends would die. While on the other hand, the paladin can always take the law into his own hands later if the local law turns out to be evil or ineffectual.

I am the one asking that the paladin seek information before taking precipitate action.

Even had the paladin taken the girl with him to raise, you cannot say that leaving the rapist to the law would not have allowed him to rape another.

No, but I can say that if the paladin had erred on the side of caution he would have been able to repair the error later, but by erring on the side of recklessness he risked ending up with a dead innocent, an untraceable pedophile ring, or an intractable feud to deal with.

Again, in both facts and his belief he gained something extremely important: the future safety of the rapist's victim from the rapist.

He could have secured that in another way, taking drastic action only if it turned out to be necessary.
 

Raven Crowking

First Post
Agemegos said:
No, at best my examples would have lead just as certainly to the rapist's death. At worst the rapist would have been left for the paladinto deal with decisively and extra-legally if necessary.

I did not state what was the best/worst legal outcome. I said "At best, your examples would have only been as effecting in protecting the girl from further immediate harm, which is not the same this as protecting her from further harm."

But no-one has ever made an argument that it would be unreasonable to allow for the possibility when the cost or risk of doing so is small or, as in this case, non-existent.

Excepting that an argument has been put forward, repeatedly, that the risk in doing so is very high. The risk is that the watch does nothing, and the little girl is raped again. The risk is that forty brutish friends of the rapists beat the crud out of the paladin when he calls out, and the girl is raped again. Ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

And without more information of the rapist's friends, associates, and family, you cannot say that his controversial death in a back room would not have led to a feud in which the victim and her family and their friends would die. While on the other hand, the paladin can always take the law into his own hands later if the local law turns out to be evil or ineffectual.

I am the one asking that the paladin seek information before taking precipitate action.

You're right. The paladin should round up the miscreant's friends and family, and interview them, before doing anything. Even before calling the Watch, because, as we know, turning in a miscreant may result in a feud. :uhoh:

He could have secured that [The future safety of the rapist's victim from the rapist - RC] in another way, taking drastic action only if it turned out to be necessary.

Exactly what other way would that be?

Your examples assume that calling the watch is as effective as killing the miscreant. That is simply not so. When the paladin calls the watch, all he can assume is that he has put off the potential for harm. Perhaps that is not the case, and the law is effective. Or perhaps the law does not carry out justice, and there is no legitimate authority in these parts. You ask the paladin to make an assumption, when all evidence points to the miscreant being unafraid of the law. I say that making that assumption in this case reduces the effectiveness of the paladin's action.

But, this argument has become pretty recursive by now, hasn't it?

We agree that the paladin should retain his paladinhood.

We agree that there may have been a better solution.

We do not agree that there necessarily was a better solution.

I can live with that.
 
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DM-Rocco

Explorer
But, this argument has become pretty recursive by now, hasn't it?
We agree that the paladin should retain his paladinhood.
We agree that there may have been a better solution.
We do not agree that there necessarily was a better solution.
I can live with that.
Raven Crowking and Agemegos, not to step on your toes, or to drag this forum onto another 28 pages, but I am assuming that in this quote that Raven Crowking is speaking for you and he in this matter in hopes of trying to wrap this up.:heh:

I get the feeling that many people think the Paladin was in the wrong and should lose his powers, myself included.

I started out with the position that the Paladin was justified, but I can't get over the fact that he killed the man in cold blood, no warning, nothing.

If he would have warned the man, a completely different story. If he would have at least warned him I could come over to your way of thinking. I would still think it is wrong, but I would be more inclined to agree. The reason I would still have my doubts, even after warning him, was because you as a Paladin should have a morale code that should not allow you to a) kill a man without announcing cause and b) there is no honor in killing an unarmed man (see my earlier posts on page 25).

Anyway, I know that doesn't help the situation, but I just didn't want you making a statement that everyone agrees that he should keep his powers, since there are a lot of people who don't think he should keep them.

Although, I am sure you are referring to the discussion between yourself and Agemegos.:)
 

Agemegos

Explorer
Raven Crowking said:
I did not state what was the best/worst legal outcome. I said "At best, your examples would have only been as effecting in protecting the girl from further immediate harm, which is not the same this as protecting her from further harm."

You did, and I think you are wrong. At best, my examples would have protected the girl from all harm just as effectively as what Vindicator's character did. It is only at worst that the rapist makes a comeback: and the paladin can do something about that if necessry.

Excepting that an argument has been put forward, repeatedly, that the risk in doing so is very high. The risk is that the watch does nothing, and the little girl is raped again.

If the Watch does nothing, the paladin can step back in.

The risk is that forty brutish friends of the rapists beat the crud out of the paladin when he calls out, and the girl is raped again.

They can still do that when the first guy is dead, can't they?

Your examples assume that calling the watch is as effective as killing the miscreant.

No, my examples assume that if the Watch fails the paladin can make good their deficiency. The paladin can even conduct his own investigation and trial if there is no watch. Whereas if the 'rapist' turns out to be the role-playing client of a prostitute with a Hat of Disguise (or any of the other scenarios) the paladin can't superglue his innocent victim's head back on.

I can live with that.

Fair enough.
 

Agemegos

Explorer
DM-Rocco said:
I started out with the position that the Paladin was justified, but I can't get over the fact that he killed the man in cold blood, no warning, nothing.

I agree that that is a breach of the paladin's code (though I note that many people with more modern sensibilities do not). But a paladin doesn't lose his or her powers for just any breach of the code. According to the PHB he only loses them (1) for a willing evil act, (2) associating with evil characters, (3) changing alignment away from Lawful Good, (4) or a gross breach of the paladin's code.

1) I do not believe that by D&D standards is is evil to kill a person whom you honestly believe to be evil. And if you honestly believe that you are doing so to prevent a heinous crime I think that by D&D standards the act is Good. And if you turn out to be right in both beliefs you are safe as houses. Backstabbing is not itself Evil by the definitions in the PHB.

2) Associating with evil charcters simply doesn't come into it.

3) Alignment ought not to be judged on a single act, especially one performed under emotiional stress, but only on a consistent or at least general tendency of behaviour.

4) I do think that killing an unarmed man by stabbing him in the back without warning is dishonourable, and that killing a suspect out of hand without considering the possibility of a defence is disrespectful to authority and so forth. A lot of people have said that they disagree. But I agree that this act was a breach of the Code. Even so, the question remains whether it was a gross one. 'Gross' is not specifically defined for this purpose, and so we all have to draw the line where we see fit. Very likely our opinions will differ. I take into account that it is a grim and gritty campaign, and I think of some of the things that the real Templars and Teutonic knights and other crusaders actually did: herded all the Jews in a city into their synagoge, barricaded the doors, stacked fuel around it, and set it on fire; massacred the whole population of a city after it had surrendered on the grounds the "God will know his own"; tried to cheat a widow out of her house, and when she resisted, cut her fingers off; burst into a cathedral during a pontifical mass, and shot arrows into the altar to intimidte the bishop into giving their order property; fought with one another in the streets over the right to strip the corpses of pilgrims who had died; deposed a Christian king and installed a puppet to get access to more property. In a grim and gritty campaign there will be people doing this sort of thing. If I call it 'gross' to kill a red-handed rapist in a moment of rage I am soon going to run out of superlatives.

Your mileage may vary.
 

Raven Crowking

First Post
DM-Rocco said:
Raven Crowking and Agemegos, not to step on your toes, or to drag this forum onto another 28 pages, but I am assuming that in this quote that Raven Crowking is speaking for you and he in this matter in hopes of trying to wrap this up.:heh:

I get the feeling that many people think the Paladin was in the wrong and should lose his powers, myself included.

You are quite right. I didn't mean to imply any form of consensus among any other parties. Given the subject matter, real consensus seems unlikely. ;)

RC
 

Raven Crowking

First Post
Agemegos said:
You did, and I think you are wrong. At best, my examples would have protected the girl from all harm just as effectively as what Vindicator's character did. It is only at worst that the rapist makes a comeback: and the paladin can do something about that if necessry.

If the Watch does nothing, the paladin can step back in.No, my examples assume that if the Watch fails the paladin can make good their deficiency. The paladin can even conduct his own investigation and trial if there is no watch. Whereas if the 'rapist' turns out to be the role-playing client of a prostitute with a Hat of Disguise (or any of the other scenarios) the paladin can't superglue his innocent victim's head back on.

I think the assumption that if the Watch fails the paladin can make good their deficiency is very much based upon campaign, DM, circumstances, and so on. There is nothing that makes this automatic.

The worst case scenario is that the rapist is the Duke, and the paladin is beheaded.

Of course, we can also reasonably assume that if the paladin reached 5th level in this DM's campaign world, the player has a reasonably good idea how likely the role-playing client scenario is. Or the Duke scenario. Not absolute, but pretty good. If the paladin was created at 5th level, though, the player may be making assumptions based upon other campaign worlds.

Again, if the DM wants to alter what is required of paladins, that's great. In fact, given the current version of the game, I applaud it. Just tell the player so that he can act accordingly.

RC
 

Greyhawk_DM

First Post
Zimri said:
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.

So striking an unarmed, defenseless and obviously weaker foe from the front is more honorable? I don't agree. The PHB defines honor as not lying, not cheating, not using poison, etc. This was a case of Justice pure and simple...
One definition of Justice is...the act of determining rights and assigning rewards or punishments. The paladin determined the person was commiting an evil act...as defined under the PHB the paladin is supposed to defeat evil. And under the code of conduct the paladin is help those who need help (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends), and punish those that harm or threaten innocents.
The child was definitely an innnocent, the man was and had been commiting an evil act and therefore the paladin adminstered justice. To not administer that Justice would not have been honorable and would go against everything the paladin stands for. I for one as a DM would have stripped the paladin of his status if he had not done what was done.
 
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Zimri

First Post
sword-dancer said:
That he define his honor over other things than his way of fighting?
OTOH
Would it be honorable
to let a murder kills somebody, because you wouldn`t attack him in the back
or better
let a demonfpollower sacrifices an innocent soul to demons, because yo don`t attack him from behind?
Would you let a comrade in arms go down, because you refuse him help because this would be "dishonrable"

If something is attacking a comrade of mine he is

1) engaged in willing combat and there has yet to be a fight my group has been involved in that all of the attackers were not FULLY aware of my presence.

2) The girl had already been raped, any comrade an enemy is still fighting is not already dead.

3) Apparently you have missed me saying numerous times how I would have stopped the rape from happening while maintaining the paladin's honor and saving the girl from the trauma of having a dead body fall at her feet spewing blood all over her and the head falling in her lap to sneer, leer, and gaze at her another time.

4) Though the girl had already been raped she had not yet had a dead body fall on her, cover her in blood , and a lifeless head land in her lap.

5) The girl wasn't being killed, he had kept her around and nothing says he didn't want to keep her around for even more trysts.

6) A grapple or a punch would have worked just as effectively, a grapple would allow you to keep him from attacking the girl or using her as a hostage AND allow you to remove him from the room.

7) It may very well be matagame knowledge that the CHARACTER didn't have but the DM WARNED THE PLAYER

8) Killing from behind IS DISHONORABLE. Paladins are supposed to be honorable. And yes you give that honor to everyone because honor isn't something you do it is WHO YOU ARE. And yes everyone means DROW, ILLITHID, ORCS, And Dragons.

Actually it's not even "from behind" as I don't much care if you do it from the front if they aren't aware of you (blind, deaf, unconcious)

So you walk into a village and see an orc sleeping. orcs are usually evil so you detect and it is. You should kill it because well orcs are evil and this one will do something bad.
 

Zimri

First Post
Greyhawk_DM said:
So striking an unarmed, defenseless and obviously weaker foe from the front is more honorable? I don't agree. The PHB defines honor as not lying, not cheating, not using poison, etc. This was a case of Justice pure and simple...

Yeah see in my world that etc. includes attacking an unarmed foe from behind. I would have no problems with the paladin tossing the guy from the room walking over to him making sure he faced him and saying "for crimes against (insert deity here) I sentence you to death by beheading. Make piece with whatever god you wish" *slice*



Greyhawk_DM said:
One definition of Justice is...the act of determining rights and assigning rewards or punishments. The paladin determined the person was commiting an evil act...as defined under the PHB the paladin is supposed to defeat evil. And under the code of conduct the paladin is help those who need help (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends), and punish those that harm or threaten innocents.

Justice ,Sir, does not cloak itself in shadows and silence. Justice does not skulk or slink around corners. Justice is not done in backrooms of seedy bars.
 


SirEuain

First Post
Raven Crowking said:
I am not arguing that you should pull punches for paladins.

I am arguing that, where you have not made the rules clear, you should allow some leeway to take the fact that you haven't made the rules clear into account.

And I'm arguing that, to a certain extent, this isn't necessary. A paladin who unwittingly but directly aids evil is going to get the unwilling breach smack-down from me. I think that Violator's paladin's actions justify this - he had every sign that more people were involved, but either didn't notice or didn't care. Had he not used excessive and lethal force, it wouldn't be an issue.
 

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