Author Topic: Another Moral Question(s)  (Read 6181 times)

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gravilhammerstone

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Another Moral Question(s)
« on: July 03, 2010, 10:02:36 AM »
Something interesting came up in our campaign tonight. We have two paladins in our group. One who is Chaotic Good and another who is Lawful Good. The Chaotic Good paladin is a paladin of freedom of course. So here is what happened:

Earlier in the story we came across two Astral Stalkers. The one that attacked the party cracked his knuckles (or uh, claws) and told his other buddy he was going to "handle this" (meaning the PCs). The other Astral Stalker ran away. We killed the first Astral Stalker and later after leaving the dungeon we see two more Astral Stalkers outside. The Chaotic Good paladin recognizes them from before and detects that they are evil and decides to attack them. Prior to this we learned that the Astral Stalkers were hired to kill us. Upon coming out of the dungeon they looked to us and said it was "over" (assuming their contract was up now or something and they weren't going to be attacking the PCs).

The Lawful Good paladin stays and does not decide to attack - stating that the Astral Stalkers are not aggressive. The Chaotic Good paladin continues his attack (the other two party members help him in "smiting evil"). Is the Chaotic Good's paladin actions justified? Did he violate his code of conduct? He rationalizes the attack stating they were attacked by the evil Astral Stalkers before, but the LG paladin states that this Astral Stalkers could have been different.

What is your take? I'm interested in hearing some opinions. :D

Edited: For grammar.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2010, 10:13:50 AM by gravilhammerstone »

veekie

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Re: Another Moral Question(s)
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2010, 11:09:09 AM »
Well, the simple way to see it is:
1) Do you believe in pre-emptive smiting?
2) Is the Astral Stalker likely to cause extreme harm to someone who didn't deserve it in the near future? If they are mercenaries or killers for hire, it's probably yes.
3) Is retaliation justified?

Once you've answered these you should have an answer.
Personally, killing them to prevent them from harming others would be on the shady side of good, but still good.
Killing them in revenge, assuming they've already killed people who didn't deserve it, is neutral-ish.
Killing them for no reason other than their being evil would be probably evil, unless the paladin's order is one of those who believe in burn first, ask questions never.
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gravilhammerstone

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Re: Another Moral Question(s)
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2010, 07:45:12 PM »
1) The CG paladin believed that the world needed to be cleansed of the evil outsiders, so striking them first, he believed benefited the "greater good" of the situation.
2) Yes. The Astral Stalkers were hired to kill, and will probably be hired to kill again.
3) Having been attacked by the Astral Stalkers before, the paladin believed the action was justified - seeing that they were evil.

I believe it would fall under "Killing them from harming others would be on the shady side of good, but still good" option you have.

veekie

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Re: Another Moral Question(s)
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2010, 08:24:11 PM »
Well, it fulfills the criteria then, though as mentioned, it'd be a little shady even if its' legit under his code.
Probably issue a minor infraction warning, I figure most practical orders and gods allow for a little fallibility in their knights, especially where smiting is concerned.
The mind transcends the body.
It's also a little cold because of that.
Please get it a blanket.

I wish I could read your mind,
I can barely read mine.

"Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. At 2:15, it begins rolling up characters."

[spoiler]
"Just what do you think the moon up in the sky is? Everyone sees that big, round shiny thing and thinks there must be something round up there, right? That's just silly. The truth is much more awesome than that. You can almost never see the real Moon, and its appearance is death to humans. You can only see the Moon when it's reflected in things. And the things it reflects in, like water or glass, can all be broken, right? Since the moon you see in the sky is just being reflected in the heavens, if you tear open the heavens it's easy to break it~"
-Ibuki Suika, on overkill

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Hekatonkatis kai khiliakis astrapsato.
Khiliarkhou Astrape!
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Nyarlathop1

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Re: Another Moral Question(s)
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2010, 01:14:41 AM »
As long as his reason was that they were going to hurt other people because they were working as assassins, then it shouldn't cause him to fall.

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Re: Another Moral Question(s)
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2010, 07:16:15 AM »
I think veekie's point about the monsters' likelyhood of causing more harm in the near future was an excellent one. The Paladin had solid proof that the Stalkers could be hired to hunt down other people as well, so killing them was justified.
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Re: Another Moral Question(s)
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2010, 07:28:25 AM »
Has the PoF regularly used Detect Evil and decided to attack the ones that showed up? If he's a repeat-offender, he needs to stop (falling being the most extreme method of stopping him, I'd just have an emissary of his deity inform him that his actions are becoming out of line). If not, a verbal reprimanding from his faith's spokesperson (an NPC Adept of the same deity/pantheon or a minor minion of said deity/pantheon) will be more than sufficient.

While I do realize that killing an Evil creature because it is Evil is not Good, I don't believe the PoF should be severely punished for this action (warned at best, tithed at worst, but this isn't Fall-worthy).


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Re: Another Moral Question(s)
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2010, 12:39:10 AM »
Who does he worship and/or what is his cause?

And how well can he BS his actions to apply to it in some way?

CG has far more wiggle room than LG.

dither

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Re: Another Moral Question(s)
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2010, 04:34:24 PM »
Here's the thing: the paladin class is a "class of action." Each paladin has a different code of conduct, similar to, but independent of every other paladin. Seeking out and destroying evil is something that the paladin does. If evil presents itself to him, and there is a reasonable chance that the paladin can pursue and destroy it, it is well within the code of conduct (and scope of the class) to do so.

Now, systematically hunting down and destroying astral stalkers would be a questionable thing, leaning toward revenge.

If you want a Good character to stop and think before destroying an Evil enemy, then make him a cleric. Clerics are philosophers, Paladins are the righteous hands of the gods.
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weenog

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Re: Another Moral Question(s)
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2010, 02:57:21 AM »
If you want a Good character to stop and think before destroying an Evil enemy, then make him a cleric. Clerics are philosophers, Paladins are the righteous hands of the gods.

I don't know, I've seen allegedly good clerics played extremely dumb and bloodthirsty.  If I really wanted to make the Good character stop and think before destroying an Evil enemy, I think I'd give him an intelligent phylactery of faithfulness with a very high Ego.
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dither

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Re: Another Moral Question(s)
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2010, 04:17:15 PM »
If you want a Good character to stop and think before destroying an Evil enemy, then make him a cleric. Clerics are philosophers, Paladins are the righteous hands of the gods.

I don't know, I've seen allegedly good clerics played extremely dumb and bloodthirsty.  If I really wanted to make the Good character stop and think before destroying an Evil enemy, I think I'd give him an intelligent phylactery of faithfulness with a very high Ego.

I was making a generalization about clerics as part of my point. Clerics have a 3/4 BAB, Paladins have a 1/1 BAB. Paladins are equipped to think with their attack bonus. We're talking about paladins here, a paladin's code of conduct, and whether or not the paladin violated his alignment.
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Re: Another Moral Question(s)
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2010, 04:28:17 PM »
I was making a generalization about clerics as part of my point. Clerics have a 3/4 BAB, Paladins have a 1/1 BAB. Paladins are equipped to think with their attack bonus. We're talking about paladins here, a paladin's code of conduct, and whether or not the paladin violated his alignment.

What blasphemy is this? (PtP). Clerics have Full BAB for 13 levels. It's the first 7 that have 3/4s.


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dither

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Re: Another Moral Question(s)
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2010, 04:55:50 PM »
I was making a generalization about clerics as part of my point. Clerics have a 3/4 BAB, Paladins have a 1/1 BAB. Paladins are equipped to think with their attack bonus. We're talking about paladins here, a paladin's code of conduct, and whether or not the paladin violated his alignment.

What blasphemy is this? (PtP). Clerics have Full BAB for 13 levels. It's the first 7 that have 3/4s.

Paladins, people, we're discussing paladins.
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Re: Another Moral Question(s)
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2010, 06:04:33 AM »
Paladins, people, we're discussing paladins.

Well, the problem with Pallys isn't that their code is ill-defined, it's that they are a moral-based class that has numerical drawbacks for not following those morals. It hurts even more that the person responsible for enforcing those drawbacks may not share a moral code with the player running the Pally.

Codes of Conduct are a bad idea in a numerical system. They force one person's ideals onto the players using those classes. The Druid's CoC is pathetically easy to follow, and is often ignored outright past character creation/treasure. The Cleric's CoC is completely mailable since they can worship a pantheon or ideal. Bards/Barbarians have no CoC worth mentioning. Monks may as well not have their's.

Paladins? They are notorious for their code. In fact, their code is more famous than their crappy class features (Remove Disease and such, not the useful ones).

On-topic: As I said above. If he's doing this habitually, he needs to be punished (he's acting as an eradicator, not as a champion). If not, a stern talking-to will be sufficient.


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SorO_Lost

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Re: Another Moral Question(s)
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2010, 05:00:08 AM »
Yeahee morality questions!

You see a man whom you know had his house & leatherwork shop recently burned down and is taking shelter with his wife and four young kids under a trap in the remains steal a loaf of bread. Punishment for stealing is removal of a hand. What. do. you. Do!
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veekie

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Re: Another Moral Question(s)
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2010, 10:32:11 AM »
Simple Law vs Good conflict.
A paladin of most sorts could probably pardon them(small infraction vs excessive punishment), but I can see a scenario where their means of survival is assured(e.g. finding a job where he can provide for his family) and then cut his hand off.

And then take him to the temple and pay for the hand to be regenerated.
Punishment is performed. So is mercy.
The mind transcends the body.
It's also a little cold because of that.
Please get it a blanket.

I wish I could read your mind,
I can barely read mine.

"Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. At 2:15, it begins rolling up characters."

[spoiler]
"Just what do you think the moon up in the sky is? Everyone sees that big, round shiny thing and thinks there must be something round up there, right? That's just silly. The truth is much more awesome than that. You can almost never see the real Moon, and its appearance is death to humans. You can only see the Moon when it's reflected in things. And the things it reflects in, like water or glass, can all be broken, right? Since the moon you see in the sky is just being reflected in the heavens, if you tear open the heavens it's easy to break it~"
-Ibuki Suika, on overkill

To sumbolaion diakoneto moi, basilisk ouranionon.
Epigenentheto, apoleia keraune hos timeis pteirei.
Hekatonkatis kai khiliakis astrapsato.
Khiliarkhou Astrape!
[/spoiler]

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Bauglir

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Re: Another Moral Question(s)
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2010, 04:52:03 AM »
In fact, their code is more famous than their crappy class features (Remove Disease and such, not the useful ones).

How can it be more famous than itself?

On topic: Sounds like a context-dependent thing. If the character doesn't do the detect-smite plan often or as his first choice (basically, if this is the only incident, not one in a string of possibly-less-justified killings), then he's probably fine; he has good reason to believe the Stalkers are going to kill innocents, have killed innocents, and can't be sure they're not lying now to get the drop on unwary PCs. The fact that they're Evil means that, at the least, they don't care about the lives of others, and the fact that they're mercenaries means that they do care about getting paid.
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Re: Another Moral Question(s)
« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2011, 11:12:39 PM »
Simple Law vs Good conflict.
A paladin of most sorts could probably pardon them(small infraction vs excessive punishment), but I can see a scenario where their means of survival is assured(e.g. finding a job where he can provide for his family) and then cut his hand off.

And then take him to the temple and pay for the hand to be regenerated.
Punishment is performed. So is mercy.

Another classical example might be a Paladin in a Lawful Evil society. Said Lawful Evil society demands all elves be killed on sight as a law. Paladin has an elf for a travelling companion. He certainly isn't going to fall because he refused to kill his companion, even though this clearly represents a breach of the laws of the society he's in. And he certainly won't fall for trying his best to enforce breaches of this tyrannical law - he's acting in the interest of defending life, after all.

Back on topic, I'm not sure how 'shady' his actions are as related to good. Considering that:

A) The creatures were of Evil alignment.
B) Other Astral Stalkers had already been hired to do the party in.
C) The likelihood of them surrendering peacefully and undergoing trial was, at best, slim.
D) The Paladin in question would actively rebuke the use of a law system so he wouldn't care for C) anyway.

Pre-emptive smiting may be harsh (as it is a preventative measure rather than a punishing one, and paladins as a rule can't see the future), but in this particular case it was likely justified. If they're hired to kill an adventuring party with two paladins in it (and neither is a Paladin of Tyranny), then they probably aren't very picky about their targets. Which means they might pick up a contract that involves killing defenseless people, for example.
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Gorgor

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Re: Another Moral Question(s)
« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2011, 10:27:44 PM »
Correct me if I am wrong, but as evil outsiders aren't astral stalkers pretty much composed of pure evil?

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Re: Another Moral Question(s)
« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2011, 01:56:07 AM »
Correct me if I am wrong, but as evil outsiders aren't astral stalkers pretty much composed of pure evil?

Nope, it means they have the evil subtype.
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Get yours.[/SPOILER]

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