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Kaww
2010-07-29, 12:56 AM
If a paladin commits an evil act without knowing that the act is evil, he even thinks he did a righteous deed.
Does he fall from grace right then?
Does he fall when he realizes what he has done?
Or he doesn't become a fallen at all?
And is the fall from grace detectable in any way? (beyond no more mount and that kind of stuff...)

I know that this is a silly question and the answer is whatever the DM says, but I would like to know what other players/DMs think.

Thanks.

Regards!

Curmudgeon
2010-07-29, 01:11 AM
Code of Conduct

A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class abilities if she ever willingly commits an evil act.

Additionally, a paladinís code requires that she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth), help those in need (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends), and punish those who harm or threaten innocents.

Ex-Paladins

A paladin who ceases to be lawful good, who willfully commits an evil act, or who grossly violates the code of conduct loses all paladin spells and abilities (including the service of the paladinís mount, but not weapon, armor, and shield proficiencies). She may not progress any farther in levels as a paladin. She regains her abilities and advancement potential if she atones for her violations (see the atonement spell description), as appropriate. You've got to know an act is against the code of conduct to fall from grace. If the Paladin finds out later that the act wasn't as intended there's still no problem, unless perhaps there's ongoing harm which the Paladin could stop; in that case, it would be a new situation whereby there's potential to commit an evil act by doing nothing.

It doesn't seem to be a matter for DM judgment, because the rules are pretty clear about choice being important.

Ozymandias9
2010-07-29, 01:15 AM
You've got to know an act is against the code of conduct to fall from grace.

No, that would be "knowingly." As long as they willingly commit the evil act, it doesn't matter if you knew it was evil.

Curmudgeon
2010-07-29, 01:24 AM
No, that would be "knowingly." As long as they willingly commit the evil act, it doesn't matter if you knew it was evil.
They didn't want to commit an evil act; so while the act itself was done willingly, the evil act was not done willingly.

Crossblade
2010-07-29, 02:08 AM
They didn't want to commit an evil act; so while the act itself was done willingly, the evil act was not done willingly.

No...
the evil act was done willingly.
Doesn't matter if the act was good, evil, silly, romantic, brave, cowardly, etc.
The act was done willingly. Was the act evil? If yes, he falls.

Example:
Paladin willingly kills an innocent 3 year old human, thinking it was an evil halfling. Paladin falls because he killed an innocent child, doesn't matter that the Paladin tries to a million excuses to justify himself, baby Joe is still dead and it's Paly's fault.

Killer Angel
2010-07-29, 02:21 AM
If a paladin commits an evil act without knowing that the act is evil, he even thinks he did a righteous deed.
Does he fall from grace right then?


OK, you all know that someone was going to post this (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0407.html)... :smallwink:

Morph Bark
2010-07-29, 03:48 AM
They didn't want to commit an evil act; so while the act itself was done willingly, the evil act was not done willingly.

Miko committed evil acts willingly, but not knowingly.

EDIT: Owow, that's what I get for keeping posting tabs open for ages. Nice ninja. :smalltongue:

Gan The Grey
2010-07-29, 03:51 AM
I think it could be interesting if your pally doesn't know he fell. Starts using his powers, noticing they don't work. "Huh, wonder what that's all about." Keeps trying, various situations, no dice. "What's happened to me? Is this some sort of curse?" Decides to visit someone in-the-know about these things. This person does their mojo, looks surprised, and cackles maniacally. "There's nothing wrong with your powers, Sir Thomas. No, the problem is not with your powers. The problems lies with YOU. Remember when you killed that evil halfling in order to save your friends? Well...that's halfling wasn't evil. It wasn't a halfling at all.

"It was a mentally handicapped five year old child playing at being a knight. And you murdered him.

"No, there's nothing wrong with your powers, Sir Thomas. You just don't have them anymore. Your god has abandoned you, and you were too much of a fool to even notice his absence."

That would be awesome.

Rainbownaga
2010-07-29, 04:43 AM
No...
the evil act was done willingly.
Doesn't matter if the act was good, evil, silly, romantic, brave, cowardly, etc.
The act was done willingly. Was the act evil? If yes, he falls.

Example:
Paladin willingly kills an innocent 3 year old human, thinking it was an evil halfling. Paladin falls because he killed an innocent child, doesn't matter that the Paladin tries to a million excuses to justify himself, baby Joe is still dead and it's Paly's fault.

I'm pretty sure that would be a matter for atonement rather than irrevocable status loss.

Snake-Aes
2010-07-29, 04:59 AM
If a paladin commits an evil act without knowing that the act is evil, he even thinks he did a righteous deed.
Does he fall from grace right then?
Does he fall when he realizes what he has done?
Or he doesn't become a fallen at all?
And is the fall from grace detectable in any way? (beyond no more mount and that kind of stuff...)

I know that this is a silly question and the answer is whatever the DM says, but I would like to know what other players/DMs think.

Thanks.

Regards!

He does fall. A willing act doesn't have to be a known act, nor does it matter if the paladin justified it to himself. If he did something evil without being coerced into it, it's willing.

hamishspence
2010-07-29, 05:01 AM
The atonement spell implies paladins fall for "Evil acts"

http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/atonement.htm

And specifies that if the act was unwilling (done under magical compulsion) or unwitting (the character didn't know it was evil) then the caster of Atonement does not have to spend XP.

Both the Code of Conduct and Ex-Paladins section of the paladin class, are directly copied from the 3.0 version.

In 3.0, it was explicitly clear in the description of the Atonement spell, that paladins fell for unwitting or unwilling evil acts- but fell permanently for willing evil acts. But, the paladin class still used the phrases "willingly" and "willfully".

In 3.5, however, "willingly" or "willfully" committed evil acts can be atoned for.


I think it could be interesting if your pally doesn't know he fell. Starts using his powers, noticing they don't work. "Huh, wonder what that's all about." Keeps trying, various situations, no dice. "What's happened to me? Is this some sort of curse?" Decides to visit someone in-the-know about these things. This person does their mojo, looks surprised, and cackles maniacally. "There's nothing wrong with your powers, Sir Thomas. No, the problem is not with your powers. The problems lies with YOU. Remember when you killed that evil halfling in order to save your friends? Well...that's halfling wasn't evil. It wasn't a halfling at all.

"It was a mentally handicapped five year old child playing at being a knight. And you murdered him.

"No, there's nothing wrong with your powers, Sir Thomas. You just don't have them anymore. Your god has abandoned you, and you were too much of a fool to even notice his absence."

That would be awesome.

It might. In 3.5, the ex-paladin Michael Ambrose in Tome of Magic, still thinks he's a paladin, and believes his power loss is not him falling, but his god temporarily depriving him of powers as a test. He has blackguard levels- which says something about just how deluded he is.

Morph Bark
2010-07-29, 05:13 AM
It might. In 3.5, the ex-paladin Michael Ambrose in Tome of Magic, still thinks he's a paladin, and believes his power loss is not him falling, but his god temporarily depriving him of powers as a test. He has blackguard levels- which says something about just how deluded he is.

Considering classes and levels are just an abstraction for the DnD world, it could just be he tried to go on with his being a Paladin, but since he couldn't mechanically take levels in the Paladin class anymore (which he wouldn't know since that is a metagame concept) he automatically took levels in Blackguard instead.

Rainbownaga
2010-07-29, 05:14 AM
The atonement spell implies paladins fall for "Evil acts"

http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/atonement.htm

And specifies that if the act was unwilling (done under magical compulsion) or unwitting (the character didn't know it was evil) then the caster of Atonement does not have to spend XP.

Both the Code of Conduct and Ex-Paladins section of the paladin class, are directly copied from the 3.0 version.

In 3.0, it was explicitly clear in the description of the Atonement spell, that paladins fell for unwitting or unwilling evil acts- but fell permanently for willing evil acts. But, the paladin class still used the phrases "willingly" and "willfully".

In 3.5, however, "willingly" or "willfully" committed evil acts can be atoned for.


Thus the conclusion that the paladin would fall, but can easily be atoned.

In all honesty I think situations like Miko are just unfair to the player; if a paladin truly believes the evil party in league with the corrupt emperor who is shielded from alignment protection and is threatening the well-being of the nation, there is no reason she should permanently lose her class features.

Falling might bring them back to reality, but anything permanent is just unfair and against the spirit. Of course, they still have to accept their own mistake to receive the atonement, so it's not like Miko would have been redeemed anyway.

Snake-Aes
2010-07-29, 05:16 AM
Considering classes and levels are just an abstraction for the DnD world, it could just be he tried to go on with his being a Paladin, but since he couldn't mechanically take levels in the Paladin class anymore (which he wouldn't know since that is a metagame concept) he automatically took levels in Blackguard instead.

He'd still need the outsider contact thingie. A good way to pull that off is shoving a succubus near the guy and slowly eroding his mind so that, obeying her, he believes he's doing good.

hamishspence
2010-07-29, 05:17 AM
"Anything permanent is unfair" seems to be the general principle behind the change made to the 3.5 paladin.

However- if you take levels in a non-paladin class (and aren't one of those variant paladins from Forgotten Realms) you're stuck as far as I can tell.

So someone like Michael Ambrose, could never take a paladin level again.

I think they might have waived the Friendly Contact rule for Michael Ambrose (and Gareth Cormaeril from Waterdeep: City of Splendours) but it's possible they met disguised fiends.

Kylarra
2010-07-29, 10:33 AM
I think it could be interesting if your pally doesn't know he fell. Starts using his powers, noticing they don't work. "Huh, wonder what that's all about." Keeps trying, various situations, no dice. "What's happened to me? Is this some sort of curse?" Decides to visit someone in-the-know about these things. This person does their mojo, looks surprised, and cackles maniacally. "There's nothing wrong with your powers, Sir Thomas. No, the problem is not with your powers. The problems lies with YOU. Remember when you killed that evil halfling in order to save your friends? Well...that's halfling wasn't evil. It wasn't a halfling at all.

"It was a mentally handicapped five year old child playing at being a knight. And you murdered him.

"No, there's nothing wrong with your powers, Sir Thomas. You just don't have them anymore. Your god has abandoned you, and you were too much of a fool to even notice his absence."

That would be awesome.Awesome in a story perhaps, but a "Screw you for playing a paladin" in a generic game.

Snake-Aes
2010-07-29, 10:50 AM
Awesome in a story perhaps, but a "Screw you for playing a paladin" in a generic game.

You know one thing that keeps paladins from accidentally falling? Not being stupid. Someone that represents what a paladin does doesn't Shoot First. It's that simple.

Mewtarthio
2010-07-29, 10:59 AM
In all honesty I think situations like Miko are just unfair to the player; if a paladin truly believes the evil party in league with the corrupt emperor who is shielded from alignment protection and is threatening the well-being of the nation, there is no reason she should permanently lose her class features.

Miko didn't just fall for killing an innocent old man. She also fell for willfully committing a flagrant violation of the "respect legitimate authority" part of her code.

Kylarra
2010-07-29, 11:21 AM
You know one thing that keeps paladins from accidentally falling? Not being stupid. Someone that represents what a paladin does doesn't Shoot First. It's that simple.No, the one thing that keeps the paladin from accidentally falling is the phylactery of faithfulness.

The problem with your suggestion is that it pretty much requires paladins to be Stupid Good, and as such is self-contradictory in the use of the word "stupid".

Snake-Aes
2010-07-29, 11:26 AM
No, the one thing that keeps the paladin from accidentally falling is the phylactery of faithfulness.

The problem with your suggestion is that it pretty much requires paladins to be Stupid Good, and as such is self-contradictory in the use of the word "stupid".

I don't see what is stupid in trying to identify the problem before attacking it.
Or, say, accept that you commited a mistake and atone for it when you did it wrong.
Or, who knows, not drawing your sword instantly.

It's not a day-long investigation. It's spending an action or two (or less, if the situation calls for it, like say being actively attacked) wondering if you need to draw your sword.

Kylarra
2010-07-29, 11:37 AM
I don't see what is stupid in trying to identify the problem before attacking it.
Or, say, accept that you commited a mistake and atone for it when you did it wrong.
Or, who knows, not drawing your sword instantly.

It's not a day-long investigation. It's spending an action or two (or less, if the situation calls for it, like say being actively attacked) wondering if you need to draw your sword.The bolded is not a part of any statement I've made so it's irrelevant.

Without circumstances, it's impossible to say whether or not the paladin took preventive actions, but in a hypothetical vacuum, I think we should give the paladin the benefit of the doubt because otherwise it's simply a no-brainer that attacking people willy-nilly isn't what paladins should do and the type of person that does that is probably not going to be a paladin for long, nor make for a good redemption story, in a vacuum of course.

So yes, it's possible that the paladin was the one directly at fault, but the setup does not lend itself towards that interpretation.

Tangentially related I guess, I have read a story that had a similar situation, a group of RPers was turned into their characters and one of them happened to be a paladin, he was your typical jerk-escapist player and fell at some point but didn't realize it until his warhorse called him out. It was interesting of a sort, but hard to garner sympathy for the jerk character getting his dues.

Snake-Aes
2010-07-29, 12:01 PM
What I see very often is people taking "Preemptive actions" and not paying attention to when that crosses the line. Most people think with a more pragmatic mindset that doesn't fit some of the ideals the paladins hold themselves to. It IS an idea that is just too hard to uphold at times. They accept it, and that's why "But that is unreasonable" is not a justification to commit an evil deed.

Generally, once players stop feeling that they are "Losing" by falling, they stop felling ditched by falling. The game is a story being told after all, if the character development benefits from the fall->react loop, then there's no loss.

Unless your goal is just to blow up stuff, but there are videogames for that.

Morph Bark
2010-07-29, 12:17 PM
No, the one thing that keeps the paladin from accidentally falling is the phylactery of faithfulness.

The problem with your suggestion is that it pretty much requires paladins to be Stupid Good, and as such is self-contradictory in the use of the word "stupid".

Admittably Stupid Good Paladins are far less likely to fall than Lawful Stupid Paladins, or just plain stupid Paladins. Remember, Stupid Good doesn't necessarily mean they actually are stupid, their methods just focus so much on the Good and not that much on the Law.

Marnath
2010-07-29, 12:22 PM
I don't see this mentioned yet, but am i the only one who thinks it would still not be a good idea to kill the kid even if he was a " evil halfling?" Most places it's still illegal to take the law into your own hands. I would think a proper paladin would have tried to arrest him so the authorities can deal with his crimes...

Eldan
2010-07-29, 12:25 PM
I was hoping this thread would be about Succubi and Intellectual Lust...

Oh well.

Snake-Aes
2010-07-29, 12:25 PM
I don't see this mentioned yet, but am i the only one who thinks it would still not be a good idea to kill the kid even if he was a " evil halfling?" Most places it's still illegal to take the law into your own hands. I would think a proper paladin would have tried to arrest him so the authorities can deal with his crimes...

That opens other things, actually.
Killing the evil kid because it's an evil kid is fallworthy on its own. An evil being that isn't harming anyone doesn't get shot like that.
Also, crime doesn't imply evil. A paladin will indeed try and take it to the authorities if its within his reach and he agrees with the authorities' PoV. If protecting Good or punishing Evil is a crime, the paladin commits the crime.

Marnath
2010-07-29, 12:34 PM
Yeah, you've got a point :smallbiggrin: I was thinking from a LG government's point of view, totally didnt think about that one. But he won't neccessarily killl the guy, even then. One, he'd risk the authority coming down on him which would presumably endanger his mission, and two he should be smart enough to know that he can't solve all the worlds problems by himself and making more enemies isnt terribly conducive to winning. To the op's point though, there's no way he'd fall if he thought it was an evil adult he needed to smite because it'd be a worse crime to let the guy go hurt more innocents.

Snake-Aes
2010-07-29, 12:35 PM
To the op's point though, there's no way he'd fall if he thought it was an evil adult he needed to smite because it'd be a worse crime to let the guy go hurt more innocents.

This is what I meant by Crossing the Line. Unless you can tell that he has already done something evil, you can't beat him because "he'll do it eventually"

Marnath
2010-07-29, 12:40 PM
Lol, thats what Gray Guard is for :smallcool:

Snake-Aes
2010-07-29, 01:18 PM
Lol, thats what Gray Guard is for :smallcool:

Their fluff is that they love the ideal so much they are willing to stain themselves defending it. Arguably they are even more zealous about their alignment than paladins.


Those who seek membership merely because they resent the yoke of their code of conduct are unfit to be gray guards or paladins; such weak-willed individuals are swiftly excommunicated from both orders.

Taking 'preemptive action' is even less likely in their case, but they won't be afraid to, say, let them kill the hostages if it'll get them the kill on the villain.
They still fall, still have to atone (albeit more easily), and regret their own actions even more than paladins.

Marnath
2010-07-29, 01:39 PM
I was only joking, i agree heartily :smallsmile:

Dairun Cates
2010-07-29, 02:04 PM
Honestly, I agree with the analysis that the Paladin had to be CAPABLE of knowing the full consequences of that action in order to fall. Intentionally ignoring facts in front of you for some ends you desire to meet, like Miko, is one thing. While she didn't know it was evil, she was fully capable of learning that fact with a small bit of cognitive thinking. Even then, she knows that people are supposed to be tried in front of a court and impulsively killed her leader instead. Being flat-out tricked is another thing altogether though.

After all, how many times have we heard the horror stories of GMs making Paladins fall because they shook hands with someone of evil alignment and were therefore "associating with people of evil alignment". It's honestly not the Paladin's fault that said character has a ring of hide alignment or using detect evil over and over in a bar gets REALLY suspicious (of course, that's why the code also says KNOWINGLY associates with evil people or people that offend their alignment). What if the Paladin kills someone because they're an illusion to look exactly like the bad guy and said person is compelled to fight back? Surely the Paladin that doesn't kill said target is a good Paladin, but does that mean that the Paladin that does get tricked should instantly lose all class abilities for it.

Also, there's a reason the word "grossly" is put in front of the part about violating the Paladin code. While it's very frowned upon, Paladin's shouldn't honestly fall for small misdemeanors unless its constant. A white lie shouldn't bring on the wrath of the gods, especially if it was to protect someone else.

Really though, I don't know why people are honestly so obsessed over all the loopholes to force a Paladin to fall. The player already took a handicap by taking up a code in the first place that restricts their possible actions. Is it really necessary to figure out every possible way to screw the player over? You really SHOULDN'T be intentionally trying to get your players to fall unless they've actually asked for you to try for story purposes. This attitude always strikes me as a bully perspective.

Of course, that's probably going to go into some lovely psychological discussions about Schadenfreude and the societal desire to see the person on a pedestal get knocked down a few pegs for relief. So, I'll avoid that.

Point is. I honestly can't see why its even legitimately fair to a player unless the Paladin is willingly ignoring obvious facts that contradict his or her perception. From a moral standpoint, it doesn't entirely make sense. The person's still a good person deep down (Not going to argue about Miko's alignment here). From a theological standpoint, the Gods that give you the powers would WANT you go defeat the evil that tricked you. And from a player standpoint, it seems a bit silly to make a player completely and utterly useless for a session or two when they're not even close to the most powerful class in the game.

Kaww
2010-07-30, 02:43 AM
I agree that you shouldn't lose the class features over small stuff. Even if you lied often, but with a good reason you shouldn't lose your paladinship over stuff like that. OoG often isn't in game often. We all lie at least few times every day, no matter how trivial or accidental the lie may be. And the paladin in question is still only an [insert race name here] after all. Thus he is entitled to small everyday errors. Or he can lie because it's the only way, or the "most good" way to do things.

But if he entered a room where several persons are beating on a weak Svirfneblin and he saves the Svirfneblin. By doing so he kills one of the attackers to protect the weak. Later he finds out that the Svirfneblin was a homicidal maniac finally getting caught by some mercenaries and he let him go free. What now? I'd say he lost his paladinship right when he let the murderer go free. Not because he killed one of the attackers (it was ether one or the other one will die), that was his duty - to protect the weak, but because he let a murderer go free. His atonement would be to catch him. I personally think that the paladin would feel guilty for the rest of his life, but he has a right to atone for his deed and he has to learn from what has happened.

hamishspence
2010-07-30, 02:56 AM
That's the thing though- if done this way, and if the paladin regularly "checks his powers" he'll know he's fallen very shortly after the gnome is released. Even before someone tells him the gnome is a murderer.

Personally though, BoVD's comment on how acts where the character could not be expected to know the consequences, shouldn't make a paladin fall, should maybe apply here. "Releasing a murderer" is not an evil act if you both don't know they're a murderer, and could not be expected to know they're a murderer.

He wouldn't fall for it- but when he finds out, he might feel he owes it to the innocent of world to immediately seek out and capture the murderer he released.

Falling, and thus needing to make atonement, should occur in situations where "You've been negligent" is an accurate thing to say to the paladin.

Megaduck
2010-07-30, 07:25 AM
If a paladin commits an evil act without knowing that the act is evil, he even thinks he did a righteous deed.
Does he fall from grace right then?
Does he fall when he realizes what he has done?
Or he doesn't become a fallen at all?
And is the fall from grace detectable in any way? (beyond no more mount and that kind of stuff...)

I know that this is a silly question and the answer is whatever the DM says, but I would like to know what other players/DMs think.

Thanks.

Regards!

The problem with this is that it's really REALLY hard to commit an Evil act without knowing it. Sure we can create scenarios all we want but they're all so ridiculously convoluted that they might as well be meaningless.

My opinion is that a Paladins should always make a sincere and intelligent attempt to be good. The players, who might not have above average intelligence, perfect morals, and years of moral training, should always be warned when they're about to commit an Evil act. Mistakes, accidents, and other unwillfull acts, (Helm of the Berserker, rolls a one on the attack roll and the arrow kills a child) can be atoned for.

The atonement doesn't need to include any status effects or loss of ability. The in character Paladin should be doing it because it's the right thing to do.