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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shazzbaa View Post
    Read it. Seriously. It's quite relevant.
    (Reads)

    ...Nope. Can't agree. That's a Neutral Good description with lawful tendencies. It's relevant to an Exalted Deeds game because the Exalted game places heavy emphasis on the Good/Evil axis, but I don't think it's generally applicable. It's also a bit simplified, and the simplifications exaggerate the conflict in ways that the real-world situation would not.

    In the example described, for instance, the paladin should know whether the code of his order* places the order's authority over that of the local law. He would also know whether a lethal sentence is within the bounds of his order's code. If the order he is given is in violation of the code, then the appropriate response is to ignore the order and report it to the relevant higher authority. If there is no higher authority, but the code of the paladin's order cannot be superseded by its highest ranking member, then the paladin simply ignores the order. In either case, he follows the highest-priority relevant law.

    If the order's code does specify that it has the authority to supersede local law (and that, for whatever reason, the order and specifically the paladin's superior have the authority to condemn a man to death under the present circumstances) then the paladin goes out and smites the living hell out of the scumbag, and everybody's happy.

    If not, then the paladin does everything he can to keep a very close eye on the killer in order to prevent a future murder and find a legal way to keep him off the streets again.

    * I use "order" here to refer to whatever organization holds the paladin's highest loyalties. If he's not part of an organization, then most of the time these little pickles don't come up.

  2. - Top - End - #32
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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shazzbaa View Post
    Okay, relevant excerpt from the Book of Exalted Deeds (It's an EXCERPT. Out of a BOOK. I'm not revealing mechanics or anything, people do this sort of thing with books all the time, and the rules don't seem to forbid it).

    However, if this is a problem, let me know and I'll certainly take it down.


    Here's the kicker:


    Read it. Seriously. It's quite relevant.
    Theres one Little Problem here.

    Paladins are by no means alone in this situation. Any character who tries consistently to do good eventually finds himself in a situation where different loyalties are in conflict. Chaotic good characters might care far less about a potentially corrupt or at least ineffectual court system, but they might have other personal standards or obligations that cause conflict in similar or different situations. In the end, however, many such conflicts boil down to a question of priorities, and for a character who aspires to exalted deeds, good is the highest priority. In the example above, the murderer must at least be captured, if not killed, before he can kill again. If she has reason to suspect corruption, either in the court or in her own order, the paladin must attempt to uncover it, though it might mean being cast out of her order, punished under local law, or both. Her paladinhood and her exalted status remain intact, since she acted in the cause of good even when that required questioning the legitimacy of authority. Magistrates or knightly superiors who serve the cause of evil while posing as agents of good are not legitimate authority, and the paladin is right for exposing their corruption.
    Same thing you Quoted, Notice what I bolded. Your quote only Works if this Paladin is Trying to become Exalted.
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  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    Quote Originally Posted by headwarpage View Post
    In my games, at least, you wouldn't fall for overthrowing a legitimately evil authority figure. But, in the case of "I thought he was evil, but he wasn't", then the paladin deserves to fall for running around smiting first and asking questions later.
    Or, more probably "I thought he was evil and that I had a right to kill him, but I didn't."

    Paladins are unlikely to make mistakes about whether a creature is evil (as per alignment). But they can definitely make mistakes about whether or not a given evil creature should die.

    As for "Who judges paladins?" I would say that paladins are either judged by some powerful lawful good entity such as a deity or that deity's subordinate celestials...
    or that paladins aren't "judged" as such and that their fall from a state of grace is a natural force rather than being something that someone has to decide to do to them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shisumo View Post
    Honestly, Miko's position is pretty much exactly the sort of place that a samurai ought to start thinking about how sharp her wakizashi is, and what she should write for her final haiku...
    Actually, that's probably true assuming that 'Southern' samurai of the OotS world are like historical samurai in that regard. She has just discovered that her lord is a dishonorable man and that he has persistently lied to and manipulated her and her compatriots, in a way that led to the death of some of those compatriots at Belkar's hands, for the express purpose of getting around the oath that her order holds sacred.

    Quote Originally Posted by jjpickar View Post
    As for lawful alignment breaches, I usually prefer when I DM to let my Paladins be Neutral/Good. I would rather have them only wrestle with moral dilemma's than whether or not it's legal to enter the town sewer without a permit that has be presented in triplicate to the sub-lower-clerk of city waste management.
    A lawful person doesn't have to act like that. Most lawful people are not complete idiots, nor are they as hidebound as the above example implies.

    I would say that a paladin is tightly restricted with respect to the good/evil axis (she can't commit any significantly evil act without serious repercussions), but that a paladin is relatively loosely restricted with respect to the law/chaos axis (a paladin may well charge into the sewers to pursue the assassin without going and filling out the proper paperwork first).

    Quote Originally Posted by Hallavast View Post
    The text book course of action for a Paladin in Miko's situation would be to formally bring Shojo up on charges.
    How?

    Sapphire city isn't a constitutional monarchy or a democracy. Lord Shojo is the highest legal authority in town. There's no place to put him on trial to except possibly by appeal to divine intervention.

    Your quote only Works if this Paladin is Trying to become Exalted
    Or if the paladin is simply behaving as a candidate for exaltedness would behave (as almost any paladin would). In character, paladins do that which is good because it is right, not because they are trying to gain access to exalted feats.
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  4. - Top - End - #34
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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    I'm thinking she does like a dwarven slaver does, dyes her hair red, shaves it to a mohawk, and charges stark naked into the middle of xycons army, hoping for an honourable death.
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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    Yes, Dervag, that's pretty much what I meant. Not all evil people can be killed without falling, and not all people who can be killed without falling are evil.

    And my original answer was somewhat flippant. In-game, it's generally the paladin's god - as roleplayed by the DM. As for the specifics of lawful vs. good, I think it depends on the Code of the individual paladin. As a DM, if you know you're going to be throwing stuff like that into the game, you should sit down with the paladin's player and hammer out exactly what the Code consists of. If the game isn't going to include a lot of moral dilemmas, or if the DM is planning to be lenient, that may not be necessary.

    To my mind, the paladin's Code consists of two things: an unwritten compact between the paladin and his god, and a set of oaths that the paladin swears upon becoming a paladin - which are usually articulations of the compact between the paladin and the god, but may include other things. In the OotS example, if Miko's Code consists primarily of serving the ideals of the 12 gods, she could overthrow Shojo (if he actually deserved it) without falling. But if her Code explicitly stated loyalty and obedience to the commander of the Sapphire Guard, she might fall for overthrowing him, no matter how corrupt he was.

    Which raises an interesting point - who here has voluntarily done something to cause their paladin to fall? I'm not talking about intentionally falling to become a blackguard, but rather a situation where the greater good required the paladin to violate their Code, knowing that they would lose their god's favor, but believing that what they were trying to accomplish was more important than themselves.
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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    As it was said before, the Paladins follow their God's will first, and then their Emporer's law second. Basically Good first, Law second.

    Personally, I think it was all a sham. The entire 'reveal all of the skeletons in my closet to someone who never wanted nor needed to hear it' session was staged. They knew Miko was listening, and they know she's out for revenge (of course hiding within the confines of her lawful god's will) against the OotS crew. But again, as it was said before, she has no real proof except what can be perfectly described in court as Heresay.
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  7. - Top - End - #37
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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dervag View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Hallavast
    The text book course of action for a Paladin in Miko's situation would be to formally bring Shojo up on charges.
    How?

    Sapphire city isn't a constitutional monarchy or a democracy. Lord Shojo is the highest legal authority in town. There's no place to put him on trial to except possibly by appeal to divine intervention.
    This is a key part of my question. The law can be perverted to create gross injustice, poverty and all the other values the paladin believes he must oppose. There can be a conflict between good and law but no way to legally fix the law.

    Worse, though divine intervention is a higher authority, the gods can rarely get directly involved. The purpose of clerics and paladins is to wield divine power on the god's behalf. The paladin IS the divine intervention. Also, as gods can rarely convey their direct decisions, the cleric or paladin must make decisions on his behalf. The paladin IS the divine judgement. The god is only able to audit his agents, not command or direct them. The paladin stops the corrupt leader on his own initiative or it doesn't get done.

    Can the paladin argue with his judge?
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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shisumo View Post
    In the example described, for instance, the paladin should know whether the code of his order* places the order's authority over that of the local law. He would also know whether a lethal sentence is within the bounds of his order's code. If the order he is given is in violation of the code, then the appropriate response is to ignore the order and report it to the relevant higher authority. If there is no higher authority, but the code of the paladin's order cannot be superseded by its highest ranking member, then the paladin simply ignores the order. In either case, he follows the highest-priority relevant law.
    This sounds like Lawful Neutral, not Lawful Good. If Shazzbaa was putting too much emphasis on the 'good', you're putting too much emphasis on the 'lawful'.

    Paladins must uphold Law AND Good. They're not allowed to pick one or the other. They have to do all they can for both. If they're in a situation where following the law means committing an evil act, then the paladin's duty is to find an alternative, even if this doesn't seem possible at first sight.

    Also, remember that a paladin isn't necessarily a Japanese samurai. Suicide does not have to be her default response.

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  9. - Top - End - #39
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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    I think, in a world of relative morals, trying to argue the strict ethics of one action is a pretty difficult one. It's for this reason that using the "ask your God" response is in my opinion the best one. Within each society, lawful and good can be defined very differently. However, one thing for sure is that it will inexplicably be tied to one particular diety.

    It also saves a lot of time that the player will be spending waxing rhetorics with his GM.

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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paladin Code of Conduct
    A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class abilities if she ever willingly commits an evil act.
    To me, this looks like Good prioritized over Lawful. Paladins can jay walk, trespass, and even question authority (which can be done in a respectful maner) if it serves good to do so. As I think the ultimate judge of a pally is their god, they cant really argue cause it's one-sided.

    A cheap solution, a plane shift could let'em do it though I've had lesser DMs intro a story arch every time by having my paladin's god manifesting in the flesh, identifying himself, then grappling him with a +8 holy axiomatic plot hook of railroading. Hated these cause it took the faith out of my religious character.
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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    ...Paladins aren't heralded and celebrated because they follow the rules reall well.
    They're heralded and celebrated because they SAVE THE SODDING WORLD FROM DARKNESS. A lot.
    I can't see where someone would really see otherwise in terms of flavor, or intent from Wizards.
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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    I'd say that above Lords or Gods what is always checking the Paladin's acts is his own definition of right and wrong that he develops in the begining of his career (lvl 1). I like to think that those vows on Player's Handbook are merely examples of the way of the Paladin (They are mostly correct, but some times there are statements there that won't make the Paladin do any good), and the Player will discuss the definitions of good and law with the DM. Example: I like to play Paladins like this:

    .My Paladins are altruists: They like to save and help people, besides that, they put their lifes in the line for them.
    .My Paladins are Merciful and Respect Life: They will never end an enemy life if he has the option to keep his life (for apropriate trial).
    .My Paladins are not violent persons: Even if someone desires to fight a paladin he will try to talk first.
    .My Paladins are brave: They have no fear when it comes to risking his life for a good cause.
    .My Paladins are Honored: They will never steal, disrespect authorities or tell lies that geopardize other people, thus he knows that a minor lie is capable of saving hundreads of lifes, also he can keep a secret

    See these would be the proposals of my code when I first talk to the DM. Even if the DM is the one who tells if I lose or not my Paladinhood, it would be under my terms (whose I think are completely plausible). Notes to remember: Not all the Paladins serve a lord. Not all the Paladins serve even a deity. Law changes from Place to Place (shades of gray).

    The DM will always know, under these proposals, if I am doing something that is against my codeline.

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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    Quote Originally Posted by Diggorian View Post
    To me, this looks like Good prioritized over Lawful. Paladins can jay walk, trespass, and even question authority (which can be done in a respectful maner) if it serves good to do so. As I think the ultimate judge of a pally is their god, they cant really argue cause it's one-sided.
    Not that "jaywalking" is even a crime in this country, but surely just because paladins serve Good over Law doesn't mean that they blatantly trespass or break minor laws simply for the greater good. That's called Neutral Good generally.

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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    At my table, the paladin's player judges the paladin.

    Of course, my players are trustworthy and don't abuse that sort of power.

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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    Since, really, it is the GM (or their Divine NPCs) who make the decision, I can only tell you how *I'd* rule.

    1) So long as one's leader is acting for good and/or law, and *not* acting for evil and/or chaos, they must be obeyed--this is part of the Paladin Code.
    2) If the Paladin Code requires an evil or highly chaotic act, morals and ethics take precedence over the code itself. Any LG-god-approved Paladin Code in my campaign would explicitly include a clause to this effect, so it wouldn't even count as oath-breaking.
    3) A paladin, in disobeying or (especially) deposing of a corrupt leader, must still follow certain rules. A CG character can shoot the bad guy from in the bushes; a LG character should hesitate, and this would be *very* bad for the paladin. If the leader cannot be pressured to step down through diplomatic means, and forming a schism from the original organization is not feasible (in which case, if the original organization is actively evil, it can be attacked as an evil organization), the most honorable way to handle this situation would be a formal and public accusation, followed by a challenge to single combat.

    A Divination or Commune spell, if one is available (e.g. through the paladin's trusted spiritual advisor), is strongly recommended by trying this stuff. For Commune, a deity of course has a 100% chance of knowing his/her own attitude about paladin behavior.

    Actually, as someone pointed out earlier, Miko may be in a bit more of a bind than a typical campaign's Paladin. Depending on the Samurai code of Azure City, and how the populace feels about it, she might face great disgrace if she disobeys her lord without committing suicide afterwards. But even in this case, I wouldn't rule that she'd permanently fall just because of that (although she might need an Atonement for oath-breaking--because of the samurai oath, not the paladin oath), just that she'd be a social outcast and possibly a wanted criminal.
    Last edited by belboz; 2007-01-25 at 02:26 PM.
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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caelestion View Post
    Not that "jaywalking" is even a crime in this country, but surely just because paladins serve Good over Law doesn't mean that they blatantly trespass or break minor laws simply for the greater good. That's called Neutral Good generally.
    Lawful doesn't necessarily mean that a character follows every law in the world, though. It also describes a certain type of disciplined, ordered personality. And the paladin in particular could be far more concerned with the absolute laws of his god than the more ephemeral rules that men make.

    The paladin has three basic requirements: commit no evil act, follow your Code, and maintain a LG alignment. Note that it doesn't prohibit individual chaotic acts, just an actual alignment change. A LG character can do any number of small chaotic things, and doesn't need to follow every law to the letter. Witness Roy pretending to be the King of Nowhere. It's not Lawful, and it's not Good, but I don't see anybody (well, not too many people) suggesting he should no longer be considered LG because of it. That's not to say a paladin should be able to do things like that, it's just an example of how much the LG alignment actually allows.

    I'd expect that in 99% of cases, you'd run afoul of the Code long before you did enough non-Lawful things to warrant an alignment change. So again, it all comes down to what's in that poorly-defined Paladin's Code. And if the DM is going to make an issue of it, the player and DM need to sit down beforehand and hash out exactly what that Code says.
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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    Quote Originally Posted by headwarpage View Post
    And if the DM is going to make an issue of it, the player and DM need to sit down beforehand and hash out exactly what that Code says.

    This is why I generally leave it up to the player - it's exactly as much of an issue as they want it to be, in that case. As a DM I tend to take my cues from the players.

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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gralamin View Post
    Same thing you Quoted, Notice what I bolded. Your quote only Works if this Paladin is Trying to become Exalted.
    Ahh, sorry, that wasn't my quote -- I copied that excerpt from a friend's journal, his bold copied over for some reason. But yes, I see what you've pointed out.

    I guess I just look at paladins differently, then. I always saw the Exalted view of paladins as being what a paladin should, in theory, aspire to. It seems weird to me that it would be wrong for a normal paladin to put Good before Law, but right for an Exalted paladin to do so. I would think an Exalted paladin would be the epitome of what a paladin, in the D&D worldview, should be.

    Now naturally it's probably fun to play an overly-zealous, or Miko-style, or bad-cop paladin, but all of those are corruptions of the paladin ideal... and I'd always seen the Exalted paladin (as defined in the excerpt I posted) as being that ideal.

    I guess it doesn't matter much; in the end things like this are up to the DM, and I'm fortunate enough to have a DM I agree with.
    Last edited by Shazzbaa; 2007-01-25 at 03:15 PM. Reason: changed some wording

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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    Thank you headwarpage for saving me from typing of exactly that point you made well.

    I generally leave the code as is, vague, with some flavor for the individual god. Paladins of Heironeous (LG) are a bit less disciplined than those of St. Cuthbert (LN), but more so than those of Pelor (NG) in my games. All are LG though. Cuthbertans see order as the way to accomplish good. Pelorians are lawfully devoted to the tenants of goodness from their patron.
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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shazzbaa View Post
    Now naturally it's probably fun to play an overly-zealous, or Miko-style, or bad-cop paladin, but all of those are corruptions of the paladin ideal... and I'd always seen the Exalted paladin (as defined in the excerpt I posted) as being that ideal.
    I know what you mean. Though I encourage a little variation in paladins, I cant get behind the variants like Paladin's of Freedom, Slaughter, or Tyranny. Each seem oxymoronic.

    If a player really wanted to play these I'd re-name them someting like: Avenger of Trithereon, Erythnul's Destroyer, and Hextorian Enforcer.
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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    I call them Liberator (CG), Infernal (LE) and Havok (CE). *shrug*

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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    Good over law for a regular paladin, always. My proof? They get Detect Evil and Smite Evil, not Detect Chaos and Smite Chaos. Clearly, the whole class is skewed more towards fighting evil.
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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    On the specific instance: I agree with the people who say "arrest him" for this specific instance. Of course, we don't know much about Azure City's legal system, but it seems entirely reasonable that the man could be brought up on charges based on his revelations, as heard by two legitimate law enforcement officers.

    Of course, it doesn't work like that in America, since it's hearsay evidence and you're not allowed to take verbal statements as evidence before informing the suspect of his Miranda Rights. But this is an at least somewhat autocratic medieval state. I doubt laws are that specific there. And even in America, that would be enough to start an investigation to turn up useable evidence.

    I'll talk about the general justification later, but this question boils down to qui custodiet ipsos custodes?
    Last edited by Nerd-o-rama; 2007-01-25 at 04:09 PM.
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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    "Who polices the policemen?" :)

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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    Easy.

    Batman.
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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    So we get a powerful Wizard...
    Let's Play Super Robot Wars Alpha


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  27. - Top - End - #57
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd-o-rama View Post
    Of course, it doesn't work like that in America, since it's hearsay evidence and you're not allowed to take verbal statements as evidence before informing the suspect of his Miranda Rights.
    If the suspect hasn't been arrested, anything the suspect says is fair game.

  28. - Top - End - #58
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    a paladin who acts against thier alignment or gods wishes is usually stripped of thier paladin abilities becoming a fighter without the extra feats

  29. - Top - End - #59
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Fax Celestis's Avatar

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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    Quote Originally Posted by ExHunterEmerald View Post
    ...Paladins aren't heralded and celebrated because they follow the rules reall well.
    They're heralded and celebrated because they SAVE THE SODDING WORLD FROM DARKNESS. A lot.
    I can't see where someone would really see otherwise in terms of flavor, or intent from Wizards.
    You wouldn't happen to look like a certain platinum blond vampire from a popular TV show created by Joss Whedon, would you? Because you certainly sound like one.

  30. - Top - End - #60
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Renegade Paladin's Avatar

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    Default Re: Who judges the paladins?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_G View Post
    Me.

    I judge them.

    Harshly.
    Well then it's an excellent thing that you're not any sort of authority.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gralamin View Post
    Theres one Little Problem here.


    Same thing you Quoted, Notice what I bolded. Your quote only Works if this Paladin is Trying to become Exalted.
    He's a paladin. If he isn't striving to serve Good every waking moment of his life, why did he take up that mantle?
    Last edited by Renegade Paladin; 2007-01-25 at 04:36 PM.
    "Courage is the complement of fear. A fearless man cannot be courageous. He is also a fool." -- Robert Heinlein


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