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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Fall Paladin, Fall!

    Given the number of paladin dilemma threads I gave seen on here over the years, it seems fairly common for paladins to be put into horrendous "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situations.

    As a gm, I have put paladins into difficult, but not insurmountable, dilemmas before. Some players have even found creative solutions to the problems.

    But I have never made it "you are going to fall regardless of what you do."

    I am wondering how common it is to have such scenarios in games and would like to see some stories of "gm made me fall."
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    Default Re: Fall Paladin, Fall!

    I once had a GM who sold a paladin a massively overpowered sword for 3gp, quite literally pushing it on him, despite the paladin say "no, I don't want it, I already have a good sword" (he had answerer from the temple of elemental evil), then pulled a "gotcha" when the paladin finally gave in and said "fine, whatever, just quit it with the sword already". Apparently we were supposed to realise that a) 3gp = 30 silver pieces, and then b) see the link between a certain fellow betraying another certain fellow for 30 silver pieces, and thus refuse the deal with what was apparently a devil. Ergo: paladin made a deal with a devil, and fell because of it.

    Literally everyone at the table told the DM to **** off with that bull****, and he quickly backpedaled and just instead made the sword cursed so the paladin couldn't use his regular sword until he killed a devil with the cursed sword, though the sword was still something stupid like a +5 evil outside bane holy sword, so it wasn't terrible, but yeah, was still dumb.

    Personally, I've never actually had a paladin player as a DM, usually because I just recommend my players play a crusader and simply call themselves a paladin, but even if someone did play a paladin, I would never design a scenario specifically with the paladin in mind, I usually run status quo games. What's there is there, regardless of what the party has, how they deal with it is up to them.
    Last edited by Crake; 2019-06-23 at 02:06 PM.
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    Default Re: Fall Paladin, Fall!

    Lots. Its one of my Red Flags, outside of settings that are "grey in grey in Black" and Players who INSIST on playing Paladins in such Settings.

    If I DM and allow paladins (whichd epends heavily on Campaign and Setting) I will ALWAAYS leave the Paladin at least 1 nonfall Option to choose from, usually more (granted they arent always particularly "better", but then again, the one Time a Paladin I palyed fell due to actual Decisions he decided that him falling was the lesser Evil in that Situation, and hence sacrificed his Paladinhood :) ).
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    Default Re: Fall Paladin, Fall!

    I had a situation where I disagreed with my dm about the conditions making a paladin fall (rescuing prisoners that turned out to be bad guys).

    Earlier I had a paladin fall due to becoming a werewolf.

    Both ex-paladins died soon after.

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    Default Re: Fall Paladin, Fall!

    It's a common horror story. I expect like most here I consider it poor form to just force a character to fall. It can be fun to put the occasional trick in, but you really shouldn't be playing 'gotcha' with falling; if a player wants to play a Paladin, it's probably best not to suddenly be out to get them. And falls can be interesting, as an experience and as part of your campaign's overall narrative -- but it doesn't need to be involved with every story about a Paladin.

    I am, for the record, all for testing a Paladin's ideals, which really you might want to do with any character. If a player's really into the Paladin concept, an ideal's nothing if you never get a chance to live up to it. Just remember that while sometimes failing to live up to those ideals can result in a fall, it doesn't have to. You can challenge a Paladin without immediately making the stakes all their Paladin abilities. You can give them a moral dilemma and, depending on the situation, just leave the consequences on their conscience.

    My opinion tends to be that falling should come from either extreme decisions or straws-breaking-a-camel's-back: conscious decisions to knowingly do Evil, negligence of a ridiculous degree, repeatedly and remorselessly failing to live up to their alignment. They won't lose powers just from making a genuine mistake or pettily insulting someone one time. Alignment-stuff aside, a Paladin has to 'grossly violate their code-of-conduct', so even if a situation appears that seems to have no right solution by their standards, I don't think they should fall if they still sincerely try to abide by their code, even if they're ultimately unsuccessful.

    But on my end this is mostly theoretical. I haven't actually DM'd for a Paladin in 3.5e, and when we had a Paladin nothing really came of it. It was a little loose as a campaign, honestly.
    Last edited by Lavaeolus; 2019-06-23 at 04:35 PM.

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    Default Re: Fall Paladin, Fall!

    It is, sadly, kind of common, because a lot of DMs like imposing their views of how a character should be played on the players.

    I've been here for around 3 years, and it's scarily common to see players complaining about DMs railroading them into a character-changing choice. And that's with the game at its current low-population state. I find it hard to imagine how many people got scammed by bad DMs back in the 2000s when 3.5 was bustling with players.

    You definitely should never force a change into a player, but them playing clerics or paladins or crusaders or whatever means they also gotta show their faith, so it's a balance.

    Hell, even the druid should have that obligation. Maybe the party come across a mining town and the feudal lord is embezzling money and forcing the miners to dump gallons of mercury into the river. It's a nice urban plot right there, and I'd definitely penalize the druid if he turned a blind eye, even if evil, because the druid's code of conduct is just about protecting nature, regardless if you're good or evil. Maybe reduce his standing on the druidic order with a severe warning for the first time.
    Last edited by MisterKaws; 2019-06-23 at 07:37 PM.

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    Default Re: Fall Paladin, Fall!

    Quote Originally Posted by MisterKaws View Post
    It is, sadly, kind of common, because a lot of DMs like imposing their views of how a character should be played on the players.

    I've been here for around 3 years, and it's scarily common to see players complaining about DMs railroading them into a character-changing choice. And that's with the game at its current low-population state. I find it hard to imagine how many people got scammed by bad DMs back in the 2000s when 3.5 was bustling with players.

    You definitely should never force a change into a player, but them playing clerics or paladins or crusaders or whatever means they also gotta show their faith, so it's a balance.
    You said it dude.

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    Default Re: Fall Paladin, Fall!

    Ive played a paladin 3 times. None ended well.

    Paladin 1 fell from killing goblins. Turned out it didn't matter that they where attacking and that I couldn't speak their language. When anything says the magic words "I surrender" a paladin must immediately stop themselves AND allies from fighting.

    Number 2 started the game off fallen per request of the DM. I slogged throu a dozen sessions before asking the DM when he would allow atonement. The responce: the entire campaign was the atonement quest and I would be a full paladin again at 20.

    Number 3 was about the time paladin pranoia set in. I was preventing the party from fighting, looting, even trespassing. It wasn`t fun at all for myself or the group (DM loved it though). Thankfully a buddy offed my pally in his sleep (DM was livid!) and helped me roll up my first cleric. I`ve never looked back.
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    Default Re: Fall Paladin, Fall!

    Quote Originally Posted by Vizzerdrix View Post
    Paladin 1 fell from killing goblins. Turned out it didn't matter that they where attacking and that I couldn't speak their language. When anything says the magic words "I surrender" a paladin must immediately stop themselves AND allies from fighting.

    Number 2 started the game off fallen per request of the DM. I slogged throu a dozen sessions before asking the DM when he would allow atonement. The responce: the entire campaign was the atonement quest and I would be a full paladin again at 20.
    Jeez, I thought I'd met some bad DMs...

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    Default Re: Fall Paladin, Fall!

    Quote Originally Posted by Calthropstu View Post
    Given the number of paladin dilemma threads I gave seen on here over the years, it seems fairly common for paladins to be put into horrendous "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situations.

    As a gm, I have put paladins into difficult, but not insurmountable, dilemmas before. Some players have even found creative solutions to the problems.

    But I have never made it "you are going to fall regardless of what you do."

    I am wondering how common it is to have such scenarios in games and would like to see some stories of "gm made me fall."
    I tried to make the last Paladin in my game fall, but it would've been entirely up to the player. Basically I offered him a deal: Offer this powerful devil your soul and you'll be granted with great power, enough to defeat the BBEG of the campaign. He opted out, and they were nearly TPKed by the BBEG in the last fight. It all worked out, but it was close. One more spell from him and the party would've been toast. Fun times

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    Default Re: Fall Paladin, Fall!

    I've also seen people on these forums insist that unless good gods are willing to suicidally go against overgods or even find some way to assail fundamental cosmological principles, they aren't really "good". Some of the issue comes from people having especially stark views of morality, some come from people liking to look for weak points in a system (many falltraps seem less like things people want to spring at the table, and more like people looking for situations where there is no right answer), and some are indeed people who like screwing other people over so long as they have a shred of rules justification.

    Personally speaking, I figure that if I allow a character into my setting, I implicitly accept that their concept works. If someone brings a particularly extremist-Lawful paladin and I give them a greenlight, I'll allow it but expect their code to require a certain amount of extremism. (If it causes a problem at the table, I'll offer to retcon it to something saner.) Falling might occasionally be a mechanical weakness that an enemy can exploit, like having a Dominated paladin lose abilities until they can get an Atonement. But honestly, if the paladin is due for a fall, either the player is in on the deal or else the player has much deeper problems that won't be solved with one weakness of one class.

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    Default Re: Fall Paladin, Fall!

    I think what's missing is having (good) advice for DMing for a Paladin in Core or less niche books. It has a fairly unique failure mechanic in its oaths and it seems far more common for one to fall than for, say, a Druid to leave a Neutral alignment or Cleric to violate their god's tenants. And I think the fact that most D&D books give maybe two paragraphs to Paladin oaths and falling is a disservice to the class, its players, and those player's DMs. There might be really good advice in The Book of Good Deeds II, but if most people didn't pick up The Book of Good Deeds I, it seems unlikely it will get out to the general gaming public.
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    Default Re: Fall Paladin, Fall!

    Quote Originally Posted by MisterKaws View Post
    It is, sadly, kind of common, because a lot of DMs like imposing their views of how a character should be played on the players.
    I think it's important to emphasize this, because I don't think this is wrong. I think this is exactly how paladins should be handled. When playing a paladin, you don't play your ideal of holy righteousness, you play your DM's ideal of holy righteousness, because your character is a divine vessel for a greater power, and ultimately, that greater power is under the DM's purview. If you go into playing a paladin with the mindset of "This is my character, I play him how I want", and butt heads with the DM, rather than the mindset of "I am a follower of Uriel, I uphold his tenets, and the DM is the arbiter of what those tenets actually mean. I will do my best to follow those rules as a faithful servant of my deity", you're gonna have a bad time. You need to remember, you're not playing by your rules, you're playing by your DM's.

    That might sound controlling, but it's something you need to buy into when playing a paladin, otherwise you may as well just play something else.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kazyan View Post
    Playing a wizard the way GitP says wizards should be played requires the equivalent time and effort investment of a university minor. Do you really want to go down this rabbit hole, or are you comfortable with just throwing a souped-up Orb of Fire at the thing?
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    Default Re: Fall Paladin, Fall!

    Quote Originally Posted by Crake View Post
    When playing a paladin, you don't play your ideal of holy righteousness, you play your DM's ideal of holy righteousness, because your character is a divine vessel for a greater power, and ultimately, that greater power is under the DM's purview.
    No, deities are part of the shared world of the setting and don't belong exclusively to the DM. It's no more legitimate for a DM to say "we're playing in Greyhawk" and then pull a switch and have everyone wake up in a Cyberpunk 2077 VR machine than it is for a player to act disruptively.

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    Default Re: Fall Paladin, Fall!

    It does depends on whether you are playing an established setting or not, yes. Even if you are, though, the given gods (usually) aren't defined with an opinion regarding each and every aspect of creation. Where those are missing, it is entirely up to the DM - not the player - to fill those in, when relevant.

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    Default Re: Fall Paladin, Fall!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Adventurer View Post
    No, deities are part of the shared world of the setting and don't belong exclusively to the DM. It's no more legitimate for a DM to say "we're playing in Greyhawk" and then pull a switch and have everyone wake up in a Cyberpunk 2077 VR machine than it is for a player to act disruptively.
    You need to have a discussion with your DM about your character before you start playing anyway, there's no extra effort to see if you and your DM are on the same page about your Paladin's code.

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    Default Re: Fall Paladin, Fall!

    Quote Originally Posted by Crake View Post
    I think it's important to emphasize this, because I don't think this is wrong. I think this is exactly how paladins should be handled. When playing a paladin, you don't play your ideal of holy righteousness, you play your DM's ideal of holy righteousness, because your character is a divine vessel for a greater power, and ultimately, that greater power is under the DM's purview. If you go into playing a paladin with the mindset of "This is my character, I play him how I want", and butt heads with the DM, rather than the mindset of "I am a follower of Uriel, I uphold his tenets, and the DM is the arbiter of what those tenets actually mean. I will do my best to follow those rules as a faithful servant of my deity", you're gonna have a bad time. You need to remember, you're not playing by your rules, you're playing by your DM's.

    That might sound controlling, but it's something you need to buy into when playing a paladin, otherwise you may as well just play something else.
    Yes, that's what I later mentioned in the second paragraph.

    The problem isn't intrinsically in the DM applying their views on the player. The problem is when the DM can't differentiate between his own wishes and the player's wishes, and starts to actively try to get the paladin player to embrace the DM's inner edgelord. They just want to make them fall regardless of what their ideals are, because that is what the DM views as interesting, even though it is almost never interesting for players.

    It's why so many people prefer the Paladin of Freedom. Or just straight Cleric/Crusader/Ardent/etc.

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    Default Re: Fall Paladin, Fall!

    Quote Originally Posted by pabelfly View Post
    You need to have a discussion with your DM about your character before you start playing anyway, there's no extra effort to see if you and your DM are on the same page about your Paladin's code.
    Yes, exactly.

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    Default Re: Fall Paladin, Fall!

    Quote Originally Posted by Crake View Post
    I think it's important to emphasize this, because I don't think this is wrong. I think this is exactly how paladins should be handled. When playing a paladin, you don't play your ideal of holy righteousness, you play your DM's ideal of holy righteousness, because your character is a divine vessel for a greater power, and ultimately, that greater power is under the DM's purview. If you go into playing a paladin with the mindset of "This is my character, I play him how I want", and butt heads with the DM, rather than the mindset of "I am a follower of Uriel, I uphold his tenets, and the DM is the arbiter of what those tenets actually mean. I will do my best to follow those rules as a faithful servant of my deity", you're gonna have a bad time. You need to remember, you're not playing by your rules, you're playing by your DM's.

    That might sound controlling, but it's something you need to buy into when playing a paladin, otherwise you may as well just play something else.
    I'm not sure if this is a matter of people talking past each other, but at least this sounds like something I deeply, strenuously disagree with. The way you've presented this, it's all take and no give for the DM. The DM can make up logically inconsistent or constantly-shifting oaths, and that's fine, because the player signed up to play "DM's personal ragdoll"? No, that's some horse excrement.

    You signed up to play a righteous warrior, someone who lives a more moral, more upstanding life than almost everyone else. That doesn't mean you signed up to be abused. You have a right to challenge the DM for being a **** to you, and you have a right to a conversation with them to figure out a stance that the two of you can agree on--or else you don't play, be it not playing a paladin, or not playing at that table.

    If you didn't mean "dance at the DM's whim and pleasure," and only meant that the DM isn't supposed to dance to your tune any more than you're supposed to dance to theirs, then sure, we agree. It needs to be a negotiation, an understanding. Most people aren't going to go into the Paladin class wanting to fall, or being guaranteed that no matter what they do they'll end up fallen. But most DMs shouldn't go into it expecting that falling is even likely, let alone guaranteed, either--your first post is a demonstration of what happens when a DM goes way too far with that assumption.

    Playing a Paladin means signing up for a more specific kind of story, one that involves a lot of deep questions and difficult scenarios. But I've played one--according to my fellow-players, a very strong showing--without ever even once feeling like the DM was punishing me. I took seriously the actions I performed, and only once did I get hit with an admonition that I didn't quite expect. (I killed a fleeing combatant so they wouldn't reveal our presence to a demigod-level threat that would gladly stomp on us if it knew we were present. It wasn't falling, it was a reminder from on high that Paladins should not let themselves get into situations like that, and after some soul-searching and efforts at penance, both the DM and I were satisfied with how the situation resolved.) As long as both player and DM, as a friend of mine aptly put it, "are willing to meet in the middle," it's totally possible to play a Paladin confidently and happily, even when oaths are tested.

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    Default Re: Fall Paladin, Fall!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Adventurer View Post
    No, deities are part of the shared world of the setting and don't belong exclusively to the DM. It's no more legitimate for a DM to say "we're playing in Greyhawk" and then pull a switch and have everyone wake up in a Cyberpunk 2077 VR machine than it is for a player to act disruptively.
    It's not as simple as that. Even when it comes to something as simple as "is this a good/evil act", the DM is the ultimate arbiter on the matter. The deities follow the objective moralities of the setting as defined by the DM. The player may decide to debate the point, and maybe the player can change the DM's mind, but morality in dnd is objective from the point of view of the setting, and that objective morality stems from the DM's subjective opinion on the matter. Thus, you don't play your moralities as a player, you play the DM's.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kazyan View Post
    Playing a wizard the way GitP says wizards should be played requires the equivalent time and effort investment of a university minor. Do you really want to go down this rabbit hole, or are you comfortable with just throwing a souped-up Orb of Fire at the thing?
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    Default Re: Fall Paladin, Fall!

    It's no fun make a Paladin fall at level 1. Much better let him level up, build his character well with feats and equipment suited for him, then when he starts really rolling.... FALL, and now he's an useless warrior with equipement he cannot longer use and that must ride a common horse ( who will be killed in round 1 by a couple of arrows ) if he wants to use his hard-earned cavalier feat.

    And no, no atonement and no easy change into Blackguards. Deal with it, ex pal.
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    Default Re: Fall Paladin, Fall!

    Quote Originally Posted by Crake View Post
    morality in dnd is objective from the point of view of the setting, and that objective morality stems from the DM's subjective opinion on the matter.
    As I and I think others are saying, no, I don't think it's as simple as this particular part of your post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crake View Post
    It's not as simple as that. Even when it comes to something as simple as "is this a good/evil act", the DM is the ultimate arbiter on the matter. The deities follow the objective moralities of the setting as defined by the DM. The player may decide to debate the point, and maybe the player can change the DM's mind, but morality in dnd is objective from the point of view of the setting, and that objective morality stems from the DM's subjective opinion on the matter. Thus, you don't play your moralities as a player, you play the DM's.
    Well, hopefully you play the setting's morality and the GM is reasonable enough not to just blanket impose her view.

    There is a difference between setting and GM. Some people may be happy with settings completely defined and controlled exclusively by the GM, others might prefer a more cooperative worldbuilding process. The important thing here is not to conflate GM and setting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrSandman View Post
    Well, hopefully you play the setting's morality and the GM is reasonable enough not to just blanket impose her view.

    There is a difference between setting and GM. Some people may be happy with settings completely defined and controlled exclusively by the GM, others might prefer a more cooperative worldbuilding process. The important thing here is not to conflate GM and setting.
    Morality isn't a handbook that you can simply refer to, there is no setting that has a definitive guide on every possible situation. The DM must make judgement calls, and there will be times when you perform an action that you perhaps may have seen as good, or neutral, while the DM sees it as borderline evil, if not outright evil. The setting will not tell you how to adjudicate this scenario, so it comes down to the DM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kazyan View Post
    Playing a wizard the way GitP says wizards should be played requires the equivalent time and effort investment of a university minor. Do you really want to go down this rabbit hole, or are you comfortable with just throwing a souped-up Orb of Fire at the thing?
    Quote Originally Posted by atemu1234 View Post
    Humans are rarely truly irrational, just wrong.

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    Default Re: Fall Paladin, Fall!

    Honestly the fastest way to make a paladin fall is to cast the grease spell or to trip the paladin.

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    Default Re: Fall Paladin, Fall!

    Quote Originally Posted by noob View Post
    Honestly the fastest way to make a paladin fall is to cast the grease spell or to trip the paladin.
    Can I sig this?

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    Default Re: Fall Paladin, Fall!

    Quote Originally Posted by MisterKaws View Post
    Can I sig this?
    Yes you have the right to do so.

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    Default Re: Fall Paladin, Fall!

    Quote Originally Posted by Crake View Post
    The setting will not tell you how to adjudicate this scenario, so it comes down to the DM.
    What I and perhaps others are saying is that this isn't true: it's the responsibility of the group to agree setting expectations like this one, not just the responsibility of the DM.

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    Default Re: Fall Paladin, Fall!

    Quote Originally Posted by noob View Post
    Yes you have the right to do so.
    I've done it :)
    Quote Originally Posted by noob View Post
    Honestly the fastest way to make a paladin fall is to cast the grease spell or to trip the paladin.

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    Default Re: Fall Paladin, Fall!

    Quote Originally Posted by Crake View Post
    Morality isn't a handbook that you can simply refer to, there is no setting that has a definitive guide on every possible situation. The DM must make judgement calls, and there will be times when you perform an action that you perhaps may have seen as good, or neutral, while the DM sees it as borderline evil, if not outright evil. The setting will not tell you how to adjudicate this scenario, so it comes down to the DM.
    EDIT: I realise that what I had originally written sort of missed the point I was trying to make. So I'm scrapping it and trying again:

    When I said that there is a difference between setting and GM, I meant to draw attention to two thins:

    First, there are styles of play where the responsibility for world-building is shared among several participants, not the GM's monopoly. So it is more accurate to say that it depends on the established setting that on the GM, because the setting might not have been established entirely by the GM and deciding whether an action is good or not might be beyond the GM's prerogative.

    Second, there should be a shared framework to decide whether an action is good or evil. There should be some guidelines that are established in the setting and have been made known to everyone in the group, so that everyone is (inasmuch as possible) on the same page regarding the setting's morality. To put it in other words: hopefully there is some reason and expectation with regards to what is good and what is evil, rather than being left to the GM's whims.
    Last edited by MrSandman; 2019-06-24 at 07:17 AM.

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