Discussion:Alignment restrictions for paladin possibly flexible enough?
From D&D Wiki
Alignment Restrictions possibly flexible enough?
Tokara2132 18:40, 11 September 2007 (MDT)
I was looking at the alignments recently, and when I was looking particularly at the paladin, I was caught with an interesting concept: although the paladin is restricted to "Lawful Good" as his alignment, why is it that so many people who play them are often the "Strong Good, Strong Lawful" tradition? Sure, its easy to play the traditional holy knight, but it is by no means the only reason.
Heres what I mean: In terms of Good and Lawful, I see the possibility of being "strongly" one alignment and being "weakly" one alignment. For example, a paladin who is "strongly" lawful is a man of law to the tee, never questioning orders and expecting full adherance to the law. This is similar to the stance of traditional samurai, where the lords order is absolute. However, there could easily be a type of lawful that is not so extreme. If a paladin is "weakly" (keep in mind, these terms are not literal, just my meaning) Lawful, they are certainly mindful of authority and keep their word, but are not the ones who merit out justice. They are just this side of Neutral Good.
If, going by my example is the case, these paladins, even when "strongly" or "weakly" aligned, are still paladins. So long as they Lawful and Good and keep to the code, they still get the benefits of paladinhood. Has anyone else had an issue like this before?
Well, Tokara, I would say that being strongly or weakly good depends on the environment, the character, the player, and, most importantly, the DM. By which I mean that character that lives and works in a city or town, perhaps as a law enforcement officer, were to come across four different cases of inappropriate behavior: one where the perpetrator (let's call him "individual 1" and his case "situation 1") was in the wrong both morally and lawfully, and the victim was a law-abiding and morally upstanding person, such as a making threats to someone who owes them money; one where the perpetrator (let's call him "individual 2" and his case "situation 2") was morally right in his or her actions, but lawfully inappropriate, such as a violent protest against slavery or somesuch inhumane deed; one where the perpetrator (let's call him "individual 3" and his case "situation 3") did something legal, but morally incorrect, such as a monarch instating unfair taxes on his subjects; and one where the perpetrator (let's call him "individual 4" and his case "situation 4") was right both morally and lawfully, such as making a peaceful and warranted display of protest against a corrupt merchant or nefarious guild.
The actions in each situation must be determined by the character's pre-determined personality, the player's discretion, and the DM's concurrence.
First, A Paladin both strongly lawful and strongly good (Paladin 1) would arrest individuals 1, 2 and 3, allowing individual 4 to continue, but probably watching the protest incase anything were to go awry. Unless individuals 2 and 3 could appeal to the Paladin's moral or logical side respectively to avoid punishment, which can be determined by the Player's view on the character's mood that day and the DM's willingness to allowing a lapse in alignment behavior.
Second, A strongly lawful but weakly good Paladin (Paladin 2) would arrest individuals 1 and 2, allowing individual 3 off with a warning, and watching situation 4 for any unlawful deeds. Individual 2 might make out reasonably well if he plays his cards right, but it isn't likely. This also depends on the Player and DM.
Third, A weakly lawful but strongly good Paladin (Paladin 3) would arrest individuals 1 and 3, allowing individual 2 off with a warning, and disregarding situation 4. Individual 3 would be treated similarly to how Paladin 2 would treat individual 2, but it isn't likely. This, again, depends on the Player and DM.
Fourth, A Paladin both weakly lawful and weakly good (Paladin 4) would arrest only individual 1, warning individuals 2 and 3, and disregarding situation 4. Situation 1 might also be viewed lightly if, for example, individual 1 were only doing it out of necessity to pay taxes after a hard month and poor paycheck; threats may not have been the best choice, but times are hard. Once again, this is dependent on the Play and DM.
How is it dependent on the Player and Dm? The player must decide how lenient or emotionally affected their character will be in each case. The DM must decide how far he will let these go and how much is too much. Thsi can be treated two ways: as a constant, treating each case the same despite small variations that might occur, or as a variable, treating each case differently according to the smaller details or the sequence in which they occur.
In the end, it boils down to what kind of character you want, what kind of Player you are, and what kind of DM you have.
220.127.116.11 00:40, 12 September 2007 (MDT)
Well, the reason why I brought up the dependency on the player and DM stems from two things: how flexible the player is willing to play and how willing (or unwilling) the DM is to allow how a paladin could act. many of the DMs that I know (aside from my main ones) have a very contrived idea of "paladin" and when there is any whiff of unlawfulness or ungoodness the powers are stripped. This affects how the player will play the character (after all, no one wants their character to be ripped of their powers within the first ten minutes of play) and would therefore how the game views alignment restrictions as a whole.
| Sledged (talk)|
2007 September 12 14:11 (MDT)
They play them that way because that's the stereotype associated with them.
That, and if you play them strong-lawful/strong-good, they're less likely to violate their alignment restriction and code of conduct. It's like walking along a cliff edge with a thousand-foot drop. The further you stay away from the edge, the less likely you are to fall over it.
You've answered your own question. Some DMs require that if a paladin has to choose between making a good (or lawful) action and making a neutral action, that they must choose the good action. The paladin may only make neutral actions when those are the only options available to him (like choosing condiments on a sandwich). Some DMs are a bit more flexible.
My take is that a paladin is good before he is lawful which is reflected in what class features he has (i.e. aura of good, detect evil, smite evil, and turn undead). So generally if the character is forced to decide between making a lawful evil action versus a chaotic good action, chaotic good should be his course of action.
| There's no better laugh than the one that you're ashamed to share with your mother.|
—Stephen Notley, creator of Bob the Angry Flower
MorkaisChosen 09:56, 15 September 2007 (MDT)
I think it's the player's choice whether the paladin is more Lawful or more Good. For example, in a campaign I was playing in, two of the deities involved were Rekgoth (LN retribution-god) and Kreth (NG soldier-god). Both gods were described as having paladins; those of Rekgoth's church would be Lawful before Good; Kreth's paladins (of which my character was one) would be more Good than Lawful. Both would have both alignment descriptions, but one would be dominant over the other. Maybe there should be alternate class features (Smite Chaos instead of Smite Evil; Aura of Law instead of Aura of Good; Detect Chaos instead of Detect Evil). It's not exactly dificult to balance...