Discussion:Codes of Conduct

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What do People Think About Codes of Conduct?[edit]

TG Cid 19:35, 30 June 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Personally, I think codes of conduct for any class (the paladin, to cite a well-known example) suck. The idea of having a class that must absolutely maintain a strict code is not only unfair to the character (not to mention his party, who have to contend with his mewling moral chastising) but also somewhat contrary to the diversity of the DnD world. It is impossible to have a diverse party if your lawful good paladin cannot associate with, say, your neutral evil assassin. Now the obvious answer to that could be "don't have an evil assassin" but I think that the better solution might be to not have a paladin. Codes of conduct are so limiting that they inhibit the character's actions so that he doesn't lose his class abilities. It's fine to be holy and righteous and whatever, but just don't rob me of my class abilities for a minor misdeed. As the epitome of good, the paladin has a little justification in this respect, but not enough to make it worth having a code. In my mind, having a character who is so morally inhibited saps the fun out of the great game that is DnD.

Lord Dhazriel 20:00, 30 June 2009 (MDT)[edit]

The paladin code of conduct is a good example of complete crap. It was horribly done. It a dark gift dating from AD&D, where GM were encouraged to actively kill their player and/or make their life as much miserable as possible. Code of Conducts are not stupid by themselves, it just need to be a clear and simple one. And not tied to some unclear concept like good or evil, or law and chaos. By example if I make a class called a silence monk, their code of conduct would be: do not speak. It simple, cannot be twisted by a evil DM (he can still use compulsion to make you speak, but he can do so with everything really). And for permanent class feature loss... as you guess it was still another tool to make a paladin as miserable as possible. A better alternative is to make him lose some spells slot or smite evil uses. Except of course if the Paladin freak out a commit a genocide. No code of conduct give a darker and edgier feel to the game I like, a paladin killing an orphan for stealing food and never lose his power make the game darker. I am not a big fan of alignment myself. Personally I like the apathy of God(s) feeling, of course not everyone like their game more grimdark.

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) . Please sign your posts! 01:44, 5 July 2009[edit]

I've got player with a Paladin of my world's god of war, and when he received his calling (at the time he was a 4th level fighter) I gave him a 10 point code. Kind of like the Geneva Convention, if it was written by Richard the Lionheart. Stuff like "accept a surrender", "do not send your men to be slaughtered unless there's a really good reason", and "if you must kill a prisoner, do it quick." Having specific codes for specific paladins is much more realistic, and can make for interesting conflict if two paladins of different gods have to work together. But fundamentally, I believe the class needs a code. You get to be a fighter with a bunch of spells and undead turning and a mount that vanishes every night so it's snoring doesn't keep the rest of the party awake. Sure, you don't get the feats, but on the whole I think a code helps to address the imbalance of the class. "You want to all the shiny toys? Fine, but there's going to be a cost - and the cost is sometimes having narrower choices than the party's chaotic neutral rogue." All within reason, of course.

By the way, this is my first post. Hello to everyone.


Surgo 10:21, 5 July 2009 (MDT)[edit]

The imbalance of the class? The only imbalance with the Paladin is that it's weaker than half the classes in the core books -- something that a code hardly helps to address.

But even if it was stronger, roleplaying restrictions for mechanical power is a big pile of fail. That's part of the reason that the Book of Exalted Deeds was such a huge flop -- it was practically built on the idea that such things were acceptable.

TG Cid 12:08, 5 July 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Perhaps they made it with the idea that you were supposed to be the paragon of all that is good, but it really didn't do that to the extent that it justified cutting the party's combat options off at the ankles. To the extent of my knowledge, the paladin not only must not commit an evil act him/herself, but they also cannot be an accessory to such an act. This basically seems to ensure that everyone in a paladin's party has to be as goody-goody-two-shoes as he is. Otherwise, when your rogue slips some poison on his weapon and prepares to sneak attack the big bad villain, your paladin will jump out and say, "Poison is for cowards. I challenge you to an honor duel!" right before he gets shanked in the back. Giving a paladin a code of conduct is making him the everpresent hindrance and spoilsport of a party, at least until someone gets the sense to cut his throat (that was my suggestion to my party that suffered from Paladin Cancer).

I would rather have an SRD fighter (and that's saying something), or at least switch the paladin to blackguard ASAP so that the rules don't apply (my group's final solution).

TheWarforgedArtificer 12:18, 5 July 2009 (MDT)[edit]

For what it's worth, I agree with the above IP. The only problem with the paladin's code of conduct was that it wasn't specified, but his solution to that is pretty clever. I may use it myself.

TK-Squared 12:55, 5 July 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Additionally, a paladin’s 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.
—Code of Conduct, Paladin

It is specified.

TheWarforgedArtificer 12:59, 5 July 2009 (MDT)[edit]

I meant specified like he specified it, a 10-point list of the exact things the paladin must uphold. Note that the thing you quoted says "and so forth", which leaves it slightly ambiguous. That's what I meant.

TK-Squared 13:05, 5 July 2009 (MDT)[edit]


  1. Authority!
  2. Honour!
  3. Virtue!
  4. Purity!
  5. Truth!
  6. Hospitality!
  7. Judgement!

It's only a four part list.

TheWarforgedArtificer 13:13, 5 July 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Yeah, single words. Not specific/detailed enough for me (but that's just me ;) ).

TK-Squared 13:30, 5 July 2009 (MDT)[edit]


  1. Authority! Uphold the laws of the land. You are not exempt from any laws just because you are a divinely appointed being. Anyone found to be breaking the laws of a land should be subjugated to the appropriate punishment for the crime for the criminal system. No person is exempt from the law unless specified within the law!
  2. Piety! Show faith and belief in your divine lord and do right by him. Do your deeds in his name and never show shame in your religious beliefs. But, the world has multiple faiths. Do not slander another for their religious belief, unless they worship an evil god or belief.
  3. Honour! Always fight with honour and duty; do not strike an enemy that slumbers nor slay an unarmed opponent. A sporting chance is always fair in battle and mercy must always be given when asked for. Poisons and other such malarkey are distinctly dishonourable, as is murder and assassination.
  4. Virtue! As a beacon of good, you should always up hold your virtue and righteousness as a burning torch for others to follow. Never back down from evil and never surrender against an enemy that wishes to pervert justice. Turn not a blind eye and bring justice to the unlawful.
  5. Purity! Don't tap that ass if you're not bound by wedlock, or whatever sort of binding contract that is similar to marriage your deity has. Do not slander others and do not lose your innocence. You are bound by the laws even more than those you hunt; act as role model and be pure.
  6. Truth! Lies are the tools of evil and they are created to misguide and mislead people. Do not utter a single untruth, you must be truthful and freely give information that could prove vital. Whiles lies may misguide, the truth puts people onto the right path. If you speak the truth at all times, some may not accept it; but is their and they must deal with it.
  7. Hospitality! The sick are not there to be ignored, they are your burden as well. Heal those that require aid and do not let others suffer; even if they are your enemy. Do not refuse healing to anyone, good or evil; continuing the suffering of a mortal being is torture. Aid the homeless and the poor, shelter the less fortunate from the storm and offer your hand in service at all times.
  8. Judgement! Even after all these, you are a divinely appointed distributor of justice. If in a corrupt land with corrupt laws, you may wear the tabard of your god and declare an Inquisition. During an Inquisiton in corrupt lands, you may ignore the laws of the lands in order to weed out the source of the corruption and destroy it, for great justice. While under the tabard of your god in an Inquisition, you are under his law; rather than the land's law and, therefore, are exempt from the land's law, but instead adhere to the laws of your god.
"ass" is not civil (1:3). --Green Dragon 05:29, 4 January 2010 (UTC).

TheWarforgedArtificer 13:39, 5 July 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Now that's a code of conduct! (aside from the wording of the "purity" section) I might even borrow that too, thanks... >:]

Dragon Child 13:43, 5 July 2009 (MDT)[edit]

QUOTE: To the extent of my knowledge, the paladin not only must not commit an evil act him/herself, but they also cannot be an accessory to such an act. This basically seems to ensure that everyone in a paladin's party has to be as goody-goody-two-shoes as he is. Otherwise, when your rogue slips some poison on his weapon and prepares to sneak attack the big bad villain, your paladin will jump out and say, "Poison is for cowards. I challenge you to an honor duel!" right before he gets shanked in the back.

I have to comment on this. Not only should poison NOT be an evil act, it's really stupid that the paladin is against using it. If there's a demon-possessed child, or a rampaging bear attacking a village, and the party ranger suggests they use tranquilizer dart arrows or crossbow bolts, the paladin has to.... refuse? Call the ranger evil? Attack the small child with his sword? Really, that's just stupid - the poison restriction is totally unnecessary. As is the restriction about not being able to associate with evil creatures, which, in my mind, makes it so EVERY paladin is a jackass. Instead of just stabbing every single evil creature in the face, do you know what a person who was REALLY worthy of respect would do? He would try to rehabilitate them.

TG Cid 16:15, 5 July 2009 (MDT)[edit]

I'm with you, DC. The use of poison is not, in itself, an evil act. Niether is lying. It's all about the context in which these acts are used. What if the paladin had to lie about his identity to get into an evil city to take down the big bad? "Oh man, now I lost all my paladin abilities because I lied about my identity to the chaotic evil ogre guard at the entrance to the hive of damned souls! I knew I should have just joined all the other paladins who were being hung from the city walls!" Somehow, I can imagine that monologue taking place a lot more often than I should.

It's extremely unfair that the paladin has the ability to stab the aforementioned ogre guard in the face with no repercussions, but can't simply tell a little lie to advance without blowing cover. I'm not too sure about rehabilitation (DnD seems to operate under the basic premise that most enemies you fight are evil to the core, and that the only people who can spontaneously change alignment are good), but the fact remains that playing a paladin is a roleplayer's worst nightmare.

Jota 17:20, 5 July 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Or wet dream, if you want a challenge.

"wet dream" is not civil or on topic (1:1). --Green Dragon 05:29, 4 January 2010 (UTC). 21:57, 3 January 2010 (MST)[edit]

I have an idea. Varying codes of conduct. Couldn't one just allow a Paladin to worship any Deity he chooses, make him have his alignment be within one step of the deity's (a la Cleric, and alter the code of conduct to match said alignment?

Example: A Paladin of Kologramathan (made up LE deity), would have to obey regulations and laws to the best of his ability, while trying not to commit good acts unless they were performed with the ultimate goal of evil (Example: Saving a farmer to extort him later; Saving a town so he would gain the trust of local figures *all the better to kill them*).

Regulus 21:42, 24 March 2010 (UTC)[edit]

Seems like a lot of people have lawful good confused with lawful stupid. The way a paladin enacts his moral code can have varying levels of severity. For example, more relaxed paladins may not confront morally misguided party members for minor things such as using poison or sneaking around, choosing instead to poke fun at their comrade's cowardice and lack of fighting prowess to have to rely on such underhanded tactics. Being Lawful Good does not mean you have to be Judge Dredd. When I'm dealing with paladins, I like to use the rule that confronted with an ethical dilemma, the paladin puts what is good before what is lawful, so it would not be out of conduct for a paladin to spare a starving peasant stealing from a shop-keeper's stand (Not before a stern lecture on the virtues of hard work and a reminder that repeat offenses will not be tolerated, of course). Many players look at a moral code and view it as a restriction whereas a paladin player should look at it as something to take pride in.

P.S. I usually don't enforce the "evil" alignment requirement for assassins. Mechanics-wise they're just characters who are extremely efficient at landing one-shot kills as a result of careful planning before an attack. By that logic, any sniper should be neutral evil. Now, if you openly market yourself as a contract killer, I'd argue you might be fulfilling the requirements of neutral evil, but that's only because of your actions, not your class. --Regulus 21:42, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

Forte 20:51, 24 March 2010 (Eastern)[edit]

I can't quite remember the book. But the "Knight Class" has a code of honor that is both flavorful and fully detailed. I would suggest you take a look at that and then change it to suit your needs.

Another option is to take a look at the the plethora of variant paladin classes that do not require him/her to be lawful, or even good. Finally there are MANY prestige classes that add a great amount of flavor and strength to a very weak class, but one which great potential. The Paladin is great starting place for anyone, but think of it as your first job. Do you keep cutting grass forever? Or do you eventually work your way up to be the ULTIMATE DRAGON RIDER KNIGHT OF EBERRON DISPENSING JUSTICE AS YOU SEE FIT, BWUAHAHAHAAH...errr I mean, running your own lawn care company....to take over the WORLD.

 Airos  Talk  Contribs  Email  17:34, 5 April 2010 (UTC)[edit]

Personally, I've always liked the 'taboos' for Wu Jen, (Oriental Adventures/Complete Arcane). Minor 'rules' of spiritual significance, and if you break them no spells for the rest of the day.

I think it's important for codes of conduct for any class that's a member of some sort of guild or order. While the average adventurer is little more than a mercenary following their own rules, a member of a thieves' guild, a knightly order, a church or an arcane order is representing that order/god/ruler. Just like real world cops have rules about when they can discharge their firearms, knights should have rules about when they can un-sheath their swords. Ultimately I feel they do have a place in D&D. It should be a choice, and if you don't want to follow a code then build your character differently, (such as a cleric/fighter instead of a paladin).

A code shouldn't prevent a character from doing his or her job, but it should prevent them from making a mockery of whatever cause they follow.

I like the idea of the 10 point code, and this sounds like an interesting creative writing project for myself. I may write up some 'generic' codes that can be dropped into each basic role, (fighter, cleric, wizard, rogue), with a few extras, (maybe 15-20 rules), so they can be adapted according to the order.

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