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A Paladin and Samuel the Deserter

So here an interesting question. On my current run of Bg in which I have a fully created party of a lg Undead hunter lg Ranger, Lg Caviler, LN Thief Mage, LG Conjurer, and LG Cleric of Lanthander. So I wonder how they would react to this in a rp sense. Obliviously Samuel broke the law by deserting, but should he punished because he didn't desert out of cowardice, but out of love for that girl right? So I'm torn on what a Lawful group would actually do.

Blackravenkcwise
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Comments

  • GrumGrum Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 2,100
    Speaking as a soldier I always turn him in.

    No sympathy for people who join in peace and desert when war looms.

    AlexisisinneedBlackravenkcwiseRaduziel
  • GrumGrum Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 2,100
  • jesterdesujesterdesu Member Posts: 373
    LG would turn him in. NG might not, would depend on whether they thought his actions were good/ evil, chaotic good wouldn't turn him him.

    artificial_sunlightkcwiseNimran
  • reedmilfamreedmilfam Member Posts: 2,808
    Based on the way the Flaming Fist operates - very much thugs, based on what my party experienced to that point - my party did not turn him in.

    Yes, FF says, "I am the law!" That statement does not come from an objective source, and our party disagrees. :smiley:

    atcDaveBlackravenkcwise
  • jesterdesujesterdesu Member Posts: 373
    I get ya, however that would be a Neutral good reaction. Lawful good would not condone unlawful actions (deserting in this case), even to leave an unscrupulous group unless perhaps there was absolutely no alternative. The LG response for somebody in Sam's position would be to find a legitimate and lawful way to leave the fists.

    Blackravenkcwise
  • atcDaveatcDave Member Posts: 1,933
    @jesterdesu I think the problem with that is a Paladin's first loyalty is to their church, not the state. So their "law" is the law of their deity, NOT the local government. They may, or may not, consider the local rulers legitimate or godly. And that would determine their response to the FF's claims of authority more than anything an FF enforcer might try to claim.

    AlexisisinneedBlackravenkcwiseTuth
  • jesterdesujesterdesu Member Posts: 373
    Lawful is lawful and means having a respect for law and order of all kinds, even when involving evil doers. Of course being lawful good means being both good and lawful personally.

    The good you describe is more neutral bordering chaotic.

    kcwise
  • atcDaveatcDave Member Posts: 1,933
    No that really isn't what "lawful" means per 2E rule books. It's far more of a "greater good" sort of thing than a "law of the land" thing. Especially for a cleric or paladin, law of the land has little to no bearing. It's all about their faith and their deity.

    kcwise
  • jesterdesujesterdesu Member Posts: 373
    Can't say I have the 2e handbook to reference but I've always taken terms such as "lawful" literally. I've not encountered what you've mentioned regarding deities etc before and it would seem short sighted as it could only apply to Paladins and other pious folk. Are you saying that non-religious cannot be lawful good simply because they might follow the law of man rather than the law of god?

    I found this on wikipedia, which seems to go into some detail regarding ad&d alignments and their origins...

    "Law implies honor, trustworthiness, obedience to authority, and reliability. On the downside, lawfulness can include closed-mindedness, reactionary adherence to tradition, judgmentalness, and a lack of adaptability. Those who consciously promote lawfulness say that only lawful behavior creates a society in which people can depend on each other and make the right decisions in full confidence that others will act as they should."

    You mentioned "greater good", which would suggest neutral good to me, as with that alignment you follow the good path with no specific need for law or chaos.

    I've once also read that lawful good characters most often struggle in situations where the law demands they do something they aren't sure is good, or vice versa, they're compelled to do something good even though the law forbids it; this would appear to quite closely relate to the Samuel situation, as the "good thing would seem to let him get on with it whilst the lawful thing would be to take him back to the fists.

    kcwise
  • jesterdesujesterdesu Member Posts: 373
    This is also from wikipedia, who appear to be quoting 3e.

    "Lawful Good characters, especially paladins, may sometimes find themselves faced with the dilemma of whether to obey law or good when the two conflict: for example, in upholding a sworn oath when it would lead innocents to come to harm; or where legal injunctions conflict, such as between their religious law and the law of the local ruler."

    This suggests that for a lawful character there is no outright winner between the law of their god and the laws of the land - rather it poses a potential dilemma for him as they're asked to break one law to preserve another.

    kcwise
  • jesterdesujesterdesu Member Posts: 373
    edited April 2015
    Neutral good from 3e/ wikipedia:

    "A Neutral Good character typically acts altruistically, without regard for or against Lawful precepts such as rules or tradition.[citation needed] A Neutral Good character has no problems with co-operating with lawful officials, but does not feel beholden to them. In the event that doing the right thing requires the bending or breaking of rules, they do not suffer the same inner conflict that a Lawful Good character would."

    Not shopping Sam for breaking his oath is a definite bending or even breaking of the rules...

    kcwise
  • atcDaveatcDave Member Posts: 1,933
    Neither Wikipedia nor 3E are quite right.

    The alignments are defined by "the universe" or the gods or some such. This obviously has the greatest influence on those who draw their powers from such spiritual sources, but the definitions should apply to all.

    The obvious fall out of this is that a government and its laws can be corrupt, can be immoral, or can be full blown evil. In all such cases a lawful type, especially a lawful-good type may take issue with such a government. That may mean quietly following their own conscience, or it may mean a full out act of war against such a government.
    It is easy to construct a scenario of a lawful-good church or group of Paladin's being at war, possibly even a sort of secret covert war against a very wicked government.

    I think the easiest way to grasp it as a "higher calling" sort of thing. Or who you get your marching orders from.

    kcwise
  • GrumGrum Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 2,100
    elminster said:

    Grum said:


    He deserts. Is it for love? No. It can't be, because as it has been shown, other FFMs have relationships. The only rational reason on why he is deserting is because he doesn't want to fight in a war.

    All we know is that Gallena says that Lena convinced him to leave the fist.

    We don't know the reason she asked him to desert. It could be that his equipment was falling apart (the flaming fist member that is after him does say when charmed that the city is facing serious supply issues when it comes to iron). So if her reason is that she doesn't want him to fight in a war it could just as well be that she doesn't want him to fight in a war with broken equipment and half a sword. :)
    Then more fool be he. Baldur's Gate is a port city. The Iron Throne...imported iron. I mean...wow! Imagine that? Iron shortage in a major trading city, so the city just buys the iron it needs. The original iron throne plan was just that: to jack up the prices of iron and to sell their stock at a profit.

    Just because things look bad to you doesn't mean that you should break your oaths and run away.

    So love...not an excuse.

    Iron crisis? A temporary one, at best. So that doesn't hold water either.

    JuliusBorisovkcwise
  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 16,153
    He and Lena have no way of knowing that it is a temporary issue. Just like the Flaming Fist member who is chasing him (who again is the one to bring it up) has no way of knowing.

    The Seven Suns and the Merchant League are not going to be in the position to be supplying the city with Iron. Given that these are some of the largest trading companies on the Sword Coast this presents quite a problem for the city if they are looking to import. Which (along with the increase in the price of iron) explains the crisis.

    A character doesn't know the position or reasons for Samuels desertion when they find him. All they know is that he is a deserter who is in need of medical help.

    JuliusBorisovkcwise
  • BlackravenBlackraven Member Posts: 3,289
    Grum, I think the most important part of elminster's post is the following
    elminster said:

    We don't know the reason she asked him to desert

    The game leaves a lot of room for interpretation in the context of the Samuel encounter. Why did Samuel desert? Why was he injured? (Do we know that? I'm not sure.) What about due process? Is the Fist going to judge Samuel, or will there be an independent tribunal? What would be Samuel's sentence if he were to be found guilty? What penalty would be proportionate?

    I agree with @Jarrakul in that alignment can only do so much for handling this matter. Much depends on the character's beliefs and on whatever little details we make up to flesh out Samuel's case.

    kcwise
  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 16,153
    edited April 2015
    We don't know how he was injured. We just know that Lena says they have been in the wilderness for over one week.

    BlackravenJuliusBorisovkcwise
  • kcwisekcwise Member Posts: 2,287
    Given his poor health when you encounter Samuel I think a paladin might very well consider the saving of a life to be of paramount importance to dealing with the issue of desertion. It's one of the few timed quests in the game. If the paladin doesn't rush immediately to the Friendly Arm after picking him up Samual can die. Also, although the game does not allow for it, why wouldn't the paladin simply report Sam to the authorities after he had taken him to the Friendly Arm? Given its position near Baldur's Gate it would seem Flaming Fist patrols would likely be traveling through. Of course, a paladin might also find the Flaming Fist merc in the area and explain the situation, offering him a chance to accompany them to the healer and thereby keep the deserter in custody.

    BlackravenJuliusBorisovNimranTuth
  • JoshBGJoshBG Member Posts: 91
    edited April 2015
    Jarrakul said:

    This is one of those times when I feel like the alignment system leads to people asking the wrong questions. The question shouldn't be "what would a lawful good character do?". The question should be "what would this character do, and what alignment best describes that?". Alignment is meant to reflect a character's decisions, not to inform them.

    Actually, your first question is the correct one. In PnP D&D, the alignment is fundamental, dictates the character, and is not flexible. Or, rather, its only flexibility lies in the fact that it can be changed via character's actions. If a character does something what conflicts with his/her alignment(in our case, LG/LN character not turning Samuel in), the DM in PnP would change his/her alignment.

    However, in BG it's done poorly. You can turn Samuel in only by lying. The only option for an LG character, without dividing by zero, is;

    1) Not asking the name
    2) Promising that you'll take him to FA
    3) Keeping the promise

    Maybe some additional roleplaying via laying hands on him. If I'm playing, say, a CN character, I may just say that I don't have time for this, but I may also drop a few healing potions near him.

    And still, it makes little sense, because it's obvious who he is.

    Musignykcwise
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    The Flaming Fist aren't very good people in many cases, meaning a LG character probably ought to help the 'deserter', as long as they are convinced he didn't desert for a dishonourable reason... some Paladins wouldn't accept 'romantic love'. He stole some very valuable goods when he ditched remember, so I could see some Paladins turning him in. Overall, I'd expect most LG characters to help him, not sure what LE would do; he'd be much more interested in the stolen goods! LN would be likely to just turn him in and be done with the sordid tale.

    I've never turned him in though, iirc I have just ignored the 'quest' altogether when evil.

    kcwise
  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 16,153
    edited April 2015
    DreadKhan said:

    He stole some very valuable goods when he ditched remember

    You might be getting this from a mod or something. Its not mentioned by Lena, Samuel, the Flaming Fist Mercenary that is looking for him or Gellana.

    JuliusBorisovMusignykcwise
  • jesterdesujesterdesu Member Posts: 373
    DreadKhan said:

    The Flaming Fist aren't very good people in many cases, meaning a LG character probably ought to help the 'deserter', as long as they are convinced he didn't desert for a dishonourable reason... some Paladins wouldn't accept 'romantic love'. He stole some very valuable goods when he ditched remember, so I could see some Paladins turning him in. Overall, I'd expect most LG characters to help him, not sure what LE would do; he'd be much more interested in the stolen goods! LN would be likely to just turn him in and be done with the sordid tale.

    I've never turned him in though, iirc I have just ignored the 'quest' altogether when evil.

    I can't agree that a lawful character would help a thief to break their path and desert, even if the organisation were of dubious morals. Anyone LG would see this as 2 wrongs to make a right.

    kcwise
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    elminster said:

    DreadKhan said:

    He stole some very valuable goods when he ditched remember

    You might be getting this from a mod or something. Its not mentioned by Lena, Samuel, the Flaming Fist Mercenary that is looking for him or Gellana.
    Could be, I haven't played truly vanilla BG1 in many, many years. In tutu the Flamming Fist guy mentions it, but it might be an add in to explain the lootz on that map.

    DreadKhan said:

    The Flaming Fist aren't very good people in many cases, meaning a LG character probably ought to help the 'deserter', as long as they are convinced he didn't desert for a dishonourable reason... some Paladins wouldn't accept 'romantic love'. He stole some very valuable goods when he ditched remember, so I could see some Paladins turning him in. Overall, I'd expect most LG characters to help him, not sure what LE would do; he'd be much more interested in the stolen goods! LN would be likely to just turn him in and be done with the sordid tale.

    I've never turned him in though, iirc I have just ignored the 'quest' altogether when evil.

    I can't agree that a lawful character would help a thief to break their path and desert, even if the organisation were of dubious morals. Anyone LG would see this as 2 wrongs to make a right.
    I think most Lawful Good characters tend to have very dim views of any evil organization (ie even a LE ones, which could easily be 'legitimate', like Iron Throne or Knights of the Shield), and Flamming Fist seems to exude some serious Lawful Stupid in the game. I could see a Paladin of Helm siding with the Fist mind you, and perhaps Torm, but even Helm has 'exceptions'... ie if Samuel needed to desert/steal to help children, Helm would be much more forgiving. Even then Helmites would strongly encourage finding a better, more legal, way to help.

    If a LG character is more dominated by his L side vs G, they might well turn him in, since the explanation is a questionable one, but most LG characters in games are more good than lawful; original D&D was more Law vs Chaos, but it very much ended up more Good vs Evil. If you have read OOTS, there is a funny comic in which Elan complains about only having a Good and Evil conscience on his shoulders, but quickly realizes that the Inevitable and Slaad aren't very relevant if you can't speak binary, or understand pure gibberish. The ideals of Good and Evil are much more relateable to modern sensabilities.

    Curious here, I wonder how a LG follower of Ilmater would view this dilemma. They are the true 'goody goodies' of FR I'd say.

    atcDavekcwise
  • jesterdesujesterdesu Member Posts: 373
    Helm is lawful neutral so he'd truly put law above all else. A lawful good character is often going to be in conflict, as will any alignment without neutral in it.

    kcwise
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