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Questions about Paladins

inkblowoutinkblowout Member Posts: 16
I've posted this on the steam forums but I recently found that beamdog generally has a bigger audience so I wanted to post my question here... so here goes...

This has bugged me for a bit so bear with me if I make this wayyyy to complicated then I should.

But I'm on my first playthrough of BG2 I'm currently playing as a paladin. So I recruited Keldorn and I had him in my party for quite some time so I know what kind of character he is. And from the looks of him so far, he seems the lawful good type like he is... but I find that he is really ruthless toward those that committed a crime and evil characters as a whole. For example

1. That mission where Edwin wants you to kill the Cowled Wizard that's on his case.... Keldorn states that the cowled wizard isn't to be considered as innocent and I should do the deed and kill him. (Keep in mind that I only kill in self-defense really.)

2. Hatred toward Viconia because she is a Drow and attacking her even when she has done no crime. (It really must suck being a drow)

3. One piece of dialogue with Jaheria and Keldorn states that Keldorn shows no sympathy or sees that his enemies could be redeemed.

Now what bugs me is that I play as a Paladin and I do not act like this lol. I usually show mercy to people and I don't really break laws except for breaking in homes, (gotta explore everything yo.) and stop those who do break them (I confront them verbally but never fight unless I have no choice.) But seeing Keldorn actually puts a surprise because I feel like I'm not playing a paladin correctly. And seeing how Ajantis and Anomen act the same way... I'm surprised how ruthless they can be at times like sometimes I view Keldorn just as bad as Viconia because of their extreme prejudices toward a race/group of people.

So my question about paladins are...

Is Keldorn a good example of a paladin?

Why are most paladins such as Keldorn/Ajantis (Specifically) ruthless?

Am I playing a Paladin correctly? (Enforcing the law, seeking justice but showing mercy to those, even to those that deserve it. and using violence as a last resort if he doesn't wish to listen and etc....)

EDIT: Now I stated I go in a more negotiable route than going in headstrong and killing all evil... which brings me up to Jaheria/Keldorn's Banter... I feel like that purging evil is possible by non-violence (as shown with Viconia's alignment change and many NPCs that redeemed or found the good in their ways in some missions that I've done in BG1/BG2.)

I feel like that I'm doing a good job with being a Paladin so far... and I guess Keldorn's devotion to Torm and being a inquistor is the answer way Keldorn is ruthless.

Just my thoughts... what are yours on paladin rules and whatnot?
johntyl
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Comments

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,006
    I believe there is a rather long thread about this topic somewhere on this forum. Maybe reading that discussion will help you understand people's positions on the matter.

    Personally I feel it's very problematic to talk about this because good/evil are very difficult concepts in a world where metaphysics are a tangible reality. If deities literally exist and walk among us, there are whole new dimensions of morality to explore that do not necessarily gel to well with our understanding of the concept as coming from a world where good, evil, righteousness, and so on are purely abstract constructs rather than, essentially, elementary forces of the universe.
    Mantis37Aerakarjohntyl
  • tbone1tbone1 Member Posts: 636
    Keldorn is probably best described as "Lawful Good, but more Lawful than Good". At least in our modern eyes. Keep in mind that a) this game isn't set on Earth, and b) it's not a time like ours. In another thread I said that the best analog for Keldorn and his social class was probably the Prussian Junkers, and having recentlybread a biography of Frederick the Great, I think it's a good comparison. Someone born into Keldorn's class in Amn will fear disorder as much as evil, if not moreso. Since the Cowled Wizards are a law unto themselves, they are not to be trusted, much as the Junkers didn't really trust the clergy or foreign merchants. Likewise, Keldorn has probably fought Drow and lost many friends to them. We know enough of the Drow to know they aren't what you would call "honorable". Heck, I don't think he'd trust Driz'zt.

    Yet all this would fall under "Lawful Good".

    There are quite a few who dismiss this as an alignment, often calling it "Lawful Stupid", but I've found it one of the more challenging alignments to role play.
    ThacoBellAerakarlelag200
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 1,526
    It appears to be a pretty challenging role to play in Amn as well - consider the number of Fallen Paladins in the quest you get at the Bridge District (and there's not too much sympathy for them at the Order of the Radiant Heart) :p.

    I think the attitude shown by Keldorn in the game is reasonable though. Rather than thinking of 'good' in it's current wider moral context, consider it as more of a religious term (which is probably how it would be viewed in the game universe). 'Good' can then easily be equated with 'whatever we do to others is justified by our faith'. You can see that type of attitude in extremist religions today, but if you want an example more directly related to paladins then think about the Knights Templar - their founding concept was Lawful Good, but their methods in imposing their view of what was 'good' on others don't sit easily with modern ideas.
    Aerakarjohntyl
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,006
    You don't even have to look back that far. Just looking towards people who literally have a Commandment saying "Do Not Kill" yet are happy executing and going to war is enough.

    That's the thing about "good" and "evil" and all such concepts. They're very difficult to grasp, and very open to interpretation.

    It's been discussed on here, at length, in numerous places. Some more successfully than others.
    johntyl
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 2,630
    Paladins can be played many different ways. Keldorn is (as said above) edged more closely to law rather than good. In my personal opinion, the best exemplary of the Paladin ideal in the game is Mazzy. Who holds herself up to a very paladin standard as a Truesword of Arvoreen, and she leans a little more towards good than lawful.
    tbone1
  • fatelessfateless Member Posts: 291
    The way you play your paladin is actually a very fair and respectable way to play one. There are certain limits they don't tolerate. But those limits tend to be abused a bit by some of the more hardline types. Keldorn and Ajantis in some ways are those hardliners. Actively seeking to harm what they perceive as evil. While some are more diplomatic and personable about how they approach dealing with others through their views.

    Mazzy being a fine example in some ways of this other style even though the game doesn't count her technically as a paladin. She actually is a kind of paladin from Paladin supplemental materials. I do wish she had been implemented a bit better in design into the game to reflect that but we didn't get that. Perhaps that is another thing that they just didn't quite have the time to finish properly but luckily for our sakes didnt' get scrapped completely.
    ThacoBelltbone1
  • karl_maulderkarl_maulder Member Posts: 106
    edited June 22
    @inkblowout Wizards of the coast released a book called Book of exalted deeds (D&D 3.5E), that discusses how good characters should act and behave. Although it's intended as a guide for a more adult crowd, i still think it's an interesting book for any roleplayer. BoED discuss forgivness, and redeeming, on how to do in a situation when a villain wants to redeem herself, surrenders, or if killing is ever justified. Can prejudice ever be acceptable? There are clear similarities between christianity and the etically beliefs in the realm of most D&D settings.

    Personally, i belive a Paladin is better than just a simple zealot that wants to eradicate the world of all creatures that have a different view than his or her deity. But i guess it's mostly up to the DM to decide the definition of good or bad.
    Post edited by karl_maulder on
  • AttalusAttalus Member Posts: 148
    Firstly, Keldorn says something nice about Drizzt when you encounter his jolly party right after emerging from the Underdark. Surprised me. Secondly, the Commandment is better translated as "Thou shalt do no murder," which is more consistent, considering the amount of killing done in the Old Testament by the Children of Israel. Other than that, I agree with what others have posted about Paladins being played as good and kindly sorts. You can obey the law and not be prejudiced or harsh. Heck, that pretty much describes me and my friends most of the time. :)
    ThacoBellAerakar
  • JidokwonJidokwon Member Posts: 196
    I've often heard in these very forums that there is Lawful Good and then that there is Lawful Stupid. More often than not, Keldorn is Lawful Stupid as opposed to Lawful Good. Keldorn wouldn't hesitate at all in committing infanticide against a mostly evil stereotype, for instance, as made obvious in his treatment of Viconia. That's not something that I could see any real paladin or Lawful Good character doing. I really liked the example given in SoU's paladin trial.
  • karnor00karnor00 Member Posts: 641
    I would also point out that Viconia is evil. It says right there on her character sheet, and as a paladin with sense evil, Keldorn will know this. So he dislikes her for this reason, not just because she is drow - Keldorn has nice things to say about Drizzt after all.

    Viconia may be a bit nicer than some evil characters (and in ToB can be converted to good) and true she does get persecuted just for being drow, but if you pay close attention to the stuff she says, most of it is fairly evil.
  • AttalusAttalus Member Posts: 148
    Just a note to say that Vickie can only be changed to TN in my game, anyway. Corrections accepted . I would argue, though, that she was TN all along, as her refusal to sacrifice the infant shows.
    inkblowout
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,088
    Is Keldorn a good Paladin?
    Yes for now.

    Why are they ruthless?
    Because they have been indoctrinated/brainwashed.

    Am I a good Paladin?
    Probably not.

    You need to get your head around belief, a thing people nowadays find it very hard to do. Always excuses for the actions. Rather than understanding there is no ambiguity in the minds of the people commiting the actions. People really, really believe they are doing right.

    So Keldorn will attack Viconia and he is right to do so by his belief. Only way he will be stopped, will be by the majority stopping and punishing him because they disagree.

    So can you stop him if he's in your party with Viconia? I don't know.
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 2,630
    Jidokwon said:

    I've often heard in these very forums that there is Lawful Good and then that there is Lawful Stupid. More often than not, Keldorn is Lawful Stupid as opposed to Lawful Good. Keldorn wouldn't hesitate at all in committing infanticide against a mostly evil stereotype, for instance, as made obvious in his treatment of Viconia. That's not something that I could see any real paladin or Lawful Good character doing. I really liked the example given in SoU's paladin trial.

    That's not really fair to Keldorn, NOTHING in game comes anywhere near implying that he would commit infanticide. He's not lawful stupid, so much as a somewhat jaded paladin that tends to err on the side of law over good. Remember that when this game came out, Paladins tended to be written really one-note. Super self righteous Dudley do-right types that were fully one dimensional. Keldorn feels like an intentional subversion of the trope. He is human, he has very real flaws, and is certainly not always right. His personal quest shows that he is also far less self-confident in what is truly right when what he feels is the right thing comes into conflict with the law.
    Artona
  • ZaramMaldovarZaramMaldovar Member Posts: 773
    Well Keldorn is an Inquistor, so he's likely to be more judgemental than the others. He is not a good example of the average Paladin, but he is the best example of the Inquistor Paladin. Ajantis probably would have been a Cavalier, had he made it to NPC status in BG2.

    Keldorn is still a good man, he is just misguided at times.
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,006
    edited June 28

    Keldorn is still a good man, he is just misguided at times.

    But isn't that the thing? How far can you go before you're just "misguided" rather than "not good"? And what tells you that is how far, and not farther?

    I mean, I have a hard time calling someone a "good man" when he's literally pleased to watch a mob burn a woman alive because of her race. You don't just do that for a minute, then go back to being "good".
  • Mantis37Mantis37 Member Posts: 301
    Keldorn has a Detect Evil sensor... it's hard for us to apply modern ethics to this, especially as the world is level based too, which makes a high level wizard a walking rocket launcher. One has to look at sci-fi scenarios like Minority Report perhaps. If you are of high level and of evil alignment it can be argued that any group of Paladins would regard you as a potential threat to the safety of others.(Low-level peons not as much perhaps.) How they react may depend on the local culture... and indeed the game system being used! Arguably many gameworlds no more consider these aspects than they do the implications of resurrection/ undeath. And that's without even looking at the D&D afterlife...

    (Hmm, this gives me a random topic idea... https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/65360/what-would-you-do/p1)
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,006
    Mantis37 said:

    Keldorn has a Detect Evil sensor... it's hard for us to apply modern ethics to this

    So why are people complaining about "lawful stupid"? Or is it perhaps that just because someone is flagged as "evil" (not even going into the whole issue of how that is supposed to work) doesn't automatically mean you get to burn them at the stake? Seems to me that you can't have it both ways. Either you follow your "evil detector" and eradicate the bad without fail, or you use more judgment than that, in which case Keldorn's actions become highly questionable.
  • karnor00karnor00 Member Posts: 641

    Mantis37 said:

    Keldorn has a Detect Evil sensor... it's hard for us to apply modern ethics to this

    So why are people complaining about "lawful stupid"? Or is it perhaps that just because someone is flagged as "evil" (not even going into the whole issue of how that is supposed to work) doesn't automatically mean you get to burn them at the stake? Seems to me that you can't have it both ways. Either you follow your "evil detector" and eradicate the bad without fail, or you use more judgment than that, in which case Keldorn's actions become highly questionable.
    I don't see Keldorns actions as questionable simply because he doesn't immediately jump in to stop the execution

    It happens in the middle of the government district, right in front of the guards which tells me that the legal system must be okay with it

    I think that this alone would be sufficient reason for Keldorn not to intervene. But on top of that, Keldorn can sense that Viconia is evil.

    If Viconia is saved and joins the party then Keldorn doesn't fight her immediately. It's only after he gets to know her better that he realises his Paladin code won't let him simply overlook her evil ways.
    ThacoBellFoxter
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,006
    karnor00 said:

    I don't see Keldorns actions as questionable simply because he doesn't immediately jump in to stop the execution

    It happens in the middle of the government district, right in front of the guards which tells me that the legal system must be okay with it

    Isn't that almost the definition of "lawful stupid"? Because simply following the law is far from being "good" (especially in a jurisdiction where corruption is rampant).

    But even if it simply were that, Keldorn doesn't just not intervene, he APPROVES of what is happening. And if you let Viconia actually be burned to death, he's pleased with the result. He did not simply condone burning a woman alive - without trial, and with no cause other than her race - he actively thinks it was correct to do so.

    I mean, why do they even HAVE laws when all you need is a paladin's "evil sensor". Evil? Burn. No questions asked.

    Don't tell me that is "good", in the understanding of either world.
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 2,630

    karnor00 said:

    I don't see Keldorns actions as questionable simply because he doesn't immediately jump in to stop the execution

    It happens in the middle of the government district, right in front of the guards which tells me that the legal system must be okay with it

    Isn't that almost the definition of "lawful stupid"? Because simply following the law is far from being "good" (especially in a jurisdiction where corruption is rampant).

    But even if it simply were that, Keldorn doesn't just not intervene, he APPROVES of what is happening. And if you let Viconia actually be burned to death, he's pleased with the result. He did not simply condone burning a woman alive - without trial, and with no cause other than her race - he actively thinks it was correct to do so.

    I mean, why do they even HAVE laws when all you need is a paladin's "evil sensor". Evil? Burn. No questions asked.

    Don't tell me that is "good", in the understanding of either world.
    You say this, yet evil and good are both quantifiable in this universe. She pings evil to his detection ability, and guess what, she is. Its not like IRL where good and evil are concepts as opposed to measurable forces.
    Quartz
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,006
    edited June 29
    ThacoBell said:

    You say this, yet evil and good are both quantifiable in this universe. She pings evil to his detection ability, and guess what, she is. Its not like IRL where good and evil are concepts as opposed to measurable forces.

    I'm not disputing this. It's the miracle exemption we can grant the setting.

    The problem is that it's handled hypocritically. The world of BG is FULL of evil people, and yet they aren't simply rounded up and burnt at the stake, despite plenty of paladins around to "ping" them. Which means they obviously don't just go around killing everyone who registers as "evil". Heck they have a fully functioning legal system, with laws, prisons, and everything. Yet somehow it is okay to see a drow, and then just burn her alive at the stake without trial or a second thought, despite her not actually having DONE anything to offend? For no reason other than her race? THAT is the hypocrisy.

    And it should be noted that characters like Aerie do in fact have a problem with this, despite her being very much subject to racial bias against drow.
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 2,630

    ThacoBell said:

    You say this, yet evil and good are both quantifiable in this universe. She pings evil to his detection ability, and guess what, she is. Its not like IRL where good and evil are concepts as opposed to measurable forces.

    I'm not disputing this. It's the miracle exemption we can grant the setting.

    The problem is that it's handled hypocritically. The world of BG is FULL of evil people, and yet they aren't simply rounded up and burnt at the stake, despite plenty of paladins around to "ping" them. Which means they obviously don't just go around killing everyone who registers as "evil". Heck they have a fully functioning legal system, with laws, prisons, and everything. Yet somehow it is okay to see a drow, and then just burn her alive at the stake without trial or a second thought, despite her not actually having DONE anything to offend? For no reason other than her race? THAT is the hypocrisy.

    And it should be noted that characters like Aerie do in fact have a problem with this, despite her being very much subject to racial bias against drow.
    Well, Keldorn IS deconstruction of what was standard Paladin tropes at the time.
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,006
    ThacoBell said:

    Well, Keldorn IS deconstruction of what was standard Paladin tropes at the time.

    Not sure if he's a deconstruction, or just an example. I don't feel enough is done with him to call him a deconstruction, and his epilogue is just ridiculous.
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 2,630

    ThacoBell said:

    Well, Keldorn IS deconstruction of what was standard Paladin tropes at the time.

    Not sure if he's a deconstruction, or just an example. I don't feel enough is done with him to call him a deconstruction, and his epilogue is just ridiculous.
    Well think about it. Literally everyone who knows of him hold him up to this impossible standard of perfect paladinhood. We see his personal life and learn that not only has his strict adherence to duty affected him (worn out and jaded), but also those close to him who he has basically abandoned in the name of duty. Its a pretty good picture of what a life like that demands of someone and what it does to them psychologically. I think the folks at Bioware loved messing with the standard paladin, look a Anomen who idealogicallly seems more paladin like at first, but is greatly hampered by his own arrogance and fixation on the romantic ideal. Heck the only character who I would argue that holds up to a true Paladin standard and just lawful good in general isn't even a paladin. Even lately with SoD we see Caelar and how she that simply being a paladin makes her actions right. Ajantis is really the only Paladin in the series that we see played fully straight (party member at least, minor npcs don't give enough character to make that judgement).
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,006
    I don't disagree that Bioware (and Beamdog) didn't go about their paladin characters uncritically, but I still think it's a stretch to call Keldorn a deconstruction of the standard paladin tropes rather than just a paladin character with more sides to him than "LOOK AT ME I AM THE WARRIOR OF LIGHT". That's true for almost any character they made, but that doesn't make them deconstructions. Much more work would be involved with that.

    And the fact remains, that while Keldorn has problems in his life he's also still a zealous racist and a hypocrite. And calling a zealous racist "good" is problematic to me, even in a D&D setting where good and evil are so easily discerned.
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 2,630

    I don't disagree that Bioware (and Beamdog) didn't go about their paladin characters uncritically, but I still think it's a stretch to call Keldorn a deconstruction of the standard paladin tropes rather than just a paladin character with more sides to him than "LOOK AT ME I AM THE WARRIOR OF LIGHT". That's true for almost any character they made, but that doesn't make them deconstructions. Much more work would be involved with that.

    And the fact remains, that while Keldorn has problems in his life he's also still a zealous racist and a hypocrite. And calling a zealous racist "good" is problematic to me, even in a D&D setting where good and evil are so easily discerned.

    Where does the racist part come from? Keldorn hates Viconia yeah, but he also has nothing but good things to say about Drizzt. Its not racism at play. It very well could be as simple as her dinging evil while also openly worshipping Shar. Her choice of goddess isn't exactly widely tolerated.
    AttalusDreadKhan
  • ArtonaArtona Member Posts: 458
    And the fact remains, that while Keldorn has problems in his life he's also still a zealous racist and a hypocrite. And calling a zealous racist "good" is problematic to me, even in a D&D setting where good and evil are so easily discerned.


    I recall 3e Player's Handbook stating that "good" and "evil" don't work in Faerun the same way they work in our world. They are not subtle philosophical conceptions, but real forces affecting the universe. So that way hating on drows doesn't make you evil, as long as you are in the right team.

    And I agree with the previous speaker - people seem to overlook that Keldorn may be hating on Viconia because she is the only priest of evil deity in the game, and that may be more important that her race.
    ThacoBellDreadKhan
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,006
    Keldorn is a racist because he is pleased with a lynch mob burning a drow alive for no reason other than being drow. He doesn't know she's a priestess, or of what deity; he doesn't know what she's done, or if she's done anything. All he knows is here is a drow, and they're burning her alive, and that's good because she is, after all, a drow. If that isn't racism I don't know what.

    Oh, and, as for Drizzt: that is THE showcase for hypocrisy on Keldorn's part. Apparently he is okay with Drizzt even though he is drow, BECAUSE OF WHAT HE HAS DONE. Oh, really, Keldorn? Where was your concern for WHAT SHE HAS DONE when they burned Viconia at the stake for nothing but walking into town keeping her head down? Didn't ask about deeds and reputation then, did you. Black skin was enough.
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