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Wellyn's ghost and a paladin

ArviaArvia Member, Moderator Posts: 1,958
I'm very serious about roleplaying. I try to listen to my conscience as if it's real. So, I'm a paladin. I'm torn between the lawful path and what I feel to be right. Of course I get the stuffed bear as soon as possible. But what about the murderer? The game gives me no lawful path to bring him to justice, but how can I let a child murderer walk away?!
By telling myself that the ghost scared him enough to repent?
Or because following the law (in the city of coin, not of justice) outweighs protecting the helpless and innocent?
Killing a panicking person who tries to flee feels wrong too, of course, no matter what he did...


  • AionZAionZ Member Posts: 3,268
    If Keldorn can play judge jury and executioner then so can you.
  • ArviaArvia Member, Moderator Posts: 1,958
    @AionZ Good point. And I love Keldorn. Strictly from a roleplaying perspective of course. Thanks to Berelinde's Keldorn romance mod.
  • ArviaArvia Member, Moderator Posts: 1,958
    I'm not talking about problems in the game structure. I'm talking about the morally right decision.
    Of course I can build my own justification for everything I like. But I really wonder how a paladin should act in this case.
  • Humanoid_TaifunHumanoid_Taifun Member Posts: 1,045
    Just pretend then that you dragged him to the authorities.
  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 7,269
    edited April 2019
    Don't try to play it like it's this world in the present time. Whether we think paladins are righteous or not in our world isn't relevant, what's relevant is if the paladin is acting appropriately for the setting. In medieval times they were burning witches, beheading heretics and generally slaughtering people that didn't agree with them. Many of those people were regarded as Saints and just in their actions.

    Sure, looking back now they seem like totally evil douchebags but we wouldn't think that way if we lived back then either. If you were a paladin in medieval times, or in a setting like D&D that mimics those times, with the morals of today's society, you'd likely be a total pariah hated by evil and 'good' people alike.
  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 920
    Good is not nice :smiley:
  • ArviaArvia Member, Moderator Posts: 1,958
    Hm. I still don't have a clear conscience with either choice but I guess my character could sleep better at night knowing there is one child murderer less walking around Faerun. And Torm is not Christ, anyway.
  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 920
    Are the evidence is enough to justify the jurisdiction ? Is it unquestionable ?
    Off, did you choose the thief side ?
  • ArviaArvia Member, Moderator Posts: 1,958
    @Danacm He has the bear, he is haunted by the ghost (who has seen and identified him) and doesn't contradict. Proof enough.

    Yes I chose the thief side for lack of alternatives, because I need to save Imoen from Irenicus and there is no decent solution. However, I told Aran Linvail I wouldn't do criminal jobs for him and I didn't do Mae'Var's guildhall quest.
    If even my favourite inquisitor Sir Keldorn accepts working with the thieves to get my friend back, I'll take his lead and say my prayers and donate to the temples to atone for my association with criminals. Desperate times...
  • Gatekeep3rGatekeep3r Member Posts: 123
    Lawful good isn't only about following the exact rules of government --> that would be lawful neutral. If a paladin, by definition lawful good, comes across a child murderer in an area where arrest and a lawful trial are impossible, it's his duty to execute summary judgment. That's morally right. Letting a child murderer (who might do it again) go free, just because there aren't any Amish soldiers to arrest him, is an affront to morality, righteousness and the gods.
  • ArviaArvia Member, Moderator Posts: 1,958
    @Gatekeep3r that's what I thought. A paladin is bound by the law of his god and his conscience, not necessarily the local law. And I thought too that no paladin would let a child killer get away and do it again if there is no legal way to catch him. I just wondered because I'm not an expert in D&D rules.
  • Humanoid_TaifunHumanoid_Taifun Member Posts: 1,045
    edited April 2019
    Balrog99 wrote: »
    In medieval times they were burning witches, beheading heretics and generally slaughtering people that didn't agree with them. Many of those people were regarded as Saints and just in their actions.
    What you are saying is not entirely incorrect, but it paints a bad picture.
    Burning witches is a renaissance thing, mostly. The inquisition being the origin of the modern judiciary, they really tried their best to apply the law fairly*, and most people got a second chance, if they confessed their wrongdoings and were repentant.
    People getting killed for little reason and with no consequence certainly happened. But one of the main reasons so many knights went off to the crusades was that all the killing going on in Europe was not all morally okay and they were hoping to gain absolution in this holy quest.
    Their set of morals was different from modern morals, certainly, and to even say that is to incorrectly imply that all of Europe had a single set of morals (throughout several hundred years). But anyway, hesitating about killing somebody is not anti-medieval.
    @Arvia That is one of the easy ways for a DM to start a major argument with the players. Give them a bunch of thugs in the middle of nowhere and have them surrender.
    Or when they fight their way through an orc stronghold, drop a bunch of orc babies on them. (orcs being always Chaotic Evil).
    These questions have never been answered satisfactorily.

    *The jurisdiction of the inquisition was limited anyway, and the final word often lay with somebody else.
  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 920
    Yes a paladin is good before lawful. There is a lots of articles from WOTC that states how the setting handle lawful good allignement. They are not naive, not lawful stupid (its a lawful neutral).
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 12,235
    The way I see it, "good" is more important. Even evil and neutral characters can be lawful, its the Paladin's righteousness that sets them apart. Uphold law and good together when possible, but if they come into conflict, the paladin has a duty to further the cause of good above all else.
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,653
    There are lots of scenarios in the game where the clear right thing to do is to subdue and arrest the perpetrator of evil, and turn him or her into the authorities. There's a government district in Amn with a law enforcement official who is not corrupt and is doing a pretty good job, all things considered; there's a legal organization governing use of magic, and there's an order of paladins.

    Unfortunately, the game never gives you the option to do that. So, I usually just have to pretend that local law enforcement has given me the authority to follow my discretion against criminals, thieves, and murderers. If any game villain tries to surrender, I usually take that option, because I won't kill a person begging for his or her life and not forcing me to defend myself. But it doesn't happen very often in the game programming.

    You might be interested in a mod called "Alternatives" for BG2. It gives the much more palatable option of an order of paladins getting you the ship to Spellhold so that you don't have to work for the Thieves' Guild or a coven of vampires. Unmodded, I always choose the thieves, as the lesser of two evils. There's no way for a paladin to rescue Imoen or finish the game without rationalizing that choice somehow.
  • ArviaArvia Member, Moderator Posts: 1,958
    Sounds like an interesting mod, thank you for the idea. I will keep it in mind for the next playthrough. Right now I don't want to start from scratch again (already had to do Irenicus' dungeon three times in a row because I was too stupid to correctly install a mod on android without trial and error, then the game disappeared from Google and then I had to get the Windows version...)
    Playing a paladin and REALLY roleplaying by conscience (and finally feeling GOOD about missing out some stuff because it's the right thing to do) is a nice enough challenge for the moment.
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 12,235
    I always foud the Alternatives mod to be less palatable than the thieves guild. You are working for someone who is actievely using extra judicial measures against the wishes of the city. They actually are just as criminal as the other two guilds. Its also a very bloodthristy questline, requiring you to kill EVERYBODY in both guilds. No option for arrest (because they don't have the authority) or surrender. Heck, Bohdi expectes you to kill less people than the supposed "good" alternative. The only way it could be considered good, imo, is if you hold thieves as less than human and deserving of no mercy.
  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 1,363
    AionZ wrote: »
    If Keldorn can play judge jury and executioner then so can you.

    Yeah, due process isn't really a thing in The Realms, and paladins often enforce the "laws" of their god rather than the laws of any government anyway.
  • ArviaArvia Member, Moderator Posts: 1,958
    @ThacoBell I think I'm going to try it anyway. Next time.
    I can't imagine Aran Linvail surrendering, if given the option. Only if he knew he could buy himself out somehow. And the guy is charismatic enough to make you overlook it, but he IS evil, and types like Bloodscalp and Mae'Var are disgustingly evil and they answer to him. In my first playthrough I even liked Aran, somehow. Until I stumbled across the other rooms in his cellar.
    And while a lawful neutral government might appreciate organized crime answering to a strict master as opposed to anarchy and chaos in the streets, this is NOT how an order of paladins would see it. I understand the position that it keeps crime in check, you know, like Pratchett's (God rest his soul) Lord Vetinari cooperating with the Widowmaker, but we are talking about a holy order answering to a god. They SMITE evil. Mercy is for the repentant only. And I can't imagine that from the Shadow Thieves.
    And a gangrenous limb has to be removed before it destroys the whole body...

    But after playing that mod I will see if I find it too bloodthirsty.
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 12,235
    @Arvia You aren't sanctioned by the Radiant Heart. You are taking orders from what is essentially a rogue cop, and they want BLOOD. I have no delusions that Aran Linvvail and say the torturer deserve death, but what about the random no name pickpockets? The whole mod smacks of chaotic evil to me.
  • ArviaArvia Member, Moderator Posts: 1,958
    edited April 2019
    You mean you literally have to kill EVERY Shadow Thief in the city? That would include people like Mook who's actually chaotic good... Huh. And maybe 12yo kids who joined the guild to avoid starving... Doesn't sound so good any more. Sounds creepy actually.

    I guess I will have to learn to write my own mods. When I have time. In 30 years when I retire ?
  • Humanoid_TaifunHumanoid_Taifun Member Posts: 1,045
    Saerileth offers a true paladin's way to Spellhold, but the mod might not suit your tastes for different reasons.
  • ArviaArvia Member, Moderator Posts: 1,958
    edited April 2019
    @Humanoid_Taifun why, because I'd have to romance a girl? Wouldn't be the first time I played a male character. But I heard it's kind of a creepy romance. Creepier than your recently widowed guardian falling in love with you? Or explicit?
    Edited: Ok now I've read all the discussions of her being 15 and having an annoying voice. I'll need more information before I put it in my "maybe next time" list. Anyway, my old laptop just died, it's back to vanilla BG1EE on Android until I get a new one or BG2 returns to Google Play Store...
    Post edited by Arvia on
  • Gatekeep3rGatekeep3r Member Posts: 123
    Arvia wrote: »
    @Gatekeep3r that's what I thought. A paladin is bound by the law of his god and his conscience, not necessarily the local law. And I thought too that no paladin would let a child killer get away and do it again if there is no legal way to catch him. I just wondered because I'm not an expert in D&D rules.

    I've played D&D for a long time (many a year ago). Alignment is not meant to be a straight jacket, and generally neutral good characters can do something chaotic neutral or even neutral evil once in a while. The point of the game is creating a rounded individual, not a stereotype. Paladins are more complicated, because the very essence of paladinhood is being a better person than Jesus and Ghandi combined. But that still doesn't mean you're supposed to white knight your way through everything, because any half decent DM will introduce situations that challenge your character. Choices have to be made all the time, but many times you can justify 'less than lawful good' options even as a paladin. All depends on how you approach the situation. High wisdom seems to work as well. I've played three paladins over a course of about 12 years, and I've fallen once. Never forget Sir Burger King. Sad part was that he was actually the strongest character I ever had. The ability score rolls were out of this world.
  • KhyronKhyron Member Posts: 558
    I have one solution for playing paladins in Baldur's Gate.

    Gray Guards.

    You're a Bhaalspawn, you've been to hell and back, you've fought demons, vampires, seen death and mutilation, the most evil essence there ever has been is in your blood and filling your head with nightmares and terrors.

    You're not just another paladin.. you're more than that. Your spirit, conscience and knowledge of the abyss and the evils it is home to, pretty much makes sure that you are not a pure and untarnished soul.

    You're a gray guard.

    You are judge, jury and executioner. As a paladin, you are expected to function as all three, when the situation demands it. Now do your duty and gib that child murdering gnome.
  • ArviaArvia Member, Moderator Posts: 1,958
    edited April 2019
    @Khyron This sounds interesting but it's not how I want to play my character right now. Maybe after several frustrated playthroughs as a "real" paladin. I'm still too idealistic about changing the world. Give me another decade maybe...

    The Grey Guards sound like the paladins got themselves a Section 31 ?

    Edit: Of course I killed him. Though I feel bad because he tried to flee. But struggling conscience is no excuse to neglect duty. And then my notebook died, too. Great.
  • AmmarAmmar Member Posts: 1,291
    Grey Guards sound very 3rd editionish to me in concept. Regarding the discussion about justice: the Realms are very diverse, and while it is a mistake to compare them to the modern world it is also a mistake to compare them to our medieval period. There are regions where fair trials are the standard and where a Paladin deciding to execute someone on the spot would be both against their creed and the local law.

    This being said, Athkatla is a very lawless place and I could see Paladin acting as judge and executioner. Even so the way it is done is a bit too chaotic. Another corpse turning up in the slums without explanation hardly helps the cause of law.
  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 920
    I never saw Athlaka as a lawless place. Its actually have laws and some enforcement but not showing properly in the game.
    Btw Paladins are actually hammer of their god, can judge and make descisions on her own. No need a "cool" judge dredd type gray guards for the settings. Or chaotic good knights just because the kids dont like to play lawful knights with serious descisions, not just robbing, pick pocketing killing everybody.
    The most of the player characters whom play for he best result(killing good creatures for the loot etc.) seems neutral evil in that way, but said they are chaotic neutral or even neutral good and try to somewhat justity their moves.
    But thats another story.
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    edited April 2019
    wait a moment...
    if a pally has to respect and enforce law, so can not side with thieves or maybe kill an assassin of a child, why should he try to reach the cw prison and free a criminal? cause imoen is a criminal, she is in jail cause she violated the law casting a spell without having the licence to do it.
    the right way for a pally is to try to help imoen in a legal way, contacting the spokesperson of the cw, capturing a criminal ranger for the cw, bringing his body to tolgerias and never getting into the planar sphere, and slamming against a rubber wall, frustrating as it can be...
    never getting beyond chap 2.

    so the only possible rp way to play a pally is to have him following his own feelings about what is right and what is wrong, he is not a policeman at the service of an established system, he is a revolutionary, willing to fight for what he feels a good cause, and his loyalty, the legal part of his alignment, is only to that cause, not to the laws that rule the society he is living in.
    siding with thieves, being judge and executor of child assassins and trying to reach a place he has not the right to reach, probably for breaking into it with force to free imoen
    as he has no clue that irenicus will do the work for him and take control of the asylum
    are all illegal things, but are means to reach a greater scope that is good oriented.
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