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How can you play this game as a paladin (SPOILERS)?

124

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  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,018

    I also think, for RPing purposes it's worth considering which deity your patron would be and considering their portfolio and tenets. On another forum I recently asked whether it wouldn't be unreasonable for a Paladin of Helm to have a working knowledge of some of the more underhand skills of some of the other classes. Those who responded pretty much agreed that my justification, that Helmites should be watchful and not leave themselves open to deception and trickery so by knowing what to watch for they would be protecting themselves and those around them and upholding the values of the their faith, made sense. You could take this a step further in that by 'working' with the shadow thieves the paladin (of Helm) is gaining further insights into their methods and their inner wranglings. Of course you have to be able to convince your inner DM of this.

    Isn't that the same argument that Saruman used for why he studied The Black arts of Sauron?

  • EudaemoniumEudaemonium Member Posts: 3,199
    Well, yeah, but we all know that that enterprise turned out wondrously, so we don't have much to worry about.

  • SchneidendSchneidend Member Posts: 3,190
    @BaldursCat
    100% agreed.

    @the_spyder
    Knowing how thieves distract lawmen, pick pockets, or conduct their heists is quite different from knowing how to create super-orcs and control people's minds.
    @atcDave
    And Bioware saw that was reasonable, and thus gave us options to talk sass to Shadow Thief NPCs. That's all that is really required in these kinds of plots. If the PC has no option to raise objections, like in this case or working for the Illusive Man in Mass Effect 2, then we have problems.

  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,018
    LOL. Totally agree. You can do so much more with the ability to distract lawmen and pick pockets than you can creating an army of super-orcs and controlling people's minds.

    Eudaemonium
  • SchneidendSchneidend Member Posts: 3,190
    I'm inclined to disagree, at least when it comes to controlling minds. You don't need to "steal" anything at that point. You can just make everybody give you everything. Mind control a wealthy old man into being your best friend who leaves you everything, easily become the hidden power behind the king of a nation. This is a major reason why Blood Magic (which includes mind control) is such a big, scary deal in the Dragon Age universe.

  • wissenschaftwissenschaft Member Posts: 229
    edited October 2013
    "However, I would argue that a paladin would step in to defend Viconia, because he sees her as being deprived of an "inalienable" right to a fair trial."

    Do they even have the concept of fair trails in BG? You don't need any more of a reason then your defending someone from an overzealous mercenary. The flaming fists may serve as the law in Baldurs Gate but they are still a mercenary company and I wouldn't except any Paladin to trust Mercenaries to uphold Justice.

    People confused Lawful Good for Lawful Neutral. A Lawful Good Paladin will break the law (such as stealing an item) if its necessary for the greater good. They may repent afterwards, asking forgiveness from their deity but they are not going to fret into inaction just because they need the thieves guild to rescue a dear friend.

    You guys think too much in terms of alignment. To a Paladin, the worst sin is to do nothing. Having to steal to get the thieves guilds help isn't a devastating sin that will make a Paladin fall. A paladin should repent afterwards if they have to do anything underhanded but taking such action would be viewed as better than doing nothing at all.

    Petitioning the legal system is silly. First, the whole city is corrupt. Second, your a martial knight not a lawyer. Third, the most boring way to roleplay a Paladin is to fret over every little decision you make to make sure its perfectly Lawful Good. If your character doesn't face tests of their faith then your playing a very dull character. Having to temporarily help the thieves guild could be such a test. It asks a simple question, which is worse, helping thieves steal or letting a very close friend/sister rot in an unjust prison? The answer should be clear to any Paladin, they would never abandon a trusted friend because of corrupt laws.

    Your character should never think in terms of alignment. Think in terms of greater concepts such as Justice, Valor, Temperance.

    Post edited by wissenschaft on
    SchneidendEudaemoniumjscohenBaldursCat
  • SchneidendSchneidend Member Posts: 3,190
    Most of us actually agree with you, @wissenschaft. Kneller is really the only holdout.

    Eudaemonium
  • KnellerKneller Member Posts: 422
    Once again, I took back my statement that maybe the paladin should fall for his involvement with the Shadow Thieves, but I don't take back thinking that there should be -some- kind of consequence for working with them.

    Also, I still stand by my basic principle that two wrongs don't make a right. So, saying that, "Sure, they're thieves, but the whole government is corrupt, so it's not so bad..." doesn't really fly with me when it comes to LG characters.

  • KaigenKaigen Member Posts: 1,567
    Kneller said:

    Once again, I took back my statement that maybe the paladin should fall for his involvement with the Shadow Thieves, but I don't take back thinking that there should be -some- kind of consequence for working with them.

    Also, I still stand by my basic principle that two wrongs don't make a right. So, saying that, "Sure, they're thieves, but the whole government is corrupt, so it's not so bad..." doesn't really fly with me when it comes to LG characters.

    Yeah, but "two wrongs don't make a right" only comes up if you're actually doing something *wrong* by killing vampires with the help of some thieves who they're threatening to destroy. I grant that they're not your first choice of allies, but they can help you and they don't ask anything untoward of you.

    I'm just not sure what you're looking for at this point. Ryan Trawl to give you a scolding? Some city guards giving you the side eye? Nobles being snooty towards you because they heard you were hanging with a shady crowd? Wait, that one happens anyway.

    atcDavethe_spyder
  • SchneidendSchneidend Member Posts: 3,190
    Kneller said:

    Once again, I took back my statement that maybe the paladin should fall for his involvement with the Shadow Thieves, but I don't take back thinking that there should be -some- kind of consequence for working with them.

    Also, I still stand by my basic principle that two wrongs don't make a right. So, saying that, "Sure, they're thieves, but the whole government is corrupt, so it's not so bad..." doesn't really fly with me when it comes to LG characters.

    The higher the stakes, the more questionable things an LG character may have to do. A king could be Lawful Good, but that does not mean his honor guard cannot double as an elite secret police dedicated to terminating corruption in his court with extreme prejudice. An LG magistrate will offer a lieutenant of the thieves' guild a deal so he can bring down the head honcho. An LG Paladin would sooner fight beside Asmodeus himself than do nothing at all. Unless the LG character actively starts selling drugs or murdering children, helping the Shadow Thieves fight a homicidal vampire family that is attempting to take over the city is not a "wrong."

  • KnellerKneller Member Posts: 422
    @Kaigen Well, since I can't really rationalize a paladin's actions in this narrative, I would have been happy if the Order would send the paladin on a quest (and I don't mean the dragon one) to prove he is still virtuous.

  • KaigenKaigen Member Posts: 1,567
    @Kneller Sounds like a great idea for a mod, and a good excuse to learn how to mod. ;)

  • SchneidendSchneidend Member Posts: 3,190
    Doesn't the Order already offer a quest that redeems you if you've fallen? I am honestly asking, because I was one of those self-entitled little brats that didn't "get" Paladins and only played as Chaotic Good, Neutral Good, Chaotic Good, Chaotic Neutral, or Neutral Evil characters as a kid. Never ran a Pally all the way through BG2 as a result.

  • KaigenKaigen Member Posts: 1,567

    Doesn't the Order already offer a quest that redeems you if you've fallen? I am honestly asking, because I was one of those self-entitled little brats that didn't "get" Paladins and only played as Chaotic Good, Neutral Good, Chaotic Good, Chaotic Neutral, or Neutral Evil characters as a kid. Never ran a Pally all the way through BG2 as a result.

    The Order quest to kill Firkraag will restore your Paladin status if you've Fallen (which is what Kneller means by "the dragon one").

    Eudaemonium
  • CorvinoCorvino Member Posts: 2,269
    I've posted a suggestion for the Holy Liberator kit in the "Kit Concepts You Would Like To See" thread. While I can rationalise how a paladin can function in BG2, I guess some people would like a less rigid version.

  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,018
    edited October 2013
    Ok, to take this in yet another direction, has anyone here read the Steven Brust books about Vlad Taltos? In that world, Vlad works for what amounts to the Thieves guild (called the Jhereg). In his capacity as an enforcer for that organization, he runs local gambling halls, organizes the local 'Female' entertainment and regulates the loan sharks. Under his control, the loan sharks don't gouge the clients, the gambling halls don't cheat their clientel and the "Entertainers" are treated well. He goes a long way to ensure that the people who pay him (the customers, not the organization) are well treated and come back for more.

    The organization also prevents (to a very significant degree) any turf wars which might happen between two rival enforcers. And they do everything they can to prevent non-members of the guild from getting shot up in the cross fire. That is a whole whack of 'Organization' in the term 'Organized crime'. Seems quite Lawful (if not necessarily law abiding).

    Also, considering that D&D allows for 7 of the 9 alignments (including Neutral good) to be a thief, that seems to me, given an even distribution of alignments, to mean that 4/7ths of the guild are 'Non-Evil' types. And considering that Bodhi's group is actively recruiting all of those Evily minded to their cause, I'd say that the scales are tipped even further towards the good in the shadow thieves. Add to that how Aran Linvail treats things like a business and abhors Renal bloodscalp and his way of doing things, and I find it very hard to see him in a negative light.

    I personally think that, personal prejudices aside, labeling The Shadow Thieves in the game as 'Evil' and only deserving of death simply because of an unfortunate choice of guild name to be a particularly un-paladinlike behavior. The guild brings order which should appeal to the Paladin's lawful side. They are made up at least in part of 'Good' aligned beings. they are actively working against a force of evil in the city and protecting and defending its' citizens. And they are offering assistance to save a damsel in distress and/or remove an evil wizard. I'd say all in all, they are significantly the good guys.

    KaigenBaldursCat
  • KaigenKaigen Member Posts: 1,567

    Ok, to take this in yet another direction, has anyone here read the Steven Brust books about Vlad Taltos? In that world, Vlad works for what amounts to the Thieves guild (called the Jhereg). In his capacity as an enforcer for that organization, he runs local gambling halls, organizes the local 'Female' entertainment and regulates the loan sharks. Under his control, the loan sharks don't gouge the clients, the gambling halls don't cheat their clientel and the "Entertainers" are treated well. He goes a long way to ensure that the people who pay him (the customers, not the organization) are well treated and come back for more.

    The organization also prevents (to a very significant degree) any turf wars which might happen between two rival enforcers. And they do everything they can to prevent non-members of the guild from getting shot up in the cross fire. That is a whole whack of 'Organization' in the term 'Organized crime'. Seems quite Lawful (if not necessarily law abiding).

    I haven't read those books, but I did think about raising the "cop who turns a blind eye to organized crime because they keep things neat and orderly" as a LN concept. I can see a lot of Lawful characters looking at the potential fallout of destroying the Shadow Thieves and deciding that containment is a better strategy than all-out war. Tamora Pierce's Beka Cooper trilogy is an interesting take on this. The guards don't really have the manpower and resources to take on the Rogue's Court and so they accept some perfunctory bribes and overlook some lawbreaking in exchange for the Rogue keeping things under control. At one point in the first book Beka refuses a bribe and one of the older Dogs takes her aside and basically says "look, I'm glad you're honest, but you have to accept a few bribes or else no one's going to trust you and you'll end up dead in an alleyway. If you don't want it, just toss it in the pot and the rest of us will split it towards gear we need; everyone knows we don't get paid enough to stay functional without bribes."

    I personally think that, personal prejudices aside, labeling The Shadow Thieves in the game as 'Evil' and only deserving of death simply because of an unfortunate choice of guild name to be a particularly un-paladinlike behavior. The guild brings order which should appeal to the Paladin's lawful side. They are made up at least in part of 'Good' aligned beings. they are actively working against a force of evil in the city and protecting and defending its' citizens. And they are offering assistance to save a damsel in distress and/or remove an evil wizard. I'd say all in all, they are significantly the good guys.

    I wouldn't quite go that far. They are doing something that benefits a lot of people out of very self-interested aims. Saying "Hey, don't mug them, that's my job!" isn't exactly good-aligned behavior. There's also the fact that Shadow Thief activity is pretty clearly centered around the poor districts of the city, meaning that they are mostly preying on people who already don't have enough; it doesn't seem like many of them are Robin Hooding it up in the Government district. I think the organization as a whole is probably Lawful Evil or maaaybe Lawful Neutral. That said, from a Paladin's perspective, that's still preferable to a Chaotic Evil cadre of vampires running things (ideally you'd take them both out and somehow prevent anyone else from stepping into the power vacuum, but one thing at a time). And if a Paladin has to pack up his bags and go home every time another evil faction joins in on his fight against a different evil, well, he'd have a hard time getting anything done.

  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,018
    Kaigen said:


    I personally think that, personal prejudices aside, labeling The Shadow Thieves in the game as 'Evil' and only deserving of death simply because of an unfortunate choice of guild name to be a particularly un-paladinlike behavior. The guild brings order which should appeal to the Paladin's lawful side. They are made up at least in part of 'Good' aligned beings. they are actively working against a force of evil in the city and protecting and defending its' citizens. And they are offering assistance to save a damsel in distress and/or remove an evil wizard. I'd say all in all, they are significantly the good guys.

    I wouldn't quite go that far. They are doing something that benefits a lot of people out of very self-interested aims. Saying "Hey, don't mug them, that's my job!" isn't exactly good-aligned behavior. There's also the fact that Shadow Thief activity is pretty clearly centered around the poor districts of the city, meaning that they are mostly preying on people who already don't have enough; it doesn't seem like many of them are Robin Hooding it up in the Government district. I think the organization as a whole is probably Lawful Evil or maaaybe Lawful Neutral. That said, from a Paladin's perspective, that's still preferable to a Chaotic Evil cadre of vampires running things (ideally you'd take them both out and somehow prevent anyone else from stepping into the power vacuum, but one thing at a time). And if a Paladin has to pack up his bags and go home every time another evil faction joins in on his fight against a different evil, well, he'd have a hard time getting anything done.
    I am not going with the "Hey, don't mug that guy. It's my job." I am going with the whole, "Under the thieves guild reign, the actual number of muggings is down significantly. Every single 'mugger' is a part of the union and any 'muggings' are sanctioned by the guild and need to have very good reasons for happening."

    Again, Aran Linvail seems to run the guild like a business. it is bad business if his thieves run rampant and terrorize the population. It is also bad business to hurt potential revenue streams. There is plenty of profit in gambling, prostitution, smuggling and loan sharking without having to pick people's pockets as well (well not to any significant degree anyway).

    and sure they are self-interested and motivated by same. Who isn't? I don't think they are any more self interested than the Cowled wizards who set up in the government building and actively take bribes. Not to say that the one justifies the other, but I have to ask. Are people targeting the thieves guild because they are corrupt? Or because they call themselves Thieves? Because if it is the corruption thing, then the Paladin had better set his sights on the Cowled wizards, the Harpers and the City council, all of which show about the same level of corruption over the course of the game.

    And what happens if the paladin burns all of those organizations to the ground, leaving a power vacuum? Aside from being forced to kill both good and neutrals in the process, how many 'innocents' die in addition in the ensuing lawlessness? Where does it end?

  • KaigenKaigen Member Posts: 1,567
    @the_spyder I'm not arguing that the Shadow Thieves aren't a lesser evil, just that it's a stretch to argue that they're not evil at all. They may be run like a business, Linvail may even have an eye for sustainability, but the entire enterprise is still predicated on harming innocent people for monetary gain. They may be involved in less unsavory areas, but they still employ muggers, thieves, and assassins.

    Which is not to say that a Paladin is obligated to seek their destruction, but he should be cautious about whether any of his actions strengthen their grip and make life in the slums and docks even worse. Thankfully, this is not the case in BG2, as it's made clear that the gold you provide is eaten up in arranging passage to Brynnlaw, and the tasks you do for them only help them to fight the vampires. A Lawful Good strategy for dealing with the Shadow Thieves is likely to rely on containment, as opposed to shrugging one's shoulders and saying "Welp, they seem to be doing pretty well, let's just let them do their thing."

    EudaemoniumatcDavescriver
  • EudaemoniumEudaemonium Member Posts: 3,199
    I think this thread epitomises why i have never played a Paladin.

    KaigenKamigoroshijackjack
  • BasillicumBasillicum Member, Translator (NDA) Posts: 400

    I think this thread epitomises why i have never played a Paladin.

    Your name epitomises you like complicated things, so I think you should play a Paladin.

    EudaemoniumKaigen
  • KaigenKaigen Member Posts: 1,567

    I think this thread epitomises why i have never played a Paladin.

    Playing a Paladin can be fun and interesting, but the DM and the player have to have an Understanding of what standards the Paladin is being held to, what is expected of him, and what happens if he finds himself caught between two unacceptable alternatives. If the player is just looking for some cool powers or the DM is just looking for an opportunity to spring a "Gotcha!" moment on the Paladin, then things are going to go poorly.

    EudaemoniumatcDave
  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,018
    @Kaigen - So I might have been a bit strong on my endorsement. I don't think that any Paladin would go "Tra-la-la-la. I think the Thieves guild is the BEST thing that could happen. Let's go mug someone."

    I am just saying that, claiming that a Paladin couldn't or shouldn't in any way deal with the guild on pain of losing their paladinhood is (in my opinion) ridiculous in the extreme. Particularly when there is every reason to believe that they are largely on the up and up regarding this project. And considering that any wrong doing that the Paladin may observe is by and large perpetrated by legitimate foes of the guild, and not the guild itself.

    KaigenatcDave
  • EudaemoniumEudaemonium Member Posts: 3,199
    That makes sense. I think my issue might be more that I find it really hard to play Lawful Good, but then considering the only Good-aligned character I ever ran sided with Bodhi I might just have problems playing Good in general. (I was young, and not RPing at all. I suspect my logic was something like 'I can join a vampire coven! So~ Cool~!'). She was Chaotic Good, though (because that's what all the cool kids were).

    I might give it a go, though. A friend of mine almost exclusively plays Paladins and she has a good enough time. Imagine her horror when she found out what my Chaotic Good Fighter/Mage had gone and done, hohoho.

  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,018
    I have endless fun playing Lawful Good. And really the game is designed to facilitate this as much as humanly possible. merely do all of the good choices (most are blindingly obvious, though some might not be). I usually end up playing a more or less goodly party, even if they are all evilly aligned.

  • atcDaveatcDave Member Posts: 1,933

    I think this thread epitomises why i have never played a Paladin.


    I'd say this thread epitomizes why Paladins are so much fun!

    Kaigen I agree very strongly that the exact standard a paladin is being held to must be clear between player and DM. I've seen (poor) DMs pull the "gotcha" moment and it typically leads to a lot of POed players. It violates nearly everyone's sense of fair play. The player should know pretty clearly what the character's faith involves. I'll take it a step further and say as a DM I would give a player at least one warning before they "fell"; at least to tell them they're about to make a big mistake.

    Kaigenthe_spyderBasillicum
  • KaigenKaigen Member Posts: 1,567
    edited October 2013
    atcDave said:

    I'll take it a step further and say as a DM I would give a player at least one warning before they "fell"; at least to tell them they're about to make a big mistake.

    Agreed. In my games, the Phylactery of Faithfulness is a class feature, not a magic item.

    atcDave
  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,018
    edited October 2013
    @atcDave - agreed 100%. A paladin and his alignment should be kind of like an annual review. if there is anything in that review that is a surprise to the employee, the employer wasn't doing a very good job. any game that I DM'd (or played a Paladin), even small transgressions would be discussed. Any big "Got ya" type decisions would be predicated by "are you SURE you want to do this? You feel a wavering in your soul and faith as you contemplate the decision." And when I play a Paladin, I am the biggest critic of my portrayal. So I would beat myself up far more than most DM's would.

    "If" dealing with the thieves guild were intended to have any negative consequences for an entire class such as Paladins, I would hope that there were a third option available. I am not saying a "Good" option, but one where there were no ready consequences. If not the Harpers, then maybe something akin to the Ugoth's Beard quest to get to Balduran island. Basically, a sequence of adventures that ultimately leads to a map and a ship captain that allows the adventurer to get there themselves without help, but with costing the same amount.

    As it is written though, I think the intent is that the Shadow Thieves are under relatively non-objectionable leadership and don't require any kind of illicit activities in order to work with them. therefore working with them should be at least palatable to even the most zealot among the players (though maybe not EVERYONE).

    But again, if people feel that strongly about it, I personally think it would be great fun to actually role play that out. Who says that there has to be game mechanics involved? Merely have the Paladin act as if their powers got stripped and have them atone in whatever manner the player thinks is appropriate. It is that kind of role playing that I find particularly compelling in a game like this. It could be fun. I might have to try it out myself.

    atcDave
  • KaigenKaigen Member Posts: 1,567
    Not to mention that being caught in a morally gray situation and having to make your way through as best you is a theme of Shadows of Amn; you go from picking between rival thieves guilds to rival factions in the Sahuagin city to being in disguise in a Drow city trying to ingratiate yourself with the ruling powers without doing anything reprehensible. By the time you've waded through all of that, it's no wonder the Hell Trials all seem pretty obvious and straightforward.

    atcDavethe_spyder
  • SchneidendSchneidend Member Posts: 3,190
    I wonder how many heads in this thread would explode if I mentioned my friend's Chaotic Neutral Paladin that my DM let him play in our current ongoing Pathfinder game. Essentially, he worships a CN pirate queen of blood and battle type of goddess, but didn't want to play a Cleric. He still detects Evil, Smites Evil, etc, but he just happens to be CN. His standards are quite rigid, though, as he must:

    1. Never be cowardly in the face of danger. I.e. if a fight is imminent he cannot flee.
    2. Speak truly about the intent of his actions. "Drop your weapons, curs, I mean to apprehend ye!"
    3. Be willing to sacrifice for his comrades whenever the need arises.
    4. Must shed his own blood periodically throughout the day. 1 damage every few hours adds up.

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