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  1. #1
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    The recent thread on Paladins has reminded me of something.

    Consider the paladin's ability to detect evil at will. Now in the iconic adventure this is rarely used as the contents of a dungeon, at least those portions of it which are hurling themselves, screaming and foaming onto your waiting swords, are invariably (and patently) evil.

    But Birthright is/can be different: courtly intregue, political ambition and subtle manouvering conspire to make discovering who is your friend and who is your enemy as much, if not more of a challenge as 1d6 Orcs in a 30ft square room. That is until the Paladin arrives and just tells you which ones are evil.

    In my campaign, Paladins Know Bloodline at will instead. Is this a worthy variant for the BRCS?

  2. #2
    Kalien
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    Do you have any rationale behind why Paladins have an ability to Detect Bloodline rather than Detect Evil? It doesn't seem to tie in with being a holy champion of good to me, so I was just curious. :)

    An alternative that you might want to consider to limit the paladin's ability to detect evil is to change it from at will to a number of times per day equal to 1 + charisma modifier.

  3. #3
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    Originally posted by Kalien
    Do you have any rationale behind why Paladins have an ability to Detect Bloodline rather than Detect Evil? It doesn't seem to tie in with being a holy champion of good to me, so I was just curious. :)
    Well, originally it was Detect Undead, but given that most undead are obvious and those that aren't can hide it I changed it so the Paladins could scour the world for the taint of Azrai. (I have a character who is mid-change into an Awnsheglin and it has made his life a bit more interesting on occation <evil grin>).

    CM.

  4. #4
    Site Moderator Ariadne's Avatar
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    A paladin WITHOUT detect evil at will? No, no and no. I have no problems to ad detect undead and detect bloodline, however ;)
    May Khirdai always bless your sword and his lightning struck your enemies!

  5. #5
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    IMO it's needless tinkering. Paladins have always had this ability and there is no real reason presented to remove it.

    Paladins also have a moral code and the indescriminant use of this ability is like a search without probable cause. Also using the ability requires concentrating and since it's a spell-like ability it does generate an attack of opportunity.

    If this issue is a paladin walking into a regent's court and identifying everyone in the room who is evil - well that would violate his moral code in just about any set of circumstances I can think of.

    No, this is really a case of a DM applying sufficient amount of role-playing restrictions on players. There would have to be consequences of the paladin's actions.

    I agree with Kalien in that adding (or swapping) detect bloodline is arbitrary in its application as presented.
    Duane Eggert

  6. #6
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    Originally posted by irdeggman
    Paladins also have a moral code and the indescriminant use of this ability is like a search without probable cause.
    My worry is the moral code of a Chaotic Good paladin is going to be flexible enough to allow this.

    CM.

  7. #7
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Originally posted by CMonkey


    Originally posted by irdeggman
    Paladins also have a moral code and the indescriminant use of this ability is like a search without probable cause.
    My worry is the moral code of a Chaotic Good paladin is going to be flexible enough to allow this.

    CM.
    Believe it or not the chaotic good paladin has the same moral restrictions that the lawful good one does in this case (with the one exception of alignment-based ones (lawful vs chaotic only). Again, always did (look in the 2nd BRB or BoP to check this one out). The chaotic one is less on talking things out and more on settling it by "agressive negotiations" and probably wouldn't be invited to the court as more than an "ornament" since the paladin would be board out of his mind and look for excuses to leave.
    Duane Eggert

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by irdeggman
    Believe it or not the chaotic good paladin has the same moral restrictions that the lawful good one does in this case (with the one exception of alignment-based ones (lawful vs chaotic only).
    If that is the case, I concede the point, but nothing in either book that I can find states that - can you give me a more specific reference?

    Also, given that (a) with any luck there will be more players of 3rd edition BR that have not played 2nd edition than just me and (B) 3rd edition has an example of a CG paladin-like prestige class (the Holy Liberator) without such limitations and further, Monte Cook describes CG paladins as:
    Sometimes a champion of good focuses on the individual and defends his right to freedom against tyranny as much as he struggles against evil. This knight rarely belongs to an order and creates his own code of conduct as he goes along.
    I really think a section on the different paladin's codes would be a valuable addition to the BRCS.

    CM.

  9. #9
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "irdeggman" <brnetboard@BIRTHRIGHT.NET>
    Sent: Sunday, June 29, 2003 6:40 AM


    > Paladins also have a moral code and the indescriminant use of this
    > ability is like a search without probable cause.
    > If this issue is a paladin walking into a regent`s court and identifying
    > everyone in the room who is evil - well that would violate his moral
    > code in just about any set of circumstances I can think of.

    If he`s the paladin of a civil libertarian god, maybe. AFAIC, the
    inquisition is a good organization, driving out the evils which will corrupt
    a society from within. The purpose of the paladin having such as power as
    detect evil is precisely so that in a circumstance like a court, he can be
    aware who is his enemy. Its easy enough to mask alignment (its a 2nd level
    spell and its effect lasts 24 hours), so its not like you`ve given a window
    into everyone`s hearts.

    Failing to identify the evil individuals in the room is the violation of the
    code here.

    The spell description, upon which the power is based, is binary. One is
    evil or not evil. I don`t find that very helpful, with the possible
    exception of the cleric. Without making recorse to the Book of Hallowed
    Might again, certainly the DM can go by the numeric descriptors in the spell
    listing and modify them by the circumstances. They offer level as a
    modifier. How evil is the character (roughly, if not with numeric
    precision), and what is he actually doing. The spell calls for pretty vague
    answers, and it should not be so reliable that a player can run to the PHB
    and try to calculate the NPC`s level based on his aura in one encounter.
    Vague descriptions lend themselves to interpretations by the DM.

    One of my favorite examples of this kind of power is seen at the begining of
    Phantom Menace, when Obi Wan Kenobi senses something wrong, but the feeling
    is "elsewhere, elusive". Yeah, the very powerful evil master mind is just
    that. These are his lackies.

    One could adopt the notion of alignments extending into one another, so that
    like a Christian theologian, you could still find evil (original sin) in a
    generally good person. Only the perfect character radiates no evil.
    Perhaps every time the paladin checks someone out he detects low grade evil.
    Common pettiness, selfishness, pride, and envy all regsister a faint evil.
    In order for someone to stand out from the noise they need to be actively
    evil, not just willing to be brutal when occasion presents itself.

    Another way to look at this is that everyone is neutral unless activly doing
    something. Consider the fellow who would not shirk to knock down an old
    lady who was in his way. Give him the slightest cause and he will draw
    weapons and kill you. You happen upon him sleeping by the road side (this
    is the kind of thing people used to do all the time, but adventurers never
    seem to do). Does he radiate evil? He may not have done harm to anyone for
    days, because no one provoked him. He`s not thinking anything, he`s asleep.

    Now consider the Neutral character who is activly performing an evil deed,
    or at least an act that will clearly do harm. He has sufficient
    justification for his purposes, but he totally lacks compassion in this
    matter. Does he radiate evil?

    If you go into a court and detect evil, you`re going to find out who is up
    to no good, but failed to mask their alignment. There are three stages to
    the detection process. Use them all. The general who does not bother to
    take prisoners, despite the general convention to do so, may radiate evil,
    but it may be generalized and not specific. Off the battlefield he may
    engage in no specific evil acts.

    Dim and Faint readings ought to be common enough that they are par for the
    course. At the next level evil may be detectable, but not specific. Or it
    may be specific but difficult to relate to what you observe. "you have a
    vison of a battle, its a nasty business and no quarter is being given" tells
    you something, but you don`t know whether the general in the room is a
    butcher, or whether the chancellor over there is planning to thow the
    eastern marches into war. Is it past or future? Who committed what
    specific evil act?

    This isn`t an ohm-meter of evil.

    Kenneth Gauck
    kgauck@mchsi.com

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  10. #10
    Junior Member La_Mirah's Avatar
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    I&#39;m going to go out on a limb here and say that a paladin&#39;s Detect Evil ability is not very useful in a court setting. Consider an assassination random event; Should the paladin lock up the castle and go around detecting evil., he would eventually get a list of suspects (evil people), but there is no guarantee that any of those suspects actually has anything to do with the attempt. If your assassin is a chaotic good character that considers himself a freedom fighter, he might feel more than justified in taking out a perceived tyrant for the greater good of it all. If paladins can break into an orog lair and kill everyone there on the ground that they&#39;re warlike monsters that would have done the same if they had the opportunity and STILL remain lawful good and guiltless...

    Being evil does not equate with being guilty. Considering the sheer amount of plots and secrets going around the average Cerilian court, there isn&#39;t much a paladin could do with that kind of information.

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