Our party is going through a Kingmaker-type campaign and is currently made of:
- One splendid half-orc, ex Gladiator, CN and pretty friendly
- Two twins tieflings, a CN Rogue-Sorcerer and a CN Rogue-Bard, brother and sister who are enterprising capitalists by trade and con-artists by hobby. We agreed that their talent won't be ever used against the group.
- A now presumably deceased CG Sarenrae's cleric Aasimar that got a bit too nosy with some potential enemies.
- Our own shining Sarenrae's paladin (obviously LG), a human Taldane woman, who is a first time player that occasionnaly refers to the DM regarding her RP.
As probably most players in a D&D-based system experienced, our paladin is the classical stick-in-the-mud, holier-than-thou character. I don't blame the player as it is her first time ever role-playing1.
Being the only Loyal Good character, and sworn to uphold a strict set of rules, the Paladin is often at odds with the group. We're all Chaotics, and the majority of us are even not Good aligned (we prefer a more capitalist approach). After a few clashes of opinions, we resolved to keep our "fun strategies" out of her character's ears' reach, as it tended to turn the Paladin and her player irate. (Fun-Strats™ may include lying, cheating, stealing, framing, forging as well as the very rare and occasional murder of a not-so-innocent and really annoying business rival. We're greedy and opportunistic, but not murder-hobos.)
A Paladin refusing to partake in such Fun-Strats™ is totally understandable, as some GM may rule that it conflicts with their code of honor. (Although I'm not 100% certain that letting it happen is forbidden. Inquisitors and Holy Rogues are a thing, after all.)
The problem is that at some point, the Paladin began being suspicious that we were plotting behind her back, and returned to her old ways. Namely, threatening us of a good beating if we don't behave (IC and OOC). Kind of understandable. But at some point, it devolved in "It's my way, or the high-way", i.e. we follow Paladin's plan or she won't tank and/or will beat us.2 And when I say "won't tank", she means in a perfectly legit and lawful endeavour - she will let us take the hit, even if the purpose is good, like getting rid of a trolls nest that's dangerous to citizens. (I'm well aware of what My Guy Syndrome is, and she often uses this excuse for her character behaviour - I'm not asking about the player problem.)
Is using coercion and threats on allies at odds with a (Sarenrae's) Paladin code of honour? (Though, outside of this particular thread, the question can be applied to any Good-Aligned deity.)
Now, coercion and threats to force people to act the way you want is obviously not a Good aligned behaviour. If you force Neutral people to work for you for free, even if the end purpose is Good, then it's slavery, and most people consider slavery to be baaaad.
But without coercion, what a Paladin can really do in a Chaotic party? Sure, we try to play nice, but in the end, 3 out of 5 players care for money more than almost anything. So unless we attack her and she defends herself (and in this case, it's completely legitimate - no question asked), if you take physical threat out of the Paladin book, there is not much to get out of the status quo. Plus, the Law kind of work on that principle: behave, or be punished.
Interesting point is that Paladins do not get Intimidation as a class skill, and I wonder if this is on purpose.
TLDR: Can a paladin use threats and coercion to force allies to follow the paladin's own code of honour and still uphold said code?
I'm interested, in order, in:
- Setting source going one way or another (yes/no)
- System source going one way or another
- Historic element of D&D based systems (no personal opinion, but hard facts) going one way or another.
Bonus point if you can include way to accommodate such a Paladin in our mostly Chaotic group without constantly making her break her oath. (We're going full plausible deniability at the moment.)
I'm asking out of curiosity because 1) it's a non-trivial question, 2) I might play a paladin one day, 3) I (we) want to accommodate this player as best as we can and still have our fun being greedy bastards.
1: We've all have been through here, I'm not particularly proud of my first characters, now that I look back. So we try to be understanding, as much as possible.
2: Not particularly worrying, she is outnumbered and we have means to put her down safely. But we try to play nice.
The Sarenrae Paladin's code
The following is Sarenrae's Paladin code from the Inner Sea Gods book. As it is, until rule 0-ed by a GM, the closest we have to a generally admitted code of conduct, the question will refer to this code.
The paladins of the Dawnflower are fierce warriors, like their goddess. They provide hope to the weak and support to the righteous. Their tenets include the following adages.
- I will protect my allies with my life. They are my light and my strength, as I am their light and their strength. We rise together.
- I will seek out and destroy the spawn of the Rough Beast. If I cannot defeat them, I will give my life trying. If my life would be wasted in the attempt, I will find allies. If any fall because of my inaction, their deaths lie upon my soul, and I will atone for each.
- I am fair to others. I expect nothing for myself but that which I need to survive.
- The best battle is a battle I win. If I die, I can no longer fight. I will fight fairly when the fight is fair, and I will strike quickly and without mercy when it is not.
- I will redeem the ignorant with my words and my actions. If they will not turn toward the light, I will redeem them by the sword.
- I will not abide evil, and will combat it with steel when words are not enough. I do not flinch from my faith, and do not fear embarrassment. My soul cannot be bought for all the stars in the sky.
- I will show the less fortunate the light of the Dawnflower. I will live my life as her mortal blade, shining with the light of truth.
- Each day is another step toward perfection. I will not turn back into the dark.
English is not my first language, so I could use some help regarding what the exact wording of those tenets mean. I think 3, 5 and 6 could be relevant, but I'm not 100% sure of how they should be understood, regarding the actual situation. 1 definitely is, regarding her threat not to tank.