How can I keep this god's evil alignment secret from a paladin?

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my main villain is supposed to be a twist. It is actually the Sun god, who is the epitome of good in the world. I want the reveal to be saved for later in the game. is there any way to conceal the fact that He is Lawful Evil instead of Lawful good from a paladin with the Detect Evil ability? He thinks he is good, if that helps.
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Are you talking about Pelor or a made up sun god? I assume either way this is homebrew and pre 4e?

I mean I guess you could just have the god be super manipulative, but have hints to it here and there so the paladin has a chance to discover the truth, like fanatic cultists dedicated to it's true nature, etc. I kind of once did a similar thing where the entire region was devoted to the worship of pelor, but eventually the party discovered the pelor shrines were all ruses and fakeries to hide the fact that they were actually shrines and cults dedicated to asmodeus.
He's a GOD.  He can do whatever he wants.  That's kind of what being a god means.  Omnipotence and all that.

If you must have something, there are a few magic items that conceal alignment.  He could just pack one of those.
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He's a GOD.  He can do whatever he wants.  That's kind of what being a god means.  Omnipotence and all that.

If you must have something, there are a few magic items that conceal alignment.  He could just pack one of those.



Yeah this ^

there's not really much to it, but even then a good requiring a magic item to conceal the allignment is silly, words should be enough. But again i suppose this falls under the case where allignment actually falls under mechanical rules.

He's a god, just have the god manipulate your paladin until the time is right, or when you feel it's time to revealthe truth have the party run into some worshippers of its true nature, etc
The best way to conceal it is to never use alignment in your games. If the edition you play has alignments, ignore all of those things.

 This is entirely a plot device - there is no way in hell an ability that the paladin got at 1st level should be able to derail your entire campaign.

 Not to mention, just how the hell is the paladin getting close enough to this god to actually use his Detect Evil???
 By the time in the storyline where the paladin is actually standing in front of this god face-to-face, it should already be obvious that the god was the BBEG...
If the god has been appearing to the party throughout the storyline, it's clearly NOT going to be the actual god showing up in person, but visions/illusions/avatars - nothing that would actually give off an alignment.

 If you really need to put something in the story to conceal this god's alignment, then give him a specially-crafted artifact, that can only be used by him, that conceals his alignment from even other gods...

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I am the Magic Man.

(Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.)

 

I am the Lawnmower Man.

(I AM GOD HERE!)

 

I am the Skull God.

(Koo Koo Ka Choo)

 

There are reasons they call me Mad...

Sure lots of ways, probably. Don't use any of them, though. Bring the player in on it, because if they're not up for the idea it's better to find out now, and if they are, they can probably help make it even cooler.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

  Is it just the sun god that is evil, or the whole priesthood? If the priesthood isn't "in on it" then there's no need to hide much of anything from anyone since no one will be in a position to find out (although when they are, it's going to cause some serious shockwaves among the faithful).

  It would be helpful to have some idea of what this sun god's villainy consists of, too.
Your idea is good and complex, while the paladin's detect-evil ability comes from a simpler place of black-and-white standard fantasy. Thankfully there are plenty of ways around it.

One cool thing might be...the Sun God and his priests "look" good to the paladin. Why? Maybe because for all of history, the Sun God and his priests have been held up as an example of what Good is, so the particular look of their auras is what the paladins have always been told is their particular brand of lawful good.
Paladin derives his divine power from his diety.  Yet he didnt know his deity is lawfuL evil. Its a climatic twist you want to build Up and explode it on the player hoping for same effect.  Its going to be tough To pull off.
you are worried detect evil spell gonna ruin the surprise.  

IMO its going to be tough to fool your player so much and then turn it around like it was a great plot twist.  

I think its better to start it off as a good diety.  All the detect evil not gonna ruin surprise. Quests he gives can ultimately lead to diety's mad plan to destroy everything, perhaps because he has gone mad...  Dnd gods are prone to making mistakes, going mad, becoming evil.  Look at asmodeous... He was lawful good till he turned evil.  Maybe more doable if the god who was good, for whatever reason is turning evil or mad, and your player is caught at that juncture of discovery and must decide.

i donno. Very difficult thing you trying to do, and also very epic.

 
He's a GOD.  He can do whatever he wants.

Quoted in isolation for emphasis.

Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
Good and evil are based on perception. "Good" gods do horrible things all the time, but they don't ever consider their own actions to be evil. Likewise most "evil" gods just have bad PR ... they represent facets of life, just not the popular ones.

Good and evil are based on perception. "Good" gods do horrible things all the time, but they don't ever consider their own actions to be evil. Likewise most "evil" gods just have bad PR ... they represent facets of life, just not the popular ones.




Also with a certain outtake on things a good character can follow an evil god.  I am playing a good character right now that follows Bane.

Thats because my character agrees with Bane on a lot of core issues but the alignment thing is just odd.  Bane believes that if he ruled the whole world he could bring order and reason to it.  My character agrees, the world is too chaotic.  Bane believes that Gruumsh needs to die in an especially firey pit, my character agrees and extends that agreement to include all orcs.  Bane believes that that the disciplined life of a soldier is not only ideal but the only way to survive in the wildest of wilds.  My character agrees whole-heartedly.

None of that makes the character evil.  None of those parts of the god make the god evil.
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Actually that does make your character evil.
Gods are powerful enough that disguising their alignment would not be an issue, (except maybe from other gods) however it could be done.

Technically A LG Paladin could not worship an Evil God. However a paladin doesn't need to worship a God, so could be gettign his divine power from another source altogether. This could be part of the Evil God's deception. It would also explain the non-evil nature of the Paladin and his spells and abilities.

Say the Evil God has imprisoned another Lawful Good Diety and then assumed that Deities place, impersonating that deity to manipulate the followers. The twist is when the Paladin finds out that the visions and quests given to him by the deity were really from the imposter.
Actually that does make your character evil.



How so?  I do no evil acts, my intentions are good.  Seems not very evil to me.

Edit: To quote directly from the entry on Bane:

"Yet he is also a god of discipline, order, the rule of law, and the triumph of civilization over the wild. To him even good-hearted soldiers often turn, and in his name do they draw steel. His might is not only that of arms and of overwhelming numbers, but also of iron will, meticulous strategies, and well-trained legions. Bane envisions a world that trembles to the thunder of marching armies—a world that functions beneath a single order: his own."

And again:

"Bane is an evil god who seeks to conquer and rule no matter the cost, but not all his followers come from the same mold. Many turn to Bane seeking the strength to battle the savage wild. The Black Hand’s doctrine of conquest, order, and military might appeals to soldiers, generals, mercenaries, and even rulers of all stripes. Even a good-aligned officer might utter prayers to the Iron General before battle"
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Your paladin may be worshiping the doctrine of your sun god, not the god itself. If the doctrine is good, they yey.
Actually that does make your character evil.



How so?  I do no evil acts, my intentions are good.  Seems not very evil to me.

Edit: To quote directly from the entry on Bane:

"Yet he is also a god of discipline, order, the rule of law, and the triumph of civilization over the wild. To him even good-hearted soldiers often turn, and in his name do they draw steel. His might is not only that of arms and of overwhelming numbers, but also of iron will, meticulous strategies, and well-trained legions. Bane envisions a world that trembles to the thunder of marching armies—a world that functions beneath a single order: his own."

And again:

"Bane is an evil god who seeks to conquer and rule no matter the cost, but not all his followers come from the same mold. Many turn to Bane seeking the strength to battle the savage wild. The Black Hand’s doctrine of conquest, order, and military might appeals to soldiers, generals, mercenaries, and even rulers of all stripes. Even a good-aligned officer might utter prayers to the Iron General before battle"


I once send a chaotic good ranger of Mielikki who often invoked the name of Bane for fun a warning dream from his not so amused goddess about loosing his powers if he continued this way…

Panartias, ladies-man and Jack of all trades about his professions:

"Once, I was a fighter -

to conquer the heart of a beautiful lady.

Then I became a thief -

- to steal myself a kiss from her lips.

And finally, I became a mage -

- to enchant her face with a smile."

Actually that does make your character evil.



How so?  I do no evil acts, my intentions are good.



The whole 'genocide' thing kind of makes your intentions very not-good.
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Actually that does make your character evil.



How so?  I do no evil acts, my intentions are good.



The whole 'genocide' thing kind of makes your intentions very not-good.



Kill all orcs?  I think you would be hardpressed to find places where that isn't labeled a good thing.  Seems like most of the times that "good guys" come in contact with orcs that is actually the exact reaction they have.  I actually am having a hard time coming up with (although I know it has to exist) a good example of a time where orcs are not killed on sight be good guy characters.

Do I, the player, think it is a little messed up that we have so many "evil" races that are auto-kill on sight and that many of the "good guys" would completely wipe them out if given have a chance, yeah.  But the character thinks that killing all the evil things is for the greater good.  Its one of those "my greater good isn't the same as your good" ideas.
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there are a few magic items that conceal alignment.

A god could probably ;) afford a Ring of Mind Shielding or the Undetectable Alignment spell. But as mentioned: Gods can do stuff stronger than this without much effort. Example: Orcus (a Chaos deity) masqueraded for a time as Primus (a deity of Law).
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Kill all orcs?  I think you would be hardpressed to find places where that isn't labeled a good thing.



I would be hard-pressed to ever find a place where genocide is ever a good thing.

Seems like most of the times that "good guys" come in contact with orcs that is actually the exact reaction they have.  I actually am having a hard time coming up with (although I know it has to exist) a good example of a time where orcs are not killed on sight be good guy characters.



Because just because it's an orc doesn't mean it's evil.  ANY sapient creature can determine its own path in life.  There's no such thing as an 'evil race', only evil individuals who happen to be members of that race.

Do I, the player, think it is a little messed up that we have so many "evil" races that are auto-kill on sight and that many of the "good guys" would completely wipe them out if given have a chance, yeah.



That officially makes them 'not good guys' in my personal book.

  But the character thinks that killing all the evil things is for the greater good.



See previous statement about sapient creatures and free will.
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Why even bother worrying about how to hide it? This is a GOD we're talking about. With his power, hiding the truth from a mortal would be effortless.
The paladin is actually a Paladin of Luna, the Moon God. and yes, all my gods are homebrew. so the "paladin is evil" thing isnt really a problem .
 
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Let the player in on it, and work with him or her on how to keep it secret from the character.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

The problem with A-Ha moments like this is that if you drop too many clues, the player will figure it out and react accordingly.  Too few clues, and the reveal seems like a gotcha, and that isn't any fun either.  Twists are cool when they make the previously chaotic looking jumble of information make sense, but they're really lame when they exist only to surprise the viewer.  There's also the question of what the "viewer" is since your player's PC is a flesh-and-blood inhabitant of the world.  

So, to answer your question, no I don't think that the Paladin's Detect Evil should work on an evil deity mascarading as a good deity, but I'd double check your premise, just to make sure it registers on the fun meter. 
Just use a magic item to conceal, not a big deal. 

 
No need to justify you hidding the Gods alignment by giving it a magic item.  If an evil god masquerading as a good god can't even hid it from a 1st level paladin then why is he even trying?  Just have his alignment undetectable by magical means, though his actions may give hints to those that are aware of them.  If the god being evil is a big part of the campaign, something that the players need to figure out before they can take significant action against the god, then dont share this with the players unless the character have seen enough to figure it out.

I do agree that these big reveling moments can be hard to design, because the clues dropped may not have been grasped by the players or are to vague, or the clues become obvious to quickly.  Or if it is over a long period of time maybe the players have just forgotten what the characters know, details do tend to fade away, especially if the story does not move forward quickly.

My advice here is to start with very vague or even confusing clues that might not make sense to the players.  I often create something to give the players, something that is tangible, this allows them to look back at things they have found in the past, and might help them to connect the dots on a picture that otherwise might be inperceptable when looking at the dots individually.  Start to give them clues that become more and more clear when you get towards the part of the campaign when you want them to know for sure.  If they figure it out earlier, then great, they can take action earlier against the god and his cult (see below).

Maybe they run into that cult of the god that betrays his true alignment, by claiming to follow the true god and acting in more obviously evil ways - but the players only get an inkling of the truth behind this statement because the rest of the world worships the good 'version' of the god, and might believe this cult to be twisted and wrong.  Then when the cult starts to grow in power, popping up in more places and begin to gain more influence in the world the players might start to think that they are the true followers and the god they believe to be good is in fact deceiving them and the rest of the world.
"The great epochs of our life come when we gain the courage to rechristen our evil as what is best in us." - Friedrich Nietzsche
I think the biggest concern you have is not pissing your player off when I finds out you've been manipulating him the whole time.  The worst sort of DM is one that controls the players more than they control themselves.  Often give the paladin clues to figure out that something is amiss, and I would suggest introducing him to the truth sooner rather than later.

Good luck!
I think the biggest concern you have is not pissing your player off when I finds out you've been manipulating him the whole time.  The worst sort of DM is one that controls the players more than they control themselves.  Often give the paladin clues to figure out that something is amiss, and I would suggest introducing him to the truth sooner rather than later.

Good luck!

This is what my recommendation is intended to avoid. And bringing the player in on it provides at least one additional brain to make the deception on the character even cooler.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

This is actually very similar to a situation in my world.

One of the gods, Gol, is actually the remains of an evil elf king (there's been a few of those in my world) named Tembyrlane. He is evil through and through but heads a Neutral Good religion with the domains of things Healing, Magic and Protection. How does he pull this off? By proxy & manipulation. Gods in my world have "vestiges" that are portions of their power given sentience and autonomy so that they can act in the material world in the stead of the god since gods become more vulnerable when they manifest in the prime material.

It is important to remember that the concept that a god is "all powerful" is immediately false in a D&D setting because there are MANY gods. None of them can be all-powerful or all-knowing.

Gol, being evil, has created vestiges for himself that are Evil but that are also Neutral in alignment. Gol portrays himself as aloof and distant, telling people to work "towards" him. His vestiges act directly in the world and are portrayed as "voices" for Gol hence their neutrality (the neutral ones speak to his religious folks, not the evil ones) which does not seem weird to the worshippers because the "voices" are supposed to be impartial and unbiased...they act as messengers. So on one side you have an evil god, in between neutral messengers and good followers. Gol also impart spells to some of his clergy that allow them to make their alignment appear to be "Neutral" under the pretenses that this is to be done as a reminder that no being is "Good" until they are one with Gol and that they should not feel hubris about being filled with positive energy. Of course, this also allows those greedy, evil parts of Gol's clergy to continue operating under the guise of being "Neutral" as well and no one is the wiser (though to be fair, Gol's clergy is 99.99% unaware of the gods nature).

The way my world works, gods gain power in the afterlife by the energy of souls moving into their "realm"..basically their own corner of the afterlife. So if you die pledged to a god you get to go to that gods version of the afterlife before being recycled back into the material world after a time. so it benefits gods to have religions that attract people. The only exception is sacrifice...if you are sacrificed in the name of a god you are sent to that gods realm in the afterlife instead of that of the god you worshipped. This is one of the big reasons evil gods want their followers to sacrifice powerful souls to them. Gods are aware of how the afterlife works and, being a sneaky jerk, Gol uses this to his advantage. Many of his evil vestiges manifest in other parts of the world to start cults and such devoted to "new" gods (the vestige essentially). These cults typically rise in power and then clash with the followers of Gol and, when the time is right, the cults power is cut off (since Gol ultimately controls it) and the cult is crushed there-by proving the superiority of Gol...which leads to Gol getting more followers...and BONUS those cultists that were devoted to the false god and were killed ALSO go to Gol because they were, after all, actually worshipping a vestige of him. Win Win!

Hope that gives you some ideas about running an Evil "Good" god

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