On Paladins

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I have already said about all there is to say about my 4th favorite class, the Paladin, in another thread.

But let me have the floor a moment.

I am looking at this wonderful and inspired class from the 1E rules and here's what you get IF you qualify.

In order to qualify (By 1E rules.) you must be Lawful/Good in alignment and you must REMAIN Lawful/Good in alignment. (This spells certain disaster for those pesky alignment changing magic-itmes, spells and curses if you want to stay a Paladin. By breaking from your alignment, you lose ALL of your cool special abilities that set you apart from your average, everyday swordswinger.)

(This seems to be the the bit where many players and DM's run into trouble with the class & start looking at things a bit too literally.)

By 1E rules, the Paladin must be human. (Gygax favored the game toward human characters applying level and class limits to demi-humans which many, many fans of the game had serious problems with since they felt it completely crippled them from playing their dwarf, elf, halfling or gnome to their fullest potential. In this, I somewhat agree & understand.)

In one interview in Dragon Magazine, Gygax discussed his inspirations for the game and he clearly stated that he really wasn't that big a Tolkien fan. He found it boring. His main inspirations were the pulp heroes like Conan, King Kull, Tarzan and authors like Jack Vance and H P Lovecraft.

Not a whole lot of elves in those stories if any of you are seeing where this is going.

In an almost Nietsche-like endeavor, Gygax saw humans as being so adaptable to any environment or condition that eventually, they would come to the forefront of all the races of D&D.

Does this make him a Nazi?

Hardly.

Look back at Tolkien for a second.

By the end of Return of the King, the elves had pretty much pulled out of Middle Earth with best regards to the Realms of Men. The Dwarves had absolutely NOTHING to say and the Hobbits? Well, you either read the books or saw the films.

Of course, there were Dragon Magazine articles allowing non-human Paladins & providing players & DM's alike the opportunity to add them "unofficially" to their games but let's stick with the 1E PHB shall we?

In addition to being human, you have to have a minimum STR of 12, a minimum INT of 9, a WIS of 13 or higher, a CON of 9 or more and at least a 17 for CHA.

WHAT?????

A near MAXED Charisma score??? You mean Charisma is no longer the "dump stat???!!!"

That's right folks! You're highest ability would be your charm & personality.

Which is why everyone but the bad guys love Superman!

These guys are the cream of the crop. The leaders of all good men who would see evil thwarted once and for all and the world made right with all men sharing in peace and plenty!

Superheroes.

IF you qualify for the class you get all sorts of goodies right at level one!

The abilities include:

Detect Evil 60' Distant as often as desired BUT only when the Paladin is concentrating on determining the presence of evil & seeking to detect it in the right general direction. (No detecting evil sneaking up on you from behind UNLESS you state your focus is in that direction. Note that it doesn't say you have to FACE that direction, only CONCENTRATE on that direction. Cool! Huh?)

Make ALL saving throws at +2 on the dice. (Since ability saves are in essence Saving Throws and the rules state ALL, one may consider adding this benifit to include ability saves but in that, I would defer to the individual DM running the game. It's how I do it but who am I to say I'm right?)

Immunity to ALL forms of disease. This one should be more touchy than the whole Lawful/Good thing since it says ALL forms of disease. In 1E, the sure way to kill green slime, one of the most horrific nasties you will ever have fall on top of you in the dungeon, is to cast "cure disease" The same thing with everyone's favorite, the Rot Grub. YUCK! Those things will KILL you. With the slime there's no hope for resurrection either since your heroic butt is turned into green slime. 
My point is, if "cure disease" kills green slime and rot grubs, then are they considered a disease?
Does the Paladin's Immunity to ALL forms of disease make him immune to the rot grubs or the effects of green slime?
Lycanthropy is a disease, on that we all must agree. Some say it is a "magical effect" and the Paladin's Immunity does not grant him protection from becoming a werewolf or other type of lycanthrope. (I say it DOES protect him from lycanthropy as well as the diseases spread by giant rats and other dungeon filth.)

Again, this is left for the DM to decide.

The abilty to "lay on hands" to cure 2 hp of damage on himself or others. This increases by 2 hp per level of experience but still may only be performed once per day.

Nifty!

The ability to "cure disease" of ANY sort once per week per every five levels of experience. Now, here's where the argument that the Paladin's own Immunity to ALL disease grants him immunity to green slime and rot grubs. If he can cure ANY sort of disease & green slime & rot grubs are destroyed by "cure disease" then how can he cure those effects by touching the afflicted party member without himself falling victim to those effects?

Yep! In my game, if you're playing a Paladin, you have little to fear from either grub or slime.

Having this abilty also keeps DM's and players from suffering the headache of having to run a character that is sadly afflicted with lycanthropy. I know there are players out there that WANT to be werewolves and such & I'm sure some sort of arragements could be made to run that character successfully but all in all, it's a huge pain in the butt & not something I want my chacracters to experience if at all possible.

(In 1E, contracting lycanthropy isn't all that easy & a certain amount of damage must be inflcted upon a PC by a lycanthrope before the disease is spread.)

Handy guys to have around, Paladins.

The Continuing emanation of "Protection from Evil" in a 1" radius around the Paladin. 

By 1E rules, Protection From Evil acts as if it were magical armor and the 1" radius prevents physical contact by creatures of an enchanted or conjured nature such as aerial servants, demons, devils, djinn, efreet, elementals, imps, invisible stalkers, night hags, quasits, salamanders, water weirds, wind walkers and xorn. Summoned animals or monsters are similarly hedged from the protected person.
Furthermore, ANY and ALL attacks launched by an evil creature incur a penalty of -2 on die rolls. (Note it says die rolls which include "to hit" and "damage" showing this protection makes the attacks from evil creatures that are lucky enough to hit, less effective. Also all saving throws are +2 against attacks from evil creatures.
This confers a whopping +4 to save for the Paladin with this barrier in place.

Here's where it gets a little tricky.

We can agree that certain undead are enchanted, ghouls are certainly among them with their ability to paralyze. So the protection from evil circle holds them at bay. (Says so in the 1E MM.)
So in order for the Paladin to hit any of the above listed creatures, he must lower this field of protection, otherwise all he will do is force them back.

He could literally hold a doorway against a hoard of ghouls all day but it would be an impasse of sorts with neither side being able to score a hit due to the protective barrier.

At least that's always made sense to me.

So I insist that if one wants to hit one of the above listed evil creatures, be ye Paladin or Cleric with that spell effect in place, then one has to allow them to hit you as well as the barrier is brought low & contact with the foul thing can be made.

Make sense to you?

Maybe not. It's just the way we do it here.

(With Paladins who do this AT WILL, it's not much of a problem. With Clerics who must cast it from a spell, they have to think about it because they certainly don't want to dispel the effect in the middle of combat just to whollop something on the head with a footman's mace.)

If Clerics have cast this spell, they use the protection to allow them to cast other spells without being disrupted by an attack from an evil creature. Won't work for everything but it's better than nothing.

But then again, zombies and skeletons are NEUTRAL in alignment.

Not gonna do anybody much good there is it?

Wanna give a Paladin a hard time?

Have him fight a bunch of Slaads (1E FF) because those bad boys are by and large, Chaotic/Neutral and they want to eat your face off!

OUCH!

Now at 3rd Level, the Paladin can start turning undead like a 1st level Cleric. Again, not shabby & it gets those pesky, Neutral zombies and skeletons out of the way.

At 4th level (or anytime thereafter), the Paladin may call for his warhorse. (This is just awesome!) 
This creature is an intelligent, heavy warhorse with 5+5 HD (That's a potential 45 hp by 1E rules) AC5 (That's BEFORE barding.) and it has the speed of a medium warhorse. It appears magically but only one animal is available every 10 years. Get him killed in year one & you're waiting 9 years and some months to get another like him. 

If the Paladin is fortunate enough to acquire a Holy Sword, (Detailed in the DMG) he projects a circle of power in a 1" diameter. This circle of power "dispels magic" at the level of the Paladin! A 10th level magic user casts a lightning bolt at your 10th level, Holy Sword-wielding Paladin? Ain't nothing gonna happen. Bang at him all day Mr. Magic-User and he will calmly walk up to you and smite you for being the naughty old man that you are!

At 9th level (Through 20th level), the Paladin may now cast Cleric Spells. While his spells may never go beyond 4th level, it's still more to an already neat bag of tricks. And while they cannot use scrolls restricted to Clerics, they may use scrolls that are useable by Fighters.

Here we get into what "limits" a Paladin.

Because of his strict code he may never retain more than 10 magic items. His Faith is what sees him through. These items include:

Armor (1 Suit)
Shield (1)
Weapons (4) These include daggers, swords etc. Weapons such as bows (Disdained by MOST Paladins but NOT disallowed!) and arrows count as 1 weapon. (Eg. Shortbow +1 and 20 Arrows +2 are one weapon)
ANY other magic items (4) This include potions.

Doesn't seem like much but seriously, what more does a Paladin NEED?

They will never retain wealth, keeping only sufficient treasures to support themselves in a MODEST manner, pay henchmen (who just may live better than him!) men-at-arms and servitors and to construct and/or maintain a small castle/keep. (This could add up to be quite a bit of coin really. They just won't fill their bathtubs with gemstones and sit in the middle of it all blowing raspberries at the serving wenches like some Fighters are wont to do.)

An IMMEDIATE Tithe of 10% of ALL income - be it treasure, wages or whatever-must be given to whatever charitable religious institution (NOT Cleric Player Character!) of Lawful/Good alignment the Paladin selects.

Paldins will have HENCHMEN of Lawful/Good alignment and none other. They will associate only with players of good alignment. (NOTE....GOOD including Lawful/Neutral/Chaotic) and creatures of Good alignment.
They may join a company of adventurers which contain NON-EVIL Neutrals (Chaotic/Neutral, Neutral or Lawful/Neutral) on a single-expedition basis and only if some end will further serve the cause of Lawful/Good. 

IF POSSIBLE, Paladins will take service or form an alliance with Lawful/Good characters, whether players or not, who are Clerics or Fighters (of noble status).

This would include Cavaliers with the 1E UA Rules.

What about those thieves?

By 1E Rules, thieves must be Neutral or Evil.

(This includes, True Neutral, Lawful/Neutral, Chaotic/Neutral or Neutral/Good along with the various alignments of evil.)

Yes. You're Thief may be Neutral/Good. Many people classify Robin Hood as Chaotic/Good but I think he leaned more toward Neutral/Good. He didn't hold the Law in very high regard, especially since the Sheriff of Nottigham was an evil bastard but he would have had no cause to be Robin Hood if the Sheriff had been a good man in the first place! A Chaotic/Good Robin Hood would have been Robin Hood merely for the fun, no matter what the Sheriff was like. Being a Neutral/Good, he would have been just as happy, raising a brood of little Hoods with Maid Marian and sadly, we would never have had the legend.

Now say a Paladin comes across this Robin Hood & learns why all these folk have banded together in Sherwood Forest & I bet you dollars to donuts, that Paladin would be just as ready to fight that Sheriff as anybody! 

Yes. I think he would have joined that bunch in their cause.

And since they were all essentially "Good" he could stay on with them forever.

Want to play a Chaotic/Neutral Thief?

Just don't tell the Paladin!

How is he gonna know the difference?

He can "detect evil" he can't detect, "moral ambiguity"

Want to steal from your own party?

Don't play at my table. We've been doing this long enough to know that you're charater will NOT last with this bunch of veterans who will truck with no such foolishness. You have been warned.

We roleplay TONS of interpersonal conflicts within the parties but we draw the line at players simply trying to screw everyone else, hog the spotlight and cause general disruption and mayhem within the game. We're getting too old to fool around like that and there are too many adventures to be had!

Wanna steal from the Temple of Elemtal Evil or backstab that evil Cleric of Zuggtmoy?

Paladin ain't gonna sweat it my friend.

You're doing good works, you're just doing it differently because you don't have what it takes to be a Paladin. 

The Paladin knows most can't achieve his standard. He isn't gonna begrudge them that. He's the Superhero after all. 

Just get behind him when Demogorgon arrives. He'll protect you.


You still feel the need to play some other version of Paladin, be my guest. You wanna play one in my game? Let me see the character sheet and the rules for it. (We have a whole list from old Dragon Magazines) I will most likely allow it. So far, no one has ever found the need for it.

The Old School 1E PHB Paladin of Lawful/Good alignment is alive & well & still doing spectacular and Superheroic things!

Until next time when I discuss the 1E PHB Monk. While it may have been a misplaced class up until Oriental Adventures came out, I still like it the way it was first written & I make a clear distinction between the two versions. I had one and only one monk in 30+ years of gaming ever make it to Grandmaster of Flowers. He got there on the corpses of perhaps 40 or 50 other monks that met some of the most horrible and oftentimes hilarious ends in the game.

Let Your Henchmen Carry the Torches!


Dungeonmaster314








I have only one thing to say.

I have seen a lot of your posts around this board and all I can say is I WOULD LOVE YOU TO BE MY DM!!!!

What a pity, I'm typing from Trapani, Sicily :-(
       
Thank you for the compliment!

Let me know if you ever leave fair Sicily for the USA! Barring that, I plan to one day run something via email or chat or some other form of online endeavor. 

That is, if I ever have the time!

Until then, thank you for reading & I'm glad I can keep you entertained on here at least!

Arrivederci!

Dungeonmaster314 
Tch. using a gygax demotivational poster that is too small for people to actually read! You're a sadist, man.

==Aelryinth
Fighter vs Warblade analysis http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19573526/Analyzing_the_Fighter_vs_The_Warblade The Lockdown F/20 iconic build http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19856162/A_little_Lock_build_for_you
I banned Paladins from about halfway through 1e until 4e.  I have never once regretted that decision.
I banned Paladins from about halfway through 1e until 4e.  I have never once regretted that decision.

Excellent rebuttal, I am completely prepared to take your anecdote over the OP's reasoning. (Blue text is sarcasm right?)

Anyway, do you have an actual problem, commentary, and/or disagreement with what the OP is saying? Or are you just expecting us to trust your superior judgement without question, and if we accidentally happen to discover the reason why we were encouraged to stop - on your revelation - playing something we enjoy playing, then that would just be a happy bonus?

Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Best defense that I've read in favor of having alignment systems as an option
Show
If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

why would you ban paladins? Because the restriction of being lawful good was an issue? 

Personally I would never play under a DM who was so unbelievably petty and narrow minded as to ban a class simply because, god forbid, you needed to be a specific allignment to play. Or for that matter, with a group that couldn't handle such simple concepts as alignment.

Paladins are my favorite class to play, at the heart of it, a paladin fear the ideal image of the knight I shining armour. the classical hero.

but perhaps more important Benin simply being knight in shining armour, a job a warrior could do, or a defender of the faith, a job better performed by a cleric. Or a leader that could be done by either, a paladin represents something more. this is why charisma is such an important stat, the paladin is the ideal, the embodiment of a blend of virtue, heroism and nobility. the image of the knight in shining armour,banners flying, leading the charge to champion his cause in open combat, comes so easily to mind because it is how we wish our heroes to be.  
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Personally I would never play under a DM who was so unbelievably petty and narrow minded as to ban a class simply because, god forbid, you needed to be a specific allignment to play. .  



And now, I *know* I made the right decision.  If you don't like it, it's gotta be a good idea.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Personally I would never play under a DM who was so unbelievably petty and narrow minded as to ban a class simply because, god forbid, you needed to be a specific allignment to play. .  

And now, I *know* I made the right decision.  If you don't like it, it's gotta be a good idea.

So, are you going to offer ideas, or just mock everybody?

Personally, I love the idea of playing a Paladin the traditional way: I love the idea that Paladins (primarily warriors, some spellcasting) and Clerics (primarily spellcasters, some close combat) are given their powers directly by the gods, and that the gods would not give their own personal divine power to an action that they believe is wrong, since there are already plenty of spellcaster/warrior classes based solely on personal ability.

And that, since the word Paladin evokes the image of the noble knights of King Arthur and Charlemagne, the non-LG deities would not call their champions Paladins: Holy Liberator for CG, Blackguard for LE-CE, arguably Druids for the Neutrals as a stretch.

Basically, almost everything that AnnandaleGaming said on the subject. While I (and everybody else that I've linked this to) think that he's wrong about Chaotic Good being "too passive," possibly mistaking it for True Neutral, I still agree with everything else.

Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Best defense that I've read in favor of having alignment systems as an option
Show
If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

Wow. I'm pretty sure that last post pretty blatantly violates Section 3 of the CoC, which proscribes baiting. Jus' sayin', broski.

On-topic: I really like the IDEA of the paladin; my issue with it has never really been the LG alignment, because I never had a DM douchey enough to pull the "no matter what happens, you fall" crap. My issue has been its near-impossible entry requirements in 2e and its relative suckitude in 3.5. I understand that a LOT of the optimization in 3.5 comes from multiclassing; I just wish the paladin didn't have to in order to be playable. The only paladin I ever played in 3.5 was a CG paladin/rogue/Shadowbane Inquisitor variant.
"Today's headlines and history's judgment are rarely the same. If you are too attentive to the former, you will most certainly not do the hard work of securing the latter." -Condoleezza Rice "My fellow Americans... I've just signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. Bombing begins in five minutes." - Ronald Reagan This user has been banned from you by the letters "O-R-C" and the numbers "2, 3, 4, and 6"
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I do, however, have one last lesson on this subject. That last one? The only build in this post that can one-shot average opponents[by dealing twice as much damage as they have HP? I would argue that it is not optimized. Why isn't it optimized? Because it's overkill. Overkill is NOT optimizing. This means that there are portions of this build dedicated to damage which can safely be removed and thrown elsewhere. For example, you probably don't need both Leap Attack AND Headlong Rush at the same time. You could pick up Extra Rage feats for stamina, feats to support AoO effects, feats that work towards potential prestige classes, and so on. However, you could also shift our ability scores around somewhat. I mean, if you're getting results like that with 16 starting Strength, maybe you can lower it to 14, and free up four points to spend somewhere else - perhaps back into Charisma, giving you some oomph for Intimidating Rage or Imperious Command if you want. You can continue to tune this until it deals "enough" damage - and that "enough" does not need to be "100%". It could easily be, say, 80% (leaving the rest to the team), if your DM is the sort who would ban one-hit killers.
Tempest_Stormwind on Character Optimization
So when do you think Bachmann will be saying she met a mother the previous night that had a son who got a blood transfusion using a gay guy's blood, and now the son is retardedly gay?
When she meets CJ's mom?
Resident Pithed-Off Dragon Poon Slayer of the House of Trolls
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Personally I would never play under a DM who was so unbelievably petty and narrow minded as to ban a class simply because, god forbid, you needed to be a specific allignment to play. .  



And now, I *know* I made the right decision.  If you don't like it, it's gotta be a good idea.



wierd that you would be so hostile towards me for no particular reason. I don't have an issue with that, it actually makes my tingly in a way That I won't describe on this forum.

Now as I primarily DM, I work to accommodate my players both individually and as a whole.  Maybe because I am assuming that they come to my games to have a good time, and not to be shafted Or spat upon for liking a valid class/alignment combination. 

admittedly, some find alignment, or rather the misuse of alignment, to be oppressive. And I can understand how enforcing a narrow index concept of alignment can be oppressive. But for a DM to find alignment to be oppressive is a strange concept, since the DM, especially one that wields his authority to such a degree as to outright ban classes such as yourself, would be the only possible Oppressor in that situation.

it's the DM that decides if an act is so evil as to cause alignment loss, the DM who decides a simple, atonement spell couldn't correct the issue. Heck it's the DM that couldn't read the DMG and modify the paladin class using the easy guidelines there so it would work in their game. So I puzzle at how a DM could have an issue there, so the only other plausible explanation is that the DM must be being petty and unreasonable to ban the class.

 
admittedly, some find alignment, or rather the misuse of alignment, to be oppressive. And I can understand how enforcing a narrow index concept of alignment can be oppressive. But for a DM to find alignment to be oppressive is a strange concept, since the DM, especially one that wields his authority to such a degree as to outright ban classes such as yourself, would be the only possible Oppressor in that situation.

it's the DM that decides if an act is so evil as to cause alignment loss, the DM who decides a simple, atonement spell couldn't correct the issue. Heck it's the DM that couldn't read the DMG and modify the paladin class using the easy guidelines there so it would work in their game. So I puzzle at how a DM could have an issue there, so the only other plausible explanation is that the DM must be being petty and unreasonable to ban the class.

Plus, if the main problem is that people are worried that "DMs will try to make the Paladin lose their powers," than shouldn't we also ban Rangers because "DMs won't throw any of their Favored Enemies at them"? Or ban casters because "The DM will only give them enemies with high spell resistence or Anti-Magic Fields"? Or ban non-casters because...?

No, you just find a better DM*, and the fact that there is even debate on this subject means that there are people that haven't decided that all DMs are out to TPK, which means that there are better DMs to play under that wouldn't try to make Paladins, Rangers, casters and/or non-casters useless.

*Like the OP, for example.

Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Best defense that I've read in favor of having alignment systems as an option
Show
If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

Short version: I think alignment is a crock.  I have for decades.  I don't use it, at all.  It is simply not a thing in my games.

Every other class, stripping the alignment mechanics (typically an alignment restriction) was easy.  Stripping out the alignment dependent spells, easy.  The paladin was too intertwined with alignment mechanics; my options were re-write it from the ground up, or throw it out.  Since the Paladin is nothing more than a cleric with a bigger stick to swing around (and as such doesn't warrant being a class anyway) I threw it out.  Simple.
Short version: I think alignment is a crock.  I have for decades.  I don't use it, at all.  It is simply not a thing in my games.

Every other class, stripping the alignment mechanics (typically an alignment restriction) was easy.  Stripping out the alignment dependent spells, easy.  The paladin was too intertwined with alignment mechanics; my options were re-write it from the ground up, or throw it out.  Since the Paladin is nothing more than a cleric with a bigger stick to swing around (and as such doesn't warrant being a class anyway) I threw it out. Simple.

So why don't you like alignment?

Is it because you think "it's a straightjacket that makes people RP the alignment instead of the character"? Because the rules specifically state that alignment is one of the tools for drafting a consistent character, and specifically gives the other tools that should be used too (100 Character Adjectives, etc.).

Is it because you think "DMs and players disagree too much"? Because the people involved are allowed to have out-of-game conversations (such as by setting aside a special Session 0 even before the game starts) about what kind of game is going to be played, and specific world-building tools (such as alignment) don't need to be used the same way in different campaigns.

Is it because you think "DMs use it as an excuse to single out players of Paladins for extra rules-harassment"? Because 1) you just said that you hate Paladins because of alignment, rather than the other way around, so that would be going into circular logic (aka "making stuff up"), and 2) I just explained that the kind of DM that uses class limits as an excuse to make PCs useless would not single out Paladins.

Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Best defense that I've read in favor of having alignment systems as an option
Show
If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

Alignment was never intended to serve as a straight jacket, and it was only ever narrow, incorrectly used definitions that ever created a problem. That said 3.5 s alignment system was problematic when it came to powers that effected a particular character or creature only. Such as the paladins smite evil, since it only effected evil creatures that paladin is weaker when facing non evil foes. If one was going to write out alignment it would leave the paladin severely weakened as too many of his abilities relied on the mechanic. It would not however be that hard to adapt the paladin out of e alignment, a handful or spells and detect/smite evil are all that would require tweaking.

imo, totally unneeded. Although I have heard or alignment issues and seen the debate, I have never actually encountered any real issue in any of groups, and I have been pedition for decades. I can't see a real reason to have to pull alignment out, and I suspect in those cases where people have issues with it, the problem laid more on the people then anything else.

In 3.5 I generally recommend that most people, unless they want a particular character to be that way, to simply pick neutral, if they must choose an alignment, such as a bard or monk, or cleric, to choose NG, and alignment is hardly ever thought of past that point unless someone commits a really significantly evil or chaotic action, and I mean significant, I would never have an issue.

being lawful food in an adventuring party of heros really s doesn't create any alignment issues. Unless you have evil characters in your groups, I can.'t see a real mechanical nor RPGing issue with a LG Paladin
[ So why don't you like alignment?.



Because the idea of being able to objectify and quantify undefinable abstract qualities is impossible and, IMHO, dumb.
[ So why don't you like alignment?.



Because the idea of being able to objectify and quantify undefinable abstract qualities is impossible and, IMHO, dumb.



Abstract qualities such as hit points? Level? Yeah. Makes for a really dumb game.

So, how many evil points do I get for kicking a puppy?  And how many lollipops do I have to give to children to get enough good points to counteract that?

I'll just go mass-murder an entire city, then spend the rest of my life feeding pigeons in the park, eventually that will balance out numerically, right?

Good rules are unambigous and concise and clear.  Alignment, by definition, cannot be, and as such, is a terrible rule, IMNSHO.  My games have run far better without alignment than with it, especially in terms of roleplaying.

(And how is 'you can't join this class/advance further in a class' NOT a restriction?  'I lied too much, and now I can't get better at punching people in the face'?  really?  Makes no sense.)
BTW guys Firefox is a 4th ed fanboi who likes baiting people in the D&DN forums. DOesn't seem to like D&D much at all. Everything from pre 2008 is terribad and we should feel bad for playing it;)
*patpatpat*
You're so cute when you're a hypocrite.
Do you see me trolling the 4th ed forums?
So, how many evil points do I get for kicking a puppy?  And how many lollipops do I have to give to children to get enough good points to counteract that?

I'll just go mass-murder an entire city, then spend the rest of my life feeding pigeons in the park, eventually that will balance out numerically, right?

We may look at the acts involved to establish what we believe to be the character's alignment, but that's as a measuring method, not a case where the character's alignment magically changes by exceeding some given threshold of points.

Doing enough good deeds is simply how we notice the internal change in their moral worldview.

You could use an actual scale for measuring it (nothing that it would take a lot of pigeon feedings to balance against even one murder), but it would be a piece of game artifice designed for the tracking, not the origin of the alignment that's being measured.

In theory, you could have some immortal stranded on a world whose only notable animal life is pigeons, after blowing up the one city containing all the other sentients.  If he was there for long enough, started feeding the pigeons, and eventually developed a shift in his moral sense as a result of his care for them, you'd have the rough equivalent of the situation you suggested.  But he's not actually buying morality with pigeon food, even if that's how it might look to someone observing it from the outside.

The kraken stirs. And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. - Good Omens

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome Lurker, Fulminating Crab, Ironglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
If concepts as simple and universal as good vs evil or law vs chaos are that difficult and confusing, then i think the issue is less to do with alignment systems aNd more to do with a need for aome serious therapy.
Tch. using a gygax demotivational poster that is too small for people to actually read! You're a sadist, man.

==Aelryinth

The demotivational poster can be found online.

It reads:

"Are you sure you want to do that?"

Teaching us valuable life lessons even from beyond the grave.

RIP Gary Gygax 1938-2008


I can offer an example that we discussed at my table.

What we thought up was a Paladin character that didn't fit the stereotype of what most players & DM's see as a Paladin.

The idea was a Paladin of Lawful/Good alignment just as it says in 1E and of a primitive, race of humans that live in a secluded jungle, much like the Aztecs or Incas.

These warriors believe in decapitating their enemies and shrinking the heads.

Now in all respects, he is of Lawful/Good alignment BUT when he kills a foe, he cuts off the head and shrinks it, sewing the eyes and lips shut and jamming a bone through the nose to trap the evil spirits within the head so they can cause no further mischief.

Still Lawful/Good?

Yes.

He doesn't do this to a shifty innkeeper who cheats him out of some coins. He, (Like any other Paladin.) may only give the man a thorough beating & teach him a lesson.

What about an Orc or Drow or even an Ogre that has "reformed" and is now fighting for the cause of Good?

Does the Paladin dismiss that particular character out of hand?

Certainly not!

Today's media, along with churches Like the Westboro Baptists contribute to this rigid look at the Lawful/Good Alignment. As a Christian, I believe in forgiveness & acceptance. I may not agree with how a person lives but I am not here to judge them. I may witness to that person but of they don't want to hear what I have to say, I don't get upset or hurt about it. Paladins COULD be played in a similar fashion albeit with a little less tolerance for a bunch of guys raiding a village.

Let me reference comic books one last time with my personal favorite superhero. (Well, he's actually just a highly trained normal human so he is better classified as a "crimefighter/vigilante.")

The Punisher.

Paladin?

I think the argument could be made that he IS indeed, a Paladin.

He only kills bad guys. 

Yes. He operates OUTSIDE the Law BUT he follows the SPIRIT of the Law if not the letter.

He follows a very rigid code and set of rules that may seem skewed to some people but he is certainly doing a good service by taking out all the trash that slither through the cracks of the Criminal Justice System.

While I certainly believe the Thomas Jane film could have been SO much better, there were points in the film that clearly showed he could be considered a Paladin.

When he tortured a man for information and made him believe he was using a blowtorch to sear the flesh of his back, he was only touching the guy with a popsicle.

That demonstrated to me that the Punisher had lines that he would not cross, despite his ruthless elemination of every other bad guy in the movie.

He didn't even kill the guy that was beating his female neighbor. He just gave him a good thumping.

Paladin.

Knowing this, I simply don't see where players have a problem with the Paladin or the Lawful/Good alignment in general. (Which seems to be the biggest sticking point for most players.)

I think that most players who have a problem with the Lawful/Good alignment or the alignment system in general, are looking for a character that can sort of "change hats" at will and commit the most vile of deeds in one moment only to rescue the princess from the evil dragon the next.

Chaotic/Neutral would probably best suit this purpose.

My most powerful and longest lasting character that I've ever played is a Chaotic/Neutral so I certainly don't have a problem with any alignment except the evils.

I've played and DM'd evil campaigns. I'm here to tell you, IF everyone is ROLEPLAYING their character, they DO NOT last. The campaign might start off great but it WILL eventually, sputter and die.

This is seen throughout history with people or regimes that were bent toward evil acts.

They fall apart, they have no true friends who would sacrifice everything for one another, there is certainly no loyalty and any "honor" they have is certainly twisted for simple convenience and even discarded altogether when push comes to shove and the chips are down.

So how does a Lawful/Good character, who can only be a benefit to everyone around him, never steal from or betray his comrades and never desert them in their hour of need, hinder a group of adventurers?

Let me go off on some real life experience here.

I spent 13 years of my 20 year career in law enforcement, investigating sex crimes. Most of the cases I worked involved victims that were under 15 years of age. When I investigated these cases, I found out about people that had committed some of the most vile deeds you could ever imagine. 

One thing that I can assure you, despite having committed these acts, none of these people were sporting horns and tails when I finally came face to face with them.

Outwardly, they seemed like very nice people. 

But you certainly wouldn't want them living next door to you.

Here's my point.

Why would any player prefer having an Evil character within their party? It makes no sense.

In my experience, I have found that most players who play evil characters, aren't truly roleplaying to their evil alignment. 

Evil people are capable of doing good deeds for sure but typically it's only to hide their abhorrent behaviors. I use child molesters as an example because, while "stranger danger" does occur, sadly, pretty much every offender I ever locked up was a trusted father, uncle, Sunday School teacher, step parent, brother, doctor, fire fighter and yes, even police officer. 

I'm not saying players that want to play evil characters are like this at all.

But what I AM saying is that a TRULY evil character cannot be trusted. Ever. 

Ultimately, they are in it for themselves and no other. 

The game was developed for us to play the good guys. The demons & devils which caused so much controversy for the game in the early 80's were the antagonists, the enemy at the gates and the ultimate evil to be stamped out.

If a player makes a pact with an Arch-Devil in the game, then the DM should be prepared to make that character suffer some heavy consequences. The Arch-Devil should NEVER be a true ally for any player since he only wants to swallow their soul!

So if a player or DM has issues with the alignments, especially the "good" alignments, or with the Paladin as a truly awesome class, then I believe they are suffering from a total misinterpretation of the rules or they have had a bad gaming experience which misled them to believe that the alignments are SO rigid, there can be NO deviation from what is written in the book.

I'm sure one can play a perfectly fine game discarding Aligments and classes that don't suit your purposes but if this is done, are you truly playing D&D anymore?

I have to vote "No."

I think that making such drastic changes that "disallow" this or that is railroading and shows a clear lack of imagination and respect for the true purpose of the game.

Which is to have fun.

I have always believed that the quality of a game is measured by what a DM ALLOWS vs what he discards.

This is not to say that you let your players stomp all over you but you have to ask the ultimate question.

Who does the Dungeonmaster serve?

The players.

Any DM that strips away opportunities for players in the form of banning core character classes, alignments, or other fundamentals that have been at the heart & soul of the D&D game for decades, is simply engaging in a form of D&D masturbation.

That being said, a DM who does these things because of player pressure is not stepping up and being a DM.

Yes, you serve the players. 

But you don't let them walk all over you.

Understand, I didn't post this thread to start a bunch of fights and flame wars or whatever, but I'm here to try and help folks maybe learn a little something from my 30+ years of experience as a player and a DM. 

Ultimately, it's YOUR game. Do whatever you want with it. 

But I think most of us can agree that some of these "opinions" are merely snarky disrespect for the true objective of the forum which is nothing but fun, informed and intelligent discussion about a game we, (Most of us anyway) love.

So my only advice to the folks that despise Paladins and the alignment system is to go out and buy the game Traveller. (Another game we play here.)

No alignments or Paladins in that game and believe it or not, you can play D&D with those rules. (OK, maybe not D&D but a campaign just like it.)

You just have to remove all the laser pistols and space ships from your Science Fiction game.

Shouldn't be a big leap for some people.


Dungeonmaster314
 



 


 
*patpatpat*
You're so cute when you're a hypocrite.



Oh, ok.  I get it now.  So you're here cuz you think PE fans are trolling your precious 4e boards?  Well, that's not true.  People tried to engage 4e fans in a discussion about making the 4e boards separate from the rest of PE when 4e is officially a PE for a variety of reasons.  That your fellow f4anboys took offense where none was meant doesn't mean anyone was trolling you. 
Resident Prophet of the OTTer.

Section Six Soldier

Front Door of the House of Trolls

[b]If you're terribly afraid of your character dying, it may be best if you roleplayed something other than an adventurer.[/b]

That poster is on a moderator enforced holiday. He is not alone so something to look forward to when 4E is PE. 

 Game on. 
@Dungeonmaster314:

Truly wonderful posts!  The way you spoke about the "demotivational" poster should be the model for how to do that with class, whenever anyone does that to someone's thread.
[ So why don't you like alignment?.



Because the idea of being able to objectify and quantify undefinable abstract qualities is impossible


THAT'S impossible?  In a world of wizards, dragons, planar entities, gods and demons...the idea of the existence of ACTUAL Good/Evil is just...too much for you?
and, IMHO, dumb.


While your opinion is demonstrably NOT humble, it is still just an OPINION.  Which means you are not-as you so like to claim-discussing FACTS about alignment.  You are expressing your OPINION.  Just keep that point in front of your face.

OPINION.
So, how many evil points do I get for kicking a puppy?  And how many lollipops do I have to give to children to get enough good points to counteract that?

I'll just go mass-murder an entire city, then spend the rest of my life feeding pigeons in the park, eventually that will balance out numerically, right?

This kind of thinking is EXACTLY WHY there aren't "good points and evil points" for performing specific acts.  To keep it from turning into tracking alignment drift and metagaming in that fashion.  Alignment stems FROM character personality and action.  Alignment only changes when a character has demonstrated a change in outlook by his/her actions.  A process that takes TIME.

Good rules are unambigous and concise and clear.  Alignment, by definition, cannot be, and as such, is a terrible rule, IMNSHO.  My games have run far better without alignment than with it, especially in terms of roleplaying.

YOUR game may very well run fine without them.  That doesn't mean that YOUR experiences or opinions are universal.

You need to learn to understand that.  Just because YOU PREFER the way a no-alignment game is run, doesn't make alignment BAD FOR EVERYONE, EVERWHERE.  Which is what you so often like to claim.

(And how is 'you can't join this class/advance further in a class' NOT a restriction?  'I lied too much, and now I can't get better at punching people in the face'?  really?  Makes no sense.)

First off, how is lying demonstrably an objectively chaotic act?  Sounds liek your DM was interjecting his own ideas about alignment and enforcing those ideas through the pathways designed for RAW alignment.

*patpatpat*
You're so cute when you're a hypocrite.


Hypocrisy?  You mean like stating that your opinions about alignment are somehow facts, and saying they should be removed from the game; an the turning around and decrying other posters because they "tell you that your opinions are wrong"?

Because THAT is hypocrisy.

Tell me again the color of that kettle, pot. 
That poster is on a moderator enforced holiday. He is not alone so something to look forward to when 4E is PE. 

 Game on. 

A victory for people who just want to discuss & debate without getting all emotional wouldn't you say?

When I say I love the game I mean it.

Despite the fact that I am a 1E player & always will be, that doesn't mean I'm looking to pick fights on here with ANYONE about ANYTHING.

I think I expressed my opinion of all versions of D&D beyond 2E and to put it plainly, I think they suck.

But if someone likes 3.5 or 4E or 5E or Prison D&D with the rules tattooed on a cellmate's buttocks & dice carefully molded from wet toilet paper, dried in the sun and inked with real blood, who am I to say they're wrong?

I know they're version is wrong for me & my players. (Especially the prison D&D)

I do believe it says something that our game has been going on for as long as it has. 1E isn't broken. It's a perfectly playable system of rules & when run by a good DM, it can still provide all the entertainment a group of players ever need in a D&D game.

I only throw my stuff out there to get people thinking a little & hopefully inspire ALL players & DM's to add flavor to their game.

Anyone who attacks that or simply dismisses it is beyond my help.

Sadly, the same thing can and does happen on forums like Dragonsfoot and elsewhere. I don't proclaim to have all the answers or be some sort of D&D guru. 

But I literally have decades of play under my magic gaming belt and since our group is still having a great time, I thought I'd use this forum to reach out to other fans who enjoy D&D as much as we do!

Game on indeed!

Dungeonmaster314





 
That poster is on a moderator enforced holiday. He is not alone so something to look forward to when 4E is PE. 

 Game on. 

Just to let you know, there is a thread in Community Business entitled "A Proposal for Previous Editions" that addresses that very (possible) scenario. The OP appears not to be a fan of 4E, but the proposal seems sound - separate 4E as a separate section. If y'all have an opinion on the matter, it might be worth your . Can't hurt, might help - whatever your opinion is.
"Today's headlines and history's judgment are rarely the same. If you are too attentive to the former, you will most certainly not do the hard work of securing the latter." -Condoleezza Rice "My fellow Americans... I've just signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. Bombing begins in five minutes." - Ronald Reagan This user has been banned from you by the letters "O-R-C" and the numbers "2, 3, 4, and 6"
User Quotes
56788208 wrote:
I do, however, have one last lesson on this subject. That last one? The only build in this post that can one-shot average opponents[by dealing twice as much damage as they have HP? I would argue that it is not optimized. Why isn't it optimized? Because it's overkill. Overkill is NOT optimizing. This means that there are portions of this build dedicated to damage which can safely be removed and thrown elsewhere. For example, you probably don't need both Leap Attack AND Headlong Rush at the same time. You could pick up Extra Rage feats for stamina, feats to support AoO effects, feats that work towards potential prestige classes, and so on. However, you could also shift our ability scores around somewhat. I mean, if you're getting results like that with 16 starting Strength, maybe you can lower it to 14, and free up four points to spend somewhere else - perhaps back into Charisma, giving you some oomph for Intimidating Rage or Imperious Command if you want. You can continue to tune this until it deals "enough" damage - and that "enough" does not need to be "100%". It could easily be, say, 80% (leaving the rest to the team), if your DM is the sort who would ban one-hit killers.
Tempest_Stormwind on Character Optimization
So when do you think Bachmann will be saying she met a mother the previous night that had a son who got a blood transfusion using a gay guy's blood, and now the son is retardedly gay?
When she meets CJ's mom?
Resident Pithed-Off Dragon Poon Slayer of the House of Trolls
I do believe it says something that our game has been going on for as long as it has. 1E isn't broken. It's a perfectly playable system of rules & when run by a good DM, it can still provide all the entertainment a group of players ever need in a D&D game.

I only throw my stuff out there to get people thinking a little & hopefully inspire ALL players & DM's to add flavor to their game.

Anyone who attacks that or simply dismisses it is beyond my help.

[...]


Dungeonmaster314



No, it's not broken.
Sad but true, a lot (thank to God, not all) of new players lack of fantasy and good judgment to play it (they need strict rules to be sure about what their PCs can or can't do), and a lot of DMs think they play VERSUS (not WITH) the PCs (so strict rules are needed to avoid DMs to do what they want).

I play 3.5 too, but when I was really young I played AD&D (we had only the red box with the basic rules and one handful of dices). When I grow up and I restarted playing, I was in the 3.5 era, so I bought the 3.5 books (the only available in those times), but I see it everytime I DM:
1) my players have many difficulties to play using fantasy (Eg.: they NEED miniatures and squares),
2) they forget the plot (lack of fantasy and roleplaying, again. Would you forget the name of the new Prime minister of your country?),
3) and they feel the urgency of rolling dice. I could describe them EVERY SINGLE ROOM as a 15'by15' room, with a creature of "X" HD (nor the type of creature would have any importance) and they probably would be happy.
I'm working in order to teach them what roleplaying is (IMHO, I am NOT the depositary of any ultimate knowledge), but I have difficulties due to their years spent on PS (One, 2, 3) and X-box.

Different, versions are the byproduct of different commercial trends followed by TSR and WotC to catch as many players as they could.

But we must be happy, becouse everyone now has his own favourite ruleset to play with!


Now I leave, I must buy the AD&D Premium Reprints      

I do believe it says something that our game has been going on for as long as it has. 1E isn't broken. It's a perfectly playable system of rules & when run by a good DM, it can still provide all the entertainment a group of players ever need in a D&D game.

I only throw my stuff out there to get people thinking a little & hopefully inspire ALL players & DM's to add flavor to their game.

Anyone who attacks that or simply dismisses it is beyond my help.

[...]


Dungeonmaster314



No, it's not broken.
Sad but true, a lot (thank to God, not all) of new players lack of fantasy and good judgment to play it (they need strict rules to be sure about what their PCs can or can't do), and a lot of DMs think they play VERSUS (not WITH) the PCs (so strict rules are needed to avoid DMs to do what they want).

I play 3.5 too, but when I was really young I played AD&D (we had only the red box with the basic rules and one handful of dices). When I grow up and I restarted playing, I was in the 3.5 era, so I bought the 3.5 books (the only available in those times), but I see it everytime I DM:
1) my players have many difficulties to play using fantasy (Eg.: they NEED miniatures and squares),
2) they forget the plot (lack of fantasy and roleplaying, again. Would you forget the name of the new Prime minister of your country?),
3) and they feel the urgency of rolling dice. I could describe them EVERY SINGLE ROOM as a 15'by15' room, with a creature of "X" HD (nor the type of creature would have any importance) and they probably would be happy.
I'm working in order to teach them what roleplaying is (IMHO, I am NOT the depositary of any ultimate knowledge), but I have difficulties due to their years spent on PS (One, 2, 3) and X-box.

Different, versions are the byproduct of different commercial trends followed by TSR and WotC to catch as many players as they could.

But we must be happy, becouse everyone now has his own favourite ruleset to play with!


Now I leave, I must buy the AD&D Premium Reprints      


I couldn't agree more that video games seemed to have sucked the imagination & creativity out of many newer players.

It's that instant gratification, playing nigh indestructible characters like God of War, Skyrim and others & players expect to start new characters that are just as powerful, racking up kills & rewards versus engaging in roleplaying and thinking their way through problems.

I like my PC & console games! They just haven't replaced good old fashioned RPGs for me.

Dante's Inferno is a great game but try venturing to the Planes of Hell in an AD&D game & not come out unscathed or minus a character or three.

Newer players may not understand why their characters simply can't do that with the same ease as Dante.

 As far as DMs playing WITH players VERSUS the players...

It's definitely a tightrope.

A good DM plays the villains and their goons as fairly and as ruthlessly as the players play their characters but he must remain neutral about the outcome of the encounter.

With a favored character that has been played well & provided all sorts of entertainment, it's hard to see them get destroyed or even just fall short of their goal. 

But then again, when you create what you believe is a brilliant obstacle or tactical conundrum only to have a player think up a way of overcoming that neat idea with little effort, it can actually leave you frustrated since the players were supposed to be in awe over this epic encounter & it has now been reduced to a blip.

(These were my two main problems as a young DM.)

But as you grow, you find it a lot easier & you even realize that having just a little mercy on rare occasions, especially with new players, the experience is very rewarding & enjoyable for everyone.

Happy Gaming!