During Dungeon and Dragons games, my party often asks me if how I’m playing my character is really acting in accordance with how a “paladin” should act. Well, I guess that’s a good question. After all, Ari is a bit unconventional, as far as paladins go. I play her as more of a rather zealous, loose cannon than I probably should, considering her class. And yet, I still maintain that her heart is in the right place and that her actions are just and noble, though perhaps sometimes questionable.
For example, at one point last night, the prison guard pulled a lever which began making all of the prison cells collapse on their helpless occupants. And then, he would have rather died than tell us how to stop the mass murder. So, what does Ari do? (this is a dramatization)
Ari: *sword pointed at prison guard’s head* Either tell us what we want to know, or face unimaginable pain.”
Guard: “Do your worst! These prisoners are going to die!”
Ari: *sigh* “Then I have no other choice. Here is a taste of pain.” *places her hand on the guard’s head and uses paladin judgment to make pain course through his body* “Now are you ready to talk?”
Right. Acting a like a paladin through-and-through. You think you’re going to cause innocents harm, evil-doer!? Not on my watch! The prisons were collapsing, and getting the information out of him was critical. After all, when evil comes knocking, paladins are supposed to answer the door with the fiery blade of justice. Everyone knows that.
Though according to the DM, my goddess is going to have words with me over this after the dungeon is over. But really, what was Ari supposed to do? Let the prisoners be crushed to death? Isn’t the pain of one (clearly evil) man nothing compared to all of the negative marks that would have shown up on her record if she had let the prisoners die?
Another thing that my party is a bit concerned about is the fact that Ari tends to charge forward (rather blindly) in order to mete out justice and see innocents safely home. Ok. Yes, I see why this is a bad thing to do in a dungeon swarming with cultists. There are guards and traps around every corner and, as we saw last time, the DM could have a major room set up with 20 NPC ready to kill us, and it probably isn’t the best idea to be the first person there with the rest of your party ten rounds behind you down the hall.
On the other hand, in character, Ari would believe that time was of the essence. If her party wants to stay behind and loot an armory while there are good people suffering further down in the dungeon, well, that’s their problem. Ari would probably leave them to their loot-blinded devices and head on in the pursuit of good and justice. Plus, even though she usually doesn’t get along with her party, it’s not like she doesn’t like them. And she did offer that they didn’t even need to follow her down into the Temple to begin with. She would probably rather see that no harm came to them and instead take all the pain and hardship onto herself.
And I mean, come on: No one can even say that Ari charges straight ahead into danger because she wants the loot all for herself. As a paladin, she finds it against her principles to loot the bodies of the dead for personal gain. Ari has 12 gold pieces on her person at the moment. Compare that with everyone else in the party, who have thousands. Yes, I think she’s pretty selfless.
Selfless, and yes, maybe a bit foolish. But she clearly doesn’t like to see the good guys get hurt. If that means plunging on at the expense of her own safety for the sake of those she cares about, so be it.
(and I completely expect someone to fire back about this. go on, all you paladin-haters out there! do your worst!)