Paladin vs Thief

Paladin vs Thief

Paladin vs Thief

I have a Paladin player who asked, what happens if she uses “Pray for Guidance” (detect evil) and the Thief happens to be evil and has “Flexible Morals” (when someone asks for your alignment, tell them whatever you want)? 

Does the paladin’s ability detect evil alignments at all, or is it some other definition of evil that is used?

18 thoughts on “Paladin vs Thief”

  1. Aha, I knew there would be a good precedent. Cant get more authoritative than that 🙂

    My paladin player did seem confused how the the thief’s ability might overrule her God’s ability, which is tricky to explain when the players are used to thinking of “in-game physics” as justification for mechanics rulings.

  2. Yeah, i appreciate that, but I can easily imagine situations where the two players disagree, and have principled reasons for doing so. So, I wanted to know how other people ruled, and if there was an ‘official’ stance.

  3. Seems to me that the exchange would go like this:

    Paladin: I want to know if the Thief is Evil.

    Thief: Whoa! I am totally not Evil.

    Paladin: I pray to my god for insight.

    GM: Sure thing. Thief, are you Evil?

    Thief: Nope. Absolutely not. I’m Good.

    GM: Well, there you go Paladin.

  4. The wording of the two moves is interesting. On the one hand, the paladin’s Pray for Guidance says “When you… ask ‘What here is evil?’, the GM will tell you, honestly“; on the other, the thief’s Flexible Morals says “When someone tries to detect your alignment, you can tell them any alignment you like.” So by the literal wording, the paladin would be trying to detect the thief’s alignment, which means the thief could tell him anything, BUT at the same time, the paladin is technically asking the GM not the thief, and the GM is obliged to tell the paladin honestly what is evil. So I would say that Pray for Guidance trumps Flexible Morals, and the paladin knows the thief is lying about it.

    (The Flexible Morals move is a bit odd, really. Besides the paladin’s move, the cleric also has a Detect Alignment spell, which again says the GM will tell the cleric what is of the chosen alignment. So it seems like the thief move would only be useful against NPCs or monsters, but despite the fact that both the paladin and cleric have moves for detecting alignment, I just don’t have a strong sense that detecting alignment is a thing that’s generally done in the world—it feels like special player abilities, not a common magical power you’d run into. I’m just not sure how much call there is for the thief to need a move allowing the thief to avoid having their alignment detected.)

  5. I would run it as the Belkar/Miko gambit, personally. The Thief’s morals are flexible–it’s not that they conceal their alignment, but that their alignment itself is of such a muddy disposition that you can’t pin it down.

  6. Philip LaRose it’s all about trust and bluff in the party dynamic. It allows the thief to be the thief, and the paladin to be the paladin, without the two going to war.

    It also means, that since the paladin may rely on their ability to know what is evil, they think they can trust the thief and make assumptions that can get them into hot water.

    “My god says the thief is good, but they just robbed that merchant, who is neutral. The thief must have good reason!”

  7. Philip LaRose The apparent fact that the detect alignment moves are player moves, and probably not NPC moves, does support the idea that the thief’s ability should trump the others. 

  8. Its like looking at somebody’s loyalty card in the Battlestar Galactica board game. The paladin has to know the thiefs true alignment because the GM as to honestly tell him if the thief is evil. But the thief can tell the party anything during this exercise. Only the paladin can know if he is telling the truth. This is going strictly by the written mechanics of the moves.

  9. I don’t think “tries to detect your alignment” necessarily refers to a spell. I played a thief on Google Hangout the other night and told everybody I was neutral during the intro phase of the game. 

    Was I?  If you were a paladin you  could ask the GM. Otherwise, absolutely!

  10. The thiefs move is mostly only going to come into play when someone, usually a player is trying to figure out his alignment. the paladin has other applications if it doesn’t work against the thief.

    I think it’s something that can be interpreted per group and game though, and is something worth asking the players.

    Another interpretation of the move flexible morals is baked right into the name. The thief might be good right now, but change his convictions when his current alignment has become inconvenient.

  11. I think the important question is WHY does the Paladin want to know if the thief is evil or not? what is happening in the story to make that an onion worth peeling?

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