So, Brother Warming-Light-Of-Saranrae executed a prisoner last session. It falls to me now to justify it so he does not lose his good alignment.
This may seem a little backwards to you, but we are writing fiction. I prefer to discover what my characters are like. This is very much like real life. Everyone’s untested opinion of themselves is usually wrong. We each discover what kind of person we are by our actions.
So we need a little background.
The city has become overrun with demons/devils. Massive disaster, war-of-the-worlds scenario. We have just discovered this after emerging from the underground.
We assisted an NPC to find her home and hopefully her wife. At her home, we were attacked by a dude who radiated evil (or detected as evil, anyway). We beat the dude, tie him up. Turns out he is a convicted criminal, and was waiting in this house specifically to murderfy our NPC.
After a bit of to and fro, my character – Brother Warming, went “right” and coup-de-grace’s the bastard while he was still bound.
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On the night, I got it wrong. Really, I have been playing him wrong for weeks.
The dude was a convicted neer-do-well-er of some decription, probably quite a serious one. Maybe he was sentenced to death, maybe escaped, maybe wanted dead-or-alive. Maybe there was a warrant out for him. First, Br Warming didn’t know that; and second, that ain’t the reason.
Well, what else are we going to do with him? We can’t let him loose to hunt us down, can’t tie him up and leave him for the demons. Well, maybe that’s a contributing factor. It is not wrong to kill someone who has declared it their intent to kill you. And if it’s wrong to cut a dude’s head off, then leaving him to get eaten by the demons doesn’t become right just because to didn’t get your blade wet. So yeah, that’s part of the reason, but not the core of it.
Yes, the city is in turmoil and sometimes a warpriest has to step up and administer a little justice. But that’s not quite it either.
The core of it is this: the reason Brother Warming executed that bastard was to make the world a better place.
Br Warming is not Lawful Good, he is Neutral Good. Now, this is not to say that he holds the attitude that Lawfulness is neither good not bad. On the whole, Law is a good. Certainly not the greatest and most important good, but you know – it has its place. (Chaotic Good people can sometimes be inclined to feel that law in itself is basically a bad thing). But Br Warming is not going to feel a need to haul this dude up before a correctly constituted court, give him a lawyer and a six-week trial.
Oh sure, you have to be careful. Sure, it is better to do things properly. Sure, even though horrible miscarriages of justice happen all the time; on the whole the world is a better place for it. Vigilantes and mobs make terrible mistakes. Even priests od Saranrae make mistakes, it’s true. Going through channels and doing the procedure is usually the right thing.
But in a city that has demons crawling all over it, that has no functioning government? A murdering dirtbag like this? Nup. Sometimes it’s obvious what needs to be done, and if the paladins and priests of Iomedae are going to be squeamish and precious about their honour, then it falls to a warpriest of Sarenrae to do what obviously, obviously needs to be done.
The whole point of having laws at all is to make sure that people like this get executed (and that people not like this don’t). Sometimes it almost seems like Iomedae’s people think that the process itself is what matters. No. No it isn’t. This dude hung out in someone’s home to avenge himself on a judge by killing their partner. Any law that doesn’t result in this person being hanged, beheaded, or otherwise cleanly and humanely executed is not worthy of the name.
Br Warming is a sword of Sarenrae. Hers is the light that banishes darkness, that exposes and cleanses. Whether it’s demons, devils, or incorrigible murderers, Br Warming is prepared to do the necessary.
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Now, I imagine that part of the whole campaign arc is the slippery slope to becoming a raving fanatic. Yep – totally this is a danger for Br Warming. Although I have played the “character turns evil” trope before and maybe it’s a bit old-hat.
There’s also the matter of his secret little background thingy, which the DM had us all pick one for our characters. Br Warming has to be particularly careful of his alignment. There’s a reason he chose Saranrae in particular for his god.
But I think his conscience is clean. This time.