Codes of Honor

Pathfinder Paladin Codes
Sample Code of Honor
(From Pathfinder Players Companion Faiths of Purity)

The paladins of Erastil are gruff, strict traditionalists. They seek to preserve the integrity of rural life and communities. Their tenets include:

• My community comes first, and I will contribute to it all that I can. If I don’t give back, who will?
• I must offer the poor in my community assistance, but I may not do the work for them, instead, I must teach them to rely on themselves. It is only through cooperation that a community grows strong.
• When danger threatens, I am not a fool. I seek first to make sure the weak and innocent are safe, and then quell the danger.
• I keep to the old ways, the true ways. I am not seduced by the lure of money or power. I remember that true honor comes from within, not from the accolades of others.
• I remember that reputation is everything. Mine is pure and upstanding, and I will repair it if it is broken or tarnished. I stand by my decisions, and live so that none shall have cause to blame me. • I show respect to my elders, for they have done much. I show respect to the young, for they have much left to do. I show respect to my peers, for they carry the load. And I shall carry it with them.
• I am honest, trustworthy, and stable. If I must leave my lands and community, before I go, I ensure that they will be tended in my absence. Even when duty calls, my duties to my home come first letting them lapse makes me a burden on my people.

The paladins of Iomedae are just and strong. Their mission is to right wrongs and eliminate evil at its root. They are crusaders and live for the joy of righteous battle. They serve as examples to others, and their code demands they protect the weak and innocent by eliminating sources of oppression, rather than the symptoms. They may back down or withdraw from a fight if they are overmatched, but if their lives will buy time for others to escape, they must give them. Their tenets include:

• I will learn the weight of my sword. Without my heart to guide it, it is worthless—my strength is not in my sword, but in my heart. If I lose my sword, I have lost a tool. If I betray my heart, I have died.
• I will have faith in the Inheritor. I will channel her strength through my body. I will shine in her legion, and I will not tarnish her glory through base actions.
• I am the first into battle, and the last to leave it.
• I will not be taken prisoner by my free will. I will not surrender those under my command.
• I will never abandon a companion, though I will honor sacrifice freely given.
• I will guard the honor of my fellows, both in thought and deed, and I will have faith in them.
• When in doubt, I may force my enemies to surrender, but I am responsible for their lives.
• I will never refuse a challenge from an equal. I will give honor to worthy enemies, and contempt to the rest.
• I will suffer death before dishonor.
• I will be temperate in my actions and moderate in my behavior. I will strive to emulate Iomedae’s perfection.

The paladins of the Dawnflower are fierce warriors, like their goddess. They provide hope to the weak and support to the righteous. Their tenets include:

• I will protect my allies with my life. They are my light and my strength, as I am their light and their strength. We rise together.
• I will seek out and destroy the spawn of the Rough Beast. If I cannot defeat them, I will give my life trying. If my life would be wasted in the attempt, I will find allies. If any fall because of my inaction, their deaths lie upon my soul, and I will atone for each.
• I am fair to others. I expect nothing for myself but that which I need to survive.
• The best battle is a battle I win. If I die, I can no longer fight. I will fight fairly when the fight is fair, and I will strike quickly and without mercy when it is not.
• I will redeem the ignorant with my words and my actions. If they will not turn toward the light, I will redeem them by the sword.
• I will not abide evil, and will combat it with steel when words are not enough. I do not flinch from my faith, and do not fear embarrassment. My soul cannot be bought for all the stars in the sky.
• I will show the less fortunate the light of the Dawnflower. I will live my life as her mortal blade, shining with the light of truth.
• Each day is another step toward perfection. I will not turn back into the dark.

The paladins of Shelyn are peaceable promoters of art and beauty. They see the ugliness in evil, even when cloaked in the form of beauty, and their job is to prevent the weak and foolish from being seduced by false promises. Their tenets include:
• I am peaceful. I come first with a rose. I act to prevent conflict before it blossoms.
• I never strike first, unless it is the only way to protect the innocent.
• I accept surrender if my opponent can be redeemed and I never assume that they cannot be. All things that live love beauty, and I will show beauty’s answer to them.
• I will never destroy a work of art, nor allow one to come to harm unless greater art arises from its loss. I will only sacrifice art if doing so allows me to save a life, for untold beauty can arise from an awakened soul.
• I see beauty in others. As a rough stone hides a diamond, a drab face may hide the heart of a saint.
• I lead by example, not with my blade. Where my blade passes, a life is cut short, and the world’s potential for beauty is lessened.
• I live my life as art. I will choose an art and perfect it. When I have mastered it, I will choose another. The works I leave behind make life richer for those who follow.

A paladin of Torag’s duty is first to protect her people, but defending the works and traditions of her culture follow at a close second. These paladins are dedicated to protecting not just the lives but the lifestyles of those under their charge and hold the ways of their chosen people as holy, especially when they are the centuries-old ways of an entire race. Their tenets include:

• My word is my bond. When I give my word formally, I defend my oath to my death. Traps lie in idle banter or thoughtless talk, and so I watch my tongue.
• I am at all times truthful, honorable, and forthright, but my allegiance is to my people. I will do what is necessary to serve them, including misleading others.
• I respect the forge, and never sully it with half hearted work. My creations reflect the depth of my faith, and I will not allow flaws save in direst need.
• Against my people’s enemies I will show no mercy. I will not allow their surrender, except to extract information. I will defeat them, and I will scatter their families. Yet even in the struggle against our enemies, I will act in a way that brings honor to Torag.

(from Unearthed Arcana)

Here are some codes of honor drawn from fiction and history.

Bushido is the code of the samurai from ancient Japan. Many books have been written about how a samurai should live, including the Go Rin No Sho (Book of Five Rings) and the Hagakure. According to one version of the code, a samurai must possess the following seven virtues.

Gi (honesty and justice): A samurai deals openly and honestly with others and cleaves to the ideals of justice. Moral decisions do not come in shades of gray, only right and wrong.

Yu (heroic courage): A samurai never fears to act, but lives life fully and wonderfully. Respect and caution replace fear.

Jin (compassion): A samurai takes every opportunity to aid others, and creates opportunities when they do not arise. As a powerful individual, a samurai has a responsibility to use that power to help others.

Rei (polite courtesy): A samurai has no reason to be cruel, and no need to prove his strength. Courtesy distinguishes a samurai from an animal, and reveals one’s true strength.

Meyo (honor): A samurai’s conscience is the judge of his honor. The decisions he makes and how he carries them out are a reflection of his true nature.

Makoto (complete sincerity): When a samurai has said that he shall perform an action, it is as good as done. He need not make promises; speaking and doing are as if the same.

Chugo (duty and loyalty): A samurai feels responsible for his actions and their consequences, and loyal to the people in his care. A samurai’s loyalty to his lord is unquestionable and unquestioning.

Code of the Knight Protector
The Knight Protectors, a loose organization of chivalric-minded warriors described in Complete Warrior, hold to this code of honor. It makes a fine code for lawful knights. This includes;

Courage and enterprise in obedience to the Order.
Defense of any mission unto death.
Respect for all peers and equals; courtesy to all lessers.
Combat is glory; battle is the true test of self-worth; war is the flowering of the chivalric ideal. Personal glory above all else in battle.
Death before dishonor.

The “code of silence” of the Cosa Nostra isn’t codified or written down. It makes a good code for a thieves’ guild or other criminal organization. One interpretation is as follows.
Do what you’re told by your superiors.
Always look out for ways to make money for the Family.
Do not hide or hold back money from the Family.
Respect your elders in the Family, and in the Organization in general.
Never let a debt go unpaid. Never be late paying your debts.
Don’t get caught.
If you do get caught, keep your mouth shut, or otherwise someone will silence it for you.
Don’ be a rat, and rat on the family

Paladin’s Code
The Player’s Handbook offers the following code of conduct for paladins.

Never commit an evil act.
Respect legitimate authority.
Act with honor (don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t use poison, and so on).
Help those who need help (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends).
Punish those that harm or threaten innocents.

Don’t Tread on Me
This relatively short code of honor works well for barbarians, fighters, and rangers.

I won’t be wronged.
I won’t be insulted.
I won’t be laid a hand on.
I don’t do these things to others, and
I require the same from them.

Thieves’ Code
“Honorable” thieves in a guild might abide by a code similar to this one.

Never steal from another member of the guild.
Never perform another thief’s assigned task or “steal” jobs from another thief.
Never let your own jobs interfere with the guild’s jobs.
Don’t attract attention to the guild, especially not the attention of the town fathers.
10% of the take from your jobs goes to the guild; you keep the rest.
100% of the take from guild-assigned thefts goes to the guild, and maybe you get a taste.
Don’t kill anyone in the commission of a job, except in self defense. It attracts too much attention.

Noble Family Code of honour

Put ones family first Always do right by the family
Do not do anything that would jeopardize ones family.
Anything that benefit’s the family financial, is fine as long as it remains okay within the confines of the law.

Codes of Honor

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