Darklord Morius wrote:
I sort'a wanted to leave this post alone, but I can't. I'm quite certain that giving birth to a child is painful, and prolonged, agony (almost always less than 24 hours, though). I'm not trying to make light of that.
But, at the same time, calling it "the most excruciating pain conceivable" is a very strong exaggeration. If you, or anyone else here, considers it so, then I believe your imagination is very, very limited (at least in regards to things that cause pain).
An example or two:
I could go on quite a while longer... and while child-birth is painful and potentially life-threatening, I doubt any woman would willingly go through with it if it were as bad as the worst possible varieties of pain conceivable-- and I wouldn't disagree with that choice, either.
(I'm quite thankful, btw, that no such injuries have ever befallen me personally-- I've seen the evidence left behind from such things and still have nightmares about it)
The problem with the term "privilege" is that the word is much older and has a much longer history in the English language than its use as a modern sociological descriptive term. To forget this is to be shockingly ignorant of the 'common' language we are using to communicate, and while most dictionary definitions of privilege appear to be neutral, the word has had negative connotations in many of the contexts in which it has been used for centuries. It already had the baggage, before anyone involved in examining these issues decided to present the concept of "male privilege". One may even argue that the term "privilege" was originally chosen with the intention of being confrontational about this issue.
No, I don't have an answer for a better term to use to discuss this issue, and I'll try to remember that "privilege" isn't intended as a deliberate negative attack word in sociological discussions (so long as the persons using the term are using it as an academic/sociological term, not an attack word). But do try to remember that in a shared language such as ours, the words you use continue to have their customary and traditional meanings as set by long-term common usage... I don't think you can just 'hand-wave' all that away as if the word were never used in those ways before.
Having read through this thread, and now that I finally have a little time to jump in on these discussion boards again, at least occasionally-- I tend to agree with those who have said the 'antagonize' feat as written is severely broken. Since I'm not afraid to 'house rule' anything I see a problem with, I'm still going to allow the feat, but here's how it will be changed in action in my game:
Antagonize (Feat): the intimidate version of this feat only works if the target is already hostile towards you. If the situation isn’t potentially violent and the target, no matter how much he or she does not like you, is not presently disposed towards violence, he or she may respond with a verbal “attack” rather than any actual, violent “attack” in the game-rules sense. Bottom line: the ‘intimidate’ version is primarily a combat feat and it will not produce instant combat in 6 seconds where very little potential for violence exists (short of one of the PCs drawing a weapon and suddenly going berserk). It can be used to provoke a fight where a tense, hostile potentially violent situation exists, but combat hasn’t broken out yet (and might not occur without an extra push, such as the use of ‘antagonize’, to set it off). Also, as a ‘compulsion’ effect—‘antagonize’ cannot make the target take obviously outright suicidal actions (usually attacking someone who looks really dangerous is still risky, but not overtly suicidal); and it cannot make the target act in a way completely against the target’s character (for most PCs, attacking an enemy in a fight cannot be explained as ‘against their character’—fighting is what they do; however, the pacifist healer who never gets violent with anyone, is NOT suddenly going to turn into a berserker and defy every oath he’s ever sworn and every principle he upholds to go attack someone using this feat; and the lawful good paladin sworn to protect all innocents is not going to attack if the only way he/she has at his/her disposal will involve killing lots of innocent bystanders in the process of getting the bad guy). Common sense also applies: the fleeing target who is already panicked and running, is NOT going to suddenly turn tiger and try to attack someone who employs this feat (because a character who just wants to run for his/her life isn’t really hostile in the combatant sense anymore). In response to a specific example raised elsewhere: the cleric who is the party’s primary healer, BUT who is also a solid melee character who likes to bash the enemy and has been doing so in the current combat, may be goaded into making an attack before turning back to heal a downed party member in the middle of a fight (maybe he got distracted and thought his buddy had a little more time before he bled out; a fighting cleric does not get to claim ‘but I’m a pacifist…’).
My more general thought is that someone who intends to attack (or at least really feels like attacking) someone, can be goaded into targeting a particular enemy with this feat (no matter how much the character would have really liked to attack someone else before 'antagonize' was used on him/her), but someone who isn't attacking at all (and has no intentions of launching an attack) cannot be forced into violent action (though I may consider some other distracting effect besides the 'must attack' result from this ability).
I think that fixes the feat well enough without completely 'nerfing' it either-- I can see it still being quite useful in a lot of circumstances, but it's not overwhelming and/or character-concept destroying this way.
I'm gonna have to make apologies to all, but I have got to get caught up on my school work-- papers are coming due and I do not have time to engage in the debates here as much as they deserve. Gonna try to follow along, but I have to mainly take my leave of actively presenting arguments for a while.
Couple'a quick comments before I fade to watching:
Smarnil-- I agree with you, re-- we need to treat people captured in war (including insurgents) as POWs-- I'm a little surprised you didn't see that already, since I said I was appalled by the way my gov't has decided to handle the issue. I'm not sure there is a good answer to the insurgent dilemma, because you're right: if you're an insurgent, you're going to have to make use of the ability to blend in with the population, or you will be caught and destroyed much faster. On the other hand-- by doing so, they guarantee that the civilian population is at massively increased risk, because it becomes extremely difficult to determine who's an insurgent, and who's just a (stupid) civilian engaged in suspicious-looking but still innocent activity. Insofar as we have actually launched attacks on homes and buildings that really did just have innocent civilians (and no insurgents inside), it's because the mistake is easy to make when the insurgents and the general population all look the same.
Regarding the U.N.-- at this point, yes, I hold a very very low opinion of the U.N.-- because the General Assembly is overrun with the vast horde of small nations with no teeth, run by questionable governments, all of whom think they should get to have an equal voice no matter how little they contribute-- and the resolutions passed by the General Assembly have included a lot of crap; meanwhile, in the Security Council, where the real decisions get made-- sometimes it's the U.S. Veto, sometimes it's the Russians or the Chinese-- but, the U.N. is utterly useless most of the time when it counts, because in most critical situations, one of the five permanent members is going to drop a veto on it. And-- because the U.N. IS functionally impotent-- there ARE NO United Nations forces, there are only the forces that member nations are willing to provide.... and in too many cases, that means either the United States/Europe/NATO gets involved and actually gets the job done-- or nothing gets done. The United Nations is a great idea, but once again it's been very very poor in execution.
TheJeff: Yes, it'd be nice if the United States didn't invade other countries and get involved in counter-insurgency campaigns-- on the other hand-- what should we have done about the September 11th, 2001, attacks? Leave Al-Qaeda's training camps and bases in Afghanistan alone and not done anything at all? And regarding Iraq: wrong war, wrong time-- maybe. But don't blame the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who have had to go fight this war-- blame the godd**n politicians (that the American sheep keep sending back to office) who have made the decisions that have sent us to war and have kept us involved in these fights. So long as the orders are legal (as determined under U.S. Law, in U.S. Courts)-- we who serve in the military don't get to decide what wars we will or will not fight in-- that's something the civilians in charge of our government get to decide, and that the folks in the military have to pay the real price, in blood, for those decisions.
Ross Byers wrote:
I removed a post that get a little...heated.
Sorry, Ross. Just-- we had that discussion over the last 600 posts, and I snapped back a little too quickly over someone stepping in saying the same things we'd already discussed and moved past about 400-500 posts ago. I should'a taken a deep breath and walked away for a while before coming back and posting without the old soldier's language or the overly aggressive tone in there.
I still think CommandoDude should have read the thread and the arguments already gone before, before posting (or should have paid more attention if he did)-- and should have either used the term 'collateral damage' correctly, or shouldn't have used it at all.
From the Geneva Conventions, 1977 Protocol 1, pertaining to conduct during war:
This part is the reason why the U.S.A. will probably never accept the 1977 protocol 1. The problem is, that this says, in so many words, that's okay to toss aside your weapons and blend right back into the civilian population as soon as your attack is over. It also says it's okay to remain completely blended in with and concealed by the civilian population at all times, except when actively preparing and launching an attack on opposing forces.
Bluntly speaking-- accepting this as law, and abiding by it-- is suicide for ANY military that has to engage a terrorist or insurgent force. The only way you can fight an insurgency at all, while abiding by this rule and the other Laws of War, is to stand around waiting for the insurgents to attack you, while day by day your forces get sniped and blown up by IEDs and generally get nickel and dimed to death. It's a golden gift to insurgencies, but it's also the countries of the world who want insurgencies to succeed basically saying "we want it to be impoossible for organized militaries to ever fight under the Laws of War and actually succeed ever again."
While I agree with you that we should uphold human rights to the maximum extent possible at all times, no matter what is going on in the conflict at hand-- this rule virtually guarantees that many more civilians will die-- because it becomes almost impossible to tell the difference between civilians and active combatants. And, there definitely comes that point where, as careful as we want to be about not causing unnecessary civilian casualties, mistakes are going to be made-- because you cannot reasonably ask soldiers to always hold fire until some of their own have been killed by insurgents masquerading as civilians right up until they started shooting, before they're allowed to open fire. IMO, upholding human rights, and the 1977 Protocol 1, are NOT compatible with each other because of the unfortunate side effects of the quoted section.
What you've said about insurgencies and provisionally granting POW status even to insurgents does make good sense. I'm appalled at the agencies in my own government that have denied POW rights to the combatants we've captured in the field.
Regarding Fallujah, 2004-- I was in Iraq in 2004 (although I was in Tikrit), but from my view on staff I did have a pretty good 'view' of that operation... to the best of my knowledge, NO depleted uranium munitions were used in Fallujah in the April-May 2004 offensive there-- there was no reason for it either, because the insurgents in Fallujah didn't have any tanks. DU Munitions aren't that good for bunker busting. Also, to the best of my knowledge (and certainly the official record), all WP munitions employed in Fallujah were used for smoke, not for incendiary effect. I also do not believe the reports that excessive force was used by U.S. Forces in Fallujah... Besides my own view from division staff, some of the tactical teams from my unit were down in Fallujah supporting the Marines throughout the whole battle-- the insurgent forces in Fallujah in 2004 were numerous, fanatical, dug in quite well, and were surprisingly well supplied. That was a very hard fight against a very determined and prepared enemy, in an urban environment-- it's not the sort of thing that's possible to do, without a whole lot of collateral damage-- which there was.
I can assure you, in spite of the fact that a lot of American troops were very very upset over the murders of American contractors at the end of March 2004(whose bodies were hung from the bridge in Fallujah, in public view and disrespected in ways the locals would not accept, if we did that to bodies of insurgents after killing them)-- our forces still acted with remarkable restraint in conducting that campaign considering how much resistance they faced on the streets of Fallujah.
Regarding the discussion in general--
I've seen people on all sides of arguments on these boards *including me* being much too thin-skinned for anyone out here on the internet, taking offense when none should be taken; seeing personal insults even when none are there-- and mistaking vigorous argument on the issues and legitimate attacks on positions in arguments as personal attacks on themselves.
A little bit less reactivity to every last little thing might serve a lot of people here on these boards quite well. Might want to take a step back and realize that, for instance, when someone says "I think dropping Cha on every character is a rather munchkinish tactic"-- that IS an opinion on that particular part of character creation-- that's NOT the same thing as calling the player who does it a 'munchkin'. If you're here to discuss ideas on these boards-- sorry, not everyone is going to agree with you. If you can't separate the idea of someone disagreeing with your ideas from someone attacking you personally-- you're in the wrong place. If you have the same problem offline in person, you wouldn't be socially functional... so try to remember, just as you have to do in RL, that it's usually not personal (at least until you make it personal), and try not to go there.
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
Just wanted to say that I am quite drunk right now and will reply when I am sober.
BTW-- one of those articles did leave me feeling really pissed off-- so, if my tone is off in the main reply post, please don't take personal offense-- I got a little snappish, and I'm not sure if I can edit that part to remove the snappy remark. I intended (and still intend) to dispute the contents of the articles, not launch personal attacks at you for posting the links.
Heh. Help out the poor illusionist by keeping other mages from nerfing him with a first-level spell... good thought, I may steal that sometime. :)
on the other hand, casting a detect magic on the area including the illusion, ought to count as sufficient interaction (at least with the masking of the aura) to merit a will save vs that part of the illusion... shouldn't totally nerf the other casters either.... :P
Unless you first (a) interact with an illusion and (b) make your will save, all the knowledge/arcana in the world won't let you pick an illusion out as such. Once you've MADE a will save, what knowledge/arcana will do is let you identify the spell source of the illusion in question.
IMO, if you've blown the will save, but you have lots of other evidence to show you that it's an illusion (including your comrades telling you it's an illusion and walking right through it)-- you may well know it's an illusion, and be making those knowledge rolls to understand it better, from an intellectual view-point-- and be annoyed that your five senses are still convinced it's totally real and that you still can't simply walk through it.
If you're in range-- using 'detect magic' and finding out that everything you're looking at is magic-- ought to be enough of a clue that a will save vs. illusions is justified (IMO).
Diego Rossi wrote:
Thank you for the bridge posts-- good stuff.
Serves as a reminder, to those who would forget, that the Romans were good architects who could accomplish more feats of engineering than modern folks might like to give them credit for. And the builders of the Renaissance weren't bad either.
National governments make sociopathic eight year olds look good. In all cases, I figure.
Ummm, yeah. Usually. Actually... I really think the comparison is unfair to the sociopathic 8 year olds-- they don't simply look good, compared to governmental behavior-- they look like children utterly without sin by comparison.... :)
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
On the other hand-- this article is nothing more, and nothing less, than a blatant piece of propaganda. I'm not reassured that you read and believe this trash.
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
The other article's not a whole lot better in its total one-sided view. Not sayin' mistakes haven't been made-- but I have seen many cases where the locals have made the same claims, presented the same sort of falsified evidence after cleaning up the scene, that it was all civilians, all civilian activity, no weapons, no combatants... and been lying through their teeth because there were combatants with weapons present, using the area and buildings as a base of operations, and even shooting on our forces from the location right up until we destroyed it. I sincerely doubt that whomever dropped those bombs, and whichever military personnel on NATO staff made the targeting decisions, did so knowing they were attacking a civilian target-- that is, presuming the locals aren't lying to us again about the presence of fighters at that location. They have also repeatedly set up locations for ammo storage, food, places for fighters to sleep, etc., in and among the civilian population-- in precisely the hope that those civilians will be killed by our weapons when we come after the insurgents located there. BTW-- using human shields is another act that is against the Laws of War, but the groups we're fighting do it all the time anyway.
It's gone round and round like this enough times, that while I'm sure we have bombed a few places that really were purely non-military in nature-- I'm pretty sure a lot of the places we've struck that the parties on the receiving end claim were entirely civilian targets, were in fact exactly the military assembly points and operating stations we thought they were. It's a standard insurgent tactic to blend into the local population, and then pretend that everything the other guys hit was a non-military target deliberately attacked to intentionally murder civilians. From the other side's point of view (ours, in the wars we've been involved in), since the enemy is violating the Laws of War in the first place (attempting to disguise all facilities as civilian/non-combatant installations) it becomes very difficult to ensure that we don't target truly civilian locations by mistake, since the enemies have done everything they can to not only disguise their military installations as civilian sites, but also have gone out of their way to make genuine civilian homes look like legitimate military targets-- in the hopes of getting a propaganda opportunity (usually they don't care how many of their own people die so long as they can score political points off of it).
Smarnil le couard wrote:
Smarnil-- just in case my tone is off in that post, my long reply to this same post was intended as discussion of the issues, not any sort of personal attack.Also, as with the reply to Comrade Anklebiter-- I'm not defending the failures on the part of the U.S.A.'s leadership regarding the recent wars we've engaged in, the reasons and justifications we've given for taking military action, etc.-- a lot of that has been very questionable at the least!
However, although we do have our share of bad apples in the ranks too (any military does), I am defending the conduct of the U.S. Military at war, because we (in the military) really have tried to conduct ourselves in warfare properly, and have mostly done a pretty good job at it.
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
And in this case, I'm pretty sure Human Rights Watch is correct-- war crimes were being committed, but not genocide. I'm not so sure Mr. Obama was guilty of intentionally using false intelligence, but yes, the information he was quoting as justification for launching the intervention may have been somewhat suspect, at least. The Anti-Gaddafi insurgents ran a pretty good propaganda campaign on the USA, Europe, and the U.N. to drum up support for the intervention.
My point earlier btw-- just in case I was unclear-- wasn't to argue that the politicians were right in deciding to intervene in Libya, just that on the part of the NATO military forces involved, the air war was conducted about as cleanly as was reasonably possible-- so I am dubious about claims that the NATO Air Forces involved committed war crimes.
Smarnil le couard wrote:
My apologies if my tone was overly harsh. Wasn't trying to come off as angry and launching a flame at you.
Smarnil le couard wrote:
You're right in observing that we didn't sign the treaties banning depleted uranium, landmines and submunitions (more on that in a moment). My point is that there are so many other things involved and settled in the 'Laws of War' that the places where we (as a nation) have violated some treaties we're a party to (treatment of prisoners of war), and the recent protocols and treaties that we've decided not to sign and join in on, are a very tiny portion of the overall requirements and commitments involved in the 'Laws of War'-- and we do honor and follow most of it.
Smarnil le couard wrote:
Actually, the United States military has been very restrained on the battlefield, to the extent that we regularly put our guys on the ground at greatly increased risk through not using the heavy weaponry we have available because of our concern about preventing unnecessary collateral damage. Part of the problem we have, is that we're still the 'Big Dog on the Porch', so every last little move gets noticed and scrutinized, and other nations would really like to tie our hands-- with treaties that are almost totally meaningless to them, because they can't even make the weapons they're trying to limit by treaty even if they wanted to. Really, I wish that, so long as we're going to be involved in military conflicts at all, that we'd be a little more reckless in our use of force, because although that would lead to more casualties among the native populations of countries we're operating in, we'd bring a lot more American Soldiers home alive who are currently coming home in body bags because we are being so godd**ned careful about NOT using maximum firepower.
The common rules we haven't followed, but should have-- were wrapped around the reasons why we went to war in the first place. How we've conducted ourselves while at war? The basic problem is, there isn't another military in the entire world that can do what the U.S. military can-- so it doesn't matter what we do, we're still gonna catch flack for it one way or another. No matter how hard we work to make precision munitions and use them with pinpoint accuracy-- no system is 100% perfect, and there's always the problem of false targeting information-- so, while the U.S. military has managed to avoid causing civilian/non-combatant casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan to an extent almost unheard of in military history-- because civilians and non-combatants have still died at our hands... we get accusations like the ones you've repeated in this post. We CAN NOT do better on the battlefield without sacrificing a lot more of our own Soldiers in the process doing it. IMO, sucks to be anyone caught underfoot in a war-zone, but it ain't worth my comrades' lives to go even farther in preventing all collateral damage.
The treaties we've refused to sign and the reasons why?
The 1977 Protocol 1 treaty added to the Geneva Conventions basically says it's okay for insurgent groups, active combatants, to not wear distinguishing uniforms that set them apart from the civilian population, and also sets out the idea that it's okay for them to live among and blend into the civilian population except when they're actually carrying and using their weapons. No, there's no f***ing way we should sign or honor that treaty-- it's basically meant to excuse insurgents from obeying the laws of war that all organized armies are expected and required to follow, it puts the civilian population at greatly increased risk, virtually guarantees that a lot of civilians are going to be mistaken for combatants and will be shot and killed as a result... and it was put together and thrust on the U.N. by a lot of smaller nations that wanted to find ways to inconvenience the major powers in conducting war.
Regarding depeleted uranium-- most countries love this treaty 'banning' depleted uranium, because they can't make it and put it to work anyway. I don't think we should give it up, to satisfy the nations who are scared of it-- because there isn't anything else that is quite as effective for making armor-piercing munitions and better tank armor. If you're going to fight a war at all, fighting it half-a**ed, instead of going out there to win, is actually going to cause more damage in the long run, than being quick, violent and destructive, and getting it over with. Sorry, but this one is the crying of nations who don't have our toys, trying to keep us from using the capabilities we have available.
Cluster munitions and land mines-- we have applied our technology to making sure that we do not use munitions that are going to litter the battlefield for generations afterwards. We're doing our best to making sure that our stuff self-destructs with a fairly short shelf-life, so that we're not endangering local populations through leaving unexploded ordinance there for years and years after the fighting has ended. However, it again comes back to the point that there really isn't anything else that can do the same job that cluster munitions do. Yes, there's a lot of countries that would like the United States to sign that treaty and honor it-- the real reason is NOT the humanitarian bulls**t that people would like to sell you on-- it's that most of these nations can't manufacture and use the sorts of weapons the U.S. manufactures and deploys in battle, and therefore would like to tie our hands so that they don't have to worry about having weaponry used against them that they can't make and use anyway.
The United States has actually remained on a peace-time footing, while our politicians have used the 'war' as an excuse to abuse, misuse, and rearrange our criminal statutes the whole time. Really, that's one of the scary parts-- from an economic standpoint-- y'all really haven't seen the U.S. on a war-time footing since World War 2 ended. But it'd be nice if they stop abusing habeas corpus rights over here.
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
One could find better sources though-- the U.N. Human Rights Council is (and has been for a long time) an overly politicized and utterly worthless sham group, useful for fielding the complaints of various nations that don't actually have the power or reach to do anything anyway. While I do not trust their biased results, still-- many of the NGO's (including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International) are better sources for this sort of info than the U.N.'s HRC.
Regarding NATO War Crimes? Don't think there were any in the air war over Libya (on the part of the military personnel actually conducting the operations, anyway-- the decision to send them in the first place might be another matter). War is a very very messy business and people get killed. Very often, in fact in almost every conflict in human history, some of them have been 'civilians' and non-combatants. Libya's no different in that respect. There are plenty of people out there I'm sure, who'd like to limit "legal" warfare purely to rifles and remove the possibility of ever using artillery or airstrikes again-- some of whom are simply utterly blinded idealists, and some of whom are cynical scumbags trying to make the 'playing field' easier for terrorists and insurgents-- but the continued whining that it must be a war-crime every time a bomb goes astray is complete and utter horses**t. The extra whining that our intelligence info not being 100% accurate represents a war-crime because we relied on the info we had in making targeting decisions, is also total bulls**t.
Now, deliberately falsifying intelligence, and then intentionally using that false intelligence as justificiation for starting a war or for targeting information during a war, might be a war-crime-- on the part of the person(s) who 'cooked' the intelligence, and on the part of politicos and decision makers who knew the intel was false and used it anyway. Still not a war-crime (although sometimes it does result in some tragedy) for those who, in good conscience, used information that was, to the best of their knowledge, the most accurate intelligence available. "Fog of War" is a b***h, but it's reality for any military force that engages in combat operations.
I'm not faulting, nor would I fault, a Cleric of Pharasma for not dropping everything else she's doing to go hunt down a bunch of Vampires. The Whispering Tyrant is a much higher priority.
However... I still do not see, under any circumstances mentioned thus far-- helping a bunch of vampires stop someone who is doing the right thing (ending their unlife). For me, leaving the vampires alone because you have a more important mission isn't the problem-- it's the idea that you're going to assist the vampires in stopping someone who's doing Pharasma's work by eliminating them.
The two points-- not wasting time eliminating every last undead bloodsucker you come across, and allying with them to eliminate a hero-- are not the same thing.
Being a realist (and a bit of a cynic)-- IMO, Australia hasn't played the Imperialist game (much), because you don't have the power and capability to do so. Europe's settling down partly because of the lack of power and reach issue, partly because "enlightened self-interest" is finally causing people to wake up over there and realize that continuing to tear Europe apart in violent conflicts doesn't help anyone there.
As others have noted-- Australia's got more than a few "skeletons" in the closet, and your nation's record on treatment of the Aborigines is at least as bad as our record in the USA on treatment of the Native Americans (I understand that Australia is taking great strides in making amends for that lately though)-- which doesn't make Australia any better or worse than other nations, just shows that hardly any nation's hands are really clean.
I hope we as a species can progress away from all of this-- I'd agree that it's possible... I just don't expect it to happen as soon as rational people would like, and that any such changes will take a long time to develop and become constant (if we can get that far before we wipe ourselves out through our own mistakes).
Smarnil le couard wrote:
You are thoroughly wrong. The United States is a party to most of the treaties establishing the 'Laws of War' as a formal body of international law. The only portions we are not presently a party to, are the 1977 Protocol 1 addition to the Geneva Conventions and the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court. You are correct, however, that thumbing our nose at the ICC is having a lot of diplomatic costs. On the other hand-- considering the political influence that has been applied to the ICC, I'm not so sure I trust that body to do its work impartially either-- so it's kind of a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation as well. Also-- most of the customs and treaties establishing the Laws of War actually predate the existence of the United Nations (not established until 1945, following the end of World War 2)-- the Geneva Conventions were negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations but the earlier treaties and agreements (such as the Hague Conventions) are at least as important to determining the overall body of International Law covering wars and conflicts.
We, in the USA, also do follow most of the 'Laws of War' even now, contrary to your assertions. However, our notable failings as a nation, under G. W. Bush (and to a lessening extent since his reign) to follow a few of the articles (notably on the treatment of POW's, and our justification for attacking Iraq) have been sufficiently spectacular and spectacularly bad, that they have attracted a lot of attention. Those failings still do not change the fact that we have been faithfully adherent to most of the Laws of War; and those portions that we have broken, our criminally negligent officials have still respected enough to try to rationalize and explain away the violations we have committed as somehow being situations that those treaties don't actually apply to (personally, I find those rationalizations almost as despicable as the violations themselves).
Regarding the last assertion-- The United States is not alone in this at all... the problem is, 1. the USA is an open society with freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and a lot of freedom of information-- as well as some glaring intelligence leaks-- therefore we got caught doing it. 2. See my first post on this thread about 'rogue states'-- the United States is powerful enough to get away with it-- doesn't make any of it right-- but other nations who might get caught don't do these things or are sneakier about it, because the repercussions on them would be far worse. 3. Pretty sure most of the so-called "liberal democracies" have these skeletons in their closet-- rules and treaties of international law they are a party to, that they break all the time, but they are far better at not getting caught at it than the USA is (also see pt 2-- it's more important to them that they not be caught at it). And, also note that in the USA-- we have a major problem with sheep in our voting population-- to the credit of some of the other "liberal democracies", their own people would raise much more of a fuss than our population has, if their government were implicated in these sorts of issues.
Also, gonna say it again (but it's something I've said many times before)-- I believe G. W. Bush, Dick Cheney, etc., should have been impeached and removed from office (and faced further criminal charges) for the violations of the Laws of War that these men ordered while they were in office. Because those treaties were signed/ratified by the USA, they were (according to the U.S. Constitution) part of U.S. Law, should not have been ignored, and those violations do meet the "high crimes and misdemeanors" thresh hold for impeachment established by the Constitution. Unfortunately, Congress was derelict in their duty to remove such criminally abusive officials at the top of our government-- we had a problem with enforcing our own law in this country, let alone with respecting International Law on this issue.
More like, it's "socially conditioned" into most people as they're growing up, for all of our good... (that's back to the "enlightened self-interest" on the individual scale).
We talk about 'inhumane' treatment... yet, as others have pointed out elsewhere on these boards, and as I have seen all too much very real evidence thereof, get into a situation where the usual social controls come off the rails... and so-called inhuman treatment of other human beings seems to be a very very very common human response. Put a different way-- a hallmark of human behavior in conflict situations seems to be the ability to be utterly cruel and vindictive to human beings outside of your in-group. A lot of the people doing these things are not your "4%"... they're part of the 96%, who nonetheless choose the extreme response for dealing with others when civil law is no longer enforced.
I agree with Beckett on this point. I can see a Cleric of Pharasma not hunting down the vampires as soon as he/she learns of their existence if he/she is on another mission of great importance (also I see such a Cleric knowing his/her limitations and not trying to hunt down all the vampires personally if it's beyond his/her ability to do so). However, working with and/or for the vampires (or any other undead) is pretty much unacceptable for a follower of Pharasma, no matter what the circumstances are.
Regarding the 'Ashes of Dawn' partial description under spoiler in Wolf Munroe's post:
The module may describe the killer of vampires as a "serial murderer"-- a proper Pharasman wouldn't consider the destruction of vampires as murder at all... he/she would consider what this 'so called murderer' has done so far to be a good start and should want to help, not stop, the 'vampire killer' (unless it turns out to be undead itself).
I do think it's a total Fail on the part of the module's creators if they did not put a way to succeed in the module without aiding the vampires of this city-- I'm pretty sure Pharasma's not the only deity in Golarion that really has a problem with people tolerating the existence of the undead, and even if she were the only one-- I don't think it's good to basically put PCs on the spot of defy one of the core tenets of your faith, or fail the mission.
Reality Check: the only thing that separates the USA from most of the other countries around the world (except the ones that are clearly much more corrupt and/or farther off the rails than we are), is that the USA has the power to do these things and get away with it. Other states are complaining and whining-- NOT because they wouldn't be doing exactly the same things (or worse) IF they had the USA's power and reach, but rather because they don't have the power, reach and ability to get away with all the dirty things they'd like to be doing, and are therefore rather envious.
Pretty much all states are "rogue" states to the extent that they can get away with it, and "good international citizens" to the extent that they have to be in order to thrive, survive, and accomplish their goals for the future. 'Enlightened self-interest' unfortunately has been, and so far as we can tell, always will be, the way of international relations. Doesn't make it right-- but I don't see it changing in our lifetimes. People who look at history and current affairs, and who still cannot see that-- are hopelessly deluded and hallucinating about 'basic human goodness' that does not really exist.
I have played a few "evil" characters, though haven't really played in an "evil" campaign (nor would I want to). I usually play good characters, I have played a few neutral ones; the evil characters have been a very small minority out of the many characters I have played over the years.
However, in every case that I can remember-- these characters have been 'evil' (in D&D alignment terms), because they were the sort of dedicated, perhaps a little fanatical/fundamentalist, types who were utterly f***ing ruthless and genuinely believed that the "ends justify the means" (without reservation on what 'means' they would consider using). Yeah, they might have been a little bit selfish and had a desire to improve their own standing and power-- but all of them were willing to cooperate with the group, generally worked towards "good ends" and for the benefit of society (my neutral characters have been the more mercenary "I expect to be well-paid" types, not the evil ones), and were not d**ks to their friends. Some of them have also been rather bloodthirsty and way too disrespectful regarding the basic value of sentient life.
They just take their methods, means, and what they're willing to do to get there (including stabbing backs, deceit, lying and cheating-- but only where "necessary") way too far and regularly 'cross the moral event horizon'. These characters have been smart enough (and played with sufficient intent to not disrupt the game) to keep their more ruthless, underhanded, vicious and/or dirty methods concealed from their nicer companions. It ain't rocket science to play a character like this and still contribute, rather than take away from, the overall game for everyone at the table...
Those who have seen me post on certain other threads will know that personally I have pretty strong ideas about good and evil, right and wrong-- my few characters generally violate a lot of those lines. I don't think I've ever been breaking my standards in gaming though, because the point is (as a player)-- these characters often "justify" their methods as right and acceptable to themselves and try to explain them that way in game, but I (the player) do not excuse their actions as morally acceptable or their reasons as anything other than the rationalized excuses they are.
Heh. There were more than two Tekumel novels written and published.
Played a bit in Tekumel myself, under several different rules-sets... very interesting, intensely developed world. Never met the man in person, but still-- I'll miss Prof Barker through not getting to see any more new bits of writing and creative stuff from him anymore.
A Japanese company that makes electronic materials, electronic components, and data storage/recording media.
(used to buy their blank cassette tapes, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away-- before compact discs were commonly available, and for a while longer before cd-r technology became readily available)
Seems like this argument was held two years ago, before the thread was necroed back to life... held countless other places over the intervening months-- held on another thread just last week; and now held on this thread this week. Not gonna repeat myself here-- my opinion has been stated clearly enough elsewhere.
However, I do appreciate Kirth's very clear explanation (from around two years ago) of the basic problems with Charisma, compared with other stats. It's still an almost totally pointless stat, so long as the only thing it does is apply a skill modifier that you can entirely make up with skill points-- seems like a good solution would be to house-rule charisma into complete non-existence and sort what very very few effects might remain (prime casting stat for the previously charisma-based casters as the main issue-- possibly reassigning the skills to other stats rather than leaving them with no modifying stat-- probably give the majority of them to Intelligence, since otherwise it's a little light on game effects compared to the other four).
Good set of plans-- but something to do while the negotiator buys a little time, not something to do after surrendering and hoping you didn't just get gagged and/or dismembered. Still-- summon air elementals to do an aerial evac, while other people keep the bad guys occupied-- sounds like a possible win to me.
If you don't have the time for full-blown diplomacy, that's where you're stuck (in a lot of games, and as far as I can tell suggested by both the crunch and the fluff in the description of Charisma) relying on a straight Charisma check. Which is where that 8 Charisma will really hurt.
Oh, and diplomacy is used to modify a creature's reactions... so, also-- that may often come back to what the creature's initial reaction was in the first place.... which may be based on that straight-up charisma check. Seems in keeping, if one should pay attention to the fluff and crunch for all stats.
All these "Class X is more powerful / weaker / versatile / nerfed compared to / etc. than Class Y" arguments...
I agree that optimization is generally a good thing, when it's not taken past the point where squeezing mechanical advantages requires abusing and misusing all the non-mechanical source material, backgrounds and etc (aka "the fluff") that the rules, options and abilities are supposed to represent. This also goes to the points made in ShadowcatX's post below yours-- I think that almost everyone does want to play an effective character, and that does require an understanding of the rules and at least some optimization. So, I don't mean to suggest that optimization should be a dirty word-- I do mean to suggest that one can and should apply a little restraint, insofar as not taking options on a character that might be mechanically effective, but tend to violate the character concept someone might otherwise be aiming for and/or that really don't seem like they belong together on the same character.
The other point I mean to suggest, that seems to me to be often ignored on many of these boards-- is that, since one can build and play an effective Oracle and one can also build and play an effective Cleric-- why not put a little time, when making characters, to deciding what best fits a personality/past/background concept that you'd like to play (presuming it can still be effective in game) rather than, as many people posting here do seem to advocate (not saying this is you-- but it's on these boards, and seems to be what some folks claim they do at their tables), creating the numbers for your uber-optimized mechanical build-- and then trying to stuff in a name, personality, etc.?
Not necessarily trying to get in the way of the thought exercises, because I get that point-- but I'd like to see more discussion of concepts and builds and ideas without always trying to prove which class/build/etc. is mechanically superior, so long as it's reasonably effective in a player's hands (and it's true that I may be exaggerating a little there-- it's just been a lot of threads without acknowledging that maximum mechanical superiority is not the only priority in making and playing a character).
Regarding Summoners and Sorcerers-- I haven't looked at that-- but if there's a class that is seriously 'nerfed' compared to another class in the same role-- yeah, no one wants to play a useless character, and one doesn't want to stuff someone in in a useless role because of an ineffective character class to begin with-- thought I acknowledged in my opening post that those sorts of things ought to be discussed (and maybe result in requests being steered towards the developers for the next time a revision gets made), but I wasn't aware that Sorcerers made and played well were weak and useless next to other casters-- guess that means I need to take more of a look at the Summoner some time soon.
All these "Class X is more powerful / weaker / versatile / nerfed compared to / etc. than Class Y" arguments...
Optimization and min/maxing are thought exercises on these forums. They are always going to be around when you have a forum based on a game system. It's pretty much filler to me. They in no way represent what people do at the game table.
A good point. I'm just a little concerned that some of the discussions seem to get a little excessive in nitpicking at every last little point either for tweaking that final little .0000000001% more bit of advantage out of it; and/or to "win" the "caster type A is superior to caster type B" arguments. I suppose as a thought exercise it's not my cup of tea to take it that far, but I shouldn't let myself be bothered by others engaging in it.
I can see it now...
The rest of the party is off running other errands, when the Cleric is wise enough to realize something is drastically wrong, but wasn't quite sharp enough to catch it in advance. The cleric turns to the bard...
"Ummmm, did we just leave big'n'mean Joe all by himself back there to handle the negotiations with the locals for replacing that barn we torched last adventure?"
(Bard does face-palm... meanwhile, back at the inn....)
Well the mistake is to try and apply real life instances into the equation. US military,spetznaz,IRA, it really doesn't matter, as soon as you get close enough you act. What real life doesn't have is initiative. All you have to do is start the initiative order, see who may need to hold their action until a better time comes up. It's not really that difficult at all.
Real life doesn't have a die roll for initiative. :P
To think that seizing the initiative in combat doesn't matter in real life-- would be a display of such overwhelming ignorance, that I'm sure that's not what you mean by "real life doesn't have initiative"-- firefights are often decided by which side got in the first accurate shots. On a larger scale, a lot of military planning and training, and a lot of the effort in actual operations, involves ensuring that your side has the initiative and the other side is stuck with having to react to your attacks before they can try to do anything else.
On the other hand-- yes, if you're speaking of game mechanics and what actions (in game) will work better than others for accomplishing a particular purpose or goal in this situation-- okay, break out the game-mechanics, not the real world examples with weapons the characters don't even have.
However, since much of this thread has been about motivations and morality and the 'whys' behind the actions-- if one likes realistic fiction (and in this case-- even in total fantasy settings, likes reasonable, understandable 'human' motivations and feelings displayed in the story), it's not a mistake to bring up and apply real life instances into the equation as part of that discussion.
Liam Warner wrote:
You're right-- so, the BBEG should kill the spell-casters immediately. Save the fighter (and maybe the Paladin) for interrogation.
All these "Class X is more powerful / weaker / versatile / nerfed compared to / etc. than Class Y" arguments...
(I'll admit, that I'm finally posting this-- was prompted by the latest string of this sort of argument, the "Clerics weaker than Oracles" thread-- but the idea goes way beyond just the Clerics vs. Oracles and Wizards vs. Sorcerers arguments):
Which fits your character concept better? A Cleric or an Oracle?
Which are you going to enjoy playing more? An Oracle or a Cleric?
Same sorts of questions should be asked in the Wizard/Sorcerer debates, and in most of the other debates crunching numbers to compare similar classes-- maybe the idea even applies a little bit to the obsession some folks seem to have with comparing dissimilar classes (although I would agree with people who are arguing those issues as a matter of seeking better game balance and playability for all, that it's still well worth discussing for those reasons)...
To me, all the number-crunching and "which class is more powerful", determined by all the marginal arguments and scraping at finding every last mechanical advantage, smacks of min-maxing taken to the munchkinist point in a very bad way. Personally-- 'effective' in game in my experience has always depended a lot more on the imagination, ability and creativity of the player than on the 'number-crunched' differences between similar classes-- granted, there's been a few classes in the game's history that seem to be (or have been) quite ineffective, and it's possible to 'nerf' a build for almost any class (and thereby make the character ineffective for almost any player)-- but in general, I don't think Clerics, Oracles, Sorcerers, or Wizards inherently have those problems.
Why not think more about the character (concept, personality, etc) you want to play, and then build a character that is reasonably effective that fits your concept, instead of worrying about the creating the best 'tactical unit', and then seeing if you can put together a personality that matches the numbers you've thrown together?
No prob/apology accepted. :)
So long as the fighter does stand at the back and doesn't interrupt the 'face character' during negotiations, I don't think so. I believe it is fair to not penalize the party for having some specialization of duties, regarding who handles which situations (fighter with low charisma ain't the face character-- it is fair to dump a stat, realize you've got a flaw, and try to avoid the situations where you're going to bring your party down because of it-- real people work around their flaws all the time, so I do accept that characters should be able to do that)-- and, when the pretty bard's doing the negotiation, most people aren't going to pay attention to what they probably assume is the pretty bard's socially inept bodyguard (which is what they probably assume the big, ugly off-putting fighter is). IMO, the player is still adequately playing his 'flaw' by doing his best in play to avoid putting himself on the line where those penalties are going to hurt him and/or the party, and if he is almost always successful in doing so-- by his still recognizing that if it ever happens that all the face people are 'down' and he's suddenly the one who has to make a good first impression, he's gonna have a problem (kind'a the same as we expect poor melee fighters to do their best to stay out of melee).
Yep. If you're evil, you don't care about their comfort and well-being, and in this game-- you've got various mind-reading spells and abilities (that your devilish allies can easily use on your behalf) to handle the interrogation. They don't need to be able to speak...
Sir Ophiuchus wrote:
We have an actual geneticist posting on the boards (interesting info, Cartmanbeck :) )--
However, IMO-- since we're dealing with magical beings, and "races" (for game-mechanics purposes) that may skip many generations and then reappear in the bloodline again (Aasimar, Tieflings, and other 'plane-touched'); radically different creatures that can still somehow donate their bloodlines (Dragons and non-Dragons); bloodlines/races that can be passed on/started without even mating at all with the creature responsible for granting the inheritance (many varieties of 'plane-touched', including Aasimar and Tieflings); and etc. (countless examples I'm not immediately remembering)-- I'd say Magic! makes everything we know about real-life genetic science almost irrelevant in many cases...
I completely agree with the thought that story trumps genetics (in a fantasy game; if we were discussing a sci-fi game, my answer might be that story itself requires a little more respect for modern/future science)-- magic gives the reason why the outcome can 'make sense' in the game world.
I have a character running around now, who is perhaps theoretically an example of 'magic' trumping 'genetics' to make the mechanics work out smoothly. The character is the grand-daughter of four different characters from previous adventuring groups set in the GM's long running campaign. Paternal grand-father is an elf, with a little bit of draconic blood, who spent a few decades trapped in the Far Realms and then escaped-- but it's left him rather 'marked' in body and soul. Paternal grand-mother is a Fire Archon serving Kossuth (the game's using FR deities)-- who used to be a Succubus in the service of Grazz't until she broke loose, escaped from the Abyss, and over the course of an extended campaign, managed to completely break free and be transformed into something entirely-other-than-Demon (it was in the context of a particular campaign where the whole party was made up of 'monsters', rather than standard characters-- so the renegade succubus fit in with that). Maternal grand-father is a human adventurer who, as part reward, part new "job" for the greater good, ascended from mortal to Celestial status; and her maternal grand-mother is a half-elf, also ascended from mortal to full-blown Celestial status, who in adventuring days was an exalted Monk-Paladin (and depending on who you ask, was either a Saint or on the verge of Saint-hood-- either way, she was genuinely a paragon of good). For game purposes and etc-- Val is an Aasimar, on the thought that the holy lineage and celestial influence passed down from her maternal grandparents, has managed to overcome all the other influences (demonic, elemental fire, far realms, bit of draconic blood, and the mortal race heritage involved) in determining what race she is. By class, she's an Oracle with the Flames Mystery-- because her Fire Archon paternal grandmother's escape from demonic service apparently involved some oaths and rituals that now mean that everyone descended from her is going to be dedicated/devoted/tied to the Fire Lord (Kossuth) in some fashion or form, whether they want to be or not!
(it's also worth observing that the whole 'set-up' of her lineage/parenthood, was not at all coincidental-- for reasons still not known to Val, her Fire Archon/former Succubus grandmother deliberately socially engineered the relationships and matings necessary to make it happen.)
I prefer the "Eberron" solution-- there are "first-generation" half-elves (children of 1 human and 1 elven parent); and then there are many half-elves who have been breeding 'true' as a race unto themselves for countless generations (who call themselves "Khoravari" as a race-name)-- both exist in the world (sometimes intermingled-- one of my characters was technically a 3/4 elf-- child of an elf parent and a "Khoravari" half-elf-- in game terms, the character was still a half-elf :) Pretty sure my character was well within the acceptable bounds of the setting).
Nice idea. I'd be more tempted to play the character as actually being an Aasimar or Tiefling, with the opposite bloodline (admittedly because I don't like a lot of the effects of being 'cross-blooded'); but either way I think it would make for an interesting concept in play.
I've never had that impression, and I'm pretty sure you're misreading my posts in order to get that implication.
What I have been saying, and do think-- is that the developers and game designers never intended for anyone to take a stat less than 10 AND simply "hand-wave away" all negative effects and repercussions by spending a few skill points-- which is what many of the posters on this thread seem to think should be the only effect of dumping some stats (Charisma, for instance).
I am inclined to believe (and it's the impressions I have of how things ought to work from many many years of playing RPGs) that if you 'dump' a stat, you should have to face up to the negative consequences of the flaw that 'dumped stat' represents. Simply buying some ranks in social skills should not be enough to entirely counter the issues that basically being utterly uncharismatic should leave you with-- yes, it's reasonable to say that learning from others mitigates the effects a little bit, but it shouldn't just 'wipe it away entirely'.
I'm in favor of playing effective characters-- which does require optimization (at least up to a point)-- I'm not in favor of carrying optimization past the point where it starts to look like munchkinish tweaking of the rules for every last little scrap of mechanical advantage you can grasp, while virtually requiring that you ignore the "fluff", common-sense, and background bits that you have to twist, bend, break, and violate to get there.
I have also observed (many times throughout these threads), that the "fluff" (as well as the crunch) for ALL of the basic six stats is important. While the fluff is highly flexible and adaptable, it's still there, still has clear meaning and-- especially in the case of Charisma (but also sometimes with other stats)-- gets violated by min-maxers all the time.
Y'know, Spetsnaz units really do consider this a perfectly reasonable tactic. Shooting the hostage in the leg, in order to ultimately save the hostage's (and many other people's) lives in the process? As the TV Tropes entry notes, risky-- but it actually has been done in reality (although the entry skips that, I think), is a little less risky if you're a passably good shot and careful about where in the leg you shoot the hostage (don't put a bullet in the upper thigh-- there's too many major arteries and veins to bleed out through in the upper leg, that thin out as you go lower, and it's rather difficult to put a tourniquet on it if necessary for an upper thigh wound). This is also much less risky with military and/or competent real police personnel than the trope makes it sound-- because military and police personnel are trained in first aid, and are not going to be waiting for the paramedics and ambulances to arrive to handle the necessary basic measures to reasonably assure that the wounded hostage is going to live. This probably works much better in a fantasy setting where you've got clerics and other magic healers to patch up any damage even faster.
Non-lethal shooting of hostages should not be off the table-- if the consequences for not taking the shot are worse. If you have non-lethal weapons/options, using those to neutralize hostages is actually a pretty good option (in game and in reality). However-- I really don't think this excuses "tossing a lethal grenade deliberately into the middle of the group of hostages", which is what casting those lethal AoE spells on the hostages amounted to (of course I don't think your post was suggesting that either :) ).
Sometimes people allow themselves to be captured in order to get into the heart of the enemy, or it allows them to get closer.
Ummm.... yeah, sure.
Sometimes this works (in more rational universes where people's actions make sense and the enemies are not total morons)-- for individuals who allow themselves to be captured by the enemy... but not for whole teams to allow themselves to get captured, without known/reliable/capable back-up staying out of the enemy's grasp to support their plan and/or rescue them if necessary.
This also only tends to work, if: A) the enemy is known to respect surrenders and not simply kill the newly captured heroes on the spot or after a brief but nasty brutal interrogation (something I don't think would apply to Paegin and co) or B) the enemy has or is given really good reasons why the person giving him/her-self up must be kept alive and (relatively) unharmed (something that IMO doesn't apply with Paegin and co-- the kids are temporarily being kept alive to keep the heroes from curb-stomping Paegin and co on the spot-- once the heroes are in Paegin's hands, there's no-one immediately there to come down on him for wasting the PCs).
A tactic similar to this is often seen, in reality, where negotiators will exchange themselves for hostages, in order not just to free up hostages but also to get themselves right in close to the criminals/hostage takers in order to more effectively negotiate face-to-face (safe passage for negotiators passing enemy lines during warfare is usually considered to be a somewhat different sort of arrangement not actually involving surrender-- although it does still place the negotiators at the opposing force's mercy if something goes wrong). However, such negotiators are a few individuals-- the whole rescue team/effort backing them up is not surrendering, and most likely, they're not even lowering their guns.
Some other variations on "getting closer", "inserting a spy in their midst" and such may be viable in a realistic view-- but again, it depends on the enemy desiring and/or having really good reasons to want to keep you alive-- if you don't have that, then surrendering at all-- is effectively committing suicide.
My thought on withdrawal wasn't going away and coming back on an entirely different, much later day-- as the results should probably be what you predict. I did (and to some extent still do) think that temporarily withdrawing, trying to get ahead of them (or sneakily trail them) and find a better spot for a hostage-rescue effort was a viable option (and/or withdrawing for a little bit just to buy some more time to work out other options)-- but it does make me think that if Paegin and co are just going to use the bridge as the spot for the murder/sacrifice/whatever, then even the most temporary of retreats isn't a good option.
Although-- I would tend to think (and I didn't read this into the explanation of the bad guys' actions) that there's more going on than just killing the kids for revenge (if that had been all that was intended), Paegin and co would have killed the kids in the village, instead of kidnapping them. Sacrifice/ritual murder/etc., requiring more time and/or a site away from the village to carry out, could have been part of the intent all along, though...
An awful lot of folks playing RPGs don't like surrendering because they take more of a realistic view of what should happen once you've been captured, instead of a BS "sunshine and butterflies" gamer's view, that maybe the bad guy's going to boast and give away all his plans, and then the bad guys will totally screw up on basic security measures so that you'll get to escape and retrieve all your gear. No, what really happens is it depends on who you're fighting-- but if you're up against terrorists and criminals, you will most likely end up murdered-- fairly quickly, before you can become a significant risk to the group that took you prisoner. You may or not be interrogated and/or subjected to brutal torture first, depending on whether or not they think you have information they need to know, and/or whether or not they're just plain vindictive that way.
If the enemy you're fighting is an honorable adversary who respects his foes, accepts honorable surrender and is known (or reasonably expected) to treat his prisoners decently-- y'know, someone who has the inclination, possibly backed up by good reason, to conduct him/her-self according to the "Laws of War"-- surrender is a much more viable, potentially acceptable option. Even then-- it's better to escape and evade capture, than surrender-- because being a POW (or similar such "forced guest" awaiting ransom by honorable medieval standards) still sucks-- however, surrender is an even more viable option, if it is a medieval/renaissance-style society with a strong tradition of capture, good treatment, and ransom for nobles & knights fighting other nobles & knights in battle, and you're a knight and/or belong to the noble classes-- in that case, capture might not even suck that bad-- it's part of the usual routine.
However-- such honorable foes don't take children hostage and threaten them with death in order to force your compliance. Although in various such noble societies there was some ritualized exchange of "hostages" (usually under more polite terms) to guarantee good behavior on the parts of various nobles towards their overlords-- it was never conducted in the kind of brutal "surrender or I murder the children" way that Paegin and co were doing in this scenario.
BTW-- in real life, the Code of Conduct for the United States Military includes this:
U.S. Military Code of Conduct, Article 2: wrote:
It's something we take seriously, for lots of very good reasons. It's not just a video-game thing. And personally, I'd probably slash my wrists if I was out of bullets, rather than surrender to Taliban fighters or Al-Qaeda inspired insurgents-- even if they had hostages and were threatening to kill them (not least because I don't think my surrender would save the hostages)-- should I expect less from my characters, who are supposed to be far better than an ordinary soldier like I was before I retired from the military?
Now-- I agree with you, if I'm reading your thoughts correctly, on the ego-trip (and other problems) regarding why many players don't run when they should. Withdrawal and retreat are options that are usually possible, should be considered if the odds are stacked against you and/or the fight is not going your way; and it's very very rare to find situations where it's really better to stand and fight and go down swinging, than retreat and live to fight another day (sometimes, especially for the really heroic types-- situations may arise where it's better to stand, fight and die than retreat-- usually as an individual matter where your sacrifice is what's making the difference in allowing others to escape and/or succeed in accomplishing something worth the sacrifice you're making).
As noted above-- Surrender is usually bad, not just in video-games, not just in RPGs, but in reality as well; however, people who are too stupid to consider running away when they're outgunned, deserve to get killed for their manifest stupidity.
(In RD's example-- I already mentioned, many posts ago, that withdrawing and allowing Paegin to escape-- for now (buying time and planning for a rescue effort later in a better location)-- was something that should have at least been considered by RD's player-group.)
I disagree. 'Rules as Intended', if what we were looking for was the 'intent' of the developers, would then fall into more questions, such as "which developer did you mean?" and "which developer's word has precedence over which other developer?" since the rules (having gone through such a long lineage from Original D&D to Pathfinder are sort of a committee product (plus, you'd need a medium to talk to Gygax and Arneson, these days-- and maybe some other developers as well).
One can try to understand 'intent' by careful reading and then figuring out how the rules are supposed to work (reasonable interpretation), based on all the other evidence (and based on plain-old "what works"), and whether or not the "rules as written" mesh together with everything else (especially including the 'fluff text', IMO) and actually do what they're apparently supposed to do.
Since (presumably) we're using a common language, it's not just semantics. RAI is more than just guess-work, unless you're just guessing what it means every time you read a sentence in English-- but multiple different interpretations are possible. I don't think RAW is more valid than RAI-- my reasoning, as explained in other threads-- is that the 'fluff' does a pretty good job (unless the problem is that the fluff is poorly written, which often happens) in explaining what the intent of the rules is-- and if what the RAW (the mechanics) does doesn't match, IMO there's a problem. Doesn't require 'telepathy' to find those sorts of issues.
However, for the most part, I think RAI and RAW are both important and usually mesh well together. Your point about RAW needing a lot of manipulation to be functional, I'd phrase as RAW is subject to interpretation, and some interpretations of how RAW functions don't work, while some interpretations (manipulations if you will) do work-- coming to an understanding of RAI at your table, generally gives you a good idea of which interpretation/manipulation of RAW is the one you ought to be using in game-play. That's how I read it and usually consider what needs to be sorted out in interpreting both RAW and RAI.
Yep, this is the prime rule-- and while you've called it the penultimate RAI, I'd just call it the Ultimate RAI-- the prime directive, the real intent of most people's games-- if you're not having fun, you've definitely failed in achieving the intent of recreational gaming.... :D