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Removing a character from play for being "Evil"


Pathfinder Society® General Discussion

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Andoran ***** Venture-Captain, Minnesota—St. Paul

I don't want to create along drawn out new thread discussing what is and is not evil and how much evil should be considered for removal of a character from play.

What I'd like is to hear from Mark Moreland about whether table GM's, coordinators, and/or Venture-Captains even have the right to make that subjective call.

If they do, I think we need some documentation to add some objective guidelines for said removal.

This isn't a simple question of table variance that should be expected on many ambiguous rules issues.

This is an issue of someone completely losing their right to play their character. Which should not be up to the subjective whims of a GM, game-day coordinator, or venture captain.

Cheliax ****

Andrew Christian wrote:

I don't want to create along drawn out new thread discussing what is and is not evil and how much evil should be considered for removal of a character from play.

What I'd like is to hear from Mark Moreland about whether table GM's, coordinators, and/or Venture-Captains even have the right to make that subjective call.

If they do, I think we need some documentation to add some objective guidelines for said removal.

This isn't a simple question of table variance that should be expected on many ambiguous rules issues.

This is an issue of someone completely losing their right to play their character. Which should not be up to the subjective whims of a GM, game-day coordinator, or venture captain.

Rather that rehash my opinion from the other thread here, I'll simply state that I agree and hit the FAQ button.

OK, almost. For clarification I will state that my concern is specifically with reference to faction missions and whether they should have alignment-changing ramifications, as outlined in the other thread.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Ninjaiguana wrote:
OK, almost. For clarification I will state that my concern is specifically with reference to faction missions and whether they should have alignment-changing ramifications, as outlined in the other thread.

But if you think about it, if it becomes explicitly disallowed for GMs to enforce an alignment change, then the issue of alignment-changing faction missions disappears, doesn't it? :)

@Andrew - Good thinking making a new thread for FAQ-ing. You have my click.

"And my axe!"

Cheliax ****

Jiggy wrote:
Ninjaiguana wrote:
OK, almost. For clarification I will state that my concern is specifically with reference to faction missions and whether they should have alignment-changing ramifications, as outlined in the other thread.

But if you think about it, if it becomes explicitly disallowed for GMs to enforce an alignment change, then the issue of alignment-changing faction missions disappears, doesn't it? :)

This is true. I just wanted to make it clear where I stand.

Lantern Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Australia—Melbourne aka DarkWhite

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Andrew Christian wrote:
This is an issue of someone completely losing their right to play their character. Which should not be up to the subjective whims of a GM, game-day coordinator, or venture captain.

Evil characters are not permitted in PFS organised play. I have written alignment warnings on chronicle sheets before. I would not hesitate warning a player if their actions were impeding the enjoyment of other players, and I would ask them to leave the table if necessary. While it is a subjective issue, it is a GMs, game-day coordinators and venture-captains responsibility to make those kind of judgements when called to do so, just as it is for stepping in to prevent similar infractions, such as cheating at the table, though such decisions should not be made lightly. Players who insist on playing these type of characters should be on notice.

If you have to ask whether or not your character is doing something that might get it banned from a table, then you really should reconsider before continuing.

Cheers,
Stephen (DarkWhite)
Pathfinder Society 4-Star GM
Venture-Captain, Australia

Grand Lodge **

Andrew Christian wrote:
What I'd like is to hear from Mark Moreland about whether table GM's, coordinators, and/or Venture-Captains even have the right to make that subjective call.

On one hand, I say of course. GMs, coordinators and/or/especially Venture-Captains have the duty already to make judgment calls.

Most of what I recall seeing on the messageboards with respect to this topic comes in the form of: verbal warning, written warning, checking for prior written warnings, hello evil - goodbye Society.

Seems reasonable to me on the surface. I'm verbally warning you, "Dude that's evil and tacky, you might want to rethink that." Then I'm putting a note on your Chronicle, "For some reason this guy thinks killing babies is ok." Still, really? You don't get it? You tell me "It's what my character would do!" Later. Peace. You keep pressing your luck, eventually you lose.

Cheliax ****

Mark Garringer wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
What I'd like is to hear from Mark Moreland about whether table GM's, coordinators, and/or Venture-Captains even have the right to make that subjective call.

On one hand, I say of course. GMs, coordinators and/or/especially Venture-Captains have the duty already to make judgment calls.

Most of what I recall seeing on the messageboards with respect to this topic comes in the form of: verbal warning, written warning, checking for prior written warnings, hello evil - goodbye Society.

Seems reasonable to me on the surface. I'm verbally warning you, "Dude that's evil and tacky, you might want to rethink that." Then I'm putting a note on your Chronicle, "For some reason this guy thinks killing babies is ok." Still, really? You don't get it? You tell me "It's what my character would do!" Later. Peace. You keep pressing your luck, eventually you lose.

Would you make such notations for the completion of faction missions, such as some of the more questionable missions outlined in the other thread? Or would you treat them differently to 'freely-chosen' acts of evil?

Andoran ***** Venture-Captain, Minnesota—St. Paul

I don’t disagree that evil is not allowed in PFS play.

But if faction missions are going to be determined evil, and you lose out on PA because you refuse to do evil, and some GM determines (his subjective call, because nobody has written any guidelines for how many evil acts it takes, or just how evil an act has to be) he loses his character because he’s now evil.

I also don’t disagree that GM’s should have free reign at their table… to a point. That point of subjective ambiguity should stop at losing your ability to play a character.

If its three documented evil acts, and character is gone… then that needs to be written down somewhere.

Lantern Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Australia—Melbourne aka DarkWhite

Ninjaiguana wrote:
Would you make such notations for the completion of faction missions, such as some of the more questionable missions outlined in the other thread? Or would you treat them differently to 'freely-chosen' acts of evil?

A faction mission will not require a character to kill babies. However, this is a game where characters wield swords and kill monsters (and bad people). I think a degree of common sense should prevail here, and I would trust most GMs, coordinators and Venture-Captains to rule appropriately.

Cheers,
Stephen (DarkWhite)

*

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

And then there's the question of why the rule is in place, which is actually pretty fundamental to the debate. If the idea is just to reinforce the "Don't be a jerk" policy, then the rule probably wouldn't be necessary except that a certain contingent would use the permission to be "evil" as an excuse that that rule wouldn't apply to them.

If it's actually meant to prevent players from taking certain actions, then that may need to be spelled out better - and reinforced with a much stronger banned list (I can think of a PRC, an archetype, and half a dozen spells that I see used on a regular basis that belong on such a list that are fully permitted in Society play.)

Taldor ***

Have there been cases or GMs who have been too trigger-happy on announcing a character "evil" and thus deeming it unplayable?

Cheliax ****

Stephen White wrote:
Ninjaiguana wrote:
Would you make such notations for the completion of faction missions, such as some of the more questionable missions outlined in the other thread? Or would you treat them differently to 'freely-chosen' acts of evil?

A faction mission will not require a character to kill babies. However, this is a game where characters wield swords and kill monsters (and bad people). I think a degree of common sense should prevail here, and I would trust most GMs, coordinators and Venture-Captains to rule appropriately.

Cheers,
Stephen (DarkWhite)

What is your idea of a 'common sense' ruling on a morally questionable faction mission, such as commissioning an assassination? I apologise if it feels like I'm pursuing you on this, but I really want to get a clear picture of everyone's opinion.

Lantern Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Australia—Melbourne aka DarkWhite

Andrew Christian wrote:
But if faction missions are going to be determined evil, and you lose out on PA because you refuse to do evil ...

There have been a few faction missions in which characters have been required to assassinate some figure, poison use, or some other questionable act. Usually, a faction mission that requires assassination is removing an evil NPC. I've had players (often Paladins) choose not to complete their faction mission on moral grounds. That is a player's choice. I haven't seen a situation yet where completing a faction mission would require the removal of a player charcter, that would seem contrary to the goals of the game, and probably wouldn't get past editing. How a player decides his character will complete their faction mission, however ...

Cheers,
Stephen (DarkWhite)

Cheliax ****

Stephen White wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
But if faction missions are going to be determined evil, and you lose out on PA because you refuse to do evil ...

There have been a few faction missions in which characters have been required to assassinate some figure, poison use, or some other questionable act. Usually, a faction mission that requires assassination is removing an evil NPC. I've had players (often Paladins) choose not to complete their faction mission on moral grounds. That is a player's choice. I haven't seen a situation yet where a completing a faction mission would require the removal of a player charcter, that would seem contrary to the goals of the game, and probably wouldn't get past editing. How a player decides his character will complete their faction mission, however ...

Cheers,
Stephen (DarkWhite)

There is no question that players can refuse to perform a faction mission on moral grounds. That's called 'good roleplay'. However, should a player be penalised (i.e. have a notation placed on their character sheet moving them a step closer to Evil and subsequent removal from play) for chosing to go through with that questionable mission and reaping the PA rewards - presuming for the sake of this argument that they are *not* a member of a class with strict alignment proscriptions, such as paladins?

Lantern Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Australia—Melbourne aka DarkWhite

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Ninjaiguana wrote:
...

1) If you have to ask whether or not your character is doing something that might get it banned from a table, then you really should reconsider before continuing.

2) I would trust most GMs, coordinators and Venture-Captains to rule appropriately.

3) I haven't seen a situation yet where a completing a faction mission would require the removal of a player character, that would seem contrary to the goals of the game.

If the above doesn't satisfy a common-sense test, then see step 1).

Cheers,
Stephen (DarkWhite)

Qadira **** Venture-Captain, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Thorkull

This is always going to be an issue in an organized play environment like PFS. I know we all dealt with similar issues in LC and LG when I was still active in RPGA.

In years of experience, the best system is verbal/written/remove. No single action should be enough to remove a character from play, but if there is a pattern (backed up by other GMs on chronicles), then you have to take action.

Most players will back off with a clear verbal warning, and those that don't decide discretion is the better part of valor when they get a note on their chronicle stating that they committed an evil act.

If you get a repeat offender, then it's clear the player doesn't get it or is intentionally pushing the limits of the campaign to see what they can get away with -- at which point, the GM is clearly justified in pulling the character.

Just, whatever you do, don't destroy the character sheet and chronicles. Hold onto them just in case you need to defend your actions or provide them to a VC or other campaign authority for review.

Cheliax ****

Stephen White wrote:
Ninjaiguana wrote:
...

1) If you have to ask whether or not your character is doing something that might get it banned from a table, then you really should reconsider before continuing.

2) I would trust most GMs, coordinators and Venture-Captains to rule appropriately.

3) I haven't seen a situation yet where a completing a faction mission would require the removal of a player charcter, that would seem contrary to the goals of the game.

If the above doesn't satisfy a common-sense test, then see step 1).

Cheers,
Stephen (DarkWhite)

Thanks Stephen.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Stephen White wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
But if faction missions are going to be determined evil, and you lose out on PA because you refuse to do evil ...

There have been a few faction missions in which characters have been required to assassinate some figure, poison use, or some other questionable act. Usually, a faction mission that requires assassination is removing an evil NPC. I've had players (often Paladins) choose not to complete their faction mission on moral grounds. That is a player's choice. I haven't seen a situation yet where completing a faction mission would require the removal of a player charcter, that would seem contrary to the goals of the game, and probably wouldn't get past editing. How a player decides his character will complete their faction mission, however ...

Cheers,
Stephen (DarkWhite)

It appears that you actually agree with Andrew. You seem to have a reasonable idea of how things should go.

But there's a reason this issue even has a thread: there are GMs who are saying "Oh, you completed that faction mission? Well it was evil, so no more PFS for you. See ya." There are GMs out there who will declare a character evil and therefore not eligible for play when their ONLY evil acts were the completion of faction missions as-written.

That's what this thread is about, not about evil characters/actions in general.

Cheliax ****

Jiggy wrote:
Stephen White wrote:


Cheers,
Stephen (DarkWhite)

It appears that you actually agree with Andrew. You seem to have a reasonable idea of how things should go.

But there's a reason this issue even has a thread: there are GMs who are saying "Oh, you completed that faction mission? Well it was evil, so no more PFS for you. See ya." There are GMs out there who will declare a character evil and therefore not eligible for play when their ONLY evil acts were the completion of faction missions as-written.

That's what this thread is about, not about evil characters/actions in general.

Jiggy, the first post in this thread is about whether any GM has the right to ban a character from PFS play for evil actions. It isn't specifically about the faction missions. I have attempted to break the issue down, since my view can be summed up as:

Question 1) Does a GM have a right to remove a character from play for deliberate, freely-chosen, evil acts?

My answer: The GM should certainly have the ability to do something to discourage or counter this behaviour, which runs contrary to the goals of PFS and the enjoyment of the other players.

Question 2) Does a GM have a right to remove a character from play for completing morally questionable faction missions?

My answer: No.

Qadira **** Venture-Captain, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Thorkull

Jiggy wrote:


But there's a reason this issue even has a thread: there are GMs who are saying "Oh, you completed that faction mission? Well it was evil, so no more PFS for you. See ya." There are GMs out there who will declare a character evil and therefore not eligible for play when their ONLY evil acts were the completion of faction missions as-written.

Banning a PC for completing a faction mission that the GM considers evil is clearly unreasonable.

First of all, if the editorial staff let it through, then performing the mission is clearly acceptable under the campaign rules and the player shouldn't be punished for it.

Secondly, as I stated in my previous post, no single evil act should be enough to get a character banned from the campaign. This is especially important as there is definite variance from GM to GM as to what actually constitutes an evil act.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

In the first month of the Pathfinder Society, there was some concern about the Cheliax faction mission for "Silent Tide".

Spoiler:

Her Majestrix’s Most Loyal Servant,

Asmodeus’s dark blessings upon you. Your service to his smoking altar does you great honor and advances the glory of Cheliax. Your devotion has not gone unnoticed, and I must say I am intrigued by you. I have a task of dire import—I have chosen to entrust it to you.

Her Majestrix’s interest is piqued concerning the reports of strange undead roaming Absalom’s notorious slum—the Puddles District. Early reports suggest that these strange mist-walkers are animated not by necromancy alone, but by the power of oaths given during their former lives. Our diabolic patrons decree these strange undead merit further study, in case this knowledge leads to a new source of power over mortal souls. Your mission is to obtain an intact skull of one of these undead assassins and secret it back to Cheliax. You must also uncover just what was the oath that these undead killers took.

If you succeed, a slew of fresh souls will be tied to Asmodeus’s great purpose. As always, keep your mission in utmost confidence—tell no one. Your service to the Dark One is best done in whispers and shadows. Report back to me when it is done, and I shall reward you, perhaps with an invitation to my next exclusive party… or better yet, a private audience in the boudoir. I think I might enjoy that.

There was some concern that the mission was evil. Josh said, "That's ridiculous. You're supposed to take a skull. There's nothing wrong with that."

Some of us disagreed. Saying that the faction mission isn't evil is like standing in the same kitchen as a homicidal maniac who has a woman duct-taped to a chair, struggling and panicked. He asks you for the paring knife next to you, so that he can use it to pop out her eyes. "Oh, I was just handing him a knife. That's not evil at all." "Oh, I was just handing Her Majestrix a skull and an oath."

Josh considered and relented, saying that the PCs might well consider the paracountess's words as bluster and boast.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Ninjaiguana wrote:
Jiggy, the first post in this thread is about whether any GM has the right to ban a character from PFS play for evil actions. It isn't specifically about the faction missions.

Heh, whoops. My mistake - I saw that it seemed to be a follow-up thread to the other one, and I guess I inserted my own understanding of his intent. Sorry about that.

Carry on, all. :P

Lantern Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Australia—Melbourne aka DarkWhite

I think in part it also comes down to trusting your faction leader's request. Now, I realise some faction leaders are less scrutable than others, but agents are often asked to do missions without knowing the full facts behind them "no questions asked". Fulfilling faction missions is a fundamental part of the game. Players should complete their missions safe in the belief that it is for the "greater good", or that there are facts they are not privy to. Some players will choose for moral reasons not to do so, and that is good roleplaying. But unless a player is completing a faction mission in a deliberately evil manner, they shouldn't be penalised for doing so.

Cheers,
Stephen (DarkWhite)

PS: Thanks Thorkull for adding sound advice to this matter.

Andoran ***** Venture-Captain, Minnesota—St. Paul

Stephen White wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
But if faction missions are going to be determined evil, and you lose out on PA because you refuse to do evil ...

There have been a few faction missions in which characters have been required to assassinate some figure, poison use, or some other questionable act. Usually, a faction mission that requires assassination is removing an evil NPC. I've had players (often Paladins) choose not to complete their faction mission on moral grounds. That is a player's choice. I haven't seen a situation yet where completing a faction mission would require the removal of a player charcter, that would seem contrary to the goals of the game, and probably wouldn't get past editing. How a player decides his character will complete their faction mission, however ...

Cheers,
Stephen (DarkWhite)

If you go read the thread about being Sczarni and Evil, you might change your interpretation of what some GM’s may or may not choose to do.

The whole reason I started this thread is because of some of the responses in that other thread, and that I think some GM’s are being WAY over-zealous in this “you did evil” thing.

And for the record, this probably will never, ever apply to me personally. I have a hard time playing evil as a PC. Even in video games like Mass Effect, Dragon’s Age, and Fallout 3/New Vegas, I cannot take the evil route of quests and such.

And later today, once I’m home, I will give my suggestion on how to officially handle something like this.


I assume those gms that mark sheets for evil acts also mark them for good acts as well? Either one can mess up some clerics, for example.


Thorkull wrote:

Banning a PC for completing a faction mission that the GM considers evil is clearly unreasonable.

First of all, if the editorial staff let it through, then performing the mission is clearly acceptable under the campaign rules and the player shouldn't be punished for it.

That's not clear at all, especially reading some of the mission statements like the one Chris quoted.

Now if the powers-that-be came out and said that every faction mission is, by definition, "non-aligned" (i.e. not good, not evil, not lawful, not chaotic), that would be different. Although it would be hard to square that interpretation with some of the missions themselves...

Qadira **** Venture-Captain, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Thorkull

Chris Mortika wrote:


Some of us disagreed. Saying that the faction mission isn't evil is like standing in the same kitchen as a homicidal maniac who has a woman duct-taped to a chair, struggling and panicked. He asks you for the paring knife next to you, so that he can use it to pop out her eyes. "Oh, I was just handing him a knife. That's not evil at all." "Oh, I was just handing Her Majestrix a skull and an oath."

That's fine, and I'm not saying there are times when the missions may turn out to be evil (especially with Cheliax faction), but I'm saying the GM at the table should never punish the player for completing a mission that's written into the mod.

Getting mission changed or modified by appealing to the editorial staff is a different issue, and if enough players (including GMs and VCs) feel strongly enough, then it definitely needs to be pursued with the staff. Even so, it's not fair to the players at the table if a GM personally disagrees with the morality of the mission in the mod. In fact, if a GM feels that strongly about it, I'm pretty sure the GM could always leave it out of the mod or (at the very, very least) warn their player(s) ahead of time that completing the mission will be considered an evil act by the GM.


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Andrew Christian wrote:

I don't want to create along drawn out new thread discussing what is and is not evil and how much evil should be considered for removal of a character from play.

What I'd like is to hear from Mark Moreland about whether table GM's, coordinators, and/or Venture-Captains even have the right to make that subjective call.

If they do, I think we need some documentation to add some objective guidelines for said removal.

This isn't a simple question of table variance that should be expected on many ambiguous rules issues.

This is an issue of someone completely losing their right to play their character. Which should not be up to the subjective whims of a GM, game-day coordinator, or venture captain.

I would add the further question:

Is there a distinction between characters being of evil alignment, and neutral characters who consider both evil and good acts to be two sides of the same coin?

If you are removing a character for performing evil acts, aren't you really banning that character for not being good-aligned?

If the logic is that only evil characters perform evil acts, then how can the converse not also be true (only good characters perform good acts)? In that case, where is the room for neutral characters?

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Thorkull wrote:
Even so, it's not fair to the players at the table if a GM personally disagrees with the morality of the mission in the mod. In fact, if a GM feels that strongly about it, I'm pretty sure the GM could always leave it out of the mod or (at the very, very least) warn their player(s) ahead of time that completing the mission will be considered an evil act by the GM.

I agree whole-heartedly that the GM shouldn't trick the players: providing a faction mission and then, without notice, imposing a severe penalty.

In the infrequent situations where a faction mission is Evil-aligned as presented, I'll make it clear to the players that they'll need to do something clever to avoid an alignment shift. (In the Cheliax example, they might report a reworded oath, adhering to the letter of the assignment but not risking the chance of such power falling into the hands of Asmodeus.)

--+--+--

Andrew's question, though, seems larger to me than just faction missions. Should GMs be able to stop a player from playing an Evil character?

If not, if alignment is entirely the decision of the player, if acting like a Hook Mountain ogre on children NPCs isn't evil unless the player decides it's evil, then the "no evil PCs" prohibition loses all its bite.

Lantern Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Australia—Melbourne aka DarkWhite

Andrew Christian wrote:
If you go read the thread about being Sczarni and Evil, you might change your interpretation of what some GM’s may or may not choose to do.

Okay, I haven't read that thread yet, but I think I know what you're referrring to. While I still stand by what I've said above, I do see where some GMs/players are having difficulty with this.

Firstly, what is considered evil in today's society, was probably a common punishment in a world where slavery is still common and legal in many countries. I won't debate the pros/cons of the argument here, as I assume that's already raging in the other thread.

I'll only add that players of the faction to which this applies do seem unfairly punished for this. I expect Mark will have some comment on this, but in the meantime, I suggest GMs warn players where necessary and err on the side of leniency.

Cheers,
Stephen (DarkWhite)

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

As a Gm this is how I see things.

I don't see things as "Acts of Evil" I see things as acts that go against your alignment.

As an easy example *But just one there can be many situational examples*

If a enemy you are fighting surrenders and begs for his life at your hands a Lawful character *Be it LG or LN* would want to make sure they are brought before the proper "Lawful" authorities foremost, be whoever that is for that specific situation, If there was non or unfeasible means of doing so then it would be in their means and within their alignment to act as such and punishing the offender based on their beliefs *Which could be religious or ethnicity*. Other alignments would have no issue with killing him right out as an enemy of the people without though of what is lawful or good. Edit: I am not here to argue this, you will not change my mind on what is against alignments so any argument against this will be ignored by me. Arguments on morality really of no place in this since the morality is already defined for you in the book even if others are not willing to agree with you, I will not argue on that point either.

Now away from my example. A GM has to be able to control their table and enforce the rules as they are, alignment is a Rule and an enforceable one, if you don't like it then so be it, but still does not change that fact. A GM needs to be allowed to enforce that rule, and I don't really care if it is subjective to every GM it is still enforceable. If you take away the ability for a GM to control their table you take away the GMs wish to GM. That as may be a GM still needs to be careful "How" he enforces this rule since it can have major repercussions against that PC.

What I Believe is a good way of doing it, especially when it come to missions, is to warn a PC before that act is acted upon is to warn them that what they are doing is against there alignment and to tell him the repercussion of such before hand. If it is a Mission he is trying to complete I will tell the player that his alignment obviously does not fit within the alignment of the faction and what is expected of them from the faction and should consider changing it after the game. If they agreed with that, I would allow them to complete the act so he would not lose out on his Fame point because of a mistake he made by picking the wrong faction. If on the other hand He said screw you GM you don't have the right to rule on the rules *Which is essential is a GMs job!* and refuse to change their factions afterwards and still insisted on completing the act I would take note of that on the chronicle sheet even if the player was in dispute of it.

Now if it was not faction related I would do essentially the same except leave all the faction stuff out.

There is many situational dependencies so rulings can change based on the situation but you all know that so saying what about if this or that is a given and a GM will base his ruling on the situation.

Giving a PC a warning before hand is essential with this and in most cases will solve the issue, in those few cases it does not I have little sympathy for those players because they don't understand the responsibility of the GM and don't respect the GM or trust them. And if you are so worried that a GM will make a wrong call on this or any ruling you have lost that trust and should not even be playing because you will never trust a unknown GMs. Most GMs will make the right call or if shown they are in the wrong correct it *Never dispute a GM during a game approach them afterwards so they know for the future*.

So Yes I think it is within the right of a GM to enforce the rules which Alignment is a part of But a GM needs to be aware of that the repercussions on his rule can have an profane repercussion and give the PC every opportunity not to perform those questionable actions.

If you are going to take away the GMs right to make rule calls then you might as well take away the GM, Even the right to make wrong calls on occasion.

It basically comes down to this what the players arguments on definitions of morality do not really matter to a point *Once again situational*, what Matters is the GMs making Rule calls and his right to do so based on what is in the book, and basing that ruling on the guidelines already giving to you when it comes to alignment, and unlike what many of you may believe they are better defined then you think *Once again not something I am going to argue about, because it is a useless argument*.

Alignment is part of the rules, throwing around what everyone thinks on morality is not uesful in anyway since it is already defined for you in the Core.

Edit: And let us not forget the obvious acts of against alignments, taken away the ability of a GM to make calls on alignments would also take away the ability of GMs to make those obvious ones as well and players would feel free to act willy nilly since there are no repercussions.

Edit Edit: I am willing talk talk about the GMs options on the repercussions of alignment calls and how to handle it, since I am always willing to learn of new methods of dealing with things.

Edit Edit Edit: Before I lose the ability to edit this, I also think it is within the rights of the GM not to make an alignment call.

Grand Lodge ***

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Any time you have a concept of a shadow war, conspiracies and secret organizations, you are working under the concept that characters will need to do questionable things. Chances are that unless you play Silver Crusade, you just might do something underhanded, even if you play the do gooders from Andoran.

Stakes are high for the agents from the countries involved. LIves can and will be lost if somethings aren't discovered.

Using the Paracountess as an example, she is made to sound like she is evil through and through, but there is really now way for us as players to know if she is a full on Asmodian worshiper as she might be covering her intentions to keep from getting caught by House Thrune. It could, and should be expected that they want to protect themselves from a supernatural threat just as likely as any other country. Yes they could use the supernatural information as a weapon, but many Chelexians believe that the government is in control of the devils in their country and not the other way around. So when you are playing with a Chelexian, they might just be doing something that they think is patriotic rather than just serving Asomdeus.

Coming back to alignment issue, as a GM, i wouldn't strip an alignment or convert someone to evil for a faction mission. However, I think that playing a Paladin for Szarni or Cheliax is asking for trouble and sooner or later will more than likely violate the Code. Once again, I wouldn't automatically strip Paladinhood, I'd let the actions do the talking so to speak, so there might just be a player out there who could make it work.

FInally, I'd like to leave on this note. The course of a 4-5 hour game can't really cover deep meaningful insight to ethics. At best the entire arch of a years worth of games doesn't really do it justice either, but if all the adventures of the last year teach us anything it is this.

1) Player by and large like to play "good" guys. Andoran won as the completed the most faction goals. It's an assumption, but I think it is fair to say that players like making the hard choices to be good people.

2) Characters who like to play borderline bad guys are fewer in number, and buy my estimate, more l than likely playing for the "escapist" element of roleplaying. Part and parcel of playing a Chelexian is what can I get away with be for my soul becomes so tainted that I become irredeamably evil. So I let them do things that are questionable and try and let them find that line, often they find that they dial themselves back, long before I do. Plus Chelexian players turned in the fewist Faction missions. That says that these problems are spread thin.

3) Should a GM think that a Faction Mission is evil, They should submit something to the Pathfinder GM board spoilered and the VCs and other GMs and/or Paizo staff can comment on it. My guess is that we can hash it out. (chances are that it was not designed to be.)

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Michael Griffin-Wade wrote:
3) Should a GM think that a Faction Mission is evil, They should submit something to the Pathfinder GM board spoilered and the VCs and other GMs and/or Paizo staff can comment on it. My guess is that we can hash it out. (chances are that it was not designed to be.)

This is a good suggestion.


In all time I have been on these boards, I do not think I have ever seen a post by Mark, or Hyrum before him, or Joshua before him, that ever talked about faction missions turning characters evil. What has been posted before, though, is that if players have their characters doing random acts of evil, then the GMs have the right, and maybe even a requirement, to warn the player about those actions and to make notes on that character's chronicle about those evil acts. After that it becomes sort of a "three strikes and you're out" type of thing, and a character will experience an alignment shift and will incur any and all penalties that come from it, including losing the character if the alignment shift make him evil.

As for the tracking of Good actions and the chance of making a Neutral character shift to Good, I think that is mostly ignored as most RPG systems tend to give much more weight to evil deeds than to good deeds.

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Enevhar Aldarion wrote:


As for the tracking of Good actions and the chance of making a Neutral character shift to Good, I think that is mostly ignored as most RPG systems tend to give much more weight to evil deeds than to good deeds.

I think it is better to track "Actions against alignment" rather then "Evil" or "Good" actions.

Grand Lodge ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dragnmoon wrote:
Enevhar Aldarion wrote:


As for the tracking of Good actions and the chance of making a Neutral character shift to Good, I think that is mostly ignored as most RPG systems tend to give much more weight to evil deeds than to good deeds.
I think it is better to track "Actions against alignment" rather then "Evil" or "Good" actions.

And I'd like to see counseling a player prior to that.


As an antagonist/protagonist (depending on your perspective) in the infamous "other thread" I believe it might be best to use a specific example in order to ensure clarity for this issue. Said "other thread" provides lots of background if anyone is bored!

If a character commits an act that a GM considers Evil in the execution of a faction mission, is the GM authorized to sanction* that character/player? For instance, assume a faction mission states "kill this target" but in the course of the battle the target is disabled/rendered helpless and no possible threat to the character or party. The character(s) performing the faction mission then decide to execute the prisoner onsite, with justification being it is a faction mission and so any means are justified in killing the target (a position that may violate local laws, paladin moral codes, Good character's position on treating helpless prisoners, etc.). As the GM, my view is that killing a helpless captive is Evil and I would warn any action as such. Following through with the action, rather than finding some other viable solution (such as turning the target over to proper authorities) would warrant sanctioning. Basically, I do not accept "it's a faction mission" as valid justification for any action being allowed in order to fulfill that mission. This has a carry over (as noted on the "other thread") to whether other characters can stop a character from performing a faction mission using actions they deem Evil.

Ideally faction missions should accommodate such alternatives in order to promote maximum flexibility in accomplishing the goal (unless the purpose of the mission is to introduce moral dilemma, in which case such should be noted in the scenario). In addition, a GM might invoke the "Reward Creative Solutions" to bypass mission restrictions that seem to force characters into no-win situations (e.g. a paladin having to execute a helpless prisoner to fulfill a faction mission).

*Whatever "sanction" is determined to be...

****

If a GM feels that simply completing a faction mission means that your character can be banned from society play, I will leave the table.

Requiring one not to be a complete jerk is fine, but punishing them unless they secretly sabotage their own faction mission is a no go. If a GM refuses that there is a reasonable way (without removing one self from Society play) to complete a mission, then I feel more that the GM should be removed from Society play instead.

Edit: I really do support what Michael Griffin-Wade suggests.

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

I am willing to agree to only acting upon enforcing alignment rules when a player is being disruptive to the game, otherwise just make suggestions and reminders when a player is acting against alignment.

Grand Lodge *

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber
Blazej wrote:

If a GM feels that simply completing a faction mission means that your character can be banned from society play, I will leave the table.

Requiring one not to be a complete jerk is fine, but punishing them unless they secretly sabotage their own faction mission is a no go. If a GM refuses that there is a reasonable way (without removing one self from Society play) to complete a mission, then I feel more that the GM should be removed from Society play instead.

I think you are being overly dramatic. The faction document makes it clear that some classes are not compatible with some factions. If you choose to ignore that warning and blithely carry out the faction mission which is totally at odds with your characters alignment and class restrictions, then you pay the price.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

sieylianna wrote:
Blazej wrote:

If a GM feels that simply completing a faction mission means that your character can be banned from society play, I will leave the table.

Requiring one not to be a complete jerk is fine, but punishing them unless they secretly sabotage their own faction mission is a no go. If a GM refuses that there is a reasonable way (without removing one self from Society play) to complete a mission, then I feel more that the GM should be removed from Society play instead.

I think you are being overly dramatic. The faction document makes it clear that some classes are not compatible with some factions. If you choose to ignore that warning and blithely carry out the faction mission which is totally at odds with your characters alignment and class restrictions, then you pay the price.

I don't think this discussion is (primarily) about losing class features from your faction mission. It's more about having your character banned from PFS. Yes, if you play a Cheliax Paladin or something weird like that, be prepared to get atonement cast a lot. But that's a very different issue from having your character banned from PFS because his faction missions made him an illegal character.

Silver Crusade *****

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Cards, Maps Subscriber

This is an interesting question. Last Saturday while GMing the Frozen Fingers of Midnight at my local gaming store, I had some regulars, and new players, at least they were new to me an the PFS group I was running.

One of the new players made a CN summoner. After a battle he was having his Eidolon eat part of one of the corpses of their defeated enemies. The player then said he cut the heart out of the corps and his character was eating it.

This behavior made me feel uncomfortable, and I could see some other players at the table were also very uncomfortable about this behavior. In response to our visible reactions the player said, “ my character isn’t evil, he is just crazy. He is chaotic neutral”

I said to the player “ Dan (not his real name) this makes me, and as you can see some of the other players at the table uncomfortable. I am going to ask that in the future you refrain from having your character engage in such activities. Those are the sorts of things that evilly aligned villains and monsters do. If you continue to have your character engage in such activities, his alignment will shift to Chaotic Evil, and you wont be able to play him any more because evilly aligned characters aren’t allowed in PFS games. “

He seemed ok with that, and said, “ oh my character is just going to do random things, and he isn’t going to make a habit of it”. I said “all right” and we moved on.

If I have a player that has persistently over several gaming sessions at the game store, has his character do things that makes the other players and myself uncomfortable in spite of my or other players requests, I don’t mind asking him to try another character, or if he prefers, to try and find another game where he can have his character indulge in such behaviors.


Elyas,

Even if the player in your example had continued to do that, it would not be evil if it was not being done in a sick and twisted way or was not being done to innocents. After all, there have been plenty of cultures and tribes in Earth's history that believed the ritual consumption of the flesh or blood of a fallen foe would give them their foe's strength or knowledge. So while we find it repulsive and totally against modern morals or ethics or whatever, the primitive tribes that practiced cannibalism were generally not evil. So, as long as the character does not turn into Hannibal Lecter, I do not think it would be evil. Unacceptable in more civilized society, but not evil.

****

Jiggy wrote:
sieylianna wrote:
Blazej wrote:

If a GM feels that simply completing a faction mission means that your character can be banned from society play, I will leave the table.

Requiring one not to be a complete jerk is fine, but punishing them unless they secretly sabotage their own faction mission is a no go. If a GM refuses that there is a reasonable way (without removing one self from Society play) to complete a mission, then I feel more that the GM should be removed from Society play instead.

I think you are being overly dramatic. The faction document makes it clear that some classes are not compatible with some factions. If you choose to ignore that warning and blithely carry out the faction mission which is totally at odds with your characters alignment and class restrictions, then you pay the price.
I don't think this discussion is (primarily) about losing class features from your faction mission. It's more about having your character banned from PFS. Yes, if you play a Cheliax Paladin or something weird like that, be prepared to get atonement cast a lot. But that's a very different issue from having your character banned from PFS because his faction missions made him an illegal character.

Jiggy is correct about my concern sieylianna. I am fine with a Cheliax Paladin (or other good character) dealing with issues as they work for evil people and possibly even falling if they are lax (really, if I'm playing that character, that is the reason why I would have chosen Cheliax for my characters faction).

My post deals with only those who would kick characters completely out of Society play for completing their faction missions. This isn't out of nowhere because I feel that people in this thread have suggested just that and becoming evil is even the subject of the thread.

Grand Lodge * Venture-Lieutenant, Ireland—Newtownabbey aka Ampersandrew

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sieylianna wrote:
Blazej wrote:

If a GM feels that simply completing a faction mission means that your character can be banned from society play, I will leave the table.

Requiring one not to be a complete jerk is fine, but punishing them unless they secretly sabotage their own faction mission is a no go. If a GM refuses that there is a reasonable way (without removing one self from Society play) to complete a mission, then I feel more that the GM should be removed from Society play instead.

I think you are being overly dramatic. The faction document makes it clear that some classes are not compatible with some factions. If you choose to ignore that warning and blithely carry out the faction mission which is totally at odds with your characters alignment and class restrictions, then you pay the price.

I don't think he is. He's not talking about having a conflict because he's chosen to play a silly combination of class and faction. He's talking about (for instance) the GM expecting a Neutral Sczarni Rogue to have some moral qualm about making sure the target of his faction mission dies just because that target has been silly enough to render himself helpless. Frankly, that's not "blithely carry out the faction mission which is totally at odds with your characters [sic] alignment". Do I need to point out that the Rogue has an explicit class ability (sneak attack) that means that he does insane amounts of damage to helpless targets.

I fully agree that players who are being jerks should be reigned in, I just happen to think it should apply to renegade GMs as well. If you're planning to screw me over because you think the Campaign Organisers have made a mistake, I want to know about that before we start to play so that I can choose not to.

*

Enevhar Aldarion wrote:
Unacceptable in more civilized society, but not evil.

+1.

Hopefully this isn't turning into another "what is evil" thread. I love it when people think "bashing down the door and killing everyone inside" is so much more honorable than an "assassination" or using poison.

Btw, it's fun teasing paladins. Who says they can't be fun? :)

Silver Crusade **

Jason S wrote:
Enevhar Aldarion wrote:
Unacceptable in more civilized society, but not evil.

+1.

Hopefully this isn't turning into another "what is evil" thread. I love it when people think "bashing down the door and killing everyone inside" is so much more honorable than an "assassination" or using poison.

Btw, it's fun teasing paladins. Who says they can't be fun? :)

My favorite paladin I ever encountered was a paladin of Aroden, who was perpetually drunk because no one believed his powers came from Aroden. He also drank because as an Aasimar, people expected great things. Was he LG? Oh yes. Would he do the right thing, regardless of cost? Yep. Was this paladin like *anything* else I've ever run into? Nope.

Taldor ****

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
waytoomuchcoffee wrote:
I assume those gms that mark sheets for evil acts also mark them for good acts as well? Either one can mess up some clerics, for example.

From reading teh arguements on the board...NO.

Andoran *****

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Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

For all GMs here, I think you all should take the time and re read the Alignment section of the Core book, it may change some of your opinions , I know it did mine. Pay close attention to the first part and Last part.

I will still hold to my right as a GM though to Control my game when it come to disruptive players though.

Osirion **** Venture-Lieutenant, Georgia—Buford aka bartgroks

Andrew Christian wrote:

I don't want to create along drawn out new thread discussing what is and is not evil and how much evil should be considered for removal of a character from play.

This really needs FAQ treatment. The rules of PFS being what they are a DM changing a character;s alignment to Evil effectively destroys the character more thoroughly than any spell or attack in any RPG in history. The Idea suggested here that it is acceptable behavior on a GM's part to go through record sheets find the Faction missions he disapproves of and eliminate the character from the campaign based on PA being received for these missions is way out of line.

from the Core Rules

Quote:
It's best to let players play their characters as they want. If a player is roleplaying in a way that you, as the GM, think doesn't fit his alignment, let him know that he's acting out of alignment and tell him why—but do so in a friendly manner. If a character wants to change his alignment, let him—in most cases, this should amount to little more than a change of personality, or in some cases, no change at all if the alignment change was more of an adjustment to more accurately summarize how a player, in your opinion, is portraying his character.

There don't actually appear to be any core rules allowing a GM to change a character's alignment without the player's consent. Can anyone cite such a rule?

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