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Evil action? What do you think?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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Mikaze wrote:
The mentions of genocide were also in the thread already, in case you haven't noticed a certain someone yammering on and on about how it's Good's responsibility to visit cruel death upon entire sapient races.

Versus someone yammering on about how sentience equates to sapience (genocide of a sentient species is wrong no matter the target). Versus someone yammering on while obfuscating terms like "children" and "son" and "babies" about another species of creature and using other emotion-charged language like, "visit cruel death". Most people don't refer to the offspring of snakes as "children". Most people don't refer to the male child of pig as a "son" unless they're anthropomorphizing. Sure, the game uses the term "race", but you equivocate on the term race, which here truly means "specie", which subtly implies that this is similar to racist bigotry. It's not.

It really comes down to this: do Goblins as you perceive them to be have sapience in your world, because in mine, they do not. If they do have sapience in your world, then you're right to consider genocidal and/or bigoted actions in regards to them as questionable. If they don't have sapience, then you're wrong to do so. Even if they have sapience, an act (cutting a throat) does not contain evil inherently, but the intent and consequences of that action are what make the action evil or not evil. The OP told us the intention was vindictiveness and torture - thus evil.

In my world, goblins are not sapient, though they are sentient. They're cute little buggers due to anthropomorphic reasons, not because they're actually cute. They're, in fact, nasty little buggers. Can there be exceptions? Sure, but a 100:1 or even 1000:1 ratio against makes them pretty much an inviable species.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
jupistar wrote:
Mikaze wrote:
The mentions of genocide were also in the thread already, in case you haven't noticed a certain someone yammering on and on about how it's Good's responsibility to visit cruel death upon entire sapient races.

Versus someone yammering on about how sentience equates to sapience (genocide of a sentient species is wrong no matter the target). Versus someone yammering on while obfuscating terms like "children" and "son" and "babies" about another species of creature and using other emotion-charged language like, "visit cruel death". Most people don't refer to the offspring of snakes as "children". Most people don't refer to the male child of pig as a "son" unless they're anthropomorphizing. Sure, the game uses the term "race", but you equivocate on the term race, which here truly means "specie", which subtly implies that this is similar to racist bigotry. It's not.

:|


On races/species: biologically, orcs, elves and humans can create fertile offspring so they're not really different species, more like subspecies or races.

On the main topic:
I see obiwan as good despite his training of anakin. I see the inglorious basterds as non-good despite them killing bad people.

And if my paladin comes across an individual of race x melting the face of a race y infant in front of its backbound parents, i want my paladin to be able to assume that the race x person is evil, and is doing evil.


Oh and pigs aren't sentient int 10 creatures with a culture and dont by themselves have a word for "child".


stringburka: Half-orcs and half-elves are fertile? I wasn't aware of that.

Regardless, that completely misses the point. I was irritated with mikaze's characterization of someone else's arguments as "yammering", when I find his arguments to be more fitting of the term. I thought I would point out an example of the more "yammering" things he says (and you seem to support).

So, the point being missed? See, the guilters among you like to use terms like "race", "babies", and "children" to make an emotional argument that your logic and reason cannot. Misplaced emotion and misplaced empathy are the issue I'm highlighting here. Thus, I'm well aware that pigs don't have a word for offspring or even know what the concept of offspring is. Again, this entirely misses the point I'm trying to make. You've dropped the deontology altogether and simply moved on to appealing to emotion.

You all use these terms to conflate other *species* or *subspecies* with the goodly species and make it all one equal argument ("if you could do it to a goblin, you could do it to an elf"). You feel that if you can control the language, then you can control the argument. But this equivocation can't stand the rigor of reason.

Another example is his use of the term "cruel death" and "sapient species" -- emotion-charged language to be sure. I'm certain he would still be opposed to the mass slaying of any intelligent species if it could be done humanely (such as through some apocalyptic-level magic Death spell that targeted a specific species). So, the adjectival use of "cruel" and "sapient" only serves to sway with rhetoric when substance is missing.

The argument is plain: in your fantasy world, either a (sub)species can exist that has sentience and reason and still be ubiquitously incompatible with the goodly (sub)species or they cannot exist. I see no reason to assume that any given species (such as Golarion goblins) cannot fit the former definition (incompatible, yet sentient reasoning creatures). The premise of this game has always been that there can be such incompatible species and that there are -- in fact the examples are endless. A creature can have free will and still always make morally bad choices, simply vacillating between bad and absolutely rotten. Evil creatures usually make these types of decision based upon what suits them best and what has the least risky consequences, not what is morally right or wrong because they are not moral beings.

If role-playing moral ambiguity is desired, then that can surely be achieved, but it need not be achieved by turning all races into misunderstood monsters who just need to be turned from their destructive habits. Nor does it need to be achieved by do-gooders telling people not playing in their morally vague world what is moral and immoral, especially when information is lacking and the do-gooder's naive claims to objective moral omniscience is somewhat short on credibility.

In my opinion, the OP as a GM should have told the player from the start that the action he was going to take would be perceived as evil and left it at that. He is the referee, afterall, and if the character persisted in the action, he should then take whatever action PFS requires he take based upon his judgment and ruling. He needn't come on these forums, provide limited information, and ask others to weigh in about something he's already determined. When he finally gave us more information, he practically defined evil with his description of the character's motivations and his description of the goblin's moralistic nature, thereby rendering the entire argument moot.

You people constantly try to describe these other species as nothing more than wayward and warring primitives. And that's fine in your worlds. I don't even mind this for one race or another in my world. But, I actually prefer my goblins to be little treacherous snots having no moral compasses or empathy for other people. I think humans and elves and dwarves and such provide plenty moral ambiguity, I don't need much more. Thus, chucking a goblin out the window provides me with little pause (just long enough to hear the satisfying smack). Why? For the same reason I don't have a problem crushing a fire ant: sentience and reason are not sufficient to describe a moral creature.

Here's a question, after we kill the minotaur (int 7), do we have steak for dinner? If not, why not?


Damian Coldshadows wrote:

Hi,

I feel that one of my players committed a slightly evil action this weekend and I'd just like to confirm (mostly for him), that it was an evil action.

He says his PC is CG. I say he's definitely not good, maybe CN or Neutral.

Scenario
We're sent into a dungeon where we have to negotiate (or wipe out) a group a goblins. They've been attacking our merchant caravans. The goblins are intelligent and "cultured".

We encounter and beat the son of the "King". I had no problem with the group killing the downed son (in the heat of the moment, even as a 'good' PC), but instead he choose to do the following.

We captured the son, carried him to the King, and then we he didn't like how the negotiation was going, he slit the son's neck and threw him violently in a heap on the ground.

Was that evil? I think it was slightly evil, and just because it was a goblin doesn't justify the complete lack of respect for sentient life and the cruelty involved. I know it wasn't good. What do you think?

Thanks.

That's pretty badass. Did he utter any really cool line to go with it?

It is a tad evil, but I think you are confusing dishonourable conduct with evil. A knight who had a code of honour would absolutely not do such a thing. Killing hostages during negotiation, it shows a lack of composure and certainly isn't controlled, it is driven by anger and hate.

Anyway, I wouldn't change alignment over this, intense situation and all that. What I would do, if it happens again is add an anger flaw to the character, which when triggered by annoyances is rolled and starts to put the player in situations they might not like, but then they have to go from there. I say he stays CG for now. Just starting to get barbaric and dishonourable.


jupistar wrote:

stringburka: Half-orcs and half-elves are fertile? I wasn't aware of that.

Regardless, that completely misses the point. I was irritated with mikaze's characterization of someone else's arguments as "yammering", when I find his arguments to be more fitting of the term. I thought I would point out an example of the more "yammering" things he says (and you seem to support).

So, the point being missed? See, the guilters among you like to use terms like "race", "babies", and "children" to make an emotional argument that your logic and reason cannot. Misplaced emotion and misplaced empathy are the issue I'm highlighting here. Thus, I'm well aware that pigs don't have a word for offspring or even know what the concept of offspring is. Again, this entirely misses the point I'm trying to make. You've dropped the deontology altogether and simply moved on to appealing to emotion.

You all use these terms to conflate other *species* or *subspecies* with the goodly species and make it all one equal argument ("if you could do it to a goblin, you could do it to an elf"). You feel that if you can control the language, then you can control the argument. But this equivocation can't stand the rigor of reason.

Another example is his use of the term "cruel death" and "sapient species" -- emotion-charged language to be sure. I'm certain he would still be opposed to the mass slaying of any intelligent species if it could be done humanely (such as through some apocalyptic-level magic Death spell that targeted a specific species). So, the adjectival use of "cruel" and "sapient" only serves to sway with rhetoric when substance is missing.

The argument is plain: in your fantasy world, either a (sub)species can exist that has sentience and reason and still be ubiquitously incompatible with the goodly (sub)species or they cannot exist. I see no reason to assume that any given species (such as Golarion goblins) cannot fit the former definition (incompatible, yet sentient reasoning creatures). The premise of this game has always...

Relaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaax, it's just a discussion about a dead goblin, they aren't people (LOYALIST'S ALIGNMENT HAS CHANGED TO CHAOTIC EVIL!).

:D

I'd say it's just an alignment thread, but they sure do get heated.


LastNameOnEarth wrote:

Many would argue that him being a goblin was justification enough to be executed, however, I am not one of them, and I'm glad to see some others hold the same view. I've never liked assigning alignments along racial lines, as it doesn't make sense to me given the observable variation amongst humans...

Even then, just because a creature is 'Evil' doesn't seem like enough justification for me either. So he's 'Evil'... what evil things has he actually done, or is he prepared to do that you are trying to prevent.

I've had a group of players turn to debate over whether my Paladin should have lost his powers because he chose to negotiate with a group of Kobolds rather than just kill them. They felt that negotiating with 'Evil" creatures was an evil act.

As for your example? Probably evil unless there is some extenuating circumstance not mentioned here, such as violence was about to erupt or some such. This is the difficulty with taking hostages as a Good character; what do you do if they call your bluff?

I've known a player to have a similar view! Genocidal NG druid gnome not wanting to parlay with trogs, attacking them with everything he had, executing hostages that surrendered, cutting through a pc to do so taking them to negatives to execute the trogs.

Funniest thing, apart from claiming it all was fine and neutral good? The trogs were actually neutral and the boss was a neutral druid, they had simply taken over some ruins and set up the place to rule over the nearby forest.


Luminiere Solas wrote:

well, a huge portion of the orcish children are probably orphans due to you slaughtering hordes of thier parents. killing them while they can't defend themselves will do many of the following things

proactively reduce the future forces of evil
save the orcish children a childhood of suffering
reduce orcish starvation rates
proactively stop a potential orcish raid before it ever happens
limit the options the big bad has for soldiers

i support paladins giving orcish genocide.

for similar reasons, i see the brutal death of the goblin prince as a good act.

you elimated a potential tyrant
you potentially ended an evil royal line
you potentially crippled the morale of an evil army
you showed an example to intimidate the potentially evil king
you cut the head off a future evil snake

I like the way you think, can I make you into a LE lawyer character for one of my games?


Scrogz wrote:

"It's not rocket surgery."

Apparently it is....

You are trying to apply modern concepts of morailty to a situation where it simply does not fit. I wish people would remember it's a FANTASY rpg. There are certain criteria that are KNOWN FACTS. If you want to change it in your home game, knock yourself out but if you check the books, goblins and orcs are the bad guys.

Enough of this shades of grey garbage.

Orcs and goblins are evil, period, end of story. The only right they have is the right to die at the hands of adventures for fun and profit.

There is not weapon or approach that is off-limits to eliminating goblins, orcs and any other evil creatures. Givent he chance they would murder you in your sleep.... EVERY TIME they have the chance.

I have asked players to remember, they are not in a wonderful post WW2 democracy with western and liberal ideas and rights in circulation. Different world, play the characters.


DanQnA wrote:

This guy is GOOD! My paladin would've eaten the entrails in front of them like a delicacy before standing up, beating his chest and yelling "Who's next, that was delicious!"

Seriously though, if you have to ask "Is it evil" then it's safe to assume that it is. I'm also in the camp of "One act doesn't change your alignment unless it violates everything you've ever stood for and your future MUST change because you are about to be pursued by the forces you once aligned with." At which point, a GM should tell his character to turn the sheet over and roll up a new character for a new campaign involving the repurcussions of his previous character.

Whatever works in your game at the end of the day.

P.S. my paladin is awesome :P

Cut throat, dip fingers in blood, anoint your lips in goblin blood, blow the king a kiss.

Good enough? I think it is damn good.

Osirion

To the OP: yes, the act is clearly evil.

I agree that the character's alignment should not shift from one act, but it is a murder, and should push that character well along the path to evil. This may not bother the player at all. There may be no consequences to the character, though there definitely should be for the two priests who were there.

For those who seem hung up on the fact that the one executed was a goblin, I ask you to remember the statue of Lady Justice. To refresh your memory, she is a robed woman holding a sword in one hand, a set os balance scales in the other and...wearing a blindfold. The saying "justice is blind" comes in here. I bring this up because the good or evil of an act is determined by being "blind" to who comitted the act while judging the action based on its own merits.

Case in point, executing a captive. If you take the OP and remove the word "human" or "goblin" or any other reference to the race of the characters involved, you can analyze the actions involved much more logically. Try re-reading the OP while replacing the word "human" or "goblin" with different races a few times. If you come up with a different answer as to what is right or wrong depending on what race you substituted in, then you are not analyzing the situation logically. You are instead bringing some pre-formed beliefs to the decision making process and allowing them to influence your judgment. Wheather those beliefs are moral or not is beyond my knowledge, but the effect will be the same. You will arrive at a different answer to the same set of circumstances when those circumstances are applied to different races. Most people are capable of realizing that this is not a good thing -- that is to say morality, or what is just, is not determined by race.

I will respond to those who have pointed out that undead, evil dragons and evil outsiders are allowed to be killed by paladins without hesitation. This is because those beings are archtypes of evil; their type of evil can be considered absolute in Golarion. The evil outsiders in particular. Many of us remember the baelnorn, the good liches. Many remember the rare neutral or even good-aligned chromatic dragon. Those cases are so rare as to be virtually unknown, legends perhaps. The evil outsiders don't exist at all. When an outsider changes alignment the being alters form to match that or its new home plane. This has been seen in fallen angels who look nothing like their former glorious selves. If goblins are in this same category or irredeemable evil, I was unaware of it. In fact, I have a hard time buying into that idea since goblins are mere mortal creatures with a cruel and vicious culture. If you want this to be true in your campaign world I would suggest you change goblins from humanoids to native outsiders. You can alter the backstory to make them actual evil spirits given flesh. In that case, I'd agree that instant execution is acceptable.

A final note to those who wonder at allowing goblin children to grow up and the danger they will eventually pose. The answer is: yes, you release them to grow up...if you are good. As soon as they show up ready to kill or plunder, then you beat them back down. When they are cowering in the corner or subdued and defenseless or otherwise not threatening anyone, then it is an evil act to kill them. Again, remove the reference to race and replace it with another race. Do so as many times as necessary until you can see actions as actions alone and not with any link to a race. Unless goblins are evil spirits, in which case, see above. Otherwise you don't kill children, you don't kill those who offer no resistance regardless of how they ended up that way, you don't stoop to the tactics of the evil creatures you're supposed to be protecting the world against. Unless you're one of the evil creatures.


So you are evil if you kill evil when evil is helpless?


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It isn't evil to kill evil creatures, it is good... even when helpless. UNLESS they haven't committed any crime worth a death sentence. I am a little reluctant to call preemptive slaughter of beings who might commit such offenses later as good...

Since these so called goblin creatures aren't evil that changes things. They ARE still criminals however. It is very CN to do what the impatient character did.


See I don't mind the forces of good having a little bit of dishonour. If you were playing a good swordsman or barb, that took no sh*t from evil, strived to protect people and took no quarter from evil foes or raiding goblinoids, I can't see that character being evil.

A knight, cavalier or paladin might pull him up on it, but I can see the response being something like us "they come at us, they come at our people I don't give them second chances. You put them down, and when they aren't useful as a shield or a bargaining chip, well, then you put those down too. They surrender, it is too late, they could have done good long ago". That is one take on CG.


Aranna wrote:

It isn't evil to kill evil creatures, it is good... even when helpless. UNLESS they haven't committed any crime worth a death sentence. I am a little reluctant to call preemptive slaughter of beings who might commit such offenses later as good...

Since these so called goblin creatures aren't evil that changes things. They ARE still criminals however. It is very CN to do what the impatient character did.

As long as we're agreed he wasn't CG in what he did.

I'll still use my Robin Hood and Malcolm Reynolds references (as defined beings of CG). Would either kill an "evil" helpless intelligent being? Would either slit the throat of a hostage during negotiations?

No. Because deep down, they're not evil themselves. The Sheriff of Nottingham and The Operative both would. Because they're both evil. (MR - I don't murder children......TO - I Do)

Part of being Good is not lowering oneself to the level of what an evil person would do back to you.


But... they'd shoot arrows, spells or chop the heads off players, and players do that right back at them?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber

Let's eliminate sentience from the entire discussion.

Consider the Australian cane toad. They are vermin, and may be killed on sight. Run them over with a bulldozer, fill their nest with gas and toss in a match, whatever. Almost nobody cares.

And yet we, as humans, have a dichotomy of pragmatism (kill on sight) with compassion (cruelty is wrong). If you take one of those same cane toads, pour gas on ONE of them, light it on fire, and watch, you are cruel. The Evil definition in Pathfinder makes ubiquitous use of the world "cruel", so burning a single toad alive would be an Evil act, even though they are vermin, because you are being unnecessarily cruel. Most people in most cultures would agree with this point, so it's not a "Western" or "modern" culture thing. What would an African tribesman think of capturing a lion, dragging it to its pride, and THEN ceremoniously killing it? Cruel? A Native American with a grizzly? A native Indian with a tiger?

We are a very pragmatic species, and understand that other species must die. But as soon as it is narrowed down to an individual basis ("THAT man took THAT toad, showed it to its family, and slit its throat just to teach them a lesson"), people consider it cruel. You may not, but I would argue that you are then in the minority, and fall into the category of "Neutral".

So if picking up a toad and consciously carrying it over to the other toads before killing it is a cruel act and worthy of being considered "mildly evil", then Goblins should receive the same 'respect'.


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Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Aranna wrote:
It isn't evil to kill evil creatures, it is good... even when helpless.

Chaotic Evil serial killer lives in a town of evil people. He goes around and kills evil women, evil children, evil men, sneaking through the night, slitting their throats and eating their hearts. He makes parents watch as he kills the kids, then he kills the parents.

He's a saint! Evil Serial Killer = Good Saint! He can't be evil, he is committing so many horrible good acts! Spilling so much evil blood!

In other words, killing evil is not automatically good. No more than killing good is automatically evil. WHY you do what you do is the key to whether something is good or evil.


Nice cane toad analogy. What if the kobold had been a boggard cultist?

Frog legs for supper, that's what.


3.5 Loyalist wrote:
But... they'd shoot arrows, spells or chop the heads off players, and players do that right back at them?

Did I say either of those two wouldn't kill someone evil who held arms against them? No. But being Good means there are limits that should not be crossed, especially when you aren't forced to. Being Evil means you cross that line because you want to.

I don't think (I'm not checking :-) anyone has suggested an alignment change based on this one event. However, if he continues to act in non-good ways (again, as defined by Pathfinder), he'll eventually shift alignments.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

To the OP:

It seems to me that your players aren't playing the game you think you are GMing.

You think you're GMing a group of heroes through a story/module/whatever you might want to call it.

Your players however seem to be playing a paper and dice fantasy version of Duke Nukem in which the object is to leave no bodies standing, frequently in nasty ways.

A lot of situations like this come from similar GM/Player disconnect.

Maybe it's a matter of whether or not you and your players can come to a common page.


ZugZug wrote:

I'll still use my Robin Hood and Malcolm Reynolds references (as defined beings of CG). Would either kill an "evil" helpless intelligent being? Would either slit the throat of a hostage during negotiations?

No. Because deep down, they're not evil themselves. The Sheriff of Nottingham and The Operative both would. Because they're both evil. (MR - I don't murder children......TO - I Do)

Part of being Good is not lowering oneself to the level of what an evil person would do back to you.

I agree that Malcolm Reynolds is CG. And YES he did shoot a helpless evil person in the back. Sure he wouldn't kill children BUT that IS what I have been saying all along. Children haven't committed any crime worth being killed over.


The lesser of two evils is still evil - even if fully justified, absolutely necessary, and the best option you can see.

I am frankly shocked by the statements of some of the posters here. I keep telling myself they argue from the basis that goblins are 'objectively evil per definition', but also hope they are not working for the US army or legal system. (For some reason I assume they are all americans).

to the OP: it was very clearly an evil act.


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mdt wrote:
Aranna wrote:
It isn't evil to kill evil creatures, it is good... even when helpless.

Chaotic Evil serial killer lives in a town of evil people. He goes around and kills evil women, evil children, evil men, sneaking through the night, slitting their throats and eating their hearts. He makes parents watch as he kills the kids, then he kills the parents.

He's a saint! Evil Serial Killer = Good Saint! He can't be evil, he is committing so many horrible good acts! Spilling so much evil blood!

In other words, killing evil is not automatically good. No more than killing good is automatically evil. WHY you do what you do is the key to whether something is good or evil.

Taking half of my whole point out and quoting just the part you can attack because it is out of context... SHAME on you MDT. You know darn well that isn't my point.

Since the evil serial killer is killing children and even townsfolk who certainly haven't committed any crime worth being killed over then he is doing evil. It fits the CE alignment.


Kill the kobold heir in initiative or out of it. I don't think it is a big deal. Did the king go noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Kobold prince lost the game of thrones.


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3.5 Loyalist wrote:

Relaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaax, it's just a discussion about a dead goblin, they aren't people (LOYALIST'S ALIGNMENT HAS CHANGED TO CHAOTIC EVIL!).

:D

I'd say it's just an alignment thread, but they sure do get heated.

Yeah, I hear you. This is "my first alignment thread". I hope it's my last. The issues involved in this discussion (moralizing, chest-thumping deontologists) tend to get my blood high and my fur up. Modern day morality is such a crock, in my opinion, even though it is the popular position and receives the popularity award for "enlightenment". So many people believe things without even knowing why they believe them or think they know why, yet lack the clarity of thought to support what they believe. These same people then go on to preach at everyone else while at the same time decrying the old ways of believing and the preaching associated with those old beliefs ("bible-thumpers", "archaic").

Their current modus operandi seems to be to state unequivocally that some action is right or wrong without explanation followed, when pressed, by pseudo-explanations filled with obfuscation and equivocation followed by flat assertions such as, "You can know because it feels right" or "It's clearly wrong/inexcusable" or "If you have to ask, it's probably X". Moral philosophy is a huge subject (I suspect most posters are not even aware of the voluminous writings on the subject by renowned philosophers and how the subject touches so many other facets of philosophy and theology) and yet we have so many amateur philosophers who "have it right" and are quick to condemn others who "have it wrong". Their self-righteousness makes me want to throw it right back at them.


Obirandiath wrote:
To the OP: yes, the act is clearly evil.

Clearly, but only after the OP explained with follow-up information. The rest of your argument is far from clear.

Obirandiath wrote:

I agree that the character's alignment should not shift from one act, but it is a murder, and should push that character well along the path to evil. This may not bother the player at all. There may be no consequences to the character, though there definitely should be for the two priests who were there.

For those who seem hung up on the fact that the one executed was a goblin, I ask you to remember the statue of Lady Justice. To refresh your memory, she is a robed woman holding a sword in one hand, a set os balance scales in the other and...wearing a blindfold. The saying "justice is blind" comes in here. I bring this up because the good or evil of an act is determined by being "blind" to who comitted the act while judging the action based on its own merits.

Case in point, executing a captive. If you take the OP and remove the word "human" or "goblin" or any other reference to the race of the characters involved, you can analyze the actions involved much more logically. Try re-reading the OP while replacing the word "human" or "goblin" with different races a few times. If you come up with a different answer as to what is right or wrong depending on what race you substituted in, then you are not analyzing the situation logically. You are instead bringing some pre-formed beliefs to the decision making process and allowing them to influence your judgment. Wheather those beliefs are moral or not is beyond my knowledge, but the effect will be the same. You will arrive at a different answer to the same set of circumstances when those circumstances are applied to different races. Most people are capable of realizing that this is not a good thing -- that is to say morality, or what is just, is not determined by race.

I will respond to those who have pointed out that undead, evil dragons and evil outsiders are allowed to be killed by paladins without hesitation. This is because those beings are archtypes of evil; their type of evil can be considered...

No. Just no. For more than one reason, but primarily because your premise that "Justice is blind" draws from a world populated by humans only and the adage is a reference to the American justice system's position that there should be no distinction between class or birth or race (*among humans*). Justice isn't blind for the pig, now is it? Why then does the fact that goblins have an Int score mean that we should overlook the other qualities of the species -- vicious, voracious, lacking moral compunction, gluttonous, destroyers, and opposed to goodly species? We don't afford them equality of regard because they, as a whole species, don't merit it and don't maintain it themselves to the goodly species. You put down a rabid dog so it's no longer a threat, you don't wait for it to attack someone first. The same thing applies to goblins -- they are a clear and *constant* danger to every human, elf, halfling, dwarf, gnome and half-orc in existence - warriors and farmers and barmaid and children alike.

If you wish to claim that the goblins in your world aren't like this - just poor misunderstood warring primitives, then that's your choice. But any race like I've described should be eradicated (if they weren't so fun to have around).


mdt wrote:
Aranna wrote:
It isn't evil to kill evil creatures, it is good... even when helpless.

Chaotic Evil serial killer lives in a town of evil people. He goes around and kills evil women, evil children, evil men, sneaking through the night, slitting their throats and eating their hearts. He makes parents watch as he kills the kids, then he kills the parents.

He's a saint! Evil Serial Killer = Good Saint! He can't be evil, he is committing so many horrible good acts! Spilling so much evil blood!

In other words, killing evil is not automatically good. No more than killing good is automatically evil. WHY you do what you do is the key to whether something is good or evil.

I'm not sure I agree, mdt. Intent simply describes personal moralism, not the morality of your deeds (the old saying, "The path to hell..."). In my opinion, the guy above is committing good acts (partially, because the cruelty described seems out of place for perfect goodness), but he's doing it for evil reasons (sadism). The consequences of his actions are probably beneficial from a utilitarian position, but his intent is not to promote the good or to do a good thing. His intent is to inflict pain and suffering, therefore he is an evil being. If his intent were otherwise, well, some people think Dexter (I've only seen the first two seasons) is a "good" serial killer because he only targets evil people and doesn't attempt to make them suffer much.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Butching the captured goblin right in front of his old man because he doesn't like the direction the negotiations are going? Yeah, that's evil. But it wouldn't necessarily indicate the character as a whole is evil (or even neutral). You'd have to look at the whole pattern of his behavior for that.

As far as why it's evil, page 166 of the Core Rulebook should indicate that. Arguments derived from philosophy, modern or not, may be interesting. But the game comes with definitions (albeit a bit fuzzy) of what the differences between good and evil are. The PC shows a profound disrespect for the life of the goblin and his dignity. That rules out good. In fact, I'd say it fits pretty well with the implications of evil - oppressing the goblins, killing without qualms when convenient.

If they had killed the goblin after catching him in a raid, even if he had surrendered, I could be persuaded it was a neutral act since the goblin is obviously not innocent, particularly if the death is made swift and merciful. Killing him in a manner to spite the goblin king in failing negotiations or as a demonstration of power? That tips it beyond neutral and into evil territory.


It's funny and crazy to see how up in arms people get about these types of alignment issues. As a few people have already stated, this should have just been a discussion between the GM/OP and his/her players at the table instead of inciting the peanut gallery (us on the forums). There are as many opinions as there are posters here and there is no way everyone is going to agree on this.

This is all a matter of personal opinions, beliefs, and morals. Why make such a big deal about a fictional setting with imaginary characters? I won't ever understand it, we shouldn't be "humanizing" this stuff and pulling it into real-world based arguments when this is in fact a FANTASY game. The DM is the final arbiter in these matter anyhow, so everyone should just run their own games as they see fit and stop trying to convince everyone else they are wrong.

*hops off his soapbox*

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

I removed a personal attack and the replies to it.


Bill Dunn wrote:
Butching the captured goblin right in front of his old man because he doesn't like the direction the negotiations are going? Yeah, that's evil. But it wouldn't necessarily indicate the character as a whole is evil (or even neutral). You'd have to look at the whole pattern of his behavior for that.

That's been the gist of what several posters have already said, Bill. And it has been resoundingly ignored and/or flat-out rejected thus far. :(


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This thread is the perfect example of why you should never take prisioners =) Nothing good ever comes of it.

Lantern Lodge

3.5 Loyalist wrote:
Luminiere Solas wrote:

well, a huge portion of the orcish children are probably orphans due to you slaughtering hordes of thier parents. killing them while they can't defend themselves will do many of the following things

proactively reduce the future forces of evil
save the orcish children a childhood of suffering
reduce orcish starvation rates
proactively stop a potential orcish raid before it ever happens
limit the options the big bad has for soldiers

i support paladins giving orcish genocide.

for similar reasons, i see the brutal death of the goblin prince as a good act.

you elimated a potential tyrant
you potentially ended an evil royal line
you potentially crippled the morale of an evil army
you showed an example to intimidate the potentially evil king
you cut the head off a future evil snake

I like the way you think, can I make you into a LE lawyer character for one of my games?

go ahead.

here are some provisions
young
petite
female
aasimaar
worships lamashtu
younger cousin of Nualia from Sandpoint
nickname is Lumi
bonus points if divine caster who also fences or dervish dances
additional bonus points if you can deceive a paladin into thinking you are good aligned after they have cast detect evil.


<--- drops to his knees, hands clutching at the clouds, head raised in supplication

"AAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH"

A moment's pause and silence followed by:

"Lord grant me the constitution
to accept the fools I cannot change;
charisma to influence the ones I can;
and wisdom to know the difference."


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Aranna wrote:
mdt wrote:
Aranna wrote:
It isn't evil to kill evil creatures, it is good... even when helpless.

Chaotic Evil serial killer lives in a town of evil people. He goes around and kills evil women, evil children, evil men, sneaking through the night, slitting their throats and eating their hearts. He makes parents watch as he kills the kids, then he kills the parents.

He's a saint! Evil Serial Killer = Good Saint! He can't be evil, he is committing so many horrible good acts! Spilling so much evil blood!

In other words, killing evil is not automatically good. No more than killing good is automatically evil. WHY you do what you do is the key to whether something is good or evil.

Taking half of my whole point out and quoting just the part you can attack because it is out of context... SHAME on you MDT. You know darn well that isn't my point.

Since the evil serial killer is killing children and even townsfolk who certainly haven't committed any crime worth being killed over then he is doing evil. It fits the CE alignment.

I dropped the rest because it was a completely unimportant to your statement.

I didn't pick 'just the part I could attack', I could and will disagree with your whole premise. I just picked the half that really underscored your stance. The 'unless they do not deserve it' is really kind of a red herring. There's too much weasel room on what it means to 'deserve it', just read this thread. A LOT of people would argue that being evil is doing something to deserve death (again, read this thread).

In other words, I considered your limitation to be just so much useless fluff.

I disagree vehemently that killing Evil is Good even if they have done something to deserve it. Killing ANYONE that's earned it (good, neutral, or evil) is neither good nor evil, it's at best Lawful. A good character can murder another good person in a fit of rage, and still be a good person who committed a single evil act. Killing that good person is not Evil, it's not Good. It's Neutral (or Lawful at best). Killing an evil person who murdered someone in a fit of rage is no more Good than it was to kill the good person. It's just Neutral, with strong Lawful tendencies.


I like Solas' previous posts, on the good merits behind killing the hostage.

Lady liberty, post WW2 ideas of human rights that never should be breached, these aren't in the setting's world. People, escape yourselves for a bit, escape your backgrounds, your morality and head over to the fantasy world.

Killing evil a bit dishonourable or caddishly, does not make one an evil agent, as long as you stick to knocking off evil and don't go slaughtering good or neutral kiddies. Rogues kill evil by stealth and when they are helpless all the time. As do high initiative rangers, barbs, fighters, wizards, etc etc etc.

The kobold noble had taken up arms to fight the good players, and defend his raiding people. He didn't make it out of the throne room of his father, oh wellll. :''(

Mdt, your take on killing being lawful, I disagree.
"Killing an evil person who murdered someone in a fit of rage is no more Good than it was to kill the good person. It's just Neutral, with strong Lawful tendencies."
So chaotic good avengers should be made lawful neutral?


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

@3.5 Loyalist
Do please read my post, I did say Lawful 'at best'. It's still 'an eye for an eye', which is a credo, which is not in and of itself chaotic. Chaotic is killing people at random (ergo, chaotic) or for trumped up circumstances.

Someone who is a vigilante is not necessarily chaotic, they may have a specific credo or tradiition that they live by, which could be why they kill people who have committed crimes/murders, not random people on the street.

Lawful does not mean just 'I obey any laws around'. If it did, a Paladin in an Evil kingdom that had a law that said you have to sacrifice a baby on any Friday the 13th would be commiting unlawful acts for not doing so, and violating his alignment.

So yes, a vigilante who only kills those who have done something to merit it is neutral with lawful tendencies. If he begins to descend to the point where he considers anyone who commits any crime to be worthy of death, then he's sliding into chaos and evil as well.


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3.5 Loyalist wrote:
Killing evil a bit dishonourable or caddishly, does not make one an evil agent, as long as you stick to knocking off evil and don't go slaughtering good or neutral kiddies. Rogues kill evil by stealth and when they are helpless all the time. As do high initiative rangers, barbs, fighters, wizards, etc etc etc.

I would agree in so much that it doesn't make one an agent of evil, but I still believe it to be an evil act in of itself without the benefit of further any further perspective.

Taking into account a few questions:
What did performing a Coup de grace accomplish?
They where seemingly attempting negotiations with goblins, correct?
How does simply silting the helpless presumably bound goblin's throat further that task?
In light of apparent failure to reach an amicable ends in negotiations, would silting the goblin kings son's throat in front of him further persuade him furthering the stated goal?

To me the implications set forth by the OP seem to paint a picture of one along these lines: The character specifically slit the helpless prisoners throat in front of his father to meet out punishment for not meeting the party's demands in negotiations. In a coldhearted callous and unnecessary manner meant to inflict emotional harm upon his foe.

IMHO; Further context or a more elaborate view of circumstances could effect the situation at hand, but I believe the above has been at least implied and as such would definitely qualify as an evil act in my book. It only holds more weight if the character in question shows little remorse for such behavior or takes it a step further and indicates that the character derived any measure of joy or pleasure inflicting such a trama upon his foe.


mdt wrote:
Aranna wrote:

Taking half of my whole point out and quoting just the part you can attack because it is out of context... SHAME on you MDT. You know darn well that isn't my point.

Since the evil serial killer is killing children and even townsfolk who certainly haven't committed any crime worth being killed over then he is doing evil. It fits the CE alignment.

I dropped the rest because it was a completely unimportant to your statement.

I didn't pick 'just the part I could attack', I could and will disagree with your whole premise. I just picked the half that really underscored your stance. The 'unless they do not deserve it' is really kind of a red herring. There's too much weasel room on what it means to 'deserve it', just read this thread. A LOT of people would argue that being evil is doing something to deserve death (again, read this thread).

In other words, I considered your limitation to be just so much useless fluff.

That is absurd and you know it. Removing an important part of my message and then posting an absurd example that goes completely against what I am saying only shows your intent to corrupt my message and try to turn me into your absurd strawman. Removing just cause from murder cheapens your argument into one of meaningless demagoguery.

mdt wrote:
I disagree vehemently that killing Evil is Good even if they have done something to deserve it. Killing ANYONE that's earned it (good, neutral, or evil) is neither good nor evil, it's at best Lawful. A good character can murder another good person in a fit of rage, and still be a good person who committed a single evil act. Killing that good person is not Evil, it's not Good. It's Neutral (or Lawful at best). Killing an evil person who murdered someone in a fit of rage is no more Good than it was to kill the good person. It's just Neutral, with strong Lawful tendencies.

Lawful??? What does honorable behavior have to do with this? I think you need to define alignment rather than just arguing from a "feel good" side.

I have defined Good as: That which benefits a civil and peace loving society. I think this holds true to the nature of good as crusaders against evil and benefactors to the "good" societies in the game world. It FITS the game image of good very closely. By this logic it is very beneficial to such a society to eliminate someone who would kill and steal from it's people. Hence, it is Good to eliminate such people. A Lawful person would have dragged the goblins before a proper magistrate and had them tried according to their crimes, only killing them if they resist. A chaotic person will just stab the ones he believes responsible.

Since the goblin wasn't the one who committed the crimes it isn't good to kill him. The goblin DID try to kill the PCs however so it can be ruled self preservation to kill him... a decidedly neutral act. Hunting down a random innocent goblin and executing him would have been evil.


People get emotional about alignment, and they will use any adjective to cast their side as the right one.

I think the dispute stems from the dm actually being surprised. They obviously expected something else to be done, and then the pc suddenly killed off a captured opponent, wanting to take negotiations into the clear world of battle and blood, not murky negotiations.

I am reminded of various samurai films, and the point that in battle, there is no good and evil, only combatants. After the fact, people can present one side as the good, one side the villains, they can dance around as much as they want. However, the kobold tried to take the party, lost, was captured, and later lost his life. Shortly thereafter to be joined by more kobolds. This is perhaps a neutral take, and execution of evil hostages out of spite is certainly not lawful or honourable (although it could be sanctioned by tradition or a legal authority) but I wouldn't immediately put it as evil.

I've asked it before and I'll put it again with a twist? What if a pc warrior against the dark, refuses to take hostages from evil foes, or allow the few he does take to live for long? If they get an opening they put them down, coup de grace and so forth. Does this always make them evil to do so? Because the player doesn't seem to respect kobold hostages, and from what we've got, will kill them off when they are not useful, to free up their hands to kill more kobolds. It is certainly a harsh type of adventurer, but I can see it still being a good adventurer. Just one that isn't prone to much hesitation in killing. A harsh and committed realist, but not an ogre rapist for instance.


Aranna wrote:
Hunting down a random innocent goblin and executing him would have been evil.

What if the goodly races (humans, elves, dwarves, and so forth) convened a summit and decided, for the good of all the Innocent and the Good, the goblins "had to go". And then began a worldwide purge of the goblin infestation.

Would this be evil? If so, why? If not, how is it different than a singular PC hunting down and executing a goblin without a specific crime to attribute to that goblin?

Edit: I think the problem is, I don't agree with such a blanket statement. The idea of an "innocent goblin" seems like an oxymoron to me. That a goblin could be an innocent, goodly sort is not logically impossible, but so unlikely that it's practically impossible, at least re: Golarion goblins. Some have implied that Golarion goblins are nothing more than warring primitives who need enlightenment. I would suggest that everything I've read about the little menaces suggests that they're incorrigible to the quick and exceptions are more aberrational than natural.

Post-Edit: For your consideration, there's an interesting philosophical conundrum. If an agent (person, goblin, devil) will never perform a specific action, is it the same as saying that the agent can not perform the specific action? For instance, if a goblin will never give unrewarded help (because goblins are only concerned with self), then does this mean that a goblin can not give unrewarded help? I would say, "Yes."


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Now some cultural differnces may disagree here especially places where there is no death penalty.

But in the US there is a death penalty.

Most people when they are executed are helpless.

I do not consider this evil.


Jupistar... lets break it down.

First lets look at Goblins. Can an individual goblin chose a path of good? Yes, in Pathfinder an individual goblin CAN be good. This is direct evidence that the alignment is nurture not nature based. They have an evil culture and that sets the outlook of most goblins. So genocide would be evil. You are killing beings who have done no wrong for no greater reason than because you find it expedient to. THAT isn't the action of a peace loving society. They would need a real reason to wipe them out and coming from an evil society isn't a good reason. There are too many innocent goblins who don't now or never will pose any real threat to the good societies... and even then they would be likely to take prisoners if they are "good" people, not engage in genocide.

This is why I cautioned against racism. Killing someone who has done no harm to the civil and peace loving societies is neutral at best and evil at worst. Depending on the situation.

If Goblins did something big and bad enough to warrant such an international response. Then it is far more likely they would simply be conquered by the allies and the innocent goblins would become part of the general population of the bigger "good" nations. After a time it may even become common to see "good" goblins. Goblins raised in a good society could become paladins and heroes.

Silver Crusade

Aranna wrote:
By this logic it is very beneficial to such a society to eliminate someone who would kill and steal from it's people. Hence, it is Good to eliminate such people.

Yes, because we're on side A, it's "good" to kill people on side "B". Again, this is exactly how we fail as humans, we think of our side as always good and the other side as bad. Killing is never a "good" action, it's neutral at best, even if it's something that has to be done.

3.5 Loyalist wrote:
I think the dispute stems from the dm actually being surprised. They obviously expected something else to be done, and then the pc suddenly killed off a captured opponent, wanting to take negotiations into the clear world of battle and blood, not murky negotiations.

I actually was partially surprised, so surprised as a matter of fact that the King didn't attack right away. He should have. More surprising is that the party didn't even use the son as a bargaining chip. They didn't really seem interested in bargaining period.

Ughbash wrote:

But in the US there is a death penalty.

Most people when they are executed are helpless.
I do not consider this evil.

I think the difference is that people who die to the death penalty are given some respect when they die. The kobold had his throat slit and then his body was thrown forward towards the King like a piece of trash and mocked. Big difference.

The act was done out of frustration/rage/pleasure only, he wasn't looking to gain anything from it except his own amusement and to hurt the King. It didn't help the negotiation either, it ended it.

Scenario
Imagine for a second if someone kidnapped your child (in real life) and was negotiating a ransom with you, and all of a sudden the kidnapper gets frustrated that you don't have 1 million dollars right now, and slits your child's throat and throws the body in front of you. Wouldn't you say they were a evil mother f*&*er. Yes, you would.

Now imagine for a second that the kidnapper was Islamic and considers you an evil American. Your culture is evil (from his perspective), I guess it's ok now? Is this person evil or is he justified, because he views you as evil? Because you guys are viewing the kobolds as evil because of their culture, without even knowing them (some of them were even LN and wanted peace). I'm sure terrorists view you the same way, without compassion, because of your culture, irrespective of who you are as an individual. You're evil, they're good, however they kill you doesn't matter, even if they have no respect for life. It's the same thing.


To me this is less of a matter of bringing up the 'always evil trope' or the semantics of is the simple act in of itself evil.

There's a strong context implied by the OP and morality is not measured in a vacuum. Context matters a lot.

The fact is that given the context the character did something that would take a full round action to perform that provokes AoOs on a helpless opponent who wasn't presenting a threat.

Keep in mind that the character is choosing to do this instead of dealing with the likely formidable threat around him/her. If someone was concerned with stopping this danger the goblins might pose to innocents than going out of your way to slit the throat of your goblin captive in front of his father when negotiations break down doesn't seem to be the most logical use of your resources.

The only way I see this as a logically executed use of resources if your intent was something along the lines of: "Inflicting the traumatic suffering upon your foe as he watches the light leave his own child's eyes as punishment for not cowing to your wishes in negotiations." if that was the intent the actions seems pretty clear cut and sensible to me.

That seems the most reasonable excuse for why such a character would take such an action given the context we know. We can't necessarily make assumptions with true certainty about the situation, but we can infer the most reasonable iteration of events. I'm willing to make that bet and make the call that this was probably evil.


Aranna wrote:
Jupistar... lets break it down.

Alright

Aranna wrote:
First lets look at Goblins. Can an individual goblin chose a path of good? Yes, in Pathfinder an individual goblin CAN be good. This is direct evidence that the alignment is nurture not nature based.

These are two non-sequiters back-to-back. Firstly, that a Pathfinder Goblin may be good is not the same as one *choosing* to be good. And secondly, the evidence that goblins are, by nature, not good is well-supported by the enormous ratio of evil:good goblins; the enormous number of goblins who are *not* good. Are you saying that Goblin society (and other evil societies, such as Drow) are the only societies that produces few alignment rebels? Further, if it were a cultural matter and given the isolationism that obtains in this world, then you would expect that somewhere on Golarion you would find a different goblin culture... a *good* one. But you don't. Not anywhere. Nowhere.

Aranna wrote:
They have an evil culture and that sets the outlook of most goblins. So genocide would be evil. You are killing beings who have done no wrong for no greater reason than because you find it expedient to. THAT isn't the action of a peace loving society. They would need a real reason to wipe them out and coming from an evil society isn't a good reason. There are too many innocent goblins who don't now or never will pose any real threat to the good societies... and even then they would be likely to take prisoners if they are "good" people, not engage in genocide.

Which makes the rest of your point moot. However, as an aside, I would like to address one thing about the OP's "goblin". He claims this goblin was LN, yet said the Goblin "Prince" attacked the PCs to "defend" his home. That makes very little sense to me. If the PCs were coming to negotiate, then how was attacking them (under the guise of protecting their homeland) an act of neutrality. Maybe they were just trying to capture them for the crime of trespassing on Goblin land, because then imprisonment is justified and apparently a non-evil, non-provocative act.

Aranna wrote:

This is why I cautioned against racism. Killing someone who has done no harm to the civil and peace loving societies is neutral at best and evil at worst. Depending on the situation.

If Goblins did something big and bad enough to warrant such an international response. Then it is far more likely they would simply be conquered by the allies and the innocent goblins would become part of the general population of the bigger "good" nations. After a time it may even become common to see "good" goblins. Goblins raised in a good society could become paladins and heroes.

Again, this all presumes that the premise holds; namely that there is a such thing as "innocent" goblins as a natural case (not an aberrant one). They prefer the taste of human and gnome above all things. They have shown no natural inclination to good except in the rarest of cases. So, everything you've written past your premise is irrelevant.


if somebody kidnapped my child, tried to get a ransom and then killed the child. i would seek out, painfully torture and kill the kidnapper in the most sadistic inhumane method possible. i would even borrow some cruel examples from history if i must.


@Damian Coldshadows: Could you elaborate even further on the context and the specifics of the event.

Context does matter so as much that you can provide is helpful.

For example:
-Was the goblin kings son a credible threat? (i.e. was he hard to defeat?)
-Was it apparent he might have a likely means of escape or was he knocked unconscious or something?
-Did you actually start initiative for combat upon the declaration of slitting the goblins throat?
-Did the character show any role-playing indications of his character deriving pleasure from the act?

I would appreciate it.

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