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Why no redemption for evil?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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A moment good people, the party I was dming for prevented the redemption of a young evil leader just last night. They didn't kill him either.

So the set-up is encountering a man on the run, party have almost cleared a castle, and along comes a rider on a very tired horse. Gets down, draws weapons and hobbles inside the gate, the horse collapses outside. The party grills him for info, but he doesn't give up much. He wants to get to the clerics in the north, whereby he will join the undead hunting orders (he has some useful skills). He wants nothing to do with the southern wars, and doesn't want to fight people anymore. He has had enough. The party can't get his name, they don't have any enchanters but their sense motive gets some info. He has done some serious crimes, despite being so young, and is heading north to try and save his skin. Yes, he is being pursued. He rests in their camp room in the interior of the castle, later on a roof when more starts to happen.

He is uncooperative, but not duplicitous, he doesn't have the skills or charisma to quickly befriend them and make them his slaves or willing protectors. They have a lot of choice here, and are somewhat content to let him stay for now. There is some argument about turning him in, but he is also seeking redemption with LG clerics, also to save his skin.

A few hours later, the paladin is burying some of the dead they have found, and they are chopping down a tree, when the cavalry arrives. Trackers, a knight, some medium cav. The party block the damaged gate with a dragged tree, but converse with the leader of the hunting party. This knight is stern but very cooperative. The tracks lead here, the party give that they know something, but they want the intel. The knight lists his crimes, treason against Catarina along with his family, betrayal of hospitality, joining with the lizardfolk against the Catarinans, raiding and seizing a castle by stealth, the burning and hanging of many nobles including young noble boys and girls, fleeing from justice.

The party then start to cooperate, well most do. The centaur knight lies a bit, but also helps the hunter. The paladin sides with the hunter, the barbarian refuses to become involved further somewhat being sympathetic to the fugitive. The fugitive escapes over the wall with a rope, and the hunt is on. Two are in agreement he now must be caught and punished, agreeing with the other knight that death will result, since the evidence against this fugitive is overwhelming, so the hunter knight assures them.

The party abandoned the idea of redemption of evil, helping the hunters. I wonder if it was because this young man was a beta male, or because he wasn't tricky enough or heroic enough? Because he didn't have enough command about him? They wanted the info, when they couldn't get all of it, they sided with one that gave them a mostly true story. They chose to support punishment instead of redemption.

The fugitive was tracked, he got lucky and eventually slipped away, but he had to hide in river grass for a long while, as patrols went by. The party weren't very lucky. The paladin and centaur assisted, but to no avail.

Also! They told the pursuing knight where the prey was headed, so the fugitive now has to stay in this area or further south for now, or he risks being intercepted as he heads north before he gets to the clerics. A low move, but one they engaged in.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

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Falling and Rising, my two C-bills.

Spoiler:
I think in the D&D alignment system evil is selfish Saving the village for the people is good, even if you take a reward they offer. Saving the town for the reward is neutral, while saving the village for your own benefit is evil.
Falling is easier, because the temptation is there. A celestial that fights the forces of hell can fall, when he stops fighting for others and starts fighting for his own glory, his own reputation, etc. It is harder to lose the view of being selfish and being ‘accidentally altruistic’.
A scenario for a fiend rising would be curiosity. The succubus who tries to understand why the mortal wasn’t swayed. The imp that tries to understand why its master does something heroic instead of easy. The daemon who tries to comprehend why mortals value their souls, etc. In those cases it’s staring from the Abyss into the mortal, and being changed.
A vrock won’t spontaneously question its role in the universe. Just like a lantern archon won’t spontaneously fall. There has to be an outside force. That’s what makes mortals the wild card. They’re weak, squishy, and taste delicious, but they also can be the catalyst for great changes.


Mmm perhaps. Some cultures have and still do consider pride, acting in your own interests and according to your own benefit, to be a good. Just as some moral schemas consider being all-to-human human to be evil/weak/submissive. A naturally fallen state.

With dnd we are stuck with certain views of good and evil.


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blue_the_wolf wrote:

OK, good points but Im sorry let me be more clear.

I am not so much talking about bad people becoming good. that happens all the time.

I am talking about evil outsiders, devils, daemons, demons, and the like becoming good aligned. an opposite effect of the fallen angel type Good outsider becoming EVIL.

I kind of left out my examples because I got sidetracked.

Wizards of the Coast released a Succubus Paladin as part of a web-enhancement series. It received a lot of praise and criticism for the daring move. The web enhancement shows a succubus at various levels (some low, some high) complete with explanations for her rising and also included statistics for if she couldn't keep it up and instead fell to become a blackguard.

Anything that sentient can conceivably have a change of heart and turn good. Just like anything sentient could give into temptation and fall to evil. The problem is that evil is a very strange thing. It's corrupting in its truest sense. Creatures that are evil often don't even think of themselves as evil, or begin to think differently. Especially in the case of outsiders who have known only evil for their entire existence.

But that's not to say that they can't. If the cannot choose their alignment then their alignment is actually meaningless. Might as well be Neutral with an Evil subtype. Alignment is about choices, and choices require free will. There are examples in media of creatures with fiendish origins who have changed hats (Sparda from Devil May Cry for example).

In my own campaign there is a legend concerning a powerful erinyes (a commander in a fiendish army). A holy martyr who is believed to have later ascended to godhood rescued an erinyes from a tortured fate (after her warband was overpowered by demons). Having been pushed to the edge of death and oblivion (death for outsiders tends to be a much more major ordeal than for mortals) and being brought back from the brink by this Paladin (out of a sense of pity and mercy) threw her into a crisis of identity. Literally everything she knew had just kind of been put into a blender and set to puree. By their lawful custom, the Paladin now owned her as a slave. The Paladin then immediately freed her, and told her that if she wanted to come with him it would be by her own choice (akin to moving from puree to centrifuge).

In the above story, there are two outcomes that are believed by two different branches of the same religion. One believed that the erinyes was so confounded by the Paladin that she left the war and wandered the outer planes. The other believes that the erinyes accompanied the Paladin, partially out of confusion and curiosity, and later was redeemed by the Paladin. In the latter story, the Erinyes aided the Paladin in waging war against the demon lord who threatened the Paladin's world - and even taught the Paladins wife the innermost secrets of black magic so that they would have knowledge of the enemy.

Not everyone will have a super charismatic Paladin leading the way to their redemption however. Even if an evil person or outsider is thrust to the edge where they are forced to reexamine their existence with new eyes, it is easier to fall back to evil when things get hard than it is to rise on their own. Evil wants you to be evil, and wants more for you to remain evil. It's easy to fall back into hold habits which often seem easier. That is why it is the responsibility of good people to give evil people a hand up; because it is a hard enough climb as it is.


Matthew Morris wrote:

Falling and Rising, my two C-bills.

** spoiler omitted **

Pretty much all of this. Very good writeup Mr. Matthrw. :)


3.5 Loyalist wrote:

A moment good people, the party I was dming for prevented the redemption of a young evil leader just last night. They didn't kill him either.

So the set-up is encountering a man on the run, party have almost cleared a castle, and along comes a rider on a very tired horse. Gets down, draws weapons and hobbles inside the gate, the horse collapses outside. The party grills him for info, but he doesn't give up much. He wants to get to the clerics in the north, whereby he will join the undead hunting orders (he has some useful skills). He wants nothing to do with the southern wars, and doesn't want to fight people anymore. He has had enough. The party can't get his name, they don't have any enchanters but their sense motive gets some info. He has done some serious crimes, despite being so young, and is heading north to try and save his skin. Yes, he is being pursued. He rests in their camp room in the interior of the castle, later on a roof when more starts to happen.

He is uncooperative, but not duplicitous, he doesn't have the skills or charisma to quickly befriend them and make them his slaves or willing protectors. They have a lot of choice here, and are somewhat content to let him stay for now. There is some argument about turning him in, but he is also seeking redemption with LG clerics, also to save his skin.

A few hours later, the paladin is burying some of the dead they have found, and they are chopping down a tree, when the cavalry arrives. Trackers, a knight, some medium cav. The party block the damaged gate with a dragged tree, but converse with the leader of the hunting party. This knight is stern but very cooperative. The tracks lead here, the party give that they know something, but they want the intel. The knight lists his crimes, treason against Catarina along with his family, betrayal of hospitality, joining with the lizardfolk against the Catarinans, raiding and seizing a castle by stealth, the burning and hanging of many nobles including young noble boys and girls, fleeing from justice.

...

This gets into a different subject of whether or not forgiveness means getting a pass on punishment.


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Ashiel wrote:


Creatures that are evil often don't even think of themselves as evil, or begin to think differently. Especially in the case of outsiders who have known only evil for their entire existence.

I have to disagree with this. I think that Evil outsiders in the PF universe are quite aware of the fact that they are Evil. However, we can't mix in our Earthly view of morality into this. Because in Golarion, Evil does not mean "bad" its a philosophical approach to life. Evil creatures believe that the particular arrangement of the multiverse that we call Evil is optimal. Showing them goodness will not magically change what they believe, any more than you become CE when you see a functioning drow city.

And to be fair, for devils acting evil may in fact be more optimal than being good. They never face extinction because new devils continue to spawn in near limitless quantities. Also, with each fight they become more powerful.

---------------------

Actually, I just had a thought about redemption in general. Reception makes a lot less sense in a world with a proven afterlife like Golarion. In Paizo's multiverse, a soul is rewarded for sticking to its ethos, no matter what that ethos is. An evil person is reward in hell by having the chance to subjugate others with his strength. A good person is rewarded in heaven with a society where everyone is peaceful and cooperates, and he is protected from harm. Both end up in a world that looks exactly like what they thought the material world was.

In this context, "punishment" is not "going to hell" its "having a low position in your favoured afterlife." Given that if you switch from team evil to team good, you will need to make up for all your evil deeds and then start working on your good deeds to place highly in the good afterlife. Why would anyone do this?

Also, does this not mean that when the heroes convert a villain, they are the bad guys? They are denying the villain the afterlife he wanted, and dooming him to mediocrity in heaven. Worst, since the villain chose Evil because he was willing to risk oblivion in order to end up top dog (By maximizing his evil), the Good afterlife is the worst place he could be. Not only will he not have high status in heaven, but he won't be doing anything (since heaven is all about peace IMO). The struggle for mastery he had dedicated his life to will end forever.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Knight Magenta wrote:
Ashiel wrote:


Creatures that are evil often don't even think of themselves as evil, or begin to think differently. Especially in the case of outsiders who have known only evil for their entire existence.
I have to disagree with this. I think that Evil outsiders in the PF universe are quite aware of the fact that they are Evil. However, we can't mix in our Earthly view of morality into this. Because in Golarion, Evil does not mean "bad" its a philosophical approach to life. Evil creatures believe that the particular arrangement of the multiverse that we call Evil is optimal. Showing them goodness will not magically change what they believe, any more than you become CE when you see a functioning drow city.

I have to say that while I agree with Ashiel that most evil creatures do NOT view themselves as evil, and consider their actions necessary and justified, there is likelihood that evil outsiders may be perfectly aware that they are evil and do not care, particularly demons.

Knight Magenta wrote:
And to be fair, for devils acting evil may in fact be more optimal than being good. They never face extinction because new devils continue to spawn in near limitless quantities. Also, with each fight they become more powerful.

You have just described what Ashiel has said: that evil creatures justify their stance as being necessary or justified.

Knight Magenta wrote:
Actually, I just had a thought about redemption in general. Reception makes a lot less sense in a world with a proven afterlife like Golarion.

Actually it makes perfect sense. Being reduced to being a lemur isn't very pleasant, most of those that sign infernal contracts or worship demons do so on the the principal that they won't suffer this fate, or will be otherwise favoured. They usually aren't, demons and devils are not nice - they promise what will occur anyway, from a certain point of view. Those that go to the higher planes have a much easier time of it.

With Golarian's afterlife, redemption makes perfect sense, both from the point of view of the redeemed and the redeemer. Redeeming an evil creature rather than slaying them deprives the lower planes of support and strength when that person dies. Killing evil creatures is no more than a temporary solution, redeeming them is a much longer-term effect on the overall struggle between good and evil.

The redeemed gains a better position in their afterlife, if they can make up for their misdeeds and truly repent. It's a win-win solution - but of course, first the evil creature has to realise that they are evil, and realise what fate awaits them when they expire, before this is possible.

Good is basically long-term enlightened self-interest. Everyone would rather have good neighbours than bad.


Well I think the largest reason we do not see more redemption at the table is two main reasons.

Redemption is a change overtime and while you may have some who rp change over time most characters even well rped characters are established in themselves. They are who the are, heroic, twisted, power hungry, ect.

Second is and this is more reflecting the way adventures are designed, good villians die or escape to cause more havoc.


Gnomezrule wrote:
3.5 Loyalist wrote:

A moment good people, the party I was dming for prevented the redemption of a young evil leader just last night. They didn't kill him either.

So the set-up is encountering a man on the run, party have almost cleared a castle, and along comes a rider on a very tired horse. Gets down, draws weapons and hobbles inside the gate, the horse collapses outside. The party grills him for info, but he doesn't give up much. He wants to get to the clerics in the north, whereby he will join the undead hunting orders (he has some useful skills). He wants nothing to do with the southern wars, and doesn't want to fight people anymore. He has had enough. The party can't get his name, they don't have any enchanters but their sense motive gets some info. He has done some serious crimes, despite being so young, and is heading north to try and save his skin. Yes, he is being pursued. He rests in their camp room in the interior of the castle, later on a roof when more starts to happen.

He is uncooperative, but not duplicitous, he doesn't have the skills or charisma to quickly befriend them and make them his slaves or willing protectors. They have a lot of choice here, and are somewhat content to let him stay for now. There is some argument about turning him in, but he is also seeking redemption with LG clerics, also to save his skin.

A few hours later, the paladin is burying some of the dead they have found, and they are chopping down a tree, when the cavalry arrives. Trackers, a knight, some medium cav. The party block the damaged gate with a dragged tree, but converse with the leader of the hunting party. This knight is stern but very cooperative. The tracks lead here, the party give that they know something, but they want the intel. The knight lists his crimes, treason against Catarina along with his family, betrayal of hospitality, joining with the lizardfolk against the Catarinans, raiding and seizing a castle by stealth, the burning and hanging of many nobles including young noble boys and girls,

...

Indeed, the fugitive can't go through the full stages of redemption or turn to the path of good and fill the remainder of his life with good deeds, if they are swinging from a rope.

A friend briefed on the situation expressed this thought, to focus on punishment and killing the perpetrator is extremely unpragmatic. He didn't mean immoral pragmatism, no pragmatic in the sense of the fugitive being able to do the most good!


Knight Magenta wrote:
Ashiel wrote:


Creatures that are evil often don't even think of themselves as evil, or begin to think differently. Especially in the case of outsiders who have known only evil for their entire existence.

I have to disagree with this. I think that Evil outsiders in the PF universe are quite aware of the fact that they are Evil. However, we can't mix in our Earthly view of morality into this. Because in Golarion, Evil does not mean "bad" its a philosophical approach to life. Evil creatures believe that the particular arrangement of the multiverse that we call Evil is optimal. Showing them goodness will not magically change what they believe, any more than you become CE when you see a functioning drow city.

And to be fair, for devils acting evil may in fact be more optimal than being good. They never face extinction because new devils continue to spawn in near limitless quantities. Also, with each fight they become more powerful.

---------------------

Actually, I just had a thought about redemption in general. Reception makes a lot less sense in a world with a proven afterlife like Golarion. In Paizo's multiverse, a soul is rewarded for sticking to its ethos, no matter what that ethos is. An evil person is reward in hell by having the chance to subjugate others with his strength. A good person is rewarded in heaven with a society where everyone is peaceful and cooperates, and he is protected from harm. Both end up in a world that looks exactly like what they thought the material world was.

In this context, "punishment" is not "going to hell" its "having a low position in your favoured afterlife." Given that if you switch from team evil to team good, you will need to make up for all your evil deeds and then start working on your good deeds to place highly in the good afterlife. Why would anyone do this?

Also, does this not mean that when the heroes convert a villain, they are the bad guys? They are denying the villain the afterlife he wanted, and dooming him to mediocrity in heaven....

Yeah, this can be considered. Faithfulness and an afterlife of your type of people doing what you like is the reward for the faithful. If evil gods are in play, there is a strong chance for suffering and subordination, so evil servitors try to get as much advantage as they can in life, for the inevitable death. Still for an evil agent that is not the best that ever was, a redeemed good lowly afterlife will certainly involve less hassle than an evil minor afterlife as some little scuttling newt.


Dabbler wrote:


Actually it makes perfect sense. Being reduced to being a lemur isn't very pleasant, most of those that sign infernal contracts or worship demons do so on the the principal that they won't suffer this fate, or will be otherwise favoured. They usually aren't, demons and devils are not nice - they promise what will occur anyway, from a certain point of view. Those that go to the higher planes have a much easier time of it.

With...

Being a lemur surely sucks, however, a sufficiently blood-thirsty soul would be able to advance to a higher state quickly enough. What serving evil gets you out of is being a larva :) Also, I'm sure that the dark overlord that slew thousands would get more than a lemur.

That being said, I don't think that an evil person would necessarily be happier in the higher planes. Sure, the pickpocket or the small time murderer does not want to go to hell. He'd just be a larva. But I don't think that the anti-paladin or the lich or any other big-time baddie would be content with a life of peace. I mean, presumably they chose a life of strife because they enjoyed it to some extent.

My point is, in PF, the great-beyond is a well-known thing. If hell was actually a punishment that people truly feared, no one would be evil. Therefore, however misguidedly, hell must be a reward for the sufficiently evil. Otherwise the whole world makes no sense.

Now, I'm not sure of the number of petitioners that become archons vs the number of larva that become devils, but my gut instinct is that most of heaven's population are not military-type outsiders. In that case, to a certain class of people, it would be preferable to be a vrock or something as opposed to a petitioner. And these people are willing to risk oblivion for this.

------------

A bit of a tangent:

So as I remember, correct me if I am wrong, most petitioners lose all of their memories from their mortal lives when they enter their afterlives. As I see it, all that I am is the collection of rules that make up my personality and my memories. If all of that is whipped out when I get to heaven, then in what sense is that petitioner still me. In that sense, I think that everyone, Good and Evil, is doomed to oblivion. Which kind of sucks.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Knight Magenta wrote:
Being a lemur surely sucks, however, a sufficiently blood-thirsty soul would be able to advance to a higher state quickly enough. What serving evil gets you out of is being a larva :) Also, I'm sure that the dark overlord that slew thousands would get more than a lemur.

Why? To a devil, all evil humans are equally insignificant. They are entire orders of magnitude above such evils, so form their point of view, all incoming souls start at the same level.

Knight Magenta wrote:
That being said, I don't think that an evil person would necessarily be happier in the higher planes. Sure, the pickpocket or the small time murderer does not want to go to hell. He'd just be a larva. But I don't think that the anti-paladin or the lich or any other big-time baddie would be content with a life of peace. I mean, presumably they chose a life of strife because they enjoyed it to some extent.

If they got to the higher planes, they aren't evil any more.

Perhaps more to the point is what an evil creature gains from redemption. If they enjoy hurting things for the hell of it, then there is probably no redemption for them because they will never want it. If they are a tortured soul trying to dish hurt back to the world who realises that only by redemption can they achieve peace, well it's probably the perfect goal for them.

Knight Magenta wrote:
My point is, in PF, the great-beyond is a well-known thing. If hell was actually a punishment that people truly feared, no one would be evil. Therefore, however misguidedly, hell must be a reward for the sufficiently evil. Otherwise the whole world makes no sense.

Who said it wasn't a punishment? I can't see much attractive about it myself. That demons and devils get humans to trade their souls for power is testament to the temptations of the power they offer and their powers of persuasion in convincing people that they will be exalted in their afterlife.

You have to remember, evil is happy to tell lies and misrepresent the truth to achieve their ends.

Knight Magenta wrote:
Now, I'm not sure of the number of petitioners that become archons vs the number of larva that become devils, but my gut instinct is that most of heaven's population are not military-type outsiders. In that case, to a certain class of people, it would be preferable to be a vrock or something as opposed to a petitioner. And these people are willing to risk oblivion for this.

Most people are neutral, and most armies are made up of soldiers who are not evil. Most soldiers don't want more war. I mean, after you have watched your best mate getting disembowelled, the glory of war tends to fade a bit. Most conscripts want to chuck the uniform as soon as the battle is over, and most professional soldiers dream of retiring to a life of peace.

To quote Sir Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington: "My heart is broken by the terrible loss I have sustained in my old friends and companions and my poor soldiers. Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won."

I wouldn't be surprised to find the hosts of heaven full of retired generals and former professional soldiers seeking peace but willing to take up their flaming swords in order to defend it to the last.


Dabbler wrote:
Knight Magenta wrote:
Being a lemur surely sucks, however, a sufficiently blood-thirsty soul would be able to advance to a higher state quickly enough. What serving evil gets you out of is being a larva :) Also, I'm sure that the dark overlord that slew thousands would get more than a lemur.

Why? To a devil, all evil humans are equally insignificant. They are entire orders of magnitude above such evils, so form their point of view, all incoming souls start at the same level.

An incentive structure :) Besides, I don't think the devils have any control over how a particular creature manifests in its afterlife. I think that is just a function of the plane itself. I'm mostly just guessing, but if *I* was king of devils I would want to give mortals an incentive to be evil.

Dabbler wrote:

Knight Magenta wrote:
That being said, I don't think that an evil person would necessarily be happier in the higher planes. Sure, the pickpocket or the small time murderer does not want to go to hell. He'd just be a larva. But I don't think that the anti-paladin or the lich or any other big-time baddie would be content with a life of peace. I mean, presumably they chose a life of strife because they enjoyed it to some extent.

If they got to the higher planes, they aren't evil any more.

Perhaps more to the point is what an evil creature gains from redemption. If they enjoy hurting things for the hell of it, then there is probably no redemption for them because they will never want it. If they are a tortured soul trying to dish hurt back to the world who realises that only by redemption can they achieve peace, well it's probably the perfect goal for them.

I mostly agree with you. The psychopath is not getting redeemed, and the tourcherd soul did not choose evil. I was more talking about the philosophically evil: like a Chelaxian hellknight. I don't think the hellknight wants to go to heaven. And most of them know full well what to expect on the other side of Pharasma's judgment.

Dabbler wrote:

Knight Magenta wrote:
My point is, in PF, the great-beyond is a well-known thing. If hell was actually a punishment that people truly feared, no one would be evil. Therefore, however misguidedly, hell must be a reward for the sufficiently evil. Otherwise the whole world makes no sense.

Who said it wasn't a punishment? I can't see much attractive about it myself. That demons and devils get humans to trade their souls for power is testament to the temptations of the power they offer and their powers of persuasion in convincing people that they will be exalted in their afterlife.

You have to remember, evil is happy to tell lies and...

Sure, devils lie. However, most evil people have not made an infernal pact. The evil wizard that is torturing humans in his mad experiments knows he is evil with a level 1 spell. He also, by virtue of his knowledge skills knows what awaits him after death. Either he plans to never die, or he has to be fine with it.

Heck, we have clerics choosing to serve evil gods. Most gods do not promise life everlasting (except Urgathoa, maybe). These clerics have a high wisdom, so you can`t claim that they are misguided or something. They clearly are fine with going to hell when they die.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Knight Magenta wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
Knight Magenta wrote:
Being a lemur surely sucks, however, a sufficiently blood-thirsty soul would be able to advance to a higher state quickly enough. What serving evil gets you out of is being a larva :) Also, I'm sure that the dark overlord that slew thousands would get more than a lemur.

Why? To a devil, all evil humans are equally insignificant. They are entire orders of magnitude above such evils, so form their point of view, all incoming souls start at the same level.

An incentive structure :) Besides, I don't think the devils have any control over how a particular creature manifests in its afterlife. I think that is just a function of the plane itself. I'm mostly just guessing, but if *I* was king of devils I would want to give mortals an incentive to be evil.

Why go to an effort that will annoy your infernal subjects in the lower planes when you can just just lie to the mortals?

Knight Magenta wrote:
Dabbler wrote:

Knight Magenta wrote:
That being said, I don't think that an evil person would necessarily be happier in the higher planes. Sure, the pickpocket or the small time murderer does not want to go to hell. He'd just be a larva. But I don't think that the anti-paladin or the lich or any other big-time baddie would be content with a life of peace. I mean, presumably they chose a life of strife because they enjoyed it to some extent.

If they got to the higher planes, they aren't evil any more.

Perhaps more to the point is what an evil creature gains from redemption. If they enjoy hurting things for the hell of it, then there is probably no redemption for them because they will never want it. If they are a tortured soul trying to dish hurt back to the world who realises that only by redemption can they achieve peace, well it's probably the perfect goal for them.

I mostly agree with you. The psychopath is not getting redeemed, and the tourcherd soul did not choose evil. I was more talking about the philosophically evil: like a Chelaxian hellknight. I don't think the hellknight wants to go to heaven. And most of them know full well what to expect on the other side of Pharasma's judgment.

I refer you to my comment above about lying. The Hellknight thinks he knows what he will get.

Guide to Korvosa wrote:

Archbishop Ornher Reebs dedicated the new temple, with the help of the Acadamae’s headmaster, in an appropriately infernal way, sealing a pact with an erinyes using the blood of 13 virgin sacrifices. While all of these virgins volunteered for the dedication, some observers speculate that a few were charmed or otherwise magically compelled to join the “festivities.”

The conclusion of this dedication sent shockwaves through the city, and Korvosa’s citizens threatened to riot, raze the temple, and topple the monarchy. Queen Domina calmed the city by expending her own personal wealth to import a powerful cleric, who then attempted to return all 13 sacrifices to life. Only four of the virgins refused the service, and most of the other nine are still alive today.

Hmm. They must have been well 'rewarded' indeed to want to get back to life.

Knight Magenta wrote:
Sure, devils lie. However, most evil people have not made an infernal pact. The evil wizard that is torturing humans in his mad experiments knows he is evil with a level 1 spell. He also, by virtue of his knowledge skills knows what awaits him after death. Either he plans to never die, or he has to be fine with it.

Your logic fails on the fact that a thousand years ago, everybody in Europe 'knew' that sinners went to burn in hell, and only the good went to heaven. Did we have no crime, no murder, no debauchery, no tyranny? Hell no, we had all of the above and more. People either assumed that the rules didn't apply to them, or they felt they were justified, or they didn't care. All of the above can apply.

Knight Magenta wrote:
Heck, we have clerics choosing to serve evil gods. Most gods do not promise life everlasting (except Urgathoa, maybe). These clerics have a high wisdom, so you can`t claim that they are misguided or something. They clearly are fine with going to hell when they die.

A brief examination of the things that people will do in the name of faith today will quickly disillusion you that the deities in question need to promise rewards, life everlasting, or any such. People are perfectly capable of deluding themselves as to what they wish to believe, without deities or devils or demons making promises. They may be fine about going to hell because of what they think will happen when they arrive with no guarantee that it will.


Dabbler wrote:


Why go to an effort that will annoy your infernal subjects in the lower planes when you can just just lie to the mortals?

In general you may be right, but we are talking about Devil specifically here. Devils are Lawful, so are likely to keep some promises. Sure, maybe you won't get what you want, but you will get some approximation. And then you have all of eternity to claw your way to the top. I sure as hell would not want to end up in this situation. Someone with a huge ego, like many villains, could see this as their path to power and immortality.

In any case, I don't think the denizens of any of the Evil planes have an influence into what happens to new souls. I always thought that it was the concentration of Evil in a soul that dictated the form it takes in the Outer Planes.

Dabbler wrote:


Hmm. They must have been well 'rewarded' indeed to want to get back to life.

I could use the same story but for my point of view. If hell is such a bad place, why did four choose to stay :)

Besides, if they were resurrected that means Pharasma had not judged them yet. All they saw was a fancy waiting room, so the point is moot.

Dabbler wrote:
Your logic fails on the fact that a thousand years ago, everybody in Europe 'knew' that sinners went to burn in hell, and only the good went to heaven. Did we have no crime, no murder, no debauchery, no tyranny? Hell no, we had all of the above and more. People either assumed that the rules didn't apply to them, or they felt they were justified, or they didn't care. All of the above can apply.

A thousand years ago in Europe, no one 'knew' anything about Hell. They were told by priests, yes, but there was no solid evidence. It was a threat to keep people in line. Consider: there is a difference, emotionally, between knowing that thousands of children are starving in Africa and seeing pictures of them. In the Middle ages, we may have 'known' in the first sense, but in Golarion they have pictures.

Heck, with a level 9 cleric (and only 900 gp in fees for a round trip) you and 7 friends can visit any outer plane! I think even moderately wealthy merchants could afford that.

Dabbler wrote:


A brief examination of the things that people will do in the name of faith today will quickly disillusion you that the deities in question need to promise rewards, life everlasting, or any such. People are perfectly capable of deluding themselves as to what they wish to believe, without deities or devils or demons making promises. They may be fine about going to hell because of what they think will happen when they arrive with no guarantee that it will.

That's fair. Indoctrination can get people to do a lot, and I am sure that many evil creatures do evil because that's how they grew up. And I agree that the rank and file evil folk probably have a raw deal in hell. Since they didn't really have a choice, there is no reason to offer incentives :)

However, I think that there are many examples of villains, evil clerics being one, that have the information and skills to know better but choose evil anyway.

Also, on the topic of Evil gods: Why ever would they punish their best worshippers? I mean, getting to mid-levels as a cleric is already something special. Why would an Evil god just throw away a pawn that has proven itself both useful and loyal? That's just dumb. And evil is many things, but it is not dumb.


That last paragraph is a victim of game mechanics so are evil people starting off as lemures.

I am guessing the in game logic is that doing a few evil things as a mortal still does not compare to the politics of hell, and unless you are substantially evil with a lot of potential you get to be a lemure.

IIRC even Orcus started off as the lowest form and he was a really evil necromancer when he was a mortal. Yeah I understand demons are not devils, but it just goes to show that your earthly triumphs don't mean a whole lot.

As to bargaining for a better position:

Quote:

All devils can sense souls forsworn to Hell, and thus refuse to

bargain with those who have nothing to offer them. To this end, those who are already worshipers of Asmodeus or his archfiends have little bargaining power with devilkind. Occasionally a mortal might offer something other than his soul to tempt a devil into a contract, but such bargains are uncommon and are rarely accepted from those with viable souls still to offer.

It seems you have less bargaining ability once you are a worshipper.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Knight Magenta wrote:
Dabbler wrote:


Why go to an effort that will annoy your infernal subjects in the lower planes when you can just just lie to the mortals?
In general you may be right, but we are talking about Devil specifically here. Devils are Lawful, so are likely to keep some promises.

On the rare occasions that they actually give them. Describing hell is not making a promise, it's painting a picture. Think about the most devious, nit-picking hair-splitting lawyer you can, then multiply that by a thousand and you approach the level of a devil's contract. Devils probably have ways of promising heaven and delivering hell.

Knight Magenta wrote:
Sure, maybe you won't get what you want, but you will get some approximation.

No, you get precisely what the devil in question wants you to get.

Knight Magenta wrote:
And then you have all of eternity to claw your way to the top. I sure as hell would not want to end up in this situation. Someone with a huge ego, like many villains, could see this as their path to power and immortality.

Here I agree, but then such people are the stuff of self-delusion anyway. It doesn't matter what the afterlife is like, they will delude themselves that they will benefit in it.

Knight Magenta wrote:
In any case, I don't think the denizens of any of the Evil planes have an influence into what happens to new souls. I always thought that it was the concentration of Evil in a soul that dictated the form it takes in the Outer Planes.

Who knows? But compared to the denizens of such planes, mere human evil is at it's very worst barely noticeable.

Knight Magenta wrote:
Dabbler wrote:


Hmm. They must have been well 'rewarded' indeed to want to get back to life.
I could use the same story but for my point of view. If hell is such a bad place, why did four choose to stay :)

Confirmation bias. They still believed the promises.

Knight Magenta wrote:
Besides, if they were resurrected that means Pharasma had not judged them yet. All they saw was a fancy waiting room, so the point is moot.

That's true for raise dead, not resurrection.

Knight Magenta wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
Your logic fails on the fact that a thousand years ago, everybody in Europe 'knew' that sinners went to burn in hell, and only the good went to heaven. Did we have no crime, no murder, no debauchery, no tyranny? Hell no, we had all of the above and more. People either assumed that the rules didn't apply to them, or they felt they were justified, or they didn't care. All of the above can apply.
A thousand years ago in Europe, no one 'knew' anything about Hell. They were told by priests, yes, but there was no solid evidence.

They believed there was, that's the thing.

Knight Magenta wrote:
It was a threat to keep people in line.

Just like hell, then.

Knight Magenta wrote:
Consider: there is a difference, emotionally, between knowing that thousands of children are starving in Africa and seeing pictures of them. In the Middle ages, we may have 'known' in the first sense, but in Golarion they have pictures.

You mean they were told about the pictures by the priests. I think from the point of view of the grass-roots man-in-the-street, Hell has no more or less reality for a townsman in Korvosa than it did for a medieval peasant.

Knight Magenta wrote:
Heck, with a level 9 cleric (and only 900 gp in fees for a round trip) you and 7 friends can visit any outer plane! I think even moderately wealthy merchants could afford that.

This is true. However, how does that filter down to the man-in-the-street? How does it differ from medieval patronage where the nobility and wealthy classes supported the Church because the Church supported them?

Knight Magenta wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
A brief examination of the things that people will do in the name of faith today will quickly disillusion you that the deities in question need to promise rewards, life everlasting, or any such. People are perfectly capable of deluding themselves as to what they wish to believe, without deities or devils or demons making promises. They may be fine about going to hell because of what they think will happen when they arrive with no guarantee that it will.

That's fair. Indoctrination can get people to do a lot, and I am sure that many evil creatures do evil because that's how they grew up. And I agree that the rank and file evil folk probably have a raw deal in hell. Since they didn't really have a choice, there is no reason to offer incentives :)

However, I think that there are many examples of villains, evil clerics being one, that have the information and skills to know better but choose evil anyway.

These are always the people that are able to convince themselves that they are special, the rules do not apply to them, that they will be favoured etc. What many villains have in common is neither intelligence nor wisdom, but egotism.

Knight Magenta wrote:
Also, on the topic of Evil gods: Why ever would they punish their best worshippers?

Because they are Evil.

Knight Magenta wrote:
I mean, getting to mid-levels as a cleric is already something special. Why would an Evil god just throw away a pawn that has proven itself both useful and loyal?

It will use them as it desires. Who cares what THEY want? Evil, remember?

Knight Magenta wrote:
That's just dumb. And evil is many things, but it is not dumb.

Quite the reverse, actually. If good is enlightened self-interest, then evil is, almost by definition, short-sighted and stupid. A lot of evil people happily tell themselves that they are not bad, they are just smarter than everybody else and everybody would do what they did if they were not so dumb. This is very untrue - they have just convinced themselves that the short-sighted, selfish course of action they have already decided on is 'smart'. The more intelligent the evil person, the bigger their ego will be and the dumber they think everyone else is. Remember: "the bad are always surprised to discover that the good can also be clever."

What evil generally has in common is not it's intelligence, but it's ego and selfishness. Evil very often is dumb, or blinded by pride, or deluded by their own tunnel vision.


I just wanted to pop in and say -- since there was some confusion -- that I wasn't trying to imply that evil outsiders were evil because of pure ignorance. Merely that most evil outsiders are born from the evil planes that spawned them. Even if you go with the idea that evil outsiders were once mortal souls, it seems like they lack memories and experiences in their new lives (given that most of them don't have various class levels).

Evil outsiders are capable of understanding good on a fundamental level. They can understand what they are doing is wrong and more than likely have a great time doing it. A succubus probably really enjoys playing twisted games to ruin peoples' lives. However, because they are sentient, they could theoretically have a change of heart. Slim, unlikely even, but within the endless swarms of fiendish creatures, it seems the laws of probability project that some of them are going to choose non-evil alignments given enough time and experiences.

I imagine those who exist outside of their hellish realms would be the most likely candidates. It is said that those who fight evil should look into it that they themselves do not become evil; for when one gazes into the abyss, the abyss gazes into you. The reverse is also true. Experience enough good and something inside you will inevitably be affected.

Perhaps some fiends are enamored by new sensations they didn't feel before in their hellish realms. Perhaps a creature that never knew mercy was given it and forced to think on it. Perhaps a succubus, whose twisted games cause the succubus to experience something that strikes a cord inside its soul.

Incidentally, there's a tabletop game that I've been involved in for a while that has a succubus who has been following the party around creating problems for them. In an attempt to get the Paladin to step out of line, she has assumed the guise of a potential romantic interest, and has been accompanying the party as a recurring NPC (using undetectable alignment to conceal her alignment). However, at the moment, it appears that the Paladin is having a much worse effect on the succubus than she on he. The succubus recently protected the Paladin indirectly from something that would have likely killed him, and justified it to herself that it was so she could finish him later. However, with how things are going, I'm doubting that she will finish it later. At this point, I think she's less interested in his soul for entirely more human reasons, and she can't admit it to herself yet.

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I think rising (and falling) are also campaign specific.

If Devils can't rise and Angels can't fall, then you don't have plot hooks, you have Terminators.

Both the T-800 in T2 and Cameron in The Sarah Conner Chronicles became 'good guys' by outside forces. If they hadn't been reprogrammed, then they'd still be highly intelligent killing machines, able to adapt, but not change.

Let's look at an Erinyes, for example. (All this is IMC of course)

Spoiler:
Erinyes is intent on killing the guy who beat his wife (evil action, clearly). The Paladin (since they make good targets) leaps in front of the wife beater, holding the Erinyes back, as the guy has mended his ways and doesn't beat his wife anymore (or kids, or dog, we're saying he truly has mended his ways). The Paladin succeeds, at great personal cost, to defeat the Erinyes and banishes it.

The Erinyes is highly intelligent. She sits down and tries to figure out why Mr. Oh So Holy did that. Now 99% of Erinyes surveyed chalk it up to 'stupid dogooders' and get on with their eternity, but this one stops. If evil is selfish (which I postulated earlier) then the act makes no sense to the Erinyes. Especially since the guy he was protecting was guilty of the crime. Curious, she begins to examine the entire incident, trying to find why the Paladin did such a thing. Now 99% of the 1% who got this far, likely just put it on their to do list "Get souls, milk, bread and lunchmeat, understand stupid do gooders" but again, our Erinyes is special. She fills out the paperwork, calls in favours what have you, and files for a leave of absense to study this paladin. (Remember, she's still Lawful evil)

In her investigations (since Paladins can now associate with evil) our Erinyes earns some extra credit with her bosses by stopping a demonic incursion. She helps the Paladin directly, blowing her cover. Expecting a battle, she is surprised that the Paladin doesn't go all smite happy, but instead lets her go. They were allies after all, against this incursion. She's further bewildered by the realization that the wife-beater has reformed and they are expecting their first child.

Still on leave, she goes to investigate this herself, not believing a soul can change. She spies on the couple and even tries seducing the man, figuring that once she's shown that he's corruptable, she can kill him with a 'clean conscience' (meaning she's justified her existence and afirmed her place in the universe) Amazingly, she can't woo him away. He turns her down cleanly, returning to his wife and soon to be born child.

Now again, 99% of our vanishingly small sample will jsut give into the evil impulses and tear the family apart. After all, he did do the crime, and should still be punished. But our Erinyes is confused. She's seen a paladin risk everything for one man, with no thought of gain. (Self sacrifice) She's seen the same paladin give her quarter (mercy). Now she's seen that this man has changed his ways (redemption) and been taken back into his family (forgiveness). Finally she's seen him reject advances from a 'perfect' woman (loyalty). The last she can kind of comprehend. Being a Lawful being, such loyalty is understandable, but being an evil being, the fact that he could have 'gotten away with it' and didn't is a new kind of loyalty.

Flash foward 10 years, a blink of an eye for an immortal being. While performing her normal duties, her thoughts return to these mortals. She's seen nothing like their actions in Hell, indeed, such actions would only lead to betrayal. She also sees the worst of humanity on a daily basis, in part of her own duties. She checks in on the Paladin. He has retired from the field, teaching instead. She is shocked that he recognizes her, and doesn't immediately challenge her, simply evacuating the novices from the room and then confronting her. When she asks why, enraged that he doesn't see her as a threat, the old man simply tells her that the chance for redemption must be offered to everyone, from the lowest peasant to the gods themselves. If she is there to learn, then he will teach. If she is there to harm or kill, he will stop her, or die trying. She is still trying to understand these 'virtues' she keeps encountering, but it is akin to me reading Spanish. I can pick out parts, understand the structure, but the meaning of what I read is beyond me.

Confused, and a bit angry, she returns to the family. The son is out tending sheep and falls when a bear attacks. The father, now much older and weathered, stands between the bear and the child, with nothing but a shepherds crook. This is the moment the Erinyes will rise. Does she impassively watch the man sacrifice his life for his son? Does she comprehend not only what he is doing, but why? Does she intervene? With her power the bear's an easy fight. Does she perform a truly selfless act? By revealing herself, by killing or driving off the bear (remember, she has cause fear as an SLA) will she understand for the first time what she's been seeing?

And if she does, then what? Does she return to Hell for 'pennance'? Does she go back to the Paladin, hoping there wasn't a loophole in his words she missed (remember, she's still Lawful Evil, so she sees the world through that mindset)? Does she realize she's afraid of the consequences of her actions, perhaps for the first time in her immortal life? All these thoughts have to occure in an instant, and if she chooses to save the farmer, to violate the very core of herself, then she may change.

Even saving this farmer doesn't suddenly make her Lawful Good. Or even Lawful Neutral. She might now understand why they do what they do, but it doesn't mean that she feels it. Only by choosing to Rise, will she. For her to do so, puts her outside any sort of order she knows. She won't be allowed back into Hell, and she'll still radiate evil/show as evil/be affected by spells as evil, because of her subtype. Such a thing is terrifying for anyone, let alone a being of order and selfishness. In a real world sense, imagine coming out to your friends you are gay. Now imagine all your friends are congregants of Fred Phelp's 'church'. It's worse than that.

Like I said before, it's easier to lose yourself (Fall) if you're good. The first time you fry a commoner when you call lightning down on those devils. The first time you let your pride get the best of you when you save the village and they don't have anything to pay you. The first time you get jealous that the wizard gets all the credit while you were actually up front hacking away. The first time you use charm person to make that lovely barmaid that much more interested in you. Those all open the door, those all are fairly easily justified. "Well he was collateral damage" "You'd think they could give me something, since they'd have nothing without me" "Why are they cheering him? He stood back and blasted things, I'm the guy with the nicks and bruises." "She'd never be interested in me if I didn't use the magic" Those all open the door. And if you can get away with it once, then the next time it becomes easier to think of yourself than others.

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Ashiel,

Again IMC, I don't think the demons/devils/etc know what they're doing is 'wrong'. To them it's right.

For a Succubus to corrupt and tempt is normal. Just like me getting up to go to work. For a Bone Devil to torture is as natural to me as breathing. "If the gods didn't want me to torture these mortals, then they'd not have put in such lovely pain receptors."

Just like for an angel, mercy and compassion (and justice) are normal. It's harder to stop being selfish/evil than it is to stop being selfless/good. The angel who is smashing the goblins with soulfire all day has more oportunities to accidentally toast that first level adventuring party and justify it with "Well collateral damage/Well at least their with their gods now/Well they shouldn't have been there/Well they're only mortals." Than the succubus does to say "Wait, this is more than lust I'm feeling/What do you mean you're breaking up with me?" Or the Bone Devil does to go, "Wow, I bet that really hurts, let me ease the suffering/Ok, you've told me all you know, so I'm going to let you go now."


An interesting though occored to me while juglig this subject.

There are no general examples of oursiders rising to good... but then again there are no general examples of neutural outsiders sliding in either direction.

neutral outsiders are generally represented as being either extremely intent on balance or extremely indifferent to the morals of good or evil.

When I took that further I began to wonder what happens to an inevitable working with or in the service of a devil begins to feel that it is acceptable or even beneficial to the ideals of LAW to preemptively strike at potentially chaotic behavior, or to punish oath breakers with extream tourture in order to discourage further breaking of the law eventually tipping them to LE.

when I tried to think of that in the other direction i ran into problems.

would a LE Inevitable working with or in the service of an angel begin to feel that some tenants of goodness would ultimately lead to fewer infractions of the law? It was more difficult to imagine situations in which an inevitable would actively do GOOD like healing the sick, defending the weak or opposing the actions of an evil being acting within the rights of a contract in order to better support LAW. I could come up with ideas.. but generally they required more work, more exceptions and more time to happen.

I think this thought experiment more than any other argument makes me understand the point of some people about how its harder to be good than evil even in the abstracts of the game world.

having said that... what is it in us as real world human beings that makes us think that way?


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interestingly enough there are real world examples of less rigid law enforcement leading to fewer law infractions... or in another way of viewing it parants that were less authoritative raising children which were statistically less inclined to commit certain kinds of crime.

yet individually our minds do not seem to recognize that. its easier for us to see it one way than the other even when the way we see it may not ACTUALLY work as often as we think.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
blue_the_wolf wrote:

interestingly enough there are real world examples of less rigid law enforcement leading to fewer law infractions... or in another way of viewing it parants that were less authoritative raising children which were statistically less inclined to commit certain kinds of crime.

yet individually our minds do not seem to recognize that. its easier for us to see it one way than the other even when the way we see it may not ACTUALLY work as often as we think.

Confirmation Bias. People are really bad at judgement, they usually accept the bits of an argument that backs their viewpoint without question and attack or reject that which doesn't. Simple answers are easier to work with than complex ones so people prefer them, and 'follow the rules' is simple and easy.


Dabbler wrote:


That's true for raise dead, not resurrection.

Can't find where I read that all resurrections happen before Pharasma judges you. I think that since time runs differently in the Boneyard and that Pharasma is the Goddess of Prophesy, she can keep a soul sidelined until they get resurrected.

While Looking up the stuff on resurrection I found an interesting post by James Jacobs that supports my view:

James Jacobs wrote:


There's essentially 3 fates (but even then, that's a gross oversimplification)...

Excel: You are granted a great reward in the afterlife, such as being granted a role in your deity's court, or transformation into a powerful outsider.

Normal: You are sent on to the appropriate plane to become a petitioner. In time, you may become an outsider. You may not. You may end up getting killed. You may not.

Fail: You are sent on to an appropriate punishment. This might last forever. It might be temporary, followed by a time of "purgatory" where you might be able to escape. You might even be rescued by allies who follow your soul and rescue it from its fate.

Link to post

In any case, I suspect that it just comes down to a difference in what you and I see as cooler. I see Hell mostly like an evil corporation. Sure, there's lying and backstabbing and all kinds of poisons inter-department politics. But, when things go well, a manager takes care of his underlings because if he's any good at being a manager he knows that he needs skilled underlings to accomplish his goals. (If things go poorly he makes sure his minions take the fall)

A good example of my view is the Warhammer universe. People who serve the Chaos gods well are "blessed" with powerful mutations and may even become a demon prince. Those who fail are reduced to gibbering lumps of flesh.

If I understand you correctly, you see Hell as betrayal personified. Their very nature is to corrupt and even the idea of keeping a promise is against their nature.

Obviously, I still like my interpretation more :) But I can see your point.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Evil is seen as badass, and badass is cool, so people want to think evil is cool.

Actually, evil is dumb. Hell is full of devils all plotting and scheming on how to exploit the rules for their own gain. They will keep promises when it suits them, or when it is in a contract - but they will twist and squirm around the meaning of said promise anyway they can to make it suit their purposes. They spend far more time and energy undermining one another than actually achieving anything, and they always have to watch their backs because no-one can be trusted to do it for them.

Evil is fundamentally self-serving. So any time you want to team up with Team Evil, remember that no matter how badass and cool they look, they are all in it only for themselves and no-one else, just like you - and you are on the team only as long as they get more out of it than you do.


I got more info on why the two in the party didn't back the evil commander seeking redemption, he wasn't charismatic enough, too beta male, didn't confess all his sins and beg for their help, didn't seem to be religious, only interested in saving his skin by fleeing to the clerics.

There is a lot that can get in the way of an npc villain pursuing redemption.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
LazarX wrote:
Mikaze wrote:

That's fine for those works. But in no way should they bind everyone else involved with or playing the game like some sort of narrative law. Not everyone wants misery porn 24/7. The game supports more than cynical sword and sorcery, and has for a long time.

Some folks like having actual Good good in their games. Some people like having actual hope in their stories, even if the characters have to punch it down the settings' throats at times.

It wasn't so much "misery porn". For that, you'd have Warhammer. :) But many of these authors were raised on the ideals of rugged self reliance. So they created heroes that did not look to angels or gods to set things right. The dialogue from the Conan movie below hits the genre spot on.

"The gods, Conan are very interested in your fight today."

"Are they going to help?"

"No."

"Then tell them to keep out of the way!"

Here's the thing. You can have the heroes be the focal point and the decisive factor without having to portray Team Good as a whole as incompetent/impotent, hapless victims, obstructive bureaucrats, or worse, Good In Name Only.

Unfortunately that's the tone many try to stick in as the only flavor available. And not everyone wants that kind of game.

I damn near gave up on the game in my earliest experiences with it because that was the only speed the local crowd would allow. The sort that honestly believed in this trope.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

For other examples hanging out there, Cambions and Alu-fiends were actually written in with alignment fluctuations hardwritten into their entries at least as far back as Planescape. (Planescape also had a small regiment of risen devils based somewhere either on Mount Celestia or Arcadia IIRC)

The forlarren from the Tome of Horrors has long been my favorite fey because it just screamed for these sorts of stories right out of the box.

Adriel, Angel of Hope is a very good source for this sort of thing, from Kobold Quarterly #4. Honestly, you could combine a lot of her flavor with Sarenrae's and it'll fit like a glove. The main difference is that Adriel's write-up is a lot less shy on showing the results of her redemptive efforts.

In Golarion canon, along with Ragathiel there's a sideways mention of other risen fiends as well as the possibility of good intelligent undead(in the context that it hinged on them being free-willed intelligent undead of course) in Classic Horrors Revisited. There's also what Shelyn's doing with her brother's old weapon, not to mention her longterm goals concerning her brother himself. There's something to be said for the notes on how Shelyn and Sarenrae's churches in particular are expected to interact with those of evil faiths. They wouldn't be bothering if it redemption was meant to be an impossibility. And I refuse to believe that the setting is so grimderp to force that or that the writers would throw those details out there just to taunt the players.


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Mikaze wrote:
The forlarren from the Tome of Horrors has long been my favorite fey because it just screamed for these sorts of stories right out of the box.

The only thing I don't like about the Forlarren is their fluff flies in the face of "reality" hardcore. I don't mean our reality. I mean game reality. The reality that says "I know the fluff says the Forlorren kill their nymph mothers, but good luck with that barely CR 2 crybaby demon killing the CR 7 mother who poops out monsters when she wants. Mama would bend her over and give her something to cry about".

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Ashiel wrote:
Mikaze wrote:
The forlarren from the Tome of Horrors has long been my favorite fey because it just screamed for these sorts of stories right out of the box.
The only thing I don't like about the Forlarren is their fluff flies in the face of "reality" hardcore. I don't mean our reality. I mean game reality. The reality that says "I know the fluff says the Forlorren kill their nymph mothers, but good luck with that barely CR 2 crybaby demon killing the CR 7 mother who poops out monsters when she wants. Mama would bend her over and give her something to cry about".

That's another reason I much prefer the Tome of Horrors version, as the PF version went way too far in that direction.

Having a complex and probably painful relationship between the child and parent for the PCs to stumble onto was always much more interesting in my head. So many things to play with there.

(the forlarren also really hit that perfect L4D Witch* vibe, where things can easily go from "Awwwww, she needs a hug :(" to "RUN RUN RUN RUN" and back at the drop of a hat, with the right class levels and such. ;) )

*If you crossed the L4D Witch with Nell that is.


Mikaze wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Mikaze wrote:
The forlarren from the Tome of Horrors has long been my favorite fey because it just screamed for these sorts of stories right out of the box.
The only thing I don't like about the Forlarren is their fluff flies in the face of "reality" hardcore. I don't mean our reality. I mean game reality. The reality that says "I know the fluff says the Forlorren kill their nymph mothers, but good luck with that barely CR 2 crybaby demon killing the CR 7 mother who poops out monsters when she wants. Mama would bend her over and give her something to cry about".

That's another reason I much prefer the Tome of Horrors version, as the PF version went way too far in that direction.

Having a complex and probably painful relationship between the child and parent for the PCs to stumble onto was always much more interesting in my head. So many things to play with there.

(the forlarren also really hit that perfect L4D Witch* vibe, where things can easily go from "Awwwww, she needs a hug :(" to "RUN RUN RUN RUN" and back at the drop of a hat, with the right class levels and such. ;) )

*If you crossed the L4D Witch with Nell that is.

Much thanks. I think you've given me an idea for an insane ghoul NPC. :3


Insane but redeemable?


Mikaze wrote:


Here's the thing. You can have the heroes be the focal point and the decisive factor without having to portray Team Good as a whole as incompetent/impotent, hapless victims, obstructive bureaucrats, or worse, Good In Name Only.

Unfortunately that's the tone many try to stick in as the only flavor available. And not everyone wants that kind of game.

I damn near gave up on the game in my earliest experiences with it because that was the only speed the local crowd would allow. The sort that honestly believed in this trope.

Good is hard even from the starting point taking evil and turning it into good is even harder particularly from a relapse stand point. I mean take the example earlier with the fugitive and consider you accept and aid him he travels to the north full of good intentions and somehow slips off the good wagon and becomes a killer for hire in the north and kills a bunch of nobles and kids and what not while you're not there to keep an eye on him.

Believing that someone has truly changed is hard in the real world it's like letting a reformed serial killer hang out in your neighborhood and play with your kids sure he's "reformed" as far as anyone can tell but is it worth taking the risk with someone who you know is capable and has been willing of doing those things before?


3.5 Loyalist wrote:

A moment good people, the party I was dming for prevented the redemption of a young evil leader just last night. They didn't kill him either.

{description omitted}

I assume that your inspiration was Theon Greyjoy from A Game of Thrones (etc.)? In which case, that's why they didn't help him. Theon's a pathetic tool. ;)

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