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Is torturing intelligent undead an evil action?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Nietzsche wrote:
He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

This quote seems sum it up for me.....even it the creature is evil you are suppose to not be evil...and what your party did sure seems evil to me.


Mikaze wrote:
Remember, evil acts aren't bad just because of what happens to the victim, but also because of what it does to the one doing the deed.

Bravo. I expected someone to rebut my previous post (in which I paraphrased C. S. Lewis) by mentioning something much more famous he wrote.

Mere Christianity, Part 2, Chapter 4 wrote:
People often think of Christian morality as a kind of bargain in which God says, "If you keep a lot of rules I'll reward you, and if you don't I'll do the other thing." I do not think that is the best way of looking at it. I would much rather say that every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before...always thinking of is the mark which the action leaves on that tiny central self which no one sees in this life but which each of us will have to endure--or enjoy--for ever."

I see this discussion topic as a confused mix of three actual topics. Some people are focusing on "Would it hurt the tortured undead?" Others focus on "Might it be necessary for society?" A third group is focusing on "What does it do to the PCs?"

Thus the confusion that arises when keeping the Paladin central. The Paladin's code certainly allows harming undead. But there is conflict between what might be best for purifying a community "infected" with undead and what keeps the Paladin himself most pure.


I agree it would be an Evil act.
If a Paladin was involved in this somehow, it seems pretty much against their code for that reason.

To draw on specific Golarin lore, I would consider the case of Nidal and Zon-Kuthon.
Several undead, including Vampires, have become 'followers' of ZK, presumably being tortured by him or his minions. If we posit that the torture of these Vampires is so 'engrossing' that ZK no longer has any more time to torture anybody else (i.e. non-undead), would ZK thus cease to become an Evil Deity (or at least become so Neutrally-tendencied that he would tend to 'backslide' towards good, e.g. from his kindly relations with his sister Shelyn)? I would say that's clearly NOT the case, he's evil, and his torture is evil no matter the target.

I also considered the idea of whether intelligent undead can feel pain or not... AFAIK there's nothing saying that they DON'T feel pain, and nothing that says spells like Agonize doesn't work on them (which says it is extremely painful torture). Even if they didn't feel physical pain per se, you could consider other aspects of torture, and there's nothing that says such forms aren't also evil in nature.

I agree with Wraithstrike re: the Selective Spell/Antimagic combo: I don't think it works like that, and thus, the scenario described by the OP just wouldn't have been triggered playing by RAW.


How I run it, torturing the non-evil is pretty evil. Torturing the evil is chaotic good. if you don't give a sh*t about rules, laws and civility, and only care about doing good and punishing evil, then you are chaotic good.

A paladin cannot get away with it, because it is dishonourable.


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Pathfinder Campaign Setting Subscriber
3.5 Loyalist wrote:
B.A. Ironskull wrote:

PCs torturing for/because/in deference to/need to/required/best plot option/why not = no XP for the encounter.

Hit 'em where it hurts.

If that is all the players can grasp, a captured mook of a powerful evil force, then that is what they will try to get information out of. Dms want their plans and info protected, I get that, and some get very put off by torture, but players don't always do it malevolently.

If you said, you get the intel but no xp, what would you do if a player asked "why? We passed the intimidation checks, got the info, no xp at all?"

Would you take away the xp of the defeated monster if they beat it then got the info? If so, why?

Perhaps I was too flippant. To expand, if it's my game and the PCs capture an enemy and resort to torture to gain intel, I would not award them the XP.

Now, if they go the route of bribery, or good cop/bad cop, or spells like zone of truth or charm or Intimidate or Diplomacy the intel out of their prisoner, that's worth the XP.

If they capture the Boss' Right Hand Man, I would assume and expect they'd want some answers, I just would not (would try not to) let the encounter degenerate into morally questionable grounds. If it did, perhaps the Evil Henchman dies before it is willing to turn on his Master.

That also assumes that my scenario here is full of neutral and good aligned PCs.

It's a game full of magic and options beyond cutting off fingers to find out where the lair is, is my point. Oh, and torture in Pathfinder is, IMO, Evil.


all torture is evil regardless of there alignment just because they would do it to you does not make it right. just a swift death to the evil beings unless they can be saved but im sure undead, devils or demons cant be saved.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well, in my campaign, that paladin just became a fighter without the feats, and any god-aligned clerics lost their spells. Torture is an evil act because *it's an evil act*, not because of the subject.


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/reads last pages

and this is why I love The Witcher and its grey-shade missions and stories


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3.5 Loyalist wrote:

How I run it, torturing the non-evil is pretty evil. Torturing the evil is chaotic good. if you don't give a sh*t about rules, laws and civility, and only care about doing good and punishing evil, then you are chaotic good.

A paladin cannot get away with it, because it is dishonourable.

*headdesk* Where does that idea that chaotic good is the worst good come from? Just because axiomatic creatures are more prettyful than anarchic ones? Torture is never a good act and most certainly not a chaotic one. Heck, for the alignment that "hates it when people try to intimidate others and tell them what to do." torture should be among the most hated things ever.

Andoran

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joriandrake wrote:

/reads last pages

and this is why I love The Witcher and its grey-shade missions and stories

Shades of grey are fun and wonderful. Dealing with potentially dirty business and morallly ambiguous characters tends to be the order of the day in my games, actually.

But torture is not a shade of grey, it's black as hell. Not all characters who engage in it are evil, but it sure as f*+~ is.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
joriandrake wrote:

/reads last pages

and this is why I love The Witcher and its grey-shade missions and stories

Shades of grey are fun and wonderful. Dealing with potentially dirty business and morallly ambiguous characters tends to be the order of the day in my games, actually.

But torture is not a shade of grey, it's black as hell. Not all characters who engage in it are evil, but it sure as f%*& is.

But what if 1000 kittens died every time you didn't torture just one kitten? WOULDN'T THE ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS, WITH THE ENDS BEING LIVE KITTENS?


Mikaze wrote:
Shah Jahan the King of Kings wrote:
estergum wrote:

Evil.

If its evil doing it to a kitten then its evil doing it to a vampire.

The nature of the act is not dependent on the target.

Furthermore, demons and devils torture, .... They certainly don't gain "good guy points" or turn into paladins from it.

To be fair, some of the kinkier angels do a bit of it too.

But they always use safewords. It's the right thing to do, folks.

The More You Know[/rainbowstar]

Mikaze, that is too funny =P I choked on my chai laughing =}


so if torturing is good if the other one likes it
and if torturing is bad if the other one doesn't like it.
What is it if you use a gag and you don't know if someone likes it.

Ah, the shades of grey, black being one of them, a very very dark shade of grey.

@chaoeseffect, I believe the answer lies somewhere in between. You torture the cat just a little bit, and only 500 cats die.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

[sinceremode]I'd say whether the "torture"(and in this case it really isn't torture as the thread is discussing it in general) is good/neutral/evil hinges on whether or not it's safe, sane, and coonsentual for all parties involved.

For example, your typical Kuthonite might consent to a hell of a lot, but much of it couldn't really be considered safe and it sure as hell couldn't be considered sane.(oh hai joymaking!) LE

Seelah on the other hand always makes sure her partner has given informed consent, is of sound mind, is game for whatever they're doing, and has a lot of rules both of them have to abide by both to ensure each other's safety, emotional and mental wellbeing, and an enjoyable night. Aftercare is a big thing as well. LG

Harsk does most of what Seelah does out of common decency and with liability in mind, but he's also pretty selfish lover.* LN

Regarding the gag problem, there are plenty of other "tells" that could be used to communicate, and again this goes back to all the rules and safety folks that are into that sort of thing have in place.

*you're welcome for that image


joriandrake wrote:

/reads last pages

and this is why I love The Witcher and its grey-shade missions and stories

I run my games a bit grey too, and the players play their characters with alignment sitting in the background, contributing but not dominating. If they really deviate, they change, but that is usually fine. Torture? I don't believe a bit of it will absolutely make an evil person or necessarily lead to an alignment change. After all, it is very easy to claim torture when confinement, questioning and poor food over a lengthy period can be considered torture. This when it may just take a while to break the drow cleric and get some wonderfully baked and delicious info.

I remember a dm really got weirded out by what the party did to a cultist we found. We didn't like the nutter, we wanted answers (weren't finding them elsewhere) and the cultist was going to be hung afterwards anyway. After this, the players continued on and it didn't really change their characters much. Just a one off, a good point for the dm to learn--give the players avenues for intel on shadowy organisations other than capturing and torturing underlings.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
joriandrake wrote:

/reads last pages

and this is why I love The Witcher and its grey-shade missions and stories

Shades of grey are fun and wonderful. Dealing with potentially dirty business and morallly ambiguous characters tends to be the order of the day in my games, actually.

But torture is not a shade of grey, it's black as hell. Not all characters who engage in it are evil, but it sure as f+!% is.

Say your character is in a foreign locale, a LN city. Picked up for a crime they didn't commit, but which the authorities think you did. Perhaps the char got smeared. The LN guard here are serious about combating crime and they want to get to the bottom of it. So, over days, until they are convinced of your innocence and that you can offer no more intel, they give a going over. Sleep deprivation, poor food, terrible quarters, threats, light beatings (they don't want to have to dispose of a body), aggressive interviewing. After days of this, you get let go, for now. This is perfectly reasonable to respect from a medieval body of law and order, and no one involved in the torture would have to be EVIL. The torturers want to fight crime, they don't trust dangerous visitors and they have a suspect in their clutches. They are experts trying to work out who is a real crim, who knows what or anything useful and who goes away for good. It is harsh, but torture has been really common across cultures. Even the Tibetan Buddhist authorities got into it. Mmm theocracy.

Dare we draw boundaries? I see quite a difference between beatings and shouting, deprivation and the infliction of truly horrible pain. Quite an interesting topic though.

Andoran

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Chaotic does not mean 'able to be evil to evil'.


See, this is exactly why alignment can't be viewed as some absolute, set-in-stone aspect of behavior. Each entity, mortal and otherwise, has a different view on what constitutes "good" and "evil" and all are subjective. Just as one person might find it "good" to slaughter all undead indiscriminately because they are all evil abominations, another might say that it's better to peacefully dispose of them instead in honor of the life they once had. Likewise, an evil person might revel in harm and bloodshed from a freudenschade aspect or they might embrace evil more as an unfortunate duty for their position. Even within a single alignment such as Lawful Good, there is room for difference. The best example I've seen was two LG Paladins in a land where slavery is legal. One found a runaway slave and returned him in accordance with the laws. The other found a runaway slave and helped him to escape. Both actions are contained within the scope of "Lawful Good". Furthermore, each action could also be contained within another alignment with mutual exclusion. Even the gods are subjective in their determination of what alignment they embrace and impose upon their followers. One god may consider killing "innocents" as evil while another god considers killing "anyone" as evil while another might even consider killing "anything" as evil. Which one is right? All of them and none. If you can justify (and I mean actually justify and not just shirk it off with something lame) your character's actions, I don't see any issue.


No TriOmegaZero it means able to ignore the right way to do things.

If the results end up being for the greater good, then it's possible for the chaotic character to pull off an evil act and still remain their original alignment.

Not ALL Chaotic Good characters could pull this off either, only the ones that are Machiavellian.


Kazaan while it is moot to the argument online (since we aren't playing the game) Pathfinder DOES have an absolute alignment judged by the GM exclusively.

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yes, it is evil.


@Kazaan, it's Schadenfreude, and that is not the same thing as sadism. It's more like laughing when someone slips on a banana peel and breaks his leg, not when you take a steel bar to someones leg.
And as Aranna said, alignment and its interpretation is nothing a god decides (except the GM, who is god in the eyes of every player).

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Aranna wrote:

No TriOmegaZero it means able to ignore the right way to do things.

If the results end up being for the greater good, then it's possible for the chaotic character to pull off an evil act and still remain their original alignment.

Not ALL Chaotic Good characters could pull this off either, only the ones that are Machiavellian.

I was refuting the idea that it was a Good act to torture Evil. It's still an Evil act. I am well aware that Good characters can commit Evil acts.


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3.5 Loyalist wrote:
Dare we draw boundaries? I see quite a difference between beatings and shouting, deprivation and the infliction of truly horrible pain. Quite an interesting topic though.

Sleep deprivation is torture. Beatings are torture. The prolonged use of extreme sound is torture. There is no gray area here.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:


I was refuting the idea that it was a Good act to torture Evil. It's still an Evil act. I am well aware that Good characters can commit Evil acts.

Bingo. And for those "shades of grey" people, evil acts contribute to the "grey" nature of the game. Ignoring and pretending it's OK leaves you with a game in which no action is outside the norm for good characters.

Do too much of it (evil acts) and you are it of course. Unless you are a Paladin pretty much anybody is capable of straying without immediate alignment shift given sufficient reason. Make a habit out of it and welcome to Club Evil. Paladins are held to a much higher standard and are required to be aware of the consequences.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

R_Chance wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:


I was refuting the idea that it was a Good act to torture Evil. It's still an Evil act. I am well aware that Good characters can commit Evil acts.

Bingo. And for those "shades of grey" people, evil acts contribute to the "grey" nature of the game. Ignoring and pretending it's OK leaves you with a game in which no action is outside the norm for good characters.

Do too much of it (evil acts) and you are it of course. Unless you are a Paladin pretty much anybody is capable of straying without immediate alignment shift given sufficient reason. Make a habit out of it and welcome to Club Evil. Paladins are held to a much higher standard and are required to be aware of the consequences.

Thank you for summing up my feelings to a T.

Even though I (IRL) feel there are situations where it is an option, I make no illusions that it's good.

"Paladin Good" isn't the 'End Justifies the means' good. "Paladin Good" doesn't do the 'ticking bomb' thing. From that point of view, it's not a greater/lesser good. It's a sucker bet. The Paladin using harsh language vs the Rack isn't an 'evil act'. The bomb's going to go off.

Amusingly I'm watching the Dark Knight while watching this. Bruce not torturing the Joker to get to his deeper plotting isn't an evil act, anymore than rescuing Harvey is 'letting' Rachel blow up.

Along those lines, Alfred burning the forest down to stop the bandit isn't a good act either.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Chaotic does not mean 'able to be evil to evil'.

Hunting evil across political boundaries and following this, the invasion of locales and homes, the killing of evil in total violation of local laws and existing powers, even contravening the protections and system of law which may be good (evil can use good to its advantage, but there are few places evil can hide from a determined CG). It is very easy to get away with some evil while being chaotic good. What the CG does, the villain and those sympathetic to him would consider to be dastardly, evil and violent.

And then imagine what a LG, LN or N authority would think about a CG party raiding the domains of evil and killing the evil tenants there. If the authorities have had no problem from the evil actor, an actor which, for the sake of argument we will say does not crap in his own backyard.

Let us get into a hypothetical example. A Dark and Evil count, evil guards, dark soldiers. Been positively nasty in a recent conflict, buuuut in service to a LN and LG nation. Obey the law and all that, and they do, when they are at home (warband is a good example of this). During war this faction and its leader are as bad as it gets. Which works, until the mostly CG band of adventurers rock up, invade the keep of the count, kill the count, impale his head on a spike as a warning to other dark lords and hang all the evil soldiers leaving their wives as widows and their children as orphans. Before finally setting the keep ablaze and everything they couldn't loot also on fire, leaving a smoking ruin as all the wood supports collapse. The cool guys then walk away, they don't look at the explosion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzAIWle7rC4

For the LG and LN country, that will be an act of utter evil. Not just instability, but the killing of a lot of folk (that deserved it) without trial, evidence or through the proper channels.

"These loyal *tears well in the politician's eyes* soldiers of our benevolent kingdom, this war hero lord with many accomplishments to his name, butchered by evil foreigners. We should hang them all for what they have done, we should kill these evil agents.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Again, I did not say you cannot commit Evil as a Chaotic Good character. Just that it would still be Evil, and not Good.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:


Again, I did not say you cannot commit Evil as a Chaotic Good character. Just that it would still be Evil, and not Good.

I don't think he believes his intrepid CG raiders did evil. I'm not positive, but I think he believes crossing a national border and maybe reigniting a war was not evil due to the evil actions of said Count during the prior war. I'd say crossing a border and pursuing a personal vendetta was chaotic and, given the mass executions of soldiers without trial or actual evidence of guilt, evil as well, but that's me... vengeance is not justice.

*edit* And I could see this happening, but it would be a CE act by ticked off CG characters imo. Without the mass executions, just going after the Count, I could almost go "CN", but I tend to draw the line at mass murder :)

Shadow Lodge

I'm making sure he isn't arguing against a strawman.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
TOZ wrote:


I'm making sure he isn't arguing against a strawman.

That's the thing about the internet, it's hard to be sure of tone / intent.


R_Chance wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:


Again, I did not say you cannot commit Evil as a Chaotic Good character. Just that it would still be Evil, and not Good.

I don't think he believes his intrepid CG raiders did evil. I'm not positive, but I think he believes crossing a national border and maybe reigniting a war was not evil due to the evil actions of said Count during the prior war. I'd say crossing a border and pursuing a personal vendetta was chaotic and, given the mass executions of soldiers without trial or actual evidence of guilt, evil as well, but that's me... vengeance is not justice.

*edit* And I could see this happening, but it would be a CE act by ticked off CG characters imo. Without the mass executions, just going after the Count, I could almost go "CN", but I tend to draw the line at mass murder :)

Mass murder? You mean like against mooks in dungeons? Common against goblins, orcs, drow etc etc etc. Killing evil in large numbers is not evil, it is adventuring and done by good characters to stamp out evil.

The chaotics in the example have not mass murdered the good, they know what the count and his men have done, and end it. The castle is just another dungeon, the count, just another evil villain. They don't respect any laws, any of the protections that can and in this case have, hid the evil away from justice and an end to their existence, they get the job done.

What I'm trying to bring up, and why it is good that there is argument here, is that players often do what can be considered evil actions. If evil is protected, if evil is respected then striking at them and striking decisively can be considered evil even if only serious evil is killed. Isn't that intriguing? Now sometimes punishing evil steps over, other times it is just cleaning the filth out of the latrines of everyday life.

If the Chaotic good party captured a high up evil retainer of the evil lord, and they tortured him for more info so as to kill remaining evil agents/superiors of the count/LE courtiers backing the count, I've got very little problem with it. Then again, I do play CG adventurers that pull out all the stops when they are hunting evil. They do good and charitable acts for the needy, good and neutral common folk but they come after dark forces quite viciously, without honour or restraint. CG ninjas are fun.

"Your bodyguards are dead!" :D
-Rikimaru


Back on target with torturing undead, we would have to agree upon a definition of torture to proceed. There is also that guy that argued torturing might not be possible, I think you can do it with positive energy, and in some games I've known undead to be made more human, and thus more able to be tortured.


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I think a good measuring stick for CG is to ask oneself "how does that action make him different from a CN character?"

And torture is an evil act, no matter how chaotic your chaotic good character is.


Torture is restraining and injuring a target over time right? They are powerless and at your mercy?

Players encircle, cut, stab, bludgeon, ride-over, trap, ambush, hold, trip, melt, set on fire/roast, knock out, disarm and keep attacking, shoot and pin-cushion enemies all the time. If they are harmed over rounds but not killed, lasting thanks to their hp and defensive skills/abilities, that is going to feel like torture for them.

Against pcs with really good defenses and tactics, but so-so damage or bad rolls, it is even more like torture. The pcs slowly take you into unconsciousness poor orc warlord, there is no escape, you feel much pain over many rounds.

Alas, they faced the players. Too bad. We should be mindful of our moral views encroaching too strongly on the beliefs of the fantasy world. A world with good against evil, where combat, killing and maiming is common and done with the intent to harm and kill. There are reasons for good to do this though, to end evil and the pain evil forces inflict on others. Harsh isn't it?


magnuskn wrote:

I think a good measuring stick for CG is to ask oneself "how does that action make him different from a CN character?"

And torture is an evil act, no matter how chaotic your chaotic good character is.

Where do you draw the line and define torture?

We have views on torture. I am against it. But why should our views be the same as those in a fantasy world?


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Because we apply our modern sensibilities to our view of this fantasy world. If you are one of those people who says "but we should adopt a medieval mindset for playing RPG's", then you are doing it wrong.

And not for wanting to adopt said medieval mindset, but because you have no idea how those people thought. There are complexities to their way of living ( of which we mostly only know the views of the higher educated classes to boot... history back then was mostly written about the ruling class, "common people" history is more of an invention of the Enlightment ) which we can't emulate and which cannot be applied to a world where fantasy creatures and magic exist.
The ossification of belonging to different social classes alone is something which I've never seen anyone discuss in these moral arguments, which was a value which shaped your entire life in that age.

So using the "but I want to be authentic!" argument is bull, because you can't really even try without being deeply studying the history of the relevant time period. And even then it ignores the influencing factors of a fantasy world, which has gods with a real, tangible presence and where people know 100% sure that there is an afterlife which depends on their actions.

And this doesn't even go into questions like the role of women or minorities in real medieval times and how we portray them here. Not to mention general religious tolerance between even good religions.

Pathfinder assumes modern western standards for much of its themes. Selectively ignoring some of them to satisfy your hard-on for torture to still being able to play a "good" ( quotations very relevant ) character is bull. Torture is evil. Deal with it.

Shadow Lodge

Eh, Book of Exalted Deeds (3E, admittedly) says that torture is Evil and that the usage of torture for a Good end is a concession towards Evil means - though it may be possible for a character to self-justify the act, so take it as you will.

[Edit]
In any case, even if the prevailing society in a campaign setting are willing to accept and condone torture, slavery, or discrimination, it doesn't change the fact that all of these acts are Evil (at least, according to Good characters and the Outsiders relevant to the alignment).


3.5 Loyalist wrote:

Torture is restraining and injuring a target over time right? They are powerless and at your mercy?

Players encircle, cut, stab, bludgeon, ride-over, trap, ambush, hold, trip, melt, set on fire/roast, knock out, disarm and keep attacking, shoot and pin-cushion enemies all the time. If they are harmed over rounds but not killed, lasting thanks to their hp and defensive skills/abilities, that is going to feel like torture for them.

Against pcs with really good defenses and tactics, but so-so damage or bad rolls, it is even more like torture. The pcs slowly take you into unconsciousness poor orc warlord, there is no escape, you feel much pain over many rounds.

That is nonsense. Do you know why? Because hp are an abstract system designed to make combat enjoyable in the game because if it were realistic every single hit could kill you. There are different interpretations what hp damage represents, some consider it a combination of health and stamina, so a crit with a greatsword that didn't kill you for example didn't actually hit you but the effort to evade it was really exhausting. In combat you are still fighting back and normally it is ended either by surrender, being knocked out or killed. Torture is against someone who is unable to fight back and unlike in combat the goal is not to disable the opponent as quickly as possible but to draw out his suffering.

3.5 Loyalist wrote:
Alas, they faced the players. Too bad. We should be mindful of our moral views encroaching too strongly on the beliefs of the fantasy world. A world with good against evil, where combat, killing and maiming is common and done with the intent to harm and kill. There are reasons for good to do this though, to end evil and the pain evil forces inflict on others. Harsh isn't it?

This fantasy world is formed by "our moral views" or rather that of the authors. And that it is "good against evil" is the whole point. The world is built around these forces being opposites. Not just moral views or quarrels about if someone was the Messiah, a prophet or a con artist. Polar opposites. What you are trying to do is making them the same with a slightly different look. Because as you said, where do you draw the line? Are the Seven Heavens still the Seven Heavens if there is an underground torture chamber for captured fiends and servants of evil gods? Or if they chain them up out in the open somewhere where it rains holy water so the good petitioners can listen how their enemies scream in pain? No, Angels, Azata and even Archons (regardless how much I dislike those pompous butts) don't do such things. That's what makes them good. And that's what makes their afterlife different variations of paradise instead of hell.

Qadira

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magnuskn wrote:
3.5 Loyalist wrote:
Dare we draw boundaries? I see quite a difference between beatings and shouting, deprivation and the infliction of truly horrible pain. Quite an interesting topic though.
Sleep deprivation is torture. Beatings are torture. The prolonged use of extreme sound is torture. There is no gray area here.

Many could argue incarceration is torture, where do we draw a line and who gets to decide what torture is ok?

Qadira

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Baka Nikujaga wrote:

Eh, Book of Exalted Deeds (3E, admittedly) says that torture is Evil and that the usage of torture for a Good end is a concession towards Evil means - though it may be possible for a character to self-justify the act, so take it as you will.

[Edit]
In any case, even if the prevailing society in a campaign setting are willing to accept and condone torture, slavery, or discrimination, it doesn't change the fact that all of these acts are Evil (at least, according to Good characters and the Outsiders relevant to the alignment).

That book also says that poison that numbs (dex damage) is evil but special holy poison that inflicts the worst pain possible on evil is 100% good

Qadira

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3.5 Loyalist wrote:

Torture is restraining and injuring a target over time right? They are powerless and at your mercy?

Players encircle, cut, stab, bludgeon, ride-over, trap, ambush, hold, trip, melt, set on fire/roast, knock out, disarm and keep attacking, shoot and pin-cushion enemies all the time. If they are harmed over rounds but not killed, lasting thanks to their hp and defensive skills/abilities, that is going to feel like torture for them.

Against pcs with really good defenses and tactics, but so-so damage or bad rolls, it is even more like torture. The pcs slowly take you into unconsciousness poor orc warlord, there is no escape, you feel much pain over many rounds.

Alas, they faced the players. Too bad. We should be mindful of our moral views encroaching too strongly on the beliefs of the fantasy world. A world with good against evil, where combat, killing and maiming is common and done with the intent to harm and kill. There are reasons for good to do this though, to end evil and the pain evil forces inflict on others. Harsh isn't it?

Thats why i love the people that cry poison use is evil, but acid and fire round after round not to mentions the beating and stabbing are just fine.


Really?

You people can't tell the difference between foes locked in mortal combat and one person harming a helpless victim?


Andrew R wrote:
Many could argue incarceration is torture, where do we draw a line and who gets to decide what torture is ok?

How about the Red Cross, the ACLU and the Geneva Conventions?

Qadira

magnuskn wrote:
Andrew R wrote:
Many could argue incarceration is torture, where do we draw a line and who gets to decide what torture is ok?
How about the Red Cross, the ACLU and the Geneva Conventions?

So if enough people agree they can decide on good and evil?


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Uh, how do you think our modern moral conventions were formed? It's a continueing progress of modern civil society, with steps back, like many during this last decade and incremental steps forward. We are already at a much higher level of moral development than people were in the past and our descendants hopefully will add to that.

Sorry, I don't accept the "good is relative" canard. Definining good is an incremental process, but one which is additive rather than parallel.

Qadira

1 person marked this as a favorite.
magnuskn wrote:

Uh, how do you think our modern moral conventions were formed? It's a continueing progress of modern civil society, with steps back, like many during this last decade and incremental steps forward. We are already at a much higher level of moral development than people were in the past and our descendants hopefully will add to that.

Sorry, I don't accept the "good is relative" canard. Definining good is an incremental process, but one which is additive rather than parallel.

YOU are saying good is relative, because men can agree to it and "evolve". Pathfinder/D&D disagree, it is absolute from the begining of time.

Oh and i really doubt you are right about morality being higher now than ever, but that is not the topic here


Andrew R wrote:
YOU are saying good is relative, because men can agree to it and "evolve". Pathfinder/D&D disagree, it is absolute from the begining of time.

I am saying that out understanding of good has grown over the last centuries, since we developed our civil society to a higher standard than what it was in centuries ( heck, in decades ) past. That is not at all saying that good is relative, only that our understanding of it was incomplete ( and still is, given the state of the world ).

Pathfinder uses our modern standard of good in most ways. Equality of gender, universal rights and other stuff. Trying to apply a medieval code of conduct upon those mores cannot work, since the people back then still had a fundamentally different way of viewing the world.

And, yes, Pathfinder mostly assumes that our modern western standards are the golden standards of eternity on Golarion.

Andrew R wrote:
Oh and i really doubt you are right about morality being higher now than ever, but that is not the topic here

As I said, steps are taken back, too. Still, we incrementally increase our standards of tolerance into corners which only a few decades ago would have gotten you banned from civilized society.

Qadira

"Modern standards" leaves a lot open since modern standards differ so much, so that is not the best way to look at it either


Actually, since what I said was "modern western standards", I think I was pretty clear. There are some universal things which we aspire to, although they have not been implemented everywhere in the western world equally. Interestingly enough, many of them seem to be standard assumptions for the non-backwards civilizations on Golarion. Funny that, as if the designers were trying to put in some of the ideals we aspire to as golden standards.

Anyway, I'm off for the night.

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