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Discuss your Top 10 "Monsters" you wish were a different Alignment.


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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Lord Pendragon wrote:

I like the fact that many races, including most undead, are almost always evil. It prevents every freaking combat encounter from turning into a morality play. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind a good moral quandary now and then. But I don't want to have to worry about whether or not killing is the right thing to do every time I come across a group of goblin raiders.

Most of the time I want to break out Ye Olde Battle-Axe and just get down to business.

I do like that in Eberron dragons are not necessarily tied to an alignment by color, because that always seemed odd to me, and dragons tend to lend themselves to more than a throwaway combat encounter in any case.

This is either a gross misinterpretation or some sort of straw man directed at nobody? Not having NPCs be black & white morality based on race or type has no bearing on your ability to break out the battle axe and kill things. Adventurers are besieged by many neutral aligned creatures all the time. When was the last time you had a debate as to the morality of slaying a tiger that jumps you in the middle of the forest, or fighting off neutral-aligned mercenaries hired by the bad guy to hunt your party down?

I'd be willing to bet never. What bothers me is the "stupid factor" of forced alignments. They do absolutely nothing to improve the game and do several things to not only make the game worse but make the people who play it look worse (or at least rob of us of the potential of seeing the world in different ways as with the older editions, where people were judged by their actions and not by their race).

Which goes back to what I was saying. I use really evil NPCs. They are really evil because they are really evil. It makes being evil way more meaningful in my games. Compare these two:

Paladin: "You, ghoul, are an abomination unto the world. Not because of what you are, but what you allowed yourself to become. People the world over seek immortality, and you squander it murdering, killing not out of even necessity but for your own gluttonous greed, knowing it was wrong. On behalf of my order, I pass judgment on you for the murderous fiend that you are, and may the gods have more mercy on you than you showed to those littering your tomb." *SMITE*

vs

Paladin: "You were a normal man who was bitten by a ghoul. Now you are a ghoul. You have sat on the edges of society and done more or less nothing to harm anyone. However, you are evil because of what you are. not because you're actually evil, or because you have made any wrong choices, but because you are powered by what is the energetic equivalent to antimatter, and you shall be justly smote in the name of goodness because that's how things work. May the gods have more mercy on you than...well, I dunno, you're probably screwed, 'cause you haven't actually done anything, but you're way evil so..." *SMITE*

Yeah, I'll take the one where the ghoul is evil because he's evil. Not because he's a ghoul, thanks. Occasionally a ghoul might pop up that is not hostile (may be evil, may be neutral, or heck may rarely be good) and might be able to offer the party something. Maybe the party ghoul is skittish of the party and sits atop a ledge overlooking them. Maybe the ghoul wants to be left alone. Maybe the ghoul was a witness to a crime that took place somewhere. Maybe the ghoul knows how to get into the tomb of Jarlxec the Bold. Maybe the ghoul wants to trade some of the trinkets he found on dead bodies he was eating for things more useful to him (maybe the ghoul has no use for a silver ring, but might love a set of dice to play liar's dice with his ghoul buddies).

My point is this. Having forced alignments dumb the game down. It does not by any means limit your game in any way, shape, or form. It lets you have all the evil people you ever wanted, or all the heroically good people you ever wanted, or all the fence sitting neutral people you ever wanted, just as you desire, but it does create logical problems in the game, cheapen good and evil from a narrative, and create fluff that is way more "hard coded" into the game than is necessary or even beneficial.

Just as an example as to what sort of nonsense this sort of thing creates, I'd like to recount an instance where I was running the first Curse of the Crimson Throne adventure path for some people not including my usual player group.

Edge of Anarchy Spoilers:
Very early in the game the party encounters a benevolent undead who needs their help dealing with a very evil villain (who murdered said character actually). It is not particularly difficult to discover early on that this individual is undead, but said individual does nothing that is even remotely hostile. Even acting helpful and hopeful. These players, upon finding that the character is undead proceed to attempt to attack said undead character, the cleric attempts to turn said undead character, and the paladin attempts to smite said undead character. Their reasoning?

GM: "Why...did you incite violence against this character?"
PCs: "Because all undead are evil."
GM: "This one wasn't, but even if she was, why would you try to attack her? She didn't do anything to you."
PCs: "Because evil means she is bad, and would likely betray us later or something. And being evil, it would be wrong for us to allow her to be about to hurt others, because evil things are bad."
GM: "But I just said she wasn't evil. Just undead."
PCs: "But undead are evil."

Cue at this point the game devolving into a debate as to whether her merely being undead had any measure on her alignment beyond her actual personality, motivations, and goals. An hour goes by, as players try to create a case of negative energy being evil (disproved by demonstrating good clerics can cast inflict spells), mindless undead being evil, and virtually all undead in the bestiary being evil. By their logic, Paizo says undead are evil because they are undead, and thus there must be some sort of trick going on. It's not a matter of the PCs having history with ghosts and ghouls giving them issues, it's not a matter of tension or hostility, it's not even a matter of suspecting that she was up to no good, it was a matter of her being undead.

The worst part is I can't even entirely fault them for being morons. It's not like gamers today aren't urged to think in this mindset. I mean when you have a game that is encouraging people to think in the following patterns:

1) Creatures incapable of moral choices have moral alignments (such as evil mindless creatures, even though mindless is basically a robot).
2) Bestiary creatures described in ways that clearly do not fit their assigned alignments.
3) Race determines morality.

When the gamers are effectively trained to think this way by the books, you get a lower grade of human being, and you get arguments at the table when anyone (including Paizo's own adventure paths) use undead in a way that isn't trying to eat babies.


These are in no specific order.

1) Orc - Just change them to be like Cloud Giants, 50% Chaotic Evil and the other 50% Chaotic Neutral.

2) Kitsune - Usually Chaotic Good with some Evil ones. It's more fitting considering the myths.

3) Scaeduinar - As the OP mentioned, it fits better to have them be Neutral.

4) Animate Dream - Just separate them to the Good-aligned Animate Dream and the Evil-aligned Animate Nightmare.

5) Undead - Like the OP mentioned (again), they might lean toward Evil, but shouldn't always be such. Not all people turned undead willingly, after all.

6) Kobold - I'd like to see more Lawful Neutral ones and some Lawful Good Apsu followers. In most settings, their reasons for disliking gnomes were justified.

7) Troll - Here in Finland, we actually have a kid's show or two about trolls who aren't evil. Mischievous at times, but not the monsters they are in D&D.

8) Gargoyles - Anyone wanna tell me why these are evil to begin with? Weren't they built on as guardians of sorts, to scare off spirits and intruders?

9) Medusa - The Mythic Monsters Revisited or whatever that book was named already hinted at the fact that they're not inherently evil. I also blame Fate Stay Night.

10) Forlarren - The PF description doesn't do them justice. I actually imagined a kindly druid taking care of one and training it to overcome the evil taint in her blood.

I'd also say I agree with all the ones Mikaze mentioned as well as the stuff on the Asura and Frost Giants.

Osirion

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[Aeon tangent]
Yanno, I ignored the Aeons completely when they were introduced, because I just didn't really 'get' them.

Now, in retrospect, Aeons as arbiters of balance, in a setting with 9 Empyreal Lords 'balanced' against 9 Archdevils, 44 demigod level Whore Queens, Infernal Dukes and Malebranche, 4 Daemon Horsemen, 30 demigod level Harbingers, 31 Demon Lords and 10 demigod level Nascent Demon Lords, must really, really, really suck at their job of maintaining balance.

'Cause if you gots 9 demigod-level apples on one side of the scale, and 128 demigod-level (not even bothering to count non-outer-planars, like the Eldest or the Elemental evil demigods or the various Great Old Ones) apples on the other side, it don't balance!

Even if the Aeons weren't an odd 'Mordenkainen neutral' schizo concept to begin with, it makes them seem even less credible because they suck at their self-defined role so utterly hard.
[/Aeon tangent]

These are not the 'strange aeons' in which 'death itself may die.'

They're just strange.


Ashiel wrote:
Lord Pendragon wrote:

I like the fact that many races, including most undead, are almost always evil. It prevents every freaking combat encounter from turning into a morality play. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind a good moral quandary now and then. But I don't want to have to worry about whether or not killing is the right thing to do every time I come across a group of goblin raiders.

Most of the time I want to break out Ye Olde Battle-Axe and just get down to business.

I do like that in Eberron dragons are not necessarily tied to an alignment by color, because that always seemed odd to me, and dragons tend to lend themselves to more than a throwaway combat encounter in any case.

This is either a gross misinterpretation or some sort of straw man directed at nobody? Not having NPCs be black & white morality based on race or type has no bearing on your ability to break out the battle axe and kill things. Adventurers are besieged by many neutral aligned creatures all the time. When was the last time you had a debate as to the morality of slaying a tiger that jumps you in the middle of the forest, or fighting off neutral-aligned mercenaries hired by the bad guy to hunt your party down?

I'd be willing to bet never. What bothers me is the "stupid factor" of forced alignments. They do absolutely nothing to improve the game and do several things to not only make the game worse but make the people who play it look worse (or at least rob of us of the potential of seeing the world in different ways as with the older editions, where people were judged by their actions and not by their race).

Which goes back to what I was saying. I use really evil NPCs. They are really evil because they are really evil. It makes being evil way more meaningful in my games. Compare these two:

Paladin: "You, ghoul, are an abomination unto the world. Not because of what you are, but what you allowed yourself to become. People the world over seek immortality, and you squander it murdering, killing not out of even...

*Reads the Spoilers*

...good lord. This is why I do NOT support the "Orcs are Always Chaotic Evil" folk.
Some of them take it to the point of being distruptive and in the worst case, beyond that.

And thanks for pointing out the flawed argument some people have used. Just because some people ask for creatures not being "always evil" doesn't mean every encounter ever has to be a morality argument. It just makes the game world feel more real, helps sustain suspension of disbelief and just generally makes sense in most cases. If the group is just a bunch of Murderous Hobos, then it might be fine. I mentioned the lack of morals to my players on a few occasions in the Kingmaker game I ran, but they didn't mind and they didn't insult me because they were playing it Evil.


I'd like to see a complete revamp of devils and demons. I know a lot of people will find this blasphemous, but I swap a LOT of the demons and devils. Therefore, I swap a lot of alignments too.

I make demons to be monstruous, brutal, and unsubtle. I make devils to be humanoids, subtle, tempting, and using weapons and tools.

Therefore, I made Succubi, Incubi, Dretch, shadow demons (devils), Marilith to be devils. I made lemures, Hamatulas, Osyluth, Belier, Zebubs, Purragaughs and Levaloch to be demons. I'm undecided about Balors and Pit fiends.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting Subscriber

I like to do that mostly with the sucubi and incubi. I just can't see them fitting in with other demons and to me, they fit devils much more. Of course, I feel demons have had too much love and I want some new devils :)


Ashiel wrote:
*Spoiler STuff abuout Edge of Anarchy

I find that reading disturbing. One of the reasons "edge of anarchy" and the whole Curse of Crimson Throne" is so good, it's because of the moral ambiguity of the NPCs.

Spoiler:
not only the nosferatu helps them, but also a Rakhshasha can help them. When I run it, my players found very interesting that those two "monstrous" races were actually the only people in Korvosa that were *helpful*. Sure, they help the PC for they own reasons (the rakhshasa wants to get his thieves guild back), but they are evil NPC with *personality*. And that's great


Also to those who complain that Vampires and Ghouls are evil because they eat people.

Large predators might eat people, and mosquitos suck your blood for their own purposes. Surely they must be evil! :D


Icyshadow wrote:

Also to those who complain that Vampires and Ghouls are evil because they eat people.

Tigers, bears and other large predators might eat people, along with other animals. Are they evil too? :D

Make a survey among cattle. I'd not be surprised if they are labeled as such ;).

Plus, in most cultures, man-eating tigers and lions are considered evil spirits, or animal possesed by evil spirits. Lions do not ussually predate humans, and when they do, people fear them and label them as devils and ghosts. Man eater lions of Tsavo, in Uganda's railroad construction, where named "the ghost and the darkness" (like the film of the same name).

So, from a human perspective, vampires and ghouls ARE evil exactly BECAUSE they eat humans. That does not mean some vampires and ghouls can't be good. Like Brad Pitt's Character in Interview with the Vampire, there are vampires out there that aren't evil. Some of them, even *sparkle* ( O_o ) However, the thing those good vampires have in common, is that they do not eat humans.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting Subscriber
Ashiel wrote:
Lord Pendragon wrote:

I like the fact that many races, including most undead, are almost always evil. It prevents every freaking combat encounter from turning into a morality play. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind a good moral quandary now and then. But I don't want to have to worry about whether or not killing is the right thing to do every time I come across a group of goblin raiders.

Most of the time I want to break out Ye Olde Battle-Axe and just get down to business.

I do like that in Eberron dragons are not necessarily tied to an alignment by color, because that always seemed odd to me, and dragons tend to lend themselves to more than a throwaway combat encounter in any case.

This is either a gross misinterpretation or some sort of straw man directed at nobody? Not having NPCs be black & white morality based on race or type has no bearing on your ability to break out the battle axe and kill things. Adventurers are besieged by many neutral aligned creatures all the time. When was the last time you had a debate as to the morality of slaying a tiger that jumps you in the middle of the forest, or fighting off neutral-aligned mercenaries hired by the bad guy to hunt your party down?

I'd be willing to bet never. What bothers me is the "stupid factor" of forced alignments. They do absolutely nothing to improve the game and do several things to not only make the game worse but make the people who play it look worse (or at least rob of us of the potential of seeing the world in different ways as with the older editions, where people were judged by their actions and not by their race).

Which goes back to what I was saying. I use really evil NPCs. They are really evil because they are really evil. It makes being evil way more meaningful in my games. Compare these two:

Paladin: "You, ghoul, are an abomination unto the world. Not because of what you are, but what you allowed yourself to become. People the world over seek immortality, and you squander it murdering, killing not out of even...

And those players would be incorrect about ghosts. In the bestiary entry, it even states that ghosts can be of any alignment and they do not gain an evil aura. The most a detect evil would tell you is that they are undead. Hell, technically, they aren't even aligned undead, so I don't think detect evil would work.

Icyshadow wrote:

Also to those who complain that Vampires and Ghouls are evil because they eat people.

Tigers, bears and other large predators might eat people, along with other animals. Are they evil too? :D

Predators like tigers and bears don't usually eat people. Man eaters are an exception to the rule and if you ask victims of man eaters if they were evil, you'd probably get a resounding yes. As for mosquitoes (as per edit), mosquitoes don't turn you into one of them knowingly. Nor do they transmit disease knowingly and with malice.

As for ghouls, it's mostly from the ancient notion that messing with the graves of the dead is evil. Doesn't really phase our 21st century minds, but in a fantasy world, it's a bit different. *shrug*

And vampires. Again, it's the notion that eating sapient creatures or turning other sapient creatures against their will is evil. Yes, I feel bad for a good guy getting turned into a vampire. But what about when bloodlust finally sets in and he take his first victim? Or second and third? After a while, the curse of vampirism comes into effect. Now, depending on the setting, it could be any blood that can satiate a vampire. And if that's how you want to play it, honestly, more power to you.


Ashiel wrote:
Yeah, I'll take the one where the ghoul is evil because he's evil. Not because he's a ghoul, thanks. Occasionally a ghoul might pop up that is not hostile (may be evil, may be neutral, or heck may rarely be good) and might be able to offer the party something. Maybe the party ghoul is skittish of the party and sits atop a ledge overlooking them. Maybe the ghoul wants to be left alone. Maybe the ghoul was a witness to a crime that took place somewhere. Maybe the ghoul knows how to get into the tomb of Jarlxec the Bold. Maybe the ghoul wants to trade some of the trinkets he found on dead bodies he was eating for things more useful to him (maybe the ghoul has no use for a silver ring, but might love a set of dice to play liar's dice with his ghoul buddies).

You've played The Witcher, haven't you?


Vampires can drain a bit and leave you alive, from what I know about D&D vampires.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting Subscriber
Icyshadow wrote:
Vampires can drain a bit and leave you alive, from what I know about D&D vampires.

That is true and you see that in fiction, like Dracula. Of course, it makes one wonder how much blood a vampire needs per night to survive ... That would be up to the GM honestly. Right now, my graveyard shift is finished and I'm passing out.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

Keith Baker on this very subject.

Shadow Lodge

I was going to say Lycanthropy, but I just checked the bestiary and apparently the forced alignment change was removed. Hooray!

I run all mindless creatures as TN with a specific caveat for undead. All undead being controlled count as having the same alignment as the controller for the purpose of spells and other effects that target alignment. I added that last bit after running an evil campaign and the necromancer used his neutral undead to get through a circle of protection from evil that was protecting some NPC's.

Ashiel wrote:


Paladin: "You were a normal man who was bitten by a ghoul. Now you are a ghoul. You have sat on the edges of society and done more or less nothing to harm anyone. However, you are evil because of what you are. not because you're actually evil, or because you have made any wrong choices, but because you are powered by what is the energetic equivalent to antimatter, and you shall be justly smote in the name of goodness because that's how things work. May the gods have more mercy on you than...well, I dunno, you're probably screwed, 'cause you haven't actually done anything, but you're way evil so..." *SMITE*

I read this in the voice of Lord Bravery. I couldn't think of anything good for the other one.


gustavo iglesias wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
*Spoiler STuff abuout Edge of Anarchy

I find that reading disturbing. One of the reasons "edge of anarchy" and the whole Curse of Crimson Throne" is so good, it's because of the moral ambiguity of the NPCs.

** spoiler omitted **

Yeah, I love CotCT. I really need to run the whole thing. Unfortunately the few times I got to run CotCT, the game ended prematurely due to scheduling issues. Loved it though. :o

Odraude wrote:
And those players would be incorrect about ghosts. In the bestiary entry, it even states that ghosts can be of any alignment and they do not gain an evil aura. The most a detect evil would tell you is that they are undead. Hell, technically, they aren't even aligned undead, so I don't think detect evil would work.
Potential CotCT Spoilers:
Ah but that's just it. There was no Paladin in the party, and nobody had detect evil. There was a cleric with deathwatch however, which he cast when some of the PCs realized that the place was under some illusory effects. They were somewhat suspicious of the helpful undead due to the mysterious way they met her. Instantly she became the badguy the moment deathwatch revealed she was undead. Without prompting, spells were flying, the cleric was channeling, and they were attacking the very person that was seeking their help and trying to help them in the process. The worst part is they totally thought doing exactly what they did was not only entirely logical but was what you were "supposed to do".

Even further, the Pathfinder bestiary notes that simply being ghosts generally turn you chaotic evil, and that the vast majority of them are chaotic evil. And it goes back to the same logical inconsistencies. Their entire rationalization was "undead are evil", which while that is clearly not an undead trait it is a trait that is arbitrarily tied to many undead regardless of their will or not. When inert matter is combined with neutral-aligned energy and turned into mindless automatons results in evil mindless automatons and (according to some but not the rules) turn you evil for making them, but enslaving sentient living creatures and stuffing them inside golems to subjugate them to your will as a slave-battery is Neutral, then it's not exactly a huge stretch to think that they must be evil by nature of being undead.

Cue vicious logical fallacy. This is one area where I wish a few old sacred cows were not butchered. Mindless creatures (including undead) in all versions of D&D pre-3.5 were Neutral. Animate dead was cast-able by any cleric, but it was noted to have social stigmas which might result in the cleric being persecuted, and that good clerics don't do it for personal reasons (a NG cleric of war might animate a town's dead to defend a village against hobgoblins and then put them back to rest at the end of it, but a NE cleric might do it for personal gain).

EDIT: Actually, I forgot, they did have a Paladin. It's late, and I was thinking Fighter, but I do remember he had smite later on. Gah, details. I do know that detect evil didn't come up.


Erich Norden wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Yeah, I'll take the one where the ghoul is evil because he's evil. Not because he's a ghoul, thanks. Occasionally a ghoul might pop up that is not hostile (may be evil, may be neutral, or heck may rarely be good) and might be able to offer the party something. Maybe the party ghoul is skittish of the party and sits atop a ledge overlooking them. Maybe the ghoul wants to be left alone. Maybe the ghoul was a witness to a crime that took place somewhere. Maybe the ghoul knows how to get into the tomb of Jarlxec the Bold. Maybe the ghoul wants to trade some of the trinkets he found on dead bodies he was eating for things more useful to him (maybe the ghoul has no use for a silver ring, but might love a set of dice to play liar's dice with his ghoul buddies).
You've played The Witcher, haven't you?

No, what is it about? Is it good?


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Keith Baker on this very subject.

Thank you DM_aka_Dudemeister. I will bookmark this, and read it in great detail.


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I always loved how Eberron treated alignments, and I am a big fan of Droaam as well.


Icyshadow wrote:

Also to those who complain that Vampires and Ghouls are evil because they eat people.

Tigers, bears and other large predators might eat people, along with other animals. Are they evil too? :D

This made me smile.

Anyways, sounds like I got a lot to discus... But let Me preface with this...

I usually treat Vampires and Dhampirs as being allowed to survive on blood packs (someone mentioned such). The idea gets either Creepy/Cute or Funny/Scary after a while, with the Vampires playing off of other character's fears only to turn around and do something nice.

Don't even ask about how I plan pull off Vampire/Dhampir Flirting. It's Like Meme Nirvana.

Okay, serious time:

Icyshadow wrote:

I agree completely regarding Aeons.

Aeons destroy and devastate for no appreciable reason.

That they claim it is for some mysterious universal balance means absolutely nothing.

Their reasons cannot be known by any other being in existence, other than other Aeons. For this reason, they are practically no different from being completely insane. Their reasons are not real reasons. They are handwaves from the GM as 'your mortal minds would never understand'.

Aeons are evil and insane in the same way a homicidal conspiracy theorist is. They go around killing because they believe in some vast and greater order to things that simply cannot be understood by anyone else.

Okay... now I'm beginning to wonder why I thought they should be Lawful Evil, Chaotic Evil could fit from this description.

Mikaze wrote:

...

6. Shinigami

This is a really weird one. On the one hand, it's general flavor should make it a good fit for the Psychopomp crew.

On the other hand, it acts like a damn Daemon. Considering its abilities, if it uses them, it shouldn't be anything other than evil unless its abilities don't do exactly what they say they do. Otherwise, these guys should be getting hunted down just like daemons.
...

I have some pretty odd ideas of what a shinigami is supposed to be, so I'd probably Tamper with it (remove the offending Ability) and place it in with a few other creatures that may align themselves with the Psychopomps. (Some of which I would re-fluff and tweak in appearance, plus a few may need renames.)

They'd be essentially "Neutral" under most circumstances, or near to it (my screwy tendency towards monolithic extended Alignment charts may factor in), at least in cases involving the dead or dying and their souls considering it with the same attitude as a day job, but each would deal with a Separate side of the Alignment Chart. Otherwise, in all other fields, they pretty much vary as much as any mortal would.

So far I'm thinking of something like this:
-Shinigami, Deals with the Chaotic Side. Their appearance varies based upon the "Original's" creative bent towards darkness. (Older ones look like the traditional grim reaper a lot of the time, while newer ones would look like a "The world ends with you" Character.)
-AstraDaemon (A Rename is in order), Deals with the evil side. Keep the shiny/stary skin, but also have them look like the "Original's" Ideas of what the perfect Predator should be. (Ninjas would become something sleek; Fighters something Strong... Etc. Some may be strangely beautiful in a way, and others terrifying.)
-Valkyrie, Deals with the Good Side. Looks like a mix of the "original's" Perfect ideas of both Strength and Kindness.
-???

That's all I've got so far.

gustavo iglesias wrote:


...So, from a human perspective, vampires and ghouls ARE evil exactly BECAUSE they eat humans. That does not mean some vampires and ghouls can't be good. Like Brad Pitt's Character in Interview with the Vampire, there are vampires out there that aren't evil. Some of them, even *sparkle* ( O_o ) However, the thing those good vampires have in common, is that they do not eat humans.

Umm... because they eat humans? First of all, I don't think Vampire Bites keep anyone... you know, "Staying dead". That's the point...

Second of all. You'd be surprised how often a character ASKS to be bitten. And considering people in real life actually do gently bite each-other sometimes as a kink... Then I Don't really think the act of a Vampire biting another being is evil...

...Unless it's non consensual, but even then, that would only be Evil in the sense of a kind of "Assault or Battery", and since Good Adventurers punch evil guys in the face a lot of the time, then a Vampire biting an evil guy during the middle of combat could hardly be seen as some moral Threshold if it happens to go some good.

Ashiel wrote:

Because clearly death is innately evil (um, no?) and life is innately good (um, no?), ignoring the fact that by pumping enough death into something you get un-death (not dead?) that is the opposite of living (not dead?).

Clearly because positive and negative polarities are morally aligned.

Clearly because matter and anti-matter are good and evil.

Clearly because light and dark are the difference between loving parents and touching small children inappropriately.

I so want to laugh, but I'm getting Tired and hungry, so a creepy grin will have to do.

This Reminds me of some Psuedo-Philosophical Preponderances I made recently...

If the souls of the Living are made of Positive Energy, and The Intelligent Undead are possessed by negative Energy, does that mean that negative Energy can become a Soul too?

If that "Negative Energy Soul" is torn from its body, does it go to the same place as "Living Souls"?

Do They stay Negative energy souls when they get there? When They turn into Alignment Outsiders, is it still the case?

Is it Possible that a Good "Negative Energy Soul" can become a "Negative-Energy Angel"?

Ashiel wrote:

Edge of Anarchy Spoilers:

Spoiler:

Very early in the game the party encounters a benevolent undead who needs their help dealing with a very evil villain (who murdered said character actually). It is not particularly difficult to discover early on that this individual is undead, but said individual does nothing that is even remotely hostile. Even acting helpful and hopeful. These players, upon finding that the character is undead proceed to attempt to attack said undead character, the cleric attempts to turn said undead character, and the paladin attempts to smite said undead character. Their reasoning?

GM: "Why...did you incite violence against this character?"
PCs: "Because all undead are evil."
GM: "This one wasn't, but even if she was, why would you try to attack her? She didn't do anything to you."
PCs: "Because evil means she is bad, and would likely betray us later or something. And being evil, it would be wrong for us to allow her to be about to hurt others, because evil things are bad."
GM: "But I just said she wasn't evil. Just undead."
PCs: "But undead are evil."

I wouldn't do that. If They're not attacking yet, I'd assume that they aren't evil, or at least not extremely so; what's the point of an evil plan where nothing bad happens? And I'm sure that even an evil character; if done right, can be persuaded without doing a single evil deed.

Of Course, I'd still make a sense motive Check or two. Not necessarily because of mistrust (although possible), but because I'm just Really curious.

Which is one of the reasons I choose "Chaotic Good" for my own characters. It's a good fit for a character that wants to learn more about others, and isn't concerned about breaking a few Property and Privacy Laws to do so.

(I'd also pun up the Curious stuff a bit by playing Catfolk, Nya.)

DM_aka_DudeMeister wrote:
Keith Baker on this very subject.

I'll have to check that out now, I'll be back when I find something to discuss.


Icyshadow wrote:
Vampires can drain a bit and leave you alive, from what I know about D&D vampires.

Sure they can. Just like they can feed on cattle. Those who do, like Brad Pitt's character in Interview with the Vampire, can be good. Those who don't, like Tom Cruise's or Antonio Bandera's character in that very same film, are evil.

I'm not saying *every* vampire in Pathfinder *should* be evil. I can see examples where they aren't. But the *standard* vampires (ie: those who don't sparkle and fall in love with teenager high school students), are evil. Lestat is evil. Dracula is evil. Strahd von Zarovich is evil. Nosferatu is evil.


gustavo iglesias wrote:
Icyshadow wrote:
Vampires can drain a bit and leave you alive, from what I know about D&D vampires.

Sure they can. Just like they can feed on cattle. Those who do, like Brad Pitt's character in Interview with the Vampire, can be good. Those who don't, like Tom Cruise's or Antonio Bandera's character in that very same film, are evil.

I'm not saying *every* vampire in Pathfinder *should* be evil. I can see examples where they aren't. But the *standard* vampires (ie: those who don't sparkle and fall in love with teenager high school students), are evil. Lestat is evil. Dracula is evil. Strahd von Zarovich is evil. Nosferatu is evil.

I had something to say on that barely ten minutes ago... It's a little more in depth. And I'm Mostly posting this again because... well, it's either very similar to what you're saying or very different, depending on how one frames it.

Quote:

Umm... because they eat humans? First of all, I don't think Vampire Bites keep anyone... you know, "Staying dead". That's the point...

Second of all. You'd be surprised how often a character ASKS to be bitten. And considering people in real life actually do gently bite each-other sometimes as a kink... Then I Don't really think the act of a Vampire biting another being is evil...

...Unless it's non consensual, but even then, that would only be Evil in the sense of a kind of "Assault or Battery", and since Good Adventurers punch evil guys in the face a lot of the time, then a Vampire biting an evil guy during the middle of combat could hardly be seen as some moral Threshold if it happens to go some good.


Bluestorm, you are very eccentric, and I like that.

And I am well-aware of that Gustavo, but the Bestiary more or less said ALL PF vampires are Evil, which I disagree with.


BlueStorm wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:


...So, from a human perspective, vampires and ghouls ARE evil exactly BECAUSE they eat humans. That does not mean some vampires and ghouls can't be good. Like Brad Pitt's Character in Interview with the Vampire, there are vampires out there that aren't evil. Some of them, even *sparkle* ( O_o ) However, the thing those good vampires have in common, is that they do not eat humans.
Umm... because they eat humans? First of all, I don't think Vampire Bites keep anyone... you know, "Staying dead". That's the point...

Because they purposedly feed on rational beings, yes. Humans, or dwarves, or elves, doesn't matter.

It's the benchmark of evil. Having a horse isn't evil: even paladins have mounts, and those mounts are forced to carry the paladin weight. However... having a SLAVE is, indeed, evil. A paladin couldn't have a slave that carry his stuff, much less to be carried in a chair by four of them.

Quote:


Second of all. You'd be surprised how often a character ASKS to be bitten. And considering people in real life actually do gently bite each-other sometimes as a kink... Then I really think the act of a Vampire biting another being is evil...

...Unless it's non consensual, but even then, that would only be Evil in the sense of a kind of "Assault or Battery", and since Good Adventurers punch evil guys in the face a lot of the time, then a Vampire biting an evil guy during the middle of combat could hardly be seen as some moral Threshold if it happens to go some good.

IF and only IF a certain vampire only feeds on consensual victims (without forcing them through dominate, bluff, or other trickery), THEN it might be non-evil.

A vampire feeding in the middle of combat, as self defense, isn't evil per se. A vampire feeding on a regular basis on victims he predates, is evil by D&D definition of alignments. Not because he is a vampire, you know. A human that kills other humans to drink their blood, or to bath on it to remain young (as happened on real life), is also evil, by D&D definition of aligmnement.

So, yes, a Vampire *Can* be neutral, or good. But only if his acts are neutral or good. Louis, Brad Pitt's character in Interview with the vampire, is good. But he *acts* like a good guy. He tries to feed on cattle, he fights the temptations, he tries not to kill humans, he feels remorses... That's not the *average* D&D vampire though. A vampire who does not act like a good character, is not a good character. Lestat is evil.


Ashiel wrote:
No, what is it about? Is it good?

Quite. The Witcher's premise is: A mutant sword-wielding monster hunter pursues a violent criminal organization, while trying to recover his memory and resolve his sense of self. I haven't gotten anywhere near completing the game (the plot is quite involved, with no shortage of characters, diplomacy, and investigation), but parts of the paragraph I quoted perfectly described one of the encounters I had while playing it. You'd probably love it.

Shadow Lodge

I've never understood the whole stance of, eating sentient is "evil" while eating animals isn't. Sure, if it's unnecessary that'd be evil. But if you have to do it to survive, well it's not really that malicious is it. I mean you're not eating members of your own species or anything. I'm sure antelopes have the same feelings towards lion's. That doesn't make the lion evil, though a lion that specifically caused the suffering of an antelope for entertainment would be evil.

gustavo iglesias wrote:
Because they purposedly feed on rational beings, yes. Humans, or dwarves, or elves, doesn't matter.

While I now I'm being pedantic, I think you mean "sentient" as defined by the game, rather than rational. Though it conjures up some very odd scenarios involving cows dancing in tutu's.


Hecknoshow wrote:
I've never understood the whole stance of, eating sentient is "evil" while eating animals isn't. Sure, if it's unnecessary that'd be evil. But if you have to do it to survive, well it's not really that malicious is it.

Something doesn't have to be done with sadistic glee to be morally wrong. Evil is being callous enough to hurt innocent people. If I developed a medical condition that meant I had to eat a still-beating human heart every day or I'd die, then the only non-evil thing to do would be to choose to die.

The thing about having non-evil undead is that the implications for the world would be pretty bizarre. Getting turned into a lich or a vampire wouldn't be some terrible transgression or a fate worse than death; it would be a routine medical treatment.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Ashiel wrote:
You misunderstand. The lamentation is where the moment you become a vampire your alignment changes from whatever it was to chaotic evil. You could have a good character who gets bitten and suddenly instead of going "Oh crap, I'm a vampire, must resist" you immediately jump on eating baby orphans and drinking the blood of orphanages. Whole orphanages. Even the hard wood floors man!

As much as you'd like to blame the folks at Paizo/WOTC/TSR, the real culprit is a certain obscure novel authored by Brahm Stoker. It's part of the classic corruption of the innocent trope that's associated with European vampires the game critter is modeled after.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Matthew Downie wrote:
Hecknoshow wrote:
I've never understood the whole stance of, eating sentient is "evil" while eating animals isn't. Sure, if it's unnecessary that'd be evil. But if you have to do it to survive, well it's not really that malicious is it.

Something doesn't have to be done with sadistic glee to be morally wrong. Evil is being callous enough to hurt innocent people. If I developed a medical condition that meant I had to eat a still-beating human heart every day or I'd die, then the only non-evil thing to do would be to choose to die.

The thing about having non-evil undead is that the implications for the world would be pretty bizarre. Getting turned into a lich or a vampire wouldn't be some terrible transgression or a fate worse than death; it would be a routine medical treatment.

That I think is pretty much how Ashiel's crowd WOULD prefer to have it. Along with common use of undead as house servants.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Much of this assumes that evil is a choice. The stories that modern fantasy are based on do not generally assume this. Evil is by nature, and good is hard.

I like the idea of evil as a universal force. And the game caters to that, with subtypes and spells.

What I really can't stand is the idea that evil means baby-eating. Evil means selfish and cruel, not sociopathic. I would rate a good chunk of humanity in the real world as evil by the alignment spectrum. Remember that they don't have to imagine that they are evil. But even an end-justifies-the-means approach would constitute evil.

And what I hate most of all are emo vampires, and people who whine about them as misunderstood antiheroes. It was cool when it was new, and now it's just boring. Stake them all, especially David Boreanaz and James Marsters. It gets old so damn fast. Vampires should be evil by nature - that is how they were always portrayed until Ann Rice got to them. She did it well, everyone after has been downright annoying.

Evil is interesting. Evil makes the world nuanced. If everyone is neutral, you've got nothing to push against.

And finally, antiheroes can be evil, and still do good things. This does not make them neutral. In the immortal words of Meatloaf, "good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere."


Hecknoshow wrote:
I've never understood the whole stance of, eating sentient is "evil" while eating animals isn't. Sure, if it's unnecessary that'd be evil. But if you have to do it to survive, well it's not really that malicious is it. I mean you're not eating members of your own species or anything. I'm sure antelopes have the same feelings towards lion's. That doesn't make the lion evil, though a lion that specifically caused the suffering of an antelope for entertainment would be evil.

I made an example about it. For most people, having a horse is not evil. For most people, having a slave is evil.

In case of vampires, you don't "have" to eat humans (or elves) to survive. You could survive eating rats, frogs, and cattle. It's just that humans taste better. The fact you don't care to eat a sentient being, with intelligence, self-awareness, and conscience, when you don't "have to", just because "it taste better", is what makes you evil.

That you aren't eating your own species is not relevant in fantasy worlds, where there are more than one specie with intelligence, self-awareness, and "soul". A group of duergar who hunt and eat dwarves are evil too, just like a group of drows who hunt and eat elves or a group of gnolls that hunt and eat halflings.

Quote:


gustavo iglesias wrote:
Because they purposedly feed on rational beings, yes. Humans, or dwarves, or elves, doesn't matter.

While I now I'm being pedantic, I think you mean "sentient" as defined by the game, rather than rational. Though it conjures up some very odd scenarios involving cows dancing in tutu's.

Yes, sentient would be the english word for it, more than rational, I suppose.


LazarX wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
You misunderstand. The lamentation is where the moment you become a vampire your alignment changes from whatever it was to chaotic evil. You could have a good character who gets bitten and suddenly instead of going "Oh crap, I'm a vampire, must resist" you immediately jump on eating baby orphans and drinking the blood of orphanages. Whole orphanages. Even the hard wood floors man!
As much as you'd like to blame the folks at Paizo/WOTC/TSR, the real culprit is a certain obscure novel authored by Brahm Stoker. It's part of the classic corruption of the innocent trope that's associated with European vampires the game critter is modeled after.

Obscure? Everyone Knows at least of it. So...

...Eh...The description in the link isn't that enthralling.

What is more interesting is when you have a Character that is incredibly dangerous creature, and acts utterly over the top creepy...But in a funny way... and is ultimately harmless until you do something to threaten someone they like.

LazarX wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
The thing about having non-evil undead is that the implications for the world would be pretty bizarre. Getting turned into a lich or a vampire wouldn't be some terrible transgression or a fate worse than death; it would be a routine medical treatment.
That I think is pretty much how Ashiel's crowd WOULD prefer to have it. Along with common use of undead as house servants.

Only the Mindless ones as house servants, anything more intelligent and they'd deserve equal pay as their living counterparts.


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I think there can definitely be room for games where orcs, undead, monsters, etc are invariably evil, evil, evil and the forces of team good are free to slaughter them without the need to feel bad about it afterwards. After all the early vision of the game basically was about teams of murderhobos breaking into the homes of various "monsters" killing them and then looting the bodies and lair of any booty that wasn't nailed down.

I totally support epic good vs evil narratives, or kill happy game where the monsters are meant to be slaughtered but I also think there is an increasing demand for a degree of naturalism in settings as well so that various opponents aren't exclusively EVIL in their motivations.

Yes this can risk making the lives of the party members a bit more challenging because they need to be more circumspect in terms of controlling their murderhobo tendencies for fear of alignment drift. It also has the unfortunate tendency of weakening the power level of classes that are really tied to alignment like the Paladin because suddenly foes that were reliably evil can no longer be reliably smited.

Personally I'm not a big fan of moral relativism and I also don't think conflicts in D&D should be exclusively seen through the lens of 21st century cultural norms. Killing sentient beings is almost always considered to be morally wrong in modern days (baring self-defense or sanctioned military or police action and many debate even that). In contrast a pacifistic D&D campaign doesn't really meet most player's needs. So there needs to be compromises so that the Paladin can actually kill stuff and loot it's gear without having to endure a massive amount of contrition through self-flagellation.

So when I try to design a new world or campaign I try to cover some of the basics of morality so that some acts like putting a tribe of orcs to the sword might be acceptable under certain levels of provacations. Similar some monsters can be safely slain without having to worry about whether they harbor fell intent.

As such I'm okay with some forms sentient undead such as Ghouls, Ghasts, and Wights being invariably evil due to their extreme aggression and eating habits. I'm okay with putting Cannibalism in the hierarchy of mortal sins.

Vampires that hold on to their humanity and avoid killing the mortal herd might be neutral or even good but I'm also content with most vampires being classical mustache twirling bad guys that the heroes can vanquish without feeling too bad.

I almost always use Dragons as singular individuals with no predictable alignment other than a tendency to view anything other than powerful outsiders and gods as inferiors meant to be used to further their inscrutable plans. Some are essentially benevolent, some are forces of nature to be avoided but even the nicest tends to view most PCs as essentially somewhat wayward pets.

Even outsiders who are composed of the very essence of elementally aligned matter and energy are capable of alignment change. The dukes of hell are generally powerful but fallen Solars for instance. More than one fiend has been redeemed. Redemption and falling are extremely rare and the few examples of fiendish redemption are often recorded in the lays of bards.

I'm also okay with the completely alien and hostile abberations like Beholders being essentially evil even though technically they like their Elder God progenitors are more accurately called amoral. It's pretty safe to kill aberrations and the cults that worship them without hesitation.

Shadow Lodge

BlueStorm wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
The thing about having non-evil undead is that the implications for the world would be pretty bizarre. Getting turned into a lich or a vampire wouldn't be some terrible transgression or a fate worse than death; it would be a routine medical treatment.
That I think is pretty much how Ashiel's crowd WOULD prefer to have it. Along with common use of undead as house servants.
Only the Mindless ones as house servants, anything more intelligent and they'd deserve equal pay as their living counterparts.

In the necromancer-run desert empire of Anhur in my homebrew setting, all of the above apply. B]

Emperors are mummified near-immediately postmortem (the mummification crew is part of the last-rites clergy present at death, most of the time) and placed on an ever-growing advisory council, though one guy did eventually decide he didn't want to get shuffled into a back-room role and went for lichdom instead, he did eventually get ousted and the country went back to its usual traditions. Those with a skill determined necessary and whose loss would be a harm to the empire are regularly transformed at least into Necropolitans; and yes, they do tend to demand equal pay, as becoming undead may cheapen your need for food and the like but you also have new needs that will require attending to. Those without such skills, their bodies are either reanimated (waste not, want not) to serve postmortem, or used as materials, organ donors, etc.


Problem is, there needs to be a golden middle way.

Forcing a Paladin to double-check EVERY LAST NPC is not what we ask for.

We also don't want the exact opposite of it (aka Murder Hobo) to occur, either.


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Azazyll wrote:

Much of this assumes that evil is a choice. The stories that modern fantasy are based on do not generally assume this. Evil is by nature, and good is hard.

I like the idea of evil as a universal force. And the game caters to that, with subtypes and spells.

What I really can't stand is the idea that evil means baby-eating. Evil means selfish and cruel, not sociopathic. I would rate a good chunk of humanity in the real world as evil by the alignment spectrum. Remember that they don't have to imagine that they are evil. But even an end-justifies-the-means approach would constitute evil.

And what I hate most of all are emo vampires, and people who whine about them as misunderstood antiheroes. It was cool when it was new, and now it's just boring. Stake them all, especially David Boreanaz and James Marsters. It gets old so damn fast. Vampires should be evil by nature - that is how they were always portrayed until Ann Rice got to them. She did it well, everyone after has been downright annoying.

Evil is interesting. Evil makes the world nuanced. If everyone is neutral, you've got nothing to push against.

And finally, antiheroes can be evil, and still do good things. This does not make them neutral. In the immortal words of Meatloaf, "good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere."

My alternative: Vampires that have a creepy sense of humor... or are just plain creepy in their mannerisms period... and yet are utterly harmless.

Emo Vampires are old... perky, Happy, Vampires that look like they could suck your blood at any minute and yet... don't. That is Funny. It's like...

You know what, It's Probably easier to say "Vinyl Scratch as a vampire". But that would probably be off topic; that being Sentient ponies and all.

(P.S. Haven't read it, But I will when I wake up. The Comedy Tag is just begging me to read it.)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Matthew Downie wrote:
The thing about having non-evil undead is that the implications for the world would be pretty bizarre. Getting turned into a lich or a vampire wouldn't be some terrible transgression or a fate worse than death; it would be a routine medical treatment.

I don't think this would be the case at all; creepy and unsettling things would still inspire fear and hate. In some cultures, an uncovered corpse is a kind of taboo--undead would fare very poorly in those societies. Just because a good-aligned creature enters town doesn't mean the people won't attack them on sight. A level one commoner has no way to tell that the shambling monstrosity at twelve o'clock took a few paladin levels.

A good example of an undead-friendly culture is Karrnath, but even there the villagers are quite leery of their lifeless co-workers.


Icyshadow wrote:

Problem is, there needs to be a golden middle way.

Forcing a Paladin to double-check EVERY LAST NPC is not what we ask for.

We also don't want the exact opposite of it (aka Murder Hobo) to occur, either.

Neither extreme is popular although I think Murder Hobo is more popular than morally ambigious land.

I think that if you introduce a much more complex moral landscape so that Evil isn't something you can instantly decipher from external presentation you really need to look into revising or jettisoning the Paladin from the game at a minimum. If access to a critical class ability is no longer as reliable then that is a massive hit to the power level of that class and while the default assumption Paladin is one of the more viable melee combatants in the game currently a paladin that needs to detect evil and can't smite regularly goes down in terms of relative power level quite perciptiously.

Shadow Lodge

I figured that's what Detect Evil was for. Give them a reason to suspect, ping them on the Evil-Dar, or just catch them in the act.

It's one thing to gripe that Paladins shouldn't be a walking radar, but it is a class ability and if they've got reason to be curious - even if that reason is "they're undead, they might be our guy" - it can't hurt to let them use the ability. Though, if you go the "undead =/= always evil" route, you should probably remove "undead always detect" line from the spell description.


vuron wrote:
I think there can definitely be room for games where orcs, undead, monsters, etc are invariably evil, evil, evil and the forces of team good are free to slaughter them without the need to feel bad about it afterwards. After all the early vision of the game basically was about teams of murderhobos breaking into the homes of various "monsters" killing them and then looting the bodies and lair of any booty that wasn't nailed down....

I suddenly burst into crippling laughter at this as I suddenly got why it's called "murder Hobo"...

Still Laughing, and in pain.

vuron wrote:
I almost always use Dragons as singular individuals with no predictable alignment other than a tendency to view anything other than powerful outsiders and gods as inferiors meant to be used to further their inscrutable plans. Some are essentially benevolent, some are forces of nature to be avoided but even the nicest tends to view most PCs as essentially somewhat wayward pets.

I'd probably depict the nice Dragons as a kind of Wise mother Figure, who calls mortals of good alignment by terms such as "Child", "Son", "Daughter", "Nephew", "Niece"...

...is that weird? Or is it more weird that I wouldn't mind being the mortal in that situation?

Oh, Right I was supposed to be asleep.

Silver Crusade

Orthos wrote:

I figured that's what Detect Evil was for. Give them a reason to suspect, ping them on the Evil-Dar, or just catch them in the act.

It's one thing to gripe that Paladins shouldn't be a walking radar, but it is a class ability and if they've got reason to be curious - even if that reason is "they're undead, they might be our guy" - it can't hurt to let them use the ability. Though, if you go the "undead =/= always evil" route, you should probably remove "undead always detect" line from the spell description.

Making the paladin use his first standard of every combat on detect evil is gimping the class. He should have to check sometimes, but other times he should just be able to say, "If it looks evil, I'll smite it, because 95% of the time it is evil." If evil wasn't as easy to identify I would consider making the paladin's ability to detect evil a free action.


Orthos wrote:

I figured that's what Detect Evil was for. Give them a reason to suspect, ping them on the Evil-Dar, or just catch them in the act.

It's one thing to gripe that Paladins shouldn't be a walking radar, but it is a class ability and if they've got reason to be curious - even if that reason is "they're undead, they might be our guy" - it can't hurt to let them use the ability. Though, if you go the "undead =/= always evil" route, you should probably remove "undead always detect" line from the spell description.

Always on Detect Evil sucked back in AD&D and honestly I don't want a return to it.

Plus since it's either the slow area detect evil radar or the move equivalent focus on a single object/person it can be a real pain in the ass.

Basically it assumes that Paladins are going to be able to perceive a potential foe, scan it, and then react to the presence of evil before getting to act in a proactive fashion. This can really be problematic from an encounter design perspective as you will rarely have several rounds to scan the opposition for evilness before they decide to throw down.


BlueStorm wrote:

I'd probably depict the nice Dragons as a kind of Wise mother Figure, who calls mortals of good alignment by terms such as "Child", "Son", "Daughter", "Nephew", "Niece"...

...is that weird? Or is it more weird that I wouldn't mind being the mortal in that situation?

Oh, Right I was supposed to be asleep.

Oh some would probably depict or act in a mother figure manner in order to promote deference but I still think they would treat humans and even ancient elves with a degree of condescension.

Years of playing Shadowrun and Earthdawn where even the ostensibly good Dragons are kinda secretive douchebags a good percentage of the time has led me to abandon the concept that all red dragons are evil all golden dragons are super cool paladins nonsense.

A red dragon that runs a continental wide banking organization in order to expand his horde and generally behaves in a genteel manner but still occasionally eats servants and anyone who tries to steal from him is much more compelling than the red dragon hanging in a mountain sleeping on a mound of gold and eating a couple of virgins a month.

Shadow Lodge

Riuken wrote:
Orthos wrote:

I figured that's what Detect Evil was for. Give them a reason to suspect, ping them on the Evil-Dar, or just catch them in the act.

It's one thing to gripe that Paladins shouldn't be a walking radar, but it is a class ability and if they've got reason to be curious - even if that reason is "they're undead, they might be our guy" - it can't hurt to let them use the ability. Though, if you go the "undead =/= always evil" route, you should probably remove "undead always detect" line from the spell description.

Making the paladin use his first standard of every combat on detect evil is gimping the class. He should have to check sometimes, but other times he should just be able to say, "If it looks evil, I'll smite it, because 95% of the time it is evil." If evil wasn't as easy to identify I would consider making the paladin's ability to detect evil a free action.

I would also be okay with that. Heck I'd be okay with them letting do the full-sweep in that duration.


Set wrote:

[Aeon tangent]

Yanno, I ignored the Aeons completely when they were introduced, because I just didn't really 'get' them.

Now, in retrospect, Aeons as arbiters of balance, in a setting with 9 Empyreal Lords 'balanced' against 9 Archdevils, 44 demigod level Whore Queens, Infernal Dukes and Malebranche, 4 Daemon Horsemen, 30 demigod level Harbingers, 31 Demon Lords and 10 demigod level Nascent Demon Lords, must really, really, really suck at their job of maintaining balance.

'Cause if you gots 9 demigod-level apples on one side of the scale, and 128 demigod-level (not even bothering to count non-outer-planars, like the Eldest or the Elemental evil demigods or the various Great Old Ones) apples on the other side, it don't balance!

Even if the Aeons weren't an odd 'Mordenkainen neutral' schizo concept to begin with, it makes them seem even less credible because they suck at their self-defined role so utterly hard.
[/Aeon tangent]

These are not the 'strange aeons' in which 'death itself may die.'

They're just strange.

I feel that the imbalance between "good" versus "evil" outsiders is less of an actual phenomena and more because people prefer having lots of bad guys to fight and a lot more information has been produced for that side. We have three book of the damned just covering the three most powerful evil outsider groups, compared to the ONE we are getting for all the good outsiders next year. I would be surprised if there weren't a ton of empyreal lords and other powers that haven't been detailed due to a perceived lack of interest.

I don't think Aeons are that odd. They are more concerned about primal forces than good and evil (entropy versus creation, life and death, etc). I tend to think of them as a cosmic immune system; they for the most part remove aloof from reality until some imbalance causes the universe itself to sicken.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting Subscriber

I will admit, I never liked the recent trend in novels and shows of vampires being able to drink any blood, not just the blood of sapient creatures. I feel it degrades the point of the curse and make the struggle to overcome meaningless. I mean, it is hard to feel sympathetic for a character that is struggling with bloodlust (Angel, D, Spike, etc) when they can just go out to the local cattle farm and have a cow slurpy. While I agree that creatures like orcs, drow, and goblins shouldn't be completely evil (and I like what Eberron did with them), I feel creatures under a curse like vampirism and lycanthropy (at least, afflicted or cursed) should be harmful to the victim. It really wouldn't feel like much of a curse admittedly. Lycanthropy, though, has changed quite a bit from its origins and it is a bit of an oddball.


vuron wrote:
A red dragon that runs a continental wide banking organization in order to expand his horde and generally behaves in a genteel manner but still occasionally eats servants and anyone who tries to steal from him...

*Yoink*!


qlippoth They are defending their home against the evil mortals that are taking it from them with their evil souls.


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LazarX wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Hecknoshow wrote:
I've never understood the whole stance of, eating sentient is "evil" while eating animals isn't. Sure, if it's unnecessary that'd be evil. But if you have to do it to survive, well it's not really that malicious is it.

Something doesn't have to be done with sadistic glee to be morally wrong. Evil is being callous enough to hurt innocent people. If I developed a medical condition that meant I had to eat a still-beating human heart every day or I'd die, then the only non-evil thing to do would be to choose to die.

The thing about having non-evil undead is that the implications for the world would be pretty bizarre. Getting turned into a lich or a vampire wouldn't be some terrible transgression or a fate worse than death; it would be a routine medical treatment.

That I think is pretty much how Ashiel's crowd WOULD prefer to have it. Along with common use of undead as house servants.

*facepalm*

What an awesomely baseless insinuation. I prefer sentient creatures to be like sentient creatures and people imply that I want sparkly vampires (I hate Twilight by the way) or I don't want any undead villains (as I've noted before, the vast majority of my games use evil undead at many points throughout). It's baseless and there is no reason to trying to twist my position that way except to make up for a lack of substance on the alternative by attempting to misrepresent my position.

The reference the book 30 Years Of Adventure, it describes pretty much the exact problem with this automatically turning evil nonsense. Vampires had become jokes. They were just another mindless monster to kill in a room. Ravenloft on the other hand paints you a picture with a vampire who is more like a real person. A tragic person. A tragic evil person who incidentally is not evil for being a vampire but because he was evil. Gonna hijack a bit from Wikipedia on the subject here:

Wikipedia: Count Strahd von Zarovich wrote:

A man of noble birth, Strahd spent much of his life serving causes of goodness and law, most notably as a warrior and leader of armies. Years of such service took their toll upon him however, and by the time he reached middle age, Strahd came to believe he had squandered his life and his youth. With this dark mood upon him, he came to conquer the region known as Barovia, and assumed lordship there, taking as his residence the pre-existing castle known as Ravenloft. From this position of power and security, he called for members of his family "long unseated from their ancestral thrones" to join him, including a younger brother named Sergei.

Some time after this reunion, the Count himself fell in love with a young Barovian woman, Tatyana, though she rejected his affections in favor of the younger Sergei. Filled with despair and jealousy, and brooding a growing hatred for Sergei, Strahd sought magical means to restore his youth. In a moment of desperate frustration, he "made a pact with death - a pact of blood." On the day of Sergei and Tatyana's wedding, Strahd murdered his brother and pursued the grieving Tatyana until she flung herself from the walls of Ravenloft. Strahd himself was shot down by the arrows of the castle guard. Even so, he did not die, but went on to rule the land of Barovia as a vampire.
---
The adventure itself takes place centuries after these tragic events, and centers upon the efforts of the player characters to help a young Barovian woman, Ireena Kolyana, escape the dreadful fate of so many others on whom "the devil Strahd" has cast his eye over the generations. The setting includes not only castle Ravenloft itself, but also the nearby village of Barovia, and a camp of Gypsies led by one Madame Eva, who had formed a kind of alliance with the vampire. Through the course of the adventure, players have the opportunity to learn Strahd's backstory and discover that Ireena is herself the reincarnation of Tatyana. Strahd von Zarovich himself is noted as being the first truly well developed villain to appear in the AD&D game system, being fully capable of changing the course of events to suit his own evil ends.

THIS is why vampires are damn good villain material. He was an evil guy before, but now he's evil with teeth. He was a once good man who became darker through his own heart's desires, and became a vampire out of a dark pact because he wanted to. He killed his brother of his own choice and will, and if he is truly cursed, it is to forever want for the love he gave everything up for who died.

Compare yet again to the vampires in Baldur's Gate II. A coven of vampires headed by a vampire matriarch tempts Shadow Thieves into joining their coven with promises of power and immortality, in both an attempt to strengthen their numbers and weaken their rivals. But here's the good bit. They're recruiting evil people. There's probably not many good people who would want to be vampires (and an evil vampire might turn a good person just to be a jackass, or for logical purposes of using a good but capable individual as your thrall). For the purposes of their coven, they do not turn just everyone into vampires (because they are both egotistical and selfish), they look for people who are already of skills and of evil intent.

But then that is natural. And not only were these vampires evil shadow thieves (which includes assassins, spies, and thieves for most all of them, including an in-world declaration of willingness to kill each other as more convenient than being punished by higher ups) but they were already used to living their lives in the shadows, answering to a strict hierarchy that was very similar to that of the vampire coven (the leader of the shadow thieves foremost, then a number of lesser house masters, then the majority of the shadow thieves, which matches very closely to the vampire matriarch, her direct subordinates, and the vampires beneath them).

Another awesome evil vampire is Count Magnus Lee from the 1985 animated film Vampire Hunter D (based on the novels by the same name). Vampires in Vampire Hunter D are probably my favorite interpretation of vampires to date. They live as a noble cast above the common folks of the lands, taking what they want, being brought up to believe in the clear superiority of the vampires and the cattle-like position of humans who they see as being obligated to serve and sustain them. They are narcissistic in the way that special-classed humans can be.

And many of them are evil. Some aren't. Most are. They're pretty much raised to be evil with a lack of empathy for others. They feed on humans because they believe humans are both beneath them and taste good. Count Magnus Lee becomes infatuated with the character Deloris because she is beautiful and because "her blood is the sweetest", and aims to make her his bride for his own amusement because after being alive for a few thousand years he is incredibly bored. He even notes to his daughter Mamika that he knows he will eventually "grow tired of her and send her away". Given that dhampirs in this setting are not much different than their vampire parents, it is even determined later that his daughter finds out her mother was a "commoner" (that is to say a human) and is distraught as to the indignity of it all. In the end, Mamika assists the protagonists, but chooses to "die with her dignity" when offered a chance to live as a human or die as a vampire (being a dhampir she could integrate herself into human society to a point).

The reason I loved this series was because vampires were very bad news. They were the towering lords over their dominions, and things like lycanthropes, aberrations, and their ghouls revered and served them (werewolves for example have no aversions to garlic or crucifixes or mirrors, and would conveniently remove or destroy these things in lieu of their master's arrival), and they were not evil because they were vampires, they were evil because they were evil, elitist, narcissistic individuals with a cold lack of empathy towards non-vampires (an the way that a human might take pity on another human, but enjoy a good steak, only replace human and steak with vampire and human).

In all of these cases, the evil vampires are cool because they are not vampire evils. They are evil individuals who happen to be vampires. I've drawn on these sorts of inspirations before in the past when working on adventures involving vampires -- and I must say that the temptation to do so again rises as I discuss this topic.

But it would be really really cool if you guys would stop equating the desire to drop forced alignments and nonsensical alignments with wanting all undead, demons, devils, and monsters to run around with peace signs and flower arrangements.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting Subscriber

Who said I am? I'm just explain why I'm okay with certain things being evil.

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