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How many "evil acts" does it take to turn someone evil?


Rules Questions

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2 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

Thinking specifically about the Cook People hex, being used by a neutral character, and only on the bodies of slain enemies. Book says its an evil act, but it seems to me more like recycling.

Is this purely a GM call, or has there been some official guidance on the matter?


The Cook People hex being always Evil is a stupid rule if you ask me.

Also, I'd say it's a DM judgement call, depending on the weight of the evil deed.

For example, your character will instantly go Evil if he/she is a rapist, but pickpocketing isn't gonna do much.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Ask me.


Cook People hex is Evil because Cannibalism is evil. Cannibalism in PF/D&D is defined as eating sentient/sapient creatures, not just same race.

How many of them it takes? 27. Everyone knows that.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

GM Fiat, all the way.

I had a Lizardfolk PC who would feast upon the bodies of slain enemies who were particularly powerful, to gain their strength.

It was a Religious act, and lacking in evil intent.

Cheliax

4 people marked this as a favorite.

I played a LN Orc who ate the dead. He skinned and cooked them.

One of the other players insisted it was evil. I insisted it wasn't evil. They're made of meat, and they're not using it anymore. My orc wasn't killing people just to eat them; but once they're already dead, why waste the meat? I even told the party that if I die, they shoul'd eat, and just save a hand so for resurrection.


In the end it becomes a question of how sacred is a person's corpse? In many cultures, consumption of a corpse is a perfectly acceptable method of disposing it. Yes they may be the corpses of sentient beings but it is not as though the character is a cannibalistic deviant who sets out to slaughter innocents for their tender sweetmeats.

I would argue that the morality depends entirely on the context of the deed.
For personal enjoyment=Evil
Recycling/cultural=Neutral
Helping Someone=Good


4 people marked this as a favorite.

exactly the same number as how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Apparently a whole lot because channeling an evil god would be an evil act but clerics only need to be within one step of their gods' alignments.


Ptolmaeus Arvenus wrote:
In many cultures, consumption of a corpse is a perfectly acceptable method of disposing it.

Okay, I'll bite. Which cultures are those? Name some.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Tinalles wrote:
Ptolmaeus Arvenus wrote:
In many cultures, consumption of a corpse is a perfectly acceptable method of disposing it.
Okay, I'll bite. Which cultures are those? Name some.

Lizardfolk. It is considered an honor.


Tinalles wrote:
Ptolmaeus Arvenus wrote:
In many cultures, consumption of a corpse is a perfectly acceptable method of disposing it.
Okay, I'll bite. Which cultures are those? Name some.

I do not remember well, but it was not like that in the tribe of friday (robison cruose)?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Tinalles wrote:
Ptolmaeus Arvenus wrote:
In many cultures, consumption of a corpse is a perfectly acceptable method of disposing it.
Okay, I'll bite. Which cultures are those? Name some.

Certain Buddhist orders make medicine from their dead.

My homebrew non-evil orc culture has no cannibalism taboo, but it's about neccessity rather than want, done only with the dead that were willing, and only done during lean times, and always done with the utmost respect for those that gave of themselves. There's also the eating of the hearts of the old chieftain by the new, as a way of passing on the strength and wisdom of the old onto the new.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Tinalles wrote:
Okay, I'll bite.

Heh.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

There really is no party like a Donner Party.

All in all, I do kinda agree with Ptolmaeus Arvenus on this one, in that it really should depend on the culture of the people doing the cooking and eating.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Darkholme wrote:
I even told the party that if I die, they shoul'd eat, and just save a hand so for resurrection.

Ha, my CG half-orc had that same conversation with some NPCs early into a long trek across some hazardous, barren terrain(and we're still not done yet). And that was right after we had an unpleasant run-in with cannibals that were actively hunting people.

The character I was primarily making the offer of my own flesh to was squicked because CANNIBALISM and some bad history. I was offended by the cannibals because they had murdered people or were preying upon the unwilling who did not offer their flesh. And the cannibals were offended because we "spat on their hospitality". The culture clash coming out of that was fun. :D

Regarding cook people, that spell actually squicks me out more than plain old cannibalism. It just seems to "dress up" the act in an unsettling way, while the latter is at least honest about what is going on and the people involved have to come to terms with what they're doing without any illusions about it.

I have the same issues with Bubble Bobble

Andoran

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Tinalles wrote:
Ptolmaeus Arvenus wrote:
In many cultures, consumption of a corpse is a perfectly acceptable method of disposing it.
Okay, I'll bite. Which cultures are those? Name some.

The Yanamamo (spellings vary, and it's not pronounced like any of them) People of southern Venezuela and northwestern Brazil traditionally consume their own dead, though as I understand it they actually cremate them first and eat some of the ashes.

Cannibalism was once relatively common in New Guinea, as well, though it has since been abandoned by most of the peoples living there. At one time there was actually a prion disease almost entiely unique the the region, if I recall correctly, that could only be contracted by eathing human brain tissue.

Archaeological evidence suggests that mesolithic cultures living in central Europe may have practiced human sacrifice and/or cannibalism, though there's still some controversy regarding the interpretation of the relevant remains.

Honestly, if you do just a little research, you can probably find examples of institutionalized cannibalism from every inhabited continent on earth if you take a broad historical view. That said, examples of whole societies seeking out and killing other human beings for no reason other than to eat them are rare to nonexistant. When cannibalism is accepted by a society, it's usually limited to certain ritual contexts and only certain people are eaten.

That being said, the fact the the Cook People hex specifically gets magical effects out of the bodies of exclusively intelligent beings seems suspicious to me. Since it doesn't work with animals it seems like you must be consuming some sort of essence unique to thinking creatures. Since it works on those already dead, you're probably not swallowing their soul per-se, but its still highly suspect, and I think its justifiable that this specific Hex would be fundamentally evil.

Andoran

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Incidentally, the fact that the act of cannibalism can and does lead people to transform into evil undead abominations in the Pathfinder setting suggests that there's something fundamentally, cosmically wrong with consuming members of an intelligent species in that setting. It might have something to do with the intervention of the Demon Lord Zura, who is associated with cannibalism, if I recall correctly.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Gnoll Bard wrote:
Incidentally, the fact that the act of cannibalism can and does lead people to transform into evil undead abominations in the Pathfinder setting suggests that there's something fundamentally, cosmically wrong with consuming members of an intelligent species in that setting. It might have something to do with the intervention of the Demon Lord Zura, who is associated with cannibalism, if I recall correctly.

(don't forget Kabiri too!)

Which leads to some interesting ideas:

Lizardfolk and other traditionally cannibalistic cultures aren't known for spawning a lot of ghouls. On the flipside, a lot of "stranded sailor" type situations shown so far seem to have resulted in a lot of them, even when it's just to survive.

There really could be something to more ritualized approach of those cultures that safeguards them against such corruption. Some cultures at least. I imagine a lot of it is focused around honoring the spirits of those they're about eat, or at least trying to get their permission.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps Subscriber
Quatar wrote:

Cook People hex is Evil because Cannibalism is evil. Cannibalism in PF/D&D is defined as eating sentient/sapient creatures, not just same race.

How many of them it takes? 27. Everyone knows that.

It's 42, but you really have to be a hoopy frood to know that.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Not to mention Cook People is less "honored tribal tradition" and more "creepy fairy-tale maliciousness." I can't speak for the developers, but I get the sense it was made more with the likes of Baba Yaga or Frau Totenkinder (Fables reference) in mind.

Andoran

Not nearly enough to have any fun.


Quote:
HOW MANY "EVIL ACTS" DOES IT TAKE TO TURN SOMEONE EVIL?

42


Tinalles wrote:
Ptolmaeus Arvenus wrote:
In many cultures, consumption of a corpse is a perfectly acceptable method of disposing it.
Okay, I'll bite. Which cultures are those? Name some.

Probably greek, Roman through renaissance europe, chinese, arabic.

Note that these uses, excepting for times of starvation, were all medicinal. Look up mellified man and uses for mummies.

Taldor

It takes 3 acts to turn someone evil. The same amount of licks it takes to get the center of a tootsie roll pop.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Ptolmaeus Arvenus wrote:

In the end it becomes a question of how sacred is a person's corpse? In many cultures, consumption of a corpse is a perfectly acceptable method of disposing it. Yes they may be the corpses of sentient beings but it is not as though the character is a cannibalistic deviant who sets out to slaughter innocents for their tender sweetmeats.

I would argue that the morality depends entirely on the context of the deed.
For personal enjoyment=Evil
Recycling/cultural=Neutral
Helping Someone=Good

In Ancient Greek and some other cultures, it's about the worst thing you can do because a proper arrival in the afterlife is contingent on an honorable burial. If you want to see who an author really dislikes in a Greek classical story, just watch what happens to their bodies after they die.

The worst punishment in Tartarus was doled out to Tantalus who made the rather unwise decision to serve his son up to a couple of visiting gods.

Grand Lodge

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

In the background intro to Second Darkness the Big Bad of the series turned not only evil

Spoiler:
but into a drow on the spot
for a single great act of evil.


Three Strike Rule


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The moment you have to justify and rationalize an act as being not-evil, you are co firming that the act IS evil.

That's just my opinion but as far as RAW is concerned, the answer would fall to the GM.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps Subscriber
AHalflingNotAHobbit wrote:
Quote:
HOW MANY "EVIL ACTS" DOES IT TAKE TO TURN SOMEONE EVIL?

42

AHalflingNotAHobbit is a hoopy frood who really knows where their towel is.

(And, on topic,I agree that it's really the GM's call.)


I wouldn't say that the act of eating "people" in itself would be evil but the determining factor would be the intention behind it.
For survival - neutral
For desecration - evil


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
beej67 wrote:


Thinking specifically about the Cook People hex, being used by a neutral character, and only on the bodies of slain enemies. Book says its an evil act, but it seems to me more like recycling.

Is this purely a GM call, or has there been some official guidance on the matter?

The cultural relativists will tell you it's not evil. It's just different. It's defined as evil by RAW. The only question is how many times a given evil act has to be done before it shifts your alignment. Only your DM / GM can say. Ask them.

As for cultural relativism, nothing is evil if you accept their premise. For evil to exist you have to have standards of good / evil. Cultural relativism neatly eliminates / side steps those standards. H3ll, mass murder and ethnic cleansing are accepted parts of some rl cultures and or religions. Evil cultures / religions, but that's just my opinion. Ymmv.

Grand Lodge

Cannibalism to survive...probably not evil.

Cannibalism for cultural reasons...grey area here.

Cannibalism to make tasty treats...yeah...gonna go with evil here.


According to the wise owl, it takes 3 licks to get to the center of the Tootsie pop. Oh wait, what was the question?

Cheliax

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

it's like losing your virginity, all it takes is once

Andoran

2 people marked this as a favorite.
R_Chance wrote:
beej67 wrote:


Thinking specifically about the Cook People hex, being used by a neutral character, and only on the bodies of slain enemies. Book says its an evil act, but it seems to me more like recycling.

Is this purely a GM call, or has there been some official guidance on the matter?

The cultural relativists will tell you it's not evil. It's just different. It's defined as evil by RAW. The only question is how many times a given evil act has to be done before it shifts your alignment. Only your DM / GM can say. Ask them.

As for cultural relativism, nothing is evil if you accept their premise. For evil to exist you have to have standards of good / evil. Cultural relativism neatly eliminates / side steps those standards. H3ll, mass murder and ethnic cleansing are accepted parts of some rl cultures and or religions. Evil cultures / religions, but that's just my opinion. Ymmv.

This is a straw man argument that I hear all too often from opponents of cultural relativism or "postmodernism" in general. I have never once met anyone, even a cultural anthropologist, who argues that one should reject all standards of right and wrong, or good and evil. On the contrary, "cultural relativists" actually tend to be the kind of people who get involved in things like human rights activism.

The idea behind cultural relativism is simply that you cannot take for granted that one's own culture, or any culture for that matter, is fundamentally superior to any other, or is a baseline from which all others deviate. All societies allow certain activities that other cultures would consider "evil"; by trying to understand these activities within their own context, one does not condone them, but rather tries to understand them.

By examining something like female genital mutilation, for example, from the perspective of the people who practice it, one can try to find out how such a thing could ever be considered "good." Once you understand how a society justifies such an evil act, you can begin to build an argument for why the practice should be abolished, in terms that will make sense to the people who engage in it. More immediately, it may give you insight into the justifications your own society uses to perpetrate other kinds of evils, like involuntary gender assignment surgery in infants.

Ultimately, cultural relativism was developed by academics for academic purposes; one cannot expect to understand a culture if one considers it to be merely "evil" or inferior. That said, I think that only a fool would try to claim that evil can best be combated without first being understood.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I think there's a difference between cultural relativism and ethical/moral relativism.

But really I just want to know if the Paizo guys had any guidance about how many times a neutral guy could cook people before he was subject to a GM forced alignment change.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Gnoll Bard wrote:


R_Chance wrote:


beej67 wrote:


Thinking specifically about the Cook People hex, being used by a neutral character, and only on the bodies of slain enemies. Book says its an evil act, but it seems to me more like recycling.

Is this purely a GM call, or has there been some official guidance on the matter?

The cultural relativists will tell you it's not evil. It's just different. It's defined as evil by RAW. The only question is how many times a given evil act has to be done before it shifts your alignment. Only your DM / GM can say. Ask them.

As for cultural relativism, nothing is evil if you accept their premise. For evil to exist you have to have standards of good / evil. Cultural relativism neatly eliminates / side steps those standards. H3ll, mass murder and ethnic cleansing are accepted parts of some rl cultures and or religions. Evil cultures / religions, but that's just my opinion. Ymmv.

This is a straw man argument that I hear all too often from opponents of cultural relativism or "postmodernism" in general. I have never once met anyone, even a cultural anthropologist, who argues that one should reject all standards of right and wrong, or good and evil. On the contrary, "cultural relativists" actually tend to be the kind of people who get involved in things like human rights activism.

It's not a "strawman" argument. As it so happens I have bachelors degrees in history and cultural anthropology :D My graduate degree is in history. When you judge cultural artifacts and practices you are, of neccesity, doing so from your own cultures perspectives. It's not about rejecting all (your own) standards of right and wrong, the question is simply which. The core of your cultural beliefs will stay with you. Nor am I suggesting cultural relativism is "wrong" in rl, just that in PF there is an objective standard (by RAW) of right and wrong (or good / evil if you prefer). Things are judged from that perspective.

Gnoll Bard wrote:


The idea behind cultural relativism is simply that you cannot take for granted that one's own culture, or any culture for that matter, is fundamentally superior to any other, or is a baseline from which all others deviate. All societies allow certain activities that other cultures would consider "evil"; by trying to understand these activities within their own context, one does not condone them, but rather tries to understand them.

Yes, in real life. Not "condoning them" is a sign of your own cultures biases of course. Otherwise it would't be something you would question or need to condone. Or condescend over. Ultimately you choose your stand on issues and proceed to judge on that basis.

Gnoll Bard wrote:


By examining something like female genital mutilation, for example, from the perspective of the people who practice it, one can try to find out how such a thing could ever be considered "good." Once you understand how a society justifies such an evil act, you can begin to build an argument for why the practice should be abolished, in terms that will make sense to the people who engage in it. More immediately, it may give you insight into the justifications your own society uses to perpetrate other kinds of evils, like involuntary gender assignment surgery in infants.

I assume your speaking about chlitorodectomy? The only way it will cease to "make sense" to the people who practice it is if you replace their cultural assumptions with yours. Whether by force, education or indoctrination is a matter of choice. It is part of their culture, they consider it proper / good. Convincing them otherwise is impossible without a bit of cultural surgery. I, and you I gather, find it morally objectionable, but thet is a reflection of our culture.

Gnoll Bard wrote:


Ultimately, cultural relativism was developed by academics for academic purposes; one cannot expect to understand a culture if one considers it to be merely "evil" or inferior. That said, I think that only a fool would try to claim that evil can best be combated without first being understood.

Developed by academics and, for better or worse, embraced by many others to justify many things. Cultural objectivity is what you want. You are going to pass judgment, it's part of the human condition. As for understanding evil... that's another can of worms. Describe it, examine it, recognize it... easier in a game than in rl.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
beej67 wrote:


I think there's a difference between cultural relativism and ethical/moral relativism.

But really I just want to know if the Paizo guys had any guidance about how many times a neutral guy could cook people before he was subject to a GM forced alignment change.

Your ethics and morality are part of your culture. And no, there is no magic number. The rules leave that type of thing up to the individual GM / players. Just as well, I suspect.


chopswil wrote:
it's like losing your virginity, all it takes is once

Unless you are wearing a ring of regeneration.


Treesmasha Toothpickmaker wrote:
chopswil wrote:
it's like losing your virginity, all it takes is once
Unless you are wearing a ring of regeneration.

A new source of income for my characters, selling Rings of Perpetual Virginity. Sold to brothels & also available at ye olde bridal shoppe.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There is no specific number, really. The question of a PC's alignment is based on how they act in general and over time. If a PC does one evil thing every day but also does 5 equally significant good things, does he become evil when he hits a certain number of days? No. The evil he is doing is dwarfed by the good he does.

I notice nobody ever asks how many good acts it takes to become good.


RAW: They can't. All an "evil act" does is make a Paladin fall.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
deuxhero wrote:


RAW: They can't. All an "evil act" does is make a Paladin fall.

Well,

PFRPG Core Rulebook (pg.168):

"There’s no hard and fast mechanic by which you can measure alignment—
unlike hit points or skill ranks or Armor Class, alignment is solely a label the GM controls."

In short the GM can mess with your alignment if he / she thinks you're not playing it properly. Should they? Depends :) When should they? Their call. Is there any hard and fast rule? No. Can they? Yes.

It may be inexact and vague, but it's RAW.


Rule 0 is that the GM can mess with ANYTHING if they want to though


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
deuxhero wrote:


Rule 0 is that the GM can mess with ANYTHING if they want to though

True, but this is not Rule 0 per se. It's the alignment section of the CRB.


Gnoll Bard wrote:
Incidentally, the fact that the act of cannibalism can and does lead people to transform into evil undead abominations in the Pathfinder setting suggests that there's something fundamentally, cosmically wrong with consuming members of an intelligent species in that setting.

PC:CMR mentions the myth about the first cannibal as becoming Kabriri, the first ghoul, after death.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Bill Dunn wrote:

There is no specific number, really. The question of a PC's alignment is based on how they act in general and over time. If a PC does one evil thing every day but also does 5 equally significant good things, does he become evil when he hits a certain number of days? No. The evil he is doing is dwarfed by the good he does.

I notice nobody ever asks how many good acts it takes to become good.

Because both of these are moronic questions.

Good and Evil isn't something you judge like some form of Farenheit counter. They're holistic phenomena. Hitler wasn't evil because he did X amount more Evil acts than Good. He was evil because that's what he was on a holistic basis. He was the end result of his holistic development, not just a numerical score count.


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I'm not sure, but I heard somewhere that posting an "is it evil?" thread counts as one.

Shadow Lodge

There's no RAW, but if your neutral character makes a regular habit of performing acts that are considered Evil and doesn't do a particular amount of good, he will eventually become evil. GM decides exactly when.

gourry187 wrote:
The moment you have to justify and rationalize an act as being not-evil, you are co firming that the act IS evil.

So if I'm talking to someone who believes that homosexuality is evil, and I attempt to argue that it is not, I have by the act of argument confirmed that it is in fact evil? There's a difference between rationalizing and making a rational ethical argument.

Mikaze wrote:
Darkholme wrote:
I even told the party that if I die, they shoul'd eat, and just save a hand so for resurrection.

Ha, my CG half-orc had that same conversation with some NPCs early into a long trek across some hazardous, barren terrain(and we're still not done yet). And that was right after we had an unpleasant run-in with cannibals that were actively hunting people.

The character I was primarily making the offer of my own flesh to was squicked because CANNIBALISM and some bad history. I was offended by the cannibals because they had murdered people or were preying upon the unwilling who did not offer their flesh. And the cannibals were offended because we "spat on their hospitality". The culture clash coming out of that was fun. :D

That does sound like fun. Almost went in that RP direction myself. Played a half-orc druid who was non-vegetarian. Late in the game other PCs expressed surprise, and I realized that the character wouldn't have a cannibalism taboo, under the logic that if eating the flesh of an animal wasn't inherently bad, eating humanoid flesh wasn't inherently bad either. Never came up at-table, partly because the character knew that it would have squicked her companions out. But it was about this time I realized that not only would the character not have minded her friends eating her dead body in a pinch, but that she would have happily hacked bits of flesh off of her living body to feed starving companions. She had a crazy high Con and could have magically healed the damage. The Paladin would not have approved.

We also had a barbarian who was driven to cannibalism and then performed a ritual to ward off the Wendigo.

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