Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

Evil Action or Not?: The varying opinions thread


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

1 to 50 of 152 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | next > last >>
Cheliax

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This post contains possible spoilers from You Only Die Twice, although I will do my best to keep things as generic as possible. I am also posting this with full knowledge of the GM who ran the event. I'm not attempting to whine, nor am I interested in getting the evil warning on my character sheet removed. I'm just looking for opinions.

Spoiler:

My Dhampir oracle of bones was beset with an ethical dilemma last night: We had been fighting a very close battle with a cleric who was channelling to harm us; however, he was not an evil cleric (and may have been a good one, thinking of us as the evil ones). As for how that's possible, spoilers.

Long story short, we finally knocked him down. One of our party members was unconscious due to area of effect damage, and our barbarian and wizard had both been forced to run out of range. It was my oracle and a rogue/barbarian left fighting a single mook and the cleric. The mook's choice of actions was to pull out a potion (move action), and beginning the full-round action of pouring it down his throat. He would finish the next turn, and my oracle took a very harsh line to that, because he was at 2 hp, and another channel would drop both him and the other conscious player, as well as flat out kill the unconscious player (at -9).

With the life of my own character and two allies in mind, I performed a coup de grace on my turn, and flat out killed the cleric. I received a warning before performing the action that it was an evil one; I disagreed, seeing it as the best chance of saving my party.

Anyway, the cleric died, and after waking up another mook, we finally convinced them a mistake had been made. I apologized and we sent them on their way with the cleric's body in tow.


My oracle is a true neutral character. I don't personally believe what he did was evil, although to be sure pragmatic and ruthless. As a GM myself I would have raised an eyebrow to a paladin or any good character performing it; however, I'm wondering what other players and GMs think.

Shadow Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I think it probably was a darkly neutral act. I could see why the DM thought it was an evil one though. As long as its not enough on its own to send your character off the cliff it shouldn't be an issue.

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber

I see that as valid tactics mid-combat on the player's part. You've seen what the individual can do to your group in combat, and his ally is trying to visibly (and via a slow method) trying to bring him back into the fight. Removing the chance to miss a prone enemy by just using a CDG is what I would expect a "pragmatic and ruthless" character to do, if it crossed their mind.

Taldor RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

I don't know...self defense, defense of a teammate...I think it's certainly justifiable.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The only reason a single evil mark worries me is because as a necromancer, my oracle must tip-toe very carefully around the neutral line.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

4 people marked this as a favorite.

I vote "not evil". Protecting your comrades shouldn't get you an alignment infraction.

I could be wrong, but it sounds like maybe this is one of those GMs who thinks that a CdG is automatically evil. (Did he give any explanation of why he thought it was evil?)

Andoran

I don't think it was Evil at all. Considering the situation this was more on the Law vs Chaos axis (IMO). Striking down a helpless foe - one that clearly has intent of harming you and would likely continue to do stuff if roused - is a dishonorable action.

Evil - not really. Had you kept the guy alive, and tortured him later.

Further - I tend to think to many DM's assume "Chaotic" actions mean "Evil" actions.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jiggy wrote:

I vote "not evil". Protecting your comrades shouldn't get you an alignment infraction.

I could be wrong, but it sounds like maybe this is one of those GMs who thinks that a CdG is automatically evil. (Did he give any explanation of why he thought it was evil?)

I would prefer if people did not talk badly about my GM in this case. I don't think he finds a CdG always automatically evil; look to the circumstances of good cleric who was attacking us in good faith.

I believe that is where he decides it is evil, or borderline evil.

Grand Lodge

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

Some actions are horribly evil even when done for unimpeachable reasons. Best example I can think of.. the climax of the Torchwood series "Children of Earth" where the hero has to make a choice that even Jack Bauer would pale at.

Silver Crusade

As the GM in question I thought that I'd chime in. I also very much welcome discussion on this.

In my mind, this is a "naughty" act that is right on the borderline of being evil. It most certainly isn't evil enough to make the character evil. The question is whether its evil enough to be noted on the chronicle sheet.

Spoiler:

It was also a little clesrer to the players and characters that the opposing cleric was acting in good faith than Mergy could state without spoilers. He was a cleric of Pharasma who very clearly thought that the PCs were undead. He thought that the PCs were part of a group actively raising humans to be fed to undead.

My objection is that there were good alternatives to the action. None were perfect and none guaranteed to succeed but they did exist. The potion bottle could have been sundered or disarmed, the mook could possibly have been disabled, a held action to whack the cleric would likely have put him back into negatives as soon as he became conscious.

I'd have had no problem if the cleric went down in the middle of combst. It was the coup de grace on a helpless non evil cleric that seemed wrong.

In fairness to the players, they HAD tried to convince the cleric that they weren't enemies. That attempt had failed.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Mergy wrote:
I would prefer if people did not talk badly about my GM in this case.

I wasn't. I was just pointing out that there's a common misconception about CdG and wondered if your GM might share it.

Quote:

I don't think he finds a CdG always automatically evil; look to the circumstances of good cleric who was attacking us in good faith.

I believe that is where he decides it is evil, or borderline evil.

So the morality of an act of self-defense is determined by the alignment of the person from whom you're defending yourself? I'd have to disagree with that.

But in any case, it's a mark on your sheet, not a removal of your PC. Next time you selflessly help a PC/NPC at your own unneeded peril, make sure the GM marks that on your sheet. (But not TOO often; you wouldn't want to accidentally slip to NG and then get hit with unholy blight!)

EDIT: Ninja'd by the GM.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

In any case, I got a neat note on my chronicle. If he had the choice, Zephir would do it again, but only because he didn't see any non-risky alternative to losing three party members and

You Only Die Twice Spoilers:
leaving two more stranded in Geb.

Andoran

I see your point, pauljathome, and I fully encourage and support Dms in sticking to their guns in regards to those sticky morality issues.

If the situation is playing in my mind properly - A misunderstand had occurred. The antagonistic cleric could not be convinced of it. The cleric was going to be put in a position where he could easily incapacitate most of the party - possibly leading to the deaths of at least one character. The CdGin' character was put in a horrible situation - a desperate one - if he pulled any punches or tried anything fancy, his companions may wind up dead.

In this case I would not consider it an evil hit on the alignment. Would a raging barbarian, accidentally one shoting the cleric in the first round been considered evil?

Desperate times - desperate measures.

And from a meta perspective. I would never want to be put in a place where I put in a situation where saving the rest of the party in heated combat, may mean that I am one step closer to my character being unplayable.

That said - I'm new to the PFS - I'm not sure how these things works - I am mostly going off person home game issues.

Just food for thought.

Andoran

2 people marked this as a favorite.

While justifiable, evil is still evil.

However, we have to mitigate our current real world view of what evil is. Golarion doesn’t exist with the same set of morals we do.

Running around and killing folks with swords and spells because they are evil is not considered evil. But tell that to all the anit-death penalty folks in the world who picket against the death penalty being used on guys like Dahmer and serial rapists and what not. According to them, even though just doing their job, and doing it with express consent of the church and state, the executioner is performing an evil act.

Coup de grace is not an evil act. Especially if it is during combat and doing so is both prudent and pragmatic. That it also makes sure none of your compatriots die is a bonus.

Just because the opposing cleric was not necessarily evil, does not mean killing him is an evil act. Consider, if a tiger kept attacking your child in the zoo, and somehow you bashed it over the head with a park bench and knocked it temporarily unconscious, but before you could get your child back over the fence, it started to rise… would it be evil to go kill the tiger to save your child? What if it was a human being who’d gone nuts?

Brutal? Yes.
Unforgiving? Yes.
Evil? No (although obviously thtat’s debatable, as many feel killing a helpless foe is evil regardless the circumstances).

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber
pauljathome wrote:

As the GM in question I thought that I'd chime in. I also very much welcome discussion on this.

My objection is that there were good alternatives to the action. None were perfect and none guaranteed to succeed but they did exist. The potion bottle could have been sundered or disarmed, the mook could possibly have been disabled, a held action to whack the cleric would likely have put him back into negatives as soon as he became conscious.

CDG definitely wasn't the only option, as you note. However, it is the only option mentioned that doesn't have a chance at failing. He could always roll a 1 on any of those other actions, and failed. His character also knew, from the battle, that a single failure would more than likely not only result in himself being knocked unconscious and helpless, but possibly killing a teammate outright. That means the downside on the risk of failing is extremely high to the party as a whole. I give a lot of leeway on actions in the midst of dire straights like that.

That said, it's obvious it's not a capricious call, and there's nothing wrong with it, as it was your table to adjudicate. It's just not the call I would make had it been mine. Everyone has their different interpretation on what it "should" be.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

pauljathome wrote:
My objection is that there were good alternatives to the action. None were perfect and none guaranteed to succeed but they did exist.

I'm leery of this rationale, and I'll explain why below:

Quote:
The potion bottle could have been sundered or disarmed, the mook could possibly have been disabled, a held action to whack the cleric would likely have put him back into negatives as soon as he became conscious.

They also could have all chosen to deal nonlethal damage in the first place so that the predicament wouldn't come up. It's not perfect or guaranteed to succeed but the option did exist. But they (presumably) chose to use lethal damage just because it's more likely to succeed (no -4 penalty). Did you mark any sheets for that choice?

They also could have chosen to drop their weapons and "prove" that they're not enemies. When I played that scenario, I stood there round after round with my hands in the air, getting attacked without striking back, trying over and over to convince them I wasn't a bad guy. Your players had that choice, but (apparently) chose to give up on diplomacy at some point and start fighting back. Did you mark any sheets for that choice?

They also could have chosen to grapple and tie up the cleric and his buddies and then talk to them afterwards about what was going on. Sure it's not perfect or guaranteed to succeed... You get the idea. ;)

The point is, there were "other options" all through the scene, and the whole table consistently chose violence/deadly force over other, softer approaches. What made the CdG different?


Evil

Andoran

pauljathome wrote:

My objection is that there were good alternatives to the action. None were perfect and none guaranteed to succeed but they did exist. The potion bottle could have been sundered or disarmed, the mook could possibly have been disabled, a held action to whack the cleric would likely have put him back into negatives as soon as he became conscious.

I'd have had no problem if the cleric went down in the middle of combst. It was the coup de grace on a helpless non evil cleric that seemed wrong.

In fairness to the players, they HAD tried to convince the cleric that they weren't enemies. That attempt had failed.

A few questions for you, Paul:

CdGs are an automatic hit and damage on a helpless target. Automatic. The downside is that they provoke an AoO from anyone else adjacent to the character performing the CdG. I am assuming that the Oracle managed to be adjacent to his CdG target without being in reach of the potion user's weapon. Equally, the potion user was not within range of the AoO he should have provoked for using a potion in combat.

Sundering or disarming the potion bottle is both nowhere near guaranteed, but will provoke an AoO from the target, who is presumably still wielding a weapon. While the PC is at 2 hit points. Unless the PC is a combat maneuver type, not a very good choice.

Held action? Ummm. What's the trigger? After all, the first and only action the prone Cleric is likely to do is a Channel Energy which is likely to knock the PC out. And, if you somehow come up with a reasonable trigger (When the cleric opens his eyes? When the potion heals his damage? Right.), then you still need to hit the Cleric, which is nowhere near guaranteed, even with the prone bonus. Oracles are not full BAB, nor are they usually dedicated melee types, although some can be built that way. And that is a target that has already, I am fairly sure, been proven to be a difficult target to hit.

Spoiler:
AC 23 at sub-tier 5-6, AC 27 at sub-tier 8-9. Even with the bonus to hit for the target being prone, those would have already proved to be difficult targets for a combat-optimized Fighter, much less an Oracle.

Disable the mook? Without knowing the mook's full status, it is still a crap shoot, even if you get the AoO for his using the potion on the Cleric. An enlarged Barbarian with a greatsword, maybe. An Oracle, who won't have the extreme damage add-ons? Who knows?

To be honest, it is an ugly situation, but, while the CdG is morally ambiguous, I would say that, IMO, it is balanced by the saving of his party members' lives, which is fairly unambiguously good. YMMV.

Spoiler:
When I played it, I wound up playing it with my combat maneuver specialist, which makes a significant difference in party tactics.

Then again, in regards to another discussion going on, I was not planning on playing that PC for this module, but wound up doing it because of the make-up of the rest of the party.

Originally scheduled: 4 players, two visitors, my 11th level Fighter with a bow, a 10th level Rogue/Bard non-combat-oriented consumables specialist.

When the other two players showed up, they both wound up using 7th level pregens. With that party composition, I was strongly against playing up, but I was also strongly against playing down with a PC who was already behind the wealth curve because of having to play down multiple times before, so I switched to my lower-level combat maneuver fighter instead.

While the scenario was fun, it wasn't the fun I had wanted to have. There is a significant difference between a ranged combatant with nice damage output and a reach combatant with no significant damage potential...

Then again, that GM had other issues, and the high tier would have been fatal, probably, because he didn't understand how the haunt was supposed to work. Same GM killed my archer in The Mantis' Prey by not understanding how the BBEG's defensive ability worked.

Overall, that encounter is not PC friendly, since you get the choice of allowing the Pharasmites to kill you, or you killing them first.

Silver Crusade

I think that there is a spectrum of evil acts and that circumstances matter a lot. Lots of factors that contribute to making an action more evil are :
1) The alignment of the victim
2) The intentions of the victom
3) How much of a threat the victim was
4) What alternatives the character has
5) How helpless the victim is. Although CdG is NOT automatically evil it IS automatically a little more suspect than the same act in actual combat. If for no other reason than the fact that the victim is helpless usually opens up lots and lots of other possibilities.

Along that spectrum there are 2 interesting points in PFS.

The first is where an action reaches the point where it should be mentioned on the chronicle sheet.

The second is where an action reaches the point where the character has become evil. I'm definitely of the opinion that a single action CAN rise to that level. The gratuitous destruction of an orphanage being an obvious example.

To me, the action just barely made it past that first point. I forget exactly what I said on the sheet but it was a lot more than "evil act committed". It had several caveats in it to represent how close I thought the situation was.

I am getting the impression that most people agree with my primary point that this particular act was reasonably close to the borderline where it should be recorded. I don't think that anybody has said that I was clearly totally wrong (Jiggy has probably come closest to saying that but I don't think he said that). I'd be interested in knowing who, if anybody, thinks that I was clearly totally wrong to do this in PFS.

Andoran

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

I decided a while back what is Evil is different for every GM and really beyond the initial questions on why and supporting argument against said act being evil, it is not worth trying to get a "Consensus" on it with other GMs.

Andoran

pauljathome wrote:

I'd be interested in knowing who, if anybody, thinks that I was clearly totally wrong to do this in PFS.

That is a touchy subject. Mostly because it was your table - your call. It was not the call I would have made - and I would have been very upset if the call was made on my character. So to put a not to fine a point on it - I very much disagree with the ruling in question. But I completely support you in making it.

GM's need to feel confident that their rulings are going to be accepted and upheld. By making these kind of calls we can show players the kind of game we are wanting to run. And where our morality affects it. If a player really disagrees with how you run a game, they can just opt out, find another GM, or what have you.

It's the nature of the beast ;)

TL;DR?

I support your choice in the matter, as a GM, and feel you didn't act out of your power doing so - but I do think the call was the wrong one.

Andoran

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Dragnmoon wrote:
I decided a while back what is Evil is different for every GM and really beyond the initial questions on why and supporting argument against said act being evil, it is not worth trying to get a "Consensus" on it with other GMs.

This. Very much sums up my over all feelings on it.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'll read off the note (If I can read your writing correctly):

"Borderline evil act. Opinions Vary. Coup de Grace'd a cleric of Pharasma with good cause knowing cleric was attacking in good faith."

My oracle has not been removed from the campaign. Actually, I didn't even animate any horses last night.

Andoran

I wouldnt mark it as an evil act on your sheet, personally.

I'm actually more curious as to how you got the cleric to a 'helpless' state? Was the cleric unconscious and the monk was pouring the potion down the cleric's throat?

Cheliax

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Seth: That's correct. I didn't want to risk missing the mook or the potion and then having us go down.

In hindsight, a possible option would be to cast inflict moderate wounds and hold the charge with a readied action should the cleric stand up or start to channel. That would have allowed possible negotiating, but I didn't even think about it at the time.

Silver Crusade

kinevon wrote:


Sundering or disarming the potion bottle is both nowhere near guaranteed, but will provoke an AoO from the target, who is presumably still wielding a weapon. While the PC is at 2 hit points. Unless the PC is a combat maneuver type, not a very good choice.

Held action? Ummm. What's the trigger? After all, the first and only action the prone Cleric is likely to do is a Channel Energy which is likely to knock the PC out. And, if you somehow come up with a reasonable trigger (When the cleric opens his eyes? When the potion heals his damage? Right.), then you still need to hit the Cleric, which is nowhere near guaranteed, even with the prone bonus. Oracles are not full BAB, nor are they usually dedicated melee types, although some can be built that way. And that is a target that has already, I am fairly sure, been proven to be a difficult target to hit.

The obvious trigger would be "when he drinks the potion".

The mook provoked when trying to pour the potion down the throat. The power attacking barbarian rogue doing the usual obscene amount of damage rolled a 1 on his attack.

In fact, I mostly blame the 2 barbarians for the problem. Neither of them could roll a dice to save their life in that encounter. If they had, they'd never have gotten into such a dire situation in the first place :-)

I definitely agree that CdG was pretty much the only action all but guaranteed immediately end the combat.

Andoran

I feel the same way Joshua does. Not the call I’d make. As a player at your table I’d argue vociferously (if briefly) about it, and would have ended up not taking the action, and if it resulted in everyone dying, held you personally responsible.

But you were the GM. And you have the right to make that call at your table. Regardless how a player may feel about it.

My feeling on noting evil acts:

Unless it’s a Paladin or some other class that could lose class abilities or spells for taking specific actions, I generally don’t worry about it, unless it is particular egregious. I’m not the Golarion moral police, and refuse to mitigate every action someone tries to take with whether it could be construed as evil or not. However, if a class mechanics works around a possibility of morality failure, then I need to look at those actions a little more closely. Closest I got was at Gen Con, and I just warned the Paladin that his actions were getting close to the line. He backed off. No harm, no foul.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Mergy wrote:
Actually, I didn't even animate any horses last night.

Now, if you'd animated the dead cleric THAT I'd claim to be an evil act :-) :-). Although it admittedly would have been funny as heck :-)

Cheliax

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I would have not disagreed that animating him would be an evil act.

A hilarious evil act.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

2 people marked this as a favorite.
pauljathome wrote:
I don't think that anybody has said that I was clearly totally wrong (Jiggy has probably come closest to saying that but I don't think he said that). I'd be interested in knowing who, if anybody, thinks that I was clearly totally wrong to do this in PFS.

I disagree with your call, but you handled it well and it was of relatively minor consequence and the player (Mergy) seems to be cool with you, so all's well. :)

But since we're here, away from the table, where we can exchange ideas outside the pressure of a time slot and give each other food for thought for dealing with future situations... Yeah, I disagree, and I'd be happy to discuss our differing rationales.

For the record, I agree with (unless I missed something) all of your general ideas about evil actions. I'm just coming to a different conclusion about this specific example.

Let's look at your #5, how helpless the target is. Personally, I think two NPCs who are both unconscious and dying can be at different "levels" of helplessness. For instance, if all the NPCs are down, then they're completely and utterly helpless. They're no longer a threat in any way, shape or form.

But someone who you KNOW is going to be awake in exactly one round, with both the ability and intent to kill you and your comrades? That's not the same kind of "helpless". That's more like "temporarily vulnerable".

In my mind, a downed-but-deadly cleric who's in the process of receiving that potion is no different than a raging barbarian who's exactly one round's worth of movement away from me. Suppose said barbarian is down to 1HP and I have a wand of Magic Missile. Should I cast it, taking him to at least -1, ending his rage, and killing him with no chance of failure? He's not currently a threat to me. He is literally 100% incapable of harming me... this round. Does that make it evil for me to put him down? Does it change anything if I wait until next round, or ready an action to zap him when he attacks me, or use ray of admonishment or whatever else?

I see the cleric situation the same way. I have the chance to kill him right now, when he's not technically a threat... this round. But he's going to kill me next round if I don't intervene. Is he truly "helpless", or is he just temporarily vulnerable, like the barbarian?

To me, someone in the process of being brought back into the fight is not truly helpless, as far as alignment implications go.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Andrew Christian wrote:

would have ended up not taking the action, and if it resulted in everyone dying, held you personally responsible.

That is actually a very interesting point. If Mergy had backed off and tried some alternative action, if that action failed, and if that then caused the death of at least one character I'd have felt very, very bad.

I'm glad Mergy stuck to his guns :-).

At the table, Mergy quickly established that this would NOT be a "you are evil and removed from the campaign" action on my part but, at most, a "this character did an evil act" warning, decided his character would still do the action, and we agreed to discuss it after the session.

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Jiggy wrote:

That's not the same kind of "helpless". That's more like "temporarily vulnerable".

You know something? You're absolutely right.

I was trying to mentally refute your argument. But you're absolutely right.

Its unsporting as all heck. And its certainly not a good act. And its pragmatic and rough and mean.

But what it isn't is evil.

Mergy, I know it wasn't your intent starting this thread. But I was wrong. If you want me to remove that comment (or just get a new chronicle sheet) let me know.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

To be honest, I kind of like the mark. I think it has given Zephir more of a personality, and shown some of his companions what he is capable of.

The fact that I would do it again even when you considered it an evil action is a point of pride I have in him. He was going to get the job done, even if it got him in trouble later on. The priority was ending the fight and keeping his party together.

If however, someone sees the mark on my chronicle and asks about it, I'll be sure to direct them to this thread.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

8 people marked this as a favorite.
pauljathome wrote:
Jiggy wrote:

That's not the same kind of "helpless". That's more like "temporarily vulnerable".

You know something? You're absolutely right.

I don't know how to react to this. Which probably means I spend too much time on the internet.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Evil or not? YMMV.

Cheliax

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This has so far been a remarkably civilized discussion. I'm impressed everyone. If people still want to discuss the implications of the action, or talk about other near-evil or quasi-evil things characters have done, this might be a good place for it.

Andoran

pauljathome wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:

would have ended up not taking the action, and if it resulted in everyone dying, held you personally responsible.

That is actually a very interesting point. If Mergy had backed off and tried some alternative action, if that action failed, and if that then caused the death of at least one character I'd have felt very, very bad.

I'm glad Mergy stuck to his guns :-).

At the table, Mergy quickly established that this would NOT be a "you are evil and removed from the campaign" action on my part but, at most, a "this character did an evil act" warning, decided his character would still do the action, and we agreed to discuss it after the session.

Me too.

The point being, I can see one or two of my characters not caring about an evil “mark”.

But many of my characters would. They would not knowingly commit an evil act. And regardless whether I agreed with you or not, as the GM, you define for that moment, whether it is evil or not.

That’s why, as GM, I choose not to worry about anything but the most heinous of actions unless it specifically would affect say a Paladin.

Assistant Software Developer

I added a spoiler tag.

Cheliax

I'm confused how you managed to do a full round action 'coup-de-grace' in between the start and finish of the NPC's full round action 'pour potion down throat.'

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber
Victor Zajic wrote:
I'm confused how you managed to do a full round action 'coup-de-grace' in between the start and finish of the NPC's full round action 'pour potion down throat.'

Because the NPC's was broken up over 2 rounds due to the move action to pull the potion out, and he was evidently close enough to CDG w/out moving himself...

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Victor Zajic wrote:
I'm confused how you managed to do a full round action 'coup-de-grace' in between the start and finish of the NPC's full round action 'pour potion down throat.'

A little-known rule from the Combat chapter of the CRB: you can start what would typically be a full-round action by spending a standard action, and then spend a standard action on your next turn to finish it. Certain specific actions are prohibited though, such as a full-attack action.

Cheliax

I stand corrected. Thanks for pointing that out.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It comes in handy with a spell like sleep in the surprise round. It means you have a chance to run away after they save.

EDIT: I notice this thread has been moved. Yet it is regarding how PFS GMs interpret alignment infractions over the course of the campaign. It has almost nothing to do with what people would do in a home game, because in a home game you only put up with one GM's interpretation of good and evil. I think this should be moved back to the PFS forums.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Mergy wrote:
It comes in handy with a spell like sleep in the surprise round. It means you have a chance to run away after they save.

Not so sure that works. A spell with a casting time of 1 round doesn't finish being cast until just before your turn starts a round after you've finised your action(s). If you start in the surprise round, then you haven't finished your full-round action until your turn in round 1, so it seems to me the spell wouldn't go off until just before your turn on round 2.

On the other hand, this would mean that you can take a move action in the first regular round while you're still working on casting the spell... which seems weird.

So I'm not really sure.


One thing to consider is that, depending on character level and house rules, death isn't that big a deal. Killing someone is more akin to knocking them unconscious and stealing a few thousand gold than it is to murder.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jiggy wrote:
Mergy wrote:
It comes in handy with a spell like sleep in the surprise round. It means you have a chance to run away after they save.

Not so sure that works. A spell with a casting time of 1 round doesn't finish being cast until just before your turn starts a round after you've finised your action(s). If you start in the surprise round, then you haven't finished your full-round action until your turn in round 1, so it seems to me the spell wouldn't go off until just before your turn on round 2.

On the other hand, this would mean that you can take a move action in the first regular round while you're still working on casting the spell... which seems weird.

So I'm not really sure.

Well it's a standard action to finish a full round action. So two standards in place of the full round.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Mergy wrote:
Well it's a standard action to finish a full round action. So two standards in place of the full round.

Right. But sleep doesn't go off when you finish your full round action. It goes off a round after you finish your action. So if the end of your second standard action is equivalent to the end of your full-round action, then you still have a round to wait before your spell goes off (and during which time you can be disrupted).

Cheliax

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Not how I'd interpret it, but I'll check the rules again. You may be correct and I may be misremembering.


Mergy wrote:

Seth: That's correct. I didn't want to risk missing the mook or the potion and then having us go down.

In hindsight, a possible option would be to cast inflict moderate wounds and hold the charge with a readied action should the cleric stand up or start to channel. That would have allowed possible negotiating, but I didn't even think about it at the time.

That would have been the best solution yes, but it's not something that tends to readily come to mind in the heat of battle. Let's take a look at my little personal checklist here...

Did you attempt to avoid a fight with this person in the first place? Yes.
Were you, mid-battle, still trying to talk them down? My impression is yes.
Was the other side posing a legitimate threat? Yes.
Did you regret that things went down the way they went down? Yes.

The second point is a biggie here. I don't have enough information to really say for sure. If he got dropped on the first hit we're really getting into a grey area, but if he went down swinging while you're still trying to talk him out of the whole fight, it would be reasonable to assume he was going to smack you with another channel the second the potion hit him, so yeah, any action that brings a swift and decisive end to hostilities gets a free pass in my book. The fact that straight-up killing a temporarily-unconscious guy was the best way of doing that sucks, but it's clearly a "war is an ugly thing" sort of case.

If you were sneaking into his house to kill him in his sleep because you knew he could wipe you out the next day, that would be evil. If we're ruling that this here is evil in context though, that's a really slippery slope when it comes to taking advantage of various conditions in combat in general. Is it OK to coup de grace someone you've managed to pin and tie up when it's clear he'll be able to break free? What about a big hulking brute you somehow managed to land a sleep spell on, with a buddy nearby that's going to wake him up the first chance he gets? Is it OK to smack someone with a power attack or a smite that will definitely kill them in one strike when you're reasonably sure they'd probably flee if you merely brought them to single digit HP?

My vague impression is that the GM in this case is considering it more evil than he would otherwise, on the grounds of having notes in front of him detailing a situation where he would apologize for attacking and become an ally. That's not really admissible evidence when looking at the morality of the situation though, because that's not how things had actually been playing out.


Bbauzh ap Aghauzh wrote:

While justifiable, evil is still evil.

However, we have to mitigate our current real world view of what evil is. Golarion doesn’t exist with the same set of morals we do.

Running around and killing folks with swords and spells because they are evil is not considered evil. But tell that to all the anit-death penalty folks in the world who picket against the death penalty being used on guys like Dahmer and serial rapists and what not. According to them, even though just doing their job, and doing it with express consent of the church and state, the executioner is performing an evil act.

Coup de grace is not an evil act. Especially if it is during combat and doing so is both prudent and pragmatic. That it also makes sure none of your compatriots die is a bonus.

Just because the opposing cleric was not necessarily evil, does not mean killing him is an evil act. Consider, if a tiger kept attacking your child in the zoo, and somehow you bashed it over the head with a park bench and knocked it temporarily unconscious, but before you could get your child back over the fence, it started to rise… would it be evil to go kill the tiger to save your child? What if it was a human being who’d gone nuts?

Brutal? Yes.
Unforgiving? Yes.
Evil? No (although obviously thtat’s debatable, as many feel killing a helpless foe is evil regardless the circumstances).

I agree. This is the act more of a Neutral. Certainly not good, but justified as self defense in this case. The fact is- altho helpless at that moment in time, he was about to come back. Is chopping up a troll and burning the bits evil?

1 to 50 of 152 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | next > last >>
Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder RPG / General Discussion / Evil Action or Not?: The varying opinions thread All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.