Alignment and eating humanoids


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Recently while salvaging valuables from defeated bugbears my Half Orc Ranger used Survival skills to render several pounds of rations from his defeated foes. I considered this good roleplaying for a true neutral ranger of monstrous ancestry raised among mountainous barbarian tribes. While I attempted to hide this action from other party members the players in my group considered it an evil act. I dont quite understand the Alignment system in spite of my many years as a player.

Help me out. Did I go to far?

Ral the Half Orc Ranger

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Debatable.

Doesn't matter.

None of his abilities are tied to alignment, and one act doesn't suddenly make you evil.

Takes more than that.


In my opinion it is slightly eating if done just for nourishment.
If done for any other reason it is evil. But you don't change alignment for doing evil things now and then if you do enough nonevil or even good things.

So you did not go too far but it was evil non the less.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Yep.

Doesn't matter.


Doing what he thought was the right thing to do, while being aware his fellow party-members would disagree, is a Chaotic act.

It was also slightly naughty, but that's not actually incorporated into the alignment system.

Shadow Lodge

blackbloodtroll wrote:

Yep.

Doesn't matter.

The cook people witch hex allows you to cook an intelligent humanoid alive or dead and eat them. The text says that eating the resulting food is an evil act. So I would have to say that yes turning your fallen foes into a hearty meal would be an evil act.

However, as BBT says it doesn't really matter except for how his friends roleplay it should they find out.


PatientWolf wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:

Yep.

Doesn't matter.

The cook people witch hex allows you to cook an intelligent humanoid alive or dead and eat them. The text says that eating the resulting food is an evil act. So I would have to say that yes turning your fallen foes into a hearty meal would be an evil act.

However, as BBT says it doesn't really matter except for how his friends roleplay it should they find out.

Difference is the witch has the option of doing it alive. One class be responsible for their actions doesn't make all responsible. For example a LG fighter who chooses to not follow a paladins code is no less LG.

Liberty's Edge

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Alignment is always in the eye of the beholder. ...And it kills you with its eye beams, every time.

If he has no choice, eat human or die, then how can you blame him for wanting to live for eating someone who is already dead? Intelligent creatures in this world eat other intelligent creatures in order to survive and they're not evil. Look at the Dragonne, paragon of good and it looks like it eats people... evil people sure but people still.

As for the witch example I would assume part of the hex casting is naturally evil, but eating rations made out of human for a half-orc is probably okay... so long as he's not going out of his way and just scavenging like you mention.


I'm surprised to hear that bugbears are even edible. Probably tastes like really gamy goblin meat.

Shadow Lodge

Grayfeather wrote:
PatientWolf wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:

Yep.

Doesn't matter.

The cook people witch hex allows you to cook an intelligent humanoid alive or dead and eat them. The text says that eating the resulting food is an evil act. So I would have to say that yes turning your fallen foes into a hearty meal would be an evil act.

However, as BBT says it doesn't really matter except for how his friends roleplay it should they find out.

Difference is the witch has the option of doing it alive. One class be responsible for their actions doesn't make all responsible. For example a LG fighter who chooses to not follow a paladins code is no less LG.

It doesn't say that cooking and eating a live humanoid is an evil act but cooking and eating a dead one isn't. It does not differentiate between the two for purposes of determining that it is an evil act.

For that reason in my games I would always rule that cooking and/or knowingly eating a living or dead intelligent humanoid with or without this hex would be considered and evil act.

Shadow Lodge

spectrevk wrote:
I'm surprised to hear that bugbears are even edible. Probably tastes like really gamy goblin meat.

They are really tough but I hear they make a good stew lol

Silver Crusade

Dealt with in a different thread. Yep it is an evil act. No its not enough to shift his alignment. So as blackbloodtroll said, it doesn't matter.


I don't think it is an evil act, though it is certainly looked down on by most civilized people. There is already precedent for this ruling in the books. A ranger from a rough walk of life would know that no matter how despicable it may seem, you can't always afford to waste a food source.


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Remember, for many players:

  • eating a humanoid creature = evil
  • eating a non-humanoid sentient creature = not necessarily evil

It basically falls into the usual "does this creature look like me" mind set as to whether or not the act is evil. I don't agree with this, but as you can see from this thread and from Paizo's books, it's a distinction that repeatedly gets made.


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I think eating another intelligent humanoid is a chaotic act, not necessarily an evil one. I could imagine a barbarian tribe that believes eating their dead allows the person to live o within them, or that if eating a great warrior gives you some of his strength, a great champion would want to be eaten so his strength could continue to protect his tribe. In this way, eating the fallen is a way of respecting the dead, and wouldn't be evil in my view. Weird, uncivilized, and maybe hard to stomach for some, but not evil.

In this specific situation, I also don't think its evil. Your Half-Orc was scavenging, if it doesn't make animals evil, it doesn't make him evil.

Shadow Lodge

Caedwyr wrote:

Remember, for many players:

  • eating a humanoid creature = evil
  • eating a non-humanoid sentient creature = not necessarily evil

It basically falls into the usual "does this creature look like me" mind set as to whether or not the act is evil. I don't agree with this, but as you can see from this thread and from Paizo's books, it's a distinction that repeatedly gets made.

That is a really good point. Honestly the sentience of the creature should be one of, if not the, deciding factor.

Silver Crusade

Unfortunately, as I discovered in a different thread what is and is not consider an evil act is up to the GM.

IMHO eating ANY sentient creature is an evil act, but I get attacked for having this belief.

I doubt we will ever see a BoED/BoVD set standard for Pathfinder for what is evil and what is good. It is too subjective, as evendent by other threads on this subject.

Liberty's Edge

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Pretty sure metalic dragons see little qualm about eating ogres, goblins and the odd anti-paladin. Just my opinion here but Ive always been of the idea that the intent defines the act as evil. If you eating humanoid flesh just for the taste and murdering people just to eat them then your probably gonna wake up one day as a ghoul. If your culture honors its dead by eating some of their flesh, or its a eat or die situation I doubt its going to taint you. Of course its ultimately between you and your DM.

Also note its only Cannibalism of you eat your own species.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Ravenovf wrote:

Pretty sure metalic dragons see little qualm about eating ogres, goblins and the odd anti-paladin. Just my opinion here but Ive always been of the idea that the intent defines the act as evil. If you eating humanoid flesh just for the taste and murdering people just to eat them then your probably gonna wake up one day as a ghoul. If your culture honors its dead by eating some of their flesh, or its a eat or die situation I doubt its going to taint you. Of course its ultimately between you and your DM.

Also note its only Cannibalism of you eat your own species.

Dragons, even good ones are monsters. So it's not surprised that they eat what they eat. Different things are expected out of people, and most folks of society don't count dragons or other monsters as people.

If word of your culinary preferences got out, you'd essentially be reinforcing the negative stereotype that most NPC's have of half-orcs. Alignment wise.. you're threading the line. you're not really making much of an effort to break yourself from your monstrous background.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Some cultures eat their dead as a sign of respect.


LazarX wrote:
Ravenovf wrote:

Pretty sure metalic dragons see little qualm about eating ogres, goblins and the odd anti-paladin. Just my opinion here but Ive always been of the idea that the intent defines the act as evil. If you eating humanoid flesh just for the taste and murdering people just to eat them then your probably gonna wake up one day as a ghoul. If your culture honors its dead by eating some of their flesh, or its a eat or die situation I doubt its going to taint you. Of course its ultimately between you and your DM.

Also note its only Cannibalism of you eat your own species.

Dragons, even good ones are monsters. So it's not surprised that they eat what they eat. Different things are expected out of people, and most folks of society don't count dragons or other monsters as people.

If word of your culinary preferences got out, you'd essentially be reinforcing the negative stereotype that most NPC's have of half-orcs. Alignment wise.. you're threading the line. you're not really making much of an effort to break yourself from your monstrous background.

What is the dividing line between monster and non-monster? How do I know where to provide certain protections and benefits for being in the monster or not-monster classifications? Is presence in the monster manual enough, or is it something more?

If one is asking questions about moral/ethical issues in their games, my inclination is that they aren't looking for simplifications such as the one you've presented, and may be looking for more than a team black vs. team light level of alignment/morals/ethics.

Then again, I may be totally off on the intent behind the question, and you may have provided a helpful point of view.

Silver Crusade

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LG couatls and certain Buddhist monks agree!

"It depends on how and why you're doing it."


Alignments in Pathfinder are an attempt to systemically and rigidly regulate actions without regards to the circumstances surrounding the action.

I take issue with that idea for the most part, because it leads to situations like a Lawful Good character killing an Evil character for a bad reason, and it still being a good act, while a Lawful Good character killing another Good-aligned creature - even for a good reason - would be an evil one.

Generally speaking, I ignore the [Evil] descriptors on abilities (which is inconsistent anyway) and judge the actions of the characters in context with the events surrounding them and (for Divine classes) how those actions would be viewed by the character's governing deity.

Scarab Sages

When I gm, I house rule that if you are dying of thirst or hunger, your alignment is suspended to chaotic evil.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Previous editions of D&D, including 3.5 in some articles and books, seemed to indicate the simple act of eating other creatures (sentient or no) itself was an inherently Neutral act, but the motive for the eating could make it evil. The best example I can think of for a non-evil race that was pretty consistently connected to eating sentient life and even cannibalism are the Lizardfolk.

From 3.5's Ecology of the Lizardfolk article in Dragon Magazine all the way back to 1st Edition, Lizardmen were always presented as a race that ate the flesh of sentient creatures. The AD&D Second Edition Book of Humanoids even had a rule that players of Lizardman characters had to make a Wisdom check to avoid running off with and eating fallen companions and enemies any time (including in the middle of combat) someone dropped dead near them.

The thing that seemed to make it okay for lizardfolk to eat sentient creatures without it being considered evil was a cultural and spiritual belief that stemmed from the fact that most lizardman tribes lived in harsh environments where meat might at times be scarce.

The old Lizardman deity, Semuanya, was Neutral. He taught his people to do what was necessary to survive without malice or aforethought. If food became available, the lizardfolk should eat it, no matter where it came from, because it be might a long time before they ate again. Basically, the lizardfolk had a very instinct-driven, animal-like view of the world. They were Neutral for pretty much the same reason Animals are Neutral.

Lizardfolk were a sentient race eating other sentient races, but they weren't typed as Evil because they never intentionally set out to hunt and eat other sentients out of hatred or bloodlust or just plain being jerks. The bodies of sentient creatures were just meat that would go to waste if something didn't eat it.

Tribes that resorted to cannibalism did so in lean times and only ate those who died of natural causes or due to their dangerous lifestyle. The spirits of lizardfolk who were eaten by their own tribe were sometimes even venerated or thanked for having the good fortune to leave behind a recoverable corpse when the tribe needed food. The spirit and the body were two completely separate things to the lizardfolk so they didn't see any harm in eating the body.

Troglodytes and Orcs, two other races that often eat sentient creatures are evil. They're evil for reasons that go beyond their diet, sure, but when it comes to eating sentient creatures, their motives are vastly different from the motives of lizardfolk. Both races share the lizardfolks' tendency to dwell in harsh environments but to them, eating sentient creatures isn't just about survival. They do it because they know it causes other creatures to fear and loathe them. Their typical Chaotic Evil cultures also teach them that eating other sentient creatures is a way to prove they're stronger and more deserving of life.

Something else worth pointing is Lawful Good Bronze Dragons whose diet occasionally consists of sahuagin. You could argue that dragons usually view humanoids as little more than vermin so it doesn't count, but I think that only reinforces the position that eating sentient creatures was viewed as neutral. The dragon might have an ulterior motive for eating the sahaugin since those things are horrible, evil, shark-demon worshiping monsters that might be threatening the dragon's home or allies but, ultimately, it's probably just looking for some grub and it knows nobody will miss the bastiches.

Of course, that was old D&D...

There isn't enough fluff on Lizardfolk in Golarion or in Pathfinder in general for me to know if the designers at Paizo view the race the way previous editions did, but it seems like they take a hard line where eating sentient creatures is concerned (at least sentient creatures who look kind of like you.)

Based on Frederic's description, I'd say his Half-Orc's decision to turn the bugbears into Slim Jims was practical (Neutral) but maybe unnecessary (Chaotic.) Maybe he didn't really need the extra food or maybe there were plenty of game animals or nuts and berries he could have found with a Survival check instead of spending four hours butchering bugbears.


LazarX wrote:
Ravenovf wrote:

Pretty sure metalic dragons see little qualm about eating ogres, goblins and the odd anti-paladin. Just my opinion here but Ive always been of the idea that the intent defines the act as evil. If you eating humanoid flesh just for the taste and murdering people just to eat them then your probably gonna wake up one day as a ghoul. If your culture honors its dead by eating some of their flesh, or its a eat or die situation I doubt its going to taint you. Of course its ultimately between you and your DM.

Also note its only Cannibalism of you eat your own species.

Dragons, even good ones are monsters. So it's not surprised that they eat what they eat. Different things are expected out of people, and most folks of society don't count dragons or other monsters as people.

If word of your culinary preferences got out, you'd essentially be reinforcing the negative stereotype that most NPC's have of half-orcs. Alignment wise.. you're threading the line. you're not really making much of an effort to break yourself from your monstrous background.

Some people would consider a half-orc a monster too.


As a GM, I'd usually rule it was a evil act, barring cases of survival cannibalism or something, and even then you might want to investigate atoning. A relatively easy atonement, mind you, but still an acknowledgement that nothing but the utter emergency could justify it.


As it is a half-orc doing the deed to survive, I would call it a natural/neutral action and leave it at that. Of course, there might be ethical concerns with what you're doing, but that's more lawful/chaotic than good/evil.


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Vod Canockers wrote:
Some people would consider a half-orc a monster too.

Met plenty of humans that fit the bill more than some "monsters" I've seen.

Shadow Lodge

tonyz wrote:
As a GM, I'd usually rule it was a evil act, barring cases of survival cannibalism or something, and even then you might want to investigate atoning. A relatively easy atonement, mind you, but still an acknowledgement that nothing but the utter emergency could justify it.

Even if it is evil, a single evil act isn't enough to turn a neutral character neutral evil, and no atonement should be necessary - at most the character might apologize for offending his companion's sensibilities. A CN rogue wouldn't need to seek atonement for a few acts of pickpocketing, would he?

Silver Crusade

Velcro Zipper wrote:

There isn't enough fluff on Lizardfolk in Golarion or in Pathfinder in general for me to know if the designers at Paizo view the race the way previous editions did, but it seems like they take a hard line where eating sentient creatures is concerned (at least sentient creatures who look kind of like you.)

I want to say their article in Classic Monsters Revisited still had them with the old "meat is meat" outlook. That's certainly how they were characterized in the AP I met them in as a player.(and they were a non-villainous tribe that could be interacted with peacefully, to be specific)

James Jacobs has said he views cannibalism in-game as chaotic rather than evil. I don't think I'd entirely agree(the Couatl and RL monks are left hanging by that for example), but I have to agree with the reasoning that it's not automatically evil. There are just too many other factors going into to consider.

There are actions that could be genuinely Always Evil. But cannibalism is one that requires more information before a call can be made.


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Never understood why this is even an issue. So he turned his enemies into meat? Seems entirely reasonable and a sufficiently intelligent use of available resources. Not remotely evil, IMHO.

Why is it not evil to eat the corpses of non-intelligent creatures, but evil to eat the corpses of intelligent creatures? Barring them rezzing up and slimily attempting to dob on you (without the bits you ate) to their mommies, they aren't exactly using their (former) bodies any more, so it becomes fair game. Pun intended.


Mikaze wrote:
Velcro Zipper wrote:

There isn't enough fluff on Lizardfolk in Golarion or in Pathfinder in general for me to know if the designers at Paizo view the race the way previous editions did, but it seems like they take a hard line where eating sentient creatures is concerned (at least sentient creatures who look kind of like you.)

I want to say their article in Classic Monsters Revisited still had them with the old "meat is meat" outlook. That's certainly how they were characterized in the AP I met them in as a player.(and they were a non-villainous tribe that could be interacted with peacefully, to be specific)

James Jacobs has said he views cannibalism in-game as chaotic rather than evil. I don't think I'd entirely agree(the Couatl and RL monks are left hanging by that for example), but I have to agree with the reasoning that it's not automatically evil. There are just too many other factors going into to consider.

There are actions that could be genuinely Always Evil. But cannibalism is one that requires more information before a call can be made.

This sums it up quite nicely.


blackbloodtroll wrote:


Some cultures eat their dead as a sign of respect.

This is all imo, of course :) D&D / PF is not an exercise in cultural relativity by RAW. Anything can be construed as acceptable according to some culture. In the game what that means is some cultures are "evil". Is it evil in modern culturally relatavistic terms? Maybe not. But in the game, some things are just... evil. Like canabilism. Or casting a spell with the "evil" descriptor :) Would it change your alignment? Not, I think, as an isolated incident. Make a habit out of it and you're evil :)

I would extend the definition of canibalism to intelligent beings of similar form (humanoids / demihumans / humans). The reason it doesn't extend that way in rl is simple. There are no humanoids besides us. If neandertals were still around and you ate one, canibalism would be the description. Again, imo. Canibalism being a classic fact of Orc culture (I'm not sure about orcs in Golarion) probably helps explain the evil label for them. On the other hand, a dragon (being non humanoid) snacks on some human burglar (or Halfling one), then it's just lunch :)

Doing such an act (eating fellow humanoids) secretively, hiding it from your fellows who might wonder who's next on the menu, is obviously crossing some line, which is chaotic as well.

So, chaotic and evil :D

All, again, imo and you are quite welcome to yours. What would the world come to if everyone agreed on an alignment thread? probably the end of the universe...


R_Chance wrote:


This is all imo, of course :) D&D / PF is not an exercise in cultural relativity by RAW. Anything can be construed as acceptable according to some culture. In the game what that means is some cultures are "evil". Is it evil in modern culturally relatavistic terms? Maybe not. But in the game, some things are just... evil. Like canabilism. Or casting a spell with the "evil" descriptor :) Would it change your alignment? Not, I think, as an isolated incident. Make a habit out of it and you're evil :)

I would extend the definition of canibalism to intelligent beings of similar form (humanoids / demihumans / humans). The reason it doesn't extend that way in rl is simple. There are no humanoids besides us. If neandertals were still around and you ate one, canibalism would be the description. Again, imo. Canibalism being a classic fact of Orc culture (I'm not sure about orcs in Golarion) probably helps explain the evil label for them. ...

But there is a cultural distinction in the game. You mention orcs, but we also have Lizardfolk who by their describtion eat the corpses of both friends and foes. Even so, Lizardfolk as a race are neutral.

We need to make the call based on the situation. If I were the GM of a ranger who suddenly ate the fallen enemies, I would be "Ah, what?". If he got a reasonable explanation that the barbarian (perhaps orcish) tribe he comes from is a bit more pragmatic about these things, then my reaction would become "Cool, that doesn't seem evil (and secretly start hoping for the conflict that arises, when makes a meal to the group from his newfound rations)".


HaraldKlak wrote:


R_Chance wrote:


This is all imo, of course :) D&D / PF is not an exercise in cultural relativity by RAW. Anything can be construed as acceptable according to some culture. In the game what that means is some cultures are "evil". Is it evil in modern culturally relatavistic terms? Maybe not. But in the game, some things are just... evil. Like canabilism. Or casting a spell with the "evil" descriptor :) Would it change your alignment? Not, I think, as an isolated incident. Make a habit out of it and you're evil :)

I would extend the definition of canibalism to intelligent beings of similar form (humanoids / demihumans / humans). The reason it doesn't extend that way in rl is simple. There are no humanoids besides us. If neandertals were still around and you ate one, canibalism would be the description. Again, imo. Canibalism being a classic fact of Orc culture (I'm not sure about orcs in Golarion) probably helps explain the evil label for them. ...

But there is a cultural distinction in the game. You mention orcs, but we also have Lizardfolk who by their describtion eat the corpses of both friends and foes. Even so, Lizardfolk as a race are neutral.

We need to make the call based on the situation. If I were the GM of a ranger who suddenly ate the fallen enemies, I would be "Ah, what?". If he got a reasonable explanation that the barbarian (perhaps orcish) tribe he comes from is a bit more pragmatic about these things, then my reaction would become "Cool, that doesn't seem evil (and secretly start hoping for the conflict that arises, when makes a meal to the group from his newfound rations)".

And I would argue that Lizardfolk aren't quite as close to the humanoid norm. Reptilian. Tails. Different skeletal structure / organs etc. A bit removed from the various mammalian humanoids whose skeleton / organs are laid out in pretty much the same fashion. A half Orc canibalizing bodies... Orcish. Maybe a bit evil. A lizard man eating mammals, not so much. As for eating their own, fairly rare or the tribe would be extinct. Ceremonial maybe. Too rare to account for an alignment shift... or maybe they have good habits that balance it out. To each their own on any alignment thread...


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That's racist and you know it!!


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Evil Finnish Chaos Beast wrote:


That's racist and you know it!!

Speciest I'd say :)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Weirdo wrote:


Even if it is evil, a single evil act isn't enough to turn a neutral character neutral evil, and no atonement should be necessary - at most the character might apologize for offending his companion's sensibilities. A CN rogue wouldn't need to seek atonement for a few acts of pickpocketing, would he?

The back history of "Second Darkness" would disagree. If the act is evil enough and done with enough passion, you can slide all the way to evil without passing GO!.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Caedwyr wrote:
What is the dividing line between monster and non-monster? How do I know where to provide certain protections and benefits for being in the monster or not-monster classifications? Is presence in the monster manual enough, or is it something more?

A non-monster, excluding pets or cattle, is a being you can envisage as being part of your society. They'll conform to societal norms, do work, pay their taxes, etc. And you don't have to rise arms if one moves into your neighborhood. Dragons, even good ones, generally don't meet those qualifications.

Monsters by definition, are creatures that don't fit in.


R_Chance wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:


Some cultures eat their dead as a sign of respect.

This is all imo, of course :) D&D / PF is not an exercise in cultural relativity by RAW. Anything can be construed as acceptable according to some culture. In the game what that means is some cultures are "evil". Is it evil in modern culturally relatavistic terms? Maybe not. But in the game, some things are just... evil. Like canabilism. Or casting a spell with the "evil" descriptor :) Would it change your alignment? Not, I think, as an isolated incident. Make a habit out of it and you're evil :)

I would extend the definition of canibalism to intelligent beings of similar form (humanoids / demihumans / humans). The reason it doesn't extend that way in rl is simple. There are no humanoids besides us. If neandertals were still around and you ate one, canibalism would be the description. Again, imo. Canibalism being a classic fact of Orc culture (I'm not sure about orcs in Golarion) probably helps explain the evil label for them. On the other hand, a dragon (being non humanoid) snacks on some human burglar (or Halfling one), then it's just lunch :)

Doing such an act (eating fellow humanoids) secretively, hiding it from your fellows who might wonder who's next on the menu, is obviously crossing some line, which is chaotic as well.

So, chaotic and evil :D

All, again, imo and you are quite welcome to yours. What would the world come to if everyone agreed on an alignment thread? probably the end of the universe...

Here is my issue with treating it as chaotic and evil. Imagine you had a character who obeys the local law(which allows for canabalism), is kind to others, helps those in need, protects the innocent and never intentionally hurts someone else. He does all this based on strong moral beliefs. This character also fights a lot of orcs and eats their bodies afterwards. So he is chaotic evil.

He could be the most helpful guy in the party who does the most to further the cause of good, but if he eats too many orcs, he will be chaotic evil.


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PatientWolf wrote:
For that reason in my games I would always rule that cooking and/or knowingly eating a living or dead intelligent humanoid with or without this hex would be considered and evil act.

There's a nasty rumour that there is an island nation near Tian Xia where the folk regularly hunt intelligent sea life such as whales, dolphins and merfolk with harpoons from ships. They then harvest the meat for eating or making soup. Would they be considered evil?

Dark Archive

The Sin Eater (Inquisitor archetype) mentions that some extreme sects eat some of the corpse as part of the process of "sin eating".

The Sanguine bloodline (Wildblooded sorcerer archetype) gives benefits from drinking the blood of recently dead creatures (although they don't have to be sentient ones).

Either of these archetypes would have been a great place for Paizo to give an official ruling on the morality of such acts. They didn't, so as with most of these alignment threads, make up your own mind.

(And if you are playing a paladin, ask your DM before you eat the flesh of sentient creatures; my paladin occasionally eats the hearts of fallen foes in order to benefit from the healing ability of a certain magic item the party found, and my DM is happy it isn't an evil act, but I would have had no complaints had he ruled otherwise - assuming it was done in advance.)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Oceanshieldwolf wrote:

Never understood why this is even an issue. So he turned his enemies into meat? Seems entirely reasonable and a sufficiently intelligent use of available resources. Not remotely evil, IMHO.

Why is it not evil to eat the corpses of non-intelligent creatures, but evil to eat the corpses of intelligent creatures? Barring them rezzing up and slimily attempting to dob on you (without the bits you ate) to their mommies, they aren't exactly using their (former) bodies any more, so it becomes fair game. Pun intended.

Cannibalism was considered the absolute worst sin in Classical Greek culture. The top punishment in Tartarus went to King Tantalus who served up his son to the gods. It was an issue because how your body is treated in death defines pretty much the state of your afterlife.

In the Illiad, Priam pretty much debases himself in order to convince Achillies to stop mistreating the body of his son, Hector and allow for a decent burial. Achillies arranges for the body to be covered as it was in pretty bad shape with him dragging it around the walls of Troy. Simmilarly the craven or more despised figures of the war are said to have their bodies dumped on a rubbish pile instead of a proper burial to express the contempt they had for them.

So yes, in many cultures, cannibalism of the dead is a big issue. In more practical terms, if someone makes a meal of your dead PC, Raise Dead isn't bringing you back.


LazarX wrote:
So yes, in many cultures, cannibalism of the dead is a big issue. In more practical terms, if someone makes a meal of your dead PC, Raise Dead isn't bringing you back.

I think it's ok in games as long as it's for scientific research and you don't go over your daily quota.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

*shrug*

This is difficult to pin down. On the one hand, you are eating an intelligent creature...on the other...who...cares? He's not the same species as you, so it definitely isn't cannibalism (which would technically be evil...I guess...though the only reason we have such a visceral reaction to cannibalism is because evolutionarily its stupid as heck to try and eat someone of your own species, making it neither right nor wrong, just...stupid) I mean, I don't really see this act as moral or amoral, anymore so than eating anything else. Again, it isn't cannibalism, so its not "monstrous" anymore, and thus loses the flavour of evil.And you didn't kill him JUST to eat him(which would be evil), you decided to make use of his remains to stay alive (thoroughly neutral camp action).

Fits with character as well. In many "Barbarous" culture, the idea of consuming the parts of something else to gain their essence is intrinsic to certain old religions. This belief system not only continues in some way shape or form nowadayas, but is by itself no more evil than any number of random belief systems. For instance, there is one culture that mixes the blood of two people in cups of alcohol solution. The two drink each other's blood to cement a bond of brotherhood (thereby literally making themselves brothers "through blood"). Don't see anything evil going on there.
In other words, its different, but it doesn't FEEL evil to me. HOWEVER, I must ask: what was the character's intention during this entire interaction. If he killed the bugbear for food: that's evil. If he cooked him up as a spiteful rejection of proper burial customs: again, evil. But if he just made rations to stay alive...not evil enough.

Liberty's Edge

I would put it as mildly evil. But not enough per se to make the PC evil.

BTW, ignoring that an act is evil will not magically make it neutral. Even if your PC does not know that summoning Demons or casting Animate Dead is evil, it still is.


LazarX wrote:
Caedwyr wrote:
What is the dividing line between monster and non-monster? How do I know where to provide certain protections and benefits for being in the monster or not-monster classifications? Is presence in the monster manual enough, or is it something more?

A non-monster, excluding pets or cattle, is a being you can envisage as being part of your society. They'll conform to societal norms, do work, pay their taxes, etc. And you don't have to rise arms if one moves into your neighborhood. Dragons, even good ones, generally don't meet those qualifications.

Monsters by definition, are creatures that don't fit in.

The problem with this definition is that many of the mentally ill would be categorized as monsters.

Shadow Lodge

LazarX wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
Even if it is evil, a single evil act isn't enough to turn a neutral character neutral evil, and no atonement should be necessary - at most the character might apologize for offending his companion's sensibilities. A CN rogue wouldn't need to seek atonement for a few acts of pickpocketing, would he?
The back history of "Second Darkness" would disagree. If the act is evil enough and done with enough passion, you can slide all the way to evil without passing GO!.

Not familiar with that one, but I meant a minor evil act, as should be clear from my reference to pickpocketing. Cannibalism might be considered a minor evil act by some, but in this context it's not "evil enough and done with enough passion" to warrant instant alignment change.

Blowing up an orphanage? Torture of innocents? Sure, that'll take you right to evil.

Pickpocketing? Vandalism? Mutilation of dead bodies? Not going to cut it.


IMC, eating sentient beings (whether humanoid or not) is a non-Good act (not necessarily Evil as the more savage tribes of lizardmen do it all the time, and they are Neutral). An exception is made in cases of desperation (e.g. starving, nothing else to eat except dead sentients). Such acts are also detested by almost all human/demi-human societies.

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