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

Is a Good character "turning a blind eye" to other party members' evil actions, evil?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

1 to 50 of 133 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>

I'd say yes. My group is basically me (NG) then the other four TN and CN. They have no qualms about hijacking wagons owned by merchants coming into the city, and they say "it's purely self-interest, so it's neutral, not evil." Whether this is correct or not, what would the answer to my first question be.
My character has extreme moral crises everytime we plan anything.


well i would say it depends on your playstyle, and how strict you want to be.

Sounds like the players are acting out as bandits, which would/should lean to the evil side of the alignment tree.. considering they are probably stealing for monetary gain for themselves/ marauding the countryside.

If you don't think your character would "look the other way" so to speak... it leaves you 3 choices..

1) change your characters morality to match theirs
2) reroll a character that would be in-line with the party morality
3) turn them all in to the local city and collect the bounty ;-0 [ and most likely teach them a lesson for going off tangent ( assuming they are ) ]

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Are they killing folks when they hijack wagons? Just stealing things isn't evil. Things can always be repaid, money can always be earned. In either event, speaking as a GM in my games, this would eventually catch up to them(your PC).

What are the relationships amongst the PCs? Why did you band together in the first place. Is your character bound to them? If not have you tried to reason with the party (RP)? If you truly are the odd man out and the character has issues I'd assume he/she would leave the party unless there was a really good reason to try and stay together.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I'd agree with you on this one.

Sounds like your party members are neutral-aligned characters who frequently commit evil acts. And no, "purely self-interest" is not a mitigating factor. You don't have to be in it just for the lulz for an act to be evil. Provided they aren't killing anyone, their actions are totally within reason for neutral-aligned characters, but for your good aligned character that does present a problem.

The GM really needs to be stepping in here; this is a potential powder-keg for inter-party conflict.

Quote:
Just stealing things isn't evil. Things can always be repaid, money can always be earned.

Stealing isn't necessarily evil, but it often is. I sincerely doubt they're planning to repay these people.


Does the character feel guilty while turning a blind eye, or does he/she not care?


How evil stealing is really depends on how much you hurt a person. Stealing from corporations and rich folk doesn't really hurt them. It's more of an ethically quandary. It's when you steal from someone that is really going to suffer from it that it gets evil.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
toxicpie wrote:

I'd say yes. My group is basically me (NG) then the other four TN and CN. They have no qualms about hijacking wagons owned by merchants coming into the city, and they say "it's purely self-interest, so it's neutral, not evil." Whether this is correct or not, what would the answer to my first question be.

My character has extreme moral crises everytime we plan anything.

If you stand in inaction while your compatriots commit evil then you ultimately are going to slip away from Good as you let yourself become inured to the harm they cause. And yes no matter how they try to slice it, it's evil. It may be a bit short of Hannibal Lector style evil, but not as distant as they might think.

Andoran

Agreed. They do Evil.

Turning a blind eye to evil is not evil per se in my book. It is neutral. Because it fits the "caring about others but not acting" part of Neutral. Now, if you join them on their crime spree, that is an evil act.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Depends on how they do it.

A classic good guy bandit scenario would be a Robin Hood, who doesn't kill but instead just 're-appropriates wealth(CG imo). More neutral would be someone who robs but doesn't kill(CN). Robbing and killing is more evil(NE) as where killing just cause would be the most chaotic(CE).

My take anyways.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I agree with Darth Grall.

Stealing is more of a question of Lawful vs Chaotic than it is of a Good vs Evil line.

Our particular society frowns on it, but that doesn't make the act in of itself evil.

Now, if they are beating / killing people in order to steal, then you can start worrying about their acts being evil :)

Of course, your GM may view things differently so consult with him or her!


3 people marked this as a favorite.

It would depend on the situation, but I´d lean towards being non-good. Theft on a large scale without good justification is imo evil - you are taking something someone else needs for his livelyhood. Stealing whole wagons full of goods can bankrupt nearly any merchant.

And on a tangent, "it's purely self-interest, so it's neutral, not evil." sounds pretty absurd. So, evil characters only do that stuff for the lulz?


Evil over here.

I'm not a stickler for alignment with characters (though I will say something if there's a serious problem with their roleplaying, like a supposed cleric of a good deity not even hesitating to kill someone who got in his way). However, when you get down to it, allowing someone to suffer when it is entirely within your immediate means to prevent it (i.e. not letting your ally steal) you are at fault.

ESPECIALLY if you directly benefit from that stealing as a part of the group (like if, say, the rogue steals a bunch of horses and you ride one of them).


The Shaman wrote:

It would depend on the situation, but I´d lean towards being non-good. Theft on a large scale without good justification is imo evil - you are taking something someone else needs for his livelyhood. Stealing whole wagons full of goods can bankrupt nearly any merchant.

And on a tangent, "it's purely self-interest, so it's neutral, not evil." sounds pretty absurd. So, evil characters only do that stuff for the lulz?

Yeah that's pretty much how NE is defined: inflicting suffering wantonly for personal gain. CE are the ones that general do it because they feel like it, i.e. for the lulz.

A Neutral person would say: The amount of good coming out of this negates the suffering it causes: we have to save the kingdom, and there's no way we can survive without stealing this thing, so we must.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Albatoonoe wrote:
How evil stealing is really depends on how much you hurt a person. Stealing from corporations and rich folk doesn't really hurt them. It's more of an ethically quandary. It's when you steal from someone that is really going to suffer from it that it gets evil.

You also have to consider the emotional experience of the victims. Being threatened with grievous bodily harm or death is terrifying and traumatic. Inflicting that on someone is evil, even if you don't inflict physical injury on the person.

Taldor

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Charles F. Aked wrote:
The sin of doing nothing is the deadliest of all the seven sins. It has been said that for evil men to accomplish their purpose it is only necessary that good men should do nothing.

Allowing evil to go unchecked certainly is not something a good person would do.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm dealing with this as the one good party member in a campaign right now.

The OOC lecture I get is basically "that's great that YOU want your character to be lawful good. I don't want MY character to be good, so don't interfere with my right to play."

The obvious response is that while you have every right to play a childkiller, I have every right to play a character who actively works to prevent childkilling. It does not matter if you have a PC or an NPC flag above you- and I'm under no obligation to not interfere just because YOU want to play a psychopath.

Party tension is not always a bad thing. It's a good roleplay opportunity. PVP should be avoided, but not at all costs.


So what is your character doing that's good? If people were harming others by stealing from them, and they WERN'T pcs, would your character tolerate it or stop it? Answer that question and you'll know if your character is actually good.


We have a situation in our current game group where the party seems to be split 40/60 good/neutral. One of the "neutral" characters seems a bit quick to suggest "roughing someone up" to get answers or burning down a suspected bad guy's house to create a "diversion." This is causing some concern for the good characters in the party.

My own character is one of the neutral ones and has been working hard to keep the party from splitting along these lines while still moving the story forward.

When I play good characters how far they are willing to tolerate "evil" acts depends on their individual personalities, but in general the answer is "not far." If I were a good character in the campaign I mentioned above, I would already have had some sort of confrontation with the character who keeps suggesting things that seem to tip the balance a bit far to the dark side.


Right, okay. Great answers so far, lots to think about.
My character is on a quest because of a vision he had, and he also saw the other characters in the vision, so he basically has to stick with them, he feels.
They don't kill, but as a lot of people said the... cruelty, of it makes it seem evil, and the stuff they steal is jewels and silks, so I think it would bankrupt the richest if merchants. It's also not like there's no other options. We originally were just going to open an inn, to earn enough money for our travels, and it gradually devolved in to this. My GM agrees with me, but the session ended in a rush and the debate didn't get finished, so there'll probably be a bit more arguing to go!
What Morgan and Charles said really sums it up for me, and in all good conscience I think I'll have to oppose their deeds as much as I can. Thanks for every answer, I'll definitely show all the players this topic!


Makes for some interesting RP moments doesn't it?


DaemonAngel wrote:
Makes for some interesting RP moments doesn't it?

It certainly does, and I'm sure there'll be many to come! Amusing actually, because they outnumber me four to one, but I'm the only magic user in the world really, so in arguments both sides have a lot of sway.


Sloanzilla wrote:
The OOC lecture I get is basically "that's great that YOU want your character to be lawful good. I don't want MY character to be good, so don't interfere with my right to play."

My group dealt with something similar with one person always trying to make their character someone who would never get along with anyone, and getting angry about us 'telling him how to play his character' when we objected. Then one night the party went off in a different direction without telling him, and our response was 'That's great that YOU want to play this way, but the rest of us don't want to put up with it, and neither do our characters. Don't tell us how to play our characters.'

Andoran

3 people marked this as a favorite.

It's Evil. That's all there is to it. Now, if everyone signed on to play an evil campaign, then no big deal. If not, then you have to figure out where to go with it. I'm personally of the opinion that the GM ought to step in and tell the players (yes, players; this needs to be an OOC discussion) to either play a good party or expect to be hunted down and killed like any other bandits. If they're going to do evil stuff, they're the bad guys. And we all know how that story turns out.


Ooh, new spanner in the works. They said they would pay a tithe to the poor and needy with the money *they* make, and they think that my god would forgive me, as we are doing this, after all, to raise funds for questing, mainly mine.
But I still dunno, I (my character ;D) still feels awful about it all. Do the ends justify the means in this case? Hell, if we just didn't do it then R'hllor wouldn't need to forgive me... Just another factor to think about.

And to clarify, this isn't really to give to the poor, that's to appease me, which I really appreciate them doing, but it still just doesn't feel right.


Well, in-game it depends a lot on what the deity in particular has to say about ownership of resources and the improvised change thereof, but I´d say it is a rather poor excuse. Better than nothing, perhaps, but still suspect. Depending on the personal view of your character, it could be enough, but in most cases it might not suffice.

Really, is there nothing else a group of well-armed and trained adventurers can do to make money?


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I don't usually post in alignment threads, but this really sounds like the players in question are pulling the wool over the dms eyes, especially if the players in question have formed an alignment bloc/groupthink. I would switch it to neutral evil because they are actively profiting from their theft, even if they give away the rest to the poor.


Yah, I agree that them giving to the poor doesn't really change the problem.

If you're enough of a believer in a NG deity—so much so that you are granted supernatural powers in its name—I'd be floored if you could get away with participating in this group's activities once you knew what was going on.

I can understand the argument of ends justifying the means from the perspective of the neutral characters (even if I think they're really straining even that argument), but that's not what we're discussing. You're the good guy, intentionally victimizing people trying to make a living so you can buy better toys doesn't jive very well to me.

Silver Crusade

13 people marked this as a favorite.

Time for Spook's asbestos suit and alkaseltzer.

The answer is, 'yes.' Evil is not merely an active thing, enabling or standing by idle when evil is perpetrated is itself an evil action.

There's a thing in the Roman Catholic confeitor (that thing with all the mea culpas) that basically puts it as 'forgive us what we have done and what we have failed to do.'

Being good isn't easy.

Also theft in general is an evil, and chaotic act. There are certain things which might negate or ameliorate parts of it (stealing to stay alive, theft in order to achieve genuine justice (the robin hood thing), or such), but the idea that the 'rich don't get hurt' or the belief that a person is only wealthy by intrinsically 'stealing from the oppressed' are deeply evil philosophies based on envy.

Taking someone's property harms them. Even if its minor. Just like I can't walk up to someone and pluck hairs out of their head, or poke them with a toothpick. Trying to claim you have the judgment on how much harm is acceptable without the benefit of either codified ethics, set mores, or laws is kind of obvious in its evil.

Chaos stumbles into evil on this sort of thing. Law walks into it with 'well, its justified,' 'its legal so its moral,' or 'I don't see a law against it so we're ok.'

I admit that I don't see the neutral alignments as a place you want to be in Pathfinder, or DnD before it. They're the ground where you're walking through and either neglecting to rise, or you thankfully just haven't fallen far enough.

Also on the tithe angle. Please.

We're going to rob these people, but we're going to arbitrarilly give money away as it makes our consciences feel a little better. Its the equivalent of saying 'I'm going to kill all humans, but I didn't kill that one over there because he had a puppy.'

Robin Hood, in the best depictions undertakes his action to rob the rich (who have in most cases been bribed or genuinely stolen property) from the downtrodden in order to return stolen property back to the people it was stolen from. IE: Unjust tax takes cash from peasant. He takes goods/cash/whatever from people who got it through the tax.

The thug who robs a bank and then tosses five bucks at a bootblack is being awfully generous with property that isn't his.


^ what Spook said.


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

Okay. An excellent example of this can be found in the science fiction webcomic Freefall; Florence Ambrose is a good individual. Her captain Sam Starfall is a thief and scoundrel (though honestly he epitomizes the Chaotic Good aspect while Florence is more Lawful Good with Neutral tendencies (and may have slipped fully into Neutral Good by this point)) and culturally has different views on property than humanity as a whole.

Florence has gone out of her way to try and make Sam into a more respectable businessman. She's helped repair the shuttle Sam has, helped him get two jobs which paid more than every single theft he's done, combined, over the years, and actually has repaid debts resulting from his thefts and his borrowing money out of the money Sam has gotten with launching and servicing satellites.

So as a Good character... I could see your character repaying the merchants that his companions have robbed out of party treasure. ;) And if they complain, his simple explanation is "I'm not stealing from the party, I'm returning stolen property."


Sometimes turning a blind eye is just a way to protect you from other player's metagaming attempts.

In a party I was in a jerk player always did questionable things that could get my paladin into trouble. I guess most of the time he did it just because it was a chance to get me into trouble.
Not wanting to cause trouble I just ignored what he did.
I guess he took that as a proof that I am an powergamer not a roleplayer. But as his interpretation of roleplaying is building weak PCs and doing griefplay I don't care.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I find I come back to a lot of KODT Refs when discussions come up on these forums.

I call this the Sara Felton paradox.

The player of NG characters, Sara is with a party of individuals who do things like burn down villages for 'smack talking' them, or don't understand why the law applies equally to henchmen and PCs. She's stuck going along with it, based on a desire to keep gaming, and not be a constant nag.

Now the KoDT crew are a paragon of dysfunctional gamers but it shows off the same issue. The player as nag is as much a problem as the player as deranged murderous psychopath.

Thats a tremendously complicated player issue.

It doesn't change what is or isn't upright behavior however.


8 people marked this as a favorite.

I'd tend to agree; standing by and doing nothing while the other guys rob somebody is passively committing evil- or not good, at any rate. Now, if you were true neutral and they were evil and robbing people, I'd see things slightly differently, but standing idly by while such thuggery is taking place is decidedly un-good.

Oddly enough we had a bit of a different situation with our game here:

The character in question is a Tiefling Monk (of demon descent, but not any of the 'special' tieflings from Blood of Fiends). Player insists (or rather, insisted) that the character is Lawful Neutral. Cool, whatever, game on.

Throughout the first 4 adventures, this character is continually going out of his way to help 'joe-nobody' NPC's, gives away most of his share of the loot as 'tips' to folks (just for giving him directions), jumps in the thick of things to help out other PC's- even those who have given him a hard time for being fiend-blooded, etc etc etc.

After that I told the player we had to have a talk about his character's alignment. I shared all of my observations listed above, and then some.

Player was like, "What? Am I being too chaotic? Aw man, am I gonna lose my monk skills because I'm not being lawful enough?"

"No, no, that's not the issue. In fact, his lawfulness isn't an issue- remember how he stepped in and cited an obscure law that allowed someone else to take the public flogging for someone else, if that person paid them a weregild to be flogged in their place? And how he did it for that crippled gambling acquaintance with 5 kids and a sick wife? And then you only charged him two beans?"

"Yeah, so?"

"It's not the 'lawful' part of your alignment that I question..."

>>light of understanding turns on<<

"You mean..."

"Yup, I'm shifting your alignment to Lawful Good."

"But I don't know how to play Lawful Good!"

"Dude, you've been doing it since day one..."

(edit: fixed a formatting typo)


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber

I think it depends on your definition of "doing nothing".

We're in a campaign where I'm playing a LG 'fallen angel' who has no offensive capabilities whatsoever; she's the healbot for the party. 2/3 of the party is 'relatively' good: Don't CdG fallen opponents, try to do right by NPCs, etc. The other 1/3 is, "Kill anyone in the way, take anything you find, and screw the NPCs if they have a problem with it."

My "lawful good" solution is that my angel won't heal the actively-evil party members. Since I'm the only healer in the party, it's been EXTREMELY effective; two of the three "evil" PCs will out-and-out do what she says, and the third knows he's risking his life every time he CdG's an opponent because it drives him deeper into her "S List" and less and less likely to ever be healed.

So in your original terms, she's not "doing" anything to stop the evil characters. But she CAN'T. She has no abilities to stop them, and it doesn't fit her personality to throw herself on top of a prone NPC to try to save his/her life.
But she *IS* refusing to cooperate with them, and in so doing has convinced two of them to change their ways. The third is quickly learning that having no healing at all really sucks, especially when you're getting a reputation as "the guy to kill first" among the NPCs, so I think that in a session or two she's going to have converted the entire party to 'relatively good', all through the inaction of NOT healing.

Back to your original question:
- Turning a completely blind eye to the evil acts of others is evil.
- 'Acting' does not have to be actively opposing them; just not assisting them in any way may be enough. It depends on what role your PC has in the party.


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

Stealing is not necessarily evil, but it is chaotic.
Evil involves delighting in harming, oppressing, and killing others. If they are stealing things for the sake of stealing, it is evil, because they are deriving pleasure from the harm they cause others, and they are acting chaotic evil. If they are stealing because they have no other way of making money, it is neutral evil. If they are stealing specifically to help other people (eg, Robin Hood), it is chaotic good.

Qadira

Before doing anything in-character, be kind enough to give the other players a heads-up. "I should warn you that my character is going to start using message-spells to provide advance warning to your victims, because he can't stand to ignore his own principles anymore for the sake of your profits," or whatever. Of course, if they meta-game to exploit that knowledge, you have a whole new problem.

Silver Crusade

4 people marked this as a favorite.
John Kerpan wrote:

Stealing is not necessarily evil, but it is chaotic.

Evil involves delighting in harming, oppressing, and killing others. If they are stealing things for the sake of stealing, it is evil, because they are deriving pleasure from the harm they cause others, and they are acting chaotic evil. If they are stealing because they have no other way of making money, it is neutral evil. If they are stealing specifically to help other people (eg, Robin Hood), it is chaotic good.

I always feel like I've got a different pair of pants on in these arguments when the 'official' pathfinder definition starts rearing its curly-haired little head.

Theft is evil, even under the overly simplified 'does harm,' ethic it represents deprivation of someone of his rightful property. Rightful property stands out here. This is also the thing that trips up people with that whole 'do not murder' thing.

The issue where this causes confusion is in light of stuff like booty, salvage, plunder, treasure and the like. A generally held military more (war doesn't really have 'laws') is that material can be captured and put to use, also in ye olden days you paid your troops by letting them pick up everything they could carry in enemy territory. That enemy knight's sword? Yours now. The horse? Yours. His wife? Thats where things started to get really tricky on people's definitions of what could be legally 'captured.'

For the record, despite what criminals the world over (and shadowrun) would like you to think, there's very rarely a situation where they 'have no other work but this.' Its an issue of those situations becoming increasingly distasteful, or alternatively the legal system is not behaving *gasp and shock* in a manner that leaves one morally obligated to follow it.

Welcome to the paragon of confusion. It only gets weirder from here.

Spook, we say, 'Thats situational ethics and you a believer in objective morality hath made a fatal error, tear your robe and cast yourself down.' And to that I answer, no.

Perception means jack and s#@%, not necessarilly in that order. What is moral and isn't moral in an objective system is set. Lets presuppose a situation where divinely, orphans are obliged their father's property. The baron steps in and establishes a law that says 'no, I get it,' or 'no, it will be melted down and made into an idol for flubar the god of property taxes.'

The baron, in this objective system, is violating the greater law and therefore it is lawful and even moral to undertake actions to flout his activities and recover the lost inheritence. Admittedly, the best way would be to try legal means before leaping to 'death to flubarists!' In this case its not really theft, its more restoration of the genuine order being called 'theft,' by an invalid legal authority.

Perception enters into this because everyone has their own intrinsic understanding of what good and evil might be. The same way that blind marathon runners know there's a goal and know they're moving towards it, but its hard to verify precisely where they are in relation to it.

In the above situation however, the party is just outright perpetrating banditry. Their actions have no legal or moral basis besides inflicting harm on others for purposes of bettering themselves (with the conscience assuaging bandaid of giving cash to arbitrary poor people tacked on on top of it like some sort of insidious mismanaged extra-legal welfare program). Inflicting harm for purposes of personal gain in this situation appears to be evil. At least to me.

Whether it passes the pathfinder 'Evil by RAW' test, I've got no clue.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Let me put it this way.

The bandit who waylays and robs, taking from others that have not necessarily done evil, for their own good and then gives a minor financial donation from that because of a guilty conscious is effectively what most media portrayals of a religious mafioso is all about.

And really: would you ever call a man who's in the business of organized crime and murder good? Even neutral? Not really, though if he works to specifically curtail the evil, than perhaps it could be an argument, though it's more than likely a weak one.

But that's not what you have here. Instead, you have a group of bandits. They are, at best chaotic neutral. They are, at best behaving in a chaotic neutral way.

They may be neutral evil, or chaotic evil. They are neither true neutral, as presented, or in any regard either lawful or good.

And here's what I'd do as the divine decree: "Payback's a..."
er... hm. I don't use swear words. "Female Dog"? No, that sounds stupid. Oh, right, I've got it now,
"Payback is costly
!" :D

(Yeah, I know, it lacks the punch of the other more popular, but hey, that's the price one pays for lacking a lexicon of expletives in a linguistic landscape that relies on them for emphasis.)

Also, if there's any sort of "But we weren't caught!" argument, first, you know, and thus they are "caught", and secondly, if they don't like the "pay seven times" rule, they can always take the lower, lesser rate of, "Four-to-five times as much or all they have plus being sold into slavery to repay".

Or, you know, if they just go by way of you... they could repay what they took plus 1/5 the cost (although that law applies to any, Leviticus is sort of kind of a book for the Levites, or specially anointed of God, so...)

Of course, then they'd have to receive and atonement spell under that law (the closest thing PF has to such an offering of sacrifice).

Which requires more money.

Here's a pretty decent rundown of Biblical principals of restitution.

If the GM (and/or you) wishes to continue with these characters in particular, there could be any number of ways to handle it. Do you have scribe scroll? You might be able to scribe a Mark of Justice or Geas on the characters in order for their atonement to take place and give them an RP reason not to do what they're doing.

Alternatively, it's possible that a shipment of ancient scrolls (with Geas or Mark of Justice) simply appear in whatever caravan the people rob next. It was, of course, kept secret, because, if you're the only caster in the world, who'd believe (unless proven) that they're magical? This, then, could be the "divine sign" you've waited for to demand your fellows cease their activities (in-character).

All of this can be pretty up-front, too. You don't have to have this be a surprise to your fellow players... in fact, I'd recommend against it.

The fact is, robbing harmless merchants "for the greater good" isn't by itself a good activity, and you might slip into neutral alignment for being a part of it. Robbing harmless merchants "for self interest" is actively evil. Selfishness to the point of not caring about others to get what you want is one of the core definitions of evil.

In any event, you're right in talking to them. As the GM, I'd put my foot down and explain: "Look, guys, you're destroying the story and going toward evil. I'm willing to work with you on this, but you've got to help me, too. As it stands, there is no reason for the cleric - the reason you're playing this game as a group - to stay with you. It's not even about his character ruining yours! We all agreed to go along with the general story before we started playing. We've now got several options: A) abandon that story altogether; B) change the story in some way; C) or change your characters. What do you say?"

"A)" can be accomplished by just dropping the game and starting a new one.

"B)" can be accomplished by following the current trend instead. If you're here to stop an ancient evil, and instead you spend time robbing and pillaging (or, in fact, you're robbing and pillaging to expedite things) the GM can allow whatever evil you're ultimately hoping to face to also become stronger much more rapidly as a direct result - literally feeding off of the evil that you're committing - you are, in fact, empowering the thing you're meant to stop. Or something else along similar lines could occur. Perhaps in doing what you are doing, you accidentally empower evil locally which ultimately delays you from going to face the evil further away. If you abandon the local evil, it wins, destroying everything you care about; and if you fight the local evil, the other wins; same scenario. Either way, there are significant punishments for the actions of a few.

Alternatively, it could become about a group of super-bandits. If they're so successful, business might dry up entirely, with the few caravans who come through doing so with very powerful guards with lackluster equipment - this makes the fight not really worth it. The PCs, having ticked off the neutral good god in question, might start taking serious XP penalties as well - a sign of wrath against the chosen ones.

The PCs themselves might be pillaged. Where are they storing all the stuff they're stealing? Are they selling it? What are they doing with the money? Unless they have a ton of bags of holding or handy haversacks on them, they've got to store that stuff somewhere. Also, it could always be traced back to them.

Any of this could be a side-trek before getting back on target as well.

"C)" can be accomplished by altering the characters' personality (atonement, mark of justice, geas, just deciding to be different, etc) or by leaving the neutral characters as NPCs and rolling up new, good characters. If the idea of new characters bother you, perhaps the old ones were like Balam: a genuine prophet empowered by God who couldn't use that power against Him, but instead used every trick in the book to avoid serving the Lord and corrupt God's people in order to get money. Although successful initially, he ended up hoist by his own petard, as it were. The same could happen to the evil-pretending-to-be-neutral PCs, to be replaced with a new divine vision.

Note, the speech I made up there makes presumptions. If those presumptions don't fit, don't use them. But really, it's a thing.

EDIT (also a format fixing):

Taking stuff from <insert group> just to give it to <insert group> is not actually good inherently. Not even chaotic good.

Instead, the good comes from restoration by way of robbery. I'll note that the chaotic good Robin Hood did not rob from the arbitrarily rich to give to the arbitrarily poor.

Instead, he robbed from those who were actively and abidingly oppressing those who were powerless to stop it in order to return the belongings taken from the powerless ones in the first place for the express purpose of improving the lives of those who were oppressed while meting out justice to those who were actively oppressive.

He was chaotic because he opposed the law in all regards, and engaged in and valued non-ethical (as opposed to immoral) activities. He was good not because he favored one group over the other for arbitrary reasons, but because he cared about the innocent who were actively oppressed and helpless. This fits in with Pathfinder fairly well.

Robbing arbitrary rich for arbitrary poor does not, really. Those rich people might be legitimately good and the poor legitimately evil.

But the above situation is not about any of that. It's, "We need money. Those people have it. Let's take it." without any respect or consideration of who "those people" who have money actually are, from what we're told, much less how they acquired the funds. And if they acquired it through oppression, the "good" way to handle it would be giving to to the oppressed - the neutral would be to keep it.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
toxicpie wrote:

Ooh, new spanner in the works. They said they would pay a tithe to the poor and needy with the money *they* make, and they think that my god would forgive me, as we are doing this, after all, to raise funds for questing, mainly mine.

But I still dunno, I (my character ;D) still feels awful about it all. Do the ends justify the means in this case? Hell, if we just didn't do it then R'hllor wouldn't need to forgive me... Just another factor to think about.

And to clarify, this isn't really to give to the poor, that's to appease me, which I really appreciate them doing, but it still just doesn't feel right.

Let's put it this way. A guy mugs old ladies for their social security money. Does the fact that he makes an occasional donation at the local soup kitchen, balance out the karma for you? The merchants your party is robbing are being attacked at their livelihood, and they obviously aren't the rich bastards who can afford decent protection from your party.

Ultimately if you stand and do nothing, you're going to wind up slipping from Good to Neutral. At least that's what I'd do if I were your GM.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

A good-aligned person stands up for what he thinks is right, even if it brings risk to himself. Not doing so may not be evil, but it isn't good either.

If the NG character feels what the N characters are doing is wrong and does nothing about it, then he is not being good. If he tries to talk them out of it and fails, or they do it behind his back so he's unaware, then his actions aren't accountable for, but if he knows what they're doing and does nothing, then he's acting against his alignment.

If you're concerned, I would chat about it with your GM. And while it doesn't matter necessarily what your other fellow players are doing, if they are making it hard for you to play your character because they want to play their characters a certain way, that warrants a conversation as well.

Personally, I'd also be tempted to have your character report your fellow PCs' actions to the authorities, and assist the authorities in arresting them. If the players object, then you say, "I'm just roleplaying my alignment, same as you."

But the route seems to be player attitudes more than PC roleplaying, so the wiser route would be talking it out with GM and players, I think.

(As an aside, having been a victim of theft several times, personally I would argue theft is evil. I may be biased, but the loss of goods and resources that cannot be replaced does both harm to lifestyle and does psychological damage (the feeling of violation and ensuing anxiety that comes when you are stolen from is more damaging than you might think)).


2 people marked this as a favorite.
toxicpie wrote:
...they say "it's purely self-interest, so it's neutral, not evil."
PF Core Rules wrote:

Neutral Evil: A neutral evil villain does whatever she can get away with. She is out for herself, pure and simple. She sheds no tears for those she kills, whether for profit, sport, or convenience. She has no love of order and holds no illusions that following laws, traditions, or codes would make her any better or more noble. On the other hand, she doesn't have the restless nature or love of conflict that a chaotic evil villain has.

Some neutral evil villains hold up evil as an ideal, committing evil for its own sake. Most often, such villains are devoted to evil deities or secret societies.

Neutral evil represents pure evil without honor and without variation.

Yeah, that's complete bs. Ethical Egoism, being out solely for your own gain without any care/consideration for others is the textbook definition of Neutral Evil.


Tangent101 wrote:
Florence has gone out of her way to try and make Sam into a more respectable businessman.

Mind you, Sam's a thief because it's what his entire species is/does - a sticky-fingered version of the ferengi business model. Sam does it because it's a hell of a lot more fun than being staid and legitimate. He's very CG, as he never intentionally goes out of his way to harm anyone - but then, does not go out of his way not to keep his antics from causing harm (indirectly) to them either, particularly the mayor.

Now, looking at Robin Hood - he's even more solidly in the chaotic good range, with lawful tendencies.
Yes, I said lawful - because he is seeing to redress the wrongs being visited upon the peasants in his former fiefdom by the current, patently corrupt, landholder(s). He does not violate any of the laws in place before the current administration (indeed; privateering, banditry, and piracy have all been legalized by various sides during overt and covert wars).
Robin Hood also does not steal a plowshare, goat, or cow from the peasants - even when his men are in sore need of provisions. He does not steal the taxes from neighboring kingdoms that are not 'corrupt' (or revealed to be, anyway). So, within the bounds of Nottingham/Sherwood Robin is actually quite the lawful citizen acting against a lawless administration.
Too bad he's dead, because the US needs him now - but I digress.

I have two people in my group who always play evil characters - regardless of the game, regardless of the setting, they create and play evil characters. I never play evil characters, but then I never play lawful characters either, abd this will invariably bring us into direct confrontation within the first few hours of a given campaign. This often results in at least one dead character, sometimes more, unfortunately.
But, since table-top gaming groups have become as rare as hen's teeth and t!~+ on a bull I'm in the rather disagreeable situation of game with them or don't game at all.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Nacht Vulf wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
Florence has gone out of her way to try and make Sam into a more respectable businessman.

Mind you, Sam's a thief because it's what his entire species is/does - a sticky-fingered version of the ferengi business model. Sam does it because it's a hell of a lot more fun than being staid and legitimate. He's very CG, as he never intentionally goes out of his way to harm anyone - but then, does not go out of his way not to keep his antics from causing harm (indirectly) to them either, particularly the mayor.

Your friend Sam is not chaotic good, chaotic neutral perhaps, but by definition, not good. The moment your modus operandi goes into doing harm against people who have no fault other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time, you've left good behind.

Sczarni

"There are two kinds of evil in the Word. There is the evil that men do, but the greater evil is when good men do nothing"

(Heard that somewhere. Don't know where).


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Spook205 wrote:
John Kerpan wrote:

Stealing is not necessarily evil, but it is chaotic.

Evil involves delighting in harming, oppressing, and killing others. If they are stealing things for the sake of stealing, it is evil, because they are deriving pleasure from the harm they cause others, and they are acting chaotic evil. If they are stealing because they have no other way of making money, it is neutral evil. If they are stealing specifically to help other people (eg, Robin Hood), it is chaotic good.

I always feel like I've got a different pair of pants on in these arguments when the 'official' pathfinder definition starts rearing its curly-haired little head.

Theft is evil, even under the overly simplified 'does harm,' ethic it represents deprivation of someone of his rightful property. Rightful property stands out here. This is also the thing that trips up people with that whole 'do not murder' thing.

The issue where this causes confusion is in light of stuff like booty, salvage, plunder, treasure and the like. A generally held military more (war doesn't really have 'laws') is that material can be captured and put to use, also in ye olden days you paid your troops by letting them pick up everything they could carry in enemy territory. That enemy knight's sword? Yours now. The horse? Yours. His wife? Thats where things started to get really tricky on people's definitions of what could be legally 'captured.'

For the record, despite what criminals the world over (and shadowrun) would like you to think, there's very rarely a situation where they 'have no other work but this.' Its an issue of those situations becoming increasingly distasteful, or alternatively the legal system is not behaving *gasp and shock* in a manner that leaves one morally obligated to follow it.

Welcome to the paragon of confusion. It only gets weirder from here.

Spook, we say, 'Thats situational ethics and you a believer in objective morality hath made a fatal error, tear your robe and cast yourself down.' And to that I...

You argue this because Western society and religion have adjusted our world view as such. But other societies and religions can view these things in a completely different light.

Even the act of killing in some societies was not necessarily considered an evil act. Just look at ritual sacrifices as an example.

The lawfulness of stealing is another story. A poor kid starving on the street stealing an apple from a merchant to survive is not committing an evil act, even if it wasn't lawful.


"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." --Edmund Burke

So, yes. By doing nothing, the good men are perpetuating evil.

Besides, conflict between characters in a party builds good RP... provided that your friends are less mercenary in real life than they are in the game.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Curmudgeonly wrote:
You argue this because Western society and religion have adjusted our world view as such. But other societies and religions can view these things in a completely different light.

The society I'm in may have had something in helping to inform me of what is right, but regardless I still believe there is an objective right. Not a collection of nammering subjectivities.

I might be wrong and the correct and moral thing to do might be to rampage around the world, stealing as I see fit, but I don't believe so.

And see, thats the core. What I believe? Or you believe? It has nothing to do with what is genuinely right or wrong.

Still if you're going to have a discussion you have to pick your hill to die on, and your position to fight from. Otherwise you end up like our friends else threads with their schroedinger wizards and their 'deeply-held' opinions that change like the wind, making any form of meaningful discussion meaningless.

The issue with theft to preserve a life arises from the belief that there's a deeper law that says people shouldn't let other people starve to death.

In the Christian system that poor person actually has a deeper claim on that material then you the owner do, to the point that the moral activity is to provide it (Cardinal works of mercy come into play here: feed the hungry, heal the sick, bury the dead, etc).

The objectivist system dislikes theft beause its viewed as 'parasitism.'

The buddhist systme likely disapprves of theft because it represents damage to a person (do no harm) and to the self through the taint of it or some such. I might be wrong, I'm not a buddhist.

This ties back to something that C.S. Lewis pointed out, the fact that there's a general trend of right behavior that shows up throughout many cultures, and that even if they disagree on specifics they all generally believe that murdering each other is wrong, you can't just have any woman you like, you should keep your word, honor deals, be brave, and not steal from people.

And I'd argue that societies like the Aztecs, Cathaginians and others who practiced human sacrifice were pretty evil cultures. Its why I always have trouble mustering any sense of pity when people mention how the Aztec culture was 'quashed' by the Spanish.

And this exemplifies the issue. Different groups impacting with one another and different views on appropriate behavior.

If the party was attempting an argument like the infamous pirate used with Alexander the great (I have one ship and am a pirate, you have a thousand and are an emperor), it might be different. Still, the general belief is the consent of the governed in a truly legitimate system, even the medievals saw this in terms of stuff like tyranny and the western belief that a tyrant could legally be cast down if he violated what his behaviors were supposed to be (protect the people, keep the law, not be a jerk, etc etc).

The OP's group appears to be nothing more then common street thugs. As such, a Neutral Good character should not condone their activities and in fact might be called on to flout them.

Good is not nice, nor easy.


Still, would inaction here be evil or just not good, as per the core book definitions of the alignments? I´m leaning more towards neutral.

BTW, Toxicpie, what is the deity of your character? Sometimes that is even more appropriate (and important) than the objective definition of good or evil.


The Shaman wrote:

Still, would inaction here be evil or just not good, as per the core book definitions of the alignments? I´m leaning more towards neutral.

BTW, Toxicpie, what is the deity of your character? Sometimes that is even more appropriate (and important) than the objective definition of good or evil.

The campaign is set in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones. My deity is R'hllor, HOWEVER my character disagrees with the human sacrifice element, instead preferring to honour him by healing the sick in his name, and sacrificing money instead of spending it on material goods. In return R'hllor strengthens his sword (currently a Flaming Longsword +1).

He refuses to sacrifice non-believers because of a personal event (long story) and also because as a player who wants to be a Good character that would be impossible. It also kind of works because the devotees of R'hllor we have seen in the series are radically different from each other, so I really have a free reign with the religion. I keep on receiving spells, so hr must be cool with it haha.

So to be honest, I have lots of freedom as I try to pick the kindest elements of the religion and go from there.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Virgil Firecask wrote:
The objectivist system dislikes theft beause its viewed as 'parasitism.'

They dislike altruism even more for the exact same reason. Altruist is essentially the name for "bad guy" in an Ayn Rand novel.

1 to 50 of 133 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>
Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder RPG / General Discussion / Is a Good character "turning a blind eye" to other party members' evil actions, evil? 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.