Why Is Evil Being Good So Important To Some People...


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

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One of the more common discussions on morality we get into seems to be when sides start arguing about Evil being Evil.

The arguments come down to what is an Evil Act and what is a Dishonorable Act.

Even in cases where certain actions are called out are argued to death to the point where the thread becomes a round robin that usually cycles to an argument that looks like this:

Poster 1: It's not evil/dishonorable!
Poster 2: Well book X says it is on page Y.
Poster 1: I don't care! It's not!
Poster 2: Is!
Poster 1: Isn't!
Poster 2: Is!

And this goes on forever until people just get tired of the argument.

Now, for this discussion we aren't going to focus on specifics, that isn't the point here.

So please heed the following rules while debating in this topic:

Rules:
1. Check your personal opinions on morality at the door.

This is pretty standard. This isn't the place to argue about subjective morality. We are dealing with the fictional reality of Pathfinder, specifically Golarion, the morality and honor we are discussing are outlined there.

2. Don't debate what is, and isn't, good / evil / honorable / dishonorable.

We are dealing with the Objective Morality of Pathfinder/Golarion, this isn't a place for opinions in that regard.

3. This thread is to discuss why people rail against the system in such a mass when the rules are pretty clearly defined.

-----

Now, to me, arguing that casting a spell with an evil descriptor isn't evil if the spell is used in X, Y, or Z way doesn't make much sense.

We have two books (Ultimate Intrigue and Faiths of Purity) who are very clear on this topic. In the reality of Golarion, casting a spell with an evil descriptor is an evil act regardless of someone's personal belief, that is simply how it works.

To argue against that is exactly like arguing that it isn't an Intimidate check of DC 10 + Target's HD + Target's Wisdom Modifier + Possible Size Modifier to intimidate a target with the intimidate skill.

Ultimately you can't say it doesn't work that way. You can house rule it doesn't work that way, and you can say it shouldn't work that way, but at the end of the day, as far as the game is concerned, that is simply how it works. Like it or leave it, them's the rules.

-----

Now.

Hear me out:

In order for this discussion thread to work we have to accept that the above statement is true. Why? Because we aren't discussing if that is true or not. That isn't the point.

We are discussing why people fight it. What about the idea of defined evil/dishonorable actions drives people to rebel against them.

Is it a personal preference? For example, do people rebel against it because they want to be like that guy/gal in that book/movie/show and they see him/her as good and therefor don't like the idea of the game's rules indicating that the character would be evil in the scope of the definition within Golarion?

Is it simply distaste for labels? For example, people don't like the idea of a character being labeled good or evil in general? Even if it has little effect mechanically it eats at them?

Is it a case of projection? For example, someone plays their character how they think they would react in the same situation and feels offended that, in the scope of the fictional setting of Golarion, they would be considered Good/Evil?

Is it a game mechanics and optimization issue? For example, someone wants the abilities of a Paladin (Great saves, good immunities, etc) but doesn't want to have to act in accordance with a specific pre-defined set of morality? Could it be an issue that they want to be Good, as a Cleric, to be able to cast X, Y, or Z spells... Or they want to be a Good Cleric but there is an Evil descriptor spell that is just really good and they want to cast it?

Why do YOU think this "Alignment Rebellion" happens.

Note:
These are ALL opinions, so please take that into consideration, there are no wrong or right answers here.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Because some people find some of the rules and restrictions silly or nonsensical or not conducive to a good game.


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I think PART of the reason... is that not everyone plays in 'Golarion.' Threads like this pop up in 'Pathfinder RPG/General Discussion' when they should be in 'Pathfinder Setting General discussion'... The Golarion specific place...

That said, I think you're probably right about "Is it a personal preference? For example, do people rebel against it because they want to be like that guy/gal in that book/movie/show and they see him/her as good and therefor don't like the idea of the game's rules indicating that the character would be evil in the scope of the definition within Golarion?"

There has always been a push to play 'the anti-hero' and characters like Wolverine, Punisher, Dexter do some truly horrific things that would have ZERO acceptability in 'real world'. In their dark places, people admire these kind of characters... but don't like it when people point just how... EVIL that is.

As for Evil vs. Dishonorable... THAT can have some pretty significant game mechanics tied to it. So it's always best to hash that out with DM's before play start.


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I rebel against it because I think that labeling certain things (spells, for example) good or evil regardless of what one actually does with them cheapens the concepts of good and evil.


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I think it's mostly about a visceral reaction against the "moral absolutism" that is established in the Pathfinder system. People are used to subjective morality because that's what we live with every day; moral absolutism is seen as a distillation of everything bad in religion, decrying "us" as Good and "them" as Evil. People love things like villains who do the right thing and morally ambiguous heroes. That's why Marvel's Civil War is so popular; it pits good guys against good guys.

In the real world, people kill each other over differing beliefs about what happens to you after you die, and they completely miss the irony. But that doesn't work in a world where Good, Evil, Chaos, and Law are tangible, real forces, as real as Gravity and Electromagnetism are to us, and where deities exist and interact with mortals on a regular basis. It's not about "where do you go when you die" but more "pick a side".

Ultimately, people don't want to feel pigeonholed or defined by their alignment. There's a strong "anti-label" culture being fostered right now in the western world and alignment systems which have their roots in a decades old system seem a bit... archaic and backwards. People want their heroes to be flawed and not be mechanically punished for those flaws. People want their evil characters to be deep and meaningful, not just evil for the sake of being evil.

That being said, I think that the system has a lot of catching up to do. It is mired in legacy issues that, sooner or later, must come to a head and alignment is just one of those issues. There are some things that can help. There are alternate alignment rules, for instance, such as "de-moralizing" the Good vs Evil axis to omit the obvious moral polarizing and frame it as a fight between "Radiance" and "Shadow". It's kind of "Good and Evil by a different name", but they aren't resonated so strongly with what real people understand to be subjective moral issues. After all, from a subjective viewpoint, what an Orc considers "good and proper behavior" is drastically different from what a Human would consider.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I just argue against people that say the rules say it is so when there isn't any such text.
Now that they have released rule changes, I don't need to argue about it anymore.


Subjective experience and the discomfort associated with Evil being a force unto itself rather than a severe breach of one of a subset of social taboo's I would think. I could be way off base though. :P


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For what it's worth, subjective morality applies in my games. Someone's intent generally matters more than the result of their behavior. It's worked out quite well for me. XD


GM Rednal wrote:
For what it's worth, subjective morality applies in my games. Someone's intent generally matters more than the result of their behavior. It's worked out quite well for me. XD

Well, like I said, this is more about the actual rules in the Golarion setting. House rules can do anything and really aren't within the scope of this discussion.


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Kyle Katarn wrote:
"Remember: abilities are not inherently good or evil, it's how you use them.

Because our fiction is steeped with characters that everyone would define as good yet use powers that may not be 100% on the up and up. Our fiction has taught us that evil can be used for good and people want to emulate that. When my NG binding wizard slips to NE purely becaase he repeatedly summons demons, regardless of his actions with said demons it breaks my immersion.

From a mechanical standpoint yhe evil descriptor should only exist to prevent good gods giving demons as servants. So it would penalize divine casters and not the archetypical "Bend the universe to my goals" Wizard, especially when those goal are good.


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Because objective morality is never objective.

Liberty's Edge

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HWalsh wrote:

2. Don't debate what is, and isn't, good / evil / honorable / dishonorable.

We are dealing with the Objective Morality of Pathfinder/Golarion, this isn't a place for opinions in that regard.

See, a lot of the issue you're discussing is that this Rule isn't, for the most part, true.

Within the context of the world of Pathfinder, morality is absolute and objective. But the actual game rules on that are intentionally extremely ambiguous about what falls under those objective standards so that GMs can institute their own set of moral rules for their own games.

So...the game is not clear which actions are Evil and which aren't in many cases. Debate in those cases is about whether a particular action should be Evil, often based on people's real-world moral codes, rather than whether it is (since whether it's Evil is intentionally ambiguous).

Heck, that's often the motivation even when the rules make things crystal clear. If something is explicitly Evil but a person finds that notion ridiculous and doesn't think it should be, then that person will often argue that point (ie: 'This shouldn't be Evil.') even while acknowledging that, by strict RAW, it is.


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TriOmegaZero wrote:

I just argue against people that say the rules say it is so when there isn't any such text.

Now that they have released rule changes, I don't need to argue about it anymore.

Yeah, a few months ago [Evil] spells being Evil actions could be considered by some interpretations (such as my own) a Golarion houserule. Ultimate intrigue's text removes that interpretation, but before that [Evil] descriptor just meant that it interacts with alignment-tied things like Detect Evil spells.

Some arguments form from that fact that some people think that if a paladin can't do it, then it's evil. Poison for example is something that the paladin's code of conduct bans, because of it being dishonorable. This actually means that it is specifically not an innately evil act, since saying it was dishonorable behavior and banned would not be necessary if it fit under the definition of evil act that is already prohibited.

Some arguments start because of people thinking undead = evil, despite the fact that is only true in Golarion and the fact that you can have good undead just as easily as you can have a good kobold or goblin.

In some cases, the arguments are about things people say are evil, but there is actually no text to support that view or that there is text that goes against the act being evil (cannibalism for example).


fearcypher wrote:
Kyle Katarn [i wrote:
Jedi Knight:Jedi Academy[/i]]"Remember: abilities are not inherently good or evil, it's how you use them.

Because our fiction is steeped with characters that everyone would define as good yet use powers that may not be 100% on the up and up. Our fiction has taught us that evil can be used for good and people want to emulate that. When my NG binding wizard slips to NE purely becaase he repeatedly summons demons, regardless of his actions with said demons it breaks my immersion.

From a mechanical standpoint yhe evil descriptor should only exist to prevent good gods giving demons as servants. So it would penalize divine casters and not the archetypical "Bend the universe to my goals" Wizard, especially when those goal are good.

Eh, using Kyle's quote isn't really a good idea...

Not only is it not canon (it wasn't even canon back in the day, it was video game text that clashed with G canon) but even in the novels (of which there was one about Jaden) it was proven to not be true. Force Lightning is never not Dark Side no matter how you use it.

I think the idea of a super good character summoning demons to be his servants doesn't feel good to me. If someone was doing that and not going evil it would break my immersion. So that kind of door swings both ways.

To me, at least, the idea that using "evil" spells can turn you evil is well... Good. It feels like there is a gravitas to magic, that it is a wild and dangerous thing. It isn't just a tool to be used. That one must use it carefully lest one become corrupted by it.


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If you argue that the evil descriptor makes you evil then you have to argue that the good descriptor makes you good.

So if Tar-Baphon decides to spend a few years summoning hundreds of Celestial dogs everyday would you say he is a good character?

We can even look at Star Wars:Knights of the Old Republic. Being light side did not deny you access to any Dark side powers. It made them harder to access but they were not denied nor did they make you shift alignment. And that game had a sliding scale of alignment too.


Quote:
even in the novels (of which there was one about Jaden) it was proven to not be true. Force Lightning is never not Dark Side no matter how you use it.

Except for that one book where Luke used totally-different lightside lightning.

Quote:
If you argue that the evil descriptor makes you evil then you have to argue that the good descriptor makes you good.

Yeah why not, nothing more good than enslaving angels to your will.

Quote:
It feels like there is a gravitas to magic, that it is a wild and dangerous thing. It isn't just a tool to be used.

But.. it is a just a tool to be used. At least in Golarion.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

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Funny how alignment threads pop up and suddenly everybody's an ethicist. Game morality has about as much to do with real world morality as game physics does with real physics.


Well, the CRB makes it fairly clear that each alignment has a wide range of behaviors and interpretations. There are obviously specific things that Golarion regards as universally good/evil (or lawful/chaotic, at that), since they tend to be powered by those energies, and using an alignment's power to accomplish your goals is essentially saying you approve of such actions. I guess I don't believe that these specific things mean that all alignment in Golarion is rigidly absolute?

(At least, I've never seen anything suggesting it is. If somebody could cite me anywhere it says otherwise, I'd actually like to read that.)


Charlie Bell wrote:
Funny how alignment threads pop up and suddenly everybody's an ethicist. Game morality has about as much to do with real world morality as game physics does with real physics.

Have you already forgotten about the Navy SEAL who fell off of a mountain last week and only suffered a sprained wrist?


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Some of the problem with the application of absolute morality is the lack of a strict set of moral laws that can easily be referenced.

Here's an example:

Assassins are evil. Moreover, in order to become an assassin, the character must kill someone for no other reason than to become an assassin.

Now, here's the problem: who and what qualifies as "someone".

Back in the days of basic/1st/2nd edition D&D, the game was much more humanocentric, meaning there were two categories: Us (the playable races), and them (monsters).

You could kill orcs all day long and never qualify to be an assassin even if you wanted to -- they were monsters and their welfare was not a factor.

Segue forward 30ish years of gaming -- you now have a much more relative view of what is considered a "person" (playable race) to include anyone and everything under the sun.

Oddly enough, this allows a player to become an assassin much easier than before if the absolute morality of the prestige class is concerned.

It also makes it much easier to fall as a Paladin.


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Quintain wrote:

Some of the problem with the application of absolute morality is the lack of a strict set of moral laws that can easily be referenced.

Here's an example:

Assassins are evil. Moreover, in order to become an assassin, the character must kill someone for no other reason than to become an assassin.

Now, here's the problem: who and what qualifies as "someone".

Back in the days of basic/1st/2nd edition D&D, the game was much more humanocentric, meaning there were two categories: Us (the playable races), and them (monsters).

You could kill orcs all day long and never qualify to be an assassin even if you wanted to -- they were monsters and their welfare was not a factor.

Does this mean that you'd have to kill 2 half-orcs for no reason to become an Assassin in Basic/1st/2nd Edition?


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fearcypher wrote:


So if Tar-Baphon decides to spend a few years summoning hundreds of Celestial dogs everyday would you say he is a good character?

If that is all he does then yes, but I am sure that for every spell he cast, he does enough evil to keep him on the evil alignment scale.

On the flipside, if a good caster spends a lot of time casting evil spells he can keep his good alignment if he also does good deeds.


Milo v3 wrote:
Yeah, a few months ago [Evil] spells being Evil actions could be considered by some interpretations (such as my own) a Golarion houserule. Ultimate intrigue's text removes that interpretation, but before that [Evil] descriptor just meant that it interacts with alignment-tied things like Detect Evil spells..

Haven't seen that book yet. What is the new rule stating?


wraithstrike wrote:
fearcypher wrote:


So if Tar-Baphon decides to spend a few years summoning hundreds of Celestial dogs everyday would you say he is a good character?

If that is all he does then yes, but I am sure that for every spell he cast, he does enough evil to keep him on the evil alignment scale.

On the flipside, if a good caster spends a lot of time casting evil spells he can keep his good alignment if he also does good deeds.

Though I just remembered Mister whispering tyrant can't actually summon celestial dogs. But he can summon Lantern archons. And he can summon a lot of them, being a level 20 wizard with 10 mythic tiers. He could keep doing that all day whilst still destroying the world. And any day he doesn't spend doing lich things he can just summon Lantern Archons for an hour. And currently he has a lot of downtime being locked away forever. So in a thousand years would he be able to emerge from his prison with an LG alignment? Just because he spent all that time summoning lantern archons?

It doesn't make sense to call summoning spells evil just because they have the evil descriptor, because that means it would apply to good as well.

So from most perspectives it doesn't make much sense to force an alignment shift just for summoning. If a player wants to roleplay the spell as corrupting their caster to the way of evil that's fine and a decently interesting idea, but it shouldn't be the go to consequence.

Silver Crusade

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fearcypher wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
fearcypher wrote:


So if Tar-Baphon decides to spend a few years summoning hundreds of Celestial dogs everyday would you say he is a good character?

If that is all he does then yes, but I am sure that for every spell he cast, he does enough evil to keep him on the evil alignment scale.

On the flipside, if a good caster spends a lot of time casting evil spells he can keep his good alignment if he also does good deeds.

Though I just remembered Mister whispering tyrant can't actually summon celestial dogs. But he can summon Lantern archons. And he can summon a lot of them, being a level 20 wizard with 10 mythic tiers. He could keep doing that all day whilst still destroying the world. And any day he doesn't spend doing lich things he can just summon Lantern Archons for an hour. And currently he has a lot of downtime being locked away forever. So in a thousand years would he be able to emerge from his prison with an LG alignment? Just because he spent all that time summoning lantern archons?

It doesn't make sense to call summoning spells evil just because they have the evil descriptor, because that means it would apply to good as well.

So from most perspectives it doesn't make much sense to force an alignment shift just for summoning. If a player wants to roleplay the spell as corrupting their caster to the way of evil that's fine and a decently interesting idea, but it shouldn't be the go to consequence.

Because that's a completely asinine and detached way of thinking of what alignment is and how it functions. A person going "Hmm, I'm going to completely change my moral perspective and ethics completely to the opposite of everything I am just because" isn't good or evil, they're b+!@&&* insane.

A Tar-Baphon that magically forced his alignment to change to good would be a completely different person, not just the same evil genocidal warlord with just a G scribbled down on his sheet somewhere solely for the purpose of mechanics.

Behavior determines alignment, not the other way around.


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Quote:
Behavior determines alignment, not the other way around.

Except when it doesn't. Sometimes. Because reasons.

Silver Crusade

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swoosh wrote:
Quote:
Behavior determines alignment, not the other way around.
Except when it doesn't. Sometimes. Because reasons.

Like when choosing to cast an alignment altering spell?


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A puppy kicking a++~@#@ determined Tammy's alignment.


If you're playing exactly by the rules, you go by what the rules/ descriptors say. If you vary the rules to suit your own games, as our group does, we go by common sense. Eg; why is summoning a demon evil if you use it for a good purpose?- because bringing a powerful evil creature into a world where it does not belong and where it has the power to create a lot of damage to good (or otherwise) inhabitants, actually is an evil act, or causes evil to be done even if it's not intended to be.
For example, if the spell "Vampiric touch" had an evil descriptor (I'm not sure) you'd have to ask yourself why. After all, it simply does physical damage to an opponent the same as a backstab with a dagger, or damage from a fireball. You'd have to work out why it is described as evil and then make your own rules as to its use. The same applies to use of poison by someone who could be expected to use it -eg. a rogue; why would it be evil if it only affects the opponent you're fighting?- and who presumably, is trying to kill you too....


We've had this argument in other threads, but your premise is wrong. Even though PF tries to codify alignment, there is no objective morality that a GM is going to be able to govern. Interpretation is possible, but I prefer to leave that to my players. Objective morality is not an assumption, it's pure hubris-especially in a game setting.


phantom1592 wrote:
Haven't seen that book yet. What is the new rule stating?

One of the paladin archetypes has a new code of conduct, and part of it mentions evil acts with parathesis having a small number of example acts that are evil. Casting an evil spell is one of those example evil acts.


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I think it's a function of poor terminology.

The game uses terms like good and evil to represent concepts which are not our real world moral concepts called good and evil.

If they'd used new terms completely it would be easier to discuss. 'Does killing a goblin baby count as 'black souled' or 'white souled'? Would be a less contentious topic, since it explicitly acknowledges that the game ISNT saying 'murder is evil.....except for murdering evil things'. It's saying 'murder is black souled....except for murdering black souled things' which is not a real world moral concept but is rather some strange metaphysics where one's past actions (of any moral flavor) taint you in some objectively determinable way.

I think it helps to adopt a 'dark side of the force' approach in interpreting the game term 'evil' and remind yourself that it doesnt mean what we mean by the term in real life.


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Core Rulebook wrote:
Alignment is a tool for developing your character's identity—it is not a straitjacket for restricting your character. Each alignment represents a broad range of personality types or personal philosophies, so two characters of the same alignment can still be quite different from each other. In addition, few people are completely consistent.

I still haven't seen anything relating to Golarion that would make this fundamentally untrue. Yes, there are specific things called out as being good or evil within the setting, but that doesn't mean that all things are like that. More particularly, I see nothing that would stop two different people, with different ideas of what each alignment means, from both being correct. By the CRB (and thus something true for Golarion unless specifically noted otherwise in some sourcebook), isn't subjective morality basically the default assumption?


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Squiggit wrote:
Because some people find some of the rules and restrictions silly or nonsensical or not conducive to a good game.

This.

Your thread is asking "Why do people say something is bad when they don't like it" to which the answer is "Because they don't like it, for several reasons".

Case closed, detective.

I don't like black and white morality. Yes, some things can be good. Yes, some things can be bad. But what makes one one, the other, or something in between should vary by circumstance. It makes for more interesting scenarios.

By the rules, someone doing something Good for selfish reasons is doing a Good act. Ditto someone doing something Evil for Good reasons is doing an Evil act.

The classic example for the latter being healing a dying child with Infernal Healing, and a good example of the former is, say, calling an Angel do to your bidding...for the purpose of gaining the trust of the townsfolk so you have an easier time with them later.

It doesn't help that there's no logical explanation for WHY some things are classified the way they are. Why is binding demons evil, but binding angels good? Both press an unwilling creature into servitude.

Why is Necromancy always evil, while creating Constructs (a process that explicitly requires the repeated torture of an elemental's soul to function mind you) is not?

Why is cannibalism Neutral, but drinking blood Evil?

Were there some concrete explanation for WHY things are the way they are, it would be less galling to many, I believe. Many people have logical reasons for why some of the above are true (trafficking with demons and negative energy is inherently harmful to the fabric of the Material, for instance) but none of these are canon.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
So...the game is not clear which actions are Evil and which aren't in many cases. Debate in those cases is about whether a particular action should be Evil, often based on people's real-world moral codes, rather than whether it is (since whether it's Evil is intentionally ambiguous).

I absolutely agree. Most of this "absolute morality" is not defined, and even if you grab random examples from setting material they may well be contradictory because they are written by different authors at different times. Heck, JJ has argued both sides of whether a good deity can believe what Erastil believed in Kingmaker before.

I'd add to it that, even if people agree something is "Evil," they don't agree on degrees. For example, even if everyone agrees an [evil] spell is Evil and animate dead is extra Evil, how much more Evil is it? To what degree does the fact I am using them to keep criminals from being raised and they are mining under close supervision ameliorate or change the moral impact (if at all)? What amount of Good deeds will make up for it, and how will casting [Good] spells relate to it?

Honestly, I'm fine with it being vague and table dependent. The only real issue I have is with the moral crusaders who demand that no, it is "absolute morality," and therefore whatever their opinions are about degrees of evil and good are absolutely true and you are just deluded to think someone could be Good while summoning a dretch now and then (or, alternatively, that there is no amount of dretchs they could summon that would make them Evil and so you are "wrong" in that direction). That may be true at a given table, but even with "absolute morality" it does not mean a person who decides things fall on a different part of the spectrum from you (in relation to the balance of these) is wrong.

PS: Can someone point me to the part of Ultimate Intrigue that says [evil] spells are Evil? It seems to be standard Paizo procedure so I do not doubt at all that it is there, but I have been unable to find it.


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Quasi wrote:

...

The same applies to use of poison by someone who could be expected to use it -eg. a rogue; why would it be evil if it only affects the opponent you're fighting?- and who presumably, is trying to kill you too....

Nitpick: Using Poison isn't evil.

How do I know this?

Well, I glad you asked.

James Jacobs wrote:
Snowblind wrote:

...

For example, could a Paladin of Shelyn use knockout poison to capture an evil person if they believe that poison is the only reasonable way to save a potentially redeemable creature without endangering the lives of innocents? ...

...

In this case, nothing in Shelyn's code says anything about using ANY sort of poison, so she's perfectly fine using knockout poison or any other to help her live up to the code.

(Remember, while poison is often used by assassins and other evil characters, poison itself is NOT evil. Guardian nagas and couatls both have poison that can kill outright, and both of them are lawful good. It's how you use the poison that affects alignment, as with any other tool, not the mere fact that you use it.)


Snowblind wrote:
Quasi wrote:

...

The same applies to use of poison by someone who could be expected to use it -eg. a rogue; why would it be evil if it only affects the opponent you're fighting?- and who presumably, is trying to kill you too....

Nitpick: Using Poison isn't evil.

How do I know this?

Well, I glad you asked.

James Jacobs wrote:
Snowblind wrote:

...

For example, could a Paladin of Shelyn use knockout poison to capture an evil person if they believe that poison is the only reasonable way to save a potentially redeemable creature without endangering the lives of innocents? ...

...

In this case, nothing in Shelyn's code says anything about using ANY sort of poison, so she's perfectly fine using knockout poison or any other to help her live up to the code.

(Remember, while poison is often used by assassins and other evil characters, poison itself is NOT evil. Guardian nagas and couatls both have poison that can kill outright, and both of them are lawful good. It's how you use the poison that affects alignment, as with any other tool, not the mere fact that you use it.)

So if a Deity's Paladin code conflicts with the generic Paladin code, the Deity's code takes priority?

That's interesting...

Scarab Sages

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Ventnor wrote:
Snowblind wrote:
Quasi wrote:

...

The same applies to use of poison by someone who could be expected to use it -eg. a rogue; why would it be evil if it only affects the opponent you're fighting?- and who presumably, is trying to kill you too....

Nitpick: Using Poison isn't evil.

How do I know this?

Well, I glad you asked.

James Jacobs wrote:
Snowblind wrote:

...

For example, could a Paladin of Shelyn use knockout poison to capture an evil person if they believe that poison is the only reasonable way to save a potentially redeemable creature without endangering the lives of innocents? ...

...

In this case, nothing in Shelyn's code says anything about using ANY sort of poison, so she's perfectly fine using knockout poison or any other to help her live up to the code.

(Remember, while poison is often used by assassins and other evil characters, poison itself is NOT evil. Guardian nagas and couatls both have poison that can kill outright, and both of them are lawful good. It's how you use the poison that affects alignment, as with any other tool, not the mere fact that you use it.)

So if a Deity's Paladin code conflicts with the generic Paladin code, the Deity's code takes priority?

That's interesting...

It's not just a matter of disagreeing. The paladin has one code.

On Golarion, the general code is replaced by the deity specific code.

You should spend some time and check out Torag's code. ^.^


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Mort the Cleverly Named wrote:
PS: Can someone point me to the part of Ultimate Intrigue that says [evil] spells are Evil? It seems to be standard Paizo procedure so I do not doubt at all that it is there, but I have been unable to find it.

pg 70, UI: "A gray paladin must be of lawful good, lawful neutral, or neutral good alignment and loses all class features except proficiencies if she ever willingly commits an evil act (for example, casting a spell with the evil descriptor)." As a one off mention in an archetype, I wouldn't exactly call it a rule. It could mean it's an evil act for that archetype and not overall. It'd be different if they'd have added something about it on it's own, like the "Skills in Conflict" section.


fearcypher wrote:

If you argue that the evil descriptor makes you evil then you have to argue that the good descriptor makes you good.

...

I see this said a lot, but I'm not sure anyone has ever laid out exactly why. Just because Evil and Good are opposites doesn't mean they're equivalent. Maybe casting an [Evil] spell is an Evil act, but casting a [Good] spell is only a Good act if you use it for good. Although apparently Ultimate Intrigue officially clarifies that, so I suppose it's moot.

As to the actual topic of the thread, when I've rebelled against it it's because I dislike Good and Evil being tied to cultural stuff. To me, undead being Evil always felt like it was because they're 'icky', and that bothers me.

Scarab Sages

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Gaekub wrote:
fearcypher wrote:

If you argue that the evil descriptor makes you evil then you have to argue that the good descriptor makes you good.

...

I see this said a lot, but I'm not sure anyone has ever laid out exactly why. Just because Evil and Good are opposites doesn't mean they're equivalent. Maybe casting an [Evil] spell is an Evil act, but casting a [Good] spell is only a Good act if you use it for good. Although apparently Ultimate Intrigue officially clarifies that, so I suppose it's moot.

As to the actual topic of the thread, when I've rebelled against it it's because I dislike Good and Evil being tied to cultural stuff. To me, undead being Evil always felt like it was because they're 'icky', and that bothers me.

Because the two opposite objective forces are equal in what they can do against each other.

Also, nothing directly says they are equal or not equal.

You shouldn't add extra rules and limitations for objective good that you do not add for objective evil without a rule base or house-ruling that's how it works.

Do you want to see flavor to support my argument? Read anything involved with balanced summoning, or 'balance' classes, prcs or archetypes.

Good balances Evil, Law balances Chaos.


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Gaekub wrote:
I see this said a lot, but I'm not sure anyone has ever laid out exactly why. Just because Evil and Good are opposites doesn't mean they're equivalent. Maybe casting an [Evil] spell is an Evil act, but casting a [Good] spell is only a Good act if you use it for good.

There is no text that suggests they are different in any way aside from one being good and another being evil... so there is no difference aside from one being good and another being evil.


Sundakan wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
Because some people find some of the rules and restrictions silly or nonsensical or not conducive to a good game.

This.

Your thread is asking "Why do people say something is bad when they don't like it" to which the answer is "Because they don't like it, for several reasons".

Case closed, detective.

Opening a little hostile here, but okay...

Quote:
I don't like black and white morality. Yes, some things can be good. Yes, some things can be bad. But what makes one one, the other, or something in between should vary by circumstance. It makes for more interesting scenarios.

This is, as you say, a personal opinion. I, personally, don't think interesting scenario always equates to, "Do whatever you want without consequence." Which is sort of, to me, what this line of thinking represents.

Quote:
By the rules, someone doing something Good for selfish reasons is doing a Good act. Ditto someone doing something Evil for Good reasons is doing an Evil act.

Yes. However, and I need to state this plainly, we are talking about magic. That idea boils magic down to, "Do I want to use my hammer or do I want to use my sword?"

Magic isn't supposed to be that. You are playing around with arcane and divine power that, ultimately, dwarfs you, and it is supposed to be something that you do with great care. It is not just another tool to use, not in the lore, and if a player/character starts thinking about it in terms of, "This is the next click ability I plan on using." Then the game loses a lot of flavor.

Quote:
The classic example for the latter being healing a dying child with Infernal Healing, and a good example of the former is, say, calling an Angel do to your bidding...for the purpose of gaining the trust of the townsfolk so you have an easier time with them later.

If someone wants to use Infernal Healing to heal a dying child, let me put into context what you are doing. You take the blood of a devil, an infernal creature that seeks only to spread torment and devour souls, and anoint the brow of the child with it. Then you call to an evil power (as the descriptor of the spell is evil) and infuse the child with it. While the rules state this has no long term affect on the target's alignment... That darkness takes a toll... On your alignment if used too often and without caution.

So, do you cast it, make a pact with dark powers, and save the child... Or do you simply go, "Meh. I'm a castin' mah spell!"

The same goes with summoning forth Angels. You are basking in the glory of legitimately divine beings constantly. Touching almost pure physical Good. Over time, such a thing, absolutely would have an effect.

Quote:

It doesn't help that there's no logical explanation for WHY some things are classified the way they are. Why is binding demons evil, but binding angels good? Both press an unwilling creature into servitude.

Why is Necromancy always evil, while creating Constructs (a process that explicitly requires the repeated torture of an elemental's soul to function mind you) is not?

Why is cannibalism Neutral, but drinking blood Evil?

Were there some concrete explanation for WHY things are the way they are, it would be less galling to many, I believe. Many people have logical reasons for why some of the above are true (trafficking with demons and negative energy is inherently harmful to the fabric of the Material, for instance) but none of these are canon.


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fearcypher wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
fearcypher wrote:


So if Tar-Baphon decides to spend a few years summoning hundreds of Celestial dogs everyday would you say he is a good character?

If that is all he does then yes, but I am sure that for every spell he cast, he does enough evil to keep him on the evil alignment scale.

On the flipside, if a good caster spends a lot of time casting evil spells he can keep his good alignment if he also does good deeds.

Though I just remembered Mister whispering tyrant can't actually summon celestial dogs. But he can summon Lantern archons. And he can summon a lot of them, being a level 20 wizard with 10 mythic tiers. He could keep doing that all day whilst still destroying the world. And any day he doesn't spend doing lich things he can just summon Lantern Archons for an hour. And currently he has a lot of downtime being locked away forever. So in a thousand years would he be able to emerge from his prison with an LG alignment? Just because he spent all that time summoning lantern archons?

It doesn't make sense to call summoning spells evil just because they have the evil descriptor, because that means it would apply to good as well.

So from most perspectives it doesn't make much sense to force an alignment shift just for summoning. If a player wants to roleplay the spell as corrupting their caster to the way of evil that's fine and a decently interesting idea, but it shouldn't be the go to consequence.

I have never seen it enforced. I am just saying that is what the rule is. I think many of the "this is evil/good" rules are in place to avoid opinion based ideas, and because the game assumes heroic fantasy, and the "hero" is supposed to make things right, even if he has to be less efficient.


I'm fine with spells being evil (or other alignments), as long as why there is an explanation for why they are evil (or other alignments.) The protection from alignment spells are the biggest offender in this regard if you ask me.


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"Why Is Evil Being Good So Important To Some People...": I think I'd ask, 'Why is evil being evil, no matter the circumstances, so important to some people...'.

For instance, take that infernal healing spell. So I'm a sorcerer, so I need no devil blood. I cast a spell that grants fast healing... No "pact with dark powers" even hinted at. The only negative is that "The target detects as an evil creature for the duration of the spell and can sense the evil of the magic"... So, no fire and brimstone, no tolls, spreading torment and devouring of souls. It sounds less evil than binding an angel and taking it away from it's fight against evil to clean your room...

SO why are you so invested in making it sound as nasty as possible?


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HyperMissingno wrote:
I'm fine with spells being evil (or other alignments), as long as why there is an explanation for why they are evil (or other alignments.) The protection from alignment spells are the biggest offender in this regard if you ask me.

Those make no sense to me either. If some bad guy planar binds an angel, and I cast protection from good it is an evil act. That makes no sense at all.


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graystone wrote:

"Why Is Evil Being Good So Important To Some People...": I think I'd ask, 'Why is evil being evil, no matter the circumstances, so important to some people...'.

For instance, take that infernal healing spell. So I'm a sorcerer, so I need no devil blood. I cast a spell that grants fast healing... No "pact with dark powers" even hinted at. The only negative is that "The target detects as an evil creature for the duration of the spell and can sense the evil of the magic"... So, no fire and brimstone, no tolls, spreading torment and devouring of souls. It sounds less evil than binding an angel and taking it away from it's fight against evil to clean your room...

SO why are you so invested in making it sound as nasty as possible?

I think many times they are arguing from a rules-based perspective, and not necessarily how they would run it in a game.

The protection from ____ spells are an example of that. I know what the rules say, but I would never enforce.

PS: I know some would enforce it, but luckily I have never had to deal with it.


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wraithstrike wrote:
graystone wrote:

"Why Is Evil Being Good So Important To Some People...": I think I'd ask, 'Why is evil being evil, no matter the circumstances, so important to some people...'.

For instance, take that infernal healing spell. So I'm a sorcerer, so I need no devil blood. I cast a spell that grants fast healing... No "pact with dark powers" even hinted at. The only negative is that "The target detects as an evil creature for the duration of the spell and can sense the evil of the magic"... So, no fire and brimstone, no tolls, spreading torment and devouring of souls. It sounds less evil than binding an angel and taking it away from it's fight against evil to clean your room...

SO why are you so invested in making it sound as nasty as possible?

I think many times they are arguing from a rules-based perspective, and not necessarily how they would run it in a game.

The protection from ____ spells are an example of that. I know what the rules say, but I would never enforce.

PS: I know some would enforce it, but luckily I have never had to deal with it.

Yes, but my point was that HWalsh was going far past the rules and bringing in things not in the rules. He's in effect doing what's he's questioning us about. Why do people bring their own justifications into their arguments when they are questioning the act in others? Seems disingenuous IMO. I don't want someone telling me it's all about the rules and then not use rules to explain themselves.


I'm also not seeing the source of "all morality in Golarion is absolute". Spells and such? Yeah, I rationalize that as, as mentioned, the magic being powered by supernatural force tied to that alignment. But that doesn't mean all morality is absolute, even in the setting. Summoning lantern archons is Good because you're drawing on Good energy and power, which would presumably affect the state of one's soul. Whether to forgive the orphan kid who stole bread from you, that's still not involving supernatural forces of any kind, at least not by default, so I see no reason there should be some arbitrary line in the sand making some choices 100% good and others 100% evil.

Anyone got a source for there being ONLY objective morality in Golarion, not just that evil spells are evil and praying to evil deities is evil? (Or the reverse, of course.)

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