Who Is Evil?


Second Darkness

Scarab Sages

My players and I got into a debate about alignment a couple game sessions ago. At issue was whether most common folk in Riddleport are evil. (This came up because of a paladin's detect evil ability.)

It seems to me that most would be evil not only if they're petty criminals or thugs, but also just by participating in a society where stealing, bribes, violence and other crimes are daily facts of life.

If someone is getting mugged and you just look the other way, is that evil or just chaotic? Any other thoughts? What about stealing?

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Illmirranor wrote:

My players and I got into a debate about alignment a couple game sessions ago. At issue was whether most common folk in Riddleport are evil. (This came up because of a paladin's detect evil ability.)

It seems to me that most would be evil not only if they're petty criminals or thugs, but also just by participating in a society where stealing, bribes, violence and other crimes are daily facts of life.

If someone is getting mugged and you just look the other way, is that evil or just chaotic? Any other thoughts? What about stealing?

That's a tough question. My gut feeling is that seeing someone in trouble and doing nothing is probably more of a neutral thing. The good thing to do would be to try to help. The evil thing would be to join in on the attack. This is one of those grey areas when it comes to alignment.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Without delving too much into the specifics of alignment definition, I would pretty much assume that most people in Riddleport are CN - entirely self-absorbed, without necessarily being interested in doing harm to other people - but with a hefty percentage of NE and CE floating around as well. By far the most likely Lawful alignment is LE, since there are a few criminal gangs that are very tightly organized.

Grand Lodge

Illmirranor wrote:


It seems to me that most would be evil not only if they're petty criminals or thugs, but also just by participating in a society where stealing, bribes, violence and other crimes are daily facts of life.

Don't forget that a good portion of the people who live in Riddleport do so because they are desperate and poor and can't afford to live elsewhere. I wouldn't really call them "participants" so much as "victims" of that society.

Personally, I would be hesitant to say that "most" of the people in Riddleport are evil, but I don't think it would be a stretch to say that evil alignments are more common there than the norm. Riddleport is definitely a society that discourages altruistic behavior and rewards people who behave badly.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Illmirranor wrote:

My players and I got into a debate about alignment a couple game sessions ago. At issue was whether most common folk in Riddleport are evil. (This came up because of a paladin's detect evil ability.)

It seems to me that most would be evil not only if they're petty criminals or thugs, but also just by participating in a society where stealing, bribes, violence and other crimes are daily facts of life.

If someone is getting mugged and you just look the other way, is that evil or just chaotic? Any other thoughts? What about stealing?

Well... a look at Riddleport's stat block says the city's Chaotic Neutral. So no... the majority of Riddleport's citizens are not evil. That said, there's an AWFUL lot of evil folk there, enough so that a Paladin who lives there would (and should) get used to the fact that there's a lot of evil folks there. This is actually one of the main reasons we set "A Shadow in the Sky" in Riddleport, because...

Spoiler:
...having the PCs work for an evil patron is more difficult if the evil patron stands out. If, on the other hand, he's just YET ANOTHER part of the city's background evil, that wouldn't and shouldn't in and of itself be cause for alarm to the paladin. Cause to treat the guy warily, sure, but not necessarily cause to assume the worst. Of course, assuming the worst about Saul IS the correct response. In any case, the goal of the adventure is to reveal to the PCs that there are drow under Riddleport, so if they figure Saul out early and don't want to work for him, that's okay. Just have a different NPC patron send them on the quests and eventually have that patron tell them, "I think Saul is evil; sneak into the Gold Goblin and find proof, please."

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