Alignment debates - two situations?


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I am having some trouble concerning the appropriateness of the actions two of my players are taking with their characters which have NG and CG alignments. I have suggested to them that their actions are more appropriate for a Neutral (in respect to the Good-Evil axis) alignment, but we can't seem to agree on it. As everyone loves alignemnt discussions, I would like to know what are your opinions regarding these two situations:

Situation number one:
Party consists of:
CG elven rogue (unconscious)
LG human paladin (unconscious)
NG elven ranger
CN human enchantress
CG human cleric of Shelyn

During a very bloody and difficult combat against a certain goblin warchief

Spoiler:
Ripnugget
and his minions, the five PC's manage to kill all opposition, except for the Warchief, who is still in a relatively good shape. The PCs, on the other hand, have many of their resources depleted and two of them have fallen, the situation looking pretty grim. The group's enchantress tries in a desperate move to cast charm person on the goblin (despite the +5 he gets to save). It works, and she proposes a truce. Everyone stops fighting, and the enchantress starts to discuss the terms of the truce, stating that their friends mean no more harm (with a high Diplomacy check), while obtaining important information from the Warchief. Umbeknownst to the enchantress, the two other PCs devise a plan to get themselves out of this tight spot. They convince the goblin with carefully chosen words (and great Bluff checks) that they are sorry for their intrusion and that they wish to make amends by healing him. As the goblin removes his armor, expecting to receive first aid and the restorative power of Shelyn's magic, he is attacked by both the Ranger and Shelyn's priest. The enchantress is disgusted by what they do. A discussion concerning whether this is an evil act ensues. What is your opinion ? Is this an evil act or not ?

Situation number two:
Party consists of:
LG human paladin of Sarenrae
NG human sorcerer
LG human ranger

The PCs are on an ancient tomb on a treasure hunt, having just stricken a deal with adversaries which are seeking the same treasures. These adversaries are led by a cleric of Asmodeus,

Spoiler:
Paracount Julistar
most of them being evil (as detected by the paladin). Both parties are facing difficulties, and are not sure of their survival if they do not stick together. The NG sorcerer disagrees with the truce, but keeps his opinion mostly to himself, since the Paladin took the front. The truce is reasoned by remembering that Sarenrae and Asmodeus worked together before to vanquish a greater threat.
The groups, now together, face a deadly enemy. Everyone fights valiantly and defeat the enemy, and the time to divide the loot finally comes. Now, the sorcerer identifies that one of the magical items found is actually cursed. He keeps silent in the matter, proposes a split of the treasure which puts the bracer in the other group's pile and allows the wizard from the other group to wear them, even though they are still at risk, since they did not finish exploring the tomb. A discussion begins on whether this is a good or evil act. This is justified by the player as a non-evil act, since the recipient of the bracer is himself evil. So, what is your take ? Good or evil act ?


First situation: Absolutely 100% an evil act. I don't see how there can be any debate about this one. If the paladin had been in on it, instead of unconscious, he would have fallen on the spot.

Second situation: I'd rule that a neutral act. There's harm to it, but the player didn't force the enemy wizard to wear it without identifying it. He didn't do anything to stop it, but IMO he was under no moral directive to do so, even as a good character. It's not a good act, but it isn't an evil one, either.

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

This is a rough situation, which comes down to questions about good vs. evil and how you, the DM, perceive it.

First situation:

Why it's evil...
The goblin was lied to.
The sorc was lied to.
The goblin died unarmed and unarmoured.

Why it may not be evil...
It's a goblin
It's evil

Verdict: Evil, but more so desperate and somewhat short sighted. They could have walked out of there under the "truce", rested up a day or two, then stormed the place demanding the goblins surrender.

Punishment: I wouldn't make them change their alignments because of this, but the cleric of shelyn may need an attonement spell. It's definetly an evil act, and I'd give them a warning that if it ever happened again they're becomming Neutral. Since it was a desperate act, the full punishment may not be a great idea.

I would like to hear their reasoning behind it not being evil as well

Scarab Sages

First situation: I agree, absolutely an evil act involving attacking a vulnerable opponent after getting his trust under false pretenses. Evil on multiple levels.

Second situation: I agree here too. The issue here is whether the sorcerer had an obligation to disclose the cursed nature of the bracers. I'd argue that that the enemy wizard could reasonably be expected to do his due diligence by waiting to use the bracers until he could identify them himself. After all, as a wizard, he should be pretty savvy about magical items -- savvy enough to know that not all of them are beneficial. Also, being evil, I'd argue that the enemy wizard is likely less trusting of others. The result might be different if the recipient of the bracers were a magic-naive barbarian.


Modera wrote:

First situation:

Why it's evil...
The goblin was lied to.
The sorc was lied to.

Those are Chaotic acts, not Evil ones.

It's evil because it's a betrayal of trust (both of the goblin and of the enchantress), an abuse of power, an abuse of privilege (flag of truce), and, most importantly, cold-blooded murder.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Evil act? Yes, I can see that.
Repercussions of that evil act? Pretty much none. Neither character is a paladin, so the effect of acting outside of typical moral character is minimal. I'd just keep an eye on them and slide their alignment if the overall pattern of their behavior gets to be evil. One act shouldn't budge their alignment unless it's so heinous as to be mind-boggling.

Sovereign Court

first one was an evil act, not saying it's one that requires an alignment change or anything, good people do bad things sometimes. Luckily there's an easy way to do this, give them a point of sloth for taking the easy way out. this has no in game effect now, but'll come up later *evil grin*

I did this when my PC fighter slaughtered all the goblin children in their cages.

The second situation, nah I don't think it's evil, sneaky underhanded and borderline, yeah, but not evil. I agree with zurai.

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

Second situation:

Why it may be an evil act...
It'll eventually cause preventable harm

Why it may not be an evil act...
They are evil
It'll stop them in the long run

This time the question I would ask is why they are evil. Does this happen to be a group of people who just don't think of others, or are they baby-eating madmen bent on destroying the world? If the sorc knows that they'll cause a lot of harm, then I'd say he's justified.

From the sound of it, they just sound like a bunch of people who he just doesn't agree with. Also, he's allowing the wizard to not only take the bracers but then wear them around his companions and possibly cause them harm.

Verdict: Evil, and possibly dangerous, not to mention short sighted. Cursed items need to be destroyed, otherwise they can be used very well against innocent people. I'm imagining a bag of devouring and some kittens as an example.

Punishment: Up the curse. A lot. Right now I don't know how powerful the curse is that you've given the wizard, but I'd go so far as turning him into a lycanthrope or some kind of powerful undead while the party is still around, possibly after a fight.

This has 2 benefits over just saying "hey, your alignment changes":

1 - The player will come to that conclusion himself
2 - It may negatively affect the players (less healing, loss of a group that trusts them, loss of respect for the player that did it, loss of character's life) in a direct way that is indirectly caused by you.


Bill Dunn wrote:

Evil act? Yes, I can see that.

Repercussions of that evil act? Pretty much none. Neither character is a paladin, so the effect of acting outside of typical moral character is minimal.

One is a cleric of a Good deity, which does carry a moral code (although not nearly as strict as the paladin's). I wouldn't make the cleric lose the favor of Shelyn, but I would send him a warning from his deity (there's an article on Shelyn in Rise of the Runelords, I think, that includes signs of her favor and disfavor; if not, there certainly is in the Pathfinder Chronicles deity book) and perhaps withhold his domain spells for a day or so.

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
Zurai wrote:
Modera wrote:

First situation:

Why it's evil...
The goblin was lied to.
The sorc was lied to.

Those are Chaotic acts, not Evil ones.

It's evil because it's a betrayal of trust (both of the goblin and of the enchantress), an abuse of power, an abuse of privilege (flag of truce), and, most importantly, cold-blooded murder.

Good point, good point. I was staying away from the murder one since it's a monster prone to evil in this case, but you elaborate better than I do with "lied"


Modera wrote:
I was staying away from the murder one since it's a monster prone to evil in this case

I only buy that argument when it's a being that literally embodies evil (creatures with the [evil] subtype, essentially), and even then it's on a case-by-case basis.

RotRL spoiler:

Spoiler:
The interesting facet of this case is actually that Ripnugget tries to do almost exactly the same thing to the players. He tries to lure the weakest-looking PC up next to him by bluffing about wanting to discuss a truce, then rages and full-attacks.

I think this clearly shows it's an evil act. It's even more evil in the PCs' case, here, because they use magic to basically force him to expose himself to the attack.

Dark Archive

In the first instance, the Ranger is being brutally pragmatic, which isn't really the defining hallmark of Neutral Good. Still, he's a ranger, and likely to get away with it. The Cleric of Shelyn is chaotic good, meaning that he/she should be strongly opposed to taking advantage of someone via charm/compulsion magic (somewhat ironically, for a cleric of a goddess with the Charm domain). Using charm to convince someone to take their armor off so that you can gank them would be beyond the pale. Using charm to convince someone that the combat was all a terrible mistake and we'll be going now, would be acceptable, IMO. The Cleric is the one that answers to a higher power, and may have problems down the road. If the Cleric has the Charm Domain, that would be the perfect place for Shelyn to express displeasure, as it was the abuse of a charm magic that was used to perpetrate this evil act. Charm effects attempted by the Cleric might backfire and result in the target being *less* fond of the Cleric, for instance.

More subtle (and less game-affecting) signs of Shelyn's displeasure could include stains on the Clerics equipment, discolored marks on the skin, etc. as Shelyn rewards the 'ugly deed' with outer manifestations of ugliness. Attempts to clean the gear might last only minutes, with creeping verdigris spreading like frost-patterns across metal jewelry, weapons and armor, and discolorations afflicting items of cloth or wood (or the Clerics own skin, hair and teeth, which might also emit an unpleasant odor, combining the less pleasant aspects of halitosis, psoriasis and eczema). The staining and discoloration could begin with the weapon that struck the goblin, and places were the Cleric would later remember that his blood splashed, but quickly spread to all gear worn at the time of the treacherous act, and to appropriately symbolic body parts (the face / mouth, as well as the weapon arm, being the most relevant, with the bad breath emanating from the Clerics tongue, that was used to fool the goblin into disrobing).

A less subtle warning might be total spell failure whenever wearing armor. Who else in recent memory had to take off his armor? Oh yeah...

An appropriate act of penance (creating a valuable work of art and donating it's sale price to a local charity, spending a couple of days working for someone they've wronged, etc.) could clear these symptoms up.

The second option is mean, and might give the sorcerer a night's uncomfortable sleep, knowing that he's allowed misfortune to fall on someone who was, at least temporarily, an ally, but it's not like he's got a god looking over his shoulder. The only curses / divine retaliation he'll have to worry about is from the NPC in question.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Zurai wrote:


One is a cleric of a Good deity, which does carry a moral code (although not nearly as strict as the paladin's). I wouldn't make the cleric lose the favor of Shelyn, but I would send him a warning from his deity (there's an article on Shelyn in Rise of the Runelords, I think, that includes signs of her favor and disfavor; if not, there certainly is in the Pathfinder Chronicles deity book) and perhaps withhold his domain spells for a day or so.

In the case of the cleric of Shelyn, a message of disfavor would proabably be appropriate. But outside of the church of Iomedae or Sarenrae, I think anything more than that would proabably be unlikely. A god like Torag might even grudgingly approve of treating a dangerous goblin in such a manner.


Bill Dunn wrote:


In the case of the cleric of Shelyn, a message of disfavor would proabably be appropriate. But outside of the church of Iomedae or Sarenrae, I think anything more than that would proabably be unlikely. A god like Torag might even grudgingly approve of treating a dangerous goblin in such a manner.

Yeah, I pretty much agree with that. I just threw out the "perhaps withhold domain spells" as a more mechanical sign of Shelyn's disfavor.

Incidentally, I'm not sure that the first scenario should have played out as written. Charm person only makes the target count the caster as his friend. The caster's allies would still be considered enemies and the goblin would be unlikely to take off his armor at an enemy's request.

Scarab Sages

Zurai wrote:
Modera wrote:
I was staying away from the murder one since it's a monster prone to evil in this case

I only buy that argument when it's a being that literally embodies evil (creatures with the [evil] subtype, essentially), and even then it's on a case-by-case basis.

RotRL spoiler:
** spoiler omitted **

Hypothetical: assume (contrary to the fact pattern) that the enchantress is CG. Did she commit an evil act?

I say no, assuming that she truly intended to propose and follow through with a truce (as evidenced by her disgust at her comrades' actions).

Again assuming she is CG, if she found out or got suspicious about her comrades' intentions, what would her obligations (if any) be to the goblin, given that she cast the charm spell that facilitated this scheme?


Allen Oh wrote:

Hypothetical: assume (contrary to the fact pattern) that the enchantress is CG. Did she commit an evil act?

I say no, assuming that she truly intended to propose and follow through with a truce (as evidenced by her disgust at her comrades' actions).

I agree. It's at the very worst a neutral act given that the enchantress did not intend to betray the goblin, and could possibly have ended up as a good act depending on how the scenario would have otherwise played out.

Quote:
Again assuming she is CG, if she found out or got suspicious about her comrades' intentions, what would her obligations (if any) be to the goblin, given that she cast the charm spell that facilitated this scheme?

Assuming she was CG, her moral obligation would be to attempt to persuade or, if needed, stop her allies from abusing her and her powers to commit an evil act.


Thiago Cardozo wrote:

I am having some trouble concerning the appropriateness of the actions two of my players are taking with their characters which have NG and CG alignments. I have suggested to them that their actions are more appropriate for a Neutral (in respect to the Good-Evil axis) alignment, but we can't seem to agree on it. As everyone loves alignemnt discussions, I would like to know what are your opinions regarding these two situations:

Situation number one:
Party consists of:
CG elven rogue (unconscious)
LG human paladin (unconscious)
NG elven ranger
CN human enchantress
CG human cleric of Shelyn

During a very bloody and difficult combat against a certain goblin warchief ** spoiler omitted ** and his minions, the five PC's manage to kill all opposition, except for the Warchief, who is still in a relatively good shape. The PCs, on the other hand, have many of their resources depleted and two of them have fallen, the situation looking pretty grim. The group's enchantress tries in a desperate move to cast charm person on the goblin (despite the +5 he gets to save). It works, and she proposes a truce. Everyone stops fighting, and the enchantress starts to discuss the terms of the truce, stating that their friends mean no more harm (with a high Diplomacy check), while obtaining important information from the Warchief. Umbeknownst to the enchantress, the two other PCs devise a plan to get themselves out of this tight spot. They convince the goblin with carefully chosen words (and great Bluff checks) that they are sorry for their intrusion and that they wish to make amends by healing him. As the goblin removes his armor, expecting to receive first aid and the restorative power of Shelyn's magic, he is attacked by both the Ranger and Shelyn's priest. The enchantress is disgusted by what they do. A discussion concerning whether this is an evil act ensues. What is your opinion ? Is this an evil act or not ?

Situation number two:
Party consists of:
LG human paladin of Sarenrae
NG human sorcerer
LG...

Situation One

Evil? No.
The Goblin, a serial murdering, raving monster had killed before and would kill again. The party used magic to disable it and kill it. Had it been a hold person spell you wouldn't have minded at all. Also I'd like to point out that taking hostages is in NO WAY a requisite of good alignments. In editions past, there were PALADIN VOWS that allowed no quarter... you were required by your code is some situations to kill an enemy you'd disabled. There's nothing inherently sadistic or disturbing in the act, so I wouldn't consider it evil.

Situation Two

Nope. An enemy is an enemy is an enemy... and if the other party wasn't smart enough to ID things before accepting negotiations then that's their fault. A Cleric of Asmodeus should be an absolute shrewd bastard in negotiations...and probably shouldn't have fallen for that.

My rule of Thumb -- Wolverine, or V from Vendetta, or the main character from Unforgiven. All would be considered Good Characters even thought they do things that at would times give others pause.

I think the real issue is the alignment system, which places hideously unrealistic guidelines on behaviour. Even a hero sometimes does monstrous things.


nathan blackmer wrote:
I think the real issue is the alignment system, which places hideously unrealistic guidelines on behaviour. Even a hero sometimes does monstrous things.

My copy of the Bible has an extra chapter where Jesus finds Herod sitting on the john and he says "The ends justify the means, b#$*@" before killing him with a flamethrower.

It's the unexpurgated version. ;-)


nathan blackmer wrote:
My rule of Thumb -- Wolverine, or V from Vendetta, or the main character from Unforgiven. All would be considered Good Characters even thought they do things that at would times give others pause.

Wow. No. Not even close. Wolverine wouldn't even call himself good; he's raped, murdered, been an assassin, done all kinds of amoral and criminal things, and he knows it.

I'm not familiar with Unforgiven, but Wolverine and V are both neutral at best on the good-evil axis.

The Exchange

1 - evil
2 - neutral


First Situation? Evil, through and through, it was treason. Treason is ugly, Shellyn frowns upon that; that cleric won't be receiving spells for a while.

Second Situation? Depends on the following question (contained in spoiler)

Spoiler:

Did The Expeditionary try to frame your adventurers for some crime or otherwise fought them as the adventure intended?

If the answer is yes, then it's by no means evil, it's just desserts. If the answer is no then it's evil, but evil with a small 'e', nothing worth an instant alignment change.


Zurai wrote:
nathan blackmer wrote:
My rule of Thumb -- Wolverine, or V from Vendetta, or the main character from Unforgiven. All would be considered Good Characters even thought they do things that at would times give others pause.

Wow. No. Not even close. Wolverine wouldn't even call himself good; he's raped, murdered, been an assassin, done all kinds of amoral and criminal things, and he knows it.

I'm not familiar with Unforgiven, but Wolverine and V are both neutral at best on the good-evil axis.

[minor threadjack]

As far as I was aware, any rape or proffiteering assassination wolverine did was prior to his time with the x-men. From what I've read of him, during his time with them his moral state... evolved... for lack of a better word.

I believe he did reach a state of good (highly chaotic, somewhat of an a$~++&&, and rather violent, but good) in the cannon.

[/minor threadjack]


Zurai wrote:
nathan blackmer wrote:
My rule of Thumb -- Wolverine, or V from Vendetta, or the main character from Unforgiven. All would be considered Good Characters even thought they do things that at would times give others pause.

Wow. No. Not even close. Wolverine wouldn't even call himself good; he's raped, murdered, been an assassin, done all kinds of amoral and criminal things, and he knows it.

I'm not familiar with Unforgiven, but Wolverine and V are both neutral at best on the good-evil axis.

What? Wolverine is the epitomy of Chaotic Good.

Regardless of what Wolverine's past IS, he's a genuinely kind-hearted and well intented person. Not to get off topic into the comics debate, but I think if you'll read them you'll see that he spends the vast majority of his time (in ANY incarnation, to include the ultimates) saving or trying to save people's lives.

V is nuetral at best eh? I don't think our opinions of good are anywhere near aligned... which again points to the major flaw of the alignment system.


kyrt-ryder wrote:

[minor threadjack]

As far as I was aware, any rape or proffiteering assassination wolverine did was prior to his time with the x-men. From what I've read of him, during his time with them his moral state... evolved... for lack of a better word.

I believe he did reach a state of good (highly chaotic, somewhat of an a*~%##@, and rather violent, but good) in the cannon.

[/minor threadjack]

I'm not a huge comic follower, so my understanding has holes in it; that said, it's my understanding that he periodically left the X-Men and Did Bad Things pretty much throughout the whole timeline. As did quite of few of the others, for that matter (the, "Oh no! This good guy is actually a bad guy!" plot line gets trotted out waaaaaay too often).


hogarth wrote:
nathan blackmer wrote:
I think the real issue is the alignment system, which places hideously unrealistic guidelines on behaviour. Even a hero sometimes does monstrous things.

My copy of the Bible has an extra chapter where Jesus finds Herod sitting on the john and he says "The ends justify the means, b&@&@" before killing him with a flamethrower.

It's the unexpurgated version. ;-)

gotta get me some of that. don't forget, NEVER pick on bald people. god will kill you with bears.


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

First situation, chaotic but probably not evil, if killing him in a fair fight wouldn't have been evil.

Second situation. Proably neutral, but again, on the lawful/chaotic axis not the good/evil axis.

Good/Evil is the ends. Lawful/Chaotic is the means. A generalization, but usually accurate. Seriously, everyone saying that lying/abusing trust is evil should reread the Pathfinder description of law/chaos.

PRD Alignment section

Quote:
Lawful characters tell the truth, keep their word, respect authority, honor tradition, and judge those who fall short of their duties. Chaotic characters follow their consciences, resent being told what to do, favor new ideas over tradition, and do what they promise if they feel like it.


RicoTheBold wrote:
First situation, chaotic but probably not evil, if killing him in a fair fight wouldn't have been evil.

But it wasn't a fair fight, so the morality of killing him in a fair fight is irrelevant. It was murder.

Quote:
Seriously, everyone saying that lying/abusing trust is evil should reread the Pathfinder description of law/chaos.

And you should probably reread the Pathfinder description of good/evil:

Quote:

Good implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others.

Evil implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master.

Killing the goblin in cold blood through means of trickery after it had agreed to a truce shows disrespect towards life, a lack of concern for the dignity of a sentient being, and a general callousness towards hurting and killing another creature simply for convenience's sake.

Murdering the goblin after it had stopped fighting was an evil act. Period. Yes, it was also a chaotic act. You can have actions that are both chaotic and evil. This is a good -- textbook, even -- example.


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

All of the bits about killing/hurting the goblin apply no matter how they do it. If they torture him for fun, sure that's evil. That's hurting him just to hurt him. If they were going to kill him anyway, then lying/betraying him is merely a chaotic way to kill him, whether killing him is good or evil.

Since I don't know the adventure in question, I won't comment too authoritatively on that, but by your logic every fight that will knowingly end in death is evil. Murder implies malice aforethought. It was murder no matter how they went about it. They planned to kill him, and did.


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

And yes, war under Geneva convention style rules is just a lawful way to accomplish murder. And obviously this isn't murder by the legal definition; that would overcomplicate things.


RicoTheBold wrote:

All of the bits about killing/hurting the goblin apply no matter how they do it. If they torture him for fun, sure that's evil. That's hurting him just to hurt him. If they were going to kill him anyway, then lying/betraying him is merely a chaotic way to kill him, whether killing him is good or evil.

Since I don't know the adventure in question, I won't comment too authoritatively on that, but by your logic every fight that will knowingly end in death is evil. Murder implies malice aforethought. It was murder no matter how they went about it. They planned to kill him, and did.

No. The fight stopped. The goblin voluntarily removed his weapons and armor (remember, it wasn't the one who charmed him that convinced him to do that; he did it of his own free will). At that point it stopped being self-defense (the goblin in question starts the fight) and starts being cold-blooded murder.

Being Good requires that you make any reasonable effort to end conflicts with non-supernatural evils (ie, more or less open game on devils, demons, and daemons) peacefully if possible. Life is sacred. If you're forced to kill to defend yourself or others, that's fine, but in the example the party members in question were not forced to do so. They had another option: negotiate with the goblin chieftan. As good characters, that is the option they should have taken.


I tried to convey both situations in a manner as neutral as possible. Before I dive in with my personal opinions on both situations, let make some clarifications:

1. In the first situation, the charm only worked for the enchantress, of course. It was the fact that she assured the goblin that her companions meant him no harm which (unintentionally) allowed them to try the bluff check. The players argued that since the goblin did not, in fact, repent, but only agreed to a truce under magical compulsion, this was not a legitimate truce, and hence, did not feel they needed to be fair to the evil warlord.

2. In the second one, the expeditionary had already done some nastiness:

Spoiler:
- robbed the mask before the PCs had an opportunity to negotiate it with its owner (they could not rob it, two LG characters and all :))
- tried (and failed) to set up an ambush in the underdunes;
- left a mummy as a "gift" for the PCs;
- lightning bolted the ranger.

They had agreed to forget their differences and work together; the Expeditionary's wizard actually identified the bracer, but did not surpass the check by 10, and it seemed to him as if it was a bracer of armor.

Now my opinion is that, the restriction inherent in the Alignment rules notwithstanding, Good and Evil is not merely a team name. By this I mean that an evil character is defined by the kind of stuff he does, not to whom. IMO, Executing in cold blood a Good or Evil enemy under a truce (even a temporary one) is an evil act by itself no matter the enemy's alignment. Otherwise, Good and Evil become merely team names, and your team is decided based on whom you do nasty stuff to. In my opinion, Good is necessarily more restrictive than Evil. There are some tactics Good guys just won't use (or at least will feel remorse when using them). This, of course, in the simplistic alignment definitions of the game system.

My opinion is that the first act is clearly evil.

As to the second situation: reading the opinions here, I would agree that it might be seen as neutral, though my first impression was that it was a minor evil action. If he had merely mislead the wizard with the relative value of the treasure I would then agree that it is only a chaotic act. However, the life of his (temporary) associate was put in jeopardy, even though there was an expectation from both sides of fair play, at least while in the tomb. In fact, he put everyone's life in danger since the wizard might die prematurely due to his action (or lack thereof), which would, be disastrous, should his talents become important in a critical moment. I don't know, I am still divided on this one.

This whole discussion reminds me of "Start of Darkness" of OotS :)


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Can't really type on a treadmill, so I'll reply with something more detaile later, but you guys keep using prejudicial words here like "cold blood" and "murder" which denote/connote good or evil/chaotic or lawful, so you're effectively saying evil kills are evil. That always rings true.


RicoTheBold wrote:


Good/Evil is the ends. Lawful/Chaotic is the means. A generalization, but usually accurate. Seriously, everyone saying that lying/abusing trust is evil should reread the Pathfinder description of law/chaos.

It is funny that this is exactly how one of the players puts the situation. I, for one, think this is grossly innacurate. One could, for instance, say that improving a kingdom's economy and the life of its citizens is a good thing. Doing this by plundering other nations is not.


RicoTheBold wrote:
Can't really type on a treadmill, so I'll reply with something more detaile later, but you guys keep using prejudicial words here like "cold blood" and "murder" which denote/connote good or evil/chaotic or lawful, so you're effectively saying evil kills are evil. That always rings true.

It was murder. The goblin was not actively fighting and the party was not in imminent danger. Note that murder does not require premeditation.

It was in cold blood. The party was not fighting, and there had in fact been at least a short break in the fighting because it takes a minute or two to talk a goblin into removing its armor and then wait for it to do so.

Thus, there's no prejudicial terms here, merely clinical ones.

Thiago Cardozo wrote:
I, for one, think this is grossly innacurate. One could, for instance, say that improving a kingdom's economy and the life of its citizens is a good thing. Doing this by plundering other nations is not.

+1. Good is more than your intentions. After all, the phrase goes "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions". There's also, "The ends do not justify the means". Good/evil and law/chaos are both the intent and the manner of execution.

Dark Archive

Have to agree with the majority. First act was a evil act, the second one wasn't.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

My opinion (not that it differs much from above).

#1: EVVVVIILLLLLLL! The epitomy of evil is betrayal. No matter how you did it, you negotiated a truce, promised to heal someone, and then slit their throat when they trusted you. And, you went into it knowing you were going to betray that trust. That's evil, pure and simple. I would have the goddess demonstrate her displeasure with the cleric by, as suggested, only allowing her to cast spells or channel energy while she is wearing no armor. I might even have the goddess refuse to extend her healing to the ranger, who helped in this.

#2: Evil? Probably not. Unethical? Yep. You can be unethical or ethical and not be good or evil, or even lawful or chaotic. Regardless of what had happeend before the truce, they had agreed to a truce. If the other side had lived up to the truce once it was declared, then the wizard had no justification for putting their lives at risk when he knew something. If they had already broken the truce, or bent it, first, then that would be different. But, if they were honorably upholding their end of the truce, it becomes unethical. As to repercussions, probably nothing for this tale (but, if they encounter the same people again, they will not trust the party, and I'd make sure the blighters ran into them again, and maybe make them a repeated group they run into).

If the party keeps up this kind of behaviour, I'd have it affect them in character. They get reputations as ruthless and bloodthirsty and untrustworthy. People quit asking them to help and start asking them to exterminate bandits and kill inconvenient people, after all, they have that reputation.


My thoughts...
Situation #1: What is the Ranger’s favored enemy? Yes, it matters from a roleplay perspective, specifically if it is Goblinoid.

I don’t know much about Shelyn, but Chaotic Good is not above doing what is necessary to get the job done.

Situation #2: I agree with someone above, if the item wasn't specifically handed to the enemy Wizard, but just left/placed in a pile of unwanted items... too bad for his luck and stupidity.

--------------------------------

Quote:


My rule of Thumb -- Wolverine, or V from Vendetta, or the main character from Unforgiven. All would be considered Good Characters even thought they do things that at would times give others pause.

Chaotic Neutral (Good tendencies)

BTW, don't forget the 'Punisher' and anyone else who uses 'lethal'(blades/bullets) attacks for hero'ing.

And to add further to the Wolverine debate... he has been apart of a Good organization and unofficailly seeking mental treatment for quite some time. They have selflessly 'protected/saved the world' or helped others in doing so at least half a dozen times back when I use to read the X-Men. (Secret Wars, Fall of the Mutants, Inferno, Apocalypse..., etc.)


They only made to truce to save their own hides, not because they really wanted a truce. I don't think its anymore immoral than any other type of deception during a battle. If that is evil then stabbing someone in the back is evil since that involves deception, even though its of a different type, and eventually that charm person would have worn off. I am willing to bet once the goblin realized he had been duped he would have the PC's head if he could get them.


These ideas for punishing the cleric are very interesting. Unfortunately a lot of time has passed since this first event, and I don't think it would be possible to do it now. I will have to wait for him to do something similar again ;)

Curiously, the cleric in the first situation, and the sorcerer in the second are played by the same guy! :) Situation number 2 ocurred very recently and this has been a hot topic for a while in our group. This lead me to post the whole mess here for discussion.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
wraithstrike wrote:
They only made to truce to save their own hides, not because they really wanted a truce. I don't think its anymore immoral than any other type of deception during a battle. If that is evil then stabbing someone in the back is evil since that involves deception, even though its of a different type, and eventually that charm person would have worn off. I am willing to bet once the goblin realized he had been duped he would have the PC's head if he could get them.

Utterly beside the point. The fact the goblin (an evil creature) would have done it to them is the strongest argument that it was an evil act.

If Good can do the same thing Evil can do, but it's not evil because they are Good, you might as well hand out shirts at random to every character. Those that get a halo shirt are good, those that get a horn shirt are evil, and those that get a blank shirt are neutral.

Once everyone has their shirts, they can all break up into teams and murder loot and pillage while the GM calls after them, "Ok everyone, run along and have fun storming the castle!"


wraithstrike wrote:
They only made to truce to save their own hides, not because they really wanted a truce. I don't think its anymore immoral than any other type of deception during a battle. If that is evil then stabbing someone in the back is evil since that involves deception, even though its of a different type, and eventually that charm person would have worn off. I am willing to bet once the goblin realized he had been duped he would have the PC's head if he could get them.

And this is why we call him evil. In the game context, good and evil are not symmetric; you can't do stuff evil people do just because you are doing it to them. I mean, you certainly can but you cannot say they are not evil actions.

I don't think the tactical situation has any implication on the moral status of an action. A good character might have to do an evil act due to tactical considerations, but this does not mean the act is good. The difference is that a good character would feel guilty about doing it, while the evil character would rejoice when remembering how cunning he was. In neither situation the players expressed the idea that their characters felt any kind of guilt.


mdt wrote:
Utterly beside the point. The fact the goblin (an evil creature) would have done it to them is the strongest argument that it was an evil act.

Ex-actly.

Dark Archive

mdt wrote:
If Good can do the same thing Evil can do, but it's not evil because they are Good, you might as well hand out shirts at random to every character. Those that get a halo shirt are good, those that get a horn shirt are evil, and those that get a blank shirt are neutral.

Ah yes, taking alignment down to the level of a Drazi leadership ceremony. :)

Contributor

Act I: Yep, evil. Murder most foul, base treachery, violation of the flag of truce. This is opera level evil. The paladin should notice it immediately on waking and will figure things out even if the enchantress doesn't tell him, at which point the most temperate thing he can do is dump them, praying that they come to their senses and atone for their wicked deed.

And FWIW, throwing a spare Monet at the local orphanage is not much in way of atonement. If I were running the goddess, I wouldn't accept that as penance.

Act II: Minor treachery, which is evil, but the PC wasn't the one who agreed to the truce in the first place, so it can also be listed under insubordination. It's about as much chaotic as it is evil.

When the wizard finds out later, I would expect him to make some rather direct inquiries as to if anyone knew, and there are fiends who can help him to ferret the answer out after the fact, so the PC's Bluff checks may be immaterial. After that, demand of the "good" party's leader, as a matter of honor and law, that the treacherous one submit to a Lesser Geas as the wizard's pound of flesh. The Lesser Geas: Please put on this cursed magic item which I haven't properly identified either, and give it back to me once you've given a week-long product demonstration of the curse.


Set wrote:
mdt wrote:
If Good can do the same thing Evil can do, but it's not evil because they are Good, you might as well hand out shirts at random to every character. Those that get a halo shirt are good, those that get a horn shirt are evil, and those that get a blank shirt are neutral.
Ah yes, taking alignment down to the level of a Drazi leadership ceremony. :)

Hahaha. I remember that episode. Love me some B5.

Which, incidentally, has some great examples of the difference between Lawful (Vorlon) and Chaotic (Shadow) alignments. Vorlons and Shadows are actually what I model LN and CN outsiders on in my homebrews.


Zurai wrote:
Modera wrote:

First situation:

Why it's evil...
The goblin was lied to.
The sorc was lied to.

Those are Chaotic acts, not Evil ones.

It's evil because it's a betrayal of trust (both of the goblin and of the enchantress), an abuse of power, an abuse of privilege (flag of truce), and, most importantly, cold-blooded murder.

Agreed.


First situation: Evil. Betrayal, deceit, Murder, violating the flag of truce, abuse of magic, abuse of power.

Second situation: Well played, neutral at best and worse. If the wizard didn't ask, and didn't check but accept that pile as their pile of loot it's up to them to decide what they want to do with it. He choose to risk it and wear them without making sure they are clean. The good character didn't make him, didn't even suggest he would want them, simply allowed them to go into the pile. "Gave him enough rope to hang himself" isn't a crime, and is a standard tactic of Good characters. Would the "good thing" to do been warning them that it had problems? Yes, however it isn't necessary or obligatory.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Set wrote:
mdt wrote:
If Good can do the same thing Evil can do, but it's not evil because they are Good, you might as well hand out shirts at random to every character. Those that get a halo shirt are good, those that get a horn shirt are evil, and those that get a blank shirt are neutral.

Ah yes, taking alignment down to the level of a Drazi leadership ceremony. :)

LOL


I'm inclined to go with the majority view (at least for point 1)

Act #1: Evil (and likely out of bounds for the alignment).

But there are a couple of things that give me pause:

The two who deceived the goblin and broke their words are chaotic good.
Good/evil may not be exactly the right question here - rather the issue is whether the characters acted in accordance with their alignments, which is potentially more complex than just "good" vs. "evil".

For a lawful good character, this would be wrong on two counts, they broke their word (not lawful), and murdered an unarmored sentient being (not good). So, the act would be incompatible with alignment.

For a chaotic good character, this is wrong only on the latter count (murder = evil = not good), but not keeping their word is in keeping with (or certainly doesn't contradict) their chaotic nature.

Which aspect of alignment takes precedence? If it's a logical intersection, then this was out-of-alignment even for Chaotic good characters, since it was chaotic but not good. If it's a logical union, then the act was not out of bounds for the alignment. If it's some other logical relationship, then it would depend on what the relationship was.

I think I've always played alignment as a logical intersection (so this would be out-of-alignment), but I don't have my books here and am not sure how the rule actually reads (or if this point is explicitly addressed).

Act #2: neutral, maybe evil.

Are there restrictions on good aligned characters knowingly giving out a cursed item? This is essentially what happened. The character knew it was cursed, and gave it to someone else.

This is not consistent with "good".

Is it evil? Maybe. If giving out a cursed item is evil by definition, then yes (again, no books here...). If not, then since the character really didn't try to harm anyone directly, maybe it's not evil either.

So I would call this one either neutral (i.e., not explicitly good or evil) or evil, depending on what the rules say about giving out cursed items.

As the sorcerer is neutral good, this may be a touch out of alignment too (but only as far as the 'good' part of the alignment is concerned) - edging either towards true neutral or neutral evil as an act.

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