Is poisoning an evil act?


Rules Questions

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Mikaze wrote:
Elthbert wrote:


Well irk you it might, but the alignment discriptions use exactly that term to discribe them. Law is associated with Honor.

Lawful neutral people are specifically described as following a code, a personal code perhaps but a code. This is the specific discription of the alignment. I find people want to assume LAw has something to do with honoring societys and it does not, it respects order. It is about order, that order can be personal or societal. Chaos does not respect order, it respects Chaos, choice. Codes do not give choice... they are not chaotic in anyway.

Even if taking on a code is one's personal choice? The limits and expectations one sets upon oneself, regardless of society's opinions on the matter, are one's own.

CHaotic and lawful people aren't bound to extreme ideals of what chaos and law mean.

This reminds me of another reason I love PLanescape. The concept of Oaths were a sacred thing in CG Arborea. You were bound only by your word and your word alone, and it meant a hell of a lot.

What I'm getting at is that Lawful by no means has a monopoly on honor.

"Stay true to my word."

"Never back down from a fight."

"Never allow anyone to be harmed for my sake."

"Never turn down a gift freely given."

"Never turn away a person in need."

These are all things a chaotic type can hold close to their heart while remaining chaotic. Because they did it their way.

If someone rigidly adheres to a code, any code, they are Lawful not Chaotic. A chaotic person might always tell the Truth, becuase they see truth as good, or dishonesty as evil, but not becuase of any silly rules. To a Chaotic person, rules are made to be broken,and they have as many exceptions as possible becuase rules limit choice and flexability. If you " Never ......" anything becuase it is your own rule, well, congradulations you are lawful not chaotic.

If you have a code which you follow but occasionaly break because " it had to be done" you are likely Nuetral with respect to law and chaos.


AvalonXQ wrote:
I think there are situations where assassination is appropriate and non-evil. I think in those situations, assassination by sniper or by oral poison is essentially equivalent.

Well while I agree assassination is assassination I would disagree that assassination is ever not an evil act.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Yes, the eternal question, 'Is it Evil to kill Hitler?' :)

Is it evil to kill Hitler as a Nazi ... no. Would it be evil to kill him while he was helpless, yes. Would it be evil to go back and kill him BEFORE he was a nazi Yes, because at that time he was an innocent and killing him would be murder.


AvalonXQ wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Yes, the eternal question, 'Is it Evil to kill Hitler?' :)
You know my answer -- violence and killing are not inherently evil, so no. :-)

No arguement there, I am certianly not a pacifist.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Elthbert wrote:


I would contend that lying is inherintly a chaotic act. A lawful person might tell half truths, and gve partial informations, manipulating the truth to thier advantage, but out and out lying is a chaotic act. A demon will out and out lie to you, a devil will give you just the parts of the Truth that get you to do what they want. A demon is a con man, a devil is a lawyer. That isn't to say that in game Lying is always a evil act but I found the devils and demons a convinient example. ( especially since my first post went in to etheral plane).

Oh, I feel your pain on that one. Ctrl-A + Ctrl-C is my best friend.

I have to reject your example as devils use lies of omission, which are still lies.

Well the Catholic in me agrees, but not the DM in me. In the real world lies of ommission do indeed exist, but I cannot see how they are really possible in a world where there are neutral people who allow evil to occur and are not evil. I am a Neutral person theDeath Squads take the people nest door and kill them, I am a total badass and armed to the teeth, but these people don't mean anything to me so I don't want to risk it so I watch as they kill them. Bt I am not evil. No If one can ommit action to stop evil, one can certianly ommit parts of the truth.

The idea behind the Lie of ommission is that silence means consent. Well in D&D it does not, In D&D Silence is just silence it has no moral or ethical ramifications.


Ashiel wrote:
Tanis wrote:
Yes. It's fairer to inflict damage (even extra damage) on someone, than render someone unconscious or otherwise unable to defend themselves through a means which is not from my own ability or talent

So my Lawful Good Fighter with Craft (Alchemy) who makes his own poisons is totally honorable, lawful, good, and all that jazz.

The paladin who didn't craft his +5 holy avenger, however, is dishonorable, unlawful, etc.

Makes perfect sense.

Do you genuinely believe that that is what i was trying to say?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Batman is LE.

There should be Paladins of other alignments than LG. Actually, all Paladins should be CN.

Killing Kobold babies is evil, because it is bad.

4ed killed Hitler, therefore it is not evil.

Have I covered all the important fronts of D&D alignment debates, or is there something missing ?


Tanis wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Tanis wrote:
Yes. It's fairer to inflict damage (even extra damage) on someone, than render someone unconscious or otherwise unable to defend themselves through a means which is not from my own ability or talent

So my Lawful Good Fighter with Craft (Alchemy) who makes his own poisons is totally honorable, lawful, good, and all that jazz.

The paladin who didn't craft his +5 holy avenger, however, is dishonorable, unlawful, etc.

Makes perfect sense.

Do you genuinely believe that that is what i was trying to say?

Probably not, but its the extreme that makes her point.

I would argue that in all proablity it was the Paladins Skill that got him a +5 Holy Avenger( unless your world has really awesome magic shops), and it is his certianly his faith and skill which make it what it is, since it is ONLY a +5 holy sword in the hands of a paladin. So it is his ability and talent which makes it so.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Elthbert wrote:

Well the Catholic in me agrees, but not the DM in me. In the real world lies of ommission do indeed exist, but I cannot see how they are really possible in a world where there are neutral people who allow evil to occur and are not evil. I am a Neutral person theDeath Squads take the people nest door and kill them, I am a total badass and armed to the teeth, but these people don't mean anything to me so I don't want to risk it so I watch as they kill them. Bt I am not evil. No If one can ommit action to stop evil, one can certianly ommit parts of the truth.

The idea behind the Lie of ommission is that silence means consent. Well in D&D it does not, In D&D Silence is just silence it has no moral or ethical ramifications.

You can commit an Evil act while still being Neutrally aligned. In your example you would be allowing harm to befall another person through inaction. I believe that is referred to as 'an accessory to the crime' in real life. I see no problem in saying that you are harming that person through your inaction. Thus, not helping is an Evil act. Will this turn your alignment to Evil? No, not immediately. But if this is how you react every time it comes up, you are probably not Neutral.


This is quite long so bear with me.

Elthbert wrote:
Well I cannot seem to neatly parse post yet. I am sure I will get it soon enough but you will have to pardon me as I make a general response.

Not to worry, you will get the hang of it if you stay on the boards. A helpful hint: When you hit "new post" or "reply" and the text window pops open, just beneath it you will see a line of text BBCode tags you can use: SHOW, hit the show button and it will display the text commands for doing all the nifty things you see in other posts.

Quote:
Firs, the Curtis Lemay remark was made simply becuase you seemed to paraphrase him quite well, so much so tha I thought it might indeed be your intent.

Fair enough, but that was not my intent, to be honest I had to Google it to even know who he was or what you were trying to say with that.

Quote:
I am not sure I think the rules give a clear example that poison use is not evil, the fact that creatures have it as a natural weapon are Lawful Good does not mean that manufacture of and intentional use of something is not evil. Unless the creatures in question can choose weather or not to inject their poison it is simply not analgous.

I only claim that the poison itself (and general using of it) is Neutral by default. From that Neutral position it is how and why you use it that can shift the action to Good or far more likely Evil.

Quote:
AS for the Child murder, well we agree on something for sure, and people do go home convinced they are not evil, that doesn't mean they aren't. Ah how much simpler life would be if detecting evil was as easy as it is in game. But even their I assume most evil people don't believe they are evil. But you are also right best to leave that can of worms closed.

This is why I separate cultural laws and morality from the Alignment system. Most forms of honor or morality are based upon an idealistic view of that particular culture’s pre-existing laws. For instance, in some cultures it is perfectly lawful, honorable, and good to kill your daughter or wife for "dishonoring" the family. That would be an example of cultural law, honor, and morality. That does not however sway the fact that "in game terms" the slaying of your daughter, who has only committed the crime of following her heart, is an Evil act.

By the same token I pose the question, is using ingested poison to kill really an Evil act in every case? Or do you just believe it to be so based on cultural law, morality, and honor?

What if: An Emperor of a Lawful Evil empire secretly plans to go to invade his neighboring country, a Lawful Good or even Lawful Neutral kingdom. Now the Lawful Good/Neutral King of that land has a spy within the Evil Emperor's court, in fact it is the Emperor's food tester, who is in a position to overhear much of the Emperor's dealings. This spy's information is the only warning the Lawful Good/Neutral King will get of the invasion which is supposed to take his kingdom by surprise. The King is faced with a most difficult decision. Prepare his army of trusted and loyal soldiers to go to war. Or deliver some poison to his spy to be dropped directly into the Emperor's plate, via Sleight of Hand, as the spy "tests" the Emperor's meal. What is the better course of action for the King to take. He can be the pillar of honor and he can rally his troops to march into war, essentially giving a sentence of death to many of them. Or he can take what most would see as the dishonorable path and prevent the war from ever taking place, saving thousands of lives on both sides by killing one Evil man. The poison doesn't have to be painful. It could simply stop the heart, no more painful than the natural death of a heart attack. For me, I could be persuaded to admit his actions were less than forward and honorable. But doubt I could ever be persuaded that saving the lives of thousands of people by sneakily killing one Evil man would be considered an Evil act.

What about this: A dutiful wife is beaten nearly every day of her married life for no other reason than that she is a wife. It is perfectly lawful in this particular culture, as it in fact was in many ancient civilizations. She cannot run away, where would she go? She has no money of her own, and her family would not accept her back in such disgrace. I suppose she could run, and be a beggar or a prostitute for the rest of her life. She cannot defend herself physically because, let’s face it, he would easily kill her. Besides even if she did manage to slay him as he beat her, it is legal for him to beat her, therefore it would be considered murder not self defense. And she cannot stay with him for soon enough he will go too far and kill her, even by accident. In such a world what are her options. I know you and many others would argue there is always another way. And I agree, but perhaps her fear and lack of confidence in herself has stripped those other options from her sight. Perhaps she doesn't believe that the local church would take her in and protect her if she ran away. So she takes what little she has and buys a single dose of poison, something gentle that will simply put its victim to sleep. She goes home and cooks herself a lovely "last meal" if she is going to leave this life she at least wants to do it of her own free will. She pours the poison into the pot of stew and prepares herself to eat. Then her husband comes home, early and unexpected, he smells the food and demands a bowl at once. Fearing the beating she would receive if she didn't obey she pours a bowl and though she knows it will kill him she hands it over. He dies and it is pronounced to be of natural causes, she inherits his land and the home as his only living relative. Her family accepts this as she is not disgraced, she lives out the rest of her life in peace. This is a very strict scenario, I know. It is intended to be that way. As I pointed out, there could be other options but sometimes it really doesn't appear so. Sometimes the strength to peruse those options is stripped away by the fear or disbelief in free will. So in this case, is she Evil. I know according to some religions she has intended to commit the sin of suicide and then out of fear committed the sin of murder, but is she EVIL? I don't believe I would be so harsh as to call her Evil. She has broken the law, absolutely, but Evil? What if she had bought the poison intending to kill her abuser, would she be Evil then? She has no hope of self defense or escape, so is ending her torment the only way she is able an act of Evil? Or what if her plan had gone off without incident, she left a note and drank the soup herself and died peacefully of her own free will at the table? Would she be Evil then? Again I know it is a strict corner case, but I am not asking for options, or what ifs, or she could have done this instead... I am asking, at this moment, in the state of mind she was in, with the actions she took, IS SHE EVIL?

And what about: The spy of a Good King when he is caught by the guards of an Evil Emperor decides to ingest poison rather than submit to torture, interrogation, and public execution. Is this man Evil for using poison to “honorably” end his own life? Should he have used a blade to end his own life instead? Would that have been more right, or more honorable? Yes, I know he has committed the “sin” of suicide, but many cultures believed suicide could be an honorable alternative to certain disgrace. So I ask again, is his action Evil?

Quote:
You said Killing is Killing, this seems to be a statement of moral equivalence, if you did not mean it as such, my appologies. I agree that the how and why determines somethings evil, but if something cannot be used in a way that is not evil, then its use would be evil.

By "Killing is Killing" I only meant that once you have decided to kill someone, whether it be in self defense, defense of country or loved ones, or any other "just" cause, what does it matter whether you kill him by a bullet, a knife, a noose, a fire, or poison? Any way you do it the outcome is the same and no particular way is exclusively more painful than the next. A bullet to the stomach is a slow and painful way to die, with plenty of time to realize you are bleeding out with no hope of living. Poison is no less merciful but probably no more painful either, unless you choose a poison meant to be such.

I did not mean to imply that Killing for sport and Killing for self defense or other "just" cause were on equal moral ground.

Quote:
I think the major issue here is one of intentional killing, I would argue that intentionally killing the BBEG is an evil act. THat does not mean killing himis an evil act, but a good perrson tries to defeat evil, and if the evil guy gets killed in the process, well too bad for him. But if the Heros slash at Mr. Evil Guy and he is wounded and yell's " i surrender please don't kill me" and throws down his weapon Well a Hero takes him prisoner. Which really really can suck. As I said above, if a good person is running around killing helpless opponants he is not good anymore. So the fact that the hero uses a flaming weapon against the BG and may evenkill him horribly with it is not evil, becuase that is side effect of d efeating him. On that score I have already said i don't think poisoning a blade is necessarly evil. we don't disagree there. However, the secondary dameage does give a bit of pause, what if the guy surrenders and you have already poisoned him.

You can't accidentally hunt down and attack your enemy. It is with grim intention that you set out to slay an Evil Emperor, or dragon, or murderer of innocent people. Make no mistake, you are setting out to kill them, which means in your heart and mind you have already done it. If he surrenders well you are at a moral impasse I suppose. But why is staying your blade any different than giving your enemy a vial of neutralize poison. If the enemy wishes to turn himself in and you wish to spare him, you may in fact save him from poison as easily as from other things if you come prepared to do so. But would not sparing him really be Evil I wonder?

Religiously slanted debate on the ruthless killing of Evil being either Good or Evil:
What if your Lawful Good God commands you to take your army, proceed into your enemy’s city, and kill everything: men, women, children, even the animals of the nation? Is it Evil then, or is it God's will?

How can you justify a "Thought shall not commit murder" mentality and then say "Kill them all, the men the women, the young the old, the soldiers and the defenseless, even their pets and live stock?" The answer, in my mind, MUST be that the Evil of "murder" has much less to do with how you kill someone, and far more to do with why you are killing them. So is killing the entire tribe of Evil creatures an Evil act? Is killing everything, Good, Neutral, or Evil, that stands between you and your Evil target an Evil act? In old D&D adventures there are examples of just such "atrocities" which did not shift the Alignments of the "Paladins" who carried out the task.

Does this mean I would slit an Orc baby’s throat without hesitation and feel justified in doing so? Truthfully, I don't think I could kill a baby anything and feel good about it. Does that mean that killing an entire tribe of corrupt and Evil creatures is an Evil act. I have no idea, perhaps, perhaps not; maybe it is only Evil if my conscience makes it so. Perhaps if I were to submit to the fact that by doing so I avert some greater Evil I would be doing a great, honorable, and Good thing. Or perhaps my conscience is long gone and I only think I am doing something for the greater Good when really I am a heartless mercenary.

Judge: "Soldier, what have you done?"

Soldier: "I have murdered defenseless people, women and children. I have poisoned their town's water."

Judge: "That is horrible, EVIL! Why have you done this?"

Soldier: "My God and my King demanded it to be done."

Judge: "Then it is the will of God. You have done well my son."

This is not meant to be an insult to any religion. But the fact is that many of today's laws and notions of honor and goodness come from religion. In America that is primarily Christianity. But this very type of thing happens in the Bible. God says don't murder, and then orders his people to destroy a nation without hesitation or mercy. Why? How is killing defenseless women, children, and animals not Evil in the extreme? Well if you believe the lessons in that book you must accept that the people being slaughtered were in fact corrupt to their core and an extreme Evil in them. So then, "murder" was not being committed. An eradication of Evil was being carried out.

How is the "murder" of the BBEG any different? If he is truly Evil and corrupt in the extreme, and you have been compelled and have decided in your heart to slay this Evil. Why then is one method of killing him any less acceptable than the next? Because he might decide to turn himself in? What if he is like the men, women, and children of Sodom and Gomorrah, too Evil and corrupt to be spared? What then, do you hesitate, or do you do your duty as a soldier for Good? You say poison can only be used for killing and that inherently makes it Evil. I would say the Soldiers of ancient times shared this single purpose. I hope we can agree that they could be used for Good or Evil purposes, but at the end of the day a Soldier's function is to be a killer and destroyer. So, does that make them inherently Evil, I hope not.

I assure you, I am not insulting this religion, nor am I attempting to start a flame war on this thread. I am merely presenting a point of view. Feel free to oppose it but please do not take personal offense. I only mean to support my earlier question: What if these things are only Evil in your mind because of the cultural morality, honor and laws of our society, and not because they actually are Evil?

Quote:
It is indiscriminate in that it does not target specifically, you poison a bowl of food and everyone who eats from it is poisoned,this is most obvious by the fact that one can poison onesself while envenoming a blade ( excepting of course those classes with poison use) this is not true with a flaming sword which only hurts the person it is swung at and never burns its wielder.

This is true. However, many people who would be killed in this manor, do in fact eat alone, or eat of their own personal plate of food. Accidents can be made but in general it is more precise than you would think, especially by someone trained to administer it. But even the accidental killing of someone innocent is not automatically Evil. People are accidentally killed by guns or cars, does that make using guns or cars Evil? Do you mourn over the accidental death?

Quote:
Torture requires a helpless person to be tortured, so torture is intentionally inflicting pain on the helpless (I use the word helpless in a realitive sense, the personmust be helpless realative to the torturer). A flaming sword which ears the flesh of ones opponant in combat might hurt a lot, but he is not helpless and has the option of ceasing combat. Those are not analgous.

Yes, and perhaps torture was a bad example. But poison is not torture, unless meant to be. It is execution, it is an enabler, it is a means to an end. It is simply a tool. Do I agree that causing undo pain is wrong, possibly Evil? Yes I do. Do I agree that killing in the most efficient way at your disposal is Evil, not unless the killing itself is Evil? Most laws and honor codes in human history have agreed that when you are permitted to kill and you must kill you should do it in the quickest most efficient way available. Well what if poison happens to be that means? Allowing someone to suffer over a period of time is wrong perhaps, but what if the poison is fast at its job?

....

The point of most of this is: Don't confuse morality with Alignment. Just because something isn't Evil doesn't mean it is culturally moral, lawful, or honorable. So just because I don't feel that poison use is automatically Evil according to Alignment, doesn't mean that the civilizations and cultures in my game world would have cultural morals, laws, and honor codes reflecting that. It is far more likely that they will consider the use of such things cowardly and / or illegal. But that in turn doesn't make their use automatically Evil.

If you want to build a believable world for your players, you may have to completely separate morality from Alignment. You may have to build civilizations in which, drugs are illegal but alcohol, tobacco, slavery, or any number of other questionable things are culturally acceptable; maybe the honor killing innocent people is culturally acceptable. Then realize that neither law nor cultural acceptance and morality sway the judgment of the Alignment scale. You may also have to create cultures where drug use and sexuality are common but violence of any kind is taboo, while another culture holds violent sports (such as boxing) as entertainment while drugs and sexuality are the taboos. Does that make either moral view point more Good or more Evil than the other?

So is using ingested poison to kill an Evil tyrant Evil. I don't think so, but that doesn't mean it is morally or culturally acceptable to my character. Perhaps I will live the rest of my life ashamed of that action, but does that make it EVIL? In the end I think it is just a tool, like any other. It can be used for Good or for Evil purposes, neither of which has any bearing on cultural morality, law, or honor.

I know I rambled on quite a bit, but I hope it was all somewhat on point.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Well, I'd like to thank you both for the stimulating discussion. Even if we don't agree on the definitions of Lawful and Chaotic. :)


Shadowlord wrote:
good stuff

+1. I enjoyed the read.


Elthbert wrote:
Well while I agree assassination is assassination I would disagree that assassination is ever not an evil act.

Here's one directly from a game I'm in right now. I'll try to keep it vague and not mention the AP although I'm sure some people will recognize it.

An evil bandit leader is oppressing an area. The local lawful authority has pronounced a death sentence on him. A character invested with lawful sheriff-like authority to execute the bandit tricks him into consuming poison, and for the sake of argument let's say ingesting this poison is fatal.

You seem to be saying this is an evil act, where I would say it is a lawful good act.

Lantern Lodge

Shadowlord wrote:
This is quite long so bear with me...

Excellent post!It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."Hamlet , Wm. Shakespeare; Act II, scene ii

Many people confuse perceptions for absolute reality, this is not to say that it is not very real to them in their approach and experience of life, just that it is not a universal truth. Morality and perceptions of what constitutes good (righteous/holy) and bad (evil/unholy)very greatly based on culture, metaphysical beliefs, and personal experiences.

Here is a real scenario, a Lawful Good person can serve an Evil organization. It happens all the time, the person may be ignorant of the evil that lurks behind the organization, or has rationalized (or had it convincingly rationalized to them) it. This happens all the time, consider the following:

Lawful implies that they follow a code and this code may interfere with societal laws. A lawful character will choose to follow their own code despite it's violate on local laws, because to them their code is more important, more righteous or whatever-else they rationalize it as. Are they a lawbreaker? Yes, are they chaotic? Not in the least, because they are upholding their code (be it honor, ethical, religious, cultural, etc).

A Lawful Good character may be born into a society ruled by an evil ruler. Many times, the public perception of these kinds of rulers are mixed, to some they are seen as a champion of the people and to others, feared. Lets assume this good person's skill set is that of a warrior (or was born into that cast) and as such is a front-line warrior in the service of his ruler. Let's assume that their cultural system of honor places emphasis on loyalty to the ruler. Let us now assume that this evil ruler covets the lands and resources of his Lawful Good neighbors and that he plans to invade this nation. He tells his people that his spies have uncovered a plot to assassinate him and invade their nation. Furthermore he tells them that to prevent this, he has planned a preemptive strike and will conquer them before they can carry out their evil plan. This Lawful Good warrior will participate in this evil war, and assist evil to win because of the following reasons:
1.His lawful nature and personal code include fierce loyalty to the ruler, and he perceives that his ruler in in jeopardy and will be given a command to march by his ruler, disobedience on lawful terms seems extremely unlikely. Furthermore, he has no reason to question the integrity of his ruler, so trusting what he says is true is a given.
2. He perceives that an outside force is threatening his home and the safety of his nations people. The good in him will make him want to protect them.

Now he will go out and partake in an unprovoked invasion, an evil war, and yet, he will still be lawful good. Why? Because of perceptions. As far as he is concerned his actions are both lawful and good.

I understand the desire to have black and white evil with clearly defined lines in DnD, and if you are playing with younger minds at the table, this might be a good thing. But if you have all adults at the table and they prefer a more "realistic" representation of good and evil, this can get very complicated, things like poison or being duped can lead to brain pains over alignment.

So If you like the polarization of good and evil with clear lines, I applaud you for utilizing it in your game and encourage you to do so. However it is important to remember that those who blur the lines are doing so to add a element of intrigue and possibly open up play options and story-lines.

And that's my $1.50


Lex Talinis wrote:


I understand the desire to have black and white evil with clearly defined lines in DnD, and if you are playing with younger minds at the table, this might be a good thing. But if you have all adults at the table and they prefer a more "realistic" representation of good and evil, this can get very complicated, things like poison or being duped can lead to brain pains over alignment.

Not to turn this into an alignment thread anymore than it already is, but the problem with moral relativism in your typical D&D world is that there actually are good and evil gods with priests and supernatural agents in service to them, and it's possible, even trivial in some cases, to objectively tell which is which.

To me, that throws a monkey wrench into your premise. Black and white good and evil with clearly defined lines isn't a childish version of D&D or PF -- it's RAW and assumed.


Dire Mongoose wrote:
Lex Talinis wrote:


I understand the desire to have black and white evil with clearly defined lines in DnD, and if you are playing with younger minds at the table, this might be a good thing. But if you have all adults at the table and they prefer a more "realistic" representation of good and evil, this can get very complicated, things like poison or being duped can lead to brain pains over alignment.

Not to turn this into an alignment thread anymore than it already is, but the problem with moral relativism in your typical D&D world is that there actually are good and evil gods with priests and supernatural agents in service to them, and it's possible, even trivial in some cases, to objectively tell which is which.

To me, that throws a monkey wrench into your premise. Black and white good and evil with clearly defined lines isn't a childish version of D&D or PF -- it's RAW and assumed.

And yet gods do not agree with eachother on what is good, ally themselves with other gods from accross the alignment spectrum, and argue amonst themselves over what their alignment means. Not every action has an alignment associated with it. There is this huge swath of grey in the middle, that the majority of actions fall into.

Lantern Lodge

Dire Mongoose wrote:
Black and white good and evil with clearly defined lines isn't a childish version of D&D or PF -- it's RAW and assumed.

Not in all settings, or DM's tables.

My premise had nothing to do with deities or magic and stands on it's own. Nor am I, or have I ever said that iconic villains/heroes (the worst of the worst vs the best of the best) should not be found or exist. Just that simple things like poison and intrigue if included in a campaign fall into a grey area.

But since you brought it up, why couldn't paladin be duped into committing good actions to further the overall purpose of evil? If that paladin is whacking (or otherwise removing from power) bad-guys in the service of a local governor (who is being fed information by the real villain [a N. Evil Cleric] who is eliminating the competition so that he can take power unchallenged and cement his place in the region). That paladin is assisting evil, in ignorance, but he is still lawful good because he is doing good things and in accordance to his code. That is just good storyline, and plausible. It blurs the polarization from being oversimplified to plausible. As a DM I would never strip a paladin of his powers for being duped in this way, but you cannot deny that his good actions assisted a greater evil carry out it's plans.

Younger minds may not grasp or appreciate the complexity of that story line, so polarization is probably best for them. Heck there are older minds than mine who don't grasp this concept, so polarization is best for them because if they can't understand it, or don't like the realistic flavor (let's face it, some people don't want their games to be realistic in this regard because they enjoy the escape from reality the game can provide) they will enjoy it more.

I think you are misunderstanding my intent with the statement here, I'm not saying that polarization is childish, rather I'm saying it is simplistic ignoring the grey that exists even within L. Good alignment (or any alignment for that matter). In the end, whatever your group has the most fun with is the right answer for your group. However, it is important to realize that there is more than one way to approach the subject and interpretation is encouraged by PF and DnD alike. Poison is a tool, and like a sword, the action taken with it determines good and evil. It blurs the line for sure, just like intrigue. While I cannot accept the oversimplification of using poison = evil action, I do not discourage people from ruling that way in their campaigns. If their group enjoys that, then kudos. In my group, claiming that the use of poison is inherent evil would cause protest and cut into the enjoyment they get from intrigue and the occasional blurring of lines.

Lantern Lodge

Caineach wrote:
And yet gods do not agree with eachother on what is good, ally themselves with other gods from accross the alignment spectrum, and argue amonst themselves over what their alignment means. Not every action has an alignment associated with it. There is this huge swath of grey in the middle, that the majority of actions fall into.

Precisely. The politics and bickering of the Gods can blur the lines even more than anything the mortals might do.


Tanis wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Tanis wrote:
Yes. It's fairer to inflict damage (even extra damage) on someone, than render someone unconscious or otherwise unable to defend themselves through a means which is not from my own ability or talent

So my Lawful Good Fighter with Craft (Alchemy) who makes his own poisons is totally honorable, lawful, good, and all that jazz.

The paladin who didn't craft his +5 holy avenger, however, is dishonorable, unlawful, etc.

Makes perfect sense.

Do you genuinely believe that that is what i was trying to say?

No, but she made her point extremely well -- this is really just about big, stupid fighter-types deciding that THEIR training to harm others is somehow different from OTHER kinds of training to harm others. It's not really about "my own ability" so much as it is specifically about combat ability, as though "might makes right", and there's something special about melee combat that makes it better than other ways of killing people.

What a lot of people have expressed on this thread is that that just isn't so.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Elthbert wrote:

Well the Catholic in me agrees, but not the DM in me. In the real world lies of ommission do indeed exist, but I cannot see how they are really possible in a world where there are neutral people who allow evil to occur and are not evil. I am a Neutral person theDeath Squads take the people nest door and kill them, I am a total badass and armed to the teeth, but these people don't mean anything to me so I don't want to risk it so I watch as they kill them. Bt I am not evil. No If one can ommit action to stop evil, one can certianly ommit parts of the truth.

The idea behind the Lie of ommission is that silence means consent. Well in D&D it does not, In D&D Silence is just silence it has no moral or ethical ramifications.
You can commit an Evil act while still being Neutrally aligned. In your example you would be allowing harm to befall another person through inaction. I believe that is referred to as 'an accessory to the crime' in real life. I see no problem in saying that you are harming that person through your inaction. Thus, not helping is an Evil act. Will this turn your alignment to Evil? No, not immediately. But if this is how you react every time it comes up, you are probably not Neutral.

NOpe in real life you are under no obligation to do anything to help anyone legally.... at least not in any state I know of, and not under Common Law. You are not even obliged to report it to the police, unless you are a peace officer. You are obliged to not lie to the police. But other than that, nothing. kind of disturbing isn't it.

And no Nuetral people are tied to others by personal relationships... they do not go out of thier way to help others unless they personally matter to them. Good people make sacrifices to help others Nuetral people don't. THey don't think you should kill the innocent, but they are not going to putthem selves at risk to stop it.


Tanis wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Tanis wrote:
Yes. It's fairer to inflict damage (even extra damage) on someone, than render someone unconscious or otherwise unable to defend themselves through a means which is not from my own ability or talent

So my Lawful Good Fighter with Craft (Alchemy) who makes his own poisons is totally honorable, lawful, good, and all that jazz.

The paladin who didn't craft his +5 holy avenger, however, is dishonorable, unlawful, etc.

Makes perfect sense.

Do you genuinely believe that that is what i was trying to say?

You may not have been trying to say it, but that's exactly what you said. By your definition, a fighter with Craft (Alchemy) who coats his blade with a lot of poison is being incredibly honorable. Not only is he killing bad guys, but he's doing it with his own skills with a weapon that he created.

The Paladin with a +1 sword is getting an unfair advantage (that +1 hit/+1 damage) unless he made the sword himself, so the paladin - by your definition - is a dishonorable scoundrel.

I'm just saying that perhaps you may wish to re-evaluate your stance on things if this scenario seems wrong to you.


Shadowlord wrote:

This is quite long so bear with me.

Elthbert wrote:
Well I cannot seem to neatly parse post yet. I am sure I will get it soon enough but you will have to pardon me as I make a general response.

Not to worry, you will get the hang of it if you stay on the boards. A helpful hint: When you hit "new post" or "reply" and the text window pops open, just beneath it you will see a line of text BBCode tags you can use: SHOW, hit the show button and it will display the text commands for doing all the nifty things you see in other posts.

Quote:
Firs, the Curtis Lemay remark was made simply becuase you seemed to paraphrase him quite well, so much so tha I thought it might indeed be your intent.

Fair enough, but that was not my intent, to be honest I had to Google it to even know who he was or what you were trying to say with that.

Quote:
I am not sure I think the rules give a clear example that poison use is not evil, the fact that creatures have it as a natural weapon are Lawful Good does not mean that manufacture of and intentional use of something is not evil. Unless the creatures in question can choose weather or not to inject their poison it is simply not analgous.

I only claim that the poison itself (and general using of it) is Neutral by default. From that Neutral position it is how and why you use it that can shift the action to Good or far more likely Evil.

Quote:
AS for the Child murder, well we agree on something for sure, and people do go home convinced they are not evil, that doesn't mean they aren't. Ah how much simpler life would be if detecting evil was as easy as it is in game. But even their I assume most evil people don't believe they are evil. But you are also right best to leave that can of worms closed.
This is why I separate cultural laws and morality from the Alignment system. Most forms of honor or morality are based upon an idealistic view of that particular culture’s pre-existing laws. For instance, in some cultures it is...

I do not have time to respond at this time. But I will, you made several excellent points, many of which i agree with, but a few that I think need further discussion.

On this issue of Morals and such in the game world. It has never been an issue, in 22 years of running my own homebrew world I have nver had such a problem, however, some members of this particular group of players are having a great deal of trouble understanding simplethings like the end does not justify the means. If I am going to allow a prestige class which gets poison use I am going to have to explain why it is okay to use it and under what circumstances, particularly when the knight and paladin in the Party are going to have serious issues with it.

I'll respond more later.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Elthbert wrote:


NOpe in real life you are under no obligation to do anything to help anyone legally.... at least not in any state I know of, and not under Common Law. You are not even obliged to report it to the police, unless you are a peace officer. You are obliged to not lie to the police. But other than that, nothing. kind of disturbing isn't it.

You may want to make sure about your area.

Elthbert wrote:


And no Nuetral people are tied to others by personal relationships... they do not go out of thier way to help others unless they personally matter to them. Good people make sacrifices to help others Nuetral people don't. THey don't think you should kill the innocent, but they are not going to putthem selves at risk to stop it.

I'm not sure if you are talking about your understanding of the alignment rules or not. But it sounds like you think Lawful/Neutral/Chaotic characters only perform acts that correspond to their alignment. Neutral characters do not perform only Neutral acts. Alignment is not a straightjacket. Lawful characters can lie, Chaotic characters can have a code of honor. Neutral characters will sometimes perform Good acts to help others.


Dire Mongoose wrote:
Elthbert wrote:
Well while I agree assassination is assassination I would disagree that assassination is ever not an evil act.

Here's one directly from a game I'm in right now. I'll try to keep it vague and not mention the AP although I'm sure some people will recognize it.

An evil bandit leader is oppressing an area. The local lawful authority has pronounced a death sentence on him. A character invested with lawful sheriff-like authority to execute the bandit tricks him into consuming poison, and for the sake of argument let's say ingesting this poison is fatal.

You seem to be saying this is an evil act, where I would say it is a lawful good act.

If the Bandit is killed by trickery, while not in a combat situation, and with out knowledge of his attacker then he is, for all intents and purposes Helpless, kiling the helpless is an evil act.


Elthbert wrote:


If the Bandit is killed by trickery, while not in a combat situation, and with out knowledge of his attacker then he is, for all intents and purposes Helpless, kiling the helpless is an evil act.

So when death row criminals are executed, it's an evil act too?

Sorry, I think you're completely wrong.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Elthbert wrote:


If the Bandit is killed by trickery, while not in a combat situation, and with out knowledge of his attacker then he is, for all intents and purposes Helpless, kiling the helpless is an evil act.

No, he is not helpless. Helpless is unable to take any actions to defend himself. If he failed to use any of the many ways to defend against poison (delay poison, hero's feast, even a Con boosting effect) he is choosing not to guard himself. But he is not helpless.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Elthbert wrote:


If the Bandit is killed by trickery, while not in a combat situation, and with out knowledge of his attacker then he is, for all intents and purposes Helpless, kiling the helpless is an evil act.
No, he is not helpless. Helpless is unable to take any actions to defend himself. If he failed to use any of the many ways to defend against poison (delay poison, hero's feast, even a Con boosting effect) he is choosing not to guard himself. But he is not helpless.

No, that is a ridiculous arguement, it is like saying that an arsonist is not a murderer becuase the occupied building he set afire could have been equiped with a Halon fire suppressent system.

He may not have access to any of these and even if he does if he has no reason to belive that he is going to be poisoned he has no reason to protect himself from it, even if he is capable of doing so.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

You mean being a wanted criminal is NOT enough call to take protections against being killed? Next you'll tell me he has no need of armor because he has no reason to protect himself from swords.

You cannot compare someone living a life of crime to a baby. The bandit is FAR from helpless.

Your argument could be used to paint military special forces as Evil because they choose to use the good tactics of killing the enemy before the enemy knows he is under attack.

Edit: Also, your counterargument works against you. You call the arsonist a murderer. So do I. However, if you call poison Evil instead of the ACT of poisoning, then you must call FIRE Evil instead of the act of arson Evil to remain consistent.


Dire Mongoose wrote:
Elthbert wrote:


If the Bandit is killed by trickery, while not in a combat situation, and with out knowledge of his attacker then he is, for all intents and purposes Helpless, kiling the helpless is an evil act.

So when death row criminals are executed, it's an evil act too?

Sorry, I think you're completely wrong.

Well your world must be pretty complex and refined to have a death row, but from a game system point of view, the answer is, possibly, killing helpless opponants is an evil act, but if the opponat was not helpless when taken?

The idea that executing a suitably tried and sentenced person is not evil is predicated on the Idea that do to their guilt they have forfieted their right to live, this assumes they are indeed guilty. Further it favors Law over chaos and I am not sure that connecting good to law that firmly is a good idea, in game. In a magical world absolute certainy of guilt is achievable so I would assume, if you accept that evil acts forfiet your right to life, which I think is a given in D&D/ PF, then no, It would not be evil. But only if you were 100% sure and I still say the reasons and such would have to be declared in some sort of public way.

If you mean in real life, possibly, the only justification being the principal of forfieture. Now I don't have a a problem with the principal of forfieture, but I am not sure that the way executions are done in the real world is indeed good. That however, is a differant and potentially explosive issue probably left alone.


To me, who you're killing and why defines most of the morality of the act -- the how, and especially whether or not it occurs as part of a fair fight, is almost totally irrelevant unless you're torturing someone to death when you have other options.


Elthbert wrote:
The idea that executing a suitably tried and sentenced person is not evil is predicated on the Idea that do to their guilt they have forfieted their right to live, this assumes they are indeed guilty. Further it favors Law over chaos and I am not sure that connecting good to law that firmly is a good idea, in game. In a magical world absolute certainy of guilt is achievable so I would assume, if you accept that evil acts forfiet your right to life, which I think is a given in D&D/ PF, then no, It would not be evil. But only if you were 100% sure and I still say the reasons and such would have to be declared in some sort of public way.

So I have a question and a statement here:

Question: Are you saying you don't necessarily think that executing a beaten foe is Evil IF his guilt is pre-determined to be true and a forfeiture of his life, the party is given leave to carry out the execution, and they are 100% able to determine that he is in fact Evil?

Statement: As for the Law/Chaos tied to Good aspect and in accordance with the above question, assuming your answer would be yes. Then I would say striding forth to face the Evil foe is the Good deed. Deciding to execute him on the spot or bring him back to the local officials for execution would be more along the axis of Law vs Chaos. Killing your Evil enemy is not supposed to sway your own Alignment on the Good Evil axis IMO. And also worth remembering is that before our modern ways executions might be carried out in such a manor. Sure if they caught someone and put him to trial and convicted him then he might face public execution by local authorities. But what of bounties, put on the heads of notorious criminals? They are Evil, they have been sentenced to death, whom ever is willing and able to carry out that sentence will be rewarded for enforcing justice.


Shadowlord wrote:


This is why I separate cultural laws and morality from the Alignment system. Most forms of honor or morality are based upon an idealistic view of that particular culture’s pre-existing laws. For instance, in some cultures it is...

I disagree, I think that morals and the alignment system are inexorably linked. I don't think that is different in D&D, however, D&D has a really nice aspect of seperating certian issues from the Good and Evil axis and placing them on the Law and Chaos axis.

However, i also agree that Laws and cultural expectations of behavior are not necessarly based on Good and Evil.

Now for your senerios.
Senerio one--- NoAssassination is never acceptable in the Realm of Lawful Good, it is CERTIANLY Chaotic and Again for the reasona I said above evil. The Evil King is not a combatant, so long as he is not a combatant he is off limits, no matter what kind of POS he is.

Senerio two... As presented, no its definantly evil, killing herself is killing the innocent out of fear. Yup thats evil. However, your other possibility, that it is the only way she can possibly escape her tormentor, because she CANNOT fight him. The Poison is a weapon of the weak against the strong....That is a compelling arguement. It reminds me of the landmine debates I have had, in which I am on your side. I think I have to give you that one.

I, once again, must go. I'll finish this later.


Elthbert wrote:
I disagree, I think that morals and the alignment system are inexorably linked. I don't think that is different in D&D, however, D&D has a really nice aspect of seperating certian issues from the Good and Evil axis and placing them on the Law and Chaos axis.

You disagree but present no example to support your case. I put together several examples of how cultural morality, law, and honor are not exclusively tied to Alignment. What exactly is your counter?

Quote:
However, i also agree that Laws and cultural expectations of behavior are not necessarly based on Good and Evil.

I don't understand your stance or argument. You are disagreeing with what I wrote and now agreeing with its spirit. Please be more specific.

Quote:
Senerio one--- NoAssassination is never acceptable in the Realm of Lawful Good, it is CERTIANLY Chaotic and Again for the reasona I said above evil. The Evil King is not a combatant, so long as he is not a combatant he is off limits, no matter what kind of POS he is.

Wow, alright. I think according to those strict definitions both God and his people in the Old Testement times were Chaotic Evil forces, because they eradicated a whole lot of people who were non-combatants. Of course those people were also Evil...

At any rate, back to the game rules. I will give you that it slants more toward Chaotic than Lawful, but I would say in certain cases it could also go into Lawful or Neutral categories:

Lawful is: "Truthful, keep their word, respect authority, honor tradition, and judge those who fall short of their duties. Law implies honor, trustworthiness, obedience to authority, and reliability." Both spy and King can have these qualities. The Lawful spy is truthful in his accounts to his King, keeps his word to be a faithful spy, respects the authority of his king, honors the traditions of his people, and judges the Evil Emperor who has fallen short of his duties as a decent human being and leader. He then very Lawfully follows his King's orders to slip poison into the Emperor's meal. The Lawful King is truthful when he can be (some secrets are too sensitive to be released in full, no different than any other government), he keeps his word to defend his people, he IS the authority but respects that it is his people who give it to him, he honors the traditions of his people, and he judges the Evil Emperor in the same manor the spy has. He then Lawfully (for it is not unlawful to his people to use poisons in such a way) gives the order to poison the Emperor.

Neutral is: "Someone who is neutral with respect to law and chaos has some respect for authority and feels neither a compulsion to obey nor a compulsion to rebel. She is generally honest, but can be tempted into lying or deceiving others." This sounds to me like a perfect example of the scenario I put forward. The King and Spy are both Lawful men who slant toward Neutral in this particular act.

Chaotic is: "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. Chaos implies freedom, adaptability, and flexibility." I would say this is accurate as well in most cases. The king and the spy were following their conscience, and displayed adaptability and flexibility. So I could see that it might be a Chaotic course of action.

It could easily be any of the three. It all comes down to specific circumstances. It certainly leans heavily toward Neutrality or Chaos but it is not impossible to be Lawful to some degree.

As for the Good/Evil axis: "Good characters and creatures protect innocent life. Evil characters and creatures debase or destroy innocent life, whether for fun or profit. 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. People who are neutral with respect to good and evil have compunctions against killing the innocent, but may lack the commitment to make sacrifices to protect or help others." This is certainly not Evil. Evil is to debase or destroy innocent life, having no compassion for others and killing without qualms if doing so is convenient, or actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master.

1) Neither the spy nor the king have destroyed or debased any innocent life. The Emperor is NOT innocent.
2) They are not killing without compassion or qualms. It was a difficult decision but compassion for his own countrymen and those of his enemy’s army won over compassion for an Evil Emperor.
3) They are certainly not killing for sport or duty to an evil deity.

Notice, nowhere in the description does it say that killing an Evil enemy is an Evil act. Nowhere does it say killing a helpless enemy is an Evil act. It says killing innocent life is an Evil act. In fact a strong argument could be made that the actions of poisoning the Emperor were Good. Good protects innocent life and has a respect for all life. The spy and the king both fit that. They respect and protect the lives that would be lost in the war between these two nations.

Quote:
Senerio two... As presented, no its definantly evil, killing herself is killing the innocent out of fear. Yup thats evil. However, your other possibility, that it is the only way she can possibly escape her tormentor, because she CANNOT fight him. The Poison is a weapon of the weak against the strong....That is a compelling arguement. It reminds me of the landmine debates I have had, in which I am on your side. I think I have to give you that one.

Not at all, if she kills herself, or her husband for that matter, at worst her actions indicate Neutrality. "People who are neutral with respect to good and evil have compunctions against killing the innocent, but may lack the commitment to make sacrifices to protect or help others." She doesn't want to die but sees no other way, she sees no dignified way to escape or continue in her current road. She has compunctions, but doesn't have the commitment to save herself. It is almost the definition of Neutral.

So you are saying that using poison is okay as long as you are weaker than the other person. What about the poisoning of the Orc water supply, it was for this same reason. The people were in a weakened state and had no hope, so they used poison as the equalizer.

....

"Evil characters and creatures debase or destroy innocent life, whether for fun or profit. 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." This does not accurately describe any of the people in my scenarios.

....

This is all a little choppy, not as well written as I would like but I think it conveys what I want it to and I am quite tired. So I await your further rebuttals. I am not entirely sure at this point why you posed any of this as a question on the boards. You certainly seem to have come into the discussion with a predetermined opinion that you seem adamant about. It is not a question if you already have answered it for yourself and will not be swayed.


Once a pon a time in Old D&D =
You had Lawful, Neutral, Chaotic. That was it. While some did not think of Lawful as good, and chaotic as evil.... many players did.

1st Ed AD&D fixed that =
Now you have Lawful ((try to obay order, laws, rules)), and Chaotic ((do not care about the rules, and break them when ever it is needed)), and Neutral ((obay the laws when they server you, obay the laws when they do not harm you, and break them when they might hurt you)).
Good (( be a good person, respect life, respect others, try to help others even if it is not the most covenant thing to do )), Evil ((care only about yourself, you do not care if others are hurt in the process, you do not respect others, and/or killing people is just fun for you)); and Neutral ((You do not worry about being a good or bad person, you respect life when it is in your best interest or if it does not hinder you in any way, you respect others when it is in your best interest or if it does not hinder you in any way, you will try to help others when it is in your best interest or if you think it might help you out in the long run, but you do not put yourself at risk for strangers or if you think it will bring you more harm to yourself than what you get out of it))

Now once last ramble while i am thinking of it = LG,NG,CG alignments. DO not in and of themselves mean that one fights evil. Good people battle evil when they half to, force to, to protect themselves, to protect others.

When a good character want to invade another nation, castle, dungeon, or house. To battle evil, just because its evil. Well that better not be the only reason they give, because if they do, then they should not be good alignment..... Now invade another nation because they are preparing for war with you, invade the castle because the evil wizard want to sacrifice a virgin, invade the kobolds dungeon because the kobolds are way-laying the trade route, and invade the humans house because he is beating his wife and daughter. These are good reasons.

Now if you have a Paladin, invading the evil wizard castle, to kill the evil wizard. The evil wizard thou does not want to fight, does not want hurt or kill anyone, ((he is evil because he could care less about human life, but he himself has never had a reason to kill)), He just want to be left alone to study his spell books, learn about exploring the stars, and enjoy his life as he see fit. Now this is not a good reason for a good person to go around killing all evil, just because it is evil.

...
What i am trying to get at is that good people need a reason to fight evil, other than just because it is evil. Otherwise they are not truly good people in the first place.


Ashiel wrote:
Tanis wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Tanis wrote:
Yes. It's fairer to inflict damage (even extra damage) on someone, than render someone unconscious or otherwise unable to defend themselves through a means which is not from my own ability or talent

So my Lawful Good Fighter with Craft (Alchemy) who makes his own poisons is totally honorable, lawful, good, and all that jazz.

The paladin who didn't craft his +5 holy avenger, however, is dishonorable, unlawful, etc.

Makes perfect sense.

Do you genuinely believe that that is what i was trying to say?

You may not have been trying to say it, but that's exactly what you said. By your definition, a fighter with Craft (Alchemy) who coats his blade with a lot of poison is being incredibly honorable. Not only is he killing bad guys, but he's doing it with his own skills with a weapon that he created.

The Paladin with a +1 sword is getting an unfair advantage (that +1 hit/+1 damage) unless he made the sword himself, so the paladin - by your definition - is a dishonorable scoundrel.

I'm just saying that perhaps you may wish to re-evaluate your stance on things if this scenario seems wrong to you.

Actually i'm very comfortable with my position, i'm just not sure if you genuinely misunderstood me or were being obtuse.

Assuming you honestly misunderstood, i'll explain. It's got absolutely nothing to do with whether they actually craft the weapon/poison. It's got everything to do with gaining an unfair advantage by weakening his ability to fight by rendering him: unconscious; paralysed; or lowering his ability scores as opposed to dealing pure damage — and this is considered (rightly or wrongly) poor form and in a medieval context, dishonourable.

If you aren't comfortable with this assertion, then can you provide an example of poison being used in an honourable fashion?


Tanis, there's no objective basis on which you can separate poison from any of the other things nobody thinks twice about. On rendering your opponent unable to resist effectively---well, check out the various critical feats---stunning critical anyone? sickening critical (a shot to the solar plexus maybe?), fatiguing critical?

There are two ways to get to poison being evil in a game world:
Divine command: head god says, I hate poisoners. If you're down with me, you're not down with poison.
or,
Social taboo: Only low-down sneaky dogs use poison, and the rest of us kill them on sight.

These are obviously not objective, but that's not really a problem. If you want poison to be evil in your game, choose some combination of those two. I'll let you in on a dark secret....the only way to get to an objective morality in any world is Divine Command, wherein reality in general is His Game, and hence, His Rules. Everything else is either terribly subjective & relative or is lower case 'c' command.


EWHM wrote:

Tanis, there's no objective basis on which you can separate poison from any of the other things nobody thinks twice about. On rendering your opponent unable to resist effectively---well, check out the various critical feats---stunning critical anyone? sickening critical (a shot to the solar plexus maybe?), fatiguing critical?

There are two ways to get to poison being evil in a game world:
Divine command: head god says, I hate poisoners. If you're down with me, you're not down with poison.
or,
Social taboo: Only low-down sneaky dogs use poison, and the rest of us kill them on sight.

These are obviously not objective, but that's not really a problem. If you want poison to be evil in your game, choose some combination of those two. I'll let you in on a dark secret....the only way to get to an objective morality in any world is Divine Command, wherein reality in general is His Game, and hence, His Rules. Everything else is either terribly subjective & relative or is lower case 'c' command.

The objective test is 'honour'. If your character: flanks; attacks enemies that are disarmed, unconscious or paralysed, or renders an unfair advantage, then that's dishonourable.

If your character does not care for such notions it doesn't make him evil. It makes him dishonourable./

Remember that if such concepts don't exist in your game, or you don't want them to, then it's a moot point.

*edit* In other words, it's not RAW at all, and as such i'll stop arguing the point in the Rules forum.

Lantern Lodge

Tanis wrote:

...It's got everything to do with gaining an unfair advantage by weakening his ability to fight by rendering him: unconscious; paralysed; or lowering his ability scores as opposed to dealing pure damage — and this is considered (rightly or wrongly) poor form and in a medieval context, dishonourable.

If you aren't comfortable with this assertion, then can you provide an example of poison being used in an honourable fashion?

Question: Is hold person/monster, in your opinion, dishonorable use of spell casting?


Lex Talinis wrote:
Tanis wrote:

...It's got everything to do with gaining an unfair advantage by weakening his ability to fight by rendering him: unconscious; paralysed; or lowering his ability scores as opposed to dealing pure damage — and this is considered (rightly or wrongly) poor form and in a medieval context, dishonourable.

If you aren't comfortable with this assertion, then can you provide an example of poison being used in an honourable fashion?

Question: Is hold person/monster, in your opinion, dishonorable use of spell casting?

No. You could cast Hold Person so that you may escape. If you coup de grace them then yeah, definitely.

P.S. A knight would probably disagree.

/threadjack

Lantern Lodge

Tanis wrote:
Lex Talinis wrote:
Tanis wrote:

...It's got everything to do with gaining an unfair advantage by weakening his ability to fight by rendering him: unconscious; paralysed; or lowering his ability scores as opposed to dealing pure damage — and this is considered (rightly or wrongly) poor form and in a medieval context, dishonourable.

If you aren't comfortable with this assertion, then can you provide an example of poison being used in an honourable fashion?

Question: Is hold person/monster, in your opinion, dishonorable use of spell casting?

No. You could cast Hold Person so that you may escape. If you coup de grace them then yeah, definitely.

P.S. A knight would probably disagree.

/threadjack

Final question: (I'm just trying to understand where you are coming from) I assume concepts of honor are in your campaigns, where do you place them mechanically? Law/Chaos axis, Good/Evil axis, or a separate axis all together?


To me, the concept of honour is about fairplay, and not taking an undue advantage when it is offered.

Any alignment can be honourable, though probably not CE or CN. But they're not mutually exclusive.

I'd suggest another thread, but i'm not sure what else there is to say.

Last point, as this is the Rules forum, by RAW poison =/= Evil. As has been noted there are Good creatures who can use poison, and i'm not suggesting that they're not honourable. Merely that if they need to ie. an unfair advantage has been used against them they can even the odds, so to speak.

But that's all in how the creatures are rp'd.


Tanis wrote:
weakening his ability to fight by rendering him: unconscious; paralysed; or lowering his ability scores

This could describe any number of spells that most Players and DMs alike would not hesitate to use. They would never think twice about it being honorable or not. If you have developed a game in which honor is a large part of your world then spells that do such things are just as dishonorable as the poisons that do the same. But it sounds like you already realize that, from your statement about Hold Person. Now, as far as the honor of using poisons or not THIS really is a pretty good debate about that.

EWHM wrote:
Social taboo: Only low-down sneaky dogs use poison, and the rest of us kill them on sight.

This is what Tanis is talking about. By honor and dishonor he isn't saying that it is Evil but rather that it is dishonorable in his culture (IE: A social taboo).


I still remember the 3rd edition Accesory "Defenders of the Faith".
It did encourage Paladins to use caltrops, an other dirty tricks. I'm still wondering if it was some kind of joke (I confess that we found that funny)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

When people can't agree on what is moral outside the game, they'll never agree on it inside the game.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
When people can't agree on what is moral outside the game, they'll never agree on it inside the game.

Yes, quite true.

Lantern Lodge

I just can't see good tactics as dishonorable. Ambushing your enemy is just smart.

Lining up in a straight line with each-other and commencing battle like chess pieces is not honor, it's foolishness. By this logic, all fights should be one on one, even if the monster out classes them by 5 levels... Ganging up on one enemy even if is significantly more powerful than you and your party is, by your logic, dishonorable because it gives an advantage to you and your party and puts your enemy in a disadvantaged position.

Honor has more to do with the integrity of a persons actions to a code. Truthful people are typically seen as honorable because they adhere to a honor code of honesty.

You are free to re-define honor however you see fit, you are entitled to your perceptions, however I fundamentally disagree with you. Coating a weapon is no more dishonorable than using time stop or using bane, followed by doom, and capped with a major fear spell. All of these things provide an unfair advantage. Obviously the use of poison is against the code of a paladin, but stealth and ambushing are not, intelligent combat and tactics are not.

Not only is it the duty of the party leader to win engagements, but it is his/her responsibility to ensure those engagements are won with minimal loss on his side. If he continually places his team's jeopardy with bad tactics, his role as team/party leader will end.

There is no such thing as a fair fight unless they are both the same build and level. This game is designed to give every advantage to the players, and I fail to see how that is dishonorable.

Anyways, I will just leave it as: I agree to disagree with you.

Dark Archive

Tanis wrote:

...

If you aren't comfortable with this assertion, then can you provide an example of poison being used in an honourable fashion?

Couatl?

Seriously though, back on topic, social taboo is a good way to show that something like poison is evil for that society. This makes for some great story building based on world events. Since you can run the characters through one side of the world (where poison use is evil for example) and then through the other side (where poison use is accepted) and encourage your players to enjoy themselves. Even in our own "real world" we have nations with very different views on what is good and evil. I am just glad that the Dev's left some of these choices to the GM and not hard-coded into the core book. I know that I can rule 0 it out, but it is better that I do not have to.


Shadowlord... First, perhaps you didnt understand.. I conceded your point. I acknowledge that you indeed came up with a plausable senerio in which even lethal oral poison could be used in a non evil way.

As to the actual Alignment issues, I don't think this thread is the best place to discuss that, i will be happy to discuss such things with you and Triomegazero on another thread.

I am sorry that this response has taken so long, real life has been in the way of posting. However, I will happly discuss it further, unforunatly it will probably not be until Wednesday ( though I'll try sooner).


Elthbert wrote:
Shadowlord... First, perhaps you didnt understand.. I conceded your point. I acknowledge that you indeed came up with a plausable senerio in which even lethal oral poison could be used in a non evil way.

No, I understood that in one scenario I convincingly gave you pause about whether it was Evil or not. But in my opinion and according to what I read out of Alignment I don't believe the actions taken by any of the protagonists in my scenarios were Evil. Chaotic perhaps, Neutral Perhaps, it would be difficult to call those actions Lawful or Good, but I would definitely not call them CE.

Quote:
As to the actual Alignment issues, I don't think this thread is the best place to discuss that, i will be happy to discuss such things with you and Triomegazero on another thread.

We have resurrected a long dead thread anyway so I don't see thread jacking as that big of an issue here. However, just let me know where and I will do my best to formulate a compelling argument.

Quote:
I am sorry that this response has taken so long, real life has been in the way of posting. However, I will happly discuss it further, unforunatly it will probably not be until Wednesday ( though I'll try sooner).

Understandable: RL trumps Forum Debate.

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