CN actions, what makes a player shift alignments?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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I am currently playing in a game where I am playing a CN Rogue, as CN suggests, I will do whatever is best for me at the time and for the most part it goes with the best interest of the party, all of whom are some sort of good alliance.
We were in the middle of a dungeon crawl through what were basically the layers of hell, obviously evil, when we came across a monster that was sleeping. The paladin in the group confirmed it was evil so my rogue went up and basically coup de grace'd it. I was told, later by my group, that this was an evil act. I disagreed but my question is, as a CN character, wouldn't it be in his nature to sometimes commit evil acts if they are in his best interest?


I would never call that an evil act what you did rather than wake it up and then chop it to bits in a painful manner was to kill it in it's sleep painlessly and with no risk of harm to others.

I'd rather not get into the fun "what this alignment can and can't do" arguements though so i'll leave that part of the question. ;D


stokejt wrote:

I am currently playing in a game where I am playing a CN Rogue, as CN suggests, I will do whatever is best for me at the time and for the most part it goes with the best interest of the party, all of whom are some sort of good alliance.

We were in the middle of a dungeon crawl through what were basically the layers of hell, obviously evil, when we came across a monster that was sleeping. The paladin in the group confirmed it was evil so my rogue went up and basically coup de grace'd it. I was told, later by my group, that this was an evil act. I disagreed but my question is, as a CN character, wouldn't it be in his nature to sometimes commit evil acts if they are in his best interest?

Ocassionally yes they will. It still does not change that the act is evil. Do enough evil with enough disdain to those your doing it too and you become evil.

Going up to anything and killing it in it's sleep is downright cold. You have to be a pretty ruthless and vicious person to simply off a stranger in their sleep.

While CN is out for them selves, they are NOT evil. As such they should avoid be evil for the same reasons good does. Because they are not evil and don't want to BE evil (hence why they chose neutrality). CN means your self centered but it does not mean your find others lives meaningless or that you kill at the drop of a hat if it is expedient. You simply value yourself over others, but you don't think others have no value.

If your forced to, you will do evil if you HAVE to. But it should never be your first choice. Killing for CONVENIENCE is making life worthless and of no value and even Neutrals don't buy into that. That is one of evil's cornerstones.

Your group was right.


I wouldn't call what you did evil; however, I would call a character that basically acts in their own best interest evil.

Evil's not wearing black hats and tying women to train tracks; it's simply doing what benefits you and, possibly, finding a way to rationalize it.


If this was a monster of the Hells Layers than it was probably a good idea that you killed it in its sleep... Down there its survival of the fittest, and waking it up just to kill it is also something like a bad idea... Now is thinking that an evil Devil having a right to live... hmm... mind that the Paladin let you do this is in itself an act of Wrath... leading to the fall to evil... I think that the other party members are sliding faster than you ;) You are just being practicle.


Spring Heeled Jack wrote:

If this was a monster of the Hells Layers than it was probably a good idea that you killed it in its sleep... Down there its survival of the fittest, and waking it up just to kill it is also something like a bad idea... Now is thinking that an evil Devil having a right to live... hmm... mind that the Paladin let you do this is in itself an act of Wrath... leading to the fall to evil... I think that the other party members are sliding faster than you ;) You are just being practicle.

The truest test of one's moral's is not letting one's environment or situation to cause you to rationalise them away. Murder in hell is still murder. A murder of convenience is still murder.

Ending the life of a defensless and unaware 'anything' is murder.

Or are you saying the end's justify the means? Which is also one of Evil's rallying cries?

Mind you I am not saying this ONE act will make you evil. But enough of them definately will. Your neutral, not amoral. You still have a conscience and a sense of right and wrong. You just place yourself above others. It does not mean you think of yourself ONLY, just that if it comes DOWN to it, your living and your friends are not. But only if that choice is in no way avoidable.

Shadow Lodge

Gilfalas wrote:


Your group was right.

I disagree here. it was described as a "monster" in a dungeon that was "basically the layer of hell". You're are telling me its evil to take out an opponent without brining harm to yourself? Should they have awoken the sleeping monster to fight it? Move by it, risking waking it up by a fighter clanking in heavy armor? Get by it and run the risk of it being awake the next time you move through that area? I 100% disagree that this act was evil.

Shadow Lodge

Gilfalas wrote:


Ending the life of a defensless and unaware 'anything' is murder.

Waking it up to fight it is called Lawful Stupid.


When you look at the basic adventurer mechanics (we kill stuff for loots and power) they are all evil anyway :D


Kabump wrote:
Gilfalas wrote:


Ending the life of a defensless and unaware 'anything' is murder.
Waking it up to fight it is called Lawful Stupid.

Thinking that only way to deal with the issue was by killing it is Generally Stupid.

In the end, this and ALL questions on alignment come down to your actual gaming groups view on right and wrong. No thread on a message board will ever get a unanimous result on an answer or for that matter be 'right' for every game.

Some groups play Pathfinder more as a board game with combat as the focus. Some get into deeper RP with more realistically envisioned characters, worlds, laws and morality.

The only important answer for the OP is the one he gets from his play group and his GM. If he cannot reconsile himself with the tables agreed upon interpretations of aligments, then no amount of posting here will solve the problem.

Ease and expediency do not make moral decisions. Killing it in it's sleep was definately easier and more expedient than going around it, binding it while it was helpless, magically disabling it or rendering it harmless, simply avoiding it, etc. But it does not make the act anything but evil.

In fact, killing it because it WAS expedient and easy is the definition of evil. The value of the creatures life, even if it is evil, never even entered the question. Evil by definition.

Of course it is harder to play accurate non evil characters since you cannot just go about slaying everything in your way and gathering up all the phatty lewtz because you have to be, you know, not evil.

Sadly, a lot of gaming groups have created the 'morality of expedience' where getting the XP and the loot has anything done to do that become defacto, not evil.


Gilfalas wrote:

Ease and expediency do not make moral decisions. Killing it in it's sleep was definately easier and more expedient than going around it, binding it while it was helpless, magically disabling it or rendering it harmless, simply avoiding it, etc. But it does not make the act anything but evil.

I strongly disagree.

You leave a demon alive and just go around. Or maybe it escapes because you aren't willing to treat it seriously and get your hands bloody. A week later it burns down an orphanage.

That's your fault. You're complicit in its evil act. You knew it was evil; the paladin's god, in effect, told you it was evil.

Shadow Lodge

Gilfalas wrote:
Lots of stuff I disagree with.

You're telling me a demon, a creature whose only goal is chaos, destruction and death, can be reasoned with/contained/bypassed? I would say you had a point if we were talking about a human/dwarf/elf/orc, hell even a gnoll/goblin/giant. But a demon? Really? I never said that killing it was the only way to deal with it, just the best.

You are so far off base here that I will not waste anymore time for either of us by arguing. Its obvious we will not agree.


Dire Mongoose wrote:
That's your fault. You're complicit in its evil act. You knew it was evil; the paladin's god, in effect, told you it was evil.

Let's not bog down his thread any more with our back and forth ok? I can agree to disagree since how you play your game has no impact on mine and we have both told him our opinions, which is what he was looking for.

Getting into the 10 billionth argument on the board about how alignment is interpretted will do neither of us any good.


Gilfalas wrote:

I can agree to disagree since how you play your game has no impact on mine and we have both told him our opinions, which is what he was looking for.

Deal!


Gilfalas wrote:
stokejt wrote:

I am currently playing in a game where I am playing a CN Rogue, as CN suggests, I will do whatever is best for me at the time and for the most part it goes with the best interest of the party, all of whom are some sort of good alliance.

We were in the middle of a dungeon crawl through what were basically the layers of hell, obviously evil, when we came across a monster that was sleeping. The paladin in the group confirmed it was evil so my rogue went up and basically coup de grace'd it. I was told, later by my group, that this was an evil act. I disagreed but my question is, as a CN character, wouldn't it be in his nature to sometimes commit evil acts if they are in his best interest?

Ocassionally yes they will. It still does not change that the act is evil. Do enough evil with enough disdain to those your doing it too and you become evil.

Going up to anything and killing it in it's sleep is downright cold. You have to be a pretty ruthless and vicious person to simply off a stranger in their sleep.

Um... I completely disagree on this point Gil, and I'm not completely sure how to state my points in a non-confrontational manner, so please forgive me if this comes out harsh...

There is absolutely no way killing someone in it's sleep is evil in this situation. The Paladin (aka the walking evil radar) verified the thing was evil. Given the situation, odds were very good said creature would be hostile if it awoke.

Killing it in it's sleep wasn't a cold act of assassination (which, I personally don't view as evil, but I agree that one is far more debatable), nor was it cold blooded murder. It was an act of survival. If that thing had woken up, everyone in the party was potentially at risk. Certainly I agree it was not a GOOD (alignment-wise, logically speaking it was a very good) thing to do, because said evil creature may not have had malevolent intentions and might have been peaceful. However, it WAS a neutral act of self-preservation, of killing an EVIL potential threat before it could awaken and potentially kill you.


Gilfalas wrote:
Dire Mongoose wrote:
That's your fault. You're complicit in its evil act. You knew it was evil; the paladin's god, in effect, told you it was evil.

Let's not bog down his thread any more with our back and forth ok? I can agree to disagree since how you play your game has no impact on mine and we have both told him our opinions, which is what he was looking for.

Getting into the 10 billionth argument on the board about how alignment is interpretted will do neither of us any good.

Comon, you're telling me the obviously evil monster snoozing away in the pit of Hell has any value to its wicked life? In fact, I'd bet this critter has negative value to its life, meaning the Paladin would be not only justified but obligated to smite the critter asleep or otherwise.

Let's change the circumstances a bit. Say an undead creature like a wight is unaware of your presence, is it ok to slay such a vile abomination without duly screaming out, "Huzzah! I am here for your nasty skull wight!"

Arguing the fact that unaware is much the same as being asleep, are you saying that sneak attack is an evil act in itself?


stokejt wrote:
I am currently playing in a game where I am playing a CN Rogue, as CN suggests, I will do whatever is best for me at the time and for the most part it goes with the best interest of the party, all of whom are some sort of good alliance.

CN doesn't equate to 'I ignore alignments and act randomly' or 'I do whatever I want whenever I want'.

Rather imho alignment is two very broad strokes with lots of room for many different characters. Instead of playing an alignment I think it behooves you to play your character and then figure out what their alignment is.

Chaos is your ethics. How well you respect groups and teamwork.

Neutrality is your morality. How much you value and respect other's lives and well-being.

Neutrality can be difficult at times in that it can be either active or passive. Animals are more passive about it, while Druids of old (ie 1st ed) were more active about it.

Honestly I can see your party having more issues with you long before your DM should be talking to you about an alignment change.

-James


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I don't belive paladins are allowed to walk around slaughtering creatures willy-nilly just becasue they register as evil.
Not only to they have to act LG, they also have a code of conduct and honor to adhere too.


Kryzbyn wrote:

I don't belive paladins are allowed to walk around slaughtering creatures willy-nilly just becasue they register as evil.

Not only to they have to act LG, they also have a code of conduct and honor to adhere too.

We're not talking about Jobo the evil village drunkard here, this is a spawn of hell.


Kryzbyn wrote:

I don't belive paladins are allowed to walk around slaughtering creatures willy-nilly just becasue they register as evil.

Not only to they have to act LG, they also have a code of conduct and honor to adhere too.

True point Kryzbyn. There's nothing in the Paladin's code that says (s)he was required to do this, but by the same token, there is nothing that says the paladin can not allow the party rogue to 'do the dirty work' and eliminate the 'foul demon/devil/ other evil creature' in it's sleep without risking harm to his/her companions.


Gimpyburger wrote:
Kryzbyn wrote:

I don't belive paladins are allowed to walk around slaughtering creatures willy-nilly just becasue they register as evil.

Not only to they have to act LG, they also have a code of conduct and honor to adhere too.
We're not talking about Jobo the evil village drunkard here, this is a spawn of hell.

I think you can make a good argument that a paladin can't kill it in its sleep because of what I like to call "their stupid code."

Not because of their alignment (which I feel requires that they do something) but because paladins specifically are special.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Kryzbyn wrote:

I don't belive paladins are allowed to walk around slaughtering creatures willy-nilly just becasue they register as evil.

Not only to they have to act LG, they also have a code of conduct and honor to adhere too.
True point Kryzbyn. There's nothing in the Paladin's code that says (s)he was required to do this, but by the same token, there is nothing that says the paladin can not allow the party rogue to 'do the dirty work' and eliminate the 'foul demon/devil/ other evil creature' in it's sleep without risking harm to his/her companions.

I think they are allowed to act out against a creature, evil or otherwise, to prevent or stop it from commiting an evil act, specialy against an innocent. His code and aligment almost mean he MUST act.

An evil creature minding it's own business and defenseless, not so much.

That being said, wouldn't a paladin using detect evil in hell cause somekind of stun or feedback? Or a giant panda popping out from behind a rock with a sign that says "DUH!?!" ?


Kryzbyn wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Kryzbyn wrote:

I don't belive paladins are allowed to walk around slaughtering creatures willy-nilly just becasue they register as evil.

Not only to they have to act LG, they also have a code of conduct and honor to adhere too.
True point Kryzbyn. There's nothing in the Paladin's code that says (s)he was required to do this, but by the same token, there is nothing that says the paladin can not allow the party rogue to 'do the dirty work' and eliminate the 'foul demon/devil/ other evil creature' in it's sleep without risking harm to his/her companions.

I think they are allowed to act out against a creature, evil or otherwise, to prevent or stop it from commiting an evil act, specialy against an innocent. His code and aligment almost mean he MUST act.

An evil creature minding it's own business and defenseless, not so much.

That being said, wouldn't a paladin using detect evil in hell casue somekind of stun or feedback? or a giant panada popping out from behind a rock with a sign that says "DUH!?!" ?

Not entirely. It's possible some creatures might be captives of the evil beings, slaves, or just brought to the place and allowed to roam free for hunting later.


Sounds like you were pretty N in your actions morally if you've got multiple people here on both sides of whether it was a good or evil act.

To me the ethical N means the morality of the issue is not relevant to the character. I kind of view LN, CN, NG and NE as being dominated by the side of their alignment that has definition.

I've always called the CN alignment the cop-out alignment. (NN is a close second). These are the hardest to define. But generally speaking a CN character or race or nation is bascially crazy. The reason is there's really no rhyme or reason to their actions. Their actions have really no allegiance. They are chaos. And you can't peg them morally, because their actions have no moral basis either.


stokejt wrote:

I am currently playing in a game where I am playing a CN Rogue, as CN suggests, I will do whatever is best for me at the time and for the most part it goes with the best interest of the party, all of whom are some sort of good alliance.

We were in the middle of a dungeon crawl through what were basically the layers of hell, obviously evil, when we came across a monster that was sleeping. The paladin in the group confirmed it was evil so my rogue went up and basically coup de grace'd it. I was told, later by my group, that this was an evil act. I disagreed but my question is, as a CN character, wouldn't it be in his nature to sometimes commit evil acts if they are in his best interest?

Is murdering a creature in its sleep an evil act = Yes

Would a Chaotic Neutral creature care that this was an evil act = No

Being Neutral, means you do not go out of your way to kill creatures. But at the same time, you are not required to go out of your way, not to kill creatures. It is a matter of degree, neutral creatures, will just not worry about it. They value life, but not at the expense of there own.

..................

So if a paladin confirmed that a 6th level human sheriff is evil. Does this mean your group will sneak into his house and Coup-De-Grass him. He is evil after all, and might, in the future commit some evil act that would then be on the paladins hands, since he new the sheriff was evil and did noting.

.................

PS= Being Good is a Pain..... being Lawful Good is the pits.


Oliver McShade wrote:

So if a paladin confirmed that a 6th level human sheriff is evil. Does this mean your group will sneak into his house and Coup-De-Grass him. He is evil after all, and might, in the future commit some evil act that would then be on the paladins hands, since he new the sheriff was evil and did noting.

Not in exactly that way with the paladin's cooperation, because he's Lawful as well as Good and presumbly there are laws against that.

But yes, the paladin needs to do something about it. That might be supporting a different candidate for a sheriff election. It depends!


I wasnt rationalizing anything, nor saying the end justifies the means... I was meaning killing a monster was a survival thing... not a moral thing... for the Chaotic Neutral it was a survival idea, for the Paladin and other party members it was an evil act so why didnt they do something to stop him/her?...

And killing deer when they are unaware is "murder" I thought it was hunting ;)


stokejt wrote:

I am currently playing in a game where I am playing a CN Rogue, as CN suggests, I will do whatever is best for me at the time and for the most part it goes with the best interest of the party, all of whom are some sort of good alliance.

We were in the middle of a dungeon crawl through what were basically the layers of hell, obviously evil, when we came across a monster that was sleeping. The paladin in the group confirmed it was evil so my rogue went up and basically coup de grace'd it. I was told, later by my group, that this was an evil act. I disagreed but my question is, as a CN character, wouldn't it be in his nature to sometimes commit evil acts if they are in his best interest?

I have always seen CN as personal freedom first, everything else second. Don’t go out of your way to help people and don’t go out of your way to hurt people either.

That said, Killing a sleeping Evil creature in the "layers of hell" is not Evil, it's smart. IMO the Paladin could have walked up and done the same and not had even so much as a blemish on their Paladinhood.

Not Evil does not equal stupid and/or suicidal.


stokejt wrote:

I am currently playing in a game where I am playing a CN Rogue, as CN suggests, I will do whatever is best for me at the time and for the most part it goes with the best interest of the party, all of whom are some sort of good alliance.

We were in the middle of a dungeon crawl through what were basically the layers of hell, obviously evil, when we came across a monster that was sleeping. The paladin in the group confirmed it was evil so my rogue went up and basically coup de grace'd it. I was told, later by my group, that this was an evil act. I disagreed but my question is, as a CN character, wouldn't it be in his nature to sometimes commit evil acts if they are in his best interest?

Killing a demon in its sleep isn't evil. its smart. That might be a questionable act for a paladin because its unchivalrous, but even for a lawful good character there's NOTHING that says you need to wake up an evil creature and challange it to a fair fight.

For a chaotic neutral character bypassing social conventions about how you're supposed to fight fairly isn't an alignment violation, its thursday.


Imnotbob wrote:

Not Evil does not equal stupid and/or suicidal.

I'm going to back this opinion 100%. Killing an Evil monster in it's sleep would not set off my DM-ly 'You just did an evil act' Spidey-sense one bit.


This is why people keep calling paladin's lawful stupid.

To me, a Paladin is a defender of the innocent, and a champion of good.

A paladin should, in all situations, battle and destroy Evil whenever possible. Note the capitalization there. Not evil, Evil. Things that are inherently Evil (extraplanar beings) are embodiments of Evil. It is perfectly acceptable for a Paladin to go around slaughtering Evil, whether it's asleep or reading a book or not, because it's Evil. If a paladin takes the time to redeem Evil, then all praize and hozanas to him, his god should give him a big fat thank you and write his name on the scrolls of the heavens as the epitomy of Paladinhood. That doesn't mean every Paladin should aspire to such heights.

This doesn't apply to evil (small e). This is a person or creature that is evil aligned, but not inherently Evil (no subtype [Evil]). These creatures have free will and morality, and can be redeemed. Doesn't mean the Paladin has to try, but he does have a bigger responsibility to try to redeem or bring them to mortal justice (trial, etc). Note that this doesn't mean he has to commit suicide, but accepting surrenders, not killing them in their sleep, etc are valid limitations he has to follow with evil (little e).

When walking through the bowels of hell, and finding a sleeping daemon or demon or devil (Big E), by all means the Paladin should let the rogue dispose of it. If they instead found a sleeping necromancer (little e), then it could be an issue. Even then, I think the Paladin was fine standing back and allowing the thief to take him out the way he did, and I don't think the thief did an evil act.


+1


My question is what is a devil, who should know better than to leave himself vulnerable, sleeping in the open for? Outsiders don't even <have to> sleep. They can be put to sleep, but considering the politics of hell I would not do it voluntarily.

@ the OP:What changes your alignment is up to the DM. I don't make pallies stick the to code strictly as written because they would probably die in my games. If you let the other guy attack first you may not get to respond. I do


So then it is alright to kill creatures in there sleep

..... as long as they are evil.... or they are big monster that might pose a treat.... or they might require you to take prisoners and slow you down..... or because your paladin say its alright after using detect evil.....or because they are in your way and you want to loot there homes, and kill there children because they might become a treat.....


Oliver McShade wrote:

So then it is alright to kill creatures in there sleep

..... as long as they are evil.... or they are big monster that might pose a treat.... or they might require you to take prisoners and slow you down..... or because your paladin say its alright after using detect evil.....or because they are in your way and you want to loot there homes, and kill there children because they might become a treat.....

Going strictly by the rules I think the answer is no, but if the creature is an embodiment of evil, such as an outsider or devil I don't hold it against the player.

edit:I just realized your post was being facetious so I only agree with what I stated concerning creatures that embody evil.


And some people wonder why as a Druid..... i am always trying to include both the CE and LG member of the party in AoE spells when they run up and try to wack the creatures they are fighting.

What, i am neutral. It is a service to the greater balance of the world to get rid of Good people who want to enslave you with laws. It s a service to the greater balance of the world to get ride of evil people who bring destruction everywhere they go.

Do not mind Lawful evil to much... they will follow there word, although they break it as soon as they find a loophole. Do not mind Chaotic good to much... they will do what is good, but then change there minds about what was and was not good the next day.

Shushhhhhhhh... i see a paladin in his sleep.


Oliver McShade wrote:

And some people wonder why as a Druid..... i am always trying to include both the CE and LG member of the party in AoE spells when they run up and try to wack the creatures they are fighting.

What, i am neutral. It is a service to the greater balance of the world to get rid of Good people who want to enslave you with laws. It s a service to the greater balance of the world to get ride of evil people who bring destruction everywhere they go.

Do not mind Lawful evil to much... they will follow there word, although they break it as soon as they find a loophole. Do not mind Chaotic good to much... they will do what is good, but then change there minds about what was and was not good the next day.

Shushhhhhhhh... i see a paladin in his sleep.

I ban this kind of behaviour from my games. It's even worse than lawful stupid. It's neutral stupid. There's no such thing as balance in that regard. That's an old abomination of an alignment description from 2e that never should have been printed.


Umbral Reaver wrote:
Oliver McShade wrote:

And some people wonder why as a Druid..... i am always trying to include both the CE and LG member of the party in AoE spells when they run up and try to wack the creatures they are fighting.

What, i am neutral. It is a service to the greater balance of the world to get rid of Good people who want to enslave you with laws. It s a service to the greater balance of the world to get ride of evil people who bring destruction everywhere they go.

Do not mind Lawful evil to much... they will follow there word, although they break it as soon as they find a loophole. Do not mind Chaotic good to much... they will do what is good, but then change there minds about what was and was not good the next day.

Shushhhhhhhh... i see a paladin in his sleep.

I ban this kind of behaviour from my games. It's even worse than lawful stupid. It's neutral stupid. There's no such thing as balance in that regard. That's an old abomination of an alignment description from 2e that never should have been printed.

+1 This was always one of the alignment straight jackets that made the whole game stupid. If such neutral people as that existied all the "Extreme" aligned folks would have banded together long ago to destroy them. At least i hope they would have.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16

Alignment is a tool, not a straightjacket. Sometimes it's easier to step away from the alignment descriptors.

As an example, instead of "Paladins are Lawful Good", you might specify that...
* "The Swordsworn of Iomedae strive to embody the virtues of prowess, courtesy, loyalty, piety, and franchise (noble bearing).
* They defend the weak and helpless.
* Where there is confusion, the Swordsworn of Iomedae seek to bring justice and order.
* They never fail to act against injustice when it lies in their power to do so, but their wrath is tempered with mercy for those who repent of evil deeds.
* They do not stoop to ignoble strategems involving deceit or treachery, nor will they willingly associate with those who routinely resort to such.

Another order of paladins might have significantly different rules, but still embody Law and Good. The Radiant Defenders of Sarenrae might emphasize largesse (generosity) and mercy, bringing hope to the suffering and helping settle ancient enmities through diplomacy instead of battle.

I've found that nailing down the specific virtues and behaviors named in a paladin's vows helps keep the paladin and the GM on the same sheet of music. The same idea can be extended to other alignments: Don't focus on the "CN", focus of the character's specific definition of what's right and wrong.

Was it wrong/evil to slaughter a minion of Hell in its sleep? I'd say it wasn't, but the act was certainly unchivalrous. What sort of paladin do you have? Is he "chivalrous", or does he instead value other virtues?

As to the rogue's alignment, I'd call someone evil if they behaved unscrupulously except toward a close circle of personal friends. Perhaps in less grim circumstances, he wouldn't sink to such depths. Think of the party braving Hell as a band of soldiers on an extended combat operation: Surrounded by evil and depravity, their ethics will be tested. Forced into a life of "kill or be killed", they gradually become more barbaric and brutal, sinking to the level of their least subtle foes. Someone who reacts violently to any threat is well on their way toward evil, no matter how noble their original intent.


stokejt wrote:

I am currently playing in a game where I am playing a CN Rogue, as CN suggests, I will do whatever is best for me at the time and for the most part it goes with the best interest of the party, all of whom are some sort of good alliance.

We were in the middle of a dungeon crawl through what were basically the layers of hell, obviously evil, when we came across a monster that was sleeping. The paladin in the group confirmed it was evil so my rogue went up and basically coup de grace'd it. I was told, later by my group, that this was an evil act. I disagreed but my question is, as a CN character, wouldn't it be in his nature to sometimes commit evil acts if they are in his best interest?

My opinion on this:

You came across an evil monster that was sleepint there. Since you were in hell, I guess it was either an infernal outsider or something similarly evil, since it was at home enough to lie around sleeping (Though it's possible that it was evil but not as evil as a devil, got dragged into hell, was on a continuous quest to find a way out, and had to sleep some time, I think it's reasonable to go with the servant of hell theory).

Vanquishing evil creatures is usually a good act in Pathfinder. Especially when we talk about monsters and/or anything that will show up on a paladin's evildar (the greedy-and-therefore-evil human expert 3 merchant won't register as evil with detect evil). I won't go as far as to say that you had a moral oblication to see it dead, on order to stop it from spreading more evil (though the paladin surely had), I would call killing that thing an evil act, either. Plus, leaving an enemy alive, to come after you later, maybe in a different, difficult fight, is not a smart move.

It would indeed be stupid to wake the thing up to give it a fair chance to defend itself - and since that increases its chance of getting away and either taking revenge against you or harming others, you could even make a case that that would be evil (or at least non-good).

So on the good/evil axis, I think killing the thing won't be any more evil than killing an orc when he attacks you on the plain, which paladins can do with impunity. Any residual evil associated with this will surely be (more than) compensated by the negative aspects of not doing it.

As for the method and good/evil: The end result is the same: The thing is dead (let's assume you won't let it get away to eat an orphanage). Killing it in its sleep means it dies quicker and less painful to it, which can be considered to be merciful. You don't torture it or prolong its suffering, so I can see no evil in killing it this way.

What I can see is a chaotic act: Chivalry, honesty, some laws, and nonsense crap like that might require you to wake it up, so it's all nice and proper (doesn't matter that it will die screaming, over the course of minutes, because you kill it cut by cut - the rules say you must wake it up and let it prepare). So ignoring nonsense some idiots have decided is proper for you to do is a chaotic act, since you think for yourself and decide your morality instead of letting others make the decisions for you.

But in fact, I'd penalise only the most up-tight and mindless followers of law for this. Apparently, there are lawful creatures that can think for themselves, and they will find no sense in some theoretical rules of engagement drawn up by some fop in a fencing school. Most lawful characters would totally get away with this. Even paladins. I don't see anything dishonest about a mercy killing like this. It's surely better than unduly endangering the life of you and your allies!

Anyway, that character was already chaotic, so he couldn't care less whether this is a chaotic act or not.

The character is also neutral in regards to good and evil, so he has nothing to fear, either, since only some very narrow definitions of good and evil will call this one evil, and even then, it's not nearly evil enough to make you slip towards evil all at once. Some moderately good acts will be able to balance it out (of course, you can't just do some good just to balance this out).

As you said: CN means you're neither good nor evil, and while that means that most of your actions will probably be neither good nor evil, too, you can do some minor good and/or evil without straying off your path.


+1


LOL.... You did band together and killed off all the True Neutral Druids ;P


"People who are neutral with respect to good and evil have compunctions about killing the innocent," but an evil being in Hell is not an innocent.

If there is any character that can let the ends justify the means in destroying a helpless evil being, it's the CN character. You don't care about rules, regulations, laws, traditions, or moral codes. Nor are you a good character with a commitment to making sacrifices to do the "right thing". Yet, not being evil yourself, you're perfectly capable of disliking beings that hurt, kill, and oppress innocents and thinking it's better the universe is rid of them.

So, I'd say that even if morality is such in your game universe that killing someone who is helpless is always and inevitably evil, given your target, it's moderate enough an evil that you're still playing CN.


Between mdt and KaeYoss, I consider this case closed. They have the exact same view point that I do, and they have presented it far more ably than I could. +1/+1


@KaeYoss
+1

.

stokejt wrote:
as CN suggests, I will do whatever is best for me at the time

Read page 166-168 of the Pathfinder Core Rulebook. You've just perfectly described "Neutral Evil", not "Chaotic Neutral".

stokejt wrote:
We were in the middle of a dungeon crawl through what were basically the layers of hell, obviously evil, when we came across a monster that was sleeping. The paladin in the group confirmed it was evil so my rogue went up and basically coup de grace'd it. I was told, later by my group, that this was an evil act.

Killing someone in their sleep isn't any better or worse than killing them in a fight. Unless, of course, you have an ethos that values "Honorable combat" or "Fair fights".

stokejt wrote:
as a CN character, wouldn't it be in his nature to sometimes commit evil acts if they are in his best interest?

If it is in your nature to commit evil acts if they are in your best interest, then you are evil. That is the definition of being evil!

Look at it this way:
Good character - It is not in their nature to commit evil acts.
Evil character - It is not in their nature to commit evil acts that are NOT in their interest. For example, murdering your benefactor the next time you see him on the street would be evil, but just because you're evil doesn't mean you're going to murder someone who's useful to you.
Evil character - Murdering a rich stranger and taking their money benefits you, and you would likely do it.


+1 to Kaeyoss as well, very very good post on CN, versus Chaotic Stupid, as my group used to call it.


Blueluck wrote:


Evil character - Murdering a rich stranger and taking their money benefits you, and you would likely do it.

Oh, like all those monsters Good aligned PC's kill in dungeons to take their stuff?

Grand Lodge

see wrote:
"People who are neutral with respect to good and evil have compunctions about killing the innocent," but an evil being in Hell is not an innocent.

Agreed

see wrote:
If there is any character that can let the ends justify the means in destroying a helpless evil being, it's the CN character.

No, this is no pointless outside regulation but, literally, a moral issue. It's a Good vs. Evil question and completely orthogonal to the Law-Chaos axis. A Good character regrets killing any living creature and an Evil character is fine with it (at least in principle). A morally Neutral creature considers whether the killing is justified by such considerations as personal relationships, past acts and ethical or other ideologies.

A CN character should not be any more or less prepared to kill the creature than a LN character. Just think for a moment how easily LN could justify it.

Grand Lodge

kyrt-ryder wrote:
Blueluck wrote:


Evil character - Murdering a rich stranger and taking their money benefits you, and you would likely do it.
Oh, like all those monsters Good aligned PC's kill in dungeons to take their stuff?

Good aligned PCs kill monsters in dungeons because the monsters have harmed others many times already and intend to continue doing so. Given that they need killing, there's no point in leaving their stuff around for their evil buddies to use for evil purposes.


Starglim wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Blueluck wrote:


Evil character - Murdering a rich stranger and taking their money benefits you, and you would likely do it.
Oh, like all those monsters Good aligned PC's kill in dungeons to take their stuff?
Good aligned PCs kill monsters in dungeons because the monsters have harmed others many times already and intend to continue doing so. Given that they need killing, there's no point in leaving their stuff around for their evil buddies to use for evil purposes.

True in theory, and in many campaigns, but I've read and heard of just as many campaigns where said monsters are peacefully minding their own business in their dwelling places, and who haven't killed or harmed anything that they didn't either eat for survival or feel threatened by, and PC's all too happily romp through, stab their faces, and take their stuff.

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