Refusal to Show Mercy... Evil?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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A medusa hits the ground, rolls up in a ball, covers her eyes, and begs for mercy. In her defense, she's having a very bad day: she has just given birth to the abominable offspring of her mutant beast enslaver. She's naked and exhausted. She is suffering third degree burns from a fireball. She hasn't harmed anyone.

Despite her pleas, the lawful neutral monk spends a ki point and wails on her. She has not violated any laws that he can cite, but he's in a bit of a snit because her foul baby petrified him, and he's just been restored. Is his attack on the medusa an evil act?

It matters, because there's a Forbiddance he has to pass...

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Mercy is certainly a notable trait of a good-aligned character... but it's not a shackle.

Remember that a swift and clean death can be considered a mercy, given the right circumstances.

Whether or not the monk was evil in killing her off, though... that's up to you. I'm certainly interested to see how folks react! :)


Just to understand the context -- this medusa is in the middle of a dungeon full of evil minions that have been trying to kill the monk and his party, yes?

I would say "certainly not good, probably not evil". (Evil generally implies cruelty in my book; killing a criminal isn't necessarily cruel, IMO.)


It's certainly ruthless, and medusae are very dangerous creatures. "We can't take those sorts of chances" is an attitude that a LN character can get behind (practicality).


Not a good act, but well within the realm of activities of a stressed out, angry, irrational for the moment good aligned character. Something he/she may want to make some sort of atonement for, but not something that would affect their alignment. Unless, of course, this sort of thing becomes a habit.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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One other thing:

GMs who present an evil foe and use that foe to anger the players and hurt them and cause them to go on adventures and all that, only to have that foe fall to their knees and beg for mercy is kinda cheesy.

I'm not saying that's what the OP did, of course.

But it's an alignment trap. GMs who get the PCs worked up to attack a foe and then punish the PCs for following through and killing that foe by forcing alignment changes is an obnoxious kind of bait and switch.

AKA: If you set up an NPC as a villain and the PCs grow to hate that NPC, it's not fair to have that NPC turn out to be a misunderstood victim. If you want an NPC to be a misunderstood bad guy, you need to support that decision by foreshadowing so that the players suspect that's the situation going in. Springing it on them after they've got the foe on their last legs at the end of a combat is baiting and switching. At the very least, when the PCs do the obvious thing and finish the antagonist off, it shouldn't be fuel for a GM-mandated alignment switch.

Remember, GMs! You're really the only window into your game world for your players! It doesn't matter if you've written up a 50,000 word back-story for why your campaign's main villain is a victim of circumstance who is looking to be redeemed and should be granted mercy by the PCs if you never present any of that info to the players, but instead only show them that NPC doing evil, dastardly stuff.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Thinking back to last year's movies, it's hard to be a snake-haired petrifying-gaze woman.


I would go with evil -- but not alignment changing evil.

IF this medusa really didn't attack them, and has simply curled up while begging for mercy that is.

IF the medusa has been fighting them, and stops then proceeds to beg for mercy like this, I'm still thinking evil... but at such a low end that I wouldn't drop someone's alignment for it.

******

Part of my thought on this is the fact that the monk is doing this out of spite. He's hitting her because he was hurt by her baby. It isn't a rationed out, "we can't take a chance" it's "Her baby hurt me, and I don't care I'm going to hurt her too."

That is clearly not good to me, and well within evil -- he doesn't have law on his side, he doesn't have rational on his side, it's simply a chance to "get even" and "hurt her".


Not even a little evil in my book. Killing an evil monster that is known for trying to trick people and lure them into their gaze is not evil when it begs for mercy and could well be waiting for its chance, its smart self preservation and doing the world a favor.


James Jacobs wrote:
I'm certainly interested to see how folks react! :)

I'm curious too. This was actually a situation in my session last night, but I have altered the details here just out of curiosity about how other gamers perceive these sorts of things.

In the real situation, he failed to kill her that round, and I asked him how killing her would fit with his professed love of the law. I would have taken just about any answer. He had nothing, though, except a crazy reference to an earlier, unrelated episode, and some nonsense about trying to set things right with his fellow adventurers. I joked that here we had a wise, high-willpower Saurian monk whose actions were governed by simple peer pressure. We all had a laugh and I dropped the subject.

When his turn came around again, he announced that he was having second thoughts. He decided to leave his next action to a d6: 1-3, he continues the attack, 4-6 he lets her go. He rolled high and showed mercy. By then the medusa no longer trusted him anyway, though, and stumbled out a side door...

...where the fighter lopped off her head.

Later at the forbiddance, he took partial damage (and made his save to halve it), but I didn't penalize him along the good-evil axis. Had he slain the medusa, I don't know that I would have penalized him regardless. Since it was just one act and since her very presence among them constituted a threat, I probably wouldn't have penalized him. But it did make for an interesting conversation while we were wrapping up.

Dark Archive

My first thought is no, but it would depend on the context of other stuff that had happened up to this point.


James Jacobs wrote:

One other thing:

Good stuff

I completely agree. She wasn't the big baddie, though; she was the big baddie's slave. Stockholm syndrome. And although the players had the clues to reason this out, it wasn't expected of them to have done so.

The forbiddance wasn't for the characters: it was for the baddies. The dungeon was their prison. Her decision to beg for mercy wasn't something I planned, but it did seem the logical choice for her given her circumstances. BBEG was dead, his minions destroyed, and she was left alone and free to choose her own course of action. She was in no position to fight, so she begged for mercy. It happened.

The encounter with her made leaving the prison an interesting exercise, and I thought (for this thread) an interesting thought experiment.

For the record, there was also a password for the characters to find, but they didn't.


I would say, neutral if she fought them before surrendering, Evil if she initiated the conversation and was attacked by the monk. However, not aligment changin evil (I usually use 3 strikes before that - so, this would be strike 1).

Scarab Sages

The only (core) classes that have a strict code is the paladin and cleric. More so the paladin, but the cleric has to be sure not to do anything their god may disapprove of.

It seems like a neutral/evil act. It would be a strike against good-aligned characters, but not so much to turn their alignment into evil so they need the atonement spell. If a neutral character does this too much, though, I'd move their alignment to evil. Good moved to neutral, as well.

As for James' comment on villians begging for mercy - This is in the morale of a lot of stat blocks in the APs. Lawful Good PCs practically need a portable prison to keep up with all their prisoners.


Lvl 12 Procrastinator wrote:

A medusa hits the ground, rolls up in a ball, covers her eyes, and begs for mercy. In her defense, she's having a very bad day: she has just given birth to the abominable offspring of her mutant beast enslaver. She's naked and exhausted. She is suffering third degree burns from a fireball. She hasn't harmed anyone.

Despite her pleas, the lawful neutral monk spends a ki point and wails on her. She has not violated any laws that he can cite, but he's in a bit of a snit because her foul baby petrified him, and he's just been restored. Is his attack on the medusa an evil act?

It matters, because there's a Forbiddance he has to pass...

Did this act violate either axis of the monks alignment?

The monk is Lawful Neutral.

Is this a "Lawful" violation: Was the medusa in an area where the recognized authority (ie the law) forbids the murder of helpless monstrous humanoids? No, so no violation.

Is this a "Neutral" violation: The medusa is LE by nature so it clearly favors "evil" over all other alignments. If all sentient beings did this it would through off the "neutral" balance the monk believes in (ie he is Neutral). He is within his Neutral rights to restore universal balance by eliminating what he sees as a threat to such balance. NO violation.

The monk has not violated any axis of his alignment.


cibet44 wrote:

Did this act violate either axis of the monks alignment?

The monk is Lawful Neutral.

Is this a "Lawful" violation: Was the medusa in an area where the recognized authority (ie the law) forbids the murder of helpless monstrous humanoids? No, so no violation.

Is this a "Neutral" violation: The medusa is LE by nature so it clearly favors "evil" over all other alignments. If all sentient beings did this it would through off the "neutral" balance the monk believes in (ie he is Neutral). He is within his Neutral rights to restore universal balance by eliminating what he sees as a threat to such balance. NO violation.

The monk has not violated any axis of his alignment.

Then the monk needs to kill the paladin right? To restore balance? Since the paladin is LG, which isn't neutral.

Then the monk needs to kill himself -- since he's LAWFUL neutral instead of just neutral. He's obviously unbalancing things with his lawfulness.

Grand Lodge

A lack of mercy isn't evil, it just isn't nice either. Lawful Good characters can be absolutely brutal jerks. Look at Batman. He tries to follow the law (except the whole vigilante part) and he does it specifically to help people. That's law and good. However, he's still a colossal jerk.

Though taking out his frustrations on an innocent medusa isn't nice and certainly is creeping into chaotic evil territory. It's chaotic because she isn't directly responsible for any form of crime whatsoever, other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and it's evil because she's already surrendered, not that she was fighting back to begin with.

If he never apologizes and never does something to make up for it, as the GM, I'd cause him to lose alignment.

Were I playing a paladin in that game I'd have stopped the monk, if he continued, I'd have no choice but to start smiting. Yes, she's a monster, but she isn't showing any signs of being evil, and even if she was, we should be disabling her gaze attack, and arresting her.


For me it comes down to some of the following:

lawful evil wrote:


A lawful evil villain methodically takes what he wants within the limits of his code of conduct without regard for whom it hurts. He cares about tradition, loyalty, and order, but not about freedom, dignity, or life. He plays by the rules but without mercy or compassion. He is comfortable in a hierarchy and would like to rule, but is willing to serve. He condemns others not according to their actions but according to race, religion, homeland, or social rank. He is loath to break laws or promises.

And

Quote:


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.

Now if the monk stopped after the first round (such as has been said) -- he started on an evil act -- but stopped before the act was finished.

As such he isn't in alignment chance territory to me.

If he had killed the medusa then I probably still wouldn't change him yet -- but I would talk to the player about it.

The attack on the medusa was malicious based on something else's actions (something that probably didn't have full control of itself yet) and unwarranted as an initial response to the surrender (since the medusa hadn't attacked). It was a spiteful action performed because he was upset at something else. This part of it should cause some worry for the monk -- he acted irrationally and without honor on gut instinct for a base desire. He didn't have rational thought behind his actions, instead just doing what his base side wanted.

This might not be huge on the good/evil stand point but as a martial artist, it would worry me on the lawful/chaotic stand point.


I'd go with evil - weaker or stronger depending on the circumstances. Here is part of the definition of evil as per D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder:

"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. "

Unless there is something we do not know (personal vendetta, the medusa having done something to them), the monk has shown no compassion and hurt her because... Well, I suppose because it felt good to get back at something for his frustration. Ergo, the monk placed his own convenience and desire for revenge over a sentient creature's well-being - when the creature was not a threat nor, to the best of his knowledge, intending to be one. Yes, she might have been evil - so what? She didn't try to kill him or, presumably, help the creature that did. Guilt by association tends to be a presumption among evil cultures. Furthermore, unless she did help her offspring, many cultures may place a particular taboo on hurting a mother for something her child did... especially if said child is already dead.

In addition, the LN alignment description talks about how such characters tend to place high value on honor and social mores. Abusing an unresisting opponent who asks to surrender and has not shown any indication of trickery may not be exactly fine for LN characters either. While it is possible that the monk follows an elaborate code of vendetta (and one which proscribes punishment to perpetrator and kin for injury done to oneself is likely to be evil imo), it strikes me as a generally evil act. Just how major or minor it is depends on the background (did he just shove her into a wall and talk smack, or was he hitting to hurt and maim?) and the GM.


Kais86 wrote:
A lack of mercy isn't evil, it just isn't nice either. Lawful Good characters can be absolutely brutal jerks. Look at Batman.

Wow, mentioning Batman in an alignment thread...it never ends well! ;-)

Contributor

I'm wondering exactly what sort of creature the BBEG was that his spawn, upon birth, was able to run around petrifying adventurers. Or was there some sort of blind hag acting as midwife, delivering the half-medusa child, and was running around after that going, "Who wants to look at the precious baby? Who wants to look at the precious little one?" while the baby medusa is petryfying everyone?

That would be useful to know for the choreography for why the monk is ticked off that he got petrified.

As for attacking the naked medusa begging for mercy.... I'm assuming she was hiding her eyes, probably weeping, and it was clear she was a medusa. I'd go with "Yeah, evil" on attacking her. Of course the monk wasn't a good type, so he doesn't have the paladin problems of failing to grant mercy when it's asked.

As for lawfulness, unless there's some backstory about the adventurers being agents for a king or something, they're just private citizens, and the assault on the BBEG is just some vigilante justice. Accepting a surrender? Whatever.

It should also be noted that there is a big question about where the PCs get their knowledge about medusae. Are they always monsters? Can they be tragic victims of cranky goddesses? Are any of them productive members of humanoid society by donning nothing more remarkable than a veil and turban?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

If he had killed the medusa, I would say it was an Evil act. Not enough for an alignment change, but how his character acted after the fact would give me an indicator of where he was headed.


Ok, I still don't have enough information to answer, so... I'll answer based on certain assumptions.

1) Monstrous humanoids are known in the campaign to be not all evil (IE: Drow in Forgotten Realms, or Trolls in Diskworld).
2) Monstrous humanoids have been presented to the players as evil evil evil and unredemable (Goblins in Golarian).
3) The PCs knew she was a slave.
4) The Pcs didn't know she was a slave.

Ok, given those four assumptions, if...

1 & 3 : Evil as all heck, whether he killed her or not, and probably evil on the fighter's part as well. Extremely Chaotic, as has been pointed out, and there are penalties for a Monk who doesn't stay lawful.

1 & 4 : Borderline evil, given that she hadn't attacked them at all per the OP. Chaotic as all heck, since she hadn't attacked them at all.

2 & 3 : Not evil, as they have been taught that all medusa's are evil by the GM. However, a Neutral shouldn't be wanting to kill all evil, they are neutral. It's chaotic as heck though, given she hadn't attacked them and was a breeding slave. I'd possibly talk to the monk about his alignment changing to NG or NN if he keeps acting like that. Since in this type of game, killing evil for no other reason than it's evil is a good trait.

2 & 4 : Not evil, as they have been taught that all medusa's are evil by the GM. However, a Neutral shouldn't be wanting to kill all evil, they are neutral. It's probably not all that chaotic, as being taught she's evil no matter what means he thinks the surrender is a ploy by the minion of the BBEG.


+1 for *an evil action*
+1 for *chaotic action*

I would, like the OP, be all, ‘are you sure you want do the whole blood-thirsty kill first and ask questions later thing to a cowering creature that has not harmed anyone that you know of and is currently begging for mercy?’

But, IMO a neutral character can get away with many evil actions that are on the same level as this. If he does enough ‘good stuff’ to balance it out, he can execute as many cowering, seemingly harmless BBEG slaves/minions he likes and never get close to an alignment shift. Even a good character could do this type of thing every once and awhile and still be good.

On the law-chaos side, it’s a strongly chaotic action - much more so than it is evil I think. So if he makes a habit out of this type of thing, he’d shift from lawful pretty quick.

For me it’s the “She's naked and exhausted. She is suffering third degree burns from a fireball. She hasn't harmed anyone” part that puts it into chaotic-evil territory. Begging for mercy is one thing – she is a medusa in evil-guy posse after all – but when the monk attacked her, she was clearly not a threat AND as far as he knew never had been. But when he decided to stop attacking her, he did show mercy. So he has that going for him.


Not Evil. If it's giving birth to abominations, it needs to be destroyed regardless of its personal alignment-- and we're given no reason to suspect that her personal alignment is anything but Evil. Just because she's helpless now doesn't mean she wouldn't be a danger when she isn't-- and if she's a danger to others regardless of her intentions, putting her down is definitely a Lawful act.

One would assume that laws concerning murder do not address Monstrous Humanoids in any but the most enlightened societies-- and, even then, it seems unlikely that they would concern themselves with a dangerous creature like a Medusa.


You're all missing the fact that she's an evil monster who may go on to do heinous crimes (even against the party itself).

Now she WAS begging for mercy, so that adds a +1 on teh other side of the spectrum but at most, this is a justifiably neutral act, by a character who's main concern isn't good.

Also, he was pissed. we all get pissed and will act out against our better judgement. He's not a pally so it's not a big deal. The thought of "alignment change" shouldn't even be an issue.


Abraham spalding wrote:


Then the monk needs to kill the paladin right? To restore balance? Since the paladin is LG, which isn't neutral.

He could. That's the balance of neutral.

Abraham spalding wrote:


Then the monk needs to kill himself -- since he's LAWFUL neutral instead of just neutral. He's obviously unbalancing things with his lawfulness.

He may but NOT because he is lawful, the alignment axis are independent. This is no different than a good guy might sacrifice himself for his beliefs. Every alignment has beliefs that may at times require sacrifice. Neutral IS NOT exempt from this.


Viktyr Korimir wrote:
Not Evil. If it's giving birth to abominations, it needs to be destroyed regardless of its personal alignment-- and we're given no reason to suspect that her personal alignment is anything but Evil.

She gave birth to an abomination because she was a slave, who was being forced to breed by the BBEG. If she'd been a human who'd birthed an abomination after being raped by the BBEGs monsters, you'd beat her to death as well?

Viktyr Korimir wrote:

Just because she's helpless now doesn't mean she wouldn't be a danger when she isn't-- and if she's a danger to others regardless of her intentions, putting her down is definitely a Lawful act.

This depends on the world, which is why I said above that it depends on how Medusa's are handled in the OPs world. If they can be redeemed from evil, or just be neutral, then your logic falls apart. Killing someone who's helpless because they might, theoretically, be dangerous to you or someone else in the future is pretty much the epitomy of evil in my book. Sheesh, how many stories start out with the BBEG killing people because they might be dangerous in the future? Not because they are, but because he thinks they might be?

Viktyr Korimir wrote:


One would assume that laws concerning murder do not address Monstrous Humanoids in any but the most enlightened societies-- and, even then, it seems unlikely that they would concern themselves with a dangerous creature like a Medusa.

Again, depends on the world. Without knowing the world... And the laws in the land don't really have anything to do with whether this was evil or not. As to chaotic, I believe it's chaotic because the Monk took his anger out on someone who didn't cause him any harm, and then let a freaking coin flip (die roll) decide his actions.

Letting a coin flip decide your actions (ala Two-Face from Batman) is the poster boy of freaking chaos.


cibet44 wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:


Then the monk needs to kill the paladin right? To restore balance? Since the paladin is LG, which isn't neutral.

He could. That's the balance of neutral.

Abraham spalding wrote:


Then the monk needs to kill himself -- since he's LAWFUL neutral instead of just neutral. He's obviously unbalancing things with his lawfulness.
He may but NOT because he is lawful, the alignment axis are independent. This is no different than a good guy might sacrifice himself for his beliefs. Every alignment has beliefs that may at times require sacrifice. Neutral IS NOT exempt from this.

He's not Neutral though -- he's Lawful Neutral.

Lawful Neutral wrote:


A lawful neutral character acts as law, tradition, or a personal code directs her. Order and organization are paramount. She may believe in personal order and live by a code or standard, or she may believe in order for all and favor a strong, organized government.

Lawful neutral means you are reliable and honorable without being a zealot.

Nothing about preserving the balance of any sort in that.

Silver Crusade

Evil act. And absolutely drenched in moral dissonance and moral myopia.

As for the "she gave birth to an abomination!" argument, do you really think good aligned characters would go around killing human women who unwillingly gave birth to potentially(and unwittingly dangerous mutant babies without a fuss?

Abraham spalding wrote:

A lawful evil villain

He condemns others not according to their actions but according to race

no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient

Hole-in-one.

Chris Mortika wrote:
Thinking back to last year's movies, it's hard to be a snake-haired petrifying-gaze woman.

No kidding. Medusa is pretty much the most wrongly maligned being in all mythology. Her great and horrible crime? Being a victim of sexual assault by a god in another god's temple. Truly a monster undeserving of sympathy and one that should be slain with no remorse or hesitation. Yeah, new-Clash of the Titans was terrible.

Sovereign Court

James Jacobs wrote:
Remember, GMs! You're really the only window into your game world for your players! It doesn't matter if you've written up a 50,000 word back-story for why your campaign's main villain is a victim of circumstance who is looking to be redeemed and should be granted mercy by the PCs if you never present any of that info to the players, but instead only show them that NPC doing evil, dastardly stuff.

+1

Agreed. Backstory is meaningless to the players until you find a way to drop bits and pieces of it into their investigations.

The bard player in my RotRL campaign has been driving me nuts with bardic knowledge checks on anything at all. Until I figured out that these requests were a perfect disguise to slip back story to the players.


Relieving a creature of its mortal life in a world were the dead can be brought back and the Gods are real and the afterlife is a well known fact might not be good but it is certainly not evil (especially a creature that would be considered a monster in the eyes of civilized races). All creatures bow before Pharasma in the end and meet their final judgment there in her realm.

Contributor

Mortagon wrote:

Relieving a creature of its mortal life in a world were the dead can be brought back and the Gods are real and the afterlife is a well known fact might not be good but it is certainly not evil (especially a creature that would be considered a monster in the eyes of civilized races). All creatures bow before Pharasma in the end and meet their final judgment there in her realm.

Translation: Murder = Not Evil

Reasoning: Murder can be undone by a powerful cleric with an unlimited diamond budget.

Related thought: Kill 'em all 'n let Pharasma sort 'em out!

I'm fairly certain that anyone who lives by this particular code would have Pharasma checking off the "Evil" box on their sorting form and probably the "Chaotic" box too. After all, disregard of other people's possessions includes their lives, especially since lives by this formula have a straight gold piece value they cannot exceed.


If one looks at the good-evil axis as a cone, with the PC at the apex, a good character has a wide and fairly flat cone. He cares deeply about his family and friends, deeply about his nation, deeply about his race (although a little less so), deeply about sentient beings, etc. According to the tenants of good, he would rather not harm anyone.

Drawing cones in text is hard, but here goes:

* (the PC is here)
*****
****** ******
__________________ (this is where bad stuff is allowed to happen to others - notice there are no dots here)

Meanwhile an evil PC cares about herself, probably her family and friends, not likely about her nation, not at all about her race. So, her cone is narrow. Doing something bad to someone else will happen quickly.

* (here is the PC)
*
*
*** (this is where bad stuff happens to others)
*** (this is where really bad stuff happens to others)
*** (this is where mosquitoes reside)
*****(don't even ask)

So, given that the medusa is pretty far down on the list (working with the bad guy, she's a monstrous critter by definition, and with the ability to turn someone to stone with a simple glance), I see no evil in the monk's actions. Not nice, but not evil.

Now, I would say it was a Chaotic action . . . but that wasn't the question.


It's probably worth pointing out, just for the heck of it, that the vast majority of human beings believe in an afterlife and final judgment and that people will "live forever" in some form or other on the real planet earth right now, today.

And yet murder is still considered unlawful and evil.

Funny that.


My thoughts are that it was an evil act, but given that the Monk in question is Lawful Neutral and mad as hell I wouldn't say it altered his alignment. If he keeps doing it, then it starts getting into alignment-shift teritory.

What interests me is that the player left it up to a dice roll. That's pretty chaotic to me. Sure, it was the player not the character, but still...


I'll keep my opinion short since it's already been stated. I agree with everything Abraham has said.


brassbaboon wrote:

It's probably worth pointing out, just for the heck of it, that the vast majority of human beings believe in an afterlife and final judgment and that people will "live forever" in some form or other on the real planet earth right now, today.

And yet murder is still considered unlawful and evil.

Funny that.

Could it be because you'd be taking the choice of a mortal life away from someone, most likely causing physical pain to the victim and emotional pain to those whom loved him or her?

I can't possibly see why.


Gentleman wrote:
brassbaboon wrote:

It's probably worth pointing out, just for the heck of it, that the vast majority of human beings believe in an afterlife and final judgment and that people will "live forever" in some form or other on the real planet earth right now, today.

And yet murder is still considered unlawful and evil.

Funny that.

Could it be because you'd be taking the choice of a mortal life away from someone, most likely causing physical pain to the victim and emotional pain to those whom loved him or her?

I can't possibly see why.

Yeah. That. And other things, like this life is supposed to be a place to exercise free will to determine your afterlife, and being murdered removes you from the game early. Stuff like that. Yeah.

Silver Crusade

I have to ask:

So what did these heroic Big Damn Heroes heroically do about the baby?


Doug's Workshop wrote:


So, given that the medusa is pretty far down on the list (working with the bad guy, she's a monstrous critter by definition, and with the ability to turn someone to stone with a simple glance), I see no evil in the monk's actions. Not nice, but not evil.

Now, I would say it was a Chaotic action . . . but that wasn't the question.

If you check, you'll see that she was actually a breeding slave. I wouldn't call a breeding slave 'someone working with the BBEG'.


Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
Mortagon wrote:

Relieving a creature of its mortal life in a world were the dead can be brought back and the Gods are real and the afterlife is a well known fact might not be good but it is certainly not evil (especially a creature that would be considered a monster in the eyes of civilized races). All creatures bow before Pharasma in the end and meet their final judgment there in her realm.

Translation: Murder = Not Evil

Reasoning: Murder can be undone by a powerful cleric with an unlimited diamond budget.

Related thought: Kill 'em all 'n let Pharasma sort 'em out!

I'm fairly certain that anyone who lives by this particular code would have Pharasma checking off the "Evil" box on their sorting form and probably the "Chaotic" box too. After all, disregard of other people's possessions includes their lives, especially since lives by this formula have a straight gold piece value they cannot exceed.

It is a game about killing people and taking their stuff.

Killing in Pathfinder is commonplace, but your motivation for doing so is what separates the good guys from the bad guys. For example a good creature would probably be reluctant to kill anyone except those who they absolutely must and if they have to they would try to do it as humanly as possible. A neutral creature would kill those who came in his way and might even engage in torture if it was in his best interest to do so, although he would probably not enjoy it. An evil creature would kill and maim for personal gain and sometimes because he likes it and relish in the anguish of others. Killing in itself I would consider a neutral act it is your motivation for doing so that would determine wether it was good or evil IMO.


mdt wrote:


If you check, you'll see that she was actually a breeding slave. I wouldn't call a breeding slave 'someone working with the BBEG'.

We're talking about players, right? Because players tend to miss clues like "That medusa is chained to the wall obviously a slave to the BBEG." They hear "That medusa" and roll with it. Unless she was wearing a sign that said "SLAVE" in neon orange.

Yes, players are dense. That's why you never drop hints. Drop anvils.


Mortagon wrote:


It is a game about killing people and taking their stuff.

God that's a sentiment I hate. It's a perfectly valid thing for something like Cyberpunk or Shadowrun, you're supposed to pay hired mercenaries who kill/steal/destroy for profit.

Unless you're playing an evil campaign, the idea of PF is that you are the freaking heroes. Heroes may kill things while adventuring, but it's not their primary purpose, they are out to save the world, or rescue the maiden, or a dozen other things. They aren't out to ravage the world and kill/murder/destroy.

Mortagon wrote:


Killing in Pathfinder is commonplace, but your motivation for doing so is what separates the good guys from the bad guys. For example a good creature would probably be reluctant to kill anyone except those who they absolutely must and if they have to they would try to do it as humanly as possible. A neutral creature would kill those who came in his way and might even engage in torture if it was in his best interest to do so, although he would probably not enjoy it. An evil creature would kill and maim for personal gain and sometimes because he likes it and relish in the anguish of others. Killing in itself I would consider a neutral act it is your motivation for doing so that would determine wether it was good or evil IMO.

By your logic here, the monk was evil in the extreme. He didn't try to kill the medusa because he felt threatened, he didn't do it because he thought she'd be dangerous in the future.

He did it because he was ticked off at another creature, a baby she was forced to bear. In other words, he threw a hissy fit and tried to kill a slave who was begging for mercy because he had a bad day.

That sounds like a BBEG to me. Like Jabba the Hut.


Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
I'm wondering exactly what sort of creature the BBEG was that his spawn, upon birth, was able to run around petrifying adventurers.

Not exactly running around. Here was the description, read aloud to the players (only one of whom was in position to have to make the save):

A tad graphic:
GM wrote:

A naked woman squats over a table, exposing her hugely distended belly as she moans in the agony of her labor. A black leather mask covers only her eyes and permits a shock of writhing serpents masquerading as her hair to roil over the top. Her mask is bound in the back to a thick, iron chain leash, about six feet long. The chain’s other end is clenched in the hateful fist of an abomination.

Standing at least ten feet high, the monster boasts features both humanoid and equine. Four sinewy arms spring forth from his barrel-like torso, and he sports three blood red eyes, equally spaced around his misshapen head . His legs are like a powerful steed’s, bent backwards and ending in gigantic hooves. He is mostly hairless and stark white in hue. A magnificent spiral horn extends two feet straight up from the top of his cranium, and is caked in the dried blood of countless victims. He fixes you with a lunatic’s glare, and his mouth foams in rabid fury at your outrageous intrusion.

Throughout the chamber, his many malformed morlock slaves are chanting feverishly: “Orox! Orox! Orox!”

Just then, you witness an atrocity. Amid harrowing screams from the abomination’s pet, a slippery tangle of hairless flesh spills wetly from her gaping womb and tumbles to the floor. The thing sputters and wails, and, desperate to consumate the maternal bond, mistakingly fixes its lurid gaze upon you.

Fortitude check.

In fairness, minions and such had to make the save too. As for the mask, she was able to remove it during the chaos that followed while Orox was goring people with his horn.


Lvl 12 Procrastinator wrote:
Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
I'm wondering exactly what sort of creature the BBEG was that his spawn, upon birth, was able to run around petrifying adventurers.

Not exactly running around. Here was the description, read aloud to the players (only one of whom was in position to have to make the save):

** spoiler omitted **

In fairness, minions and such had to make the save too. As for the mask, she was able to remove it during the chaos that followed while Orox was goring people with his horn.

Thanks, that helps. SHe's pretty obviously a slave, as she wouldn't be chained and masked if she were a willing conspiritor.

Contributor

Lvl 12 Procrastinator wrote:
Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
I'm wondering exactly what sort of creature the BBEG was that his spawn, upon birth, was able to run around petrifying adventurers.

Not exactly running around. Here was the description, read aloud to the players (only one of whom was in position to have to make the save):

** spoiler omitted **

In fairness, minions and such had to make the save too. As for the mask, she was able to remove it during the chaos that followed while Orox was goring people with his horn.

So, newborn abomination baby with petrifying gaze looks around for mommy and instead locks eyes with party monk, petrifying him.

I can understand the monk being upset about being petrified, but killing the shackled mother is evil, especially if she's begging for mercy.

Killing the baby? Evil too. Yes, it's an abomination, but that doesn't make it any less innocent. If you don't understand the business about inner beauty, ask the priests of Shelyn for a helpful pamphlet. It's innocently looking about for mommy, and it doesn't yet know that daddy is a rapist and murderer who's into non-consensual bondage.

And that's what makes daddy ugly. Having three eyes, four arms, a unicorn head and legs, and bad personal hygiene because he never washes the gore off his horn? That's not ugly, except maybe the personal hygiene bit. The ugly part is that he's a rapist and murderer who's into non-consensual bondage. He could look like Adonis and his Morlock cheerleaders could all look like strippers and supermodels and they'd still be just as ugly because they're cultists cheering on a rapist.

Killing the mom and the baby is evil and chaotic. Full stop, end of sentence.


I once had a DM who did something similar by creating a Yuanti lair full of lizard men guardians. Lizard men are Neutral. I have a weird time with DM's that try to push their own politics into the game.
But to answer the first question I would say SLAY THE BEAST!!


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Kais86 wrote:
A lack of mercy isn't evil, it just isn't nice either. Lawful Good characters can be absolutely brutal jerks. Look at Batman. He tries to follow the law (except the whole vigilante part) and he does it specifically to help people. That's law and good. However, he's still a colossal jerk.

In fact, batman is SUCH A HUGE JERK, the mighty Darkseid himself surrendered his plans to him for fear that Batman would destroy his planet! That is something Superman and the other heroes would NEVER do, something that Darkseid readily identified as "an admirable quality" unique to the JERKIEST of superheroes: Batman.


Ravingdork wrote:
Kais86 wrote:
A lack of mercy isn't evil, it just isn't nice either. Lawful Good characters can be absolutely brutal jerks. Look at Batman. He tries to follow the law (except the whole vigilante part) and he does it specifically to help people. That's law and good. However, he's still a colossal jerk.
In fact, batman is SUCH A HUGE JERK, the mighty Darkseid surrendered to him for fear Batman would destroy his planet! That is something Superman and the other heroes would NEVER do, something that Darkseid readily identified as unique to the JERKIEST of superheroes, Batman.

One reason why I've always considered him LN in game terms. Lawful as in following a personal code no matter what, nor how much it costs him. Neutral as in he will do whatever it takes to follow his personal code, including blowing up Darkseid's planet.

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