Is selling your soul to a Devil an evil act?


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I know this seems like a no brainer, but I was curious as to what the majority of people would say.

Another DM and I got into an argument as to whether a particular character was evil, here is what happened.

The chaotic neutral character sold his soul to a devil to get the devil to pay off his debts. The character in question sold his soul and turned on (attacking the party as he would an enemy) the party for the duration of a "Boss fight" which nearly killed the party. The character was later subdued.

When the spell "Detect Evil" was later cast upon the soulless person, he was not detected as evil.

Would other DMs consider this character Evil, or is it just my opinion that he is?


The act itself I don't see as evil. Desperate and stupid, yes. Evil, no. Your soul stays with your body until you die...where it then immediately become property of said demon.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I don't see why it would be. It's your soul, you can make whatever transactions you want with it.

Now the things you might be required to do afterwards, those would probably be Evil acts.


In and of itself? No. It is quite stupid though.


TriOmegaZero wrote:

I don't see why it would be. It's your soul, you can make whatever transactions you want with it.

Now the things you might be required to do afterwards, those would probably be Evil acts.

Exactly. The act is harmless enough, which is a major factor in the success of the soul repurposing business. However the stuff after, usually serves the purpose of Evil INC.


Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
The act itself I don't see as evil. Desperate and stupid, yes. Evil, no. Your soul stays with your body until you die...where it then immediately become property of said demon.

What about betraying the party?


Whether the act was evil or simply foolish depends of the specifics of why he sold his soul. What kind of debt are we talking about here?

Also, if the character was "soulless", then he really isn't even the same character anymore. Heck, most "soulless" things in Pathfinder are at that point effectively undead. Who, or what, was in control of the body? It also depends on how you interpret exactly how selling one's soul functions. The way I see it, the devil doesn't collect until the person dies, and then the soul belongs to the devil for all eternity (or until the devil dies). It sounds like things work differently in this scenario, and without knowing more it's hard to judge.


Mogart wrote:
Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
The act itself I don't see as evil. Desperate and stupid, yes. Evil, no. Your soul stays with your body until you die...where it then immediately become property of said demon.
What about betraying the party?

Bear in mind that a single act usually doesn't justify a complete allignment shift. Killing a man out of rage, for example, would not turn someone from CN to CE, at least not if he feels remorse for his loss of control. Having an alignment that isn't neutral shows some pretty heavy commitment to the side. If the betrayal turns into a consistent trend and he's actively seeking out the party's downfall of his own free will, then he will have shifted to evil, but normally a single act is not enough to cause an entire allignment shift.

And this is why I'm not a big fan of alignment, especially when it integrates with mechanics.

Contributor

Paying your debts seems like a Lawful act. Why would a Chaotic character do this? Wouldn't it be more Chaotic to just stiff his creditors?

That said, the reasoning behind why he sold his soul should be immaterial. Let's just say he sold it for a fabulous vacation and concubines.

The question then basically boils down to whether any transactions with a devil amount to an evil act. I'd say yes.

Having him then attack the party afterward? Did he sell his soul or did he sell his free will, and is there a difference? In other words, did the devil request that he attack them and was this an extra service, or was this something the devil then had him do because it owned him and he had no choice in the matter? And I mean no actual choice, unlike a slave who always has the option, limited though it may be, to refuse an order or revolt against its master.


Roaming Shadow wrote:

Whether the act was evil or simply foolish depends of the specifics of why he sold his soul. What kind of debt are we talking about here?

Also, if the character was "soulless", then he really isn't even the same character anymore. Heck, most "soulless" things in Pathfinder are at that point effectively undead. Who, or what, was in control of the body? It also depends on how you interpret exactly how selling one's soul functions. The way I see it, the devil doesn't collect until the person dies, and then the soul belongs to the devil for all eternity (or until the devil dies). It sounds like things work differently in this scenario, and without knowing more it's hard to judge.

Essentially it was to pay off a massive gold debt that the character had, and partially to keep him out of jail for the numerous rapes that the character committed in acting with his Chaotic Neutral alignment.(The DM and I had another argument about this, apparently rape is simply chaotic, I will not budge when I say it is evil.)

The rape issue is another story all together, and not part of the current discussion, but it was how he amassed the debt.


Mogart wrote:
Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
The act itself I don't see as evil. Desperate and stupid, yes. Evil, no. Your soul stays with your body until you die...where it then immediately become property of said demon.
What about betraying the party?

That wasn't the question.


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

Is forcing people to be Lawful Good an evil act?

*shakes fist*


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Mogart wrote:

Essentially it was to pay off a massive gold debt that the character had, and partially to keep him out of jail for the numerous rapes that the character committed in acting with his Chaotic Neutral alignment.(The DM and I had another argument about this, apparently rape is simply chaotic, I will not budge when I say it is evil.)

The rape issue is another story all together, and not part of the current discussion, but it was how he amassed the debt.

Endebting his soul to a devil to get rid of a monetary debt is more sheer stupidity than an evil act. After all, the act is self destructive. However, what then caused him to turn on the party?

As for the rape, I agree with you. Especially if it's numerous charges, that goes beyond the whims of Chaotic; the character is assualting someone without any regard for them. Doing it and enjoying it goes past grey area and into evil. Not hardcore evil, but really, who in modern days doesn't see a rapist as clasifying in some way as being a bad/evil person? That's almost as bad as saying randomly stabbing passerbys isn't evil, but chaotic.


Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:

Paying your debts seems like a Lawful act. Why would a Chaotic character do this? Wouldn't it be more Chaotic to just stiff his creditors?

That said, the reasoning behind why he sold his soul should be immaterial. Let's just say he sold it for a fabulous vacation and concubines.

The question then basically boils down to whether any transactions with a devil amount to an evil act. I'd say yes.

Having him then attack the party afterward? Did he sell his soul or did he sell his free will, and is there a difference? In other words, did the devil request that he attack them and was this an extra service, or was this something the devil then had him do because it owned him and he had no choice in the matter? And I mean no actual choice, unlike a slave who always has the option, limited though it may be, to refuse an order or revolt against its master.

The character stood idle for the first few rounds of combat and then charged the party doing a hack and slash routine. But the soul was sold with betraying the party as being a specific part of the arrangement.


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Mogart wrote:
...partially to keep him out of jail for the numerous rapes that the character committed in acting with his Chaotic Neutral alignment.

Um... I'm glad I'm not in your group. (Not that I was invited, but still.)


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"Mogart wrote:


Essentially it was to pay off a massive gold debt that the character had, and partially to keep him out of jail for the numerous rapes that the character committed in acting with his Chaotic Neutral alignment.(The DM and I had another argument about this, apparently rape is simply chaotic, I will not budge when I say it is evil.)

The rape issue is another story all together, and not part of the current discussion, but it was how he amassed the debt.

This is not a joke and I am not being snide;

If you're DM doesn't think that rape isn't inherently evil he should seriously seek out a psychiatric professional.


Hmm. I dont think that selling your soul is in and of itself an evil act. Its definately stupid, and its probably going to lead strait into evil-central possibly within moments, but right then, when you do it?

Now, if we change the question to "Is selling my soul to a devil for personal benefit evil?" I'd have to change my answer to "Definately."

Context is important though.

Also, regardless of alignment, it'd cause a paladin or cleric (not associated with devils) to fall (because they're betraying their cause for sure).

EDIT: Tiny Coffee Golem, I second your comment.


Mogart wrote:
The character stood idle for the first few rounds of combat and then charged the party doing a hack and slash routine. But the soul was sold with betraying the party as being a specific part of the arrangement.

Still don't think it's enough to warrent a complete alignment change. Selfish? Yes. Self Serving? Most definately. An evil act? Perhaps. Enough to warrent an entire alignment shift? Not unless it truly is the first act as part of a fundamental shift of who the character is. If, upon slaying the devil he free of his debt to his creditors and the devil and he goes right back to being the guy he always was now scott free...well then he really is following his chaotic nature and has not become an evil person. Even Good people can be capable of heinous acts when they feel they are just.


Mogart wrote:
Roaming Shadow wrote:

Whether the act was evil or simply foolish depends of the specifics of why he sold his soul. What kind of debt are we talking about here?

Also, if the character was "soulless", then he really isn't even the same character anymore. Heck, most "soulless" things in Pathfinder are at that point effectively undead. Who, or what, was in control of the body? It also depends on how you interpret exactly how selling one's soul functions. The way I see it, the devil doesn't collect until the person dies, and then the soul belongs to the devil for all eternity (or until the devil dies). It sounds like things work differently in this scenario, and without knowing more it's hard to judge.

Essentially it was to pay off a massive gold debt that the character had, and partially to keep him out of jail for the numerous rapes that the character committed in acting with his Chaotic Neutral alignment.(The DM and I had another argument about this, apparently rape is simply chaotic, I will not budge when I say it is evil.)

The rape issue is another story all together, and not part of the current discussion, but it was how he amassed the debt.

The character is so far gone into chaotic evil that a -- wait, devils are lawful, right? Okay, I can see why a devil would want him in hell instead of whatever the CE equivalent is called. Soul selling is a big deal, though, and should force him to within one step of his new owner as a cleric must be within one step of her god. He's now just plain Evil.


I don't post very often these days, but when I do, it is usually an interesting one.


You are empowering the forces of hell by giving them a soul.


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Advocate of the Devil wrote:
You are empowering the forces of hell by giving them a soul.

Technically you do this every time you kill the evil bad guy.


Corrik wrote:
Advocate of the Devil wrote:
You are empowering the forces of hell by giving them a soul.
Technically you do this every time you kill the evil bad guy.

So by this logic, when a player slaughters a city of innocents he is doing the work of good?


Mogart wrote:
Corrik wrote:
Advocate of the Devil wrote:
You are empowering the forces of hell by giving them a soul.
Technically you do this every time you kill the evil bad guy.
So by this logic, when a player slaughters a city of innocents he is doing the work of good?

Hummm... Maybe I will play a Paladin after all. *devious grin*

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Didn't take long for the 'killing babies to send them to heaven' chestnut to show up, I see.


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Didn't take long for the 'killing babies to send them to heaven' chestnut to show up, I see.

It never does,

**face palm**


Mogart wrote:
I don't post very often these days, but when I do, it is usually an interesting one.

it is no "can I put a beartrap on a hammer"

but it will suffice ........


Lobolusk wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Didn't take long for the 'killing babies to send them to heaven' chestnut to show up, I see.

It never does,

**face palm**

Get it i face palmed you!

***Face Palm**

Dark Archive

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Didn't take long for the 'killing babies to send them to heaven' chestnut to show up, I see.

It is like our version of Godwin's law....


Happler wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Didn't take long for the 'killing babies to send them to heaven' chestnut to show up, I see.
It is like our version of Godwin's law....

HITLER! IF you sel your soul to a devil you are no better than Adolph Hitler


Lobolusk wrote:
Mogart wrote:
I don't post very often these days, but when I do, it is usually an interesting one.

it is no "can I put a beartrap on a hammer"

but it will suffice ........

It's good to be remembered. :)

I would never allow that weapon in one of my campaigns.

Contributor

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Mogart wrote:
Roaming Shadow wrote:

Whether the act was evil or simply foolish depends of the specifics of why he sold his soul. What kind of debt are we talking about here?

Also, if the character was "soulless", then he really isn't even the same character anymore. Heck, most "soulless" things in Pathfinder are at that point effectively undead. Who, or what, was in control of the body? It also depends on how you interpret exactly how selling one's soul functions. The way I see it, the devil doesn't collect until the person dies, and then the soul belongs to the devil for all eternity (or until the devil dies). It sounds like things work differently in this scenario, and without knowing more it's hard to judge.

Essentially it was to pay off a massive gold debt that the character had, and partially to keep him out of jail for the numerous rapes that the character committed in acting with his Chaotic Neutral alignment.(The DM and I had another argument about this, apparently rape is simply chaotic, I will not budge when I say it is evil.)

The rape issue is another story all together, and not part of the current discussion, but it was how he amassed the debt.

This sounds like CE claiming status as CN because it comes with a free paladin shield. Yes, on a sliding scale, your average serial rapist isn't as evil as Hitler, but I think most people are inclined to go with "Not as evil as Hitler, but yeah, still evil."

Now we're just arguing whether if, for some reason, when the gray scale is set up so that the serial rapist is still in the CN band, the "sell my soul to the devil" act finally tips it into the "CE" sector.

I'd have to say "Yes." I think the scale should have been set up where serial rape was already in the "evil" band, but since there was no good deed or just cause to counterbalance the badness of selling a soul, it's a straight mark in the "Evil" column.


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Lobolusk wrote:
Happler wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Didn't take long for the 'killing babies to send them to heaven' chestnut to show up, I see.
It is like our version of Godwin's law....
HITLER! IF you sel your soul to a devil you are no better than Adolph Hitler

The question is whether you can use Adolf Hitler with a bear trap strapped to his forehead as an improvised weapon against a devil.


Mogart wrote:
I know this seems like a no brainer, but I was curious as to what the majority of people would say.

I say "Yes, the act of a player selling their soul to a devil is an inherently evil act."

The PRD states devils are "Masters of corruption and despoilers of purity, devils seek to destroy all things good and drag mortal souls back with them to the depths of Hell', so I'm thinking any traffic with one is pretty risky for folks of neutral or good alignment.

So I'm with Kevin Andrew Murphy here, regardless of whatever's going on in the PC's life ...

Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
The question then basically boils down to whether any transactions with a devil amount to an evil act. I'd say yes.

I'm also in agreement with Kevin's assessment that this CN PC is acting more CE, but whatever. Alignment issues are messy, it's why so many folks argue about them and why some game systems ignore them altogether.

Gorbacz wrote:
I raping an Erinyes evil?

In game terms, "Yes."

BenignFacist wrote:
Is forcing people to be Lawful Good an evil act?

In game terms, "No." *Winks at the shaked fist*

Mogart,

Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
If you're DM doesn't think that rape isn't inherently evil he should seriously seek out a psychiatric professional.

I was nodding to myself as I read this.

-- Andy

The Exchange

Interestingly (or not, YMMV...) in classical Christian theology dealing with devils was never in itself seen as an evil act (until relatively recently, historically speaking), but selling your soul always was.


On the selling his soul deal:
It depends on how and why did he do it and whether he knew what he was doing, but i would lean on the evil act, although not enough to cause an alignment shift on it's on (he is in the path though).

On the rape thing:
Unless he was raping demons and devils* or the rape was consensual (rape fantasies etc.) then raping IS an evil act, a mojor one that is.
I also seem to think that the player is playing a CE character and saying that he is CN, i have heard it happening.

*i can see a CN binder regularly raping demons and devils staying CN IF those actions are the only rapes and doesn't do other evil actions..... maybe.....


So are we now goign to argue who raping what? is evil

like if a bear rapes crocodile that is just neutral?

or if a demon rapes a devil? is that evil?

what if a dog rapes....you see where i am going i think this is going to get closed real quickly! if we keep saying rape.


Lobolusk wrote:

So are we now goign to argue who raping what? is evil

like if a bear rapes crocodile that is just neutral?

or if a demon rapes a devil? is that evil?

what if a dog rapes....you see where i am going i think this is going to get closed real quickly! if we keep saying rape.

I believe some (Not me) are debating which shade of evil it is.


p.s. Hitler.

There. That should speed the process up a bit.


Mogart wrote:

The chaotic neutral character sold his soul to a devil to get the devil to pay off his debts. The character in question sold his soul and turned on (attacking the party as he would an enemy) the party for the duration of a "Boss fight" which nearly killed the party. The character was later subdued.

When the spell "Detect Evil" was later cast upon the soulless person, he was not detected as evil.

Would other DMs consider this character Evil, or is it just my opinion that he is?

I'll take a stab at a rules answer to this one (not involving bear traps or Hitler, or hitler bear traps):

First, is the character actually chaotic neutral?

alignment wrote:
Chaotic Neutral: A chaotic neutral character follows his whims. He is an individualist first and last. He values his own liberty but doesn't strive to protect others' freedom. He avoids authority, resents restrictions, and challenges traditions.

Slavery is the antithesis of "liberty", and promising your soul to become the property of a devil for all eternity suffering in hell is specifically submitting to authority and restrictions in about as extreme a way as you can get.... and all just to pay off some debts? The motive itself is respecting traditions where a chaotic character challenges them. ....A chaotic neutral character would *break* a loan agreement that would *require* him to forfeit his soul, and just default on the loan, not *make* such an agreement to *honor* his debts.

IMO when the character did that he was being the opposite of Chaotic Neutral.

SO, is he evil?

alignment wrote:
Lawful Evil: 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.

Now, everything the guy does here seems to fit well in this description. He played by the rules as far as his debt goes, even sells his soul to honor them when he can't pay them otherwise. He's ok with becomeing a slave to hell after death, and doesn't give a damn who it hurts (even himself!). However, he does break his implicit pact of loyalty to his companions. So the fit isn't perfect.

alignement wrote:
Neutral Evil: A neutral evil villain does whatever she can get away with. She is out for herself, pure and simple. She sheds no tears for those she kills, whether for profit, sport, or convenience. She has no love of order and holds no illusions that following laws, traditions, or codes would make her any better or more noble. On the other hand, she doesn't have the restless nature or love of conflict that a chaotic evil villain has.

That all seems to largely fit too. If the character's plan is to 'sell his soul' as a temporary stop gap, and he plans to later betray *that* bargan and ultimatly keep his soul, then this character is very much playing neutral evil. He's screwing his buddies just to save himself, doing whatever he thinks he can get away with to get what he wants.

Seems to me that in this scene, that PC stopped being chaotic neutral and was playing something in between lawful and neutral evil. But then the question is, does this abberant behavior *change* his alignement?

Here, the rule is there are no rules

changing alignments wrote:
There's no hard and fast mechanic by which you can measure alignment—unlike hit points or skill ranks or Armor Class, alignment is solely a label the GM controls.

Ironically on ONE bit of advice the rules that's actually applicable is this:

changing alignments wrote:
Players who frequently have their characters change alignment should in all likelihood be playing chaotic neutral characters.

SO, the GM is well within his judgement to say that the guys behavior is not enough to bump him out of CN and make him evil. It could just be deemed an isolated incident that doesn't affect the guy's alignment over all *or even* it's an example of a pattern of behavior that actualy affirms him as chaotic neutral!

Spoiler:
basically the rules on alignment are intentionally written broken and self contradictory so there can't be a right answer, only arguments


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Lobolusk wrote:

So are we now goign to argue who raping what? is evil

like if a bear rapes crocodile that is just neutral?

or if a demon rapes a devil? is that evil?

what if a dog rapes....you see where i am going i think this is going to get closed real quickly! if we keep saying rape.

It's like that scene if Blazing Saddles.

The badguy comes up and is literally giving a bad-guy resume. As his credentials he says "Murder, rape, arson, and rape." - "You said rape twice." - "I like rape." :P

But in all seriousness, "rape" is an act of cruel aggression, steals the dignity of sentient life, and oppressing others. It's pretty clear that it's evil. Doing evil to evil things doesn't make it a good or even neutral act. It just means evil committing evil against evil. Yes, that's lost of evil. This is also why in a completely black & white D&D game Paladins cannot exist, because killing (if circumstances and motivations are not arbitrating factors) is an evil act. So the moment a Paladin uses his sword to cut down a foe, then they fall.

But yeah, rape is bad. Arguing otherwise is pretty much against the D&D definitions of good and evil, and probably a bit disturbing from a real-life perspective. :P


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I would say that willingly empowering the forces of Hell for your own personal gain is evil.

If you're asking if the serial rapist who sells his soul to a devil to get out of paying his debts and to save himself from being punished for his numerous crimes is evil...

Of course not. He should be nominated for Sainthood. LG all the way.


Atarlost wrote:
The question is whether you can use Adolf Hitler with a bear trap strapped to his forehead as an improvised weapon against a devil.

Sure you can, but it's not going to bypass DR, since Hitler wouldn't be considered either Good or Silver.

Depending on what end of Hitler you hit with, a Good or Silver beartrap might make the difference, though...


And while we are on the subject of soul selling.

If an Angel buys a soul through an agreement, is that considered a good act?

Many will say ANGELS DON'T DO THAT, but what if they did.


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Mogart wrote:

And while we are on the subject of soul selling.

If an Angel buys a soul through an agreement, is that considered a good act?

Many will say ANGELS DON'T DO THAT, but what if they did.

Look out for those soul-buying Angels... might be a Fallen Angel, looking to act as a middleman for the Devils...

Best to make sure you've got your Hitler-with-a-beartrap handy.


Making a pact with the devil certainly is not Chaotic Neutral, seems more like a character doing what he wants to do than play an alignment.

It is a lawful act, binding himself to the letter of an agreement and commiting himself to damnation. Willingly and whimsically damning yourself is an evil act, he might not act as diabolical as you might expect from an evil character, but he aligned himself with the forces of hell for all eternity, from the devil's perspective there is not much more to corrupt.

I would treat a 'damned soul' to be evil for all purposes, the character would detect evil and react to spells and effects as such and in keeping with the pact he will likely turn evil soon anyway. If the character made the pact and fullfilled it's part I'd probably change his alignment to neutral evil, this is just how I'd play it out though.


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Sometimes I cannot predict what the responses will be.

Overall, the majority here seem to be of the opinion that selling your soul in and of itself is not evil.

however, the general consensus in another thread was that summoning a monster that had an "evil" subtype was.

Just seems strange to me, maybe I'm comparing apples and oranges.

For the record, I agree with the majority here. Selling your soul in and of itself is not an evil act.

However, I would say in this circumstance, where the agreement includes a deal to betray your friends, then it certainly is.

That, however doesn't mean his alignment would instantly change to evil. Evil characters should be characters that [i]regularly[/i favor evil actions over good ones.


HITLER BEAR!! Where is that epic monster thread?


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Mogart wrote:

And while we are on the subject of soul selling.

If an Angel buys a soul through an agreement, is that considered a good act?

Many will say ANGELS DON'T DO THAT, but what if they did.

Selling your soul is not an evil act on its own.

It's whom/what you are selling your soul to and why.

Depending on the circumstances that you put forth, it could be a "good act", such as if the angel was purchasing the soul to save it from eternal damnation. Though things get murkier depending on what the angel "paid" for the soul with and, should it have been trafficking with creatures of evil, how likely is the payment going to create more evil in the world counterbalanced by the good of saving the soul/preventing the soul from being used to advance Evil(TM). Definitely a grey area that asks more questions than it answers, and would be an interesting thing to explore during a game with the right players/GM.

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