Is defacing or destroying an evil god's altar / church an evil act?


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It came up.


If you do it right it is.


No. If you're doing it because the god is evil it's a good act, just like opposing any other dangerous evil being. If you do it because they're lawful or chaotic or you just don't like them very much it's a neutral act.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

I'd wager if you're destroying only material things then it's a good and noble act - you're preventing further spreading of evil creed.

If the destruction includes slaying worshipers who are trying to prevent you by force then that's also okay.

If destroying the church goes so far as murdering helpless worshipers then you're straying into evil territory yourself. Although the worshipers follow an evil god, they may be able to change their ways or may not fully understand the nature of their deity.


Destruction of private property is always, always a criminal act. Whether it's good or evil depends on the context within which the act is performed.

Are you destroying a temple to a deity who is an accepted part of the greater societal structure? If so, then yes, I'm afraid it's an evil act even though you're destroying evil accoutrements. The priests and staff of the temple, in such a case, are legal residents of the city/state, and the temple still serves the community, and you are destroying its capability to do so. In this case the proper 'good' act is to instead proselytize and convert that temple's believers to your deity.

(Believe it or not, there are deities that are evil and part of the greater societal structure -- like Asmodeus. Destroying an altar of Asmodeus while within the city limits of Absalom is an evil act, because you're not only destroying/desecrating someone else's property, you're eliminating the ability of Asmodeus's priests to minister to their believers.)

Are you destroying the focus of an evil ritual or an evil force (say, for example, an altar that gives the evil orc hordes greater strength)? Then this is a neutral action (but prudent). The evil is not present within the altar itself, but it does serve to strengthen evil -- thus destroying it is beneficial to you, but neither inherently good nor evil within itself.

Only when the evil emanates from said altar, does it become a good act for destruction. If an evil god's force emanates from the altar, and destroying the altar will benefit the people of the land, then it is a good action to do so.


John-Andre wrote:

Destruction of private property is always, always a criminal act. Whether it's good or evil depends on the context within which the act is performed.

Are you destroying a temple to a deity who is an accepted part of the greater societal structure? If so, then yes, I'm afraid it's an evil act even though you're destroying evil accoutrements. The priests and staff of the temple, in such a case, are legal residents of the city/state, and the temple still serves the community, and you are destroying its capability to do so. In this case the proper 'good' act is to instead proselytize and convert that temple's believers to your deity.

(Believe it or not, there are deities that are evil and part of the greater societal structure -- like Asmodeus. Destroying an altar of Asmodeus while within the city limits of Absalom is an evil act, because you're not only destroying/desecrating someone else's property, you're eliminating the ability of Asmodeus's priests to minister to their believers.)

Are you destroying the focus of an evil ritual or an evil force (say, for example, an altar that gives the evil orc hordes greater strength)? Then this is a neutral action (but prudent). The evil is not present within the altar itself, but it does serve to strengthen evil -- thus destroying it is beneficial to you, but neither inherently good nor evil within itself.

Only when the evil emanates from said altar, does it become a good act for destruction. If an evil god's force emanates from the altar, and destroying the altar will benefit the people of the land, then it is a good action to do so.

Ehhh...

I don't know if you're under the impression that Law = Good and Chaos = Evil, but using stuff like the Law or lack thereof to determine a character's acts being good or evil isn't really a proper way to call something evil. It's illegal, yes. But evil, or good? No.

Evil and Good are derived from the moral standpoints; Law and Chaos are how they handle their moral standpoints. If I have a Man-eating Plant eat up remains, is that evil? No, because the plant needs to eat human flesh to survive. Without that, it dies.

If I desecrate the bodies of weak, innocent people with human excrement, is that evil? Possibly; I could also be chaotic and completely insane (AKA confused), with no motivation behind my actions other than volatility and variability.


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If it is someone that the character, I am assuming a Paladin in this case, is diametrically opposed to or their deity is diametrically opposed too then I personally wouldn't sweat it as a DM. I also wouldn't have most evil deities accepted in society anyways, so it wouldn't even go as an illegal/unlawful act in my mind as far as local authorities are concerned, in fact the local authorities would probably see the adventurer in question as doing them a favor for defacing such a shrine.

Honestly, I see it as the Paladin's job to route out all evil. To me, that means going in, killing all the cultists that resist, toppling all of their works, and rounding up any worshipers that don't resist so that they can be put on trial for their heresy. In my mind if a Paladin has to worry about falling while he is doing his job, then the DM may be too strict on his Paladins.


Paladins are so lame.

They like spraypaint butterflys on the evil altar, and draw smiley faces everywhere.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If you have an evil church as part of society, and the backblow from these actions is going to cause negative repercussions to good people or churches, then possibly. Even then, I might argue that it's CN instead of CE. Otherwise, go ahead and destroy them all you want. I question whether in a polytheistic world like Golarion if you can really try those who worship different gods as heretics; killing people just because they worship differently from you could head towards the evil side of the street.

For the most part, no; if you find a temple to Zon-Kuthon in the wilderness, go ahead and break it up.


prosfilaes wrote:

If you have an evil church as part of society, and the backblow from these actions is going to cause negative repercussions to good people or churches, then possibly. Even then, I might argue that it's CN instead of CE. Otherwise, go ahead and destroy them all you want. I question whether in a polytheistic world like Golarion if you can really try those who worship different gods as heretics; killing people just because they worship differently from you could head towards the evil side of the street.

For the most part, no; if you find a temple to Zon-Kuthon in the wilderness, go ahead and break it up.

From the Paladin's perspective I could believe him believing that their actions where heresy, his success in prosecuting them would be up to the DM and the story. Also, I was making the assumption that the Paladin would be killing them because he was in a combat situation, and his reasoning for going after them would be more than just a disagreement. If the Paladin has already gotten to the point of kicking in doors their usually a good reason for doing so, such as the cultists abducting innocent people to use a sacrifices to their evil outsider masters type of thing. Something to where their is more than just philosophical differences and it is clear what they are doing is wrong and they need to be taken care of because of it.

Granted, I admit that is a very black and white view of the game, but personally that is how I run it. Especially, if I have someone as committed to going after evil as a Paladin in the party, then I'll be sure to throw them a bone and give them some no-frills evil to go after.

tl;dr-We are in agreement...mostly


Defacing yes.

Destroying no.


There is a third party 3e sci-fi campaign setting that tackles this exact issue. In a society where, say, a church of Asmodeus is an accepted part of the culture then attacking the church within the jurisdiction of said society is generally an illegal act. Illegal does not equal evil. Period. In such neutral societies that allow evil religions to co-exist within the social structure than the evil church has rules (laws) that it must live by, just like every other religion in that society. Remember that a Lawful Evil church will strive to obey the laws while at the same time lobbying to enact laws that specifically benefit their religion. A Chaotic Evil church simply won't obey the laws form day one, neither will a Neutral Evil church. An unprovoked assault against some one is just bad role-playing for gamers who are playing good characters. Intervening in the face of injustice, even legally acceptable injustice, is a good though usually illegal act. I don't like it when a parent corrects a toddler by spanking them, but I can't beat the holy living snot out of the adult. It would be a crime, though in pretty much everybody's opinion here in the states my desire to see an end to physical punishment of children is a good and noble (though futile) ideal. Sacking the temple of Asmodeus just because it is legally allowed to exist would be bad role-playing for any gamers of any alignments other than Chaotic Neutral and the Evils, with the exception of Lawful Evil characters who may be opposed to the other church but would still respect the right of the church to co-exist in the society. But then again LE is evil and why wouldn't they be willing to make a covert preemptive strike against the enemy? Or an innocent for that matter. If it's Evil and in the woods it is up to no good at all and must be sacked by good characters. I really enjoy these kinds of conversations, they are alot of fun!


Dragonamedrake wrote:

Defacing yes.

Destroying no.

So...why doesn't a Paladin of Torag destroy a temple of a CE Orc God? Seems like something right up his alley to me.

Edit: I should state that it is within his personality so long as he has probable cause. No, he can't kick in the door and kill them all cause their worshiping a CE Orc deity, but if that temple is conspiring with a tribe of orcs to take down the town? AND he is able to prove it? Yeah, the Paladin of Torag is within his rights o take them out and even level the temple while he is at it.


Kitsune Knight wrote:
Dragonamedrake wrote:

Defacing yes.

Destroying no.

So...why doesn't a Paladin of Torag destroy a temple of a CE Orc God? Seems like something right up his alley to me.

Im sorry. I might have been less then clear.

Defacing - Yes Evil (smearing poo on anything is just bad form)

Destroying - No not Evil


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens Subscriber

If a paladin destroys or defaces an evil altar, it is also a matter of the god he serves. If the LG god and the evil god are opponents, defacing an altar of the enemy will most probably not be an evil act. If the PCs destroy the altar as a matter of principle "just" because it is evil, things get somewhat muddy. The consequences of said destruction need to be taken into consideration as well - coming into town, beating up the bullies and leaving again, thus leaving the populace vulnerable to the bullies revenge might be evil, as it endangers the innocent.

The destruction could easily be a chaotic act, as pointed out above - if the evil god is worshipped openly and it is allowed by local law to do so (explicitly ir implicitly), it would certainly be chaotic.


Dragonamedrake wrote:
Kitsune Knight wrote:
Dragonamedrake wrote:

Defacing yes.

Destroying no.

So...why doesn't a Paladin of Torag destroy a temple of a CE Orc God? Seems like something right up his alley to me.

Im sorry. I might have been less then clear.

Defacing - Yes Evil (smearing poo on anything is just bad form)

Destroying - No not Evil

hmmm...I would have thought destroying it (melting it too slag/burning it too ashes) would have been in poorer taste than defacing it.

Either would be fine with me personally, granted that the Paladin had a good role-play type of excuse for it (i.e. a Paladin of Torag defacing/destroying the alter of a CE Orc deity whose followers just tried to destroy his home), but to each their own.


I would see it as neutral.

The alter is a tool of Evil. used to do evil things. Similiar to a Anti-paladin's sword or shield, and if a Paladin choses to sunder it, then he shouldn't have to worry about falling.

Because honestly 'Falling' is the only concern when someone asks if an action is 'evil'.

Frankly, we haven't gamed too much in cheliax... but in the old 2E games, we never pass an evil alter without Desecrating/resecrating it.

1) it weakens you enemy's powerbase.

2) it sends a message to your enemies.

An altar would be a tool, and any action concerning it should be considered neutral (POSSIBLY Chaotic Neutral... but paladins can do the occasional 'chaotic' thing as long as it's not often enough to change their alignment.

A paladin should not be punished (by his god) for destroying an Evil tool.... Nor should he be punished if the 'legal threat' is too greeat to raze every evil temple in cheliax to the ground. ;)

It's ok to break them... it's ok to leave them be...


As far as the evil deities being worshiped out in the open within society goes then their may be a larger problem for the paladin to deal with than just the worshipers of the evil deity and the defacing of their holy, or unholy as the case may be, cites. Personally, I would see the Paladin more investigating into why these evil worshipers where allowed to practice openly within the society. Even in regions where Devil worship is allowed and in the open, such as Cheliax, such societies themselves are often considered evil as well. So, it could be entirely possible that a Paladin, maybe of Shelyn or Sarenrae, could work to subvert the society from within and move to create a still ordered society that worked toward the good of the people as opposed to oppress them, possibly even getting the temples of such evil worshipers destroyed/defaced in the process.


I would call it Neutral act in most cases and Good in the case of preventing something like summoning of Devils. Only way I can see it as Evil is that there is assumption that attacking any religion is inherently Evil.

Much bigger problem would probably be pissing off a divine being and all it's worshippers who are most likely extremely cruel. Assuming a proper temple not just some random shrine, not a fringe religion and me as GM. Players should expect pretty much anything they hold dear to be attacked if the church manages to know they did it and without protection from divination magic most likely the church will eventually know.


Bigger Club wrote:

I would call it Neutral act in most cases and Good in the case of preventing something like summoning of Devils. Only way I can see it as Evil is that there is assumption that attacking any religion is inherently Evil.

Much bigger problem would probably be pissing off a divine being and all it's worshippers who are most likely extremely cruel. Assuming a proper temple not just some random shrine, not a fringe religion and me as GM. Players should expect pretty much anything they hold dear to be attacked if the church manages to know they did it and without protection from divination magic most likely the church will eventually know.

If I was a Player in that game I would not have much of a problem with the reprisals coming for us. To me, that is just more of a challenge and, personally, part of the fun. Honestly, I would hope such a campaign would end with going on a romp through Hell/the Abyss just to try and get square with the head honcho of the Demons/Devils we where dealing with somewhere down the line.

P.S.-I am actually a fan of tragedy/drama so having my character lose some family members along the way would be fine, and expected, for me as a player.


If you're playing a Paladin, let's say, and you wander into Absalom and start desecrating the temple/altar of Asmodeus for no apparent reason, I'm sorry, but this is an evil act. And a dick move. Asmodeus is an accepted deity within Absalom, he has followers who expect to receive services for their worship, and you are denying them those services. Services like disease curing, curse removal and other *beneficial* things for the community. It doesn't matter that Asmodeus is an evil deity, his priests still serve his followers and you are damaging their ability to do so in a peaceful manner.

Plus, you're being a dick.

But if you've discovered that the main altar of Asmodeus in Absalom's temple is the source of the evil plague that's been affecting the city? Then desecrating it is good and proper. It will benefit everyone and help save lives, and that's what's important.

This is what I meant by 'in the right context'.

Although, it's probably still a good idea to desecrate any temples/altars to Rovagug that you find, because he's just a nasty nasty deity, and I really can't think of any situations where his followers would be up to any good.


John-Andre wrote:

If you're playing a Paladin, let's say, and you wander into Absalom and start desecrating the temple/altar of Asmodeus for no apparent reason, I'm sorry, but this is an evil act. And a dick move. Asmodeus is an accepted deity within Absalom, he has followers who expect to receive services for their worship, and you are denying them those services. Services like disease curing, curse removal and other *beneficial* things for the community. It doesn't matter that Asmodeus is an evil deity, his priests still serve his followers and you are damaging their ability to do so in a peaceful manner.

Plus, you're being a dick.

But if you've discovered that the main altar of Asmodeus in Absalom's temple is the source of the evil plague that's been affecting the city? Then desecrating it is good and proper. It will benefit everyone and help save lives, and that's what's important.

This is what I meant by 'in the right context'.

Although, it's probably still a good idea to desecrate any temples/altars to Rovagug that you find, because he's just a nasty nasty deity, and I really can't think of any situations where his followers would be up to any good.

Just to clarify, being a jerk does NOT necessarilly equate with being 'evil' or doing evil acts.

Frankly some of the biggest Jerks I know would be solidly in the neutral catagory in that they simply don't care enough to think outside their bubble.

I AM curious though... What do 'altar's do? Would desecrating one REALLY keep their priests from curing disease and removing curses? Most of the time I've seen them as a plot device... an artifact or piece to a nasty ritual that removing is always good.

I think 2E had some rules for temples, shrines, and other consecrated sites. Things that give protection from undead and max the healing in the area and things like that..

Does Pathfinder have anything like that yet?


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John-Andre wrote:
you wander into Absalom and start desecrating the temple/altar of Asmodeus for no apparent reason

Gotta stop you there. It's an altar. To Asmodeus. That there is your reason, your motivation and all the justification you need.

Quote:
Asmodeus is an accepted deity within Absalom
He's also Evil. Accepted evil isn't a lesser evil, it's not an tolerable evil and it isn't an evil that warrants a blind eye being turned. It is Evil, and it must be fought at every turn.
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he has followers who expect to receive services for their worship
They can get the same treatment as their altar, the evil b'stards.
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and you are denying them those services. Services like disease curing, curse removal and other *beneficial* things for the community.
So? Let them take it up with the local "consumer protection agency". A Paladin fights Evil.
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It doesn't matter that Asmodeus is an evil deity
Yes it does.
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his priests
Evil priests.
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still serve his followers
Evil followers.
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and you are damaging their ability to do so in a peaceful manner.
Yes. Which is what Good people do: fight Evil.
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Plus, you're being a dick.
Yes. To Evil.
Quote:
But if you've discovered that the main altar of Asmodeus in Absalom's temple is the source of the evil plague that's been affecting the city? Then desecrating it is good and proper. It will benefit everyone and help save lives, and that's what's important.

Exactly! And the worship of Asmodeus is a disease, of the worst kind. It damns souls to the Nine Hells.

Asmodeus is a Devil. And, any act directed against him is a good act. It may be a dick act, it may be a chaotic act... but it's still good. Of course the Paladins who do all this will fall. But not for being ungood, and not for being dicks. They'll fall for losing their Lawful alignment.


VRMH wrote:
John-Andre wrote:
He has followers who expect to receive services for their worship
They can get the same treatment as their altar, the evil b'stards.
Quote:
still serve his followers
Evil followers.

Point of order; according to "Faiths of Corruption" Asmodeus has neutral followers too, and even a few good-aligned ones. To give the actual quote:

"Faiths of Corruption, Page 4 wrote:
Though Asmodeus is unquestionably evil, his lawful nature draws many nonevil but law-abiding individuals to his faith, and his status as the recognized patron deity of Cheliax means that even a few good-natured souls may exist uncomfortably within his church (though never as divine spellcasters, and rarely in positions of any real power).


@Kitsune Knight: Oh I agree that it would make at least decent storyline, was more meaning from the character's point of view.

In the case of Asmodeus temple, it would be chaotic neutral or good. Chaotic because it flips the finger to what is tolerated by society and just do it because you do not like them and neutral or good for the reasons I explained in my last post.

And destroying an altar does not disconnect the priests from their god, it would probably screw with religious rituals though. Of coarse one could rule it like that but that is not in the rules.

If you look at it most adventurer's are A class jerks. Go find creatures that are ok to kill without legal repercussions, slaughter them and take their belongings. Even if you had a reason like orcs raiding the town it still doesn't make it good just not jerk move. To note though, aligment system might disagree with that statement, but I just throw it out anyways and use common sense instead.


A paladin also has to respect legitimate authority. If an otherwise uncorrupt leader lets a church of an evil god erect a shrine or whatever then the paladin has to respect that.


John-Andre wrote:

If you're playing a Paladin, let's say, and you wander into Absalom and start desecrating the temple/altar of Asmodeus for no apparent reason, I'm sorry, but this is an evil act. And a dick move. Asmodeus is an accepted deity within Absalom, he has followers who expect to receive services for their worship, and you are denying them those services. Services like disease curing, curse removal and other *beneficial* things for the community. It doesn't matter that Asmodeus is an evil deity, his priests still serve his followers and you are damaging their ability to do so in a peaceful manner.

Plus, you're being a dick.

But if you've discovered that the main altar of Asmodeus in Absalom's temple is the source of the evil plague that's been affecting the city? Then desecrating it is good and proper. It will benefit everyone and help save lives, and that's what's important.

This is what I meant by 'in the right context'.

Although, it's probably still a good idea to desecrate any temples/altars to Rovagug that you find, because he's just a nasty nasty deity, and I really can't think of any situations where his followers would be up to any good.

It is not Evil. In Absalom you are right that it is illegal, but that is very different than being evil. Given the conceit of the alignment system, opposing an Evil deity is a Good act, no matter what, and paladins probably deal in absolutes even more than others in this universe of absolutes. Its probably not even chaotic enough to be a code violation.


Quote:

Code of Conduct: A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class features except proficiencies if she ever willingly commits an evil act.

Additionally, a paladin's code requires that she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth), help those in need (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends), and punish those who harm or threaten innocents.

If you just go around crashing temples because you wanna that's a violation of the code. However, if you bring down a temple where innocent people are being tortured, sacrificed, oppressed, etc then you're good to go.


Ok, in your typical fantasy cosmology an evil temple serves at the very least two very evil purposes: Clergy meet there to spread the ethos of the deity...which for an evil deity, will be evil. Secondly, the act of worship gives power to the deity...which in the case of an evil temple, will be an evil entity.

Destroying or defacing an evil god's altar is NOT an evil act. But if the temple/deity/religion is accepted by the legal authority of the region, it is very much a Chaotic one. So a paladin would be expected to instead use lawful means of stopping said religion...organizing people and legal authorities against the evil religion...trying to persuade people that the teachings of said religion are morally wrong...possibly using trade or property negotiations to try to exclude said religion from the area, etc.


That's not true. I assure you the church of asmodeus works with the law to achieve its means. One of his domains is law.


Buri wrote:
That's not true. I assure you the church of asmodeus works with the law to achieve its means. One of his domains is law.

Indeed. If everyone will forgive me for quoting his entry in "Faiths of Corruption" once more:

"Faiths of Corruption, Page 5 wrote:
Most good- or neutral-aligned countries have an uneasy relationship with the church. The fact that Asmodeans almost never break laws makes it difficult for local governments to justify ousting them, and their magical abilities and facility with contracts make them useful in much the same way as the faithful of Abadar. Naturally cunning, most priests of Asmodeus follow the model of their god, dealing politely with everyone and making themselves indispensable, even to their enemies.


Might not be Lawful... and might not be Good if it creates more problem than it fixes.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
John-Andre wrote:
If you're playing a Paladin, let's say, and you wander into Absalom and start desecrating the temple/altar of Asmodeus for no apparent reason, I'm sorry, but this is an evil act. And a dick move. Asmodeus is an accepted deity within Absalom, he has followers who expect to receive services for their worship, and you are denying them those services. Services like disease curing, curse removal and other *beneficial* things for the community. It doesn't matter that Asmodeus is an evil deity, his priests still serve his followers and you are damaging their ability to do so in a peaceful manner.

When Bugsy Siegel and friends decided to bash the heads of Nazis in the 1930s, I tend to think of that at worst as a CN act, not a CE one. It doesn't really matter whether the Nazis in New York were running a Aryan-only foodbank; they were still acting in the service of greater evil, and stopping their spread into the greater structure of the US was an act for good. The whole encourage politics to be done by violence thing is not good, but stopping the forces of Hell from enslaving all of humanity is good.

I don't care how Asmodeus is bribing people to serve him. His service is still in the present goal of tyranny and the ultimate goal of the tyranny of everything under Asmodeus's boot. If those worshippers turned to Iomedae, the services could be provided in a more moral way.

I don't recommend paladins try and sack the temple of Asmodeus in Absalom, as it is a chaotic act. Frankly, any party but a stealthy one with limited goals or one with APL 15+ is going to get their ass kicked at that temple, and that high-level party should question the consequences of their actions. But evil, no.

Let me put it this way; so long as Gorum is CN, I have a hard time seeing any example of asskicking of Evil as Evil.


prosfilaes wrote:
John-Andre wrote:
If you're playing a Paladin, let's say, and you wander into Absalom and start desecrating the temple/altar of Asmodeus for no apparent reason, I'm sorry, but this is an evil act. And a dick move. Asmodeus is an accepted deity within Absalom, he has followers who expect to receive services for their worship, and you are denying them those services. Services like disease curing, curse removal and other *beneficial* things for the community. It doesn't matter that Asmodeus is an evil deity, his priests still serve his followers and you are damaging their ability to do so in a peaceful manner.

When Bugsy Siegel and friends decided to bash the heads of Nazis in the 1930s, I tend to think of that at worst as a CN act, not a CE one. It doesn't really matter whether the Nazis in New York were running a Aryan-only foodbank; they were still acting in the service of greater evil, and stopping their spread into the greater structure of the US was an act for good. The whole encourage politics to be done by violence thing is not good, but stopping the forces of Hell from enslaving all of humanity is good.

I don't care how Asmodeus is bribing people to serve him. His service is still in the present goal of tyranny and the ultimate goal of the tyranny of everything under Asmodeus's boot. If those worshippers turned to Iomedae, the services could be provided in a more moral way.

I don't recommend paladins try and sack the temple of Asmodeus in Absalom, as it is a chaotic act. Frankly, any party but a stealthy one with limited goals or one with APL 15+ is going to get their ass kicked at that temple, and that high-level party should question the consequences of their actions. But evil, no.

Let me put it this way; so long as Gorum is CN, I have a hard time seeing any example of asskicking of Evil as Evil.

Good =/= nice =/= moral

And Evil can fight Evil with little problem... Good vs Good need one hell of a good (no pun intended) reason.


I would not say it is evil, but I would say it is disrespectful.


I'd have a hard time calling someone respectful of Evil good.


Atarlost wrote:
I'd have a hard time calling someone respectful of Evil good.

Mistreating someone or their property even if they are evil is still disrespectful. Not using the same methods as an evil person is what makes good, "good".

PS:If the alter is actually radiating evil then by all means destroy it. :)


I have to add a point here and say that chaos does not equal insane.

You can have someone who is lawful insane just as easily. Most insane people don't do completely random stuff, unless you're thinking of cartoon insane. They have a specific disorder or delusion that requires them to act in certain ways.


John-Andre wrote:
Destruction of private property is always, always a criminal act. Whether it's good or evil depends on the context within which the act is performed.

Just out of curiosity, does this apply to the police? Like when they:

-Break down your door to capture a fugitive
-Incinerate your drugs in a furnace

Are these and similar acts also criminal?

In game terms, if you live in a LG nation, where citizens are required to either report demon worship or destroy altars if able, would it still be 'criminal'?


Subjective.


If we're talking about a paladin, then destroying an evil altar is part of the job. But it doesn't make it a good act per se, since an evil character could do the same thing to a rival evil deity. So the act is neutral in itself. A destroyed altar simply becomes unaligned (maybe some residual evil, but that's up to the DM).

Now if we're talking about defacing an altar, then we're talking about unlawful disrespect. It's still a functional altar, but corrupted. A chaotic character wouldn't mind doing the act (and be creative about the work), but a paladin would not tolerate the act. You destroy it, period! (unless you want to consecrate it to a good deity). ;-)


Well, the act of consecrating it to a good deity WOULD be an act of desecration in the eyes of an evil deity.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens Subscriber
Irontruth wrote:


Just out of curiosity, does this apply to the police? Like when they:

-Break down your door to capture a fugitive
-Incinerate your drugs in a furnace

Are these and similar acts also criminal?

Well, first, I´d say the police would by its very definition be LN rather than LG. Destroying stuff that was illegal anyway can hardly be seen as criminal, I think. Destroying legal property of a third party can be criminal if the destruction was dispropotional to the crime in question. Blowing up a house to capture a driver and give him a speeding ticket would be way off. Breaking down a door to capture a criminal could be proportional if there was no other reasonable way to apprehend him.


If you do not have a good reason for doing so I'd say it is a chaotic impulsive act. Destroying a sacrificial altar of evil humanoids to possibly prevent further sacrifices being made to a goddess might be a good act instead even if the altar does not belong to an evil deity.

Many evil deities have important roles to function in local societies even if not particulary loved. Destroying the altar of an evil sea deity might well cause storms, increased shark attacks or might otherwise cause detrimental effects to the community if not sufficiently appeased.

I'd always ask for a players motivations for doing so if they are not obvious since these are often more important than the act itself.


Most faiths are 100% behind the conversion/destruction of other faiths especially those faiths directly opposed to them. So no it is all in following the holy word of insert good faith.

Killing evil, destroying evil churches, burning down establishments that support evil, let the paladins and good clerics have a little fun every now and then.

Ran a paladin through a module in a town who venerated Asmodeous there was not a single shrine or church left standing after one night of cleansing. The player had a blast.

I think because most players I have met in real life have issues wit organized faiths they dislike the paladin class and want to always see the paladins fall for dumb things like not helping the elderly cross the street, ect.... again just let them have fun.


All through the Pathfinder pantheon you find gods working together for various reasons. If they were dead set on destroying each other this would not be the case.


Is it intrinsically evil in the same way that taking joy in the suffering of another is intrinsically evil? Nope! It's not an intrinsically aligned act. It can be good, evil, lawful or chaotic depending on the circumstances.

It's quite possible to destroy an evil altar in an evil way - it depends on how you go about it. Binding a bunch of demons to slaughter their way through the congregation of the Asmodeus church and tear the very building to shreds, still totally evil. Overturning the altar of the demon cult that you just stopped from destroying the town, and reconsecrating the building to Sarenrae, totally not evil.


John-Andre wrote:
Destruction of private property is always, always a criminal act. Whether it's good or evil depends on the context within which the act is performed.

While paladins are Lawful, Good is more important to their conduct. As such I would argue that this is one of the few examples of a time when the Lawful Good trumps temporal laws protecting Evil cults and religions, and paladins know this.


I'm not saying it's evil. Though, I would argue it violated the Paladin's Code of Conduct. One of the Oaths could modify this, though I don't have them all committed to memory.


Buri wrote:
I'm not saying it's evil. Though, I would argue it violated the Paladin's Code of Conduct. One of the Oaths could modify this, though I don't have them all committed to memory.

So a paladin makes his way into an evil temple. He gets to the main room where they are conducting human sacrifice. He manages to defeat the cultists and stop the sacrifice.

You're saying it would violate the paladin's code to then destroy the altar?

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