Using charm person to interogate the bad guy = BAD?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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This is an absolutely bent thread.

There have been so many morals threads lately, we spent our days mowing down virtual people with scads of endless ammo in call of duty, and spend our evenings whether it is moral to charm assassins that tried to murder us on a piece of paper?

This Armchair morality is getting out of control, what has started this trend? seriously?


You know, there's a massive difference between the ethical standards of law enforcement in a liberal democracy and the moral standards of alignment in Pathfinder. Observing "the rules" is a function of Law versus Chaos. Good versus Evil is concerned solely with harm-- harm to life and harm to dignity. If you use charm person to hurt or humiliate someone, it's Evil; if you use it to get some information quietly, without hurting anyone, that allows you to stop people from getting hurt... that's Good. It might be a Chaotic act, depending on your Code of Conduct, but it's a Good act.

It's functionally much more Good than torturing someone in a "ticking bomb" scenario-- even assuming that torture works-- because people get better from charm person.


what I find most amazing is that despite the repeated reminder by the OP people cannot seem to comment without adding alignment issues, a million what ifs, and "what would batman do"

all of which is irrelevant.

try not to complicate the matters with random variables, clever ideas, mechanical concepts or even morality.

just tell me how you think that you, in what ever you view as the average tavern, in what ever you view as the average city in the game world think about the scenario presented above.

... or show us all how super awesome smart you are by totally missing the point.


Blue, use that brain of yours.

This is a forum, yes? The General Discussion part of the forum.

Perhaps you missed that second word there: Discussion.

People are discussing your topic. You are the one missing the point. Sit back, watch the discussion, and participate if you like. Stop posting every 5 posts or so to tell people "urdoinitrong".

Silver Crusade

I must admit that whenever one of my (good) characters charms anyone, they feel a responsibility to treat the NPC as a friend.


The comparison, Torture vs. mind control.

I supposed the RL equivalent would be Torture v. sodium pentathol (truth syrum)

I would think it odd, in an open public forum, for someone to question someone, by injecting them with drugs.

How would I react? Well wasn't there already a lethal fight taking place?

I'd assume myself and most patrons probably would not still be present.

However, if I , for whatever reason, decided to stay after the rumble, to finish my brew, I don't think drug use would bother me.

In the Sci Fi scene, The Jedi use mind control frequently, and in public to.

"These aren't the droids you are looking for"

and

"I don't want to sell you death sticks, I want to go home and rethink my life"

Perfect examples of charm/mind control.

Done in public, or in front of at least one witness. and no one seemed to cry foul.

In fact, two failed attempts of Jedi Mind control, Jabba the Hutt, and Watto... both creatures made their saving throw and it was like, whatever, on to what we were talking about....

So there are some already established reactions in pop culture for reactions to mind control or mind control attempts.


Viktyr Gehrig wrote:
It's functionally much more Good than torturing someone in a "ticking bomb" scenario-- even assuming that torture works-- because people get better from charm person.

I don't think torture even applies in this conversation, since there is no 'torture' mechanic, if there was you could compare torture to charm. There is a charm mechanic forcing you do things against your will, and why the points of it in discussion.

There are several pain causing spells out there, but none of them compel you to act against your will, as a need to stop the pain - it just causes a minor temporary affliction for combat, nothing long term nor mind affecting.

The moral standards of alignment in Pathfinder may vary from table to table, so there may be massive differences to your table, but not necessarily every table. Again, the question was asked regarding the morality of the act, not necessarily as it applies to the game.

Most examples given are rather extreme to justify charm. What if the scenario is you kid gets in a fight at school, and in an effort to find out who started it, the school allows drugs to be used as a truth serum. Finding out your boy is responsible, now different drugs are given to control his behavior and will prevent him from lying in the future.

As a parent, are you OK with that? Drugging to change behavior is pretty much the same as using charm to prevent a person from acting in a violent manner.


there is 'torture' or the threat of physical harm, it is covered broadly in the Intimidate skill, which affects your "friendliness" and willingness to cooperate.


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Sitri wrote:
Pure fiat. Next you can't ask them to eat red meat because it is bad for them.

Is there any other kind of fiat?

Also, it may be important to note that basically everything about what charm person does, other than cause the target to have a friendly attitude, is fiat by its very nature - even the definition of what "friendly" means in fiat.

Lastly, there is a difference between eating red meat (that falls in the realm of "could be very dangerous" rather than "suicidal" unless they are aware of a severe food allergy that will result in a bite of red meat causing anaphylaxis) and intentionally double-crossing a being you know to be prone to violent outbursts and have specifically heard say directly to you "I will kill anyone that betrays me."

please don't try and act like there is some slippery slope between "make that pyschopath with a penchant for murder directly upset at you" and "why not put more salt on your food."


Torture is the application of physical harm to a helpless victim to coerce a specific response, not the threat of harm. Besides, I see Intimidate as, "better not step any closer, as you can see I'm a badass, and will hurt you good if you keep this up." and the opponent may consider, "yes, you are a badass, so I'm intimidated and stepping back." It's not anything like torture.


fair points.

having said that the issue with the jedi is that some races are just immune and the mind trick is not exactly obvious because jedi are not exactly common.

using your example i honestly think I would have more negative feelings aobut the guy who injected a drug into one guy than the one who started beating up the other guy.

as the hypothetical commoner I would fear the magic (which i dont really understand) more than the beat down (which i understand even if I dont know the motive.

I think that when I spoke to the magic user in the future i would be much more afraid of any gestures or words I didnt understand for fear that they may attempt to ensorcelle me. and I would probably spread this fear among my piers.


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blue_the_wolf wrote:


NOTE: I am not really asking if its good or evil lawful or chaotic. its not an alignment question... its more of a cultural response question.

The party captures two assassins who just tried to kill them in the middle of a tavern. The rogue takes one to a corner and starts applying 'physical discomfort' in order to find out who sent them. The Bard walks over to the other one whispers a few magic words and the assassin immediately begins to fawn over the bard answering every question, obviously under the effects of some mind effecting spell.

How would you say the other patrons of the tavern and later the rest of the town would view the comparative methods?

The core idea: people are going to view the actions based on predisposition and interpretation of the scene.

Interpretation of the scene: The guys are assassins, and the aggressors. The tavern people are going to think these guys are scum.

The Rogue: The rogue goes and starts torturing them. If he wrenches a guy's arm saying "who do you work for?" then it's probably not going to bother anyone, but it's probably not going to work on quality assassins. If he starts more brutal torture, people are going to start vomiting and cowering or running, because the psychological (and physical) impact of severing a finger or something is horrendous.

The Bard: The people saw a well-dressed man with a banjo whisper to the guy. Keep in mind realistic dialogue: the guy is not going to say "OH, YOU ARE MY FRIEND NOW, I AM A ROBOT OF EXPOSITION," no, he's going to nod and smile or something. The bard puts his hand on the guy's shoulder and says "Tell me, man, who do you work for? It's me, dude." And the assassin is going to either tell him or more likely give him a small clue but not tell him completely. The bard may make a charisma check to convince him to say more, and this may or may not work. The bar's reaction? They might think there was a misunderstanding and they were actually friends, and that no magic was done. Or if they figure on magic, they think that "the assassin just tried to kill him, and the guy mercifully uses magic to try to get information instead of following mister-dismemberment over there."

You gotta think--people "charm" each other all the time. Hell, sex appeal does the same thing a lot of the time. If someone used that to get info, people would just roll their eyes. Magic is something that these people have seen before and adapted to. They're going to think that the assassin threw the gloves off, and "all's fair in war, at least this assassin isn't going to have psychological trauma." The spell doesn't say the person feels "raped" afterward, it says they are aware that it was affecting them. But mister 8-fingers is going to be traumatized.

Either way, it's fair to ask the players to make a Charisma check to see how the crowd reacts to the way they handle it. The rogue might be extremely flamboyant about how "I'LL SHOW THIS DASTARDLY VILLAIN THAT THE PEOPLE WILL NOT STAND FOR THIS!!!" (nat. 20) while the Bard might creep on his victim, claws extended, saying "IT'S MIND-RAPING TIME!!!" (nat. 1).

Predisposition: There's a reason why anti-war activism didn't really happen in the Middle Ages, and it's not just oppression and propaganda. People saw violence all the time. Unlike today, cops didn't show up in most domestic disputes. The guards were questionably competent in some cases, and in most cases weren't enough in number to reach every crime. If the people didn't defend themselves, they would often not be defended, especially since monarchs often knew little of peasants' day-to-day lives. Higher concepts like absolute sacredness of free will are probably laughable to a peasant who has lived extortion much of his life. It's not like it's an era where people went after their "dream-jobs."

The rest of the town later? Probably similar, with the exception that if spellcasting is illegal that could cause more issues. But really, a barfight? Hell, unless it's a tiny town, most people probably wouldn't bat an eye. The brutality of the rogue might make it worth discussing, and the power of the bard perhaps, but I don't think anyone's really going to care beyond gossip. (Hell, the bartender probably prefers his floor not get blood-stained).


Charm Person, as screw with people's heads spells go, is about as non-invasive and non-mind effecting as such spells get. A lot of people seem to confuse it with Dominate Person, which, yeah, you should generally always feel bad about using on someone.

Charm Person though? The effect it has on someone is about the same as meeting them in another context, buying them a round of drinks, and telling them a few stories. Sure, it's a tad dishonest, but I can't think of anything you can accomplish with it that could really be considered Evil short of leading someone into a trap/kidnapping.


gamer-printer wrote:
I don't think torture even applies in this conversation, since there is no 'torture' mechanic, if there was you could compare torture to charm. There is a charm mechanic forcing you do things against your will, and why the points of it in discussion.

Charm doesn't force you to act against your will. It makes you view them as a friend. Your actions are still completely your own. You just view the caster as a friend. It is not "mind control" because you're not actually controlling it.

And btw no I don't think its bad. In a public setting, if the villagers knew he was "evil" most of them wouldn't blink if you chopped his head off. He's a bad guy.


Googleshng wrote:

Charm Person, as screw with people's heads spells go, is about as non-invasive and non-mind effecting as such spells get. A lot of people seem to confuse it with Dominate Person, which, yeah, you should generally always feel bad about using on someone.

Charm Person though? The effect it has on someone is about the same as meeting them in another context, buying them a round of drinks, and telling them a few stories. Sure, it's a tad dishonest, but I can't think of anything you can accomplish with it that could really be considered Evil short of leading someone into a trap/kidnapping.

Agreement. Charm person is the magical equivalent of rolling an epic diplomacy check. Nothing more.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Torture is a crime against humanity. Spells that tamper with the thoughts of another being—charm person, suggestion, fear—are simply another form of fraud. <-- From an actual roleplaying book


It's like a cop lying to you and trying to get on your good side, to expose the truth you're trying to hide - which I consider wrong as well. Yes, it's a valid interrogation technique, but that doesn't make it right.


gamer-printer wrote:
It's like a cop lying to you and trying to get on your good side, to expose the truth you're trying to hide - which I consider wrong as well. Yes, it's a valid interrogation technique, but that doesn't make it right.

The only reason that's wrong is because cops are legally bound by their words, essentially.

They can't lie to you (on record anyway) while you're in their custody.

Unless lies of omission and bending the truth count as lies anyway.


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blue_the_wolf wrote:
I would probably spread this fear among my piers.

Which would certainly affect the starting dispositions of the local boats towards the party.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Lluks4 wrote:
no, he's going to nod and smile or something. The bard puts his hand on the guy's shoulder and says "Tell me, man, who do you work for? It's me, dude." And the assassin is going to either tell him or more likely give him a small clue but not tell him completely. The bard may make a charisma check to convince him to say more, and this may or may not work. The bar's reaction? They might think there was a misunderstanding and they were actually friends, and that no magic was done. Or if they figure on magic, they think that "the assassin just tried to kill him, and the guy mercifully uses magic to try to get information instead of following mister-dismemberment over there."

A bard who favors charming folks might do well to consider always wearing a veil of some kind, so that he can remove it as part of the spell casting in order to bluff onlookers more towards the "misunderstanding" conclusion in a land where magic is more of a social problem.

Dark Archive

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blue_the_wolf wrote:

The party captures two assassins who just tried to kill them in the middle of a tavern. The rogue takes one to a corner and starts applying 'physical discomfort' in order to find out who sent them. The Bard walks over to the other one whispers a few magic words and the assassin immediately begins to fawn over the bard answering every question, obviously under the effects of some mind effecting spell.

How would you say the other patrons of the tavern and later the rest of the town would view the comparative methods?

For these sorts of activities (and so many others...), the correct answer is to 'get a room.'

Random passersby should not be watching PCs torture *or* enchant people. That's what closed doors are for.

Both of those things should be illegal, anyway, and, even in a town where they are not, the barkeep probably doesn't want it happening in the common room, unless torture shows and BDSM are already part of the nightly entertainment...


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Rynjin,

thats not true, that can lie to you ALL they want. they can say they have proof you did X crime and they can give you a deal if you come clean, but if your force them to use the evidence, there deal is off the table, basically bluffing you into some plea or confession, when , in truth they have no proof at all only speculation, they are bound by no rules or laws that keep them from lying to you or manipulating you.

Which is why you should NEVER talk to the cops, and always have a lawyer present during questioning, because LAWYERS ARE bound by certain laws and rules, and as officers of the court have to do what's best for their client.

Torture is relative, Chinese water torture, dripping water on your head is considered extremely cruel as well is a technique called water boarding, neither of which have long term physical damage.

If I say "Tell me what you know or I'm going to cut off your fingers, one by one, starting with the middle one.... " that is threat of torture, but falls under intimidate. It doesn't matter if you threaten "vague" harm, or specific harm, your ARE threatening harm.

The Reason why half orcs have a bonus to intimidate is because when the elf says "Look mr assassin, I'm doing all I can to keep my buddy ooflex over there from eating you, but he's REALLY hungry, so if we can just get on with this and you give me the information we need, I can leave here and feed him a horse or something, of course.... if you want to draw this out, I can leave to go find the horse and leave you here alone, with ooflex" (Half orc smiles and cracks his knuckles...... it's more believable that the half orc might do that.

I used to have a half orc that wandered town offering 10 silver to buy random halflings because he was hungry....

IF mr assassin doesn't cooperate, a tactic might be to let ooflex break a finger or two in preparation for eating..... perhaps you would get a circumstance bonus to your intimidate roll.

No matter how you put it, interrogation is never civil.

To put it another way, is it any better or worse if the pretty lass seduces you to get the information, rather than if the half orc threatens you? Either way you were manipulated into divulging information.....

Additionally is bribery any more or less of a taboo?


Well if you're playing warhammer where chaos and evil arent alignments but "magic is chaos and chaos is evil" is a strong sentiment among the masses then i'd say you have a point...

I think the kicker here is how the scenario played out... if it was obvious that the 'victim' was uncooperative and then it was obvious that somebody flipped the charm switch then everyone is reacting based on their personal opinion of how inappropriate it is to be charmed... Good people might think hey. if he's got nothing to hide then whats the harm. And if he does have something to hide then, as a good person who values honesty i'd be interested in hearing the truthy version of what he has to say...

And of course people who have something to hide are going to make sure not to be caught alone in a room with the dastardly mindraper.

But all of those reactions can be circumvented simply by tactful use of the charm... It's not like a beam of light descends from the heavens as the victims eyes roll into the back of his head and by the power of greyscull he be charmed out of he brains. Charm is supposed to be so subtle and smooth that a bunch of onlookers wouldnt get a feeling like "wow... magical mindraping going on at table 3"

So the answer is entirely based on how much of a show was put on transitioning the guy from uncooperative to cooperative.


Wind Chime wrote:
Are there mechanics for torture or do you just roll intimidate?

There were some in 3.5 Book of Vile Darkness, I think.


Pendagast wrote:

Rynjin,

thats not true, that can lie to you ALL they want. they can say they have proof you did X crime and they can give you a deal if you come clean, but if your force them to use the evidence, there deal is off the table, basically bluffing you into some plea or confession, when , in truth they have no proof at all only speculation, they are bound by no rules or laws that keep them from lying to you or manipulating you.

Which is why you should NEVER talk to the cops, and always have a lawyer present during questioning, because LAWYERS ARE bound by certain laws and rules, and as officers of the court have to do what's best for their client.

Really? Hm. I thought cops and detectives were bound by certain rules. Like they can't directly tell you a lie.

I.E. "We have evidence you committed this crime." is technically true if they have a shred of evidence linking you to the scene, but they can't say something like "We have caught you on camera committing the crime, 'fess up." if they haven't actually caught you on camera.

But I could be entirely wrong here.

Also, there MUST be rules for torture somewhere, considering there's prestige classes and Traits that refer to a character surviving torture, unless that's supposed to be a 100% RP scenario.

Or are those 3rd party?

Edit: After a bit of quick research, apparently police can lie to you about found evidence, but they cannot lie to you about your sentencing if you're found guilty. Basically, it's a bit more complicated, but that's basically it.

They can say "we found your fingerprints" when they didn't, but they cannot promise a lenient sentence for a confession and the like without honoring that, since promising without delivering has been ruled to be a form of coercion.

So it's a very thin line but overall you were right.


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yea, well unfortunately cops can bold face lie to you all they want. It's kinda lame. the only time they can't lie is in court under oath, just like you. that's called perjury, and they have a law against that, but nothing when you aren't under oath in court.

It's kinda lame, and it's why you should never trust or talk to cops.
Because there is no control over what they can say.

as far as mechanics for torture of threat of harm, DM Fiat, you can always offer a circumstance bonus based on RP if you think the threat would work. Like telling the halfling you are going to feed him to the half orc if he doesnt cooperate. usually +1 to +5 DMs discretion.


I guess one standby quick-test is the "Golden Rule" (do unto others as you would have them do unto you, on the off chance you've heard a different one).

If I was in the situation, I would much rather a bard make me think I'm his friend for oh, an hour or so, and give him the information that way, than be beaten and mutilated until I break and give him the information that way or pray he believes my lie.

I think most random bar-goers would agree. If you still feel "charm" is worse, then bear in mind most victims of battery or torture report feeling violated, and have long-term psychological issues. In other words, torture affects your mind anyway. With Charm it's just temporary and doesn't affect your body too.

I may be more suspicious of a mage if I were charmed. But many people who are tortured become scared of EVERYBODY, especially if the person is bigger than them.


Threeshades wrote:
Wind Chime wrote:
Are there mechanics for torture or do you just roll intimidate?
There were some in 3.5 Book of Vile Darkness, I think.

It's covered under the Heal skill. No seriously, look it up.


Hugo Rune wrote:

I would vote, it depends. It is certainly magical assault - not to far from injecting truth serum in the real-world but with less side-effects.

Is it bad to put someone on a stand and to interrogate them and make them look silly in a semi-public forum, such as a court? In a magical court would casting detect lie be bad, is using a polygraph in the real world bad?

If, in the real world, there existed a drug that enabled police to interview somebody in a friendly manner for 1 hour and allowed the individual to retain their faculties, would still require the police to persuade the person to give up incriminating information and not leave any adverse side effects one it wore off, would that be considered bad?

Just a couple of factual points on this.

Only in movies does injecting someone with sodium pentathol automatically compel them to tell the truth. In reality, it merely lowers inhibitions and clouds judgment, making them more likely to divulge things they would rather keep secret.

Similarly, polygraphs can not actually "detect lies". All they do is measure certain physical responses which are common to many, but not all, people when they are lying, and are also sometimes consistent with other causes, such as fear. They can be beaten, and also have a very high level of "false positives". Although our intelligence agencies place wide faith in them, and some people I respect swear by them, the scientific evidence backing their effectiveness is mixed, to say the least. There are very good reasons why the results of polygraphs are not admissible in court.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Well, using magic to convince somebody you're their buddy when you're really not isn't on the level of "mindrape," whatever that is.


Pendagast wrote:

yea, well unfortunately cops can bold face lie to you all they want. It's kinda lame. the only time they can't lie is in court under oath, just like you. that's called perjury, and they have a law against that, but nothing when you aren't under oath in court.

It's kinda lame, and it's why you should never trust or talk to cops.
Because there is no control over what they can say.

as far as mechanics for torture of threat of harm, DM Fiat, you can always offer a circumstance bonus based on RP if you think the threat would work. Like telling the halfling you are going to feed him to the half orc if he doesnt cooperate. usually +1 to +5 DMs discretion.

I wouldn't go so far as to say don't trust cops, but Pendagast is essentially correct. It's controversial, but the courts have held it to be legal for police to lie to a suspect while questioning him in an attempt to get information from him that will help their investigation. For example, they may tell a suspect that his buddy ratted him out and confessed, implicating him in a crime, even if no such thing occurred. That's a pretty common tactic.

Advice to lawyer up if you are ever being questioned by the police and there is any conceivable notion that they consider you a suspect is very sound, as well. Read John Grisham's non-fiction book "The Innocent Man" for a truly chilling look at the consequences of not having good legal representation, combined with not-so-ethical cops.

The Exchange

Charlie Bell wrote:
Well, using magic to convince somebody you're their buddy when you're really not isn't on the level of "mindrape," whatever that is.

Easy for you to say, maybe not so easy for the victim of it.


Of course it's a function of the Heal skill. If you actually try to hurt someone, often brutally and in a permanent fashion, you need to know how much someone can take. If you are employed as a torturer by a king somewhere, and are given someone to make him talk, killing him before he does so isn't going to help your prospects much. Heal handles treating wounds as well as diagnosing the health of someone.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Andrew R wrote:
Charlie Bell wrote:
Well, using magic to convince somebody you're their buddy when you're really not isn't on the level of "mindrape," whatever that is.
Easy for you to say, maybe not so easy for the victim of it.

Well I'd rather get tricked by magic than have bamboo shoots under my fingernails and my eyeballs burned out.

If your girlfriend cheats on you, she had you convinced she was your boon companion when actually she wasn't. That's sad, but it's not forcible sodomy sad.


I'd see it, from a victim's perspective, as forgetting the very reason I hated this guy in the first place, and instead I just remembered that he bought me my favorite x, where x is most likely a puppy, a few years back and I hadn't seen him in forever. I'd have a nice chat, we'd buy drinks, share stories, even share a laugh of two. As soon as the spell wears off, I'd suddenly remember the incident that caused me to hate the guy, or my direct reason for hating this guy, and would throw down for fisticuffs. I wouldn't feel probed or raped, it would just be a remembrance of oh hey, I can't be chummy with this guy, he cut into my disco bit and made me look the fool. Or boss man really does want him dead and boss man is probably right, he's gotta have some evil in him. "Don't you fool me young man" kind of deal.

From a bystander POV, someone else hit it really well. I'd most likely see this brawl, I'd be moderately upset that weapons were involved, judging the area. Once things looked like it had calmed down I'd be nervous and just hoping that things would calm down so I could eat my meal and try to forget that I have work the next day. If I happened to notice that two of the individuals fighting were now laughing it up, I'd either 1) sigh because it really does look like I'll be eating and dreaming of not working or 2) be content that I'm witnessing a sour situation turn to the better.

IE - I'm in the "It'd be really hard to fathom Charm Person as anything even remotely close to evil/bad/wrong" crowd.

Grand Lodge

It might just be my moral compass but I think Charm Person on an assassin is more acceptable than murdering the heck out of them and then casting Speak with Dead. Regardless I'll get the pokers nice and hot!


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Viktyr Gehrig wrote:

If you use charm person to hurt or humiliate someone, it's Evil; if you use it to get some information quietly, without hurting anyone, that allows you to stop people from getting hurt... that's Good. It might be a Chaotic act, depending on your Code of Conduct, but it's a Good act.

I'm not sure I would call it good, but it certainly isn't evil. It may be morally pretty neutral or so lightly shaded with a tinge of gray that it's not worth fussing over. Too many people box things into the good/evil binary when there can be plenty of shades of gray between white and black.

In any event, the difference between charm person and torture is a vast gulf.


Rynjin wrote:
blue_the_wolf wrote:


In a world (like Golarion) where good and evil are tangible, measurable qualities, you also don't get to use the "But what IS evil?" cop out.

I hate to disagree...

But for example,

Compare

Someone sneaks into a camp and assassinates a cleric of an evil god before a major battle, turning the tide of the war and saving millions... "evil"

that same rogue, leaps out of the shadows, dropping a full round of sneak attacks... "not evil"

sorry.. the 1st action has the same moral impact as the second....

the characters kill.. and kill often.. that is not "good"

unless the characters go out of their way to deal non-lethal damage when facing living creatures... they would fall under "evil"

If someone is trying to kill you and you possess the ability to take them down alive.... and refuse to do so... you would fall under evil.

in other words.. the standard alignment system sucks :P


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Wyrmholez wrote:
It might just be my moral compass but I think Charm Person on an assassin is more acceptable than murdering the heck out of them and then casting Speak with Dead. Regardless I'll get the pokers nice and hot!

Both approaches are weak. Speak with dead means you don't get to torture them to pieces enough times, after all they will tell you the correct answer, right?

Real style is resurrecting them again and again when you kill them, so you can heal them and torture them to death for as long as their Constitution/levels hold out. If necessary, get a buddy of his to do it if you are worried, so he won't know just what god's priest resurrected him.


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Don't blame me, I voted for Mindflayer.


Lamontius wrote:


Don't blame me, I voted for Mindflayer.

Sir... you win the thread..

Congrats....


AaronOfBarbaria wrote:
Sitri wrote:
Pure fiat. Next you can't ask them to eat red meat because it is bad for them.
Is there any other kind of fiat?

Yes even biased opinions can be rooted in predefined impartial standards.

AaronOfBarbaria wrote:


Also, it may be important to note that basically everything about what charm person does, other than cause the target to have a friendly attitude, is fiat by its very nature - even the definition of what "friendly" means in fiat.

The issue here is the generator of fiat, players are supposed to exert their whims over others by the nature of the spell, my issue was with DMs slinging their whims about this spell about and pretending like that is how it is supposed to work. I prefer my DMs to outright say, "I don't like this spell because I don't know how to make it work in the context of the story" than to sanctimoniously change it and claim they were right all the time.

AaronOfBarbaria wrote:


Lastly, there is a difference between eating red meat (that falls in the realm of "could be very dangerous" rather than "suicidal" unless they are aware of a severe food allergy that will result in a bite of red meat causing anaphylaxis) and intentionally double-crossing a being you know to be prone to violent outbursts and have specifically heard say directly to you "I will kill anyone that betrays me."

please don't try and act like there is some slippery slope between "make that pyschopath with a penchant for murder directly upset at you" and "why not put more salt on your food."

I am not arguing slippery slope, I am arguing that the causal link is too far separated. They may very well believe that person will kill them for telling if given the opportunity, but that does not mean it is suicidal. Going and telling the bad person after the charming that they ratted them out MAY UNDER SOME CIRCUMSTANCES be a suicidal action, but they have lots of options before that time like lying, running, hiding,atonement, building a defense, whatever. People commit actions in real life that will earn them the death penalty (or just death, the life expectancy of a Hezbollah rebel soldier is 4 days 7 hours by many sources) but they still continue to do it. Having risks and being suicidal are entirely different things.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Honestly I think its a cultural thing. In the 40's 'beating a conffession' out of a 'obvious' criminal wasnt considered evil, it was the good guys sticking it to the bad guys. Today our friend miranda reminds us this is bad. Perceptions change heavily based on culture. There is no right or wrong answer to this and it should depend on the culture of the people involved.

For instance in my groups kingmaker game, we have a constitution drafted by my character. In it, one of the inalienable rights of citizens is the right to speak ones mind. Infringing on that right is considered treason against our kingdom. There is now legal precedent (valid precedent I think) that enchantment magic is considered a violation of that right. Therefore if you get caught enchanting someone in a situation that isn't lifethreatening you could be facing the hangman. That kind of system of laws is bound to affect the peoples view on mental magic.

A kingdom run by enchanters though, might have a different view on the subject. Perhaps charm person is considered as invasive or cruel as putting hot sauce in someones shampoo. On the level of a prank, not nice, but not 'wrong' either.

Liberty's Edge

Ahem.

Once again simplicity is the solution.

1. The spell makes the NPC think the player is a trusted ally.
2. The GM knows what the NPC would and would not do for a trusted ally.

Done and done.


ciretose wrote:

Ahem.

Once again simplicity is the solution.

1. The spell makes the NPC think the player is a trusted ally.
2. The GM knows what the NPC would and would not do for a trusted ally.

Done and done.

You got the first half of the spell right.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Kolokotroni wrote:
Honestly I think its a cultural thing. In the 40's 'beating a conffession' out of a 'obvious' criminal wasnt considered evil, it was the good guys sticking it to the bad guys. Today our friend miranda reminds us this is bad. Perceptions change heavily based on culture. There is no right or wrong answer to this and it should depend on the culture of the people involved.

Oh, I don't think there's no right or wrong answer to this. There have been too many cases of the police beating or otherwise coercing confessions out of innocent people for there to be no wrong answer. You're right in the sense that many groups (states, countries, law enforcement bodies, etc) have come to recognize that beating confessions out of "obvious" criminals is actually counter-productive to justice while other's haven't and that does indicate differences in culture - though not necessarily whether the practice is actually right or wrong.

The Exchange

Charlie Bell wrote:
Andrew R wrote:
Charlie Bell wrote:
Well, using magic to convince somebody you're their buddy when you're really not isn't on the level of "mindrape," whatever that is.
Easy for you to say, maybe not so easy for the victim of it.

Well I'd rather get tricked by magic than have bamboo shoots under my fingernails and my eyeballs burned out.

If your girlfriend cheats on you, she had you convinced she was your boon companion when actually she wasn't. That's sad, but it's not forcible sodomy sad.

More like Rohypnol (roofies) not "forced". Still a feeling of violation. ask a girl that has been roofied if being drugged into being ok with things when they are happening does anything to lessen the feeling of violation.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Rynjin wrote:
gamer-printer wrote:
It's like a cop lying to you and trying to get on your good side, to expose the truth you're trying to hide - which I consider wrong as well. Yes, it's a valid interrogation technique, but that doesn't make it right.

The only reason that's wrong is because cops are legally bound by their words, essentially.

They can't lie to you (on record anyway) while you're in their custody.

Unless lies of omission and bending the truth count as lies anyway.

This is flat-out wrong. When it comes to solving crimes, cops are even allowed to break laws in the pursuit of justice. Running red lights in a high speed chase or abusing substances while undercover are only a few examples.


Brian, well aware of what sodium pentathol does.
The fact is movies/TV shows don't have time to waste until it takes effect, there for time lapse.

It's most like being really really drunk, semi conscious, most people say they just want to get the conversation over with so they can sleep, they find the interrogator annoyingly interrupting, sure sure buddy , the combo to the safe is.... now just let me sleep... Gives hang overs apparently too.

the 40s analogy is interesting. The United States was much more naive back then, so things appeared to be more black and white due to unrealized truths of the world.

In that case, it could be reasonable that someone "beating the truth" out of the "guy who is obviously a villain" is doing it, AND has a good alignment, because he doesn't realize it's wrong.

We live in such an "awakened" society these days, the idea that the above could be true, is almost unthinkable, I mean we call people ignorant because they don't agree with out point of view, but how many truly ignorant people are left? (I mean ones that arent mentally impaired)

However, that being said. We are playing in a fantasy world, where there are tons of backwater villages and the Town Sherrif, a Lawful Good character, with a 9 int and an 8 wis. MIGHT be found beating a confession out of an "obviously" evil bandit, with the PC's standing there slack jawed because they have all the evidence that this guy is really a lolipop salesman...

Ummm sheriiff? Can I talk to you for a minute out side my good man?

Sure! just let me wipe this guys insides of my outside! Ill be right there.

Ahhh it feels so GOOD to be on the side of JUSTICE!


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Pendagast wrote:
...how many truly ignorant people are left? (I mean ones that aren't mentally impaired.)

All of them. Everyone. Each and every one of us. Absolutely everyone on earth, bar none, is truly ignorant of, not just some things, but MOST things.

Anyone who disagrees needs to look up "ignorant" in the dictionary. Hopefully it will dawn on them how ignorant they were on the matter.


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man what the

I thought I won this already.

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