Using charm person to interogate the bad guy = BAD?


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Despite what people say, you can't win the internet. There will always be some ignorant person there to contradict you--and since we are all ignorant, it never really ends.


I still don't see how waving your fingers and saying "we're totally dudebros, so...sup?" is as bad or worse as hitting someone with a phonebook repeatedly about the head and shoulders.

The assassin isn't going to feel mentally violated and have emotional issues afterwards due to the sacrosanct intrusion upon their psyche. They are just going to be annoyed that they got one-upped by a freaking bard. I mean seriously, a bard.

Plus, um...they're an assassin. If I had some dude wanting to put his/her knives in me, I'm pretty sure it's okay to give them some mental trickeration to find out why without feeling like I'm just basically a crap dude for doing so.


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The other way to look at this from a public perspective is. What is acceptable in society?

I miss my dog so I animated him as a zombie.

Perhaps in the orc war camp, no all that odd.

The Elves might exile you.

the Humans would burn you for a witch (or perhaps try to see if you would float).

But you still have to think, what transpired right before this, is the party got jumped by some assassins who tried to shiv them. So no matter what is going on right now, how does it compared to what just happened a minute ago?

There is also the factor of what people do not understand.

Think about a tazer, you are using an electrical pain device to force someone to lay down, and give up, without their consent, is this bad?

You have forced them to do something that they did not agree to.

You cast a charm spell and ask some assassins who hired them, forcing them to give information that they did not want to.

But, what people are missing here, because they all have screws loose, is That the person you hit with the TAZER was doing something that caused the other person to SHOOT them with a TAZER. So his CHOICE and freedom of action was OVER when he decided to threaten another person to the point of getting hit with a Tazer.

The assassins? SAME thing, their free will and choice was to take payment to kill some people, the consequence of their actions is, they have been captured and are being interrogated. Their choice and freedom ended when they attacked.

Liberty's Edge

Sitri wrote:
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.

If not the GM, who would know?

The Exchange

Lamontius wrote:


I still don't see how waving your fingers and saying "we're totally dudebros, so...sup?" is as bad or worse as hitting someone with a phonebook repeatedly about the head and shoulders.

The assassin isn't going to feel mentally violated and have emotional issues afterwards due to the sacrosanct intrusion upon their psyche. They are just going to be annoyed that they got one-upped by a freaking bard. I mean seriously, a bard.

Plus, um...they're an assassin. If I had some dude wanting to put his/her knives in me, I'm pretty sure it's okay to give them some mental trickeration to find out why without feeling like I'm just basically a crap dude for doing so.

You are ok with mental violation because he is an assassin, i am ok with beating him. Doesn't change what it is we are doing.

The Exchange

Pendagast wrote:

The other way to look at this from a public perspective is. What is acceptable in society?

I miss my dog so I animated him as a zombie.

Perhaps in the orc war camp, no all that odd.

The Elves might exile you.

the Humans would burn you for a witch (or perhaps try to see if you would float).

But you still have to think, what transpired right before this, is the party got jumped by some assassins who tried to shiv them. So no matter what is going on right now, how does it compared to what just happened a minute ago?

There is also the factor of what people do not understand.

Think about a tazer, you are using an electrical pain device to force someone to lay down, and give up, without their consent, is this bad?

You have forced them to do something that they did not agree to.

You cast a charm spell and ask some assassins who hired them, forcing them to give information that they did not want to.

But, what people are missing here, because they all have screws loose, is That the person you hit with the TAZER was doing something that caused the other person to SHOOT them with a TAZER. So his CHOICE and freedom of action was OVER when he decided to threaten another person to the point of getting hit with a Tazer.

The assassins? SAME thing, their free will and choice was to take payment to kill some people, the consequence of their actions is, they have been captured and are being interrogated. Their choice and freedom ended when they attacked.

No a taser is more like hitting him, it is a physical response to force, not the same as stripping away free will. I cannot believe andorans would care much for enchanter types....


ciretose wrote:
If not the GM, who would know?

The CRB doesn't give stats for personalities, so any notion of "what the NPC would and would not do for a trusted ally" is GM FIAT and will be avoided by true gamers.


Sitri wrote:
BuzzardB wrote:

This is why Charm Person is so fun

An affected creature never obeys suicidal or obviously harmful orders, but it might be convinced that something very dangerous is worth doing.

I would rule that as a suicidal action, assuming it is the kind of thing his boss would actually kill him for divulging.

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

Obviously it's fiat. Hense why its prefaced with "I would rule" and not "The book says".

It's my NPC and I make the decision on whether or not he would tell a friend a secret he knows that he will potentially lose his life over divulging.


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"True Gamers" ? seriously? Who gave True Gamers a soap box?

Who defined THEM as "true gamers"?

PART of the game IS GM Fiat.


ciretose wrote:
Sitri wrote:
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.

If not the GM, who would know?

No that part of the spell is fine. But it goes on to say you can make charisma checks to have them do something outside of what they would normally do. Many GMs don't like the second part and that is where most of the disputes on how it is supposed to work seem to arise.

Liberty's Edge

Roberta Yang wrote:
ciretose wrote:
If not the GM, who would know?
The CRB doesn't give stats for personalities, so any notion of "what the NPC would and would not do for a trusted ally" is GM FIAT and will be avoided by true gamers.

True gamers roll what exactly to determine personalities? Is there a chart hooked up to a Turing Machine I am not aware of?

Liberty's Edge

Sitri wrote:
ciretose wrote:
Sitri wrote:
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.

If not the GM, who would know?
No that part of the spell is fine. But it goes on to say you can make charisma checks to have them do something outside of what they would normally do. Many GMs don't like the second part and that is where most of the disputes on how it is supposed to work seem to arise.

And some players don't seem to like the "The spell does not enable you to control the charmed person as if it were an automaton" and "An affected creature never obeys suicidal or obviously harmful orders, but it might be convinced that something very dangerous is worth doing."

Who decides if the NPC thinks something is harmful...


BuzzardB wrote:
Sitri wrote:
BuzzardB wrote:

This is why Charm Person is so fun

An affected creature never obeys suicidal or obviously harmful orders, but it might be convinced that something very dangerous is worth doing.

I would rule that as a suicidal action, assuming it is the kind of thing his boss would actually kill him for divulging.

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

Obviously it's fiat. Hense why its prefaced with "I would rule" and not "The book says".

It's my NPC and I make the decision on whether or not he would tell a friend a secret he knows that he will potentially lose his life over divulging.

Right, but whether he would tell a friend or not is irrelevant to the charisma check portion of the spell. To call it suicidal to invoke another line of the text is a misuse of the word.

As I said earlier, I am perfectly fine with a GM saying that this action will have a negative impact on the game so I don't want it to happen, but to misuse the language and bend the rules to tell a player they are wrong is very annoying for me.


Sitri wrote:

Right, but whether he would tell a friend or not is irrelevant to the charisma check portion of the spell. To call it suicidal to invoke another line of the text is a misuse of the word.

As I said earlier, I am perfectly fine with a GM saying that this action will have a negative impact on the game so I don't want it to happen, but to misuse the language and bend the rules to tell a player they are wrong is very annoying for me.

If the PC's aren't offering some sort of protection to stop the BBEG from killing their informant after he gives information, then asking him to rat on Mr. I-Kill-Anyone-Who-Reveals-Anything is comparable to asking him to fight a dragon one-on-one. It's not literally suicide, but it's an avoidable action that he knows will almost certainly lead to his death, which is what that clause is there to prevent.

Now, if the PC's can convince him him that they'll take him out of the BBEG's sphere of influence and he'll be perfectly safe with them, that's another story.


ciretose wrote:


And some players don't seem to like the "The spell does not enable you to control the charmed person as if it were an automaton" and "An affected creature never obeys suicidal or obviously harmful orders, but it might be convinced that something very dangerous is worth doing."

Who decides if the NPC thinks something is harmful...

The GM would clearly need to decide. But ignoring factors like time between compulsive action with harm and amount of available options to mitigate harm, as well as the inability (or unwillingness to attempt) to distinguish between very dangerous and obviously harmful acts, is the sign of a poor GM in my book.


Roberta Yang wrote:
Sitri wrote:

Right, but whether he would tell a friend or not is irrelevant to the charisma check portion of the spell. To call it suicidal to invoke another line of the text is a misuse of the word.

As I said earlier, I am perfectly fine with a GM saying that this action will have a negative impact on the game so I don't want it to happen, but to misuse the language and bend the rules to tell a player they are wrong is very annoying for me.

If the PC's aren't offering some sort of protection to stop the BBEG from killing their informant after he gives information, then asking him to rat on Mr. I-Kill-Anyone-Who-Reveals-Anything is comparable to asking him to fight a dragon one-on-one. It's not literally suicide, but it's an avoidable action that he knows will almost certainly lead to his death, which is what that clause is there to prevent.

Now, if the PC's can convince him him that they'll take him out of the BBEG's sphere of influence and he'll be perfectly safe with them, that's another story.

While it would make sense for the PCs to sell protection into the barter and I would go that route if met with this opposition in a game, I don't think it necessary in most cases. Unless this BBEG is some omnipresent or omniscient being, the informant should be able to think of things that he could do to not die on his own. They may not be desirable; sure he may not want to abandon his wife in kids and live in the mountains, but he clearly has that choice instead of dying.


Sitri wrote:
BuzzardB wrote:
Sitri wrote:
BuzzardB wrote:

This is why Charm Person is so fun

An affected creature never obeys suicidal or obviously harmful orders, but it might be convinced that something very dangerous is worth doing.

I would rule that as a suicidal action, assuming it is the kind of thing his boss would actually kill him for divulging.

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

Obviously it's fiat. Hense why its prefaced with "I would rule" and not "The book says".

It's my NPC and I make the decision on whether or not he would tell a friend a secret he knows that he will potentially lose his life over divulging.

Right, but whether he would tell a friend or not is irrelevant to the charisma check portion of the spell. To call it suicidal to invoke another line of the text is a misuse of the word.

As I said earlier, I am perfectly fine with a GM saying that this action will have a negative impact on the game so I don't want it to happen, but to misuse the language and bend the rules to tell a player they are wrong is very annoying for me.

Maybe I am just not understanding your position or something.

What am I doing to tell a player they are wrong?

If the npc knows he will die for divulging the information to the player then the player cannot make an opposed charisma check because the spell says obviously suicidal commands are not followed.
And as the GM I decide whether the NPC would know or think that correct?

However if the npc is pretty confidant he can tell the info to the player and get away with it because he assumes the boss-man will never find out or hes confident in his ability to lie his way out of it because he does this kind of thing all the time (hes a terrible henchman) then the player doesn't need to make an opposed charisma check because it's not even something that the charmed npc wouldn't normally do. Again this is decided by the GM.

Thirdly if the npc henchman wouldn't normally share his works secrets with anyone because the last guy got executed for doing so, but the boss isn't around and hes doubtful the boss would find out then the player would get the opposed charisma check because death isn't guaranteed but its also not something he would normally do.

This is how I see the charm person spell, I could be wrong but this is how I have ran it.


I'm aware of the desire to keep mechanics out of it, but mechanics actually form an important part of this discussion, so...

Just out of curiosity, where in the spell description does it say they remember being charmed? If it's somewhere else in the rules, could you guys link them for me?

Seriously, it's an emotional change, but there's nowhere that indicates that it leaves any lasting impression at all.

One of the difference in looking at it from a use drugs v. use spells perspective is that drugs are known to have occasionally leave long term consequences and physically alter the brain itself. Charm Person doesn't specifically mention any side effects, so we're left with operating out of partial ignorance. We know what happens with drugs, but we don't know what happens with charm; it is for this reason that the analogy keeps coming up.

Given the RAW, there's no way of determining that any side effects remain. We're left with only concluding a) there are no side effects (RAW) or b) there are side effects (GM fiat).

However, we only know that there are side effects to because we are partially educated on mind-affecting elements here in our own world. A quick look at the poison tables indicates pretty quickly that Pathfinder worlds don't function exactly like our own (though pretty similarly in some cases). Heck, a brief look at the spell list indicates the same. That means our partial education of our world doesn't really cut it in Pathfindersville. So, we need to look at it from the perspective of the people around.

Given that no one there has our education (partial or otherwise) they'd just see something that either has obviously permanent effect (torture) or something that a mage (or in this case bard) can speak with authority and explain that, of course there are no lasting consequences.

Now, they might not go to a mage, but given that there are adepts, bards, sorcerers, and wizards around (not to mention experts and a few other classes that get knowledge (arcana)), it's unlikely that they can't go ask someone who knows something about magic.

But what is their initial reaction?

It entirely depends on the person. Are they prone to be frightened and panicky in the face of something they don't know about? Than they are likely to fear and loathe magic. Are they prone to be cautiously curious? Than they are likely to not trust the bard for a little bit (unless they are charmed), but reserving judgement until they can find a neutral third party that they do trust to tell them about that stuff. Are they intensely curious? Than they'll likely ask the bard about the spell.

And all that is presupposing that they can tell that a spell is being cast in the first place which, as Set said, shouldn't be done out in the open.

So, to clarify OP, your interpretation could be correct, but ultimately it's all about individuals and it's not going to be a single answer. Further, if you are looking for "real-world" morality, there's no single answer either, but personally getting someone to confide in you in order to save innocent lives seems perfectly justifiable - far more so that cruelly harming them in ways that are likely to leave permanent damage. Even if that person is me.


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I think all this is teaching me is I should roll neutral alignments every time.


BuzzardB wrote:


Maybe I am just not understanding your position or something.
What am I doing to tell a player they are wrong?

If the npc knows he will die for divulging the information to the player then the player cannot make an opposed charisma check because the spell says obviously suicidal commands are not followed.
And as the GM I decide whether the NPC would know or think that correct?

However if the npc is pretty confidant he can tell the info to the player and get away with it because he assumes the boss-man will never find out or hes confident in his ability to lie his way out of it because he does this kind of thing all the time (hes a terrible henchman) then the player doesn't need to make an opposed charisma check because it's not even something that the charmed npc wouldn't normally do. Again this is decided by the GM....

My issue is that I would think it an extremely rare circumstance that they would "know they will die". There are so many other things that could happen between when they talk and when they die. If there is a demon god hanging on their every word ok, but I can see this line of argument used as a cop out for simply not wanting your normal thug with an normal boss to reveal something.


Sitri wrote:
BuzzardB wrote:


Maybe I am just not understanding your position or something.
What am I doing to tell a player they are wrong?

If the npc knows he will die for divulging the information to the player then the player cannot make an opposed charisma check because the spell says obviously suicidal commands are not followed.
And as the GM I decide whether the NPC would know or think that correct?

However if the npc is pretty confidant he can tell the info to the player and get away with it because he assumes the boss-man will never find out or hes confident in his ability to lie his way out of it because he does this kind of thing all the time (hes a terrible henchman) then the player doesn't need to make an opposed charisma check because it's not even something that the charmed npc wouldn't normally do. Again this is decided by the GM....

My issue is that I would think it an extremely rare circumstance that they would "know they will die". There are so many other things that could happen between when they talk and when they die. If there is a demon god hanging on their every word ok, but I can see this line of argument used as a cop out for simply not wanting your normal thug with an normal boss to reveal something.

Thats fair, I would like to think I personally would never do that as a cop-out and Id like to think my players trust me to know that as well. There could be all sorts of magical or not-so-magical means that the NPC could know about that would mean his death. Such as the magical equivalent to security monitors or listening devices or what have you. The possibility of the scenario where he WON'T tell you is there, even if not probable.


Lamontius wrote:


I think all this is teaching me is I should roll neutral alignments every time.

+1, why my wife stopped playing paladins and started playing neutral inquisitors!


Sitri wrote:
BuzzardB wrote:


Maybe I am just not understanding your position or something.
What am I doing to tell a player they are wrong?

If the npc knows he will die for divulging the information to the player then the player cannot make an opposed charisma check because the spell says obviously suicidal commands are not followed.
And as the GM I decide whether the NPC would know or think that correct?

However if the npc is pretty confidant he can tell the info to the player and get away with it because he assumes the boss-man will never find out or hes confident in his ability to lie his way out of it because he does this kind of thing all the time (hes a terrible henchman) then the player doesn't need to make an opposed charisma check because it's not even something that the charmed npc wouldn't normally do. Again this is decided by the GM....

My issue is that I would think it an extremely rare circumstance that they would "know they will die". There are so many other things that could happen between when they talk and when they die. If there is a demon god hanging on their every word ok, but I can see this line of argument used as a cop out for simply not wanting your normal thug with an normal boss to reveal something.

I have to agree with him. Unless the person knows full well that by uttering the name of his boss a spell will trigger that will instantly OKO him into the night, can you truly say it's suicidal?

If the boss-man has literally told all henchmen that if they utter his name to EACHOTHER then they would BOTH die, it's not suicidal. It's what friendly grunk-evil-doers do when they're not waiting to ambush you. Now, maybe he's a social outcast and doesn't 'like' to talk about business. Sure. But that's where the last part of the stipulation comes into effect and you charisma-check to see if you can coerce him into doing something he doesn't usually do.

You cannot tell a charmed person to stab themselves.
You cannot tell a charmed person to jump off a cliff.
You can tell a charmed person to sheathe the weapon he planned to stab with.
You can tell a charmed person to totally walk down that corridor in search of the enemy, that you know full well is booby-trapped to all hell (throw in a bluff check to fool em good), because he doesn't know better (or if he does, he'd just dodge the traps or say "You know as well as I do that there's totally an unavoidable death trap yo"

Can you use Silent Image to make the illusion of an extended cliff off an edge, and charm the person to look over the edge to try and spot people over the edge? I'd throw that one to the DM. I'd hope so though, that sounds hilarious (and evil)

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

Pendagast wrote:

"True Gamers" ? seriously? Who gave True Gamers a soap box?

Who defined THEM as "true gamers"?

PART of the game IS GM Fiat.

Blew your Sense Sarcasm check... take 20 next time.


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Pendagast wrote:
Lamontius wrote:
I think all this is teaching me is I should roll neutral alignments every time.
+1, why my wife stopped playing paladins and started playing neutral inquisitors!

Man seriously.

My wife and I are seeing this in one of our groups, where the GM off-the-table rails about how many of the party are evil while simultaneously making it incredibly difficult to function as a good character through situations much like this. She plays a CG Battle Oracle and is frequently unhappy with how badly she gets manipulated due to her alignment, especially compared to my CN character.

This thread is like when mom and dad scream at each other, only instead of curling into the fetal position I roll up a Chaotic Neutral Mr. Hyde Alchemist while not having to worry about how it makes my inner child feel and whether or not the morality involved is going to cause me emotional turmoil.

Plus, you know, you get to eat all the baddies instead of patting their hands and promising them sanctuary.


Sitri wrote:
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.

Then what is the second half of the spell? Who, in your opinion, should be determining exactly how far the NPC would go for a trusted ally?

Are you saying that we should take "trusted ally" as far as it could possibly extend in every case just so that we don't "nerf" the spell or something?


AaronOfBarbaria wrote:

Then what is the second half of the spell? Who, in your opinion, should be determining exactly how far the NPC would go for a trusted ally?

Are you saying that we should take "trusted ally" as far as it could possibly extend in every case just so that we don't "nerf" the spell or something?

The second part of the stipulation. The part where you -can- coerce someone into doing something they typically would not do but know that it wouldn't mean that they are spearing themselves in the heart.

"Hey let's go in the haunted house!"

"well... I dunno... I don't really like scary things" <~~~~~~~ CHR check.


Ravingdork wrote:
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.

We already covered this a few posts up.

Move along.

Andrew R wrote:
You are ok with mental violation because he is an assassin, i am ok with beating him. Doesn't change what it is we are doing.

Except, again, it's not mental violation. It's the magical equivalent of sitting the guy down, having a few beers with him, and then asking him questions.

Since there seems to be some confusion:

THIS

Is not the same as:

THIS


Thanks Rynjin, I was going to reply to him but then I got distracted by not really caring too much, but you pretty much said what I was going to say, including the beer analogy.


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why the hell are we debating about interrogation methods in a game whose primary premise is essentially sanctioned banditry? you slaughter hordes of intelligent beings, just to loot their valuables to make yourself a better bandit and earn even more wealth. to the people who hire you, you may be seen as heroes. but what about all the women and children of that orc tribe whose adult males you slaughtered in hordes? they are about to starve because every lad within the tribe who could defend himself was brutally slain, and the tribe will eventually fall to starvation, or the elements. just because a group of elite bandits were hired as mercenaries.


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no no it's okay, we took the women and children and gave them to that nice ship captain who said he would take them to someplace safe where they totally wouldn't be sold into slavery. I was going to charm him to make sure but that would totally be torture!

seriously evil will always triumph because good is dumb.


Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:
why the hell are we debating about interrogation methods in a game whose primary premise is essentially sanctioned banditry? you slaughter hordes of intelligent beings, just to loot their valuables to make yourself a better bandit and earn even more wealth. to the people who hire you, you may be seen as heroes. but what about all the women and children of that orc tribe whose adult males you slaughtered in hordes? they are about to starve because every lad within the tribe who could defend himself was brutally slain, and the tribe will eventually fall to starvation, or the elements. just because a group of elite bandits were hired as mercenaries.

Pfft, who cares, they're Orcs. They breed like rabbits.

Next you'll be spouting off some nonsense about how people with green skin shouldn't be sent to different bathrooms.


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Nobody ever spares a thought for poor Lex Luthor's daughter. What is she to do when that nasty Superman is always locking her father up? And he was going to give her her own continent for Christmas too. Now they can't even spend time together with Lex in jail.

Think you're such a good guy, Batman? Then try explaining to Harvey Dent Jr. why his dad is never around anymore.

When we smite and kill evil outsiders, we never stop to think of the pain we're causing to their evil outsider families. If they had hearts, they would break.


Lamontius wrote:
Pendagast wrote:
Lamontius wrote:
I think all this is teaching me is I should roll neutral alignments every time.
+1, why my wife stopped playing paladins and started playing neutral inquisitors!

Man seriously.

My wife and I are seeing this in one of our groups, where the GM off-the-table rails about how many of the party are evil while simultaneously making it incredibly difficult to function as a good character through situations much like this. She plays a CG Battle Oracle and is frequently unhappy with how badly she gets manipulated due to her alignment, especially compared to my CN character.

This thread is like when mom and dad scream at each other, only instead of curling into the fetal position I roll up a Chaotic Neutral Mr. Hyde Alchemist while not having to worry about how it makes my inner child feel and whether or not the morality involved is going to cause me emotional turmoil.

Plus, you know, you get to eat all the baddies instead of patting their hands and promising them sanctuary.

In an older version of DnD, IN the alignment section, CG was described, literally as "Charles Bronson" yea... ok so kick ass take names, the end justifies the means. Now everyone says thats evil.... wut evs


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Sitri wrote:
ciretose wrote:
Sitri wrote:
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.

If not the GM, who would know?
No that part of the spell is fine. But it goes on to say you can make charisma checks to have them do something outside of what they would normally do. Many GMs don't like the second part and that is where most of the disputes on how it is supposed to work seem to arise.

I agree with ciretose.

The problem with opposed Charisma checks is that they do not scale. Asking the assassin, "Tell me who sent you," is no more difficult than asking him, "I want you to go back to the guy who hired you, assassinate him, and bring me his head." Yet the sentence, "An affected creature never obeys suicidal or obviously harmful orders, but it might be convinced that something very dangerous is worth doing," implies that some activities are harder to persuade than others. Thus, I apply circumstance bonuses based on circumstances and roleplaying.

It is more fun, too, for both players and GM.

Some people have mentioned that some bad guys are not necessarily helpful toward their friends. Another detail to mention is that the bad guy is imagining the friendship. He does not know the spellcaster's own tastes and personality, so he fills it in from what most of his real friends are like.

BARD: Hocus pocus (casts Charm Person on Assassin). Hey, it's me, not some enemy. What were you doing trying to kill me?
ASSASSIN: What the Seven Hells were you doing with this group? Of all the stupid places for you to be--if the boss caught you, he would cut off ...
BARD: Yeah, the boss. Who is he?
ASSASSIN: S**t, you never met the boss? I forgot that. You're my only friend not in the business.
BARD: Who is the boss and what is the business? (Makes a successful opposed Charisma roll.)
ASSASSIN: You're interested in joining, eh? I'll take you to Don Carbix myself. A guy like you would fit right in, acting the friendly bard right before you slice a fellow's throat. We'll make a great team. You just have get me loose from these adventurers. Untie me and we can jump them while their backs are turned.
BARD: These adventurers are my friends. You can't kill them. (Makes a failed opposed Charisma roll.)
ASSASSIN: Stop joking around. I have to kill them. It's the job. Don't worry about yourself. I'll tell the boss that you were helping me by infiltrating the group and you aren't really one of those bootlickers. (Makes a successful Escape Artist check.) Look, I'm free. Give me back my dagger and let's get them.
BARD: Guys, help! This one broke free! Hold still. Let me tie you up again. (Fails another opposed Charisma roll due to a -5 circumstance penalty.)
ASSASSIN: Sorry, buddy. Don't know how you ended up on the losing side. Meet me at my place when you realize where the money is. (Runs for it, but fails to escape because the other adventures responded to the bard's yell and kill him.)

Alternative ending.
ASSASSIN: (Makes a successful Escape Artist check.) Look, I'm free. Give me back my dagger and let's get them.
BARD: Not now. We are still outnumbered. Let me make you look tied up again until the right time. (Succeeds in opposed Charisma roll due to a +5 circumstance bonus. Re-ties knot securely.)
ASSASSIN: That feels d**n tight. Are you sure I can slip out?
BARD: It can't look tight without feeling tight.
ASSASSIN: Clever. That's what I like about you, you can fool anybody. Carbix is going to love you, 'cause he is working on a big scam....


Mathmuse wrote:


I agree with ciretose.

The problem with opposed Charisma checks is that they do not scale. Asking the assassin, "Tell me who sent you," is no more difficult than asking him, "I want you to go back to the guy who hired you, assassinate him, and bring me his head." Yet the sentence, "An affected creature never obeys suicidal or obviously harmful orders, but it might be convinced that something very dangerous is worth doing," implies that some activities are harder to persuade than others. Thus, I apply circumstance bonuses based on circumstances and roleplaying.

It is more fun, too, for both players and GM.

Some people have mentioned that some bad guys are not necessarily helpful toward their friends. Another detail to mention is that the bad guy is imagining the friendship. He does not know the spellcaster's own tastes and personality, so he fills it in from what most of his real friends are like.
-snip-

So when you say you agree with him, you mean you like what he says better than what he says is right. You are clearly adding your own rules based an extrapolation you made from the text, and a rather flimsy one. If you want to say you house rule it this way fine, but it is not the spell.


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Okay, for those that think torture isn't impinging on your will:

From Wikipedia:
---
The consequences of torture reach far beyond immediate pain. Many victims suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which includes symptoms such as flashbacks (or intrusive thoughts), severe anxiety, insomnia, nightmares, depression and memory lapses. Torture victims often feel guilt and shame, triggered by the humiliation they have endured. Many feel that they have betrayed themselves or their friends and family. All such symptoms are normal human responses to abnormal and inhuman treatment.
...
Physical problems can be wide-ranging, e.g. sexually transmitted diseases, musculo-skeletal problems, brain injury, post-traumatic epilepsy and dementia or chronic pain syndromes.

Mental health problems are equally wide-ranging; common are post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety disorder. Psychic deadness, erasure of intersubjectivity, refusal of meaning-making, perversion of agency, and an inability to bear desire constitute the core features of the post-traumatic psychic landscape of torture.[120]

The most terrible, intractable, legacy of torture is the killing of desire - that is , of curiosity, of the impulse for connection and meaning-making, of the capacity for mutuality, of the tolerance for ambiguity and ambivalence. For these patients, to know another mind is unbearable. To connect with another is irrelevant. They are entrapped in what was born(e) during their trauma, as they perpetuate the erasure of meaning, re-enact the dynamics of annihilation through sadomasochistic, narcissistic, paranoid, or self-deadening modes of relating, and mobilize their agency toward warding off mutuality, goodness, hope and connection. In brief, they live to prove death. And it is this perversion of agency and desire that constitutes the deepest post-traumatic injury, and the most invisible and pernicious of human-rights violations.
---

Seriously. Torture has gotten results time and again in history--it can be defeated with training (that's what high Will Saves are for) but even the waterboarding in America revealed the location of several pipe bombs and saved many lives (not justifying it, just stating the facts).

Admirale James Stockdale got the freaking medal of honor for refusing to give any information at all under torture. It's extremely rare to not give any info.

The will is compromised, whether the information is obtained or not. No one wills to have that much pain, nor endure such physical or psychological trauma. It is unquestionably against their will.

Silver Crusade

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Torture is also a two way street.

Neither the torturer nor the tortured come away from the act unscathed.

And that's before even touching on the issue of cold practicality. Torture in no way ensures that the information gained is accurate. "Eventually they'll say whatever you want to hear in order to make the pain stop."

While "charm person as roofies" raises one's hackles(and rightfully so), I have to admit I'd feel more comfortable with a subtle use of charm magic to get information than I would with going all Kuthonite on someone.


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Charm Person:

This charm makes a humanoid creature regard you as its trusted friend and ally (treat the target’s attitude as friendly). If the creature is currently being threatened or attacked by you or your allies, however, it receives a +5 bonus on its saving throw.

The spell does not enable you to control the charmed person as if it were an automaton, but it perceives your words and actions in the most favorable way. You can try to give the subject orders, but you must win an opposed Charisma check to convince it to do anything it wouldn’t ordinarily do. (Retries are not allowed.) An affected creature never obeys suicidal or obviously harmful orders, but it might be convinced that something very dangerous is worth doing. Any act by you or your apparent allies that threatens the charmed person breaks the spell. You must speak the person’s language to communicate your commands, or else be good at pantomiming.
-----

Reread that "or obviously harmful orders." So, even if they think they can try to avoid the boss killing them, there is no question the act is harmful to their career, their reputation, and their ability to operate normally under their boss.

"it might be convinced that something very dangerous is worth doing."
Nowhere does this say the target WILL do the act, only that it strikes them as worth doing. People don't do a lot of things that they think are worth doing. It's worth learning to speaking Spanish, but I don't.

"You can try to give the subject orders, but you must win an opposed Charisma check to CONVINCE it to do anything it wouldn't ordinarily do."
People act like this line turns your Charisma checks into magical compulsion effects. But notice the word "convince." As any other friend, you can try to convince someone to do something, and that involves a Charisma check. It doesn't mean you make a Charisma check of 16 and suddenly the Assassin is in a tutu explaining how to find their boss and giving over all of their gear.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I think that, in the world of Golarion, it's probably just fine. It's a fantastical world where many good creatures have Enchantment and Charm abilities, and all of it is basically within the line of good morality and acceptability. I imagine that most people who are on trial are forced to testify in a Zone of Truth if the court can afford it, just because the way D&D/Pathfinder sees morality seems to be just quite different from our own.

There is no question to me, however, that in the 'real world', Charm Person as an interrogation technique would be wrong in every sense of the world. Morally, legally, etc.


Roberta Yang wrote:

Care to provide examples of these superheroes who are more destructive than their villains? Thinking back over recent superhero movies, I can't think of a single one that fits that description. (No, Hancock doesn't count.)

Bonus question: compare the damage the villain would have caused were it not for the hero's intervention to the damage the hero would have caused were it not for the villain's intervention.

Off the top of my head, I would point fingers at people like the Thing and Hulk. Back in the old days.. Thing couldn't fit through a door without tearing it off it's hinges...

Also a STANDARD tactic was to rip up Street lights and mailboxes as ranged weapons... Also Steel girders and light posts APPARENTLY make excellent 'rope' for tying people up ;)

As for 'what the villains do?' They mostly robbed banks and were escaping with their riches at the point that the heroes start messing things up ;)

As for the Original topic... I absolutely favor Charm person' for interrogation. There is a WORLD of difference physically HARMING people for information and 'spelling' it out of them.

There is no actual DAMAGE done to the 'victim' here. He feels awkward and uncomfortable later... angry... used... SO WHAT. He also complains about the tightness of the ropes, the injustice of prison, and anything ELSE that's done to him.

Your job is not to make prisoners 'comfortable and happy'. Your job is to find the secret entrance to the lair and rescue the princess...

Charm spells ARE the peaceful alternative that pacifist characters SHOULD be using.


^To be fair to the above, Thing's whole shtick was he hated being the Thing because he looked like a freak and couldn't really control his strength well, and the Hulk isn't really a superhero per se.

But I have to give you the girders and lightposts thing.


Lluks4 wrote:

Charm Person:

This charm makes a humanoid creature regard you as its trusted friend and ally (treat the target’s attitude as friendly). If the creature is currently being threatened or attacked by you or your allies, however, it receives a +5 bonus on its saving throw.

The spell does not enable you to control the charmed person as if it were an automaton, but it perceives your words and actions in the most favorable way. You can try to give the subject orders, but you must win an opposed Charisma check to convince it to do anything it wouldn’t ordinarily do. (Retries are not allowed.) An affected creature never obeys suicidal or obviously harmful orders, but it might be convinced that something very dangerous is worth doing. Any act by you or your apparent allies that threatens the charmed person breaks the spell. You must speak the person’s language to communicate your commands, or else be good at pantomiming.
-----

Reread that "or obviously harmful orders." So, even if they think they can try to avoid the boss killing them, there is no question the act is harmful to their career, their reputation, and their ability to operate normally under their boss.

"it might be convinced that something very dangerous is worth doing."
Nowhere does this say the target WILL do the act, only that it strikes them as worth doing. People don't do a lot of things that they think are worth doing. It's worth learning to speaking Spanish, but I don't.

"You can try to give the subject orders, but you must win an opposed Charisma check to CONVINCE it to do anything it wouldn't ordinarily do."
People act like this line turns your Charisma checks into magical compulsion effects. But notice the word "convince." As any other friend, you can try to convince someone to do something, and that involves a Charisma check. It doesn't mean you make a Charisma check of 16 and suddenly the Assassin is in a tutu explaining how to find their boss and giving over all of their gear.

I have never seen anything that says you can make an opposed charisma check to get someone to do something they wouldn't normally do. If you look up the charm school of magic, it is described like a compulsion in that everything is so distorted they follow your desired course of action, like attacking their old friends. It describes them being able to make an opposed charisma check to resist their master's commands, this doesn't sound anything like what happens during a friend's conversation. It also goes on to clarify obviously harmful acts that are autofails as "grievously harmful". Granted this does open the door for some interpretation, but not as much as what "charm haters" would like.

Piazo wrote:


Charm and Compulsion

Many abilities and spells can cloud the minds of characters and monsters, leaving them unable to tell friend from foe—or worse yet, deceiving them into thinking that their former friends are now their worst enemies. Two general types of enchantments affect characters and creatures: charms and compulsions.

Charming another creature gives the charming character the ability to befriend and suggest courses of action to his minion, but the servitude is not absolute or mindless. Charms of this type include the various charm spells and some monster abilities. Essentially, a charmed character retains free will but makes choices according to a skewed view of the world.

A charmed creature doesn't gain any magical ability to understand his new friend's language.
A charmed character retains his original alignment and allegiances, generally with the exception that he now regards the charming creature as a dear friend and will give great weight to his suggestions and directions.
A charmed character fights his former allies only if they threaten his new friend, and even then he uses the least lethal means at his disposal as long as these tactics show any possibility of success (just as he would in a fight with an actual friend).
A charmed character is entitled to an opposed Charisma check against his master in order to resist instructions or commands that would make him do something he wouldn't normally do even for a close friend. If he succeeds, he decides not to go along with that order but remains charmed.
A charmed character never obeys a command that is obviously suicidal or grievously harmful to him.
If the charming creature commands his minion to do something that the influenced character would be violently opposed to, the subject may attempt a new saving throw to break free of the influence altogether.
A charmed character who is openly attacked by the creature who charmed him or by that creature's apparent allies is automatically freed of the spell or effect.


I don't know who these "charm haters" you are talking about are, but I am guessing you are talking about people that don't just let charm do everything a player might think it could do... but the charm and compulsion description description that you posted matches up exactly with the text of charm person except for two points:

1) it frames the opposed Charisma check differently, though the effect is the same (you win, they are convinced to do something that it is possible to convince them of, or they win and they aren't).

2) it includes the second to last sentence, which means that not only might (as in not in every case, but definitely in some cases) you auto-fail on any requests of your charmed buddy divulging info on his evil boss man, but he might actually get a saving throw to break the effect if he happens to feel strongly enough about it.


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blue_the_wolf wrote:

how would you rate it?

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 thing to remember is that mores and ethics are not homogenous, even within a given culture. If you want a true answer, consider the character's personality, life experiences and beliefs. That will give you a scaffold on which to build an answer.


Lamontius wrote:


I still don't see how waving your fingers and saying "we're totally dudebros, so...sup?" is as bad or worse as hitting someone with a phonebook repeatedly about the head and shoulders.

As an example, if you suffered a severe sexual trauma in the past that you were only able to survive by disassociating and going to a safe place in your mind, you might consider having someone use a hammer and chisel to remove your fingers, one joint at a time, preferable to having your final sanctuary violated.


maxgravity wrote:
Lamontius wrote:


I still don't see how waving your fingers and saying "we're totally dudebros, so...sup?" is as bad or worse as hitting someone with a phonebook repeatedly about the head and shoulders.

As an example, if you suffered a severe sexual trauma in the past that you were only able to survive by disassociating and going to a safe place in your mind, you might consider having someone use a hammer and chisel to remove your fingers, one joint at a time, preferable to having your final sanctuary violated.

You can't seriously believe that.


maxgravity wrote:
blue_the_wolf wrote:

how would you rate it?

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 thing to remember is that mores and ethics are not homogenous, even within a given culture. If you want a true answer, consider the character's personality, life experiences and beliefs. That will give you a scaffold on which to build an answer.

hence the How would YOU rate it, if YOU were in that situation. YOUR personality, YOUR beliefs, I guess you can add in the variable of, YOU in a world where magic existed.

don't stress the other variables... don't worry about the town, type of tavern, how common is magic and all that. just go with your gut. Its OK if you think "hey its a world of magic and these things happen" or if you think "I would hate/fear it just like I would hate/fear some one drugging some one for answers in the real world" I dont care how you get to your answer just wondering what the answer is.


Rynjin wrote:
You can't seriously believe that.

Count yourself lucky that you don't understand.


I think what Rynjin is saying is that someone saying "I'd rather have my fingers chiseled off one by one than be raped again," while it makes sense, is not something that the person could actually be sure of - it is a turn of phrase, and not cold hard fact.

...at least not unless we are talking about a person that has been sexually assaulted and also been brutally physically tortured explain which they found to be more bearable. Anyone who hasn't been through both is basically just guessing.

That said, I want to say that I equate physical rape (being forced into an act you do not wish to do by physical violence) with psychological rape (being forced into an act you do not wish to do by direct mind control) - lying to someone for months (or even years) to make them believe you share a genuine friendship while your true goal is to get what you can use from the person and, once you've got it, exit their life like a burning building is not rape... so we should not treat it like rape when it gets compressed into the casting time and duration of a charm person spell.

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