Using charm person to interogate the bad guy = BAD?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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blue_the_wolf wrote:

@ tact and everyone. Sorry my post was not ment to be rude. I was not calling any one out or even complaining about people not answering MY question any more. At this point I am truly just looking at the dynamics of ALL of the conversations.

I personally find the question to be very simple but people make it complicated.

If I said "do you like warm tea" some people would say (Yes or No, especially mint"... but others would say "well it depends on if its summer or winter, what kind of tea and exactly what temperature do you mean by WARM" and still others would say "tea is not necessarily hot or warm, many cultures drink tea cold if your asking about cold tea and you warm it up i would probably not like it because you served it wrong"

I am looking for the simple first answer which, to be fair I have received from time to time and I have tried to respond to those. most of the commentary is basically people doing the second or third example and then comment and arguments based on that.

for a few pages I kept trying to get the simple answer because I was trying to get a general consensus of peoples thoughts and felt that all of the tangents and irrelevant add-ons to the conversation were distracting from that... but then I got over it. I noticed that many people do that to many others until you have arguments about rape vs chopping off fingers.

I am still interested in the answers pertinent to my question but I am not stressing about it any more. I only commented the last time because I found it interesting that people were making that jump from 'physical discomfort' to cutting him to bits and pieces.

Anyway... once again. not trying to talk crap. just commenting.

The peripheral arguments are essential to answering your question. If people can't agree on what the question is asking (what the spell does) they aren't even talking about the same thing when trying to voice their opinions for onlooker reactions.

I have said this spell allows a very large measure of control over people but can also be used quite benignly. Based on these terms I use this spell as stealthily as I can and if I get caught I try and bluff it to as small an offence as I can.

If I believed this was a diplomacy boost only, I would think this spell completely safe for most any public venue. What is so bad about making people like you? People do it all the time and it generally makes others happier.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Pendagast wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:
phantom1592 wrote:


Arm bars, bending fingers back.. that could be a 'mild, bloodless' kind of torture..
As would be depriving the person of sleep, putting them in physically stressful positions and situations (even if not immediately painful) for extended periods of time....
By that definition, enlistment in the army is torture...

That's why it's not a definitions. Specific details matter, flippant answers aside.

Silver Crusade

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Hardened Assassin: 'You can tie me to a chair, beat me, pull out my nails, drip water on my head(?) and even kick my dog! But I will never, never, NEVER, tell you who my boss is! I'm not afraid of torture!'

Torturer/Bard: 'Your bum looks big in those jeans...'

Hardened Assassin:'Nooooo! You swine! Okay, okay, I'll tell! Please, don't hurt my feelngs again! I'll do anything you want, but don't hurt my feelings...*sob*...'


It is manipulative, but you have to go a lot further to enter evil territory.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'll make the Breeze argument here: human beings use manipulation in their conversation at all times. We suck up to people, wheedle them, make informed arguments if they're intelligent. We make them like us, sometimes to get what we want. We lie, we scheme, sometimes we even set up relationships for the sole benefit of convenience (that guy's a publisher, and I'm a writer, it would be nice to make that guy like me, etc.) It's dishonest, but its how people work. Using charm person gives you an edge, but considering that it literally just generates an automatic success at a Diplomacy check, I doubt it's evil. It IS culturally iffy, though, since people don't like DISCOVERING that they're being manipulated or forcibly convinced, and they'd be pretty miffed.

But its certainly better than torture. I mean, seriously. That spell is an automatic success at convincing someone to be friendly. I doubt that's actually bad. Comparatively, it's actually pretty okay. Now, Suggestion and Dominate Person, they're a whole other kettle of fish.


Sitri wrote:
The peripheral arguments are essential to answering your question. If people can't agree on what the question is asking (what the spell does) they aren't even talking about the same thing when trying to voice their opinions for onlooker reactions.

I hear what your saying Sitri, but I have to disagree. All of that is not essential to answering my question.

The reason I specifically removed things like alignment, and even a specific knowledge of the spell, is because it complicates the question and is irrelevant to the average commoner.

If I asked if charm person was evil then a detailed exploration of the morality and specific details of the spell would be warented. but I simply asked what the average commoner would think in seein gthe spell.

the commoner does not know how the spell works, does not even know its a level 1 or level 7 spell if he knows what spell levels are at all. he does not know if the group is helpful to him or the target of a benevolent king who was wronged by them. he does not know and so these questions are irrelevant, or maybe a better way of putting it is not that its not a variable that effects your ability to answer the question. fill in the blanks how ever you instinctively fill in the blanks... if you think that a commoner would know how charm person works.. then this commoner does, if you think that a commoner would find the spell evil, then this commoner does. but as soon as you say "charm person is evil" the next post is "no its not, charm person is just a spell because the rules say blagh blagh" and the next person says,"No the rules are interpreted this other way" ETC ETC ETC

and the original question never gets answered because people are not trying to get back to the original question but rather they are trying to argue all of the variables.

dont get me wrong... debate is great. If some one essentially said, "I think the average person would find it horrible because magic is so miss understood" and the next person said, "No, I think they would be fine with it because you dont have to understand something to trust it.. " etc etc thats great! even if the debate morphs into something else at least its based on the original principal.... but what tends to happen is some one says "using a spell to warp some ones mind and take away their freedom of thought is technically evil" and the next person says "So I guess guess cops are evil" which totally misses the point and what results is a whole argument about hand cuffs and rape which at no point addresses the original question of how would a commoner compare the use of a spell which obviously effects a persons mind to gather information to the use of physical pain to achieve the same effect.


My personal opinion:

It's not nice, but it's not horrifically evil like torturing information or what have you, these crazy adventurers come up with (someone was going to use a NPC to trigger all the traps... And this was Lawful Good. Really sucked for me because the scenario had NOTHING on this guy's personality, or what he knew: He was just there to be killed.


Quote:

and the original question never gets answered because people are not trying to get back to the original question but rather they are trying to argue all of the variables.

With respect: Um, what?

This is my example of directly answering your question, others have also.

littlehewy wrote:


Firstly, casting charm person on someone isn't an evil/immoral/socially unacceptable act. The spell is a tool, like a sword. The heroes in RPGs are socially approved for using extreme violence on the bad guys - there's no way they will be socially condemned for using charm spells on the villains in order to upset their plans.

Even torture (in the form of a bit of pummelling in the corner) would probably viewed as distasteful by the local populace, but not out of order. Golarion has a lot more threats to personal safety than our modern reality.

Using charm to convince someone to do something illegal, wrong, or icky would be considered bad or socially reprehensible, but in the case you described, absolutely, definitely, never as bad as torture. Ever.

Maybe you're just not remembering the direct answers to your OP because the rest of the debate is actually so very interesting ;-)

Also, if this is what's bothering you:

Quote:
dont get me wrong... debate is great. If some one essentially said, "I think the average person would find it horrible because magic is so miss understood" and the next person said, "No, I think they would be fine with it because you dont have to understand something to trust it.. " etc etc thats great! even if the debate morphs into something else at least its based on the original principal.... but what tends to happen is some one says "using a spell to warp some ones mind and take away their freedom of thought is technically evil" and the next person says "So I guess guess cops are evil" which totally misses the point and what results is a whole argument about hand cuffs and rape which at no point addresses the original question of how would a commoner compare the use of a spell which obviously effects a persons mind to gather information to the use of physical pain to achieve the same effect.

...You're posting on the wrong site. Topic divergence happens in every single thread. To expect people not to do this on the net is like expecting them to make a ten minute speech without blinking. Not gonna happen, and unreasonable to expect it to.


Your right LittleH. you did answer the question a while back and I really appreciate it. I tried to answer people who directly answered the question but failed to answer you, I apologize. this is kind of a "shoe fits" kind of thing

On the other hand lets take a highly distilled quick summary of the begging of this thread to highlight my point.

OP - How would the patrons and town view spell vs physical harm?

1st comment = Charm person = evil = torture. (he stated his view of torture vs mind effects... not the commoners POV but close enough for me to get his point.

2nd comment - charm person is XYZ, spell casting is illegal. debating comment 1, no answer to question

3rd comment - charm person not evil. ignores question entirely

4th comment - this is how I torture. Ignores question entirely

5th comment - 1st commenter clarifying for 3rd commenter.

6th comment - charm person not bad because Jedi do it

7th comment - explores charm and compares it to torture. good answer... but ignores original question

8th - 16th comment- more debate on the nature of charm person, rape, torture, etc the original question was totally lost at this point

17th. OP back again - subtle attempt to bring things back to the original question

18th-20 charm debate continues

21st quotes OP and relates use of charm effects to allignment

22- OP - OP attempts stronger clarification and restatement of question

23 - 26 - more stuff...

28 - 29 FINALLY answers to the question.

after a while I started looking at all of the posts and started looking at it from a research standpoint.

comment 2 called charming some one an evil act...
comment 4 responded to comment 2 by countering that charm does not have an evil descriptor, which missed comment 2s point.

bottom line.... Your right divergence happens... which is why I am kind of studying this thread. HOW the divergence happens is interesting. I dont think its malicious... its just nature.


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blue_the_wolf wrote:
... which is why I am kind of studying this thread. HOW the divergence happens is interesting. I dont think its malicious... its just nature.

It's a good thing you performed this intensive analysis to conclude that "people discuss things" isn't a dastardly act of spite aimed at you.


A more interesting question is how it compares to say killing in Pathfinder.

If you kill a good person, they don't cease to exist. They go into an eternal paradise. A spell like charm person could do far more harm to a person(by endangering his eternal soul), than simply killing a good person.


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In a rationally run polity the commoner knows that charm spells are illegal and his response is going to be to run off and fetch the guards.

He might overlook torture if he thinks the victim deserves it (eg. because the victim started the fight that ended with him being tortured or is a foreigner) but he will view behavior altering magic as mind rape and anyone capable of it (or anyone capable of it that isn't a magistrate at least) as a dangerous monster in league with d(a)emons because that is precisely the sort of propaganda he will have been subjected to.

He will have been subjected to such propaganda because no ruler wants his subjects to be made into someone else's puppets, and someone who can charm an assassin can charm a magistrate or a guard or a tax collector.


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Atarlost wrote:

In a rationally run polity the commoner knows that charm spells are illegal and his response is going to be to run off and fetch the guards.

He might overlook torture if he thinks the victim deserves it (eg. because the victim started the fight that ended with him being tortured or is a foreigner) but he will view behavior altering magic as mind rape and anyone capable of it (or anyone capable of it that isn't a magistrate at least) as a dangerous monster in league with d(a)emons because that is precisely the sort of propaganda he will have been subjected to.

He will have been subjected to such propaganda because no ruler wants his subjects to be made into someone else's puppets, and someone who can charm an assassin can charm a magistrate or a guard or a tax collector.

I disagree with most of this, but only because we're not talking about Earth. On medieval Earth, I would completely agree with you. But...

On Earth, it was primarily religions that spread the propaganda about magic and demons. And because magic and demons (and their gods, but that's another thread) were imaginary, there were no actual experts to combat their ridiculous superstitions. Governments weren't nearly as adept at spreading propaganda and making people believe stuff that wasn't real as religions were - that is, in fact, what religions exist to do.

In Golarion, the religious institutions themselves wield magic, and there is quite bit of knowledge floating around about the very basic concepts of magic, if not much about the specifics. However, any expert NPCthat feels like it can take Spellcraft and Kn (arcana) as class skills and know quite a bit about magic.

The populace of Golarion (which must be viewed as a fairly magic-saturated setting) qualifies as at least basically informed, unless they live in the hills. Even then, just about every hamlet and village has at least one practising arcane caster of some description. Magic is not rare at all.

So, I don't think that mind-affecting spells (which I agree, are generally illegal, much like killing people is) would be viewed much differently to lethal weapon.

Adventuring heroes in bar, attacked by assassins.

Option a) kill assassins in self-defence. Distasteful, illegal in the strictest sense of the word, but certainly justifiable, and most PCs would expect to get away with that in a generic urban setting.

Option b) capture assassins and torture them to gain info about their dastardly plans. Distasteful, technically illegal, and harder to justify. Killing in the heat of battle and in self-defence, ok, cold-blooded torture, hmmmm... In a generic urban setting, my PCs would face some tough questions from local rulers/law enforcement.

Option c) charm assassins after their capture and convince then to share information. Less distasteful than torture, definitely, also illegal, harder to justify than killing in self-defence, but less blood, less damage, less lasting effects. Uninjured and untortured assassains can be taken into custody to pay for their crimes. In this situation, probably warnings from local rulers/law enforcement that those kind of spells are generally illegal and unwelcome in this town, thankee muchly.

There is no propaganda as you describe, at least in my conception of Golarion. I guess that's really the whole thing - what's your conception of Golarion? Mine, and my group's, is as I described, and so long as we all generally agree, our group works. So long as everyone in your group can work with the same conception, you'll have no problems either.


Both great answers.

I think LittleH has a strong point that magic is mysterious but not exactly unheard of in golarion... people aren't afraid of magic in and of itself... having said that Atarlost has a point that leaders are likely to heavily oppose the use of such spells.

The Exchange

The Drunken Dragon wrote:

I'll make the Breeze argument here: human beings use manipulation in their conversation at all times. We suck up to people, wheedle them, make informed arguments if they're intelligent. We make them like us, sometimes to get what we want. We lie, we scheme, sometimes we even set up relationships for the sole benefit of convenience (that guy's a publisher, and I'm a writer, it would be nice to make that guy like me, etc.) It's dishonest, but its how people work. Using charm person gives you an edge, but considering that it literally just generates an automatic success at a Diplomacy check, I doubt it's evil. It IS culturally iffy, though, since people don't like DISCOVERING that they're being manipulated or forcibly convinced, and they'd be pretty miffed.

But its certainly better than torture. I mean, seriously. That spell is an automatic success at convincing someone to be friendly. I doubt that's actually bad. Comparatively, it's actually pretty okay. Now, Suggestion and Dominate Person, they're a whole other kettle of fish.

It is not anything like being manipulative, it is mind control they have NO choice in the matter. Some of us do not think that is ok. Some of us would rather get the waterboarding than have our brains buggered


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Note... what Andrew R is saying is not that charm person buggers the brain. that's not his argument...

his argument, If I understand correctly, is that the commoner would not know the specific details of charm person and how it works and could thus, in his mind, be more terrified by the sight of some one casually using a spell that he thinks messes up another persons mind than he is of a guy who is doing something he easily understands like beating a guy up and demanding answers.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Andrew R wrote:
It is not anything like being manipulative, it is mind control they have NO choice in the matter. Some of us do not think that is ok. Some of us would rather get the waterboarding than have our brains buggered

Once more, Charm Person doesn't actually bugger your brain. The effect of the spell makes you see someone is friendlier than normal. You do realize you can literally achieve the exact same result by informing someone that the stranger they are about to meet has "a warm personality." before they meet them. I'm not even kidding. Also, just because you suddenly see someone as a friend doesn't mean you'll tell them a secret you've sworn to keep. Especially since Charm Person allows a Charisma check to avoid doing something unusual or unwanted (such as revealing secrets). A Charisma check. A check that implies a battle of personalities. No mind control. No pushing, no buggery. Just like having an argument or a discussion. Seriously, Charm Person is as much mind control as achieving a Diplomacy check. It outright says you can't control them.


The Drunken Dragon wrote:
Once more, Charm Person doesn't actually bugger your brain. The effect of the spell makes you see someone is friendlier than normal.

Oh, I assume everyone in the bar knows that, and don't think the spell that made the guy who tried to kill the adventurer want to hug him constantly is some kind of mind-altering spell!


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The answer=Real world opinions of good and evil don't work in the game. If you removed the alignment then you as the GM has to decide what is good and evil, since such things will often be subjective in real life.


Heck I dont even considering it as technically illegal might be inappropriate...
'Leadership likely to heavily oppose such use?' I even kinda doubt that.
'Leaders' are 'results oriented' people. An evil leader would want to know the truth, a 'good' leader would want to know the truth. An evil leader wouldnt care if it was torture or mindbending... It could easily be argued that a good leader, if he thought something was going on that was bad enough to cause such a ruckus, could welcome the use of similar tactics.

The OP makes a difficult paradox in first warning "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." and "how would you rate it" and at the same time then saying

"How would you say the other patrons of the tavern and later the rest of the town would view the comparative methods?" because asking how the other patrons would react invites all the psychosomatic philosophical banter that he seems to not want. It sounds like what he really means to say is "How would you rate it" not "how in general would you believe it would/should be rated by a random sampling of taverneers..." in a public setting.

So in the spirit of the actual question 'getting a sample' and not 'philosophising the truth'... 'How would you rate it?'

I'd say I'd rate it not only 'not as bad as torture' but not 'bad' at all. If i'm a dude in the tavern i'm thinkin yeah. whatever. don't spill my beer.


As a matter of fact if i'm in a tavern and they're deciding between torture and mind control i'm gonna say listening to this dude cry about bamboo shoots underneath his fingernails is kinda killin my buzz... I vote mind control 10 times out of 10.


tennengar wrote:
As a matter of fact if i'm in a tavern and they're deciding between torture and mind control i'm gonna say listening to this dude cry about bamboo shoots underneath his fingernails is kinda killin my buzz... I vote mind control 10 times out of 10.

Lol I wish I could have presented my similar view so concisely and eloquently :)


Charm person is an EIT: Enchanted Interrogation Technique. =)


wraithstrike wrote:
The answer=Real world opinions of good and evil don't work in the game. If you removed the alignment then you as the GM has to decide what is good and evil, since such things will often be subjective in real life.

doesn't mean a GM cant poll for opinions in order to make a better decision.

actually I really appreciate the answers.

Quote:
I'd say I'd rate it not only 'not as bad as torture' but not 'bad' at all. If i'm a dude in the tavern i'm thinkin yeah. whatever. don't spill my beer.

Thats a completely valid post. you basically wouldnt care how the person was interrogated... but charm annoys you less than screams of pain.

The Exchange

The Drunken Dragon wrote:
Andrew R wrote:
It is not anything like being manipulative, it is mind control they have NO choice in the matter. Some of us do not think that is ok. Some of us would rather get the waterboarding than have our brains buggered
Once more, Charm Person doesn't actually bugger your brain. The effect of the spell makes you see someone is friendlier than normal. You do realize you can literally achieve the exact same result by informing someone that the stranger they are about to meet has "a warm personality." before they meet them. I'm not even kidding. Also, just because you suddenly see someone as a friend doesn't mean you'll tell them a secret you've sworn to keep. Especially since Charm Person allows a Charisma check to avoid doing something unusual or unwanted (such as revealing secrets). A Charisma check. A check that implies a battle of personalities. No mind control. No pushing, no buggery. Just like having an argument or a discussion. Seriously, Charm Person is as much mind control as achieving a Diplomacy check. It outright says you can't control them.

It is a brain buggery, it forces you to like someone you may hate and can force you to do things you do not have a choice in. No matter how persuasive a person is you still can CHOOSE, not so with charm.


Oh man so is this like an experiment now?
Can I get a lab coat?


Andrew R wrote:
The Drunken Dragon wrote:
Andrew R wrote:
It is not anything like being manipulative, it is mind control they have NO choice in the matter. Some of us do not think that is ok. Some of us would rather get the waterboarding than have our brains buggered
Once more, Charm Person doesn't actually bugger your brain. The effect of the spell makes you see someone is friendlier than normal. You do realize you can literally achieve the exact same result by informing someone that the stranger they are about to meet has "a warm personality." before they meet them. I'm not even kidding. Also, just because you suddenly see someone as a friend doesn't mean you'll tell them a secret you've sworn to keep. Especially since Charm Person allows a Charisma check to avoid doing something unusual or unwanted (such as revealing secrets). A Charisma check. A check that implies a battle of personalities. No mind control. No pushing, no buggery. Just like having an argument or a discussion. Seriously, Charm Person is as much mind control as achieving a Diplomacy check. It outright says you can't control them.
It is a brain buggery, it forces you to like someone you may hate and can force you to do things you do not have a choice in. No matter how persuasive a person is you still can CHOOSE, not so with charm.

This is less so with a game where actions are resolved by dice. Otherwise social skills would be useless.


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right... but one of the primary assumptions of the game is that the characters do not realize that they are ruled by dice, alignment, feats and skill checks.

the commoner does not think, "wow... what ever that guy said he must have rolled a really high diplomacy." He likely thinks something like, "OH! there is magic at play here."

So the question which follows is does he find that magic to be more or less unsavory than the guy getting beat up in the corner.

does he think, "OH! there is magic at play here, what vile arcane powers have twisted that poor fools mind"

or does he think "OH! there is magic at play here, what a clever way to get an honest answer... better than the brute in the corner giving him the knuckles."


blue_the_wolf wrote:

right... but one of the primary assumptions of the game is that the characters do not realize that they are ruled by dice, alignment, feats and skill checks.

the commoner does not think, "wow... what ever that guy said he must have rolled a really high diplomacy." He likely thinks something like, "OH! there is magic at play here."

So the question which follows is does he find that magic to be more or less unsavory than the guy getting beat up in the corner.

does he think, "OH! there is magic at play here, what vile arcane powers have twisted that poor fools mind"

or does he think "OH! there is magic at play here, what a clever way to get an honest answer... better than the brute in the corner giving him the knuckles."

My point was more that just because you can get the person to do something with Charm Person, does not mean you are dominating them, and they are still making a choice. Just as if you were to intimidate them, and you rolled well and they "had to do it" because that is what the dice said they had to do. So if someone who was truely your friend was trying to convince you to do something, then even without magic, an opposed Cha check to get you to do it is not out of the question. Then if you lose you have to do it. When dice are involved free will is a bit of a myth, with or with out magic.

I have said before no one probably cares one way or another at that point, as the line of acceptable behavior was crossed long ago. Once the "hit" goes down and people start going at each other in the middle of the bar the whole scene changes. All parties would be viewed with suspicion, all parties would be seen in bad light, because proper people do not try to kill each other in the middle of a bar. The expression "take it outside" comes to mind. The common perception is neither of the two should be taking place in the middle of the bar where I am trying to unwind.

Watching someone torture or to a lesser extent beat information out of someone is always going to be seen in a negative light. I do not think that is the case for Charm Person. For example if someone wants to start a fight, and the mage stands up and says "lets be friends instead" and drops a charm person on the guy, my guess is no one in the bar does much of anything. His friends might jump in at that point, depending on how invested they were in the fight starting, but if the mage stops the fight, then buys the guy a drink and the night goes off without a problem, I do not see most people running to grab the guards to throw the guy in jail. If the same mage goes to the bar tender and asks where he can find the blacksmith and the bar tender tells him to bugger off and he whips out the old charm person to get directions, most people will probably think, neat trick, lucky bastard, or something to that extent. If the mage then leaves nicely, most people will do nothing, some people might bring it to the guards attention, who will then probably talk to or watch him closely. Now if the instead the Mage beats the bartender until he tells him, I have a feeling that people will be very upset about that. WAY more upset then the Charm Person. If the Mage casts charm person on the bar wench and then takes her up to his room to sleep with her, I could see a lot of people having issue with that. This is all of in a fairly enlightened society. In the sticks the mage might be burned to death for even uttering hocus pocus for all I know.

Personally I think your scenario is sort of a weighted one, so I am not sure why you are surprised people are giving you complex answers.


Also there is more then one answer. People will react differently to different situations. If someone say a homeless child swipe an apple from a fruit vendor, some people will get the police, some people will say nothing, some people will try to reach out and help the child, some people will just secretly pay for the apple, some people will decide that the fruit vendor is not very perceptive and steal an apple as well, some people will see the fruit vendor as a capitalist bastard and laugh at his misfortune, some people might snap and decide vigilantly justice must be done and kill the girl. There are a lot of different ways to handle a situation.


this whole thread has become a waste of digi bytes


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Please note, my response assumes you're referring to a Golarion / standard PF rules assassin...

So you cast charm person on an assassin. He fails his save. Now you have a definitely evil person who had to kill someone just to get in the murder-your-face-for-a-pittance-club (and not even get paid for it, remember: "must kill someone for no other reason than to become an assassin") thinking of you as "their best friend".

Here's how I would see that conversation going...

Interogator: "Hey, you're my best friend right?"
Eeeeviiiil Assassin (the only kind allowed in PF): "Yup. Feels kind of funny, kind of like it did right before I killed my parents and the entire village I grew up in, even my dog. That guy who had been my buddy for 10 years. Man he had a funny look on his face when I sank that blade in. Come to think of it, you kind of look like him too. Man, I'm going to have the same kind of fun with you when I get out of these restraints."
Nearby Peasant: "I'm not sure which of you is crazier."

I think that the peasants in your scenario would run and call the guards (and probably the army, the church, and whatever else they could find before finding a handy pit to hide in) no matter what, given that someone was just attacked in the tavern and that a pair of minimum 6th level evil characters (assuming they are only 1st level assassins PrC's) are probably quite a bit more than they would even want to be around to witness, much less try to handle.

-TimD


Tim.. your absolutely correct.

there are many possible answers and all are welcome. i am not trying to limit answers. i am trying to limit variables which only make the answers more complicated.

if I may distill your post down a bit your saying that the commoners would probably look at both in a negative light but you personally think that they would react more negatively to the beat down in the corner than the use of the spell.

in other words I think that you feel that the average person knows enough about magic to know that a spell that instantly turns mortal enemies into wide eyed bosom buddies is reasonable and healthy.... or at least more reasonable and healthy than a beat down in the corner.

thats a perfectly reasonable answer.

in my mind I think that the commoner knows that magic exists but not so much about what it does and how it works and so I would not rationalize the mechanics of the spell. I would personally think that a person seeing such a drastic change in personality after 3 seconds of magic words to be rather scary... I mean what if he did it to me? could he wiggle his fingers and make me like him too? could he make me hate my children? could he make my wife fall in love with some one else just by wiggling his fingers and saying a magical word? could he make some one try to kill me just like he made those men not want to kill him anymore?

in other words while think that a commoner would view both as wrong... they would view the spell as more wrong out of a sense of egocentric fear.

but I think your point is also valid so I am not arguing against you. Its interesting to know how other people process these things.

Liberty's Edge

As a commoner, would you (and your crowd of friends) rather try to stop a beating or a casting ?

Every NPC knows that caster > martial. Metagame survival instinct will tell them to leave the caster alone.


Actually, what I was saying was that the premise is flawed and the peasants are going to run away at the sight of combat as soon as they can get away. I was attempting to reinforce it with the observation that because you are making a diabolical killer your best friend does not indicate to me that it is likely to be the noticeable advantage in interrogation that many seem to assume.

I would also imagine that most peasants would side with the “well, if someone tried to kill me I’d want to know who and why too” sort of thing, but torture time would probably be limited to the time before the guards arrived and they would probably be ok with a few minutes of pounding on the guy who jumped you with a sword or garrote (the worst weapon in PF, but fits the flavor) while you were drinking your beer. Now if you start putting solid objects through their body, healing them with the object in there and the slowly pulling them out, then you may be get a different reaction.

Effectively there are too many unanswered variables to adjudicate for anyone other than the bartender - who would probably prefer some sort of magic as an alternative that doesn’t get blood, vomit, excrement and all the other fun side effects of physical torture all over his place.

-TimD


LOL...

NOTE: my previous post was answering TIMOTHY H... not Tim D. I didnt see Tim Ds post until just now...

to answer your post tim D.

I think the important part to your answer is "they would run away... or would rather you use the 'cleaner' method."

which is a fair answer.

the rest just throws in random variables. just assume that if some ran others didnt. And any one can be an assassin, you only need that kill some one stuff for the prestige class.


Anyone who is at least sixth level with five ranks in stealth (and two in disguise)!
(Joking, sort of. You only need to get paid money to kill to be an "assassin", but you do need those prerequisites to be the prestige class. Also, to head off the discussion, "you have to be sixth level" is an automatic presumption based on the fact that you must have at least five ranks, and you upgrade skills after you choose a class, ergo, you've got to have at least level five in a non-assassin class in order to have five ranks before you choose the assassin class. ANYWAY CARRY ON.)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Wind Chime wrote:
Charm spells don't have the evil descriptor so aren't evil. Neither are dominate spells for that matter, so unless you are using the spell to force people to kill kittens you shouldn't have any alignment issues.

A spell doesn't have to have the evil descriptor to make using it an evil act. If I use dominate to make someone kill their spouse, it's still a gross act of evil, especially when I leave the poor sod to face the consequences.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
LazarX wrote:
Wind Chime wrote:
Charm spells don't have the evil descriptor so aren't evil. Neither are dominate spells for that matter, so unless you are using the spell to force people to kill kittens you shouldn't have any alignment issues.
A spell doesn't have to have the evil descriptor to make using it an evil act. If I use dominate to make someone kill their spouse, it's still a gross act of evil, especially when I leave the poor sod to face the consequences.

With that standard, even a good spell like one used to summon a good monster can be used to commit a gross act of evil.

The main thrust here is that, not having an evil descriptor, using the spell to override someone's will to not be a trusted friend and ally isn't necessarily or inherently evil.... as far as the game's designers are concerned.


Not having the evil descriptor means the spell isn't _inherently_ evil, not that it isn't normally used for evil. From what I've understood, the descriptor is more about how the magic functions than what the effect of it is. It's still an evil action to cast [evil] spells, though.

Throwing fireballs and horrid wiltings around will generally be evil actions, even though the spells themselves lack the descriptor. There are cases where such spells could be used for non-evil (and maybe even good) purposes, but they should be used with care.

Likewise for Charm Person. I think few will argue that casting Charm Person on the ogre to stop it from smashing in the faces of small children is an evil action - it's the more long-term application of using it outside of direct self-defense where it's a gray area.

Just like stabbing someone with a sword, there's a difference between if the stabbee is physically threatening someone at the moment or if it is a captured servant of an enemy.

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

Ilja wrote:
Throwing fireballs and horrid wiltings around will generally be evil actions,

This is not a fundamental assumption of the game.


Charlie Bell wrote:
Ilja wrote:
Throwing fireballs and horrid wiltings around will generally be evil actions,
This is not a fundamental assumption of the game.

Alignments are always up for discussion - I'm not saying they're not. But 95% of the day, casting a fireball would be an evil action for a wizard. The wizard's in their tower studying? Evil to cast a fireball. They're at the inn? Fireball is evil. They're shopping for stuff? Evil. Generally in any populated area? Most often evil. It's disregarding the life and health of innocent bystanders.

The reason the party wizard can often use spells like that is because the PC's are in unusual (for the general population) circumstances, down in crypts/dungeons/caves, fighting for their own and other's survival.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Ilja wrote:
Alignments are always up for discussion - I'm not saying they're not. But 95% of the day, casting a fireball would be an evil action for a wizard. The wizard's in their tower studying? Evil to cast a fireball. They're at the inn? Fireball is evil. They're shopping for stuff? Evil. Generally in any populated area? Most often evil. It's disregarding the life and health of innocent bystanders.

In the tower: Studying the effects of the spell in a controlled environment to better understand the science of magic.

At the inn: A useful incineration tool.

In the market: Fireworks.

Where you are when you cast it does not determine the morality of it.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Ilja wrote:
Alignments are always up for discussion - I'm not saying they're not. But 95% of the day, casting a fireball would be an evil action for a wizard. The wizard's in their tower studying? Evil to cast a fireball. They're at the inn? Fireball is evil. They're shopping for stuff? Evil. Generally in any populated area? Most often evil. It's disregarding the life and health of innocent bystanders.

In the tower: Studying the effects of the spell in a controlled environment to better understand the science of magic.

At the inn: A useful incineration tool.

In the market: Fireworks.

Where you are when you cast it does not determine the morality of it.

Not the location per se but that wasn't my point. My point is that if you go around throwing fireballs at random targets you're going to go evil pretty quick, just like some people think it is with charm person. Usage with care need not be evil, but if you just point and click with a lot of spells without the evil descriptor, people are going down. But if you don't think the fireball is obvious enough, look at spells like Wail of the Banshee, Horrid Wilting, Circle of Death etc. Yes you can cast those spells without it being an evil action. If you're a wizard living in some city, most of your day casting such a spell WOULD be an evil action. The spell isn't inherently evil, but in most cases using it is evil.

It was in response to the claim that since Charm Person don't have a [evil] descriptor, it's not evil to use it. I'm saying it depends completely on the circumstances, and that in many circumstances a lot of non-evil spells will be evil to cast due to their effects, just like a lot of non-good spells or whatever can be good actions to cast.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

So you're saying that spells are not evil, how you use them is. And depending on the spell, there may be very few ways to use them that are not evil. I think we are in agreement.


Yes, that's what I'm saying (except for [evil] spells which are in fact evil). Some people Charm and Compulsion spells fall into that category of "few ways to use that is not evil" while others think they don't.

Just like weapons in general. And some see charm person as sort of a weapon, others do not.


So...my take away from this thread? Never play good guys unless you want to be curb stomped. CN and true Neutral are the way to go.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
So you're saying that spells are not evil, how you use them is. And depending on the spell, there may be very few ways to use them that are not evil. I think we are in agreement.

Guns are not evil, but it's easier to do evil with a gun than a feather. Thumbscrews aren't evil either, but there aren't a lot of non-evil applications for them.

Fireball is not evil, but it's easier to do evil with Fireball than Prestidigitation. Charm Person isn't evil either, but there aren't a lot of non-evil applications for it.

A guy wandering around with a gun might be planning evil or it might be for self defense. A guy wandering around with a feather is merely eccentric. A guy wandering around with thumbscrews is very suspicious. There's a reason the mob usually uses less specialized torture devices.

A wizard who knows fireball may be planning evil or he may be planning to go somewhere both dangerous and nonflammable. Maybe Scorching Ray would be a better example, but Ilja started out using fireball. A wizard who knows prestidigitation is, well, a wizard. A wizard who knows Charm Person is very suspicious.


In some games that may be true Atarlost. In other games, charm person might be more equal to a false ID stating you're someone to listen to (a doctor, or a cop, or whatever). Or simply nothing unusual at all, in a highly magical world (although in such worlds, methods of prevention would be very common, or a culture would have bred where you treat everyone with extreme suspicion - even those you think are close friends).

Silver Crusade

The main thing that needs to be cleared up is the fact that Charm Person does not act in any way as a Dominate. I think what some people are trying to do is twist the spell into some sort of poor man's Dominate.

Dominate could be considered evil because it actually denies someone free will. All Charm Person does is persuade someone, who probably wouldn't listen to you before or thought of you as an enemy, and turns them into a friend. It is entirely up to the DM to decide what the charmed person would actually do if persuaded or what would actually break the spell if the PC went too far.

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