Using charm person to interogate the bad guy = BAD?


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Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
shallowsoul wrote:
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.

In other words, it's no more evil than a date rape drug?


Yeah maybe not date-rape drug (that'd be more like suggestion, or deep slumber for that matter). More like the effects of alcohol (or pot for that matter) on many people (overly friendliness, reduced judgement).

But clearly, a parallell to tricking/forcing a drug into someone isn't far off.

Silver Crusade

LazarX wrote:
shallowsoul wrote:
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.
In other words, it's no more evil than a date rape drug?

I would say it depends on what you use Charm Person for.

If you Charm someone and tell them not to attack and you don't attack them in return then I wouldn't call that evil.


Comparing it to forcefully injecting a sedative into someone is actually a quite good comparison, IMO, and decently reflects how/when it would be socially accepted (and good/evil). Of course, there'll be disagreement there (some thinks it's okay to sedate a criminal to get them to confess or tell on their associates, others think it's not okay or depends on circumstances).

If someone comes screaming at you with an axe? Go ahead, it's the right thing to do. In most everyday social interactions? Not okay.

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

LazarX wrote:
shallowsoul wrote:
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.
In other words, it's no more evil than a date rape drug?

I'd say no more evil than a lie.


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People seem to enjoy minimizing the morality of a spell like charm person when viewed in the third person... but I wonder how they would think of it in direct relation to themselves.

Think of that person at work or school or whatever that you find totally disagreeable, you dont like anything about that person, they are dirty, argumentative, have political, social and cultural beliefs absolutely opposed to your own, the two of you have TRIED to be civil but its just not going to happen.

That person walks up to you and blows a powder in your face (or says some magic words) suddenly your realize that everything was a miss understanding, that person is not horrible you were just being too negative, they ask you to eat okra and you think why not even though you totally absolutely hate okra because it gives you the poops for 3 days. They ask you to borrow your car and you say 'sure buddy' even though you dont ever let any one drive that car because its very new and very expensive not to mention insurance does not cover other drivers. They ask you to tell them your deepest darkest most shameful secret and although you would not tell anyone one under any circumstances a few convincing "you can tell me, Im your friend" later and you start spilling the story about what you did with your dog Spanky last winter. After all that you cook them dinner, clean their house, wash their feet and proclaim your eternal friendship.

then you go home and the powder (spell) fades off and your clear headed again. How do you feel about that?

Now, they didn't make you do anything EVIL. they didn't make you kill anyone, break the law or even betray any one you love. You were not their slave, you were free to do as you chose, but you didnt WANT to, you didnt WANT to resist, you just wanted to please your wonderfully charismatic best friend.

As your sitting in your chair with a rumbling in your stomach from the okra you ate earlier, do you think to yourself... well I guess its ok, I would have done all of that if they had bought me a beer and chatted for a bit.

To be honest the above scenario, while totally biased, is totally valid under the rules of charm person. To be perfectly honest I would consider the above scenario more EVIL than domination... at least with domination I can look back and feel that I had no ability to resist... with charm person I have every freedom except the freedom to NOT LIKE what I am being asked to do.


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Every post in this thread wrote:
...and that's why Charm Person is exactly the same as rape!

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
blue_the_wolf wrote:
Now, they didn't make you do anything EVIL. they didn't make you kill anyone, break the law or even betray any one you love. You were not their slave, you were free to do as you chose, but you didnt WANT to, you didnt WANT to resist, you just wanted to please your wonderfully charismatic best friend.

You're making the mistake of confusing infatuation for friendship.


blue_the_wolf wrote:

People seem to enjoy minimizing the morality of a spell like charm person when viewed in the third person... but I wonder how they would think of it in direct relation to themselves.

Think of that person at work or school or whatever that you find totally disagreeable, you dont like anything about that person, they are dirty, argumentative, have political, social and cultural beliefs absolutely opposed to your own, the two of you have TRIED to be civil but its just not going to happen.

That person walks up to you and blows a powder in your face (or says some magic words) suddenly your realize that everything was a miss understanding, that person is not horrible you were just being too negative, they ask you to eat okra and you think why not even though you totally absolutely hate okra because it gives you the poops for 3 days. They ask you to borrow your car and you say 'sure buddy' even though you dont ever let any one drive that car because its very new and very expensive not to mention insurance does not cover other drivers. They ask you to tell them your deepest darkest most shameful secret and although you would not tell anyone one under any circumstances a few convincing "you can tell me, Im your friend" later and you start spilling the story about what you did with your dog Spanky last winter. After all that you cook them dinner, clean their house, wash their feet and proclaim your eternal friendship.

then you go home and the powder (spell) fades off and your clear headed again. How do you feel about that?

Now, they didn't make you do anything EVIL. they didn't make you kill anyone, break the law or even betray any one you love. You were not their slave, you were free to do as you chose, but you didnt WANT to, you didnt WANT to resist, you just wanted to please your wonderfully charismatic best friend.

As your sitting in your chair with a rumbling in your stomach from the okra you ate earlier, do you think to yourself... well I guess its ok, I would have done all of that if they had...

1 - You're confusing CHARM person for DOMINATE person. None of those things are things you would do for a friend. Okay maybe the car and the diner and helping clean house, but those only with opposed charisma checks, and if he has that much charisma no way you could consider him 'totally disagreeable' or 'dirty and argumentative,'. Much like a good politician he would be someone I can't agree with but can respect and even find somewhat amusing. Now dominate can be mind rapey, but charm doesn't do all that. It is a first level spell you know?

2 - Even with Dominate, no way that situation can compare with doing it to an assassin who just tried to kill. Charm Person is neutral so a bad guy can do it to mess you up and a good guy can do it for a good reason and in both instances it will feel totally different. In this case a bad guy is doing this deliberately to make you feel bad, so of course you will feel bad. When a good guy, or a smart bad guy, does it he treats you like an actual friend exactly so you won't be too offended when it ends. Good guys because they're, you know, good, and smart bad guys because angering the hired help and the random peasants ends up in tedious rebellions andhe doesn't need the extra hassle.


TOZ and VM, there's different interpretations on what Charm Person can do - it's in a very gray area of the rules. If you interpret it as "cha check to give order unless directly harmful" all those things ARE possible to the charmed person, but are not necessarily possible to do to a mundanely befriended person.

I think LazarX comparison of it to a date-rape drug is fairly good. Or more specifically, forcefully injecting someone with a sedative.


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It all depends on what you ask of the person in question. If he tried to kill you, get real, it's no big deal. In fact, if you want to save his life, charming him might be the only option you have. A more common application, I think, would be countering prejudice. Say that you come to a nice little village, where they loathe outsiders. You are passing through, but you need directions. Nobody will give you the time of day to even answer your questions, except for one guy who told you to go down to the river and drown yourself. With a charm person, you can get reasonably trustworthy information quickly and be on your way.

It is a tool. Not a safe one in all applications by any means, but a tool, and as such, it is not bad in and of itself.


Ilja wrote:

TOZ and VM, there's different interpretations on what Charm Person can do - it's in a very gray area of the rules. If you interpret it as "cha check to give order unless directly harmful" all those things ARE possible to the charmed person, but are not necessarily possible to do to a mundanely befriended person.

I think LazarX comparison of it to a date-rape drug is fairly good. Or more specifically, forcefully injecting someone with a sedative.

Except that in Pathfinder all those things very much are possible to get someone to do with a mere diplomacy check. Some of them would be insanely high DCs but they are all possible.

I also do not think you can compare worlds where magic exists to worlds where it doesn't so easily to be honest.

I think people would respond much better to the charm person then giving the guy a beating. If you made it into a real world scenario though I think it changes things a bit. "Two guys bust into a bar wielding axes and go after the PCs. One PC pulls out a gun and shots the guy in the gut. Then he stands over the guy and asks 'Who sent you', and gets no answers, so he shots the guy in the leg and asks again. Second PC pulls a needle out of his bag, and stabs the axe wielder in the neck. The axe wielder goes all groggy, and then the PC beings to calmly ask questions".

In that scenario the guy with the drugs seems way creepier then any wizards who throws charm person around. I am terrified of the guy with the needle, and less so of the guy with the gun, at least the guy with the gun probably has a satisfying answer to why he has a gun.

Edit: Also guys who use Date Rape drugs never do anything but rape people when they use Date Rape drugs. Charm Person is not as single minded.


It is all about context...

Besides charm person is weak, it while the person you charmed sees you as a best friend. You can't compel the subject of the spell to disclose anything that he won't to a trusted friend.

That alone makes the charm spell out of the evil category imo. Also you have to remember that chaotic good and alignments would use most any tactic to for the greater good.

So it comes down to what you are trying to achieve through the spell. Is it to learn the location of the children an evil wizard is planning to slay? Or is it to help discover the children so the wizard can slay them?

This a neutral spell at worst.


TOZ and VM, I am not confusing anything, those are all within the rules of the spell. To be honest I PERSONALLY do not GM the spell that way. to me when a person uses charm in a game I rule it in the "target becomes friendly" method, but it still remains that the RAW of the spell and the spell in many peoples interpretation perfectly fits my description.

EVEN IF... the spell ONLY makes you friendly, is that so much better? I mean.. once again if you totally despise this person and he hits you with a drug or spell that suddenly makes you think of him as a friend... when it wheres off wont you feel a bit violated? remember, when it wheres off your going to remember all of it and once again the fact remains its not that nothing horrible happened... its that you didnt even have the ability to not like it.

Sissyl

I dont believe Charm is evil in and of itself, there is a difference between charm and say Animate dead. A spell like charm is not inherently evil it can simply be used for evil (like the guns and thumbscrew example above) an [EVIL] spell is evil because you are channeling fundamentally evil power.

Protection from Good is an [EVIL] spell. It does not do anything evil, it does not eat babies, control minds, rape the innocent, etc... but in casting that spell your channeling pure fundamental evil essence and making use of it.

Charm is simply a spell that very easily lends itself to evil even when used for good its still a rather distasteful spell, the example of entering a town and charming people to get directions or otherwise break the ice is a perfectly fine not evil use of the spell in the same way using thumb screws to crack clam shells is not torture.

having said all that... I think torture is wrong, I think charm person is wrong, the question is, would people generally find it worse to violate a persons mind or a persons body?


wow... wait a sec... thats interesting?

I personally think charm person is worse than the torture.. thats my personal opinion because I feel that its a mind rape. I can take a beat down but I would be forever messed up by some one saying magic words that twisted my mind.

The funny thing is when I read this example

Quote:
"Two guys bust into a bar wielding axes and go after the PCs. One PC pulls out a gun and shots the guy in the gut. Then he stands over the guy and asks 'Who sent you', and gets no answers, so he shots the guy in the leg and asks again. Second PC pulls a needle out of his bag, and stabs the axe wielder in the neck. The axe wielder goes all groggy, and then the PC beings to calmly ask questions".

my instinctive reaction was that the torture the more despicable action and the drug less so.


Dragons Don't Kill People, Dragon RIDERs kill people!


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As a middle class member of a first-world nation who has never experienced anything closer to torture than elementary school bullying I can say with confidence that torture isn't really so bad.


As a veteran who spent several years in war zones like Afghanistan, Iraq and Bosnia... I can tell you it is.

(Im not mad at you,I know your being sarcastic, I just dont think its funny)


There's alot of things that people aren't finding funny in this thread. Also, alot of equivocating.

Charm person is not only not worse than torture, it doesn't even live in the same country.

In a "commoners are ignorant of magic" setting, they won't know that charm person is a thing. They won't know it's even a spell. They'll see a conversation.

In a "magic is a fact of daily life" setting, they'll be glad that charm person was used instead of something that would require cleanup. If a barkeep in Waterdeep saw that someone was about to torture attackers for information, he'd probably suggest charm person to reduce the mess. Considering the over saturation of spellcasters in that setting, he'd probably offer to cast it for them.

In the game world, the proper and socially acceptable response when you have a problem with someone often involves killing them with weapons or magic. This is clearly not a world with even roughly equivalent views of morality.


Timothy Hanson wrote:


Except that in Pathfinder all those things very much are possible to get someone to do with a mere diplomacy check.

Sure, yeah, but if a character of your power can't have such a high diplomacy, you practically can't. It might be possible, just like it's possible to jump 50 ft. in pathfinder, but it's not practical. I'm saying with some people's interpretations, which seem to include yours, the things blue_the_wolf stated are possible, while toz and vm scenario interpret those as impossible to do with just the spell and a cha check.

Quote:
Edit: Also guys who use Date Rape drugs never do anything but rape people when they use Date Rape drugs. Charm Person is not as single minded.

That's why I altered the comparison a bit to "forcefully injecting a sedative into someone". Doing it when you're attacked by an assassin? You might seem creepy to keep that stuff around but it's still self defense. Doing it to ask for directions when people don't like you? Yeah, the guards ain't going to like that at all.


Scythia wrote:
In the game world, the proper and socially acceptable response when you have a problem with someone often involves killing them with weapons or magic. This is clearly not a world with even roughly equivalent views of morality.

That might be the case in your game world, but it's far from universal. In my game world, killing intelligent humanoids in anything but self-defense is generally illegal and frowned upon in society, and only a few things will make it acceptable (open war, the city being attacked by roving orcs etc). There's of course racism around, so killing an orc that travels through a human town won't get you into as much trouble as killing a human, but it's still going to lend you at least a few days or weeks in jail.

However, PCs are more than the average person prone to get into situations where such killings ARE acceptable since it's usually the PC's that are sent to the forefront of wars and conflicts.

But torturing someone in a bar, even someone they where just attacked by? Generally, they'll get into a lot of trouble by that. Charming, it depends more on the city/town/state they're in and other circumstances. But we've also houseruled charm person to only make the target have friendly attitude towards you, and skipped the "cha to order" part.

Silver Crusade

"These aren't the droids you're looking for." Probably closer to suggestion than charm person, but the idea is the same. For me the spell itself, like a sword stroke is not evil of itself, it's how the spell is used.


Ajaxis wrote:
"For me the spell itself, like a sword stroke is not evil of itself, it's how the spell is used.

This seems like the right way to look at it. Each time its used can be absolutely argued every time.

In the scenario where your school enemy powdered you and brought you home to cook him dinner and clean his house, although i'd have some strong words about abuse of power and call him a dirty ash hat for it, I wouldn't call him 'evil'...

If he made me do something randy with a sheep i'd start to change my mind about if he's evil or not but the question of my perception of have I been wronged (dinner or donkeyshow) and the question of 'at what point is it genuinely EVIL' could be a constant topic of conversation among Devils and Angels...

"Well. yeah. he had to do the donkeyshow but he didn't 'DIE' from it..."

His soul is twisted a little now from having to remember that... So thats more evil than the amount of therapy he would need if he just cooked dinner... Unless he's the sensitive sort that sees no difference between the two...

"I had to make him dinner! DINNER! I feel so violated..." seems like maybe going a little overboard.

An individuals spectrum of where the evil begins is a very personal thing.


Ilja wrote:
Scythia wrote:
In the game world, the proper and socially acceptable response when you have a problem with someone often involves killing them with weapons or magic. This is clearly not a world with even roughly equivalent views of morality.

That might be the case in your game world, but it's far from universal. In my game world, killing intelligent humanoids in anything but self-defense is generally illegal and frowned upon in society, and only a few things will make it acceptable (open war, the city being attacked by roving orcs etc). There's of course racism around, so killing an orc that travels through a human town won't get you into as much trouble as killing a human, but it's still going to lend you at least a few days or weeks in jail.

However, PCs are more than the average person prone to get into situations where such killings ARE acceptable since it's usually the PC's that are sent to the forefront of wars and conflicts.

But torturing someone in a bar, even someone they where just attacked by? Generally, they'll get into a lot of trouble by that. Charming, it depends more on the city/town/state they're in and other circumstances. But we've also houseruled charm person to only make the target have friendly attitude towards you, and skipped the "cha to order" part.

So, your characters never use ambush tactics unless they are operating under an official declaration of war? They voluntarily fail initiative in an encounter until an opponent draws first blood? Perhaps in your game. I'd venture a guess that "See orc, kill orc" is a more prevalent model. In your game, do your characters consider the moral and philosophical implications of every kill? Do they have nightmares where they see the accusing faces of those they have killed? Do they avoid making eye contact with strangers because they don't want to risk seeing the accusing gaze of a child or loved one of someone they killed? Or do they kill without remorse or consideration? If the latter, your game isn't very like to our world after all.


Scythia wrote:


So, your characters never use ambush tactics unless they are operating under an official declaration of war?

They might do, if they think they can get away with it and/or the targets are lawless and/or they've got a decree they may. But if they attack people with no better excuse than "we think they're evil", and are caught doing it, they're going to face court.

Quote:
They voluntarily fail initiative in an encounter until an opponent draws first blood?

Self defense can come into play before someone has been hurt - in the game world just like in real life. If someone aims a gun at you and you smack him, you're not going to be convicted for assault. If someone's rude to you, or you suspect someone's done something but have no proof, and you smack'em, you're going to get convicted. See how that works? And if someone gets into a fisticuffs in a bar with you and you Disintegrate them, no amount of "self defense" plea is going to get you out of it.

Quote:
Perhaps in your game. I'd venture a guess that "See orc, kill orc" is a more prevalent model.

How demihumans with a tendency towards evil are treated is certainly different from campaign to campaign, but we're not only talking about orcs here, but anyone you might want to attack. While golarion have all orcs as irredemebly evil AFAIK, many campaign worlds don't (just look at the elder scrolls series). Even in the same campaign different areas might have different laws. In our campaign world's largest elven-controlled area, though not a state per se, orcs are generally treated as lawless with few exceptions among the populace, while they have established trade routes with the kobold settlements north of them. Which is one of the reason elves and dwarves don't get along in that part of the world, since dwarves and kobolds are in a state of periodic open conflicts and ceasefires. In northern Eltharia, you'll probably get in more trouble for attacking kobold travellers than dwarven ones (though you'd face court for both).

There's also a difference between killing someone far out in the wild and killing someone in an open street. An armed orc raiding party a mile outside the human capital? No-one's gonna ask, especially if you're well-known.

Quote:
In your game, do your characters consider the moral and philosophical implications of every kill?

Usually they have a fair grasp of when it's illegal and not, because I don't try to trick them and because they're sensible enough to get to know the laws of the land they're in. Moral doesn't always enter it.

Quote:

Do they have nightmares where they see the accusing faces of those they have killed?[/quotes]

This has nothing to do with it and is a pure straw man. We're discussing how society reacts to different kinds of violence and aggression, not how individual characters feel about it. Though a fair number of characters have had kills they've regretted, yes.


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My favorite scene in Star Wars was the one where that stormtrooper guard was shown weeping alone years later over how Obi-Wan violated his mind, though I thought the scenes between him and his therapist were quite compelling as well.

Also, I made a paladin fall once for stabbing an enemy with a sword. Penetrating someone against their will? Sorry, your paladin's a rapist now.


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Anyway, charming the bad guy to interrogate him isn't bad. It's the magical version of using psychology to create a positive environment and allowing the bad guy to connect with the interrogator, so the bad guy feels comfortable and cooperates with you on your question. The second just takes longer. Most experts agree that torture doesn't have much effect in getting what you want, it just causes the person being tortured to say anything to get the torture to stop. Accuracy of information is what you're interested in.

Dominating a bad guy to stop an evil action is no different from stunning him with a taser or using other force to stop the action. Dominating him to jump off a cliff if he's just stolen bread to feed his family, definitely evil. Given that we're talking about a fantasy game, in which one can use magic to send people on quests to recover gems for your god, charm person is a small manipulation at best.

As for paladins, they're not designed to be easy to play. You have to have a good sense of morality and confidence in your choices to play one. However, coming up with a usable code and general guide for actions is easy once you have the above sense, and adjust your roleplaying style to fit the god/goddess/code your paladin acquires his or her power from. I have two friends who can play paladins better then most, and they're both moral people with greatly different influences on why they're moral. One is an accepting born again Christian, who demonstrates with actions and good advice why Christ should be a grand path to follow, but never accuses someone else of not being Christian. The other is a devoted Daoist who looks for balance in all of his actions. Both understand that this is a game about playing a role, and enjoying yourself. If you're constantly worried about whether your players are going to cause the orc in the corner to cry because they need some information and are using magic to coerce him, you're thinking about this stuff way, way, way too much.


As soon as I started reading posts in this thread about "torture", this came to mind. . .


Are the capital letters BAD in the thread title an acronym for Bad @$$ Dude?

If it is the, the answer is you betcha.

In a world where people kill each other with swords, I think its funny to have a moral argument about enchantment spells.

I mean, you put a bad guy in prison and they hate every day of it, you make a Suggestion that they guard the prison and they enjoy their job on a daily basis!

Having spent a little time in the military, and having an understanding of what actual interrogation techniques that are used in the real world are, I think I can say that using charm person to convince a person that they want to tell you something is not a bad thing. It leaves no lasting harm, they can happily go about their life afterwards- I mean they don't even limp or have PTSD!


Roberta Yang wrote:

My favorite scene in Star Wars was the one where that stormtrooper guard was shown weeping alone years later over how Obi-Wan violated his mind, though I thought the scenes between him and his therapist were quite compelling as well.

Also, I made a paladin fall once for stabbing an enemy with a sword. Penetrating someone against their will? Sorry, your paladin's a rapist now.

Look, the only thing you've done in this thread is post sarcastic strawman arguments no-one has been even close to making. Do you have anything constructive to add to the discussion? You might want to think at least a bit of what you post.


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I'll stop saying that equating everything to rape is stupid when people stop equating everything to rape.

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Ilja wrote:
forcefully injecting someone with a sedative.

Sleep = evil?

But then again, you said you thought fireball was evil 95% of the time. God, your players must have an awful hard time toeing that kind of alignment line.


Roberta Yang wrote:
Also, I made a paladin fall once for stabbing an enemy with a sword. Penetrating someone against their will? Sorry, your paladin's a rapist now.

This...

well, Kinda ;)

I find the arguement that 'Charm is a tool... the same as a sword,' rather interesting.

A sword is not a tool. A sword has ONE purpose. To kill PEOPLE. Hunters don't use swords... Farmers don't use swords...

If you went with axes or hammers or knives, then the argument could be made that you ARE in fact carrying around a tool... that SOMETIMES needs to be used to kill...

But if you walk around with longsword on you hip?? You bought that because you beleived there was 'killing' that needed to be done. You don't carry around something like that for 'cutting ropes'

I think a strong and narrow view of 'evil' completely breaks the game. The game is based on the idea of dungeon crawls and combat... as is the genre as a whole. You can't say 'it's ok to stab a man'... but it's EVIL to make him do something he doensn't want...

If the target is BAD... then he really has it coming. If the choice is 'pull his fingernails out' or 'magic the info out of him' I have zero issue with charm spells. Or dominate... or Geas... or anything else that will MAKE him be less evil and stop hurting people.

There have been threads that indicated that if you did NOT kill you prisoners, then YOU were responsible for all the evil they may cause in the future.

How can you have it both ways? If you are EVIL... whether the evil overlord, a bandit or anyone in between... you already MADE you choices. You've pretty much earned death and punishment by lawful socities.

making you 'uncomfortable' by asking you to reveal the secret entrance to the bosses lair?? Not on my concern list.

As for common bystanders? I think they'd feel about the same way. I can see two guys sitting at the bar.

"Dude... Looks like the mage is magicing his mind.."

"Wonder what he did to the caster?"

"Looks like jumped in the bar and pulled a knife on him."

"Idiot gets what he deserves then!"


Roberta Yang wrote:
I'll stop saying that equating everything to rape is stupid when people stop equating everything to rape.

Except no-one's been saying that for the last few pages. Atarlost said commoners might view it as a sort of mind rape, especially since they don't know the details of how it works, and LazarX compared it the spell to drugs which are commonly used in date-rapes (benzo etc). No-one said "charm person is like raping someone".

It's not the argument going on here, and the post by you I quoted isn't about the rape verbiage (which I agree is wrong and distasteful, especially if the requests doesn't involve sex).

Andrew R made a not very tasteful comment in the first page of this thread (and even that comment did not equate them) and ever since you've posted a lot of strawmen with no relevance to the discussion.

Equating a magical effect to a chemical one I have no issue with though.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Charlie Bell wrote:
Ilja wrote:
forcefully injecting someone with a sedative.

Sleep = evil?

But then again, you said you thought fireball was evil 95% of the time. God, your players must have an awful hard time toeing that kind of alignment line.

That's because 95 percent of the time it's used by people like evil wizards and sorcerers to torch places like Hommlet. Player character use against evil tends to make up the bulk of the other 5 percent.


Charlie Bell wrote:
But then again, you said you thought fireball was evil 95% of the time. God, your players must have an awful hard time toeing that kind of alignment line.

I didn't say 95% of the times you use a fireball it's evil. I said for a random towndwelling wizard, 95% of the day casting a fireball in a random direction would be an evil action (at the dinner table, taking a stroll through the park, in the market etc). The point being that the situations where it IS socially acceptable is pretty few compared to those it isn't - but also that most people get that and don't have an issue with it.

Just like how throwing molotov cocktails in your day to day life is considered bad. There's situations that calls for some gasoline, but they're the exception.

And yes, if an NPC went around throwing Sleep at random townsfolk that would be considered a crime, especially once it's led to a house catching fire or whatever, and maybe something to hire adventurers to solve!

Casting sleep on someone is like knocking them over the head with a sap, and will generally get about the same reactions (or worse, in areas where magic is shunned by itself).


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

Torture is covered by the heal skill. It lowers saves usually.

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

Ilja wrote:
Charlie Bell wrote:
But then again, you said you thought fireball was evil 95% of the time. God, your players must have an awful hard time toeing that kind of alignment line.

I didn't say 95% of the times you use a fireball it's evil. I said for a random towndwelling wizard, 95% of the day casting a fireball in a random direction would be an evil action (at the dinner table, taking a stroll through the park, in the market etc). The point being that the situations where it IS socially acceptable is pretty few compared to those it isn't - but also that most people get that and don't have an issue with it.

Just like how throwing molotov cocktails in your day to day life is considered bad. There's situations that calls for some gasoline, but they're the exception.

And yes, if an NPC went around throwing Sleep at random townsfolk that would be considered a crime, especially once it's led to a house catching fire or whatever, and maybe something to hire adventurers to solve!

Casting sleep on someone is like knocking them over the head with a sap, and will generally get about the same reactions (or worse, in areas where magic is shunned by itself).

I must have missed where we were talking about throwing spells around indiscriminately in populated areas.


blue_the_wolf wrote:


EVEN IF... the spell ONLY makes you friendly, is that so much better? I mean.. once again if you totally despise this person and he hits you with a drug or spell that suddenly makes you think of him as a friend... when it wheres off wont you feel a bit violated? remember, when it wheres off your going to remember all of it and once again the fact remains its not that nothing horrible happened... its that you didnt even have the ability to not like it.

Nope, I would think of it like I really hate how this guy tends to drink a lot and cause mischief when he does. But then pow, I think to myself hey, this guy's at least offering to spend some time with me, he's a pretty cool guy. We go out, we party. I get plastered. Sick. Come the next morning I can't stop vommiting and I can't help but think to myself...

That guy is a jerk. And I chose pretty poorly. I'll do better next time.

Violated? Not at all. Deceived? Absolutely.

How many cartoony bad guys get double crossed by their leader (or someone) and then go into mental fits about it? Pretty much none of em. They just get angry (er). Lol


Charlie Bell wrote:
I must have missed where we were talking about throwing spells around indiscriminately in populated areas.
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.

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.

Bold mine.

You did, Charlie. I don't think you're alone.

While I don't fully agree with Ilja's position (and I agree that her first post on this tangent was unclear), she does have a point in that things tend to be evil when used indiscriminately, and thus need to be used carefully and in the appropriate context.

The problem is, people continue to see that as "charm is bad." The other problem, is that Ilja is kind of anti-charm (or at least she comes off that way), thus it makes her statements come off as more negative than I think they are meant to be.

Let me put it in this context:

  • Crowbars are great. If you have one, swinging wildly until your exhausted no matter where you are is a bad, stupid idea. Or, using it the way it's supposed to be used (to pry things open) on anything and everything is also a bad, stupid idea.
  • Ladders are great. Using ladders is phenomenal. Taking your ladder, placing it against someone else's house, and climbing on top of their roof is certainly not lawful, and can and will get you in trouble if you do it too much.
  • Coca-Cola is delicious! Giving Coca-Cola to everyone couldn't possibly be bad, right? ... unless you do so surreptitiously and end up giving a super-sugar soda to a diabetic or a recovering cafeene adict. In which case the indiscriminate use causes an bad thing to occur.

Here's the thing. I think Charm is awesome. Please read my earlier post about how I used it in a game:

Tacticslion wrote:

Spoiler-Free Kingmaker Example: I have a lawful good psion in Kingmaker. During one point, he went looking for murderers, and was in a hurry about it before more were killed. Charm Person took care of much of his investigation quickly, and finding one of the murderers (but only one) meant that he had no time to go searching for the rest. Enter charm person again, follow up some flirtation with some questions and a Suggestion spell, and when the target had pretty much confessed her crimes, the legal hammer came down instantly (he'd been very careful not to promise anything, with advanced use of the bluff and diplomacy skill). Subsequent uses of charm, hypnotism, and suggestion meant that she detailed every little bit of the murderous plot quickly, was disabled mostly painlessly, and numerous innocent lives were saved as a result of it.

Guilt-free, because said target was an evil, murderous sociopath who'd taken and killed innocents multiple times and was threatening to do so again, and, frankly, there was no time. She had, in effect, become an combatant by her actions. We all pretty much agreed he handled things in both a lawful and good manner: not resorting to torture and going to the measures he did only for the good of innocents.

So, now you've got my answer.

The point is, I don't believe Charm is evil or unlawful, I don't believe that liberal use of it is evil or unlawful. I believe that Charm is exactly like a crowbar, ladder, and soda. I believe that Charm is exactly like a weapon. I believe that Charm is exactly like anything you have and any non-[Evil] spell you can cast.

The morality entirely depends on how you use it.

Based on that, I'd appreciate it if people who agreed with me would stop giving Ilja and those on a similar side crap about this stuff, because they're making a good-faith effort to be honest. The least people that agree with me - that Charm is not an affront to morality - can do is to respond politely to those that disagree with them.

Now, the question comes, "How will people look at it?", which is what the OP wanted.

And: that entirely depends on the people.

  • Do they know much about magic?
  • Are they often exposed to magic?
  • What is the local culture's response to magic in general?
  • How much do they know about the situation?
  • How much are they aware of "what just happened"?
  • What is the local law?
  • What is the local response about the local law?
  • Do people know the assassins?
  • Do people know the PCs?
  • How obvious are the PCs about doing this?
  • What else is going on?

There are more variables, but I can't come up with them right now.

The thing is, were it me, I'd be getting out of the bar. If I were the kind of person that was totally okay with murder-style violence happening right over there while trying to keep my drink, I'd probably be okay with people using magic on other people, so long as I didn't spill my drink.

Also, Torture, Torture, and Torture. Can we speak the same language now?

Torture is worse than Charm 95% of the time, in the same way that throwing fireballs around indiscriminately is evil 95% of the time.


man what the
I did that Star Wars thing like on the first page.


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Lamontius wrote:

man what the

I did that Star Wars thing like on the first page.

But we weren't yet on page seven. Those things've got to be repeated every once in a while, otherwise people will forget. :)


Yeah, my first post was very unclear, sorry about that.

I'm not anti-charm person as such. I think charm person is one of the better ways to handle conflict, and one of the ways that are generally more accepted. I think that charm person IS an aggression, but one far less drastic than shoving a longsword into someone's body.

Alignment-wise, I wouldn't have an issue with someone charming the bad guys (or if they had strong reasons to believe people are the bad guys), no issue at all with the OP's example. I would have an issue with characters using it as a general way to make up for bad people skills, for example (as someone else put it) coming to a place that's a bit cold towards strangers and using charm person on some bloke to get directions. I think that's an evil act, though a fairly minor one, as it disrespects the targets right to it's own mind and opinions, and the person (for all they know) has done nothing deserving of such a mind-altering. If they charmed people to keep around as their "willing" servants, they would soon venture into evil alignment territory.

But it wasn't just about alignment, it was also (and mostly) about how the rest of society will react towards such behavior. In that regard, it depends more on how they view the charmer and the charmee - if the charmer is a local hero and the charmed person known as a scumbag, they'll probably not get in any trouble. But go around charming random people and you will get rumors of being witches in the bad sense, especially in areas where magic isn't common or socially accepted in general.

Side-note:
I'm however against the vague nature of the spell description, so we houseruled it to simply set the target to "friendly" attitude. With it's high duration, it's still considered one of the better 1st level spells. I think that's by far enough effect for a 1st level spells - for giving orders there's command and suggestion which have their own drawbacks (duration and spell level respectively)


Ilja wrote:
I'm not anti-charm person as such. I think charm person is one of the better ways to handle conflict, and one of the ways that are generally more accepted. I think that charm person IS an aggression, but one far less drastic than shoving a longsword into someone's body.

Agreed!

Ilja wrote:
Alignment-wise, I wouldn't have an issue with someone charming the bad guys (or if they had strong reasons to believe people are the bad guys), no issue at all with the OP's example. I would have an issue with characters using it as a general way to make up for bad people skills, for example (as someone else put it) coming to a place that's a bit cold towards strangers and using charm person on some bloke to get directions. I think that's an evil act, though a fairly minor one. If they charmed people to keep around as their "willing" servants, they would soon venture into evil alignment territory.

Here's where we disagree. With the first sentence, I'd say, "yes, that's right."

With the second, your position boils down to, intentionally or not, "It's wrong to use magic to negate hateful prejudice and get along well with neighbors." If you need directions (or something else entirely reasonable), and people refuse to talk to you, for no good reason and for no fault of your own, what are you going to do? Charm's entire purpose is to be able to sidestep social skills, at least temporarily (and/or do so quickly). Genuinely good wizards who tank charisma? That's what Charm is for. (Aaaaaaaaaand now I have a pretty awesome idea for a Half-Orc wizard.)

On the last sentence we agree.

Ilja wrote:
But it wasn't just about alignment, it was also (and mostly) about how the rest of society will react towards such behavior.

This is totally correct. Given this question, and the "ask for directions" situation above, yeah, people would loath the guy. But they already do, so he's not really any worse off. :)

Ilja wrote:

Side-note:

I'm however against the vague nature of the spell description, so we houseruled it to simply set the target to "friendly" attitude. With it's high duration, it's still considered one of the better 1st level spells. I think that's by far enough effect for a 1st level spells - for giving orders there's command and suggestion which have their own drawbacks (duration and spell level respectively)

A fair enough house rule.


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I agree with Ilja whole heartedly.

especially on the matter or randomly charming people in town to make them like you.

Quote:
your position boils down to, intentionally or not, "It's wrong to use magic to negate hateful prejudice and get along well with neighbors. "It's wrong to use magic to negate hateful prejudice and get along well with neighbors."

Not quite.

The position boils down to, 'It's wrong to use magic to remove my right to have my own opinion.'

The idea is this... if you walk into my neighborhood/town/city I have every right to not like you. It doesn't matter why I dont like you, maybe I am having a bad day, maybe yesterday a group of new comers kicked my dog, or maybe I am just a racist. I still have every right to not like you, you have the right to try and convince me that my opinion is wrong but that right does not include the right to use a mind altering spell/drug/lie or other action in order to force my change of opinion even if all you want to do is ask for directions.

Having said all that the most important point in this entire discussion is this...

Quote:
But it wasn't just about alignment, it was also (and mostly) about how the rest of society will react towards such behavior.

Remember, the point is not 'Is this evil' the two tangents are 'would people seeing this from the third person consider the act bad/wrong' and if they did 'would they see the act of influencing a person through mental assault as better or worse than influencing a person through physical assault'


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blue_the_wolf wrote:

I agree with Ilja whole heartedly.

especially on the matter or randomly charming people in town to make them like you.

Quote:
your position boils down to, intentionally or not, "It's wrong to use magic to negate hateful prejudice and get along well with neighbors. "It's wrong to use magic to negate hateful prejudice and get along well with neighbors."

Not quite.

The position boils down to, 'It's wrong to use magic to remove my right to have my own opinion.'

The idea is this... if you walk into my neighborhood/town/city I have every right to not like you. It doesn't matter why I dont like you, maybe I am having a bad day, maybe yesterday a group of new comers kicked my dog, or maybe I am just a racist. I still have every right to not like you, you have the right to try and convince me that my opinion is wrong but that right does not include the right to use a mind altering spell/drug/lie or other action in order to force my change of opinion even if all you want to do is ask for directions.

Having said all that the most important point in this entire discussion is this...

Quote:
But it wasn't just about alignment, it was also (and mostly) about how the rest of society will react towards such behavior.

Remember, the point is not 'Is this evil' the two tangents are 'would people seeing this from the third person consider the act bad/wrong' and if they did 'would they see the act of influencing a person through mental assault as better or worse than influencing a person through physical assault'

1) Someone not using magic to get you to like them is an arbitrary rule you placed on the situation. I see where it comes from, but in the end it is a self defined limitation to the situation. Since it is your opinion that is fine, but just note that is all it is, your opinion and can not be used in broad sense. Granted a lot of people probably share that opinion but it is not a universal truth.

2) Do not take this personally but the person you are describing sounds like a terrible person and I would have a major internal struggle dealing with someone charm personing him to get directions. If we were townfolk together I probably do not like you, so when someone does something like that I probably take a little pleasure in it, at the same time I would not want someone to do that to me. But then I realize I am a nice person and would have given the man assistance if need be. At the same time I can see how you do have the right to be unlikable and he took that away from you.

3) I think we personally disagree on what people have the "Right" to do. While you have a lot of rights, those rights all come with responsibilities as well. This idea opens up a whole can of worms, and does not directly relate to the situation. However there are a few things that in today's society are illegal to do. Let's take racists for example. Bob is a fanatical white supremacist, he hates all people not of his race. In today's America, if Bob knows someone who built a bomb and planted it in a church, and Bob does not say anything, just by merely not talking Bob is breaking the law. Granted that is not the same as denying someone directions, but the point is our rights are not as rigid as we like to think, they typically bend a lot. Bob has a right to hate whoever, but he has a responsibility to come forward to the police so no one gets hurt.


Quote:
your position boils down to, intentionally or not, "It's wrong to use magic to negate hateful prejudice and get along well with neighbors. "It's wrong to use magic to negate hateful prejudice and get along well with neighbors."
blue_the_wolf wrote:

Not quite.

The position boils down to, 'It's wrong to use magic to remove my right to have my own opinion.'

So, what you're saying, intentionally or not, is,

blue_the_wolf wrote:
"It's wrong to use magic to negate hateful prejudice and get along well with neighbors."

And you're saying that it's wrong because of your (or anyone's) "rights". Specifically, the "right" to hold a hateful prejudice and refuse to get along with people.

blue_the_wolf wrote:
The idea is this... if you walk into my neighborhood/town/city I have every right to not like you. It doesn't matter why I dont like you, maybe I am having a bad day, maybe yesterday a group of new comers kicked my dog, or maybe I am just a racist. I still have every right to not like you, you have the right to try and convince me that my opinion is wrong but that right does not include the right to use a mind altering spell/drug/lie or other action in order to force my change of opinion even if all you want to do is ask for directions.

Pretty much exactly what I said. You're position is that, regardless of whether or not it's fair, you have every right to hate me and treat me poorly, "Just because." and thus deny me something that I might genuinely need for no reason whatsoever.

Again, this boils down to, "It's wrong to use magic to negate hateful prejudice and get along well with neighbors."

blue_the_wolf wrote:

Having said all that the most important point in this entire discussion is this...

Quote:
But it wasn't just about alignment, it was also (and mostly) about how the rest of society will react towards such behavior.
Remember, the point is not 'Is this evil' the two tangents are 'would people seeing this from the third person consider the act bad/wrong' and if they did 'would they see the act of influencing a person through mental assault as better or worse than influencing a person through physical assault'

And I (and many others) answered that question. I understand and accept that the question you asked is the one that you're most interested in (and it's valid to keep reminding you of that), but when others bring up "factual" morality within the thread itself, there's nothing wrong with responding to those claims.

And my response to that within the original situation is in my posts substantially before these, and my response to that within the context of this new situation is in the quote you responded to. Specifically...

me wrote:
This is totally correct. Given this question, and the "ask for directions" situation above, yeah, people would loath the guy. But they already do, so he's not really any worse off. :)

The important part to note about my response, however, is the fact that they already loath the guy, as in before doing the Charm. Thus, his act didn't lower him, it simply reinforced prejudices... presupposing he was dumb enough to do it obviously and out in the open in the first place, and the people in question knew and/or understood what happened.

Reference the original scenario you posted in the OP, I pointed out all the things that are lacking to come to a conclusive decision, and how each of them would lead to different "conclusive" decisions in different (even very similar) situations.

If you presume that people are only partially educated about magic (that it "can do stuff to your mind"), that they distrust it as such, and similar presumptions then and only then you can say for sure that they would hate the bard you mentioned in the OP. If, on the other hand, you don't have those presumptions (and you don't and can't in a loosely defined "standard/generic fantasy setting") than you can't come to that conclusion automatically.

So, to answer your OP question again (I am doing so because you're responding to my quote specifically),

me, like, five posts above yours wrote:

Now, the question comes, "How will people look at it?", which is what the OP wanted.

And: that entirely depends on the people.
[list]

  • Do they know much about magic?
  • Are they often exposed to magic?
  • What is the local culture's response to magic in general?
  • How much do they know about the situation?
  • How much are they aware of "what just happened"?
  • What is the local law?
  • What is the local response about the local law?
  • Do people know the assassins?
  • Do people know the PCs?
  • How obvious are the PCs about doing this?
  • What else is going on?
  • ... which, I've got to say, is like the third or fourth time I've answered the question. :)


    I find this discussion quite interesting, especially with how a recent game has gone.

    Our party has captured (unharmed) a bandit captain. Now, I pretty much know for a fact that one character (who is indeed playing some sort of evil) is planning to use torture to find the whereabouts of the bandit captain's leader.

    Another member likes the bandit captain (it's a she) but isn't actually overly nice to her, just keeping her unharmed and saying things to tease her. (Probably some sort of evil as well.)

    I was originally intending to use Charm so that she wouldn't need to be tortured. We'd have the information, she would be physically unharmed for the other player. The reason I was intending to use charm person instead of normal talk is because she is the very aggressive, independent hard headed type.

    So, should I just try to be nice to her? Come up with a lie she'll most likely disregard? Intimidate an aggressive hard headed type? I don't believe she'll give up information through just talking to her, so I plan on using Charm, getting the info and leaving the party members to do what they wish. The bandit captain has stolen and beheaded people without remorse. I feel that I'm actually being too nice for what she's said to have done. But I'm playing a Neutral, what do I care of good or bad? ; )


    Tacticslion wrote:
    "It's wrong to use magic to negate hateful prejudice and get along well with neighbors.

    Not in general. It's wrong to use _mind-altering_ magic to do it. There's a big difference. Using for example healing magic on the wounded to make the populace like you, or setting up a stage show, or mending equipment is probably good ways to get people to like you that does not infringe on their mental integrity.

    Compare to the statement that it'd be mean to inject anyone who's prejudiced with THC, because pot makes you all nice and happy. While in some cases they do forcefully inject people with things such as that, it's mostly when they're in danger of hurting others or themselves (and some argue that not all ways to prevent people from hurting themselves are okay).

    Now, that "force people to smoke pot because they have a short temperament and are prejudiced" is NOT the same thing as saying "it's wrong to use plants to negate hateful prejudice and get along well with neighbors" (to mirror your statement). There's lots of ways to use plants for that, just not by using a method that belittles their mental integrity.

    For me it's less "the right to have an opinion" and more "the right to have your own mind under you control". I'm okay with societal restrictions on some opinions getting aired, but when it goes to actually mindaltering drugs/magic, we're on very thin ice. It's the material of dystopian literature.


    Its cool tact, I know you have answered the question and I appreciate it. I only bring it up now (and often) in an attempt to keep the discussion from straying TOO far and to inform people who are not following the entire thread but just jumped in on some page half way through.

    Having said that I think that where I intentionally left the OP somewhat vague in an attempt to not over complicate it I think your making some things a bit too specific which makes me feel like your dodging the point.

    lets look at one of our differences.

    I boil this down to:
    "It's wrong to use magic to remove my right to have my own opinion."

    You boil this down to:
    "It's wrong to use magic to negate hateful prejudice and get along well with neighbors."

    When I read your opinion on the matter I get the feeling that your trying to shoe horn the example into one where influencing the persons opinion is... not so bad. your implying the caster is obviously benevolent and nice, the target is obviously horrible and bad, and so forcibly changing his opinion is ultimately OK.

    The intention behind my position is. We cannot debate every single possible iteration and evolution of the situation so we have to address these things in a general sense.

    My statement is an attempt to remove variables from the question and look at it in its raw form. anything beyond that your no longer addressing the question your addressing the rationalization.

    example:
    its kind of like the classic 'is it wrong to kill someone' question.

    Is it wrong to kill a person?
    very simple question, generally speaking the answer is yes.

    Is it wrong to kill a person in self defense?
    the variable makes this a different question with a probable answer of No

    is it wrong to kill some one in self defense when you have access to a non-lethal method of protection?
    more variables make this even MORE complicated even though we are being much more specific.

    Timothy Hanson wrote:
    Blue_the_wolf wrote:
    you have the right to try and convince me that my opinion is wrong but that right does not include the right to use a mind altering spell/drug/lie or other action in order to force my change of opinion even if all you want to do is ask for directions.
    1) Someone not using magic to get you to like them is an arbitrary rule you placed on the situation.

    wait a sec... im not being arbitrary, we are talking about using outside influences to change my oppinon. Drugs, lies, hostages or torture, etc, and in the game world magic. Other than direct and honest interaction I dont know any one who wants tricks to be used to influence their opinion. Its possible your an exception to the rule but you should accept that MOST people are not in that same boat.

    Quote:
    2) Do not take this personally but the person you are describing sounds like a terrible person and I would have a major internal struggle dealing with someone charm personing him to get directions.

    No, I am providing examples, not a self assessment. maybe your a perfect person who never had a bad day and trusts everyone. But not every one is like that and you cant punish them for it. the idea is if you ask someone for directions and they refuse you have no idea why they refuse you can try to convince them or change their opinion but i dont think you have the right to force their opinion using anything other than the power of your personality.

    Im not going to break out some extreme and biased example... but it seems as if your saying if I dont agree with you, you should be free to force my actions or opinions, lucky for me your a nice person who refrains from beating your opinion into me through the goodness of your heart.

    Quote:
    3) I think we personally disagree on what people have the "Right" to do. While you have a lot of rights, those rights all come with responsibilities as well. This idea opens up a whole can of worms, and does not directly relate to the situation. However there are a few things that in today's society are illegal to do. Let's take racists for example. Bob is a fanatical white supremacist, he hates all people not of his race. In today's America, if Bob knows someone who built a bomb and planted it in a church...

    stop right there Mr. Straw-man.

    we are not talking about committing mass murder or through intentional inaction allowing a mass murder to happen. We are talking about some one who doesn't like you and deciding he does not want to give you directions.

    I despise everything about racial, religious or political extremism. And yet I believe that as long as he is not trying to bring harm to any one an extremist has a right to his intolerant opinion and I would fight to defend that right. I also believe that I have the right to try and talk to him and try to change his opinion... but I dont have the right to use any kind force to MAKE him change his opinion, in the game world charm person represents using a magical means to FORCE a change of opinion however benevolent or temporary.

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