How evil is this?


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Liberty's Edge

The Beard wrote:
You know, that thing a demon that's been imprisoned for a long time should have done to begin with assuming even minor intelligence.

Huh? Why? I mean, most demons put some serious effort into getting to the material plane, why would they go back to the Abyss given the option of staying?

I mean, if they had an Abyssal realm to get back to or something...but that's not typical and it seems iffy to waste the opportunity even then.

Dark Archive

I imagine it was probably weakened from its imprisonment. Generally speaking, people don't do that to them unless they're planning to either drain their powers, extract information through exceedingly painful means, or some other nefarious ends. If not then I suppose there was no reason to head home; still a little odd.


AsmodeusUltima wrote:

Okay, one thing that has to be understood in any discussion of alignment is that within the game system's world alignment is objective. This demon is a being composed of the pure metaphysical essence of what it is to be chaotic and evil, a being with no greater impulse than hedonistic pleasure at the expense of all other beings. Releasing it was like releasing a sadistic, armed, psychopathic killer in the middle of a grade school. If the party knew it was a demon, then claiming to not have known what it would do or to not be responsible for its subsequent actions is nothing more than selfish abdication of responsibility. They knowingly released a bit of pure evil on the world, which is definitely an evil act. Furthermore they then became in part responsible for each and every act of depravity said demon committed once it was released, and if they refuse to acknowledge this responsibility and rectify the damage, that is furthering the cause of evil.

To those claiming the act was foolish, not evil, I would say that is an acceptable explanation only if the characters honestly did not comprehend what a demon really is. If they had even the slightest inkling of the pure malice the creature embodies, then the act was both evil and foolish. Further, even if they did not know, once they become aware of the destruction caused by the creature then ignorance is no longer a defense of any sort. If, at that point, they do not take responsibility for their actions and seek to put things right then they are guilty of negligence and evil.

To those claiming the act was chaotic, not evil, I would say read the previous paragraph replacing the word foolish with chaotic. Few things in gaming annoy me more than players claiming that seemingly any action is justified for their character because they are chaotic neutral. "I'm just random, it's my alignment!" Chaotic indicates a penchant for spontaneity, improvisation, and personal freedom, not a free pass to do whatever they please without...

*yawn*


People always seem to get alignment issues screwy, because they interject their own biases. An have a less than stellar understanding of what an alignment even is.

A good person can murder another person and still be a good person. For example.

A lawful good paladin can murder another person and still be lawful good too... heck, they can still be a paladin for that matter.

Intent is always key, but so is context. Without both of those, you cannot make a claim that an act was good or evil, you are missing information.

Murder is generally consider an evil act. Certainly. But add some context; The person being murdered is himself a mass murdering serial puppy kicker. He is one bad dude. Add in some intention; The guy being murder was about to kill a bunch of kids and a couple puppies, and was fighting to the death.

Now is it an evil act to murder this guy? What if that was the only way to stop him? Would that LG Paladin be just fine, morally, for killing this guy? Most people would give a resounding yes, this was a perfectly justified, or even a perfectly good deed… but let’s not forget, the paladin just murdered some dude…

Setting an imprisoned creature free is a chaotic good act. At the base, core, deepest fundamental level, it is chaotic good.

Now let’s add in some context? The creature is a demon, and is evil. Hrm... Well this puts a damper on the good aspect of what they did. Let’s call it neutral now.

Who imprisoned it, and why? Unknown. No change.

What happens after it is released? If unknown, no change. If the party knows that the demon will commit egregious harm... then evil, and modify the new alignment of the act to chaotic evil.

Why do they need Mcguffin? If for good, then modify the act towards good again. If for evil, then evil it is. If to uphold societal norms and traditions... then towards law, etc.

And after we consider all of these facts about the act, putting the act into context, and then examining the motivations and knowledge of the characters involved, we can finally come to a conclusion about whether this is a good deed or an evil one.

But… the funny thing is... that doesn't really matter all that much. A person's alignment isn't defined by a single act. It is defined by who they are as a whole. So one act of evil need not change a good aligned person's alignment at all.

What I find most troubling, is that many people disagree on that point. They seem to think that even one misstep on the moral tightrope means you fall off down to the next level. But moving up again is hard hard hard. How much good one must do to be a good person must outshine their wicked acts so fully, that the evil deeds need to be but a cliff note to their heroic valiant ones.

Why do people think that committing a single evil act could possibly shift someone's alignment immediately? Or even threaten to?

If a demon saves someone's life for no selfish reason whatsoever, simply because it was the right thing to do... does he instantly become a good guy? Or even neutral? Hell no. He is a demon! He's had years of evil depraved acts to atone for. One good deed doesn't ever risk shifting his alignment.

But, one evil act can shift the alignment of a good character?

In a world like that... everyone would be neutral, at best. It just isn't possible.


The one character that released the demon while the rest of the party was still discussing it might have some alignment issues, depending on what his initial alignment was. Also depending on how he (or she. Don't remember or care if that was specified, but I've seen some female role players do some things in game that made me more than a bit queasy) has played the character in the past. Is the character impulsive and inherently trusting? Then sure, letting it go before anyone else can stop him is in character, independent of alignment. In my current game, the halfling (a first time player who wanted the +1 AC boost for small size) has been restrained by the party several times already over the course of just three sessions. The player never attempts a sense motive roll, insisting that whoever has a trusting face (including a faceless stalker, despite half an hour of argument on whether that was even possible on something with faceless right in the name.)

For my money, the most evil act I saw was refusing to help based off the idea that the party is somehow going to get a favor from the demon. That part sent my face into the standard DM expression of "Player say what now???" You know the one. Where the three or more question marks almost visibly appear out of nowhere. the expression that reads, "Wait a minute, you actually expect it to owe you one???" I doubt I could have replied to the players without a twitch and explanation of why it is unlikely they will be able to cash in on said favor. Moreover (and more along the evil lines), it is allowing innocents to be harmed; ostensibly by one's own actions (Using a member of the party as an extension of one's own actions), and specifically by one's own inaction. Once the demon showed evidence of rampaging (if any), there was little reason (at least based solely on alignment) that the party couldn't have interposed and negotiated or fought. Of course, it was a brief description, so the demon could have simply walked off and the PCs don't find out about it until they get to the surface. At which point appropriate shame/legal action/regret/indifference/etc occurs. (Dang. That paragraph needed split apart. Curse my deficient grammatical skills...)

Also, as Remy pointed out, there's a lot more to it, based off context and etcedera that we don't know and can alter the situation.


AsmodeusUltima wrote:
Okay, one thing that has to be understood in any discussion of alignment is that within the game system's world alignment is objective.

Quite right, it has to be since, the paladin has game-mechanics keyed directly to whether or not his acts are evil-aligned. Alignment is objective, and what is considered an evil, good or neutral act can be read right here:

Alignment Chapter wrote:

Good characters and creatures protect innocent life. Evil characters and creatures debase or destroy innocent life, whether for fun or profit.

Good implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others.

Evil implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master.

People who are neutral with respect to good and evil have compunctions against killing the innocent, but may lack the commitment to make sacrifices to protect or help others.

AsmodeusUltima wrote:
This demon is a being composed of the pure metaphysical essence of what it is to be chaotic and evil, a being with no greater impulse than hedonistic pleasure at the expense of all other beings.

Yet, I remind you, and everyone else who reads your comment, not so evil that they are beyond redemption. Risen demons, fallen angels. All have been known to happen in the default campaign setting.

AsmodeusUltima wrote:
If the party knew it was a demon, then claiming to not have known what it would do or to not be responsible for its subsequent actions is nothing more than selfish abdication of responsibility.

Flat out incorrect. Even Pharasma, the goddess of fate and prophecy, who is said to know every creatures final alignment and fate from the moment it is born, still takes the time to carefully go over the creatures actions, before consigning them to the afterlife. She does so because she realizes that no creature is so bound by fate that it cannot decide to do something else at the last minute. Even the goddess of prophecy does not claim to know, with certainty, the actions and would-be-actions of a creature. As a measly, little, absolutely insignificant mortal, making judgements based on what you "know" will happpen, is nothing short of the highest arrogance.

AsmodeusUltima wrote:
They knowingly released a bit of pure evil on the world, which is definitely an evil act.

Again, incorrect. The person who called the creature into whatever trap it was caught in, cast a spell with the [evil] descriptor (which is only an evil act if you play with the book Champions of Purity at your table BTW) Releasing the creature from the outsider trap is not an evil act. They are not responsible for the actions of a sapient creature. It makes its own decisions. Had it warned them beforehand of its intentions, then there would have been an argument to make(but even that could be contested). As it stands it is not, and will never be, an evil act.

AsmodeusUltima wrote:
Furthermore they then became in part responsible for each and every act of depravity said demon committed once it was released, and if they refuse to acknowledge this responsibility and rectify the damage, that is furthering the cause of evil.

Wildly Incorrect, again. They are no more responsible for the actions of that demon, than the mother of Abrogail Thrune II is responsible for her daughter violently assuming control of Cheliax with the help of the infernal host.

AsmodeusUltima wrote:
If they had even the slightest inkling of the pure malice the creature embodies, then the act was both evil and foolish. Further, even if they did not know, once they become aware of the destruction caused by the creature then ignorance is no longer a defense of any sort. If, at that point, they do not take responsibility for their actions and seek to put things right then they are guilty of negligence and evil.

Not interceding is a neutral act. If a merchant does not fund the construction of a dam, and then suddenly the following spring, a flood threatens to destroy and flood 2 orphanages and a kitten-farm, his decision not to fund the construciton of the dam is still neutral. And not putting on his swimming trunks and leaping into the water trying to save the children and kittens is also neutral. Read the alignment chapter.

If the players were to try to stop the demon, for no other reason than it killing and hurting alot of people, that would mean the players SACRIFICING something to HELP others. That is what we know as a good act within our objective alignment system. Not doing anything, at my social circles known as "the way of the druid", is neutral.

AsmodeusUltima wrote:
To those claiming the act was chaotic, not evil, I would say read the previous paragraph replacing the word foolish with chaotic. Few things in gaming annoy me more than players claiming that seemingly any action is justified for their character because they are chaotic neutral.

Few things annoy 'me' more than people arguing alignment without reading the alignment chapter.

-Nearyn


It's as evil as someone that puts nuts on my brownies.

Dark Archive

@blahpers:
Your comment was both rude and nonconstructive. If you have issue with what I wrote, at least have the decency to outline what and why.

@Nearyn:
While it is true that demons can be redeemed, the rarity of such an occurrence is such that assuming this particular individual was such a creature would be ludicrous. If the demon had masterfully bluffed its way into convincing the party that it was a reformed being, that would be a different tale, and releasing it would not have been evil. Foolish to believe such a creature about so important a thing as to simply let it free, but not evil. However, the OP gave no indication that such a deception had occurred, and so I wrote with the assumption that the party entered into this "agreement" with the foreknowledge that they were dealing with a creature of pure evil.

I am going to mentally replace all instances of you telling me that I am incorrect with "I disagree", since the former makes you sound incredibly arrogant and rude. As outlined in the previous paragraph, there was no indication that the party had any reason to believe the demon was anything other than a standard member of its ilk fresh from the Abyss. The argument that they were right not to assume it would immediately go forth to commit evil because they are not omniscient is, itself, a foolish and selfish abdication of responsibility. It is akin to someone in the real world letting a man who is wearing a prison jumpsuit, and whom they have never met, out of his cell in the maximum security prison because they think it would be arrogant to assume he was dangerous or had done anything to deserve imprisonment.

Yes, the person who summoned and bound the demon committed an evil act according to Pathfinder RPG rules, as surely as someone who used Animate Dead to create skeletons. Notably, however, it was the PCs who knowingly and deliberately released an extremely dangerous creature in a populated area because it was convenient for them to do so. That is negligence in the highest form! Only if they were brutally stupid could the characters have not predicted that as a very likely outcome of their actions, and yet they cavalierly did so anyway.

Your analogy of Abrogail's mother is not apropos in this situation. Much closer is the one I used in my original post about releasing a rabid animal at a grade school. A parent attempts to guide a child and instil in it proper values, but is ultimately not responsible for the actions of the adult said child grows up to be. A person who knowingly and willingly opens the cage door for a known extremely dangerous and aggressive beast in close proximity to innocent victims, on the other hand, would be convicted in any court in the world. Also, when I said that they would be furthering the cause of evil by not taking responsibility and seeking to rectify their mistake, note that I did not say this would count as further action. Rather, it was along the lines of the famous quote most often attributed to Edmund Burke, "The only necessary thing for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Or neutral men (and women, and elves, etc), as the case may be.

I have read the alignment chapter, thank you, and many articles and treatises on the matter over the course of decades. One mistake that is common in discussions on the matter is assuming that the action in question takes place in a vacuum. If the party had simply wandered into a random city and found that a demon was rampaging, then yes, you are correct, trying to stop it would be a good act, doing nothing would be neither good nor evil. That was not the case, however, not by a long shot. This demon was there, rampaging, costing innocent lives only by direct consequence of the PCs actions. That makes them responsible. This is a basic concept potentially understood by beings of any alignment. Note in the lines you quoted from the alignment chapter that there is nothing said about personal responsibility. That is because such a thing is not tied to alignment, but rather wisdom and maturity. A wise being of any alignment understands when they are responsible for a situation; what they do about said responsibility is defined by their alignment.

Also please note that I am not saying the PCs are the only responsible party in this massacre. The summoner and the demon itself both share culpability. If the demon is sentient, it understands that it is in control of its own actions and that it is killing because of its own decision to do so. It understands that it is responsible. It simply does not care, because it is evil. In the real-world analogy about the grade school, the rabid dog would not share this knowledge as it is an animal, and therefore lacks moral agency. The person who opened the cage because he wanted to retrieve a valuable inside and who then witnesses the dog go on to savage third graders, regardless of whether or not he intended that consequence, had better damn well understand that he is responsible for what is going on. If he is anything other than evil, he will care about these poor children being mauled. If he is good, he will do everything he can to stop the dog. If he is neutral, he will do whatever he thinks is reasonable, such as calling the authorities and shouting warnings to the other children, for instance. Morally neutral characters may not be expected to leap into the fray, but refusing to clean up one's own mess, especially one that is directly leading to the loss of innocent life, is uncaring to the point of evil.

As for your last comment, I found it to be both uncalled for. I enjoy debate and respect both you and your opinions, so long as you do not give me reason to stop doing so. Assuming that I have not read the alignment chapter just because I do not agree with your viewpoint on the matters contained therein is arrogant and rude. I welcome your opinions on the matter, but ask that you maintain civility. We are all, after all, intelligent people brought together by shared love of a game, and there is no need for rudeness.

@Remy:
I am inclined to agree with what I believe to be your overall point, that a single deed rarely is enough to damn or redeem a person by itself. Alignment is not made of single deeds, but rather behavior over time. That is part of the reason why, despite the rather vehement views of others earlier in this thread, I actually like the gradiated alignment system: it allows me to more acurately see the flow and change that naturally occurs in people who are not two-dimensional cartoons. As I've said before, releasing the demon knowing that it would likely wreak havoc in the city was a minor evil act. Seeking to stop it later would be a good act, counter-balancing the first and keeping the party firmly neutral. A realistic neutral person is like this! They are not neutral because they engage only in ambiguitous "Neutral" acts, but because they commit acts of minor good and evil in roughly equal amounts. Because they give to charity one day, then turn around and kick a stray dog that got in their way because they're having a bad day. A person who believes in, and acts in accordance with, Neutrality as a concept implying balance between good and evil makes sense only in a fantasy world where Good and Evil are real, measureable forces, and even then most people, even neutral people, look at that druid funny when he says he hopes the evil dragon is not killed because the kindly king is becoming too strong.


AsmodeusUltima wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **...

Well, next time don't wax on for chapters about your own personal morality when you yourself pointed out that "alignment is objective" and 99 percent of what you posted was irrelevant because of that. It's boring and useless to the OP.

Dark Archive

Question wrote:

Party bumps into sealed demon with macguffin. They have two choices : Kill it and take it, or let it go whereupon the demon will give them the macguffin and leave without a fight.

Party chooses B, demon leaves and wrecks a good part of the city on its way out.

GM set up clichéd moral dilemma, where people get punished no matter what they do?

Not evil, just annoying. Recommended punishment involves silly-stringing the GM to their chair and flogging them with pasta until they sees the error of their ways and recant.

Quote:

Party has the choice to chase after it and stop it, but chooses not to because the demon owes them a favor which they plan to collect at some point.

Also what if the decision wasnt unanimious and some members of the party wanted to stop the demon but couldnt do it on their own, so had to go with the majority?

Those who voted to let it go, particularly because they wanted it to owe them a favor, totally evil. Those who voted to go after it and kill it, a little tick unlawful (breaking their agreement), but, ultimately, more good than evil.


Set wrote:
Question wrote:

Party bumps into sealed demon with macguffin. They have two choices : Kill it and take it, or let it go whereupon the demon will give them the macguffin and leave without a fight.

Party chooses B, demon leaves and wrecks a good part of the city on its way out.

GM set up clichéd moral dilemma, where people get punished no matter what they do?

Since when is "killing a Demon" a punishment?


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SAMAS wrote:


GM set up clichéd moral dilemma, where people get punished no matter what they do?

Since when is "killing a Demon" a punishment?

Killing a demon isn't.

Fighting one might be, depending on how powerful it is compared to the party.

As well, it's pretty dickish to give your party two options to complete a mission and then go "Oops, sorry forgot to mention, there's only one REAL option I'll let you take, the other one bad stuff will happen".


Pretty much the job of the DM is to be a bit dickish.I regularly foul up my players well made plans,have them work a bit too well,turn it around so it turns out they only knew a few of the facts,were lied to the whole time and they just opened a huge can of worms and even occasionally just have everything go right according to their plans.

Whatever makes them game more interesting.Also just like it life...sometimes there is no good option.It's pick the best of horrible crap all around!

I don't know enough about the OP's style to know if he set the entire thing up for them to have one of those "oh crap" moments but I'm guessing he didn't and they were just supposed to kill the creature.

Either way,doesn't sound like he is being bad.Maybe not doing everything he could to create more fun for the main stars of his little movie/game but.......


Rynjin wrote:
SAMAS wrote:


Quote:
GM set up clichéd moral dilemma, where people get punished no matter what they do?

Since when is "killing a Demon" a punishment?

Killing a demon isn't.

Fighting one might be, depending on how powerful it is compared to the party.

As well, it's pretty dickish to give your party two options to complete a mission and then go "Oops, sorry forgot to mention, there's only one REAL option I'll let you take, the other one bad stuff will happen".

I disagree. Just because I give you options or choices does not require me to make them all equally valid or good. Hell, I can put you in a situation where both choices suck (i.e. Virmire in Mass Effect) if I think it serves the story/setting.

Furthermore, the situation in that case was pretty logical. If you let a frakkin' DEMON loose, what did you expect was gonna happen? Then, when they had the option to do something about it, they chose not to solely for personal gain.

So where the test was "Do it the easy way or the hard way", they chose the Easy way, and it had consequences.


It's "choices" like this that lead to threads of DMs frustrated and confused as to why their players "Never want to try diplomacy and always kill every obstacle I put in front of them. =("

Dark Archive

SAMAS wrote:
Set wrote:
Question wrote:

Party bumps into sealed demon with macguffin. They have two choices : Kill it and take it, or let it go whereupon the demon will give them the macguffin and leave without a fight.

Party chooses B, demon leaves and wrecks a good part of the city on its way out.

GM set up clichéd moral dilemma, where people get punished no matter what they do?

Since when is "killing a Demon" a punishment?

My bad. I misread the options.

Choice is to kill demon and take McGuffin, or make deal to release it for personal gain?

Yeah, I totally misread that. That's pretty darn evil. Killing it after making the deal would just be a bit of chaotic evil frosting on the already chaotic evil cake.

Dark Archive

blahpers wrote:
Well, next time don't wax on for chapters about your own personal morality when you yourself pointed out that "alignment is objective" and 99 percent of what you posted was irrelevant because of that. It's boring and useless to the OP.

I will write as much or as little as I see fit. If you are not interested in reading it, you are more than welcome to skip it. I was not writing about my "own personal morality", but on the nature of morality within context of the game, which is entirely on subject within the context of this thread. You may be bored, but you have no call to be rude about it, and I would thank you to let the OP decide for themselves if my thoughts are of any use.

tl;dr In case the above paragraph is still too much reading for your poor eyes to handle: it's a public forum, I'm on topic, get over yourself.


Rynjin wrote:
It's "choices" like this that lead to threads of DMs frustrated and confused as to why their players "Never want to try diplomacy and always kill every obstacle I put in front of them. =("

Then those players have some thin-ass skin if they need a gold star no matter what they do.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for giving more than one way to solve a problem. But at the same time, I don't see nothing wrong in occasionally requiring your players to actually think about their choices in terms other than their own convenience. They chose the coward's path out of either fear, laziness or greed, and now they gotta face the consequences.


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AsmodeusUltima wrote:
blahpers wrote:
Well, next time don't wax on for chapters about your own personal morality when you yourself pointed out that "alignment is objective" and 99 percent of what you posted was irrelevant because of that. It's boring and useless to the OP.

I will write as much or as little as I see fit. If you are not interested in reading it, you are more than welcome to skip it. I was not writing about my "own personal morality", but on the nature of morality within context of the game, which is entirely on subject within the context of this thread. You may be bored, but you have no call to be rude about it, and I would thank you to let the OP decide for themselves if my thoughts are of any use.

tl;dr In case the above paragraph is still too much reading for your poor eyes to handle: it's a public forum, I'm on topic, get over yourself.

Incorrect. The vast majority of your post was subjective opinion being touted as fact. The opinion is on topic. Touting it as absolute and objective is misleading, arrogant, and detrimental to the OP

Ugh, why do I bother with alignment threads. Everybody always feels that they know the One True Morality. As if talking politics with your relatives isn't bad enough. Anyway, carry on with your nonsense, I won't trouble you further. The OP can figure out who's full of it.

Dark Archive

Funny, I just reread my posts just to make sure that I was not misremembering, and, yes, I never once claimed that what I said was anything more than my opinion. What a thoroughly rude individual.


This is about as evil as putting nuts on brownies in a house with a person who is deathly allergic to nuts and loves brownies.

Is it stupid? Yes.

Is it evil? Nope, they're responsible for their own choices.


This situation is nowhere near that benign. We're talking about both the deaths of innocent people and deliberate refusal to do anything about it in the hopes of a favor from a being with no honor whatsoever.

It is Stupid, Evil, and Stupidly Evil, in that order.


SAMAS wrote:
This situation is nowhere near that benign. We're talking about both the deaths of innocent people and deliberate refusal to do anything about it in the hopes of a favor from a being with no honor whatsoever...

(adjusted for addition of quote)

Mmmm. The original poster has indicated nothing other than resultant property damage ('Quote:...wrecks a good part of the city...'). No indication of casualties was given nor, if occuring, of whether such casualties were little elderly hairdressers (about as potentially harmless and benignly useful a mortal as you can get) or fanatical cultists of the four hoursemen plotting to bring a little bit of Hades to the world.
No mention was given either of whether any attempt had been made to call in the assumed favour, and if so whether the response was 'nyuh nyuh nyuh nyuh nyuh!' or 'Hmm, well that's both cheeky and presumptuous of you, but I have got time and that sounds both fun and reasonable, so sure, I guess why not?'

Disclaimer:
See posts on previous page. But suffice it to say that Ask A Succubus is giving the (CE) perspective of a Very Advanced Succubus; any Asmodeus worshipping lawyers harmed in the making of this post were shown only mercy entirely appropriate to their life-choices and positions.


Although actually, to be honest, I'm not sure if I should be quibbling about judging actions based on what results from them, rather than on the basis of the acts themselves. I actually (obviously minus the judgement bit, which sounds a bit stuffy and lawful) ought to be in favour of deeds being viewed solely in the light of the end results than for what they actually are in the moment of their comission. Ah well. I'm a Tanar'ri. I'm entitled to be contrary... :)

Disclaimer:
See other (previous) posts on this thread.

Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Did they know the consequences of their actions before they took them? If so, evil. If not, stupidity ignorant.


SAMAS wrote:

Then those players have some thin-ass skin if they need a gold star no matter what they do.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for giving more than one way to solve a problem. But at the same time, I don't see nothing wrong in occasionally requiring your players to actually think about their choices in terms other than their own convenience. They chose the coward's path out of either fear, laziness or greed, and now they gotta face the consequences.

"Coward's path"?

They tried something different. It backfired. Bad shit happened.

That should be the extent of it, not running to the forums trying to justify alignment shifts and figuring out roundabout ways to justify APL+8 adventuring parties to kill them.


Ask a Succubus wrote:
SAMAS wrote:
This situation is nowhere near that benign. We're talking about both the deaths of innocent people and deliberate refusal to do anything about it in the hopes of a favor from a being with no honor whatsoever...

(adjusted for addition of quote)

Mmmm. The original poster has indicated nothing other than resultant property damage ('Quote:...wrecks a good part of the city...'). No indication of casualties was given nor, if occuring, of whether such casualties were little elderly hairdressers (about as potentially harmless and benignly useful a mortal as you can get) or fanatical cultists of the four hoursemen plotting to bring a little bit of Hades to the world.

Unless your GM works for 4Kids, wrecking a large urban area usually involves death and injury on a similar scale for those in said area. Unless you actually think the demon waited until people evacuated before it started smashing/burning/etc...?

Quote:
No mention was given either of whether any attempt had been made to call in the assumed favour, and if so whether the response was 'nyuh nyuh nyuh nyuh nyuh!' or 'Hmm, well that's both cheeky and presumptuous of you, but I have got time and that sounds both fun and reasonable, so sure, I guess why not?'

Considering that we're dealing with a Chaotic Evil Outsider, the chances of it honoring a deal that it already got what it wanted out of are somewhere between "You're kidding, right?" and "Haha, suckers!"


Rynjin wrote:

Dumb? Yes.

Evil? No.

I'd be willing to wager what they thought was going to happen was the Demon would go back to the Abyss upon being set free.

This is posible.

SO my answer is "it depends". If they thought the demon would go to the abyss then it was just dumb, but if they knew the demon would go to kill some innocents taht it is definitely evil.


Question wrote:

Party bumps into sealed demon with macguffin. They have two choices : Kill it and take it, or let it go whereupon the demon will give them the macguffin and leave without a fight.

Party chooses B, demon leaves and wrecks a good part of the city on its way out.

Party has the choice to chase after it and stop it, but chooses not to because the demon owes them a favor which they plan to collect at some point.

Also what if the decision wasn't unanimous and some members of the party wanted to stop the demon but couldn't do it on their own, so had to go with the majority?

Assuming all good alignments of some kind in the party, this would be (IMO) a pretty darn evil act.

1) Those who knowingly set loose a powerful evil, uncaring and indifferent to the death and destruction it would cause, would take a powerful alignment hit. The ONLY alignments in the game who are indifferent to destruction, death and suffering are the evil ones. Neutral may not be altruistic in their outlook but they are definitely not ones who don't value life. Letting loose a powerful demon would definitely not be in their long term best interest.

2) Part of the motivation for not countering this evil was pure greed. They not only get the magcuffin at no risk but they get a nice bribe in the form of a 'favor' and all they have to do is sell the lives of multitudes of innocent for it by letting the demon do what it will in the world, killing and destroying.

The ones who objected but were overruled I would say would have covered their alignment and would not take an immediate hit. After all suicide accomplishes absolutely nothing and if they truly had no chance to defeat the creature without the dissenters then it would be hubris and folly to try and die in the attempt.

But if they truly are opposed to this creature, they would need to follow up somehow to try and destroy/contain/recapture it. If their current companions won't then they should find new ones or new powers they can work with who will. Also they should refuse to ever take part in whatever 'favor' the Demon would give them later. Expedience and profit is never a valid excuse.

Part of being a good is accountability for ones own actions and if you let loose a powerful evil then it is your responsibility to try and deal with it when you can. This is a tenet that all three good alignment can actually agree on.

Now if this was say a mephit, the magnitude of the act would have been less but the transgressions the same.

But you say the demon was powerful enough to destroy half a city. That is grade "A" craven, evil, indifference, cowardice and greed from those who let it loose.

Nail them on it. They earned it with their eyes open.

Also the city government, good churchs or good group who learn they did so will be out to get them and punish them (and rightly so). Maybe even the non good ones if they suffered under the demons wrath. If the thieves guild lost half their number for example, they might want a little vengence against those who did it. If an evil temple was hiddem in the city and it got destroyed in the rampage, maybe they too will be a bit peeved at all that effort wasted and work lost.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Making pacts with fiends could be considered an evil act in its own right, but not killing the fiend most certainly is not (otherwise, fleeing peasants would all have committed an evil act). However, it is also worth noting that all evil needs to succeed in the world is for good men to do nothing.


If the players had any reason to suspect the demon would sow destruction on it's way out then I would call it evil to have released the demon and not tried to kill it.

If the players thought that by making the deal and asking it to leave (or for some reason had cause to believe the demon would leave without incident) then it was a neutral act. The fact that the demon didn't hold up its end of the bargain makes the party dumb, not evil.

If in the entire party no one thought it would be an issue, again dumb but not evil. If anyone thought it might be a bad idea to release the demon and did nothing to stop it...neutral to maybe evil. And here's the problem, this is the most likely case (though not completely clear from what I've read).

If you have reason to believe the demon would cause harm (and the creature simply being a demon is reason enough) and do nothing your inaction is the indirect cause of the destruction. To me, this leans towards evil, but not sufficient on it's own to change alignment. But I would keep it in consideration for the future. Ignoring any paladin issues, the party should keep going along without any change, though I would keep this act in mind with future actions that may lead to alignment change.


Set wrote:
Question wrote:

Party bumps into sealed demon with macguffin. They have two choices : Kill it and take it, or let it go whereupon the demon will give them the macguffin and leave without a fight.

Party chooses B, demon leaves and wrecks a good part of the city on its way out.

GM set up clichéd moral dilemma, where people get punished no matter what they do?

How is this a dilemma? The OP implied they could kill it. So, unless you view killing a demon as an evil act, the choice seems pretty cut and dried. Maybe it's a matter of risk, but frankly, if it's caged, can't you take all the time you want to buff, maybe even buy some demonbane weapons?

EDIT: sorry, didn't read far enough to note that you already realized this.

@Rynjin: I typically agree with a lot of what you say, but I just don't see where you're coming from here. If the party has a strict timeline, has to choose right now, or something, then sure, it might be a harder choice. If trying to kill it will free it anyways, maybe a harder choice. The question as posed seems like a simple "kill the monster, take the loot" equation. I mean, as a DM, I've sometimes had monsters try to parley, but if it was a Glabrezu or something, *of course* it's going to offer you power. That's what he does! A simple Knowledge: Planes should give you an idea of what is going on.

Shadow Lodge RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

Is it evil to dump toxic waste into the local water supply?


Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

Is it evil to dump toxic waste into the local water supply?

No, because it allows Julia Roberts to become a lawyer.


Gauthok wrote:


@Rynjin: I typically agree with a lot of what you say, but I just don't see where you're coming from here. If the party has a strict timeline, has to choose right now, or something, then sure, it might be a harder choice. If trying to kill it will free it anyways, maybe a harder choice. The question as posed seems like a simple "kill the monster, take the loot" equation. I mean, as a DM, I've sometimes had monsters try to parley, but if it was a Glabrezu or something, *of course* it's going to offer you power. That's what he does! A simple Knowledge: Planes should give you an idea of what is going on.

Where I'm coming from:

It was dumb to let the Demon go (because they enacted no sort of enforceable assurance that it wouldn't go rampaging, such as "We'll let you go if you willingly fail your save vs Banishment").

It was not evil to do so.

The GM should not be seeking new ways to punish them and enact a "Rocks fall" scenario (APL+8 adventuring parties coming in waves being one of the "helpful" suggestion).

The action in and of itself should be a punishment, not "Well I don't like that, you're all dead now durr".


Its also a demon there is no garentee that it would even follow a contract or agreament past getting itself free. Devils are about the contracts.

Shadow Lodge RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

Rynjin wrote:
Gauthok wrote:


@Rynjin: I typically agree with a lot of what you say, but I just don't see where you're coming from here. If the party has a strict timeline, has to choose right now, or something, then sure, it might be a harder choice. If trying to kill it will free it anyways, maybe a harder choice. The question as posed seems like a simple "kill the monster, take the loot" equation. I mean, as a DM, I've sometimes had monsters try to parley, but if it was a Glabrezu or something, *of course* it's going to offer you power. That's what he does! A simple Knowledge: Planes should give you an idea of what is going on.

Where I'm coming from:

It was dumb to let the Demon go (because they enacted no sort of enforceable assurance that it wouldn't go rampaging, such as "We'll let you go if you willingly fail your save vs Banishment").

It was not evil to do so.

The GM should not be seeking new ways to punish them and enact a "Rocks fall" scenario (APL+8 adventuring parties coming in waves being one of the "helpful" suggestion).

The action in and of itself should be a punishment, not "Well I don't like that, you're all dead now durr".

I'm with you up to a point. If the party let the demon go because somehow didn't realize the demon was going to rampage, then yeah, letting it go is stupid more than evil (although it's probably criminally negligent).

However, if they let the demon go because they didn't care if it rampages or not, that's evil. That's dumping toxic waste into the river.

The fact that the party then saw the demon rampaging, and didn't try to mitigate their mistake at all leads me to believe the latter is the case, not the former.

I agree with you that hitting them with"rocks fall" is a bad solution, but the pcs actions should have consequences. That might mean getting new adventure hooks from decidedly unsavory sources, or new challenges from traditionally goody good ones. We should explore "does the party continue down the path to evil, or do they redeem themselves?" It doesn't have to mean we all stop having fun, but it should change the tone of the game.


Rynjin wrote:
Gauthok wrote:


@Rynjin: I typically agree with a lot of what you say, but I just don't see where you're coming from here. If the party has a strict timeline, has to choose right now, or something, then sure, it might be a harder choice. If trying to kill it will free it anyways, maybe a harder choice. The question as posed seems like a simple "kill the monster, take the loot" equation. I mean, as a DM, I've sometimes had monsters try to parley, but if it was a Glabrezu or something, *of course* it's going to offer you power. That's what he does! A simple Knowledge: Planes should give you an idea of what is going on.

Where I'm coming from:

It was dumb to let the Demon go (because they enacted no sort of enforceable assurance that it wouldn't go rampaging, such as "We'll let you go if you willingly fail your save vs Banishment").

It was not evil to do so.

The GM should not be seeking new ways to punish them and enact a "Rocks fall" scenario (APL+8 adventuring parties coming in waves being one of the "helpful" suggestion).

The action in and of itself should be a punishment, not "Well I don't like that, you're all dead now durr".

The Evil is not in letting the Demon go.

The Evil is standing around as it kills innocents, and do nothing.

The Stupid Evil is doing so because you think will give you a favor.

A proper response is not so much "Rocks Fall" as it is to let them live with the full weight of the consequences of their actions. Have the Demon either laugh in their faces when they try to call in the favor, or try to trick them into doing something worse.

If it's known that they were involved in the Demon's release/rampage, then have the survivors and the surrounding area treat them accordingly.

"Rocks Fall" is only appropriate if they deliberately stand under the rocks and kick out the support beams.

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