Is Pacifism doable?


Advice

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Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Zhayne wrote:
LazarX wrote:

That makes as much sense as saying a Cleric can be an atheist.

They can. Cleric of an ideal/philosophy.

Which to me simply never made sense. Let's try this again. If you're a Cleric of Apollo, this means that you DO believe that Apollo exists and he's the one as far as you are concerned.


LazarX wrote:
Zhayne wrote:
LazarX wrote:

That makes as much sense as saying a Cleric can be an atheist.

They can. Cleric of an ideal/philosophy.

Which to me simply never made sense. Let's try this again. If you're a Cleric of Apollo, this means that you DO believe that Apollo exists and he's the one as far as you are concerned.

Yes, IF you a cleric of Apollo. I-F.

If you are a cleric of the abstract concept 'Justice', or you worship the sun directly, then you can certainly be an atheist.


Pacifism also could work depending on the game. If pacifism means that your character won't harm living things, then maybe pounding away on undead or constructs would be just fine.


In a home game, as long as everyone is having fun sure. I'd really hammer down the 'pacifist' philosphy though as it applies to the game.

Please, do not ever play a pacifist character in Pathfinder Society where you will be playing with people you do not know.


awp832 wrote:
maybe so, but such a druid might say that it is the role of enlightened beings to rise above the natural state of violence and be guardians of life.

That just screamed Buddhism to me.

Go with more of a Taoist approach. Life and Death, Violence and Peace, the universe is made up of opposing forces that can't exist without the other. You can choose to focus on one and still learn about both. You'd still have to accept both, but you don't actually have to pursue both... if that makes any sense at all.


If you're playing standard kill lots of stuff for XP pathfinder, it can be difficult for a pure pacifist character, but if you offer a little flexibility in how XP (or similar if you don't use XP) is accrued, it can be not only doable, but a heck of a lot of fun.

I used to play a pacifist monk. He wouldn't throw the first punch ever, and would always endeavour to deal non lethal damage... however, if the foes ignored his advice to desist, he'd bring the confrontation to a very rapid end.

In my current game we have a pacifist gnome paladin who, I kid you not, heals the bad guys after they've been taken out, and will often prevent the others from killing them if they are no longer a threat.

Equally there is an evangelist cleric, who is remarkably good at convincing the antagonists that the one true (unspecified) god will smite them if they don't repent of their sins.

And a rogue, with so many bonuses to bluff and diplomacy, she hardly ever, ever has to fight.

I'm happy to give out XP for all solutions to problems, and often more XP than if they were to simply kill everything that moves. It's not difficult to build a game that caters for a pacifist.

For the more killy, we have a Wild Mage who blows up pretty much everything and everyone, and a dwarf fighter who bashes lots of people, regardless of their alignment or allegiance.


It certainly is doable. I play a pacifist character, I've never dealt damage to any enemy. My character has been attacked many times by trying to befriend the obvious enemies, and used mind affecting magic to shut down a wide variety of conflict instigators, and has persuaded evil undead to accept an Atonement to give up their evil ways. The plot of the game has to do with the Four Horsemen, and the GM has implied that as a result of my character's extreme pacifism, she may be the only one immune to the powers of the Horseman of War.

Your game is only as good as your imagination, your GM and your co-players. Don't let anyone dissuade you from playing a pacifist. It's far more satisfying to defy the murder-hobo trope.


I'm sorry if you've already gotten all of these answers already, but here goes. The ultimate answer is: It /is/ possible. However, this character's ability to function will be almost completely dependent on the rest of the party.

That said, I have a suggestion for your player. Go the diplomat/healer route. She can be the type of character who tries to avoid combat through diplomacy. I don't know what the official PF rules on this is, but my husband gives partial XP (usually half, but sometimes even full depending on how well we do) for fights that are avoided. For those times when she is unable to convince an enemy not to engage, she can stay back and buff/heal the party. This way, she will have something to do in combat, other than cower out of the way and will also fulfill her character's dislike for violence in a role play sense.


Before you post: Check OP date!


I am curious how it worked out.

I've never played a pacifist character, but I have played a support bard before. I actually started doing a semi-pacifist thing as a personal challenge. I wanted to see how effective I could be without directly damaging our foes. Results were mixed.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I played with someone who had a pacifist PC.

My PC killed him.


I had a player who made a pacifist character. He took witch class, and was party debuffer/healer and faceman. A lot of hexing and mind-affecting spellcasting. And took leadership feat for fighter cohort, to balance his character pacifism. Also gave him some achievement feats.


I don't know about full-fledged pacifism... I've never seem that work very well...

But what can work is make a "reasonably pacifist" combatant... I once had a Paladin who tried to avoid violence whenever possible, usually through Bluff/DiplomacyStealth (please, don't get hung upnon the Bluff part, we really don't need yet another Paladin thread. If it bothers you, just pretend he was an Inquisitor or something). and in combat he'd would always use non-damaging options, such as Disarm, Grapple and Trip. If attacking was unavoidable, he used non-lethal damage... The only exceptions to this rule were undead and creatures with the Evil subtype (and even then he'd occasionally offer them a chance to surrender).

That was as close to successfully playing a pacifist character as I could manage.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

It all depends on the game, and players.

The pacifist PC I murdered, was in a Pirate campaign, with nearly all near evil, and one fully evil(me) PCs.

So, if it's a game of murderous pirates, as the majority of the PCs, don't be the one pacifist PC, with a Vow of Poverty, and a Vow of Truth, with a habit of donating their fellow PC's booty to charity.


I did not read all Posts so it might have been said but:

Give the pacifist PC antagonize and flagbearer. Then have him stand around with the flag to buff allies. At the start of combat have him use the diplomacy version of antagonize. After that use total defence unless a friend is in danger of being knocked out/ killed by an enemy. Then use the intimidate version of antagonize.

Use the spells out of combat or to heal. Have a bodyguard animal companion who uses bodyguard to protect the party.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

If you didn't read all the posts, then you may not know this is an old thread.


I really have to echo some of the sentiments of the posters above. It really depends on if your player's PC doesn't mind helping others do the dirty work.

EDIT: yeesh, didn't notice it was a necro

blackbloodtroll wrote:

It all depends on the game, and players.

The pacifist PC I murdered, was in a Pirate campaign, with nearly all near evil, and one fully evil(me) PCs.

So, if it's a game of murderous pirates, as the majority of the PCs, don't be the one pacifist PC, with a Vow of Poverty, and a Vow of Truth, with a habit of donating their fellow PC's booty to charity.

That sounds like it would be hilarious. That or really terrible for the pacifist PC (even before they got TK'd). Dare I ask, how long did the Vow loving PC last in a group of bloodthirsty pirates. Also, did he decide to fight back (if he got a chance to).

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Snowblind wrote:

I really have to echo some of the sentiments of the posters above. It really depends on if your player's PC doesn't mind helping others do the dirty work.

blackbloodtroll wrote:

It all depends on the game, and players.

The pacifist PC I murdered, was in a Pirate campaign, with nearly all near evil, and one fully evil(me) PCs.

So, if it's a game of murderous pirates, as the majority of the PCs, don't be the one pacifist PC, with a Vow of Poverty, and a Vow of Truth, with a habit of donating their fellow PC's booty to charity.

That sounds like it would be hilarious. That or really terrible for the pacifist PC (even before they got TK'd). Dare I ask, how long did the Vow loving PC last in a group of bloodthirsty pirates. Also, did he decide to fight back (if he got a chance to).

You can follow the story, from start to finish, here.


Call me crazy but I think a sorcerer bloodline undead necromancer might be easy to play as a pacifist. While they do have very damaging spells and raising undead and etc, they do have a lot of spells and abilities that would contribute while not actually dealing damage. Such as shaken and fear and etc.

Sovereign Court

Andrew R wrote:
Zhayne wrote:
Andrew R wrote:
I think it would be a team effort, after all if you are helping the killers kill you are not much of a pacifist...
There are different levels of pacifism. Not everybody who holds a belief feels compelled to force their views on others.
Reminds me of the villain that swears i won't hurt you, then his lackey beats them to death

Like in Sneakers.

"I can't kill my friend." *turns to hired gun* "Kill my friend."

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Halfrican wrote:
We have a player that wants to be completely nonviolent. How viable is that? She wants to play druid. Can she never harm an enemy and still feel useful? What would you guys suggest in terms of a build?

There are various levels of Pacifism. Dr. Who for example is usually (not always) a Technical Pacifist, he doesn't carry a gun, but he frequently either inspires allies to fight for him or tricks his enemies into destroying themselves.

There's a wide spectrum between a Pacifist who won't permit harm to anyone. (such a person usually has the power to back that up), or one who merely keeps her or his own hands clean of violence. The Big Bad of the movie "Kingsmen" might qualify as such. He can't bear violence or even the sight of blood, but has no problems having his henchfolk do so to serve his goal, his own twisted ideal of Peace.

So yes, you CAN have an evil Pacifist.

So yes it's doable, but you'll need to think a lot beforehand on what exactly kind of Pacifist you are, what role you play, and what brings you out into the dangerous world of Pathfinding.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
Snowblind wrote:

I really have to echo some of the sentiments of the posters above. It really depends on if your player's PC doesn't mind helping others do the dirty work.

blackbloodtroll wrote:

It all depends on the game, and players.

The pacifist PC I murdered, was in a Pirate campaign, with nearly all near evil, and one fully evil(me) PCs.

So, if it's a game of murderous pirates, as the majority of the PCs, don't be the one pacifist PC, with a Vow of Poverty, and a Vow of Truth, with a habit of donating their fellow PC's booty to charity.

That sounds like it would be hilarious. That or really terrible for the pacifist PC (even before they got TK'd). Dare I ask, how long did the Vow loving PC last in a group of bloodthirsty pirates. Also, did he decide to fight back (if he got a chance to).
You can follow the story, from start to finish, here.

You forgot to mention the bit where the pacifist turtle-person monk was also displaying behavior typical of someone with an alignment of Chaotic ***hat.

I like how shocked he was when he was guest GMing and the "powergamer" that killed his character put 5 pages of item backstory in front of him.

Sovereign Court

Is the concept to never do any harm as in lethal force (in which case non-lethal becomes viable) or is it I will not strike at all? If it is the former, I could see a druid that changes into creatures with the grab ability, take the unarmed combat feat to be able to deal nonlethal with their natural attacks, and then proceed to grapple and subdue their opponents.

If it is the latter, then as long as their AC is not a pacifist as well, then they will be a buffer with an attack by proxy through their AC.


This could only realistically work if the Druid in question held to a "I, personally, don't condone violence, but still understand that each person is free to make their own decisions." She may try to "convince" others that pacifism is preferable, but not go all SJW on them and start frothing at the mouth if anyone draws a weapon. This can lead to quite hilarious situations, such as:

Bandit: "Yeah, me and my five buddies here would really like it if you gave us all your money."

Druid: "You see, I am a pacifist so I desire very much to solve this situation non-violently. My friend here, the saber-toothed tiger, is of a different persuasion. So... do you want to resolve this conflict my way... or his?"

Tiger: *growl* (translation: "sup")

Bandit: "Yeah... me and my five friends decided we don't really want your money. Um... but we've got a guy back at camp with a hurt leg. If you can help him, maybe we can share some info about the area?"

Druid: "Why, that would be a grand idea."

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Snowblind wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:
Snowblind wrote:

I really have to echo some of the sentiments of the posters above. It really depends on if your player's PC doesn't mind helping others do the dirty work.

blackbloodtroll wrote:

It all depends on the game, and players.

The pacifist PC I murdered, was in a Pirate campaign, with nearly all near evil, and one fully evil(me) PCs.

So, if it's a game of murderous pirates, as the majority of the PCs, don't be the one pacifist PC, with a Vow of Poverty, and a Vow of Truth, with a habit of donating their fellow PC's booty to charity.

That sounds like it would be hilarious. That or really terrible for the pacifist PC (even before they got TK'd). Dare I ask, how long did the Vow loving PC last in a group of bloodthirsty pirates. Also, did he decide to fight back (if he got a chance to).
You can follow the story, from start to finish, here.

You forgot to mention the bit where the pacifist turtle-person monk was also displaying behavior typical of someone with an alignment of Chaotic ***hat.

I like how shocked he was when he was guest GMing and the "powergamer" that killed his character put 5 pages of item backstory in front of him.

Yeah.

I completely broke his idea that you needed to be built terribly, to be interesting.

I am an advocate of "Practical Optimization."

Roleplaying, flavor, and mechanics, working in harmony.


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

The "I don't like violence and won't fight" form of pacifism isn't going to work in the vast majority of games.

The "I don't like violence and won't KILL" however could still work quite well.

There are plenty of feats and abilities that allow you to negate the penalty for dealing nonlethal damage. There are also nonlethal weapons, weapon enhancements that add to damage and turn all of the weapon's damage to nonlethal, metamagic feats that make all of a spell's damage nonlethal.

You don't even have to worry about undead and constructs who are traditionally immune to nonlethal damage--you can't kill them (they are either already dead, or were never alive) and can just deal normal damage free of any guilt.

Evil outsiders are probably the only real gray area. Is it really wrong to kill something that is literally evil made manifest?


Ravingdork wrote:

The "I don't like violence and won't fight" form of pacifism isn't going to work in the vast majority of games.

The "I don't like violence and won't KILL" however could still work quite well.
.....

Maybe but it takes active buy in from the party and GM to make non-violent options available.

How does the pacifist feel about the party slayer coup de graceing the folks who you went to the trouble of enchanting/sleeping/beating to unconsciousness?

How does the party Hooded Champion/sniper feel about trying to one shot mooks from cover being off the table?

Does the GM need to create prisons. Would Sandpoint, which offers a bounty on Goblin ears, bother to leave the greenskins alive if our pacifist brought a string of goblin prisoners into town?

A pacifist in Pathfinder is largely just outsourcing the bloodletting.

Dark Archive

Play an enchanter, changing hearts and minds & whatnot

Charm
Suggestion
Etc


The pacifist in question could rationalize that Outsiders are just background radiation of their respective planes that is just coalesced into a form. So you aren't "killing" an Evil Outsider any more than you "kill" a fire by dousing it. Keep in mind that, whereas "Good" and "Evil" are real, tangible, and absolute forces as far as the Pathfinder system is concerned, "Pacifism" is just a personal opinion. There are some Vegetarians who eat egg or dairy or honey, and some who don't. For some, primarily those who are vegetarian strictly for health and nutritional purposes (contrast with vegetarians for animal rights purposes), they can be Vegetarian but still, occasionally, eat meat to maintain proper nutrition. It's often done with a large dose of "I graciously accept and honor the sacrifice of this life." Likewise, it is possible to be a Pacifist but not an "absolute" Pacifist. You try your hardest not to kill, but if you are really dealing with an irredeemable force of evil with whom you simply cannot peaceably negotiate, you'll kill it regardless of your personal preferences. Pacifist comes from the Latin word Pacificus which means "Peace-making". A Pacifist is one who advocates peacemaking. Thus, if there is no possibility of peacemaking, it isn't a matter of pacifism. Remember, Pacifism is not the same as Passivism.


Poor Wandering One wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:

The "I don't like violence and won't fight" form of pacifism isn't going to work in the vast majority of games.

The "I don't like violence and won't KILL" however could still work quite well.
.....

Maybe but it takes active buy in from the party and GM to make non-violent options available.

How does the pacifist feel about the party slayer coup de graceing the folks who you went to the trouble of enchanting/sleeping/beating to unconsciousness?

How does the party Hooded Champion/sniper feel about trying to one shot mooks from cover being off the table?

Does the GM need to create prisons. Would Sandpoint, which offers a bounty on Goblin ears, bother to leave the greenskins alive if our pacifist brought a string of goblin prisoners into town?

A pacifist in Pathfinder is largely just outsourcing the bloodletting.

A pacifist in Pathfinder is just fine it's called a Monk.

And how does the pacifist work in a group where everyone is killing everything? He is probably trying to convert everyone to his way of thinking. It's like a Paladin in a group and the group wants to kill the orc babies.


Pacifest in pathfinder who does absolutely no harm? Not really.. not as a player character for a game that involes any such violence.

pacifiest who doesn't kill? A lot more doable if your game doesn't have non lethal immunes.
I did that before (well nonlethal until he wanted to kill sorta thing. only if they deserve it).

I'm not sure about druid stuff...

but mine was an arcane trickster, with that nonlethal double sneak attack die thing. He employed the force non lethal ray (like scortching ray) spell a ton with it too. It worked pretty well even though the others were using lethal. Since it still stacked up till they just passed out.

but completely no violence is hard.. unless at the very least you support the group somehow.. battle field control etc.. but even then your basically helping kill.


Without having read the entire thread, has she considered a grapple build?

Also, I played a pacifist cleric in 3.5 and really had fun with him. He also took a vow of poverty. The other players loved him as well. The trouble in Pathfinder is that I don't know if you derive any bonuses for taking this most difficult path. In 3.5 being a pacifist had specific benefits, as did taking a vow of poverty. I guess your GM could always provide those bonuses to this player.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The OP likely has already built their PC, over a year ago.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
blackbloodtroll wrote:
The OP likely has already built their PC, over a year ago.

Probably, but the advise still stands for anyone pursuing a similar concept.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
blackbloodtroll wrote:
The OP likely has already built their PC, over a year ago.

And after a year of playing, the OP still doesn't know?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The OP hasn't posted anything, anywhere, for at least a year.


It doesn't matter. Threads such as these are good for reference, even if the original poster long ago created the character.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

That is true.

I just thought it was worth noting.


Heh..

This made me envision a cleric who raises dead and just says "What? I never killed anything"


I've seen a (nearly) pacifist Cleric played from level 3 to level 20/Mythic 10.

He is a dedicated healer build, and RARELY does damage, it would have been easy to play him as a nonviolent build (He occasionally casts an offensive spell, but really doesn't have to, as the fighter in the party is scary scary scary).

So is pacifism doable? Depends on the group, but I would say yes.

can a PARTY be pacifist? Sure, after they retire from adventuring.

:D


Zwordsman wrote:

Heh..

This made me envision a cleric who raises dead and just says "What? I never killed anything"

Lol, the Zero-Sum Pacifist.

Liberty's Edge

Played with a kitsune bard in PF society who had awsome saves on his sleep spells via kitsune Magic and high charisma. His philosophy was essentially the same as pacifism put the big bad guy to sleep.

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