Is it evil to kill Drow on sight?


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

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Lantern Lodge

Drow seem to be pretty much universally reviled in lore. Subject says it all. The way I am reading evil vs good in the alignment rules, it seems to only apply to humanoid creatures and to core races. As such, killing intelligent undead, monstrous humanoids (kobolds, drow, etc.) on sight is not inherently evil. But rather a matter of killing them before they kill you.

Let's keep the Paladin code of conduct out of the discussion, as Paladins are extremely rare in the setting in question (i.e. not a player class).


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I think it falls under self preservation takes priority over the very. Dry .inorganic chance a group of drowned might be redeamed


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What role to drow play in the campaign? If they only appear as monsters, then go ahead and kill them. If they're more complex, like an evil empire (that still has many good people in it), then it's not okay to simply kill them out of hand unless there are some special circumstances such as a drow soldier when you're at war with the empire.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Depends on the GM. Best to ask them upfront before you start the game.

In my setting, it is evil. But that's because not all drow are evil. I treat them like every other race in the book.


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I think it is fair to say that a general state of war is assumed to be in place between the civilized world and the various evil races in most settings. As such, they are the enemy and should be considered an active threat and justified target for an attack unless/until they have been deemed to no longer be a threat.

So all things being equal, if you surprise a group of drow it isn't evil to take them out with lethal force.

Now if you have reason to believe that a particular drow or drow group are not villains, then things change a bit.

Scarab Sages

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In Golarion, all drow are evil. If an elf get's too evil, they turn drow, and if a drow turns good, they become a normal elf.

However, indiscriminately killing evil beings is usually evil.


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Even in a time of war a lot depends on context: A group of armed drow in your territory can be assumed to be soldiers and immediately attacked. Encountering a group of drow children when you're in drow territory is an entirely different matter.


There needs to be a Drizzt in Golarion.

Lantern Lodge

Odraude wrote:

Depends on the GM. Best to ask them upfront before you start the game.

In my setting, it is evil. But that's because not all drow are evil. I treat them like every other race in the book.

I am asking about Golarion setting. In the world setting it seems 99.99999% of Drow are evil and exist as twisted creatures of the underdark. Not killing them on sight IMO represents a threat to one's own odds at survival. Few venture above the surface, and those that do usually are up to no good like the rest of their race.

Everyone wants to play Drizzt. Which is just a case of Mary Sue meta-gaming BS in my not so humble opinion. Most Drow would be killed on sight. Including him, and for justifiable reason. So I guess I had an agenda asking this question.

4th edition toddler logic aside, I think that there's little reason that monstrous races would be even vaguely tolerated in human society.

Imbicatus wrote:

In Golarion, all drow are evil. If an elf get's too evil, they turn drow, and if a drow turns good, they become a normal elf.

However, indiscriminately killing evil beings is usually evil.

Stand your ground and castle doctrine. Armed drow outside the gate can be assumed to be evil and are filleted with arrows immediately. Unarmed drow, same story. They're just assumed to be casters. Even Paladins are fully justified in 'murdering' Drow, because as a monstrous race their lives hold no value in RAW alignment.

Let the argument thread begin, gentlemen.


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Well, it depends. A single drow not hurting anyone? Then it's best to detain and question.

A drow warparty? Attack on sight before they attack you.


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Hawktitan wrote:
There needs to be a Drizzt in Golarion.

Sarenrae, no!

Sovereign Court

DrDeth wrote:

Well, it depends. A single drow not hurting anyone? Then it's best to detain and question.

A drow warparty? Attack on sight before they attack you.

A single drow can be a warparty if he's a noble drow. They may be hiding their #s with invisibility or dark elven magic. Moreover the vast majority of them are evil. Best to kill him before he gets to his friends and alerts them to the presence of your civilization. Castle doctrine, again fully justified in slaughtering the 'innocent' drow before he even opens his mouth.

My 2 copper, naturally.


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Drow might be a bit less ambiguous than other 'monster' races. I mean, they typically live underground, so it takes rather extraordinary circumstances for them to be above ground. I would maybe ask to roll a perception/sense motive check to make sure they aren't some refugee. Otherwise, yeah, they are likely up to no good since the surface is generally hostile to them. That generally deters curious kids, and leaves only hardened soldiers as those brave enough to do it.

Other races might be more complicated. I mean, have you read the description of Lizardfolk? Longstory short, it is a rather nice postcolonial perspective that draws humans as the expansionist aggressors, and lizardfolk simply have to resist that since their slow reproductive rates means they would be overrun (I wonder if we look like goblins in their eyes?). So for the most part, their view is 'leave us alone to do our thing'.

Similarly, taking out kobolds and goblins might not be entirely excusable without prior knowledge of aggression in the local tribes/warrens/herd/whatever. If they are causing trouble (roll gather info check), then feel free, they probably mean to cause you harm

But one way to avoid these moral problems is to use readied actions. As in, have someone yell 'Drop your weapons, and we promise to spare your lives and belongings. We just want to talk' in whatever tongue is appropriate, and set your readied actions to 'Take the head off any of them that look at us funny'.

Admittedly.... I like the idea of doing this with a paladin as the negotiator/distraction since they can tank a few hits, meanwhile almost everyone else would be stealthing and readying actions. Because hope in good against all odds and all that (although, as you can obviously see, being stupid good is not on my agenda)

Sovereign Court

I'd go as far to argue that killing Drow on sight is not against the Code of Conduct. I'd also go as far as to say that RAW, the life of a Drow has absolutely no moral value whatsoever. No more than a Kobold.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

IIRC, the Second Darkness did have a canonical Neutral Drow. Even in Golarion, when almost ever Drow is evil, there is the potential for exceptions to the rule, and depending on group philosophy killing on sight may very well be a bad thing to do.

Is there a particular reason you are asking this question?


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bob_the_monster wrote:

Drow seem to be pretty much universally reviled in lore. Subject says it all. The way I am reading evil vs good in the alignment rules, it seems to only apply to humanoid creatures and to core races. As such, killing intelligent undead, monstrous humanoids (kobolds, drow, etc.) on sight is not inherently evil. But rather a matter of killing them before they kill you.

Let's keep the Paladin code of conduct out of the discussion, as Paladins are extremely rare in the setting in question (i.e. not a player class).

The alignment rules and D&D/PF morality makes no distinction based on race (and for good reason because that would be sick and ****ed up).

Yes, killing any sentient creature on sight is evil, just like killing any sentient thing is evil. However, you may be doing so for altruistic or protective reasons (which are good) which means a lot of people who do probably are acting more Neutral, and are pre-emptively attempting to protect themselves and others from the very likely dangerous threat.

The short version is yes, it is evil to kill something on sight, but not necessarily stupid. Even most good characters do evil things occasionally because evil is often very self-preserving.

Most of my characters wouldn't murder a drow on sight, but then most of my characters are likely to end up in some tough situations because their decisions do have consequences.


taldanrebel2187 wrote:
I'd go as far to argue that killing Drow on sight is not against the Code of Conduct. I'd also go as far as to say that RAW, the life of a Drow has absolutely no moral value whatsoever. No more than a Kobold.

Where in the RAW does it say that about any creature?


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
bob_the_monster wrote:
Odraude wrote:

Depends on the GM. Best to ask them upfront before you start the game.

In my setting, it is evil. But that's because not all drow are evil. I treat them like every other race in the book.

I am asking about Golarion setting. In the world setting it seems 99.99999% of Drow are evil and exist as twisted creatures of the underdark. Not killing them on sight IMO represents a threat to one's own odds at survival. Few venture above the surface, and those that do usually are up to no good like the rest of their race.

Everyone wants to play Drizzt. Which is just a case of Mary Sue meta-gaming BS in my not so humble opinion. Most Drow would be killed on sight. Including him, and for justifiable reason. So I guess I had an agenda asking this question.

4th edition toddler logic aside, I think that there's little reason that monstrous races would be even vaguely tolerated in human society.

Imbicatus wrote:

In Golarion, all drow are evil. If an elf get's too evil, they turn drow, and if a drow turns good, they become a normal elf.

However, indiscriminately killing evil beings is usually evil.

Stand your ground and castle doctrine. Armed drow outside the gate can be assumed to be evil and are filleted with arrows immediately. Unarmed drow, same story. They're just assumed to be casters. Even Paladins are fully justified in 'murdering' Drow, because as a monstrous race their lives hold no value in RAW alignment.

Let the argument thread begin, gentlemen.

Ok so since this is just insulting agenda pushing at this point...

The reason I treat drow as normal races is because it actively prevents "Drizzt" syndrome. The entire reason Drizzt Syndrome exists is because drow are universally evil. So by making them a mixed bag like half-orcs and humans and elves, I found that the Drizzt clone characters ceased. There wasn't the special snowflake drow in any party I ran. And there still existed evil drow, just like there are evil humans and dwarves and elves. So that's how I solved my Drizzt problem and still allowed players to play what they want.


taldanrebel2187 wrote:
DrDeth wrote:

Well, it depends. A single drow not hurting anyone? Then it's best to detain and question.

A drow warparty? Attack on sight before they attack you.

A single drow can be a warparty if he's a noble drow. They may be hiding their #s with invisibility or dark elven magic. Moreover the vast majority of them are evil. Best to kill him before he gets to his friends and alerts them to the presence of your civilization. Castle doctrine, again fully justified in slaughtering the 'innocent' drow before he even opens his mouth.

My 2 copper, naturally.

I don't get why you keep posting in your own threads using another alias. If you have your own views and don't want to change them don't make a thread about it. As for your original question, I think killing on site even if something is evil is probably evil. I would say its a GM call.


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I saw this thread and did a word search in it for 'drizzt'
I was not disappointed


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If not you can consider yourself good as you stare the drow in the eye as he looks at his bloody knife and you hold your own intestines in your hands.


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Hawktitan wrote:
There needs to be a Drizzt in Golarion.

Only if Bruenor comes with him.

Sovereign Court

CrabSage wrote:


I don't get why you keep posting in your own threads using another alias. If you have your own views and don't want to change them don't make a thread about it. As for your original question, I think killing on site even if something is evil is probably evil. I would say its a GM call.

No, it isn't. It's defined in the alignment section of the SRD. Drow are a monstrous race, and they are universally reviled even by other races in the underdark. Read the lore.


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Ashiel wrote:

Yes, killing any sentient creature on sight is evil, just like killing any sentient thing is evil. However, you may be doing so for altruistic or protective reasons (which are good) which means a lot of people who do probably are acting more Neutral, and are pre-emptively attempting to protect themselves and others from the very likely dangerous threat.

The short version is yes, it is evil to kill something on sight, but not necessarily stupid. Even most good characters do evil things occasionally because evil is often very self-preserving.

Most of my characters wouldn't murder a drow on sight, but then most of my characters are likely to end up in some tough situations because their decisions do have consequences.

Would it be evil for bank security to shoot on sight any men coming in wearing ski masks and holding guns?

I mean, there are sometimes circumstances where danger can be extremely apparent due to the appearance of the other party.

I will admit though, giving them a warning and preparing to shoot them them if they don't surrender is generally better decorum.

Silver Crusade

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Well... they don't have the evil subtype. So I'd say that it is evil to kill them on sight as a blanket statement.


bob_the_monster wrote:
Odraude wrote:

Depends on the GM. Best to ask them upfront before you start the game.

In my setting, it is evil. But that's because not all drow are evil. I treat them like every other race in the book.

I am asking about Golarion setting. In the world setting it seems 99.99999% of Drow are evil and exist as twisted creatures of the underdark. Not killing them on sight IMO represents a threat to one's own odds at survival. Few venture above the surface, and those that do usually are up to no good like the rest of their race.

If you only meant drow in Golarion you should have said so up front. A lot of people play in other settings, many (but by no means all) of them homebrew.

Sovereign Court

lemeres wrote:
Ashiel wrote:

Yes, killing any sentient creature on sight is evil, just like killing any sentient thing is evil. However, you may be doing so for altruistic or protective reasons (which are good) which means a lot of people who do probably are acting more Neutral, and are pre-emptively attempting to protect themselves and others from the very likely dangerous threat.

The short version is yes, it is evil to kill something on sight, but not necessarily stupid. Even most good characters do evil things occasionally because evil is often very self-preserving.

Most of my characters wouldn't murder a drow on sight, but then most of my characters are likely to end up in some tough situations because their decisions do have consequences.

Would it be evil for bank security to shoot on sight any men coming in wearing ski masks and holding guns?

I mean, there are sometimes circumstances where danger can be extremely apparent due to the appearance of the other party.

I will admit though, giving them a warning and preparing to shoot them them if they don't surrender is generally better decorum.

False equivalence. Real world morality is not game morality, nor does it have anything to do with the world's universe. It's a logical fallacy, and a false comparison.


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taldanrebel2187 wrote:
lemeres wrote:

Would it be evil for bank security to shoot on sight any men coming in wearing ski masks and holding guns?

I mean, there are sometimes circumstances where danger can be extremely apparent due to the appearance of the other party.

I will admit though, giving them a warning and preparing to shoot them them if they don't surrender is generally better decorum.

False equivalence. Real world morality is not game morality, nor does it have anything to do with the world's universe. It's a logical fallacy, and a false comparison.

I could see the argument that my comparison might be a poor match, but how can we argue anything when it comes to morality if we can't use our own frames of reference?

Otherwise, we would just be arguing 'does it have the evil subtype?' or 'is there a line that specifically defines this situation?'. And even then, the rules and setting was written by people who have realworld frames of reference, so it might end up being hard to completely separate the two.


While I am a fan of RA Salvatore in truth I mentioned Drizzt to see what conversations would come of it :)

Though as a quick question about the good/evil subtypes. Are there any examples of fallen (evil) angels or risen (good) demons in Golarion Lore?


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lemeres wrote:
Would it be evil for bank security to shoot on sight any men coming in wearing ski masks and holding guns?

Yes, but it would also be smart. You are assuming they are a threat, and probably rightfully so, and murdering them before that threat is confirmed. Of course, this is also oddly specific.

The question is, is it evil to kill drow on sight? The answer is yes. Is it evil to X under these specific conditions? The answer is probably.

Quote:

I mean, there are sometimes circumstances where danger can be extremely apparent due to the appearance of the other party.

I will admit though, giving them a warning and preparing to shoot them them if they don't surrender is generally better decorum.

And you would be right. Now you don't have to let your guard down, trust them, go with them, or tell them anything about you, where you're going, or anything to that degree; but finding out who they are, why they are, and what they're intending to do is probably better than murder on sight.

Because it is murder.

But it's not necessarily smart. Given drow in Golarion, it's probably the safest (but not the most "good") route to just kill them on sight. Most characters wouldn't be judged for it. They'd probably even be given bonus "tactical pros" for ambushing them or starting the fight first, as to avoid casualties on their side. It probably isn't going to shift someone's alignment from Good to Neutral if they're otherwise Good, just it's one of those things that aren't in perfect keeping with the Good alignment (but characters aren't expected to be completely consistent anyway).

The OP is wrong that there is any distinction between races in the actual alignment rules. There is no inborn racism in the rules, quite the opposite in fact. There is nothing that makes drow more monsters than elves, dwarfs, humans, or anything else capable of rational thought, beyond the way that they act. The reason they are generally evil is because they are subject to alignment just as much as anyone or anything else.

I also applaude Odraude for being smart enough to see how to nix the "Drizzt syndrome". Drow are a playable race in my campaign, including having two major factions of drow (one faction could even be seen as supporting the chaotic good drow ranger sorts) and the only way the number of Drizzt clones in my campaigns could be any lower would be if I could get negative values somehow (maybe a female lawful evil high elf that fights with a greataxe to uphold bigoted matriarchy in a society that she loves greatly; who travels with her pet dire wolf).


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Based on what I read in Second Darkness, Drow are regarded as dangerous and irredeemably evil monsters. Infact in that campaign setting little is know about Drow at all, most people don't even believe they exsist outside of stories. What little is know about them is that they kidnap innocent people and take them underground never to be seen again.

I that case, I would say that killing a Drow on sight in Golarian is no more evil than killing a White Walker on sight would be in GoT.


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Ashiel wrote:
maybe a female lawful evil high elf that fights with a greatsword to uphold bigoted matriarchy in a society that she loves greatly

I chuckled.

Paizo Glitterati Robot

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Removed some baiting posts and responses. Let's keep this on topic and within the realm of the campaign setting please.

Silver Crusade

I would say it is an evil act. Even though 99.9% of Drow are evil killing anything on site is evil. Primarily because of the likelihood of mistake and the cosiquinces of that mistake. This could be the one in a million good or neutral Drow. It could be an innocent under a curse. You could be under an effect that alters your perceptions. If you are wrong you may have just killed an innocent.

Also even if you are standing in front of an evil Drow, killing it robs it of the chance to repent. The "most good" option would be capture and chaperone. Once the Drow becomes hostile or overly dangerous then you can kill him/her.


Hawktitan wrote:

While I am a fan of RA Salvatore in truth I mentioned Drizzt to see what conversations would come of it :)

Though as a quick question about the good/evil subtypes. Are there any examples of fallen (evil) angels or risen (good) demons in Golarion Lore?

Yes to risen demons. The person in question is a major NPC in Wrath of the Righteous.


I will say that it should be rare, to encounter a drow in a non-hostile situation.

They only come out at night, they have no need for light, and the can see in the dark. You'll almost never see Drow before they see you.

The Exchange

They mostly come out at night. Mostly.

Hawktitan wrote:
While I am a fan of RA Salvatore in truth I mentioned Drizzt to see what conversations would come of it...

Does a stifled shriek of misery count as 'conversation'?

On-topic: "On sight" is an awfully general term. If you're walking along a country lane and you see a dark elf, shooting first and going straight for the throat is a little bit different, morality-wise, than if you're creeping through the sixth level of the Labyrinth of Lamentation. And the answer changes again based on whether the dark elf is (to use a Firefly term) awake, facing you, and armed. As opposed to unconscious in a troglodyte slave pen, or crucified upside down in the city square at Goodburgh.


Yup.


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Mal-Duroth wrote:

Based on what I read in Second Darkness, Drow are regarded as dangerous and irredeemably evil monsters. Infact in that campaign setting little is know about Drow at all, most people don't even believe they exsist outside of stories. What little is know about them is that they kidnap innocent people and take them underground never to be seen again.

I that case, I would say that killing a Drow on sight in Golarian is no more evil than killing a White Walker on sight would be in GoT.

You know, the fact that there is so little known about Drow could itself be suspicious.

In one of the excellently written articles in Mikaze's "Monster" orphanages and sanctuaries thread (link is to page 4, where the relevant bits are; be sure to check the spoilers for the particularly interesting bits), the possibility is put forth that Kyonin's Lantern bearers, who are ostensibly meant to counter the threat the Drow present, are in fact the ones charged with cleaning up the elves 'dirty little secret' so that their existence doesn't become common knowledge.

Obviously this is not anything cannon, but since I have been charged with thinking of this problem purely in in-game terms, I might as well become an in-game conspiracy theorist. Because if people can deny the moon landing and think Elvis shot Kennedy, they why can't my 'character' argue against the documents that are absolute fact within the setting? And my character thinks that he "can't trust them knife ears". (yeah...this character has a rather low WIS score...why do you ask?)

The Exchange

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Elves shot Kennedy?

Oh. Elvis.

No, no, elves are more plausible. Especially if Kennedy knew about the drow connection.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Well if people want to bring up specific instances of is written instead of more of a moral discussion and even the possibility that most of what the world the player is active in could potentially be smear by surface dwellers as someone took some artistic liberty with in the monster orphanage thread. We must first look at what defines "good" in Pathfinder. In the Core Rulebook under Alignment, under Good Vs Evil page 166 it says

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

Given this definition it does not call out potentially evil sentient beings as being exempt from being respected has living beings. In fact it sounds like the description of evil to me stated in the next paragraph.

"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.

"Huh, hurting, oppressing, and killing others really is all happening with declaring an entire species kill on sight. It even calls out killing as a part of duty. I mean people in history have more enough done the same thing, but since this is a fantasy world and real world morality doesn't have any relation to fiction that is off limits.

Now it is stated by the op that drow are "monstrous humanoids" and thus morality does not affect alignment if killed. This is False in two ways; one respect for life does not differentiate between "monstrous humanoids and "normal humanoids", two According to the Advance Race Guide page 103 drow are humanoids with the elf subtype. Therefor killing a drow would be mechanical killing an elf. Furthermore no where does it state that drow are evil in the ARG in fact it explicitly states "...they are not born evil..."(pg. 102). Now this is used to qualify that though they are not evil, there society is. But people can attempt to flee corrupt societies or even given the opportunity to be raised away from said society could be different. (There are people who try to escape s$&~ty societies but hey we can't equate real life to a fantasy world.)

Also if you look at it purely from a political stand point this is a declaration of war. If I was a kingdom I would not want to go to war with a foe who's settlements I don't even know the location of nor is my army equipped to go to war with. But that really doesn't have anything to do with bieng good so I digress.

tldr; Killing an unarmed drow on sight is no different from killing a human on sight, thus it is an evil act, even in the name of someone else.


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I think killing anything sentient on sight is evil. Kneecaps, however, is another story.


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bob_the_monster wrote:

Drow seem to be pretty much universally reviled in lore. Subject says it all. The way I am reading evil vs good in the alignment rules, it seems to only apply to humanoid creatures and to core races. As such, killing intelligent undead, monstrous humanoids (kobolds, drow, etc.) on sight is not inherently evil. But rather a matter of killing them before they kill you.

Let's keep the Paladin code of conduct out of the discussion, as Paladins are extremely rare in the setting in question (i.e. not a player class).

Of course it is. It's murder. These are free-willed beings, capable of choosing their own path. You have no idea who they are, or what they have (or haven't) done. Be wary, sure. Watch them closely, definitely. But saying 'oh, it's an (X), kill it' is pure racism.


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In a world with illusion spells, polymorph spells and Disguise? Yeah, absolutely.


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Imbicatus wrote:

In Golarion, all drow are evil. If an elf get's too evil, they turn drow, and if a drow turns good, they become a normal elf.

However, indiscriminately killing evil beings is usually evil.

I agree that killing sentient beings on sight, no questions asked, would be evil, but wanted to correct the above - a good-aligned drow does not become an elf. The drow transformation is one way (from evil elf to drow, and not the other way around), at least in Golarion.


Imbicatus wrote:
In Golarion, all drow are evil. If an elf get's too evil, they turn drow.

What! Really? How did I not know that?

Let's see if I understand this. If an elf turns evil, her skin becomes black/purplish? Well, I don't like that one bit. It makes me feel...icky.

Since when did an internal moral transformation change a person's skin pigment?

Dark Archive

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bob_the_monster wrote:
Drow seem to be pretty much universally reviled in lore.

In Golarion, 99 out of 100 people don't even know that Drow exist, let alone that they are evil demon-worshippers who probably eat babies and kick puppies and grind up and snort rainbows. (And the 1 in 100 who do are high ranking elven leaders, are part of a secret society like the Lantern Bearers, or have just completed Second Darkness, and are 15th level or so.)

The elves have kept the existence of the Drow secret from all other surface races, and there are entire elven communities that don't even know that they exist (the forsaken elves in the Mwangi Expanse, for instance, are a continent away from the nearest Drow community, which is almost 1000 miles to the north, and across an ocean).

So, yeah, anyone who has their character freak at the sight of a Drow and goes to kill it is either playing someone who psychotically attacks *any* elf (or humanoid, or living creature, or whatever) on sight, and is probably playing an evil and / or insane character, or is a meta-gamer, and should be shunned with great shunning.

If you're not playing in Golarion, or in a version of Golarion in which Drow have invaded the surface world or something, and are widely known as bad mofos, then it's at least not meta-gaming any more, although it's still a bit squiffy to murder folk because other folk of that skin color once did something bad, under the assumption that some people, color-coded for your convenience, are only for killing.

It might be a good *idea* to kill them on sight. But it probably won't be a good *act.*

Morality and pragmatism aren't always comfortable bedfellows, which is one of the many reason that doing the good thing is rarely the same as doing the easiest thing or the safest thing.

Some courage may be required, to walk the moral road.

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