Torture, can a not evil character justify doing it?


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Arachnofiend wrote:
Bob Bob Bob wrote:
I'll preface this with the simple answer. Torture is an Evil act, one Evil act does not change your alignment. Torturing for some Good might balance to Neutral but that's a GM call.

You're right, making a singular mistake in a moment of desperation doesn't completely change your alignment; if an otherwise Good person starts to feel the pressure of the situation and commits to torture as a means to their ends, then that alone won't change their alignment completely. They will probably feel horrible about what they've done and seek to atone somehow - or perhaps they'll double down on justifying themselves, which would indicate an alignment shift.

That's not what the OP's character is doing though; torture as a means of gathering information is a defining character trait for him. Once it's a pattern of behavior rather than a single transgression it's absolutely indicative of being an evil person. It's the difference between a crime-of-passion murderer and a serial killer.

So while the first post says the character "tortures because they must" (with no caveats) the other two posts with information are quite explicit in that the character is not torturing for information. Specifically:
McDaygo wrote:
It was less about the torture for information but the actual tools I see many uses for for example thumbscrews remove a caster from casting unless they have a still spell, the Trephine can actually heal mental ability damage (or cause it if the heal check fails by 5 or more).
McDaygo wrote:
The torture he learned was less about interrogation more for stopping “evil magic users” from casting their spells when imprisoned. The why I only gave him the tools that prevent casting (Screws to remove somatic, Fork to prevent a good night sleep and the Trephine to not only help non magic heal mental ability damage of allies heal dc 25 but to potential lower a caster ability to cast)

It's not about interrogation, it's about preventing a captive from escaping. Which isn't inherently Evil (unless you think all prisons are).

Now, as I said in my other post, I think the methods they are suggesting (the torture implements) are absolutely torture. Thumbscrews might get a pass (in that you don't have to inflict pain with them) but the other two can only be used for their torture use and are almost textbook Evil.

But the main reason I qualified it based on individual acts is I don't think it's going to come up that often. I rarely see players take prisoners, the specific implements only work on certain types (SLAs don't have somatic components), and it really only matters for long-term containment. It doesn't matter if the player is built for it if they never actually do it. You'll notice Cook People, arguably the easiest example of Evil, still only says "Using this hex or knowingly eating its food is an evil act." Not taking the hex but actually using it. Not sure who would take it if they didn't intend to use it but merely having it doesn't count as Evil.


Melkiador wrote:
There are also characters who mostly only use torture for fun. Like Gomez Addams, who is most often portrayed as chaotic good.

Nobody in the Addams family is 'good'. Just because you are evil it doesn't mean you can't be nice to people. As soon as Gomez thinks of someone as an enemy he stops being nice. He doesn't stop being fun though. You can be evil and dastardly with a sense of humor, style and grace.


lemeres wrote:


Anyway, on batman- batman falls far, far more heavily the purely lawful side.

You mean the guy that hides his identity to avoid reprisals? The man that routeenly commits breaking and entering, trespass, carries illegal weapons, assaults people without warning, kidnaps people, evades the police, violates people's privacy, operates an unlicensed armed vehicle on public roads in an unsafe manner, violates airspace laws, and has done large scale construction without permits is LAWFUL?

Batman is Chaotic Neutral. And quite insane. Laws are for other people. Not for Batman.


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One problem with these "Batman" and "Gomez Addams"is that neither of those characters exist in settings where morality is a universal, objective, and discoverable thing, unlike Pathfinder in which "detect evil" is readily available.

Any character that exists in such a universe as Pathfinder would have different assumptions about the morality of their actions.


Meirril wrote:

You mean the guy that hides his identity to avoid reprisals? The man that routeenly commits breaking and entering, trespass, carries illegal weapons, assaults people without warning, kidnaps people, evades the police, violates people's privacy, operates an unlicensed armed vehicle on public roads in an unsafe manner, violates airspace laws, and has done large scale construction without permits is LAWFUL?

Batman is Chaotic Neutral. And quite insane. Laws are for other people. Not for Batman.

Lawful doesn't necessarily mean that you follow the national and local laws to the letter. It can be based around the use of personal codes and a general belief in the possibility of a larger system.

Batman within the traditional setting has to deal with a city where the legal system is riddled with corruption and bribes from crime families (...that usually get forgotten fairly quickly in any batman rendition because the creators want to get the the guys in colorful costumes). Thus, the vigilantism is an attempt to fix problems that the system the cannot handle.

However, these efforts often take the form of reforming the system so that 'batman' is less necessary- which can often take the form of putting Gordan into the commissioner position, or trying to have a pre-two-face- Harvey Dent handle things.

As for personal beliefs? ... batman is highly restricted by personal codes that he puts into place and self enforces to the point of absurdity. It is the classic "why don't you just kill the joker?" problem- if he didn't have his personal codes against killing, then the more effective option would be to eliminate this mass murdering madman rather than putting him into the legal system and back into Arkham. One of the best explorations of this problem can be found in "Under the Red Hood".


PossibleCabbage wrote:

One problem with these "Batman" and "Gomez Addams"is that neither of those characters exist in settings where morality is a universal, objective, and discoverable thing, unlike Pathfinder in which "detect evil" is readily available.

Any character that exists in such a universe as Pathfinder would have different assumptions about the morality of their actions.

I'd argue the real issue is the reverse. The categories are just bins that don't fit complex personalities. Unless you write a 2 dimensional cartoon of a character, you're going to perform actions that don't fit in your alignment.

In a most extreme argument, fighting is not a good action. So using an at best neutral action to overcome evil beings isn't a good action. Or in other words, the very profession of 'Adventuring' which centers on fighting things isn't a profession for good beings. The constant fighting and killing should disqualify adventurers from being good.

So we have to make the pathfinder justification that fighting is outside of the moral system. Which brings up the ugly argument that the ends justify the means. Which brings up this topic, that torture could be for a good cause.

And the best rebuttal I can think of is an old English proverb. "The road to Hell is paved in good intentions." Evil actions are evil, no matter the justification.


I personally find that reconciling my character with the alignment helps me to flesh out their ideology and forces me to answer questions about how they approach problems.

For example, I can easily make a monk that can lie, cheat, and steal while still being lawful, and perhaps lawful good.

Alignment is only a 2d cookie cutter if you allow it to be. If you accept them as merely a basic set of underlying principles that cover a wide range of views, then you will find them to be much more enjoyable.


Spells that exist purely to inflict pain for the purpose of torture (the Interrogation spell) have the evil descriptor. I'd say that that's good grounds to say that torture is evil.

Oddly enough, though... Pain Strike has the evil descriptor and Howling Agony doesn't. :p

Additionally, due to the Sense Motive skill, torture IS a reliable way to tell if someone's telling the truth. Just pump your sense motive rolls, torture away, and see when they lie.


TheGreatWot wrote:

Spells that exist purely to inflict pain for the purpose of torture (the

Interrogation spell) have the evil descriptor. I'd say that that's good grounds to say that torture is evil.

Oddly enough, though... Pain Strike has the evil descriptor and Howling Agony doesn't. :p

Additionally, due to the Sense Motive skill, torture IS a reliable way to tell if someone's telling the truth. Just pump your sense motive rolls, torture away, and see when they lie.

Any GM would be absolutely justified in telling you "You sense the subject is under a lot of duress to provide you an answer. They want you to believe them." and not tell you if it is the truth or not, because that *is* their motive.

Sense Motive tells you about their mental state, not whether something is factual or not. And you are using torture to force them into a mental state where they should be willing to tell you anything to get you to stop.


Lying of any kind requires bluffing, and bluffing prompts an opposed sense motive check. If your sense motive check is higher than their bluff check, you know that they're lying.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

But since the GM is supposed to roll Sense Motive, how do you know whether his screaming that he doesn't know as you drill into his head is telling the truth, or a Nat 20 on Bluff?


Natural 20s do not affect skills.


Artofregicide wrote:
McDaygo wrote:
That opens the entire BDSM community

Consensual stuff that adults do and actually torturing someone (whatever you do to justify it) are completely different and equating them is both offensive and shows a tremendous amount of ignorance.

Sorry, I just have a pet peeve of folks treating kinks (whatever they may be) like they're equivalent to violence, and they're not.

People can argue themselves in circles on whether torture (along with numerous other contentious issues) are moral or not. You'll never find a consensus here. If you're looking for validation that torture is okay, you can cherry pick the answers that agree with you.

Personally I think that people can always justify evil acts. But you're harming people sheerly for your own convenience. That fits evil as written pretty strongly.

They absolutely are not the same and I am aware of that. It was more of a joke on the mention of the Adams family

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Artificial 20 wrote:
Natural 20s do not affect skills.

Except, you know, as rolling very well? If someone rolls very well, it's possible, some might even say plausible, they beat the players in an opposed roll. I've seen a lot more NPCs with Bluff ranks than Sense motive, after all


TheGreatWot wrote:

Spells that exist purely to inflict pain for the purpose of torture (the Interrogation spell) have the evil descriptor. I'd say that that's good grounds to say that torture is evil.

Oddly enough, though... Pain Strike has the evil descriptor and Howling Agony doesn't. :p

Additionally, due to the Sense Motive skill, torture IS a reliable way to tell if someone's telling the truth. Just pump your sense motive rolls, torture away, and see when they lie.

Sense motive does not tell you if the person is lying. It can tell you if the person is telling you what they think is the truth. The big problem is that what a person thinks is true can be easily altered. Extreme torture can actually affect what a person believes. Someone under torture will often come to believe what they say is true. This is similar to the Stockholm syndrome where a hostage ends up supporting the person holding them captive. The rules are an oversimplification of reality. While the rules may make it so that you don’t have a chance to fail a good GM will take this into account and adjust things to be more realistic. This is one of the main reason the game needs a GM.


Arachnofiend wrote:

This is a pretty controversial issue that you're not gonna get a solid, consensus answer for. Personally I think that torture for any purpose and with any intentions is fundamentally evil - I would not be surprised to see the next person come in willing to justify it as a necessary evil to get crucial information, or even not evil at all.

I think it's telling that your character isn't willing to accept responsibility for the healing, though; requiring the tortured individual to accept further pain in the form of burn is an exceptionally weak justification of your actions, and the kind of thing I'd expect from the Lawful Evil nemesis character who's going to get Smited when the protagonists come along to stop him.

Mostly agreed.

I can see a non-good creature, probably lawful, who will engage in torture to achieve specific goals (never mind that in real life torture is ineffective and rarely gets useful information) such as torturing an BBEG to get information about a McGuffin to stop their evil plan which will destroy the world.

But that character will never be good. They are at best neutral, but quite possibly still evil. The character I described as torturing to save the world is probably Lawful Neutral and believes the ends justify the means. He's not happy about doing it, but will do it because they believe its for the greater good.


TheGreatWot wrote:
Lying of any kind requires bluffing, and bluffing prompts an opposed sense motive check. If your sense motive check is higher than their bluff check, you know that they're lying.

But here is the thing, if you torture someone they don't want to tell you the truth. They want to tell you something that will make you stop torturing them. Truth isn't important, finding out what the torturer wants to hear and telling them that is what is important. And any successful Sense Motive should tell you the person is attempting to bluff you regardless of the truth or falsehood of the answer. The subject only cares about sounding convincing. Matters of truth or lies get left further behind the longer and more effective the torture is.


Yeah, giving answers during torture isn't something that I would run with bluff.

In many cases people will say anything without really thinking about it, while being tortured. They will do anything to make the torture stop.


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lemeres wrote:


Lawful doesn't necessarily mean that you follow the national and local laws to the letter. It can be based around the use of personal codes and a general belief in the possibility of a larger system.

Batman within the traditional setting has to deal with a city where the legal system is riddled with corruption and bribes from crime families (...that usually get forgotten fairly quickly in any batman rendition because the creators want to get the the guys in colorful costumes). Thus, the vigilantism is an attempt to fix problems that the system the cannot handle.

However, these efforts often take the form of reforming the system so that 'batman' is less necessary- which can often take the form of putting Gordan into the commissioner position, or trying to have a pre-two-face- Harvey Dent handle things.

As for personal beliefs? ... batman is highly restricted by personal codes that he puts into place and self enforces to the point of absurdity. It is the classic "why don't you just kill the joker?" problem- if he didn't have his personal codes against killing, then the more effective option would be to eliminate this mass murdering madman rather than putting him into the legal system and back into Arkham. One of the best explorations of this problem can be found in "Under the Red Hood".

All of this just seals the deal for me that we're looking at a character who doesn't fit the lawful end of the spectrum. Relying on a personal code rather than relying on tradition and authority argues for the injection of a chaotic ethos. Ultimately, I don't think Batman fits the ultimate lawful or ultimate chaotic ethos - rather, he's way more neutral with respect to the two than most alignment arguments let on. He's also unequivocally good, just not extremely so, possibly skirting the edge of going a bit too far from time to time.

That said, on the topic of conversation, torture itself is a continuum ranging from mean to shockingly cruel. I wouldn't argue that any of the methods are good, but some would be far worse than others and would have a greater impact on judging whether a PC is really evil (or good, or neutral) or not.


Claxon wrote:

Yeah, giving answers during torture isn't something that I would run with bluff.

In many cases people will say anything without really thinking about it, while being tortured. They will do anything to make the torture stop.

Comes down the the GM's decision on it, then. I see your point in that they're lying out of desperation rather than trickiness. I tend to see things in a very black and white manner.


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My favorite thing about this thread is how multiple people stated that there wouldn't be a general consensus on this issue, then the general consensus was that torture is an evil act in Pathfinder (with quotes from different rulebooks to support that fact).


TheGreatWot wrote:
Claxon wrote:

Yeah, giving answers during torture isn't something that I would run with bluff.

In many cases people will say anything without really thinking about it, while being tortured. They will do anything to make the torture stop.

Comes down the the GM's decision on it, then. I see your point in that they're lying out of desperation rather than trickiness. I tend to see things in a very black and white manner.

Life in general tends not to be very black and white. This topic is just another one that is not so cleanly defined either.


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Xaimum Mafire wrote:
My favorite thing about this thread is how multiple people stated that there wouldn't be a general consensus on this issue, then the general consensus was that torture is an evil act in Pathfinder (with quotes from different rulebooks to support that fact).

Everyone - in game and out of game - tends to agree torture is bad. And then they will argue vehemently about whether something is torture or not.

In a fantasy setting where you can magically compel the truth from someone, sold by a for profit entertainment company, it's practical/expedient to just steer people away from torture because nothing good comes from having a parallel to real life debate about whether "enhanced interrogation" equals "torture."

Someone earlier in the thread something along the lines of "I as a GM rule that torture is evil and if you argue about it then you're not invited to my game any more." I would play in that game. If Dick Cheney invited me to his Pathfinder game where we use a fantasy setting to examine some of the moral ambiguities of enhanced interrogation, I would wish him the best, and then decline his invitation.


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This is really a case where I would ask the GM for their ruling on the matter. If I was still interested in the character at that point I would talk it over with the other players.

And the first time anyone gets nervous, unsure or hesitant about it I would drop the concept and start over with something less controversial. The lowest tolerance at the table decides these matters for me.


As with everything alignment related it comes down to motivation. At its widest definition, incorporating enhanced interrogation techniques such as sleep deprivation, or even tough questioning with misleading statements of consequences; it is a skill intended to obtain information quickly.

If the torturer enjoys inflicting pain then they are evil. If they take no pleasure from it and only use torture techniques as part of an interrogation when the consequences of not obtaining the information are dire and the victim's actions are directly responsible then they may be considered to be good. Anything in between is probably neutral provided there is no enjoyment whatsoever.

In terms of success. It is unreliable as the victim just wants to end the pain and so will tell the torturer what they think they want to hear, which is not necessarily the truth. The torturer has a different response to the one they would have got without torture, but still has to determine whether it is the truth.


I'd argue that hurting someone for what may or may not be the truth is evil.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It is not a question of motivation. Pathfinder, as a general setting, is not based on moral relativism, but on moral absolutes. Moral relativism works in the real world because we don't have a way to test for evil. On Golarion, Good and Evil are both tangible, observable forces, as much a part of the universe's natural laws as gravity. Doing a search at AoN, there are, I believe, 5 gods who specifically have torture as a part of their portfolios. 3 are Chaotic Evil, 1 is Neutral Evil, and 1 is Lawful Evil.

According to the Gamemastery Guide, the section on Defining Deeds in regards to Alignment, it says that threatening torture with no intent to actually follow through would be a neutral act, while following through is evil, no question.

The best you can do with this character is make him Neutral, in the fashion of Mordenkainen, devoted to the balance by doing both Good and Evil. Just remember that, in universe, not many people seemed to like Mordenkainen.


Mordenkainen is Stupid Neutral. Nobody likes him out of universe, either.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

He's not as fun as Bigby, for sure. I suppose it was his decision to let a demon lord out of binding because Good was too strong. Now if only the wizard had ranks in knowledge Planes to know the difference between a demon lord and a demigod.


I never understood how Good could be too strong. In what scenario is more evil a good thing?

By definition, it cannot be a good thing.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I can argue the point, in that should the forces of Hell and the Abyss be defeated, it's possible that the Celestial armies might start purging the mortal planes of life they consider as not living up to their standards. Conversely, and where I believe his original stance came from, the earliest editions were more about Order vs Chaos, with Good and Order being intertwined, same for Chaos and Evil. It is a fine line between sterility and destruction in those two, so his neutrality is somewhat more understandable.


If life isn't up to the standards of the ultimate manifestations of Good, then it's probably a good thing that it's being purged.

The greatest fall in D&D was when a third of Heaven's host defected. That's the worst it's ever gotten. I'll bat for Good any day. :p

Silver Crusade

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Scott Wilhelm wrote:
I think of torture as always an evil thing to do, but if the stakes are high enough, it might be a forgiveable thing to do. You know that scene in the action movie where there is a ticking bomb or kidnap victim running out of air somewhere in the city, and the good guy tortures the prisoner to find out where it is?

I love this justification, because of how nonsensical it is. It's purely a fictional trope used to serve characters a shade of grey while still presenting them as the hero, and thus normalizing torture as an okay and assured means to get correct information.

If the "bad guy" sets up a bomb, they win when the bomb goes off. They set up a bomb to kill people, they're captured, there's no getting away for them, they just need to hold out, or mislead to win.

Bomb is in area 2.

Interrogators use torture on bomber.

Bomber finally gives in and says area 1.

Bomb squad rushes to area 1, area 2 gets blown up.

Bomber wins.

Silver Crusade

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Vice (2018), adapted wrote:

"We believe the Alignment Convention is open to...interpretation."

"What exactly does that mean?"

"Stress positions, waterboarding, confined spaces, dogs. We’re calling it enhanced interrogation."

"We’re sure none of this fits under the definition of torture?"

"The Good doesn’t torture. Therefore, if the Good does it, by definition, it can’t be torture."

This is how ridiculous some of you who are using moral relativism to make torture non-evil sound right now.


TheGreatWot wrote:
I'd argue that hurting someone for what may or may not be the truth is evil.

You have a point. But under that definition then any form of interrogation could be considered evil. Getting somebody to confess or reveal information that they do not want to means making them understand that the consequences of not revealing the information would be worse. That could be defined as inflicting psychological pain and therefore evil under your definition.

Whilst I agree that Pathfinder/D&D has objective evil and good. I also believe that there has to be subjective alignment. Otherwise the game would just be about evil mass murderers, breaking into others' homes killing them and looting the place.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Mysterious Stranger wrote:
Chakat Firepaw wrote:


I'd say that it's easier to justify torture in a world where you have magic like Zone of Truth:

In a world without a way to force true statement or detect lies, torture is only effective at getting the victim to say what the torturer wants to hear. If you have come to the conclusion that you have captured a witch and that she knows other witches then you keep torturing until she names people, even though she has never even met a witch.

With magic, you can use the torture to force the person to give an answer, (Detect Thoughts can be beaten by mental discipline¹ while Zone of Truth only requires that you keep your mouth shut), and you use the magic to ensure the answers given are true.

Those spells are just the first I came up with off the top of my head. There are many different ways the magic can get the truth. When you start dealing with higher level spells the ways to avoid them become harder and in some cases impossible. For example I could use Geas to force a person to tell everything that they know.

My main point was that torture is that in a world with magic like that, torture for information is justifiable in the first place. Remember that we are contrasting that with a world where torture for information is all but useless, (you can get true information but you can never really trust it).

Yes, there are still more effective choices than torture but as you mention, they tend to be higher level and thus not as readily available.


So the point to quibble about is not "is torture evil" but "what constitutes torture." Like there's a continuum of "mistreating a captive" that spans from [redacted] to "not providing adequate reading material" and somewhere in between those two is the line you should not cross.

But if you're writing "Profession: torturer" or "Lore: torture" on your character sheet- you're evil full stop.


Didn't read the full thread, but IMHO the thread premise "Torture, can a not evil character justify doing it" is off.
Any character including good ones can justify doing it. Following thru might just then shift their alignment.
So I feel premise is based on overly meta perspective which ignores that alignment is MEASURE of ethics, not controlling of ethical choices.
Characters don't generally go thru thought process of "Well, I'm Good so that means I will only do X or Y and not Z.".
No, characters will debate and rationalize multiple courses of action, some of which may change their alignment.
Otherwise alignment would not actually shift if characters were just robots complying with their alignment.
Obviously out of character player perspective metagaming might prioritize courses of action which don't change alignment,
but IMHO that takes away from deeper roleplaying where character personality development can lead to alignment shifts.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

So the point to quibble about is not "is torture evil" but "what constitutes torture." Like there's a continuum of "mistreating a captive" that spans from [redacted] to "not providing adequate reading material" and somewhere in between those two is the line you should not cross.

But if you're writing "Profession: torturer" or "Lore: torture" on your character sheet- you're evil full stop.

Isn't that just semantics? Profession (Interrogator) isn't evil. But the interrogation techniques could include thumbscrews and the rack.

One interesting example is the cane. Is a teacher caning naughty pupils engaged in dangerous naughty activities evil? If the teacher enjoys inflicting pain then yes.If the teacher truly believes that they are stopping the chilren from killing or maiming themselves and takes no pleasure from it then they may be good, if misguided by modern conventions.


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Hugo Rune wrote:


Isn't that just semantics? Profession (Interrogator) isn't evil. But the interrogation techniques could include thumbscrews and the rack.

One interesting example is the cane. Is a teacher caning naughty pupils engaged in dangerous naughty activities evil? If the teacher enjoys inflicting pain then yes.If the teacher truly believes that they are stopping the chilren from killing or maiming themselves and takes no pleasure from it then they may be good, if misguided by modern conventions.

You're conflating "torture" and "interrogation." Interrogation is just asking questions. Torture is inflicting pain to achieve a desired result. You can interrogate someone without torturing them, and you can torture someone without interrogating them.

Example 1: Someone refuses to answer my questions, so give them a plate of cookies. They then answer all of my questions because they want more cookies. I've just sucessfully interrogated them.

Example 2: I detain a prominent priest of Iomaede. I ask him questions and threaten to expose to the public that visits brothels and drinks to excess on the regular. He answers my questions. He was interrogated without being tortured.

Example 3: I arrest and question the bouncer of a local tavern. He tells me the names and addresses of everyone involved in a recent bar fight because he just felt like telling me the truth. Interrogated without torture.

Silver Crusade

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Chakat Firepaw wrote:
My main point was that torture is that in a world with magic like that, torture for information is justifiable in the first place.

It’s not.


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::Hires a wizard to Detect Thoughts on a subject of interrogation::

PCs: "Better torture the wizard to make sure that he's not lying about his spell working."


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Rysky wrote:
Chakat Firepaw wrote:
My main point was that torture is that in a world with magic like that, torture for information is justifiable in the first place.
It’s not.

It is possible for the evil of inflicting torture is less than the evil of not getting some piece of information. In RL, (and any world where you cannot reliably detect that a statement is a true reflection of the victim's knowledge), you can never get a situation where torture allows you to avoid the latter evil.

In a world like that described by the PF rules, you can get into such situations meaning that torturing someone for information may be justifiable as the least evil option. (N.B. It's never a good option but sometimes there simply isn't a good option to choose.)

Remember, I said torture was easier to justify in a context where it is being compared to being impossible to justify.


Please tell me that "chakat" doesn't mean what I think it means in your name.


Xaimum Mafire wrote:

You're conflating "torture" and "interrogation." Interrogation is just asking questions. Torture is inflicting pain to achieve a desired result. You can interrogate someone without torturing them, and you can torture someone without interrogating them.

Example 1: Someone refuses to answer my questions, so give them a plate of cookies. They then answer all of my questions because they want more cookies. I've just sucessfully interrogated them.

Example 2: I detain a prominent priest of Iomaede. I ask him questions and threaten to expose to the public that visits brothels and drinks to excess on the regular. He answers my questions. He was interrogated without being tortured.

Example 3: I arrest and question the bouncer of a local tavern. He tells me the names and addresses of everyone involved in a recent bar fight because he just felt like telling me the truth. Interrogated without torture.

I'm not going to disagree that torturing someone for the sake of it isn't evil. But neither do I think that a captured assassin is going to reveal who hired him in exchange for a plate of cookies. I also think your second, blackmail example, sits on the spectrum as the priest would be psychologically tortured.


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Meh. When I think of torture, I don't think of blackmail and I doubt that anyone else, you included, does either. I think of needle under the nails, mind manipulation, thumbscrews, iron maidens... the good (bad?) stuff. Blackmail isn't torture.

Silver Crusade

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Chakat Firepaw wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Chakat Firepaw wrote:
My main point was that torture is that in a world with magic like that, torture for information is justifiable in the first place.
It’s not.
It is possible for the evil of inflicting torture is less than the evil of not getting some piece of information.
Nope. Mainly because this is a flimsy pretense that banks on “the torture is definitely going to work and lead to good outcome”.
Quote:
In a world like that described by the PF rules, you can get into such situations meaning that torturing someone for information may be justifiable as the least evil option. (N.B. It's never a good option but sometimes there simply isn't a good option to choose.)
There’s always another option other than torture. It’s only justifiable in the “i want to do it, therefore it’s justified” way of thought.
Quote:
Remember, I said torture was easier to justify in a context where it is being compared to being impossible to justify.

Except it’s not.

Silver Crusade

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TheGreatWot wrote:
Meh. When I think of torture, I don't think of blackmail and I doubt that anyone else, you included, does either. I think of needle under the nails, mind manipulation, thumbscrews, iron maidens... the good (bad?) stuff. Blackmail isn't torture.

Yeah blackmail in this instance isn't torture.


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Hugo Rune wrote:


I'm not going to disagree that torturing someone for the sake of it isn't evil. But neither do I think that a captured assassin is going to reveal who hired him in exchange for a plate of cookies. I also think your second, blackmail example, sits on the spectrum as the priest would be psychologically tortured.

No, they're probably not going to spill their guts for cookies. That doesn't mean you need to torture them to get that information nor that interrogating them in general is torture.

I would expect someone skilled in Profession (Interrogator) would be able to lead the person they're questioning to reveal more information than someone who isn't skilled - whether that's by successful cross-referential questioning, asking deceptively leading questions, or building a positive relationship and levels of trust.

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