What can you eat without being evil?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Okay so I am working on a cooking based sphere homebrew for Spheres of power. I wanted to have various effects based on creature type for the dishes made but have hit upon a issues. What is considered actually an evil act when it comes to cooking and preparing food. And does it matter what type the cook is?


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Nethack says it's morally OK (If it's safe is another question.) to eat anything but your own species (unless you're an orc), unicorns that share your alignment, and eggs you laid (generally while polymorphed).


I think in general the following things are considered evil with sentient creature being defined as anything with int > 3.

1. Preparing another sentient creature for it to be consumed. Regardless if the eater themselves is sentient or not.
2. Causing cannibalism, regardless if you are the one committing it or causing another creature to knowingly or unknowingly commit it.
3. Preparing a good aligned / divine creature to be consumed without it's consent.

All of these carry the caveat that in times of desperation these sorts of evil acts are quite forgivable. Additionally, if the creature didn't know what they were doing was evil (because it falls into one of the above categories) they could probably easily atone upon finding out depending on how egregious it was. Also, when a non-sentient creature consumes something it isn't considered an evil act regardless if what they are consuming is sentient or not.

Some some examples.

* A Lion eating a man isn't evil
* A man cooking up a man to be eaten by a lion is evil
* A Lion eating another lion isn't evil
* A man cooking up a lion to be eaten by a lion is evil
* A man cooking up a celestial lion to eat is not evil if the lion has communicated that the man is allowed to consume it.
* A man cooking up an intelligent deer is an evil act, but he would probably be forgiven for not knowing it was intelligent.


1. In the Pathfinder world of Absolute Morality (where what is good and evil is defined by gods and powers) cannibalism is exclusively the domain of evil figures. The only group that isn't exclusively evil and known to be cannibals are lizard folk, but I chalk that up to cultural differences and I'm pretty sure that all of their gods are evil if not leaning towards it.

2. Consuming the flesh of a sentient or sapient creature is an evil act so long as the act is not done in a desperate survival situation. However the act can still hold evil connotations with it and empower evil powers. Wendigos are often drawn to the act regardless of intent (and in some settings are created by them, see Deadlands).

Again, i'm speaking in the world of absolute morality where pathfinder sits. Cannibalism will always be an "evil" act, to the degree of changing alignment depends on situation i suppose. Cannibalisim can never be a "good" act.

Dark Archive

I'd think cooking lion for lion isn't really evil O_o Weird yes, but cannibalism in Pathfinder is killing sapient creatures in order to eat them, not just the same species.


Non Intelligent creatures dont gain pleasure from eating their own kin, they in fact gain nothing from it other than nourishment.

A dragon eating a person isn't necessarily an evil act. They dont gain any power or pleasure from the act they just do it as part of being a dragon.

IMO thats the difference. What do you gain from it.

I use the 3rd Edition Book of Vile Darkness as a guide primarily when stuff like this comes up.


This doesn't mean that it does not give evil beings power however. Again see the wendigo.


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Note that using the Cook People hex is an evil act, but using the Swallow Whole ability of the Gingerbread Witch is not.

Maybe evil lies in the chewing. Or maybe the seasoning.


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Alignment's one of those crazy things with contradictory stuff written about it, even by the same author. Still, my take would be eating unwilling sentients (or beings with the potential to become sentient, like babies or people under a feeblemind spell) is evil for any sentients, and contributing towards sentients being eaten is probably evil.

Very similar to Lord Kailas's take I think?


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Celery. Celery is fine. As long as it isn't sentient celery.


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A watched a paladin eat pineapple on a pizza once, and he did not fall. Or so he said, anyway. (He's very persuasive, and I don't have Detect Evil.)


Murdering things in their sleep: not evil

Putting ketchup on those things: definitely evil


Ketchup is not evil! Stop spreading those slanderous rumors!

Humanoids eating humanoids is generally taboo. Even monstrous humanoids. Less humanoid but intelligent? Don't people dream of eating dragons? Is that evil?


Hunting animals for food is fine, hunting animals purely for trophies is often frowned upon.

Killing bandits for loot is fine, killing bandits for food is evil.

Anyone see an odd disparity?


Java Man wrote:

Hunting animals for food is fine, hunting animals purely for trophies is often frowned upon.

Killing bandits for loot is fine, killing bandits for food is evil.

Anyone see an odd disparity?

Yes. It lays in your framing (leading) of the examples. Killing bandits outside of self-defense or missive by an authority figure in the area for the purposes of justice, well, let's say they certainly aren't Good actions. If you consider neutral acts "fine", rather than "good", yeah, it's "fine".


Meirril wrote:
Ketchup is not evil! Stop spreading those slanderous rumors!

But what about Horseradish? Is that Evil or just Chaotic?


I'd say eating anything is evil. After all, The Runelords, Kazavon, Tar-Baphon (back when he was alive) and lots of other bad people ate food.


Rauðúlfur wrote:
Meirril wrote:
Ketchup is not evil! Stop spreading those slanderous rumors!
But what about Horseradish? Is that Evil or just Chaotic?

Horseradish is beyond such quaint concepts.


There's reference to eating avernus razorback (a fiendish boar outsider with 3 intelligence) as a delicacy in Cheliax, but it also counts as a drug, tastes like hate and Cheliax is hardly indicative of morality.


Cheliax is actually very Moral. Just their Moral is dictated by a literal incarnation of Lawful Evil.

As such, you cant be a (trusted) agent of the Crown without being Evil, Lawful, or at least one of the two without being ni opposition of the other.

I could easily see the Chelaxian nobles eating delicacies like Kobold Pie or other things that dont so much tread the line of being cannibalisim as the people eating them dont consider the food to be sentient.


KujakuDM wrote:

Cheliax is actually very Moral. Just their Moral is dictated by a literal incarnation of Lawful Evil.

As such, you cant be a (trusted) agent of the Crown without being Evil, Lawful, or at least one of the two without being ni opposition of the other.

I could easily see the Chelaxian nobles eating delicacies like Kobold Pie or other things that dont so much tread the line of being cannibalisim as the people eating them dont consider the food to be sentient.

Why would they need to make such a distinction? Since they are evil and they live in a society that is openly evil they don't need to justify their actions. What's more there would be less of a concern with what's taboo and more with what's legal. So long as cannibalism hasn't been outlawed Chelaxian nobles probably engage in it. Even if it's just to see what it's like. Sentience probably isn't even a question for them. Elf ears taste great, and the fact that harvesting them is cruel is a bonus.


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“Sin lies only in hurting other people unnecessarily. All other "sins" are invented nonsense. (Hurting yourself is not sinful -- just stupid.)”

― Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

The Exchange

Something I always remember when one of these "defining evil acts" threads appears on the board.

I remember long ago, before PF was written, playing in a home game where there was a little mountain country (picture Tibet) that was very hard to get to, so they had "strange" customs there compared to the rest of that game world. For example, it was common practice there to cast Animate Dead on your ancestors after they had passed away. (Back then, Animate Dead wasn't an evil spell). A party of adventurers, on arriving in town in this out of the way place, found a Zombie chasing children is a fenced in yard. And did what adventurers do, only to be arrested for chopping up "Great Aunt Magrat". They had to pay to have her put back together and pay for the trauma caused to the children who had been playing a game of Zombie Tag with her while on recess in the school yard. Real culture shock. Different cultures, different customs.

And different campaigns/cultures...."ritual cannibalism" is often NOT considered evil. Just Google it sometime... or consider The Eucharist & Cannibalism...

In our common campaign (PFSOP) The-Powers-That-Be have repeatedly ruled some things "evil acts". Cannibalism is one of those things. (Though I am not sure if they have given an exact definition of Cannibalism...) If we are playing in that game (PFS), we need to abide by those rules as best we can.

In other campaigns? there are other rules... But we are in PFS. Let's try to all play by the same rules.

Please and thank you.


Point of order: this is not a PFS specific forum.

The Exchange

Java Man wrote:
Point of order: this is not a PFS specific forum.

so why are we "defining evil acts" as that which is defined as evil in PFS?

In a NON-PFS setting, I could easily see where eating ANYTHING might be required/allowed/restricted/prohibited. (or Good/Evil/Lawful/Chaotic) In fact, I have playing in many games that did just exactly that.

In Rune Quest, Trolls (an allowed PC race) eat their dead. We commented that "their bellies are their family graveyards". Elves art considered cannibals if they eat plants... (they are considered plants).

In an old D&D 3.5 game, I had an elf with a "hand of the mage", as I wanted "to keep a part of my Great Aunt with me all the time".

"What can you eat without being evil? " - well, wouldn't that be defined by the culture of the world setting? So... defined by the GM?

most of the responses in this thread appear to be from the culture of PFS... so, I was sticking with the rest of the crowd.


I know I wasn't talking about PFS. I generally avoid commenting on threads that talk about what is and isn't allowed in PFS since I don't play PFS and I know that they put a bunch of weird bands, restrictions and rules about what a character can and can't do. I don't respond to those because while I have a sense of what's allowed in non-PFS games my advice could be completely worthless in PFS and so I don't want to waste someone's time with bad information. I mean the OP was asking for a homebrew game where they are using Sphere's of Power which is very decidedly not a game bound by PFS rules.

The Exchange

LordKailas wrote:
KujakuDM wrote:

Cheliax is actually very Moral. Just their Moral is dictated by a literal incarnation of Lawful Evil.

As such, you cant be a (trusted) agent of the Crown without being Evil, Lawful, or at least one of the two without being ni opposition of the other.

I could easily see the Chelaxian nobles eating delicacies like Kobold Pie or other things that dont so much tread the line of being cannibalisim as the people eating them dont consider the food to be sentient.

Why would they need to make such a distinction? Since they are evil and they live in a society that is openly evil they don't need to justify their actions. What's more there would be less of a concern with what's taboo and more with what's legal. So long as cannibalism hasn't been outlawed Chelaxian nobles probably engage in it. Even if it's just to see what it's like. Sentience probably isn't even a question for them. Elf ears taste great, and the fact that harvesting them is cruel is a bonus.

but... in this post you (it seems to me) are equating the eating of sentient beings as being evil. "...eating delicacies like Kobold Pie or other things that dont so much tread the line of being cannibalisim as the people eating them dont consider the food to be sentient." you seem to be viewing eating any sentient creature as being "cannibalism", and "Since they are evil and they live in a society that is openly evil they don't need to justify their actions." this felt to me like you were using the PFS rules template to judge what is evil.

"eating sentient creature" = "cannibalism"
"cannibalism" = "evil"
"Chelaxian nobles" do "evil" things therefore:
"So long as cannibalism hasn't been outlawed Chelaxian nobles probably engage in it."

If I misinterpreted your stance I apologize.

If we are talking about a world setting outside of the PFS, why would eating any specific thing be considered evil? Because the creator of the world setting states it is. So, IMHO, the answer to "What can you eat without being evil? " could ONLY be answered by the GM of that specific game. Correct? or am I missing something (else) here?


I am thinking there is a bit of confusion about what PFS and non-PFS games mean. PFS = Pathfinder Society. Non-PFS is NOT Pathfinder society, but still within the Pathfinder ruleset, rather than being anything including 3rd party and homebrew worlds. Unless custom rules are being used in non-PFS games, they still follow the outlined alignment guidelines in the Pathfinder ruleset.

If I am wrong and this doesn't clear anything up, feel free to ignore this post.


I have the same understanding as DeathlessOne.

The Exchange

To me:
PFS = the Pathfinder Society Organized Play Campaign (sometimes listed as PFSOP & now sometimes listed as "PFS 1Ed" or "PFS 2Ed").

PF = Pathfinder. Often used to mean the Pathfinder rules (1st or 2nd Edition). So a PF campaign would use (mostly) the Pathfinder Ruleset (either 1st or 2nd, or even a mix of the two). (I could call this a PF game.)

RPGs would be any Role Playing Game rules set, and any other campaign (LG=Living Greyhawk, or RQ=Rune Quest would be examples of these).

If we are dealing with a PF game, then why do we make this connection stream

"eating sentient creature" = "cannibalism"
"cannibalism" = "evil"
"Chelaxian nobles" do "evil" things therefore:
"So long as cannibalism hasn't been outlawed Chelaxian nobles probably engage in it."

Why does "eating sentient creature" = "cannibalism"?
and
Why does "cannibalism" = "evil"
even apply?

for that matter, why does "Chelaxian nobles" do "evil things" apply?

I can easily see having a PF campaign where "eating sentient creature" =/= "cannibalism" in all cases.
and
I could also see one where "cannibalism" =/= "evil" (The Eucharist).

Heck, even in PFS "Chelaxian nobles" do NOT translate directly to being "Evil". Heck, I have more than one PC who are Chelaxian, noble, and NOT Evil.


Because many PF games use the Golarion setting, and the alignment rules in the Pathfinder Core Rule Book define cannabalism as evil.


Sir Ol'Guy wrote:

but... in this post you (it seems to me) are equating the eating of sentient beings as being evil. "...eating delicacies like Kobold Pie or other things that dont so much tread the line of being cannibalisim as the people eating them dont consider the food to be sentient." you seem to be viewing eating any sentient creature as being "cannibalism", and "Since they are evil and they live in a society that is openly evil they don't need to justify their actions." this felt to me like you were using the PFS rules template to judge what is evil.

"eating sentient creature" = "cannibalism"
"cannibalism" = "evil"
"Chelaxian nobles" do "evil" things therefore:
"So long as cannibalism hasn't been outlawed Chelaxian nobles probably engage in it."

If I misinterpreted your stance I apologize.

You have misinterpreted what I've said, but you aren't the first one on the forums to do this. When this happens I generally assume it's a failing on my part. So, I will try to restate what I said in my initial post.

"eating sentient creature" = "evil"

Separately, I define cannibalism as

merriam-webster.com wrote:
the eating of the flesh of an animal by another animal of the same kind

A horse eating horse meat is cannibalism

A human eating elf meat is not cannibalism.

In many societies I am familiar with, cannibalism is considered to be an unethical act.

I seem to even recall that at some point in history (I want to say Roman, but I could be wrong). The practice of mixing horse meat into feed given to horses was outlawed because the practice was deemed unethical. It was deemed to be unethical because it was forcing cannibalism on a creature that would not naturally partake in such an act. Hence my statement that

"cannibalism" = "evil"

as is forcing it on other creatures.

As for Chelaxian nobles. My premise isn't so much that evil creatures perform evil acts because those acts are evil. But rather, evil creatures are willing to perform evil acts because the creature is evil. I'm sure the nobles also eat chicken. But just because the evil nobles eat chicken it does not mean that eating chicken is an inherently evil act.

The Exchange

Java Man wrote:
Because many PF games use the Golarion setting, and the alignment rules in the Pathfinder Core Rule Book define cannabalism as evil.

I missed that reference. Sorry?

Can you direct me to it?

I have an older copy of the CRB, perhaps it is in Errata somewhere?

I actually find NO reference to "cannibalism" anywhere in the CRB. Do I need to search under the "cannabalism" spelling

The Exchange

LordKailas wrote:
Sir Ol'Guy wrote:

but... in this post you (it seems to me) are equating the eating of sentient beings as being evil. "...eating delicacies like Kobold Pie or other things that dont so much tread the line of being cannibalisim as the people eating them dont consider the food to be sentient." you seem to be viewing eating any sentient creature as being "cannibalism", and "Since they are evil and they live in a society that is openly evil they don't need to justify their actions." this felt to me like you were using the PFS rules template to judge what is evil.

"eating sentient creature" = "cannibalism"
"cannibalism" = "evil"
"Chelaxian nobles" do "evil" things therefore:
"So long as cannibalism hasn't been outlawed Chelaxian nobles probably engage in it."

If I misinterpreted your stance I apologize.

You have misinterpreted what I've said, but you aren't the first one on the forums to do this. When this happens I generally assume it's a failing on my part. So, I will try to restate what I said in my initial post.

"eating sentient creature" = "evil"

Separately, I define cannibalism as

merriam-webster.com wrote:
the eating of the flesh of an animal by another animal of the same kind

A horse eating horse meat is cannibalism

A human eating elf meat is not cannibalism.

In many societies I am familiar with, cannibalism is considered to be an unethical act.

I seem to even recall that at some point in history (I want to say Roman, but I could be wrong). The practice of mixing horse meat into feed given to horses was outlawed because the practice was deemed unethical. It was deemed to be unethical because it was forcing cannibalism on a creature that would not naturally partake in such an act. Hence my statement that

"cannibalism" = "evil"

as is forcing it on other creatures.

As for Chelaxian nobles. My premise isn't so much that evil creatures perform evil acts because those acts are evil. But rather, evil creatures are willing to perform evil acts because...

Thank you for your reply!

I am actually questioning your original statement.
"cannibalism" = "evil"
while this is true in PFS, it is not (IMHO) true in PF.

"In many societies I am familiar with, cannibalism is considered to be an unethical act." ah... while it is the root of many horror stories, and to me personally repugnant, cannibalism is often considered a sacred act. Google Ritual Cannibalism sometime, it's an eye opener.


Fun fact: The "cannibal" from Game Mastery guide pg. 306 is chaotic neutral.


Sir Ol'Guy wrote:

Thank you for your reply!

I am actually questioning your original statement.
"cannibalism" = "evil"
while this is true in PFS, it is not (IMHO) true in PF.

"In many societies I am familiar with, cannibalism is considered to be an unethical act." ah... while it is the root of many horror stories, and us personally repugnant, cannibalism is often considered a sacred act. Google Ritual Cannibalism

Certainly!

It's a fair point that not all societies consider it an unethical practice. I mean, you'd be hard pressed to even say its "un-natural" as there are animals that will absolutely eat their own.

The OP was asking about a homebrew game and so I wasn't quoting any rules in particular. Just making a general statement about what might be considered evil.

That being said, since the Pathfinder system has spells, abilities, and literal gods granting powers to people all based on alignment. Good and Evil aren't pie in the sky ideas so much as literal facts. Meaning even if a culture decided that doing X is ok. That culture would probably become "evil" if its something the gods have decreed is particularly egregious.

Now, if we look at the rules we do have the following.

Cook People (Su) wrote:

The witch can create fabulous spells by cooking an intelligent humanoid creature in her cauldron, either alive or dead.

...
Using this hex or knowingly eating its food is an evil act.

So, from context we can extrapolate that in the default setting for pathfinder cooking and/or consuming an intelligent creature is probably an evil act.

The Exchange

I could easily conceive of a world setting where the eating of one's relatives was considered to be the proper disposal of the dead. And you would NEVER consider eating an enemy... so eating an "enemy" would be a sign of respect. elevating it to "person" or even "relative" status.

heres an old scifi novel with a creature from a culture that eats their dead... .

link to another thread that touches on this subject..


I'm speaking from the absolute morality of how I interpret the game world.

Cannibalism is the domain of evil outsiders alone. Thus it is evil.

https://pathfinderwiki.com/wiki/Cannibalism


blahpers wrote:
Rauðúlfur wrote:
Meirril wrote:
Ketchup is not evil! Stop spreading those slanderous rumors!
But what about Horseradish? Is that Evil or just Chaotic?
Horseradish is beyond such quaint concepts.

Horseradish is traditional. Horseradish sauce may be made by rural people. Therefore, by the dogma of Erastil, horseradish is Lawful Good.


I still think eating anything is evil for the reasons listed in my first post. Anyone have a counterargument?


Everything.

IMO, save for special circumstances, eating something isn't innately good or evil, although killing or harming a creature to eat it (or parts of it) might be.


I think it's probably only evil to kill and eat something that would specifically not want you eating it once it's died. If the creature has no specific desires regarding the eating of its corpse, and the eating of the corpse won't harm another, I see no reason to think of the act as evil.

Just ask first.
"You have my permission to eat my corpse if you kill me, my eat yours if I prevail?"


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I find it odd that so many people find it more evil to eat a dead thing than to murder it in the first place.


Yqatuba wrote:
I still think eating anything is evil for the reasons listed in my first post. Anyone have a counterargument?

Bad people eat.

Bad people are evil.
Therefore eating is evil.

In logic we call this the fallacy of the undistributed middle. While pointing out a fallacy is not a counter argument it does expose a weakness in your logic that I can exploit. A proper counter would require a scenario where a good person is eating. Iomedae is the goddess of paladins and I presume she eats or at least did when she was mortal. Likewise, her paladins eat without falling. In conclusion, bad people are not the only people that eat. This need not prove that eating is neutral, good or evil.

As for the morality of eating, Golarian does have a model of good and evil as well as lawful and chaotic. However, there are people in our world who would make the case that eating is wrong. Particularly vegetarians or vegans, but moral discussions on Paizo forums never really bear any fruit.


If eating is evil, then anyone reading this is evil - unless they're a spambot, which has no need to eat. If your definition of evil excludes spambots you have a problem.


Thunderlord wrote:
Iomedae is the goddess of paladins and I presume she eats or at least did when she was mortal. Likewise, her paladins eat without falling. In conclusion, bad people are not the only people that eat.

Again, Golarion has absolute morality since there are literal gods and powers of ideas and morals. So this basically proves everything about it.


Whoever made this post is evil. All alignment discussions are evil.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Eating people is evil.

So is having too narrow a definition of "people".


If it's sentient, don't eat it.


Zhayne wrote:
If it's sentient, don't eat it.

If it's dead, don't necro it

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