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RndmNumGen
2010-11-16, 12:01 PM
In my current game that we just started I'm playing a Lawful Good Monk(Don't Start) who had a morality conflict with the other players in the last sessions. I would prefer not to come into conflict with the rest of the party, but I don't particularly want to compromise my character's background of views either. A short summary of his background is as follows:

He was abandoned at birth, left for dead in a savage forest. A passing ranger found him and took him to one of his friends, a monk who lived in solitude up in the mountains. The monk took him in and raised him as his own son, teaching him values similar to the ones he held, among these a desire to keep your word and a respect for all life. He is more Lawful than Good, and thus has a somewhat more strict code of ethics he would like to follow.

On our first session, we were given a mission to investigate a band of goblin bandits who had attacked a caravan and looted it. We were tasked with dealing with the goblins and recovering the stolen trade goods. We located the bandit's hideout in a box canyon, and ambushed a goblin patrol that was leaving. We decided that it would be a good idea to knock one of the goblins out instead of killing him, so we could question him later. I agreed. We won the fight, then woke up the goblin and found that he couldn't speak common.

This is were the conflict started. The rest of the group (including the Paladin, which rather surprised me)wanted to kill him outright, as he was no longer of use to us. I wanted to leave him alive, as he was no longer a danger to us and had been disarmed and tied up. My reasoning here was that when we knocked him out, he ceased to be an enemy and instead became a prisoner, and that as a prisoner he should be treated with respect; a quick interrogation followed by an execution did not strike me as particularly respectful. This conflict here was partially compounded by the fact that we couldn't communicate with him. Ideally, I would prefer to have a policy similar to the one held by both sides during WWII, that is, if the prisoner swears to leave the fighting and return home, they are free to go(yet if they rejoin the enemy and are captured again, they may be executed). Since the goblin couldn't speak common, we couldn't do this, and in the interest of moving forward we tied him to a tree while we investigated the bandit's hideout. The session ended with us still inside the hideout, so the prisoner goblin waiting outside for us is still a minor issue.

I've been talking with the DM about ways to make the party work better together without too much conflict, but I also thought it might be a good idea to ask the Playground how they may have handled similar encounters. So... And advice or ideas?

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-16, 12:15 PM
Start by shaming that Paladin - "respecting life" means not taking it when you don't have to :smallsigh:

Then read Mr. Burlew's Handy and Enlightening Article (http://www.giantitp.com/articles/tll307KmEm4H9k6efFP.html) on roleplaying. If appealing to the Good in the various PCs doesn't do anything, allow yourself to be convinced - and perhaps extract an oath from the more Lawful members that, in the future, they won't kill prisoners. Either kill them in combat or have a plan for letting them go after you're done with them as prisoners.

RndmNumGen
2010-11-16, 01:18 PM
Yeah, that is why I was surprised when the paladin wanted to kill him, with the only real reasoning being that he was Evil and if we let him go he could warn the other goblins and give them information about us. A valid concern, but I don't think it warrants his death.

I read most of Rich's stuff, but I still wasn't quite sure what to do, which is why I posted here. I do like the idea of creating some sort of prisoner policy that we can all agree to, so that we have a clear idea of what is acceptable and what isn't early on.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-16, 01:39 PM
Yeah, that is why I was surprised when the paladin wanted to kill him, with the only real reasoning being that he was Evil and if we let him go he could warn the other goblins and give them information about us. A valid concern, but I don't think it warrants his death.

I read most of Rich's stuff, but I still wasn't quite sure what to do, which is why I posted here. I do like the idea of creating some sort of prisoner policy that we can all agree to, so that we have a clear idea of what is acceptable and what isn't early on.
Good, good.

First step is definitely moralizing to the Paladin. As a LG Monk, that's practically in your job description :smalltongue:

The "prisoner policy" is both the Lawful IC solution and a good OOC solution. Players often either don't think about these sorts of things in advance or assume that they will be handled a particular way. Ironically, the worst time to try to iron this out is in the face of a decision; it is better to spend some RP time later to work it out - not only is this a legitimate form of intraparty conflict but it's a fine way to get the other Players into "RP Mode" as opposed to "Player Mode."

As for Rich's article: if you're read it and gotten the idea that it's OK to have party unfriendly RP so long as you "let yourself become convinced" more often than not, then you got all you need. From the OP I couldn't tell whether you were going to fall down the classic "blowin' up the party for RP purposes" trap; it sounds like you're not, which is great :smallsmile:

Telonius
2010-11-16, 01:45 PM
One possibility if you're trying to convince the Paladin: "Even the (insert despised race here) don't kill their captives outright. A dark day indeed, when a Paladin can't reach the bar set by a slaver."

Sir Swindle89
2010-11-16, 02:00 PM
Killing prisoners is evil, end of story. Paladin loses class features, every one else feels bad, ect.

If it were a human or an elf that didn't speak a known language they wouldn't think twice about keeping him alive.

I also put forward that this is not a style of play thing because if you are all kick down the door style then you don't take prisoners, you take loot. It might be a conflict of play styles if taking the prisoners in the first place was your idea.

In eitehr case, offer to take personal responsibility for the prisoners. That doesn't necessarily mean much (useing your rope, your food rations, ect.) but it puts the party in a not my problem mood, so they don't feel the need to "deal with them"

hamishspence
2010-11-16, 02:09 PM
Killing prisoners is evil, end of story. Paladin loses class features, every one else feels bad, ect.

If it were a human or an elf that didn't speak a known language they wouldn't think twice about keeping him alive.

This depends very much on the group. I've seen quite a few arguments that:

"adventurers have the moral authority to execute bandits they catch in the act of banditry"

"taking a bandit prisoner obstructs you in helping others- because some of your effort is spent on the bandit- which means you are placing the bandit's life above the safety of innocents- which is immoral"

or similar.

There's little to support that though- and quite a few sources that suggest otherwise.

BoED suggests that killing prisoners out-of-hand, is inappropriate for exalted Good characters.

DMG2 suggests that killing outlaws who have been successfully taken prisoner, is illegal- adventurers are obliged to hand outlaws over to the appropriate authorities, and not punish them themselves.

Even older editions (Eric Holmes Basic Edition) had a "Good players who kill prisoners are not acting according to their alignment" statement.

Sir Swindle89
2010-11-16, 02:25 PM
This depends very much on the group. I've seen quite a few arguments that:

"adventurers have the moral authority to execute bandits they catch in the act of banditry"

Adventures generally have no authority what so ever if they are in a civilized land then they should get charged with murder just as the bandits would be, not that theres any one around generally to tell the authorities, but they still did somthing wrong.


"taking a bandit prisoner obstructs you in helping others- because some of your effort is spent on the bandit- which means you are placing the bandit's life above the safety of innocents- which is immoral"

this second one i can see some what but thats built into most modern self defense laws, defending the weak counts as self defense. However thats not really the argument. Once they are prisoners you aren't defending any one from them because they are a contained threat like a prisoner in jail.

BTW, any one who has played with me should be laughing hystarically about now, because i always play the brutally neutral/ evil character and tend to lean the whole party that way.

hamishspence
2010-11-16, 02:34 PM
I tend to agree- and have frequently posted in threads which bring up this particular subject.

Still, the point is that at least some people, play their "Lawful Good" adventurers, as vigilantes that regularly execute people they've taken prisoner, if they think the prisoner deserves it.



BTW, any one who has played with me should be laughing hystarically about now, because i always play the brutally neutral/ evil character and tend to lean the whole party that way.

Nothing wrong with playing a character that acts this way- as long it doesn't annoy the other players, and as long as you know that the character's not behaving in a Good fashion.

It's when people whose characters act like that, insist that they're Good and doing Good acts, that can get a little wearing.

Sir Swindle89
2010-11-16, 02:36 PM
I tend to agree- and have frequently posted in threads which bring up this particular subject.

Still, the point is that at least some people, play their "Lawful Good" adventurers, as vigilantes that regularly execute people they've taken prisoner, if they think the prisoner deserves it.

Since when did any one think the Punisher was LG?

hamishspence
2010-11-16, 02:39 PM
I've seen a few "The Punisher is CG" threads before though.

Combined with "Lawful doesn't always mean following the law" and I can easily see people arguing for NG or LG.

I've also seen arguments that Dexter from the show Dexter and the book series that begins with Darkly Dreaming Dexter, is CN- because he doesn't just "kill the deserving" he does so by tying them down and cutting them up.

Vaecae
2010-11-16, 03:01 PM
In the position of the player when dealing with this, if my character would object I will personally address the others in character about it and play it out, sometimes accepting if they give an arguement my character finds valid, othertimes not. Sometimes I go neutral and don't even voice it. I had a character give a prisoner that our group had torturer for info a healing potion when no one was looking.

You can justify your alignment without having to be outward with it if you find that in character, or you can put your foot down and say something. I'd of called the paladin on his attitude if his god was not the kind to approve of dispatching evil for evil's sake. To prevent it in the future I'm siding with the roleplay a set standard among the group idea. I mean till the others desided to I hadn't expected them to torture the kid, and I should have climbed all over our monk for allowing it as he was LG; however, I was CN at the time and so while I did not approve I chose to do something different and took it upon myself to repair some of the damage caused to the prisoner.

Be true to your character and if the other players buck you on it, call their characters on why, make them justify it. It's a debate, and like any debate there's sides to be heard. If you can't get a satifactory answer then do something to counter what they've chosen to do. It doesn't have to hurt the party, but it can still make you feel better and send a message to either the or players, the DM, or both about what you may do if it comes up again.

If they had killed the prisoner in spite of your objection you might have done something in responce, like giving him a proper burial reguardless, or perhaps if you find an injured goblin later when no one else is watching you make motions or tell it to ran and let it live like that. Work around it somehow, when compromise is an option great, and if it's not something more inventive may work. Just do what feels right and it should all be okay. If an arguement breaks out over it solve it the same way you would in real life with a willingness to try to understand and the strength to stand your ground if you find the other's unreasonable. Oh, and remember, the DM is there if it gets out of hand, turn to them if you just can't solve it, they're there to help.

RndmNumGen
2010-11-16, 03:30 PM
A lot of good advice guys. I particularly like the idea of comparing how goblins would treat their prisoners.

I I'd of called the paladin on his attitude if his god was not the kind to approve of dispatching evil for evil's sake.

Hmm... Well he's not a Cleric so I'm not sure how much of an impact it has, but I know fluff wise he worships Hieronius(sp?). My character follows St. Cuthbert.

Vaecae
2010-11-16, 03:47 PM
Hmm... Well he's not a Cleric so I'm not sure how much of an impact it has, but I know fluff wise he worships Hieronius(sp?). My character follows St. Cuthbert.

The thing is a Paladin doesn't just answer to other divine casters or even those with a perticular authority in the divine. The paladin's purpose is to further their god's goals, whoever that god is doesn't matter. If he can't justify it within his God's views as HE knows them then he shouldn't do it as a paladin. If a Paladin can't answer a begger on the street he's in just as much trouble as if he can't answer the high cleric of his god at temple.

Calmar
2010-11-16, 03:54 PM
I've been talking with the DM about ways to make the party work better together without too much conflict, but I also thought it might be a good idea to ask the Playground how they may have handled similar encounters. So... And advice or ideas?

I guess your group should decide whether to use medieval, or enlightened morals. In the middle-ages, only nobility and clergy could expect to be captured and treated with any respect by the enemy. Killing some captured enemy foot soldier who is of no further use would not be inacceptable, especially when he's from another culture. A paladin should not be expected to be goody-goody.

However, if you use modern 18th century+ morals of course every being (at least every sentient one) enjoys the Natural Law. But honestly, that makes things quite complicated in a fantasy game, because "always"-alignments of creatures make absolutely no sense anymore and everyone becomes "human".

Susano-wo
2010-11-16, 04:03 PM
personally, I don't see this as an area that oyu have a lot of wiggle room in, judging from what you've said of your character. Killing prisoners is wrong [lets just say according to his ethical code], and you can't ait by while others do something like that.

THough can you? I guess I don't know how rigid he is about your code, but it sounds like the character is rigid, what with the descriptions and the Cuthbert worship. The question is, how insitant is he that others follow the same ethical code, and how pragmatic is he abouit his ability to stop it?

If there is wiggle room you can tell them that this never happens again, but of course, this might lead to it happening again later, ifthey don't really thjink there will be consequences.

There is one other option. While you guys are arguing, you can simply walk over to the goblin, and untie him, standing in your party's way if they wish to try to pursue [if you were a stand still build, that would be perfect, but I figure you're not :P...especialyl since I am recalling that I think that feat if PF only]

Goudaa
2010-11-16, 04:04 PM
Isn't common an automatic language for goblin?

In regards to your party, simply ensure this doesn't happen again by extracting an oath - then when it's broken you have grounds for leaving the group to not further taint your karma/soul.

Also - that Paladin is horrid. If the group does end up slaughtering the surrendered goblin i'd seriously suggest the DM strips him of abilities until an atonement is completed.

Lord Bingo
2010-11-16, 05:07 PM
Simply letting the goblin go would be unlawful.

The Paladin should feel compelled to treat his prisoner with dignity but it is not above a paladin to determine an apt punishment and carrying it out if the circumstances are right.

In this case as the settlement that the party sounds like it is nearby and is probably presided over by a legitimate authority the paladin would be obliged to hand over the goblin prisoner to that party so that the goblin might receive ample punishment, PROVIDED that he is confident that the goblin will not face abuse such as torture. It is, however, perfectly acceptable for a paladin to hand a prisoner over to be executed if that is the "law"(read will of the legitimate authority whom a lawful character respects) in a particular area.

If, on the other side, the party is so far away from the settlement that bringing the goblin back to face justice is not feasible there is in fact no problem with the paladin executing the goblin for his "crimes" if he shows no sign of remorse or willingness to change his wicked ways.
Now, unless you're playing Eberron -in which case I cannot vouch for the nature of goblins, goblins are in general a petty, vile and sadistic little folk, so while I certainly am of the opinion that the paladin should try to redeem the prisoner it should not take up the whole gaming session. In the end the goblin will likely die.

Since the monk in question is also lawful good he should, more or less, share this moral sentiment.






In a universe of objective definitions of good, evil, lawful and chaotic these situations can be a bit tricky.

RndmNumGen
2010-11-16, 08:46 PM
I guess your group should decide whether to use medieval, or enlightened morals.

Hmm... that is a good point. I guess that is another thing to talk with my group about.

Isn't common an automatic language for goblin?

Is it? If so, either the DM didn't know that or the goblin just refused to speak to us in common.


Simply letting the goblin go would be unlawful.
Maybe, but simply executing him doesn't strike me as very Good either.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-11-16, 09:05 PM
"Enlightenment" or "Medieval" morals don't matter for Alignment purposes.

For reference:

Good characters and creatures protect innocent life...

"Good" implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others.
Appropriately, the Objective Alignment System does not make reference to subjective moral values. Killing needlessly is unlikely to be in harmony with "respect for life."

Of course, LG individuals may execute criminals if it is both just and in accordance with relevant external authority - but they certainly shouldn't be as trigger-happy as the Paladin in the party sounds.

Susano-wo
2010-11-16, 09:15 PM
"Enlightenment" or "Medieval" morals don't matter for Alignment purposes.

For reference:

Appropriately, the Objective Alignment System does not make reference to subjective moral values. Killing needlessly is unlikely to be in harmony with "respect for life."

Of course, LG individuals may execute criminals if it is both just and in accordance with relevant external authority - but they certainly shouldn't be as trigger-happy as the Paladin in the party sounds.

I don't know...sounds pretty subjective to me... :smallwink: (and yes, I know what you meant:smallbiggrin:)

I do htink, though, that most groups consciously or subconsciously skew the defintiions in the alignment section to fit with their ideas of good and evil, and it is very good forthe DM and players to sit down and figure out how they want ot play things if issues of what alignment everyone really is comes up

Really, though whatever it says on his sheet, the real issue is the character's moral beliefs, and what they require him to do. I know I will get flak, but...

no one ever does anything becuase they are X alignemnt. They do whatever they do, and that is what alignment they are.

MidnightOne
2010-11-16, 10:19 PM
I'd toss in another option as well: Treat the Goblin well and find someone who speaks the little bugger's language. Offer him a job with the group, pay him for the work.
After all, what's a better way to defeat Evil than turning it to the side of Good?:smallbiggrin:

RndmNumGen
2010-11-17, 12:06 AM
I'd toss in another option as well: Treat the Goblin well and find someone who speaks the little bugger's language. Offer him a job with the group, pay him for the work.
After all, what's a better way to defeat Evil than turning it to the side of Good?:smallbiggrin:

That doesn't really seem to be a feasible option here, as nice as that would be.

Lev
2010-11-17, 12:28 AM
Check my signature in regards to naturally evil races and such.

If you want to keep him alive, and the rest of your party does not, then don't force the party to take responsibility for this prisoner if they do not wish to bear it.

The alternative is that YOU step up and take responsibility for the goblin, keep him fairly secure as to not be a large liability to the other players (aka do not leave the goblin in a position to coup de grace them in their sleep) and watch him.

From there, an abundance of options open up to you, including the hospitality option and eventually your diplomacy checks will sink in, either in genuine friendship which may change the goblins morality from evil to neutral in some respect, or it could simply develop a variable length of stockholm syndrome, either way this sets you up to gain a contact, either one who goes with you, or one that returns to his goblin community.

Speech is a problem, you could break it down a few ways:

Human to Goblin - Communication
A) Don't try, just show it through actions
B) Try to teach it common or a language you know more similar to goblin
C) Seek out magic
D) Learn goblin
E) A combination of these factors.

GOBLINS, the Webcomic. As good quality as OotS.
http://www.goblinscomic.com/06252005/

~Nye~
2010-11-17, 01:03 AM
This might not be the most orthadox way of dealing with this situation (it is only a game...). I would guard the goblin personally, if anyone tries to lay a finger on him, challenge them to a a contest of some sort in which they'll have to beat you to kill the goblin... I know it's kind of trivial for a life... but it sort of resolves the situation... In a kinda morally dubious way... Sorry I know this probably didn't help at all.

Tvtyrant
2010-11-17, 01:07 AM
That doesn't really seem to be a feasible option here, as nice as that would be.

It is with a diplomancer! Just make it become so friendly to you in decides you value your advice and turn to good.

RndmNumGen
2010-11-17, 01:26 AM
B) Try to teach it common or a language you know more similar to goblin


I like that idea, actually. Really, really like it. I do know Dwarven, and looking in the SRD it appears that Goblin is derived from that... maybe he can teach me Goblin as well in the process, and I can speak to more goblins in the future! That opens up a whole world of possibility.

arrowhen
2010-11-17, 01:43 AM
I also put forward that this is not a style of play thing because if you are all kick down the door style then you don't take prisoners, you take loot.

Somewhat off topic, but I played in a kick-down-the-door campaign where we took prisoners all the time; like, at least once a session. Interrogating prisoners is often the best way to find out where the loot is and what's guarding it.

Sir Swindle89
2010-11-17, 01:52 AM
Somewhat off topic, but I played in a kick-down-the-door campaign where we took prisoners all the time; like, at least once a session. Interrogating prisoners is often the best way to find out where the loot is and what's guarding it.

but i wouldn't define it as pure kick down the door then.

KDD= kill all bad guys=> make search checks => collect quest rewards => repeat

to me at least. thats probably the most extreme end of kick down the door

Lord Bingo
2010-11-17, 03:07 AM
This might not be the most orthadox way of dealing with this situation (it is only a game...). I would guard the goblin personally, if anyone tries to lay a finger on him, challenge them to a a contest of some sort in which they'll have to beat you to kill the goblin... I know it's kind of trivial for a life... but it sort of resolves the situation... In a kinda morally dubious way... Sorry I know this probably didn't help at all.

I do not think promoting further antagonism within the party is really the way to go here -least of all by posting challenges to other party member. The main objective should be to resolve the present situation to everyones satisfaction without breaking up the party and to establish some kind of precedence that you can all agree upon should the situation ever arise again.

The goblin in question is a bandit and a threat to everyone passing along that stretch of road(?). The appropriate lawful response would be execution. The appropriate good response would be to ensure that this is done as humanely and dignified as possible.
To unleash evil on the land -even in the form of a lone goblin- is not good either. There are other lives at stake here than the goblins!

Lev
2010-11-17, 05:31 AM
I like that idea, actually. Really, really like it. I do know Dwarven, and looking in the SRD it appears that Goblin is derived from that... maybe he can teach me Goblin as well in the process, and I can speak to more goblins in the future! That opens up a whole world of possibility.

I'd suggest making a request to your DM for some skill leverage, AKA ask your DM if you can keep some skill points in stasis until a later time when you think you've done the training to warrant them.

That way, when it comes time to "learn goblin" you can barter for the language with your skillpoints-- perhaps 2 skillpoints, maybe 3 if you want to bribe. It also gives you more flavor as your skills relate to the things you do when you do them.


You said you are in a dungeon, if you hit a new level you have more skillpoints, make the request and even if things don't work out, hey, you've still got your skillpoints.

hamishspence
2010-11-17, 06:39 AM
I'd suggest making a request to your DM for some skill leverage, AKA ask your DM if you can keep some skill points in stasis until a later time when you think you've done the training to warrant them.

That way, when it comes time to "learn goblin" you can barter for the language with your skillpoints-- perhaps 2 skillpoints, maybe 3 if you want to bribe. It also gives you more flavor as your skills relate to the things you do when you do them.

In one of the Munckin RPG books (DMG?) the player actually does this without telling the DM- put skill points into languages, but not specifying which- and when coming to an unusual monster language, retroactively making the language picked be that.

The DM responds with "that kind of abuse deserves respect" and lets them get away with it after calling them on it.

Lev
2010-11-17, 07:09 AM
In one of the Munckin RPG books (DMG?) the player actually does this without telling the DM- put skill points into languages, but not specifying which- and when coming to an unusual monster language, retroactively making the language picked be that.

The DM responds with "that kind of abuse deserves respect" and lets them get away with it after calling them on it.

Well, I meant he could add it after like a week or 2 with the goblin.
Here's a great example actually: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5J6QAM6dGY

hamishspence
2010-11-17, 08:14 AM
Well, I meant he could add it after like a week or 2 with the goblin.

That would be a much less munchkin-ish way of doing it.

"Houserule- players can leave unused some skill slots- and train in them over the course of a short period, when they need to- without having to level up"

would be a pretty nice way of handling it.

Aotrs Commander
2010-11-17, 09:46 AM
I'd toss in another option as well: Treat the Goblin well and find someone who speaks the little bugger's language. Offer him a job with the group, pay him for the work.
After all, what's a better way to defeat Evil than turning it to the side of Good?:smallbiggrin:

We did that once, in our one and only 4E game; notably about the only roleplaying we did in the module (mostly dungeon crawling; it was one of the early 4E modules, possilbly even Keep on the Borders Lands or something), and that was kind of by accident...

hamishspence
2010-11-17, 09:50 AM
We did that once, in our one and only 4E game; notably about the only roleplaying we did in the module (mostly dungeon crawling; it was one of the early 4E modules, possilbly even Keep on the Borders Lands or something), and that was kind of by accident...

Splug, in Keep on the Shadowfell (the first 4E module) is pretty much designed to be a goblin you don't fight, but interact with- he's a prisoner- he offers to help you in return for his freedom.

Aotrs Commander
2010-11-17, 09:57 AM
Splug, in Keep on the Shadowfell (the first 4E module) is pretty much designed to be a goblin you don't fight, but interact with- he's a prisoner- he offers to help you in return for his freedom.

Nah, it wasn't him, it was a random goblin we captured after knocking on the door in some underground place (the fact I can't for the life of me remember what any of the place-names are speaks volumes about the module, don't it...) instead of just kicking the door in. Bit of Random Dungeon Dressing Attacks Syndrome, really. We got him a job serving the wizard crowd we were working for, as I recall.

Was that module, though, as we beat (just) the Irontooth fight with no fatalities (even though only 2/5 characters were still standing.)

hamishspence
2010-11-17, 09:59 AM
I remember our party, after KoTS, on homebrew adventures, did have a tendency to rescue any prisoner, no matter how monstrous, as long as it didn't behave badly toward them.

Right up to an ettin and a flameskull.

Mark Hall
2010-11-17, 12:30 PM
Killing prisoners is evil, end of story. Paladin loses class features, every one else feels bad, ect.

I disagree. The prisoner in question was an acknowledged bandit. We're not talking about a POW in a declared war... we're talking about a bandit, who, presumably, is operating under a death mark in the first place. Taking him prisoner and saving his life would be ideal, but there's also the question of practical, and the "if we let him free he will do things that result in us all dying" is not to be ignored. A quick coup de grace to a prisoner under a valid death sentence is not evil... it's not good, but nor is it evil.

I agree with the "let yourself be convinced, but try to get a policy in place" crowd... have the group thinking about the moral implications of their actions, without being the thing that stops the game from going forward. Register your objections but say "I don't have a better plan. I don't like it, and we're going to need to talk about this... but once we're out of the wilderness." If your group does such things, you might carry it on via e-mail, to clear up table time.

hamishspence
2010-11-17, 01:57 PM
I disagree. The prisoner in question was an acknowledged bandit. We're not talking about a POW in a declared war... we're talking about a bandit, who, presumably, is operating under a death mark in the first place.

In DMG 2, it discusses "Writs of Outlawry" in a D&D context- If a person under a writ of outlawry surrenders, bounty hunters are forbidden to harm them. Otherwise, however, they can use lethal force on the outlaw.

Writs of outlawry are passed on anyone who refuses to be bound over for trial- and anyone who kills an outlaw can legally keep things on the outlaw's immediate person (but not things the outlaw does not keep on their person).

Also- if adventurers come upon criminals committing serious crimes, and in the process of stopping them, kill them, a retroactive writ of outlawry is sometimes passed on the criminal, allowing the adventurers to keep the criminal's immediate possessions.

Mark Hall
2010-11-17, 02:43 PM
In DMG 2, it discusses "Writs of Outlawry" in a D&D context- If a person under a writ of outlawry surrenders, bounty hunters are forbidden to harm them. Otherwise, however, they can use lethal force on the outlaw.

My D&D morality has less to do with DMG2 and more to do with John Wayne. ;-)

hamishspence
2010-11-17, 02:48 PM
My D&D morality has less to do with DMG2 and more to do with John Wayne. ;-)

Didn't his Marshal-type characters tend to at least make offers of surrender where reasonable,

and, if they had captured (and tied up) a bandit, would try and find a way of getting them turned over to the judiciary, rather than simply acting as judge jury and executioner and meting out a death sentence on the spot?

It's been a while since I've seen True Grit or Rooster Cogburn though.

Mark Hall
2010-11-17, 04:44 PM
Didn't his Marshal-type characters tend to at least make offers of surrender where reasonable,

and, if they had captured (and tied up) a bandit, would try and find a way of getting them turned over to the judiciary, rather than simply acting as judge jury and executioner and meting out a death sentence on the spot?

It's been a while since I've seen True Grit or Rooster Cogburn though.

Think of goblins as Indians, however. Indians in early 1950s Westerns, if you're inclined to kill.

hamishspence
2010-11-17, 05:04 PM
Even then, characters like McLintock had a certain amount of compassion and respect for them.

Cityscape suggests goblins in particular tend to integrate into human societies- albeit as an underclass.

Mark Hall
2010-11-17, 05:08 PM
Even then, characters like McLintock had a certain amount of compassion and respect for them.

Early 50s. For every Tonto, there were a billion scalp-hunting savages.

hamishspence
2010-11-17, 05:14 PM
Early D&D (Gygax era) might have been much like this-

but over time, it's tended to have a bit more integration.

Eberron, with its goblin nation (and once, an immense goblin empire) might have been part of the theme of respect for life being extended more to monsters, not just enemy PC races.

Mark Hall
2010-11-17, 05:18 PM
Early D&D (Gygax era) might have been much like this-

but over time, it's tended to have a bit more integration.

Eberron, with its goblin nation (and once, an immense goblin empire) might have been part of the theme of respect for life being extended more to monsters, not just enemy PC races.

Yes, but I was defining where my view of D&D morality comes from.

hamishspence
2010-11-17, 05:22 PM
Question is- is the conflict between players, an edition- based one?

Is the person who hates the idea of slaying a goblin prisoner, well versed in the nuances of 3rd ed, which tend to stress that goblins aren't really that different from other races- they just have a nasty culture?

And are the other players, who think it's the right thing to do, ones who started in the Gygax era and carried that attitude all the way to 3rd ed?

Mark Hall
2010-11-17, 05:25 PM
Question is- is the conflict between players, an edition- based one?

Is the person who hates the idea of slaying a goblin prisoner, well versed in the nuances of 3rd ed, which tend to stress that goblins aren't really that different from other races- they just have a nasty culture?

And are the other players, who think it's the right thing to do, ones who started in the Gygax era and carried that attitude all the way to 3rd ed?

While I can't speak for the OP, not IME. Our 4e group tends to be pretty bloody-minded, even with good characters, whereas a number of my older-people are willing to debate the alignment.

hamishspence
2010-11-17, 05:29 PM
My 4E group tended to be exceptionally open-minded when it came to monsters-

(we generally didn't attack anything, no matter how monstrous- if when aware of us it showed no hostile intentions).

If it was attacking us or others though, we didn't hesitate to oppose it.

Pretty much everybody- even the mildly psychopathic pyromaniac eladrin, tended to be in consensus on this.

RndmNumGen
2010-11-18, 01:43 AM
Question is- is the conflict between players, an edition- based one?

Is the person who hates the idea of slaying a goblin prisoner, well versed in the nuances of 3rd ed, which tend to stress that goblins aren't really that different from other races- they just have a nasty culture?

And are the other players, who think it's the right thing to do, ones who started in the Gygax era and carried that attitude all the way to 3rd ed?

Almost all of us are new players; only myself and the DM have played D&D before. I've played some 3.5 and 4e, as well as d20 Modern and Star Wars d20.

I mainly got the "goblins are living creatures, not creature of pure evil like demons are" from OotS itself, which I doubt (m)any of the other players have read. This might by why there is some conflict, as they might be thinking of goblins like the LotR ones.

Lev
2010-11-18, 05:05 AM
Almost all of us are new players; only myself and the DM have played D&D before. I've played some 3.5 and 4e, as well as d20 Modern and Star Wars d20.

I mainly got the "goblins are living creatures, not creature of pure evil like demons are" from OotS itself, which I doubt (m)any of the other players have read. This might by why there is some conflict, as they might be thinking of goblins like the LotR ones.
Flat out quote my sig, clicking on it will send you to a text version of the source post.

Reason with your players, break their resolve of conviction with your words IC.

The problem is probably racist, the players, because they've never dealt with another intelligent creature other than animals, never a self-aware creature, they don't have any morality to treat other races as equals, so this all comes down to racism.

A goblin is evil because it understands the connection between a human and a dangerous animal and chooses more often than not to kill it outright, perhaps even eat it (goblins see you like we would see a tiger).

Humans are true neutral by default, but actively disrespecting the life of another sentient being, or at least not letting it effect you morally or ethically is a directly evil act.

If your players are saying "Kill the goblin, it will only cause us trouble." as easily as you'd say "Dump that ration out, it's spoiled." then that player is showing evil intent by disrespecting life, and treating a goblin like it was a disease.
-------------------

Get this point across to your team mates, you might earn some roleplaying XP, score some points with the big guys and gals in the clouds, perhaps make a new friend, enlighten your party, and maybe just maybe sew the seeds of peace between races that have been warring for thousands of years.

742
2010-11-18, 05:51 AM
or they could just give the goblin a snack and go kill the others while its tied up, then decide what to do with the captured goblin later after the danger of it alerting the others is past.

hamishspence
2010-11-18, 07:03 AM
Flat out quote my sig, clicking on it will send you to a text version of the source post.

Reason with your players, break their resolve of conviction with your words IC.Get this point across to your team mates, you might earn some roleplaying XP, score some points with the big guys and gals in the clouds, perhaps make a new friend, enlighten your party, and maybe just maybe sew the seeds of peace between races that have been warring for thousands of years.

It's worth remembering, that while Chaotic/Accepting is generally portrayed as the ideal in Savage Species, Chaotic/Rejecting is protrayed as the most like a traditional D&D world.

One of the suggested goals of monstrous characters in a mostly Chaotic/Rejecting world- is to change it.

And the full details of the Chaotic/Accepting model, ask "How did such a state come about"? and mentions the possibility of some great monster hero rising up, doing great things, and by their actions leading to a massive change of viewpoint.

That said, a few-nonmonstrous heroes might have a Chaotic/Accepting viewpoint (even if their alignment is Lawful) that differs from the norm, and seek to change a Chaotic/Rejecting world into a Chaotic/Accepting one.

I like the general idea of PCs being of this viewpoint. Earlier in the chapter, it does say, that adventurers are much more likely to be accepting of monsters, than the ordinary citizens of the world.

Aotrs Commander
2010-11-18, 07:14 AM
That's the big question, isn't, it? How evil is evil?

In my own primary game-world, which is fairly heavily Tolkien-influenced in places, Orc-Kin (i.e. Orcs, Hobgoblins, Goblins and Kobolds) and many other races are pretty much inherently evil, having it literally in their genetic make-up, as they were genetically-engineered1 from scratch by the Dark Lord. So you can pretty much garentee there, if you let one of the buggers go, it'll sneak off and murder something else... (However, even then there is one faction of Hobgoblins who have become more Mongol-like and more neutral-ish.)

Which is a quite a different take to, as priorly mentioned, to Rich's take, or still further away, worlds which treat goblins (et al) as just another race.

Talking to your DM to ascertain where he falls on the line would be a good start. Even in the case of my "Always Evil" style, though, that doesn't stop you from holding your character's position (far from it; you might be getting into exalted territory!), but it does give you a better grounding of how the rest of the world views monstrous creatues and how you would thus expect the other characters to react.



1Of course, even the Dark Lord doesn't actually understand "genetics" and molecular biology as we do per se; the processes are described in terms of blood or blood line, but basically, he learned how to do really advanced genetic engineering through magic.

hamishspence
2010-11-18, 07:19 AM
Most of the 3.0/3.5 D&D sources (PHB, Champions of Ruin, BoED, Savage Species, etc) tend to ascribe a lot more to nurture than nature, for most monsters- orcs, goblins, kobolds, etc.

However, I'm told that 1st ed D&D tended to put much more weight on Nature for these.

There's also the issue of how much a being can go against its nature. In the WoTC Succubus Paladin online article- we find that even demons can be capable of going against their nature and becoming Good.

(she's not a Sanctified creature- that template can't be applied to Evil subtype outsiders- and the Diplomacy rules in BoED don't work on them either. In effect, she chose to start going against her own nature).

Lev
2010-11-18, 08:04 AM
That's the big question, isn't, it? How evil is evil?
Well-- there's a big difference between an evil act and an evil intent.

Races are more often than not evil not out of design or choice, but out of predisposition.

A goblin who ENJOYS ripping the entrails out of another sentient being, now that's a whole different story, same with Dellyn Goblinslayer the high level range in Goblins.
Sure, disrespecting life is an evil act, but perhaps not evil intent, depending on the looseness of your alignment system it might change your alignment to do so, probably not in most campaigns as the general rule with DnD is hurt them to death now, gain XP later, but a more sensitive campaign might change a LG character to a NG character and then from NG to TN and from TN to either CN or NE in that order.

Some actions and intents might not be too bad, but consider a character who repeatedly takes a course of action that when confronted with a situation to do good he only does it if he does not have to make sacrifices of fall under great risk... that would either be a Neutral or Chaotic good character.

Saving a goblins life, sparing it and trying to reason with it? That's def. lawful good.

Aotrs Commander
2010-11-18, 08:09 AM
Races are more often than not evil not out of design or choice, but out of predisposition.

That really depends on what game world you're playing and what the DM's take on alignment is.


Saving a goblins life, sparing it and trying to reason with it? That's def. lawful good.

Well, it's good, at any rate. I don't think it is fair to say that it'd be soley restricted to LG characters. It's a good basis for heading for exalted, though. (Especially if you live in a world where evil is really Evil, it takes more than the average guy to stand up and say "no, I shall find a better way", even if he's totally wrong.)

Lev
2010-11-18, 08:16 AM
Well, it's good, at any rate. I don't think it is fair to say that it'd be soley restricted to LG characters. It's a good basis for heading for exalted, though. (Especially if you live in a world where evil is really Evil, it takes more than the average guy to stand up and say "no, I shall find a better way", even if he's totally wrong.)
I'd say caring for someone trying to kill you at a risk and inconvenience to your party as a sacrifice, and going out of your way to make sacrifices in the name of good is lawful good.

Aotrs Commander
2010-11-18, 08:27 AM
I'd say caring for someone trying to kill you at a risk and inconvenience to your party as a sacrifice, and going out of your way to make sacrifices in the name of good is lawful good.

I can't see why people of any good alignment wouldn't do it, though if it's in their nature. Compassion isn't just a LG trait after all.

I was trying to not drag in any examples (because alignment of characters is so subjective), but for the sake of argument, Naruto Uzumaki certainly does that (to the point of stupidity, sometimes, if you ask most people, but sadly, stupid is unaligned...), and I really don't peg him as Lawful Good by any stretch of the imagination.

hamishspence
2010-11-18, 08:28 AM
Going out of your way to make sacrifices in the name of good, doesn't have to be Lawful though.

A person might seek to redeem those who are evil, because of their Good nature- yet be very Chaotic in means and methods, and even in overall goals (maximizing personal freedom of themselves and others.)

RndmNumGen
2010-11-18, 11:20 AM
we find that even demons can be capable of going against their nature and becoming Good.

Woah, really? Do you have a link to that or something?



Well, it's good, at any rate. I don't think it is fair to say that it'd be soley restricted to LG characters. It's a good basis for heading for exalted, though.

Hmmm... Too bad we're restricted to the PHB for this first game, and thus BoED is right out.

hamishspence
2010-11-18, 11:33 AM
Woah, really? Do you have a link to that or something?

One demon paladin coming up! :smallamused:

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/fc/20050824a



Hmmm... Too bad we're restricted to the PHB for this first game, and thus BoED is right out.

One solution- interpretation of "Good implies respect for life"

Suggest that respect for life demands you not kill beings, even evil beings, unless absolutely necessary- and that you should instead try to redeem evil beings if at all reasonably possible.

Without BoED's "lots of diplomacy checks" method, it will require DM's discretion, and much roleplay, to redeem a villain though.

obliged_salmon
2010-11-18, 12:43 PM
So, here's my confusion. You're saying your character wants the goblin to live, but I'm hearing you say that YOU want the goblin to live. If that's true, I would advise you to make sure you understand the difference, and that regardles of what the party decides to do to that goblin, it's nothing to you, the player, personally. If they kill the goblin, then by all means, make it a big deal for the CHARACTER. Have him get angry, or depressed, or distrust the rest of the party, whatever's fun for you and the other players.

If you need a quick solution to the problem of whether or not to kill the goblin, figure out just how important it is to your character and take a stand. Roll opposed diplomacy, perhaps, or even challenge the others to combat. If your character gets hurt for his beliefs, then that will make him a stronger character.

Lev
2010-11-19, 02:54 AM
I can't see why people of any good alignment wouldn't do it, though if it's in their nature. Compassion isn't just a LG trait after all.
That's true, lawfulness is more about righteousness than benevolence.


Woah, really? Do you have a link to that or something?
I believe a whole thread was about that this month.