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    Default Assassin Alignment Question

    There is an Assassin in our game and I have a question. So far, he has been helping the PC's by working as a mercenary, doing scouting and such. They don't know he is/was an assassin. Last session, one of the PC's dropped a detect evil spell in his vicinity and he "blipped" up on the evil-dar.

    The PC's had never fully trusted the guy, but were just beginning to consider him "one of us", but now they're freaking out trying to figure out what to do about this guy. They are convinced that he is going to turn on them.

    I never bothered to stat this guy beyond the fact that he is an Assassin (the Prestige Class), but never really determined his alignment. He started a soldier, but was eventually trained to kill off enemy officers and the like. He did so without compunction, and committed other terrible acts of homocide against the "enemy". Further, he saw no problem with this, as they were "the enemy", and the end justified the means in his mind.

    At this point, I was thinking he would be Lawful Evil.

    Eventually, he went rogue (I havn't worked the details on this, but i am leaning towards a "left behind/left for dead" scenario.), and since then has been working as a mercenary. He has little regard for the law, and is out for himself for the most part. He will keep his word, but rarely gives it, so as to keep his options open in his mind. He will work for legitamate authorities, or for evil killers, it makes no difference to him. He will stick to a contract, but because it is better for his reputation. If offered enough, he will forfeit a contract if he thinks he can get away with it (Justifying it to himself by thinking that the people hiring him aren't saints anyways, and that doing wrong to them is OK.)

    At this point I am thinking he would be Neutral Evil, though I get a Chaotic feeling from him as well.

    Can you guys give me your opinion?
    Last edited by Crow; 2008-01-27 at 09:42 PM.
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    Default Re: Assassin Alignment Question

    I'd without a second thought call the guy neutral evil. He sounds suspiciously like a yugoloth/daemon.

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    Default Re: Assassin Alignment Question

    Well, he hasn't murdered his party members in their sleep for the combination of getting their stuff and the sheer joy of feeling them squirm beneath him as he stabbed them.

    So I'd go with Neutral Evil, just out for a kill, unless he spouts of ideals of killing because they were weak and killing them bettered the race. Then I'd say Lawful Evil.

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    Default Re: Assassin Alignment Question

    I think he's NE. He isn't a sadist destroying crap for fun, he's simply a
    very very pragmatic egotist. And I remember the NE outsiders being described as completely pragmatic.

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    Default Re: Assassin Alignment Question

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    Default Re: Assassin Alignment Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Crow View Post
    There is an Assassin in our game and I have a question. So far, he has been helping the PC's by working as a mercenary, doing scouting and such. They don't know he is/was an assassin. Last session, one of the PC's dropped a detect evil spell in his vicinity and he "blipped" up on the evil-dar.

    The PC's had never fully trusted the guy, but were just beginning to consider him "one of us", but now they're freaking out trying to figure out what to do about this guy. They are convinced that he is going to turn on them.

    I never bothered to stat this guy beyond the fact that he is an Assassin (the Prestige Class), but never really determined his alignment. He started a soldier, but was eventually trained to kill off enemy officers and the like. He did so without compunction, and committed other terrible acts of homocide against the "enemy". Further, he saw no problem with this, as they were "the enemy", and the end justified the means in his mind.

    At this point, I was thinking he would be Lawful Evil.
    Actually, I'd put him at LG or LN depending on his justification though "terrible acts of homocide" suggest some purposefully messy hits which would put him at LN in my book. I never agreed with assassins as an evil-only PrC.

    Quote Originally Posted by Crow View Post
    Eventually, he went rogue (I havn't worked the details on this, but i am leaning towards a "left behind/left for dead" scenario.), and since then has been working as a mercenary. He has little regard for the law, and is out for himself for the most part. He will keep his word, but rarely gives it, so as to keep his options open in his mind. He will work for legitamate authorities, or for evil killers, it makes no difference to him. He will stick to a contract, but because it is better for his reputation. If offered enough, he will forfeit a contract if he thinks he can get away with it (Justifying it to himself by thinking that the people hiring him aren't saints anyways, and that doing wrong to them is OK.)

    At this point I am thinking he would be Neutral Evil, though I get a Chaotic feeling from him as well.

    Can you guys give me your opinion?
    He is definitely not chaotic. Remember that "respect for the law" does not mean chaotic, but a "lawful" character alignment-wise is one who is disciplined, honorable, and very calculating among other traits (though not all lawfuls share all of these traits, notably the honorable one). Given his disciplined background and the honor you describe (him keeping his word) as well as his need to justify breaking his word, I would say LE.

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    Default Re: Assassin Alignment Question

    I'll roll with the Neutral Evil. Sounds like someone you could depend upon in general, but wouldn't especially hesitate to drop you like a sack of poo if there was something good enough in it for him. Not lawful, but not yet chaotic, and probably evil.
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    Default Re: Assassin Alignment Question

    I'd say he's CN or LN, he shares no real traits present in Evil characters (harming others for personal gain, homicide for pleasure etc.) but has a very specific moral code that he violates occasionally.

    There's no real reason for the Assassian prestige class because there are situations where the Any Evil alignment requirement cannot be met. An example is a young wo/man is raised from birth to kill for her/his parent(s). This character cannot really be evil because of the fact that s/he doesn't understand anything beyond what they've been trained to do.

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    Default Re: Assassin Alignment Question

    So would you say that someone who kills on a massive scale, like maybe an orcish general who was brought up to think that elves are evil creatures and all deserve to die a painful death...that they don't count as evil because it's how they were brought up? Or what about demons/devils? Are you saying that they're not actually evil because they don't know any different?

    Oh, and to the OP, I'd probably go NE. Maybe LN if you get rid of the 'any evil' pre-req. Personally I'd say you can have an assassin for any non-good alignment. Maybe a few good aligned assassins are possible, but those would excedingly rare, only killing evil creatures, and they'd need undeniable proof about their alignment.
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    Default Re: Assassin Alignment Question

    Hey thanks for all the replies. It seems my "Neutral Evil" assessment wasn't too far off, which I suspected, but there have been some good arguments for a lawful alignment as well.

    I suppose it depends on whether you consider "lawful" to mean "law-abiding". Certainly, killing people for money is not something a law-abiding person does. I am not sure if a personal code or keeping one's word is enough to justify a lawful alignment. Especially if one deliberately avoids giving their word in order to keep the issue from coming up.

    I can also see the argument for Lawful Neutral while he was still a soldier. Once it is no longer "under orders", I think killing for money probably qualifies as evil.
    Last edited by Crow; 2008-01-28 at 03:30 AM.
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    Default Re: Assassin Alignment Question

    I'd say either LN or LE while in the army and either LE or NE as a merc. You don't have to be evil to kill, even quite messily, legitimate targets without question as a soldier. Now, if his actions at that time included hits against non-military targets that is probably something you'd have to be evil to go along with.

    Mercenaries are kind of hard to pin down on alignment. Are you Lawful if you hew precisely to your word, even if it costs you your life? Or are you Chaotic because your loyalty to your employer extends only for the term of the contract, and you will take out a hit on them in turn without compunction once your employment ends? Regardless, I think pursuing a career as, not just a mercenary but a mercenary assassin without any supporting motive such as patriotism, defense of family or friends or home, etc. probably requires you to be evil.

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    Default Re: Assassin Alignment Question

    LE or LN. Assassins are generally not chaotic, as a proper assassination requires extensive planning as well as a bond of contract. This all sounds lawful to me.

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    Default Re: Assassin Alignment Question

    I'd agree with your call on Neutral Evil. Being willing to break an assassination contract if he thinks he can get away with it, and only keeping one for reputation's sake, is solidly NE rather than LE.

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    Default Re: Assassin Alignment Question

    Must agree with the OP and the majority (as much as agreeing with the majority chafes) that he was LE in the army and NE as a merc.
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    Default Re: Assassin Alignment Question

    Well regardless of what alignment you decide on, I'd like to say that Evil people can usually be trusted. Whether or not you lie or tell the truth, whether you do what you promise or betray your word, is usually (though admittedly not always) a function of Law-Chaos, not Good-Evil.

    Evil people can have a family, friends, respected jobs, a country club membership, etc. You can adventure with them for years, and never know or care that they take pleasure in killing, while you distaste it and only do it for a higher cause.

    Having someone show up as Evil on a Detect Evil spell isn't that much of a reason not to trust them. A politician might be Evil, but if you pay him enough money he'll probably stay bought, lest he give himself a bad reputation and head off future bribes. A teacher might be Evil, and may openly hate all of his students but stay in his position because he's 5 years away from a pension, yet he'd never kill or molest his class. An Assassin might be Evil because he kills people for money, but he can still have trusted friends and enjoy adventuring.

    A Paladin may be a jerk about it, and refuse to adventure or be friends with someone with Evil motivations. But if he just scanned a crowd of people at the local pub, a good number of them would probably show up as Evil. And most of them are just normal people, who should only be distrusted or confronted if there is some reason for doing so.

    So if you want this NPC to betray the party, that's fine. Evil people do in fact do that sort of thing sometimes, especially Neutral or Chaotic Evil people. But I hope that there's some in-game logic for doing so beyond "he's Evil."

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    Default Re: Assassin Alignment Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    I'd agree with your call on Neutral Evil. Being willing to break an assassination contract if he thinks he can get away with it, and only keeping one for reputation's sake, is solidly NE rather than LE.
    Whoops, I managed to completely miss this part of the OP. Given that, I would agree that he is solidly NE now. He may have been LN or LE in the army, but I'd lean much more to LE, and quite possibly NE all along but in different circumstances.

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    Default Re: Assassin Alignment Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    Well regardless of what alignment you decide on, I'd like to say that Evil people can usually be trusted. Whether or not you lie or tell the truth, whether you do what you promise or betray your word, is usually (though admittedly not always) a function of Law-Chaos, not Good-Evil.

    Evil people can have a family, friends, respected jobs, a country club membership, etc. You can adventure with them for years, and never know or care that they take pleasure in killing, while you distaste it and only do it for a higher cause.

    Having someone show up as Evil on a Detect Evil spell isn't that much of a reason not to trust them. A politician might be Evil, but if you pay him enough money he'll probably stay bought, lest he give himself a bad reputation and head off future bribes. A teacher might be Evil, and may openly hate all of his students but stay in his position because he's 5 years away from a pension, yet he'd never kill or molest his class. An Assassin might be Evil because he kills people for money, but he can still have trusted friends and enjoy adventuring.

    A Paladin may be a jerk about it, and refuse to adventure or be friends with someone with Evil motivations. But if he just scanned a crowd of people at the local pub, a good number of them would probably show up as Evil. And most of them are just normal people, who should only be distrusted or confronted if there is some reason for doing so.

    So if you want this NPC to betray the party, that's fine. Evil people do in fact do that sort of thing sometimes, especially Neutral or Chaotic Evil people. But I hope that there's some in-game logic for doing so beyond "he's Evil."
    I understand what you're saying, and that makes sense.

    Oh yeah, and I don't have any plans for him to betray the party. Even if they stop paying him, he'll prolly just move on to whatever job comes up for him next. It is rather entertaining to see my players flipping out and paranoid though.
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    Default Re: Assassin Alignment Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Crow View Post
    I understand what you're saying, and that makes sense.

    Oh yeah, and I don't have any plans for him to betray the party. Even if they stop paying him, he'll prolly just move on to whatever job comes up for him next. It is rather entertaining to see my players flipping out and paranoid though.
    Pretty standard PC behavior. The more normal a NPC acts, the more they assume its a trap. I haven't had a succubus in one of my games since 2nd ed, and my players still keep every female prisoner they find bound and gagged until they confirm that its not a demon via magical means.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Tataraus View Post
    Actually, I'd put him at LG or LN depending on his justification though "terrible acts of homocide" suggest some purposefully messy hits which would put him at LN in my book. I never agreed with assassins as an evil-only PrC.
    What? Get a dictionary and look up 'assassin.' Someone who kills others for money often for political reasons. How can anyone who is willing to kill for money not be evil?

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    Quote Originally Posted by osyluth View Post
    What? Get a dictionary and look up 'assassin.' Someone who kills others for money often for political reasons. How can anyone who is willing to kill for money not be evil?
    A mercenary is willing to kill for money. An assassin might not be paid.

    For that matter, any number of adventurers are willing to kill for money.

    The sort of "killing for money" that only evil people will do is not necessarily the only sort that assassins do.

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    Default Re: Assassin Alignment Question

    Its quite possible he'll only kill (deserving) evil people, and he just happens to ask for compensation. That's solidly neutral as long as he doesn't take demented glee in it.

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    Default Re: Assassin Alignment Question

    @Tren: That's true, but (Assuming I didn't misread the OP) the assassin just does it because he earns good money from it (And doesn't mind the killing, at all, in the very least).

    Anyways:One could viably argue that it's just opinion at this point, but I'd say that he's very solidly neutral evil right now. He'll uphold contracts (Lawful), unless it's apparently in his best interests not to, which means honor, honesty and the like hold no intrinsic value to him (Chaotic). He used to kill because he was ordered to (lawful), but that's null and void by now.

    Oh and to the OP: If your players are reactionary/zealous enough, I'd suggest throwing a situation which "tests" the assassin's loyalty to the party. Make it so some flags'll pop up for the more paranoid players, but also design the offer to be unappealing to the assassin (In other words, he wouldn't normally take it), and tell us how the players react.
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    Default Re: Assassin Alignment Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeful View Post
    I'd say he's CN or LN, he shares no real traits present in Evil characters (harming others for personal gain, homicide for pleasure etc.) but has a very specific moral code that he violates occasionally.

    There's no real reason for the Assassian prestige class because there are situations where the Any Evil alignment requirement cannot be met. An example is a young wo/man is raised from birth to kill for her/his parent(s). This character cannot really be evil because of the fact that s/he doesn't understand anything beyond what they've been trained to do.
    Much as i dislike the always evil nature of assasians, a girl like that would be evil, remember actions>intention. She might not understand it, but she is still commiting evil acts


    A mercenary is willing to kill for money. An assassin might not be paid.

    For that matter, any number of adventurers are willing to kill for money.

    The sort of "killing for money" that only evil people will do is not necessarily the only sort that assassins do.
    varies, if a mercenary or adventure kill innocents for money they are evil.

    Assassins are a special case it seems
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dullyanna View Post
    @Tren: That's true, but (Assuming I didn't misread the OP) the assassin just does it because he earns good money from it (And doesn't mind the killing, at all, in the very least).
    Yes, but I think Tren was addressing the side issue that's sprung up as to whether assassins should be evil-only or whether you can have good or neutral members of that PrC.

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    Default Re: Assassin Alignment Question

    I'd just like to point out that if you are pegging the assassin as evil for killing people, I highly doubt that your "good" PCs are innocents.

    If your assassin is evil, then so is every single one of your PCs who have ever killed something for any reason besides defense of self or others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anteros View Post
    I'd just like to point out that if you are pegging the assassin as evil for killing people, I highly doubt that your "good" PCs are innocents.

    If your assassin is evil, then so is every single one of your PCs who have ever killed something for any reason besides defense of self or others.
    He's evil because he has levels in the Assassin prestige class, which requires you to be evil. Or rather: he's not evil just because he kills people, he kills people and is evil, and therefore happens to be an Assassin rather than merely an assassin.

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    Default Re: Assassin Alignment Question

    @kamikasei:Looking back at the whole thing in context, I'd have to say you're right... So everybody should just ignore the first paragraph of my previous post.

    @Anteros:If you're referring to the OP's assassin, then I'd have to disagree with you. The killer-in-question is literally murdering people for money, irregardless of their innocence. None of us know any of the PC's motives, but I'd have to assume that they have a pretty healthy respect for both innocent life and the greater good, since they're unnerved by the "revelation" about the assassin's alignment.
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    Default Re: Assassin Alignment Question

    The described assassin seems neutral evil to me. Perhaps with lawful tendencies.

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    Default Re: Assassin Alignment Question

    A 'Good' assassin is just a rogue.

    A PrC assasin is evil...I will have to go with the majority and say he sounds NE to me. LE would be bound by their contract unless they include clauses in there so that render the contract void if situations change...fine print and all can be a pain but such shennanigins while expected do tend to ruin reps.

    Do note that Evil will pretty much always betray someone...their only true loyalty is to themselves. LE are loyal to their oaths, and to the laws they hold dear...NE are focused on what will benefit them...CE are whimsical and go moment by moment rather than long term most of the time.

    A NE or LE character may know that by keeping the loyalty of a group of powerful friends he can be safe, and gain great rewards...more so that can be gained than by allying with evildoers....evildoers who don't care about him, or would betray him if it suited their ends. Maintaining friendship with such PC's is pretty much always in their own interest.

    In fact...being evil is a great 'disguise'...allowing them to pass detect spells with ease as they are obviously not hiding alignment and are evil...they may even truely resent the other PC's and have ill thoughts of them that will fool detect thoughts...but to achieve their own ends...they will remain loyal to those that will profit them more in the end and keep them safe.

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    Default Re: Assassin Alignment Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    Pretty standard PC behavior. The more normal a NPC acts, the more they assume its a trap. I haven't had a succubus in one of my games since 2nd ed, and my players still keep every female prisoner they find bound and gagged until they confirm that its not a demon via magical means.
    Sure that's the only reason? :P

    My group tend to be suspicious of NPCs as well, so just to throw them for a loop I once had one of the PCs be a traitor. The player's character wasn't able to join the party until later in the session, so I gave him the option of playing a traitor until then and sabotaging the group. He wasn't allowed to actually kill any of them, but creatively screwing them over in non-fatal ways was encouraged.

    The look on their faces when they finally found out was hilarious. :)

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