PDA

View Full Version : [House]Poison and alignment



Winged One
2006-08-24, 06:56 PM
By RAW, using poison is evil(BoED). However, seeing as there's no way to justify that, I propose the following house-rule.

Using poison is evil by default, because it's use has the possibility of needlessly harming innocents. However, if one takes precautions to prevent this, it becomes no more evil then any other form of attack. Such precautions include only using injury poison on your weapons, making it just another dangerous thing about your weapons, the use of ravages, which is only an acceptable precaution if you Detect Evil on everybody who has even the slightest chance of coming into contact with it and only your intended target shows up on it, feeding everybody around the antidote to your poison except your intended target, or using a poison that is not deadly in nature.

TheOOB
2006-08-24, 07:38 PM
Poison is usually considered evil because it's dirty, underhanded, and causes a lot of pain and suffering, however while using poison is an evil act, it can still be used for good means. I doubt anyones going to get self-righteous on you if you poison that evil blackguard killing innocent civilians, doesn't make the tactic any less underhanded though.

MagFlare
2006-08-24, 07:57 PM
It would make it less underhanded if you apply an unconsciousness-inducing poison - no pain, no suffering, just a few hours of involuntary naptime - to your weapon for the purposes of bringing that blackguard to trial. Heck, that might be considered more good than a fight to the death; I wouldn't even fault a Paladin for using this technique.

Mike_Lemmer
2006-08-24, 08:10 PM
Gotta agree with Mag. Using unconsciousness/paralyzation-poison to take someone in without killing them shouldn't be evil. There would be exceptions, of course.

Winged One
2006-08-24, 08:14 PM
Added that to the list of precautions.

Shhalahr Windrider
2006-08-24, 10:20 PM
The FAQ says otherwise about poison being automatically evil (pg. 12).

This question was addressed in the FAQ well after BoED was published. So, I suppose that makes it the primary source. ;)

Winged One
2006-08-24, 10:44 PM
The FAQ says otherwise about poison being automatically evil (pg. 12).

This question was addressed in the FAQ well after BoED was published. *So, I suppose that makes it the primary source. * ;)
Could I have a link in order to address it?

Peregrine
2006-08-24, 11:11 PM
Here's my take on it: poison use is usually Chaotic and sometimes Evil.

Most poison use is sneaky, underhanded and contrary to notions of fair play: Chaotic. Many poisons cause a great deal of slow suffering: Evil.

It can be non-Chaotic (but probably not Lawful) if used openly, even fairly -- say if two people duel with poisoned knives, or if they match wits over a cup tainted with iocaine. (Not disclosing a previously-developed immunity to the poison is running back to Chaotic.) It's also probably not totally Chaotic to use poisoned weapons in self-defence, say if you're ambushed; if you were the ambusher, it would be.

The default paladin's code specifically prohibits the use of poison.

kanachi
2006-08-25, 06:57 AM
I've always had a problem with dnd's portrayal of morality regarding poisons let me explain a few things about why poisons are legitimately used and have been used by people for yearsÖ

Several tribes throughout our own history (many of which still existing today) use snake, scorpion and highly lethal frog poisons to bring down the faster more agile creatures they hunt. Think about why this is done, if your difficult terrain and your hunting a fast creature to feed your family and you shoot it with an arrow and you donít kill it instantly (a far more likely result than an instant death) its going to run and you can bet your ass that its going to run a hell of a lot faster and further than you can before it dies and because of this you may never find it.

Poisons are used to make hunting more simple, the preys speed is reduced its heart rate slows and it perishes instead of bleeding to death over an extended period of time without its body ever benefiting anyone! (apart from a scavenging predator). Poisons arenít evil they are a way of life and indeed a 100% necessary way of survival for hundreds of people.

Also people always assume a poison is a far more horrid deah than any other, this is of course nonsense, why do people choose to poison themselves rather than slit their own wrists for example? Simply because its quick and often a lot less painful. Iím not saying itís a pleasant experience to die from poisons (or even overdoses on narcotics that could fall under the same category) but its much quicker and less brutal than having both your legs chewed off and having to crawl for half a day before dieing from overwhelming bloodloss, not to mention the gross differences in distresss you feel. I know which way I would rather die (thatís not saying I want to die though, lol).

So the other issue people have is that poisons are considered dishonourableÖ well yes and no, in dnd terms it coulds of course be argued that sneak attack is dishonourable, indeed spells that effect the mind, weaken an opponent etc, etc.. all could be considered dishonourable, I donít see poison use as any worse. Combat is often filled with dishonourable actions, having a surprise round is dishonourable, fighting someone whos a lot less well trained, armoured or equipped is dishonourable, wrestling a weapon from someoneís grasp could even be considered dishonourable in some circles. Ultimately honour and fair play should have no regard on if something is good or evil, for example a fencer has an entirely different honour system to a drunken master or a pirate does that make one good and the other evil? Of course not - the motives, results and reasonings of all actions have to be taken into acount.

Take a look at sniping, its certainly an action that many would consider dishonourable. It offers your target no defence, you are able to aim and slay a foe instantly if youíre a good shot offering no defence or chance of survival, is it evil? No its simply an act that if used for evil ends can be evil.

Ultimately the player, the dm and the situation within the campaign should decide if a poison use is evil (and it can be, Iím not saying it cant!). Large sweeping statements ďits evilĒ or ďits not evilĒ are not really defendable.

I hope that helps anyway.

Iron_Mouse
2006-08-25, 08:32 AM
Also people always assume a poison is a far more horrid deah than any other, this is of course nonsense, why do people choose to poison themselves rather than slit their own wrists for example? Simply because its quick and often a lot less painful. I’m not saying it’s a pleasant experience to die from poisons (or even overdoses on narcotics that could fall under the same category) but its much quicker and less brutal than having both your legs chewed off and having to crawl for half a day before dieing from overwhelming bloodloss, not to mention the gross differences in distresss you feel. I know which way I would rather die (that’s not saying I want to die though, lol).

No that's not nonsense. One example I know of, the plant Aconitum napellus (Blauer Eisenhut, don't know english name, sorry). It's the most poisonous plant in Europe, and was often used to murder people in history. Just 0,2gr of the fresh plant are lethal, but even with much larger doses it takes like 3 hours until you die, but you are fully conscious for the whole time and you suffer HORRIBLE until the end.

I don't think that the use of a poison like this can ever be considered something other than evil. Some (modern) poisons might kill more or less without pain, especialy those who anesthesize (sleeping pills or so), but most probably don't. Of course, some kill so fast that it's not a big problem, but anyway...

By definition, a poison is a substance that damages/destroys the body from the inside, something that's probably always painful, unless the poison has the sideeffect of killing/dulling the pain somehow.

In my games, I consider poisons as always very painful, unless the description says otherwise, or it's one that just sends you to sleep or so.
Using poison might not be automatically evil (depends on the situation), but my players have to be very careful about it.

Peregrine
2006-08-25, 08:40 AM
This is fantasy, where all poisons are a) fast-acting and totally undetectable, or b) slow and agonising. :) (And nigh-uncurable, but this does have to work in a game after all.)

Grey Watcher
2006-08-25, 11:39 AM
Here's my take on it: poison use is usually Chaotic and sometimes Evil.

Most poison use is sneaky, underhanded and contrary to notions of fair play: Chaotic. Many poisons cause a great deal of slow suffering: Evil.

It can be non-Chaotic (but probably not Lawful) if used openly, even fairly -- say if two people duel with poisoned knives, or if they match wits over a cup tainted with iocaine. (Not disclosing a previously-developed immunity to the poison is running back to Chaotic.) It's also probably not totally Chaotic to use poisoned weapons in self-defence, say if you're ambushed; if you were the ambusher, it would be.

The default paladin's code specifically prohibits the use of poison.

That's always been my take on it. Not everything the Paladin is prohibited from doing is Evil you know. On a side rant, it always puzzled me that Paladins have all sorts of tools to fight Evil and none to fight Chaos.

Peregrine
2006-08-25, 01:03 PM
On a side rant, it always puzzled me that Paladins have all sorts of tools to fight Evil and none to fight Chaos.
Well, at the same time, they're more strongly opposed to evil than chaos. They have two restrictions: be Lawful Good and commit no evil act. One evil or chaotic act would not generally cause alignment to change, but one evil act specifically causes the paladin to violate his code. Therefore, for paladins, being less than lawful is preferable to being less than good.

Still, a few anti-chaos features would be handy. *checks spell list* Well hang on... they get protection from/magic circle against/dispel chaos... and if we're taking poisons as chaotic, then their anti-poison measures are anti-chaos too.

ExHunterEmerald
2006-08-25, 02:26 PM
I doubt anyones going to get self-righteous on you if you poison that evil blackguard killing innocent civilians, doesn't make the tactic any less underhanded though.
My party paladin would.
There can always be two poisons in the mix, you know.
One to kill and one to numb.
...if wizards flavored each poison's descriptions, explains which ones burn and which ones make you sleepy, this mess could be avoided...

Peregrine
2006-08-25, 02:48 PM
...if wizards flavored each poison's descriptions, explains which ones burn and which ones make you sleepy, this mess could be avoided...
That's exactly the sort of thing I've thought of doing. (Of course, I've also pondered overhauling the poisons system altogether, but the flavourising would be a somewhat simpler job. :P) It wouldn't be that hard...

ExHunterEmerald
2006-08-25, 02:57 PM
You know, we've done a bajillion playground compendiums, why not Poison in the Playground?
I'd love to try and spearhead that, maybe I'll start after work...

kanachi
2006-08-25, 06:43 PM
well i made a new system for building poisons in more of an elder scrolls oblivion kind of way but no one ever seemed to read it. lol

here it is if you fancy a look:


http://www.giantitp.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=gaming;action=display;num=1152742671


I also invented a number of new poisons feats and skills availible here:


http://www.giantitp.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=gaming;action=display;num=1152794583


and finally two new classes which focus on poison use (well ok ones a prc)

blight arrow sniper (long range poison user) here:


http://www.giantitp.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=gaming;action=display;num=1152566989


and a hand to hand monk style poison user, here:


http://www.giantitp.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=homebrew;action=display;num=11543012 81;start=14#14

kanachi
2006-08-25, 06:55 PM
It never says anywhere that specific poisons are hugely painful and while I would assume that some certainly are its also logical to assume that a good proportion arenít (which is also in keeping with a sense of reality). As a DM I would recommend looking at the damage a poison does in order to decide if its effects are hugely painfulÖ here is what I would recommend.

Dexterity damage could represent a poison that has the effect of making a target drowsy and therefore may not be that painful at all.

Charisma damage would likely be the most painful as itís probably causing some form of skin inflammation thatís so horrifying to look at that it causes a loss in cha. I would say that using this form of poison would likely always be evil.

Constitution or strength damage on a large scale (2d6+) is surely painful but on a lower scale itís probably more of a drowsy poison.

Poisons that damage intelligence or wisdom could be considered allot closer to narcotics than poisons and therefore may even be cause a strangely pleasurable response. Those that overdose on narcotics often panic and are hugely distressed, so I would say a particularly powerful intelligence or wisdom damaging poison would be harder to morally justify, due to the torture upon the mind it may well cause.

I think this would be a fare more realistic way of judging a poison rather than just assuming that all poisons are so horrifically painful that they must be evil.

See what you think

MagFlare
2006-08-25, 07:31 PM
Charisma damage would likely be the most painful as itís probably causing some form of skin inflammation thatís so horrifying to look at that it causes a loss in cha. I would say that using this form of poison would likely always be evil.

Possibly, possibly. I'm more inclined to believe that a poison which reduces its target's Cha score is affecting his or her personality directly, though - perhaps by deadening the emotions.

kanachi
2006-08-25, 08:30 PM
Thats possible, perhaps we should go through each poison in turn and write a full description of its effects including the levels of pain it incurrs.

I would however say that pritty much any poison that has a perminant effect on a character would be very hard to morally justifie.

martyboy74
2006-08-25, 08:44 PM
I would however say that pritty much any poison that has a perminant effect on a character would be very hard to morally justifie.
Do you consider death a permanent side effect? If you think about it, once they're dead, they feel no pain (excluding any campaign appropriate form of afterlife).

Iron_Mouse
2006-08-26, 08:27 AM
Constitution or strength damage on a large scale (2d6+) is surely painful but on a lower scale it’s probably more of a drowsy poison.

Poisons that damage intelligence or wisdom could be considered allot closer to narcotics than poisons and therefore may even be cause a strangely pleasurable response. Those that overdose on narcotics often panic and are hugely distressed, so I would say a particularly powerful intelligence or wisdom damaging poison would be harder to morally justify, due to the torture upon the mind it may well cause.

Look at arsenic. DC 13 an 1/1d8 con damage, so it can be considered "lower scale" poison.
However, the symptoms include violent stomache pains, cramps, vomiting, delirium, internal bleeding and colics. Doesn't sound painless to me :)

With the narcotics for wis damage, you might have a point. It could still be quite uncomfortable, with halucinations or delusions, intense fear, going into a frenzy or other "madness" things (remember the Allip, who makes people insane by doing wis damage).
For int, it could also work like that, but physical damage (bleedings in the brain and such) would be possible, too.

The_Shaman
2006-08-26, 08:43 PM
A sword-induced gash through the stomach is hardly less painful, I would speculate.

The way I see it, poisons are not related to alignment, but to honor. Characters who believe in a fair fight - whether LE nobles or CG duelists, to use two common archetypes - would frown upon them. However, if a character wants to capture someone without killing them, few things beat a powerful anesthetic. Yes, it may hurt like hell - but it will leave you alive.