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View Full Version : Redeeming a BBEG... for as little as 4,000 GP (inc. VAT and P&P)



Laurellien
2008-10-29, 04:41 AM
Helm of Opposite Alignment
This metal hat looks like a typical helmet. When placed upon the head, however, its curse immediately takes effect (Will DC 15 negates). On a failed save, the alignment of the wearer is radically altered to an alignment as different as possible from the former alignment—good to evil, chaotic to lawful, neutral to some extreme commitment (LE, LG, CE, or CG). Alteration in alignment is mental as well as moral, and the individual changed by the magic thoroughly enjoys his new outlook. A character who succeeds on his save can continue to wear the helmet without suffering the effect of the curse, but if he takes it off and later puts it on again, another save is required. The curse only works once; that is, a character whose alignment has been changed cannot change it again by donning the helmet a second time.

Only a wish or a miracle can restore former alignment, and the affected individual does not make any attempt to return to the former alignment. (In fact, he views the prospect with horror and avoids it in any way possible.) If a character of a class with an alignment requirement is affected, an atonement spell is needed as well if the curse is to be obliterated. When a helm of opposite alignment has functioned once, it loses its magical properties.

Strong transmutation; CL 12th; Craft Wondrous Item, creator must be 12th level; Price 4,000 gp;Weight 3 lb.

Is it really that simple and cheap? Just cast detect evil (if the captured BBEG is evil), and keep ramming the helmet onto their head until they stop showing up as evil.

Am I missing something here?

Tsotha-lanti
2008-10-29, 04:45 AM
It's a bit of a switch, though. By the end of that, the PCs are probably evil-aligned, since brainwashing and magical compulsion are pretty evil. It's evil for a good end, but still an evil action. (Then again, I guess the BoED would tell you it's A-OK, since at least one of the Exalted spells does essentially the same. Uh, let's not start another 20-page thread about that one, though, okay?)

Incidentally, why would anyone ever wear a magical helm anyhow (especially one with a transmutation aura)? Unless it's got an assortment of incredibly expensive gems on it, it can't really be anything that's good for you. Worst cursed item ever.

Edit:
Then there's the whole mess about how exactly the helm works, and what changes. Does it change an evil character's motivations? Does it change an evil character's goals? Does it change the methods the evil character uses to achieve these? How quickly can the character revert back to evil alignment through "natural" alignment change? Characters of all alignments commit evil acts, and they're certainly not aware of their own alignment or concepts like "changing alignment". What stops the Neutral Evil zealot who becomes Neutral Good from going overboard pursuing the same goals?

Further, depending on the precise effect, ethically you might as well be murdering the character instead, since in many cases the alignment change would require a complete rewriting of who the person is, and of all the influences on their life since their birth.

It's really the worst cursed item ever, suitable for absolutely nothing. Figuring out its actual effects on either PCs or NPCs is too much work, and the results are next to nil and mostly annoying. It's not like the suddenly-evil PC is going to attack the rest of the party - they're still his friends, and he may remain rabidly loyal to them while being evil.

Laurellien
2008-10-29, 05:00 AM
Further, depending on the precise effect, ethically you might as well be murdering the character instead, since in many cases the alignment change would require a complete rewriting of who the person is, and of all the influences on their life since their birth.


I never looked at it like that.

As far as the BoED goes, you can redeem a character by using diplomacy vs. will save + character level. So it's hard, but doable (unless you come up against an evil cleric of an evil deity, who gains his good base will, his wisdom, and a set of circumstance modifies worth a hefty whack).

If I am not mistaken, the spell you are referring to is 'Vision of Heaven' which is level 1, and just gives them a -1 will save against redemption...

kamikasei
2008-10-29, 05:06 AM
If I am not mistaken, the spell you are referring to is 'Vision of Heaven' which is level 1, and just gives them a -1 will save against redemption...

I assume he means "Sanctify the Wicked" which imprisons the creature's soul in a gem for a year and reprograms them to be good little citizens of pure heart.

No, seriously.

Irreverent Fool
2008-10-29, 05:12 AM
Does it change an evil character's motivations? Does it change an evil character's goals? Does it change the methods the evil character uses to achieve these? How quickly can the character revert back to evil alignment through "natural" alignment change? Characters of all alignments commit evil acts, and they're certainly not aware of their own alignment or concepts like "changing alignment". What stops the Neutral Evil zealot who becomes Neutral Good from going overboard pursuing the same goals?


...and the affected individual does not make any attempt to return to the former alignment. (In fact, he views the prospect with horror and avoids it in any way possible.)

I imagine 'avoiding it in any way possible' would keep him from going back to his old ways. I do agree that using the helm in this way should be considered an evil act... on the other hand, I can also see it being used in this way to redeem the BBEG and let him see the error of his ways. "Welcome to the Light, friend. Quickly now, help us to stop your hordes before it is too late!" We're getting into the whole good/evil thing again.

Of course that's kind of got a 'creepy cult' vibe to it.

Swordguy
2008-10-29, 05:36 AM
I assume he means "Sanctify the Wicked" which imprisons the creature's soul in a gem for a year and reprograms them to be good little citizens of pure heart.

No, seriously.

Wait...what?!

That's it. I don't care WHAT EE says about the BoED - it's off my "canon" list forever for that little bit of logical fallacy. I'm bookmarking this thread so I can pull it up anytime somebody says that the BoED must be right.

That's just...

*throws up hands in the air and goes to bed*

jcsw
2008-10-29, 05:38 AM
As for making diplomacy checks to redeem someone, that DC is way too easy at any level for anyone whose main goal is the redemption of such creatures.

At level one, a evil cleric has a Will save of 2+4(Wis) and +1 for level, a good bard with maxed charisma has 4+4(Cha), the odds are already in the diplomancer's favor.
The next level the bard's synergy bonuses come into play, shifting the balance further towards the bard's favor.

Laurellien
2008-10-29, 05:48 AM
I assume he means "Sanctify the Wicked" which imprisons the creature's soul in a gem for a year and reprograms them to be good little citizens of pure heart.

No, seriously.

Holy crap, I just read that spell. That should have [EVIL MWAHAHAHAHA] as it's descriptor.

Aquillion
2008-10-29, 06:32 AM
Wait...what?!

That's it. I don't care WHAT EE says about the BoED - it's off my "canon" list forever for that little bit of logical fallacy. I'm bookmarking this thread so I can pull it up anytime somebody says that the BoED must be right.

That's just...

*throws up hands in the air and goes to bed*They should call that spell Summon Clockwork Orange.

The only thing I can think of is that that might be acceptable for use on "always evil" creatures (they lack free will in matters of alignment anyway, so it's not like you're actually taking anything away from them.) If you do that to a demon -- in a setting where demons are literally always chaotic evil, no exceptions, and lack the capacity to be good without supernatural intervention -- then I could see it being non-evil, since you're basically just reversing the process that turned / created them as a demon in the first place. Basically, if it were restricted to use as a magical 'deprogramming' tool for use on creatures that are normally intrinsically bound to evil, I could see it working.

But the text of the spell doesn't even make it clear whether or not it can be used that way... and does make it clear it can be used in lots of more problematic ways...

Anyway, that goes for the other methods of forcibly changing alignment, too. If a creature has free will and chose to be evil of their own accord, I think it would be problematic to forcibly change their alignment. But if a creature's alignment wasn't their own choice to begin with, then you're (at worst) basically just reversing things that were already broken in their head.

Although even for creatures with free will in alignment, I can't really rate it that much worse than just killing them -- if your best bet to beat the genocidal evil wizard is to trick him into putting on a helm of opposite alignment, knock yourself out. I wouldn't consider it a good act, certainly, but I fail to see how it's that much worse than tricking him with a Scarab of Death. Heck, if using it as a weapon/trap it bothers you morally, then you can switch his alignment, have him surrender to your custody, then switch his alignment back -- no different than a higher-caliber Charm Person if you're just using it temporarily. Of course, he will scream and plead with you not to put the second helm on his head and make him evil again -- which makes for an interesting moral dilemma.


Also, this seems like a good place to bring up Mindrape vs. Programmed Amnesia again. Both do the same thing (and can be used for deprogramming / reprogramming in the same way), but Mindrape has an [evil] descriptor and Programmed Amnesia doesn't.


Oh, also. The OP wasn't really asking about alignment issues. If your party is evil, there's still plenty of reasons why you might want to force someone to become good (especially if you can then use their newfound conscience to manipulate them.) So, yeah, if you're evil yourself, knock yourself out forcibly converting people at every turn.

Roderick_BR
2008-10-29, 06:42 AM
Read "Identity Crisis" from DC Comics to see how forced alignment shift worked out for the heroes...

Yeah, using a spell to brainwash a villain into someone good would be an evil act, even with a good intention. Claiming that you are "helping them to see the light", is a weak excuse.
Some interesting side-effects would be the former villain, now a good person, be tortured by his memories of evil-doing, and even condemn the others heroes about using such a tactic on him, instead of doing it "the morally correct way".
And there's always the chance a former ally of the ex-villain can try to "rescue" him, and he'll be a VERY pissed off villain...

SurlySeraph
2008-10-29, 07:05 AM
I assume he means "Sanctify the Wicked" which imprisons the creature's soul in a gem for a year and reprograms them to be good little citizens of pure heart.

No, seriously.

I support this spell, and anyone who does not is guilty of ungood crimethink. Remember, citizens, Big Pelor is watching you! :smallbiggrin:


Wait...what?!

That's it. I don't care WHAT EE says about the BoED - it's off my "canon" list forever for that little bit of logical fallacy. I'm bookmarking this thread so I can pull it up anytime somebody says that the BoED must be right.

That's just...

*throws up hands in the air and goes to bed*

Search within your heart. You know it to be true.

Fishy
2008-10-29, 07:15 AM
Well, yes. Forcing someone to wear a Helm of Opposite Alignment is an act of domination and oppression, and is comparable to murder. I'd call it Evil enough to get you kicked down three alignment notches in one go.

Which is why you buy two.

Theodoxus
2008-10-29, 07:36 AM
My group is having a similar, well, related argument regarding dominate person. While the spell doesn't have an 'evil' descriptor, it's my thinking that making someone do anything against their will is an evil act. The specifics is when the wizard, of undeterminate alignment, cast dominate person on a lawful evil dwarf and made him his body guard. He's had the dwarf for some time, and has always pinged as evil when detected.

The wizard contends that mind control isn't evil, as I noted, the spell doesn't include the evil descriptor. I contend that mind rape is mind rape, regardless of reason or victim. Sounds like the Helm and that BoED spell are in a similar boat.

The nasty sticking point though, is, why go through these ethical delimnas when it's easier - and often more justified - to simply kill the 'victims.' Hardly anyone argues over whether killing badguys in the middle of combat is bad - unless you use a mercy weapon and knock them out - but that's another discussion.

To me, this whole thing is another case where Wizards views D&D as a video game (all wizards are evokers, druids don't really use their best abilities and pick the best shapes, fighters are Great!, etc.) without ramification for RP.

Only when you get into the heads of the characters do choices really start to matter - where actions have consequences, and people start to care. IMO, Wizards never meant their game to go there, yet, here we are.

The philosophy of the player and the philosophy of the company are quite different. 4th Ed I think was an attempt to get away from that concept, and to move the player back to 'hack and slash' over RP. but I digress...

Theo

Fishy
2008-10-29, 07:46 AM
Actually, I think 4th makes a lot more sense, setting wise. Instead of having Good, Evil, Law, Chaos, and Neutral- *none* of which were defined to anybody's satisfaction, we have the Gods and the Primordials. Ancient creatures of elemental power that predate life, and the beings who created civilization and at the same time were created by civilization. It's actually a heck of a lot -closer- to certain kinds of mythology: The Olympians vs. the Titans, the Aesir and the Vanir vs. the Jotun. If that means questions of morality are left up the the individual, well... that's how it works around here, isn't it?

</setting geek>

Tsotha-lanti
2008-10-29, 08:25 AM
Well, yes. Forcing someone to wear a Helm of Opposite Alignment is an act of domination and oppression, and is comparable to murder. I'd call it Evil enough to get you kicked down three alignment notches in one go.

Which is why you buy two.

That is freaking foolproof.

Each PC can only do it once, though, I guess.


My group is having a similar, well, related argument regarding dominate person. While the spell doesn't have an 'evil' descriptor, it's my thinking that making someone do anything against their will is an evil act. The specifics is when the wizard, of undeterminate alignment, cast dominate person on a lawful evil dwarf and made him his body guard. He's had the dwarf for some time, and has always pinged as evil when detected.

This varies. Killing someone is an evil act, too, and objectifies a person way more than depriving them of agency does, in my opinion. But killing in self-defense is justifiable. Using a non-lethal method like dominate person to neutralize a combat threat is probably Neutral, and might be more Good than using violence is. It comes down to what you order the target to do, really.

Using charm person and dominate person in social situations to get your way is definitely not Good, and is probably Evil a lot of the time. (I'd compare it to nonlethal torture and to blackmail, but it's more forceful than either.)

But neither permanently rewrites a person, destroying who they were before. They're just magically and really effectively forcing people to do what you want, differing from physical methods mostly by their extent and reliability.

hamishspence
2008-10-29, 08:41 AM
Yes, the mindrape spell from Vile darkness does this, only more so- you can rewrite everything- memory, personality, everything. Sanctify doesn't wipe memories.

2nd ed handled Helms of Opposite alignment by saying while chracter was aware of what was done to them, the reversed alignment manifested by being "compelled to commit all manner of destructive deeds."- this was LG to CE. See DMG 2nd ed, page 42, Alignment changes.

It also pointed out that when was looking carefully for ways of getting helm off, and eventually managed to tick an evil wizard into removing it.

This was, however, back in 2nd ed, when helm always worked, but stayed on.

EDIT: I figure- only good justification for sanctify is- when its that or execution. If you're feeling generous toward the spell, figure it simply magnifies Good traits in the person affected, until Good impulses speak much, much louder to them than evil impulses. Which is why it doesn't work on Evil Outsiders.

Leicontis
2008-10-29, 09:36 AM
I'm actually about to start playing a character that will want to shove a Helm of Opposite Alignment on the head of an evil outsider - a Nightmare, to be specific. He's a LG Knight that is very like Batman (the superhero, not the wizard) in his aesthetic, theatricality, and tactics. What better mount for such an evil-terrorizing knight than a jet black horse that flies and is ON FIRE?

hamishspence
2008-10-29, 09:45 AM
One Blackguard in Faerun rides a pure white Nightmare that has blue Fire. Still evil though.

Tokiko Mima
2008-10-29, 09:47 AM
I always liked how Morality Undone worked as opposed to more permanent solutions like Mindrape, Programmed Amnesia and Helm of Opposite Alignment. A spell that turns Champion of Good into black hearted jerks for a couple hours as opposed to forever was always more fun to deal with. Plus, it doesn't feel much more 'evil' to me than Charm Person usually does.

hamishspence
2008-10-29, 09:49 AM
Owl's Wisdom seemed to work on Belkar like Morality Redone :smallbiggrin: Turns into total good guy. Until spell dismisssed.

kamikasei
2008-10-29, 09:52 AM
I find it an interesting, if probably unintended, commentary on morality that you have a spell which can turn people evil for a few hours but turning them good requires restructuring their souls permanently. So we all have dark impulses that can be brought to the fore and given power to overwhelm us, but apparently not corresponding tendencies towards good? :smallamused:

hamishspence
2008-10-29, 10:01 AM
Sanctify The Wicked requires a "spark of good" somewhere down there, to work. Hence, not Evil Outsiders.

So, anything but a fiend has at least a little trace of Good.

EDIT: Morality Undone works on "any non-evil living creature". This would include celestials.

Easy way to describe in this case (or maybe, all cases) a big chunk of Evil is summoned up from the lower planes and dropped in targets brain. Overwhelms normal thinking processes.

Adumbration
2008-10-29, 10:06 AM
A moral dilemma: you have captured a small orcish war scout party, tied them up and discovered that there's an enormous army of orcs coming their way. The orcs have spent the last few days scouting your city's defences, and were on their way to report the crucial weaknesses. If you leave them tied up and go warn the city, the scouts will certainly be found by the army, directly causing the deaths of innocent people. The other choice is to coup them all to the other world and burn their bodies. They are all of evil alignment (detect evil), and thus wouldn't be an evil action.

The third choice is the Helm of Opposite Alignment in your backpack. What do you do?

Dragonus45
2008-10-29, 10:06 AM
I find it an interesting, if probably unintended, commentary on morality that you have a spell which can turn people evil for a few hours but turning them good requires restructuring their souls permanently. So we all have dark impulses that can be brought to the fore and given power to overwhelm us, but apparently not corresponding tendencies towards good? :smallamused:

Well look at the world, mankind has always had trouble fighting off the darker urges. Thats mostly because they're the most gratifying but sometimes it just fun to do them. Well good usually gets you little in the way of material thing. Evil is just easier, but not overpowering.

kamikasei
2008-10-29, 10:11 AM
The other choice is to coup them all to the other world and burn their bodies. They are all of evil alignment (detect evil), and thus wouldn't be an evil action.

The third choice is the Helm of Opposite Alignment in your backpack. What do you do?

Kill them. They're dead either way, but you should have the guts to admit it to yourself.

Glyde
2008-10-29, 10:12 AM
It's a bit of a switch, though. By the end of that, the PCs are probably evil-aligned, since brainwashing and magical compulsion are pretty evil. It's evil for a good end, but still an evil action. (Then again, I guess the BoED would tell you it's A-OK, since at least one of the Exalted spells does essentially the same. Uh, let's not start another 20-page thread about that one, though, okay?)




Sanctify the Wicked works in that it gives the victim time to reflect on what they've done, and they convert naturally. I *think* there might be a save for it, but I'm not sure (I haven't checked that book in a while.)

hamishspence
2008-10-29, 10:14 AM
in Robinson Crusoe, the heroes checked to see if any wanted to switch sides, took some of those who did, and made saw that those who did, co-operated by warning them that if they proved false, this would be signalled and their friends would be killed.

Not sure if it was a bluff.

EDIT:
StW grants will save, and spell resistance, and PC sacrifices 1 level, and, annoyingly, doesn't specify Not Evil Outsiders in description (does in template) Creature's alignment, at least, is same as yours- LG caster turns CE red dragon into LG Sanctified Red Dragon.

Khanderas
2008-10-29, 10:25 AM
:smallbiggrin:
It's a bit of a switch, though. By the end of that, the PCs are probably evil-aligned, since brainwashing and magical compulsion are pretty evil. It's evil for a good end, but still an evil action. (Then again, I guess the BoED would tell you it's A-OK, since at least one of the Exalted spells does essentially the same. Uh, let's not start another 20-page thread about that one, though, okay?)
No problem. just put the helmet on youself when you are done.:smallbiggrin:

Mark Hall
2008-10-29, 10:26 AM
In a world of objective good and evil (such as the base assumption of 3.x), I don't think it's evil to force someone to become really and truly good. Not just "I'm good because I don't want the consequences of evil" but "I'm good because I really and truly believe in good."

We see it as unethical because good doesn't really have an objective definition in our world. But in D&D, it is an objective thing... you can even travel to places that ARE good... not just "This place is pretty nice" but "This place is a physical manifestation of Good. All inhabitants are nothing but Good. Evil is explicitly an invader."

Fishy
2008-10-29, 10:30 AM
re: Orc Scouting Party: If it's an army, and you're in a war, they kind of let you kill the other guys.

But yeah, in a world of Objective Good, and in a medieval setting where the right-to-freedom hasn't been invented yet, you also have allowances.

hamishspence
2008-10-29, 10:30 AM
Chaotics might dislike it- "freedom is a right- and that includes Freedom of Mind" seems like a traditional Chaotic slogan.

In Spellfire, Elminster argued that Charm, used excessively, is dubious- even the gods do not dictate a Faerunian's every action.

Mark Hall
2008-10-29, 10:42 AM
Chaotics might dislike it- "freedom is a right- and that includes Freedom of Mind" seems like a traditional Chaotic slogan.

In Spellfire, Elminster argued that Charm, used excessively, is dubious- even the gods do not dictate a Faerunian's every action.

See, the thing is, a Charm is different than a radical alignment change.

In the case of a Charm, the person will still act on his evil impulses, unless specifically told not to. He's still evil... he just doesn't want to disappoint his "friend".

A radical alignment shift, however, is what the character wants. He wants to do good, because he is Good. He wants to help puppies, old ladies and orphans, because that's what good people do. No one has to dictate to him how he does things... he does things as a good person does them, and to the best of his ability. He's not going to throw himself in front of a charging red dragon to save a puppy just because he's good... unless he's the kind of person who does impulsive, likely futile things.

hamishspence
2008-10-29, 10:46 AM
I think presumption in StW is everyone is good somewhere, all the spell does is bring it to the surface. Why alignmnet is same as yours is not explained.

Fishy
2008-10-29, 11:07 AM
Because secretly, deep inside them, everyone in the world is exactly like you. All they need is time to think about it, and they'll realize that you are right, and your way of doing things is the only good one.

Yeeeaaaah.

Piedmon_Sama
2008-10-29, 11:31 AM
In a world of objective good and evil (such as the base assumption of 3.x), I don't think it's evil to force someone to become really and truly good. Not just "I'm good because I don't want the consequences of evil" but "I'm good because I really and truly believe in good."

We see it as unethical because good doesn't really have an objective definition in our world. But in D&D, it is an objective thing... you can even travel to places that ARE good... not just "This place is pretty nice" but "This place is a physical manifestation of Good. All inhabitants are nothing but Good. Evil is explicitly an invader."

There's still plenty of room for ambiguity, even if you use alignment. Perhaps the LG ruler of Kingdom X decides a LE Knight, while really vicious and kind of a ****, is a worthwhile vassal because he's powerful, competent and always true to his word.

You could also say that the Gods decreed all men should have the freedom to choose their soul's destination, for better or worse. It could be seen as a MAJOR intrusion on divine providence if you were to screw around with the state of someone's immortal soul.

Chymist
2008-10-29, 12:22 PM
It seems to me that the whole helm trick works just fine. Turning someone from evil to good via magic is not an act of pure evil. I don't know that I would consider it completely "good", but it's not automatically evil. It seems that I'm the only one who doesn't have a problem with the alignment rules in 3.5. Anyone who has read books like BoED and BoVD shouldn't have problems realizing that morality in 3.5 is not the same as real world morality. The alignment in 3.5 is somewhat based on the judeo-christian belief system, but the two are not the same. What may be considered an evil act in modern society may still be "good" according to the rules.

How is it that we can play a game with magic and dragons, but we can't accept that the morals aren't identical to our own?

SurlySeraph
2008-10-29, 12:28 PM
In a world of objective good and evil (such as the base assumption of 3.x), I don't think it's evil to force someone to become really and truly good. Not just "I'm good because I don't want the consequences of evil" but "I'm good because I really and truly believe in good."

We see it as unethical because good doesn't really have an objective definition in our world. But in D&D, it is an objective thing... you can even travel to places that ARE good... not just "This place is pretty nice" but "This place is a physical manifestation of Good. All inhabitants are nothing but Good. Evil is explicitly an invader."

I'm not sure it's evil, but it's definitely oppressive. Some Lawful Good characters might go with it, but I can't see a CG or NG character depriving someone of their right to their beliefs.

Fax Celestis
2008-10-29, 12:31 PM
How is it that we can play a game with magic and dragons, but we can't accept that the morals aren't identical to our own?

It seems that folks around here are stubborn when it comes to their in-game ethics, even when presented with (what I think) are convincing arguments to the contrary.

Starsinger
2008-10-29, 12:32 PM
Well, yes. Forcing someone to wear a Helm of Opposite Alignment is an act of domination and oppression, and is comparable to murder. I'd call it Evil enough to get you kicked down three alignment notches in one go.

Which is why you buy two.

I'm sure that's a valid idea to someone, and that makes me sick.

RPGuru1331
2008-10-29, 12:36 PM
Well, yes. Forcing someone to wear a Helm of Opposite Alignment is an act of domination and oppression, and is comparable to murder. I'd call it Evil enough to get you kicked down three alignment notches in one go.

Which is why you buy two.

So instead of being Evil that thinks its good..

..You become Good that htinks its Evil?

I imagine there's a lot of Poking the Poodle and Garland-style 'villainy'.

"Oh heavens no. Do you think I'm a monster?"



How is it that we can play a game with magic and dragons, but we can't accept that the morals aren't identical to our own?
It has something to do with the fact that morality as we discuss it in the real world isn't really inapplicable to DnD, I suppose.

Thane of Fife
2008-10-29, 01:02 PM
..You become Good that htinks its Evil?

"Hmm, you know, paladin, I was going to taunt you with something like 'Ha! Now watch futilely as I help this little old lady across the street, and know despair as you realize that you cannot stop me,' but it has suddenly occurred to me that that would be a bit of a cruel thing to do."

Blackfang108
2008-10-29, 01:09 PM
I'm sure that's a valid idea to someone, and that makes me sick.

I'd do it.

Blackfang108
2008-10-29, 01:11 PM
*Browser issues lead to double post.*

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-10-29, 01:17 PM
I'd put the Helm on the same level as Mindrape, one step above Coup-de-grasing unarmed prisoners. Maybe even worse than that. In a world where reincarnation is a possibility, CdG may remove fewer rights than Mindrape or HoOA.

Blackfang108
2008-10-29, 01:52 PM
I'd put the Helm on the same level as Mindrape, one step above Coup-de-grasing unarmed prisoners. Maybe even worse than that. In a world where reincarnation is a possibility, CdG may remove fewer rights than Mindrape or HoOA.

And I believe that, situationally, each of those options is just as valid and "good" as any other way of dealing with a truly and unredeemibly evil individual.

Mark Hall
2008-10-29, 01:54 PM
Because secretly, deep inside them, everyone in the world is exactly like you. All they need is time to think about it, and they'll realize that you are right, and your way of doing things is the only good one.

Yeeeaaaah.

In D&D, RAW, there is only one definition of good. If that's not the case in your game, fine, but that doesn't impact a RAW of absolute morality.

In my view, Helming a person who is evil cannot be evil, RAW. In terms of Law and Chaos, there's an argument that could be made for Lawful (enforcing your beliefs on people for the good of the group) or Chaotic (acting without respect for the mores or ethics of others, and instead doing what you think is right).

Ulzgoroth
2008-10-29, 02:01 PM
The fact that 'good' and 'evil' are controlled keywords in D&D doesn't really have any bearing on ethics, which is and always has been an area where people have always been able to take their own conclusions over any authority. Yes, they've got angels and healing powers, but does that mean they're right?

If you play by the book, especially by the sanity-forsaken BoED, on alignments you are quite likely to crash directly into some kind of moral dissonance (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MoralDissonance). Whether you want to handle that by making alignment fit some morals that you can agree with or by playing with the potential conflict of the characters' (subject to fridge logic (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FridgeLogic)) morality vs. the setting's mystical rules...well, go whichever way you find more fun.

hamishspence
2008-10-29, 02:03 PM
OOTS seems to have no problem with Roy Coup-de-gracing opponents the Order has put to sleep, just before angry goblin cleric turns up. Not exactly prisoners, but very, very close.

Deva didn't mention it either.

Fax Celestis
2008-10-29, 02:04 PM
So instead of being Evil that thinks its good..

..You become Good that htinks its Evil?

No. Olidammara descends from the heavens, says, "Hey, cut it out," and makes you a vestige.

horseboy
2008-10-29, 02:20 PM
FOR SUCKS-FACE! [/obligatory]
But seriously, I agree with Mark on this one. I really don't see how it's evil to free someone of all the emotional baggage and learned behavior that's happen to them to make them evil. Since the item in question doesn't have the [EVIL] descriptor then by D&D's own internal, poorly thought out moral system then it's use isn't evil in game.

It's just a goofy legacy item, that used to be a PC trap in Gygaxian dungeons that didn't translate well.

hamishspence
2008-10-29, 02:25 PM
Would it be fair to say older styles of D&D had- "Its evil. You kill it." as standard operating procedure, and with Exalted Deeds "Its evil, I try, if at all possible, to redeem it" you end up with massive disjoin?

I personally tend to the view that the mercy-redemption-forgiveness theme of BoED, while unusual for D&D, has its good points, which gives me a higher tolerence for BOED's flaws.

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-10-29, 02:32 PM
FOR SUCKS-FACE! [/obligatory]
But seriously, I agree with Mark on this one. I really don't see how it's evil to free someone of all the emotional baggage and learned behavior that's happen to them to make them evil. Since the item in question doesn't have the [EVIL] descriptor then by D&D's own internal, poorly thought out moral system then it's use isn't evil in game.

It's just a goofy legacy item, that used to be a PC trap in Gygaxian dungeons that didn't translate well.If someone is a massive ***hole, they may be Evil without ever committing a crime. A mean, petty, jerk who revels in schadenfreude, for example. Are you really saying that erasing their entire personality with one more acceptable to you wouldn't be Evil?

Yukitsu
2008-10-29, 02:33 PM
It's a bit of a switch, though. By the end of that, the PCs are probably evil-aligned, since brainwashing and magical compulsion are pretty evil. It's evil for a good end, but still an evil action. (Then again, I guess the BoED would tell you it's A-OK, since at least one of the Exalted spells does essentially the same. Uh, let's not start another 20-page thread about that one, though, okay?)


If that ever turns into an issue, just keep doing it until you feel like kicking babies then put one on yourself.

hamishspence
2008-10-29, 02:37 PM
only good justification for sanctify is- when its that or execution.


I think that was my view- might apply it to helm as well. Personality modification really ought to be a That Or Death issue, and for the really ethical, being should be offered the choice.

horseboy
2008-10-29, 02:44 PM
Would it be fair to say older styles of D&D had- "Its evil. You kill it." as standard operating procedure, and with Exalted Deeds "Its evil, I try, if at all possible, to redeem it" you end up with massive disjoin?

I personally tend to the view that the mercy-redemption-forgiveness theme of BoED, while unusual for D&D, has its good points, which gives me a higher tolerence for BOED's flaws.
Well, it's "standard operating procedure", but it was a VERY common play style. Near the end of 2nd, what with all the Drizzit clones, they had to start making allowances in the alignment system. 3rd, pretty much watered it down to the point that it's even more superfluous than in even prior editions. BoED, just makes it a bunch of drivel.

If someone is a massive ***hole, they may be Evil without ever committing a crime. A mean, petty, jerk who revels in schadenfreude, for example. Are you really saying that erasing their entire personality with one more acceptable to you wouldn't be Evil?That person doesn't qualify as "evil" under D&D. When there's objective evil, you've got to actually do and be evil to qualify as evil, not just be a jerk.

Xefas
2008-10-29, 02:45 PM
I think what really makes the Helm a Good-Action for me is the whole Afterlife thing.

If a person is of an Evil alignment, and dies, he's sent to the Lower Planes to be tortured for it in unimaginably terrible ways for an eternity, and turned into a shell of pure evil that will then be sent to go attempt to unbalance the multiverse until it becomes a bleak oblivion without any happiness or repose.

If a person is of a Good alignment, and dies, he's sent to the Upper Planes, where he lives out eternity in harmony and bliss.

So, how can turning someone Good be a bad thing- ever? You're saving them from the worst possible fate available and delivering them into the best possible fate available.

How many people sent to the Abyss do you think wish some adventurer had "violated their rights" by forcing them into Celestia? "Those bastards! Now I have to sit here and be happy instead of demon-raped for all time."

Free will is overrated. A good end is better than a bad end, all the time, every time.

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-10-29, 02:54 PM
I think what really makes the Helm a Good-Action for me is the whole Afterlife thing.

If a person is of an Evil alignment, and dies, he's sent to the Lower Planes to be tortured for it in unimaginably terrible ways for an eternity, and turned into a shell of pure evil that will then be sent to go attempt to unbalance the multiverse until it becomes a bleak oblivion without any happiness or repose.

If a person is of a Good alignment, and dies, he's sent to the Upper Planes, where he lives out eternity in harmony and bliss.

So, how can turning someone Good be a bad thing- ever? You're saving them from the worst possible fate available and delivering them into the best possible fate available.

How many people sent to the Abyss do you think wish some adventurer had "violated their rights" by forcing them into Celestia? "Those bastards! Now I have to sit here and be happy instead of demon-raped for all time."

Free will is overrated. A good end is better than a bad end, all the time, every time....
I would rather go to hell a free man than heaven a slave.
That person doesn't qualify as "evil" under D&D. When there's objective evil, you've got to actually do and be evil to qualify as evil, not just be a jerk.Evil is never specifically defined. And it is wholly possible to be incredibly mean without actually doing anything punishable under reasonable laws.

hamishspence
2008-10-29, 02:56 PM
I like BoED more than Smite Makes Right, but thats may own view- having seen too much Smite Makes Right elsewhere.

Not all Evil acts are Crimes- person can be oppressive, cruel and tyrannical without ever actually breaking the law.

RPGuru1331
2008-10-29, 02:57 PM
Free will is overrated. A good end is better than a bad end, all the time, every time.

I am deeply glad that you're not in charge of a damn thing.

Tsotha-lanti
2008-10-29, 03:01 PM
...
I would rather go to hell a free man than heaven a slave.

What kind of deity would let you into their paradise because you were robbed of agency and forced to be good, anyway?

Being blackmailed into funding an orphanage does not make someone a good person.

RPGuru1331
2008-10-29, 03:03 PM
What kind of deity would let you into their paradise because you were robbed of agency and forced to be good, anyway?

Being blackmailed into funding an orphanage does not make someone a good person.

Well, this is apparently a game where words speak louder then actions. Moral Absolutes are such golly darn /fun/ aren't they?

hamishspence
2008-10-29, 03:05 PM
Once helm has done its work, everything else is at volition of creature- it can still make choices, do acts, go back to evil bit by bit- still has all its memories.

The 2nd ed one had helm stay on, and was more like curse- it described it in DMG as the creature being Forced to commit evil actions (reverse it and it fits your description)

There has been a change between editions.

EDIT: BoED actually says something like that- charity done for entirely selfish reasons (like blackmail?) is Neutral, not Good.

RPGuru1331
2008-10-29, 03:07 PM
Once helm has done its work, everything else is at volition of creature- it can still make choices, do acts, go back to evil bit by bit- still has all its memories.

"I mindraped you into being Good, but it was /totally/ your choice after I mindraped you to stay that way"

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-10-29, 03:07 PM
Once helm has done its work, everything else is at volition of creature- it can still make choices, do acts, go back to evil bit by bit- still has all its memories.

The 2nd ed one had helm stay on, and was more like curse- it described it in DMG as the creature being Forced to commit evil actions (reverse it and it fits your description)

There has been a change between editions.No, you can't.
Helm of Opposite Alignment

This metal hat looks like a typical helmet. When placed upon the head, however, its curse immediately takes effect (Will DC 15 negates). On a failed save, the alignment of the wearer is radically altered to an alignment as different as possible from the former alignment—good to evil, chaotic to lawful, neutral to some extreme commitment (LE, LG, CE, or CG). Alteration in alignment is mental as well as moral, and the individual changed by the magic thoroughly enjoys his new outlook. A character who succeeds on his save can continue to wear the helmet without suffering the effect of the curse, but if he takes it off and later puts it on again, another save is required. The curse only works once; that is, a character whose alignment has been changed cannot change it again by donning the helmet a second time.

Only a wish or a miracle can restore former alignment, and the affected individual does not make any attempt to return to the former alignment. (In fact, he views the prospect with horror and avoids it in any way possible.) If a character of a class with an alignment requirement is affected, an atonement spell is needed as well if the curse is to be obliterated. When a helm of opposite alignment has functioned once, it loses its magical properties.

Piedmon_Sama
2008-10-29, 03:11 PM
In D&D, RAW, there is only one definition of good. If that's not the case in your game, fine, but that doesn't impact a RAW of absolute morality.

In my view, Helming a person who is evil cannot be evil, RAW. In terms of Law and Chaos, there's an argument that could be made for Lawful (enforcing your beliefs on people for the good of the group) or Chaotic (acting without respect for the mores or ethics of others, and instead doing what you think is right).

There's actually nothing in a RAW game stopping me from saying "Heironeus does not like you magically altering the weal of mens' souls, a message is passed down to tell you to knock it off." Good deities aren't merely trying to rack up a higher count of souls than their evil counterparts, after all. Or at least, they shouldn't.

hamishspence
2008-10-29, 03:11 PM
Thats odd, in 2nd ed it was the other way round in DMG alignment description, the Evil character was actually doing his best to find some way to be converted back to good. Oops.

Tam_OConnor
2008-10-29, 03:12 PM
I'm sorry, I can't get over the DC 15 Will save. Fifteen. Maybe I'm showing my Baldur's Gate roots here, but this was the item that 'should one of these helms ever be forced onto the head of a benevolent solar...' And that was an ominous dot dot dot. This is a joke. It has to be. Please?

hamishspence
2008-10-29, 03:14 PM
yes- old cursed item in 2nd ed Always Works, this...doesn't.

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-10-29, 03:14 PM
I'm sorry, I can't get over the DC 15 Will save. Fifteen. Maybe I'm showing my Baldur's Gate roots here, but this was the item that 'should one of these helms ever be forced onto the head of a benevolent solar...' And that was an ominous dot dot dot. This is a joke. It has to be. Please?Magic item saves are always horrid. There's a reason you only would use this on captured oppoents where you can remove and replace it 20+ times.

Laurellien
2008-10-29, 03:15 PM
No joke, unless you count the RAW as a joke, which I honestly wouldn't blame you for sometimes.

horseboy
2008-10-29, 03:35 PM
...
I would rather go to hell a free man than heaven a slave.
Tis better to rule in Hell, than sever in Heaven, say I :smalltongue:

Evil is never specifically defined. And it is wholly possible to be incredibly mean without actually doing anything punishable under reasonable laws.1)Correct, morality is altered enough that we can' use real world morality, yet is ill-defined within itself. Hence all the alignment arguments. 2)You can be "mean" and not be evil. DI's are a prime example. D&D is about objective morality. To be objectively evil, one must do, say and think objectively evil things to qualify as evil. So, jerks, creaps and a-holes are neutral, until they actually bring about harm to someone else. Once that line it crossed, then yes, you can be punished for it.

Swordguy
2008-10-29, 03:45 PM
Tis better to rule in Hell, than sever in Heaven, say I


Wow, I don't think I've ever seen that quote so thoroughly "butchered".



I am deeply glad that you're not in charge of a damn thing.

THIS.

Yukitsu
2008-10-29, 03:48 PM
People always quote Milton, but I've always wondered why they think they would get to rule in hell.

horseboy
2008-10-29, 03:52 PM
Wow, I don't think I've ever seen that quote so thoroughly "butchered".

Doh! Sorry, nephew was side tracking me. Didn't double check. :smallredface:
People always quote Milton, but I've always wondered why they think they would get to rule in hell.It's a quote from Satan in Paradise Lost. Good book, I recommend it.

hamishspence
2008-10-29, 04:00 PM
what about those who are actively do harm, and lots of it, to people who don't deserve it, within the context of the law? A judge who hands down brutal punishments for minor crimes, say, in an LN society?

Hzurr
2008-10-29, 04:17 PM
Well, this is apparently a game where words speak louder then actions. Moral Absolutes are such golly darn /fun/ aren't they?

But think how much worse it would be if it went 100% Moral relativism? "I'm sorry, but my definition of good includes strangling orphans with kittens. And since my definition of good is just as valid as yours mr. "I sacrificed myself in order to save 1,000,000 from being tortured for eternity", I look forward to hanging out with you in heaven, where I'll be just as well received as you."

*bangs head on wall*

RPGuru1331
2008-10-29, 04:18 PM
But think how much worse it would be if it went 100% Moral relativism? "I'm sorry, but my definition of good includes strangling orphans with kittens. And since my definition of good is just as valid as yours mr. "I sacrificed myself in order to save 1,000,000 from being tortured for eternity", I look forward to hanging out with you in heaven, where I'll be just as well received as you."

*bangs head on wall*

The secret is to not go 100% on either.

Starsinger
2008-10-29, 04:21 PM
The secret is to not go 100% on either.

Are you talking some sort of middle ground? A mixture? Now you're being silly! Extremism FTW! :smalltongue:

horseboy
2008-10-29, 04:22 PM
what about those who are actively do harm, and lots of it, to people who don't deserve it, within the context of the law? A judge who hands down brutal punishments for minor crimes, say, in an LN society?Well, given such spells as "know alignment", "detect evil", and the like a LN society wouldn't put someone "easily tempted" (i.e. evil) into a place of such power. Likewise, a LN society would have both minimum and maximum punishments for violations. A judge that routinely violated the maximums would be censured and/or disbarred long before he had an "alignment shift." So this is a non-issue.

hamishspence
2008-10-29, 04:28 PM
One evil act is enough, if whole personality is malevolently directed. Without that evil act, the nasty person is Neutral, by Fiendish Codex 2.

LE societies, according to this, design adulthood initiation ceremonies to force the youngster to commit evil acts, forr this very reason.

Not all fictional societies use that much magic. D&D doesn't usually assume Tippyland.

Hzurr
2008-10-29, 04:42 PM
The secret is to not go 100% on either.

I'm sorry, you're using logic and common sense on the internet, I'm going to have to ask you to leave. We have a place for people like you, called "The Real Worl..." Um...no...wait. You wouldn't really fit in there either.

Sucks to be you.


(That being said, I have met/read some people who go 100% moral relativism. Usually it's only because they haven't thought it through all the way, and they only want moral relativism for themselves, but not for anyone else)

horseboy
2008-10-29, 04:45 PM
One evil act is enough, if whole personality is malevolently directed. Without that evil act, the nasty person is Neutral, by Fiendish Codex 2.Which just goes to show the whole "The people that wrote the splats never read core. Page 134 of the DMG disagrees.


Not all fictional societies use that much magic. D&D doesn't usually assume Tippyland.Any society with a god of justice, honor, integrity, etc, etc, it would be standard fare to make sure justice is served.

hamishspence
2008-10-29, 04:52 PM
it also says there are exceptions and its possible to have a "sudden, dramatic change of heart"

And, splatbook also follows "Not evil before puberty" a child who does evil things before this may not get evil alignment, but their nasty acts and personality put them right on the borderline, between Neutral and evil when they hit "the age of moral responsibility"

horseboy
2008-10-29, 05:08 PM
it also says there are exceptions and its possible to have a "sudden, dramatic change of heart"

Alignment Change is Gradual: Changes in alignments should not be drastic. Usually, a character changes alignment only one step at a time-from lawful evil to lawful neutral, for example, and not directly to neutral good. A character on her way to adopting another alignment might have other alignments during the transition to the final alignment.

Exceptions: There are exceptions to all of the above. For instance, it's possible (although unlikely) that the most horrible neutral evil villain has sudden and dramatic change of heart and immediately becomes neutral good.
Yes, it does say it's possible, though it's an exception and not the norm. And anything that causes the shift is not going to be the making someone pay the full $5000 fine for missing the trash can with their gum wrapper, abuse of justice, that your proposing with this judge scenario you're proposing.

Aquillion
2008-10-30, 04:16 AM
It is interesting to picture what a society that heavily-used the helms (plus detect evil) to deal with criminals. Depending on your outlook and your interpretation of the D&D alignment spectrum, the people using the helms could have pretty nasty alignments themselves -- but everyone else who committed crimes would be forcibly good-aligned.

It sounds like an interesting setting. I would want to play it as less than an anvilicious MIND CONTROL = BAD Clockwork Orange dystopia, though, if only because that's been done to death. To make it interesting... the population, as a whole, accepts the use of the helms. In fact, they view it as a good thing, and see evil alignments as almost akin to demonic possession (why wouldn't they? It shows up as a literal blot on 'detect evil'.) The acculturation goes so deep that even many convicted criminals do not object to being converted -- they don't take good and evil seriously, say, or they see it as a way to simply get away with everything they've done.

But there would be people who object, though in a somewhat strange way -- the post-conversion criminals (especially the formerly Lawful Evil ones, now chaotic good.) They would hate their former selves, seeing themselves as oppressive monsters; but they would nonetheless feel that forcing others into the helms is unconsionable.

Actually, that brings up an interesting point for another setting (less dystopian, somewhat.) What if the helms were used as an option in the legal system, akin to a plea deal? If you're an evil criminal, you can go to jail for decades for all the murders you've committed, say, or you can agree to put on the helm until you're changed, and get a lighter sentence.

Atonement could be used the same way, but it requires that you be genuinely repenant. That might make it better, morally, since if you're using the helms it could be seen as using jail as a way to coerce criminals into changing alignment.

(Of course, this would lead to some neutral criminals deliberately becoming evil before their trial, so they can take advantage of the loophole. Then again, in a D&D society, Detect Evil might be used against you as a form of character witness in sentencing -- it doesn't prove you committed the crime, no, but it is a very clear and reliable indicator of your likeliness to re-offend.)

Defiant
2008-10-30, 04:55 AM
Thank you for this thread, and although I've only fully read the first page, I already know as a DM to not include any such item in my world. :smallwink:

Laurellien
2008-10-30, 07:25 AM
Thank you for this thread, and although I've only fully read the first page, I already know as a DM to not include any such item in my world. :smallwink:

You're welcome. But as a player, do it to a recurring villain and watch the look of horror on your DM's face...

hewhosaysfish
2008-10-30, 07:48 AM
People always quote Milton, but I've always wondered why they think they would get to rule in hell.



<Villain>: It is better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven.
<NotVillain>: You flatter yourself!

**Actual names not used, for spoileriness**


...I can't believe I just went from Milton to Max Payne... What does that say about me...?



this would lead to some neutral criminals deliberately becoming evil
How does one deliberately become evil? If one believes that actions cause alignment then I suppose you could try to commit evil acts before your trial: look for opportunities to sadistically (sp?) brutalize other prisoners perhaps?
But if you believe that alignment is a reflection of a person's values rather than a sort of potted biography then that's much harder to change...

I guess people sometimes try to boost their confidence and assertiveness and stuff by repeating phrases like "I am a confident, successful man. I am an acheiver. If I put my mind to it, there's nothing I can't do. I am a confident, successful...." to themselves until they start to believe it. Perhaps you could try "I am a vicious, killer. I am a maniac. Given half a chance, there's nothing I won't do". Sit in your cell and repeat that a few times until you convince yourself.
Seems silly to me though.

hamishspence
2008-10-30, 08:20 AM
Actually I was thinking more Judge ordering a hundred lashes for littering. This sort of thing is described as virtually built-in to LE societies, in Fiendish Codex 2.

Mark Hall
2008-10-30, 09:19 AM
There's actually nothing in a RAW game stopping me from saying "Heironeus does not like you magically altering the weal of mens' souls, a message is passed down to tell you to knock it off." Good deities aren't merely trying to rack up a higher count of souls than their evil counterparts, after all. Or at least, they shouldn't.

Yes, but just because Heironeous or Pelor don't like it, doesn't mean it isn't good. Good is independent of the deities.

And, while they're not trying to wrack up a bigger soul count, they are pushing for good to be dominant, and for evil to be removed. What better way than to do that to convert someone into a willing believer in Good?

When you get right down to it, this item does not get rid of people's free will, any more than the gypsy cursing Angel with a soul did. They are still free to do as they choose... they just now whole-heartedly believe in the alignment they were given.

kamikasei
2008-10-30, 09:28 AM
When you get right down to it, this item does not get rid of people's free will, any more than the gypsy cursing Angel with a soul did. They are still free to do as they choose... they just now whole-heartedly believe in the alignment they were given.

Your example is bad; Angel and Angelus are two separate people (which is why that whole thing always seemed so terrible to me; the gypsies basically resurrected a dead man and burdened him with the guilt for a demon's actions, while the demon didn't have to suffer at all, just put up with being stuck in the basement of Angel's mind).

As to the rest of your point... forcibly altering a person's beliefs by magical means sure seems like messing with their free will to me. I don't know what about a person determines their alignment, but flipping that switch by means other than normal persuasion seems hugely suspect to me and not something you can casually assume is okay. As an illustration, take the stereotypical "love spell". It can take a person who may hate the caster and cause that person to utterly and unreservedly love the caster instead, perhaps despite full knowledge of their enchantment, be horrified at the prospect of having the spell broken, etc. This is pretty universally regarded as despicable and little different from rape (and an unconscionable violation of the victim's dignity and autonomy even if nothing sexual actually occurs). Why is the Helm different? The end may be different, but isn't the means still a violation?

Mark Hall
2008-10-30, 09:35 AM
Your example is bad; Angel and Angelus are two separate people (which is why that whole thing always seemed so terrible to me; the gypsies basically resurrected a dead man and burdened him with the guilt for a demon's actions, while the demon didn't have to suffer at all, just put up with being stuck in the basement of Angel's mind).

Actually, I think it more accurate to say that the corpse of Liam has a magically-enforced MPD; Angel v. Angelus. They are not separate people, but separate personalities, that are largely aware of one another.

I'll answer the rest, later; need to think on it a bit.

hamishspence
2008-10-30, 09:54 AM
See Assassins: Evil? for my possible rationalization of Sanctify The Wicked. It doesn't work with helm- helm is a magical curse, and cursing by BoVD is listed as "a type of evil magic that can sometimes be used by good or neutral people"

It does not, however, have evil descriptor, nor does Greater Curse, though Spell compendium for Greater Curse goes "Channelling your hatred into binding words of power, you thrust your hand at your opponent and proclaim a terrible curse."

kamikasei
2008-10-30, 09:59 AM
Actually, I think it more accurate to say that the corpse of Liam has a magically-enforced MPD; Angel v. Angelus. They are not separate people, but separate personalities, that are largely aware of one another.

This is a bit of a tangent, though somewhat relevant to the main thread, so I'll spoiler it and reply to it separately from the rest of your points.

It depends, I think, on two things: what you consider a person, and what you think a soul is. My impression was that restoring Angelus' soul meant that in effect Liam (was that really his name?) suddenly woke up after a century or two of a blackout during which he did some really horrible things. Now, from my point of view it wasn't really him doing it; the removal of his soul meant that Angelus was a different person.

Now, you might not see the soul as carrying the person's identity in any important way, so that Angel (Angelus with a soul) and Liam are different people. But I would still say that Angel and Angelus are also different people; the presence/absence of a soul is so huge a factor in personality that you can't consider the entities distinguished by it to be the same. Sharing meat and memories does not make you the same person. (Yes, this gets messy when you start thinking about people with severe personality disorders, those classic examples in neurology of people who had brain tumours removed and underwent radical personality shifts, and the like. Personhood is a messy concept. Fortunately the mystical toggling of a "has a soul" switch is clean enough that we can ignore that mess for our purposes here.)

Similarly, I would see whatever is involved in forcibly and permanently altering a person's alignment as a change on the same level as (the second version of) a Whedonverse soulectomy. You're creating a new person.

hamishspence
2008-10-30, 10:10 AM
He had the memories. And the feelings Angelus had when doing them. And so, felt, at least, as if it was he who'd done them. At least, I think series supports this, maybe books as well.

Imagine spending rest of your unlife with both memories and the horrible sensation of how it felt to be Angelus doing them.

Fishy
2008-10-30, 10:20 AM
Wow, Hamishspence. I read your post on Sanctify the Wicked (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5198531&postcount=437), and now I like the spell even less.

The soul goes into a gem, shut off and isolated from the entire rest of the universe- except for a portion of your soul. Not a large part, not an intelligent part, but just enough of your essence to talk to the trapped soul.

The only thing your victim experiences, for a year, is the sound of your voice, repeating your opinions.

And when he comes out, he agrees with you.

Tell me that's not creepy as hell.

kamikasei
2008-10-30, 10:23 AM
He had the memories. And the feelings Angelus had when doing them. And so, felt, at least, as if it was he who'd done them. At least, I think series supports this, maybe books as well.

Imagine spending rest of your unlife with both memories and the horrible sensation of how it felt to be Angelus doing them.

...None of that makes Angel the same person as Angelus. It just adds up to "wow, gypsies, you guys were ****s". No doubt it was terrible for Angel to live with those memories and that guilt. Pity it was Angel instead of Angelus who suffered.

hamishspence
2008-10-30, 10:24 AM
well, that plus all the psychological damage of being raised badly, say, being removed without removing the actual memories.

I'm guessing that tiny fragment of your soul is a fragment of everything Good in you, a little Law or Chaos possibly, nothing evil at all. And its a better psychotherapist than you are- in fact, a perfect psychotherapist.

I would say, that without exception, villain should be offered the choice, same as with helm.

EDIT:
Angel bit- it might give him a massive incentive to avoid moments of perfect happiness, since such would let Angelus out again. In effect, curse is method of keeping Angelus locked up forever (I wonder if when vampire is slain, the little demon returns to hell to wait to enter another person infected with vampirism?)

It seems awfully prone to failure though.

hamishspence
2008-10-30, 11:10 AM
While its certainly easy to describe process as like A Clockwork Orange or 1984, there is nothing in the rules to state it must be like that.

Method of using Diplomacy to change someone's alignment from Evil to Neutral and from Neutral to Good, listed in BoED, changes targets alignment automatically, if Diplomacy ranks are high enough, yet I don't see much complaining about that- maybe because it doesn't change alignment along ethical axis?

Dungeon Crawling Fools parodies this sort of inexplicable change (attitude this time, not alignment) in the strips set just before the first online one.

kamikasei
2008-10-30, 11:15 AM
Angel bit- it might give him a massive incentive to avoid moments of perfect happiness, since such would let Angelus out again. In effect, curse is method of keeping Angelus locked up forever

The stated purpose was not justice or the greater good, but vengeance. They wanted to punish the person who had wronged them. They did this by creating a new person capable of feeling guilt for that person's actions, and making that person suffer instead of the one who had wronged them.


Method of using Diplomacy to change someone's alignment from Evil to Neutral and from Neutral to Good, listed in BoED, changes targets alignment automatically, if Diplomacy ranks are high enough, yet I don't see much complaining about that- maybe because it doesn't change alignment along ethical axis?

The real problem is that free will is a ridiculously nebulous concept. We accept that people can influence each other via words and actions. We regard it as wrong to "pressure" someone or browbeat them even when words are all that's being employed. It's an extremely messy topic. The idea of a mechanic for changing people's minds which is as reliably effective as even slightly optimized Diplomacy bothers a lot of people, myself included. At what point do you stop being a persuasive guy and become a user of Voice? At what point is it wrong to try to persuade or influence someone, even if you're not particularly good at it?

However complex this issue may be, is it really that closely related to anything that comes in a spell with a will save attached and dramatically alters someone's thinking at a stroke?

hamishspence
2008-10-30, 11:23 AM
yes, not entirely nice. Angel becoming a hero eventually (though a pretty dark one) was really a side-effect.

Vengeance as a motive is enough to turn normally good D&D acts into Neutral at best, by BoED.

Piedmon_Sama
2008-10-30, 12:26 PM
It is interesting to picture what a society that heavily-used the helms (plus detect evil) to deal with criminals. Depending on your outlook and your interpretation of the D&D alignment spectrum, the people using the helms could have pretty nasty alignments themselves -- but everyone else who committed crimes would be forcibly good-aligned.

It sounds like an interesting setting. I would want to play it as less than an anvilicious MIND CONTROL = BAD Clockwork Orange dystopia, though, if only because that's been done to death. To make it interesting... the population, as a whole, accepts the use of the helms. In fact, they view it as a good thing, and see evil alignments as almost akin to demonic possession (why wouldn't they? It shows up as a literal blot on 'detect evil'.) The acculturation goes so deep that even many convicted criminals do not object to being converted -- they don't take good and evil seriously, say, or they see it as a way to simply get away with everything they've done.

But there would be people who object, though in a somewhat strange way -- the post-conversion criminals (especially the formerly Lawful Evil ones, now chaotic good.) They would hate their former selves, seeing themselves as oppressive monsters; but they would nonetheless feel that forcing others into the helms is unconsionable.

Actually, that brings up an interesting point for another setting (less dystopian, somewhat.) What if the helms were used as an option in the legal system, akin to a plea deal? If you're an evil criminal, you can go to jail for decades for all the murders you've committed, say, or you can agree to put on the helm until you're changed, and get a lighter sentence.

Atonement could be used the same way, but it requires that you be genuinely repenant. That might make it better, morally, since if you're using the helms it could be seen as using jail as a way to coerce criminals into changing alignment.

(Of course, this would lead to some neutral criminals deliberately becoming evil before their trial, so they can take advantage of the loophole. Then again, in a D&D society, Detect Evil might be used against you as a form of character witness in sentencing -- it doesn't prove you committed the crime, no, but it is a very clear and reliable indicator of your likeliness to re-offend.)

I did something similar in a campaign setting I drew up years ago. There were essentially two human nations: an Empire.... an an Alliance. Anyway, the Empire was ruled by an ancient Gold Dragon, who removed the old Aristocracy at a time when people were starving in the streets. He used his magic to create food, water and new homes for everyone, while they began worshipping him as a "living god." 200 years later, the Clerics of Aurrex (the dragon) can cast a lesser version of Sanctify the Wicked to "realign" captured criminals. The society they created was one consciously trying to model itself on what people thought "ye olden days" must have been like, so imagine every badly written Forgotten Realms novel you ever read where they were like "hail and well met!" and "good tidings, gentle-sirs!" and now imagine it's a thin gloss over a society where thinking the wrong things can get you a visit from the Golden Order.

Aquillion
2008-10-30, 01:05 PM
Wow, Hamishspence. I read your post on Sanctify the Wicked (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5198531&postcount=437), and now I like the spell even less.

The soul goes into a gem, shut off and isolated from the entire rest of the universe- except for a portion of your soul. Not a large part, not an intelligent part, but just enough of your essence to talk to the trapped soul.

The only thing your victim experiences, for a year, is the sound of your voice, repeating your opinions.

And when he comes out, he agrees with you.

Tell me that's not creepy as hell.
To be fair...

Alignment is not the same thing as opinions. Suppose I capture the evil, bloodthirsty general of an enemy army and use Sanctify the Wicked on him. When he comes out, he'll have my alignment -- but that doesn't mean he's going to switch sides, particularly if he was evil but his nation / army / cause wasn't (and even if they were, his new alignment could cause him to join them with the intent of beating me, then reforming them from within.)

He's aquired my aversion / non-aversion to brutal murder, my respect / non-respect for sentient beings, and my generally lawful/chaotic mindset, but that's all. Not that I'm saying that that makes it all right... but we should be clear on what's being done here.

Case in point:

You're welcome. But as a player, do it to a recurring villain and watch the look of horror on your DM's face...
Horror? I would laugh evilly, take a moment to think things through, then turn that sucker into the most dangerous good-aligned villain you ever saw. If they're lawful, prepare to meet the Knight Templar to end all Knights Templar. If they're chaotic, prepare to meet Super-Che Guevara, who wants to overturn every social structure the players hold dear in his path to rightously reforming society.

It even makes perfect sense. Their alignment is the result of magical tampering, so it's completely logical for them to be at the most extreme point those alignments provide.

Starbuck_II
2008-10-30, 01:16 PM
Yes, but just because Heironeous or Pelor don't like it, doesn't mean it isn't good. Good is independent of the deities.


Of course Pelor teaches us by his actions it is better to rule in Heaven pretending to be good than serve in hell as a with all those treachous Devils and demons (that rule the 9 levels of hell) in D&D.

Pelor is a evil Deity that has learned to emanate good when needed.

This is why Jozen casts evil spells in the PHB pictures once or twice.



Angel bit- it might give him a massive incentive to avoid moments of perfect happiness, since such would let Angelus out again. In effect, curse is method of keeping Angelus locked up forever (I wonder if when vampire is slain, the little demon returns to hell to wait to enter another person infected with vampirism?)

When Angel went to hell; Angelus didn't leave Angel so it is hard to say.

And until Angel lost the gypsy Curse; I don't think Angel even knew about Angelus was inside him. Remember when he regained his conscience: he had no idea what Angelus did.

This is unlike Angelus. He knows what Angel does at all times.

Spike used Atonement to gain back his soul and not a curse. So Spike's soul is real and can't be undone.

Mark Hall
2008-10-30, 01:49 PM
As to the rest of your point... forcibly altering a person's beliefs by magical means sure seems like messing with their free will to me. I don't know what about a person determines their alignment, but flipping that switch by means other than normal persuasion seems hugely suspect to me and not something you can casually assume is okay. As an illustration, take the stereotypical "love spell". It can take a person who may hate the caster and cause that person to utterly and unreservedly love the caster instead, perhaps despite full knowledge of their enchantment, be horrified at the prospect of having the spell broken, etc. This is pretty universally regarded as despicable and little different from rape (and an unconscionable violation of the victim's dignity and autonomy even if nothing sexual actually occurs). Why is the Helm different? The end may be different, but isn't the means still a violation?

Said I'd get back to this.

The means is a violation of the person's autonomy, in the case of mortals. However, that doesn't make it an evil act, because evil doesn't deal with the autonomy of action; that's the Lawful/Chaotic axis. While the person has free will afterwards, they do not have a free choice to change alignment.

When you get right down to it, using the Helm specifically to reverse someone's alignment is a essentially chaotic action, because it substitutes your judgment for theirs. "It doesn't matter what you think, I'm going to do what is right" is essentially a chaotic good viewpoint; using force majeure to require it, instead of the course of socialization, only solidifies that. A lawful method of causing an alignment change is counseling... i.e. diplomacy checks. A coup is always chaotic.

hamishspence
2008-10-30, 01:53 PM
Over the space of one year. Helm, by contrast, certainly at a stroke.

issue of identity was raised in Simpsons episode HomR- when a crayon stuck in his brain was removed, and his intelligence, and personality dramatically altered.

Eventually he re-inserted the crayon. Aesop here seemed extremely dubious.

Krrth
2008-10-30, 02:09 PM
...and here I always played that upon (perma) death, any and all curses, afflictions, insanities and magical alterations upon the soul go away, leaving the souls to go to whatever afterlife it *should* have earned.

Aquillion
2008-10-30, 02:19 PM
Said I'd get back to this.

The means is a violation of the person's autonomy, in the case of mortals. However, that doesn't make it an evil act, because evil doesn't deal with the autonomy of action; that's the Lawful/Chaotic axis. While the person has free will afterwards, they do not have a free choice to change alignment.

When you get right down to it, using the Helm specifically to reverse someone's alignment is a essentially chaotic action, because it substitutes your judgment for theirs. "It doesn't matter what you think, I'm going to do what is right" is essentially a chaotic good viewpoint; using force majeure to require it, instead of the course of socialization, only solidifies that. A lawful method of causing an alignment change is counseling... i.e. diplomacy checks. A coup is always chaotic.Disagree.

"Good" implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others.

"Evil" implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master.
I don't agree with some people here that it is always a "go-directly-to-hell, do not pass go, do not collect $200" act; there might be situations where it's justified (especially if you have limited options, or intend to turn the person back later -- which is itself problematic for other reasons, since you're sorta killing their 'new' personality and they will object...)

But on its own, taken in a vaccuum without justifications, it pretty clearly shows a lack of concern for the dignity of sentient beings, and it's pretty much a form of oppression. (Yes, you would think oppression would be lawful and not just evil. Well, I didn't write the alignment guidelines.)

I think it's like killing, perhaps a bit worse in some ways (both are reversable in the D&D universe, though) -- a lawful good character could do it, and they wouldn't instantly become evil in my book, but usually they should feel at least some doubt.

Actually, here's another idea for a good-aligned BBEG (a BBGG?): Someone who was converted to Lawful Good by a helm or a sanctify or some similar effect as a last-ditch desperate trick by a hero (possibly the players). But they become hard good, a real Knights Templar sort... and immediately decide to spread their 'revelation' to everyone else using the same methods. If you like, you could hint at this really being their old evil personality coming through -- they're required to 'think in good terms' now, but they're still the same person whose way of thinking made their outlook evil before.

(The people who originally converted the villain might even have intended for it to be temporary -- but of course, making the villain good doesn't make them less powerful, or force them to surrender, so now they couldn't make them switch back. Not that they tried very hard.)

Possible outcomes... the players could reason with them. They might also find out that their enemy was mindraped or whatever in the past, and assume that that's why an otherwise good person is doing these evil things -- so they use some artifact or power to 'revert' the change, which, of course, turns the BBEG back to their original evil mindset.

Krrth
2008-10-30, 02:43 PM
For those interested, there is a book called "Villians by nessasity"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villains_by_Necessity
Which has something of all this in it. More specifically, the forces of Good start magically turning every evil person they meet to Good. The villians have to save the world from the forces of good....

hamishspence
2008-10-30, 02:46 PM
oppression can take lawful and chaotic directions. A Rule of the Strong tyranny where strong rob the weak, is oppression, and chaotic in style, and a Rule of the Bureaucracy where everyone must conform and those who fail are stepped on hard, is oppression , and lawful in style.

RPGuru1331
2008-10-30, 03:00 PM
oppression can take lawful and chaotic directions. A Rule of the Strong tyranny where strong rob the weak, is oppression, and chaotic in style, and a Rule of the Bureaucracy where everyone must conform and those who fail are stepped on hard, is oppression , and lawful in style.

Erm. Rule of the Strong is CE, since "Because I'm strong, I can do what I want" is an Evil concept. CN is probably more just "Leave me the hell alone!" CG is concerned with everyone being free. Lawful can more easily oppress then CE, especially since CE isn't a good, stable government.

hamishspence
2008-10-30, 03:03 PM
hence my comment that CE and LE alike, can oppress, in different ways. Oppression is just Evil.

EDIT:
However, a sufficiently annoyed Good or Neutral person can start doing it, or at least be accused of it:

Monty Python and the Holy Grail
"Help! Help! I'm being oppressed!"

RPGuru1331
2008-10-30, 03:47 PM
And the folks advocating putting Helms of Opposite Alignment on Evil folks aren't being remotely oppresive, I take it?

Yukitsu
2008-10-30, 03:48 PM
And the folks advocating putting Helms of Opposite Alignment on Evil folks aren't being remotely oppresive, I take it?

Not if they put one on themselves when they're done, no.

hamishspence
2008-10-30, 03:52 PM
It depends how bad you think Personality Changing is- its been done a lot historically, right up to present, in various ways.

In the context of D&D, I'd say base is Neutral- if done for selfish reasons- you don't want to waste money imprisoning evil guy, its Evil, if for altruistic reasons- you think its doing both villain, and innocents, a favour, might border on good.

RPGuru1331
2008-10-30, 04:13 PM
It's not remotely neutral. It's flat out oppressive and evil. Ever heard of a benevolent dictatorship? Just because you oppress people and then do good things for them doesn't mean you're being less oppressive.

Honestly, you all saying it's good give me a deeply disturbing Light Yagami vibe. Please to be Reading.. aw hell, pick a dystopian novel, any of 'em. 1984, Brave New World, anything.

hamishspence
2008-10-30, 04:16 PM
Some acts are considered evil if done to any but "irredeemably evil monsters" and Neutral at best, done to those. Killing for profit alone being one- monster being Evil Dragon- BoVD, BoED.

should this be one? if its Evil Dragon, maybe Beholder, maybe Half-Fiend, Neutral (all have Always Evil, but not Evil subtype), if to human, orc, drow, Evil?

RPGuru1331
2008-10-30, 04:31 PM
No. It shouldn't. Evil subtype creatures get a choice; Hence why it's 99.4% under Always, not 100. There's really no reason to go around removing agency from folks.

hamishspence
2008-10-30, 04:42 PM
No percentage is provided as far as I can tell.

and it is true that more recently statted Extraplanar evil outsider with Evil subtype (cambion) is Usually Evil rather than Always evil (trace of non-outsider blood).

I think that BoVD focussed in description, on Always Evil creatures, not, oddly, Evil subtype creatures, though it mentions fiends later.

puppyavenger
2008-10-30, 04:44 PM
No percentage is provided as far as I can tell.

and it is true that more recently statted Extraplanar evil outsider with Evil subtype (cambion) is Usually Evil rather than Always evil (trace of non-outsider blood).

I think that BoVD focussed in description, on Always Evil creatures, not, oddly, Evil subtype creatures, though it mentions fiends later.

well, there is the famous Succubus paladin...

RPGuru1331
2008-10-30, 04:49 PM
No percentage is provided as far as I can tell.

I've seen it, so it's either in a core book or Savage Species.

hamishspence
2008-10-30, 04:51 PM
Yes, I've cited her a few times, and also Planecape Torment's Fall From Grace.

I figure that, given that by MM end details on subtypes, Evil subtype creatures, even fiends, can have nonevil alignment (still stuck detecting as evil though), the "Killing a fiend is always a good act" only applies to a fiend whose actual alignment, not just subtype, is evil.

Since Cambions, despite being by the rules Fiends, are only Usually Evil.

puppyavenger
2008-10-30, 04:51 PM
also, simple proof that it's still evil.

there are an infinite number of fiends

.01% of infinity is infinity

there are an infinite number of good fiends.

hamishspence
2008-10-30, 05:05 PM
The Nine hells are now Finite in space devils can be in- each layer has a given width, go far enough down you emerge on next, and all, including Nessus, float in an infinite space- where nothing, not even devils, can survive.

The closest thing to a stat is Savage Species "If a creature Always has that alignment, exceptions are Either unique, Or 1 in a million"

MM: "Either Unique, or rare exceptions." Which is up to the DM.

So, even with infinite plane, If DM chooses such, there may be only one non-evil fiend of each type.

Personally, since Succubus Paladin was a Critical Threat article, and not everything in those has to exist in, say, Greyhawk universe, I'd say Fall From Grace, and Helm victims or those with a Savage Species ritual, or those with Divine Power from a deity used on them, represent the entirety of non-evil succubi, since Sanctify the Wicked, by strict rules, doesn't work on fiends.

AslanCross
2008-10-30, 05:12 PM
One Blackguard in Faerun rides a pure white Nightmare that has blue Fire. Still evil though.

http://www.swordplaysales.com/images/ddfrlordsofdarkness.jpg

By canon, Scyllua Darkhope is dead, though. (She's the final boss in the Shadowdale: Scouring of the Land adventure and according to Grand History of the Realms, she died and failed so hard in that campaign that Fzoul never resurrected her again.)

Anyway, I would agree that permanently rewriting someone's personality is quite evil. On the other hand, it may just save the lives of thousands, so I'd think it's not moustache-twirlingly evil. Definitely not down there with baby eating and puppy sacrifice.

hamishspence
2008-10-30, 05:22 PM
Given BoED says killing with the sole motive being profit is evil for anything but Always Evil monsters, would that fit?
"Not an evil act, though its certainly not a good act" BoVD says it too, roughly.

Would you say, on an evil scale, Helming someone, is on a par with stabbing a random someone to death cos you've been paid to do it?

well, campaign can take place anywhen, and if outsiders ressurrect in plane, on death, Targarene may be out there somewhere :smallbiggrin:

RPGuru1331
2008-10-30, 05:28 PM
Given BoED says killing with the sole motive being profit is evil for anything but Always Evil monsters, would that fit?
...Have you not gotten that we're not paying attention to what either the BoED or the BoVD says on matters of morality? Or at least, most of us don't appear to be.

hamishspence
2008-10-30, 05:32 PM
I might disallow those statements that are logically inconsistant (anything about poison), but I wouldn't say, chuck them all out, because PHB is just not very detailed on alignment.

There was a comment somewhere that it is pretty much impossible to discuss paladins falling, etc without referring to BoED and BoVD.

I personally would add Fiendish Codex 2 for Corrupt acts and a few very limited details on Law, and Champions of Ruin for "Evil guys can believe they are doing Good"

EDIT: But then, with every core and Faerun 3.0 and 3.5 hardback, and many softbacks, I hvae more opportunity to peruse almost everything WoTC has written on alignment.

RPGuru1331
2008-10-30, 05:37 PM
I might disallow those statements that are logically inconsistant (anything about poison), but I wouldn't say, chuck them all out, because PHB is just not very detailed on alignment.

There was a comment somewhere that it is pretty much impossible to discuss paladins falling, etc without referring to BoED and BoVD.

I personally would add Fiendish Codex 2 for Corrupt acts and a few very limited details on Law, and Champions of Ruin for "Evil guys can believe they are doing Good"
And I'd say that it's all been bunk anyway, going by what you've been quoting. The only remotely useful thing that seems to come from either is "True goodness really does mean a lot of sacrifice and helping people", and that message seems to have been dropped in favor of "All that is not utterly pure is evil".

I mean really, killing for profit? Seems to really only be problematic when you're whacking innocents, not aggressors.

hamishspence
2008-10-30, 05:41 PM
Note that it sees absolutely nothing wrong with killing in defence of other when motive is not profit, and, "not a good acts" doesn't mean you fall.

Bunch of Exalted heroes are told Evil Red Dragon lurks in mountain. They ask "Does it have treasure" Answer is yes. They say "We're going after it" No fall, but no Good act for killing it, either.

EDIT: And wasn't "killing with the sole motive being profit" the whole problem with Assassins? Exalted says, if creature is "That Evil" you can act like assassin, and you won't Fall. Or count as committing Good Act.

RPGuru1331
2008-10-30, 05:45 PM
Note that it sees absolutely nothing wrong with killing in defence of other when motive is not profit, and, "not a good acts" doesn't mean you fall.
So the motive of profit makes killing in defense bad? That's ridiculous. Killing in defense of an innocent should never be bad unless it's part of a Xanatos Gambit to cause evil elsewhere.


EDIT: And wasn't "killing with the sole motive being profit" the whole problem with Assassins? Exalted says, if creature is "That Evil" you can act like assassin, and you won't Fall. Or count as committing Good Act.
It was /your/ problem, maybe. The problem to me was indiscriminate killing for hire.

kamikasei
2008-10-31, 03:45 AM
Said I'd get back to this.

Aquillon has pretty much voiced my sentiments here.


And until Angel lost the gypsy Curse; I don't think Angel even knew about Angelus was inside him. Remember when he regained his conscience: he had no idea what Angelus did.

At which point? When he's first cursed he can't remember the time spent as Angelus, but then it starts to come back to him. I was under the impression that the change was just jarring or traumatic and there's a little temporary amnesia or shock involved.

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-10-31, 03:50 AM
Said I'd get back to this.

The means is a violation of the person's autonomy, in the case of mortals. However, that doesn't make it an evil act, because evil doesn't deal with the autonomy of action; that's the Lawful/Chaotic axis. While the person has free will afterwards, they do not have a free choice to change alignment.

When you get right down to it, using the Helm specifically to reverse someone's alignment is a essentially chaotic action, because it substitutes your judgment for theirs. "It doesn't matter what you think, I'm going to do what is right" is essentially a chaotic good viewpoint; using force majeure to require it, instead of the course of socialization, only solidifies that. A lawful method of causing an alignment change is counseling... i.e. diplomacy checks. A coup is always chaotic.I view the helm as similar to drug-induced brainwashing. It's someone going into your mind, eliminating the stuff they don't like and adding stuff they approve of to make you agree with them. Not in the least bit acceptable in a civilized society. I am having a hard time seeing that as non-evil.

hamishspence
2008-10-31, 10:46 AM
Emphasis on words "sole motive" A richly equipped villain is attacking a poor peasant. You spot the loot on him and that reason (and that alone) causes you to leap in, kill the villain, and strip him of everything.

If this character were the sort of person who'd completely ignore the incident except when opportunity for profit appears, I have a hard time seeing them as Good, and even Neutral is borderline.

Ulzgoroth
2008-10-31, 11:03 AM
Honestly, you all saying it's good give me a deeply disturbing Light Yagami vibe. Please to be Reading.. aw hell, pick a dystopian novel, any of 'em. 1984, Brave New World, anything.
I'm right behind you on thinking the Helm, besides being stupid, is also a horribly evil thing to use.

But I haven't seen a dystopia yet where the only problem was the brainwashing. Generally there's more going on.

hamishspence
2008-10-31, 01:39 PM
Fiendish Codex 2 may focus heavily on Lawful forms of evil, but it has points that might be relavent here.

Namely, that with enough unatoned for evil acts (generally serious ones) a soul goes to the Nine Hells, regardless of how much good they did in life.

Just to give you a ballpark figure, one murder no matter how bad the motivation, if it is the sole evil act, won't sent victim to Nine Hells, assuming it dies lawful, but not evil (maybe even Lawful Exalted Good.)

Two? Will. Automatically.

Now if character dies seriously repentant (which would suggest they were Trying to atone, and hadn't yet succeeded), at least they get a second chance, as a hellbred, but it requires Really Major good acts to get out of soul going to Nine Hells, and most don't succeed.

Point is, neither Helm nor Sanctify will remove the Corrupt acts- only atonement will- the other two merely give person motivation and willingness to actually atone.

And, in FC2, atonement requires actually repairing the damage, and, "giving up" what you gained from the evil acts, in some way. Note that if evil act saved others lives, I assume you aren't required to sacrifice those lives, its only personal gain of any kind, that you must give up, or earn back, then give up.

Lets say you robbed a thousand "needy" people of money. To atone, in addition to the spell, you'd need to give up the money (or earn that amount, then give it up to those people, if already spent) apologize for the act to somebody (ideally, them, but if not, just someone) and do some extra good act solely as part of atonement.

This is just typical example. Basically, by FC2 rules, getting out of being sent to Nine Hells, if earlier you were really evil, is hard.

And- my guess based on inclusion of Obesiant rating- if non-lawful, count Obesiant acts, and if they total 9 or more, treat them as Lawful. No Turning Chaotic Good to try and get out of having to atone.

Mewtarthio
2008-10-31, 03:48 PM
At which point? When he's first cursed he can't remember the time spent as Angelus, but then it starts to come back to him. I was under the impression that the change was just jarring or traumatic and there's a little temporary amnesia or shock involved.

Now that you've brought up the Angelus argument again, I'd like to ask this: While I agree with you that it was morally wrong for the gypsies to curse Angelus in the first place (while they did cause good in the long run, there motive was simply to cause suffering), what about when Willow re-applied the curse in "Becoming, pt. 2"? Her motives were different, but she essentially did the exact same thing: She completely altered Angel's personality with a magic spell. The only difference is that she knew the "post-helm" Angel and wanted to get him back.

RPGuru1331
2008-10-31, 04:09 PM
Now that you've brought up the Angelus argument again, I'd like to ask this: While I agree with you that it was morally wrong for the gypsies to curse Angelus in the first place (while they did cause good in the long run, there motive was simply to cause suffering), what about when Willow re-applied the curse in "Becoming, pt. 2"? Her motives were different, but she essentially did the exact same thing: She completely altered Angel's personality with a magic spell. The only difference is that she knew the "post-helm" Angel and wanted to get him back.

Interesting question. Remind me; Did the curse *Force* Angel to feel guilt over what he'd done, or *allow* him to?

Mewtarthio
2008-10-31, 04:12 PM
It restored his soul, which allowed him to feel remorse. In the Buffyverse, souls don't automatically make you morally good (there's still plenty of evil humans, particularly in Angel), but a lack of a soul pretty much automatically makes you evil. Note, however, that sou-restoration almost always does create terrible guilt, but that's just a side effect of suddenly being able to feel remorse.

RPGuru1331
2008-10-31, 04:39 PM
It restored his soul, which allowed him to feel remorse. In the Buffyverse, souls don't automatically make you morally good (there's still plenty of evil humans, particularly in Angel), but a lack of a soul pretty much automatically makes you evil. Note, however, that sou-restoration almost always does create terrible guilt, but that's just a side effect of suddenly being able to feel remorse.

Ah hah, I misremembered bits of things. It seems to me that restoring a vampire's soul is not going to be an evil act unless your motives are bad. A vampire that doesn't care either way (They still don't feel remorse even with the ability to) doesn't appear to be hindered, and a vampire that *does* care only did not care because agency was removed from them. I guess it's like Awakening an animal; It puts them in a better position to make a choice. Or undoing an enchantment that removes one's ability to decide. They may still decide to go with what the enchantment used to compel them to do, but it becomes *their* choice.

kamikasei
2008-11-01, 04:57 AM
Now that you've brought up the Angelus argument again, I'd like to ask this: While I agree with you that it was morally wrong for the gypsies to curse Angelus in the first place (while they did cause good in the long run, there motive was simply to cause suffering), what about when Willow re-applied the curse in "Becoming, pt. 2"? Her motives were different, but she essentially did the exact same thing: She completely altered Angel's personality with a magic spell. The only difference is that she knew the "post-helm" Angel and wanted to get him back.

You misunderstand why I think the gypsies were in the wrong. By restoring Angel's soul, they made him a different person to Angelus. Thus, the one who suffered for the crimes against them wasn't the one who had committed them. They created a scapegoat, effectively. Vengeance was not Willow's goal, so misdirected vengeance and punishing the innocent weren't the result of her actions. The act of restoring the soul itself I wouldn't see as evil, I'm just using it as an illustration of the kind of radical personality-alteration that I see as crossing a line between how we define an individual person.

Thurbane
2008-11-01, 05:45 PM
I dunno, personally I would consider forcing an evil being to wear the helm a neutral act, rather than evil.

Is it any more evil than slaughtering a tribe of gnolls because they are evil? Or casting a Charm on an evil character to make him helpful to the party?

Aquillion
2008-11-01, 06:04 PM
I dunno, personally I would consider forcing an evil being to wear the helm a neutral act, rather than evil.

Is it any more evil than slaughtering a tribe of gnolls because they are evil? Or casting a Charm on an evil character to make him helpful to the party?
The thing is, there's evil beings and then there's evil beings. Using Detect Evil and slamming the helm on to anyone who pings is, I think, very clearly evil (roughly akin to killing everyone who pings, morally.) Ditto for using it on petty thieves of whatever.

Using it on an insane madman who is eagerly slaughtering everyone in his path, though, is more complicated (and in a real world discussion I would say that this is a cop-out or false scenario, but D&D heroes run into it all the time.) Truthfully, in that case I would worry more about how your actions would impact other people than the ethics of what you're doing to the omnicidal maniac. A strictly-good character like a Paladin might object, or demand that there be a fair trial first, but I could see a chaotic good rogue saying 'screw it' and helming a sufficiently evil villain. They might view it as a regrettable necessity, or something along those lines, but it wouldn't instantly make them an inhuman monster for doing it.

(As an aside: Yeah, that doesn't match Chaotic Good. But being chaotic, by nature, means that you don't have to be totally consistent -- someone who absolutely and rigidly supports freedom for everyone at all times, no exceptions, is Lawful, not Chaotic. Or, in other words, a Chaotic alignment is not just another code of morals; it's the absence of a rigidly-defined code of morals.)

Starbuck_II
2008-11-01, 08:08 PM
And, in FC2, atonement requires actually repairing the damage, and, "giving up" what you gained from the evil acts, in some way. Note that if evil act saved others lives, I assume you aren't required to sacrifice those lives..


No, no, that would be awesome:

Farmer: "Hey, your the hero that saved me and my wife years ago by summoning that demon. I was scared because I've only seen evil men do that, but I apologize you were just trying to help us."

Anti-Hero: "To redeem myself and gain paradise I must kill..."

Farmer: "what was that?"

Anti-Hero: *stabs the man instantly with a swish of his sword* "Soon I shall be redeemed!" *walks over to Farmer's house to slaighter the wife*
"For paradise!"

Okay, that would be a interesting BBEG.

He used to be a hero to the people, but he used evil mens to kill the demons and orcs that attacked the village.
In order to gain access to Paradise he must slaughter the villages he saved.
That is where the PCs come in.

Mewtarthio
2008-11-01, 10:05 PM
You misunderstand why I think the gypsies were in the wrong. By restoring Angel's soul, they made him a different person to Angelus. Thus, the one who suffered for the crimes against them wasn't the one who had committed them. They created a scapegoat, effectively. Vengeance was not Willow's goal, so misdirected vengeance and punishing the innocent weren't the result of her actions. The act of restoring the soul itself I wouldn't see as evil, I'm just using it as an illustration of the kind of radical personality-alteration that I see as crossing a line between how we define an individual person.

I agree with you there. I wasn't really clear with my post. What I'm asking is whether Willow's actions would be considered brainwashing and, if not, how they were any different from using the helm on a villain. The actions of the gypsies were undoubtably cruel and sadistic, as you said, but Willow's motivation was essentially that she'd like Angel better if he was Good (that, and she'd have made Buffy's job easier if only she'd gotten the spell off sooner).

Of course, you could also argue that this is a different case: Perhaps it's not morally wrong to helm an intelligent undead whom you knew in life, or to helm someone who's been brainwashed.

...Now there's an interesting question. Is it evil to helm a victim of sanctify the wicked?

RPGuru1331
2008-11-02, 01:59 AM
Of course, you could also argue that this is a different case: Perhaps it's not morally wrong to helm an intelligent undead whom you knew in life, or to helm someone who's been brainwashed.

...Now there's an interesting question. Is it evil to helm a victim of sanctify the wicked?

That was my argument before; Vampires losing their soul *alters* them, usually. Restoring their soul seems to alter them /back/. You're undoing someone else's work, in theory.

Helming an undead.. as long as the undead's alignment was altered due to raise dead. And helming a victim of Sanctify the Wicked.. if Sanctify was enterred voluntarily, I guess, it'd be wrong to helm, but if not, I suppose it wouldn't be. You're reversing someone else's involuntary change.

Coidzor
2008-11-02, 05:49 AM
So one thing we can be certain of, those gypsies were super-powered ****s who weren't even good at what they set out to do with their power.

hamishspence
2008-11-02, 06:23 AM
I'd say, "Give up gains." means "give up personal gains" things associated with you only- other people are protected by "do Not Murder"

If you got bonus XP or bonus feats, skills, stat boosts, from devils, removing them is virtually impossible, which is why they are favoured gains in a Pact Insidious. Devil gives you +5 to Int, in return for slaughtering village.

You, thinking "I wanna be redeemed" gather the resources to Raise or Ressurect every one. They actually accept. You are still stuck with the problem of divesting yourself of this stat bonus- volunteering to have some of your Int drained might work.

Having a villain mistakenly believe otherwise- that would be interesting though.

Mewtarthio
2008-11-02, 10:32 AM
You, thinking "I wanna be redeemed" gather the resources to Raise or Ressurect every one. They actually accept. You are still stuck with the problem of divesting yourself of this stat bonus- volunteering to have some of your Int drained might work.

I think that's a little unfair. If someone is clearly trying to atone, then they shouldn't be damned to hell just because there's a few things that are physically impossible. Atonment does not mean that you've managed to make everything exactly as it was before you turned evil: It means you've made an honest attempt to make up for your sins. What if, for instance, you performed an evil action to save your own life? Does the cosmos demand that you commit honorable suicide in order to get into heaven?

hamishspence
2008-11-02, 10:40 AM
hard to say. And as I said- dying repentant does get you the Hellbred option.

Murder someone to save own life- hmm.

Remember even a single "murder for pleasure" is slightly below the amount of evil needed for condemnation.

and you don't have to commit suicide- Intentionally and Knowingly giving up life in battle with evil to save others counts (in The Rise Of Darth Vader we are told Sith Lightning in enough amounts will automatically short out Vader's suit and kill him)

So, Vader's death would be fair example. Though he didn't resurrect anyone- you can't do that in SW- his own life might count. Even if the person he saved was someone valuable to him- his son.

The Trope Name is Redemption Equals Death.

Mewtarthio
2008-11-02, 11:48 AM
The Trope Name is Redemption Equals Death.

There's a difference between that trope and what you describe. That trope simply claims that Redemption leads to Death, because the redeemed character's role in the story has been fulfilled and it's much easier to simply kill him off in a heroic sacrifice then have him deal with atonement. What you are presenting is that Redemption requires Death: That is, if you undertake Evil actions to save your own life, then the cosmos will not allow you into heaven unless you take your own life (either through outright suicide or "Suicide by Crook"). What happens when the repentant hero charges into battle against overwhelming odds and actually wins?

Note also that this has the unfortunate side effect that wealthy people (or those with wealthy organizations willing to sponsor their redemption) have an easier time getting atonement. A powerful noble has executed twenty people and now feels bad about it? No problem: He just purchases a large amount of diamonds and resurrects his victims! A poor beggar walks in on his wife cheating on him and kills them both in a rage? Sorry: Have fun being a Hellbred!

hamishspence
2008-11-02, 01:17 PM
there is the "resurrecting requires that the victims be willing to come back"- issue.

Said rich man might have to travel to planes (possibly different ones) and apologize to them personally, and they'd all have to forgive him and be willing to return.

If DM's feeling generous, saving lives- lots of them, might give you a bonus. The repentant hero who lives, and keeps doing it, might be saving the lives of many who would have otherwise died and the hands of evil. When he dies, he might get off because of that. No exact numbers though- no getting off that easy.

David Gemmell's "The Deacon" (actually Jon Shannow) In Bloodstone is faced with that very same issue. While his first words are "I feel for him, but you cannot make exceptions. Those who murder must die" he is later persuaded to spare the man.

And provocation and blind rage might promote act from murder, to only manslaughter.

EDIT: a common view is that good works alone are not enough to make up for evil deeds. It shouldn't be- I murdered 5 people and saved 5 people from a Dragon- I'm Neutral.

Mewtarthio
2008-11-02, 01:52 PM
Said rich man might have to travel to planes (possibly different ones) and apologize to them personally, and they'd all have to forgive him and be willing to return.

At least he has a chance. The poor man will be completely incapable of that sort of thing. And I only introduced the factor-of-ten discrepancy as an example: The rich man has the resources to atone for sins that the poor man could never undo.


If DM's feeling generous, saving lives- lots of them, might give you a bonus. The repentant hero who lives, and keeps doing it, might be saving the lives of many who would have otherwise died and the hands of evil. When he dies, he might get off because of that. No exact numbers though- no getting off that easy.

Then you concede that redemption is possible even if you don't undo every mistake you've made and give up everything you've gained?

hamishspence
2008-11-02, 02:00 PM
yup- either as hellbred (very difficult) or through great personal sacrifice- doesn't have to be lethal- could be as simple as devoting your life to others.

BoED does point out redemption is option for everyone, the fallen good and the evil alike.

the hellbred option might be more intended for those who die repentant but haven't really done anything to prove it to the Forces of Law and Good. The man who walked away, came back with weapon and slew the people whose behaviour offended him- not manslaughter any more.

On doing it he is overcome with remorse, hands himself to the law, which executes him for the two murders.

Now under many systems, dying with taint of murder on his soul would send him straight down.

But in FC2- he gets a chance. It may be a hard life as a hellbred, earning your soul's freedom at end of it may be very difficult, but at least its a chance.

EDIT:
And you don't have to fix damage from your old life, but you do have to carry out good acts of positively epic proportions.

ashmanonar
2008-11-02, 04:39 PM
I assume he means "Sanctify the Wicked" which imprisons the creature's soul in a gem for a year and reprograms them to be good little citizens of pure heart.

No, seriously.

That's, uh...that's actually really creepy, and sounds REALLY evil.

Aquillion
2008-11-02, 04:50 PM
That's, uh...that's actually really creepy, and sounds REALLY evil.
I think ashmanonar needs some Sanctifyin'. That sounds like the statement of a subversive alignment skew to me!

hamishspence
2008-11-02, 04:56 PM
personally, i'd say dump Sanctify and keep Hellbred. Turning Good should require more than just magical reprogramming, as should clearing "taint" of evil acts from one's soul.

Enlong
2008-11-03, 01:48 AM
I think ashmanonar needs some Sanctifyin'. That sounds like the statement of a subversive alignment skew to me!

Yes! Send him to Aberthast Cathedra- wait... I think I got my threads mixed up.

hamishspence
2008-11-03, 09:04 AM
Closest equivalent to the Hellbred option I have seen recently in fantasy, without the actual transformation, is in Going Postal.

Moist von Lipwig is hanged to within an inch of his life, then offered the opportunity to work for the city. After he enquires futher, he finds out that the only alternative choice is death (still a choice, according to Vetinari)

"Do you know about angels, Mr Lipwig?"

"The most important thing about angels, Mr Lipwig, is that you only get one."

Starbuck_II
2008-11-03, 10:10 AM
I think ashmanonar needs some Sanctifyin'. That sounds like the statement of a subversive alignment skew to me!

In paraonia, the computer would agre that he needs sanctifying. As long as whatever the computer thinks if good is good.

ashmanonar
2008-11-06, 02:48 PM
I think ashmanonar needs some Sanctifyin'. That sounds like the statement of a subversive alignment skew to me!

Well, a member of the Scarlet Crusade needs no such Sanctifying. He will purge you of the taint of the Scourge!

...oops, wrong game. :D

SurlySeraph
2008-11-06, 04:02 PM
This thread has given me an idea: a utopian city run perfectly according to the most Exalted Lawful Good principles!

Paladin police regularly Detect Evil on every citizen. Whenever a citizen comes up as evil, he is immediately imprisoned in a therapeutic ward to re-learn good ways. It's so much more humane than summary execution, and lets us keep a productive member of the community happy. And if nothing the clerics and beguilers say can convince him to change? They just drag him off to the Ministry of Kindness and cast Sanctify the Wicked. His physical body is stacked like cordwood on top of the other evil ones currently being sanctified, and his soulstone is placed in a neatly organized file cabinet for a year and a day until the sanctification process is complete.
And why stop at getting rid of evil? We've got Detect Good and Detect Law, too! And there's gotta be a spell like Law-ify the Chaotic somewhere! Any non-good, non-lawful citizen undergoes exactly the same treatment as the evil ones - though perhaps not as many paladins are sent to escort them to mandatory re-education, since they're less likely to resist arrest.
Of course, that kind of alignment-detecting schedule wouldn't leave the paladins and clerics a lot of time for their other responsibilities, like sweeping the sewers for kobolds, burning books that contain spells with the [Evil] descriptor, and crusading against unenlightened foreigners. So, to make things more efficient they could just put magical evil-detecting security cameras all over the place. And I don't mean just in public places. In such a society, surely someone would only dare to let their most evil tendencies loose far from the public eye. Isn't it reassuring to know that the paladins can watch your room whenever some subversive anti-citizen might be trying to break into your house? Or while you're safely asleep? Or, (wink wink, nudge nudge) a little before you and your lawfully wedded spouse go to sleep?
Oh, of course you have a spouse. To make sure everyone stays happy (and to keep the population increasing), the government uses mind-reading and divinations to find the perfect soul mate for everyone as soon as they reach childbearing age. Why bother with the stress and fear of dating when the government can find the perfect partner for you?
And if your ideal partner doesn't happen to live in the city, that's what Teleport and Charm and Hold Person are for. They'll warm up to it as soon as they get to know you and see how beautiful the city is! And what if, by some staggering improbability that may indicate that you need to be re-educated, you just don't get along with the husband or wife the wizards and paladins spent so much time scrying on and abducting? Well, that's easy to solve. Programmed Amnesia, either on you or on your spouse, will make you forget any disputes you may ever have had. Remember, if it's not called "Mindrape," it doesn't have the [Evil] descriptor!
Unfortunately, not everything is fun and games on this side of the afterlife. The struggle between good and evil never ceases. We have always been at war with the demons. Also with the devils. Also the undead. And the Illithids. And drow. And evil-god worshippers. And the insufficiently pure mortal kingdoms. And... well, you get the picture.

So, who wants to live there? Remember, Pelor is watching you!

chiasaur11
2008-11-06, 04:40 PM
This thread has given me an idea: a utopian city run perfectly according to the most Exalted Lawful Good principles!

Paladin police regularly Detect Evil on every citizen. Whenever a citizen comes up as evil, he is immediately imprisoned in a therapeutic ward to re-learn good ways. It's so much more humane than summary execution, and lets us keep a productive member of the community happy. And if nothing the clerics and beguilers say can convince him to change? They just drag him off to the Ministry of Kindness and cast Sanctify the Wicked. His physical body is stacked like cordwood on top of the other evil ones currently being sanctified, and his soulstone is placed in a neatly organized file cabinet for a year and a day until the sanctification process is complete.
And why stop at getting rid of evil? We've got Detect Good and Detect Law, too! And there's gotta be a spell like Law-ify the Chaotic somewhere! Any non-good, non-lawful citizen undergoes exactly the same treatment as the evil ones - though perhaps not as many paladins are sent to escort them to mandatory re-education, since they're less likely to resist arrest.
Of course, that kind of alignment-detecting schedule wouldn't leave the paladins and clerics a lot of time for their other responsibilities, like sweeping the sewers for kobolds, burning books that contain spells with the [Evil] descriptor, and crusading against unenlightened foreigners. So, to make things more efficient they could just put magical evil-detecting security cameras all over the place. And I don't mean just in public places. In such a society, surely someone would only dare to let their most evil tendencies loose far from the public eye. Isn't it reassuring to know that the paladins can watch your room whenever some subversive anti-citizen might be trying to break into your house? Or while you're safely asleep? Or, (wink wink, nudge nudge) a little before you and your lawfully wedded spouse go to sleep?
Oh, of course you have a spouse. To make sure everyone stays happy (and to keep the population increasing), the government uses mind-reading and divinations to find the perfect soul mate for everyone as soon as they reach childbearing age. Why bother with the stress and fear of dating when the government can find the perfect partner for you?
And if your ideal partner doesn't happen to live in the city, that's what Teleport and Charm and Hold Person are for. They'll warm up to it as soon as they get to know you and see how beautiful the city is! And what if, by some staggering improbability that may indicate that you need to be re-educated, you just don't get along with the husband or wife the wizards and paladins spent so much time scrying on and abducting? Well, that's easy to solve. Programmed Amnesia, either on you or on your spouse, will make you forget any disputes you may ever have had. Remember, if it's not called "Mindrape," it doesn't have the [Evil] descriptor!
Unfortunately, not everything is fun and games on this side of the afterlife. The struggle between good and evil never ceases. We have always been at war with the demons. Also with the devils. Also the undead. And the Illithids. And drow. And evil-god worshippers. And the insufficiently pure mortal kingdoms. And... well, you get the picture.

So, who wants to live there? Remember, Pelor is watching you!

I don't.

I'd figure it would get toasted the next time Thor throws a kegger, and I don't want to be there when that happens, let alone when the Kobolds take their horrible revenge.

Mewtarthio
2008-11-06, 06:40 PM
This thread has given me an idea: a utopian city run perfectly according to the most Exalted Lawful Good principles!

You forgot about the entire municipal water supply being laced with Ravages, just in case someone manages to hide his or her alignment.