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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default How to Play Pacifist Well?

    I'm gonna roll up a druid and I was tempted to play the pacifist as my starting shtick. How should I do it so that I don't interfere with party dynamics, but still be useful?

    I know the obvious routes, merciful weapon, grappling, disarming, limited pacifism (only be pacifist against demons/nonliving/ etc etc, for self defense). Of course I expect to go down or be at a disadvantage early on since I'm giving up a lot of more aggressive options. However, I think it ought to be temporary, so that I don't interfere with the game too much. I've had too many games ground to a halt over moral disagreements(effective vs moral). Honestly, I don't expect to last more than 2 sessions or past level 6 since it becomes a game of rocket tag at higher levels.

    Hmmm, if I keep my pacifism hidden as a private goal. Then I can find an excuse to keep at least some of them alive every fight. That would be amusing enough for the first couple sessions. Just enough to introduce me to the party, be memorable, but not in the paladin stick-in-the-mud way. This may require some skill points into diplomacy, bluff, or intimidate, and maybe a feat to get nonlethal spell damage.

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    Devil

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    Default Re: How to Play Pacifist Well?

    Pacifism is a bit tricky in DnD.... especially if you're trying to evangelize it to the rest of the party. Don't do this, it's wandering into "obnoxious paladin" territory.

    If pacifism is just a personal choice, and allows helping your friends slaughter people (so long as you don't hold the blade), you've got quite a few options.

    1) Healing. NO ONE WILL OBJECT if you volunteer to be the healbot.
    2) Buffs. Druids get some decent ones.
    3) Debuffs. Also nice for druids.
    4) Summons. If you summon critters to kill the enemy, does it violate your pacifism? If not, you're golden, druids get to do this spontaneously. If so, you can still instruct them to grapple the enemy, deal non-lethal damage while flanking..... OOH! Spiders that spit webs!
    5) Shapeshifting. Druids get to do a LOT of roguey stuff with shapeshifting, especially of the spying and scouting variety, because no one gives a damn about the little bird flitting around.
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    Default Re: How to Play Pacifist Well?

    Merciful Spell

    It's a metamagic feat from PF, and doesn't use a higher-level spell slot. So you could convert every damage you do with spells into non-lethal damage. Of course blasting isn't that effective, but is at least another option.

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: How to Play Pacifist Well?

    If pathfinder is not allowed Non-Lethal Substitution does the same thing except it only affects one energy type. It also uses one slot higher than normal if you use the Complete Arcane version. The BOED version has no adjustment.
    Last edited by Winfred; 2012-10-06 at 06:22 AM.

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    Default Re: How to Play Pacifist Well?

    Technical Pacifism is the best/easiest method. Your animal companion can rip faces, you heal your friends who are ripping faces, you cast buff spells on them to make them better at ripping faces, you debuff enemies so that their faces are more rippable, but you never actually get your own hands dirty.
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    Default Re: How to Play Pacifist Well?

    I've never liked "technical pacifism"; claiming you don't fight and then sending some one else to do it for you may keep your hands clean, but your soul still ends up just as dirty. (at least, that's my opinion)

    In one of my earliest campaigns, I played a monk who refused to kill. This didn't mean, however, that I would not fight. I simply had a standing rule that unless I announced otherwise, I always dealth non-lethal damage.
    That being said, I totally agree with the "not forcing it on the rest of your party" thing. I usually didn't try to dictate how the rest of my party fought (I only stood in the way of one execution); I think I roleplayed it as something zen-ish, like "everyone must find his own way through life" or "the ultimate truth is that no one can walk on another's path". You might be able to repurpose some of that into a druidic philosophy as well.

    I think full-on pacifism would/should be defined as a refusal to fight at all, or even risk physically harming another creature. This might obviously be tough to pull off in a D&D game, and your best option would be to stand in the back and be a buff/healbot. If you get caught up in a fight, make sure you can wildshape to something that can run away or hide easily (cheetah, hawk, etc).

    An alternate option could be just doing what I did with my monk, and go the "refuse to kill" route. You can certainly get plenty of role-playing options if you need to interact with your party regarding prisoners, or healing enemies (to keep them alive) or even taking the deal-nonlethal-damage penalty when in combat.
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: How to Play Pacifist Well?

    Alright guys, thanks for advice. I do think it's best that I go for technical pacifism + self defense. Toss in on-sentient-humanoids only, and I'm good to go. Mainly because wildshaping doesn't allow for merciful enchanted weapons, or does it?

    As a side note, the feat list for druids seems heavily reliant on Races of..., eberron, faerun, and other noncore settings. I'm restricted to core+ completes books.
    Last edited by HMS Invincible; 2012-10-07 at 05:46 PM.

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    Default Re: How to Play Pacifist Well?

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    I've never liked "technical pacifism"; claiming you don't fight and then sending some one else to do it for you may keep your hands clean, but your soul still ends up just as dirty. (at least, that's my opinion)
    Actually, I'm pretty sure that the definition of a technical pacifist is exactly what you described below with your monk: someone who will fight, but will refrain from killing enemies or causing permanent injury. Such characters are easy to pull off, especially if the rest of the party agrees to go with it and/or in systems where you don't need to take a penalty to deal non-lethal damage.

    Someone who calls himself a pacifist and refuses to fight, but sees no problems in his friends fighting and killing everything they meet on their way, is either a coward or a hypocrite. Possibly both.

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    Default Re: How to Play Pacifist Well?

    It could be worth investing in enchantment spells (such as Charm, Dominate) as well. It would allow you to bypass some encounters without the need for violence. The drawback being that they don't affect certain enemies (such as undead) and could cause those who pass the save some annoyance when they realize that you just tried to mind-control them.

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    Default Re: How to Play Pacifist Well?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tengu_temp View Post
    Actually, I'm pretty sure that the definition of a technical pacifist is exactly what you described below with your monk: someone who will fight, but will refrain from killing enemies or causing permanent injury. Such characters are easy to pull off, especially if the rest of the party agrees to go with it and/or in systems where you don't need to take a penalty to deal non-lethal damage.
    I'd also say that it depends on the tone of the campaign and the ruthlessness of your enemies. If you're dealing with the likes of Baron Wulfenbach, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, Catwoman, Scorpius, Nucky Thompson, Warehouse 13's HG Wells, The Borgias Rodrigo Borgia a.k.a Pope Alexander VI, Long John Silver or Gentleman Johnnie Marcone a more pacifistic approach might make more sense. More vicious and depraved villains warrant lethal or at least crippling force.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tengu_temp View Post
    Someone who calls himself a pacifist and refuses to fight, but sees no problems in his friends fighting and killing everything they meet on their way, is either a coward or a hypocrite. Possibly both.
    I agree with this. With that said total pacifism is typically a liabilty on your typical adventure filled with a lot of people who want to kill you and aren't too keen on small talk and negotiation.
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    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: How to Play Pacifist Well?

    I once had a pacifist character, with a twist. Which made him memmorable but also made it work.

    He was against pointless voilence. That is to say, he did not betray his ideals by refusing to fight himself yet supporting others doing it. He didn't stop the party from fighting, thus becoming annoying.

    He exhausted options. If attacked, he'd usually be defensive and first attempt to subdue the enemy rather than straight out kill them. But wouldn't be stupid enough to not fight back when the enemy was clearly beyond reasoning (thus his avoidance of voilence only applied to things where anything else was a realistic option)

    it added the interesting element of intelligent enemies now and then surviving the encounter with the group. (allthough not often enough for it to become a drag)

    And here comes the twist: While his avoiding voilence did not spread to VIOLENTLY prevent his freinds, but rather expecting them to at least wait untill it was apparent a fight was unavoidable, he did condone the slaying of particularly violent foes. Even if they were humans. Simple to say: Some people are beyond reason, and there'll be far less death should they themselves die.

    now, that might make him not quite be a pacifist but that is, so far, the most interesting violence-avoiding character we've had in my group so far, by popular opinion.

    though I rather enjoy being hypocrytical. perhaps it's less an ideal and more just a personal distaste for killing. You might not involve yourself in what the others do but you simpyl don't enjoy the act of ending another persons life. Suddenly, the hypocracy makes perfect sense. Or maybe, as a healbot, you simply took an oath not to harm another living creature. But you do not object to the necessity of your freinds doing so.

    Pacifism does not need to be preachy.
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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: How to Play Pacifist Well?

    In an old AD&D campaign the Hold Person spell was my pacifist spellcaster character's best friend.

    Even in 3.5 there are quite a few spells that can be used by pacifist characters, as long as stated earlier in this thread, the character isn't an extreme pacifist that takes it off the deep end.
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    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: How to Play Pacifist Well?

    Ya, i would say playing a pacifist would be rather tricky if you travel with a party of people who are killing everything they fight.
    Last edited by Origomar; 2012-10-08 at 03:55 PM.

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    Default Re: How to Play Pacifist Well?

    I remember playing a character who was somewhat pacifistic- my first character, actually, who was also a monk.

    My twist on it was that it wasn't out of morality or beliefs, but because she was big on self control. She had a white dragon way back in her ancestry, and up until her great grandparents the family line was populated with nothing but rabid berserkers (there were reasons for this beyond the heritage but that's another story entirely).

    She had trouble controlling her emotions, so she tried to avoid killing things if she could in order to practice self control. She didn't have much of a problem with others doing it so long as it wasn't pointlessly cruel or petty (said monk WAS good-aligned), but judged herself harshly when she let herself lose control.

    There are plenty of ways to play up a person reluctant to harm and have them jive with a group; the only thing you should really avoid is having a character who would try and enforce this on the other player characters or put them in danger in favor of adhering to it (like if a party member is one turn away from death from a bandit, and non-lethal measures require taking a penalty to hit or are riskier). A genuine through and through pacifist is much harder, and it's hard to see them lasting long as an adventurer or even becoming one to start with, but I wouldn't be shocked if it could work somehow.
    Last edited by UserShadow7989; 2012-10-08 at 07:04 PM.
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    Default Re: How to Play Pacifist Well?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tengu_temp View Post
    Someone who calls himself a pacifist and refuses to fight, but sees no problems in his friends fighting and killing everything they meet on their way, is either a coward or a hypocrite. Possibly both.
    Well, I'm iffy on that. But sending in the animal companion? That's like saying a king is a pacifist because even though he's started (not just led, started) wars, he has never killed anyone personally.

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    Default Re: How to Play Pacifist Well?

    Quote Originally Posted by HMS Invincible View Post
    I'm gonna roll up a druid and I was tempted to play the pacifist as my starting shtick. How should I do it so that I don't interfere with party dynamics, but still be useful?
    What? You're gonna play a pacifist as a druid? Way to let your wild shape just go to waste. What's the point of turning into a giant, deadly animal if you can't horribly kill people?
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    Default Re: How to Play Pacifist Well?

    I recommend finding the most terrifying grappling wildshape forms you can find, and pinning down as many enemies as possible. Look it up, there's plenty of good ones.
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    Default Re: How to Play Pacifist Well?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mistwing View Post
    I once had a pacifist character, with a twist. Which made him memmorable but also made it work.

    He was against pointless voilence. That is to say, he did not betray his ideals by refusing to fight himself yet supporting others doing it. He didn't stop the party from fighting, thus becoming annoying.

    He exhausted options. If attacked, he'd usually be defensive and first attempt to subdue the enemy rather than straight out kill them. But wouldn't be stupid enough to not fight back when the enemy was clearly beyond reasoning (thus his avoidance of voilence only applied to things where anything else was a realistic option)

    it added the interesting element of intelligent enemies now and then surviving the encounter with the group. (allthough not often enough for it to become a drag)

    And here comes the twist: While his avoiding voilence did not spread to VIOLENTLY prevent his freinds, but rather expecting them to at least wait untill it was apparent a fight was unavoidable, he did condone the slaying of particularly violent foes. Even if they were humans. Simple to say: Some people are beyond reason, and there'll be far less death should they themselves die.

    now, that might make him not quite be a pacifist but that is, so far, the most interesting violence-avoiding character we've had in my group so far, by popular opinion.
    I second going this route. It's called martial pacifism in trope-speak, and is by far the type that can fit in best in an RPG context without turning tacky or hypocritical. Basically, your conflict-solving method goes something like this:

    1. Attempt all reasonable methods of non-violent resolution. If all such methods fail, proceed to step 2.
    2. Use non-lethal force. If this is or becomes impractical, or if the opponent just really, really deserves it, proceed to step 3.
    3. No mercy.
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    Default Re: How to Play Pacifist Well?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sith_Happens View Post
    I second going this route. It's called martial pacifism in trope-speak, and is by far the type that can fit in best in an RPG context without turning tacky or hypocritical. Basically, your conflict-solving method goes something like this:

    1. Attempt all reasonable methods of non-violent resolution. If all such methods fail, proceed to step 2.
    2. Use non-lethal force. If this is or becomes impractical, or if the opponent just really, really deserves it, proceed to step 3.
    3. No mercy.
    I didn't know this was a trope. I've always considered this the standard order of operation for violence IRL. 3 pretty much never comes up though, thankfully.

    I'll cast my lot in with this suggestion too.

    You can play a straight pacifist, but it requires a different playstle than the more standard group of 3-5 murder-hobos.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: How to Play Pacifist Well?

    That is indeed my planned MO. That, and as much support as I can muster.

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