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D&D 3E
D&D question - alignment 
10th-May-2005 12:14 pm
So, I'm playing a Lawful Good Cleric (domains: War and Magic). The other players get upset when I make them let enemies go who beg for their life - I usually give them money also (a few gold). The other thing they think is odd, or wrong, is I will coup de grace an enemy if I have the chance (basically, d&d speak for cuttting off their head while they are knocked down). I say, if the enemy wants to make a new start, and begs for his life, you should let him go. So far, our DM hasn't screwed us with this - they usually will go to the Temple like I tell them, and convert. One guy we met even became a cleric - he's now a CG 2nd level thief/1st level cleric. So I say the Dm is using the idea that Good redeems it's own, which is basically what he said.

But the other players can't understand why I will turn around and Coup De Grace another enemy. I say this is the middle ages, and I'm a cleric of WAR. Your enemies get a chance to repent and convert, or at least surrender, and then they die.

Any thoughts?
Comments 
10th-May-2005 05:29 pm (UTC)
Sounds good to me. I like it, you give them a chance to join your side, if they don't they get slain. I say that you clarify a little on the coup de grace though... coup de grace is essentially a killing blow, not just a cutting off of the head. Try stabbing them through the heart, etc. on occasion, just other things. Maybe find another way of finishing off those that refuse to follow your religion/line of thinking.
10th-May-2005 05:31 pm (UTC)
Works for me. I think people often make the mistake of applying a modern sense of "law" to the lawful alignment. In a world at least loosely modeled after the Middle Ages, the law was a much more draconian affair--even for good people. I have no problem at all with a cleric who offers mercy to his enemies if they ask, but offers no quarter at all if they do not repent.

But then, I also have no problem with certain types of paladins executing a helpless prisoner, if:

A) The prisoner is guilty of a capital offense, and

B) The paladin has at least some semblance of legal authority (is either a representative of the local government, or is in an area with no recognized government).
10th-May-2005 05:37 pm (UTC)
who cares what the other players think? If the DM's okay with it, go for it. Plenty of things can be rationalized within a "lawful good" ethics structure, and I think yours makes perfect sense. If they choose to repent, great! If they say screw you, you're morally obligated to remove an evil threat from the world. I don't see anything inconsistent with it, and it makes for great roleplay.
10th-May-2005 05:58 pm (UTC)
I think that would be perfectly acceptible behavior for a LN Cleric, but making captives beg for mercy or be executed sounds a little harsh for a good cleric. It also greatly depends on who the enemy is or what crimes they were commiting.

That said, if you and your DM are fine with it that's all that matters. Be careful though if you encounter a Paladin who doesn't share your views on treating captives. That may be an interesting role-play.
10th-May-2005 06:04 pm (UTC)
Oh, and using a Zone of Truth may help convince the rest of your group that the people you let go aren't likely to come back and stab them while they sleep...
10th-May-2005 06:04 pm (UTC)
good idea!
(Deleted comment)
10th-May-2005 08:37 pm (UTC)
But if you were to watch a movie created about the salem witch trials, would the judges be played by the "good" guys? Like I said before, I'd want more info on the specifics of the bad guys (race, crimes, etc...) before making a decision, but executions can start a character along a slippery slope.

From the rule book:

Good characters and creatures protect innocent life. Evil characters and creatures debase or destroy innocent life, whether for fun or profit.

“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.

The DM just has to use his discretion that the cleric is balancing a respect for life and the innocent and doesn't get too wrapped up in delivering death as a judgement - especially if he grows to enjoy it.
10th-May-2005 08:50 pm (UTC)
Two examples from our last game. We were in the seedy section of town, and these thief/assasin's jumped us. We fought them, killed most of them in "normal" combat, then I cast Hold Person on the lead assasin who was tearing us apart, and Coup De Grace'd him. Then the remaining thief threw down his weapons and begged for his life. I made him swear to give up thievery, and go to the local temple to talk to the priests there about what to do with his life. Gave him some Gold so he wouldn't have to steal while figuring out what he wanted to do. Told him if I caught him again, I wouldn't give him a second chance.

Other time, we were in this Emerald Claw cult temple, fighting cultists and a vampire master, and I was coup de grace'd cultist when we could - we were swarmed like crazy. unsuprisingly none of them surrenderd or asked for mercy.
11th-May-2005 04:28 am (UTC)
That doesn't seem a problem. It's not like you're literally demanding the people repent or die, you're just doing the best you can when you're fighting to save your life.

If one of the other side asks for mercy, then they are no longer an immediate danger to you so you can start being more generous.
11th-May-2005 09:35 pm (UTC)
Ah, you're in Eberron, that makes alignment for clerics looser. I'd certainly see drifting toward LN with the CDG action. I'd roleplay it with some more uses of the intimidate skill (not a class skill for clerics, I admit). He sounds like a scary guy.
(Deleted comment)
11th-May-2005 06:20 am (UTC)
I would think that would be Lawful Neutral or Evil. They knew what they were doing and, for the most part, knew that the charges were trumped up and were giving into mob mentality anyway.
10th-May-2005 06:47 pm (UTC) - The other players get upset when I make them let enemies go who beg for their life
is your character the leader? why are you making them do anything?
10th-May-2005 08:43 pm (UTC) - Re: The other players get upset when I make them let enemies go who beg for their life
Well, I'm lawful, I have a high charisma, and I have opinions about what we should do. The other characters are largely neutral (our fighter and thief), and our wizard is NG. So I sort of default to the leader.
11th-May-2005 06:21 am (UTC)
And the Cleric in the party has a little more pull because of healing magics... ;)
10th-May-2005 08:37 pm (UTC)
First off, allowing enemies who beg for their lives to escape is fine for a LG cleric of war. You're furthering the idea that practitioners of war should be honorable and allow their enemies a second chance. More power to you.

But the coup de grace thing is a little questionable. It's murder. To me, it's not something a LG person would do, or even a NG or CG for that matter. It can depend on the circumstances, but generally I'd say that a LG cleric, even of war, should be above that. War involves all kinds of atrocities, yes, but the lawful and good aspects of war don't involve murder in cold blood.
10th-May-2005 08:51 pm (UTC)
it's not in cold blood, it's in a battle. It's not like we capture them line them up and tell them "convert or die!". Now, THAT would be evil. I view it as a way to make sure an enemy stays down. With all the healing out there, enemies tend to get back up if left alone.
10th-May-2005 09:11 pm (UTC)
Notice I said that coup de grace is questionable, but depends on the circumstances. I'm not sure how you're getting into a situation of a coup de grace opportunity in a battle, especially in a way that a LG would condone.

So explain. What are the circumstances?
11th-May-2005 06:23 am (UTC)
I would think a coup de grace would fall right in line with the Lawful Goodness. Instead of letting them expire slowly and possibly in pain he has mercy and finishes the job he started.

Not only is there the mercy aspect but there is a chance that the enemy could recover and come after you as your back is turned. Anyone knows you don't leave an enemy at your back.

And you know...they could be faking.
10th-May-2005 08:40 pm (UTC)
Seems reasonable to me...
11th-May-2005 04:26 am (UTC)
I would recommend we create a separate LJ just for alignment debates, except that would leave this community with so little to talk about!

If you're Lawful and Good, ask yourself these two questions:

1) Is my action Lawful? Does it promote order, does it follow the rules?

2) Is my action Good? Does it benefit others, rather than myself, and does it respect life?

If the answer to these questions is yes, then you are obeying your D&D alignment.
11th-May-2005 06:19 am (UTC)
SOunds to me like you are doing the Right Thing. And lawful good characters typically do the Right Thing.
11th-May-2005 12:02 pm (UTC)
I personally like to give paladins ( and types like yours ) a little slack as they are fighting for LG. But personally "coup de grace"ing [b][i]helpless[/i][/b] foes in battle is abit strong. They are out of commision cos they are helpless...i'm sure the GM wouldn't mind some other action to just take them out permanently without them being executed.

If all you want is people to repent, then you should give them a chance too. From above doesn't sound like the "hold person" victim was necessarily given a chance to repent.

If you'd killed him during battle fair enough, but he was helpless for you to coup de grace him..i just think in this example you could have done more.

Just my opinions obvoiusly...
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