Author Topic: SimKishCo  (Read 22758 times)

Offline SimDing0™

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SimKishCo
« on: December 24, 2004, 05:12:06 AM »
Heheh. I like that Kish can't bring himself to recommend Virtue, what with its GROSS INCONSISTENCY.

Offline Kish

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SimKishCo
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2004, 05:13:56 AM »
Heheh. I like that Kish can't bring himself to recommend Virtue, what with its GROSS INCONSISTENCY.
Can't bring myself to?  Interesting phrasing you've got there.
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Offline SimDing0™

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SimKishCo
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2004, 05:39:41 AM »
Well it WAS your idea in the first place. :)

Offline Kish

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SimKishCo
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2004, 05:46:39 AM »
Yes.  I still think the concept is a good one.
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Offline SimDing0™

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SimKishCo
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2004, 05:47:20 AM »
But the implementation is GROSSLY INCONSISTENT?

Offline Kish

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SimKishCo
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2004, 05:49:56 AM »
Without quite so many capital letters, but yes.

This is a bit off-topic for this thread, isn't it?  We should probably move to the Virtue forum...if you think we have any to say on the subject that we haven't already.
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Offline SimDing0™

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Re: SimKishCo
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2004, 06:38:10 AM »
Having moved the thread, I just feel I should put a bit of context on it.

The apparent inconsistency is that murdering Rayic Gethras incurs a Virtue penalty while killing the hostile monsters in the Underdark doesn't. Feel free to add to that, since I wouldn't want to be accused of inaccurate paraphrasing. :)

Offline rreinier

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Re: SimKishCo
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2004, 08:59:37 AM »
Which hostile monsters? The Illithid you are sent to kill by Imrae? The inhabitants of the Soul Gem? The Balor? The Kuo-Toas? Or the followers of Ghaundadaur perhaps?

In the last case, there might be some shadow of a point present, but you don't really have all that much choice in the matter, as opposed to the Rayic situation.

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Re: SimKishCo
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2004, 09:19:50 AM »
I think there's a little more depth to the inconsistency argument, because as Kish points out, you're sent to kill an Elder Orb by the Matron Mother, for example, which is something of an evil quest. On the other hand, I contend that the beholders are hostile anyway, whether or not you're doing the quest, and whether or not you're disguised as a drow, and attacking things on sight doesn't inspire much sympathy.

Offline Kish

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Re: SimKishCo
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2004, 03:27:00 PM »
Matron Mother Ardulace: Sends you to kill the beholders, kuo-toa, or illithid for her.  You might know nasty things about their races, though I would certainly hope that anyone who is prepared to justify killing them based on that doesn't let Viconia join the party.
Edwin: Sends you to kill Rayic Gethras.  You do, at that point in the game, know very nasty things about the Cowled Wizards.  Being a Cowled Wizard, unlike being a beholder/kuo-toa/illithid, is a matter of choice--having chosen to join an evil organization.  (And don't say anything about P&P--the Cowled Wizards in BG2 are pretty obviously evil.)
In both cases, you have the option of killing the person who gives you the quest instead.  Going on either quest is thus entirely voluntary; I contend that both or neither should have Virtue penalties.

However, that's also only one of two major inconsistencies I see.  The other one is that you lose Virtue if you say, while you're dreaming, "I deserve power because of who I am!" but not if you say, while you're awake, to Jaheira, "My place is as the Lord of Murder and yours is to serve as my slave!"

Previous discussion of the dream Virtue hit, and previous discussion of the Rayic Gethras/beholders difference.
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Offline SimDing0™

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Re: SimKishCo
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2004, 03:41:13 PM »
It should be noted that the latter issue regarding the dream is a design decision in a DM-type role. My interpretation of the dreams differs from Kish's, and as of yet I haven't found the arguments compelling enough to indicate that one opinion is more valid. In my interpretation, therefore, which a fair number of people seem to share, the handing is consistent.

The Rayic/Beholders argument is kicking around on page 3 or so of the link Kish gave. If anyone feels they have new material to add or queries, feel free to voice them. Justifying decisions is what this mod's all about, so I think I should have to justify my choices in making it too. :)

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Re: SimKishCo
« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2004, 07:52:57 PM »
The BG2 interpretation of the Cowled Wizards doesn't seem particularly evil to me - they seem more like lawful neutral.  They remind me of a wizardly version of the priesthood of Helm, or something ;).

Also, what if you accept Ardulace's mission but intend plan to betray her and inform the beholders, kuo-toa, or illithid of her plan? BG2 doesn't exactly allow that possibility...
« Last Edit: December 24, 2004, 07:59:39 PM by NiGHTMARE »
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Offline Kish

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Re: SimKishCo
« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2004, 08:08:25 PM »
The BG2 interpretation of the Cowled Wizards doesn't seem particularly evil to me - they seem more like lawful neutral.  They remind me of a wizardly version of the priesthood of Helm, or something ;).
Let's see.  Use a Tenser's Floating Disk, and get grabbed off the street, to disappear forever without trial.  Your loved ones will never learn what happened to you.  The Cowled Wizards don't answer even to the already-corrupt government of Athkatla, and when they discover an innocent man is the key to accessing the giant sphere that offers them a chance to enhance their power, they send a goon squad to bring him back dead or alive.

Interesting concept of Lawful Neutral you got there.
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Also, what if you accept Ardulace's mission but intend plan to betray her and inform the beholders, kuo-toa, or illithid of her plan? BG2 doesn't exactly allow that possibility...
Seeing as how you 1) may not have a common language with the beholders or kuo-toa, and 2) look just like a known enemy of theirs, I'd say any PC who tries that is well past stupid and located firmly in "I started with an Intelligence of 2 and sacrificed a point of Intelligence in the dream in Spellhold" territory.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2004, 09:16:03 PM by Kish »
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Offline NiGHTMARE

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Re: SimKishCo
« Reply #13 on: December 25, 2004, 04:14:38 AM »
Let's see.  Use a Tenser's Floating Disk, and get grabbed off the street, to disappear forever without trial.  Your loved ones will never learn what happened to you.  The Cowled Wizards don't answer even to the already-corrupt government of Athkatla, and when they discover an innocent man is the key to accessing the giant sphere that offers them a chance to enhance their power, they send a goon squad to bring him back dead or alive.

Interesting concept of Lawful Neutral you got there.
Let's see.  They're willing to sacrifice a vast number of themselves to stop a troublesome mage.  They run an asylum out of no apparent personal benefit for themselves, rather because they see the inmates as "deviants" who could harm society.  They leave said inmates alive rather than execute them.

Interesting concept of evil you got there :P.

Seriously, here's the official description of Lawful Neutral characters:

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Order and organization are of paramount importance to characters of this alignment. They believe in a strong, well-ordered government, whether that government is a tyranny or benevolent democracy. The benefits of organization and regimentation outweigh any moral questions raised by their actions. An inquisitor determined to ferret out traitors at any cost or a soldier who never questions his orders are good examples of lawful neutral behavior.

To me, that fits most of the in-game Cowlies to a tee.  Certainly a LN character would be quite happy to commit every action you mentioned in your post (no morals, remember?).  Obviously no organization (outside of certain religious institutions such as druidic circles and paladin orders) will ever have a universal alignment which is shared by ever single member, however.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2004, 04:31:13 AM by NiGHTMARE »
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Offline SimDing0™

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Re: SimKishCo
« Reply #14 on: December 25, 2004, 05:51:47 AM »
Seeing as how you 1) may not have a common language with the beholders or kuo-toa, and 2) look just like a known enemy of theirs, I'd say any PC who tries that is well past stupid and located firmly in "I started with an Intelligence of 2 and sacrificed a point of Intelligence in the dream in Spellhold" territory.
...except they attack you even if you don't look like a drow. I know, I know, "a tragic misunderstanding". Just like killing Aerie in the circus because she's an ogre.

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Re: SimKishCo
« Reply #15 on: December 25, 2004, 07:22:10 AM »
Kish: To add to the not-entirely-evil view of the Cowled Wizards, the law is that you cannot use magic in Athkatla - the wizards give you one warning/chance which is more generous than you have given them credit for. It's only if you break the law again that they whisk you away. I'm not sure who passed the law in the first place, but if you enter a city, you obey its laws whether you deem them fair or not. Otherwise, clear out, or try a coup. Anyway, the point is that you are given fair warning - then a (corrupt) workaround. If the wizards see you abusing this workaround, they don't let it pass by unnoticed.

For Valygar - he technically was not an innocent as he was on the run for killing members of the cowled wizard organisation. I can't remember if this turned out to be a complete lie on the part of the wizards (ie Valygar never killed any cowled wizards), or whether it was only a part-truth (ie Valygar killed them because they were going to kill him). If it was the former, then Valygar is innocent. If it's the latter, then Valygar too might incur several virtue hits as he, being a stalker, probably had a few other options for escaping his captors rather than killing them outright. The cowled wizards understandably might not give a damn whether this murderer lives or dies.

Offline Murdane

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Re: SimKishCo
« Reply #16 on: December 25, 2004, 09:55:19 AM »

To me, that fits most of the in-game Cowlies to a tee.  Certainly a LN character would be quite happy to commit every action you mentioned in your post (no morals, remember?). 

Eh, I don't agree that LN means having no morals, necessarily.  The definition you gave doesn't specifically say "no morals", and even if it did, there are more than a few definitions for the alignments (even official definitions) floating around out there.  Whether the Wizards really are LN or LE, well, I won't get into that.  However, as for locking people up because they believe they really are deviants who are harmful to society?  I have to wonder if that really *is* the reason people are locked up in Spellhold, or just a rationalization to put them there (there is a difference). 

For Valygar - he technically was not an innocent as he was on the run for killing members of the cowled wizard organisation. I can't remember if this turned out to be a complete lie on the part of the wizards (ie Valygar never killed any cowled wizards), or whether it was only a part-truth (ie Valygar killed them because they were going to kill him). If it was the former, then Valygar is innocent. If it's the latter, then Valygar too might incur several virtue hits as he, being a stalker, probably had a few other options for escaping his captors rather than killing them outright. The cowled wizards understandably might not give a damn whether this murderer lives or dies.

Yes, but they decided to take him dead or alive before he killed the Wizards--at least, I got the impression that they came to take him to open the Planar Sphere, and Valygar killed them out of self defense.  So he really was an innocent man, at least at first, and his "innocence" was only lost after he tried to defend himself from the Wizards.  Did he have to kill them?  We don't know that--maybe, maybe not.

Also, remember that Tolgerias has no qualms about killing you after *you* get inside the Planar Sphere, as if it's his Sphere by right.

« Last Edit: December 25, 2004, 10:02:17 AM by Murdane »

Offline Kish

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Re: SimKishCo
« Reply #17 on: December 25, 2004, 11:57:04 AM »
Let's see.  They're willing to sacrifice a vast number of themselves to stop a troublesome mage.  They run an asylum out of no apparent personal benefit for themselves,
...presuming, of course, that you define "having the populace of Athlatka afraid of them," "making their enemies disappear," and even, "being able to perform experiments on helpless prisoners with no moral limitations" as "no benefit."
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They leave said inmates alive
...and perform hellish experiments on them...
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rather than execute them.

Interesting concept of evil you got there :P.
I see you're avoiding talking about Valygar entirely, except, indirectly, with your blithe and unsupported assertion that a LN character would be happy to commit every action mentioned in my post.  You're also ignoring the fact that they break the law when it benefits them, as with sending goon squads after Valygar.

Seeing as how you 1) may not have a common language with the beholders or kuo-toa, and 2) look just like a known enemy of theirs, I'd say any PC who tries that is well past stupid and located firmly in "I started with an Intelligence of 2 and sacrificed a point of Intelligence in the dream in Spellhold" territory.
...except they attack you even if you don't look like a drow.
Does that have something to do with NiGHTMARE's proposed scenario?

Kish: To add to the not-entirely-evil view of the Cowled Wizards, the law is that you cannot use magic in Athkatla - the wizards give you one warning/chance which is more generous than you have given them credit for. It's only if you break the law again that they whisk you away. I'm not sure who passed the law in the first place, but if you enter a city, you obey its laws whether you deem them fair or not.
Huh?  By that assertion, the Underground Railroad was...evil?

There's also the little matter that while they give the PC a warning, they don't do that for everyone--most notably, Imoen.
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For Valygar - he technically was not an innocent as he was on the run for killing members of the cowled wizard organisation.
In self-defense, he tells you.  Of course, Valygar might be lying.  He lies all the time, right?
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I can't remember if this turned out to be a complete lie on the part of the wizards (ie Valygar never killed any cowled wizards), or whether it was only a part-truth (ie Valygar killed them because they were going to kill him). If it was the former, then Valygar is innocent. If it's the latter, then Valygar too might incur several virtue hits as he, being a stalker, probably had a few other options for escaping his captors rather than killing them outright.
What?

You are claiming, seriously, that Valygar should have Virtue hits because he killed people who came to his house to force him to open the Sphere for them and/or die?

If Sim concurs with that, they this whole argument is rather pointless, isn't it?  The PC should have Virtue hits for killing most of the denizens of the Underdark, and, indeed, 90% of the enemies in the game--all the ones that it is possible to avoid killing.
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  The cowled wizards understandably might not give a damn whether this murderer lives or dies.
*scribbles in notebook* Someone...who...kills...in...self...defense...murderer.  Got it.

Allowing that for the moment, for the sake of argument.  Would it alter the fact that the wizards tried to, at the very least, force Valygar to open the Sphere for them to increase their power?  They sent wizards after him before he had "lost his innocence" by defending himself.  He was innocent then even if your concept of "innocent" doesn't extend to someone who defends himself by killing.
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Offline Murdane

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Re: SimKishCo
« Reply #18 on: December 25, 2004, 01:02:11 PM »
Kish is right--there are certainly benefits to being the only legal spellcasters in Athkatla (if not all of Amn), even if you ignore the fact that they were--apparently--performing unethical experiments on the prisoners in Spellhold.  Who is there, then, to challenge their power?  What better way to get rid of your enemies (or merely potential enemies) than simply to consider them "deviants" and have them locked up with no recourse whatsoever?


Offline SimDing0™

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Re: SimKishCo
« Reply #19 on: December 25, 2004, 01:15:47 PM »
Here's my argument as it stands, since the thread is becoming fragmented with stuff about Valygar and the Underground Railroad.

The beholders attack you on sight regardless of your appearance. They make no attempt to warn you or to communicate. Hence, killing them is self-defence. On top of this, attacking things on sight regardless of their intent or appearance is evil. As for the drow illusion, if the player is expected to hold off attacking Aerie in ogre form or incur a Virtue hit (ogres being as much of a danger to humans as drow to beholders), why do the beholders get special treatment? Additionally, if beholders can assume all drow are going to be evil and hostile, I can assume all beholders are going to be evil and hostile... and I should be able to attack Saladrex and kill him without Virtue penalty. So if you want consistency, either the beholders are evil, or I should remove the Virtue penalty for killing Saladrex. (Note: Please, please, someone start another thread if you want to talk about Saladrex some more. This one's going to be confusing enough.)

Rayic warns you to leave his premises before attacking. Hence, the player is given an obvious choice to avoid conflict. We are not shown Rayic doing anything evil ingame (and if attacking an intruder after fair warning is evil, then maybe I *should* put those Virtue hits for Valygar in), and as NiGHTMARE mentions, membership of an organisation with some evil tendencies (let's assume they're evil, or at least that some of their members are evil) doesn't necessarily mean that an individual is evil. Rayic MIGHT be evil (perhaps it's even likely, given that he's high up in the hierarchy), but charging Aerie in the circus tells us that killing someone without knowing the full circumstances incurs Virtue penalties. Thus, if we don't KNOW Rayic is evil, he should be treated just as much an innocent as Aerie.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2004, 01:32:27 PM by SimDing0™ »

Offline Andyr

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Re: SimKishCo
« Reply #20 on: December 25, 2004, 05:04:23 PM »
I would also point out that being sent on a murder mission is not the only way to encounter the beholders, illithid etc...

In my first game I was simply exploring and chanced upon their lairs before even going to see Adalon.
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Offline NiGHTMARE

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Re: SimKishCo
« Reply #21 on: December 25, 2004, 05:20:15 PM »
...presuming, of course, that you define "having the populace of Athlatka afraid of them," "making their enemies disappear," and even, "being able to perform experiments on helpless prisoners with no moral limitations" as "no benefit."
The in-game Cowled Wizardss don't appear to particularly care what the populace of Athkatla think of them (they're apparently even happy for other government officials, such as members of the watch, to disapprove of them), no mention is made of any enemies of the Cowls, and I don't recall anyone in BG2 saying that they conduct experiments on the inmates - there's a lab in Spellhold, but for all we know it was constructed by Irenicus.  The talk by some of the inmates of "tests" appear to be in reference to what Irenicus is doing to them.

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...and perform hellish experiments on them...
See above.  IIRC this is just an assumption on your part, though perhaps I'm wrong.

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I see you're avoiding talking about Valygar entirely, except, indirectly, with your blithe and unsupported assertion that a LN character would be happy to commit every action mentioned in my post.
If you're going to accuse someone of ignoring parts of your post, you may want to check that you don't do that exact thing yourself ;).  You forgot to address the issue of the Cowled Wizards being entirely willing to sacrifice themselves to stop Irenicus - not something any evil character (be it LE, NE or CE) would be entirely happy about doing.

If LN characters aren't willing to commit every act mentioned in your post, perhaps you would care to explain why not? I see no reason for it myself.  But I will address each and every point, if you so wish it:

Grabbed off the street, to disappear forever without trial: if every single judge in the country witnessed a person committing a crime, would a trial really be neccessary? Even if so, a fair trial certainly wouldn't be possible.  Cowled Wizards appear to have an innate ability to detect unauthorized magic used in Athkatla (since they automatically appear if the player casts a spell); meaning that if a non-licensed mage is using magic in the city, the Cowled Wizards will already know of his guilt without needing to waste time and money on something which has a pre-determined outcome.  

Your loved ones will never learn what happened to you: If the Cowled Wizards truly believe that they're doing good by locking the "deviants" away, they'll hardly want to allow for the possibility of their prisoners spreading the deviancy to others, will they? Hundreds of years ago in the real world, there was a similar attitude towards insanity, yet that doesn't make all the wardens of medieval mental asylums evil (though many were, of course).

The Cowled Wizards don't answer even to the already-corrupt government of Athkatla: So? In pnp the Church of Ilmater doesn't answer to the government of Calimshan, and in fact many of the church officials are considered outlaws because they give to sanctuary to escape slaves.  Does that make them evil?

Sending a goon squad to bring Valyhar back dead or alive: how do we know the Cowled Wizards didn't originally offer Valygar some sort of deal, but he was so outraged by the suggestion he turned around and killed them in cold blood? Okay so he's good (though our in-game character has no way of knowing that - given his magical background, Valygar may even be able to fool Detect Evil and similar spells), but there may be a "magical curse of rage" on him or something, which he conveniently doesn't know about.  We just don't know the circumstances of the encounter. 

Also, how do we know that Teos isn't working for his own personal gain, rather than for the good of his organization as a whole?

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You're also ignoring the fact that they break the law when it benefits them, as with sending goon squads after Valygar.
How is this breaking the law? BG2 establishes that the Cowled Wizards have been given full authority by the government to operate exactly as they see fit, just like for example the Spanish inquisition or the witchfinder generals.

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Huh?  By that assertion, the Underground Railroad was...evil?
I think he's saying that if you break a law (no matter whether the law was written by a pure and just government or an evil and corrupt one), the people responsible for upholding said law aren't neccessarily evil themselves.

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There's also the little matter that while they give the PC a warning, they don't do that for everyone--most notably, Imoen.
Those were extraordinary circumstances, though.  The number one priority of Athkatla is trade (I think this is specified in-game several times, if not please forgive me for introducing a pnp elemenet ;)), and an unlicensed mage had just destroyed part of the most important trading point in the city.  Several of their members had just been killed.

I think it's safe to say they were rather... annoyed at that point, and wanted to set an example (in fact, doesn't even one of them specifically say they want to make an example?) to show that such behaviour will not be tolerated.  If it had been some little back street brawl then Imoen would probably have gotten away with it, but it was a major incident with dozens of witnesses.

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*scribbles in notebook* Someone...who...kills...in...self...defense...murderer.  Got it.
IMHO someone who kills in self defense when he could have escaped or overpowered his attacker(s) in some other way is a murderer, yes.  My reasoning is that in a situation where killing isn't your only option, the act of killing wouldn't actually be self defense.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2004, 05:37:19 PM by NiGHTMARE »
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Offline Kish

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Re: SimKishCo
« Reply #22 on: December 25, 2004, 07:18:00 PM »
The beholders attack you on sight regardless of your appearance. They make no attempt to warn you or to communicate. Hence, killing them is self-defence.
And if the PC goes there to kill them for Ardulace...how will the PC ever know what they would have done otherwise?  That's the essence of my point.

Let's presume, for the moment, that the beholders are evil.  Then, let's take a hypothetical situation.  Spying a random stranger hurrying past you, you draw your sword and cut him in half, planning to rob him.  Now, let's suppose that, like Shroedinger's cat, the man has a coinflip's chance of being in one of two states, or rather, one of two people.  If the coin comes up heads, he's a completely ordinary man who works as a butler, and has never done anything particularly good or particularly evil.  If the coin comes up tails, he is a vile necromancer who plans to poison the city's water supply in an hour, and your rather...uncivilized actions have saved thousands of lives.

So, would you say Virtue penalty if the coin comes up heads and Virtue bonus if it comes up tails?  Or Virtue penalty if it comes up heads and nothing if it comes up tails?  Or...well, you can imagine all the permutations.  My answer would be: Virtue penalty either way.  Having inadvertently saved lives, or having inadvertently killed someone who deserved death, says nothing about the kind of person you are; having set out to kill and rob a man motivated solely by desire for his money does.  Similarly, what the beholders do in any set of circumstances other than "the PC gets sent to kill the beholders by Ardulace" is relevant to the virtue of a PC who sets out to kill them for Ardulace only if the PC can somehow know about it.

If you would give any answer other than "Virtue penalty regardless of which way the coin falls," I don't think I need to say more about why the Virtue mod doesn't have my recommendation.  I can, however, make a friendly suggestion that you avoid Knights of the Old Republic like the Black Plague.
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Offline SimDing0™

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Re: SimKishCo
« Reply #23 on: December 25, 2004, 07:28:14 PM »
And if the PC goes there to kill them for Ardulace...how will the PC ever know what they would have done otherwise?  That's the essence of my point.
The PC can easily have entered the Beholder Hive beforehand. And it's not fair to assume the PC's motivations during Ardulace's quest. A PC who wants to negotiate with the Beholders, Kua-Toa, or Mind Flayers shouldn't incur a Virtue hit. Stupid, I hear you cry; but stupid is not evil. And again, I refer you to the Aerie situation, because consistency dictates that the Beholders are behaving evilly if they attack someone just for looking like a drow. And if something is evidently evil and attacking me, I don't expect to incur a hit for killing it.

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If you would give any answer other than "Virtue penalty regardless of which way the coin falls," I don't think I need to say more about why the Virtue mod doesn't have my recommendation.  I can, however, make a friendly suggestion that you avoid Knights of the Old Republic like the Black Plague.
I'd say you get a Virtue penalty either way. So you agree that killing Rayic should incur a Virtue penalty? Because as far as I can tell, that's the argument you've just offered.
Since your next reply will simply demand that I justify this claim:
Killing someone at random incurs a Virtue penalty whether or not they are evil. We can take Rayic as "someone at random", because we've got nothing to tell us either way.

However, now let's return to the beholder argument. I'm not justifying killing them on the basis that they're evil. I'm justifying killing them on the basis that they attack you first with their being evil as the sole justification behind their attacks.

Offline Murdane

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Re: SimKishCo
« Reply #24 on: December 25, 2004, 07:28:43 PM »

The in-game Cowled Wizardss don't appear to particularly care what the populace of Athkatla think of them (they're apparently even happy for other government officials, such as members of the watch, to disapprove of them), no mention is made of any enemies of the Cowls, and I don't recall anyone in BG2 saying that they conduct experiments on the inmates - there's a lab in Spellhold, but for all we know it was constructed by Irenicus.  The talk by some of the inmates of "tests" appear to be in reference to what Irenicus is doing to them.

Irenicus mentions that Wanev also tortured the prisoners, presumably through unethical experiments.  Of course, he could be lying, and it's not like the word of Irenicus is beyond reproach, but at the same time it's hard to doubt (the truth is still the truth no matter how despicable the teller is).

And it's always an advantage to be able to use magic freely when other people can't; then you are largely free to do whatever you want.

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If you're going to accuse someone of ignoring parts of your post, you may want to check that you don't do that exact thing yourself ;).  You forgot to address the issue of the Cowled Wizards being entirely willing to sacrifice themselves to stop Irenicus - not something any evil character (be it LE, NE or CE) would be entirely happy about doing.

Well, there are such things as evil armies, and not all warriors therein are people who've been pushed into it...you have a point though.

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If LN characters aren't willing to commit every act mentioned in your post, perhaps you would care to explain why not? I see no reason for it myself.  But I will address each and every point, if you so wish it:

I just want to say this: It is rarely a good idea to assume every person of a particular alignment will be willing to do (or refrain from doing) the same thing.  That, and I've always found alignments to be dodgy to begin with, especially the 2E definitions of them.

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Grabbed off the street, to disappear forever without trial: if every single judge in the country witnessed a person committing a crime, would a trial really be neccessary? Even if so, a fair trial certainly wouldn't be possible.  Cowled Wizards appear to have an innate ability to detect unauthorized magic used in Athkatla (since they automatically appear if the player casts a spell); meaning that if a non-licensed mage is using magic in the city, the Cowled Wizards will already know of his guilt without needing to waste time and money on something which has a pre-determined outcome.  

I think what is being disputed here is the idea that the law itself is unjust.  Using a magical disk to carry your things does not, in itself you a menace to society, which is why I believe that the whole "deviance" argument is really just a rationalization for being able to lock away magic users and throw away the key.  If one can assert that the CWs really *are* acting for the good of society, than one has to be able to explain why any use of magic whatsoever makes a mage a danger to society, and why being a CW somehow makes you not a danger to society, or a deviant.

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Also, how do we know that Teos isn't working for his own personal gain, rather than for the good of his organization as a whole?

Tolgerias, not Teos.

We don't know that he isn't just working for himself, but I don't believe that is how it was presented in the game...after all, if you are a mage the CWs will step in anyway and try to take control of things, even though the Sphere (which belonged to Lavok) was handed over to YOU, not the Cowled Wizards.  It seems fairly obvious to me that the CWs do care very much about the sphere, and they want to be the ones in control, even if the sphere nominally belongs to you.

It's possible that they would be upset if people were killed to get control of the sphere, but I find that very, very hard to believe.

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How is this breaking the law? BG2 establishes that the Cowled Wizards have been given full authority by the government to operate exactly as they see fit, just like for example the Spanish inquisition or the witchfinder generals.

I thought the dispute was whether or not the CWs are evil, not lawful... ???

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Those were extraordinary circumstances, though.  The number one priority of Athkatla is trade (I think this is specified in-game several times, if not please forgive me for introducing a pnp elemenet ;)), and an unlicensed mage had just destroyed part of the most important trading point in the city.  Several of their members had just been killed.

I think it's safe to say they were rather... annoyed at that point, and wanted to set an example (in fact, doesn't even one of them specifically say they want to make an example?) to show that such behaviour will not be tolerated.  If it had been some little back street brawl then Imoen would probably have gotten away with it, but it was a major incident with dozens of witnesses.

Surely though, if the CWs are so adept at seeing exactly what magic is used, and how, wouldn't they realize that all Imoen did was cast a magic missile at Irenicus?  If there was a dispute here, doesn't that take us back to "they should get some type of trial"?

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IMHO someone who kills in self defense when he could have escaped or overpowered his attacker(s) in some other way is a murderer, yes.  My reasoning is that in a situation where killing isn't your only option, the act of killing wouldn't actually be self defense.

Right, but maybe killing *was* his only option.  Since we don't know, the point is moot.

 

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