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D&D 5E Charm, the evil spells

Fanaelialae

Legend
This is a poor example, and misses the mark. The case in point refers to intervening in an individual's selfhood, and compromising the integrity of their consciousness.

Better - but still inadequate examples - might include lobotomizing psychiatric patients, unsanctioned anaesthesia, spiking someone with LSD without their consent, or administering large doses of lithium sulfate to Alzheimer's sufferers in order to pacify them. How do you feel about those?
It depends on the context.

Spiking someone's drink at a bar is obviously evil.

Tranquilizing someone who has a gun to a child's head? Absolutely not evil (leaving aside the fact that this sort of thing really only works on tv because they'd have time to pull the trigger before the tranq kicked in).

Although, if you think that prison doesn't compromise one's selfhood I daresay you haven't known anyone who has spent significant time there. I have some friends who spent years behind bars, and based on my conversations with them, I think they would strongly disagree with your opinion.
 

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Charm spells are no more evil than any other spell, or action, in the game mechanics that impact the actions of another NPC or char. Killing an NPC guard with a thrust of my Arcane Trickster's Rapier is actually less evil that using Suggestion to say "You look tired, go have a nap at home."

So if we are to rid the game of static ASI's because that is racist in RL, and we are to rid the game of playing chars because they have below average stats, because that is ableist in RL, and we are to rid the game of Charm spells, because that upsets people with consent issues in RL, what is next, remove all violence from D&D, because that traumatizes people in RL?
 

Although, if you think that prison doesn't compromise one's selfhood I daresay you haven't known anyone who has spent significant time there. I have some friends who spent years behind bars, and based on my conversations with them, I think they would strongly disagree with your opinion.
I'm not going to argue about the morality of incarceration - which I tend to view as a largely counterproductive proposition in any case.

But it's not really the same as overriding a subject's immediate control of their body and actions, is it?
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
I'm not going to argue about the morality of incarceration - which I tend to view as a largely counterproductive proposition in any case.

But it's not really the same as overriding a subject's immediate control of their body and actions, is it?
A prison guard tells you to put your hands on the wall and spread your legs for a cavity search. You really don't want to. But you do it because you know that you'll catch a beat down if you don't. And the cavity search will still happen.

In what meaningful sense is that not "overriding a subject's immediate control of their body and actions"? Your choices are to comply and suffer, or refuse, suffer/be forced to comply, and suffer.
 

A prison guard tells you to put your hands on the wall and spread your legs for a cavity search. You really don't want to. But you do it because you know that you'll catch a beat down if you don't. And the cavity search will still happen.
I'm sorry?

Are you now trying to establish charm person ≡ body cavity searches in prison?

It seems an odd tack to take.

In what meaningful sense is that not "overriding a subject's immediate control of their body and actions"? Your choices are to comply and suffer, or refuse, suffer/be forced to comply, and suffer.
Emphasis mine.

You just answered the question yourself.
 

A prison guard tells you to put your hands on the wall and spread your legs for a cavity search. You really don't want to. But you do it because you know that you'll catch a beat down if you don't. And the cavity search will still happen.

In what meaningful sense is that not "overriding a subject's immediate control of their body and actions"? Your choices are to comply and suffer, or refuse, suffer/be forced to comply, and suffer.
Do you apply real world cases to all aspects of your D&D game? I really want to know. Do you believe that the entire game should be viewed through the lens of some segment of today's society, and all the parts that may cause someone emotional discomfort, excised from the game?
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
I'm sorry?

Are you now trying to establish charm person ≡ body cavity searches in prison?

It seems an odd tack to take.


Emphasis mine.

You just answered the question yourself.
I think it was you who made the claim that charm person would be considered evil by modern people. I then made a comparison between mind control and incarceration. The former doesn't really exist in RL, while the latter does and is generally accepted by the majority of modern folk as not evil, even if many contemporary people (myself included) believe there are very serious issue with the system itself.

You honestly think that because you have the illusion of choice, rather than literally no choice, that makes it somehow better? Suffice it to say that I think you couldn't be more wrong.
 

jgsugden

Legend
If you're going to speak in absolutes in this thread, I recommend spending a little time reading philosophy. There are a lot of ways to look at this world, and few absolute answers on morality. Cultural views differ, as do the views within a culture over time. Further, the world (real and our fantasy worlds) are often too complex for absolute rules to do us perfect service. It is easy to adopt an absolte view. It is hard to really understand and support it.
 

payn

Legend
If you're going to speak in absolutes in this thread, I recommend spending a little time reading philosophy. There are a lot of ways to look at this world, and few absolute answers on morality. Cultural views differ, as do the views within a culture over time. Further, the world (real and our fantasy worlds) are often too complex for absolute rules to do us perfect service. It is easy to adopt an absolte view. It is hard to really understand and support it.
Lot of consequentialism going on in here, which usually goes along with absolutes.
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
Do you apply real world cases to all aspects of your D&D game? I really want to know. Do you believe that the entire game should be viewed through the lens of some segment of today's society, and all the parts that may cause someone emotional discomfort, excised from the game?
No, not at all. The game is a game, and the real world is the real world.

The discussion arose because someone made the claim that real world people would consider mind control unequivocally evil. Since mind control doesn't exist in the real world, I drew parallels to something that I feel is similar enough that is real, the prison system.

I, personally, believe that violence and killing are wrong. Yet I have no issues with my characters slaughtering hordes of monsters in game. On the rare occasion that I play an evil character, my characters have even been known to harm innocents. Because it's only a game and no actual people were actually harmed.
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
If a witch had mind controlled Hitler and the rest of the Nazi leadership in 1942 and made them order the Wehrmacht to surrender immediately, would that have been an evil act?
So, taking the most extreme possible utilitarian argument to try to prove your point is a weak argument. Firstly it assumes that utilitarianism is correct. Secondly, the most extreme possible ender’s game level hypothetical is meaningless even if we assume utilitarianism.
Take prison, for example.
An evil institution that is, in some places, a form of modern slavery.
Arguably, "charm" spells (Friends, Charm Person, et al) are not "mind control" so much as mind/emotion/perception "influencing." You can not force them to harm themselves or do things that are intrinsically against their nature. The target knows they were ensorcelled when the spell wears off. It's a...mental "nudge."
Right. It’s manipulation, which is still bad, but obviously distinct from mind control. The later question that tries to equate inspiration to mental influencing made me chuckle, but wasn’t compelling as an argument.
Right out the gate, it's not the enchanters or the necromancers you need to watch and worry about being evil. It's those shifty pompous clerics.
Yeah I don’t even think necromancy should be labeled evil, but it’s both enchanters and priests that need heavy handed oversight, at the bare minimum.
This is a poor example, and misses the mark. The case in point refers to intervening in an individual's selfhood, and compromising the integrity of their consciousness.

Better - but still inadequate examples - might include lobotomizing psychiatric patients, unsanctioned anaesthesia, spiking someone with LSD without their consent, or administering large doses of lithium sulfate to Alzheimer's sufferers in order to pacify them. How do you feel about those?
Exactly. Physical force and extortion don’t rob a person of their ability to object. They don’t eliminate the possibility of nonviolent resistance. Cops armed with Command and Suggestion is one of the most terrifying things I can imagine. Much scarier than them having a gun, which is already scary.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
You honestly think that because you have the illusion of choice, rather than literally no choice, that makes it somehow better? Suffice it to say that I think you couldn't be more wrong.
The ability to object is present in one case and absent in another. Prison is incredibly dehumanizing itself, but guards with command and suggestion would be even worse.
 



payn

Legend
I have debated using it for a setting idea once as once everyone is evil it is super easy to justify most of what players want to do.
yeah, I get that. I typically dont worry about these things until they become patterns and/or issues. Then, the discussions start and sessions can turn into philosophy 101, which is fine by me.
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
The ability to object is present in one case and absent in another. Prison is incredibly dehumanizing itself, but guards with command and suggestion would be even worse.
It might be worse, but primarily because I don't think prison guards could be trusted not to abuse such power.

Take a different example. A violent criminal has a gun to a child's head. There is no question in anyone's mind that the criminal will shoot the child unless stopped. You have only two guaranteed ways to stop him. You have a sniper who never misses a head shot. And you have a telepath whose niche superpowers allow them to force violent criminals to surrender to the authorities peacefully. Or you can choose a third option, but the child's survival is not guaranteed. Which do you choose?

Personally, I think using the telepath is the obvious moral choice.
 

Zubatcarteira

Now you're infected by the Musical Doodle
It can be used for good and evil, like most spells, and the consequences for evil are pretty dire, like a lot of spells as well. A 9th level Mass Suggestion being used daily can control hundreds of people, but a Meteor Swarm in a packed crowd can kill thousands easily. Likewise, a Mass Suggestion can stop the cultists trying to summon Tiamat, and a Meteor Swarm can nuke said cultists if they all make the previous save.
 

payn

Legend
It might be worse, but primarily because I don't think prison guards could be trusted not to abuse such power.

Take a different example. A violent criminal has a gun to a child's head. There is no question in anyone's mind that the criminal will shoot the child unless stopped. You have only two guaranteed ways to stop him. You have a sniper who never misses a head shot. And you have a telepath whose niche superpowers allow them to force violent criminals to surrender to the authorities peacefully. Or you can choose a third option, but the child's survival is not guaranteed. Which do you choose?

Personally, I think using the telepath is the obvious moral choice.
Of course you think that, the telepath made you think so. ;)
 

Voadam

Legend
A lot of D&D mind control is just control of the body. Hold Person and Dominate Person and Magic Jar come to mind where you attack them mentally to take control of their body. Their minds are still their own but they lose control of their body. Telekinesis can sometimes do the same effects. Or grappling or chains or paralytic drugs for the hold person.

Charms in D&D are generally manipulations, they make you feel or think differently. Drugs would be an analogous type of situation though some charms can make you feel much more specific things. Propaganda and advertising have similar goals.

Most D&D mind control does not specify that you do not remember afterwards. It might not always be obvious that there was an outside influence, but it is not like in Harry Potter. Some spells also have specifically called out that for those specific spells that the victim will be aware afterwards that there was an outside force.
 

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