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D&D 5E Charm, the evil spells

Voadam

Legend
Agreed. I think the closest real-world analogue to Charm spells is being involuntarily drugged so that your judgement is impaired and you would do things that you would not normally do. So while it is bad, I don't think it is as bad as torture or death.
Not all drugs are involuntary. People voluntarily use alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine for example.

Bless and heroism are enchantments as well.
 

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Voadam

Legend
I take back what I said earlier about dominate person, I was thinking of earlier edition versions of the spell, the 5e one also charms the target and is not just a full body control one.
 

Azuresun

Adventurer
It’s not terribly difficult to posit corner cases in an effort to refute a moral assertion but this is sheer infantilism. What are you? Five?

So far, you’ve suggested that charm person is no worse than having a prison guard pin you down and shove his fingers up your arse, which doesn’t lend a whole lot of weight to your position.

Nice dodge away from answering the question.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
I take back what I said earlier about dominate person, I was thinking of earlier edition versions of the spell, the 5e one also charms the target and is not just a full body control one.
It's actually very powerful in 5e, as you have the charm effect (interesting in itself as it's fairly subtle, contrary to charm person which specifies it, the target is not made aware at the end of the spell that it was charmed by you), you have the telepathic command that don't even require an action on your part and that the target will do its best to obey, and you have the full body control, and this without range once you have cast the spell. The only real limitation is the duration and concentration.

Finally, in terms of influence, why would it be more evil to use charm person to gain advantage on social checks than use eagle's splendor on oneself to do exactly the same ? Both use magic to improve your influence on someone.
 

Voadam

Legend
It's actually very powerful in 5e, as you have the charm effect (interesting in itself as it's fairly subtle, contrary to charm person which specifies it, the target is not made aware at the end of the spell that it was charmed by you), you have the telepathic command that don't even require an action on your part and that the target will do its best to obey, and you have the full body control, and this without range once you have cast the spell. The only real limitation is the duration and concentration.
Right 5e dominate has a lot of charm going on, my memory from some prior editions was that you just could take control of their actions, not their minds, but I have not looked up specifics in a while.
Finally, in terms of influence, why would it be more evil to use charm person to gain advantage on social checks than use eagle's splendor on oneself to do exactly the same ? Both use magic to improve your influence on someone.
Well the same way it would generally be more evil to unilaterally and without consent artificially lower someone else's inhibitions to make them more receptive to your suggestions than to make your framing of your suggestions more appealing to them.

If someone freely and knowingly consents to a charm that would be a morally different situation than just casting a charm on them to influence them. I would analogize to the difference between choosing to drink and being slipped a spiked drink.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Well the same way it would generally be more evil to unilaterally and without consent artificially lower someone else's inhibitions to make them more receptive to your suggestions than to make your framing of your suggestions more appealing to them.

You are not answering the point. What I'ms aying is that the effect is exactly the same whether you use a spell on yourself or on them so that you can be more convincing. In neither of those cases is the victim consenting to anything. And neither is she consenting when you burn her to a crisp with fireball.
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
You are not answering the point. What I'ms aying is that the effect is exactly the same whether you use a spell on yourself or on them so that you can be more convincing. In neither of those cases is the victim consenting to anything. And neither is she consenting when you burn her to a crisp with fireball.
I think it has to do with our society's perception that deceiving/manipulating someone into doing something is more acceptable than drugging them to do so. The former is often considered just "boys being boys", while the latter is a crime.

Personally, I disagree with that distinction. I will agree that they are not identical in nature, but the people I have spoken with who have been in these terrible situations have related to me that in either case they oftentimes resulted in traumatic and long-lasting consequences on their well-being. Being drugged is clearly horrific. But being deceived and discarded by someone you believed you could trust is also incredibly harmful, oftentimes shattering a person's capacity for trust and intimacy.

I believe it that both are evil behaviors. It's simply that society accepts the former and (ostensibly) repudiates the latter.

On the other hand, if one were to drug or deceive an orc in order to prevent harm to an innocent, I wouldn't consider that an evil or harmful behavior at all. Which isn't exactly a real world scenario, but certainly something we could realistically encounter in D&D.
 

GMforPowergamers

Adventurer
To add to the complexity, what kind of Nazis are we talking about? SA thugs or civil servants who joined the Nazi party so they could continue to work? Concentration camp guards who freely volunteered for the job or ”volunteers” who were former Soviet POWs and guarding a camp was better than being starved to death?
I know, people think Nazi is so clear these days, but even that identity isn’t entirely devoid of moral complexity.

So what am I getting at? Issues like this aren’t entirely amenable to black and white/evil and good analysis. And even if you apply some kind of axiomatic reasoning to it, your axiom is probably more idiosyncratic than a widely held truism and will miss a lot of subtlety.
yup yup yup...

Hey here is a group that has 0 issue dehumanizing killing and torturing people who disagree with them or just don't in general align with there idea of perfect... You are not a superhero, and have to choose (maybe not even just for you but for your family) to pay lip service and do basic jobs (some you may have been doing anyway) for them, or be labeled enemy... so you do it... you guard the camp, you file the papers, you answer the phones, you empty the garbage, you do almost anything... that now makes you enemy to the good side...

well off @HammerMan point, but also a good one.

back to charm and dominate and enchantment: yes it is pretty evil. Yes it is an evil tool, but a tool none the less... didn't he say that in the orginal post?
Slight tangent: mind control in stories is not always evil Professor X when not written like a jerk (aka pick and choose your continuity) can be a good telepath. I am 100% sure we could fill a thread just with examples of GOOD telepaths that only force there will on others in dire circumstances… however even then we are left with what I see as the problem… invasion of privacy on the most intimate (not like that player) level and the horror of forcing someones will on someone else…
 


GMforPowergamers

Adventurer
You are not answering the point. What I'ms aying is that the effect is exactly the same whether you use a spell on yourself or on them so that you can be more convincing. In neither of those cases is the victim consenting to anything. And neither is she consenting when you burn her to a crisp with fireball.
why would it be more evil to get a person drunk/high to take advantage of them then it is to use make up or do my hair to look more attractive... man this thread has become scary.

also, yes walking into a bar and throwing a fireball is evil...
 


Voadam

Legend
You are not answering the point. What I'ms aying is that the effect is exactly the same whether you use a spell on yourself or on them so that you can be more convincing. In neither of those cases is the victim consenting to anything. And neither is she consenting when you burn her to a crisp with fireball.
Yes the effect is the same, the methods are different with different ethical implications.

The difference is in the consent. If you reduce their mental resistance so that you have advantage that is a different consent and choice situation than when you make a more persuasive argument and get advantage.

The methods matter. Being persuasive can get someone to do what you want. Blackmailing or threatening them can get them to do what you want. The different methods to achieve the same end have moral implications.

Even in utilitarianism while the end result might be overall good, blackmailing someone to get there involves negatives and is less good than persuading them to do so.
 


Fanaelialae

Legend
This is a good point. Even a good result doesn’t automatically make the action good.
Sure, but the same argument can be made against violence and killing of "bad guys". Plenty of people would argue that violence and/or killing is an evil that can result in good outcomes (such as rescuing an innocent hostage by shooting the hostage-taker).

However, violence and killing of "bad guys" is generally considered acceptable even for good characters (within the context of D&D).
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Sure, but the same argument can be made against violence and killing of "bad guys". Plenty of people would argue that violence and/or killing is an evil that can result in good outcomes (such as rescuing an innocent hostage by shooting the hostage-taker).

However, violence and killing of "bad guys" is generally considered acceptable even for good characters (within the context of D&D).
Edit: never mind. I already said I wasn’t engaging further with you on this. Replying anyway gets us nowhere.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
All of this boils down to answering a simple question: in general, do the ends justify the means? Are evil acts acceptable in pursuit of a goodly goal?

A corollary question that sometimes arises is: do the means justify the ends? Is sticking to goodly means paramount even if doing so makes it certain that evil will win out?
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
All of this boils down to answering a simple question: in general, do the ends justify the means? Are evil acts acceptable in pursuit of a goodly goal?

A corollary question that sometimes arises is: do the means justify the ends? Is sticking to goodly means paramount even if doing so makes it certain that evil will win out?
It only boils down to that if you accept that influencing/overriding another's will is defacto evil.

Is Obi Wan Kenobi's "these are not the droids you are looking for" a horrific act the violates the will of the stormtrooper? Or, could it be a pacifistic solution that actually causes less (which might equate to zero) harm than the alternative of cutting his way through them with his light saber?
 

payn

Legend
It only boils down to that if you accept that influencing/overriding another's will is defacto evil.

Is Obi Wan Kenobi's "these are not the droids you are looking for" a horrific act the violates the will of the stormtrooper? Or, could it be a pacifistic solution that actually causes less (which might equate to zero) harm than the alternative of cutting his way through them with his light saber?
This is a false dilemma to make mind control seem like a good option. It's not, and considering it evil doesn't put it on par with murder either.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
It only boils down to that if you accept that influencing/overriding another's will is defacto evil.
I don't, in game terms (real life is another thing entirely), but the question still remains in a broader sense and can be applied in all sorts of ways and situations: does a good outcome justify using evil means to achieve it.
Is Obi Wan Kenobi's "these are not the droids you are looking for" a horrific act the violates the will of the stormtrooper? Or, could it be a pacifistic solution that actually causes less (which might equate to zero) harm than the alternative of cutting his way through them with his light saber?
Neither. It's the best practical solution he has to the problem at hand, namely how to get into Mos Eisley without attracting attention. Whaling those guys with a lightsaber in broad daylight would, if nothing else, attract attention....
 

GMforPowergamers

Adventurer
Is obi wan evil... yes. 100% yes.
the more I learn about the Jedi (in both old lore and new) the more I know they are all at least immoral and most likely outright an evil cult.

having said that we look the other way to evil deeds in game all the time, and we have villians perform them in mass... but yeah, charm is pretty evil.

there is a reason G I Joe had lasers instead of guns and no one died. There is a reason why shooting the gun out of someones hand instead of shooting them was thought to be family friendly. Neither of these two things stop us from slitting throats, stabbing, and killing enemies.

does this make charm an evil that PCs may use... yea, I guess we can add it to the list. right next to firebombs...I mean fireball.
 

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