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Most Evil Companion



  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    You are aware every army has camp followers, right? The 'good guys' have some, be they non-combatant military forces, and others outrightly non-military. You have no control over who is killed by poison you just distribute in a food and water supply (heck, people could die later if the food/water is used later by unrelated people.

    This is directly comparable to negligently putting out bear traps all over your property, vs owning a gun to defend your house from prevalent local bears. Using traps is illegal in many areas where owning a more lethal gun won't be, because its so much simpler to control one gun than watch 100s of traps over many acres. Those traps are inherently hard to use safely, with you having little control.

    Note, being an 'enemy' doesn't mean you can justifiably kill someone, even in BG. Red just means they are hostile to you, or view you as hostile, and blue can become red easily.

    Using artillery to toss diseased carcasses would be clearly evil, but I'm not sure that w/DnD logic you could prove that all artillery use is 'evil' inherently.

    I think I do technically agree that war is evil, but DnD morality definitely would argue war can be justified I think, with most very good Gods not being remotely pacifistic.

  • Humanoid_TaifunHumanoid_Taifun Member Posts: 1,041
    Yes, I am aware of camp followers. I just said that attacks from behind a city wall are rather indiscriminate. You cannot see whom you are going to hit. But you have to attack, because what else are going to do?
    When two historical armies met, the slaughter was rather indiscriminate. At some point uniforms were introduced to distinguish between combatants and noncombatants, but that was at a very late stage where countries had attained monopolies on war power, and still you had lots of civilian casualties - particularly in sieges.
    The enemies are not wearing uniforms. You cannot distinguish between them that way at all. And when an army runs into such a mixed group, then every is going to draw their swords and try to defend themselves. Why? Because in the chaos of battle, no one is going to pay attention to whether one particular person is looking for a fight or not. People just get slaughtered.*
    Have you seen anyone in your numerous raids of enemy strongholds in the game series who was just a camp follower? That is not to say that they do not exist. Just that they were cut down when you secured the area quickly and efficiently.
    [I will mention at this point that it really bothers me that it is impossible for the AI to surrender regardless of how obvious the difference in power is]
    As for your bear traps, you must have heard of the habit of armies to secure positions with mine fields. In regards to civilians using traps, just think of all the poison that people lay out to kill smaller animals with. There are plenty of third party victims to those. Pesticides are not going to be banned anytime soon. Instead, we are working on developing poisons that are less likely to bring about collateral damage.
    War brings about collateral damage. Clean wars are a fantasy. The idea that poison is evil because it hits indiscriminately betrays naivety about the realities of what else goes on during war. That does not mean that certain forms of combat should not be banned. Biological and chemical warfare have a bad reputation for good reason. It is way too easy to cause massive casualties with relatively little military gain (because it is much easier for modern armies to protect themselves from such attacks than it is for a civilian population).
    But you are already employing the means. Poisonous gas attacks and poisonous weaponry are part of a Baldur's Gate player's standard arsenal. Just like non-targeted attacks. Thief traps, skull traps, contingencies etc. Also huge underground explosions right below an enemy fortification. Flooding a mine and very likely drowning a few guards that did not make it out in time.
    So, what makes this one incident special?

    *This happens even nowadays when a police force collides with a demo. Pedestrians who are just trying to go home are just as likely to be batoned and teargassed as actual protesters.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 10,649
    The poison being considered evil could also have roots in international war crimes irl. Biological weapons are outlawed, and the poison could be considered as such. YES I KNOW FAERUN ISN'T IRL. But far more modern morality exists there than the medieval morality that a lot of people attribute to it.

  • Humanoid_TaifunHumanoid_Taifun Member Posts: 1,041
    @ThacoBell I would agree, and I have nothing against poison being considered evil. My problem is solely that this is the one instance in the entire series where that is an issue.
    You could compare it to the hell trials in that they too are a singular instance where your actions suddenly have weight. But I feel that gives too much significance to one of your many efforts to defeat an army.

    That said, it is one of those heroic deeds that I have the least trouble bringing up at the end of SoD. Refusing to use poison actually says something about my honorable nature. Wagering my own soul in a game with a devil does not really make me look very good.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,618
    edited May 2019
    Imo what is legal and what is a war crime irl has nothing to do with evilness.
    The chemical weapons was forbidden after WW I, and them was used in that war against fighting troops, and much more solders was killed in that war then civil people.
    Since WW II bombing on purpose the civil population, with or without the alibi of destroying strategically important installments like factories, or to give a proof of strength ( the 2 atomic bombs dropped would have been as effective to stop the war but much less lethal if dropped on smaller towns... ) become the most used option.
    In that war the proportion between military and civil causalities started to change, in the modern warfare the vast majority of the losses are among civil people, not necessarily directing involved in supporting the troops, mainly just living in areas that was carpet bombed.
    This while the governments keep to lie to their populations, like in the first gulf war. The usa government was really caring to illude the population that the smart bombs was mainly used while the truth is that only less then 5% of the bombs was smart, used to take down radars and other strategically relevant targets.
    Then the b52 bombers kicked in dropping the remaining 95% from high altitude using not smart bombs, in the relatively short war was dropped more then the bombs that was dropped in the last year of the vietnam war, mainly on civil population.

    Not that usa is particularly evil, this is common to all the modern warfare, the nations as long as they can stockpile atomic bombs, mass destruction weapons and all those things that are done to target civil population.
    The war has never been a fair thing, but now we are at a level of unfairness and evilness that can be compared to the one of the barbaric invasions age, only with a hypocrite politically correct appearance.

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Even in cultures that didn't yet have formalized military with standardized gear, gear and outfit was quite consistent through the ranks... a nobleman dressed differently, but most warriors dressed similar and used the same gear. Uniforms are more important when everyone uses the same gear. Anyways, I'm not certain this is relevant. It was always possible in recorded history to determine reliably, and pretty quickly, who was considered a valid target, and that was any adult male (usually non-elderly) not dressed like your team. Is it more evil to kill women and children vs men? It was generally, because in the vast majority of cases women and children weren't a threat. I'm not saying its right, but this was well thought out thousands of years ago.

    Erm, no decent country ever uses any form of landmine, and there is a very popular treaty about it. Mines never had a great reputation, but it didn't take long to get them effectively outlawed. Either way, if you indiscriminately set bear traps for self defence, you'll be breaking the law in most developed nations, while almost all would allow you to own a rifle in bear country to shoot an attacking bear.

    ...who is saying any war is or can be clean here? Did I miss something? I'm on the fence even about traditionally considered justifiable wars, for a great many reasons, but even I must admit that it can be a necessity. I don't think a magical poison cloud that will guaranteed dissipate quickly, and that has no side effects other than fairly standard injury (as in, require no special treatments to heal, and no blindness etc) or instant death would have ever been outlawed, because those were much bigger reasons chemical weapons were outlawed than risk to civilians. One of the most stated reasons is how annoying the soldiers found chemical weapons, as they require extra gear to both use and avoid death when it is used. They despised the gear, finding it awful to fight in, so they refused to allow the use to continue. Military leaders quickly recognized that vs prepared opponents chemical weapons were useless anyways, and even a urine soaked rag can serve as a filter. Now, biological weapons are a different story, being potentially very persistent, utterly uncontrollable, and non-selective, so all sane countries recognized that the use of bio weapons was an inherently bad idea. Incidentally, any spell or gear designed to inflict blindness would 100% covered under treaties, making a first lvl spell a war crime.

    What makes the situation special is what I've explained. You have 0 control over who that poison kills, and it can continue to kill long after you are dead. Those potential killings would be indiscriminate, and indiscriminate killings are considered core evil.

    Erm, @gorgonzola I suspect we'll disagree, but the US is literally one of the more evil countries in the world throughout its history. Its form of slavery not only continued after many countries in Europe had recognized it as inherently evil, but was also especially brutal. The military has been deliberately targeting civilians since it started to exist, and the country was literally founded by terrorists. Ironically, for a country that won't shut up about how free their country is, they are literally a world leader in incarceration rates, and they consistently police the poor and minorities. People literally starve to die from poverty, live in starvation, etc, in what is generally considered the wealthiest country in the world. The US has started many wars for very self serving reasons, and in pretty much all of them committed atrocities. The human rights situation is terrible in the US, and if anything is presently worsening. I find it fascinating that most Americans are fairly decent people, yet they elect decidedly evil leaders over and over. I think they assume evil people are smarter or something, as long as they are kinda wealthy.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,618
    edited May 2019
    @DreadKhan i pretty much agree with what you say, and you forgot that the land on which us is was inhabited by a native population and stolen to it, constantly breaking the various peace treaties as the us needed more land and even giving away contaminated blankets, thing that is literally a biological warfare.

    my feelings about usa are split, from one side if i would have been born some months before i would probably have been an us citizen and i really appreciate some of the aspects of the way to think and to approach some problems, practical ones, not ethic or theoretical ones, that the us population has, but from the other side i am well aware of the dark side of usa.

    but i don't think that russia/urss or china or spain or england have been particularly less evil when they had their chances.
    even nations that was not able to build empires like the ones i named proved and still prove their evilness.
    who gave to iraq the technology to build the chemical weapons that saddam hussein used against the kurds? germany, and at the time it did it he was using those weapons in violation of the international laws about war crimes against the soldiers of iran in the basra battle, causing much many casualties then the kurds suffered. but at that time all europe, usa and the western world saw saddam as the defender of their interest against the "evil" muslim iran and sponsored him in a (failed) war of conquest, closing their eyes about blatant war crimes.
    saddam become "evil" only after invading kuwait and menacing the interests of the western countries about oil.
    even my own country, italia, that has no chance to build an empire, in the WW2 we risked to have our butts kicked by greece, until few years ago made good money selling anti man mines, including the ones that trigger only if a child or a woman walk on them, or the ones disguised as pens, designed to destroy child hands, mines specifically designed to damage the population, not the armies or the civil personnel that is working to make the armies activity possible.

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    I think we do pretty much agree, and as a Canadian living close to the border with lots of family living in the US as either citizens or with green card, I've generally found Americans I've met throughout the country to be reasonable, pleasant people, but it's probably relevant that I'm a very large white man, and thus am definitely treated differently than a smaller minority member. The average white person with a sub-urban life witness very little racism other than their 'racist uncle', and life is pretty comfortable for the average white person, who doesn't feel oppressed etc, so the average American has proven very ripe for propaganda that says they are the world's leading Good Guys. I dunno, I think it could be argued other countries have done as bad or worse things, but the US has a pretty dark history if you dig much. I think there is a reason lots of educated academics feel the US is overall a pretty evil country, to the point that a portion of the media has done a decent job of portraying them as non-patriotic, rather than admitting they might have a point.

    The thing about the US or even the Nazis or WW2 Japan isn't so much that what they did was truly unusual from a historical perspective, it's that they took things to an extreme, and did so after most of the world had recognized that these behaviors were immoral. Exterminating populations was not unheard of throughout history, though the trend was solidly that you'd conquer a people, treat them so-so for a while, then they'd become a full member of the society. It wasn't remotely unusual to depopulate large cities during wars, and I've read of a few cases were whole countries were well over decimated. Compare the Nazis to the worst excesses of most ancient conquering Empire's and the biggest difference I'd argue is the racism, since racism wasn't a big thing historically, that's pretty recent. Enslaving populations wasn't unheard of either, but usually if you needed slaves you just took people, rather than trying to take land, since the more land you have the more slaves you'd need. This is getting weird, so let's move on!

    Saddam was propped up quite a bit by the USA don't forget, and I'm pretty sure they sold weapons to the Iraqis too, though I could be mistaken, I haven't read much Iraq related history in years, so I'm quite foggy. The US was very invested in the Iran-Iraq war back in the day, and I would say much of the world would have considered Saddam a force of evil by then, despite him being on good terms with the US government. He was even given the key to a big US city iirc, very odd stuff considering he was already a murderous dictator.

    Bringing this back to Baldur's Gate, this kind of self-serving evil isn't the only evil, there is also the slightly absurd 'evil for evil's sake', and I find Dorn to be by far the most 'evil for evil's sake', and I think that's actually a lot worse than just being staggeringly selfish, like most of the evil NPCs. I think Shar-Teel is pretty evil too, but she's more driven by chaos I think than evil, whereas Dorn cares only about evil things, and doing evil. And apparently nailing anybody that's a Bhaalspawn. ;)

  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 496
    I'm not going to argue that the US hasn't done a lot of evil under the guise of doing "good", but it's not terribly fair to single out the US when the problem is really endemic to western civilization (and arguably just civilization). The US gets a bad rap because of the over the top patriotic ideology that makes it difficult to have rational conversations about national morality.

    Taking your example of Saddam Hussein, for instance, you would have to go back to the partitioning of the Middle East, which was intentionally done so as to create weak nation states that would be constantly in turmoil thanks to roping in largely incompatible groups of people. The idea (mostly in Britain and France) being that these nations would "need" them to lead, since these proto-nations would find it nearly impossible to lead themselves. We are still dealing with the fallout of that today. I don't think we want to get into what European nations did to South America, Africa, India, or China. Nor do we likely want to get into an ethical discussion of whether the native South American empires were more or less evil than the Spaniards and Portuguese either.

    Now, you could argue that whole paragraph is a load of whataboutism, and it is, but the point is all nation states are arguably evil to some extent by those rules. Even the Swiss, with their "neutrality", turned out to be pretty evil - given that they ended up being the official bankers of the Nazis. Ironically, there is some speculation that the attack on Pearl Harbor was permitted to go unchallenged to get over the US population's desire to remain "neutral" in WWII. No doubt this was due to a fair number of US industrialists making bank selling goods to both sides prior to US entry into the war. Henry Ford actually earned a medal from the Nazis, and IBM is the reason concentration camp victims had numbers tattooed on them. (the numbers matched their corresponding punch cards)

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    I think the US also gets a much better rap because of how good they are at covering stuff up, like war crimes and atrocities. I certainly don't single out the US, but they have and continue to be solidly behind the times morally, despite inveterately bragging about how they are the best, most decent country in the world.

    Why do we need to go back that far when we're simply discussing the actual behavior of a country? I aware the the British and French arranged the Middle East imperfectly, but that imho has nothing to do with it being immoral to support a war between Iraq and Iran. Regarding Western involvement in the Middle East, Iran is probably the biggest goof up, and that was more US arguably than anyone else, though the Brits were certainly involved.

    Seriously, I appreciate you admitting that's all whataboutism, because it very much is. The big difference is that other countries largely have become consistently less evil, while the US continues to do things like invading countries under false or extremely weak premises, while declaring to its dumber citizens that its doing good in the world, rather than being an international embarrassment. I can accept that for example the Mongolians were not anywhere near as enlightened as modern people, and generally did some horrid things, but the US, the Nazis, etc all had the capacity to know and do better, making them imho much worse. Its one thing for a person to bump into you by accident, another to do a big full body shove to knock you down, and all the US's atrocities occurred after much of the West had already become much more civilized, and those same ideas were even quoted/used, even written by Americans, meaning they had access to enlightened ideas, they just choose to ignore them.

  • ZaghoulZaghoul Member, Moderator Posts: 4,134
    ***Folks, we have a special thread for politics and policy. I believe this thread has gotten way off topic, let's pull it back to the topic at hand.

    -Site Staff

  • Humanoid_TaifunHumanoid_Taifun Member Posts: 1,041
    edited May 2019
    DreadKhan wrote: »
    It was always possible in recorded history to determine reliably, and pretty quickly, who was considered a valid target, and that was any adult male (usually non-elderly) not dressed like your team.
    In the context of DnD, you would have to kill the women as well. Despite the -4 Str meme, the females in the Crusaders' camp will be just as dangerous as the males.
    So, since we are now talking about killing everybody in the camp, I am not sure how "indiscriminate" attacks are somehow a problem.

    [retracted argument]
    What makes the situation special is what I've explained. You have 0 control over who that poison kills, and it can continue to kill long after you are dead. Those potential killings would be indiscriminate, and indiscriminate killings are considered core evil.
    So why are you ignoring the other stuff I have listed that do the same thing? Just so the poison maintains its special nature or is there some other reason you have yet to explain?
    I will post them again for you:
    Thief traps, skull traps, contingencies etc. Also huge underground explosions right below an enemy fortification. Flooding a mine and very likely drowning a few guards that did not make it out in time.

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