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Old 05-05-2017, 12:33 PM   #1
edk926
 
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Default Cannot Harm Innocents except for Euthanasia purposes

Say you have a healer/doctor who devote themselves to helping others and has a general pacifism where they don't normally harm innocents. The problem with modern medical science or fantasy magic is that you can only do so much to cure a person. Some things are beyond our reach like some cancers and other terminal diseases. If that healer/doctor was devoted to end suffering, maybe they would want to euthanize someone that's dying and in great pain.

What kind of modifier would that be to 'Cannot harm innocents' (or 'Cannot kill' for that matter)? Would it depend on the TL?
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Old 05-05-2017, 12:49 PM   #2
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Default Re: Cannot Harm Innocents except for Euthanasia purposes

Except in a very specialised campaign, that's essentially just a zero-point feature.

The basic disadvantage is -10 points. This would nominally be a perk, but I'm not sure "being able to perform a mercy killing" is worth even one point, when you could easily just have another PC perform the kill, blaming it on gremlins if need be.

Socially, being willing to perform euthanasia might incur a Reputation, but that's a separate issue.
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Old 05-05-2017, 12:56 PM   #3
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Default Re: Cannot Harm Innocents except for Euthanasia purposes

I'd say it invalidates the disadvantage, because that kind of Pacifism is absolute. It represents someone who cannot bring themselves to harm an innocent (or kill someone) under any circumstances, ever.

I'd suggest Vow: Relieve Suffering or, for doctors, Vow: Hippocratic Oath (or one of its umpteen variations).
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Old 05-05-2017, 01:00 PM   #4
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Default Re: Cannot Harm Innocents except for Euthanasia purposes

Quote:
Originally Posted by edk926 View Post
Say you have a healer/doctor who devote themselves to helping others and has a general pacifism where they don't normally harm innocents. The problem with modern medical science or fantasy magic is that you can only do so much to cure a person. Some things are beyond our reach like some cancers and other terminal diseases. If that healer/doctor was devoted to end suffering, maybe they would want to euthanize someone that's dying and in great pain.

What kind of modifier would that be to 'Cannot harm innocents' (or 'Cannot kill' for that matter)? Would it depend on the TL?
True euthanasia should not be classed as harm.
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Old 05-05-2017, 01:00 PM   #5
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Default Re: Cannot Harm Innocents except for Euthanasia purposes

For "Cannot Harm Innocents" I wouldn't apply a modifier at all.

We can debate whether euthanasia is good or bad, but if the character genuinely thinks of it as helping the person (and the person being euthanized agrees...), then I'd consider it to count as following the "spirit of the law" as far as Cannot Harm Innocents is concerned, by seeking to spare them pain and suffering.

Not sure about "Cannot Kill", but generally I would say if the character takes that moral position that euthanasia is OK is simply extra depth.
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Old 05-05-2017, 02:30 PM   #6
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Default Re: Cannot Harm Innocents except for Euthanasia purposes

I feel it completely depends on whether the specific player would abuse the ability to perform euthanasia.

Oh look, I stabbed him specifically here when defending myself. That's going to get infected and eventually kill him, so I guess it's only humane to stab him again to end his suffering.
I think we all have met players that would try that tactic, possibly without realizing just how munchkin-y it would be.

It also matters whether they'd make certain after the fact that the person dying was really dying and no cure or treatment existed that maybe they just didn't know about at the time. Guilt could make for great RP, but would not be good for the character's mental health.
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Old 05-05-2017, 02:46 PM   #7
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Default Re: Cannot Harm Innocents except for Euthanasia purposes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
Except in a very specialized campaign, that's essentially just a zero-point feature.

Socially, being willing to perform euthanasia might incur a Reputation, but that's a separate issue.
I agree. In most games it won't come up, and in other games it becomes such an interesting character point that even if it is a minor loophole (and I'm not convinced that it is), its interesting enough I the GM wouldn't care.

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Originally Posted by Buzzardo View Post
I'd say it invalidates the disadvantage, because that kind of Pacifism is absolute. It represents someone who cannot bring themselves to harm an innocent (or kill someone) under any circumstances, ever.

I'd suggest Vow: Relieve Suffering or, for doctors, Vow: Hippocratic Oath (or one of its umpteen variations).
No, this is "cannot harm innocents". This is the sort of pacifism a superhero or old west marshal can have. This disadvantage even allows you to start fights, and to freely kill those who are attempting to kill you. There are enough clauses in this that adding such a tiny one is a drop in a barrel of exceptions.

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Originally Posted by Donny Brook View Post
True euthanasia should not be classed as harm.
Weather or not that's true is a matter of legal and social debate, but it stands that it is entirely plausible, possible, and realistic to believe that. Its a valid disadvantage.
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Old 05-05-2017, 03:13 PM   #8
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Default Re: Cannot Harm Innocents except for Euthanasia purposes

I just wanted to add that unless you play a robot, then your character is not actually a robot. They can "go against their nature" at times. This is when character development happens.


So someone with "cannot kill" could be forced into a situation where they would have to kill... and feel absolutely horrible about it. Their entire worldview put into question.
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Old 05-05-2017, 04:12 PM   #9
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Default Re: Cannot Harm Innocents except for Euthanasia purposes

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
I feel it completely depends on whether the specific player would abuse the ability to perform euthanasia.

Oh look, I stabbed him specifically here when defending myself. That's going to get infected and eventually kill him, so I guess it's only humane to stab him again to end his suffering.
I think we all have met players that would try that tactic, possibly without realizing just how munchkin-y it would be.

It also matters whether they'd make certain after the fact that the person dying was really dying and no cure or treatment existed that maybe they just didn't know about at the time. Guilt could make for great RP, but would not be good for the character's mental health.
Yeah, if a character has Cannot Harm Innocents, and accidentally stabs one, then goes on to finish the job because the wound might get infected, I'd say he should be deep into triggered penalty for pacifism disadvantage territory right there.

Also, why do you have an actual innocent as someone you want to kill?

I use "euthanasia" as a killing in which the patient has given knowing consent, and "mercy killing" as one in which the patient is helpless and probably in pain, but unable to interact in any meaningful way. In both cases, there is an expectation that the patient will not resist. It is never any kind of mercy killing if the patient resists!
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Old 05-05-2017, 04:39 PM   #10
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Default Re: Cannot Harm Innocents except for Euthanasia purposes

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Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
It is never any kind of mercy killing if the patient resists!
Not exactly, although that is generally a safe statement. Certainly, a "patient" who's resisting in an organized fashion or e.g. able to scream "Get off me you bastard!" or "Help help!" is not a candidate. "Resistance" isn't always a higher brain function, however.

Brain injury can cause paradoxical violence (basically, Berserk + Bad Temper as a consequence of brain swelling). It's an issue particularly notoriously with motorcyclists thrown off their bikes at speed but being lucky enough to survive. You can end up with someone who is going to die from that brain injury if they don't get treatment, and is one bad jolt away from permanent paralysis from vertebral damage... and he's biting and punching and kicking and screaming and headbutting anyone who comes near him.

The complaint with paramedics and ER staff is that these people always seem to also be the big scary looking guys, but I think that's a bit of bias.

If you're in the kind of environment where you can't get the patient safely subdued and to a surgery, then they may be pretty darn "dead man walking" (and swinging fists), depending on other injuries. A decision whether to euthanize this patient in e.g. a battlefield situation, in enemy territory on a stealth mission, or if the patient is just that flat-out-dangerous even with lethal injuries might have to be made.

While well-co-ordinated and -thought-out violence requires a fair amount of functioning brain, if the fight-or-flight system gets jamned "on" and set to "fight" you can get someone who "resists" everything. It's not that they're making a decision to resist you, because they have no idea what you are or what you're doing and whether they're interested in it. It's basically "I hurt => everything's fault => hit everything".

This unfortunately happens with other kinds of brain damage as well (re: dementia). It's usually more intermittent, but these are also situations where family members may start discussing euthanasia with attending physicians. The patient may even bring the subject up, although generally by this point you end up in a whole other argument over whether the patient is competent any more.

You can also get this sort of not-coherent violence with other ways you mess up your brain, ie chemicals (either internal brain chemistry, or by adding chemicals that have no business being there). This sort of patient isn't a euthanasia candidate, even if they're currently wearing a gurney like a backpack while fighting a security guard (true life ER stories!).

EDIT:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
Also, why do you have an actual innocent as someone you want to kill?
In the case of the jackass munchkin trying to weasel their way out of Cannot Harm Innocents: these kinds of players rarely need deep reasons to murderdeathkill NPCs. Why this player would take CHI as a disadvantage if they meant to stab everyone? I presume because either the GM made them (part of a template or lens, or just flat out made them) or as some sort of poorly-thought-out-scheme to get more points. Or they're normally better tempered but the player is angry/drunk/etc tonight and taking it out on irritating but "Innocent" NPCs.

The character, on the other claw, might have a certain excuse as being a clearly Bad Person who's been "cursed" with Cannot Harm Innocents by someone trying to improve their behavior (via mind control, magic, brain-washing, what-have-you).
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Last edited by Bruno; 05-05-2017 at 04:45 PM.
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