BREAKING NEWS: It seems finally, the world of 7th Sea accepts mature "JUSTIFIED Killings".
So even if the Brutes or Villains are "Helpless" and your Hero kills them, if you can justify the reason for that Kill to be a Heroic Kill (a quick kill, not a slow torturous one), you may just avoid Corruption penalties (unless your GM is a Moralist Puritan).
Page 296 (is an error to be ignored)
When a Villain or rival Hero or a Brute Squad is defeated, they don’t simply die;
they lay before you, Helpless...and vulnerable.For the most part, killing a Helpless person is an unjustified killing. A murder. An Evil Act
Despite the 7th Sea Core rule book explicitly quoting the following on page 296, those words are no longer considered canon according to Mike Curry's response on Reddit today.
So your Assassin and Soldier backgrounds finally get some honorable action against those troublesome Villains (just do not get excited and cause "collateral damage" to innocents nearby).
Welcome to my world. ;)
Page 203 of the core rulebook.
"If a Hero intentionally causes another character unnecessary pain, it’s an evil act. We’re not talking about a surgeon who causes temporary pain for longterm health or a dentist who pulls a rotting tooth, we’re talking about inflicting pain on a helpless victim."
The closest it comes to this is the use of the word "helpless" here. However, in this context, helpless is not a game mechanic (game mechanics are always capitalized--helpless vs Helpless, corruption vs Corruption). Perhaps a poor word choice that has led to confusion? I'm not sure.
Even going back and looking at it, AT NO POINT DO THE RULES SAY THAT KILLING LEADS TO CORRUPTION. It says that causing undue suffering leads to Corruption, preying on the weak leads to Corruption, letting others fall to harm due to inaction or apathy leads to Corruption, torture leads to Corruption.
BY THE RULES AS WRITTEN, killing people does not get you Corruption (although in the example, the character says "I kill everyone inside" gains Corruption, this is more because he doesn't care who's in there and he is in fact acting as a highway robber at the time).
[–]robjusticeRob Justice (dated 2017-05-19)
The confusion comes from page 296:
Murder in 7th Sea
Characters aren’t killed by accident in 7th Sea. Even gunfire cannot kill a character without a deliberate act from a Hero or a Villain. When a Villain or rival Hero or a Brute Squad is defeated, they don’t simply die; they lay before you, Helpless...and vulnerable.
For the most part, killing a Helpless person is an unjustified killing. A murder. An Evil Act, under nearly any and all circumstances. Heroes do not commit murder. Ever.
But Heroes do kill when their hands are forced by Villains and their cronies. They kill when there is no other way to get justice, when they must end a life to save another. They kill when there are no other options. But they remember it and often regret it. For some Heroes, the act haunts them to their grave.
It's that Evil Act that calls back to Corruption.
So, feel free to start the "Murder" vs. "Killing" argument again... /sigh/
TAJ-07: Technopriest And Justicar Of 7thSea2e