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View Full Version : Formerly RC's Alignment. Now about Redcloak's possible redeemability



CommodoreFluffy
2012-01-26, 09:59 AM
I realize that Redcloak does worship an evil god, and the goblin entry in the Monster Manual does say evil, but do Redcloak's actions actually put him in the alignment of Evil?

Redcloak kills and manipulates to serve an evil god, but only towards the ultimate goal of liberating his people. His actions differ little from what a human paladin would do if the tables were turned.

I'm tired, so i'll work out the rest of the argument later, but yeah...Discuss:

**************UPDATE****************************** ******
Alright, I have conceded that Redcloak is evil by DnD and OOTS cannon standards. And this discussion, if anyone wants to continue participating in it, is more about morality than alignment, and the possibility of considering Redcloak more of an anti-hero than a villain as we might look at V, or Dirty Harry or whoever.

Xelbiuj
2012-01-26, 10:02 AM
but do Redcloak's actions actually put him in the alignment of Evil?


Yes, yes they do. /topic
Not doing evil acts to achieve positive results is a pretty big part of being good.

zimmerwald1915
2012-01-26, 10:04 AM
I realize that Redcloak does worship an evil god, and the goblin entry in the Monster Manual does say evil, but do Redcloak's actions actually put him in the alignment of Evil?
Absolutely. Your own argument implicitly acknowledges that his actions are evil. What you are arguing as that his intentions mitigate his actions' evil to such an extent that Redcloak himself is not evil.

That is not the case.

Burner28
2012-01-26, 10:05 AM
He has been confirmed to be Lawful Evil and actually acts like it, by DnD defintion.

PetterTomBos
2012-01-26, 10:23 AM
BBBBbbbbbaaadddd to the bone!

Raddish
2012-01-26, 10:27 AM
The Giant comment on a similar thread a few days ago saying that Redcloak ss Evil by the D&D alignment system

The Succubus
2012-01-26, 10:29 AM
This seems familiar.... (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=12587443&postcount=4)

Castamir
2012-01-26, 10:29 AM
He still does exactly the same things a Lawful Good paladin would do, though.

A wholesale genocide of orcs, goblinoids and others differs from killing humans... how? "Noble sacrifices" of brave paladins vs the craftman's death... I see no difference.

There are places in D&D where good and evil are distinct, but at least Azure City vs Gobbotopia is a case of pure "us vs them" to me.

Like a vast majority of RL conflicts, really.

bluewurm
2012-01-26, 10:30 AM
The Monster Manual says he's Evil and Rich has confirmed it. Has Rich confirmed he is Lawful, though? the D20 website says "usually Neutral Evil"

Palthera
2012-01-26, 10:33 AM
He still does exactly the same things a Lawful Good paladin would do, though.

A wholesale genocide of orcs, goblinoids and others differs from killing humans... how? "Noble sacrifices" of brave paladins vs the craftman's death... I see no difference.

There are places in D&D where good and evil are distinct, but at least Azure City vs Gobbotopia is a case of pure "us vs them" to me.

Like a vast majority of RL conflicts, really.

That would make the craftman not evil, not Redcloak. Sacrificing other people, rather than yourself, is definitely evil. And killing those orcs and stuff that register as "evil" when you detect evil at someone? Nothing wrong with smiting the evil ones.

bluewurm
2012-01-26, 10:36 AM
Pandera is right, discussion of real-life morality is off-limits on this board. Under the D&D Alignment System, killing evil creatures "just because" isn't a non-good act.

jidasfire
2012-01-26, 10:41 AM
Whenever arguments like this come up, and lord do they with an almost comedic frequency, I'm forced to wonder if the people who ask have ever heard the words or seen the actions of tyrants in the real world who talk quite largely about how they're doing it for the good of their own people.

Of course, I can't really mention those by name, so let's talk fiction.

If Redcloak isn't evil, who is? Is Magneto evil? Sure, he wants to help mutants, but he wants to help them by crushing humanity, either enslaving or destroying them, depending what story you read. Is Demona evil? Sure, she wants to help gargoyles, but she wants to do so by, again, destroying or enslaving humanity, not to mention the fact that her hatred of humans has led to the death and destruction of more of her own kind than any of the supposedly evil humans she hates. Is Herr Starr (from Preacher) evil? Sure, he wants to save the world from chaos and create order in its place, but he does so through blackmail and assassination, not to mention recklessly using dangerous resources like nuclear bombs in populated areas. He would admittedly murder millions of innocents to destroy the chaos he so hates, and he's also just a nasty, petty, cruel, bitter man.

Those are just a couple examples of villains who are supposedly noble, and often have people support them, when in fact, they are terrible people. Even if it's possible to relate to some of what they say, and the initial suffering they went through, it doesn't negate the suffering they cause to achieve their goals, and even if it did, the worlds they would create are not nice places. They would be every bit as ugly and terrible as the injustices they want to destroy, and probably worse, because what they want to do is intentional, rather than built on ignorance and misunderstanding.

All of which applies to Redcloak. Maybe there was a time when he meant well, but that time is long past. Whatever he says, and even thinks, it's not about his race, it's about him. He has to be right. He has to follow the Plan because he's thrown away everything else he could have had in life on it. He has to prove his brother wrong, his brother who thought that goblins and humans could live in peace, simply by living, rather than by creating tyranny and risking the destruction of everything. That brother, the one he murdered in cold blood.

If you don't think that's evil, well, I simply don't know what to say to you.

Bastian Weaver
2012-01-26, 10:45 AM
Magneto is good or evil depending on who writes about him. He started out as clearly evil, and not too bright as well.
Redcloak serves the Dark One and the Plan fanatically, so he seems Lawful to me.
And Evil, naturally.

thisisnotspam
2012-01-26, 10:54 AM
there was a thread about his aligment LESS THAN 3 DAYS AGO, THE GIANT HIMSELF CLOSED THE THREAD AND SAID THAT RC IS EVIL BY THE RULES OF DND even if he might be a heroic figure in our not sho black and white world, his world functions by the rules of the game


edit : http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=229949

Sunken Valley
2012-01-26, 10:55 AM
A master planner who believes in order? Lawful Evil.

FujinAkari
2012-01-26, 11:12 AM
Redcloak himself has confirmed he is Lawful Evil.

/thread

CommodoreFluffy
2012-01-26, 11:14 AM
I suppose it's easiest to believe he's evil, but if i follow your arguments i would refuse to accept the magical/cannonical definition of good and evil as a proper judgement of morality.

His actions mirror the actions of hundreds of revolutionary, rebel and military leaders, whether history has declared them evil or good. He kills in the name of ideal for the betterment of his race. At worst I think he is misguided and dangerous like Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer when she turns all destroy the world in the 6th season.

Characters like Magneto or V aren't interesting because they're saints or demons, but rather because they have a moral complexity which transcends black and white definitions of right and wrong.

luc258
2012-01-26, 11:18 AM
Real life comparisons? This thread will be locked soon.
Redcloak is Lawful Evil.

Fish
2012-01-26, 11:20 AM
His actions are in service to a long-term goal of using a universe-destroying monstrosity to extort the gods into destroying his enemies.

Yes: clearly not just evil, he's Ernst Blofeld evil.

Crsos
2012-01-26, 11:26 AM
The Monster Manual says he's Evil and Rich has confirmed it. Has Rich confirmed he is Lawful, though? the D20 website says "usually Neutral Evil"

Redcloak's lawfulness is strongly implied in strip 546 (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0546.html) (:redcloak: "Unfortunately, I wrote it on my schedule in ink, so here we are. You're Lawful, I'm sure you understand.")

dps
2012-01-26, 11:27 AM
A master planner who believes in order? Lawful Evil.

Not only that, but he insists on color-coded covers on reports filed by his subordinates, and insists that those reports be in on time. They don't come much more Lawful than Redcloak. In fact, I'd argue that he's more Lawful than he is Evil, but there's no doubt that he's both.

Interestingly, an honorable man in the sevice of an evil (or at least dishonorable) cause is a reasonably common theme in fiction (and history, but let's NOT go there), but Redcloak is the opposite--an evil person in the service of an (at least arguably) noble cause. That's much less common, at least for a character that's the leader of such a cause.

CommodoreFluffy
2012-01-26, 11:31 AM
His actions are in service to a long-term goal of using a universe-destroying monstrosity to extort the gods into destroying his enemies.

Yes: clearly not just evil, he's Ernst Blofeld evil.

He never explicitly states that he wants to destroy other races, and generally wants to avoid major wars and battles because of the casualties on his side. I think that perhaps he is falling into the same kind of power addiction that Vaarsuvius had, just a lot slower.

**************UPDATE****************************** ******
Alright, I have conceded that Redcloak is evil by DnD and OOTS cannon standards. And this discussion, if anyone wants to continue participating in it, is more about morality than alignment, and the possibility of considering Redcloak more of an anti-hero than a villain as we might look at V (from V for Vendetta), or Dirty Harry or whoever.

luc258
2012-01-26, 11:31 AM
In addition to the already mentioned "plan which risks to undo all creation", he is also using slavery in Gobbotopia. That alone is enough to put him into the evil category in my books.

Oscredwin
2012-01-26, 11:35 AM
He's willing to risk helping Xykon survive SoD by turning him into a lich and he's willing to risk the end of existence by playing with the Snarl. He's a villain with admirable goals, but he's still a villain who's unleashed an epic lich on the world and is risking unmaking existence. That's evil.

Fish
2012-01-26, 11:37 AM
He never explicitly states that he wants to destroy other races...
So extorting the gods is okay then?

Redcloak has already said his idea of peace with humans is "the silence of the grave." It doesn't get much clearer.

Iranon
2012-01-26, 11:42 AM
Very clearly Lawful Evil, under D&D standards.

Unlike a lot of real life morality D&D isn't consistently Good-centric, so it doesn't mean he's "in the wrong". Don't think I can go any further without throwing personal conceptions of morality around, which is neither helpful nor wanted here.

CommodoreFluffy
2012-01-26, 11:46 AM
Okay, you kind of with the whole silence of the grave thing...genocide trumps all.

but to previous arguments


So extorting the gods is okay then?
how would we feel about this if it were a good cleric extorting evil gods or demon lords. If we forget about the black and white alignment system, i think we can get a much more interesting take on the motivations and actions of all the characters.


he is also using slavery in Gobbotopia
It would be easy for one to argue that this is instead the forced labor of civilian (and probably military) POWs of another race (who would kill him if they had the chance). which while definitely terrible, abhorrent and evil in and of itself has been carried out in other instances by people not considered fully evil...like Santa Claus to the elves.


Interestingly, an honorable man in the sevice of an evil (or at least dishonorable) cause is a reasonably common theme in fiction (and history, but let's NOT go there), but Redcloak is the opposite--an evil person in the service of an (at least arguably) noble cause. That's much less common, at least for a character that's the leader of such a cause.
Ultimately this is probably the only conclusion we can reach, but it makes for one of the more interesting characters in this genre of stick figure fiction, and i think warrants more discussion.


I suppose the best solution would be to look at it the other way, and instead go to the conclusion that while paladins and other "good" characters are technically good that doesn't mean they can't be bad like Miko the crazy paladin

**************UPDATE****************************** ******
Alright, I have conceded that Redcloak is evil by DnD and OOTS cannon standards. And this discussion, if anyone wants to continue participating in it, is more about morality than alignment, and the possibility of considering Redcloak more of an anti-hero than a villain as we might look at V (from V for Vendetta), or Dirty Harry or whoever.

zimmerwald1915
2012-01-26, 11:51 AM
His actions mirror the actions of hundreds of revolutionary, rebel and military leaders, whether history has declared them evil or good. He kills in the name of ideal for the betterment of his race.
If the best brush you can paint Redcloak with is that of a petty-minded nationalist, you've got a long way to go towards proving he's not evil.

Bastian Weaver
2012-01-26, 11:54 AM
If we forget about the black and white alignment system, i think we can get a much more interesting take on the motivations and actions of all the characters.

Does it change anything? Like that fact that Redcloak willingly caused death of goblinoids for the greater good of goblinoids? I don't think so.

Ksyr
2012-01-26, 12:00 PM
Even if RC is doing it for the "good" of his people, his people is still evil and will do evil deeds. He is not doing the same as a paladin because a paladin wouldn't overthrow a good civilisation to replace it with an evil one.

http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0511.html

CommodoreFluffy
2012-01-26, 12:00 PM
Does it change anything? Like that fact that Redcloak willingly caused death of goblinoids for the greater good of goblinoids? I don't think so.

Isn't that what all military leaders do?

Ugh... it seems everything's been said. Redcloak's evil, i still think he may be redeemable and the most interesting character in the series.

I guess unless I convince you all that i'm just concerned the camber and toe are off on his wagon this thread will just fill up with these same arguments over and over.

Fish
2012-01-26, 12:06 PM
how would we feel about this if it were a good cleric extorting evil gods or demon lords. If we forget about the black and white alignment system...
This is not a good forum for the general discussion of morality. If it's fictional examples you want, literature has precedent for so-called good heroes defeating evil gods without doing evil themselves (cf "The Devil and Daniel Webster," "The Devil and Billy Markham," "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," and others). The hero beats evil by playing within the rules. If you've an example of a good hero using crime and treachery against evil gods, and remaining good, I'm all ears.

The strongest example I can think of in your favor is Portia's blatantly illegal impersonation of a judge to issue a verdict against Shylock, though any judge in her position, partial to (and in love with) the defendant Antonio should've recused herself. But "Mercant of Venice" is not a D&D world with alignment systems, and Shylock was only considered the villain because he was Jewish. There's no way we can settle the morality of that here, when Shakespearean scholars are still divided on it.

zimmerwald1915
2012-01-26, 12:07 PM
Ugh... it seems everything's been said. Redcloak's evil, i still think he may be redeemable and the most interesting character in the series.
If you wanted to talk about Redcloak's redeemability or the interest his life story and choices pose, the title and OP of the thread should have reflected that. They did not. They posed the question of his alignment in the present. It is not incumbent upon us to infer from a title and OP asking us to comment on Redcloak's alignment that you wanted us to talk about Redcloak's redeemability or how interesting he is.

CommodoreFluffy
2012-01-26, 12:09 PM
This is not a good forum for the general discussion of morality. If it's fictional examples you want, literature has precedent for so-called good heroes defeating evil gods without doing evil themselves (cf "The Devil and Daniel Webster," "The Devil and Billy Markham," "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," and others). The hero beats evil by playing within the rules. If you've an example of a good hero using crime and treachery against evil gods, and remaining good, I'm all ears.

The strongest example I can think of in your favor is Portia's blatantly illegal impersonation of a judge to issue a verdict against Shylock, though any judge in her position, partial to (and in love with) the defendant Antonio should've recused herself. But "Mercant of Venice" is not a D&D world with alignment systems, and Shylock was only considered the villain because he was Jewish. There's no way we can settle the morality of that here, when Shakespearean scholars are still divided on it.

All of Stargate SG-1

there... fixed it

King of Nowere
2012-01-26, 12:30 PM
in my book redcloak is walking a very fine line. the line between being a ruthless-when-necessary, pityless-with-the-enemy, but otherwise perfectly good leader, the kind of leader we cheer when he's on our side, and a leader that is just evil.
military requires that sometimes you must sacrifice some of your own.
circumstancces may force a leader to take some despicable actions. Especially a lich that would have no problems and no hesiitations at killing you and all your people if you complained too much about him killing mooks.
and redcloak is harsh towards humans, but no more than humans are towards goblin. most paladins would kill a goblin on sigth just because he's a goblin, and if we want to accept themn as good we must accept that goblins would kill humans for the same reason. truth is, humnans and goblins have been feuding for so long, every member of each race is likely to kill a member of the other on sigth.

Well, redcloak just walk the line betweem his failings being acceptable or not. he missed several chances of redeeming himself or crossing the moral event horizon.
Of course other poeple would disagree because everyone has different ideas on that. especially many would consider the events at the end of SoD to be his damnation, but I do not, as a leader is required to put the interest of his poeple before his family, and from what redcloak knew his action was in the best interest of his people (and in fact we know he was right, the other choice would have lead to an angry xykon going on a rampage).

Anyway, I see a great tragedy in the story of redcloak, which is that recloak would have become a perfectly good guy if he was born human and had a normal life. Probably he would have become a perfectly good guy just trying to help his litle goblin community too, if not for events in SoD that were beyond his control

Fish
2012-01-26, 12:39 PM
Can Redcloak be redeemed? No, I doubt it it would happen.

If he ever shifted alignments to Good, he'd no longer be a cleric of the Dark One, which means he'd no longer have access to the Ritual via the cloak. Even if he dies to redeem himself, it's not a big sacrifice since he was already planning to risk unmaking the world dying would mean he goes to the afterlife instead.

Could his death be poignant? Sure. He's an interesting character. It won't undo all the evil he's done, though.

CommodoreFluffy
2012-01-26, 12:44 PM
I doubt he could become good, I agree that that's too far away from where he stands right now.

I think that it's possible that if stripped of power given perspective redcloak could become neutral. I think he has the capacity for redemption, but not necessarily towards great justice.

zimmerwald1915
2012-01-26, 12:45 PM
WRT redemption, Soon, ironically, says it best1. It's not enough that he accomplishes his goals. It's not enough that goblins achieve a place in the world, or even a place in the sun. For Redcloak to find redemption he would have to consciously recognize that he was misguided, that his actions were wrong. Given that his whole character development has been about finding new and creative ways to avoid this anagnorisis, redemption is less than likely.

1My, that's a lot of commas.

Iranon
2012-01-26, 01:00 PM
Talking about a character's redeemability is a big hint that the author is approaching the D&D alignment system from a direction that's probably not appropriate: good isn't necessarily Good, and vice versa.
There is no inherent value in moving north on the alignment chart.

If Redcloak put a stop on the plan, got rid of Xykon one way or the other and made it his life goal to bring peace to goblinoids by diplomacy, the question would make as much or slightly more sense (having turned his back on a duty he had accepted willingly).

The only context in which Redemption makes sense is failing to live up to ideals the character wholly believes in.

zimmerwald1915
2012-01-26, 01:05 PM
Talking about a character's redeemability is a big hint that the author is approaching the D&D alignment system from a direction that's probably not appropriate: good isn't necessarily Good, and vice versa.
There is no inherent value in moving north on the alignment chart.

If Redcloak put a stop on the plan, got rid of Xykon one way or the other and made it his life goal to bring peace to goblinoids by diplomacy, the question would make as much or slightly more sense (having turned his back on a duty he had accepted willingly).

The only context in which Redemption makes sense is failing to live up to ideals the character wholly believes in.
A god that would demand his cleric atone for seeking peace for goblinoids by diplomacy instead of pursuing that god's Plan is not a god whose judgment should be relied upon in moral questions. It's almost as though that god were petty and spiteful.

ThePhantasm
2012-01-26, 01:06 PM
I have a sneaking feeling that if this isn't already a morally justified thread, it is about to become one very quickly.

Manga Maniac
2012-01-26, 02:01 PM
Theoretically, Redcloak could be redeemed. His main goal in life is to try and improve the Goblin race's condition, after all.

Realistically? Dear gods no; he's given up so much for this Xykon thing, and if he were to turn to the other side, that would mean all that would be a waste. And Redcloak can't let that happen.

pendell
2012-01-26, 02:40 PM
Possibly a better question would be: What would it take to redeem Redcloak?

Per Soon's monologue back when Miko died , it seems to involve

1) At minimum, acknowledging that you might be wrong.

2) A step above is recognizing that you are in fact wrong.

3) Attempting to make restitution.

Can Redcloak do these things? Yes. Will the Giant write the story so he does? Only the Giant knows.

But I do have hope for Redcloak, because if you recall he DID perform this three step process at the battle of Azure City. He had been deliberately killing the hobgoblins because of a childish grudge. He recognized that what he was doing was wrong, and he made restitution, as best he could, for the harm he had done.

So we know that Redcloak is capable of repentence.

Whether he will extend that repentence to his participation in the Dark One's Plan, or whether he'll continue to lie to himself, only the Giant knows.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

skaddix
2012-01-26, 03:48 PM
No redemption, he should die or be unmade. RC needs to own it like Xykon and Tarquin.

Manga Maniac
2012-01-26, 03:59 PM
@above: Unmaking would perhaps be a little... harsh. Yes, he's evil, but he's evil for a good cause.

SoD spoilers
Heck, if Xykon hadn't shown up when he did, he probably would've dropped the Plan and settled down with Right-Eye and his family.

Iranon
2012-01-26, 04:40 PM
A god that would demand his cleric atone for seeking peace for goblinoids by diplomacy instead of pursuing that god's Plan is not a god whose judgment should be relied upon in moral questions. It's almost as though that god were petty and spiteful.

What the god wants doesn't even enter it, what matters is shirking a grave responsibility willingly accepted.

No god, Good or Evil, can claim ultimate moral authority. You're again implying that the only morality that can be relied on is Good morality, and there's nothing to validate that.
(Both in the context of a typical D&D setting).

With the mythological backstory of this particular world, it's very easy to argue that appeasement is the wrong option for a goblin leader with alternatives - practically and morally.

Bastian Weaver
2012-01-26, 04:41 PM
Yeah, he could be redeemed. Why not? It almost happened to Belkar, you know.
As to who's the most interesting character in the story - for me, Roy is far more interesting than Wrong-Eye. He has plans of his own, which do not involve destroying the world or playing lackey to an undead monster. He changes the world one step at a time and tries to make it a better place. And he takes care of his family. Now, if we asked Eric Greenhilt and Right-Eye what do they think about their brothers, I doubt we'd hear something pleasant about Redcloak...

veti
2012-01-26, 06:40 PM
I think the unaddressed elephant in this thread is: what would count as "redemption"?

Turning to "good" alignment? That would be to turn his back on his god and all the people who depend on him, which is an odd idea of "redemption". (And an odd idea of "good", if you think about it.)

Atoning for his evil deeds? Runs into the same philosophical problem. Some deeds are "evil" as defined by the standards described in the rules; others - such as the conquest of Azure City - are only "evil" as defined by their opposition to those who call themselves "Good" (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0548.html). Still others (such as creating and commanding undead) are defined by the rules as "evil" even though there's no clear moral grounds why they should be. (It's not clear why "channelling negative energy" is inherently opposed to respecting the lives, wellbeing or dignity of sentient beings, which is the closest the rules get to describing an objective standard for 'good'.)

For myself, I think I would consider Redcloak "redeemed" if he starts taking all reasonable steps to minimise the harm he causes while pursuing his goal. He took a turn in that direction here (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0451.html); what remains is for him to stop being unnecessarily cruel to his enemies. If he could do that, he'd be the epitome of the noble foe.


The strongest example I can think of in your favor is Portia's blatantly illegal impersonation of a judge to issue a verdict against Shylock, though any judge in her position, partial to (and in love with) the defendant Antonio should've recused herself.

Quibble: Portia didn't impersonate a judge, merely a lawyer. The duke presided over the trial, and it was he who issued the verdict and sentence. (Not that he was that much more impartial.)

JustIgnoreMe
2012-01-26, 06:57 PM
Quibble: Portia didn't impersonate a judge, merely a lawyer. The duke presided over the trial, and it was he who issued the verdict and sentence. (Not that he was that much more impartial.)

Nope, Portia is impersonating a judge. "An upright judge, a learned judge" at that.

The Duke gives judgement on the second matter brought before the court (Shylock trying, as an alien, to kill a Venetian), not the debt.

Templarkommando
2012-01-26, 07:14 PM
Something that helps us relate to characters in fantasy is that they have understandable motives. This is why bad guys that are bad for no apparent reason are met with general derision. Consider Arthas from Warcraft III. The entire reason that he is a sympathetic character is that he is willing to do whatever it takes to protect his people, and his willingness to follow this ethic no matter to whatever extremes he needs to is the very thing that leads to his downfall.

Redcloak, imho, is in the same boat. Personally, I think Redcloak is a brilliantly written character - and he's a character that I can relate to on some levels (though there are some levels that I have difficulty with - which is what I think separates us). Redcloak's morality (at least in part) is that the gods gave goblinoids the short end of the stick when it came to resources, territory, etc. This in and of itself is a highly astute and moral observation. Redcloak's downfall comes from what he does with that observation.He is willing to go to great extremes to correct an observed evil.

Fish
2012-01-26, 07:51 PM
... the gods gave goblinoids the short end of the stick when it came to resources, territory, etc. This in and of itself is a highly astute and moral observation.
Presuming it's true. It's a story told by an evil god to his evil high priest, then retold by the evil high priest to his brother. It's probably close to the truth. Maybe. :)

Templarkommando
2012-01-26, 07:54 PM
Presuming it's true. It's a story told by an evil god to his evil high priest, then retold by the evil high priest to his brother. It's probably close to the truth. Maybe. :)

That would be an interesting twist, and I'm interested to see how it plays out, however; that's something that I'm willing to adopt a wait and see attitude on.

That is a very good point though...

Kish
2012-01-26, 07:56 PM
Talking about a character's redeemability is a big hint that the author is approaching the D&D alignment system from a direction that's probably not appropriate: good isn't necessarily Good, and vice versa.
There is no inherent value in moving north on the alignment chart.
This argument is insupportable.

Edited: This claim is insupportable, and is not actually an argument, just a small group of related assertions.

ti'esar
2012-01-26, 08:01 PM
Presuming it's true. It's a story told by an evil god to his evil high priest, then retold by the evil high priest to his brother. It's probably close to the truth. Maybe. :)

And for that matter, said evil god was himself told that story by other evil gods...

Cranica
2012-01-26, 08:28 PM
Redcloak is redeemable, sure. Only by some sort of enormous atonement, but he's a somewhat misguided zealot, not usually a truly malicious person towards people he doesn't feel have harmed him. That said, he is very clearly Evil right now, and a very bad person even not in DND terms, which I can prove in three words:

crunch crunch crunch

Ravian
2012-01-26, 08:49 PM
And for that matter, said evil god was himself told that story by other evil gods...

And so the cosmic game of Telephone goes...

I believe that Redcloak is approaching a crossroads, he will either redeem himself, possibly making an ultimate sacrifice (like throwing himself and Xykon into the Snarl) or he may fall completely.

IMHO I'm leaning towards redemption, probably not full on turn to good, but maybe simply realizing that while so much has already been paid, the remaining cost far outweighs such. However I'm suspecting a possible Snape twist here and there (whom I believe takes the cake for most complex character ever created in a Book series aimed primarily for children/teenagers, Redcloak wins the prize for most complex in a web comic though:smallsmile:)

jidasfire
2012-01-28, 10:35 AM
Despite being a comedy, Order of the Stick is not a happy story. Hasn't been since the Dungeon of Dorukan blew up. Given this, I don't think it's going to end with Redcloak just turning around to be a nice guy and hugging Roy and everyone getting what they want. Redcloak is capable of change, that's true, but never have his changes been particularly nice ones. If anything, he's just become more ruthless and pragmatic. People point out his change in behavior toward the hobgoblins during the Battle of Azure City, but that wasn't a change toward compassion, not really. All he realized is that he should treat hobgoblins the same as he treats goblins, which, as has been pointed out, is to attempt to improve their standing in the world in theory, while continuing to throw away their individual lives in practice. He would gladly sacrifice all of his own kind to achieve his goals, never realizing that they're the ones he supposedly fights for.

Redcloak is the kind of villain, now more than ever after the recent events of the strip, who will tell you it's your fault that he's killing you, point out how evil you are as he does things far worse, and never see even the slightest hint of hypocrisy. He is not becoming a better person, and at this point in the story, if he was going to move along a path toward moral redemption, it probably would have started. Even Belkar has shown some small movement toward being a slightly less evil character. But the fact is, the story is moving in the direction of Redcloak being more evil, and preparing his ultimate betrayal of Xykon, not toward him realizing that he's wrong about anything. At this stage of his life, what could convince him? First of all, he's winning. People tend to realize errors when they're losing. Second, what possible person or thing would show him the error of his ways? His brother, the last person he even kind of cared about, couldn't do it after trying with all his might and being armed with direct personal knowledge of Redcloak's history and motivations, and Redcloak was a nicer person then. Who could do it now, Roy?

Even if Redcloak began to realize his behavior is immoral, which I strongly suspect he won't, how would it result in anything other than him being reduced to a broken shell? How could a man whose entire personality is based on being unable to admit he's wrong have such a change of heart and become a paragon of conventional morality? I don't think we're going to see a retread of the Miko "redemption is not for everyone" motif, because I don't think Mr. Burlew sings the same song twice all that often. Redcloak will probably die by the end of the story, and most likely we'll be invited to feel ambivalent about him, because we can still understand what he's after but deplore his methods, as we should. But redemption, no. Does not seem likely to me.

Kish
2012-01-28, 10:45 AM
He would gladly sacrifice all of his own kind to achieve his goals, never realizing that they're the ones he supposedly fights for.
Redcloak is Ser Galen!

Subzero008
2012-01-28, 11:23 AM
So extorting the gods is okay then?

If the gods in question have repeatedly doomed your race to be XP fodder, I'd want to extort them too.

Subzero008
2012-01-28, 12:12 PM
Possibly a better question would be: What would it take to redeem Redcloak?

Per Soon's monologue back when Miko died , it seems to involve

1) At minimum, acknowledging that you might be wrong.

2) A step above is recognizing that you are in fact wrong.

3) Attempting to make restitution.

One of the problems with this, is that RC, unless he undergoes drastic character development, would never conclude his actions as wrong.

He does admit that he might be wrong, as seen in the hobbo example, but for the larger scale(emotionally) stuff, like Right-Eye, he would never look back. He constantly restricts his actions by forcing himself to accept ultimatums, between what he turned away and what's left.

One way out, although improbable, would be for him to see a better route for helping goblinkind than the warpath he is on.

Personally, I do see possible redemption. Briefly, in SoD, he chooses to stay with his family and abandons The Plan. It is possible for him see the error of his ways, if someone whom he respects would convince him of that.


He would gladly sacrifice all of his own kind to achieve his goals, never realizing that they're the ones he supposedly fights for.

Then why did hemurder his brother because Right-eye's actions might have caused the death of more goblins?

Redcloak is a good leader: he undergoes missions accounting for casualties, accepts responsibility when things go south, his cause is certainly just, but the methods have a lot to improve on.

One funny thing is how everyone criticizes RC for his abhorrent methods, but never mention the paladins which slaughter RC's entire village.

Arminius
2012-01-28, 12:38 PM
Contains SoD spoilers!
As far as we know the creation story, the goblinoids are either sentient beings with the capacity to make moral choices, who were created by the "good" deities to be brutally slaughtered, or they do not have any ability to make moral choices and are just hardwired to be evil, and this discussion is irrelevant. This is basically the same problem Tolkein had with orcs and never really resolved to his satisfaction. If they are just evil, and nothing can change it, there is no possibility of redemption. If they can make moral choices, and the creation story as we know it is true, then that makes me wonder what business the "good" gods have calling themselves good.

Just from what we have seen, it looks more like the goblinoids are sentient and capable of making moral choices. So with the information we have, the gods of good are looking kind of evil to me, and should be overthrown. So Redcloak's goals, as they are laid out and with the information he has, seem pretty good to me. So now the question is how do you go about attaining those goals? Well, he seems to have gone about it in a rather evil way. He gave immortality and enhanced powers to a sociopath who kills people(or any sentient beings) for fun. He murdered his own brother for opposing Xykon. He repeatedly used his people, including close family, as cannon fodder in numerous wars and battles. He tortured O'Chul knowing that he didn't have any of the information he needed, basically he did it because he hates paladins(albeit with good reason). These things all strike me as evil. I think Redcloak knows this deep down, but is trying to deny it to himself. The only reason he is able to function under all the guilt is that he thinks it will be worth it in the end.

So, can he be redeemed? Yes, I think he can, and I think he is tending towards it, albeit slowly. His realization at the battle of Azure City was a major step forward I think. He recognized that his treatment of the Hobgoblins was wrong, and on recognizing it, changed his attitudes and behaviour. This is a good sign, it means he can recognize when he is wrong and correct those errors. He still has a long ways to go, but that he has that capacity is a good sign. The last few strips also strike me as a good sign. He is taking steps to reign in and eventually destroy Xykon. He is still willing to sacrifice his subordinates, but no longer on a whim. Military leaders must be willing and able to sacrifice the lives of their subordinates in order to lead effectively. A bad one does it needlessly, a good one will try to minimize the losses if possible, but still carry out their duties when necessary. Is this evil? Quite possibly, U.S. Grant certainly felt guilty about the battle of Cold Harbor for the rest of his life. Redcloak is starting to be less driven by emotion, and more by reason. I think if and when he admits to himself he has and is behaving in an evil manner, and alters his behaviour accordingly, he will be able to redeem himself. Will he be able to do this in the end? I don't know, but I hope so. He certainly seems to have the capability within himself.

jidasfire
2012-01-28, 12:59 PM
Then why did hemurder his brother because Right-eye's actions might have caused the death of more goblins?

Redcloak is a good leader: he undergoes missions accounting for casualties, accepts responsibility when things go south, his cause is certainly just, but the methods have a lot to improve on.

One funny thing is how everyone criticizes RC for his abhorrent methods, but never mention the paladins which slaughter RC's entire village.

Like I said, Redcloak won't let them die for nothing. If every single one of them died to advance The Plan, he'd be perfectly okay with it. He'd also be okay if all their souls were destroyed by the Snarl if it meant that the Dark One could help create the next world.

And for your point about the paladins, are you serious? When Redcloak butchered the Azure City Resistance, which contained exactly one paladin who never harmed a goblin who didn't deserve it, and hung their corpses from the walls, half the forum cheered like the Death Star just blew up.

Kish
2012-01-28, 01:02 PM
Then why did hemurder his brother because Right-eye's actions might have caused the death of more goblins?

You weren't paying a lot of attention to the aftermath of that scene, were you?

He didn't. He murdered his brother to protect his justification for all the goblins who he had gotten killed by investing in Xykon--to protect Xykon. He used "to protect the goblin people" as an excuse.


One funny thing is how everyone criticizes RC for his abhorrent methods, but never mention the paladins which slaughter RC's entire village.

Yes. Very funny. Ha! Ha! Ha!

Of course, what is funny is that this claim requires an almost aggressive lack of observation of the forum you're posting it on.

Arminius
2012-01-28, 02:03 PM
I am not sure it matters from a moral perspective whether or not the Paladins slaughtered Redcloak's village. It makes his actions, particularly towards the Azurites and the Paladins, more understandable, and is relevant in that respect. But this thread is about Redcloak's actions, he is not responsible for the actions of the Paladins, he is responsible for his own. If someone kills your family, does that make it right to kill theirs in retaliation? Regardless of what feud you have with someone, are not their children as innocent as yours were? Killing the old Goblin high priest may have been justified during a war. I see little justification for killing a defenseless little girl like Redcloak's sister, even if she was a Goblin. If Redcloak's sister was innocent, aren't the children of Azure City?

Iranon
2012-01-28, 02:15 PM
This argument is insupportable.

Edited: This claim is insupportable, and is not actually an argument, just a small group of related assertions.

Again, with emphasis:


Talking about a character's redeemability is a big hint that the author is approaching the D&D alignment system from a direction that's probably not appropriate: good isn't necessarily Good, and vice versa.
There is no inherent value in moving north on the alignment chart

You're right, the statements aren't in the form of an argument - they don't have to be. The documentation covers the alignments neutrally enough, if someone wishes to assert that moral philosophy from the point of one alignment is more morally valid than another it'd be their job to argue the point.

In Real life moral philosophy, Evil has admittedly had fewer relevant advocates than Good, Law, Chaos or Neutraliy... and some of the more famous ones seemed more into showmanship than moral philosophy.
But in Real life, Evil isn't as rigidly defined and objective as in D&D; those arguing for an outlook that'd be unambiguously Evil in D&D would be more likely to refuse the label (Tarquin) than accepting it (Redcloak).

Redemption would be a path to attempt for someone who strayed from the alignment they identify with. Don't really see that - Redcloak seems aware content where he stays alignment-wise, and there seems no internal conflict that'd warrant a sudden change.
We've seen such alignment pressure in 2 LG characters who identified strongly with that alignment although it didn't come entirely naturally to them - Roy reaffirmed it, Miko snapped (and may have changed to another when she struck down her liege).

Burner28
2012-01-28, 02:16 PM
If Redcloak's sister was innocent, aren't the children of Azure City?

Indeed they are. After all, this is definetly another great example of how two wrongs really don't make a right. Killing any innocent people, whether the goal is noble or not, is Evil.

Kish
2012-01-28, 02:21 PM
You're right, the statements aren't in the form of an argument - they don't have to be. The documentation covers the alignments neutrally enough, if someone wishes to assert that moral philosophy from the point of one alignment is more morally valid than another it'd be their job to argue the point.

You're arguing that good isn't morally better than evil and that anyone who claims it is has the burden of proving their point, while your assertions are sufficient.

Full marks for chutzpah.

Some words are both real-world terms, and D&D terms which mean something different. "Good" and "Evil" are not like that; they mean exactly the same thing in D&D and in real life. You can argue that D&D morality is fundamentally wrongheaded, but arguing that the word "redemption" does not map to "going from evil to good" perfectly clearly, unambiguously, and correctly will require a little more support than reciting Humpty-Dumpty's creed.

zimmerwald1915
2012-01-28, 03:28 PM
What the god wants doesn't even enter it, what matters is shirking a grave responsibility willingly accepted.

No god, Good or Evil, can claim ultimate moral authority. You're again implying that the only morality that can be relied on is Good morality, and there's nothing to validate that.
(Both in the context of a typical D&D setting).
Ordinarily, I would agree with you. However, this is a thread about Redcloak, and even before Redcloak put on the Crimson Mantle he defined his identity by his service, as a cleric, to the Dark One. As such, "redemption" for him, requires having first violated his code of conduct as a cleric of the Dark One; only then can he seek forgiveness and Atonement for his "wrong". Yes, clerics have codes of conduct. They aren't made as much of in play or in discussion forums as a paladin's, because they are specific to each god and thus the designers didn't bother to write them all out. As a consequence they are vaguer, more easy for GMs to forget about, and more easy for players to BS around. But they do exist, and for clerics especially define the morality of their actions. If Redcloak turned away from the Dark One or his teachings, he would need to "redeem" himself in order to go back to him. I suspect he would even want to. He would not see his turning away as part of a redemptive process.

kpenguin
2012-01-28, 03:54 PM
*************UPDATE******************************* *****
Alright, I have conceded that Redcloak is evil by DnD and OOTS cannon standards. And this discussion, if anyone wants to continue participating in it, is more about morality than alignment, and the possibility of considering Redcloak more of an anti-hero than a villain as we might look at V, or Dirty Harry or whoever.

The Modguin: Hey, look! The very definite mark of a morally justified thread! Thread closed.