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magicwalker
2007-02-07, 09:29 PM
I'm kind of curious about other people's suggestions. The only archetype I can think of is a tyrant or a dictator who uses the laws to achieve his own evil agenda.

What other facets of Lawful Evil exist?

Deus Mortus
2007-02-07, 09:36 PM
An evil person with a strong code of conduct, like my Tinderhall character in town, he has unwavering loyalty to his friends and has some things he won't do, like rape.

Krimm_Blackleaf
2007-02-07, 09:37 PM
Lawyer, at least a malicious one. Finding all the loopholes in the law to gain power and/or screw other people over, all within the confines in the law (...more or less).

Solo
2007-02-07, 09:39 PM
Think Johnnie Cochran

kamikasei
2007-02-07, 09:41 PM
Anyone who works within and respects the laws in order to achieve evil ends would fall under the heading. Say, the head of a corporation who is exceedingly ruthless, uncaring of suffering caused by his actions, but has excellent legal advice.

For the other approach to Lawful, internal rather than external, someone with a code of conduct which is clearly Lawful but also Evil. For example, someone preoccupied with honour to the point of killing innocents to preserve it. Many Klingons, no doubt, would be Lawful Evil. Many human societies in the past (and some still extant) feature this sort of attitude, too.

Maxymiuk
2007-02-07, 09:44 PM
Everything of importance that you do has an ulterior motive.

That noble's daughter you rescued from the gnolls? Yeah, daddy now owes you a big favor. The donation to the orphanage? Makes you look like the good guy and hey, elections for mayor are coming up. The secretary you've spent the last two months seducing? Sure, the sex is nice, but it's really to get into her bosses' tax records.

People are either a means to an end, or an obstacle to be removed. Society is a system that you learned to take advantage of while staying within its parameters.

Note: This does not stop you from having real friends, morals, or a cause to believe in. In fact, those things may very well be something that motivates your behavior (which doesn't make it any less "wrong").

Fat Daddy
2007-02-07, 09:46 PM
In a D&D context, a character who exploits loopholes in the law to both advance and protect themselves. Or one who obviously violates the intent of the law while adhering to the letter to attain his own ends. Also one who uses the law to persecute others who stand in his way.

Diggorian
2007-02-07, 10:03 PM
LE covers anyone from Le to lE.

Le= follower of personal code that has no inhibitions about killing anyone to meet his goals. He's almost LN, but less compassionate.

lE= one who methodically implements his evil designs. Almost NE but more anal.

Mewtarthio
2007-02-07, 10:07 PM
LE doesn't have to mean "manipulates the law for own benefit." It can also mean "highly honorable, but willing to perform evil acts."

Yodaman23
2007-02-07, 10:10 PM
[Scrubbed]

Orzel
2007-02-07, 10:17 PM
There's also a character that follows a code that contains many evil actions.

"Wearing light green during the day. The Blood Ranger Code states that I must kill you if you are gloveless. Let me see your hands. Dirty nails. There goes your son. Hold Person."

I miss my Blood Rangers of Might.

And there's devil aligment aka Evil and Order.
Recieve. Read. Rend. Record. Repeat.

LurkerInPlayground
2007-02-07, 10:26 PM
Personally I'd play a somebody who isn't arbitrarily opposed to "good" just because he happens to be "evil." Being evil doesn't necessarily mean he crusades against good. Perhaps he doesn't think it's practical, wise or prudent to go foisting his personal values or make war on an abstract concept like "good." Maybe he even views tyrants and dictators as being weak and immature individuals.

He can admire morality and the spirit in which it is intended. Maybe he does view certain laws as being both practical and just, while adamantly disagreeing with others.

The evil part can come from any number of personal motivations or philosophies. Maybe he's just cynic who believes that conflict is inevitable, that *somebody* has to stain his hands in order to protect an ideal/society/city/country. Maybe the conflict is inevitable because, as an adventurer, he must simply be ready to kill to simplify the situation. Maybe he just dislikes hypocrites who profess to be good and just. Maybe he's just deluded the way Miko is, but unlike Miko, enjoys killing everything that he considers "evil" as an end in itself. Maybe he's on a mission to take down a corrupt regime that killed his parents/friends/torched his village using any means at his disposal.

The key thing to go for is an anti-hero or an antagonist without trying to make him into a archetypal villain who sits by himself in a ominous fortress waiting for the good guys to come. This guy has goals, motivations and may even have a job, a family and friends.

JaronK
2007-02-07, 10:38 PM
There's a lot of potencial LE characters. A nationalistic necromancer who uses undead to protect his country from foreign threats could easily be LE. An assassin who works for the government taking out targets that oppose the rule of law would likewise be LE in most cases. A Paladin of a god of death who slays all those he deems unworthy would also likely be LE.

JaronK

LurkerInPlayground
2007-02-07, 10:43 PM
An example of a lawful evil character would be in the Jade Empire video game. Sagacious Zu would be defined lawful evil. He's a firm believer in personal strength. The strong *should* rule the weak. It's simply the natural order.

However he does not approve of the current Emperor's regime. This is partially because the current powers uses a secret police to target every voice of dissent and criticism. He views this as a weakness in itself because it shows an incompetence in administrative strategy and also a personal insecurity and arrogance. Even worse, the Emperor is playing god, which is clearly goes against the mandate of the Heavens.

Of course, Zu has no compunctions killing people he considers to be "honorless dogs." These include such notables as corrupt lords and bandits. They deserve death simply because their personal incompetence and weak character usually translates into problems for other people. The personal strength of a person redeems itself by the consequences of the actions taken by that individual.

LurkerInPlayground
2007-02-07, 10:44 PM
Double post.

Hallavast
2007-02-07, 10:44 PM
Hannibal Lecter as portrayed in "Silence of the Lambs" and "Hannibal" is a perfect archetype of Lawful Evil. So is Darth Vader.

J_Muller
2007-02-07, 10:45 PM
In a D&D context, a character who exploits loopholes in the law to both advance and protect themselves. Or one who obviously violates the intent of the law while adhering to the letter to attain his own ends. Also one who uses the law to persecute others who stand in his way.

Or, in simpler terms: Jack Thompson.

Krimm_Blackleaf
2007-02-07, 11:38 PM
Hannibal Lecter as portrayed in "Silence of the Lambs" and "Hannibal" is a perfect archetype of Lawful Evil. So is Darth Vader.
I disagree. Hannibal Lecter is deffinetly CE, but his sophistocated personality sort of blinds that fact that he eats people's faces and doesn't do all that good a job of hiding it...but only because he doesn't care.

Thomas
2007-02-07, 11:52 PM
The corrupted bureaucrat; the knight who uses his rank and privileges to abuse others; the copper (watchman, whatever) who upholds the law with ruthless and questionable means, possibly while making a personal profit (Vic Mackey!); all various evil overlord -types (and most "grand-vizier" -type villains)...

"Lawful Evil" is a broad concept, just like any alignment; it just means "group before individual" and "immoral" (or "amoral and really nasty").

Lurker makes a point that's important for all characters (evil ones especially). While Good alignment pretty much demands that one opposes Evil, being Evil doesn't mean you have to be automatically, fundamentally opposed to Good; in fact, many Evil characters will be "regular people" - they justify the evil they do in various way (Sopranos ahoy!), or amoral (believing that Good and Evil are nonexistent; perhaps holding the conviction that the concepts are just tools used to hold sway over those who are weaker... "There is no good and evil: only power and those too weak to seek it").

Arceliar
2007-02-08, 12:05 AM
I disagree. Hannibal Lecter is deffinetly CE, but his sophistocated personality sort of blinds that fact that he eats people's faces and doesn't do all that good a job of hiding it...but only because he doesn't care.

I disagree. Remember, Clarice says she doesn't worry that he'll come after her because "he would consider it rude" or something worded like such. To me that implies a strong sense of morals, though a heavily skewed one. Also, most of his actions throughout the film seem cold and calculated. Like you said, he doesn't do a good job of hiding the fact that he eats people because he doesn't care about keeping it secret. Remove that and what you're left with is that sophisticated personality which seems to scream lawful.

I for one interpret alignment by the Means (lawful, because he behaves civil and with clear intent) to an End (evil, because he kills people and eats parts of them).

But alignment is one of those things that most people can never agree on a single interpretation of until they see an official character sheet or something.

Thomas
2007-02-08, 12:10 AM
I disagree. Remember, Clarice says she doesn't worry that he'll come after her because "he would consider it rude" or something worded like such. To me that implies a strong sense of morals, though a heavily skewed one.

That sort of behavior is just demented. It's a bizarre quirk - very random ("Oh, he'll murder anyone else savagely and eat parts of them, but he'd think it'd be rude to attack you"). It's quite unrelated to alignment.

Chaotic doesn't mean you're an unsubtle rampaging monster; I'd class all serial killers as Chaotic Evil, because they are so ultimately selfish; Lawful alignment implies some community-mindedness (whatever the community). Even someone like Charles Manson wouldn't be Lawful Evil, because a person like that has no actual regard for other people - even his "cult" - and sees them as useful objects to be manipulated (into, say, murdering people).

Amphimir MŪriel
2007-02-08, 12:16 AM
Hannibal Lecter as portrayed in "Silence of the Lambs" and "Hannibal" is a perfect archetype of Lawful Evil. So is Darth Vader.

Darth Vader is definitely LE... but not because he was on the side of the "law and goverment", but because the Jedi Order and the Old Republic were too large, complicated and unwieldy to be ordered and lawful, and he hated that.

Palpatine sucessfully exploited Anakin's desire for an ordered, heirarchical goverment, where everybody knew who was on top and obeyed without question.

Obi-Wan, Yoda and Mace Windu were just dumb to see that Anakin had more and more issues with authorities he saw as chaotic and erratic and began to relate more and more with an authority figure he saw as forceful and ordered.

Of course, Palpatine also exploited Anakin's childish insecurities and his recklessness, and the Jedi were foolish on more ways than can be counted, but that's another story alltogether.

--

Oh, and Hannibal is definitely a chaotic evil genius. He had an utter disregard for any sense of community, continuity or order

lordmarcoos
2007-02-08, 12:29 AM
Jafar. All LE people should be more like him.

Hallavast
2007-02-08, 12:57 AM
--

Oh, and Hannibal is definitely a chaotic evil genius. He had an utter disregard for any sense of community, continuity or order

I dissagree. He had a personal code that he seemed loathe to break. He was also very keen on keeping up a pretense of manners and etiquette. He justifies almost everything he does - at least to himself.

Amphimir MŪriel
2007-02-08, 01:18 AM
I dissagree. He had a personal code that he seemed loathe to break. He was also very keen on keeping up a pretense of manners and etiquette. He justifies almost everything he does - at least to himself.

The key word here is "himself", and the fact that he is a genius clouds the fact that his nature is to be outside society and it's rules. He believes that rules and morals don't apply to him, and uses his knowledge of other people's rules and morals to his advantage, without them ever constraining his actions at the least.

No matter what she thinks, the only reason Lecter did not try to kill Clarisse is because he feels attracted to her, not out of any moral or ethical consideration.

-

Of course, alignment as it is understood by the D&D rules is a gross oversimplification of the nuances and colors of a character's nature and demeanor.

AoiRorentsu
2007-02-08, 01:36 AM
Another example, if you are, like me, a fan of Avatar: the Last Airbender is Prince Zuko (at least for the first season and arguably the second one as well). He has a deep-rooted sense of honor and loyalty to his father, despite the fact that his father basically wants him out of the way as much as possible. To satisfy that sense of honor, Zuko is trying to capture the Avatar, who would otherwise be the world's hope for peace. Zuko doesn't really care all that much about the war itself, or the tons of people who are affected by it (for good or ill)- he just wants his honor back.

It's sort of been implied already, but one kind of evil is the view that one's own interests are more important than those of everyone else.

Hallavast
2007-02-08, 02:05 AM
The key word here is "himself", and the fact that he is a genius clouds the fact that his nature is to be outside society and it's rules. He believes that rules and morals don't apply to him, and uses his knowledge of other people's rules and morals to his advantage, without them ever constraining his actions at the least.
Of course, one could argue that society's "laws" have little bearing on the Lawful/Chaotic alignment axis. Being lawful does not require you or your actions to be dictated by one society's rules. But, as you said, alignment is too simple to spell out all possible varieties of character traits. Alignment is, however, whatever you make of it. Suffice it to say that Lawful according to the bare minimum definition of the players handbook (and I will assume this is the context of the original argument) means generally keeping one's word, having a sense of tradition, and being reliable. Lecter exibits both of these traits. Evil, by the same book, means selfishness, disregard for human life, and a willingness to harm others. And btw, to say that Lecter believes himself to be above other people's classifications and rules plays into the arrogance that Lecter uses against such people. :smalltongue:


No matter what she thinks, the only reason Lecter did not try to kill Clarisse is because he feels attracted to her, not out of any moral or ethical consideration.


This is subject to opinion, I think. It is more complicated than you have just spelled out, surely.

Cybren
2007-02-08, 02:24 AM
Another example, if you are, like me, a fan of Avatar: the Last Airbender is Prince Zuko (at least for the first season and arguably the second one as well). He has a deep-rooted sense of honor and loyalty to his father, despite the fact that his father basically wants him out of the way as much as possible. To satisfy that sense of honor, Zuko is trying to capture the Avatar, who would otherwise be the world's hope for peace. Zuko doesn't really care all that much about the war itself, or the tons of people who are affected by it (for good or ill)- he just wants his honor back.

It's sort of been implied already, but one kind of evil is the view that one's own interests are more important than those of everyone else.
I would say Zuko is Lawful Neutral, which is what makes his choice at the last seasons finale that much more shocking, in a sense.

I play lawful evil as a manipulator. A controlling, heartless puppetmaster who avoids acting outside of authority to get his goals, but has no problem manipulating the authority to further his own goals. Someone who would kill you if he has to, and if he does, he is sincere when he asks for any last requests. But before he'd kill you, he'd of course have to ask you to join him. If you refuse he shoots you with lightning from his fingers before his closest advisor hurls him down a strangely placed bottumless pit

Renegade Paladin
2007-02-08, 02:26 AM
When I roleplay lawful evil, the character/NPC (usually the latter) usually fits one of three general archetypes:

1.) The evil schemer. Smart, methodical, and utterly ruthless. He can have some form of evil end in mind that he's working towards, or he can just be the vindictive sort that crushes people who get in his way while living his daily life. I usually roleplay him as polite and urbane even while doing his evil deeds, though that's just a personal quirk of mine. He's everything Nale thinks he is, in other words. :smalltongue:

2.) The minion. Utterly loyal, disciplined, and able to follow orders to the letter. Usually earns the position of trusted lieutenant, to use the terminology of the Evil Overlord List.

3.) The Evil Overlord. Classic BBEG; has a Big and Evil Plan™, usually of the long-term variety, and is quite adept at using other people to accomplish it. May be overconfident or not. If I'm feeling really evil, he'll have read the Evil Overlord List (http://www.eviloverlord.com/lists/overlord.html) and taken its lessons to heart.

AoiRorentsu
2007-02-08, 02:28 AM
Yeah, I see your point - I think Zuko undergoes alignment shift (his whole spiritual inner battle thing) towards lawful neutral, but i think definitely in the first season, he's a rather complex lawful evil-type

averagejoe
2007-02-08, 02:28 AM
Another good example is the sort of classic interpretation of "the devil" (in the non-DnD sense.) You make a deal with him, and he'll stick to that deal. Just not always in the way that you suspect. He will never actually break the deal, but it will almost never turn out like you wanted.

Edit: Don Corleone from The Godfather is another good example. He has people killed, exploits people for money, the whole shabang. But he was devoted absolutely to his family. His son, on the other hand, turned out more CE.

ExHunterEmerald
2007-02-08, 02:28 AM
The master manipulator. Everyone and everything is a piece in a game.

Hallavast
2007-02-08, 02:40 AM
I play lawful evil as a manipulator. A controlling, heartless puppetmaster who avoids acting outside of authority to get his goals, but has no problem manipulating the authority to further his own goals. Someone who would kill you if he has to, and if he does, he is sincere when he asks for any last requests.
Sounds like Dr. Lecter to me.:smallwink:

TheThan
2007-02-08, 03:37 AM
Darth Vader is definitely LE... but not because he was on the side of the "law and goverment", but because the Jedi Order and the Old Republic were too large, complicated and unwieldy to be ordered and lawful, and he hated that.

Palpatine sucessfully exploited Anakin's desire for an ordered, heirarchical goverment, where everybody knew who was on top and obeyed without question.

Obi-Wan, Yoda and Mace Windu were just dumb to see that Anakin had more and more issues with authorities he saw as chaotic and erratic and began to relate more and more with an authority figure he saw as forceful and ordered.

Of course, Palpatine also exploited Anakin's childish insecurities and his recklessness, and the Jedi were foolish on more ways than can be counted, but that's another story alltogether.



Darth Vader is not lawful evil, heís chaotic evil. Heís not the crazy lunatic type chaotic evil. Heís the kind you donít see coming. Heís strongly ruled by his emotions. He killed the captain of the Tantive IV (the ship he attacks at the opening of A New Hope), not because he couldnít get any information out of him, but because he was mad they hadnít found the stolen plans to the Death Star yet. He fought and killed Obi-Wan not because of some duty to the emperor, but because he has a personal grudge against him, after all he thinks Obi-Wan is the one that drove Padmť against him, heís the one responsible for his broken body. Heís not responsible for his own decent into darkness, its all Obi-Wanís fault.

In empire strikes back, Vader kills a lot of his high-ranking officers, not so much for their own failures, but because heís mad that they failed. Just listen closely to Vaderís speech he gives the commanders before the attack on echo base (the part when the guy on the view screen is choked to death). Vaderís voice nearly breaks while he addresses Admiral Ozzle. That happened because heís freaking pissed off at Ozzle for screwing up.
Vader also tries to convert Luke to the dark side, not because the emperor wants him to (he managed to convince him to allow him to try), but he did so out of love for his son, even though heís really never seen him. Even before he got permission to capture Luke, he was searching for him, because he knew they were related. If he was lawful he would have killed Luke at Bespin (knowing the emperor would be pleased either way), but he sort of let him get away, when he realized he couldnít bring himself to kill him. So he let Luke fall off the railing.


In return of the Jedi, Vader lets them on the planet so he could talk to him, he could have ordered them shot out of the sky and the rebellion would never have known and still flown into the trap. The emperor counted on Vader to let them down there so he could show of his own deviousness, and also to try to get Luke to fall when he revealed his big plot.
Now, Luke saw Vaderís compassion for him at Bespin. He saw that he could possibly turn him back to the light side of the force and counted on Vaderís compassion to use to turn him.


Now Luke is chaotic good, for the same reasons Vader is chaotic evil. Luke is ruled by his emotions. He runs off to rescue his folks even though obi-wan told him it was too dangerous. Lukeís the one that wanted to run off and rescue Leia, because he had a crush on her even when Obi-Wan told him to stay put. Later that crush turned into the sort of love a brother has for his sister (not in a dirty way, get your heads out of the gutter).
During Empire strikes back we see a more tempered character, heís been in the rebellion for a while, heís got his own command and has a lot of responsibilities. But on Dagobah Lukeís chaotic side gets to be shown, when he had that vision about his friends dying horribly. He couldnít get it out of his head and decided to go and try to save them. Even though his mentors told him to stay and wait until he was ready to take on Vader. The cost of his recklessness was loosing a hand.

With Return of the Jedi we see an even more tempered version of Luke. Heís less wild, more mature and vastly more experienced in the world. Heís lost a lot of his innocence, but not all of it. He cares deeply for the people around him and tries to protect them when at all possible. But his chaotic side still showed up, during the battle with Vader, first he snatches up his lightsaber and starts the fight, but he regains his composure and stops fighting. Vaderís able to use Lukeís love for his sister to provoke Luke into fighting back, eventually severing his hand, clearly you can see heís angry. Then he manages to regain his composure and stand up to the emperor (only to be zapped by the emperorís favorite force power).

I could go on but itís late and Iím tired. If you havenít guessed Iíve given this a lot of though. So Iíll post more later, probably on Anakin, the emperor and Leia.

AngelSword
2007-02-08, 04:31 AM
I guess I have a few views on Lawful Evil.

1) Honor-bound. This is the type who wishes evil, but will not break a personal credo (never harming a child/woman/invalid, always honoring a contract, honoring debts, that sort of thing), no matter the potential payoff.

2) Exploiter. The type of person who, as described, knows the law so well, he can do anything legally. They also honor contracts, but most likely because the contract contains a minuscule, highly unlikely escape clause that he sees through to execution.

3) User. What I like to call, "The Urza Clause." This person is the most dangerous, in my mind. They have friends, and may even love. But nothing is more important than their one, driving goal. The only thing you can count on is for him to toss you away after you've fulfilled your apparent usefulness (So-called the Urza (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urza) clause because that is, essentially, what makes him tick).

daggaz
2007-02-08, 04:41 AM
IE Hannibal:I would say overall he is chaotic, with strong outward nuances towards being lawful. Especially if you read the books instead of going from just the movie.

Lector has a complete disdain/disregard/burning,hating,contempt for authority, especially the law, (clearly chaotic), but really only because he considers himself to be superior in all aspects. Any situation where authority is excersized over him only lights that burning, inner rage, as it highlights a breach of his special 'natural order of things.' (kinda lawful, but its a personal code, not one shared with society)

On the other hand, he is meticulous in his adherence to the laws of the social elite. And its not entirely cover. Lector admires, yes loves, the finer points of human civilization. Art, Food, Wine, Music, Culture in all its aspects, he worships these artforms in the pinnacle of their perfection. Now, the pleasant niceties of society, the how-do-you do's etc.., on one hand, you know he doesn't give a damn about the actual people (he IS a sociopath), but instead it is the art of conversation, the art of politeness, to which he is addicted. (Lawful, but only vaguely... as it is more the love of the refined code itself, rather than the meaning of the code, how it applies to people and the effect thereof, to which he adheres to. The only time he cares about how it effects others, is when it is showcasing his superiority over them. Lawfully selfish.)

In the end, you have to remember he is a sociopath. Albeight, a finely cultured, highly educated, and overwhelmingly intelligent sociopath. But still, a sociopath. And chaotic by definition, despite his lawful trappings. After the fine dinner party, he cuts people's ears' off for reasons which while sensible to himself, could only be construed as chaotic and on a hair-trigger by any sane person.

It really comes down to your perspective on this case. In Lector's world, he is supremely Lawful, and probably not exactly evil. Human beings are foul animals, and he is their God, free to do with them as he likes.

In our world, yeah, thats the definition of crazy. And in his case, a sociopath. And it's hardly lawful.

Wippit Guud
2007-02-08, 04:52 AM
The epitome of Lawful Evil: Khellendros (aka Skie) from Dragonlance.

If you've ever read some of the 5th Age books, Skie entire purpose in life since the death of Kitiara is to restore her spirit back to life. he calls it loyalty and devotion, but it's more akin to love. Everything he does, all the evil acts her performs is all in a quest to bring her back. He even starts to echo her personality at times, being honorable even to enemies and such.


I suppose an easier idea is Lord Soth, being bound by the Code and Measure even though he's a death knight, but Skie is way cooler.


If you're going for the Star Wars references, Boba Fett is Lawful Evil. Everything he does is for either credits or his own personal gain (including knowledge). If he's not being paid to kill someone, he won't do it - there's no gain in it. You see that a lot when he runs in Bossk - killing him would make life easier, but there's no reason to.

Renegade Paladin
2007-02-08, 05:08 AM
You also see it when he delivers on a contract and then immediately takes a job from the guy he just turned over to rescue him. :smallbiggrin:

Caelestion
2007-02-08, 06:09 AM
Well, I'm a dab hand of Lawful Evil. My friends say I'm LE in RL because I'm so good at it! My two favourite types of Lawful Evil are:
The Manipulator - This is a socialite (often a merchant, noble or lawyer) who uses his charisma, wealth and power to manipulate people into doing unsavoury things for him. He is not overly concerned with social mores, except where they reflect on his character, and will happily consider evil (but covert) tactics.
The Dark Knight - This is a strongly principled and highly organised person, but without any thought for compassion or "lesser mortals". His lord's will is his duty and his word is his bond. He'll burn down a populated village, ride over a starving peasant or execute a dozen innocents to find a traitor, but he will always do as commanded and act according to some sense of personal honour.

My favourite LE character (one I played online for four or more years) was a mix of these two. He was firmly in the manipulator camp, but who was also fanatically loyal to the God of Evil, a respected family man and strictly honourable to all who dealt fairly with him. He believed in civilisation, community, order and education, yet he also dreamt about personal power, crushing his many enemies and ensuring the supremacy of his fell deity.

PnP Fan
2007-02-08, 09:04 AM
Daggaz I think hit the Lechter nail on the head. Lechter definitely has a personal code of conduct, but it's personal, and it only applies to whomever he decides it applies. And that is almost as random as the people he decides to dine on. (okay, maybe not, but many of his victims are random and opportunistic, particularly in the second movie). Being Chaotic does not imply that someone is by necessity not in control of their actions, it just means that whatever their methods of making decisions, they have more freedom over their actions than folks who are Lawful. Sometimes this is whimsy, sometimes is a deeply personal code that is beyond society's rules.
As far as the original post, there have been a number of excellent suggestions. We currently have a LE assassin in my party. Her loyalty is to the Emperor of the setting, so she does his bidding. Somebody needs killing, she'll do it. The thing that makes her evil (in my eyes) is that she ENJOYS it. It's quite entertaining, we have a LE, LN, and a LG character all in the same party, and our ethics discussions on the course of action in any given scenario is quite amusing. Especially since the LG player is a relative newbie (2yrs), so I think she sometimes gets offended or a little personally riled up when the LN and LE agree on something.
Anyway, that's one take on it.
Than: like your interpretation of ol' Darth. I'd have fallen into the LE camp, but you make a good case.

Telonius
2007-02-08, 10:34 AM
The Fanatic. Somebody who's so dedicated to a tradition, religion, government, or society so much that they're beyond the bounds of compassion, can be Lawful Evil. Examples of this would be supporters of an evil cult, the overbearing guardsman who throws kids in the dungeon for loitering, and the lich.

The Manipulator. Somebody who uses the law for evil ends can be Lawful Evil. Examples of this would be the corrupt lawyer, or the soldier who "creatively interprets" his orders. The evil king, who essentially is the law but uses his authority for evil, also falls into this category; as does the evil advisor.

The Narcissist. EDIT: bad description ... A person who serves an evil ruler because they're the ruler; but fights honorably. He feels morally superior to his foes, because he doesn't get his own hands dirty. He may have a code of conduct that prevents him from (for instance) killing an unarmed man, or attacking children. Nonetheless, he's willfully and knowingly in the service of an evil cause. Assassins and standard "black knights" (though not blackguards) fall into this category.

TimeWizard
2007-02-08, 11:44 AM
My favorite RP of the LE alignment is the disciplined, stone cold killer. Always an assassin. Follow the traditions, the code, and help out your brothers. Unless you need to off one of them for failing... but thats part of the job you signed up for.

averagejoe
2007-02-08, 11:48 AM
He fought and killed Obi-Wan not because of some duty to the emperor, but because he has a personal grudge against him, after all he thinks Obi-Wan is the one that drove Padmť against him, heís the one responsible for his broken body. Heís not responsible for his own decent into darkness, its all Obi-Wanís fault.

He killed Obi-Wan to settle old grudges, which were in the vague mysterious past. Who the heck is this "Padme" person? :smalltongue:

bosssmiley
2007-02-08, 12:24 PM
Examples of Lawful Evil.

I'd say the cerebral Tarkin ("Fear will keep them in line...") over Vader for the epitome of Star Wars LE.
I'd also say Cardinal Richelieu from Dumas' Musketeers books; a Machiavellian arch-pragmatist in vestments.

Discworld's assassins are heavily towards the lawful axis of LE. They punctiliously follow their twisted, but internally logical code, and are perfect gentlemen to everyone - except their target. Perhaps surprisingly they are actually a force for political stability in their society.

The_Werebear
2007-02-08, 12:41 PM
Examples of Lawful Evil.


Discworld's assassins are heavily towards the lawful axis of LE. They punctiliously follow their twisted, but internally logical code, and are perfect gentlemen to everyone - except their target. Perhaps surprisingly they are actually a force for political stability in their society.

The quotes that sticks with me in relation to Ankh-Morpork Assassins are as such. Can't remember what books they are from from(or even the quote, exactly), sorry. Still, they give the idea.

"They remove the razors from the candyfloss of life."
"They take in boys, give them a good raising, a fine education, and incidentally, teach them how to kill people."

I agree, they are on the very lawful side of Lawful Evil.



My personal favorite lawful evil is the Black Knight Archetype. Honorable, Chivalrous, true to your word, and absolutely merciless and ruthless.

Catharsis
2007-02-08, 01:05 PM
The Narcissist. EDIT: bad description ...
An actual narcissist would also make a good LE bad guy. He considers himself to be on the pinnacle of sophistication (albeit misunderstood by the public), be it as an art collector, corporate manager/world dominator, torturer, whatever... and rather than killing his nemeses when he captures them, he clothes them appropriately, treats them with the best manners, and offers them the honor of witnessing his art. Of course, the hero is going to decline in a horribly rude manner, which will force the narcissist to put him to death in a particularly poetic way.

Yeah, that sounds like just about every James Bond villain. :smallwink:

LurkerInPlayground
2007-02-08, 02:16 PM
The epitome of Lawful Evil: Khellendros (aka Skie) from Dragonlance.

If you've ever read some of the 5th Age books, Skie entire purpose in life since the death of Kitiara is to restore her spirit back to life. he calls it loyalty and devotion, but it's more akin to love. Everything he does, all the evil acts her performs is all in a quest to bring her back. He even starts to echo her personality at times, being honorable even to enemies and such.


I suppose an easier idea is Lord Soth, being bound by the Code and Measure even though he's a death knight, but Skie is way cooler.


If you're going for the Star Wars references, Boba Fett is Lawful Evil. Everything he does is for either credits or his own personal gain (including knowledge). If he's not being paid to kill someone, he won't do it - there's no gain in it. You see that a lot when he runs in Bossk - killing him would make life easier, but there's no reason to.

I'm surprised that you didn't include Raistlin Majere in that line-up, you heretic. Good example of lawful evil.

As a boy, Raistilin was the kid everybody loved to hate. He was named the "Sly One" because his wits and sleight-of-hand often compensated for his sickliness, lack of strength and physical appearance. He despises people in general because he continually sees evidence that they are usually bigoted, insecure and bullying hypocrites. Even self-professed prophets and "holy" knights, often use their beliefs as a veneer for their prejudices (i.e. against demihumans, wizards, etc.) This is because they do not implement their ideals in a fashion that is either consistent or rigorous.

As a result, he often acts in honorable manner towards those too weak to defend themselves. He of course, also believes in proper planning, self-discipline and is a method-oriented person; partially because he views the lack of intelligence and strong internal logic as being the major flaws in his peers.

Of course, during the actual "War of the Lance," he goes from both Team Good to Team Evil, although it'd be more accurate to say that he was always out for himself. He fulfills his personal obligations but he doesn't give a rat's ass about either side, whom he sees as being generally composed of vapid and superficial fools. Neither side presents a vision for managing all of creation that he particularly cares for, being that they are concoctions of either hypocrites or deluded and spineless patriots. He betrays Team Good to get better magical prowess and in the end, incites a civil war against Team Evil, because frankly, having an evil goddess hold sway over all creation would be inconveniencing.

Caelestion
2007-02-08, 02:18 PM
Only of course his "actual" alignments are Neutral and Neutral Evil.

Dareon
2007-02-08, 04:27 PM
I could see Lawful Evil as being the most likely to work with a group of adventurers in a typical setting. He may do it under orders, or simply to use them as a means to an end. As long as they're useful to him, he probably won't betray them, and may go so far as to rescue them if they get in trouble and he thinks he'll need them later.

If considering a LE player character in a N-to-G party, think of their motivation. If the campaign looks like it might be going for a while, the LE character should be needing the party for most if not all of the way. Set his ultimate goal as something that's obtainable around level 20, such as "Steal the Ruby of Heart's Torment from the ancient white dragon Frazzakazz" or "Unite the orcish tribes under your banner in preparation to march on the civilized lands." Naturally, he should be smart enough to realize he can use the fools- er, adventurers to help him further his goals, and helping them as well may bring them around to his point of view eventually.

A one-shot campaign should have the LE working with the party in the short term only, and gives him leeway to betray them if necessary. At the least, the end of the adventure should see him telling the rest of the party: "I thank you for your aid, but now that I have the Dark Book of Th'th'th'thnfnblort, I no longer need to accompany you. Perhaps we shall meet again. Goodbye."

*shrug* I give it some thought occasionally.

Talyn
2007-02-08, 05:33 PM
Anyone with a rigid and demanding code of honor that has utter disregard for human life and dignity (at least, the life and dignity of those below him) would be a good candidate for Lawful Evil. The samurai in the novel Shogun fit that description pretty well: courteous to each other, utterly loyal to their superiors, in possession of art and poetry and music that would shame any European knight - and capable of murdering a commoner without flinching for any of a thousand violations of the utterly draconic rules of society.

I based my hobgoblin society in my game after medieval Japan for just that reason. It fits perfectly.

LotharBot
2007-02-08, 05:45 PM
best LE ever: the operative from Serenity.

Brigham
2007-02-08, 08:55 PM
First thing that comes to mind is similar to the OP. A leader who uses other people to break the law/do his bidding.

However, LE offers a fair bit of diversity. I like the idea of an LE assassin (not necessarily the class Assassin, either). You're totally cool with killing people, but you have a personal list of requirements that must be met on the target, or there are organizational/personal doctrines on the execution of the objective.

J_Muller
2007-02-08, 09:41 PM
See, in my opinion the problem with LE is in the difference between it and LN. I often see Neutral people as being lacking in morals, though not explicitly evil. For example, let's say I have a character who has no qualms with killing someone if he thinks it's a good idea or would lead to his own personal gain. However, he will not torture people or draw out their death longer than necessary--he will kill them quickly and efficiently.

Is he LN or LE?

EvilElitest
2007-02-08, 10:01 PM
Raistlin Majere is a cross between neutral and lawful evil. In the earlier books (but after be became evil) and near the end he follows a very basic code, however in the middle of his evil he thinks of himself more than any other being, because he thinks all others are fools, inculdeing the cowardly and self serving gods. And in Dragonlance, i personally think he is the best character. Anyways,
Artimis Enteri from R.A. Salvator's books would be LE. He does his job as an assiasion, kills without mercy, and is utterly ruthless, however he does not kill those who are not connected to him, nor does he kills those who don't get in his way. he is also completly dedicated to self perfection, and to becomeing hte worlds best swordsmen, which makes him insanely jealous of Drizzt.
Light from DeathNote starts out as LE. He follows a very perticular code in order to purge the world of evil. However, he kills anyone who gets in his way, breaking his own code. he also wishes to instate himself as a god. He their for become NE. he still follows a code, but breaks it when it is convent.
Rommel from real life would be LE (until his attempted assianation of Hitler of course). He still does the nazies bidding, and was involed in multible jew and black killings. However, he act like a gentalmen and an honorable soilder to his british enemies, and treats his prisioniors with respect. He is also critical of Hitler's ideas and murders. Look him up for more details
Scar from Full Metal Alchemist is LE. He abides a very scrite code, and dedacates himself to 1 goal, but he also protects his people and works for their well being. However, dispite that, he kills any inocent that gets in the way of his goals.
Silas from the Devici code is LE. Dispite beliving he is doing the lords willl, he is still a killer. However, he is deeply relgions and repents in the end.
Sarorack From Balder's Gate is LE. He belive that the strong rule the weak, and that he is the unltiment incartation of the strong. However, He is very loaly to his comrades in armeds and close assosets. And he never breaks his word.
The Slicer from Full Metal Alchemist is LE. He is a pair of serial killing brother who's souls are trapped to a single suit of armor. However, dispite the fact he likes killing for the shear joy of it, he fights his foes fairly and seems to follow some kind of code. In the anime, when he is defeated, one brother kills himself because he lost.
Miko is now LE. She still follows some sort of code (i think) and will do anything to further her belief of justice. Just what it is remains to be seen.
Redcloack is LE. He is quite loaly to Xycon and his goblin follows. However he hates his hobgoblins and like to kill them.
Lord Sloth is LE, for reason said before.
Lord Straqh (the vampire lord from Ravenloft, i can't spell his name) is NOT LE. While he is charming and urban, he is completly dedicated to one goal and has not moral code which he abides by, even the consent of the one he chases.
From,
EE

Folie
2007-02-08, 10:31 PM
Rommel from real life would be LE (until his attempted assianation of Hitler of course). He still does the nazies bidding, and was involed in multible jew and black killings. However, he act like a gentalmen and an honorable soilder to his british enemies, and treats his prisioniors with respect. He is also critical of Hitler's ideas and murders. Look him up for more details
I'd like to dispute Rommel's alleged "evilness."

"The Afrika Korps [under Rommel] was never accused of any war crimes, and Rommel himself referred to the fighting in North Africa as "Krieg Ohne HaŖ"- war without hate. Numerous examples exist of Rommel's chivalry towards Allied POWs, such as his defiance of Hitler's infamous Commando Order, as well as his refusal of an order from Hitler to execute Jewish POWs. When British Major Geoffrey Keyes was killed during a failed Commando raid to kill or capture Rommel behind German lines, Rommel ordered him buried with full military honors. Also, during the construction of the Atlantic Wall, Rommel directed that French workers were not to be used as slaves, but were to be paid for their labor."
--Wikipedia

njero
2007-02-08, 11:31 PM
Does anyone else think that the Punisher would make a good example of LE? I certainly laugh at anyone who claims he's on the good side of the chart. Though I suppose I should point out that I have limited knowledge of his character beyond the movie.

I find it interesting that so many people here are of the opinion that Lawful implies social compliance. I'm not a philosophical relativist, but I certainly can't deny the impressive array of social norms in existence. That immediately eliminates compliance to local societal norms as an indicator of one's alignment.

It seems instead that anyone who follows a structured code of conduct, irrespective of whether that specific code is honoured by the local population, or even by that person's immediate associates, would qualify as Lawful.

Thomas
2007-02-08, 11:37 PM
The Punisher seems, to me, to fail the "community before individual" -criteria. Neutral Evil.

Lawful alignment doesn't necessarily imply social complience - but it implies views that put community above the individual in some way. The community in question could be fairly small or obscure, and it doesn't have to be the largest around (i.e. you can be Lawful without complying with the standards or laws of the kingdom you live in).

J_Muller
2007-02-08, 11:38 PM
In the comics, the Punisher is most definitely LG. He has an extremely set code of morals, foremost of which is his intention to protect the innocent and punish the guilty. The fact that he operates outside the law does not change his lawfulness, and he is definitely good--he only kills criminals.

Hallavast
2007-02-09, 12:59 AM
Lawful alignment doesn't necessarily imply social complience - but it implies views that put community above the individual in some way. The community in question could be fairly small or obscure, and it doesn't have to be the largest around (i.e. you can be Lawful without complying with the standards or laws of the kingdom you live in).
QFT.

But I'd say the Punisher is neutral. Or neutral angry if that works.

Cybren
2007-02-09, 01:10 AM
He kills people. He kills them. He tried killing spiderman. He is not Good.

axraelshelm
2007-02-09, 01:23 AM
My fave has to be the charismatic manipulator using everything and everyone to my advantage. You see playing good characters all the time doesn't give me the chance to try something like this, i would love to frame another country, city, plane, attacking place 1 and then selling weapons to place 1 to fight back at place 2 then after the attack on place 2 sell weapons to them aswell. I can make a fortune.:haley:

J_Muller
2007-02-09, 01:25 AM
He kills people. He kills them. He tried killing spiderman. He is not Good.

When he tried to kill Spiderman, that was back when he thought Spiderman had killed a friend of his. He's still Good, though, because he only kills criminals. Paladins kill people--does that mean they're not Good?

Ramza00
2007-02-09, 01:26 AM
A ruthless person who understands the way the world works, isn't going to try to change how it works, just going to work inside it to his own ends. Often cynical but not depressing cynical, this is the way the world works deal with it.

Often machiavellian but not necessary always.

Cybren
2007-02-09, 01:34 AM
When he tried to kill Spiderman, that was back when he thought Spiderman had killed a friend of his. He's still Good, though, because he only kills criminals. Paladins kill people--does that mean they're not Good?
Paladins don't use the law as an excuse to kill.

axraelshelm
2007-02-09, 01:36 AM
A ruthless person who understands the way the world works, isn't going to try to change how it works, just going to work inside it to his own ends. Often cynical but not depressing cynical, this is the way the world works deal with it.

Often machiavellian but not necessary always.


kind of like Blackadder

Hallavast
2007-02-09, 01:41 AM
Paladins don't use the law as an excuse to kill.
... and neither does The Punisher. In fact, he sort of kills people despite the law.

Wippit Guud
2007-02-09, 01:49 AM
I'm surprised that you didn't include Raistlin Majere in that line-up, you heretic. Good example of lawful evil.


I'm going to have to disagree about Raistin being Lawful Evil. He doesn't protect the weak out of any sense of honor. The only weak person he 'protected' was Bupu, and that was payment for her giving him the emerald and the spell book. He pays people back not out of honor, but because he wants to be indebted to nobody.

As for his other non-lawful traits, he's jealous, he's insulting (especially towards Caramon), he's bitter at his physical condition, and when he eventually ends up being a god he consumes everything, including himself, before the timeline changed. Hell, he killed his own brother during the Test (granted, it was an illusion, but he didn't know that).

Definitely Chaotic Evil.

Hallavast
2007-02-09, 01:59 AM
I'm going to have to disagree about Raistin being Lawful Evil. He doesn't protect the weak out of any sense of honor. The only weak person he 'protected' was Bupu, and that was payment for her giving him the emerald and the spell book. He pays people back not out of honor, but because he wants to be indebted to nobody.

As for his other non-lawful traits, he's jealous, he's insulting (especially towards Caramon), he's bitter at his physical condition, and when he eventually ends up being a god he consumes everything, including himself, before the timeline changed. Hell, he killed his own brother during the Test (granted, it was an illusion, but he didn't know that).

Definitely Chaotic Evil.
How can you be so sure? I could see each of those points hinting at Neutral Evil. He cares about himself and that's about it. He will do anything if it serves him and he thinks he can get away with it. His designs for the world didn't include destroying everything, that was just the natural turn of events if he started eliminating all other power for himself. Ultimate ambition doesn't necessarily point out Chaotic Evil.

Wippit Guud
2007-02-09, 02:04 AM
Chaotic because he does that those moments when he completely flop-flops... exposing charlatan clerics, saving Solace from a plague, NOT killing Tas...

Hallavast
2007-02-09, 02:11 AM
Chaotic because he does that those moments when he completely flop-flops... exposing charlatan clerics, saving Solace from a plague, NOT killing Tas...
He exposed judith and belzor for several perfectly logical reasons.
1) he held a grudge against judith

2)doing so would distinguish himself as a competent mage

3) this is back when he had traces of a concience

He helped the people of solace because of the high he got from holding power over people and to further his experience in herblore and medicine

He didn't kill Tas, because he would have earned the distrust and distaste of the rest of the party, because he used Tas as a character study for kender, and because he above most could exibit some kind of control over the little blighter.

Again, I say Neutral Evil.

J_Muller
2007-02-09, 02:48 AM
Punisher is not evil. He kills criminals. 'Nuff said.

ExHunterEmerald
2007-02-09, 04:25 AM
Punisher is not evil. He kills criminals. 'Nuff said.


By that logic, a criminal has no rights whatsoever. Furthermore, if you rape a rapist, you're not evil.

...yeah, no.
I don't think he's evil, but he sure as hell ain't a saint.

Caelestion
2007-02-09, 05:08 AM
Unfortunately, Strahd von Zarovich (note the lower-case V, people!) is Lawful Evil. The Punisher is Lawful Neutral at best.

Thomas
2007-02-09, 05:37 AM
... and neither does The Punisher. In fact, he sort of kills people despite the law.

So he's definitely not lawful. And he's a murderer who honestly believes he is qualified to be judge, jury, and executioner.

Yeah, we're talking Neutral Evil with a good dose of Crazy.

Having good intentions or outcomes don't mean you aren't Evil; they just mean you're good at rationalizing.

Unless he also stages in-depth investigations and offers the accused a chance to defend him- or herself (I almost doubt he's killed a single woman, though, knowing Marvel...) before he starts blasting... I don't know, I don't read Marvel comics lately.


Raistlin: Neutral Evil, maybe Chaotic. He's so selfish he'll destroy everything and everyone for personal power and what he thinks will satisfy him. He's organized, obviously - highly intelligent and successful people are often organized. That's not Lawful in itself. He's got a weak spot for certain kinds of individuals - that's because he's still human. Being Evil doesn't mean you lack normal human emotions.

He definitely committed some good acts, but that's teardrops against an ocean in the alignment scales. The character was a manipulative, amoral, ruthless monster who hated himself for accidentally caring for someone. The way Raistlin leaves Crysania in the Abyss says everything about him. His thinking was: "I got everything that I could from you. You're useless now. I don't even have time for pity."

Roderick_BR
2007-02-09, 06:50 AM
You can play a char that is a "bad" person with a code of honor. I have a friend with a brutal fighter that would mercilessly kill enemies in the most gruesome ways, and not help people without demanding a reward, or risking too much for something not worth. However, he never broke a promise, and never left his true friends (or only friends) behind.
In this particular character, he would also never "murder" people outside of battle or fight non-adventurers/non-soldiers, but once in the battle field he was a killing machine.
Other kind, as was noted, is the manipulative one. He may be cold and distant, or act all charismatic like. He can blackmail people, or "suggests" courses of actions in a way that'll benefit him. He won't harm people on purpose, but if it's needed, it will not stop him.

njero
2007-02-09, 06:00 PM
Punisher is not evil. He kills criminals. 'Nuff said.

Again, I've only seen the movie. My prime example of why he would qualify as evil is the final confrontation with the BBEG. He puts a mine in a person's outstretched hand, to be triggered when they can no longer hold it up. Why does he do this? Not only is it cruel and unusual punishment, but the punishment isn't for the victim at all. Whatever the BBEG's son may have done (and I missed the very beginning of the movie), the Punisher doesn't kill him for his crimes, he kills him for the crimes of his father. In cold blood.

That is evil.

Unless the son commits some supremely foul act, of equal proportion to the Punisher's retribution, in the beginning of the movie. Actually even then I would maintain that anyone who delves out cruel and unusual punishment as a matter of course, is evil.


Lawful alignment doesn't necessarily imply social complience - but it implies views that put community above the individual in some way. The community in question could be fairly small or obscure, and it doesn't have to be the largest around (i.e. you can be Lawful without complying with the standards or laws of the kingdom you live in).
How about "it implies views that put [some other entity/concept] above the individual in some way."

For example, high ranked devils are LE. But to what community do they heed? Their only desire is for power, and not even their superiors are exempt from their machinations in its pursuit. They most certainly heed tradition, and will honour their oaths even to their own detriment, but not for the sake of others. It is simply the framework in which they subjugate any and every creature or useful entity they possibly can.

So yes, I think implicit in a lawful mindset is a wilful subjugation to an ideal, I just don't think that ideal needs to have anything to do with community.

The SRD description opens up with, "A lawful evil villain methodically takes what he wants within the limits of his code of conduct without regard for whom it hurts." (emphasis mine) Nowhere does it say that the codes and laws he personally holds true are derived from others. It mentions that "he is loath to break laws," but "this reluctance comes partly from his nature and partly because he depends on order to protect himself from those who oppose him on moral grounds."

Viscount Einstrauss
2007-02-09, 06:20 PM
I've got an idea for a LE anti-hero that I'm gonna try some day soon. He's an assassin that kills people that offend his morale code, often in brutal and malicious ways. His code is actually very clean looking- he never tells a lie (believes that liars are beneath him), respects authority (though sometimes he has to go above it for an ends, but he tries not to), never harms innocents or people he perceives as good, and spends most of his disposable quest income on helping people. However, his methods for dealing with evildoers are horrifying, and he gets more then a little sadistic glee out of torturing them to death. He also worships Pelor, for that unusual final twist.

So, he's the evil character that easily meshes with any predominantly good party that doesn't have a paladin. Except when the other PC's do something that earns his ire.

kamikasei
2007-02-09, 06:20 PM
When he tried to kill Spiderman, that was back when he thought Spiderman had killed a friend of his. He's still Good, though, because he only kills criminals. Paladins kill people--does that mean they're not Good?

Punisher tried to kill Spiderman because he saw a news report saying that Spiderman had killed someone. Unless I'm misremembering he didn't do any investigation or try to talk to Spidey before shooting at him. He decided to try and kill a hero based on J Jonah Jameson's word.

That's pretty ungood.

J_Muller
2007-02-09, 06:22 PM
So he's definitely not lawful. And he's a murderer who honestly believes he is qualified to be judge, jury, and executioner.

Yeah, we're talking Neutral Evil with a good dose of Crazy.

Having good intentions or outcomes don't mean you aren't Evil; they just mean you're good at rationalizing.

Unless he also stages in-depth investigations and offers the accused a chance to defend him- or herself (I almost doubt he's killed a single woman, though, knowing Marvel...) before he starts blasting... I don't know, I don't read Marvel comics lately.

WAIT. Back up. He's "crazy" because he "honestly believes he is qualified to be judge, jury, and executioner"?

No. He's just not afraid.

The reason most superheroes, Batman, Superman, Spiderman (not sure about him) don't kill is because they do not believe they are qualified to be judge, jury, and executioner. This is because they are afraid that becoming judge, jury, and executioner will make them just like the criminals they fight. The reason Batman never kills the Joker is not because the Joker is crazy, it is because he is afraid that killing the Joker will put him on the same level. Sinking down to that level is the one thing Batman is afraid of.

The Punisher, on the other hand, is not afraid. He is willing to tread that line between villain and hero. He is not afraid of becoming evil. He is simply confident that he will not. That is why the Punisher is willing to kill criminals. He knows they are guilty. He makes the decision that they deserve to die. He even doesn't kill people who he doesn't know are criminals.

This is also why, for example, in a DC/Marvel crossover, Batman lets the Joker go free to stop the Punisher from killing him. Batman considers the Punisher to be just as bad as the criminals he fights.

So, don't ever say the Punisher is Evil, or Crazy. He's just not as afraid as the rest.


EDIT:


Punisher tried to kill Spiderman because he saw a news report saying that Spiderman had killed someone. Unless I'm misremembering he didn't do any investigation or try to talk to Spidey before shooting at him. He decided to try and kill a hero based on J Jonah Jameson's word.

That's pretty ungood.

Actually, he tried to kill Spiderman after one of Spiderman's enemies killed an ally of the Punisher's and framed Spiderman. At the time he started shooting at Spiderman, he was sure that Spiderman was a criminal. Once he learned he had been tricked, he joined forces with Spiderman to get revenge on the villain that actually killed his ally.

kamikasei
2007-02-09, 06:42 PM
Actually, he tried to kill Spiderman after one of Spiderman's enemies killed an ally of the Punisher's and framed Spiderman. At the time he started shooting at Spiderman, he was sure that Spiderman was a criminal. Once he learned he had been tricked, he joined forces with Spiderman to get revenge on the villain that actually killed his ally.

I vaguely remember this... I was thinking of Punisher coming after Spidey after Gwen Stacy's death. Was it that they fought once when the Jackal framed him, and then Punisher came after him again when he was under suspicion for Gwen?

Anyway, as to the rest of your post, I don't buy it. I think not being afraid to take the law into your own hands to the point of deciding who deserves death and then dealing it out, regardless of the law, is evil. Batman doesn't hold back from killing because he's afraid that it might make him like the criminals; he thinks it would and that's what he doesn't want.

Not being afraid that you might be wrong - and taking such irreversible actions as execution under that certainty - is a kind of madness in itself.

J_Muller
2007-02-09, 06:49 PM
Actually, I think it was whoever made equipment for the Punisher, but it was the Jackal who was the villain. I'm not sure about anything involving Gwen Stacy, though.


And I didn't say he wasn't afraid he might be wrong. He's just confident in his ability not to become a criminal. Not being afraid to take the law into his own hands doesn't make him crazy, anyway. The Punisher simply sees something that needs to be done, and does it. In his case, it's killing murderers.

Crazy_Uncle_Doug
2007-02-09, 06:49 PM
There are many facets. Alignment isn't personality, but worldview. Some good examples are above. Another example of the LE worldview in action:

Morrowind - The Morag Tong: The Morag Tong is a guild of assassins. They receive official writs of assassinations for people in the province. These writs are essentially "Get Out of Jail Free" cards that all guards and officers recognize. Typically, they are taken out against rivals of differing Houses, but in some cases they are taken out as serving Justice where normal means have failed.

It is Lawful in that it serves a service in society. Writs allow the Houses to fight each other peaceably without the drestructive chaos of war. It delivers justice at times. It is recognized by those whose job it is to uphold the Law. It is Evil in that it the Tong serves order by taking lives. They are only limited by Writ, not by whether a person is truly deserving of death or not. The guiltless are as equally condemned by Writ as the guiltless, and the Tong Assassin sees this as perfectly fine. He is providing a service to his country. The assassin sees his position as honorable, even holds to a code to preserve that honor. It doesn't change the fact that he is willing to kill his fellow citizens for payment.

kamikasei
2007-02-09, 07:09 PM
He's just confident in his ability not to become a criminal.

Given that he breaks the law to murder people, his confidence is misplaced.

J_Muller
2007-02-09, 07:29 PM
You know what I mean.

TheEmerged
2007-02-09, 07:32 PM
Mind if I bring this back to RPG's? I played a LE kobold psion named SythRyss in 3.0 from 3rd through 18th level so I have some suggestions you might find useful.

1> Few people with this alignment are going to think of themselves as evil. There are obvious exceptions (Darth Vader being one that comes to mind), but many villains would consider themselves the hero of the story if they were writing it. Consider a religion in which the followers view God & the Devil as being equal in power, and that it was actually the Devil that created this imperfect, chaotic world. The 'benevolant, loving' being the rest of the world worships is in fact the evil one... and you are among those with the courage to live with the truth.

2> The individual believes in the rule of law -- which likely differs a great deal from the established law. Doom (from comics) is a good example here. He makes great use of diplomatic immunity, will keep his word to a fault, and views his honor & nobility as two of the reasons he's uniquely qualified to rule.

With SythRyss this affected his attitude toward using abilities like Suggestion and Dominate. Viewing everything from the perspective of a series of master/slave relationships, in his mind if you are weak enough to succumb to his powers all that's really happening is that he's enforcing his superiority over you.

3> A common, easy personality trait to attach to this alignment is selfishness. My usual DM often uses the terms Lawful Altruist, Lawful Selfish, and Lawful Anal for example. It's also bothersomely close to being a cliche. One of the things I did with SythRyss was to make his loyalty to his adventuring companions part of his Lawful code. In play he came across as being fiercely loyal, almost altruist -- with the perpetual background that in his mind they were keeping him alive.

TheThan
2007-02-09, 07:41 PM
I said I'd continue my analysis of the main starwars characters. So here's Leia.

Leia is lawful good, sheís the character that wonít leave a man behind, she gives up her own wants and desires in order to lead the rebellion. In our first introduction in A New Hope she is a strong, intelligent woman who can easily match wits with both Vader and Tarkin. But she ends up playing the role of damsel in distress for the heroes to rescue. She can think outside the box and takes charge when Lukeís (chaotic) plans fall through. Thusly they jump into the trash compactor, escaping capture. We see her point of view after their escape from the Death Star, she clearly gets fed up with Hanís neutrality. She wants Han to fully commit to the rebellion but sheís unable to convince him of their cause.

In Empire Strikes back, we see a strong leader with a devotion to her duty and the cause of the rebellion. She sees the lawful good in Han, a character that at least starts out as true neutral. She sees Han as someone who can greatly benefit the rebellion, while Han sees her as a beautiful young woman.
Though she does fall in love with him, she refuses to give into her feeling and desires for quite some time. Finally confessing her love to him just before heís frozen in carbonite, but Iím getting ahead of myself.
She doesnít want to close the shield doors on Luke and Han but she has to, or risk putting everyone else in danger, thusly she has to put the lives of two people she really cares about in greater risk. During the attack on Echo base, Leia is one of the last to leave, staunchly refusing to abandon her post when the entire place starts coming down on everyoneís head. Han practically had to drag her away from her station. At cloud city, leia doesnít understand the reasons behind Vaderís torture. Because she doesnít understand the power of the force, she thinks Vader is acting under orders and expects him to kill them all, knowing thatís what the emperor would want. But Vader has his own agenda and Leia doesnít realize it. She sees Vader as nothing more than a tool of the Emperor (Like Count Dooku or Darth maul before him).

During Return of the Jedi Leia gives into her desires and helps spring Han from Jabbaís palace. Taking on the roll of damsel in distress, (noticing a pattern here) but instead of waiting to be rescued she takes matters into her own hands and escapes on her own, taking out Jabba and picking up the droids while she was at it.
Leia takes the roll of warrior more seriously and volunteers for the assault on the shield generator. She bravely chases down the scout troopers, while it looks like a chaotic act, it isnít, because she knows theyíll alert the empire to their presence so they must be stopped.
During the big fight, she keeps her eyes on their objective amidst all the chaos and tries to get into the bunker, enlisting the help of the droids.

kamikasei
2007-02-09, 07:46 PM
You know what I mean.

I do, I just think you're wrong. And to bring this back to the subject of the thread, I think a character who appoints himself judge, jury and executioner to go out and decide without reference to any authority that certain people are criminals deserving of death - and then kill them - all while evading the law - would pretty clearly be Lawful (upholding what he sees as right) Evil (killing mercilessly and disproportionately).

J_Muller
2007-02-09, 07:48 PM
But the difference between the Punisher and LE is that an LE person would be pursuing an agenda related to their own personal gain. The Punisher does what he does because he desires to save people.

kamikasei
2007-02-09, 08:04 PM
But the difference between the Punisher and LE is that an LE person would be pursuing an agenda related to their own personal gain. The Punisher does what he does because he desires to save people.

Well, I disagree. Note that several posters have mentioned such examples as assassins' guilds as being LE; an assassin (in the original hashashim, or ninja, mold) may not get any reward for his actions, undertaking evil for the sake of honour or an oath. Consider also the Operative from Serenity, also cited in this thread, who exemplifies the ascetic committing evil for an ideology.

What the Punisher does is evil. He murders people. The people he murders may be evil, but that doesn't change what he does. Punisher is like a poorly-played paladin carried to extremes, convinced that he's defending law and goodness but committing evil to do so.

I know it's hardly proof, but I was amused to note when I looked the character up on Wikipedia that he was listed under fictional sociopaths and fictional serial killers, but not fictional superheroes.

J_Muller
2007-02-10, 12:46 AM
If it wasn't a conflict of interest at this point, I'd be fixing that right now.

Thomas
2007-02-10, 01:14 AM
So, don't ever say the Punisher is Evil, or Crazy. He's just not as afraid as the rest.

You've pretty precisely described an evil, insane murderer. Yep, Neutral Evil with a good dose of crazy. He'd make a great villain in any campaign.


You know what I mean.

Not really. He's clearly a crazy murderer who thinks he's invested with some higher moral authority that compels him to act. The only thing that keeps him from killing innocents is implausible author's fiat. He doesn't investigate, he obviously decides innocent people are criminals who must be killed...

His motivations sound a lot like those of, say, various serial killers who murdered prostitutes.


But the difference between the Punisher and LE is that an LE person would be pursuing an agenda related to their own personal gain. The Punisher does what he does because he desires to save people.

Not really. The character is clearly evil - he's a murderer. He's just not the greedy, self-advancing kind of evil. He's the crazy kind of evil, acting on his own demented motives - Neutral Evil.


I know it's hardly proof, but I was amused to note when I looked the character up on Wikipedia that he was listed under fictional sociopaths and fictional serial killers, but not fictional superheroes.

Hilarious, appropriate, and accurate.

J_Muller
2007-02-10, 02:13 AM
You've pretty precisely described an evil, insane murderer. Yep, Neutral Evil with a good dose of crazy. He'd make a great villain in any campaign.

But he's not insane. He kills people who deserve it. Therefore sane and good. Also, if my DM introduced the Punisher, exactly as he is, as a villain, I would refuse to fight against him.


Not really. He's clearly a crazy murderer who thinks he's invested with some higher moral authority that compels him to act. The only thing that keeps him from killing innocents is implausible author's fiat. He doesn't investigate, he obviously decides innocent people are criminals who must be killed...

Not at all. He refrains from killing those he has no proof against.

For example, this happened in a Punisher comic book:
Two groups of people meet in an abandoned warehouse to do a drug deal. One side brings money, the other drugs. Everyone there is clearly armed and involved heavily in the drug trade, except for one guy who's just there because he's friends with the guy who's bringing the money. He doesn't take part in the sale, just stands there smoking a cigarette the entire time. The Punisher shows up, a gun battle starts, and the Punisher kills everyone except this guy. He leaves him alive, just warns him to get better friends. Doesn't kill him. Doesn't even smack him around some.*


As for moral authority, it's relative at best. You may ask, "What does the Punisher think gives him the right to kill these people?"

And he would reply, "I decided to give it to myself."

He doesn't just think he's got moral authority, he decides he's got moral authority, and takes action accordingly. I still say he's Good--he only kills those who deserve to die. Just because you don't think you should make the decision about who lives and dies doesn't mean no one should. And you know what? I agree with him. The people he kills deserve to die.


His motivations sound a lot like those of, say, various serial killers who murdered prostitutes.

Well, yes, except that he only kills murderers.


The character is clearly evil - he's a murderer. He's just not the greedy, self-advancing kind of evil. He's the crazy kind of evil, acting on his own demented motives - Neutral Evil.

Demented? He's killing murderers. He only kills violent criminals, those who he decides deserves to die. There's nothing demented about him--his ideas of who deserves to die simply don't match yours.



*Okay, later he kills him, but only after the guy pulls out his cellphone and calls another friend of his, telling him to get over there so they can score all the money and drugs.

kamikasei
2007-02-10, 03:05 AM
It seems we have a basic disconnect here in how you, Muller, and I (and I assume others here) view the world. In the example you give, for example, drug dealing is not a capital offense. Walking in on a drug deal and killing everyone directly involved (how magnanimous of you, letting the bystanders off) - what does that accomplish? Justice? Murder doesn't produce justice. Punishment? Well they've certainly learned their lesson, I'm sure they'll never do it again.

More fundamentally, you seem to admire the Punisher for deciding that he's going to enforce his morality on the whole world using lethal force. It sounds like your own morality aligns with him enough that his judgments don't bother you that much. Consider, though, what happens when you have a Punisher-like character with a different set of morals - say, a guy with a sawn-off patrolling the streets enforcing Shari'a law, or kneecapping anyone who practices usury, or firebombing churches which perform mixed marriages. Such a figure would be pretty clearly evil - I hope you'd agree! Well, that Punisher takes such actions in "defense" of morals you support does not make them less wrong.

Mewtarthio
2007-02-10, 03:09 AM
*Okay, later he kills him, but only after the guy pulls out his cellphone and calls another friend of his, telling him to get over there so they can score all the money and drugs.

Ayup. A paragon of virtue, right there. Thank Frank Castle that horrific and dangerous criminal is now a rotting corpse. Why, who knows what he may have done if allowed to live? He might have committed even more opportunistic acts! :smalleek:

Thomas
2007-02-10, 03:10 AM
As for moral authority, it's relative at best. You may ask, "What does the Punisher think gives him the right to kill these people?"

And he would reply, "I decided to give it to myself."

That is perfectly sociopathic and delusional. Crazy & Neutral Evil.

njero
2007-02-10, 04:59 AM
Ayup. A paragon of virtue, right there. Thank Frank Castle that horrific and dangerous criminal is now a rotting corpse. Why, who knows what he may have done if allowed to live? He might have committed even more opportunistic acts! :smalleek:
Yeah, that's the kicker right there.

J_Muller
2007-02-10, 01:49 PM
That is perfectly sociopathic and delusional. Crazy & Neutral Evil.

See, here's the problem:

You look at that and think, "He's sociopathic!"

I look at that and think, "He's got balls."

At the risk of offending everyone who's religious, let me say this.

There is no set morality in the Punisher's view, no code everyone has to follow. The Punisher makes his own code, and decides to enforce it. That's why I admire him. He sees a problem, decides it needs to be fixed, and fixes it. It's the same process by which the government passes laws, except instead of passing laws, the Punisher kills people.



It seems we have a basic disconnect here in how you, Muller, and I (and I assume others here) view the world. In the example you give, for example, drug dealing is not a capital offense. Walking in on a drug deal and killing everyone directly involved (how magnanimous of you, letting the bystanders off) - what does that accomplish? Justice? Murder doesn't produce justice. Punishment? Well they've certainly learned their lesson, I'm sure they'll never do it again.

That's right, they'll never do it again. Because whether or not they've ever directly killed someone, they're murderers. Selling drugs makes them murderers just as surely as if they'd put a gun to someone's head and pulled the trigger.


Consider, though, what happens when you have a Punisher-like character with a different set of morals - say, a guy with a sawn-off patrolling the streets enforcing Shari'a law, or kneecapping anyone who practices usury, or firebombing churches which perform mixed marriages. Such a figure would be pretty clearly evil - I hope you'd agree! Well, that Punisher takes such actions in "defense" of morals you support does not make them less wrong.

I would respect that guy just as much as I respect the Punisher. They're both fighting for their beliefs. Granted, I would kill this guy, because I don't happen to share his beliefs. But I would respect him for standing up for what he believes in and taking the fight to those he believes to be evil.

Grey Watcher
2007-02-10, 02:36 PM
Nick Naylor (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0427944/) is my ideal Lawful Evil character. :biggrin:

Hallavast
2007-02-10, 02:55 PM
See, here's the problem:

You look at that and think, "He's sociopathic!"

I look at that and think, "He's got balls."

At the risk of offending everyone who's religious, let me say this.

There is no set morality in the Punisher's view, no code everyone has to follow. The Punisher makes his own code, and decides to enforce it. That's why I admire him. He sees a problem, decides it needs to be fixed, and fixes it. It's the same process by which the government passes laws, except instead of passing laws, the Punisher kills people.


Like Hitler!

Mewtarthio
2007-02-10, 02:59 PM
See, here's the problem:

You look at that and think, "He's sociopathic!"

I look at that and think, "He's got balls."

At the risk of offending everyone who's religious, let me say this.

There is no set morality in the Punisher's view, no code everyone has to follow. The Punisher makes his own code, and decides to enforce it. That's why I admire him. He sees a problem, decides it needs to be fixed, and fixes it. It's the same process by which the government passes laws, except instead of passing laws, the Punisher kills people.

That's called "radical terrorism." If I decide to blow up a subway car because I think human beings have spurned the Earth-Mother and damaged Her life force by tearing into Her flesh with tunnels and farming implements, does that make me Lawful Good?


That's right, they'll never do it again. Because whether or not they've ever directly killed someone, they're murderers. Selling drugs makes them murderers just as surely as if they'd put a gun to someone's head and pulled the trigger.

:smalleek: ...All right. I am seriously scared by your post. What about all the people who knowingly aided the drug dealers? Should they be killed too? What about those who knew and did nothing? Is that tantamount to witnessing murder and walking away casually?


I would respect that guy just as much as I respect the Punisher. They're both fighting for their beliefs. Granted, I would kill this guy, because I don't happen to share his beliefs. But I would respect him for standing up for what he believes in and taking the fight to those he believes to be evil.

So, all fanatical terrorist and serial killers are Lawful Good people who you have nothing but deepest respect for? I hate to make a straw man, but that seems to be what you're saying: It doesn't matter what your beliefs are, or how you go about performing them, just so long as you're devoted to any cause you're Lawful Good.

kamikasei
2007-02-10, 03:30 PM
Before I get into this: should we continue discussing this here? Should those of us interested in analyzing the Punisher start a new thread in the Comic Books forum? I do think the guy makes an interesting model of how to play a non-standard LE character, but if people feel the thread's being hijacked, I'm willing to take it elsewhere.

To get a couple of things out of the way:


That's right, they'll never do it again.

Yeah, uh... I was being sarcastic there. It's not really a punishment if the person being punished isn't there anymore afterwards, therefore unable to learn from the punishment. The point of punishment is to change behaviour, whereas killing someone just stops them from having any behaviour. At that point it's not punishment but vengeance or, possibly, deterrence (unless you're taking a religious view that fatal 'punishment' has a useful effect on someone's soul... hmmm... I notice that Punisher's listed on WP as a Catholic, does he have a 'kill 'em all and let god sort 'em out' thing going on?).


Because whether or not they've ever directly killed someone, they're murderers. Selling drugs makes them murderers just as surely as if they'd put a gun to someone's head and pulled the trigger.

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on that, because to me, that's an utterly wrong notion that cheapens the entire notion of murder and what's wrong with it.

I also find it strange that, apparently, being partly indirectly responsible for someone's death (in much the same way as a gun shop owner is partly indirectly responsible for the gun suicide of a man he sold ammo to) gets you labeled a murder deserving of summary execution, but shooting people in the face does not, not if you're the Punisher.

Anyway, those were minor points. What I really want to respond to is below.


There is no set morality in the Punisher's view, no code everyone has to follow. The Punisher makes his own code, and decides to enforce it. That's why I admire him. He sees a problem, decides it needs to be fixed, and fixes it. It's the same process by which the government passes laws, except instead of passing laws, the Punisher kills people.

I would respect that guy just as much as I respect the Punisher. They're both fighting for their beliefs. Granted, I would kill this guy, because I don't happen to share his beliefs. But I would respect him for standing up for what he believes in and taking the fight to those he believes to be evil.

The idea that you can be Good simply by doing what you believe to be right does not hold up in the standard D&D alignment system. There is an objective element to Good such that strength of conviction does not make, eg, eating babies a Good act no matter how strongly you might believe it is. It's not wholly unreasonable to admire someone's resolve and integrity in upholding their values, separate to finding the values abhorrent; but resolve and integrity do not a Good alignment make, overriding those values.

It seems to me that your ideal figure is someone free of doubt or the suspicion that he might ever be wrong, who goes out and kills those who don't conform to his morality. You apparently think this makes for an admirable person who is clearly Good because he believes that what he is doing is Good. To me, it is a person who is basically insane, who is Evil by D&D standards, and who is working against the entire foundation of civilization.

What do I mean? Well, let me try to describe a simple model for a society. You have a bunch of people, none of whom have exactly the same values - for any pair taken from the population, you're certain to find at least one thing that one will say is right and the other wrong. These people will each pursue their interests, and sometimes those interests will conflict. In those cases, since each party is biased in their own favour, a third party recognized by both judges between them. This judging mechanism gets formalized to the point where you have the whole legislative and legal apparatus, designed to produce a sort of codified set of shared values of the entire society, off of which judgments can be based in order to ensure fairness and consistency.

A central part of this is that the enforcement of these shared values and punishments for going against them are handled by entities that act on behalf of the whole society: police, courts, etc. Thus, since everyone in the society (ideally) has a voice in this process, no one person's values are privileged over the rest of the society. (Of course, this may work well or poorly, depending how fairly distributed is the influence people have over this value-structure.) The price you pay for knowing your crazy neighbour doesn't have the right to kneecap you for wearing a hat on Tuesdays is that you don't get to break his thumbs to stop him eating cheese on toast.

Now, looking at what you've said, it sounds like in your mind it'd be preferable if everyone just went out and beat on or killed those who went against their values. If you don't like the values some other dude is enforcing through violence, you enforce yours on him, again through violence. The idea of bowing to the will of the people doesn't seem to be a factor. You're describing a War of All Against All, and this is not generally held to be a good thing.

Feh... this is terribly wordy. I'll boil it down. You don't get to kill people just because they do things you don't like. The most you can do is help authorized enforcers rein them in if their actions are recognized by consensus to be wrong. Otherwise you a) put up with it or b) use nonviolent means to change people's minds and actions. Doing otherwise is unquestionably antisocial in the real world and definitely Evil in D&D. Based on your rather alarming comments in this thread, it seems to me that you would be clearly Evil if translated into game form; and, speaking without any intent of personal attack here, you self-describe as someone I would really prefer never to have to deal with. I say this not as an attack on you or as an insult, but as a simple statement of fact, because I don't think you're really aware of how far outside the Pale the opinions you express really are.

J_Muller
2007-02-10, 04:12 PM
Okay, it's clear that there are a lot of misunderstandings about what I'm trying to say.

I respect the Punisher because he fights for what he believes in.

I think he's LG because I agree with his beliefs. If I didn't, I'd say he's clearly LE, as you do. There's a difference between respecting someone and agreeing with them. Someone mentioned above that they'd love to put someone like the Punisher into a campaign as a villain. I said that I'd refuse to fight him. But if it was someone like the Punisher, a person I could respect, then sign me up for that campaign, because those are the people who make the best enemies.

Cybren
2007-02-10, 04:27 PM
uhmm so you condone killing people who are criminals without letting them undergo any way of defending their innocence?

J_Muller
2007-02-10, 04:27 PM
If you have proof, as the Punisher makes sure he does, then yes, a lot of criminals deserve to die.

kamikasei
2007-02-10, 04:40 PM
Okay, it's clear that there are a lot of misunderstandings about what I'm trying to say.

I respect the Punisher because he fights for what he believes in.

I think he's LG because I agree with his beliefs. If I didn't, I'd say he's clearly LE, as you do.

No, I have understood that. My point is that going out and punishing lawbreakers with lethal force without any kind of authority and with no attempt to bring them to justice (because murdering someone who has broken the law is not justice, not even if bringing them to trial etc. would just get them executed anyway) is itself Evil. Appointing yourself judge, jury and executioner is not a Good act. This is independent of the values he's trying to uphold. Even if every single person the Punisher killed were someone who, if brought to trial, would be executed under laws I personally agreed with fully, I would still think he was doing Evil, because individuals do not get to murder in the name of justice. There are objective standards for what constitutes Good and Evil in D&D and the Punisher, in his actions rather than his beliefs, can be objectively judged Evil, regardless of whether his beliefs accord with yours.

edit:

If you have proof, as the Punisher makes sure he does, then yes, a lot of criminals deserve to die.

People who have been "proven" deserving of execution in legal trials have later been shown to be innocent when new evidence arose. There's a movement afoot to have DNA evidence considered for current death row inmates, because chances are something like 20% of them are not guilty at all. Given that the legal system is this fallible, how much more fallible must be a single individual looking only for proof enough to convince himself, who never has to defend his conclusions in open court?

Arang
2007-02-10, 05:10 PM
A Lawful Evil individual is someone who does evil things, but doesn't believe them to be wrong. An example is Artemis Entreri. He doesn't kill anyone he doesn't believe doesn't deserve to die. A LE follows laws, but only if they agree with what he's trying to do.

Thomas
2007-02-10, 05:22 PM
A Lawful Evil individual is someone who does evil things, but doesn't believe them to be wrong.

Actually, that's any Evil character who's not insane. (And even most insane murderers don't think what they're doing is wrong.)

In fact, the idea of someone who thinks what they believe and do is fundamentally wrong is kind of... er... unlikely. All Evil alignments are just as likely to have pangs of conscience (i.e. some individuals do, some don't).

Check out characters like Vic Mackey (and his squad) in The Shield, Tony Soprano and his crew in The Sopranos, and so on. They're Evil characters, in D&D terms, but they all justify themselves - heck, watching Tony talk about "real" criminals is plain hilarious, considering he doesn't hesitate to murder a life-long friend if it's to his advantage.

J_Muller
2007-02-10, 05:34 PM
A LE follows laws, but only if they agree with what he's trying to do.

So, according to you history must be just filled (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Washington) with (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Bolivar) LE (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_de_Gaulle) people (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Junius_Brutus). Because, apparently disobeying the reigning laws makes you automatically LE.

Viscount Einstrauss
2007-02-10, 05:43 PM
There's a lot here about Punisher's alignment and whether his fight against crime constitutes as good, neutral, or evil, so I'll weigh in myself. He's evil. Evil, evil, crazy evil. He's killing criminals because he was wronged by criminals, thus all criminals deserve terrible death at his hands. If anyone else had wronged him, he'd be killing them instead.

In fact, there was a story exactly like this that really shows the Punisher's true morality- Punisher Vs. Marvel (I'm pretty sure that's the title of it). He was wronged by superpowered individuals. So what does he do? He brutally murders every single one on the face of the planet, even his best friend (Daredevil in that story). Come on. While Cyclops was in the process of appologizing because his team's actions led to the death of Castle's family, he just snapped and shot him in the face instead. There is no doubt. Castle's revenge-driven, and very horrific in his application of this revenge. Hence, evil.

Does this mean he isn't a hero or ultimately working for the greater good? Not really. But his basic morales are psychotic and twisted, regardless of how beneficial they might be to society at large.

Arang
2007-02-10, 05:48 PM
Whoa, that came out wrong. Sorry about that, it must be later than I thought.

A Lawful Evil individual does what he or she wants to inside the laws. As in, they don't break any laws in letter, but they have no scruples against going against the meaning of the laws.

J_Muller
2007-02-10, 05:57 PM
Whoa, that came out wrong. Sorry about that, it must be later than I thought.

A Lawful Evil individual does what he or she wants to inside the laws. As in, they don't break any laws in letter, but they have no scruples against going against the meaning of the laws.


It's okay, I didn't think that's what you meant to say anyway, so I just pointed that out. Anyway, the Punisher may break the laws, but only when the laws fail. He's cleaning up what the police can't.

Inyssius Tor
2007-02-10, 05:58 PM
Woo, little angry quote box posts! I don't think it's really that important whether the Punisher is evil; also, I think that you can all find a Punisher to suit any argument you can make, because he's been portrayed differently by different people over time. Can we move on, please?

[EDIT] Kind of destroying my point, but: yeah, he cleans it up with a mop, after he's done using his pliers.

J_Muller
2007-02-10, 06:06 PM
Yeah, the pliers that get better results than anything the police can use...

But I digress. You're right about different people portraying the Punisher differently. Personally, I prefer my Punisher LG. Obviously, some people's palates are better suited to him as LE.

Mewtarthio
2007-02-10, 06:10 PM
So, according to you history must be just filled (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Washington) with (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Bolivar) LE (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_de_Gaulle) people (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Junius_Brutus). Because, apparently disobeying the reigning laws makes you automatically LE.

No, not necessarily. If the laws are inherently unjust, rebelling against them is justified. If a dictator is twisting the law to his own beneft, rebelling against him is justified. If the laws are just too inconvenient for you to deal with them, rebelling against them is not justified.

It's not just the laws, though: It's Castle's methods which make him Evil (at best, he could be morally Neutral with strong Evil tendancies). He has alternatives. It is quite possible for him to nonlethally subdue at least a few of his marks for due process and the like. All other superheroes do the same. Peter Parker's uncle was killed by a crazy burglar who thought the Parkers were hiding a large stash of cash, but you don't see him running around killing all criminals. Granted, Parker also has a fair amount of guilt regarding that incident, but Uncle Ben's murder was no less arbitrary than that of Castle's family, and his solution could just as easily have been Castle's: "All criminals are scum, and so I must kill them all." Granted, Spiderman has a few more super-tricks than the Punisher which could make nonlethal apprehension of criminals somewhat easier, but the Punisher doesn't even try to subdue his marks: He wants them all to die.

EDIT: Bah. Ninja posted by the worst possible moment. Now I feel like I'm breaking up the great "agree to disagree" truce. I wonder if I should just delete this and let the issue lie...

Viscount Einstrauss
2007-02-10, 06:22 PM
No, don't bother. We'll draw up a treaty!

Firstly, we must gather the two parties and meet in a tent in no-man's land. I'll oversee the drafting of the treaty and the legitimacy of the truce, but I'm way too lazy to write it myself.

Grey Watcher
2007-02-10, 06:31 PM
In a D&D context, a character who exploits loopholes in the law to both advance and protect themselves. Or one who obviously violates the intent of the law while adhering to the letter to attain his own ends....

Now, admittedly, this is a perception of Lawful Evilness that annoys me a bit. Granted, it comes from the fact that your stereotypical D&D kingdom is Good, and has laws that reflect that. I don't think a penchant for twisting the rules is a defining characteristic of Lawful Evilness, it's just what LE characters have to resort to in most settings. In a land where the law really IS crafted to serve the powerful and exploit the helpless, I can see it being the Lawful Good characters who tend to use the letter of the law to defeat the spirit of the law. ("I bought these slaves fair and square, and if I want to send them to That Kingdom Where Slavery Is Illegal And They'll Likely Be Set Free, that's my buisness, not yours!")

Maerok
2007-02-11, 01:09 AM
I disagree. Remember, Clarice says she doesn't worry that he'll come after her because "he would consider it rude" or something worded like such. To me that implies a strong sense of morals, though a heavily skewed one

I think 'sophistication' or 'honor' is a better choice of words than 'morals' for Hannibal Lecter. At the end of the day, he still eats people. But he does it in style.

Rabiesbunny
2007-02-11, 02:25 AM
Jeeze, how funny is this. My gaming session has had almost weekly debates about the Punisher's alignment. Among us, it was recently decided that he is Lawful Evil, just because of his code. There are certain things that he simply won't do.

Know what is the BEST way to play LE?

Quietly.

Way I figure it, there are two kinds of LE. The Hexxtor, Gruumsh kind of LE, the kind of LE that literally believes in lording strength over those weaker than you (read:physical strength). They're the bullies, the ones who'll rape and pillage in a second if it suits them. Then, there's the intelligent LE. They use their intelligence, wisdom, and wit to advance, usually being extremely charismatic in the process.

The latter is my favorite way to go about it. Fzoul Chembryl from Forgotten Realms is a great example of this kind of LE (Read the novel Prince of Lies. Fun stuff!) . A LE character who can sit in a CG aligned city, and force Paladins to evil acts when they strike him down when they've never seen him do an evil act? That's the kind of thing that makes you laugh maniacally inside.

Yami
2007-02-11, 03:28 AM
Like any alignment there are hordes of ways to portray a Lawful Evil character. I happen to see the alignment systems as a sort of sliding scale rather than a set of predefined concepts.

First off, Evil; an alignment many DM's like to prohibit thier players from playing because, honestly, some people just don't know how to play a Something Evil character with playing him as a greedy party stabbing hell cow. In my personal opinion, evil characters are the kind who can enjoy someone elses suffering while good characters can't stand it. Neutral just sort of sits back and just doesn't want to be dragged in. Simple, effecient, and I've never really seen it fail.

Now as major NPC's or PC's our character is most likely going to be in the buisness of fighting for thier life, often killing monsters and what not. Any character who enjoys this life is one I would define as Evil. If perhaps your character merely enjos the thrill of battle and the uncertainty that fighting for ones very survival provides, you may not be evil, but again there are shades here, and discerning between good evil, and neutral often times comes down to the little details.

I would not count a hired killer Evil enless he enjoyed his work. Some assasins do what they do for the 'greater good of the kingdom' or what not. Likewise many tyrants rule with an iron fist in order to keep themselves in power rather than to protect the people, though those who build such kingdoms may be Lawful.

Speaking of which, as to the Law aspect of a character, this is an area that can get tricky. You could try and decide by whether or not someone follows a code of rules or not, but in the end everyone has a set of preferences, a code of conduct, or merely a preferred way of dealing with things that they follow. But who would beleive I was playing a Lawful character if I stated my character was ordered by his mother to never endanger himself and thus had to refuse to help the orc besieged town? I go by the standard of whose well being is more important to the character. Thus a lawful character whould be anyone who puts others before themselves, whether it be a few or a multitude of people

While this can at times make it hard to differentiate lawful from good, it prevents me from having a problem with the choatic charaters who do have a personal code of honor but do not extend it past thier friends, the lawful monkeys who may lie, cheat and bluff, but in the end always choose to endanger thier lives for some random barwench and the multitudes of other characters that often fall into the grey areas between the extremes.

So, from the variety of character you could create from this combination, I shall give some examples;

You could, for instance, make a king who wishes to build a peaceful world, but just happens to enjoy the act of removing his obstacles. Not even a tyrant, this benevolent ruler is hailed as a hero by his people, save those unfortunate few who have earned his wrath and those who would harbor them. This is an example of a character who is more bent toward Lawful than Evil, for even between ones alignment thier will oft be prejudices towards oneside or the other.

Another concept one might concieve could be a bandit out to ensure the safety of hs breathren. Sure he may disregard the laws of the land, loot and pillage, and enjoy it. But in the end, when the chips are down and a rag tag band of adventurers threaten his friends, this fellow will stand by his comrades and lay down his life to see that they may get away to start up another gig elsewhere.

But of course, my favorite LE characters would have to be the Heroes who go out into the world and combat Evil for the greater good and enjoy it. Not the ones who go and slay a dragon because he threatens thier town or may have treasure, but the ones who slay the beast merely because they search for a fight he is fair game.

Gorbash
2007-02-12, 11:04 AM
It's common sense that evil characters can't be friends with good ones. Mainly because, good characters oppose evil wherever they can lol. But can it happen sometimes? I recently finished reading the Erevis Cale Trilogy, and clearly Drasek Riven is evil. NE, by my assumptions. Yet in the end, he recognizes Jak (CG Cleric/Rogue, if I'm not mistaken) as a friend. And Cale, too, but Cale is neutral, so that's possible, I guess... I had an argument about this with my DM, because he wouldn't let me play an evil character in a good/neutral party, because I would do evil stuff for my cause (like brutally torturing someone for information, it doesn't mean I'll set a kindergarden on fire as soon as I see it!), but that doesn't necessarily that my cause is evil. I could just aspire to rule, be rich, or something like that.

Thomas
2007-02-12, 11:17 AM
That's letting alignment define characters again. If you consider alignment waht it should be - a game-mechanics descriptor, chosen on the basis of "Well, I guess this fits the character's personality, motivations, and actions best" - there's no reason Good and Evil characters couldn't be friends.

Paladins are pretty much the only PHB characters who "oppose evil wherever they can." Just having a Good alignment doesn't require or indicate that.

Matthew
2007-02-12, 01:09 PM
Exactly. You shouldn't pick an Alignment and try to play it. You should create a personality and try to play it. The DM will worry about the Alignment, in mst cases.

soylentplaid
2007-02-12, 01:46 PM
I for one can't believe nobody mentioned Dr. Doom yet. Dr. Doom would be the epitome of LE.

(now, back to the discussion and away from the whole "is the Punisher right" thing)

Thomas
2007-02-12, 02:16 PM
Exactly. You shouldn't pick an Alignment and try to play it. You should create a personality and try to play it. The DM will worry about the Alignment, in mst cases.

That's my preferred approach. The DM is the one who really needs to know, anyway.

(In fact, it could be a nice surprise for a player, finding out that holy word hurts his PC... "Crud! I better mend my ways...")

Rabiesbunny
2007-02-12, 02:38 PM
Exactly. You shouldn't pick an Alignment and try to play it.

Truer words have never been said. Too many DMs focus on the exact opposite in my group. What's the fun if a person can't evolve, and change their values? Everyone does!

Talya
2007-02-12, 06:16 PM
It should be noted that all the denizens of the Nine Hells of Baator (Devils) are Lawful Evil. There is a lot of "wiggle room" for lawful evil personalities.

Piedmon_Sama
2007-02-12, 11:03 PM
I will just very quickly give my opinion on the Punisher as a fan of the character and the excellent stories Garth Ennis has been putting out about him in the 21st Century.

He's lawful neutral. He has to be lawful, because he is WAY too organized, methodical and wholly mechanical in his mindset to be anything BUT. The Punisher has no life outside of his mission. He has no friends. He has no hobbies. Every second of his every day is dedicated to the mission. He never acts out of impulse or "on a whim." Every strike he makes is calculated to the smallest degree, every possibility planned for and every precaution taken. I seriously don't know how much more lawful you can get than this.

Now as far as the good/evil goes... he's not good because he doesn't act out of altruism or concern for others. It's crystalized in a few lines of dialogue from one comic.

Jane the Mouse: "The Criminals.... why do you kill them?"

Frank: "Because I hate them."

Jane: "Oh.... I thought maybe it was because you wanted to make people safer."

That's really it. The Punisher hates criminals. He doesn't bother to rationalize his actions any further. You can say his obsession makes him insane, but if you really step back and look at the Marvel Universe, I'd say he's one of the very few sane people there. Nobody ELSE is gonna take care of these guys.

The Punisher only kills those who deserve it, and I would say yes, he is qualified to make the calls he does (the police and government in his universe are comically inept and corrupt.) In answer to one of Thomas's earlier questions, yes, I know at least one woman he's killed... but only after his earlier attempts left her a limbless torso, so really, at that point, he was doing her a favor. (I swear it's hilairious if you read it....)

Since he is overall a force for good but not motivated by goodness, I dub the Punisher neutral. The easiest, strongest and best comparison I could make in D&D terms is the Inevitables. They answer to no authority but their own, but they are the epitome of Lawful Neutral. Because they're cold, unfeeling machines. And for all intents and purposes, the Punisher is too. Anything else you see is just projecting your thoughts onto what is truly an abyss.

Rabiesbunny
2007-02-12, 11:07 PM
...he killed a guy dressed like Santa in front of KIDS! O_O!

J_Muller
2007-02-12, 11:17 PM
Well, I never said he was a saint or anything...

TheEmerged
2007-02-12, 11:21 PM
I for one can't believe nobody mentioned Dr. Doom yet. Dr. Doom would be the epitome of LE.

(now, back to the discussion and away from the whole "is the Punisher right" thing)

Um, what am I chopped liver?


2> The individual believes in the rule of law -- which likely differs a great deal from the established law. Doom (from comics) is a good example here. He makes great use of diplomatic immunity, will keep his word to a fault, and views his honor & nobility as two of the reasons he's uniquely qualified to rule.

Viscount Einstrauss
2007-02-13, 12:06 AM
Holy crap! Talking chopped liver!

J_Muller
2007-02-13, 12:07 AM
Holy talking liver Batman!

Viscount Einstrauss
2007-02-13, 12:45 AM
Quickly, J. Robin! We must make our way to the Batcave and devise a method for extracting the quantum continuums from his cerebelum in order to create talking fruit cups! Science!

Thomas
2007-02-13, 01:17 AM
The Punisher only kills those who deserve it, and I would say yes, he is qualified to make the calls he does (the police and government in his universe are comically inept and corrupt.) In answer to one of Thomas's earlier questions, yes, I know at least one woman he's killed... but only after his earlier attempts left her a limbless torso, so really, at that point, he was doing her a favor. (I swear it's hilairious if you read it....)

Hey, as long as nobody's stuffed in a fridge...

Wippit Guud
2007-02-13, 02:05 AM
Some people say Punisher is Lawful Evil. Others says he is Lawful Neutral. Hmm.

Judge Dredd would be the ultimate definitiion of Lawful Neutral. How does the Punisher's ethics stack up against him?

J_Muller
2007-02-13, 02:39 AM
If we're going back into this...

The Punisher is pretty much what Judge Dredd would be if he worked outside the law instead of with it. In fact, the Punisher would fit in quite well with the Judges.

Parlik
2007-02-13, 05:46 AM
Hmm Klaus from the webcomic 'Girl Genius' by Katia and Foglio always struck me as a good example of LE.