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ThinkMinty
2016-05-30, 04:41 PM
I think I asked this question in some form a while ago, but I'll ask it again:

Anyone have any favorite Always/Usually Chaotic Evil humanoids?

Geddy2112
2016-05-30, 04:43 PM
Drow, way better than orcs or goblins.

awa
2016-05-30, 06:24 PM
personally not a fan of drow for various reasons but to each his own.

My favorite is gnolls and bugbears although I admit I haven't done much with them

of course technically their usually evil not always evil at least in 3rd edition

RazorChain
2016-05-30, 09:55 PM
personally not a fan of drow for various reasons but to each his own.

My favorite is gnolls and bugbears although I admit I haven't done much with them

of course technically their usually evil not always evil at least in 3rd edition

Evil is a standard set by the norms of society or culture you live in, I don't doubt in the mind of the "evil" races it is the humans/elves/dwarves who are evil.

So I nominate humans

neonagash
2016-05-30, 10:31 PM
I think I asked this question in some form a while ago, but I'll ask it again:

Anyone have any favorite Always/Usually Chaotic Evil humanoids?

I like orcs and trolls as always evil. I use trolls a lot though.

Slipperychicken
2016-05-30, 10:55 PM
I like orcs. There are a lot of ways to do them while maintaining their core traits.


I don't like it when the game manual declares an entire group of people "evil" or "good" based on their ethnicity. I feel like the book should be telling the reader about their culture, history, and what their priorities and values are, and then let the reader form his own opinions based on that. It's one thing to have an opinionated narrator say nasty things about the subject matter (say, if the book on orcs was written from the perspective of racist elven scribes who would be aggregating knowledge about them in-setting), but it shuts down a lot of interesting conversations when the impartial word of god hands down a moral judgement that should be subjective.

neonagash
2016-05-30, 11:35 PM
I like orcs. There are a lot of ways to do them while maintaining their core traits.


I don't like it when the game manual declares an entire group of people "evil" or "good" based on their ethnicity. I feel like the book should be telling the reader about their culture, history, and what their priorities and values are, and then let the reader form his own opinions based on that. It's one thing to have an opinionated narrator say nasty things about the subject matter (say, if the book on orcs was written from the perspective of racist elven scribes who would be aggregating knowledge about them in-setting), but it shuts down a lot of interesting conversations when the impartial word of god hands down a moral judgement that should be subjective.

See I don't view the different races as ethnicities like say Asians and Europeans. I view them as different species, ie frogs, cows and dogs.

So it seems totally reasonable to have overarching types the same way dogs are pack hunting predators that naturally hunt and chase anything that runs while fighting for the pack, cows are herd based vegans who will fight to defend young, but will also abandon what looks like a hard fight to preserve their own life and the overall herd and frogs are solitary predators.

I find fantasy races more interesting when they are really alien and different, rather than humans from another country.

Slipperychicken
2016-05-31, 12:11 AM
See I don't view the different races as ethnicities like say Asians and Europeans. I view them as different species, ie frogs, cows and dogs.

I used to think that way, before I heard a mainstream definition of species, wherein most of the fantasy races' ability to procreate with one another (and produce live, viable, fertile offspring) would lead to them being classified as the same species. There's also the matter that they can easily communicate using a common language, have regular contact with one another, share a number of cultural ideas like their beliefs about afterlives, and seem to have little trouble working side-by-side when needed. The traditional fantasy races, despite superficial differences, are in many ways closer to one another than real life human cultures.

Kelb_Panthera
2016-05-31, 02:35 AM
Related question; are there -any- always evil humanoids? I'm not aware of any.

Regitnui
2016-05-31, 03:30 AM
I used to think that way, before I heard a mainstream definition of species, wherein most of the fantasy races' ability to procreate with one another (and produce live, viable, fertile offspring) would lead to them being classified as the same species. There's also the matter that they can easily communicate using a common language, have regular contact with one another, share a number of cultural ideas like their beliefs about afterlives, and seem to have little trouble working side-by-side when needed. The traditional fantasy races, despite superficial differences, are in many ways closer to one another than real life human cultures.

This would put elves, humans and orcs in the same species (subspecies of each other) with dwarves being the next closest relatives. I'm actually a fan of this theory, mostly due to a snippet from 3.5's Races of Destiny. One of the potential human creation myths told of a hunter who killed a god's sacred beast/avatar, and brought a curse back to his village that caused those who ate the meat to become grotesque, grey-skinned monsters. The descendants of that original village survive today as Sharakim, which were written up in the book as 'cultured orcs' with a bad case of human envy. Taking the Unfortunate Implications and putting them in a bin, it's an interesting concept;

In the beginning, humans, elves and orcs were one people. Some of them sought harnony with the woods and wild spaces of the world, while others gathered into villages and beat the wild spaces back. Those who wandered too deeply into the forests found the Fae, and learned magic, bringing themselves closer to the nature of their mentors. Thus were the elves born.

The village humans looked inwards, building civilization. Villages became towns, and their population grew. However, their activities brought destruction on the elves' claimed homes, and conflict began to brew. Unable to meet their kin in numbers, the elves concocted a plan that would scatter the human towns; a magical plague. The fae magic worked incredibly well; those struck by the disease became hideous, with grey skin, fangs and heavy brows. The few unafflicted humans fled, and those left behind named themselves sharakim. However, the name that those who survived gave them became more wildy known; orc.

Thus, the orcs, cursed by elves, abandoned by humans, became the enemies of their former kin, forever marked by the long-ago plague. When elves and humans found reconciliation, the orcs found hatred and disgust. Driven from their homes as humanity reclaimed what was once theirs, they were forced to become marauders to survive, being named amongst the monstrous races because they swept down from barren mountains to raid; 'orcing'. They remain there still, but their half-human descendants provide a brutal reminder to the long memories of the elves of their shared ancestry.

Inevitability
2016-05-31, 05:42 AM
Drow, way better than orcs or goblins.

Drow are, and have as far as I know always been, Neutral Evil.

awa
2016-05-31, 08:21 AM
never been a fan of the idea that orcs ect are just a different ethnicity once you do that you start asking to be called a raciest not to mention its less interesting.
I like it when separate species are actually different not just Europeans/ Americans with pointy ears because letís face it a typically depiction of an elf or a dwarf has more in common with a modern American then that American has with say an Aztec or a Australian aborigine when it comes to values and world view.

So the example of dogs, cows, and frogs is a good one and part of why I like gnolls itís easy to make them act non-human by basing them off hyena

also at least in the srd non of the humanoid are always evil

Regitnui
2016-05-31, 08:48 AM
view.So the example of dogs, cows, and frogs is a good one and part of why I like gnolls itís easy to make them act non-human by basing them off hyena

So it's easiermore interesting to dehumanize sentients of any race? At the risk of stepping on the rules, I'd say that we've had too much dehumanizing in our collective real life history for it to be in our entertainment too.

One thing you said that I do agree with it taking traits from animals and applying them to a sentient race's development. Take gnolls. The average hyena female is larger than the male by a fair amount. How would a society develop where the men are the weak and exploited gender? And before you bring up the drow, that's divinely enforced, not evolutionary, and therefore has no place when we're killing catgirls.

Medusas and harpies bring up the question of how a single-gender species thrives in a changing world. I'll tell you that there have been studies done IRL about the advantages of having two genders. Since it's a bit risquť and kinda complex, if anyone wants to know the specifics, you can drop me a pm.

But going back to my original point; it's all good and well if you want to bust down dungeon doors and slaughter everything within for shinies, but you can get that from computer and console games (and you'll get it more and more often, but I digress). Tabletop offers an opportunity to add depth and variance. The elf isn't always the CG forest child, and the hobgoblin doesn't have to be a LE killer. Prescribed alignments for anything over 5 INT is ridiculous. Humans being the only race allowed choice of alignment is an antiquated notion that should be passed on to other, less interactive, forms of media. Nonhuman isn't inhuman.

Think of the gnoll pups before you murder their parents.

awa
2016-05-31, 09:16 AM
I'm not dehumanizing anything im merely not making them human. Im sick of this knee jerk insult, ive seen it a million times. It never stops being stupid and lazy and half the times shows off the racism of the accuser more then the original post. This species is vicious and stupid therefore you must be describing this real world race despite having no other traits is common.

fine you don't want any sapient that's not an American with funny ears and only superficial differences less then real world human divides in culture and time. but don't accuse others of dehumanizing just because we want to have alien aliens that are more then a human with one different trait.

Winter_Wolf
2016-05-31, 09:48 AM
I used to think that way, before I heard a mainstream definition of species, wherein most of the fantasy races' ability to procreate with one another (and produce live, viable, fertile offspring) would lead to them being classified as the same species. There's also the matter that they can easily communicate using a common language, have regular contact with one another, share a number of cultural ideas like their beliefs about afterlives, and seem to have little trouble working side-by-side when needed. The traditional fantasy races, despite superficial differences, are in many ways closer to one another than real life human cultures.

It's fantasy. If you're sticking to D&D that definition of species includes most things in the MM, including dragons. Dragons are an ethnicity now? I know it's the popular thing to be all inclusive and understanding and what have you, but it says a lot more about the people saying "orc human relationships are just like what we've seen happen between human group A and human group B!" Because we know the creators of D&D were a bunch of bigots who modeled monsters on other cultures?

Also for the person mentioning drow always NE, I think Greyhawk had them as CN way back in "Queen of the Demonweb Pits." I think, based on hearsay and not having an actual copy of that module.

goto124
2016-05-31, 10:02 AM
The advantage of an 'Always Chaotic Evil humanoid' species/race is that the players can mow them down without any question of morality (black and white morality is occasionally useful), while still providing the challenges that only sufficiently smart human-shaped creatures can provide. For example, if gnolls are 'Always Chaotic Evil', they have a human-like body structure the players can easily understand in combat, they can build fortresses to provide dungeons for the players to fight through, etc.

Also, demons and undead have nasty immunities that come with their kind, which may not be good for the situation at hand. Say, a level 2 party.

awa
2016-05-31, 10:15 AM
While I agree that always evil is good for the whole easy mook thing itís not always necessary.

If for example all the orc noncombatants are deep in orc land and the only orcs in human land are raiders or slavers it kind of sidesteps the morality question.

Besides even if a race is always evil does not mean wiping them out is the correct choice. Maybe because they are content with low scale back and forth raids but you going after one of their big cities will have them retaliate in force and maybe itís the humans that get wiped out. Maybe their isolationist and their evil only comes out when you bug them.

Itís not that I think there must always be always evil races that need to be slaughtered without thought I just hate the knee jerk youíre a raciest for even considering using evil only race

On top of nasty immunities weak undead and demons tend to have limited motivations and limited methods of interaction that don't overlap that well with say a bugbear.

The Glyphstone
2016-05-31, 10:19 AM
If I remember right, Jerren (Vile Halflings) and Vasharan (Vile Humans) are both Always Evil playable races, from BoVD.

awa
2016-05-31, 10:37 AM
but does anyone actually like them much less consider them their favorite evil race?

AMFV
2016-05-31, 10:42 AM
but does anyone actually like them much less consider them their favorite evil race?

I'm fond of them, although I've never used them in campaigns or as characters. The concept for at least the Evil humans (deicidal maniacs) is definitely an intriguing one. Especially to use as an ancient and powerful society or the ruins of a society that tried to rise up against the Gods. Possibly now left as undead, to avoid having to bend the knee even in death.

Kyberwulf
2016-05-31, 10:47 AM
That is a very NARROW list.

Bugbear
Gnoll
Orc
Troglodyte
Werewolf

Of that list.. I would have to say Orcs.

awa
2016-05-31, 10:53 AM
okay I could see that as some kind of Conan style lost decadent kingdom of ancient power, huddling in the shattered remains of former greatness that could work.

Actually that could work really well have the party here about this great and mighty nation and how they fell trying to destroy an evil god and how they have an artifact of power that could be used to stop a new evil god.

Then as they slowly explore the ruin have them slowly see hints of how everything is not what it appears and let it sink in bit by bit that these guys were unspeakable monsters and that the god of evil they were fighting was less monstrous then them and then have the survivors come for them and it turns out they are just a mockery of all that is good.

Try and fill it with things that look good or neutral at first glance like killing fighting an evil god and then twist it so additional information cast the original information in new light as a monstrous act.

Slipperychicken
2016-05-31, 11:02 AM
It's fantasy. If you're sticking to D&D that definition of species includes most things in the MM, including dragons. Dragons are an ethnicity now? I know it's the popular thing to be all inclusive and understanding and what have you, but it says a lot more about the people saying "orc human relationships are just like what we've seen happen between human group A and human group B!" Because we know the creators of D&D were a bunch of bigots who modeled monsters on other cultures?

I'd much rather have natural interbreeding and frequent cultural exchange with monsters not possible so that it doesn't make everything so awkward.

If an author wants me to universally condemn the monsters and not even consider thoughts of mercy or sympathy for them, I feel like there are a lot of better ways to go about it than making them almost exactly the same as humans, and arguably the same species as humans, but simply calling them all bad. Outlining whatever they've done to deserve that kind of sweeping reductionist condemnation would be a first step toward that. It's fine to want a human-shaped, consequence-free target in a game about fantasy violence, but I feel like they need some more demonization to achieve that lack of sympathy.

Blackhawk748
2016-05-31, 11:08 AM
The great thing here is you're both right. Gnolls are not human and i've never really seen them act like humans. Orcs, while not human, have always been quite relatable and should be as its kinda nice to have some antagonists that are relatable instead of "Strange and unknowable"

Personally for my Gnolls i have them get nabbed by Demigorgon when they where in their early stages of evolution and then Demigorgon speeds it up a b it and then holds them there. Now occasionally some Gnolls go "Screw this Demigorgon guy" and leave the tribe. After a generation or two the decendants of these exiles dont look like normal Gnolls anymore as their true evolution takes over. Now they look like a canine scavenger appropriate for the area they are in, so you get Jackal, Fox and Coyote Gnolls as well as the normal Hyena ones.

They still arent nice, but they tend to keep more to themselves. If you invade their turf however, you're in for a world of hurt.


I'd much rather have natural interbreeding and frequent cultural exchange with monsters not possible so that it doesn't make everything so awkward.

If an author wants me to universally condemn the monsters and not even consider thoughts of mercy or sympathy for them, I feel like there are a lot of better ways to go about it than making them almost exactly the same as humans, and arguably the same species as humans, but simply calling them all bad. Outlining whatever they've done to deserve that kind of sweeping reductionist condemnation would be a first step toward that. It's fine to want a human-shaped, consequence-free target in a game about fantasy violence, but I feel like they need some more demonization to achieve that lack of sympathy.

And i've never really felt they did it well with Orcs. Orcs just feel like Angry Tribal People Who Constantly Get Screwed, so i almost want to help them and tell the Kingdom to go screw itself. Gnolls on the other hand have been done better, as being the spawn of a Demon and murdering people for the lulz is a pretty good step in making me want to kill them.

hamishspence
2016-05-31, 11:57 AM
That is a very NARROW list.

Bugbear
Gnoll
Orc
Troglodyte
Werewolf

Derro are another MM "Usually CE humanoid" race:

http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/derro.htm

although their type is Monstrous Humanoid for some reason.

wumpus
2016-05-31, 12:15 PM
Give catfolk actual cat preferences and actions. Done. For even greater squick, give drow even more-spidery natures (weaned from devouring a living paralyzed surface folk...).

Generally speaking, it *always* is a bad idea. It might work for outsiders and undead (and sufficiently complex games should allow the possibility of redemption, even if the undead work like OOTS). Typically the beer and pretzels games don't need the "always" (you need not bother with the exceptions) and the games that care shouldn't be "always". The one good reason for *always* is to prevent the obvious Drizzit PC from being the exception.

Regitnui
2016-05-31, 01:23 PM
Yeah, Black and white morality is useful, but if you really want to wade in and kill things, the alignments really just become so much tissue paper. The Nine Alignments are roleplaying tools. All you need for the Kick-in-the-Door game is "You: Hero. Them: Enemy" and stop wondering whether the paladin is doing the right thing. "Smite Evil" then becomes "Smite Opponent".

NovenFromTheSun
2016-05-31, 02:33 PM
If I'm allowed non D&D examples, I'm rather fond of the headless from Ultima.

Mark Hall
2016-05-31, 02:44 PM
Evil is a standard set by the norms of society or culture you live in, I don't doubt in the mind of the "evil" races it is the humans/elves/dwarves who are evil.

So I nominate humans

In D&D, this is emphatically not true. Good and Evil aren't merely constructs; they're metaphysical truths, even going into the organization of the multiverse. In the outer planes, making a place too L/C/G/E for a plane can result in that place plane shifting to another plane.

Regitnui
2016-05-31, 03:01 PM
In D&D, this is emphatically not true. Good and Evil aren't merely constructs; they're metaphysical truths, even going into the organization of the multiverse. In the outer planes, making a place too L/C/G/E for a plane can result in that place plane shifting to another plane.

Is your favourite setting Planescape?

In reality, aka the Material plane, people are more complex than the grand metaphysical concepts; are they water, earth, fire or air elementals? Similar thing with alignments. A creature can act in a Lawful way but still be Chaotic Good.

Grytorm
2016-05-31, 03:04 PM
I'm partial to Gnolls, the pathfinder write up wasn't bad in the Monster Codex and for myself I want to write them up as mostly a nomadic pastoral race of carnivores. Although they would consume alcohol and mix meal into their food to diversify the diet and cut back a little on their rations.

Edit: And they might wear dung scented perfume to keep their livestock calm. Especially when they are buying from regular humans.

AMFV
2016-05-31, 03:30 PM
Is your favourite setting Planescape?

In reality, aka the Material plane, people are more complex than the grand metaphysical concepts; are they water, earth, fire or air elementals? Similar thing with alignments. A creature can act in a Lawful way but still be Chaotic Good.

People in D&D are composed of Water, Earth, Fire, and Air, as well as Positive Energy. Yes. Reality isn't the material plane, it only operates in ways that are similar to our reality.

People as a whole in D&D aren't predisposed to any particular alignment, whereas many other creatures are.

Regitnui
2016-05-31, 03:53 PM
People in D&D are composed of Water, Earth, Fire, and Air, as well as Positive Energy. Yes. Reality isn't the material plane, it only operates in ways that are similar to our reality.

People as a whole in D&D aren't predisposed to any particular alignment, whereas many other creatures are.

For the purposes of this discussion, the Material Plane is reality, with the planes each being reflections of an aspect thereof. So alignments are analogous to elements of reality.

I have a broader definition of people. People =/= humans. All player races, most "humanoid" subtype monsters, and any monster that is intelligent enough to hold a philosophical conversation (INT 10+) can be called people. Personhood isn't about biology, but psychology. People debate whether other apes, pets and even plants have enough self-awareness to be called 'person' instead of 'thing'.

Kyberwulf
2016-05-31, 04:08 PM
Well, in D&D, no one can really be called people. Unless you call them that. D&D has specific creature types. Those type determine things. Since people doesn't exist in the creature type. There isn't a group that could be considered people.. ya know. as written

Slipperychicken
2016-05-31, 04:36 PM
People in D&D are composed of Water, Earth, Fire, and Air, as well as Positive Energy. Yes. Reality isn't the material plane, it only operates in ways that are similar to our reality.

The description of acid damage in 5th edition makes reference to dissolving enzymes. Every so often you find little bits like that. It's far from consistent, but it really depends on how you fluff it in your own game. I still think that gravity is lower in dnd-land, because of things like falling damage, jump distances, and terminal velocity


Yeah, Black and white morality is useful, but if you really want to wade in and kill things, the alignments really just become so much tissue paper. The Nine Alignments are roleplaying tools. All you need for the Kick-in-the-Door game is "You: Hero. Them: Enemy" and stop wondering whether the paladin is doing the right thing. "Smite Evil" then becomes "Smite Opponent".

If you ask me, I think alignments aren't useful for more nuanced games either. People can make moral judgements on their own, it's not the place of a game manual to tell us right from wrong. I think someone at WotC realized this on some level and took a step in the right direction by reducing the role of alignment in the edition update.

Mark Hall
2016-05-31, 04:59 PM
I have a broader definition of people. People =/= humans. All player races, most "humanoid" subtype monsters, and any monster that is intelligent enough to hold a philosophical conversation (INT 10+) can be called people. Personhood isn't about biology, but psychology. People debate whether other apes, pets and even plants have enough self-awareness to be called 'person' instead of 'thing'.

Part of it, however, is that many races are, in fact, special creations of their deities. Orcs are literally formed out of the blood of their deity, as are elves, so while they may be mortal and not "Always" of alignment, the "usually" can carry a fair whack of innate tendencies.

And, of course, psychology is shaped by environment... an orc raised by orcs, even if he got an education, is still going to have his psychology shaped by the fact that he grew up in an evil and brutal society. And when you add in that good and evil are not only metaphysical truths in most editions of D&D, but actually measureable and quantifiable (a 1st level spell can break it down into broad categories; a higher level spell could give you precise data), an orc may not question the appropriateness of evil... what humans call "evil", they call "correct".

Millstone85
2016-05-31, 07:26 PM
Watching Buffy and Angel, I found it amusing how so many demons who looked like humans with horns turned out to be written as pretty much exactly that, yet vampires were rather consistently written as evil incarnate, specifically as corpses possessed by the worst aspects of the person who died. And now OotS seems to be doing it too: Duskon is playing pure evil better than Sabine.

I guess my answer is vampires, though they probably do not qualify for a number of reasons.


I'm not dehumanizing anything im merely not making them human.And this reminds me of the Discworld novels, where trolls, goblins and others got hit hard with antiracist metaphors. They were even worried, in universe, about forgetting their culture and becoming human in all but appearance. But then that same Discworld had the elves (more fair folks than Vulcans) who actually had cruelty as their motivation for anything and were bemused by the concept of genuine compassion.

nyjastul69
2016-05-31, 07:53 PM
I like the absolute morality in D&D. It adds value to the game for me. I deal with relative morals enough in life. I don't want many moral quandaries in my escapism RPG. I like that some things are just simply evil. Of course, YMMV.

Liquor Box
2016-05-31, 08:46 PM
I like Orcs the best. I like the idea of a savage species who fights through brute strength.


As to the debate about alignment. I have always though of the different humaniod creatures as being differnet species (like tigers and lions, which can breed to produce a Liger https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liger ).

I don't think the rules prescribe alignment as ALWAYS being evil, but do make that the norm for orcs etc. I have no problem with that at all, and to be honest I wouldn't have a problem if they were prescribed as being always evil.

If people are offended with goblins etc being evil and the parallels with racism in the real world, isn't there also the concern that goblins, orcs etc have penalties to scores like wisdom, intelligence and charisma. To me that is just as much of a horrifying analogy as alignment. Of course I don't think it's a problem myself because I think of them as difference species.

Max_Killjoy
2016-05-31, 10:29 PM
I'm not a fan of any intelligent species/race being inevitably "evil by nature".

Now, the common culture of a species/race can have some pretty evil aspects, certainly.

Slipperychicken
2016-05-31, 10:45 PM
I'm not a fan of any intelligent species/race being inevitably "evil by nature".

Now, the common culture of a species/race can have some pretty evil aspects, certainly.

I think that a fantasy people and monsters can alao have inherent psychological and behavioral tendencies that help make them worthy of the label 'evil', like a vampire's need to prey on human beings, or a dragon's psychological obsession with treasure-hoarding.

And I'm fine with monster-races being antagonists, I just need the writers to show me why and how they're bad. The drow for example have sufficient text devoted to the mean things they do, that I can get into the mindset of someone whose quest involves killing them en masse. When someone puts in a paragraph about how the orcs slaughter innocents, keep slaves, or torture captives for fun, then I can work with that.

Liquor Box
2016-05-31, 10:57 PM
I think that a fantasy people and monsters can alao have inherent psychological and behavioral tendencies that help make them worthy of the label 'evil', like a vampire's need to prey on human beings, or a dragon's psychological obsession with treasure-hoarding.

And I'm fine with monster-races being antagonists, I just need the writers to show me why and how they're bad. The drow for example have sufficient text devoted to the mean things they do, that I can get into the mindset of someone whose quest involves killing them en masse. When someone puts in a paragraph about how the orcs slaughter innocents, keep slaves, or torture captives for fun, then I can work with that.

Does evilness require actions?

Is the person who wants to evil things, but restrains himself out of fear of retribution (from law or otherwise), not evil?

awa
2016-05-31, 10:58 PM
i agree with Slipperychicken if your gonna to say this humanoid race is intrinsically different then a human by being inherently evil you should actually do it and tell us what makes them tick what makes them more then just a bandit or serial killer with green skin that is the interesting part not the evil.

Of course to many authors get lazy here and just have them be evil for the sake of evil or so back stabby their not a functional species.

Grytorm
2016-05-31, 11:01 PM
Is the person who polices the world to remove every foul fault from mankind good? Even when the guilty never acted upon their impulses, knowing that to do so would be to reject their humanity?

Slipperychicken
2016-05-31, 11:24 PM
Is the person who wants to evil things, but restrains himself out of fear of retribution (from law or otherwise), not evil?

This is a question as old as the hills and twice as dusty. You can simply google the arguments over whether 'true altruism' exists: it'll save us all a lot of trouble. We're just going to roll out the same arguments in a less elegant way, and we're not going to settle it here.

Needless to say, I'm not jumping down this rabbit hole right now.

goto124
2016-05-31, 11:29 PM
Is the person who wants to evil things, but restrains herself out of fear of retribution (from law or otherwise), not evil?

As long as she keeps herself in check, she is good. But in practice, she'll start to 'leak' or even snap.

hamishspence
2016-06-01, 01:30 AM
And this reminds me of the Discworld novels, where trolls, goblins and others got hit hard with antiracist metaphors. They were even worried, in universe, about forgetting their culture and becoming human in all but appearance. But then that same Discworld had the elves (more fair folks than Vulcans) who actually had cruelty as their motivation for anything and were bemused by the concept of genuine compassion.

And even the elven queen is at least shown to be capable of change, in the last Discworld book, The Shepherd's Crown.

Regitnui
2016-06-01, 02:58 AM
As to the debate about alignment. I have always though of the different humaniod creatures as being differnet species (like tigers and lions, which can breed to produce a Liger https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liger ).


Strictly speaking, that's more akin to humans and dwarves, who can have hybrid children known as muls in the Dark Sun setting. The fact that other humanoid crossbreeds: half-elves, half-orcs, shifters, can all breed on their own makes it more like a British man and a Japanese woman having children. At most, orcs, humans and elves are subspecies.

Unless the old chestnut about D&D humans' magic being concentrated in their ability to breed successfully with pretty much anything is true... Maybe humans and orcs are more closely related than most would admit...

AMFV
2016-06-01, 03:05 AM
Strictly speaking, that's more akin to humans and dwarves, who can have hybrid children known as muls in the Dark Sun setting. The fact that other humanoid crossbreeds: half-elves, half-orcs, shifters, can all breed on their own makes it more like a British man and a Japanese woman having children. At most, orcs, humans and elves are subspecies.

Unless the old chestnut about D&D humans' magic being concentrated in their ability to breed successfully with pretty much anything is true... Maybe humans and orcs are more closely related than most would admit...

Not quite, there are a quite a few species that can cross-breed and produce fertile offspring. Hell, some mules have been fertile (so rare as to be almost legendary though).

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3378453

There you go, there's a fertile mule, but that's particularly rare. Also we have no real evidence that Half-Elves are fertile in most settings. I mean in Tolkein certainly, but since there's a lot of Divine intervention in that setting it's difficult to compare back to real world biology. In the end all you need for fertile crossbreeds is the same number of chromosomes which can certainly be the case:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_%28biology%29

There's a list there, which mentions many fertile species, so it's not unreasonable to assume that something similar could be the case in Elves and Humans but not in Elves and Dwarves.

Millstone85
2016-06-01, 04:03 AM
And even the elven queen is at least shown to be capable of change, in the last Discworld book, The Shepherd's Crown.Yes, but in her case that's a trope called Humanity Is Infectious and an undisputed upgrade from being a normal elf. Meanwhile, trolls and goblins react with rightful indignation whenever someone suggests they are better now that they behave more like humans.

hamishspence
2016-06-01, 06:34 AM
Gibberlings are "Always Chaotic Neutral" humanoids (Monsters of Faerun) and are characterised as "the army ants of the Underdark" due to their penchant for attacking and killing anything they come across. They are also low Int (5 on average, suggesting a -6 penalty to Int).

They fit the "too dangerous to coexist with" facet of "Always Chaotic Evil" despite not technically being Evil.

Regitnui
2016-06-01, 06:48 AM
Also we have no real evidence that Half-Elves are fertile in most settings.

House Lyrandar is a dynasty of half-elves (khoravar) in the Eberron setting; a dynasty requires the ability to have children.

hamishspence
2016-06-01, 06:53 AM
And Aglarond & Dambrath, in Forgotten Realms both have long-standing elf-human hybridization, producing dynasties of half-elves and half-drow.


A point is made of how (in Dambrath) since 1/32 is the minimum amount of elf/drow blood to qualify as "Crinti" (the upper caste of Dambrath) those half-elves/drow who have such a low percentage of elf blood, go out of their way to marry full-blooded drow to ensure that their family's claim to power remains valid.


I suspect that if you dig around in Greyhawk, Mystara, and Dragonlance fluff, you'll find some similar references to half-elven dynasties, half-elves with children, etc.

awa
2016-06-01, 07:19 AM
Like others have pointed out half dragons are a thing as are draconic creatures, as are half fiends and tieflings, and many many others. So the fact that orcs and humans can breed in no way means they are the same as two human ethnicities.
Even if I bought the argument they are the same species a better analogy would not be humans
But dogs say a golden retriever and a wolf both have a number of shared traits but also have a number of wildly different engrained behaviors that cause them to react wildly differently. Traits that can be overcome only through intensive and continuous training which if applied to a sapient would probably be deeply unethical.

AMFV
2016-06-01, 07:41 AM
I concede the point about Half-Elf fertility, I did not recall at the time those examples. Although to be fair that still doesn't impact my other point, that real life interspecies offspring can be fertile.

Ettina
2016-06-01, 08:21 AM
I used to think that way, before I heard a mainstream definition of species, wherein most of the fantasy races' ability to procreate with one another (and produce live, viable, fertile offspring) would lead to them being classified as the same species.

This definition isn't the only one. Some biologists use a definition based on habitat and morphology rather than reproductive ability.

For example, wolves and coyotes can create fertile hybrids, and so can polar bears and grizzly bears. However, in both cases, the two species differ greatly in appearance, physical features and behavior to to the point where most biologists consider them different species.

Or, to take a humanoid example, we interbred with Neanderthals and produced fertile offspring - I'm actually 3% Neanderthal myself. However, Neanderthals differed from homo sapiens a lot more than two human races differ. We don't know exactly what they were like, but they seem to have thought differently (eg there's no evidence of any Neanderthal art, while contemporary homo sapiens were doing tons of art) and they certainly had a lot of physical differences from homo sapiens. To my view, other humanoids in D&D are probably about as close to humans as we were to our hominin cousins.

And regarding always or usually evil races, some of that is probably bias, but psychopathy does have a genetic component. Theoretically you could have a society made up entirely of individuals with a strong genetic predisposition to psychopathy, and most of them would be psychopaths. (Drow, for example, act very much like how I'd imagine a psychopathic culture.)

Max_Killjoy
2016-06-01, 08:22 AM
Does evilness require actions?

Is the person who wants to evil things, but restrains himself out of fear of retribution (from law or otherwise), not evil?

You're asking a very old question -- is evil about thoughts, or actions? Most people have wanted at some point in our life to do something we knew was wrong, and chose not to, not out of fear of consequences, but because they knew it was wrong, that their motivation was selfish and that it would hurt someone.

hamishspence
2016-06-01, 08:45 AM
Yes, but in her case that's a trope called Humanity Is Infectious and an undisputed upgrade from being a normal elf.

The trope isn't referenced here:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Discworld/TheShepherdsCrown

but "Took a level in kindness" is - she's learning empathy - but that doesn't mean she's ceased to be an elf.

Regitnui
2016-06-01, 09:26 AM
Like others have pointed out half dragons are a thing as are draconic creatures, as are half fiends and tieflings, and many many others. So the fact that orcs and humans can breed in no way means they are the same as two human ethnicities.

Nobody's saying that. We're saying that interfertility implies a certain amount of shared genetic heritage. Half-dragons and tieflings don't count, because fiends are outright supernatural creatures and dragons are strongly implied to be more magical than mortal. An orc or elf doesn't need a polymorph spell or Change Shape ability to have viable, fertile offspring with humans. So no magic (though magic could be used as a contraceptive), just biology.

I used the European/Asian analogy earlier for lack of a better one. Then one appeared;


This definition isn't the only one. Some biologists use a definition based on habitat and morphology rather than reproductive ability.

For example, wolves and coyotes can create fertile hybrids, and so can polar bears and grizzly bears. However, in both cases, the two species differ greatly in appearance, physical features and behavior to to the point where most biologists consider them different species.

Or, to take a humanoid example, we interbred with Neanderthals and produced fertile offspring - I'm actually 3% Neanderthal myself. However, Neanderthals differed from homo sapiens a lot more than two human races differ. We don't know exactly what they were like, but they seem to have thought differently (eg there's no evidence of any Neanderthal art, while contemporary homo sapiens were doing tons of art) and they certainly had a lot of physical differences from homo sapiens. To my view, other humanoids in D&D are probably about as close to humans as we were to our hominin cousins.

And regarding always or usually evil races, some of that is probably bias, but psychopathy does have a genetic component. Theoretically you could have a society made up entirely of individuals with a strong genetic predisposition to psychopathy, and most of them would be psychopaths. (Drow, for example, act very much like how I'd imagine a psychopathic culture.)

I forgot about the Human/Neanderthal RL example. Those are subspecies; homo sapiens sapiens and homo sapiens Neanderthalis (feel free to correct my Latin). Humans and orcs/elves (since we haven't seen orc-elf hybrids, though they may exist) may be similar to the polar and grizzly bear example you gave. We do know they normally favour different environments; plains, mountains, and forests respectively. There's no reason they can't be different hominin subspecies under the influence of magic and/or environmental adaptation.

goto124
2016-06-01, 09:30 AM
I seem to remember a setting where elves are humans with a 'magic taint' or something. When an elf and a human mate, their child is a half-elf with only half the magic. When the half-elf mates with a human, the magic goes away completely and their child is a full human.

hamishspence
2016-06-01, 09:31 AM
Mongrelfolk from Fiend Folio are basically the result of hybridization of most of the notable humanoid races - as such - they qualify as being of those races for prerequisite purposes, as far as I recall. If you have to be a dwarf to wield a certain weapon - a mongrelfolk can wield that weapon.

This would imply a degree of interfertility between most of them - possibly with humans as the "bridge" - so, an elf/orc pair might be prone to fertility problems, but a half-elf and half-orc probably wouldn't be, and so on.

Telonius
2016-06-01, 09:40 AM
Does evilness require actions?

Is the person who wants to evil things, but restrains himself out of fear of retribution (from law or otherwise), not evil?

D&D alignment is primarily action-based, not motive-based. A person who doesn't do evil things is not (D&D-alignment) Evil. They might not be Good, but they're not Evil. There are a few exceptions: having the [Evil] subtype (though even that can be messed with, a la Eludecia), or maybe shortly after you've had a Helm of Opposite Alignment (or similar alignment-changing spell or effect) placed on you but before you've had a chance to act on your new alignment.

hamishspence
2016-06-01, 09:45 AM
Newly hatched chromatic dragons or other "Always Evil" creatures without the [Evil] subtype also spring to mind.

But outside of that - deeds probably tend to matter a bit more than "attitudes". It's hard to imagine someone with the attitude "It's pleasurable to bully people" having never done so - because they wouldn't know what it is like, so couldn't have the attitude in the first place. Unless they saw other people enjoying bullying, and concluded that it's pleasurable without actually doing it.

awa
2016-06-01, 09:46 AM
Nobody's saying that. We're saying that interfertility implies a certain amount of shared genetic heritage. Half-dragons and tieflings don't count, because fiends are outright supernatural creatures and dragons are strongly implied to be more magical than mortal. An orc or elf doesn't need a polymorph spell or Change Shape ability to have viable, fertile offspring with humans. So no magic (though magic could be used as a contraceptive), just biology.
.

and trolls and hags and minotaur and ogre and giants and those are just some more off the top of my head

if we use second edition orcs can even produce viable young with baboons no magic needed

Millstone85
2016-06-01, 10:19 AM
she's learning empathy - but that doesn't mean she's ceased to be an elf.By Pratchett's portrayal of elves, it kind of does. At the very least, she is a new better version of an elf. Whereas it is repeatedly pointed out that a dwarf, a troll and a goblin dressing like humans and sitting for a game of bridge only makes it easier for humans to recognise them as equals, when they always were their equals. And easier for each other too, perhaps, which is why it is happening.

Mark Hall
2016-06-01, 11:09 AM
D&D alignment is primarily action-based, not motive-based. A person who doesn't do evil things is not (D&D-alignment) Evil. They might not be Good, but they're not Evil. There are a few exceptions: having the [Evil] subtype (though even that can be messed with, a la Eludecia), or maybe shortly after you've had a Helm of Opposite Alignment (or similar alignment-changing spell or effect) placed on you but before you've had a chance to act on your new alignment.

I would say that Evil in D&D tends to be based on Actions and Intentions... Evil Actions with Good Intentions frequently balance out to Neutral; Neutral actions with Evil Intentions balance out Evil. Good Actions with Neutral Intentions tend to balance out good.

hamishspence
2016-06-01, 12:05 PM
By Pratchett's portrayal of elves, it kind of does.

I like the notion that elves always had the potential for empathy - it just needed the right conditions, to come out:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FallenPrincess

Just as his version of Trolls was partly to do with his disliking the common trope that "big and thick = evil" - maybe he'd decided that he'd overdone the "always evil" past version of elves, and now was the time to tone it down - to showcase how even elves can walk the path of redemption.

That's certainly what Tiffany and co. were hoping for - that she'd survive and "teach other elves empathy" - but, events did not fall out that way.

Grytorm
2016-06-01, 03:59 PM
Hm, on the thing about Neanderthals and art, I definitely am not an expert on the subject. But after some quick reading on the Internet it sounds like that claim that they didn't make art seems a little questionable. Mostly it seems to be partially human chauvinism/superiority thing. Although again I do not know for certain. If I recall correctly things like cave paintings and the fertility statue things are kind of cultural so using them as straight proof/noproof is unusual. So, could you maybe share a little information? Recommend a reliable source to look into?

Millstone85
2016-06-01, 05:59 PM
I like the notion that elves always had the potential for empathy - it just needed the right conditions, to come out:There is still the matter of why that potential would so rarely meet the right conditions. Perhaps it still isn't the same potential for empathy that humans have. Or maybe there is some other story behind it, like the added effects of decadence and immortality. Actually yeah, that's probably it.


That's certainly what Tiffany and co. were hoping for - that she'd survive and "teach other elves empathy" - but, events did not fall out that way.There is a French comic called Sillage (or Wake) where the exception within a subservient race tries to teach others to think for themselves, only to find that he really is an exception and they won't learn. Sad.

Ceiling_Squid
2016-06-01, 07:13 PM
I used to think that way, before I heard a mainstream definition of species, wherein most of the fantasy races' ability to procreate with one another (and produce live, viable, fertile offspring) would lead to them being classified as the same species.

The "single species = able to breed" thing is a fallacy, since even our current science treats it more as a guideline than a hard rule. The species line is hazy, which is a fact that doesn't usually get put across in highschool biology.

Dogs and other canids (wolves, coyotes) can successfully produce viable offspring. Homo sapiens and neanderthals certainly produced viable offspring, if you want an example of two humanoid sapient species going at it.

A lot of us have neanderthal blood.

neonagash
2016-06-02, 01:41 AM
I used to think that way, before I heard a mainstream definition of species, wherein most of the fantasy races' ability to procreate with one another (and produce live, viable, fertile offspring) would lead to them being classified as the same species. There's also the matter that they can easily communicate using a common language, have regular contact with one another, share a number of cultural ideas like their beliefs about afterlives, and seem to have little trouble working side-by-side when needed. The traditional fantasy races, despite superficial differences, are in many ways closer to one another than real life human cultures.

I can see that. But then I also ban half this and half that races, because species. So my way remains internally logical enough for a fantasy game.

goto124
2016-06-02, 02:18 AM
There is a French comic called Sillage (or Wake) where the exception within a subservient race tries to teach others to think for themselves, only to find that he really is an exception and they won't learn. Sad.

Also happened with house-elves in Harry Potter.

Hooligan
2016-06-18, 09:32 AM
elves are humans with a 'magic taint'

Inner 13 year old shrieks with delight

ClintACK
2016-06-18, 03:41 PM
Medusas and harpies bring up the question of how a single-gender species thrives in a changing world...

Way back when (AD&D, maybe? Ah. Thank's Bing: Dragon #106) there were the Maedar -- the male of the Medusa species. They were muscular, hyper-masculine stone statues with immunity to petrification and the ability to turn stone back into flesh (for consumption purposes). So... two genders for reproductive purposes. But the female of the species was far better at dealing with dangerous outsiders. The men-folk were cowardly and could hide well against a stone background, or just stand still and pretend to be petrified stone statues like all the others in the lair. So outsiders never saw the maedar.

Kind of like female dwarves in many, many earlier editions of the game.

Regitnui
2016-06-18, 03:58 PM
Way back when (AD&D, maybe? Ah. Thank's Bing: Dragon #106) there were the Maedar -- the male of the Medusa species. They were muscular, hyper-masculine stone statues with immunity to petrification and the ability to turn stone back into flesh (for consumption purposes). So... two genders for reproductive purposes. But the female of the species was far better at dealing with dangerous outsiders. The men-folk were cowardly and could hide well against a stone background, or just stand still and pretend to be petrified stone statues like all the others in the lair. So outsiders never saw the maedar.

Kind of like female dwarves in many, many earlier editions of the game.

I've done a bit of research since; like female dwarves and beards, apparently male harpies have breasts like the female ones, and the medusa race either has a powerful matriarchy or a predisposition towards female children instead of males.