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Drache64
2019-08-04, 07:09 PM
Just curious if anyone else has witnessed the evil of Lawful Good characters attempting to smite evil...

What I commonly see (as player and DM) is Lawful Good characters act out against players who don't meet their alignment in an evil way.

Example:
Party of Lawful Good characters and a true neutral character are traveling with an NPC, the NPC steps on a trap and dies. The neutral player shrugs "sucks to be him" and loots the pockets of the dead man.

The Lawful Good player plants an axe in the back of the neutral players skull. People without empathy are evil they reason...

Example 2:
A dragon born lawful good paladin introduces himself to a chaotic evil Bard. The Bard explains he doesn't believe in religion. The paladin uses detect alignment and detects the evil in the Bard.. so he runs him through with his sword...


What's your opinion, are they doing it wrong? (I think so)

Do you have any funny stories?

Lord Raziere
2019-08-04, 07:13 PM
Thats not Lawful Good, that alignment is Stupid Paladin. and while there are stories of them, they ain't funny.

Drache64
2019-08-04, 07:16 PM
Thats not Lawful Good, that alignment is Stupid Paladin. and while there are stories of them, they ain't funny.

I understand that, I was the neutral player in the first example and the DM in the second.

This mentality unfortunately seems very common amongst players.

King of Nowhere
2019-08-04, 07:48 PM
This mentality unfortunately seems very common amongst players.

I've never seen it, and it's not brought up often in the forum. it's not that common. you must have found a statistical anomaly

Drache64
2019-08-04, 08:09 PM
I've never seen it, and it's not brought up often in the forum. it's not that common. you must have found a statistical anomaly

Yeah I've played with 5 different groups and people in Arizona, maybe it's a local thing?

Mr Beer
2019-08-04, 08:13 PM
First example is a player being a jerkface to another player, it's not so much an alignment issue as out of game issue. Also it's grossly over the top and not lawful good at all. Lawful good doesn't mean randomly murdering people for jaywalking.

Second one is more dickery if the Bard is another player but if not might be OK depending on exact circumstances.

I think a lawful good person can approach problems with brutal violence (D&D is high on violence anyway) but it should be tempered with mercy. Assassinating random people is not lawful good.

Studoku
2019-08-04, 08:14 PM
Thats not Lawful Good, that alignment is Stupid Paladin. and while there are stories of them, they ain't funny.
Also known as Lawful Stupid.

This is less an issue with lawful good and more an issue of stupid players. Bad players are just as responsible for the lolrandom behaviour of Chaotic Stupid.

Psyren
2019-08-04, 08:16 PM
This mentality unfortunately seems very common amongst players.

It's not - you're just unlucky. I'd also wonder what age group you typically play with, because resorting instantly to PvP over looting a corpse doesn't seem particularly mature.

Drache64
2019-08-04, 08:25 PM
It's not - you're just unlucky. I'd also wonder what age group you typically play with, because resorting instantly to PvP over looting a corpse doesn't seem particularly mature.

I was 20 when I was attacked by the 50ish woman lawful good player.

The paladin was 17 when I was DMing at age 26

What made me want to post this was a story on YouTube of a whole party of Lawful Good players acting quite evil to an evil player.

https://youtu.be/EpoYU8udILs

Seeing as it's easy to find stories of this and I have my own example, perhaps people who come to this community are just more reasonable than what I've been seeing.

Personally I play lawful good as one who simply is bound to do good based on his alignment.

Inchhighguy
2019-08-04, 08:28 PM
This is not the 'evil' of Lawful Good, just the extreme.

The world of D&D is a violent, brutal, bloody world. It is NOT Earth in the 21st century.

Example one: Killing a corpse looter. This is a perfectly fine thing for a Lawful Good person to do. It sure is moraly wrong to loot the dead. And as D&D is a violent, brutal, bloody world...the punishment is death.

More so, in a world where you can detect and know, with 100% certainty that a person IS Evil or Good, it is perfectly fine to kill a person of an opposing alignment. Again, D&D is a violent, brutal, bloody world.

Simply put, in the D&D world Good and Evil don't mix.....they kill each other.

Drache64
2019-08-04, 08:29 PM
This is not the 'evil' of Lawful Good, just the extreme.

The world of D&D is a violent, brutal, bloody world. It is NOT Earth in the 21st century.

Example one: Killing a corpse looter. This is a perfectly fine thing for a Lawful Good person to do. It sure is moraly wrong to loot the dead. And as D&D is a violent, brutal, bloody world...the punishment is death.

More so, in a world where you can detect and know, with 100% certainty that a person IS Evil or Good, it is perfectly fine to kill a person of an opposing alignment. Again, D&D is a violent, brutal, bloody world.

Simply put, in the D&D world Good and Evil don't mix.....they kill each other.

Lol see, I'm not the only one running into people with this mindset.

Anymage
2019-08-04, 08:30 PM
#1: Since you're here, it's safe to assume that the name Miko means something to you. She wouldn't exist if the trope of the paladin with the holy avenger stuck up her backside wasn't a thing. We do know the stories.

#2: Oftentimes, problematic players will jump on any bit of story/setting fluff to justify why being disruptive is just "good roleplaying". We've all seen it with LG, and truthfully we've all seen it a lot more with CN.

#3: Paladin specifically has a problem where some players have been primed to think that their characters will fall if they aren't extremists.

denthor
2019-08-04, 08:32 PM
In 2nd edition there was a little known rule Palsdins could not strike the first blow. They must be attacked first hit or miss. They both should have fallen then and there


For the corpse looter. Digging up a corse would be a let me give you the flat of my sword till you stop. To outright kill no to strike first no

You need to ask the second one if a bartender is an evil man would he kill that one?

False God
2019-08-04, 08:39 PM
Lawful: Does the act in question violate the law?
Good: Is the act in question evil?

It's possible a corpse-looter is both in violation of the law, and there's probably a strong chance the act is considered evil, or at least non-good if it is against the law.

The question really becomes: what is the paladin entitled (under the same law) to do about it?

The problem with most games and paladins is that they answer the first question, but not the second. Is robbing a store punishable under the relevant law by death? And if it is, who's the arbiter of the punishment? Is the paladin a duly-deputized enforcer of the relevant law? And if he is, what authority does he have under the law?

I agree that the pseudo-medieval times D&D operates under tends to favor a more Hobbsian outlook where life is "cruel, brutish and short".

BUT, the inclusion of strong laws means we need to assess where the paladin's position on the authoritarial ladder is. A paladin may only have the authority to arrest the law-breaker and turn them in to the nearest outpost. A paladin may have the authority to do nothing at all. A paladin may have the authority to kill on sight, for even the slightest legal or moral violation.

Without answers to those questions, we're really only left to wonder.

Drache64
2019-08-04, 08:46 PM
Lawful: Does the act in question violate the law?
Good: Is the act in question evil?

It's possible a corpse-looter is both in violation of the law, and there's probably a strong chance the act is considered evil, or at least non-good if it is against the law.

The question really becomes: what is the paladin entitled (under the same law) to do about it?

The problem with most games and paladins is that they answer the first question, but not the second. Is robbing a store punishable under the relevant law by death? And if it is, who's the arbiter of the punishment? Is the paladin a duly-deputized enforcer of the relevant law? And if he is, what authority does he have under the law?

I agree that the pseudo-medieval times D&D operates under tends to favor a more Hobbsian outlook where life is "cruel, brutish and short".

BUT, the inclusion of strong laws means we need to assess where the paladin's position on the authoritarial ladder is. A paladin may only have the authority to arrest the law-breaker and turn them in to the nearest outpost. A paladin may have the authority to do nothing at all. A paladin may have the authority to kill on sight, for even the slightest legal or moral violation.

Without answers to those questions, we're really only left to wonder.

THIS.

love it.

And to answer the corpse looting more specific, her stated reason for killing my character had nothing to do with corpse looting, it was very specifically the lack of empathy

JNAProductions
2019-08-04, 08:56 PM
Yeah, that's not Lawful Good. In either case.

In the first case, to me, the most Good and Lawful thing to do is this:

In character, tell the other player "You'll be returning those belongings to their next of kin as soon as we're out of this dungeon."

In the second case, while someone pinging Evil on your Evilometer is certainly someone you should watch out for and be aware of what they're doing... Well, if you want a GOOD example of Lawful Good, read Dresden Files. Specifically, look for a chap named Michael Carpenter.

False God
2019-08-04, 09:15 PM
THIS.

love it.

And to answer the corpse looting more specific, her stated reason for killing my character had nothing to do with corpse looting, it was very specifically the lack of empathy

The in-character reasoning for it doesn't really matter. If they're a duly-deputized enforcer of the law, and you broke the law, their reason need not be "you broke the law". If their authority extends to "death" it doesn't necessarily mean they're mandated to kill you. They might be authorized to require repayment of the loss, it might mean the law is functionally at their whim to enforce. Maybe they like you, and decide not to enforce it at all. It's not uncommon in modern society for people to get a pass on certain laws because they are clever, pretty, funny, or the enforcer in question likes them.

In a time when the laws are even more subject to the whims of the enforcer, if the law quite literally says "you can choose to enforce it, or not, and to what degree" then the paladin is at least on the legal spectrum, within their rights to do any of those things or none. Judge, jury, executioner. Or maybe just probation officer and social worker.

Which is again why it's important to note what the paladins legal authority is, which most games never do, which is why we often have reports of "lawful stupid" or "lawful jerkface". What the laws are matter far less than what the paladin is authorized to do about them.

Koo Rehtorb
2019-08-04, 09:22 PM
People conflate "lawful" with "agents of the law" way too often. Lawful as an alignment doesn't mean "always follows the law", it means that you believe in a world structured by order. That often means working within the law is preferable, but you're under no particular obligation to consider yourself beholden to it if the law of the land, or lack of law, is getting in the way of enacting a more orderly world.

Drache64
2019-08-04, 09:29 PM
The in-character reasoning for it doesn't really matter. If they're a duly-deputized enforcer of the law, and you broke the law, their reason need not be "you broke the law". If their authority extends to "death" it doesn't necessarily mean they're mandated to kill you. They might be authorized to require repayment of the loss, it might mean the law is functionally at their whim to enforce. Maybe they like you, and decide not to enforce it at all. It's not uncommon in modern society for people to get a pass on certain laws because they are clever, pretty, funny, or the enforcer in question likes them.

In a time when the laws are even more subject to the whims of the enforcer, if the law quite literally says "you can choose to enforce it, or not, and to what degree" then the paladin is at least on the legal spectrum, within their rights to do any of those things or none. Judge, jury, executioner. Or maybe just probation officer and social worker.

Which is again why it's important to note what the paladins legal authority is, which most games never do, which is why we often have reports of "lawful stupid" or "lawful jerkface". What the laws are matter far less than what the paladin is authorized to do about them.

This person was a wizard from her own land where her level 20 sorcerer was Queen

Pleh
2019-08-04, 09:36 PM
I always felt that any LG character with no sense of mercy does not understand their alignment. Some creatures may be definitively, physically comprised of evil and mercy just has no context, but a fellow mortal adventurer is not that case.

The Paladin should be first offering a warning unless they have a real reason to think that anything short of killing this person now will likely result in the Paladin's death. Maybe if they were facing a bandit who expressed intentions of robbing them or a troll intent on eating them, this would be reasonable. A person committing nonviolent crimes or having an evil alignment is not an active threat by itself. That's reason for the Paladin to not associate with the character, not to outright kill them. Someone should leave the party.

Not to mention an axe to the back of the head against an unsuspecting ally is distinctly dishonorable (some paladins might care more than others, but few wouldn't care at all). Even if you intend on killing them, no ambushes. Announce your challenge and let them either renounce their crimes (drop the stolen loot) or face imminent justice.

If in fighting them, they surrender (and you are given reason to believe their surrender is genuine), you also more than likely must stop. They have pleaded for mercy and demonstrated compliance. Denying mercy in this instance is non-good (not necessarily evil, but trending that way).

If you fight them down to low health, you should probably switch to nonlethal damage if it is at all reasonable. Mercy also dictates the avoidance of excessive force, so if the foe is already beaten, why take their life as well? Simply subdue them and set right their wrongdoing.

But at the very least, player to player etiquette dictates that you should warn a fellow player before the action is taken that the other character would have zero tolerance for the behavior. It's just bad form to ambush your fellow gamers that way, since they likely would choose to act differently if they were aware that the other character feels that way. Kind of the same idea as asking the DM question, "are you sure?"

Max_Killjoy
2019-08-04, 11:32 PM
Classic "morality is a tag" actions.

"We're the Good Guys, so what we do is Good." is a powerful enabler of evil.

Mark Hall
2019-08-05, 12:18 AM
Classic "morality is a tag" actions.

"We're the Good Guys, so what we do is Good." is a powerful enabler of evil.

Essentially, it's "morality as a team", rather than an actual description of behavior. If your "good" doesn't actually act "good", only oppose "evil", then you're playing Team Morality, not morality-as-written.

The solution is to make clear to your players how you're playing good, evil, law, and chaos. What do those mean, and how do you view them acting.

KineticDiplomat
2019-08-05, 12:28 AM
We could no doubt expound at length about the perils of Utopian thought and types who embrace it, but since I’m sure you’ve heard it already, let’s touch another point:

This is yet another one of D&Ds limiting factors that generally constrain it to a very narrow set of story types. The alignment system was meant to, largely, let Aragon kill orcs without having to worry about it. It does not handle Solomon Kane or Jaime Lannister very well at all. You CAN get Fall-From-Grace, but only if the rest of table and the GM are willing to deconstruct the alignment system to begin with.

Which tends to either pigeonhole players - “you must act in alignment” or give them free chicken for excuses “I’m just acting in my alignment.”

I strongly recommend either:

1) Deconstructing the Alignment Sustem with your table.

2) If you can’t do that, define table limits.

3) Play a game that isn’t D&D. Find a system with better RP. Which is basically all of them.

RazorChain
2019-08-05, 01:48 AM
Just curious if anyone else has witnessed the evil of Lawful Good characters attempting to smite evil...

What I commonly see (as player and DM) is Lawful Good characters act out against players who don't meet their alignment in an evil way.

Example:
Party of Lawful Good characters and a true neutral character are traveling with an NPC, the NPC steps on a trap and dies. The neutral player shrugs "sucks to be him" and loots the pockets of the dead man.

The Lawful Good player plants an axe in the back of the neutral players skull. People without empathy are evil they reason...

Example 2:
A dragon born lawful good paladin introduces himself to a chaotic evil Bard. The Bard explains he doesn't believe in religion. The paladin uses detect alignment and detects the evil in the Bard.. so he runs him through with his sword...


What's your opinion, are they doing it wrong? (I think so)

Do you have any funny stories?

Murder is against the law and considered evil in most places as well. But in D&D land this is often considered differently. I got penalised by my DM once because I didn't kill an evil NPC even though I didn't have any proof of she had broken the law or done some evil, just because her race was Evil.

Mechalich
2019-08-05, 02:06 AM
This is yet another one of D&Ds limiting factors that generally constrain it to a very narrow set of story types. The alignment system was meant to, largely, let Aragon kill orcs without having to worry about it. It does not handle Solomon Kane or Jaime Lannister very well at all. You CAN get Fall-From-Grace, but only if the rest of table and the GM are willing to deconstruct the alignment system to begin with.

In fairness to D&D there are an awful lot of things in the Monster Manual that truly are unmitigated horrors you can kill without worrying about, mostly notably evil outsiders and the overwhelming majority of undead. It's true that the various 'goblinoid' races have been rather significantly humanized over time, but even those, in the same way as perfectly human bandits, can be presented as things that will generally attack first and can be fought with suitably lethal force without any difficulty until they run away.

The big problem D&D has is in dealing with intermediate force or no force scenarios of evil - the latter including both mundane crimes like fraud and various supernatural ills such as mind control. This is both an issue of greater nuance being a challenge in gameplay, and a system problem that in D&D its hard to find appropriate punishments other than death - corporal punishment for one is fairly useless given the hit point system. Traditional dungeon crawls don't really offer any way to hand someone over to the authorities or to even safely restrain them at all (in D&D video games, enemies that you rarely spare from death tend to mysteriously vanish offscreen). Likewise, at high-levels you have the standard superhero problem of individual entities too powerful for society to reasonably contain without cheats like inhibitor collars.

Generally, I feel that most GMs should avoid presenting their tables with alignment-based conundrums unless they've previously made it very clear what alignments mean in their game and how they're going to hand them. Also, I feel that all D&D players should be cautioned against extreme stances. PCs are meant to be fairly ordinary people, they aren't alignment-exemplar outsiders. The average lawful good paladin finds even a Hound Archon frightfully intense, while the relentless cold-blooded scheming of a Osyluth would shock and horrify your average tyrannical warlord.

Berenger
2019-08-05, 03:48 AM
[...] Again, D&D is a violent, brutal, bloody world.

Simply put, in the D&D world Good and Evil don't mix.....they kill each other.

There is so much so much wrong with this statement. "The D&D world" does not even exist. D&D is a system. You mean a setting. There are multiple settings and they differ greatly from each other.

Worgwood
2019-08-05, 04:05 AM
Killing someone over the perceived infraction of a moral code is certainly "Lawful", but it isn't "Good", IMO. And committing an act of unprovoked murder is neither Lawful nor Good, regardless of what your Detect Evil tells you. In fact once you start dealing in moral extremes, regardless of your intentions, you cease to be Good.

Of course, morality is subjective, and everybody has their own idea of what Good and Evil are. D&D is a world of black and white - but it's also one also drenched in shades of grey, so it can be a little hard to find your niche there as a Good character, let alone a Paladin. Plus, it's very tempting as a GM to punish characters for making moral choices (that bandit you spared has killed again!), and because a lot of players (in my personal experience) like to protect themselves from the consequences of their actions, they tend to only do Good when they're sure their bases are covered.

Like many people, I think there are a lot of problems with the alignment system overall, but one of the big ones is that people forget that your alignment is not set in stone. Yours can change, and with work, you could influence others to change. With that said, combat is one of the centerpieces of D&D, and very few players I know would like to invest time into watching the Paladin try to rehabilitate a thief, bandit, goblin, orc, or even a demon or devil. There are other RPGs out there if you're looking to ask or answer questions of morality.

Plus, as others have said, it's pretty hard to punish evildoers in a world where everything short of killing them is a slap on the wrist.

shawnhcorey
2019-08-05, 06:27 AM
Alignment is just the colour of your team's shirts. They all employ the same actions with the same results. Alignment is nothing but a way to screw over the players.

King of Nowhere
2019-08-05, 06:44 AM
the corspe-looting is especially egregious, since the party (and by extension the paladin) kill foes and loot their corpses on a regular base




The solution is to make clear to your players how you're playing good, evil, law, and chaos. What do those mean, and how do you view them acting.
I don't know. If they are sane individuals, there should be no need.
And against problem players, nothing works.

MoiMagnus
2019-08-05, 07:02 AM
Just curious if anyone else has witnessed the evil of Lawful Good characters attempting to smite evil...

What I commonly see (as player and DM) is Lawful Good characters act out against players who don't meet their alignment in an evil way.

Example:
Party of Lawful Good characters and a true neutral character are traveling with an NPC, the NPC steps on a trap and dies. The neutral player shrugs "sucks to be him" and loots the pockets of the dead man.

The Lawful Good player plants an axe in the back of the neutral players skull. People without empathy are evil they reason...

Example 2:
A dragon born lawful good paladin introduces himself to a chaotic evil Bard. The Bard explains he doesn't believe in religion. The paladin uses detect alignment and detects the evil in the Bard.. so he runs him through with his sword...


What's your opinion, are they doing it wrong? (I think so)

Do you have any funny stories?

Standard D&D does not consider those behaviour as good.

Some RPG tables prefer morality systems that are more consequentialist (as long as the end result is an improvement, you can torture and kill as you want) or subjective (as long as you're convinced you're acting for the good, you are good). But unless you want to end up in morality debates like "was [insert well-known dictator] actually lawful good?", I would not advise for them.

But on top of "this is not lawful good", this would not be an adequate behaviour if the character was lawful evil.

The alignment of your character (and whatever is written anywhere) does not allow you to be a jerk with the other players. You always have full control on this non-existing concept called "your character". Whatever your character do, you always had the choice to decide that "your character won't do that in that situation", and find a justification latter on why (friendship? promise?).

There is no "This is how my character act. Sorry for that." Your character can be a jerk, but this does not allow you to behave as a jerk as a player and breaking the game by going to the extreme.

Quertus
2019-08-05, 07:14 AM
Alignment is the worst thing to happen to role-playing in the history of RPGs.

Having moral compunctions can interfere with cooperation & teamwork. This is why the best team members are evil - they have no moral compunctions to get in the way of working together.


What I commonly see (as player and DM) is Lawful Good characters act out against players who don't meet their alignment in an evil way.

Well, I've never seen characters act out against Players before…


Killing a corpse looter. This is a perfectly fine thing for a Lawful Good person to do. It sure is moraly wrong to loot the dead.

You may want to rethink that. Gandalf, Bilbo, Frodo? All looted the dead. Drizzt? Yeah, some of his items came off corpses. Of all the iconic characters I can think of, I only know 1 who supposedly exclusively looted the living rather than the dead.

D&D is pretty firmly based on loot, and only slightly less firmly based on killing stuff. By your logic, I imagine all the big names from Mordenkainen to Bigby are Evil.

Go team evil.


I always felt that any LG character with no sense of mercy does not understand their alignment.

+1 this. Well, for any Good, really.

Lord Torath
2019-08-05, 07:54 AM
In 2nd edition there was a little known rule Palsdins could not strike the first blow. They must be attacked first hit or miss. They both should have fallen then and thereCitation needed. Can you tell me where that's written? I don't recall reading it.

Thanks!

Cygnia
2019-08-05, 07:58 AM
In the 2nd scenario, as a GM, why would even allow an LG pally to group with an Evil PC in the first place. Since, in D&D, aren't they banned from doing so?

jjordan
2019-08-05, 09:48 AM
Just curious if anyone else has witnessed the evil of Lawful Good characters attempting to smite evil...
Seen it? I've written it into settings. My current setting has a lawful good order that follows an Angel and is led by Aasimar which is noted for enforcing their view of morality upon others. They are considered terrorists in one Kingdom and pretty much deserve the label.

Segev
2019-08-05, 10:17 AM
Seen it? I've written it into settings. My current setting has a lawful good order that follows an Angel and is led by Aasimar which is noted for enforcing their view of morality upon others. They are considered terrorists in one Kingdom and pretty much deserve the label.

They're not exactly Lawful Good, then. Lawful Neutral with good intentions, at best. Tyranny is the province of LE, and "live as we mandate or we'll blow up your home/business" is tyranny.

jjordan
2019-08-05, 10:47 AM
They're not exactly Lawful Good, then. Lawful Neutral with good intentions, at best. Tyranny is the province of LE, and "live as we mandate or we'll blow up your home/business" is tyranny.You make a very valid point but the subject is very much open to debate, which was my thought when I put this together.

The behavior of this particular group was modeled on the Awful Good behaviors I frequently saw (a long time ago and, ironically, far, far away). I'll try to brief in my explanation.

LG and LE (Angels and Devils) share a common background. Some LG factions believe they must proactively protect sentients from the predations of evil. This LG faction believes that there must be organized institutions to prevent evil from gaining a foothold. So they act to foster such institutions, without becoming part of those institutions. They also act in individual cases where the institutions are incapable/unwilling to act.

Contrast this with the LE religion that is the state religion of one of the kingdoms. They openly espouse a rigidly structured society that places the good of the many above the needs of a few. But they refuse to act outside the law and actively work to better the lives of the many, albeit those in power (those with fiendish blood and, ultimately, fiends) have it better.

Both groups are vehemently opposed to chaos and can even, on occasion, put aside their other differences to cooperate in combating the spread of chaos.

All of which is meant to be gray area from the standpoint of alignment and encourage the players (and, I suppose now that I come to think about, any outside observers) to think about the subject and what it really means to be whatever alignment a character is.

Mark Hall
2019-08-05, 12:02 PM
I don't know. If they are sane individuals, there should be no need.
And against problem players, nothing works.

I disagree with your first statement (the second is spot-on, of course).

There's ALWAYS questions about alignment and how you're playing it. A simple one, existing from the beginning of the game, is "Are [goblins] innately evil?" Is it evil to kill young goblins? What about female goblins who are ostensibly non-combatants?

A common thread with "old-school" players is that Goblins are Evil, because they were born Evil, and that rare exceptions don't redeem the entire race. You might meet a singular goblin who is Not-Evil, but killing goblins is always Good, because you are reducing the amount of Evil in the world.

A more modern take is that goblins may be culturally evil, so the majority you meet are, but that they have an equal amount of agency as any other mortal race, so goblins raised to be good likely will turn out good.

At the very least, a DM needs to communicate where on that spectrum he falls. He needs to communicate what "Lawful" and "Chaotic" means, because plenty of people think "Lawful" means following all laws, all the time, and "Chaotic" means "Lolrandom"

patchyman
2019-08-05, 12:03 PM
I have definitely seen “Lawful Good” characters (including paladins) act in abhorrent ways to combat Evil.

Specifically, I have seen a Paladin slit the throat of an unarmed prisoner of war, he believed was Evil, against the objections of every member of the party, including the Chaotic Neutral Rogue. Note that the alternative in that case (proposed by my Neutral Good Fighter), was single honourable combat to the death against my Fighter. (If the orc won, he would go free).

The Paladin’s player subscribed to the ethos that you are responsible for any Evil you do not prevent. If through your action (or inaction) an Evil person goes free, you are responsible for the Evil done because you did not stop them.

These were all played by mature adults and experienced role players.

Also, it turned out that orcs were not always evil in this setting, and that particular orc was fighting back against people destroying his home.

shawnhcorey
2019-08-05, 12:28 PM
If "evil" creatures are innately evil, they would die off in a generation or two. They have to act "good" to their families in order for the next generation to survive.

Psyren
2019-08-05, 12:31 PM
I have definitely seen “Lawful Good” characters (including paladins) act in abhorrent ways to combat Evil.

Specifically, I have seen a Paladin slit the throat of an unarmed prisoner of war, he believed was Evil, against the objections of every member of the party, including the Chaotic Neutral Rogue. Note that the alternative in that case (proposed by my Neutral Good Fighter), was single honourable combat to the death against my Fighter. (If the orc won, he would go free).

The Paladin’s player subscribed to the ethos that you are responsible for any Evil you do not prevent. If through your action (or inaction) an Evil person goes free, you are responsible for the Evil done because you did not stop them.

These were all played by mature adults and experienced role players.

Also, it turned out that orcs were not always evil in this setting, and that particular orc was fighting back against people destroying his home.

At some point you need a DM to actually uphold the rules of the game. This is no less true for alignment than it is for anything else that requires a modicum of judgment.

jjordan
2019-08-05, 12:38 PM
If "evil" creatures are innately evil, they would die off in a generation or two. They have to act "good" to their families in order for the next generation to survive.Not sure I agree with this for a lot of nit-picky reasons. For my purposes, looking at chaotic evil creatures, I posit a parasitic model of existence. Evil spreads by consuming and, in the process, creates 'new' sentient beings that serve as tools but can become greater than their creator intended.

I think of vast frozen wastelands of space-time floating through the multiverse, populated by corrupted creatures and beings of pure, selfish malevolent thought, and seeking only to find warm new universes to consume.

shawnhcorey
2019-08-05, 12:49 PM
Not sure I agree with this for a lot of nit-picky reasons. For my purposes, looking at chaotic evil creatures, I posit a parasitic model of existence. Evil spreads by consuming and, in the process, creates 'new' sentient beings that serve as tools but can become greater than their creator intended.

I think of vast frozen wastelands of space-time floating through the multiverse, populated by corrupted creatures and beings of pure, selfish malevolent thought, and seeking only to find warm new universes to consume.

If they're that selfish and greed, they would not take care of their young. Their young would die to diseases, accidents, and their neighbours.

Koo Rehtorb
2019-08-05, 12:50 PM
If "evil" creatures are innately evil, they would die off in a generation or two. They have to act "good" to their families in order for the next generation to survive.

I don't think that follows at all. You can be evil while still having neutral or good traits. And even if that wasn't true then it's not like orcs savagely beating their children is going to cause the species to collapse.

Cygnia
2019-08-05, 12:52 PM
So, can we also talk about the evil of Chaotic Good as well? Like when a willfully ignorant mage lets a hungry, angry ettin go free to ravage the surrounding countryside because she thinks it's a slave and refuses to listen that maybe putting it down would have been the smarter choice in the long run?!

"I'm Chaotic Good -- I don't HAVE to listen to you!" is her only frelling excuse...

Mark Hall
2019-08-05, 12:56 PM
If "evil" creatures are innately evil, they would die off in a generation or two. They have to act "good" to their families in order for the next generation to survive.

Not everyone is a paladin... evil creatures can commit good acts without instantly becoming good. Alignment describes the aggregate of someone's actions and intentions, and is seldom defined by a single act. An evil creature is perfectly capable of taking care of its children without becoming good.

jjordan
2019-08-05, 12:57 PM
If they're that selfish and greed, they would not take care of their young. Their young would die to diseases, accidents, and their neighbours.You're thinking in terms of conventional biology. Please let me raise a different view point by asking: how much care viruses take with their 'offspring'?

Psyren
2019-08-05, 01:01 PM
You're thinking in terms of conventional biology. Please let me raise a different view point by asking: how much care viruses take with their 'offspring'?

Viruses don't have "offspring," they replicate. There is no childhood phase to nurture, even if they had the mental capacity to do so. Orcs and Drow are pretty different; hell, even Mindflayers care for their offspring to a degree.

shawnhcorey
2019-08-05, 01:06 PM
You're thinking in terms of conventional biology. Please let me raise a different view point by asking: how much care viruses take with their 'offspring'?

Viruses have lots and lots of offspring so they don't have to care for them. For creatures with few offspring, care is necessary for them to reach maturity.

Max_Killjoy
2019-08-05, 01:10 PM
Obviously I can't name names, but in the real world there have been actively evil cultures and ideologies that internally cared about their own to a sometimes extreme degree. Reducing evil to "always kicks babies, even their own" is not a functional way of looking at the matter.

Pleh
2019-08-05, 01:11 PM
Essentially, it's "morality as a team", rather than an actual description of behavior. If your "good" doesn't actually act "good", only oppose "evil", then you're playing Team Morality, not morality-as-written.

The solution is to make clear to your players how you're playing good, evil, law, and chaos. What do those mean, and how do you view them acting.


Alignment is just the colour of your team's shirts. They all employ the same actions with the same results. Alignment is nothing but a way to screw over the players.

This is a big part of why I did some work in developing my campaign setting to make sure different cultures that PCs meet are all different kinds of jerks. They are each aggressive and self serving in different ways, and most will unflinchingly take anything that isn't adequately guarded (or already part of their territory).

But they aren't actually evil. They live in a harsh environment and belong to self centered cultures filled with nationalistic propoganda that justifies their aggressive behavior. It's basically the Wild West tropes in D&D turned up to eleven. It's not like there aren't good people or justice systems, just that they usually can't afford to be as altruistic as they might prefer. There's also no one better to turn to. The PCs can war with everyone, championing truth and justice in the land single handed, but it'll be a truly lonely path and who are you actually helping if there are no survivors? The real reason for the pervasive brutality is the general lack of resources, which isn't a problem that PC skills can simply resolve (I usually run this game in low level setup so magic isn't powerful enough to eliminate material need).

The second really important change I make is keeping the gods more distant (sort of like the lovecraftian old ones, if they were more just uncaring and less maddeningly flesh hungry). With the gods and magic a bit harder to reach, wizards tend to be more reclusive from needy peasantry, rarely becoming powerful world leaders, and clerics/paladins tend to act like sheriffs and village elders. They aren't so much definitive authority figures as much as local guardians who protect a small community from bandits and goblins.

It seems to fix most concepts of D&D morality. Fewer things are truly black and white in a way that feels rather natural.

shawnhcorey
2019-08-05, 01:25 PM
Obviously I can't name names, but in the real world there have been actively evil cultures and ideologies that internally cared about their own to a sometimes extreme degree. Reducing evil to "always kicks babies, even their own" is not a functional way of looking at the matter.

There are isolated exceptions, of course, but if those cultures and ideologies were as successful as normal human behaviour, they would be a lot more of them.

jjordan
2019-08-05, 01:31 PM
Viruses have lots and lots of offspring so they don't have to care for them. For creatures with few offspring, care is necessary for them to reach maturity.
And I can think of lots of different ways to achieve that based on culture and biology.

-The creature might be born capable of independence and taking care of itself (e.g. Sharks). I use this model with goblins.
-The creature might be abandoned before birth and rely on other creatures to nurture it (e.g. the Cuckoo). I use this model with cambions.
-The creature might be abandoned and left to hatch on it's own. (e.g. some turtles and frogs).
-Offspring may be viewed as dynastic tools (pawns or commodities) and keeping them alive may accrue purely selfish benefits to their parents. Drow, I'm looking at you.
-There could be a biological or cultural factor at play where the more closely related members of a group are the more they are able to trust each other and cooperate. This gives an advantage to groups that reproduce. Possibly a model for Orcs?
-And some creatures simply recognize the strength of the pack. Hyenas are well documented cannibals that will eat their own young when food is scare. They're the basis of gnolls. Heck, rabbits will eat their own young just because they're bored.
-Is there a model whereby the more violent males are cast out into bachelor bands while extended families of females work together to ensure their protection? (e.g. elephants or lions).

That for biology. Then you've got creatures that reproduce via contagion (Ghouls, Viruses), created creatures, awakened creatures, abominations, and insanity. If we get to memetic reproduction then we can get into some truly terrifying examples (from fiction we can possible draw from the Reavers of the Firefly-verse, from real life we can look at the multi-generational chains of abuse that arguably are equivalent to reproduction).

While it may work well for your setting to say that no creatures that can reproduce are truly evil, it works well for me to say that they can reproduce. If for no other reason than the cool lore behind that reproduction.

Talakeal
2019-08-05, 01:36 PM
In 2nd edition there was a little known rule Palsdins could not strike the first blow. They must be attacked first hit or miss.

Was that really a rule? I have no memory of it, and it makes apaldins ludicrously innefectual at preventing actual atrocities.

Max_Killjoy
2019-08-05, 01:51 PM
There are isolated exceptions, of course, but if those cultures and ideologies were as successful as normal human behaviour, they would be a lot more of them.


Some of them lasted hundreds of years.

The hypothesis that cultures / civilizations cannot be evil and survive is simply not born out by the facts. Slavery, human sacrifice, brutal repression of women (beyond even the low bar of the norms of their times), etc, have sadly all been aspects of civilizations that lasted for many many generations.

Segev
2019-08-05, 01:57 PM
It's often termed "tribalism," that to which Max is referring, and it remains a thing even to this day, and is also often ideologically tied to defining "us" as "good" and therefore anything "we" do must be "good," and anything "they" do as "evil." Even if they're the same thing. Because "we" are "good" and thus anything "we" do is "good," and those "evil them" are absolute monsters for doing it because, well, they're "evil."

It tends to lead to the possibility of the "father to his men" horribly evil villain-king/warlord. It's one of those things that sometimes seems to complicate alignment debates. In practice, though, it's about what you're willing to do to "them" not in defense of "us," but to "improve" the lot of "us" at "their" expense. That's how you generally determine whether it's really good, neutral, or evil. Genuinely good groups may be willing to do a lot in the name of war, but they do so defensively, or to put down a threat; their goal is rarely if ever to actually gain something (other than peace) that "they" aren't willing to provide.

shawnhcorey
2019-08-05, 02:09 PM
Some of them lasted hundreds of years.

The hypothesis that cultures / civilizations cannot be evil and survive is simply not born out by the facts. Slavery, human sacrifice, brutal repression of women (beyond even the low bar of the norms of their times), etc, have sadly all be aspects of civilizations that lasted for many many generations.

The Romans had more slave rebellions in the city than in the country. Yes, slavery is bad but some slaves had it better than others and farm slaves had it better than city slaves. They had lots of food and the winter off. Even in the Middle Ages, the serfs had lots of free time.

Human sacrifice was very rare and those who practised it systematically only did it on special occasions and to victims not from their communities (unless they were criminals).

Brutality to women and children is about as common now as it was in the past. Those that were brutal to their mates and offspring didn't have many offspring.

You are looking at rare incidents and claim they are the norm. And innately evil creatures would be far worst.

patchyman
2019-08-05, 02:26 PM
In a time when the laws are even more subject to the whims of the enforcer, if the law quite literally says "you can choose to enforce it, or not, and to what degree" then the paladin is at least on the legal spectrum, within their rights to do any of those things or none. Judge, jury, executioner. Or maybe just probation officer and social worker.

Which is again why it's important to note what the paladins legal authority is, which most games never do, which is why we often have reports of "lawful stupid" or "lawful jerkface". What the laws are matter far less than what the paladin is authorized to do about them.

Most paladins *do* have the authority to enforce laws: they are empowered by their order and/or their god to act as avatars of justice.

The problem is paladins who have thrown out mercy, discretion and any sense of proportion in enforcing the law.

Also, players who probably have no training in “judge, jury and executioner” playing characters who presumably have some training before they are sent out to smite the Unholy.

Max_Killjoy
2019-08-05, 02:30 PM
The Romans had more slave rebellions in the city than in the country. Yes, slavery is bad but some slaves had it better than others and farm slaves had it better than city slaves. They had lots of food and the winter off. Even in the Middle Ages, the serfs had lots of free time.

Human sacrifice was very rare and those who practised it systematically only did it on special occasions and to victims not from their communities (unless they were criminals).

Brutality to women and children is about as common now as it was in the past. Those that were brutal to their mates and offspring didn't have many offspring.

You are looking at rare incidents and claim they are the norm. And innately evil creatures would be far worst.


Well, at this point, we'd have to get into real politics, so all I can say is that you're mistaken on each point.

patchyman
2019-08-05, 02:31 PM
At some point you need a DM to actually uphold the rules of the game. This is no less true for alignment than it is for anything else that requires a modicum of judgment.

Eh, 5th ed doesn’t really have hard and fast rules concerning paladins falling, and as both a DM and a player, I am not a big fan of DMs twisting reality to force a comeuppance on players.

Honestly, we probably should of booted the character (not the player) from the party at that point. My impression was that the player would have been OK with changing his character after that.

Talakeal
2019-08-05, 02:57 PM
Remember, 3E describes both paladins and themLG alignment as merciless and demands they not let wrongs go jnpunished, and some DMs will have you fall for being too leniant.

Fable Wright
2019-08-05, 03:02 PM
Party of Lawful Good characters and a true neutral character are traveling with an NPC, the NPC steps on a trap and dies. The neutral player shrugs "sucks to be him" and loots the pockets of the dead man.

The Lawful Good player plants an axe in the back of the neutral players skull. People without empathy are evil they reason...

This is simply Chaotic Evil. There is no law that was enforced, and the justification a defense against retaliation.



Example 2:
A dragon born lawful good paladin introduces himself to a chaotic evil Bard. The Bard explains he doesn't believe in religion. The paladin uses detect alignment and detects the evil in the Bard.. so he runs him through with his sword...

This, too, is Chaotic Evil. "Oh, I don't like you and I've got an excuse to get away with the murder. Die."

If someone sacrifices someone on an altar because their "Lawful Good" God demanded it, and bestows blessings upon the faithful for doing it, and no one will miss the sacrifice anyways because they have it on good faith that he was "Evil", then they're just your bog standard evil cult lying to maintain the veneer of legitimacy.

This is why I don't let players write their own alignments.

shawnhcorey
2019-08-05, 03:04 PM
{Scrubbed}

Gallowglass
2019-08-05, 03:28 PM
Just curious if anyone else has witnessed the evil of Lawful Good characters attempting to smite evil...

What I commonly see (as player and DM) is Lawful Good characters act out against players who don't meet their alignment in an evil way.

Example:
Party of Lawful Good characters and a true neutral character are traveling with an NPC, the NPC steps on a trap and dies. The neutral player shrugs "sucks to be him" and loots the pockets of the dead man.

The Lawful Good player plants an axe in the back of the neutral players skull. People without empathy are evil they reason...

Example 2:
A dragon born lawful good paladin introduces himself to a chaotic evil Bard. The Bard explains he doesn't believe in religion. The paladin uses detect alignment and detects the evil in the Bard.. so he runs him through with his sword...


What's your opinion, are they doing it wrong? (I think so)

Do you have any funny stories?

I haven't read through the rest of this thread yet, but I'm pretty sure I can guess what it looks like.

My opinion: This isn't an alignment debate. This isn't "are they being lawful good or chaotic evil"

These are just jerks. The players, not the characters. Jerks using the medium as an excuse to be jerks. There is no point to argue whether they were "doing it wrong" as far as being lawful good goes. They are "doing it wrong" as far as playing in a game goes. "Doing it wrong" as far as being a human being goes. So, yeah, of course they are doing alignment wrong too.

But its not a fault of the alignment system. Its a fault of the players.

Kaptin Keen
2019-08-05, 04:20 PM
This thread is half assert action that lawful stupid isn't that common - and half justifications of lawful stupid.

I'm currently playing a .. 'morally flexible' bard, in a party with a paladin who feels that all evil must die. Fought for the wrong side: must die. Known evil race: must die. Orc child: must die.

So I persuaded an assassin to surrender, healed him, and convinced him to spy for us. Paladin felt he must die.

I needed to have words with the player - telling him that his character has no special privileges, and calls no shots.

He even told me 'my character can kill yours'. To which I replied that his player couldn't kill mine, so that wasn't really a relevant measure of anything.

patchyman
2019-08-05, 04:29 PM
Example:
Party of Lawful Good characters and a true neutral character are traveling with an NPC, the NPC steps on a trap and dies. The neutral player shrugs "sucks to be him" and loots the pockets of the dead man.

The Lawful Good player plants an axe in the back of the neutral players skull. People without empathy are evil they reason...


I love the irony of a Paladin showing a complete lack of empathy when murdering someone for not showing sufficient empathy...

Mechalich
2019-08-05, 05:11 PM
in a party with a paladin who feels that all evil must die. Fought for the wrong side: must die. Known evil race: must die. Orc child: must die.

This is not an acceptable ethos for a paladin. It's not an acceptable ethos for a lawful good character of any stripe actually. A character with this ethos probably doesn't even qualify as lawful neutral, since their fanaticism makes it likely that they are unable to honor either societal law or a strict personal code over the long term. If your GM is allowing such an ethos to fall under the 'paladin' umbrella, they have drastically misinterpreted how alignment is supposed to work, period.

King of Nowhere
2019-08-05, 08:17 PM
And I can think of lots of different ways to achieve that based on culture and biology.

-The creature might be born capable of independence and taking care of itself (e.g. Sharks). I use this model with goblins.
-The creature might be abandoned before birth and rely on other creatures to nurture it (e.g. the Cuckoo). I use this model with cambions.
-The creature might be abandoned and left to hatch on it's own. (e.g. some turtles and frogs).
-Offspring may be viewed as dynastic tools (pawns or commodities) and keeping them alive may accrue purely selfish benefits to their parents. Drow, I'm looking at you.
-There could be a biological or cultural factor at play where the more closely related members of a group are the more they are able to trust each other and cooperate. This gives an advantage to groups that reproduce. Possibly a model for Orcs?
-And some creatures simply recognize the strength of the pack. Hyenas are well documented cannibals that will eat their own young when food is scare. They're the basis of gnolls. Heck, rabbits will eat their own young just because they're bored.
-Is there a model whereby the more violent males are cast out into bachelor bands while extended families of females work together to ensure their protection? (e.g. elephants or lions).

That for biology. Then you've got creatures that reproduce via contagion (Ghouls, Viruses), created creatures, awakened creatures, abominations, and insanity. If we get to memetic reproduction then we can get into some truly terrifying examples (from fiction we can possible draw from the Reavers of the Firefly-verse, from real life we can look at the multi-generational chains of abuse that arguably are equivalent to reproduction).

While it may work well for your setting to say that no creatures that can reproduce are truly evil, it works well for me to say that they can reproduce. If for no other reason than the cool lore behind that reproduction.

that's some good worldbuilding. I will add mine

- goblins have a very strong sense of community. individually, they are weak and they die fast, so they look at the goblin nation as something that will survive them. goblins actually display a lot of heroic traits; they are evil because they consider everyone else to be an enemy. they are a lot like nazis in that regard, loial to their people and genocidal towards everyone else.
Also, they are explosive breeders in a resource-poor environment, and instead of trying for birth control, they control their population by killing most of their young (those they deem useless to the goblin nation) as their reach adolescence.
On the plus side, it's very easy to be a teacher in a goblin school; the kids study real hard, knowing that if they don't show excellence they will be sent in the desert...

- orcs are violent and kill each other regularly. they don't go extinct because they treat women as cattle. 90% of male orcs will die before sexual maturity, but female orcs are not harmed because they are valuable.
When an orc male survives to maturity, he'll have on average 10 orc females to reproduce with, so he'll have lots of children. the females are also the ones raising the children until they are old enough to care for themselves.
orcs also consider this as perfectly normal to ensure the survival of the strongest. they don't complain if someone stronger than them beats them up and takes their stuff, and they are baffled that other races wouldn't accept to be ruled by the strongest.

- despotonia is the fiefdom of hextor. despotonians are taught that the purpose of life is to dominate over others. most despotonians live in virtual slavery, and spend their little free time in petty squabbles over who has the nicer shanty or the less ugly wife or who gets whipped the less by the taskmasters. they generally manage to look down on enough other people to feel satisfied with themselves.
the despotonian oligarchy is not dumb, and they know the value of gifted, skilled people. especially in a world where "gifted and skilled" can mean "a 20th level wizard". So, while the country is crap for most things, it has the best public schools in the world, and promising students get any kind of training for free as long as they have skill. talented people are treated well, and they can easily get rich and join the aristocracy. Most people drop out early and are consigned to slavery, of course. But families are paid to send their children to school, so they make children and try to grow them strong.
for the country rulers, it's a win-win. if the children are capable, they will make a fine addition to their ranks. they will be able to dominate others because of their greater social status, so they will have good reasons to stay loial; in other nations they won't have slaves. and if the children are not capable, they will be exploted as cheap labor.
the system has also proved very resilient towards revolution, because of how it encourages petty squabbles among the paesants. give a despotonian mob weapons, and they will all kill each other for slights. paladins gave up long ago on trying to fix the country.

- demons will spawn already grown up. basically, the lower planes have a certain amount of evilness permeating them; if there is too much evil, it coalesces into a fiend. fiends feed upon the evil that surrounds them, so if there are many of them around, new ones won't spawn. so the overall number of fiends remains roughly constant.

ErdrickOfAliaha
2019-08-05, 09:29 PM
Characters such as those presented in this thread inspired me in the past to create a strongly militaristic scenario where the forces of Chaos conspired to unbind creation and the forces of Law joined forces to preserve it. Hence, Solars and Pit Fiends working together. It beautifully illustrated the "Group is more important than the individual" aspect of the Lawful alignments. I also used the old 2e rules for Anti-Paladin (reverse all occurrences of good and evil in the ability descriptions). Sadly, every group of players I presented this to wanted to be on the side of Chaos... So I never got to run it. Had all these hybrid elementals ready to throw at the party too.

Pleh
2019-08-05, 09:42 PM
Remember, 3E describes both paladins and themLG alignment as merciless and demands they not let wrongs go jnpunished, and some DMs will have you fall for being too leniant.

I played more 3.5 than 3e, but I don't remember the rules saying this. Sure, they generally can't allow crimes to go unpunished, but that doesn't mean jumping immediately to execution. Punishment can include a simple fine.

As someone else mentioned earlier, "you looted the corpse? I suppose you'll be reimbursing their next of kin."

Quertus
2019-08-06, 07:18 AM
Characters such as those presented in this thread inspired me in the past to create a strongly militaristic scenario where the forces of Chaos conspired to unbind creation and the forces of Law joined forces to preserve it. Hence, Solars and Pit Fiends working together. It beautifully illustrated the "Group is more important than the individual" aspect of the Lawful alignments. I also used the old 2e rules for Anti-Paladin (reverse all occurrences of good and evil in the ability descriptions). Sadly, every group of players I presented this to wanted to be on the side of Chaos... So I never got to run it. Had all these hybrid elementals ready to throw at the party too.

Beautiful is. Chaos too dim multiverse is to notice most of the.

Segev
2019-08-06, 09:34 AM
Remember, 3E describes both paladins and themLG alignment as merciless and demands they not let wrongs go jnpunished, and some DMs will have you fall for being too leniant.

"Punishment" need not be "death" for every wrong. And paladins can take a long view as easily as anybody else. A DM who enforces a murderous bloodlust on his paladins is as much a problem as a player who tries to claim he's being LG while indulging such a bloodlust.

Talakeal
2019-08-06, 09:50 AM
"Punishment" need not be "death" for every wrong. And paladins can take a long view as easily as anybody else. A DM who enforces a murderous bloodlust on his paladins is as much a problem as a player who tries to claim he's being LG while indulging such a bloodlust.

I would agree, but they do exist, and nothing in the rules indicate that it isn't a valid interpretation.


I played more 3.5 than 3e, but I don't remember the rules saying this. Sure, they generally can't allow crimes to go unpunished, but that doesn't mean jumping immediately to execution. Punishment can include a simple fine."

Page 103 claims that a paladin fights evil "relentlessly and without mercy".

IMO the author didn't intend that to mean that they could never show mercy, but that does appear to be RAW, just like the RAW 5E paladin of vengeance would be required to wipe out all life in the entire universe Thanos style if it meant killing even a single evil creature that would otherwise escape their grasp.

Pleh
2019-08-06, 11:48 AM
I would agree, but they do exist, and nothing in the rules indicate that it isn't a valid interpretation.

Page 103 claims that a paladin fights evil "relentlessly and without mercy".

IMO the author didn't intend that to mean that they could never show mercy, but that does appear to be RAW, just like the RAW 5E paladin of vengeance would be required to wipe out all life in the entire universe Thanos style if it meant killing even a single evil creature that would otherwise escape their grasp.

Ok, whatever then. Stupid rules should be disregarded with prejudice. I've never been a fan of RAW manipulation to erase RAI, especially when it detracts from the quality of play.

It's not a point that merits defending. When LG possesses no concept of mercy as a virtue or value, it's lost all logical consistency. That's more or less the point and joke of Miko. It's not what anyone should do in their games, but an example of what to avoid.

Talakeal
2019-08-06, 12:18 PM
Ok, whatever then. Stupid rules should be disregarded with prejudice. I've never been a fan of RAW manipulation to erase RAI, especially when it detracts from the quality of play.

It's not a point that merits defending. When LG possesses no concept of mercy as a virtue or value, it's lost all logical consistency. That's more or less the point and joke of Miko. It's not what anyone should do in their games, but an example of what to avoid.

I personally agree with you.

But for a lot of people, the paladin is some combination of Judge Dredd and the Spanish Inquisition, and for those people the RAI and RAW are in perfect alignment, and its kind of hard to tell them they are doing it wrong.

Manyasone
2019-08-06, 12:28 PM
In the second case, while someone pinging Evil on your Evilometer is certainly someone you should watch out for and be aware of what they're doing... Well, if you want a GOOD example of Lawful Good, read Dresden Files. Specifically, look for a chap named Michael Carpenter.

I couldn't agree more. The moment I read about Michael Carpenter was the moment I saw a true Paladin written. Never has there been a character more deserving of the title.
For those who don't know of him, have a link (https://dresdenfiles.fandom.com/wiki/Michael_Carpenter)

Avrahamagirl
2019-08-06, 12:36 PM
Great topic! I actually find most lawful good has to be somewhat 'bad' in order to follow through with the laws that they follow. Punishments, etc. Just look at Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame in the Disney movie, He was definitely supposed to be a representative of the 'good' the 'order' the 'law, etc.
:smallsmile:

Lord Raziere
2019-08-06, 12:38 PM
I couldn't agree more. The moment I read about Michael Carpenter was the moment I saw a true Paladin written. Never has there been a character more deserving of the title.
For those who don't know of him, have a link (https://dresdenfiles.fandom.com/wiki/Michael_Carpenter)

Heh, I know of him.

But man, we should get some Kaladin and Knights Radiant love up in here. he probably isn't as great as Michael, but hes pretty great as well just look at some of the Windrunner tenets he follows as apart of the Knights Radiant:

(this particular one all knights radiant follow):
“Life before death, strength before weakness, journey before destination.”

Windrunner oaths:
“I will protect those who cannot protect themselves.”

“I will protect even those I hate, so long as it is right.”

or the ideals of the Bondsmith, that Dalinar follows:

“I will unite instead of divide. I will bring men together.”

“I will take responsibility for what I have done. If I must fall, I will rise each time a better person.”

JNAProductions
2019-08-06, 12:40 PM
Great topic! I actually find most lawful good has to be somewhat 'bad' in order to follow through with the laws that they follow. Punishments, etc. Just look at Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame in the Disney movie, He was definitely supposed to be a representative of the 'good' the 'order' the 'law, etc.
:smallsmile:

Frollo might be Lawful, but he certainly ain't Good.

Kaptin Keen
2019-08-06, 12:45 PM
This is not an acceptable ethos for a paladin. It's not an acceptable ethos for a lawful good character of any stripe actually. A character with this ethos probably doesn't even qualify as lawful neutral, since their fanaticism makes it likely that they are unable to honor either societal law or a strict personal code over the long term. If your GM is allowing such an ethos to fall under the 'paladin' umbrella, they have drastically misinterpreted how alignment is supposed to work, period.

That's debatable. I'd agree with you - but obviously the player doesn't, and the GM chooses to allow i.

I've told the group many times that my thieving, lying, trickster/bastard bard is the closest thing to a 'good' character the party has (paladin, ranger, elf wizard and my bard). They laugh at that - but I'm consistently the only one willing to show mercy, or even negotiate.

It's worth mentioning that negotiation has thus far led only to betrayal.

Segev
2019-08-06, 01:48 PM
I would agree, but they do exist, and nothing in the rules indicate that it isn't a valid interpretation.



Page 103 claims that a paladin fights evil "relentlessly and without mercy".

The whole rest of the rules on what it means to be Good defies the interpretation. In context of that, "relentlessly and without mercy" means they will not let mercy stay their hand from necessary acts to curtail evil, not that they will revel in slaughtering anything that pings evil for any reason.

Inchhighguy
2019-08-06, 04:04 PM
You may want to rethink that. Gandalf, Bilbo, Frodo? All looted the dead. Drizzt? Yeah, some of his items came off corpses. Of all the iconic characters I can think of, I only know 1 who supposedly exclusively looted the living rather than the dead.

D&D is pretty firmly based on loot, and only slightly less firmly based on killing stuff. By your logic, I imagine all the big names from Mordenkainen to Bigby are Evil.


Not much need to, as it's simple enough: as a general rule good people do not loot the dead.

You can be ''survivalist good", that you are allowed to..slightly..bend the no loot rule for survival. So if you were in the wilderness, FAR, from your home civilization, and in need of food, water and such....then yes, you could ''loot'' a body.

Plenty of good cultures would also approve of taking a ''trophy" of a kill. And even more so it does depend on person gain. Is the person taking the loot to A) GIVE nearly all of it to a good/needed cause and/or B) to otherwise keep it out of Evils hands? Then fine. However....just about anything else would be wrong, even more so vile greed.

And, then you do have good people from cultures with no concept of money, or even value.




"Punishment" need not be "death" for every wrong. And paladins can take a long view as easily as anybody else. A DM who enforces a murderous bloodlust on his paladins is as much a problem as a player who tries to claim he's being LG while indulging such a bloodlust.

The twist here is that...well....paladins are violent, aggressive warriors that primarily KILL.

Just look at the basic paladin: Do they have say a Word of Good Ability where they can talk to someone and influence them with goodness? Do they have any basic non lethal attack forms? Can they say charm someone? Put someone to sleep? Paralysis?

Or do they have a big sword and the ability to SMITE people?





But for a lot of people, the paladin is some combination of Judge Dredd and the Spanish Inquisition, and for those people the RAI and RAW are in perfect alignment, and its kind of hard to tell them they are doing it wrong.

That does describe the basic paladin. Judge Inquistion Dread. The basic idea of a Marshal, even more so a Western one also fits. Matt Dillon from Gunsmoke is a good example, as is Paladin from Have Gun – Will Travel.

JNAProductions
2019-08-06, 04:16 PM
Not much need to, as it's simple enough: as a general rule good people do not loot the dead.

You can be ''survivalist good", that you are allowed to..slightly..bend the no loot rule for survival. So if you were in the wilderness, FAR, from your home civilization, and in need of food, water and such....then yes, you could ''loot'' a body.

Plenty of good cultures would also approve of taking a ''trophy" of a kill. And even more so it does depend on person gain. Is the person taking the loot to A) GIVE nearly all of it to a good/needed cause and/or B) to otherwise keep it out of Evils hands? Then fine. However....just about anything else would be wrong, even more so vile greed.

And, then you do have good people from cultures with no concept of money, or even value.

The twist here is that...well....paladins are violent, aggressive warriors that primarily KILL.

Just look at the basic paladin: Do they have say a Word of Good Ability where they can talk to someone and influence them with goodness? Do they have any basic non lethal attack forms? Can they say charm someone? Put someone to sleep? Paralysis?

Or do they have a big sword and the ability to SMITE people?

That does describe the basic paladin. Judge Inquistion Dread. The basic idea of a Marshal, even more so a Western one also fits. Matt Dillon from Gunsmoke is a good example, as is Paladin from Have Gun – Will Travel.

Do you need hard-coded abilities to talk to people? See, roleplayers are fully capable of talking to their surrendered enemies and trying to use compassion and mercy on them even WITHOUT mechanics that explicitly say "Roll against DC 20 to convert evil to good".

Koo Rehtorb
2019-08-06, 04:17 PM
Converting people is a cleric's job. A paladin is the sword of his deity.

Cygnia
2019-08-06, 04:42 PM
Converting people is a cleric's job. A paladin is the sword of his deity.

If that's the case, then why do paladins have Diplomacy on their skill list?

Max_Killjoy
2019-08-06, 04:51 PM
I thought looting the defeated, dead or otherwise, was part and parcel of the same game that made the paladin into a special RPG character class...

comk59
2019-08-06, 04:58 PM
I mean, I HAVE played the Judge Dredd style paladin, after making sure with everyone that it was okay. It was pretty fun! But I certainly wouldn't consider it the default state for a Paladin.
If I had to choose a role model for that, I'd probably go with Captain Carrot.

Segev
2019-08-06, 05:03 PM
Not much need to, as it's simple enough: as a general rule good people do not loot the dead. Nonsense. Lawful people raised in a tradition that believes either in grave goods or inheritance rights will refrain from looting the dead (though the latter will possibly take goods to try to return them to the heirs). Good and Evil have little to do with matters of unclaimed property.


The twist here is that...well....paladins are violent, aggressive warriors that primarily KILL.

Just look at the basic paladin: Do they have say a Word of Good Ability where they can talk to someone and influence them with goodness? Do they have any basic non lethal attack forms? Can they say charm someone? Put someone to sleep? Paralysis?

Or do they have a big sword and the ability to SMITE people? So, since evil clerics have cure spells, that means they're pacifists who go around helping the wounded and trying to soothe pains, which is definitely an evil act because evil clerics have mechanics geared towards doing it?

Paladins are PROTECTORS, and protectors must be able to destroy that which would harm their charges. That doesn't mean they are hair-trigger blood knights.

Pleh
2019-08-06, 05:35 PM
I personally agree with you.

But for a lot of people, the paladin is some combination of Judge Dredd and the Spanish Inquisition, and for those people the RAI and RAW are in perfect alignment, and its kind of hard to tell them they are doing it wrong.

I disagree that the RAI and RAW are in perfect alignment. I think it's better to say RAI and RAW are commonly incoherent and self contradicting. This shouldn't be allowance to interpret any way you want.

I think back to Jay R's rules. Players have the right to screw up the plot, not the game. Assuming Paladins must be a little evil to do their jobs is tantamount to redefining the setting.

Morty
2019-08-06, 05:44 PM
Y'know, the alignment system really has enough problems without people coming up with entirely made-up ones.

Inchhighguy
2019-08-06, 06:18 PM
Nonsense. Lawful people raised in a tradition that believes either in grave goods or inheritance rights will refrain from looting the dead (though the latter will possibly take goods to try to return them to the heirs). Good and Evil have little to do with matters of unclaimed property.

Sure you can say Good and Evil have nothing to do with anything. That does not really help much. Ok, so nothing is really anything?

But in D&D there is good and evil.




So, since evil clerics have cure spells, that means they're pacifists who go around helping the wounded and trying to soothe pains, which is definitely an evil act because evil clerics have mechanics geared towards doing it?

Paladins are PROTECTORS, and protectors must be able to destroy that which would harm their charges. That doesn't mean they are hair-trigger blood knights.

Maybe you mussed my point? Paladins are warriors that kill evil, and that is what their abilities do. IF they were meant to do other things....then why in oh 30 years of D&D history have they never been given such abilities to the base class?

So, where do you see ''protection" abilities for a Paladin? Can they use Shield Other as a supernatural ability? Maybe some special divine aid another? Bodyguard abilities? Maybe some ''intercept attack directed at another?" Does the paladin in your official game book have abilities like that?

Talakeal
2019-08-06, 06:40 PM
Sure you can say Good and Evil have nothing to do with anything. That does not really help much. Ok, so nothing is really anything?

But in D&D there is good and evil.




Maybe you mussed my point? Paladins are warriors that kill evil, and that is what their abilities do. IF they were meant to do other things....then why in oh 30 years of D&D history have they never been given such abilities to the base class?

So, where do you see ''protection" abilities for a Paladin? Can they use Shield Other as a supernatural ability? Maybe some special divine aid another? Bodyguard abilities? Maybe some ''intercept attack directed at another?" Does the paladin in your official game book have abilities like that?

They do in 4e.

Edit: and to a lesser extent in 5e. They are also healers in every edition.

Segev
2019-08-07, 12:22 AM
Sure you can say Good and Evil have nothing to do with anything. That does not really help much. Ok, so nothing is really anything?

But in D&D there is good and evil.Come now. "Good and Evil have nothing to do with ice cream flavors," doesn't mean, "Good and Evil have nothing to do with anything." Neither does what I said. You're constructing quite the straw man, here. Taking something from a corpse is not inherently good or evil. It CAN be related to them in the right circumstances, but those circumstances tend to be pretty contrived. It also can be related to law and chaos, and will tend to be so far more often, as there's usually a matter of traditions and/or ownership at stake. Ethics, not morals.

If you want to claim taking things from corpses is inherently Evil, you must justify that claim. Scoffing that questioning that claim means I'm questioning the very existence of Good and Evil in D&D is not a particularly convincing bit of rhetoric, and an appallingly bad attempt at logical refutation.


Maybe you mussed my point? Paladins are warriors that kill evil, and that is what their abilities do. IF they were meant to do other things....then why in oh 30 years of D&D history have they never been given such abilities to the base class?So... they don't have the ability to lay on hands? To remove disease? To bolster people against magical fear?


So, where do you see ''protection" abilities for a Paladin? Can they use Shield Other as a supernatural ability? Maybe some special divine aid another? Bodyguard abilities? Maybe some ''intercept attack directed at another?" Does the paladin in your official game book have abilities like that?They have shield other on their pretty limited spell list, so, yes, they can use it. Why does it have to be as "a supernatural ability?" Does this mean spells don't count as class features, to you?

May as well say that fighters should kill everybody who poses any sort of obstacle to their goals, because all fighters get are combat class features.

Mordaedil
2019-08-07, 01:43 AM
Ever since AD&D have the rules specified that alignment is not a straight-jacket, yet people keep insisting to play alignments as if they were straight jackets on their PC's. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink, I suppose.

FaerieGodfather
2019-08-07, 02:22 AM
Can I just say how much I love this thread? You've got people on one side arguing that Paladins killing Evil people without other justification will Fall and lose all their Paladin abilities, and people on other side arguing that if Paladins do not kill every Evil person they encounter will Fall and lose all of their Paladin abilities... both quoting RAW...

.. and the only thing they can all agree on is that the alignment rules are fine as-is and that the Paladin class does not need reform.


Was that really a rule? I have no memory of it, and it makes apaldins ludicrously innefectual at preventing actual atrocities.

A lot of the Paladin/alignment rules seem to have been written under the assumption there should never be a Level 2 Paladin in any setting: players create Level 1 Paladins, and any higher-level Paladin was birthed spontaneously from the forehead of their patron deity to serve the cause of justice faithfully until their first actual contact with any hostile force.

I don't remember this particular rule, but it easily could have been in any number of supplements and I've seen a few tables that play that way-- which, at the time, I was wholly certain was because they were making rules up, not following them to the letter.

Berenger
2019-08-07, 03:14 AM
Paladins are warriors that kill evil, and that is what their abilities do. IF they were meant to do other things....then why in oh 30 years of D&D history have they never been given such abilities to the base class?

So, where do you see ''protection" abilities for a Paladin? Can they use Shield Other as a supernatural ability? Maybe some special divine aid another? Bodyguard abilities? Maybe some ''intercept attack directed at another?" Does the paladin in your official game book have abilities like that?

Yeah, if Paladins were meant to be supporters, protectors and counselors, in addition to warriors, surely they would have class features to that effect. Something like a requirement for good wisdom and charisma. Diplomacy, Sense Motive and Heal skills. The abilty to heal wounds, disease and fear in others. Cleric spells for social encounters and combat spells like Shield Other...

Pleh
2019-08-07, 08:19 AM
.. and the only thing they can all agree on is that the alignment rules are fine as-is and that the Paladin class does not need reform

This is a result of the paladin code being designed to be inflexible, but somewhat customizable to fit a variety of settings.

The Paladin class doesn't necessarily need reform. It mostly just needs its own paragraph on any DM's Session 0 handout. Reforming it is one solution (effective for tables aiming for greater moral complexity), but it's not necessary for the basic elements of D&D (like a dungeon crawl where morals really aren't coming into play).

And alignment rules ARE fine as-is, when they aren't used as a straight jacket. Descriptive, versus prescriptive alignment s the way to go.

Kraynic
2019-08-07, 08:56 AM
Yeah, if Paladins were meant to be supporters, protectors and counselors, in addition to warriors, surely they would have class features to that effect. Something like a requirement for good wisdom and charisma. Diplomacy, Sense Motive and Heal skills. The abilty to heal wounds, disease and fear in others. Cleric spells for social encounters and combat spells like Shield Other...

Too bad they generally don't have enough skill ranks to make a well rounded social character. And Shield Other is a long way away if you start from level 1.

Something like this recently came up in a Pathfinder game I play in (running 2nd Darkness). The player there is trying to align with the attitudes of his deity. Iomedae does seem to be more likely to tend towards "kill them all and let the gods sort them out" in her paladins when it comes to evil creatures. On the other hand, I could see a paladin of Erastil being more focused on preserving communities and peaceful (as much as possible) coexistence between communities instead of just wanting to eradicate all "evil". And both of those deities are LG. That paladin has had to atone once due to things he allowed himself to be drawn into by the rest of the group, although we have been fairly considerate of him since then.

To be honest, I think the d&d type paladin would be a lot more interesting if you had to be the alignment of your deity, and had to choose a domain or sphere of influence of that deity that you would represent as your prime motivation for being a paladin. That is just me though.

Berenger
2019-08-07, 09:43 AM
Too bad they generally don't have enough skill ranks to make a well rounded social character.
This is obviously true, but hardly a paladin-specific problem. IMO, giving an extra 2 skill points per level across the board and making all untrained-usable skills class skills for everyone does not hurt.

Segev
2019-08-07, 09:54 AM
Can I just say how much I love this thread? You've got people on one side arguing that Paladins killing Evil people without other justification will Fall and lose all their Paladin abilities, and people on other side arguing that if Paladins do not kill every Evil person they encounter will Fall and lose all of their Paladin abilities... both quoting RAW...

.. and the only thing they can all agree on is that the alignment rules are fine as-is and that the Paladin class does not need reform.Actually, I haven't seen anybody make the last claim in this quote in this thread. So saying that "both sides agree" with it is spurious, at best. Moreover, when one side is selectively quoting and cherry-picking the rules, it hardly is "both sides quoting the RAW."

There is nothing inherently wrong with the alignment system nor paladins' place in it; that doesn't mean there's no room for improvement. It does mean there's no need to chuck it as worthless. There's significant difference between these positions, and yet, like the guy before who tried to claim that my assertion that Good and Evil have little inherently to do with stripping valuables off of a corpse meant I was saying Good and Evil are meaningless, the attempt to claim that there exists room for improvement in the alignment system means the whole thing is a mess and shouldn't be used in any form is not logically sound. It's a rhetorical trick that sounds good if you can spin enough words around it to keep the logically fallacious leap from being detected, but it isn't actually a logically valid argument.



Paladins are not meant to be trivially easy to play, but Law and Good do not conflict as often as people like to pretend. Neither does "Lawful Good" nor the paladin code require cruelty nor bloodlust. It requires thwarting evil. It requires taking a stand for righteousness. It does not require suicidal stupidity in the name of virtue signalling, and it does not require that all punishments and methods of "thwarting" be fatal, no matter how slight the crime (ethical or moral) being punished. "If they don't kill the goblin who stole bread from a hungry child, they'll fall" is nonsense. Making the goblin give it back and giving it a drubbing is quite sufficient. Arresting or imprisoning it would also be acceptable. Also, paladins should probably be helping that starving child get some more and better food than just that hunk of bread, if it's at all practical.

patchyman
2019-08-07, 10:33 AM
Nonsense. Lawful people raised in a tradition that believes either in grave goods or inheritance rights will refrain from looting the dead (though the latter will possibly take goods to try to return them to the heirs). Good and Evil have little to do with matters of unclaimed property.

Lawful societies that believe “to the victor go the spoils” have no problem with looting bodies. In the Iliad, there are numerous examples of taking a dead guy’s stuff and ransoming back to his family.

redwizard007
2019-08-07, 10:39 AM
Actually, I haven't seen anybody make the last claim in this quote in this thread. So saying that "both sides agree" with it is spurious, at best. Moreover, when one side is selectively quoting and cherry-picking the rules, it hardly is "both sides quoting the RAW."

There is nothing inherently wrong with the alignment system nor paladins' place in it; that doesn't mean there's no room for improvement. It does mean there's no need to chuck it as worthless. There's significant difference between these positions, and yet, like the guy before who tried to claim that my assertion that Good and Evil have little inherently to do with stripping valuables off of a corpse meant I was saying Good and Evil are meaningless, the attempt to claim that there exists room for improvement in the alignment system means the whole thing is a mess and shouldn't be used in any form is not logically sound. It's a rhetorical trick that sounds good if you can spin enough words around it to keep the logically fallacious leap from being detected, but it isn't actually a logically valid argument.



Paladins are not meant to be trivially easy to play, but Law and Good do not conflict as often as people like to pretend. Neither does "Lawful Good" nor the paladin code require cruelty nor bloodlust. It requires thwarting evil. It requires taking a stand for righteousness. It does not require suicidal stupidity in the name of virtue signalling, and it does not require that all punishments and methods of "thwarting" be fatal, no matter how slight the crime (ethical or moral) being punished. "If they don't kill the goblin who stole bread from a hungry child, they'll fall" is nonsense. Making the goblin give it back and giving it a drubbing is quite sufficient. Arresting or imprisoning it would also be acceptable. Also, paladins should probably be helping that starving child get some more and better food than just that hunk of bread, if it's at all practical.

Mostly this.

I would argue that 5e's lack of alignment restrictions has removed the "not trivially easy" portion of your point, but in previous editions, sure.

I have played with a Lawful Stupid paladin before. I killed him, and after a few similar issues with straight jacket alignments, stopped playing with him. For years, my group banned paladins. It's not a fun way for most of us to enjoy the hobby. At the right table maybe, but not at mine.

Pleh
2019-08-07, 11:03 AM
I have played with a Lawful Stupid paladin before. I killed him, and after a few similar issues with straight jacket alignments, stopped playing with him. For years, my group banned paladins. It's not a fun way for most of us to enjoy the hobby. At the right table maybe, but not at mine.

I believe I could play an effective paladin in any group (outside a Way of the Wicked or similarly Edge Focused cast of antiheroes). And it really comes down to understanding mercy. In my mind, a Paladin's job is cosmic triage. You're fighting to minimize the evil in the world and to do so with the minimal use of force and trauma.

For example, killing goblins. The first question is if killing them is necessary, which is usually true because goblins usually aren't a problem or can only be dissuaded by lethal force. In that case, the paladin mostly seeks to kill the goblins quickly, to minimize their suffering.

One thing Paladins steer clear of in their best practices is sentencing punishment. Punishment and mercy are antithetical. Paladins should work on a similar principle to Batman, using only the force necessary to end a public threat. Punishment should be left up to the courts.

Ergo, a paladin on a goblin raid just seeks to quickly kill the number of goblins necessary to ensure protection of the commoners nearby. If they stray into tormenting or enslaving the goblins to force reparations back to the community, they've overstepped their bounds.

Such a paladin would have no problem doing the same with members of their own party. Punishing paladins are not fun playmates. Merciful paladins often are.

Segev
2019-08-07, 11:04 AM
Lawful societies that believe “to the victor go the spoils” have no problem with looting bodies. In the Iliad, there are numerous examples of taking a dead guy’s stuff and ransoming back to his family.Right. That's why I was specific about the kind of traditions required for Lawful people to oppose taking stuff from a corpse. Other traditions would be fine with it, or even require it.

Lawfulness doesn't serve, by itself, as a predictor of action, without knowledge of the structure, strictures, codes, or rules by which the Lawful creature operates. You can usually expect more honor and word-keeping, but even there you need to be careful. Lawfulness tells you how much they adhere to an external order, but what that order is might still be in question.


Mostly this.

I would argue that 5e's lack of alignment restrictions has removed the "not trivially easy" portion of your point, but in previous editions, sure.

I have played with a Lawful Stupid paladin before. I killed him, and after a few similar issues with straight jacket alignments, stopped playing with him. For years, my group banned paladins. It's not a fun way for most of us to enjoy the hobby. At the right table maybe, but not at mine.
Eh, paladin codes still are meant to provide at least a taste of RP challenge, but "not meant to be trivially easy" wasn't meant to be mechanical or anything. In truth, any LG character is equally likely to face such dilemmas. So are CG ones. The kind of dilemma you face will vary by alignment, but every alignment can face them. Even CE. "But I don't WANT to kowtow to that guy who's stronger than me!"

Mark Hall
2019-08-07, 01:14 PM
I thought looting the defeated, dead or otherwise, was part and parcel of the same game that made the paladin into a special RPG character class...

My general feeling is that looting the dead is a Not Lawful (not Chaotic, but Not Lawful) act, having less to do with morality and more to do with propriety.

Talakeal
2019-08-07, 01:38 PM
I think 5E has gone a long way towards understanding the problem by having three different oaths each with a very different outlook, allowing people to choose the one that best suits their image of a "real" paladin.

redwizard007
2019-08-07, 02:26 PM
My general feeling is that looting the dead is a Not Lawful (not Chaotic, but Not Lawful) act, having less to do with morality and more to do with propriety.

While I'm inclined to agree with this, it is quite possible to have a lawful society where
"keep what you kill" is a prime tenant. Probably not a lawful good society, but maybe in a specific caste or subculture.

Talakeal
2019-08-07, 02:46 PM
Its weird how vociferously people defend the idea that desecrating the dead is the basest form of villainy when we are discussing necromancy, but have no problem with merely looting the dead.

Psyren
2019-08-07, 02:55 PM
Its weird how vociferously people defend the idea that desecrating the dead is the basest form of villainy when we are discussing necromancy, but have no problem with merely looting the dead.

I find it interesting that you would equate a person's items to their bodies or souls. (Not saying there aren't cultures that have done this of course, but in most D&D settings it seems to be a more fringe attitude/more.)

Mark Hall
2019-08-07, 03:54 PM
While I'm inclined to agree with this, it is quite possible to have a lawful society where
"keep what you kill" is a prime tenant. Probably not a lawful good society, but maybe in a specific caste or subculture.

Perhaps, but my own view of law and chaos makes it a harder sell; it may be a more of the society, but it conflicts with OPP, which is really the basis, IMO, of the Law/Chaos divide.


Its weird how vociferously people defend the idea that desecrating the dead is the basest form of villainy when we are discussing necromancy, but have no problem with merely looting the dead.

Personally, I also view simple necromancy as being Chaotic, not evil per se (greater necromancies... most created undead beyond zombies and skeletons are different, since they usually create evil creatures).

Max_Killjoy
2019-08-07, 03:59 PM
Perhaps, but my own view of law and chaos makes it a harder sell; it may be a more of the society, but it conflicts with OPP, which is really the basis, IMO, of the Law/Chaos divide.



Personally, I also view simple necromancy as being Chaotic, not evil per se (greater necromancies... most created undead beyond zombies and skeletons are different, since they usually create evil creatures).

I think I need to ask what OPP stands for in this context... as there is a certain song...

Talakeal
2019-08-07, 04:14 PM
I find it interesting that you would equate a person's items to their bodies or souls. (Not saying there aren't cultures that have done this of course, but in most D&D settings it seems to be a more fringe attitude/more.)

Souls are a different matter, but I see little difference between disrespecting a dead body and a dead person's belongings.

Segev
2019-08-07, 04:20 PM
Souls are a different matter, but I see little difference between disrespecting a dead body and a dead person's belongings.

I mean, there are entire ethical debates one can have over whether a person's dead body deserves any special consideration at all, beyond what it means to those who mourn them.

In D&D and other fictional settings, this debate changes, but doesn't necessarily end. Obviously, in D&D, keeping a dead body intact for easier/cheaper resurrection-type magics is a thing to consider. As are concerns over animation.

patchyman
2019-08-07, 04:23 PM
Its weird how vociferously people defend the idea that desecrating the dead is the basest form of villainy when we are discussing necromancy, but have no problem with merely looting the dead.

Are any of them the same people, or is this a case of different people on the Internet believe different things?

Koo Rehtorb
2019-08-07, 04:27 PM
Its weird how vociferously people defend the idea that desecrating the dead is the basest form of villainy when we are discussing necromancy, but have no problem with merely looting the dead.

You don't see how looting the dead of earthly possessions is different from subjecting their eternal souls to unspeakable torment? Odd.

Mark Hall
2019-08-07, 04:49 PM
I think I need to ask what OPP stands for in this context... as there is a certain song...

Other People's Property, of course. ;-)

Tvtyrant
2019-08-07, 04:53 PM
My basic feeling is that the party member should have stopped the game, asked whether the group was going to treat looting as chaotic, evil or neutral and then once there was a consensus had their person act accordingly. The obligation is always on the player to act harmoniously with the group, here their alignment was disruptive jerk.

Talakeal
2019-08-07, 04:59 PM
You don't see how looting the dead of earthly possessions is different from subjecting their eternal souls to unspeakable torment? Odd.

I do. Fortunately that is not an issue with undead in D&D.


Are any of them the same people, or is this a case of different people on the Internet believe different things?

I am sure it is mostly different people; but if the OP had mentioned raising a body instead of looting it I guarantee there would be an entire chorus of posters defending the paladin's actions.

Tvtyrant
2019-08-07, 05:03 PM
I do. Fortunately that is not an issue with undead in D&D.



I am sure it is mostly different people; but if the OP had mentioned raising a body instead of looting it I guarantee there would be an entire chorus of posters defending the paladin's actions.

The difference being that everyone knows your undead servant was you disrespecting a dead person. Looting the dead is wrong once then forgotten, looting a zombie is visibly wrong forever.

Like if it had been the Paladin's brother no one would have looted it for money except in a true crises. This showing that looting a corpse is wrong due to disrespect, the issue becomes whether people know you disrespected them. Looting is immediately invisible, so other people don't know you are a bad person after it happens. The zombie marks you to the public where ever you go.

Koo Rehtorb
2019-08-07, 05:05 PM
I do. Fortunately that is not an issue with undead in D&D.

It is. Animation is evil because it's powered by using the person's soul. Why do you think spells like Raise Dead don't work on people that have been turned into undead creatures?

Tvtyrant
2019-08-07, 05:13 PM
It is. Animation is evil because it's powered by using the person's soul. Why do you think spells like Raise Dead don't work on people that have been turned into undead creatures?

Their soul being taken is nowhere in the rules. In 4E undead are just animus in a body (or just animus floating around), 3.5 they are essentially negative energy elementals, etc. The body being currently in use is why you can't return an undead to life.

Psyren
2019-08-07, 05:45 PM
Souls are a different matter, but I see little difference between disrespecting a dead body and a dead person's belongings.

I certainly do; taking a dead person's belongings doesn't turn them into a continuous conduit to the negative energy plane. There's also zero risk of losing control of an inanimate corpse and having it go munch on an innocent. And let's not forget that the umbrella term "necromancy" includes creating intelligent undead, which trap the victim's soul inside, keeping it from being raised or proceeding to its final rest. So no, not the same at all.



I am sure it is mostly different people; but if the OP had mentioned raising a body instead of looting it I guarantee there would be an entire chorus of posters defending the paladin's actions.

Please note that I'm not defending the paladin either. Attacking other PCs, especially without any kind of discussion (IC or OOC), is simply wrong.

Talakeal
2019-08-07, 05:49 PM
I certainly do; taking a dead person's belongings doesn't turn them into a continuous conduit to the negative energy plane. There's also zero risk of losing control of an inanimate corpse and having it go munch on an innocent. And let's not forget that the umbrella term "necromancy" includes creating intelligent undead, which trap the victim's soul inside, keeping it from being raised or proceeding to its final rest. So no, not the same at all.

I also wasn't talking about that.

I was merely noting that anytime we get into a debate about necromancy, people always come to cry about how evil it is to desecrate a body.



It is. Animation is evil because it's powered by using the person's soul. Why do you think spells like Raise Dead don't work on people that have been turned into undead creatures?

Citation needed.

So let me ask you a question, by your interpretation of the rules, could I defeat a Pit Fiend or other powerful outsider by going to their mortal remains and animating the thousand year old bones?

Psyren
2019-08-07, 06:13 PM
I also wasn't talking about that.

I was merely noting that anytime we get into a debate about necromancy, people always come to cry about how evil it is to desecrate a body.

No, what you said was:


Souls are a different matter, but I see little difference between disrespecting a dead body and a dead person's belongings.

I was providing reasons why, in D&D, they are indeed very different acts.

Blackhawk748
2019-08-07, 06:21 PM
You don't see how looting the dead of earthly possessions is different from subjecting their eternal souls to unspeakable torment? Odd.


It is. Animation is evil because it's powered by using the person's soul. Why do you think spells like Raise Dead don't work on people that have been turned into undead creatures?

Hello, resident Necromancer here and that is not at all how necromancy works in DnD. There is no magic, of any level, that can focibly move a soul from the afterlife unless that soul wills it and the only spell that traps a soul is Trap the Soul. A 3rd level spell isn't gonna one up Miracle or Wish.

The reason that the spells like Raise Dead don't work on animated undead isn't because the soul is in there, it is because the body is currently occupied by a bunch of Negative Energy, and so the soul can't get in there, as it is made of positive energy.

Thats it. Making unintelligent undead has no reason to be evil in 3.5 as the Skeletons and Zombies are literally incapable of doing anything unless instructed otherwise and shouldn't even have an alignment beyond Neutral, as they can't think.


I certainly do; taking a dead person's belongings doesn't turn them into a continuous conduit to the negative energy plane. There's also zero risk of losing control of an inanimate corpse and having it go munch on an innocent. And let's not forget that the umbrella term "necromancy" includes creating intelligent undead, which trap the victim's soul inside, keeping it from being raised or proceeding to its final rest. So no, not the same at all.

There isn't any risk of an unintelligent undead doing it either, because they can't make decisions for themselves. The only risk comes from intelligent undead and that its evil for enslaving an intelligent being as much as it is for all the wierd crap you are doing to the person's body and reputation.

Also I don't think I've ever seen something about what happens to someone's soul when their body is turned into an intelligent undead. It would be a bit strange that a 5th level spell can manipulate a soul like that when it seems to take a 8th level spell normally.

Psyren
2019-08-07, 06:29 PM
There isn't any risk of an unintelligent undead doing it either, because they can't make decisions for themselves.

Libris Mortis disagrees:

"A sufficiently heinous act may attract the attention of malicious spirits, bodiless and seeking to house themselves in fl esh, especially recently vacated vessels. Such spirits are often little more than nodes of unquenchable hunger, wishing only to feed. These comprise many of the mindless undead."

There are mindless undead that wish only to feed, despite not being ordered to by anyone. They're not constructs.

Blackhawk748
2019-08-07, 06:36 PM
Libris Mortis disagrees:

"A sufficiently heinous act may attract the attention of malicious spirits, bodiless and seeking to house themselves in fl esh, especially recently vacated vessels. Such spirits are often little more than nodes of unquenchable hunger, wishing only to feed. These comprise many of the mindless undead."

There are mindless undead that wish only to feed, despite not being ordered to by anyone. They're not constructs.

Yes, they aren't constructs but the don't have an Intelligence stat, thus they cannot make decisions as per the rules for not having an Intelligence score. On top of this those animated by Animate Dead will do literally nothing unless ordered to do something.

Also (if e ignore their lack of an Intelligence stat) Libris Mortis also points out that they go after sources of Positive Energy which means that Skeletons and Zombies should be wrecking plants and trying to kill small animals unless they find larger targets, and we don't see that. So, while Libris Mortis says this, very rarely is any of it ever shown to be the case in later books.

LordCdrMilitant
2019-08-07, 06:46 PM
Yeah I've played with 5 different groups and people in Arizona, maybe it's a local thing?

Maybe it's Arizona?

Then again, given that I usually run 40k RPGs, I would say people in my games tend to be on the scale of Lawful Evil vs. Chaotic Evil.

Psyren
2019-08-07, 06:55 PM
Yes, they aren't constructs but the don't have an Intelligence stat, thus they cannot make decisions as per the rules for not having an Intelligence score. On top of this those animated by Animate Dead will do literally nothing unless ordered to do something.

And yet I can find you numerous examples of mindless undead that actively seek out living victims to feed on.

All of these are mechanically Int -, on top of their entries explicitly saying they're mindless (just to drive the point home):


Plague Spewer: "These mindless undead creatures lumber about, seeking to kill any living creature except for rats and vermin. If one finds its way into civilization it, and the rat swarms it brings, can deplete the population of a town."

Blood Amniote: "The half-congealed blood of past victims gives a blood amniote its form, and its ties to the Negative Energy Plane give the creature animation. Mindless, it seeks only to pierce the fleshy carapace of all living creatures it comes upon so it can draw out the blood beneath."

Hulking Corpse: "...These creatures are often found wandering the night, seeking only to crush, destroy, and rend."

Bloodrot: "Bloodrots have no goal save to consume the fluids of the living."

Raiment: "A raiment is the clothing of a victim of some atrocious crime, animated by the spirit of the vengeful victim, mindlessly intent on using its only remaining tool to cause as much pain and suffering as its long-missing flesh felt in death."

Charnel Hound: "Charnel hounds, once created, are self-sufficient engines of undead destruction found at night roaming plains where battles have been fought, or loose in underground areas large enough to accommodate their bulk. During the day, they dig themselves great burrows to escape the sun."

They're all over the place.



Also (if e ignore their lack of an Intelligence stat) Libris Mortis also points out that they go after sources of Positive Energy which means that Skeletons and Zombies should be wrecking plants and trying to kill small animals unless they find larger targets, and we don't see that. So, while Libris Mortis says this, very rarely is any of it ever shown to be the case in later books.

Putting aside that plants aren't creatures (well, other than the creature type) in D&D, I'm not sure why you think they're not killing smaller animals. Animals are just smart enough to get the hell out of dodge, standard fantasy trope #463.

Blackhawk748
2019-08-07, 06:59 PM
And yet I can find you numerous examples of mindless undead that actively seek out living victims to feed on.

All of these are mechanically Int -, on top of their entries explicitly saying they're mindless (just to drive the point home):


Plague Spewer: "These mindless undead creatures lumber about, seeking to kill any living creature except for rats and vermin. If one finds its way into civilization it, and the rat swarms it brings, can deplete the population of a town."

Blood Amniote: "The half-congealed blood of past victims gives a blood amniote its form, and its ties to the Negative Energy Plane give the creature animation. Mindless, it seeks only to pierce the fleshy carapace of all living creatures it comes upon so it can draw out the blood beneath."

Hulking Corpse: "...These creatures are often found wandering the night, seeking only to crush, destroy, and rend."

Bloodrot: "Bloodrots have no goal save to consume the fluids of the living."

Raiment: "A raiment is the clothing of a victim of some atrocious crime, animated by the spirit of the vengeful victim, mindlessly intent on using its only remaining tool to cause as much pain and suffering as its long-missing flesh felt in death."

Charnel Hound: "Charnel hounds, once created, are self-sufficient engines of undead destruction found at night roaming plains where battles have been fought, or loose in underground areas large enough to accommodate their bulk. During the day, they dig themselves great burrows to escape the sun."

They're all over the place.


Yes, none of them should be able to do that by the rules. Every time they are making a decision on their own it is in violation of RAW. Honestly, all of the "mindless" undead should be Int 1 and all of these issues would be removed because then they could actually have an Alignment and choose to act of their own accord.

As it stands, by RAW, mindless undead should be standing, or laying frankly, motionless doing nothing and they should all be Neutral as they lack an Intelligence score. Same with Vermin honestly.

redwizard007
2019-08-07, 07:45 PM
Yes, none of them should be able to do that by the rules. Every time they are making a decision on their own it is in violation of RAW. Honestly, all of the "mindless" undead should be Int 1 and all of these issues would be removed because then they could actually have an Alignment and choose to act of their own accord.

As it stands, by RAW, mindless undead should be standing, or laying frankly, motionless doing nothing and they should all be Neutral as they lack an Intelligence score. Same with Vermin honestly.

Why are you confusing the lack of an intelligence score with an intelligence score of 0. Undead also have no constitution score. Does that mean they have no HP?

Tvtyrant
2019-08-07, 07:53 PM
Mindless undead mill about and attack people if uncontrolled, it is both trope positive and in their descriptions. Another mindless group that does that are Vermin, who also lack an int score but are not automatons.

Inchhighguy
2019-08-07, 07:55 PM
Taking something from a corpse is not inherently good or evil.

And, of course, the problem with this type of descusion is many people will always just say "Oh well THAT is not good or evil as I say so". And it really just ends the descusion: ok, you say whatever. The end.




If you want to claim taking things from corpses is inherently Evil, you must justify that claim.

Alignment does not work like that. But it's worse if you really, really are asking me to look through 30 years of D&D books and cherry pick one line.



So... they don't have the ability to lay on hands? To remove disease? To bolster people against magical fear?

But do they have a majory way to handel/end conflicts? Something say equal to Smite?



They have shield other on their pretty limited spell list, so, yes, they can use it. Why does it have to be as "a supernatural ability?" Does this mean spells don't count as class features, to you?

My point is that if a class is made to do ''something" it will have access to do "that" all the time. Not just a ''once a game" sort of thing.



May as well say that fighters should kill everybody who poses any sort of obstacle to their goals, because all fighters get are combat class features.

Again, this is true. Fighters fight, and the only major abilities they get are to fight. To say a fighter character class makes say a good diplomat is silly.


My general feeling is that looting the dead is a Not Lawful (not Chaotic, but Not Lawful) act, having less to do with morality and more to do with propriety.

It's a bit odd that everyone seems to be saying ''looting the dead" is a good or even great thing.

Once you can step back from the Greedy Gamer Monster personality type that many like to play in the game....do people really think this?

If looting the dead, and I'd guess grave robbing too right, is all ok....then why would ANY looting and stealing be wrong then? Everyone should just take everything they want on a whim.

JNAProductions
2019-08-07, 08:04 PM
My point is that if a class is made to do ''something" it will have access to do "that" all the time. Not just a ''once a game" sort of thing.

By that logic, Wizards aren't spellcasting classes until 4E/Pathfinder, since they (especially at low levels) aren't using magic all the time.

Are you saying a 3.5 Wizard isn't a spellcasting class unless they take a Reserve Feat?

Psyren
2019-08-07, 08:57 PM
Yes, none of them should be able to do that by the rules. Every time they are making a decision on their own it is in violation of RAW.

No, you're still wrong. It's not just undead - most vermin, oozes, and plants are mindless too, but they too are driven by basic programming like hunger. The difference is that undead have a metaphysical rather than a biological imperative for that hunger. Making more of them is dangerous at best.

In addition, RAW is that specific trumps general. Even if there is a general rule that mindless creatures must be commanded (source?), rules for mindless undead are more specific than that, and rules entries for specific mindless undead are even more specific. So it's not a violation either.

You are of course, free to houserule it however you wish.

Fable Wright
2019-08-07, 09:22 PM
It is. Animation is evil because it's powered by using the person's soul. Why do you think spells like Raise Dead don't work on people that have been turned into undead creatures?

In 3.5 any kind of [Death] magic also prevented Raise Dead, but not Resurrection. Undead are the same phenomenon.


And, of course, the problem with this type of descusion is many people will always just say "Oh well THAT is not good or evil as I say so". And it really just ends the descusion: ok, you say whatever. The end.

Hello kettle.


It's a bit odd that everyone seems to be saying ''looting the dead" is a good or even great thing.

Once you can step back from the Greedy Gamer Monster personality type that many like to play in the game....do people really think this?

If looting the dead, and I'd guess grave robbing too right, is all ok....then why would ANY looting and stealing be wrong then? Everyone should just take everything they want on a whim.

Because, and let me be clear here.

That guy you killed does not need his sword. From an economic perspective, leaving that sword to rust is just taking valuable goods out of the economy, for no reason. Is it a GOOD act? Probably not. Is it an EVIL act? No. It's very much a Lawful or Chaotic act. Good != Law.

Also, your argument is similar to "if police confiscating illegal drugs is okay... then why would ANY police confiscations be wrong then? The police should just take everything they want on a whim." You're making several logical leaps there that don't necessarily imply each other.

Inchhighguy
2019-08-07, 10:26 PM
By that logic, Wizards aren't spellcasting classes until 4E/Pathfinder, since they (especially at low levels) aren't using magic all the time.


Well, this might be something unique to your game? Why don't the wizards in your games use magic all the time?




That guy you killed does not need his sword. From an economic perspective, leaving that sword to rust is just taking valuable goods out of the economy, for no reason. Is it a GOOD act? Probably not. Is it an EVIL act? No. It's very much a Lawful or Chaotic act. Good != Law.

Well, any way you look at it: Looting is stealing. And stealing, that is taking something that does not belong to you, is an basic evil act.

I'm in no way saying it's always auto evil to loot a dead body.....as I said above PLENTY of good cultures would have no problem with it. Even more so a good culture WITHOUT any ''21st century view of money, ownership or value". And, granted that is a hard concept for people to grasp: an ''alien'' culture NOTHING like the 21st century Western World.




Also, your argument is similar to "if police confiscating illegal drugs is okay... then why would ANY police confiscations be wrong then? The police should just take everything they want on a whim." You're making several logical leaps there that don't necessarily imply each other.

Think the KEY world here is ''illegal".

So it's: "if police confiscating illegal drugs is okay", then so to ""police confiscating illegal anything is okay".


But to say "I loot dead bodies because I'm greedy and want stuff" sure is evil.....

JNAProductions
2019-08-07, 10:30 PM
Well, this might be something unique to your game? Why don't the wizards in your games use magic all the time?

Well, in my games, they do. Because I run 5E. And 5E has unlimited-use cantrips.

But in 3.5, without a Reserve Feat, a 1st level Wizard has, let me check the SRD...

Three Cantrips and one 1st level. If they manage a 20 in Intelligence (such as with Venerable age, being a Grey Elf, or something similar) they get two extra 1st level slots.

I dunno about you, but if I ran a game where six spells counted as all day, I'd consider myself to be doing a bad job.

Missing
2019-08-07, 10:59 PM
SNIP

But to say "I loot dead bodies because I'm greedy and want stuff" sure is evil.....

So if you find a skeleton in a dungeon with a magical doodad on it then taking the magical doodad is evil? If not at what point is it OK to take from/loot a corpse?

redwizard007
2019-08-07, 11:27 PM
Killing someone to take their stuff is evil.

Taking the stuff from someone who is dead is not necessarily evil. It may break cultural norms (thus being chaotic, but is not inherently evil in and of its self.) Certain cultural beliefs may change that.

NNescio
2019-08-08, 01:03 AM
The reason that the spells like Raise Dead don't work on animated undead isn't because the soul is in there, it is because the body is currently occupied by a bunch of Negative Energy, and so the soul can't get in there, as it is made of positive energy.

Then why does True Rez not work despite creating a brand new body? And Rez as well, when targeted on a separated-ad-or-post-mortem body part (or Disintegrate dust) that wasn't undeadified?

(Assuming 3.5e rules, which seems implicit by the rest of the comments here. 5e works differently.)


In 3.5 any kind of [Death] magic also prevented Raise Dead, but not Resurrection. Undead are the same phenomenon.

They are different. In 3.5e being turned into an undead blocks the whole Raise Dead/Resurrection/True Resurrection line, even if Rez is targeted on an non-'undeadified' body part or if True Rez is used to (attempt to) create a new body. The 'undeadified' creature has to be destroyed first.

Berenger
2019-08-08, 02:00 AM
Its weird how vociferously people defend the idea that desecrating the dead is the basest form of villainy when we are discussing necromancy, but have no problem with merely looting the dead.

The morality of looting the dead and even the desecration of corpses is context-sensitive.

Standing on the deathbed of your father and gleefully looting his wedding ring and also punching out his golden teeth is obviously disgusting and probably evil as well as chaotic, even if you were the rightful heir to those things.

Medieval soldiers looting everything valuable from the fallen on a battlefield are probably solid neutral because this is expected behaviour, their opponents would certainly have done the same if given the chance, it's an economical necessity for them and restitution to the families of the deceased would be impractical even if desired. Contrast soldiers of 21st century industrial nations for which these are not reasonable assumptions, which would make the same behaviour chaotic and maybe evil. Desecration of the corpses to take trophies or as a terror tactic would be chaotic evil in both cases. Neglecting to bury the dead is chaotic and slightly evil when you have the opportunity do do so but neutral if pressing needs prevent you from doing so.

Removing weapons, ammunition, explosives, armor, magic items, gold etc. from a fallen comrade you have to leave behind in a hostile or contested environment is just plain good sense. It doesn't enter the realm of good vs. evil and lawful vs. chaotic at all if there is opposition that could loot them after your departure and use the equipment against the survivors of your group. Desecrating a corpse by tying it up, decapitation, cremation etc. is also acceptable if there is reason to assume that the corpse may rise or be risen as an undead.

Stealing a corpse from a graveyard to eat it would be chaotic and probably evil in most circumstances. Eating the corpse of a fellow sailor while starving in a life boat would still be disgusting, but shifts to true neutral, unless you made him a corpse for this purpose.

Hacking up a corpse with a hatchet and feeding it to the vultures is the ultimate insult to the soul of the dead, its chaotic, evil and will likely produce a vengeful undead. Unless you and / or the deceased is from a culture that practices sky burials, in this case it's the proper, most holy, lawful good thing to do and frees the happy soul from the mortal flesh.

NNescio
2019-08-08, 02:14 AM
Well, in my games, they do. Because I run 5E. And 5E has unlimited-use cantrips.

But in 3.5, without a Reserve Feat, a 1st level Wizard has, let me check the SRD...

Three Cantrips and one 1st level. If they manage a 20 in Intelligence (such as with Venerable age, being a Grey Elf, or something similar) they get two extra 1st level slots.

I dunno about you, but if I ran a game where six spells counted as all day, I'd consider myself to be doing a bad job.

Well, to play devil's advocate, Focused Specialist can get two extra spell slots (lose one normal, get three school-specific). Trading the familiar for Immediate Magic also gives her a school-specific supernatural ability that is usable up to Int Mod per day. So a Focused Conjurer with Abrupt Jaunt (and possibly the Cloudy Conjuration feat on top) can use magic pretty liberally even at first level.

But yeah, even then, you'll be resorting to the crossbow for most of your turns at 1st level, because there is no reason not to once you have CC'd your enemies.

(This is likely true even for 1st-level Wizards in 5e [well, for for min-maxers], since the light crossbow deals more average damage than Firebolt, assuming a Int-16/Dex-14 Wizard and average AC [~14] for the target.)

Kami2awa
2019-08-08, 02:17 AM
If a player is being a jerk, then there are in-game ways to push them in the right direction. In D&D, the gods have numerous servants who can turn up to point out that the PCs behaviour is wrong. Debates of morality are rather difficult when a 20-foot angel is telling you that you screwed up.

However, rather than punish (at least to begin with), I would give the LG player a means to do good other than violence. There's not too many opportunities to do good in a game that is just about fighting monsters, so present some tests of faith/goodness - innocents to protect (who don't turn out to be disguised monsters for once), stolen goods to return, or evil that needs bringing to justice (such as a corrupt official who needs to go down, but through due process and law rather than vigilante justice). What would this character do, for example, if they stumbled upon a Salem-style witch trial?

Alternatively, you could have them gain legal powers, but not make them judge, jury and executioner. Give them a higher authority who has actual, tangible power over them, and disapproves of summary execution without trial. An example would be to have them enter an order of LG types who enforce the law - but with an ounce of common sense and mercy, or the law enforcer themselves will be punished. Provide an incentive to join - perhaps new in-game abilities or equipment.

NNescio
2019-08-08, 02:33 AM
(...) What would this character do, for example, if they stumbled upon a Salem-style witch trial?. (...)

Roleplay Sir Bedevere and turn the scene into a Monty Python reference?

(You know what they say about D&D and the Flying Circus... (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0136.html))

Satinavian
2019-08-08, 05:41 AM
And yet I can find you numerous examples of mindless undead that actively seek out living victims to feed on.
Yes. But neither skelettons nor zombies do in 3.x. They are basically automatons by other means. Which catches 90% of the stuff ever created via necromancy spells.

"Losing control of things which then go on a rampage" is not really a risk for everyday necromancy at all. You have to do some serious rule-diving to find stuff that is undead, naturally agressive, not intelligent and creatable by Raise Dead or Create Undead.

And even though i would argue that intelligent things are largely responsible themself for their actions, it is probably evil to create something that needs to feed on intelligent beings or is made with some irrational hate and bloodlust. But there are many kinds of intelligent undead that don't have these problems either.

Quertus
2019-08-08, 06:35 AM
Its weird how vociferously people defend the idea that desecrating the dead is the basest form of villainy when we are discussing necromancy, but have no problem with merely looting the dead.


Souls are a different matter, but I see little difference between disrespecting a dead body and a dead person's belongings.

Disrespecting? Now, that's a curious notion. It would seem to me a matter of *respect* to pick up Excalibur or Thor's hammer and continue the fight. It would seem to me a matter of *respect* to take someone's wedding rings and pass them on for generations to come.

In my culture, we loot and play dress-up with the dead all the time. And call it respect.

(Also, imagine a culture in which "you have your mother's eyes" is literal rather than figurative)

In D&D, loot is central to the game. If looting the dead were against being Good and Lawful, then only Chaotic Evil (or maybe Neutral) parties could possibly play the game.

And a paladin who *kills* someone for not showing proper *respect*? I can think of few beings more deserving to fall from grace.


The morality of looting the dead and even the desecration of corpses is context-sensitive.

+1 all this.

Blackhawk748
2019-08-08, 08:02 AM
Then why does True Rez not work despite creating a brand new body? And Rez as well, when targeted on a separated-ad-or-post-mortem body part (or Disintegrate dust) that wasn't undeadified?

(Assuming 3.5e rules, which seems implicit by the rest of the comments here. 5e works differently.)

Because the universe is recieving an error message as that body is currently walking around. The soul is still in the afterlife, but its registering the body as being active, so no making a duplicate.

Psyren
2019-08-08, 09:19 AM
Yes. But neither skelettons nor zombies do in 3.x. They are basically automatons by other means. Which catches 90% of the stuff ever created via necromancy spells.

"Losing control of things which then go on a rampage" is not really a risk for everyday necromancy at all. You have to do some serious rule-diving to find stuff that is undead, naturally agressive, not intelligent and creatable by Raise Dead or Create Undead.

You have to do "serious rule-diving" to find skeletons and zombies that are aggressive without someone commanding them to be? How many modules/APs have you even read?

As for "everyday necromancy" - Libris Mortis and BoVD are both clear that the act of creating undead has repercussions beyond just the thing you created and are currently controlling.



And even though i would argue that intelligent things are largely responsible themself for their actions, it is probably evil to create something that needs to feed on intelligent beings or is made with some irrational hate and bloodlust. But there are many kinds of intelligent undead that don't have these problems either.

I would say the ones that don't have an innate drive to kill the living are a small minority actually; tally up the statblocks.

Pleh
2019-08-08, 09:20 AM
I feel the talk of respecting the dead might be drifting off course a bit. It's tangential at best, but here's my two cents.

Respect for the dead is indeed context sensitive, which makes it a matter of Setting info, which is DM purview. Paladins shouldn't be ambushing party members over it. Either everyone knows it's fair game at session 0, or it's established as social taboo at session 0. If it's overlooked at session 0, onus is on the DM to inform players about the distinction before resolving the paladin's attack (allowing retcons of choices as appropriate). If the scenario doesn't change after the table is informed, allow PVP as normal and resolve combat.

Segev
2019-08-08, 10:02 AM
The fun thing is that you could construct a Lawful Neutral (questionable whether you could push it to LG) society of Honorable Warrior Guys who feel that dying in battle is critical to the best afterlife. See: Dwarves in our own beloved OotS.

Imagine, then, that there are traditions where an aging dwarf (to borrow the race) decks himself out in his finest possessions, particularly fighting gear, and engages his heirs in a battle to the death. It's a tremendous honor to be one of the heirs asked to participate in this fight. It's a highly emotional event, the last thing his children can do for him in this life, and there is tremendous emotional significance to each of the items he chooses to wear. There may even be a will of who gets what, assigning an almost scripted nature to the fight where Marthon will go after his aging father's right flank to disarm him of the family's prized Axehammer, while Tomar (Marthon's son) is to go for a tackle of his grandpappy's upper body and wrestle from grandpappy's head the helmet Sonda - Marthon's sister who died tragically in battle against the Tree Orcs - made for grandpappy back when she was a young apprentice blacksmith.

There's genuine fighting; grandpappy is not going down easy, and he's going to test every trick he ever expected his progeny to learn, but he's not fighting to kill while they ARE fighting to his death. Because dying in battle sends him to the good afterlife. But it's very ritualized, formal, and structured, and the body is laid in ceremony at the end surrounded by his worldly goods, which the clan then announces a ritualized "looting" of the body and the cairn as his heirs claim things he couldn't wear into battle. Probably with each one telling a story about one or more of the items they're being given, reminiscing about grandpappy and why this item is so special to their memories.

On the battlefield, against other dwarves, it may well be that the victor keeps the spoils; but at the same time, it is right and proper to honor the fallen foe, and maybe even to seek out any heirs to learn the history of that which they've claimed, and tell them how well their loved one fought. Against less honorable foes, you can't expect to have a properly civilized post-battle chat, so tradition allows for simply learning as much as possible from the artifacts acquired. Maybe dwarven warriors are all amateur anthropoligists and archeologists for this reason.

Whether the act of looting bodies is Lawful or not depends entirely on the society in question.

I doubt you'd even be able to claim - given the knowledge that letting grandpappy die in battle is objectively known to send him to not-Hel - that the looting tradition is steeped in evil! It is definitely neutral, framed properly, and possibly even good, depending on how you look at it.

Mark Hall
2019-08-08, 10:51 AM
So if you find a skeleton in a dungeon with a magical doodad on it then taking the magical doodad is evil? If not at what point is it OK to take from/loot a corpse?

My usual rule on the difference between archaeology and grave robbing is "living memory"... does anyone alive remember this person, themselves, as opposed to through stories (though this gets a little iffy with elves and dragons and such being around)?

Digging up Granny Apple to rob/animate her corpse is chaotic, since you're violating the mores regarding the consecrated dead (i.e. the usual "Once they're in the ground, they stay in the ground" ethic). Robbing the corpse of your opponent is ethically (L-C axis) a bit grey; not chaotic, not lawful. Animating or robbing the skeletons of the long-dead, IMO, also falls into that grey area of not-quite chaotic.

Lord Raziere
2019-08-08, 10:52 AM
Yea, Lawful isn't about whether you can do something or not.

Its about whether your following the proper procedure to do it. The first steps of which are determining the proper conditions for when you can do it and when you can not. Lawful Neutral is the alignment that goes "blow up the world? only if everyone in society agrees to it by signing these forms in triplicate acknowledging they are in their right state of mind and we work out a time and place to do hold pre-funeral of the world so as to properly acknowledge our agreed upon mutual ending. otherwise its invalid." Good and Evil are whether you should do something, Lawful and Chaotic are HOW you do them.

Beleriphon
2019-08-08, 11:51 AM
On the lawful stupid paladin issue: Look at Eberron, while a less strict about deity-cleric alignments it still has alignments as normal. Cardinal Krozen of the Silver Flame is a Lawful Evil jerk-bag who looks out for number one while also being a devout member of the faith (he borrows rather heavily from Dumas' version of Richelieu). He might also be a paladin's boss. And just stabbing one of the most senior members of an organization that happens to run a country, probably not the best course of action.

NNescio
2019-08-08, 11:59 AM
On the lawful stupid paladin issue: Look at Eberron, while a less strict about deity-cleric alignments it still has alignments as normal. Cardinal Krozen of the Silver Flame is a Lawful Evil jerk-bag who looks out for number one while also being a devout member of the faith (he borrows rather heavily from Dumas' version of Richelieu). He might also be a paladin's boss. And just stabbing one of the most senior members of an organization that happens to run a country, probably not the best course of action.

I pity the poor 3.5e Paladin who finds out about his boss's alignment by accident.
(And then have to grapple with the semantics of "knowingly associate".)

patchyman
2019-08-08, 12:15 PM
I am sure it is mostly different people; but if the OP had mentioned raising a body instead of looting it I guarantee there would be an entire chorus of posters defending the paladin's actions.

I think even if it was raising skeletons, people would have found that stabbing someone in the back without warning was not very paladiny.

redwizard007
2019-08-08, 05:31 PM
My usual rule on the difference between archaeology and grave robbing is "living memory"... does anyone alive remember this person, themselves, as opposed to through stories (though this gets a little iffy with elves and dragons and such being around)?

Digging up Granny Apple to rob/animate her corpse is chaotic, since you're violating the mores regarding the consecrated dead (i.e. the usual "Once they're in the ground, they stay in the ground" ethic). Robbing the corpse of your opponent is ethically (L-C axis) a bit grey; not chaotic, not lawful. Animating or robbing the skeletons of the long-dead, IMO, also falls into that grey area of not-quite chaotic.

Mark, how do you deal with the "animating dead is evil" part of the spell?

Pleh
2019-08-08, 06:37 PM
Mark, how do you deal with the "animating dead is evil" part of the spell?

He did seem to preface the statement as being an ethical (L vs C) only. I didn't see him comment on moral (G vs E) in that particular post.

redwizard007
2019-08-08, 06:58 PM
He did seem to preface the statement as being an ethical (L vs C) only. I didn't see him comment on moral (G vs E) in that particular post.

I interpreted that as him thinking it was neutral on the G/E axis. I may have misinterpreted that.

Mark Hall
2019-08-09, 09:00 AM
Mark, how do you deal with the "animating dead is evil" part of the spell?

Point to where it says that in 2nd edition. :smallbiggrin:

2e, in dealing with Animate Dead (3rd level priest, 5th level wizard spell) says that it is not a good act, and that only the evil will use it frequently. I am only talking about the moral and ethical complications of the spell, and assuming that the casting is morally and ethically neutral. The idea that the spell itself is evil isn't something I deal with... I don't disagree that there can be evil spells (it's magic, after all), and I specifically say that many of the spells which create greater (i.e. evil) undead are evil to cast. But the ones that create the mindless undead? I think it requires a
"Necromancy is evil" outlook to get there, and since healing spells are also clearly necromancy (before they made them conjuration, which makes no sense on several levels), necromancy cannot, itself, be evil.

redwizard007
2019-08-09, 09:24 AM
Point to where it says that in 2nd edition. :smallbiggrin:

2e, in dealing with Animate Dead (3rd level priest, 5th level wizard spell) says that it is not a good act, and that only the evil will use it frequently. I am only talking about the moral and ethical complications of the spell, and assuming that the casting is morally and ethically neutral. The idea that the spell itself is evil isn't something I deal with... I don't disagree that there can be evil spells (it's magic, after all), and I specifically say that many of the spells which create greater (i.e. evil) undead are evil to cast. But the ones that create the mindless undead? I think it requires a
"Necromancy is evil" outlook to get there, and since healing spells are also clearly necromancy (before they made them conjuration, which makes no sense on several levels), necromancy cannot, itself, be evil.

Christ, man! Who still plays 2nd edition? I mothballed those books decades ago.

Seriously though, you need to be doing some pretty impressive mental gymnastics to take the last line of the spell description as indicating it is neutral. If it's a neutral spell then why would "only evil wizards use it frequently?" Its because it's an evil act. Something that can be forgiven, or justified certainly, but still an evil act. It may be a tool to stop a greater evil. It may even be a tool used for good, but it is still an evil act to perform. That probably isn't an issue at most tables, but if a 2e paladin is hanging around then I can see some interesting roleplaying coming up.

Beleriphon
2019-08-09, 09:32 AM
I pity the poor 3.5e Paladin who finds out about his boss's alignment by accident.
(And then have to grapple with the semantics of "knowingly associate".)

As a powerful cleric classed character Krozen has a Lawful Good aura, despite actually being Lawful Evil.

Calthropstu
2019-08-09, 09:41 AM
I have seen similar. A paladin in my game turned a blind eye to torture, healing the guy afterward and then helped dispose of the body after the evil monk murdered the poor guy.
Then he was surprised when he tried to smite evil and nothing happened.

Talakeal
2019-08-09, 09:46 AM
Mark, how do you deal with the "animating dead is evil" part of the spell?

Afaik no core book in any edition has ever declared casting animate dead to be an evil act.

NNescio
2019-08-09, 09:48 AM
As a powerful cleric classed character Krozen has a Lawful Good aura, despite actually being Lawful Evil.

Wouldn't he ping on both though, like a succubus Paladin? Granted for Krozen the Good aura will be far stronger than the Evil one, but it wouldn't register on Detect Evil.

(Knowing Krozen though, he probably has some alignment-concealing thingies up regardless.)

Max_Killjoy
2019-08-09, 09:50 AM
As a powerful cleric classed character Krozen has a Lawful Good aura, despite actually being Lawful Evil.

Is this from a spell, or from some "feature" I've missed noticing?

(Never mind the abject silliness of a spell to detect the moral "status" of a being... or the even sillier spell to be able to fool that spell...)

NNescio
2019-08-09, 09:56 AM
Is this from a spell, or from some "feature" I've missed noticing?

(Never mind the abject silliness of a spell to detect the moral "status" of a being... or the even sillier spell to be able to fool that spell...)

Clerics have inherent 'alignment' auras if their deity is Lawful, Chaotic, Good or Evil (or if they pick those respective domains). Clerics of a Lawful Good deity have a Lawful aura and a Good aura, plus whatever auras they get from types/subtypes and their actual alignment. (And knowing 3.5e there are probably more sources of alignment auras out there, even if not counting magic items.)

It's an (Ex) class feature. Paladins also have it.

Edit: To clarify, the Pally equivalent is only limited to a Good aura. So the Pally's Good aura pings as strong as a same-level Cleric, but the Lawful part only pings as strong as a normal Lawful creature with the same HD (because Pallys have to be Lawful Good).

Psyren
2019-08-09, 09:57 AM
Wouldn't he ping on both though, like a succubus Paladin? Granted for Krozen the Good aura will be far stronger than the Evil one, but it wouldn't register on Detect Evil.

(Knowing Krozen though, he probably has some alignment-concealing thingies up regardless.)


Is this from a spell, or from some "feature" I've missed noticing?

The Eberron setting dilutes cleric alignment rules to allow for more intrigue. The "one-step rule" is abolished, you can cast aligned spells regardless of your own alignment or that of your faith, and you can't "fall" for having an alignment that is out of step (even radically) with that of your faith, though you can be punished by the church itself.

Max_Killjoy
2019-08-09, 09:58 AM
Clerics have inherent auras if their deity is Lawful, Chaotic, Good or Evil (or if they pick those respective domains). Lawful Good Clerics have a Lawful aura and a Good aura, plus whatever auras they get from subtypes and their actual alignment.

It's an (Ex) class feature. Paladins also have it.

So he gets to be as evil as he wants, and so long as he doesn't get "booted" by his deity, he "pings" as "Good"?



The Eberron setting dilutes cleric alignment rules to allow for more intrigue. The "one-step rule" is abolished, you can cast aligned spells regardless of your own alignment or that of your faith, and you can't "fall" for having an alignment that is out of step (even radically) with that of your faith, though you can be punished by the church itself.

Ah...

And thus another thread about alignment... makes me roll my eyes at the entire concept.

HouseRules
2019-08-09, 10:01 AM
A player's character sheet only list the alignment as the player perceive.
The alignment of the character is how the dungeon master perceive, which may be different.

NNescio
2019-08-09, 10:02 AM
The Eberron setting dilutes cleric alignment rules to allow for more intrigue. The "one-step rule" is abolished, you can cast aligned spells regardless of your own alignment or that of your faith, and you can't "fall" for having an alignment that is out of step (even radically) with that of your faith, though you can be punished by the church itself.

Well, yeah, but as far as I know Eberron only waives the alignment requirement for Clerics. The usual rules for auras should still count, right? The Cardinal has an Evil alignment and has HD 12, so he would have a "moderate" Evil aura that shows up on Detect Evil.


So he gets to be as evil as he wants, and so long as he doesn't get "booted" by his deity, he "pings" as "Good"?

Well, yes (if Detect Good is cast), but he would ping as "Evil" too (for Detect Evil), like a succubus Paladin (who also pings as "Chaotic" and "Lawful" on Detect Chaos and Detect Law).

Koo Rehtorb
2019-08-09, 10:04 AM
Afaik no core book in any edition has ever declared casting animate dead to be an evil act.

You are wrong. Which may be where the confusion is coming from. http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/animateDead.htm

Necromancy [Evil]

NNescio
2019-08-09, 10:07 AM
You are wrong. Which may be where the confusion is coming from. http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/animateDead.htm

Necromancy [Evil]

Well, AFAIK core books don't explicitly say that casting Evil-subtype spells are evil acts. (Granted, most do sort of imply that way). Splatbooks go full ham on it though.

Mark Hall
2019-08-09, 10:09 AM
Christ, man! Who still plays 2nd edition? I mothballed those books decades ago.

Play? No. But I still fool around with it (have two on-going projects dealing with it right now), and I find it useful to remind folks that the assumptions of WD&D do not necessarily apply to ALL D&D, or its derivatives.



Seriously though, you need to be doing some pretty impressive mental gymnastics to take the last line of the spell description as indicating it is neutral. If it's a neutral spell then why would "only evil wizards use it frequently?" Its because it's an evil act. Something that can be forgiven, or justified certainly, but still an evil act. It may be a tool to stop a greater evil. It may even be a tool used for good, but it is still an evil act to perform. That probably isn't an issue at most tables, but if a 2e paladin is hanging around then I can see some interesting roleplaying coming up.

If it was evil, it would have said it was evil. The word is there for a reason. Instead, it said it was "not good", which is different from evil.

As for why only evil wizards use it frequently? Because it is, as others have said, problematic. Animating the dead is not-necessarily-evil, but it's heavily associated with people who ARE evil, not the least because it's an entry-level secret to making the really bad undead. A lot of traditional necromancy IS evil (i.e. "I have completely and irrevocably destroyed your life force", "I have trapped your soul in a rock so I can use your body", "I have made myself into an undying lich by killing everything that was dear to me"), and so someone who plays around with the beginning stuff is suspect.

It's not good, and it's heavily associated with evil, without being evil itself. It's like a 1e assassin.

Max_Killjoy
2019-08-09, 10:11 AM
Well, yeah, but as far as I know Eberron only waives the alignment requirement for Clerics. The usual rules for auras should still count, right? The Cardinal has an Evil alignment and has HD 12, so he would have a "moderate" Evil aura that shows up on Detect Evil.


Well, yes (if Detect Good is cast), but he would ping as "Evil" too (for Detect Evil), like a succubus Paladin (who also pings as "Chaotic" and "Lawful" on Detect Chaos and Detect Law).


You'd think that the people there would eventually come to the conclusion that Good and Evil aren't necessarily the same as good and evil, if that sort of thing with multiple "auras" kept coming up.

Psyren
2019-08-09, 10:13 AM
So he gets to be as evil as he wants, and so long as he doesn't get "booted" by his deity, he "pings" as "Good"?

I'm not sure whether he will ping only as good or whether he'll ping as both - I don't play much Eberron, so I'll defer to someone who does.

Talakeal
2019-08-09, 10:50 AM
You are wrong. Which may be where the confusion is coming from. http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/animateDead.htm

Necromancy [Evil]

So does that mean casting a fireball also sets the caster on fire or casting light causes the caster to glow?

Almost every spell in 3E has a descriptor, nowhere in the core rules does it ever state that the descriptor has an effect on the caster's alignment or anything else.

Koo Rehtorb
2019-08-09, 10:52 AM
So does that mean casting a fireball also sets the caster on fire or casting light causes the caster to glow?

Almost every spell in 3E has a descriptor, nowhere in the core rules does it ever state that the descriptor has an effect on the caster's alignment or anything else.

So... the confusion is coming from doublethink then. Got it.

Talakeal
2019-08-09, 12:01 PM
So... the confusion is coming from doublethink then. Got it.

Seriously?

The rules explicitly state that spell descriptors have no innate effects by themselves, but only determine how they interact with other things, and the alignments rules make absolutely no mention of casting spells with alignment tags.

The alignment rules say absolutely nothing about spell descriptors.

Indeed, the only place it mentions them in the entire PHB, iirc, is saying that clerics cannot cast a spell with a descriptor directly opposed to their god's alignment.


How is it in any way "double think" to point out that you are making baseless claims with no textual support?

Koo Rehtorb
2019-08-09, 12:24 PM
Seriously?

If you're really going to continue to argue that spells that are literally tagged as evil aren't actually evil because the book doesn't consider it necessary to spell it out then I don't see much point in continuing to belabour the point. The D&D core rules have always been full of implied setting, that people like to ignore for some reason.

Max_Killjoy
2019-08-09, 12:25 PM
I think you both have a reasonable argument, and that this is just another instance of the writing being a bit coy in the attempt to be all things to all fantasy gaming.

Segev
2019-08-09, 12:47 PM
I am away from my books and don't know where to look in the SRD right now, but I'm pretty sure that the alignment descriptors are explicitly called out as making casting spells with them an act of the appropriate alignment, by the RAW. I, personally, disagree with some of the designations based on that, and even have trouble defining excuses for some of them that tie in to the setting-fluff, but that is what I recall the RAW being.

Talakeal
2019-08-09, 12:49 PM
If you're really going to continue to argue that spells that are literally tagged as evil aren't actually evil because the book doesn't consider it necessary to spell it out then I don't see much point in continuing to belabour the point. The D&D core rules have always been full of implied setting, that people like to ignore for some reason.

Tags are there to tell you how things interact with other things, not to describe what they are.

For example, a black dragon has the tag [water] in its monster manual entry. A black dragon is not literally made of water, you can't use it to put out a fire, or drink it to stay refreshed while crossing the desert, or use it power a water-wheel, or go swimming in it to cool off on a hot day, or brew tea by boiling leaves in it, or any of the other things that would happen if tagging something as water meant it was literally water.

And even if the tag did denote that something was literally something else, there is no rule in the alignment section that using something of one alignment has any impact on your alignment; wielding an holy sword oesn't turn me good, hiring a group of LN mercenaries doesn't turn me lawful, etc...

Segev
2019-08-09, 12:55 PM
Subtypes are there, yes, to describe how things interact with other things. They also sometimes have rules associated with them. [Incorporeal] is a subtype with a lot of rules associated with it.

jjordan
2019-08-09, 12:55 PM
Why is everyone looking to the rulebook? The rulebook is a set of guidelines that you're explicitly told to modify as needed. Decide if necromancy is evil in your setting and go with it. Is killing everyone who pings evil a player's thing? Throw someone possessed by evil at them. Throw someone who was once possessed by evil and still bears the traces of that vile presence, the tragic scars of a traumatic event, at them. Make a decision for your setting and move forward.

NNescio
2019-08-09, 01:00 PM
I am away from my books and don't know where to look in the SRD right now, but I'm pretty sure that the alignment descriptors are explicitly called out as making casting spells with them an act of the appropriate alignment, by the RAW. I, personally, disagree with some of the designations based on that, and even have trouble defining excuses for some of them that tie in to the setting-fluff, but that is what I recall the RAW being.

I remember seeing something to that in effect in a few splatbooks like Eberron Campaign Setting, Book of Vile Darkness and Complete Scoundrel (for Malconvoker, under the Unrestricted Conjuration class feature). Can't recall seeing anything explicit in Core or SRD though.

Psyren
2019-08-09, 01:04 PM
It's a moot point anyway - BoVD specifies they're evil in D&D (both casting [Evil] spells and animating undead, so Animate Dead is actually a twofer).

Mark Hall
2019-08-09, 01:34 PM
It's a moot point anyway - BoVD specifies they're evil in D&D (both casting [Evil] spells and animating undead, so Animate Dead is actually a twofer).

Though, as I've pointed out, that only applies if you believe the BoVD; I'm not sure I've even seen a copy, and I don't use the edition it comes from in any substantive way.

Talakeal
2019-08-09, 01:40 PM
It's a moot point anyway - BoVD specifies they're evil in D&D (both casting [Evil] spells and animating undead, so Animate Dead is actually a twofer).

Yeah, they sure do, which is why I specified core.

IMO BoED and BoVD are some of the worst books ever written and they make an absolute mess of the game, both crunch and fluff wise, and I ignore pretty much every thing they have to say in my games.

Lord Torath
2019-08-09, 01:48 PM
Who still plays 2nd edition? I mothballed those books decades ago.Me! I do! I still play (house-ruled) 2E! There's a whole group for 2E on Roll20. And Spelljammer and Dark Sun are best in 2E! You know, in my own personal opinion. Which by definition is not your opinion. But it's an opinion, and that's a fact!


Seriously though, you need to be doing some pretty impressive mental gymnastics to take the last line of the spell description as indicating it is neutral. If it's a neutral spell then why would "only evil wizards use it frequently?" Its because it's an evil act. Something that can be forgiven, or justified certainly, but still an evil act. It may be a tool to stop a greater evil. It may even be a tool used for good, but it is still an evil act to perform. That probably isn't an issue at most tables, but if a 2e paladin is hanging around then I can see some interesting roleplaying coming up.In B/X, BECMI, 1E, and 2E, it is not an evil act. Doesn't mean it isn't usually done by evil people, or used for evil purposes, but the act of casting Animate Dead itself is not evil.


Why is everyone looking to the rulebook? The rulebook is a set of guidelines that you're explicitly told to modify as needed. Decide if necromancy is evil in your setting and go with it. Is killing everyone who pings evil a player's thing? Throw someone possessed by evil at them. Throw someone who was once possessed by evil and still bears the traces of that vile presence, the tragic scars of a traumatic event, at them. Make a decision for your setting and move forward.Exactly! Which is What Mark Hall does for his games.

Heck, another thing I really like from 2E is that a Paladin can "Detect Evil Intent", not "Evil". So you can tell if that generally selfless and sweet innkeeper is nursing thoughts about murdering her obnoxious supplier who mixed gravel in with the flour he sold her (thoughts which she will repent for the next time she's in church), but not the serial mass-murderer who is currently contemplating whether to order the spiced potatoes or the stewed plums.

GreatWyrmGold
2019-08-09, 03:01 PM
The world of D&D is a violent, brutal, bloody world. It is NOT Earth in the 21st century. As D&D is a violent, brutal, bloody world...the punishment is death.
I agree that the pseudo-medieval times D&D operates under tends to favor a more Hobbsian outlook where life is "cruel, brutish and short".
The twist here is that...well....paladins are violent, aggressive warriors that primarily KILL.
Good characters do not accept this reality. It is not Good to accept the cruelty in the world and do nothing, and it certainly isn't Good to indulge in it. At best, you're dark Neutral if you do that.
Good tries to make the world a better place. That's the basic definition, no matter what specifics you tack on. It doesn't mean trying to be average for your setting, it means trying to be better than average or even to set a new average by inspiring others to follow in your footsteps or free those who already wished they could.

Also, D&D is not a grimdark setting by default. I'd peg the default tone (as much as one exists) as being closer to Konosuba or RWBY than Re: Zero or Attack On Titan; there are nasty monsters and nasty people, but there are also good people who stop those things from actually making the world a terrible place to live.



Essentially, it's "morality as a team", rather than an actual description of behavior. If your "good" doesn't actually act "good", only oppose "evil", then you're playing Team Morality, not morality-as-written.
In isolation, this is not a terrible thing. There's lots of good storytelling potential in a character who thinks of themselves as being in the right by definition, despite their atrocities.
Problems come in when the intent is not so clear, e.g. when some authors (ie, players) think alignment is supposed to describe how just one is rather than how many justifications they find, or when a player is the one who thinks they're playing True LG instead of Designated Hero.
The solution to these problems is simple: Talk it out.



Alignment is just the colour of your team's shirts. They all employ the same actions with the same results. Alignment is nothing but a way to screw over the players.
Alignment is the worst thing to happen to role-playing in the history of RPGs.
No. Alignment, used well, is a useful way to encourage new roleplayers to think about their characters as being different people than the players. It's far from the most elegant mechanic for doing so, but it's the one D&D's been using for forty-odd years, so it's the only one we're sure 6e is going to stick with.



Having moral compunctions can interfere with cooperation & teamwork. This is why the best team members are evil - they have no moral compunctions to get in the way of working together.
On the other hand, they have no moral compunctions against betraying their comrades.
Ideally, the team all has the same (or at least similar) moral compunctions. If you've never been able to get along with a team where someone had a scrap of scruples, well, I think I've identified where the problem lies.



You're thinking in terms of conventional biology. Please let me raise a different view point by asking: how much care viruses take with their 'offspring'?
I personally would have gone with any of the countless species of animals which don't care for their young, ranging from insects to lizards to the cuckoo bird.
But regardless, sapient species are different. If you don't take care of your young, your culture dies. If we don't accept that e.g. orcs are hardwired to follow orcish norms of conquest and enslavement and puppy-kicking, any culture that doesn't nurture its children will go extinct even if its genes go on to form new cultures which do.
Unless you argue that goblins are biologically incapable of taking care of their young, some will (if only because of strange circumstances or aneurotypicality), and that will allow a culture of goblins that don't abandon children to develop and share their culture with their children. Basic Darwinian selection takes over from there, for a wide variety of reasons, not the least of which being that you need at least a basic cultural heritage to get any benefit from sapience. There's no point in being able to learn from your ancestors if you never meet them.



Do you need hard-coded abilities to talk to people? See, roleplayers are fully capable of talking to their surrendered enemies and trying to use compassion and mercy on them even WITHOUT mechanics that explicitly say "Roll against DC 20 to convert evil to good".
This is one of those places where I think Inchhighguy's "D&D is a crapsack world so cruelty is okay if I'm doing it for a good cause" viewpoint has a grain of merity, but only because of broader systemic issues with D&D.
There are supposed to be three pillars of D&D, but only one of them gets its own chapters in the PHB and DMG. If a DM wants to make combat fun, they barely have to do anything not spelled out in the core rulebooks. If a DM wants to make roleplaying fun (let alone something which incorporates character strengths, weaknesses, and synergies the way combat does), they have to start from scratch.
D&D's heart and lifeblood remains largely untouched from its origin. It's a tactical wargame that people have desperately tried to bolt roleplaying and exploration elements onto, with varying degrees of success. That is the source of so, so many problems with alignment in specific and D&D in general. Violence isn't the only option...but it's the only option the rulebooks give more than a passing glance to.
Example: You're given a group of orcs that ambush a trade caravan. You are given an obvious opportunity to solve the problem violently, and the rules spell out exactly how much and how well you need to attack them to make them stop attacking (or living). But few adventure structures give you a good opportunity to negotiate with your enemies, nor any clue what it should take to make them stop attacking if you use your words.
Combat lets you draw on the work decades of game designers have put into iterating D&D's core mechanics to craft an experience that's engaging and internally-consistent. Roleplaying...you're on your own, and the experience generally involves either one player talking until the DM decides if they win or lose or one player rolling a die to see if they win or lose. Whoo.



My basic feeling is that the party member should have stopped the game, asked whether the group was going to treat looting as chaotic, evil or neutral and then once there was a consensus had their person act accordingly. The obligation is always on the player to act harmoniously with the group, here their alignment was disruptive jerk.
I'm speaking from experience when I say that stopping the game for a discussion about game tone is not exactly an easy thing to do.



Why are you confusing the lack of an intelligence score with an intelligence score of 0. Undead also have no constitution score. Does that mean they have no HP?
No, it means their HP are determined differently than they are for creatures with Constitution scores. Mindless creatures, being mindless, have certain inbuilt limitations in what they can think, feel, and want (which puts them somewhere around insects in the "active malevolence" category).



No, you're still wrong. It's not just undead - most vermin, oozes, and plants are mindless too, but they too are driven by basic programming like hunger. The difference is that undead have a metaphysical rather than a biological imperative for that hunger.
Why does that make a difference? Why should a "metaphysical" hunger be more dangerous than a "natural" hunger? Why is raising undead who might attack people if you lose control more dangerous than binding giant vermin who might attack people if you lose control, and why is either more dangerous than raising pit bulls who might attack people if you lose control?



Mark, how do you deal with the "animating dead is evil" part of the spell?
I'm not Mark, but I deal with that sort of thing by asking "But why? Is it just divine fiat, or is there actual harm being caused by casting this spell that exceeds that caused by non-"Evil" spells?" I don't like people asserting "Such-and-such is evil"; if I was cool with that, I probably wouldn't be in this thread.
So, um, don't be surprised when people who get grumpy at other people who assert moral stances without sufficient backing ignore places where the rules do exactly that.



Seriously though, you need to be doing some pretty impressive mental gymnastics to take the last line of the spell description as indicating it is neutral. If it's a neutral spell then why would "only evil wizards use it frequently?"
Only evil wizards use fireball frequently; it causes pain, death, and collateral damage. That doesn't mean that fireball is an inherently evil spell.



You'd think that the people there would eventually come to the conclusion that Good and Evil aren't necessarily the same as good and evil, if that sort of thing with multiple "auras" kept coming up.
You'd be surprised how willing people are to ignore all evidence that opposes their preferred viewpoint. Thank goodness this is an alignment thread, or I might have to point to politics to justify that statement.



Subtypes are there, yes, to describe how things interact with other things. They also sometimes have rules associated with them. [Incorporeal] is a subtype with a lot of rules associated with it.
I'm not familiar with the spell descriptor. Was it introduced in some supplement?
(They were discussing spells, not creatures.)



IMO BoED and BoVD are some of the worst books ever written and they make an absolute mess of the game, both crunch and fluff wise, and I ignore pretty much every thing they have to say in my games.
IMO, they have some cool ideas and are worth keeping around so you can try to implement them better.
Also IMO, if you look outside the specific category of D&D books you'll realize they don't even register on a list of worst books ever written. Hell, they don't register on a list of the worst [I]TRPG books ever written. FATAL should be a pretty well-known example, I think I can get away with not googling that one infamous race war RPG.

Psyren
2019-08-09, 03:05 PM
Though, as I've pointed out, that only applies if you believe the BoVD; I'm not sure I've even seen a copy, and I don't use the edition it comes from in any substantive way.

Given that other 3.5 books explicitly reference it (such as BoED, Champions of Valor/Ruin, Fiend Folio and of course the granddaddy of undeath, The Book of Bad Latin Libris Mortis), the intent seems to be that it is relevant for 3.5 games.

(Also, Fiendish Codex 2 is 3.5, and includes casting [Evil] spells on its list of Corrupt acts.)


Yeah, they sure do, which is why I specified core.

IMO BoED and BoVD are some of the worst books ever written and they make an absolute mess of the game, both crunch and fluff wise, and I ignore pretty much every thing they have to say in my games.

And that's totally fine, there's nothing at all wrong with houseruling. I ignore the CPsi nerfs in my psionics games.

Talakeal
2019-08-09, 03:34 PM
And that's totally fine, there's nothing at all wrong with houseruling. I ignore the CPsi nerfs in my psionics games.

Are you sure that's how the game is set up? That the DM deciding what books to use in a game is a "house rule" rather than the default?

GreatWyrmGold
2019-08-09, 03:40 PM
Are you sure that's how the game is set up? That the DM deciding what books to use in a game is a "house rule" rather than the default?
Lots of people declare anyone not following their set of splatbooks, ambiguity interpretations, and gap-filling assumptions as "houseruling". After all, they follow the rules (and there's clearly only one set of rules), so anyone not following their rules must be houseruling.

jjordan
2019-08-09, 04:12 PM
You're thinking in terms of conventional biology. Please let me raise a different view point by asking: how much care viruses take with their 'offspring'?

I personally would have gone with any of the countless species of animals which don't care for their young, ranging from insects to lizards to the cuckoo bird.
But regardless, sapient species are different. If you don't take care of your young, your culture dies. If we don't accept that e.g. orcs are hardwired to follow orcish norms of conquest and enslavement and puppy-kicking, any culture that doesn't nurture its children will go extinct even if its genes go on to form new cultures which do.
Unless you argue that goblins are biologically incapable of taking care of their young, some will (if only because of strange circumstances or aneurotypicality), and that will allow a culture of goblins that don't abandon children to develop and share their culture with their children. Basic Darwinian selection takes over from there, for a wide variety of reasons, not the least of which being that you need at least a basic cultural heritage to get any benefit from sapience. There's no point in being able to learn from your ancestors if you never meet them.

Well, I did use the cuckoo in one example. :) I was simply arguing that perfectly logical arguments based on good science can fall apart in the face of the fantastic. My goblins aren't prevented from creating a society where they nurture their young, but it hasn't happened yet.

GreatWyrmGold
2019-08-09, 04:17 PM
Well, I did use the cuckoo in one example. :) I was simply arguing that perfectly logical arguments based on good science can fall apart in the face of the fantastic. My goblins aren't prevented from creating a society where they nurture their young, but it hasn't happened yet.
You're half-right. Perfectly logical arguments based on good science can fall apart in the face of lazy worldbuilding. You have failed to explain to me why goblins are exempt from all the science and logic I've cited, why goblins don't nurture their young and yet have a cohesive enough culture to exist in any sense of the word, and why nothing has changed this ludicrous state of affairs. Is it all held together by the same narrative force that keeps Oceania's atrocious economic policy from sinking the entire affair?

Gallowglass
2019-08-09, 04:49 PM
Are you sure that's how the game is set up? That the DM deciding what books to use in a game is a "house rule" rather than the default?

Many people use "house rule" as a way to insult or be dismissive of other's points of views.

No, choosing to not use a particular splatbook is not "house rules." That's ridiculous.

redwizard007
2019-08-09, 05:03 PM
*scrubbed*

If a good cleric is forbidden from casting spells with the Evil descriptor, a spell has the evil descriptor, and the same spell says that it is usually used by evil people, AND a specific 1st party source specifically states that it is an evil act then how *scrubbed* it isn't evil? *scrubbed*

Psyren
2019-08-09, 05:29 PM
Many people use "house rule" as a way to insult or be dismissive of other's points of views.

No, choosing to not use a particular splatbook is not "house rules." That's ridiculous.


Are you sure that's how the game is set up? That the DM deciding what books to use in a game is a "house rule" rather than the default?

We're not talking about allowing a prestige class or a spell though. "What constitutes an evil act" is a basic assumption of game's published setting, as well as the other published settings (FR, Greyhawk etc.) Running a custom setting that the designers didn't create is indeed houseruling, or homebrewing, or whatever else you want to call that.

Saying evil acts aren't evil is tantamount to denying alignment itself - and yes, that is a houserule.

Gallowglass
2019-08-09, 05:43 PM
We're not talking about allowing a prestige class or a spell though. "What constitutes an evil act" is a basic assumption of game's published setting, as well as the other published settings (FR, Greyhawk etc.) Running a custom setting that the designers didn't create is indeed houseruling, or homebrewing, or whatever else you want to call that.

Saying evil acts aren't evil is tantamount to denying alignment itself - and yes, that is a houserule.

Let's go to the wayback machine


Yeah, they sure do, which is why I specified core.

IMO BoED and BoVD are some of the worst books ever written and they make an absolute mess of the game, both crunch and fluff wise, and I ignore pretty much every thing they have to say in my games.


And that's totally fine, there's nothing at all wrong with houseruling. I ignore the CPsi nerfs in my psionics games.

Talakeal = I don't use BoED and BoVD

Psyren = there's nothing wrong with houseruling

You can argue that you were in fact replying to earlier quotes, but if so you did not make it very clear in your post. In your post you responded to "I don't like BoED and BoVD" by invoking the back-handed "house rule" invocation to dismiss and minimize his opinion.

I tend to believe that Animate Dead and other spells with the [Evil] descriptor are unavoidably evil, even if you are only animating people who've given their bodies to service willingly before they died and you are only animating them to help run a carnival for orphan children. Because, as has been run into the ground, in the D&D mythos [Evil] and [Good] as physical forces not abstract concepts.

Talakeal
2019-08-09, 05:47 PM
Saying evil acts aren't evil is tantamount to denying alignment itself - and yes, that is a houserule.

That would be quite a tautology. But I am disputing that it isn't an evil act, not that evil acts are not evil.

No core D&D book in any edition has ever stating that casting animate dead is an evil act. That is an undisputable fact.



Now, many people, both authors and players, consider it evil, and there are plenty of splat books that declare creating undead (as well as plenty of other things, like stealing or using poison or showing mercy to a chromatic dragon) are evil acts.

NNescio
2019-08-09, 05:49 PM
You can argue that you were in fact replying to earlier quotes, but if so you did not make it very clear in your post. In your post you responded to "I don't like BoED and BoVD" b.

There is nothing wrong with house rules, and Psyren has made it clear that there is zero malicious intent or derogatory implication on his part.

You are reading too much into it.

Gallowglass
2019-08-09, 05:54 PM
That would be quite a tautology. But I am disputing that it isn't an evil act, not that evil acts are not evil.

No core D&D book in any edition has ever stating that casting animate dead is an evil act. That is an undisputable fact.



Now, many people, both authors and players, consider it evil, and there are plenty of splat books that declare creating undead (as well as plenty of other things, like stealing or using poison or showing mercy to a chromatic dragon) are evil acts.

Okay, well now I just feel dumb for standing up for you when you say something like that.

Numerous people in this thread have pointed out the [Evil] descriptor in 3.5 and what that means. Many more have quoted sourcebooks for 2ndE talking about the innate evilness of the spell.

You have a strange definition of "That is an undisputable fact."

Talakeal
2019-08-09, 06:02 PM
Okay, well now I just feel dumb for standing up for you when you say something like that.

Numerous people in this thread have pointed out the [Evil] descriptor in 3.5 and what that means. Many more have quoted sourcebooks for 2ndE talking about the innate evilness of the spell.

You have a strange definition of "That is an undisputable fact."

Not only does the PHB not say that a spell's descriptor change the alignment of the act, it explicitly says that spell descriptors have no effects by themselves.

Other editions have labelled it "Not a good act" but never an "Evil act", which if that was their intent you would think they would just say that as it is both shorter and more to the point.

jjordan
2019-08-09, 06:31 PM
You're half-right. Perfectly logical arguments based on good science can fall apart in the face of lazy worldbuilding. You have failed to explain to me why goblins are exempt from all the science and logic I've cited, why goblins don't nurture their young and yet have a cohesive enough culture to exist in any sense of the word, and why nothing has changed this ludicrous state of affairs. Is it all held together by the same narrative force that keeps Oceania's atrocious economic policy from sinking the entire affair?Darwin's observations are based on some underlying facts. If those facts change (e.g. magic is real) then the observations may change. I don't think that's lazy world-building at all. Part and parcel of science-fiction (and some fantasy) is looking at the world and making changes and asking "What if?"

In the setting I'm currently working on goblins are best compared to rats. They exist in the margins of every society and ecosystem, scraping a living. Goblins are inherently selfish and look out for number one above all else. They believe in the god Krkt and believe that he created a million worlds for goblins to inhabit and these were stolen from them by the bigger species. They know that every goblin is looking out for number one and are inherently distrustful. This prevents them from gathering into stable groups. They're quick to exploit weakness. Mothers give birth in secret and largely abandon their young. Partly because they don't want to have children making them weaker and partly because what little maternal instinct they have tells them their children will be better off hidden until they're stronger. Goblins breed at a very rapid rate and are more prone to bullying weaker goblins than to killing them and they have a strong taboo against cannibalism.

Goblins have a deeply ingrained respect for a good con, and they view all success as being part of a con. They will gather around a successful goblin to benefit from the con and to try and steal the con from the originator. Goblin cons typically fall apart after a few weeks.

They have excellent oral and auditory skills and are quite skilled as linguists in addition to having a rich oral history and a positive love of good stories (usually being defined as ones in which someone small takes egregious advantage of someone big).

Several attempts have been made (by humans) to integrate goblins into a more stable position in their societies. These have all failed, mostly. Some half-goblins have been able to integrate themselves into bright halfling societies in the human realms. A few individual goblins have been able to integrate themselves into human societies. The elves view goblins as vermin, the dark halflings think goblins are annoying competitors and vandals, and dragon societies cheerfully consume all the goblins they can catch.

Max_Killjoy
2019-08-09, 06:37 PM
Darwin's observations are based on some underlying facts. If those facts change (e.g. magic is real) then the observations may change. I don't think that's lazy world-building at all. Part and parcel of science-fiction (and some fantasy) is looking at the world and making changes and asking "What if?"

In the setting I'm currently working on goblins are best compared to rats. They exist in the margins of every society and ecosystem, scraping a living. Goblins are inherently selfish and look out for number one above all else. They believe in the god Krkt and believe that he created a million worlds for goblins to inhabit and these were stolen from them by the bigger species. They know that every goblin is looking out for number one and are inherently distrustful. This prevents them from gathering into stable groups. They're quick to exploit weakness. Mothers give birth in secret and largely abandon their young. Partly because they don't want to have children making them weaker and partly because what little maternal instinct they have tells them their children will be better off hidden until they're stronger. Goblins breed at a very rapid rate and are more prone to bullying weaker goblins than to killing them and they have a strong taboo against cannibalism.

Goblins have a deeply ingrained respect for a good con, and they view all success as being part of a con. They will gather around a successful goblin to benefit from the con and to try and steal the con from the originator. Goblin cons typically fall apart after a few weeks.

They have excellent oral and auditory skills and are quite skilled as linguists in addition to having a rich oral history and a positive love of good stories (usually being defined as ones in which someone small takes egregious advantage of someone big).

Several attempts have been made (by humans) to integrate goblins into a more stable position in their societies. These have all failed, mostly. Some half-goblins have been able to integrate themselves into bright halfling societies in the human realms. A few individual goblins have been able to integrate themselves into human societies. The elves view goblins as vermin, the dark halflings think goblins are annoying competitors and vandals, and dragon societies cheerfully consume all the goblins they can catch.

How are the children surviving to the point of any sort of independence, and how are these cultural beliefs and taboos and love of stories and cons passed on... if the children are being abandoned?

jjordan
2019-08-09, 07:13 PM
How are the children surviving to the point of any sort of independence, and how are these cultural beliefs and taboos and love of stories and cons passed on... if the children are being abandoned?

Goblins breed at a very rapid rate and are more prone to bullying weaker goblins than to killing them and they have a strong taboo against cannibalism.

The elves view goblins as vermin, the dark halflings think goblins are annoying competitors and vandals, and dragon societies cheerfully consume all the goblins they can catch.
Which pushes goblins into their own little, strange, society despite the fact that the children, which are capable of walking and fighting when they are born, are effectively living on the fringes of goblin society until they're large enough to compete. Fantasy also allows me to have a unifying god that is active in their lives rather than being silent. And the love of stories is an innate trait related to a physical trait I don't care to reveal because it's a potential future plot device in my setting.

Max_Killjoy
2019-08-09, 07:39 PM
Which pushes goblins into their own little, strange, society despite the fact that the children, which are capable of walking and fighting when they are born, are effectively living on the fringes of goblin society until they're large enough to compete. Fantasy also allows me to have a unifying god that is active in their lives rather than being silent. And the love of stories is an innate trait related to a physical trait I don't care to reveal because it's a potential future plot device in my setting.

None of that really answers my question, at least not without demanding multiple added questions, but frankly I'm not in the mood for an argument.

jjordan
2019-08-09, 08:56 PM
None of that really answers my question, at least not without demanding multiple added questions, but frankly I'm not in the mood for an argument.
Wasn't arguing. They're like little sharks.

Max_Killjoy
2019-08-09, 10:13 PM
Wasn't arguing. They're like little sharks.

Sorry, I'll follow up when I'm not in a really bad mood -- it would be an argument if I got into it right now, and it would be my fault.

Psyren
2019-08-09, 11:05 PM
No core D&D book in any edition has ever stating that casting animate dead is an evil act. That is an undisputable fact.

And it has to be explicit in the core books because...? Are D&D rulebooks not rulebooks unless they're core? Is that logo on the front a misprint? :smallconfused:

Satinavian
2019-08-10, 02:27 AM
We're not talking about allowing a prestige class or a spell though. "What constitutes an evil act" is a basic assumption of game's published setting, as well as the other published settings (FR, Greyhawk etc.) Running a custom setting that the designers didn't create is indeed houseruling, or homebrewing, or whatever else you want to call that.

Saying evil acts aren't evil is tantamount to denying alignment itself - and yes, that is a houserule.
When i play 3.5 i consider it evil because of the evil tag, when i play AD&D2, i dons't consider it evil because it isn't described as such. There is also the fact that in 2E skelettons etc are neutral as it befits mindless beings while 3.5 declares them evil so that paladins can sense and smite them.

If you asked me which of those made more sense, i would clearly point towards the 2E version.


I have seen both in play. But the 3.5 interpretation only highlights what a nonsensical farce the whole alignment system is. Now if you have necromancers with skelettons, alignment doesn't tell you anything about what kind of person that is. Might be super altruistic and never hurting a living being. It only leads to "That is an evil person/evil plan/evil act" getting the reaction of "So what ? How does this have any relevance to our decision making ?"

I mean the only way of making alignment seem even more stupid is gratitious use of the helm of opposite alignment.

Talakeal
2019-08-10, 08:44 AM
And it has to be explicit in the core books because...? Are D&D rulebooks not rulebooks unless they're core? Is that logo on the front a misprint? :smallconfused:

The persn I initially responded to made the claim that the description of animate dead (which is found in the PHBs of every edition and nowhere else) says that it is evil, and I was responding to that claim.


On a broader philisophical level:
I personally play D&D core only with splatbook material used on a case by case. Balance issues aside, it is all but impossible to own or read all of the supplements for the game, that is an immense time and money investment, and many splatbooks are of relatively poor quality or contradict the other splatbooks.

I believe that WoTCs official policy is that the core books trump the supplements, as I have heard many times that the clarifications to the core rules found in the rules compendium are not official as they contradict the core book and therefore automatically lose precedent.

Psyren
2019-08-10, 09:31 AM
When i play 3.5 i consider it evil because of the evil tag, when i play AD&D2, i dons't consider it evil because it isn't described as such. There is also the fact that in 2E skelettons etc are neutral as it befits mindless beings while 3.5 declares them evil so that paladins can sense and smite them.

I'm totally fine with that as I don't play 2e.



If you asked me which of those made more sense, i would clearly point towards the 2E version.

And I would clearly point towards 3.5/PF. Libris Mortis' explanation makes perfect sense to me, and moreover it fits perfectly with everything else (BoVD, FC2, and even the tags in the PHB).



I have seen both in play. But the 3.5 interpretation only highlights what a nonsensical farce the whole alignment system is. Now if you have necromancers with skelettons, alignment doesn't tell you anything about what kind of person that is. Might be super altruistic and never hurting a living being. It only leads to "That is an evil person/evil plan/evil act" getting the reaction of "So what ? How does this have any relevance to our decision making ?"

Nothing is forcing you to smite every necromancer on sight in 3.5 either. I've already agreed that the paladin in the OP was behaving stupidly.



I believe that WoTCs official policy is that the core books trump the supplements, as I have heard many times that the clarifications to the core rules found in the rules compendium are not official as they contradict the core book and therefore automatically lose precedent.

There is no such policy that says core>all. The closest to what you describe is called the "primary source" rule, and it's pretty clear to me that Libris Mortis would be the primary source for how undead work, just like Draconomicon would be for dragons and Lords of Madness for the major aberrations. I would go even further and say BoED and BoVD are primary sources for defining good and evil acts respectively.

As for you not owning/being able to afford splats, I sympathize, but having the bare minimum necessary to play a game doesn't mean that nothing they've printed since matters. This isn't a campaign at Talakeal's table - everything first-party is fair game in an online discussion.

Talakeal
2019-08-10, 09:40 AM
As for you not owning/being able to afford splats, I sympathize, but having the bare minimum necessary to play a game doesn't mean that nothing they've printed since matters. This isn't a campaign at Talakeal's table - everything first-party is fair game in an online discussion.

Ok, so if we are using every D&D book ever published, why are you focusing on a couple of specific books for an out of print edition of the game?

I can show you plenty of good characters creating good undead for good purposes; for example the elven guardians of the Sla-Mori in Dragons of Flame are good undead created to guard elven tombs against evil created by white robed elven magi, Forgotten Realms has good arch-liches and elven baelnorns, Planescape has the good aligned Bone Collector in Sigil, etc.

IIRC Heroes of Horror even tosses out the BoED / BoVD morality entirely in favor of a more nuanced taint system.

BoVD and BoED are especially bad as they try and simultaneously be an objective and a subjective morality system it just doesn't work. They are self contradictory, make the game a mess, and are actually offensive to people's irl sensibilities and are, imo, the worst D&D books ever written. Which is weird, because they are by Monte Cook, the same guy who made Planescape with its much more nuanced system of philosophies.

Psyren
2019-08-10, 10:01 AM
Ok, so if we are using every D&D book ever published, why are you focusing on a couple of specific books for an out of print edition of the game?

I'm not - I acknowledged up front that other editions (like 2e) treat it differently. I was saying why 3e resonated with me the most; in addition to having good rationale, it's also the one with the most fleshed-out (no pun intended) rules on necromancy and alignment.



I can show you plenty of good characters creating good undead for good purposes; for example the elven guardians of the Sla-Mori in Dragons of Flame are good undead created to guard elven tombs against evil created by white robed elven magi, Forgotten Realms has good arch-liches and elven baelnorns, Planescape has the good aligned Bone Collector in Sigil, etc.

In 3.5 terms those would be Deathless rather than Undead for exactly this reason. The designers who came up with Deathless did so in part to resolve the incongruity between good elves and evil necromancy.



IIRC Heroes of Horror even tosses out the BoED / BoVD morality entirely in favor of a more nuanced taint system.

Taint is specifically for Horror campaigns, not general play. But since you bring it up, it specifically states that casting any [Evil] spell gives you taint, so it's not exactly helping your case.



BoVD and BoED are especially bad as they try and simultaneously be an objective and a subjective morality system it just doesn't work. They are self contradictory, make the game a mess, and are actually offensive to people's irl sensibilities and are, imo, the worst D&D books ever written. Which is weird, because they are by Monte Cook, the same guy who made Planescape with its much more nuanced system of philosophies.

I'm not here to change your opinion on these books, just pointing out that they are indeed first-party D&D. You can feel whatever you want to about them, it doesn't matter to me.

Talakeal
2019-08-10, 10:17 AM
...so it's not exactly helping your case.

I'm not here to change your opinion on these books, just pointing out that they are indeed first-party D&D. You can feel whatever you want to about them, it doesn't matter to me...

What exactly is "my case" and what exactly are you "here to do"?

I stated that the write up of animate dead has not, in the core book of any edition, called casting the spell an evil act, either explicitly or implicitly. I agree that some later splat books have retroactively declared it so.

You seem to disagree with me, but you haven't actually shown any evidence to disprove my point and we are just kind of going around in circles.

Psyren
2019-08-10, 10:31 AM
What exactly is "my case" and what exactly are you "here to do"?

You said "taint is more nuanced morality" than BoVD - yet casting animate dead is just as evil under that system. Possibly even worse, since taint's effects on the environment are far more immediate than anything in LM. That's the "case" I was referring to.

I'm "here" to explain why I think animating a corpse is not equivalent to looting it, if we go back several pages to the start of this tangent.



I stated that the write up of animate dead has not, in the core book of any edition, called casting the spell an evil act, either explicitly or implicitly. I agree that some later splat books have retroactively declared it so.

Right, and since core is silent and splats spell it out, the answer is clear. It's evil. (In that edition of the game, not familiar enough with 4e and 5e to know how they treat it.)

Quertus
2019-08-10, 10:46 AM
Me! I do! I still play (house-ruled) 2E! There's a whole group for 2E on Roll20. And Spelljammer and Dark Sun are best in 2E! You know, in my own personal opinion. Which by definition is not your opinion. But it's an opinion, and that's a fact!

In B/X, BECMI, 1E, and 2E, it is not an evil act. Doesn't mean it isn't usually done by evil people, or used for evil purposes, but the act of casting Animate Dead itself is not evil.


Gotta love the love for 2e, the bestest and most funnest RPG ever! And, also, my favorite.


No. Alignment, used well, is a useful way to encourage new roleplayers to think about their characters as being different people than the players. It's far from the most elegant mechanic for doing so, but it's the one D&D's been using for forty-odd years, so it's the only one we're sure 6e is going to stick with.

May developers actually do some development, and develop a better way. May 6e slaughter that sacred cow. Amen.


On the other hand, they have no moral compunctions against betraying their comrades.
Ideally, the team all has the same (or at least similar) moral compunctions. If you've never been able to get along with a team where someone had a scrap of scruples, well, I think I've identified where the problem lies.

No need to make personal assumptions. I've watched many groups fail, and I've seen that having scruples - especially, as you say, when those scruples don't match - has caused far more problems than the lack thereof.

NNescio
2019-08-10, 10:46 AM
Right, and since core is silent and splats spell it out, the answer is clear. It's evil. (In that edition of the game, not familiar enough with 4e and 5e to know how they treat it.)

In 5e animating/creating undead is the usual wishy-washy "it's probably Evil, and usually only Evil guys do it, but Good guys and Neutrals can get away with doing it every now and then so long as they don't make it a habit (and maybe only do it for a [lower-case] good reason)."

The relevant text is located under the descriptive summaries for the spell schools:



Necromancy spells manipulate the energies of life and death. Such spells can grant an extra reserve of life force, drain the life energy from another creature, create the undead, or even bring the dead back to life.

Creating the undead through the use of necromancy spells such as animate dead is not a good act, and only evil casters use such spells frequently.

Note its similarity with the description text for the 2e version of the Animate Dead spell.

GreatWyrmGold
2019-08-10, 11:24 AM
We're not talking about allowing a prestige class or a spell though. "What constitutes an evil act" is a basic assumption of game's published setting, as well as the other published settings (FR, Greyhawk etc.)
It may be a basic assumption, but it's never one clearly spelled out in the rules. Almost as if WotC wanted to avoid accidentally implying that some perfectly reasonable things are objectively evil...



There is nothing wrong with house rules, and Psyren has made it clear that there is zero malicious intent or derogatory implication on his part.

You are reading too much into it.
I'd argue that Psyren wasn't reading enough into it.

Let me tell you a story.
Many moons ago, I was talking about something with my family, and described something as a thing only an idiot would do before realizing that it sounded like something my brother would do. I quickly added "or my brother," which I thought would make it clear I wasn't trying to call my brother an idiot for doing idiocy-adjacent activities. Instead, what they heard was "My brother does stupid things like an idiot."
Was that their fault for hearing a perfectly logical interpretation of my words, or was it my fault for saying something ambiguous enough to be interpreted as the exact opposite of what I said?

Communication is not a one-and-done, objective process. Outside a few highly formal situations, ambiguity is woven into our methods of communication by the sheer scope of what could need to be communicated and the unorganized way it was developed. It's not the sole responsibility of the audience to decode which possible meaning was intended by a given statement; it's also the responsibility of the speaker to minimize ambiguity by considering other possible meanings of their statement. I'd argue that the responsibility falls primarily, if not entirely, on the speaker; after all, they're the only one with unobstructed access to their intent.
There are ways this could be avoided. The simplest (in concept) and likeliest to succeed would be to borrow a tool from certain video essays discussing academic terms like coding. They acknowledge that the term generally has a negative connotation, but emphasize that it is in principle a neutral term. Of course, with how "homebrewing but that's okay" has been used as a term of polite scorn [citation: a post I saw in someone's sig but now can't find], you'd have to tread carefully to avoid falling into the same problem, but...nobody said politeness was easy.



I mean the only way of making alignment seem even more stupid is gratitious use of the helm of opposite alignment.
FWIW, I think that alignment-changing items like that are the only reason discrete alignment has any use. There's no shortage of "evil opposite" or "make-you-evil" plot devices in fantasy and other fiction, and the HoOA provides a way to have that work mechanically in D&D.
When you get down to it, the silly part is considering people to be, in some way, "Evil" or "Good" as opposed to a mess of virtues and vices.



BoVD and BoED are especially bad as they try and simultaneously be an objective and a subjective morality system it just doesn't work. They are self contradictory, make the game a mess, and are actually offensive to people's irl sensibilities and are, imo, the worst D&D books ever written. Which is weird, because they are by Monte Cook, the same guy who made Planescape with its much more nuanced system of philosophies.
What's weird about "The guy who made a great setting with interesting, nuanced philosophies struggled when writing supplements about a necessarily-generic take on the simplest and least interesting philosophies imaginable"?



May developers actually do some development, and develop a better way. May 6e slaughter that sacred cow. Amen.
Anyone else remember what happened when WotC tried to slaughter the sacred cow of Vancian magic?


No need to make personal assumptions. I've watched many groups fail, and I've seen that having scruples - especially, as you say, when those scruples don't match - has caused far more problems than the lack thereof.
In my experience, party members lacking scruples have caused more problems. Threatening to kill people is more likely to cause problems down the road then...um...threatening to spare them? If you find scrupulous party members universally problematic, either you're the unscrupulous one pushing their boundaries or we are effectively playing different games.




Darwin's observations are based on some underlying facts. If those facts change (e.g. magic is real) then the observations may change. I don't think that's lazy world-building at all. Part and parcel of science-fiction (and some fantasy) is looking at the world and making changes and asking "What if?"
That's true, but until now you've given nothing to imply you'd done that.


In the setting I'm currently working on goblins are best compared to rats. They exist in the margins of every society and ecosystem, scraping a living. Goblins are inherently selfish and look out for number one above all else. They believe in the god Krkt and believe that he created a million worlds for goblins to inhabit and these were stolen from them by the bigger species. They know that every goblin is looking out for number one and are inherently distrustful. This prevents them from gathering into stable groups. They're quick to exploit weakness. Mothers give birth in secret and largely abandon their young. Partly because they don't want to have children making them weaker and partly because what little maternal instinct they have tells them their children will be better off hidden until they're stronger. Goblins breed at a very rapid rate and are more prone to bullying weaker goblins than to killing them and they have a strong taboo against cannibalism.
Right, there are a few problems here. The worst of them is the idea that children weaken the mother, which is only true in the short term. Even for species which take as long to mature as humans do, children are a net positive up until post-industrial child labor laws come into play. They can't do as much work as grown-ups, but they can still more than earn their keep. Children aren't a weakness, they're an investment.
For that matter, if children are a weakness, why do goblin mothers give birth at all? It's hard to imagine that conception doesn't open oneself up to more weaknesses (ranging from emotional attachment to the partner to vulnerability in the act itself), and harder to imagine that growing a baby inside oneself—with all the increased food needs and the loss of agility by the end of term and whatnot—is less of a burden than an abortion. Why are goblins fast breeders if they view children as a weakness not worth the benefits they don't get because they're abandoned?
Also, why do goblins worship Krkt? You don't just magically know about Krkt because you have enough goblin genes, do you? And if goblins are inherently selfish, why would they care what Krkt taught them? Why aren't there any that go "Screw you, Krkt, we're gonna band together!" or "Screw you, Krkt, I'm gonna raise kids so I have my own weak goblins to bully around!" What's going to stop them from doing that?
It takes remarkably little trust to keep a band like that together if there are enough mutual foes around to keep cooperation in everyone's best interest, unless the world works on Atlas Shrugged logic. It's even harder to break a band if everyone's been raised to trust and obey the leader from birth; heck, it works even if most of the members have only been in that mindset for a few years. That's how cults work.


Several attempts have been made (by humans) to integrate goblins into a more stable position in their societies. These have all failed, mostly. Some half-goblins have been able to integrate themselves into bright halfling societies in the human realms. A few individual goblins have been able to integrate themselves into human societies. The elves view goblins as vermin, the dark halflings think goblins are annoying competitors and vandals, and dragon societies cheerfully consume all the goblins they can catch.
Why do goblins have trouble integrating into human societies? What about half-goblins? Why do some goblins integrate themselves into human societies but broader efforts fail? What do dragons have to do with any of this?


Which pushes goblins into their own little, strange, society despite the fact that the children, which are capable of walking and fighting when they are born, are effectively living on the fringes of goblin society until they're large enough to compete.
Wait, then why are they weaknesses if you don't even have to wait for them to be usable labor?


Fantasy also allows me to have a unifying god that is active in their lives rather than being silent.
If Krkt's core philosophy is "Serve yourself," how does it get anyone to follow that philosophy? It's a self-destructive commandment.


What I see isn't a world developed from core principles and going out from there. What I see is a pile of facts made to interlink with adjacent facts, without much effort made to figure out what those core principles actually are.



Arguments about if animate dead is Evil or not
I wish WotC would just go one way or the other. Either say "It's Evil because XYZ" (where XYZ is a solid and clear explanation of why it's evil, e.g. it involves enslaving souls of the deceased), or don't say it's evil and set up setting features that make it impractical to make undead without Evil acts like grave robbing or murder.

hamishspence
2019-08-10, 12:20 PM
Actually only BoVD was by Monte Cook. BoED was by James Wyatt, Darrin Drader and Christopher Perkins.

Anymage
2019-08-10, 01:54 PM
In 5e animating/creating undead is the usual wishy-washy "it's probably Evil, and usually only Evil guys do it, but Good guys and Neutrals can get away with doing it every now and then so long as they don't make it a habit (and maybe only do it for a [lower-case] good reason)."

5e also says that created undead are explicitly malevolent, and that letting your control slip means letting a kill-crazy monster run loose. Depending on how you interpret the fluff, leaving one alone for just an hour can be dangerous even if the duration of Animate Dead is still running. (Tell a human employee to "stay there" and they'll stay in the general area, but there's a good chance that they'll futz around with something instead of standing motionless like a statue. Tell a zombie to "stay there" and the same basic idea applies, except its main drives are to kill and eat people.) Which is nice, because instead of some vague and undefined evilness there are real consequentalist risks to raising undead.

Psyren
2019-08-10, 03:31 PM
It may be a basic assumption, but it's never one clearly spelled out in the rules. Almost as if WotC wanted to avoid accidentally implying that some perfectly reasonable things are objectively evil...

It IS spelled out in the rules, quite clearly. Just not the core ones.



I'd argue that Psyren wasn't reading enough into it.

*shrug*
Whatever you want.



FWIW, I think that alignment-changing items like that are the only reason discrete alignment has any use. There's no shortage of "evil opposite" or "make-you-evil" plot devices in fantasy and other fiction, and the HoOA provides a way to have that work mechanically in D&D.
When you get down to it, the silly part is considering people to be, in some way, "Evil" or "Good" as opposed to a mess of virtues and vices.

It's more about categorizing actions than people. But there is value in considering people who routinely act a certain way, to be a certain way. Yeah it's a broad stroke, but games have to abstract some concepts.



I wish WotC would just go one way or the other. Either say "It's Evil because XYZ" (where XYZ is a solid and clear explanation of why it's evil, e.g. it involves enslaving souls of the deceased), or don't say it's evil and set up setting features that make it impractical to make undead without Evil acts like grave robbing or murder.

Again, they did say "it's evil because XYZ." You're just ignoring all the places (there's at least 4) where they said so for some reason.

Satinavian
2019-08-11, 12:51 AM
5e also says that created undead are explicitly malevolent, and that letting your control slip means letting a kill-crazy monster run loose. Depending on how you interpret the fluff, leaving one alone for just an hour can be dangerous even if the duration of Animate Dead is still running. (Tell a human employee to "stay there" and they'll stay in the general area, but there's a good chance that they'll futz around with something instead of standing motionless like a statue. Tell a zombie to "stay there" and the same basic idea applies, except its main drives are to kill and eat people.) Which is nice, because instead of some vague and undefined evilness there are real consequentalist risks to raising undead.
Yes, 5E did a lot of changes to make necromancy and undead creation far more understandable evil based on actual results and necessities. It is even more pronounced with the lich who now has to feed on souls.

Unfortunately those changes make all this stuff so impractical and stupid that reasonable villians won't use it any more and only over-the-top comical Evil guys would think that is a good idea.

Quertus
2019-08-11, 04:33 AM
Anyone else remember what happened when WotC tried to slaughter the sacred cow of Vancian magic?

They created a spell point system - and several other alternate casting methods - that we loved by all? Or, at least, by many?

Or do you mean the travesty the idiots who made 4e hacked together, reanimating the already twice-slaughtered cow into an undead abomination that lacked any feeling?


In my experience, party members lacking scruples have caused more problems. Threatening to kill people is more likely to cause problems down the road then...um...threatening to spare them? If you find scrupulous party members universally problematic, either you're the unscrupulous one pushing their boundaries or we are effectively playing different games.

When one PC has scruples forcing them to spare the goblins, while another has scruples forcing them to kill the goblins, party cohesion falls apart. Whereas, my character with no such scruples could have worked with either. This same pattern has repeated itself many times in many groups, where a given PC's "morals" force them to take actions against the party.

I find having moral compunctions to take certain actions to be detrimental to teamwork / party cohesion.

One time, I ran a character with some scruples. My character was appalled by the party's lack of concern with the murder of sentient beings - including ones my character was in the process of attempting to redeem… after my character had convinced them to surrender, no less. Whereas my character had no compunction against killing the non-sentient monsters that the party wanted to take as "pets", despite their proven antisocial behavior (they killed people - lots of people).

So, care to try to continue arguing that unscrupulous isn't advantageous for party cohesion? Because my experience is clear that moral imperatives produce antisocial behavior and cause problems with group cohesion. Whereas someone without such compunctions - someone who is morally flexible - can adapt to the situation and preserve the group.

Lord Raziere
2019-08-11, 11:04 AM
You know what I realize that Paladins could've needed? a spell to contact angels to ask moral questions. because if your playing a paladin with a devotion to all thats good and such, shouldn't you get some guidance from angels for specific extreme moral situations if the player is unsure and needs to ask the GM in character to make sure they aren't doing anything wrong. then if the Paladin is asked to do something questionable they can just call an Angel and be like "hey is this right for me to do? I'm not sure and just want to check and see if you have any advice." the GM can just roleplay an angel telling what will basically be the GM's stance on it and you can roleplay it out from there, it would've solved so many problems.

Talakeal
2019-08-11, 11:10 AM
What's weird about "The guy who made a great setting with interesting, nuanced philosophies struggled when writing supplements about a necessarily-generic take on the simplest and least interesting philosophies imaginable"?

That makes a bit of sense, but I don't think he had to go as "all in" as he did.

The rules about how evil outsiders and dragons are especially egregious, for example, the letter of the rules is that working together with them, regardless of method, motivation, or outcome, is always evil, and that killing them, again regardless of method, motivation, or outcome, is always good just makes my head spin, and is so antithetical to the whole concept of Planescape that I just can't quite follow how the same guy wrote them both.


You said "taint is more nuanced morality" than BoVD - yet casting animate dead is just as evil under that system. Possibly even worse, since taint's effects on the environment are far more immediate than anything in LM. That's the "case" I was referring to.

Its been a long time since I have read heroes of horror; does that book actually say animate dead is evil or is it that it just doesn't say it isn't.

The thing about taint is that it actually gives reasons for the spell to be evil, essentially allowing players to make informed decisions. I don't have a problem with things being evil, I have a problem with things being arbitrarily labelled evil with no given explanation.



I'm "here" to explain why I think animating a corpse is not equivalent to looting it, if we go back several pages to the start of this tangent.

Ok, so, as you probably noticed, back in the 3.5 days we periodically had discussions about WHY casting animate dead was evil.

Mostly it involved assertions that are not backed up by any text, such as "negative energy is evil" or "animating dead traps the soul" or "uncontrolled zombies and skeletons go berserk and kill people".

One of the very common arguments was that desecrating a corpse is always evil, and there were a lot of posters who were very vocal about that point. I personally do not view desecrating a corpse as any different from looting them, in both cases you are taking an object that was once important to a person and using it for a purpose that its former owner would not approve of, and I was just making a comment that I find it weird how vocal people are about desecrating a corpse being so very evil, but not looting it, when, from an objective materialistic viewpoint, they are fundamentally the same action.


Right, and since core is silent and splats spell it out, the answer is clear. It's evil.

That's a valid interpretation. I personally think that the core books can stand on their own, just like when I watch the original Highlander I don't think I am watching a movie about aliens from the planet Zeist.

Which is why I specified "core books" when I made the claim that the spell hasn't been evil in any edition.

Max_Killjoy
2019-08-11, 11:29 AM
When one PC has scruples forcing them to spare the goblins, while another has scruples forcing them to kill the goblins, party cohesion falls apart. Whereas, my character with no such scruples could have worked with either. This same pattern has repeated itself many times in many groups, where a given PC's "morals" force them to take actions against the party.

I find having moral compunctions to take certain actions to be detrimental to teamwork / party cohesion.

One time, I ran a character with some scruples. My character was appalled by the party's lack of concern with the murder of sentient beings - including ones my character was in the process of attempting to redeem… after my character had convinced them to surrender, no less. Whereas my character had no compunction against killing the non-sentient monsters that the party wanted to take as "pets", despite their proven antisocial behavior (they killed people - lots of people).

So, care to try to continue arguing that unscrupulous isn't advantageous for party cohesion? Because my experience is clear that moral imperatives produce antisocial behavior and cause problems with group cohesion. Whereas someone without such compunctions - someone who is morally flexible - can adapt to the situation and preserve the group.


Unscrupulous is bad for party cohesion when it leads to betrayal of the party.

Valuing party cohesion can just be seen as a competing moral scruple -- or as base tribalism, the dark side of loyalty.

GreatWyrmGold
2019-08-11, 12:02 PM
*shrug*
Whatever you want.
Ah, responding to a lengthy argument with a shrug and a whatever, being careful to quote so little that that seems like a perfectly reasonable response to an unreasonable statement. Definitely a way to make people want to engage with you, and not a way of demonstrating the very thoughtlessness I'd accused you of.


It's more about categorizing actions than people.
Then why do characters have clearly-defined alignment, while the alignment of actions is kept deliberately vague outside some sourcebooks?


But there is value in considering people who routinely act a certain way, to be a certain way. Yeah it's a broad stroke, but games have to abstract some concepts.
This statement is not wrong, but it's not applicable to this discussion. "Good" and "Evil" are too broad of brushes to reasonably paint anyone with; there are entire genres of fiction built on deconstructing that very idea.



When one PC has scruples forcing them to spare the goblins, while another has scruples forcing them to kill the goblins, party cohesion falls apart. Whereas, my character with no such scruples could have worked with either. This same pattern has repeated itself many times in many groups, where a given PC's "morals" force them to take actions against the party.

I find having moral compunctions to take certain actions to be detrimental to teamwork / party cohesion.

One time, I ran a character with some scruples. My character was appalled by the party's lack of concern with the murder of sentient beings - including ones my character was in the process of attempting to redeem… after my character had convinced them to surrender, no less. Whereas my character had no compunction against killing the non-sentient monsters that the party wanted to take as "pets", despite their proven antisocial behavior (they killed people - lots of people).

So, care to try to continue arguing that unscrupulous isn't advantageous for party cohesion? Because my experience is clear that moral imperatives produce antisocial behavior and cause problems with group cohesion. Whereas someone without such compunctions - someone who is morally flexible - can adapt to the situation and preserve the group.
Your anecdotes are so vague that I don't know what sort of argument you expect me to provide. "Teamwork good"? "Needless murder bad"?
My own vague anecdotes about one a-hole who ruined everything through unscrupulous actions? Because I have a lot of those anecdotes. Like the one guy who threatened to kill the head of a monastery, getting the party kicked out before we got quest-critical information. Or the time a necromancer insisted on killing civilians for raw materials. Or the time a sticky-fingered rogue swiped a plot-critical artifact, meaning the party didn't have access to it when we needed it. Or the times thoughtless pyromania burned down something important.
I guess you could blame those incidents on the monks, the scrupulous party members, or the players who didn't put out the fire...but I really hope you don't. I also hope you don't define "unscrupulous" to exclude the sorts of incidents I described. I hope I don't have to explain why those arguments would be stupid.

One thing I hope you do do is explain why the blame for party conflict between people who want to murder things for no reason and people who don't lies solely with the ones who don't.

Psyren
2019-08-11, 03:24 PM
Its been a long time since I have read heroes of horror; does that book actually say animate dead is evil or is it that it just doesn't say it isn't.

The thing about taint is that it actually gives reasons for the spell to be evil, essentially allowing players to make informed decisions. I don't have a problem with things being evil, I have a problem with things being arbitrarily labelled evil with no given explanation.


But that's exactly how taint works. All [evil] spells generate taint. It's exactly as arbitrary as the alignment system you're comparing it to.



Ok, so, as you probably noticed, back in the 3.5 days we periodically had discussions about WHY casting animate dead was evil.

Mostly it involved assertions that are not backed up by any text, such as "negative energy is evil" or "animating dead traps the soul" or "uncontrolled zombies and skeletons go berserk and kill people".

I've given you several text citations backing that up actually. Your response was not that these cites don't exist, but that they're "not core."


That's a valid interpretation. I personally think that the core books can stand on their own, just like when I watch the original Highlander I don't think I am watching a movie about aliens from the planet Zeist.

Which is why I specified "core books" when I made the claim that the spell hasn't been evil in any edition.

Non-core books are part of the edition.



Then why do characters have clearly-defined alignment, while the alignment of actions is kept deliberately vague outside some sourcebooks?


If it's defined in a sourcebook, then it's defined. That's precisely what BoED and BoVD are for. :smallconfused:

redwizard007
2019-08-11, 04:24 PM
But that's exactly how taint works. All [evil] spells generate taint. It's exactly as arbitrary as the alignment system you're comparing it to.



I've given you several text citations backing that up actually. Your response was not that these cites don't exist, but that they're "not core."


Non-core books are part of the edition.



If it's defined in a sourcebook, then it's defined. That's precisely what BoED and BoVD are for. :smallconfused:

This is the problem. You understood [Evil] to mean "evil," but they understand [Evil] to mean "well, see... now it all depends..." It doesn't make what the smite-happy paladin did any more tolerable, or have any bearing on the OP, but it somehow became the main argument of this thread.

As for core books, even just the 3.5 PH, can a good cleric of a good god cast Raise Dead? No. They are specifically forbidden from casting spells with a descriptor opposite their alignment (or their gods, I don't recall which.) If a good cleric can't cast a spell for alignment reasons then is it possible, just maybe, that the spell might have alignment implications?

Psyren
2019-08-11, 04:29 PM
This is the problem. You understood [Evil] to mean "evil," but they understand [Evil] to mean "well, see... now it all depends..." It doesn't make what the smite-happy paladin did any more tolerable, or have any bearing on the OP, but it somehow became the main argument of this thread.

I can't speak for anyone else, but the books I cited specifically reference spells with the [Evil] descriptor. Heroes of Horror taint rules, BoVD, Fiendish Codex, all of them specify that the [Evil] descriptor is what they mean.

redwizard007
2019-08-11, 04:38 PM
I can't speak for anyone else, but the books I cited specifically reference spells with the [Evil] descriptor. Heroes of Horror taint rules, BoVD, Fiendish Codex, all of them specify that the [Evil] descriptor is what they mean.

Yep, but since some of these folks don't like those books it has apparently invalidated your point in their minds, if I am reading the multiple posts along those lines correctly. It's kind of like saying psionics in 2e are under supported because I don't like to use the Psionics Handbook.

Talakeal
2019-08-11, 04:40 PM
But that's exactly how taint works. All [evil] spells generate taint. It's exactly as arbitrary as the alignment system you're comparing it to.

Not really, no. Because taint actually has effects. Its kind of like pollution in real life; it is harmful, but sometimes it is a neccesary byproduct of your actions. You actually have to weigh the pros and cons and ask if the good your spell is bringing in the present it worth the harm it causes in the long run.

On the other hand, BoED morality would say that an otherwise upstanding person who occasionally cast evil for spells for good reasons, say for example casting Death Watch for triage purposes or summoning Fiendish Weasels to drag people out of burning buildings, will be labelled as evil by the cosmos. The spell doesn't cause any tangible harm, you don't change your behavior (remember, alignment is descriptive not prescriptive), and aside from a few very vague lines about upsetting the cosmic balance, no indirect long term consequences.

To me, that is offensive both in and out of character, that you can have perfectly good people doing harmless things for good reasons and still end up bearing the same label as serial killers, sadists, and evil warlords and, if they are an athiest, commend to the lower planes when they die.


Now, for undead it gets even weirder. They want undead to be evil because death is icky and scary and from a narrative perspective the guy in the black robe summoning up undead minions to destroy the living is a classic trope, and it just feels weird if, for example, paladin's smite and cleric's holy words don't affect otherwise mindless undead. But then you have problems with cosmology, where we established that undeath is related to the negative energy plane which, as an inner plane, is neutrally aligned as alignment is a philosophical concept and thus part of the outer planes. And then it gets even weirder when you throw good undead or deathless into the mix, because they are essentially identical to standard undead, except they aren't evil because they run on a different unaligned power source. Its just a mess.

One of the things I really like about 4E is that it actually tried to create a unified cosmology mostly from scratch rather than try and staple together 30 years of often inconsistent ideas like 3.5 did.

Edit: Oh, and then there is the malconvoker. who can ignore the alignment change for casting an evil spell because reasons.



I've given you several text citations backing that up actually. Your response was not that these cites don't exist, but that they're "not core."

Hold on there, I said that splatbooks declare casting evil spells to be evil, but I never said that they give a good reason for "why" they are evil. If you (or anyone else) ever gave explicit citations to the above examples (animating dead traps souls, negative energy is evil aligned, or skeletons / zombies created with 3.5 animate dead go on berserk rampages) I must have missed them and would really appreciate a repost.

Quertus
2019-08-11, 04:45 PM
Unscrupulous is bad for party cohesion when it leads to betrayal of the party.

Valuing party cohesion can just be seen as a competing moral scruple -- or as base tribalism, the dark side of loyalty.

So, sounds to me like "party cohesion" is a virtue - but it's primarily a player side virtue, as a necessary component for a good* game.

But my point is, unscrupulous characters have no compelling reason to betray the social contract (in or out of character).

* For cooperative games


Your anecdotes are so vague that I don't know what sort of argument you expect me to provide. "Teamwork good"? "Needless murder bad"?
My own vague anecdotes about one a-hole who ruined everything through unscrupulous actions? Because I have a lot of those anecdotes. Like the one guy who threatened to kill the head of a monastery, getting the party kicked out before we got quest-critical information. Or the time a necromancer insisted on killing civilians for raw materials. Or the time a sticky-fingered rogue swiped a plot-critical artifact, meaning the party didn't have access to it when we needed it. Or the times thoughtless pyromania burned down something important.
I guess you could blame those incidents on the monks, the scrupulous party members, or the players who didn't put out the fire...but I really hope you don't. I also hope you don't define "unscrupulous" to exclude the sorts of incidents I described. I hope I don't have to explain why those arguments would be stupid.

One thing I hope you do do is explain why the blame for party conflict between people who want to murder things for no reason and people who don't lies solely with the ones who don't.

You misunderstand. My stance is simple: Those who have moral compunctions to kill the goblins are equally at fault for causing party conflict as those who have moral compunctions to *not* kill the goblins. Whereas those who have no moral compunctions either way are faultless.

Talakeal
2019-08-11, 04:53 PM
Yep, but since some of these folks don't like those books it has apparently invalidated your point in their minds, if I am reading the multiple posts along those lines correctly. It's kind of like saying psionics in 2e are under supported because I don't like to use the Psionics Handbook.

I explicitly said "in core" in my very first post on the subject where I was correcting someone (not Psyren) who said that the description of the animate dead spell calls it out as being an evil act. I was always aware of these supplements, and do not discount their existence, I was merely correcting someone who attributed something to the PHB which isn't there.

Its like if someone said that The Hobbit says that Bilbo is Frodo's uncle, and someone pointed out that Frodo is never mentioned at all in the Hobbit, and then getting into a huge argument about whether or not The Lord of the Rings is canon.


As for core books, even just the 3.5 PH, can a good cleric of a good god cast Raise Dead? No. They are specifically forbidden from casting spells with a descriptor opposite their alignment (or their gods, I don't recall which.) If a good cleric can't cast a spell for alignment reasons then is it possible, just maybe, that the spell might have alignment implications?

You could certainly infer that from the text. However I could also infer the opposite from the fact that the alignment section never mentions spell casting.

However, the one thing the book does explicitly say is that spell descriptors have no effects on the game by themselves, they only govern how the spells interact with other special rules, and as there is no rule about alignment interacting with spell descriptors (again, in core), they explicitly do not.

GreatWyrmGold
2019-08-11, 07:47 PM
If it's defined in a sourcebook, then it's defined. That's precisely what BoED and BoVD are for. :smallconfused:
You: "Alignment is more about categorizing actions than people."
Me: "Then why do the rules tie alignment directly to people, and barely tie it to actions at all outside of sourcebooks?"
You: "Sourcebooks matter too!"

You, um, didn't actually address the issue I brought up. You pretended I acted like the definitions in sourcebooks didn't matter, when the closest I came to claiming that was implying that definitions set in sourcebooks are about less important things than definitions set in the core rules.
Dodging the question like this is annoying. Please stop annoying me by ignoring the issues I bring up in favor of some pithy-sounding but utterly irrelevant quip.



You misunderstand. My stance is simple: Those who have moral compunctions to kill the goblins are equally at fault for causing party conflict as those who have moral compunctions to *not* kill the goblins. Whereas those who have no moral compunctions either way are faultless.
That's not unscrupulousness, Quertus, that's apathy.
People who don't care either way are the bane of interesting games, because passion is required for engagement. If the table literally does not care about the outcome of a decision, why does that decision matter?

Max_Killjoy
2019-08-11, 08:36 PM
Not really, no. Because taint actually has effects. Its kind of like pollution in real life; it is harmful, but sometimes it is a necessary byproduct of your actions. You actually have to weigh the pros and cons and ask if the good your spell is bringing in the present it worth the harm it causes in the long run.

On the other hand, BoED morality would say that an otherwise upstanding person who occasionally cast evil for spells for good reasons, say for example casting Death Watch for triage purposes or summoning Fiendish Weasels to drag people out of burning buildings, will be labelled as evil by the cosmos. The spell doesn't cause any tangible harm, you don't change your behavior (remember, alignment is descriptive not prescriptive), and aside from a few very vague lines about upsetting the cosmic balance, no indirect long term consequences.

To me, that is offensive both in and out of character, that you can have perfectly good people doing harmless things for good reasons and still end up bearing the same label as serial killers, sadists, and evil warlords and, if they are an athiest, commend to the lower planes when they die.


The more D&D says about Alignment, the more the authors try to explain and detail and justify, the more fans try to defend it, the more offensive I find it. Before anyone says it, yes, I get that it's a game, and I don't care. It makes morally offensive assertions. Such as those Talakeal points out.

BoED just doubles down on the offensive parts and acts as if they make it all make sense and so on -- it turns D&D into a full-on Cosmic Horror setting, a place where no one should want to live and everyone should be working to overthrow the cosmic order if they can, a complete crapsack world.




Now, for undead it gets even weirder. They want undead to be evil because death is icky and scary and from a narrative perspective the guy in the black robe summoning up undead minions to destroy the living is a classic trope, and it just feels weird if, for example, paladin's smite and cleric's holy words don't affect otherwise mindless undead. But then you have problems with cosmology, where we established that undeath is related to the negative energy plane which, as an inner plane, is neutrally aligned as alignment is a philosophical concept and thus part of the outer planes. And then it gets even weirder when you throw good undead or deathless into the mix, because they are essentially identical to standard undead, except they aren't evil because they run on a different unaligned power source. Its just a mess.


Undead and necromancy must be evil because they must be evil, but they're unwilling to follow through with any of the structural implications or causes for that evilness. It's setting by Just So Story.




One of the things I really like about 4E is that it actually tried to create a unified cosmology mostly from scratch rather than try and staple together 30 years of often inconsistent ideas like 3.5 did.


Or try to be coy about it, to eat the cake and have it too on all the hard or specific questions (5e).

Quertus
2019-08-11, 08:58 PM
That's not unscrupulousness, Quertus, that's apathy.
People who don't care either way are the bane of interesting games, because passion is required for engagement. If the table literally does not care about the outcome of a decision, why does that decision matter?

You seem to be confusing players with characters. It is important for the players to be engaged and not apathetic; it is important for the characters to be morally flexible to facilitate party unity, and not have the moral imperative to ruin the game.

There is a difference between not caring about the outcome of a decision, and not caring which decision is made in the first place.

Max_Killjoy
2019-08-11, 09:01 PM
So, sounds to me like "party cohesion" is a virtue - but it's primarily a player side virtue, as a necessary component for a good* game.

But my point is, unscrupulous characters have no compelling reason to betray the social contract (in or out of character).

* For cooperative games


It's not that an unscrupulous character comes with a built in reason to betray the party.

It's that as soon as a reason comes along, they're far more likely to.

Psyren
2019-08-11, 09:08 PM
Not really, no. Because taint actually has effects. Its kind of like pollution in real life; it is harmful, but sometimes it is a neccesary byproduct of your actions. You actually have to weigh the pros and cons and ask if the good your spell is bringing in the present it worth the harm it causes in the long run.

But that's the whole point, D&D doesn't care if it's "for the greater good." The act is still evil. It might very well be necessary anyway, in which case you (if you're running a class that cares about acts in that way) would be able to get an atonement afterward.


On the other hand, BoED morality would say that an otherwise upstanding person who occasionally cast evil for spells for good reasons, say for example casting Death Watch for triage purposes or summoning Fiendish Weasels to drag people out of burning buildings, will be labelled as evil by the cosmos. The spell doesn't cause any tangible harm, you don't change your behavior (remember, alignment is descriptive not prescriptive), and aside from a few very vague lines about upsetting the cosmic balance, no indirect long term consequences.

To me, that is offensive both in and out of character, that you can have perfectly good people doing harmless things for good reasons and still end up bearing the same label as serial killers, sadists, and evil warlords and, if they are an athiest, commend to the lower planes when they die.

1) As above, you're only condemned in that way if you don't atone. Which you should, if you want to maximize your chances of those actions not impacting your record.

2) Most settings do have a metaphysical judge that can do this sort of weighing of actions after you die - Kelemvor, Pharasma, Wee Jas etc. Even OotS has one. Doesn't stop that specific action from being evil, but your overall record is what ultimately matters to your afterlife destination. So I don't see the fixation on wanting your every single act to be considered good. If you have to animate some skeletons to save the world (or even a save a village) then do it, and consider getting forgiveness afterward - or at the very least, stopping once the immediate danger is over.



Hold on there, I said that splatbooks declare casting evil spells to be evil, but I never said that they give a good reason for "why" they are evil. If you (or anyone else) ever gave explicit citations to the above examples (animating dead traps souls, negative energy is evil aligned, or skeletons / zombies created with 3.5 animate dead go on berserk rampages) I must have missed them and would really appreciate a repost.

I didn't provide any of those three examples specifically so you'll have to ask the folks who did. My citation was the explanation found in Libris Mortis, that all undead represent a constant connection to the negative energy plane that makes it incrementally easier for uncontrolled (and ravening) undead to spontaneously appear on the material.


You: "Alignment is more about categorizing actions than people."
Me: "Then why do the rules tie alignment directly to people, and barely tie it to actions at all outside of sourcebooks?"
You: "Sourcebooks matter too!"

You, um, didn't actually address the issue I brought up. You pretended I acted like the definitions in sourcebooks didn't matter, when the closest I came to claiming that was implying that definitions set in sourcebooks are about less important things than definitions set in the core rules.
Dodging the question like this is annoying. Please stop annoying me by ignoring the issues I bring up in favor of some pithy-sounding but utterly irrelevant quip.

If I didn't answer your question it's because it's utterly confusing. What do you mean by "outside of sourcebooks?" Sourcebooks are the source of the game's rules, it's right there in the name. :smallconfused:

Lord Raziere
2019-08-11, 09:15 PM
Yeah about this.....stories of the chaotic neutral/stupid rogue is just as common as stories of the lawful stupid paladin. both are bad. according to Quertus, the chaotic neutral one should be less likely to betray the party and be loyal, but in practice people play chaotic neutral as an excuse to be disruptive and nonsensical, just as some people play paladins as an excuse to kill anyone pinging evil or whatever.

they're both extreme cartoon versions of such things, and are not separate problems. they're the same problem as it doesn't matter if your unscrupulous or morally (in)flexible because chaotic neutral is one of the most morally flexible alignments you can have. the problem is that the person takes their alignment as proscriptive (and thus do whatever cartoonish thing they think the alignment should do as a straightjacket) or take it for granted (and thus see it an excuse to do anything they want free from consequences, with paladins thinking they are so good anything they do is good, and chaotic neutrals thinking they are free therefore anything can be done without an alignment ping).

its the same problem why anyone is a jerk really "I'm labeled X, therefore this label allows me to do what I want/I should always do Y because of X no matter what, because X makes me superior/above consequences."

Max_Killjoy
2019-08-11, 09:29 PM
1) As above, you're only condemned in that way if you don't atone. Which you should, if you want to maximize your chances of those actions not impacting your record.

2) Most settings do have a metaphysical judge that can do this sort of weighing of actions after you die - Kelemvor, Pharasma, Wee Jas etc. Even OotS has one. Doesn't stop that specific action from being evil, but your overall record is what ultimately matters to your afterlife destination. So I don't see the fixation on wanting your every single act to be considered good. If you have to animate some skeletons to save the world (or even a save a village) then do it, and consider getting forgiveness afterward - or at the very least, stopping once the immediate danger is over.


1) Why would you atone if your action only good intent and good results (like animating some skeletons to save the world, only using them against the BBED's forces in that one battle and then deanimating them, or whatever)? Because some nitwit deity or self-important cosmic "judge" ruled stuck an "Evil" tag on the means you used?

2) Some of the sourcebooks in question, and even some posters here, have stated that it doesn't work that way in D&D, and that it only takes one "Evil" act to offset all the "Good" ever done.

Psyren
2019-08-11, 09:40 PM
1) Why would you atone if your action only good intent and good results (like animating some skeletons to save the world, only using them against the BBED's forces in that one battle and then deanimating them, or whatever)? Because some nitwit deity or self-important cosmic "judge" ruled stuck an "Evil" tag on the means you used?

2) Some of the sourcebooks in question, and even some posters here, have stated that it doesn't work that way in D&D, and that it only takes one "Evil" act to offset all the "Good" ever done.

1) As noted in Libris Mortis, animating undead in D&D never "only has good results" - especially if done routinely. But even if you are habitual enough to shift your alignment, you can be evil and still be a hero, just ask Belkar.

2) While it's certainly possible for a single evil act to be sufficiently heinous (e.g. premeditated murder of an innocent) to shift your alignment to evil regardless of everything else you've done, I don't think casting an evil spell qualifies. At least, not unless that spell is itself particularly heinous.

FaerieGodfather
2019-08-11, 09:58 PM
The rules about how evil outsiders and dragons are especially egregious, for example, the letter of the rules is that working together with them, regardless of method, motivation, or outcome, is always evil, and that killing them, again regardless of method, motivation, or outcome, is always good just makes my head spin, and is so antithetical to the whole concept of Planescape that I just can't quite follow how the same guy wrote them both.

Sometimes I wonder if the D&D alignment system isn't actually aggressively stupid on purpose, and that every single instance of hypocrisy and sheer bloody-minded viciousness (from "Good") is actually absolutely intentional. The only thing that keeps me from going all-in on this (admittedly mean-spriited) fan theory is that I simply cannot fathom any sensible motive why the designers of D&D would keep making these rules even more arbritrary and capricious over time.


Its been a long time since I have read heroes of horror; does that book actually say animate dead is evil or is it that it just doesn't say it isn't.

I feel like I'm stepping in something here based on the last couple of pages, but it doesn't say that animate dead is an evil spell in Heroes of Horror; animate dead is listed, mechanically as an [Evil] spell in the Player's Handbook. Heroes of Horror just describes how casting [Evil] spells interacts with the new Taint rules.


The thing about taint is that it actually gives reasons for the spell to be evil, essentially allowing players to make informed decisions. I don't have a problem with things being evil, I have a problem with things being arbitrarily labelled evil with no given explanation.

I mean, one, that's how the entire alignment system works. There's no part of it that is more intentionally and rationally thought out than randomly assigning [Evil] subtypes to things that make us uncomfortable.

Two, you've already had all of the arguments about animate dead. Thing is, all of the arguments for why creating undead is Evil are in the Core Rules, all of the arguments for why creating undead is Neutral are in the Core Rules... in the same books, with the same weight, as the arbitrary rule declaring in no uncertain terms that it's Evil. You really can't argue that it's invalid without also conceding that the entire rest of the alignment mess is invalid.

Which is what drives me nuts about the whole thing: people generate thousands upon thousands of pages trying to fix a broken system, and then vehemently denying that it's broken whenever someone suggests that it's more trouble than it's worth.

GreatWyrmGold
2019-08-11, 10:07 PM
BoED just doubles down on the offensive parts and acts as if they make it all make sense and so on -- it turns D&D into a full-on Cosmic Horror setting, a place where no one should want to live and everyone should be working to overthrow the cosmic order if they can, a complete crapsack world.
Accidental cosmic horror is the best. Well, there's some intentional cosmic horror that doesn't just rip off Lovecraft, lacking the spark of passionate terror which made Lovecraft famous yet still including the unfortunate implications which his specific fears lead to, but it's pretty dang rare.



You seem to be confusing players with characters. It is important for the players to be engaged and not apathetic; it is important for the characters to be morally flexible to facilitate party unity, and not have the moral imperative to ruin the game.

There is a difference between not caring about the outcome of a decision, and not caring which decision is made in the first place.
I'm trying to wrap your head around what kind of person, playing a game that they care about, decides to play a character who doesn't care about the game they live in. And how having characters who don't care about decisions being made and other game events is anything but a terrible idea. And how having characters that don't care prevents intra-party conflict from arising when different players have different ideas of what should be done.
I'm also trying to figure out what you mean by "decision". Do you mean the specific action taken, and you're splitting hairs over the alleged difference between caring about what action is taken and the results of said action? Because that's a friggin' fine hair to split!
Basically, this sounds like a load of nonsense, and you need to do some more explaining about what the heck you mean by this stuff before I can accept it as even a possibility.



1) Why would you atone if your action only good intent and good results (like animating some skeletons to save the world, only using them against the BBED's forces in that one battle and then deanimating them, or whatever)? Because some nitwit deity or self-important cosmic "judge" ruled stuck an "Evil" tag on the means you used?
In principle, atoning for evil done in the service of the greater good makes sense. If you had to torch a town to stop it from feeding a nascent undead army or whatever, you atone by rebuilding the town and helping the survivors get by without all the family and friends they lost. The kind of atonement that may never end, if the harm done surpasses what a mere lifetime can repay.
In D&D, you cast a spell, maybe go on a quest if the DM decides to add that extra barrier, and then forget about it. It's the most shallow type of atonement imaginable, which is part of what causes this weird disconnect between RAW theory and perception of reality. (Another part being that the Evil-ness of an act is often ill-defined.)


I don't have my BoVD or BoED on me, but I'd like to point out that according to one of them, Tsukiko would count as Evil just for wanting to bone Xykon. Not the betrayal or other crimes, not the murder, not the necromancy, not even the borderline sexual harassment restrained only by Xykon's habit of killing annoying minions—the necrophilia. One of the books specifies that even consensual sex with undead counts as an Evil act, for no reason I can remember (beyond, presumably, "Ew".)

There's probably some other dumb stuff, but that's what comes to mind.

FaerieGodfather
2019-08-11, 10:30 PM
I don't have my BoVD or BoED on me, but I'd like to point out that according to one of them, Tsukiko would count as Evil just for wanting to bone Xykon. Not the betrayal or other crimes, not the murder, not the necromancy, not even the borderline sexual harassment restrained only by Xykon's habit of killing annoying minions—the necrophilia. One of the books specifies that even consensual sex with undead counts as an Evil act, for no reason I can remember (beyond, presumably, "Ew".)

There's probably some other dumb stuff, but that's what comes to mind.


And of course, if you're Goody-Good enough you can take a Vow of Chastity and get superpowers from it. What, exactly, does refraining from consensual sex have to do with Good alignment? Apparently, in some settings just asking this question is enough to make your Paladin lose his class powers.

Seriously, the only reason I ever owned a copy of Book of Exalted Deeds is that I accidentally damaged a copy at the bookstore. It is not nearly the most laughably stupid D&D book I have ever owned, but it is by far the most morally offensive.

hamishspence
2019-08-12, 12:59 AM
And of course, if you're Goody-Good enough you can take a Vow of Chastity and get superpowers from it. What, exactly, does refraining from consensual sex have to do with Good alignment?

The reasoning:

"These are similar to vows of poverty or abstinence - rooted in the belief that giving up the enjoyment of a good and natural thing can have positive spiritual benefits."

Satinavian
2019-08-12, 01:01 AM
I don't have my BoVD or BoED on me, but I'd like to point out that according to one of them, Tsukiko would count as Evil just for wanting to bone Xykon. Not the betrayal or other crimes, not the murder, not the necromancy, not even the borderline sexual harassment restrained only by Xykon's habit of killing annoying minions—the necrophilia. One of the books specifies that even consensual sex with undead counts as an Evil act, for no reason I can remember (beyond, presumably, "Ew".)

There's probably some other dumb stuff, but that's what comes to mind.

And at the same time Libris Mortis gives us the NEUTRAL goddess Evening Glory which is all about love beyond the grave and about preservation of beauty through undeath.

FaerieGodfather
2019-08-12, 01:41 AM
The reasoning:

"These are similar to vows of poverty or abstinence - rooted in the belief that giving up the enjoyment of a good and natural thing can have positive spiritual benefits."

That still doesn't have anything to do with Good, though. Neutral and Evil characters are all equally capable of taking the same vows and theoretically enjoying the same positive spiritual benefits. I mean, just think of all the REAL LIFE EXAMPLES and all of the horrific REAL LIFE EXAMPLES they committed while not having sex, not eating meat, not drinking alcohol and even not owning property.

Like I said, the core alignment rules were logically incoherent and detrimental to gameplay for thirty years, but the Book of Vile Darkness and the Book of Exalted Deeds actually made them real-world real-life morally offensive-- not on par with the games that must not be named, but damned well on-par with some of the worst games that can be.