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bundlesandflows
2019-08-31, 10:41 PM
Are there compelling counterexamples of Lawful Good individuals (who are unambiguously Lawful Good) who aren't very positive or wholesome people to be around? I'm thinking through a character concept right now and would love some input.

TheYell
2019-08-31, 10:54 PM
Nero Wolfe and Horace Rumpole come to mind. Nero Wolfe is a condescending misogynist and Rumpole is a smartass.

To quote Psychoalpha in another thread:


Some days I wish the sort of people prone to playing Paladins would understand that Good is what they're supposed to do, and Lawful is just how they're supposed to go about it.

They don't have to be pollyanna, when push comes to shove they are good, and they follow rules about it.

Pex
2019-08-31, 11:20 PM
Rick Grimes

Evil DM Mark3
2019-09-01, 02:54 AM
Nero Wolfe and Horace Rumpole come to mind. Nero Wolfe is a condescending misogynist and Rumpole is a smartass.

I'd argue that most of the intelectual western detective archetypes, all the way back to Holmes, tend to be rather high-handed, arrogant, abrassive and have problems with addiction and prejudice. They aren't bad people and they do have friends, but the average person would find them hard to get along with. They are almost always LG.

Mastikator
2019-09-01, 04:57 AM
I'd argue an abrasive or difficult to get along with type lawful good character isn't just possible but so common it's a cliche. If anything I'd view a wholesome nice lawful good as a bit of fresh air

a_flemish_guy
2019-09-01, 06:21 AM
deathseeker: this guy has nothing left to live for and will happily die defending an empty farm from a horde of goblins to prevent them plundering it

apathic hedonist: this guy still follows all the rules he used to but it's become more of a ritual at this point rather then serving some purpose and he's indulging in whatever is allowed to

zealot: this guy thinks not being evil isn't enough, you have to actively oppose it in order to be seen as good

Jay R
2019-09-01, 08:47 AM
One axis of alignment is about morality. The other is about inner consistency.

Neither is about personality.

Kaptin Keen
2019-09-01, 09:13 AM
It's worth noting that Lawful really isn't particularly good. In fact, taken to extremes, Lawful is pretty much universally evil.

I realise more extremes are pretty much universally evil, though.

But I'd say that ... if you're actually Good - then by and large, you're never Lawful, at least not with any real dedication. Being Good means letting the small stuff slide. So my argument here is that you more or less cannot be Lawful Good. Maybe you can be (Lawful) Good. But ironclad insistance on Law and Order simply isn't compatible with Good.

Edit: Add an IMO anywhere you like, if this post disagrees badly with you for any reason =)

Max_Killjoy
2019-09-01, 09:28 AM
A "lawful good" person can be downright horrible to be around, especially if they conflate "lawful" and "good", or if their idea of "good" is warped.

Archpaladin Zousha
2019-09-01, 09:49 AM
While a large portion of this depends on the writer, 3.5's Complete Scoundrel listed Batman as a Lawful Good scoundrel, and Batman actively TRIES to be unpleasant to be around, inasmuch as his gimmick is scaring the crap out of criminals and beating them up. Granted, you can place different interpretations of Batman on EVERY axis of the alignment chart, but I think that Batman's most consistent personality traits tend towards the anti-social side.

Mark Hall
2019-09-01, 10:13 AM
Sam Vimes.

Sam isn't a horrible person; he loves his wife, adores his kid, and takes care of his officers. But he's not a pleasant person to be around (unlike, say, Carrot Ironfoundersson). He can be curt and undiplomatic. He doesn't want to waste time with fools.

But he believes in law and order as a means to help people. He thinks structures in society should serve society, not a small subsect of it. And he's aware that the law lays differently on a poor person's shoulders than a rich person's, and takes that into account.

As for


It's worth noting that Lawful really isn't particularly good. In fact, taken to extremes, Lawful is pretty much universally evil.

I realise more extremes are pretty much universally evil, though.

But I'd say that ... if you're actually Good - then by and large, you're never Lawful, at least not with any real dedication. Being Good means letting the small stuff slide. So my argument here is that you more or less cannot be Lawful Good. Maybe you can be (Lawful) Good. But ironclad insistance on Law and Order simply isn't compatible with Good.

That's not how it works. Lawful CAN lend itself to Evil, but Lawful, itself, is never evil. just as X is never Y.

Yes, ironclad insistence on Law and Order isn't compatible with good in most cases, but Lawful Good is that Law and Order tempered with mercy. In a Lawful Good society, you will have the acknowledgement that there are cases where the law doesn't provide adequate mercy, and the law will be written to take that into account... the child who steals bread to eat in a LG society will have their home life looked at, and be given the care and attention needed to help them succeed inside society. The child who steals bread in a LN society will be given the appropriate sentence for their crime. In a LE society, what is deemed "appropriate" will inevitably enrich SOMEONE.

Because, while it seems a tautology, Lawful Good cannot be Evil, because it is Good. If it ceases to be Good, it ceases to be Lawful Good, and becomes something else. It may still CALL itself Lawful Good, but, well, I can call myself a kid, and that was true at one point, but it's not true anymore.

Tanarii
2019-09-01, 10:19 AM
Sam Vimes is lawful good? He's neither lawful nor good.

Carrot Ironfounderson and Michael Carpenter are both Lawful Good, and great examples of a traditional Paladin mindset.

Cygnia
2019-09-01, 10:23 AM
There's a reason why Good Is Not Nice (https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/GoodIsNotNice) exists

Kaptin Keen
2019-09-01, 10:40 AM
That's not how it works. Lawful CAN lend itself to Evil, but Lawful, itself, is never evil. just as X is never Y.

Yes, ironclad insistence on Law and Order isn't compatible with good in most cases, but Lawful Good is that Law and Order tempered with mercy. In a Lawful Good society, you will have the acknowledgement that there are cases where the law doesn't provide adequate mercy, and the law will be written to take that into account... the child who steals bread to eat in a LG society will have their home life looked at, and be given the care and attention needed to help them succeed inside society. The child who steals bread in a LN society will be given the appropriate sentence for their crime. In a LE society, what is deemed "appropriate" will inevitably enrich SOMEONE.

Because, while it seems a tautology, Lawful Good cannot be Evil, because it is Good. If it ceases to be Good, it ceases to be Lawful Good, and becomes something else. It may still CALL itself Lawful Good, but, well, I can call myself a kid, and that was true at one point, but it's not true anymore.

No see .... that's not how it works. All alignments have dual components, Lawful and Good, in this case. So yes, Lawful Good means the Law and Order component has to be tempered by mercy - which is precisely what I'm saying. In essence, sure, a Good person can enjoy some law and order, no sweat. But if you're Good, you cannot be extremely Lawful - the two don't mix.

And Lawful, by itself, is very close to supremely evil, if practiced in the extreme. It's every bit as evil as chaotic, but way better organised.

Unsurprisingly, I also don't quite agree with your interpretations of LN and LE. But that's another discussion.

Also, I believe Sam Vimes is quite definitely good. This is good: Do anything for the benefit of others, for no direct gain to yourself (and charity, voting and meaning well do not count). Sam Vimes goes through one veritable ****storm after another for the benefit of others. That he grumbles the whole way does little to change the fact that he's thoroughly good. I think he also feels that lawful behaviour, by and large, is preferable to the alternative.

TheYell
2019-09-01, 10:53 AM
{{Scrubbed}} They may not be clean or reverent or humble or patient or kind.

A Lawful Good character follows a supreme code of behavior. That may or may not mirror the lawbooks.
A Lawful Good character in a LN jurisdiction will go beyond the written law to see justice done.
A Lawful Good character in a LE jurisdiction will violate the written law to see justice done.

A Lawful Good character seeks to be good consistently, applying his code to his behavior, instead of just using his best judgment in a given situation (NG) or being totally unprepared to discuss the nature of Good behavior in a hypothetical situation (CG).

I cited Nero Wolfe as an example. Nero Wolfe is shown backing out of a case by mail, only to tear up the letter because the message wasn't honorable. He then goes to work (which he hates to do) to think up an honorable way out (solving the crime). A NG would have sent the letter and consoled himself that it was the best he could think of at the time. A CG wouldn't see the problem.

PhoenixPhyre
2019-09-01, 10:53 AM
Also, I believe Sam Vimes is quite definitely good. This is good: Do anything for the benefit of others, for no direct gain to yourself (and charity, voting and meaning well do not count). Sam Vimes goes through one veritable ****storm after another for the benefit of others. That he grumbles the whole way does little to change the fact that he's thoroughly good. I think he also feels that lawful behaviour, by and large, is preferable to the alternative.

I agree that Sam Vimes is Lawful Good. In fact, his big struggle is between Law and Good--he has to suppress the Hall Monitor side of him, the part that believes in fiat justicia, ruat caelum. He does a pretty good job of it, but doesn't think he does. He clearly sees himself as not being very Good, and is not a nice person (especially if you're messing with the Law or the Good), but he's not evil under any sane meaning of that word. Heck, even his Assassin traps are humane rather than lethal or even directly harmful. He only hurts people when he absolutely needs to, and frequently puts himself through tons of crap to shield others from harm. That's big-G Good in my book. And Law is his defining characteristic. It may not be the law of the land, but it's certainly a dedication to order and structure.

And even Corporal Ironfounderson isn't very nice (from the point of view of those whom he stares down). Evil people often see those pure good types as being nastier than the more shady good ones. Because they can't understand them at all. They come across (to the evil-doers) as being inhuman, at least to some degree.

Tanarii
2019-09-01, 10:55 AM
I agree that Sam Vimes is Lawful Good. In fact, his big struggle is between Law and Good-
His struggle is between Lawful Evil and Chaotic Good. He usually lands somewhere in the middle.

Lord Raziere
2019-09-01, 10:59 AM
I'd argue that most of the intellectual western detective archetypes, all the way back to Holmes, tend to be rather high-handed, arrogant, abrassive and have problems with addiction and prejudice. They aren't bad people and they do have friends, but the average person would find them hard to get along with. They are almost always LG.

I mean I can applaud Good people not being all shining knights, but somehow one being prejudiced just leaves a bad taste in my mouth that just being a smartass, abrasive personalities or an alcoholic doesn't. there is understandable flaws and then there is things that I'm just not personally comfortable with.

but yeah its possible to be Lawful Good but not a shining knight or whatever, you just have to ask yourself what flaws your comfortable with that you can work them in without outweighing the alignment, because if you do the flaw badly it overshadows the good they do and thus makes them not good at all. there is a bit of a balancing act to that, and the good has to significantly outweigh their flaw at the end of the day.

as for examples, a Secret Agent or Spy For Heaven or other good organization is technically LG, they have discipline and rules and operations they strictly follow for the Good, but do some pretty shady things that some other LG would not do. their rules are rules of getting the job against evil done cleanly as they can, they have a meticulously planned cover story, they they do it all to make good wins, but a lying, sneaking secret agent who manipulates people, assassinates evil dictators and is probably a bit strict about making sure the operation goes correctly probably ain't entirely wholesome.

Silfir
2019-09-01, 11:01 AM
It's worth noting that Lawful really isn't particularly good. In fact, taken to extremes, Lawful is pretty much universally evil.

I realise more extremes are pretty much universally evil, though.

But I'd say that ... if you're actually Good - then by and large, you're never Lawful, at least not with any real dedication. Being Good means letting the small stuff slide. So my argument here is that you more or less cannot be Lawful Good. Maybe you can be (Lawful) Good. But ironclad insistance on Law and Order simply isn't compatible with Good.

Edit: Add an IMO anywhere you like, if this post disagrees badly with you for any reason =)

Well, that's exactly what a Chaotic Good person would say.

To a Lawful Good character, being Lawful is how they hope to achieve Good - because they believe law and order is indispensable to Good goals. (Who but the law can protect the weak from the strong?) How well it works depends entirely on where the system of Law they have pledged themselves to stands on the Good-Evil scale. A Lawful Good character cannot follow an Evil set of laws; they will tend to choose a different authority - like a Paladin deciding to follow the cause of a deity of Good that has long been suppressed by the Evil rulers.

PhoenixPhyre
2019-09-01, 11:12 AM
His struggle is between Lawful Evil and Chaotic Good. He usually lands somewhere in the middle.

I don't know of any instances of him taking actions to enrich himself or gratify his own desires at the expense of others. In fact, he sacrifices himself strongly lots of times to protect others from harm even when they don't like him. I see no Lawful Evil in him at all. Even at his darkest, he was donating basically his entire salary to the widows and orphans of the watch (along with buying cheap alcohol and cheap shoes).

All of his actions are guided by his own personal code of honor and justice, and he puts large emphasis on doing things properly. He works to encourage others to obey the law of the land and only goes around it when it's impossible to do his job. He also then accepts the consequences for doing so. His favorite title is Blackboard Monitor. He's got an "inner Watchman" strong enough to restrain a force of cosmic darkness (the Summoning Dark) to the point that he's never actually lost control to it. He's Lawful as all get out.

Sure, he's a master cynic and anything but an authoritarian. He believes in the common man and self-organization, but he's also a force for order. He rebuilds the Watch into an effective organization, including training and filtering out those that don't agree. He's all about Social Order.

GloatingSwine
2019-09-01, 11:19 AM
Well, that's exactly what a Chaotic Good person would say.


Not really, it's what someone who realises what the extremes of law and chaos are would say.

Mechanus is no more hospitable to the mortal who would remain sane than is Limbo.

Mark Hall
2019-09-01, 11:20 AM
No see .... that's not how it works. All alignments have dual components, Lawful and Good, in this case. So yes, Lawful Good means the Law and Order component has to be tempered by mercy - which is precisely what I'm saying. In essence, sure, a Good person can enjoy some law and order, no sweat. But if you're Good, you cannot be extremely Lawful - the two don't mix.

And Lawful, by itself, is very close to supremely evil, if practiced in the extreme. It's every bit as evil as chaotic, but way better organised.

Unsurprisingly, I also don't quite agree with your interpretations of LN and LE. But that's another discussion.


And Mount Celestia would disagree with you. As would Bytopia and Arcadia, for that matter... all places where Law and Good co-exist and mutually reinforce each other.

A Lawful Good society is built around the idea that institutions support the greater good. They may not always be perfect for the specific good... there may be individuals who fall through the cracks... but society and its institutions are built to minimize those, and ensure good outcomes for everyone. It is not simply "law and order", though that will be part of it; it is the mutual reinforcement of each other. If the Law is not supporting the Good, then the Law must be examined so it supports the Good, because Law is how you do things, and Good is what you do.

While the cosmology is today called "The Great Wheel", I think it is more accurate as it was originally conceived... a square. If you arrange things on a wheel, then Neutral Good winds up as a higher Good than Lawful or Chaotic Good, and Lawful Neutral winds up more Lawful than Lawful Good or Lawful Evil. I do not view this as true. Rather, Lawful Good is exactly as Lawful as Lawful Neutral and Lawful Evil, and exactly as good as Neutral Good and Chaotic Good; at any point on any plane, if you draw a straight line vertical and a straight line horizontal, everything on the Y is exactly as lawful or chaotic as everything else on that line, and everything on the X is exactly as good or evil. The Seven Heavens, the 9 Hells, the Abyss, and Olympus do not border on Neutrality; they have no truck with it.

Max_Killjoy
2019-09-01, 11:37 AM
And Mount Celestia would disagree with you. As would Bytopia and Arcadia, for that matter... all places where Law and Good co-exist and mutually reinforce each other.

A Lawful Good society is built around the idea that institutions support the greater good. They may not always be perfect for the specific good... there may be individuals who fall through the cracks... but society and its institutions are built to minimize those, and ensure good outcomes for everyone. It is not simply "law and order", though that will be part of it; it is the mutual reinforcement of each other. If the Law is not supporting the Good, then the Law must be examined so it supports the Good, because Law is how you do things, and Good is what you do.

While the cosmology is today called "The Great Wheel", I think it is more accurate as it was originally conceived... a square. If you arrange things on a wheel, then Neutral Good winds up as a higher Good than Lawful or Chaotic Good, and Lawful Neutral winds up more Lawful than Lawful Good or Lawful Evil. I do not view this as true. Rather, Lawful Good is exactly as Lawful as Lawful Neutral and Lawful Evil, and exactly as good as Neutral Good and Chaotic Good; at any point on any plane, if you draw a straight line vertical and a straight line horizontal, everything on the Y is exactly as lawful or chaotic as everything else on that line, and everything on the X is exactly as good or evil. The Seven Heavens, the 9 Hells, the Abyss, and Olympus do not border on Neutrality; they have no truck with it.

Lawful Good and Chaotic Good CANNOT be as good as Neutral Good, they're going to sometimes put Law or Chaos ahead of good.

hamishspence
2019-09-01, 11:43 AM
To them, Law (and Chaos) are means to the end - the end being Good - making the world a happier, nicer place. The average LG person is not particularly interested in "advancing the cause of Law".

Mark Hall
2019-09-01, 11:57 AM
Lawful Good and Chaotic Good CANNOT be as good as Neutral Good, they're going to sometimes put Law or Chaos ahead of good.

And so will Neutral Good.

Neutral Good will see, at times, that supporting Chaos over Good NOW will lead to greater Good LATER.

Or they'll make an error in judgement.

Alignments are not Points in Space. They are Planes, and usually several planes. Lawful Good is three; Arcadia, Mount Celestia, and Bytopia. Someone who is Lawful Good might be inclined towards any of those three planes, and still be Lawful Good. Any point in Bytopia or Mount Celestia is more Good than any point in Arcadia; any point in Arcadia or Mount Celestia is more Lawful than any point in Bytopia. But Arcadia is not necessarily more Lawful than Celestia, or Bytopia more Good.

Max_Killjoy
2019-09-01, 12:00 PM
To them, Law (and Chaos) are means to the end - the end being Good - making the world a happier, nicer place. The average LG person is not particularly interested in "advancing the cause of Law".


Then they're not Lawful Good, they're just Good.




And so will Neutral Good.

Neutral Good will see, at times, that supporting Chaos over Good NOW will lead to greater Good LATER.


The motivations of a Neutral Good character and a Chaotic Good character at the same decision point will be different, however.

At the end of the day, the Neutral good character probably just cares about do the right thing, avoiding hurting people, trying to help people, etc... while the Chaotic Good or Lawful Good character will forego doing those things sometimes because they'd have to sacrifice "freedom" or "order" to do so, and in each case they're balancing doing the right thing with their respective ideological priorities.




Or they'll make an error in judgement.


Errors in judgement are orthogonal to the question. Every character can make errors in judgement.




Alignments are not Points in Space. They are Planes, and usually several planes. Lawful Good is three; Arcadia, Mount Celestia, and Bytopia. Someone who is Lawful Good might be inclined towards any of those three planes, and still be Lawful Good. Any point in Bytopia or Mount Celestia is more Good than any point in Arcadia; any point in Arcadia or Mount Celestia is more Lawful than any point in Bytopia. But Arcadia is not necessarily more Lawful than Celestia, or Bytopia more Good.


See other thread, I don't care about the afterlife or cosmology questions when it comes to the subject of Alignment and morality / Alignment vs morality. If someone's worried about how their actions affect their afterlife or cosmological impact, they've left the space of moral considerations behind.

hamishspence
2019-09-01, 12:42 PM
Then they're not Lawful Good, they're just Good.




As BoED points out, an Archon is vastly more able to stomach the Chaos of an Eladrin, than the Evil of a Devil. They are Good first, Lawful very much second.

LG and CG characters can and do routinely cooperate toward Good ends. Adventuring parties frequently consist of Good characters of all alignments.

Evil DM Mark3
2019-09-01, 01:06 PM
No see .... that's not how it works. All alignments have dual components, Lawful and Good, in this case. So yes, Lawful Good means the Law and Order component has to be tempered by mercy - which is precisely what I'm saying. In essence, sure, a Good person can enjoy some law and order, no sweat. But if you're Good, you cannot be extremely Lawful - the two don't mix.

So you can't be fully good if you are lawful, but you can be fully evil? So there is never a situation where an evil person looses out by following a treaty or reveals information by adhering to their commitment to the truth?

This is just an inability to understand the difference between ethics and morality.


I mean I can applaud Good people not being all shining knights, but somehow one being prejudiced just leaves a bad taste in my mouth that just being a smartass, abrasive personalities or an alcoholic doesn't. there is understandable flaws and then there is things that I'm just not personally comfortable with. 2 points, first prejudice is neither bigotry or discrimination, it just means to pre-judge a person. Sherlock Holmes and Nero Wolfe were both written explicitly as misongonists, and they never learned (for crying out loud A Scandal on Bohemia where Sherlock loses because his oponent is "just" a woman is very early, and he still disrespects women for the rest of the stories)!

2: Prejudice is born from the Lawful influence of the human mind, the desire to categorise and group. All X are Y. To Wolfe, women were flighty and irrational. To Holmes Germans were agressive and had no respect for the form of language over its function. To Vimes, well find me a group Vimes isn't prejudiced against, including coppers and humans.

zinycor
2019-09-01, 01:06 PM
Pretty much a cop, btw, being LG, doesn't mean that the character can't be racist, misogynistic or a stick in the mud...

Tanarii
2019-09-01, 01:14 PM
(Good coubterpoints on Sam Vimes)Honestly, i'm not sure why I commented. I consider trying to suss out alignment from actions, especially from fiction characters, to be bass-ackwards. Its really only useful as a player motivation, to be considered when making decisons on taking actions. Not as a yardstick to measure actions taken.

Max_Killjoy
2019-09-01, 01:18 PM
As BoED points out, an Archon is vastly more able to stomach the Chaos of an Eladrin, than the Evil of a Devil. They are Good first, Lawful very much second.

LG and CG characters can and do routinely cooperate toward Good ends. Adventuring parties frequently consist of Good characters of all alignments.

Then the diagram should be an oval, with the long axis on Good vs Evil.

zinycor
2019-09-01, 01:20 PM
As BoED points out, an Archon is vastly more able to stomach the Chaos of an Eladrin, than the Evil of a Devil. They are Good first, Lawful very much second.

LG and CG characters can and do routinely cooperate toward Good ends. Adventuring parties frequently consist of Good characters of all alignments.

I don't think I have ever been on a party without evil characters.

hamishspence
2019-09-01, 01:25 PM
Then the diagram should be an oval, with the long axis on Good vs Evil.

That would imply that LE and CE are vastly more tolerant of each other than they are of Good. Which is not true.

As Red Fel points out:

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?448542-Compliance-Will-Be-Rewarded-A-Guide-to-Lawful-Evil

Chaotic Evil: To those who think that Chaotic Good is Lawful Evil's worst enemy, I say you, "Look here, and behold." Chaotic Evil is all of the anarchy of Chaotic Good and Chaotic Neutral, with none of the manipulable idealism. Good can be channeled towards ostensibly Good ends; Neutral can still be channeled through its love of freedom and self-expression. But there is no leash that can restrain Chaotic Evil's mad, brutal passion, no structure or agreement that can bind them to your will. Kill them on sight; nobody would begrudge the loss of another demon.


LE hates CE vastly more than it hates any of the Good alignments.


Just as different Good alignments tend to cooperate, different Evil alignments tend to fight.

PhoenixPhyre
2019-09-01, 01:27 PM
Honestly, i'm not sure why I commented. I consider trying to suss out alignment from actions, especially from fiction characters, to be bass-ackwards. Its really only useful as a player motivation, to be considered when making decisons on taking actions. Not as a yardstick to measure actions taken.

I mostly agree, but with fully-narrated characters (like Sam Vimes), where you get a good look "under the hood", you can get relatively close.

Of course, as with all non-D&D fiction, you have to adjust for the fact that the alignments aren't actual thing in the universe of the character, but...

In general, I strongly dislike attempts to pigeonhole people based on alignment. If we treat each alignment[1] as only being in the extreme edges (in this case extreme Good + extreme Law) instead of being a relatively broad, generic statement with lots of squishiness at the intersections, you end up with the Lawful Stupid or the "all paladins fall" pathologies (or the host of others for the other alignments). And that's stupid.

[1] Neutral would only be in the "center" of its domain, furthest from the edges.

Mark Hall
2019-09-01, 03:49 PM
See other thread, I don't care about the afterlife or cosmology questions when it comes to the subject of Alignment and morality / Alignment vs morality. If someone's worried about how their actions affect their afterlife or cosmological impact, they've left the space of moral considerations behind.

I disagree.

First of all, this is not simply a question of afterlife or cosmology; it is a question of geography, of a real place (within D&D), that is ordered by points on two axes, traditionally represented by Y+ being Good and Y- being Evil, and X- being Lawful, and X+ being Chaotic. Now, these intersections of these axes are broadly grouped into sets, depending on where in their quadrant they fall; something that is a high value Y and a high absolute value X- gets called "Lawful Good", but so will something with a lower value of Y and a lower absolute value of X... until they fall out of the defined borders of their ninth of the plane (a mathematical plane), and into another ninth of the plane.

All of those points, between |-X| and Y, are Lawful Good, unless you decrease the Y too much, or decrease the |-X| too much.

While the traditional Great Wheel cosmology calls these multitude of places "planes", ones place in them can be assumed by viewing alignment... the weighted average of actions, reactions, and intentions... as a mathematical plane. Indeed, something like this appeared in the 1e Player's Handbook

https://imgur.com/rFzHY81

If you say, for example, anything with an absolute value of 3 or less is "Neutral", while an X value of 3+ is "chaotic" and a -X value of -3 or less is "Lawful", and a Y value of 3+ is Good, and a -Y value of -3 or more is Evil, you can point to where someone belongs on that plane by the sum of their actions, reactions, and intentions. And their location on the coordinate plane would correspond to a location on the outer planes, barring divine intervention (i.e. a god taking a follower of a different alignment to their domain for the afterlife). -8,2? They are Lawful Neutral. 8,-2? Chaotic Neutral. 3.14,3.14? Chaotic Good.

It's not just cosmology; it's geography. Overlapping use of the word "plane" aside, it's relatively straightforward geography.1

And, I would argue that people DO worry about their actions affecting their afterlife destination and their cosmological impact... that's the very nature of saying "Am I doing good? Is what I am doing bettering people's lives, or making them worse"? The nature of moral and ethical self-reflection is to ask these questions; Paladins must, by dint of their class, ask these questions with everything they do, and come up with correct answers on the fly. If concerning oneself with the moral meaning of one's actions removes one from acting morally, Paladins cannot exist, since they must always concern themselves with it.

Good and Evil are real and measurable things in D&D. They don't just have directions, they have an address. You can go there.

1 Planar layers also indicate that there is a Z coordinate, as well, but that varies from plane to plane and does not seem to correspond with any changes in their moral or ethical alignment.

Nifft
2019-09-01, 04:01 PM
Then the diagram should be an oval, with the long axis on Good vs Evil.

The idea of alignment-as-a-grid is inherently very silly, and that's perfectly fine because D&D is also very silly.

We play this game because it's fun, not because it's a good description of moral philosophy or some kind of ethical simulation engine. It's neither of those things.

You could tweak it in various ways, but you would need to put in a lot of very difficult work to make it non-silly, and it might not be possible to do so without changing the axes in ways that would render the results incomparable to the original.

-- -- --

Answering the thread, I agree with those who say LG isn't a personality descriptor.

Charisma is more like a personality descriptor -- a high Charisma score is probably a better indicator of ability to appear positive & wholesome.

Imagine a high-Charisma Druid who is True Neutral, very wholesome in terms of natural remedies (including death, when natural) and all-around buxom healthfulness.

The high-Charisma Druid may also be very positive since Mother Nature always wins out in the end, and therefore we live in a truly wonderful world, which is joyously blessed by red teeth and claws.

Khedrac
2019-09-01, 04:10 PM
Mark - your image isn't displayed for me (is imgur one of the sites that blocks gitp?) but I could copy the link location and view it that way.

Somehting I think people are forgtting is that different people's understanding of what "Good" and "Lawful" and "Lawful Good" etc. mean in D&D terms differ. That does not mean that anyone in particular is "right" or "wrong", but people are going to misread other people's points because they are not understanding the terms used in the same way.

For me the classic example of this was in the old "Herald level GM" test on the WotC website of the living campaigns (notably Living Greyhawk). One of the questions was about what alignment a character should be given how the player wanted to play him (or her) - the description of the character was absolutely classic "chaotic neutral" (without being stupid) but the supposedly correct answer was "true neutral".
(Iirc the player in question wanted to be able to act entirely according to their whim at the moment, i.e. totally unpredictable.)

Despite that, to get back to the original question, I think the answer is "they can be, but they don't have to be".
Something to remember is that on the alignment graph each alignment represents an area so that two characters can share an alignment whist having different standards and priorities even when judged under the same definitions of the alignments.
I think everyone who has posted in this thread can come up with characters who are, to them, lawful good, but are not pleasant company.
Equally, I think most people can come up with lawful good characters who are pleasant company.
[I say most, because I get the impression that some people's definition of "lawful" is sufficiently rigid that it would be very hard to come up with a pleasant lawful character. I disagree with that definition of "lawful", but that is my opinion not theirs (of course I hope I am wrong about people holding that opinion).]

Arcangel4774
2019-09-01, 05:23 PM
As theirs multiple ways to interperate the spectrum ill start by explaining the criterium i use. I leave the moral spectrum DM dependent so see what values he/she consider good evil or nuetral. On what i like to call the entropic spectrum, i judge based on orginaztion and methodology to actions. To this ends many doctors and detectives fall under the lawful good spectrum, but due to vices or pride, cna be insufferable as people. Holmes and House (the show is a reimagining) are great examples.

Max_Killjoy
2019-09-01, 05:35 PM
I disagree.

First of all, this is not simply a question of afterlife or cosmology; it is a question of geography, of a real place (within D&D), that is ordered by points on two axes, traditionally represented by Y+ being Good and Y- being Evil, and X- being Lawful, and X+ being Chaotic. Now, these intersections of these axes are broadly grouped into sets, depending on where in their quadrant they fall; something that is a high value Y and a high absolute value X- gets called "Lawful Good", but so will something with a lower value of Y and a lower absolute value of X... until they fall out of the defined borders of their ninth of the plane (a mathematical plane), and into another ninth of the plane.

All of those points, between |-X| and Y, are Lawful Good, unless you decrease the Y too much, or decrease the |-X| too much.

While the traditional Great Wheel cosmology calls these multitude of places "planes", ones place in them can be assumed by viewing alignment... the weighted average of actions, reactions, and intentions... as a mathematical plane. Indeed, something like this appeared in the 1e Player's Handbook

https://imgur.com/rFzHY81

If you say, for example, anything with an absolute value of 3 or less is "Neutral", while an X value of 3+ is "chaotic" and a -X value of -3 or less is "Lawful", and a Y value of 3+ is Good, and a -Y value of -3 or more is Evil, you can point to where someone belongs on that plane by the sum of their actions, reactions, and intentions. And their location on the coordinate plane would correspond to a location on the outer planes, barring divine intervention (i.e. a god taking a follower of a different alignment to their domain for the afterlife). -8,2? They are Lawful Neutral. 8,-2? Chaotic Neutral. 3.14,3.14? Chaotic Good.

It's not just cosmology; it's geography. Overlapping use of the word "plane" aside, it's relatively straightforward geography.1

And, I would argue that people DO worry about their actions affecting their afterlife destination and their cosmological impact... that's the very nature of saying "Am I doing good? Is what I am doing bettering people's lives, or making them worse"? The nature of moral and ethical self-reflection is to ask these questions; Paladins must, by dint of their class, ask these questions with everything they do, and come up with correct answers on the fly. If concerning oneself with the moral meaning of one's actions removes one from acting morally, Paladins cannot exist, since they must always concern themselves with it.

Good and Evil are real and measurable things in D&D. They don't just have directions, they have an address. You can go there.

1 Planar layers also indicate that there is a Z coordinate, as well, but that varies from plane to plane and does not seem to correspond with any changes in their moral or ethical alignment.

The image isn't loading for me, just the "broken image" placeholder. But I think I've seen it before.

I've always considered the various maps of the outer planes as attempts to map a non-spatial relationship in spatial terms.

Yes, if they're concerned about being good, about doing the right thing, then the characters, the people there, must ask "Am I doing good? Is what I am doing bettering people's lives, or making them worse?" That's NOT the same question as "What sort of afterlife will this give me?" -- especially when it's been demonstrated in other threads, repeatedly, that "Good" and doing the right thing are not inherently and reliably full-on synchronous in these settings, especially when taking multiple editions and various gaming tables into account.

But whether we're talking about a setting where people have no idea what really happens after they die, or one like D&D where it's an empirically verifiable fact -- the instant the character starts saying "will this affect whether I get into heaven Celestia / insert whatever term for whatever plane you want to use", they are no longer making a moral decision. An actual moral decision must be made with total disregard towards such considerations.

zinycor
2019-09-01, 05:43 PM
But whether we're talking about a setting where people have no idea what really happens after they die, or one like D&D where it's an empirically verifiable fact -- the instant the character starts saying "will this affect whether I get into heaven" (or whatever), they are no longer making a moral decision. An actual moral decision must be made with total disregard towards such considerations.

Those are considerations that I wouldn't discuss in here, since it goes to close into talking real life religion.

Max_Killjoy
2019-09-01, 07:01 PM
Those are considerations that I wouldn't discuss in here, since it goes to close into talking real life religion.

Then don't -- no one is trying to make you.

But we can't discuss a game mechanic / system that makes moral assertions using moral terms without using moral terms to discuss moral assertions and questions. There's really no way to discuss Alignment without touching on these subjects, and no one has mentioned a single real-world religion in this thread that I've noticed.

Arcangel4774
2019-09-01, 08:10 PM
But whether we're talking about a setting where people have no idea what really happens after they die, or one like D&D where it's an empirically verifiable fact -- the instant the character starts saying "will this affect whether I get into heaven Celestia / insert whatever term for whatever plane you want to use", they are no longer making a moral decision. An actual moral decision must be made with total disregard towards such considerations.

The sociobiological field of study in real life suggests that any sense of morallity evolved in social animals because its self serving in increasing survivabillity/reproduction. On the other hand many religious people would say that there is no morallity without divinity so doing what the deity wants is morallity. Theres also those that would say that the ultimate morallity of a situation is the effects on society and others, intention be damned.

Max_Killjoy
2019-09-01, 09:56 PM
The sociobiological field of study in real life suggests that any sense of morallity evolved in social animals because its self serving in increasing survivabillity/reproduction. On the other hand many religious people would say that there is no morallity without divinity so doing what the deity wants is morallity. Theres also those that would say that the ultimate morallity of a situation is the effects on society and others, intention be damned.

We just had a debate in another thread about how all of those assertions fall apart as underpinnings for moral system or decisions, especially when taken as stand-alone absolutes.

Lord Raziere
2019-09-01, 10:02 PM
We just had a debate in another thread about how all of those assertions fall apart as underpinnings for moral system or decisions, especially when taken as stand-alone absolutes.

Agreed. Morality is more than the sum of its parts. :smallsmile: it needs to be, or it wouldn't be moral and would not be worth striving for.

jdizzlean
2019-09-01, 10:51 PM
Are there compelling counterexamples of Lawful Good individuals (who are unambiguously Lawful Good) who aren't very positive or wholesome people to be around? I'm thinking through a character concept right now and would love some input.


A "lawful good" person can be downright horrible to be around, especially if they conflate "lawful" and "good", or if their idea of "good" is warped.


I have a cleric of st cuthbert sitting around that i'm going to pull out one day and play. he's very much an over the top example of my way or the highway of LG.

alignment in D&D, as this thread and many others have shown is quite subjective. Each of them are far more than the 2 paragraphs they get in the PHB, and each of them can be played a mryiad of ways.

NNescio
2019-09-02, 12:29 AM
Are there compelling counterexamples of Lawful Good individuals (who are unambiguously Lawful Good) who aren't very positive or wholesome people to be around? I'm thinking through a character concept right now and would love some input.

The stereotypical stick up the rear end "stick in the mud" Paladin isn't exactly a positive or wholesome person to be around.

Also, related, the kind of Lawful Good who takes duty too seriously and wind up miserable (extra miserable if they are forced to compromise on or betray their principles) because of it and have it bleed out in their interactions with everyone.

(Sam Vimes was kinda like that, but he got better over time.

Heck, even Durkon has this aspect which bleeds out sometimes. Admittedly the Durkula incident has worked most of it out of his system.)

Kaptin Keen
2019-09-02, 12:48 AM
And Mount Celestia would disagree with you. As would Bytopia and Arcadia, for that matter... all places where Law and Good co-exist and mutually reinforce each other.

A Lawful Good society is built around the idea that institutions support the greater good. They may not always be perfect for the specific good... there may be individuals who fall through the cracks... but society and its institutions are built to minimize those, and ensure good outcomes for everyone. It is not simply "law and order", though that will be part of it; it is the mutual reinforcement of each other. If the Law is not supporting the Good, then the Law must be examined so it supports the Good, because Law is how you do things, and Good is what you do.

While the cosmology is today called "The Great Wheel", I think it is more accurate as it was originally conceived... a square. If you arrange things on a wheel, then Neutral Good winds up as a higher Good than Lawful or Chaotic Good, and Lawful Neutral winds up more Lawful than Lawful Good or Lawful Evil. I do not view this as true. Rather, Lawful Good is exactly as Lawful as Lawful Neutral and Lawful Evil, and exactly as good as Neutral Good and Chaotic Good; at any point on any plane, if you draw a straight line vertical and a straight line horizontal, everything on the Y is exactly as lawful or chaotic as everything else on that line, and everything on the X is exactly as good or evil. The Seven Heavens, the 9 Hells, the Abyss, and Olympus do not border on Neutrality; they have no truck with it.

So imaginary afterlives disagree with me? I can live with that. On the other hand, I agree with you on a lot of other points; that Lawful is equally Lawful in LG, LN and LE, for instance. I've also always felt that if differently aligned nations were to ally, a LG nation could as easily ally themselves with a LE nation as they could a CG.

Really, it's a very simple thought at the base of this: You can utterly crush people or persons using nothing but the law. Innocents too, makes no difference. Law easily becomes a tool for evil, and if you view Law absolutely ... then you're already there. Absolute Law cannot ever be Good, they are factual opposites.

So I'm not saying a good society cannot have law and order - of course it can. But Absolute Law is plainly, simply, always Evil.

And I believe this quite, quite firmly.


So you can't be fully good if you are lawful, but you can be fully evil? So there is never a situation where an evil person looses out by following a treaty or reveals information by adhering to their commitment to the truth?

This is just an inability to understand the difference between ethics and morality.

Please refrain from telling me what I do and do not understand. If you are unable to handle disagreement without resorting to personal slights, then the discussion is simply over.

hamishspence
2019-09-02, 12:57 AM
Modrons, Inevitables, etc are devoted to "absolute law" and are LN, not LE.

Particle_Man
2019-09-02, 01:06 AM
Miko didn't fall for a long time and was not a positive, wholesome person to be around even when she had paladin powers, and thus was "definitionally lawful good".

Roy and Durkon, however, are positive, wholesome people to be around.

Tanarii
2019-09-02, 01:13 AM
Modrons, Inevitables, etc are devoted to "absolute law" and are LN, not LE.
Unless you're running the Planescape Great Modron March adventure, in which case they're clearly evil based on their typical behavior.

Kaptin Keen
2019-09-02, 03:18 AM
Modrons, Inevitables, etc are devoted to "absolute law" and are LN, not LE.

Oh ... maybe it can be expressed as 'if you put the Law above the people it's meant to protect - then you're evil'. This applies if you're a modron too. And yes, modrons would fit that label. I am very well aware that modrons are described as neutral in the rules, but that doesn't have any sort of impact on my opinion. Mechanus is a machine, which mercilessly crushes anyone and anything thats doesn't fit. It's clearly evil.

Now, an argument might be made that if all modrons are uniformly identical, then a plane that matches that isn't evil - to modrons. They are not crushed beneath the heel of that draconian regime, because they agree with everything it does.

But we're rapidly departing anything that can be meaningfully discussed (outside of pure philosophy). Imaginary beings in an imaginary world obeying imaginary alignments is ... well, quite detached from any real discussion of morals. Even if the line blurs somewhat - all discussions of alignment share some degree of that problem.

Themrys
2019-09-02, 06:09 AM
Pretty much a cop, btw, being LG, doesn't mean that the character can't be racist, misogynistic or a stick in the mud...

A misogynist man (or even a woman, though women have fewer opportunities) will sooner or later do something evil. Because sooner or later he will encounter a woman and treat her as subhuman. And that's evil. Not to mention the general impact he has on all women in the society he lives in.

It is theoretically possible to be a racist without ever meeting someone you could be racist towards, but it is highly unlikely that someone who never encounters people from other races would even bother being a racist in the first place, so ... same applies.

(Being mildly xenophobic isn't the same as being a racist, so "I don't like dwarves. But I don't like humans, either" Sam Vimes doesn't qualify)

Of course it is perfectly possible to be an unpleasant person and still be lawful good. Miko was, for example.

Sherlock Holmes is a pretty annoying man who is condescending to pretty much everyone else and certainly not wholesome with his drug habits, but he still works within the law (most of the time) and genuinely wants to help people (which is the reason he sometimes goes against the law), so he, too, is lawful good.

Mr. Darcy of Pride and Prejudice is an arrogant jerk who insults people to hide his social anxiety, but the only time he seriously harmed another person was when he was mistaken about her motivations and wanted to protect his friend.

Sam Vimes is lawful good. Sure, he goes against the law a couple of times, but if lawful is defined as having a general affinity for rules (as opposed to always following all rules ever) then he certainly counts. He sets rules for himself that he follows religiously.
He still makes mistakes and lies to his wife about eating his tomato and lettuce, but that is pretty petty things that might disqualify him from being a paladin, not from being lawful good.

Another example from the Discworld books would be Granny Weatherwax. She's a joy to read about, but it is implied most people in-universe tend to avoid her. (Arguably, she is a better person than Nanny Ogg. While Nanny Ogg is nice to be around for most people, she actively exploits their daughters in law, whereas Granny Weatherwax does her own cleaning and cooking and isn't even unpleasant to people while she's alone in her hut, which might be most of the time between adventures.)

Actually, a lot of, perhaps even most of the most beloved characters in literature would actually not be that much fun to be around if you met them in real life. They're good people, we can see that in their actions, but some of them are quite unpleasant and we only tolerate it because we don't have to be around them in everyday life.

In short, a lawful good person could be a complete horror to be around. It doesn't take much to make a person mildly annoying, or even extremely annoying, without them having to do anything that you could honestly describe as "evil".
And the lawful element can, in itself, be annoying.

Evil DM Mark3
2019-09-02, 06:48 AM
Just realised there is a whole category of such characters, White Saviours.

Its not a popular character these days, I'd say Avatar was the last mainstream example although the protagonists of Valarian gave it a go. But in fiction from 100-200 years ago? They are everywhere.
These people tend to be principled, noble, compassionate and often self-sacrificing but also and arrogant, belittling xenophobes.

Its an unpopular archetype for a reason.

Psyren
2019-09-02, 07:03 AM
Soon Kim (giantitp.com/comics/oots0276.html) was clearly LG, and just as clearly, a massive pain (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0277.html) in his party's collective rear end.

Sturm Brightblade from Dragonlance was also a fairly quintessential LG figure, and was described with terms like "honorable to a fault" and that the other companions often found his actions "maddening." He was a steadfast friend, but his internal code often made him difficult to deal with.

Mark Hall
2019-09-02, 07:58 AM
So imaginary afterlives disagree with me?

In D&D, which we are discussing, these are not imaginary. They are real places. You can go there. You can even be born, grow up, and die there.

Really, your understanding of D&D alignment seems so at variance with my own, I don't see that we have common ground to talk about it.

Dienekes
2019-09-02, 08:20 AM
So imaginary afterlives disagree with me? I can live with that. On the other hand, I agree with you on a lot of other points; that Lawful is equally Lawful in LG, LN and LE, for instance. I've also always felt that if differently aligned nations were to ally, a LG nation could as easily ally themselves with a LE nation as they could a CG.

Really, it's a very simple thought at the base of this: You can utterly crush people or persons using nothing but the law. Innocents too, makes no difference. Law easily becomes a tool for evil, and if you view Law absolutely ... then you're already there. Absolute Law cannot ever be Good, they are factual opposites.

So I'm not saying a good society cannot have law and order - of course it can. But Absolute Law is plainly, simply, always Evil.

And I believe this quite, quite firmly.

But you can utterly crush people using, well, anything. And arguably easier with no law to reprimand the crushing put in place. Anarchic states have historically not been known for their sense of fair play and justice.

My understanding of your argument is that a tool of society has been used for evil, therefore it can never be good. And well, I mostly disagree. And I think the concept of LG as I understand it would disagree as well. It’s simply, that they believe a balanced and enforced structure is the surest way to promote a society that is good.

If the law is then used for evil, as we can all agree happens, the correct response isn’t to just continue to slavishly devote yourself to the law regardless. It’s to alter the laws and hopefully create a more perfect form that removes whatever loophole allowed the evil to triumph.

Now one could argue that this is a pipe dream and the perfect law code can never actually exist. And, honestly, outside of a D&D cosmology where a plane exists that supposedly has it, I wouldn’t be surprised that many LG characters would agree. You never will make the perfect law code. But you can keep trying.

There’s a reason why Leia is regarded as Lawful Good despite being a revolutionary. She sees the current law is corrupt, and is actively attempting to replace it with new, better laws.

TheYell
2019-09-02, 08:38 AM
We just had a debate in another thread about how all of those assertions fall apart as underpinnings for moral system or decisions, especially when taken as stand-alone absolutes.

Which is clever, since nobody is allowed to argue against such a proposition with a defense or mention of deism on these forums.

And now you're hijacking another thread with it. This thread has a title question, and your posts about the failure of deism don't answer it.

Max_Killjoy
2019-09-02, 08:48 AM
Which is clever, since nobody is allowed to argue against such a proposition with a defense or mention of deism on these forums.

And now you're hijacking another thread with it. This thread has a title question, and your posts about the failure of deism don't answer it.

Funny, we managed to debate it there without breaking the rules, and I mention it as an argument that already took place to avoid rehashing it here - should I provide a link?

TheYell
2019-09-02, 08:53 AM
No, I don't want a link to your debate with an empty chair. I'd like you to answer the title question.

Max_Killjoy
2019-09-02, 09:00 AM
But you can utterly crush people using, well, anything. And arguably easier with no law to reprimand the crushing put in place. Anarchic states have historically not been known for their sense of fair play and justice.

My understanding of your argument is that a tool of society has been used for evil, therefore it can never be good. And well, I mostly disagree. And I think the concept of LG as I understand it would disagree as well. It’s simply, that they believe a balanced and enforced structure is the surest way to promote a society that is good.

If the law is then used for evil, as we can all agree happens, the correct response isn’t to just continue to slavishly devote yourself to the law regardless. It’s to alter the laws and hopefully create a more perfect form that removes whatever loophole allowed the evil to triumph.

Now one could argue that this is a pipe dream and the perfect law code can never actually exist. And, honestly, outside of a D&D cosmology where a plane exists that supposedly has it, I wouldn’t be surprised that many LG characters would agree. You never will make the perfect law code. But you can keep trying.

There’s a reason why Leia is regarded as Lawful Good despite being a revolutionary. She sees the current law is corrupt, and is actively attempting to replace it with new, better laws.

Pretty much agreed.

Laws can be evil, historical examples are rife and need not be enumerated here. To fight against evil laws, does not make one evil, regardless of what those who would conflate law and good would claim.

Absolute chaos, anarchy, has no mechanisms for justice other than vengeance, and no mechanisms to divide justice from personal power.

Absolute law has mechanisms, but doesn't care about justice, only about order and obedience. Or it mistakes systemic justice for actual justice for the individuals affected.

It is only in the middle between the two that reliable equitable justice for individuals can exist.



No, I don't want a link to your debate with an empty chair. I'd like you to answer the title question.

"You debated with an empty chair, and I won't bother reading the other thread because that might demonstrate otherwise."

Understood.

(And I did answer the title's question... after which I also responded to some other posts... but you can't answer the title's question without discussing what makes a person lawful good or what is meant by lawful good.)

Recent discussions of Alignment as a set of moral assertions:
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?594526-The-evil-of-Lawful-Good
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?596160-D-amp-D-alignment-via-perspective

TheYell
2019-09-02, 09:06 AM
{scrubbed}

Max_Killjoy
2019-09-02, 09:28 AM
{scrub×the post, scrub the quote}

{scrubbed}

Meanwhile, we've been discussing what it means to be "lawful", "good", and "lawful good", and whether Alignment as presented makes valid moral assertions, in the context of addressing the thread's initial question -- one I might note that you are not the originator of. Multiple moderators are engaged in this discussion, so evidently it is not as a whole off-topic or violating the rules. If the originator of this thread wants us to rein it, I'm sure they'll say so.

Cazero
2019-09-02, 09:43 AM
Besides, proving that god-based morality don't work doesn't actualy require to discuss any religions.
{scrubbed}

Dienekes
2019-09-02, 10:35 AM
Besides, proving that god-based morality don't work doesn't actualy require to discuss any religions.
{scrub the post, scrub the quote}

There is a small sticking point to the argument in that you have to prove objectively good thing is objectively good. Which ends up being a lot harder than many would like because good is a very nebulous concept.

RedMage125
2019-09-02, 10:39 AM
Surprised it took so long for Miko Miyazaki to be mentioned as an unpleasant LG person. On a GitP forum, no less.

Lol.

Kaptin Keen
2019-09-02, 01:48 PM
In D&D, which we are discussing, these are not imaginary. They are real places. You can go there. You can even be born, grow up, and die there.

Really, your understanding of D&D alignment seems so at variance with my own, I don't see that we have common ground to talk about it.

*scrubbed*

Evil DM Mark3
2019-09-02, 02:26 PM
*scrub the post, scrub the quote*

*scrubbed*

Now, to be fair I agree with a lot of what you are saying about why they don't work, or at least understand why you feel that way. But here's the thing, I thinks alignment work brilliantly at what they were invented for and that is for high fantasy melodrama. Its all about the setting and tone that a system supports and pairing them up. Good Evil Law and Chaos exist so the Holy Knight can Smite the Foul Demon conjured by Unholy magic by the Mad Sorcerour. They are a tool to facilitate certain types of stories.

I would never suggest something like Alignment in Call of Cuthulu or a sanity score in Pendragon (although I might consider Traits in DnD now I come to think of it). Those games do other things and fullfil other fantasies. Look at how much Ravenloft messes with the normal alignemnt rules to allow a gothic setting.

Kaptin Keen
2019-09-02, 03:16 PM
*scrub the post, scrub the quote*

Now, to be fair I agree with a lot of what you are saying about why they don't work, or at least understand why you feel that way. But here's the thing, I thinks alignment work brilliantly at what they were invented for and that is for high fantasy melodrama. Its all about the setting and tone that a system supports and pairing them up. Good Evil Law and Chaos exist so the Holy Knight can Smite the Foul Demon conjured by Unholy magic by the Mad Sorcerour. They are a tool to facilitate certain types of stories.

I would never suggest something like Alignment in Call of Cuthulu or a sanity score in Pendragon (although I might consider Traits in DnD now I come to think of it). Those games do other things and fullfil other fantasies. Look at how much Ravenloft messes with the normal alignemnt rules to allow a gothic setting.

See - I subscribe to the point of view that any debate, to be meaningful, needs a full slate of differing or opposing views. I'm well aware I'm .. an outlier in this context (and many others beside), but I'm not about to exclude myself because of that.

I ... partly agree with alignments maybe 'working as intended'. If you want high fantasy melodrama, maybe they can do ok. I like grey zones, moral ambiguity, dubious heroes and relatable villains. For what I want out of a game, alignments aren't that great. I like how alignment works in Eberron - or at least, I like it better =D

Evil DM Mark3
2019-09-02, 03:37 PM
See - I subscribe to the point of view that any debate, to be meaningful, needs a full slate of differing or opposing views. I'm well aware I'm .. an outlier in this context (and many others beside), but I'm not about to exclude myself because of that.
Except this debate was about does LG = personable? It is now turned into an argument over if L = E and what even are L and E. Its derailed the whole thread.

I agree that we need multiple PoVs, but you still need to engage with the debate on the terms of that debate.

Max_Killjoy
2019-09-02, 04:19 PM
Except this debate was about does LG = personable? It is now turned into an argument over if L = E and what even are L and E. Its derailed the whole thread.

I agree that we need multiple PoVs, but you still need to engage with the debate on the terms of that debate.


Often part of what makes a "lawful good" but non-personable character a "jerk" is an over-adherence to law and/or conflating "lawful" with "good".

Part of the debate here, then, has been whether a character can be absolutely lawful and absolutely good at the same time (I say no -- there will always be instances where the two are in conflict and the character must choose; and there are no perfect laws that cover all situations perfectly; and there are times when "good" amounts to "the least bad option").

Psyren
2019-09-02, 04:20 PM
See - I subscribe to the point of view that any debate, to be meaningful, needs a full slate of differing or opposing views. I'm well aware I'm .. an outlier in this context (and many others beside), but I'm not about to exclude myself because of that.

I ... partly agree with alignments maybe 'working as intended'. If you want high fantasy melodrama, maybe they can do ok. I like grey zones, moral ambiguity, dubious heroes and relatable villains. For what I want out of a game, alignments aren't that great. I like how alignment works in Eberron - or at least, I like it better =D

Nobody's asking you to exclude yourself - but this isn't a "does alignment make sense as a concept" thread. To even talk about Lawful Good, you kind of have to assume that the game system being discussed has an alignment system that uses it. Those are the basic parameters in place for the discussion to even happen.

zinycor
2019-09-02, 04:39 PM
*scrub the post, scrub the quote*

That doesn't make any sense... at all...

Themrys
2019-09-02, 04:48 PM
Often part of what makes a "lawful good" but non-personable character a "jerk" is an over-adherence to law and/or conflating "lawful" with "good".

Part of the debate here, then, has been whether a character can be absolutely lawful and absolutely good at the same time (I say no -- there will always be instances where the two are in conflict and the character must choose; and there are no perfect laws that cover all situations perfectly; and there are times when "good" amounts to "the least bad option").

A person who truly conflates the two would be lawful neutral, not good.

People tend to resent those who insist on obeying laws to the letter even if there is no conflict at all.

Good and Lawful don't conflict nearly as often as Lawful and Fun do.

Good and Fun also conflict quite often. Even the most harmless pranks tend to have an element of cruelty to them. Is it fun for Elan to draw a moustache on Roy while Roy can't move because he's been poisoned? Obviously. Is it Good? No, I would say it isn't.

Any person who is very lawful and very good will therefore run the risk of coming across as a bit boring.


Even Carrot, a character whom almost everyone likes, can be a bit annoying. His girlfriend Angua wishes he was just a tiny bit more biased in her favour, because he is annoyingly impartial when what she wants or needs is in conflict with what anyone else wants or needs.

TheYell
2019-09-03, 01:29 AM
there will always be instances where the two are in conflict and the character must choose; and there are no perfect laws that cover all situations perfectly; and there are times when "good" amounts to "the least bad option"

There is no reason you can't play a character who believes they have obedience to a perfect code and there is always a right thing to do, and then make them struggle to find it.

Psyren
2019-09-03, 02:14 AM
Often part of what makes a "lawful good" but non-personable character a "jerk" is an over-adherence to law and/or conflating "lawful" with "good".

Part of the debate here, then, has been whether a character can be absolutely lawful and absolutely good at the same time (I say no -- there will always be instances where the two are in conflict and the character must choose; and there are no perfect laws that cover all situations perfectly; and there are times when "good" amounts to "the least bad option").

If by "jerk" you mean "this character is unpleasant for less morally and especially ethically rigid folks to be around for long" - then yes, I agree. Archons are a solid example of this - they are staunch allies of good and you would likely want one on your side in a fight, but there's also a pretty good chance that an archon in an adventuring party of mortals would have no qualms about lecturing/nagging them (particularly any that are non-LG) on every misstep or foible they make that causes them to fall below its celestial standards. Even a paladin in that same party would get lectured, for failing to have converted his non-LG party members if nothing else, and the party would likely hasten to keep the archon's membership in the group as brief as necessary.

As for inability to be absolutely good and absolutely lawful - I agree that that is going to be impossible for most beings. But here again archons are a useful example - being perfectly committed to both is not the expectation, even for beings that are literally created out of those concepts. Hamishspence's earlier quote illustrates this well - given a choice between associating with the ethical flexibility of Chaotic Good eladrins and the ethical rigidity of Lawful Evil devils, archons will choose the former every time.

NNescio
2019-09-03, 03:04 AM
If by "jerk" you mean "this character is unpleasant for less morally and especially ethically rigid folks to be around for long" - then yes, I agree. Archons are a solid example of this - they are staunch allies of good and you would likely want one on your side in a fight, but there's also a pretty good chance that an archon in an adventuring party of mortals would have no qualms about lecturing/nagging them (particularly any that are non-LG) on every misstep or foible they make that causes them to fall below its celestial standards. Even a paladin in that same party would get lectured, for failing to have converted his non-LG party members if nothing else, and the party would likely hasten to keep the archon's membership in the group as brief as necessary.

Archon: Blah, blah, blah, blah...
'Stick-in-the-mud' Paladin: [sotto voce] Is this how you guys feel when I do it?
Party: [nods]
Paladin: Oh, Pelor, now I know...

Bohandas
2019-09-07, 10:08 PM
As BoED points out, an Archon is vastly more able to stomach the Chaos of an Eladrin, than the Evil of a Devil. They are Good first, Lawful very much second.

LG and CG characters can and do routinely cooperate toward Good ends. Adventuring parties frequently consist of Good characters of all alignments.


Then the diagram should be an oval, with the long axis on Good vs Evil.

Ah, but you must consider the lower planes as well the demons and devils can stomach the celestials much more than they can each other

Bartmanhomer
2019-09-13, 08:34 PM
You know I was just having the same discussion on my recent thread about What's Wrong With Lawful Good? To me, I just don't understand why Lawful Good is a bad alignment. Lawful Evil I get but Lawful Good. It's just like the Burning Hate disguised as Pelor.

Eldonauran
2019-09-16, 05:36 PM
You know I was just having the same discussion on my recent thread about What's Wrong With Lawful Good? To me, I just don't understand why Lawful Good is a bad alignment. Lawful Evil I get but Lawful Good. It's just like the Burning Hate disguised as Pelor.

Personally, I think Neutral Good is the best alignment. And that stems from an understanding that order and structure are important in order to foster a foundation for society to flourish, while also understanding that chaos is an inherent property of the universe, and also key towards change and growth. Too much law leads to stagnation and too much chaos, well, leads to entropy and ruin. At times, more Law is needed to rebalance the Chaotic forces, and other times, Law becomes too powerful and needs to be diluted. For me, I only care than when conflict occurs between the Law/Chaos and the Good alignment, the Good wins.

As far as the Neutral and Evil alignments go, they are just variants of self-interest and disregard for the inherent worth of other beings. Personally distasteful as far as I am concerned, but I am also aware that we all possess various levels of self-interest and disregard for others within ourselves. Our job is to grow beyond our own self-interest and rise from those alignments if we want to make the world a better place, in D&D or the real world.

Bartmanhomer
2019-09-16, 05:57 PM
Personally, I think Neutral Good is the best alignment. And that stems from an understanding that order and structure are important in order to foster a foundation for society to flourish, while also understanding that chaos is an inherent property of the universe, and also key towards change and growth. Too much law leads to stagnation and too much chaos, well, leads to entropy and ruin. At times, more Law is needed to rebalance the Chaotic forces, and other times, Law becomes too powerful and needs to be diluted. For me, I only care than when conflict occurs between the Law/Chaos and the Good alignment, the Good wins.

As far as the Neutral and Evil alignments go, they are just variants of self-interest and disregard for the inherent worth of other beings. Personally distasteful as far as I am concerned, but I am also aware that we all possess various levels of self-interest and disregard for others within ourselves. Our job is to grow beyond our own self-interest and rise from those alignments if we want to make the world a better place, in D&D or the real world.

Yes, personally I blame the inexperienced players who don't know how to act Lawfully Good, not the alignment itself.

Eldonauran
2019-09-16, 11:58 PM
Yes, personally I blame the inexperienced players who don't know how to act Lawfully Good, not the alignment itself.
I blame it more on moral relativism but, yes, inexperience may very well play a large role.

Drascin
2019-09-17, 01:56 AM
Oh, heavens, no. Being Laful or Good and being actually pleasant to be around are entirely orthogonal. You can be LG and the most pleasant person around, and you can be LG and absolutely goddamned insufferable.

A quick example that comes to mind is Granny Weatherwax, from Discworld. It's very easy to see her as Lawful Good (with Nanny, of course, being her chaotic good counterpart) - she has an ironclad adherence to the ways she considers proper, and is as good as one can humanly be. And she would be absolutely infuriating to be around. Almost physically incapable of admitting a mistake, always ready to make sure you know she thinks you're a dimwit and that her opinion on the matter is the one that matters, proud to a fault, constantly testing and needling everyone around her unnecessarily out of a need to keep everyone at arm's distance, etcetera, etcetera.

Duff
2019-09-17, 11:04 PM
Surprised it took so long for Miko Miyazaki to be mentioned as an unpleasant LG person. On a GitP forum, no less.

Lol.

The best example of her being unnecessarily unpleasant:
http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0223.html

There's others where it can be argued The Stickers were also being difficult, but this is where a more pleasant or self aware Paladin could have made things run more smoothly.

Granny Weatherwax is also a great example

Morgana
2019-09-18, 02:11 AM
That being said, I do think Miko always straddled the line between LG and LN, and when she fell I'd be hard pressed to consider her anything other than LN. As for characters that are paragons of LG and don't traddle that line at all but are annoying to be around, I think Batman is a good example, or Leonardo from the TMNT and also Captain America can be that at times

jrrthompson
2019-09-23, 11:01 AM
Are there compelling counterexamples of Lawful Good individuals (who are unambiguously Lawful Good) who aren't very positive or wholesome people to be around? I'm thinking through a character concept right now and would love some input.

"Lawful Good" does not mean "Obedient Nice".

Law can apply to a higher or different standard than the other players and NPCs in your game. You don't have to be an abrasive ****, but making sure the party knows you intend to go above and beyond the call of duty whenever something like innocent lives or holy places are on the line can be a good way to distinguish yourself from your party. If there's a couple enemies standing by a prisoner, you're not going to use a fireball on them but you might kill them with such swift application of force they don't even have the chance to endanger the life of a civilian. In the same vein, while the law of a city may permit slavery, a Lawful Good character who answers to a higher or innate Law of morality might do everything in their power--including breaking the law--to free the enslaved people. If these people are criminals however a different conclusion may need to be reached: like I said before, it's a standard that YOU decide, not the DM and their world's laws.

Goodness is a compelling concept. While kindness and gentility are certainly aspects of "goodness" there is a time and place for traditionally "evil" deeds. *scrubbed*
Good. Hates. Evil.
Make no mistake: redemption is certainly possible. But sometimes a reality check is in order first. A brigand likely won't give up his life of highway robbery at the behest of a stranger he just threatened to rob; his opinion may be vastly different however if that stranger brings him to within an inch of his life and stays his hand, offering a hope for redemption and a better existence.
In summery, "To those who know they need wisdom give it gladly; to those who do not yet know they need it, stay your tongue until they do".

Lastly, in Xanathar's there are tables that give further character building prompts for each class. If you have the book I suggest you take a look at the Paladin's "Temptations" table. Whether or not you're playing the class, I think it's important to give Lawful Good characters a flaw or weakness that threatens to eat away at their resolve as their adventure proceeds. This table offers some ideas for creating a human Lawful Good character and not just some robot programmed to follow every tenant of their order and order from their god perfectly.

Studoku
2019-09-27, 05:47 AM
Gordon Brittas. That is all.

darkrose50
2019-10-08, 10:48 AM
A lawful good person will generally present personality traits of law and good. They still are people of flesh and blood with biological needs and weaknesses. They still can be flawed.

Evil DM Mark3
2019-10-09, 05:08 AM
Gordon Brittas. That is all. LG, Int 10, Wis 6, Cha 2...

Duff
2019-10-09, 06:51 PM
To turn the question around a little, I think it can be re-phrased as:
"Are all characteristics which are negative or unwholesome non-good"? If the answer to this is yes, then all lawful good people are in fact positive, wholesome people to be around.

So, negative behaviors - Lots of these are abusive and non-good. But here's a few:
Substance abuse can be both legal and might not be anti-good (depending on how your local ethics committee feel about a person's obligation to them-self). Can of course lead to other behaviors which would be judged on their own merits
Drama seeking wouldn't have to be non-good. For example a fondness for difficult and/or inappropriate (by local rules) romantic entanglements.
Pessimism - 'nuff said?
Stubbornness can lead to evil, but with some self awareness, I think there's room for this to be difficult-but-not-ungood
Impatience - like stubborness, can lead to evil, but with some self control, I think there's room for this to be difficult-but-not-ungood

Unwholesome is easier I think. Someone who eats their weird smelling foreign food could be considered unwholesome in a society with limited experience of foreigners. The good people of the village understand The Viking likes her horrible stinky fermented shark (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%C3%A1karl), and that she eats it to help manage her homesickness. But that doesn't mean they don't avoid her after she's been eating it. Then there's the effects of curses, vows and (possibly) random magic effects. Lots of ways to make a person weird and unpleasant which don't stop them being good.

I'm going with a firm "No"

RedMage125
2019-10-09, 08:02 PM
Let's not forget Ludafisk, or however one spells that dish. Another gross Viking dish.

NNescio
2019-10-10, 02:03 AM
Let's not forget Ludafisk, or however one spells that dish. Another gross Viking dish.

Lutefisk for the Lutefisk God! Skol for the Skol Throne!

(Basically dried whitefish soaked in lye until it has a jelly consistency. Some varieties smell awful when 'raw', but supposedly when prepared right all varieties just taste kinda bland and need lots of sauce to give it a taste.)

Mark Hall
2019-10-10, 09:46 AM
Consider Delores Umbridge, who is likely known to a number of people as perfectly nice and wholesome... unless you happen to transgress what she considered proper. To the folks who never do that, they don't see anything wrong with her.

Max_Killjoy
2019-10-10, 09:52 AM
Consider Delores Umbridge, who is likely known to a number of people as perfectly nice and wholesome... unless you happen to transgress what she considered proper. To the folks who never do that, they don't see anything wrong with her.

The book and movie undercut that by making her transparently unlikable from the start -- she exudes unpleasantness from the moment she appears, really.

She'd have been a far more effectively character if introduced at some prior point as pleasant and polite and proper (I did not do that on purpose), and then slowly revealing her utter disdain and viciousness towards the "improper".

NNescio
2019-10-10, 10:12 AM
Consider Delores Umbridge, who is likely known to a number of people as perfectly nice and wholesome... unless you happen to transgress what she considered proper. To the folks who never do that, they don't see anything wrong with her.

Umbridge is textbook Lawful Evil though.

Mark Hall
2019-10-10, 12:21 PM
The book and movie undercut that by making her transparently unlikable from the start -- she exudes unpleasantness from the moment she appears, really.

She'd have been a far more effectively character if introduced at some prior point as pleasant and polite and proper (I did not do that on purpose), and then slowly revealing her utter disdain and viciousness towards the "improper".

No one ever accused J.K. "I'll name the werewolf 'Wolf-raised Wolf'" Rowling of subtlety.


Umbridge is textbook Lawful Evil though.

Yes, but if Good people are always positive and wholesome, evil people would be uniformly unpleasant.

Dienekes
2019-10-10, 12:41 PM
If we're going for unpleasantly lawful good from Rowling's books, I'd have gone straight to Mad-Eye Moody. Admittedly, ignoring the reveal. But taken at face value, he is portrayed as honorable, law enforcing, and helpful. Who is also eccentric, brutal, unforgiving, and harsh.

Bartmanhomer
2019-10-10, 02:01 PM
If we're going for unpleasantly lawful good from Rowling's books, I'd have gone straight to Mad-Eye Moody. Admittedly, ignoring the reveal. But taken at face value, he is portrayed as honorable, law enforcing, and helpful. Who is also eccentric, brutal, unforgiving, and harsh.

I thought that Mad-Eye Moody is Lawful Evil. :confused:

hamishspence
2019-10-10, 02:07 PM
Most of what we know about Moody's standard behaviour, is how he's described by various characters.

Sirius: "I'll say this for Moody, though, he never killed if he could help it. Always brought people in alive where possible. He was tough, but he never descended to the level of the Death Eaters."

georgie_leech
2019-10-10, 02:36 PM
Most of what we know about Moody's standard behaviour, is how he's described by various characters.

Sirius: "I'll say this for Moody, though, he never killed if he could help it. Always brought people in alive where possible. He was tough, but he never descended to the level of the Death Eaters."

I'd call him as somewhere in the TN-NG range. He seems... aware?... that he works towards the greater good, but he doesn't seem to have any sort of inherent respect for law and order in and of itself, and almost immediately seems to discard it if it gets in the way. See also: consistently working outside the Law to do his thing despite theoretically being a cop (including being part of an extragovernmental secret organization), that Ferret incident, etc.

Max_Killjoy
2019-10-10, 02:40 PM
Remember that spoiler about Moody...


A LOT of what we actually get to see Moody do... isn't Moody.

georgie_leech
2019-10-10, 03:00 PM
Remember that spoiler about Moody...


A LOT of what we actually get to see Moody do... isn't Moody.


A lot of what we do know about Real Moody's character comes from the people around him, many of whom have worked with him for years as part of the Order of the Phoenix. Their reaction to the Ferret Incident wasn't "this is out of character for you, Moody," it was "you need to actually follow our rules and give detention, not just take matters into your own hands." It fits the general pattern of someone willing to work within the rules, up and until they get in the way.

Either way, the lowest I'd go for his Alignment is Good-leaning neutral, and even that is me being uncharitable with how I tend to view the more day-to-day aspect of G/N. He definitely puts all he has into the fight against Evil, without stooping to their level. I just prefer Good to also show itself in smaller ways in a properly Good character.

Luckmann
2019-10-12, 03:59 PM
Is a Lawful Good person always a positive, wholesome person to be around?Dear lord, no. Not even close. Lawful Good people are frequently both abrasive and violent, and many are both full of themselves and frustrating. Further, even if Lawful Good would be some indicator regarding "wholesome to be around" (it's not), practically no mortal being personifies their alignment.
Are there compelling counterexamples of Lawful Good individuals (who are unambiguously Lawful Good) who aren't very positive or wholesome people to be around?Frank Castle, The Punisher, comes to mind.

Mark Hall
2019-10-13, 11:26 AM
Dear lord, no. Not even close. Lawful Good people are frequently both abrasive and violent, and many are both full of themselves and frustrating. Further, even if Lawful Good would be some indicator regarding "wholesome to be around" (it's not), practically no mortal being personifies their alignment.Frank Castle, The Punisher, comes to mind.

I would say that Frank is in no way a Lawful Good individual. He is Chaotic Evil, but views what he is doing as serving good (similar to the Operative from Serenity).

He is Evil because his entire M.O. is "I kill people." That's what he does. He doesn't try to reform or rehabilitate people, he doesn't particularly act to protect... his point is to punish people for transgressing. At best, you can call him Neutral, because he targets bad people.

He is Chaotic because the other half of his schtick is that the system is inadequate to deal with the problems. He has to BREAK the system because it does not work. His goal is not to fix the system, but to completely circumvent it.

Max_Killjoy
2019-10-13, 11:55 AM
I would say that Frank is in no way a Lawful Good individual. He is Chaotic Evil, but views what he is doing as serving good (similar to the Operative from Serenity).

He is Evil because his entire M.O. is "I kill people." That's what he does. He doesn't try to reform or rehabilitate people, he doesn't particularly act to protect... his point is to punish people for transgressing. At best, you can call him Neutral, because he targets bad people.

He is Chaotic because the other half of his schtick is that the system is inadequate to deal with the problems. He has to BREAK the system because it does not work. His goal is not to fix the system, but to completely circumvent it.

In the context of his setting, he's not entirely wrong about the system. If anything, I'd say he's a character who defies Alignment.

Mark Hall
2019-10-13, 11:58 AM
In the context of his setting, he's not entirely wrong about the system. If anything, I'd say he's a character who defies Alignment.

Just because he's not wrong about the system doesn't mean he defies alignment.

Max_Killjoy
2019-10-13, 12:32 PM
Just because he's not wrong about the system doesn't mean he defies alignment.

He's trying to do the right thing, even if it's a hard thing and a brutal thing, because he feels like very few others have been trying... and in the context of his setting, sometimes he is. But sometimes he isn't.

hamishspence
2019-10-13, 01:16 PM
He doesn't just "kill people who really need killing" (arguably, the MO of most D&D characters) - he also tortures people.

ezekielraiden
2019-10-13, 01:21 PM
Someone can absolutely be Lawful Good and be not at all "always positive and wholesome." Thing is, they also won't exhibit a lot of the typical expected characteristics of evil. (Most effective evil people don't exhibit them either, to be fair, because flagrant and offensive evil directly causes its own opposition, and that's a highly ineffective strategy. Hence why high-functioning extreme-antisocial personality disorder types tend to be superficially very charming and pleasant people.)

E.g., a serious Lawful Good person isn't going to be cruel, vindictive, or boorish--but they can be petty, up to a point. They can also be officious, obstinate, self-righteous, resistant to change solely because it is change, closed-minded, and dismissive. In a more general sense of unpleasantness, they can be dull, monotonous, "wet-blanket" types, who try to discourage "inappropriate" activities or even just less-than-perfectly-ideal ones (seemingly especially when those activities are entertaining or pleasurable) and pushily advocate a dull, safe, boring, drab existence because it's "healthier," "proper," or "setting a good example."

LG people can also go wrong when they're simply mistaken about what the correct course of action is. They can be used to the situation being "the people who disagree with me do so because they're destructive/evil/chaotic," and thus leap to the erroneous belief, "if someone disagrees with me they ARE" whatever bad thing. When this occurs with relatively low stakes, it carries little risk of precipitating evil acts and/or falling...but it still leads to frustrating, unpleasant behavior. (Obviously the more extreme versions of this push a person out of LG, but that's not under discussion here.)

In the ideal case, LG is in fact consistently pleasant and positive, striving to be both a role model and helper to others and knowing that people listen better when they like and respect you. In the darkest case, LG is...everything Miko is, except without actually crossing the line into legit falling (perhaps only because of sheer dumb luck, even). Nasty, so unpleasant that even other LG characters went out of their way to avoid her, and actively dismissive/aggressive toward anyone and anything that might call her behavior into question, Miko represents the perfect storm of terrible LG traits.

Edit:
To be clear, I say none of this to tar Lawful Good as bad or wrong. It is, in fact, my favorite alignment and what I naturally default to (to such a degree that friends IRL have called me "the group Paladin" and the "most LG person [they] know" etc.) I only say these things because I believe in a commitment to moral and intellectual honesty and humility, which means recognizing the very real, very pertinent faults in those positions dearest to you. It's only through recognizing and addressing such issues that anything can get better.

RedMage125
2019-10-13, 01:26 PM
One must remember that alignment is a gross oversimplification of a character's general outlooks and beliefs, and is shown through their actions. It also assumes that despite whatever motivation, intent and justification a character has internally, their actions are judged by the moral framework of D&D (i.e. objective forces of Good, Evil, Law, and Chaos).

Which means whenever you ask "what alignment is this character?". You are, more correctly asking, "what alignment would this character be if they were in a setting with objective forces of Good/Evil/Law/Chaos like D&D has?"

By that metric, the Punisher could not be Good. He's most likely Neutral on that axis, dangerously close to crossing the line into Evil. As far as Law and Chaos? I would say that, for the most part, Frank does what he thinks is best at them time to accomplish the mission, so I would say Neutral or Chaotic. Difficult to say, really.

Mutazoia
2019-10-14, 12:30 AM
One could make the argument that Judge Dredd is Lawful Good. He follows the letter of the law, with out compromise or deviation. And nobody could ever accuse him of being a positive, wholesome person.

Lord Raziere
2019-10-14, 01:21 AM
One could make the argument that Judge Dredd is Lawful Good. He follows the letter of the law, with out compromise or deviation. And nobody could ever accuse him of being a positive, wholesome person.

no thats Lawful Neutral. Lawful Good doesn't follow the letter of the law.

ezekielraiden
2019-10-14, 05:22 AM
One could make the argument that Judge Dredd is Lawful Good. He follows the letter of the law, with out compromise or deviation. And nobody could ever accuse him of being a positive, wholesome person.

I definitely agree with Lord Raziere here. Judge Dredd is pretty much the poster boy for Lawful Neutral. There are times where he starts leaning more into Lawful Good territory, but that's more "He's LN who occasionally has LG sympathies/flirts with the line between N and G." Essentially, saying that the law should still be enforced without remorse, but it should be revised by people with the power to do so to keep/make it good law. He also successfully advocated that the Justice Department (which, in his universe, is the government) gamble its very existence on a public referendum to legitimize it (since it had, technically, only come into existence via a Justice Department coup)--which is a relatively strong LG act in his world, as democracy is basically nonexistent there.

A friend suggested a different side of "dark LG" that I think is also worth remembering--more or less, the "not quite villainous Larger Scope Good." The kind of person who really is saving the world, really is fighting off The Worst Things™, and thus really does sometimes overlook small-scale damage in order to achieve those goals. Consider, for example, the real-world Good Samaritan laws, which protect people genuinely trying to save others from liability that would otherwise be incurred in the process. If you break a man's arm in the process of pulling him away from a woodchipper, you are not liable for that, because he would have died (or been much more grievously injured) without your aid. That law represents a form of "damn the consequences, I'll do what's right!" Lawful Good--it's by definition Lawful since it's literally a law about defining categories of permissible and impermissible liability in the courts, but the whole purpose of it is to prevent the punishment of well-meaning good deeds that incidentally cause harm in the process, as long as the harm isn't too severe.

Thing is...who defines "too severe"? That's where the "greater scope Lawful Good" can become a dark and/or unpleasant person. They're not nice. They have no patience for anyone that impedes their efforts. If you have something they need, they'll take it without a second thought (sometimes, without a first thought). They aren't evil, they take no joy in causing pain or destruction etc., but they completely dispense with niceties and the like. Essentially, every reasonably-Lawful character listed on the example pages for the "Good Is Not Nice" trope on TVTropes. Useful examples are the Doom Marine, the Man With No Name (Clint Eastwood's "Dollars Trilogy" char, aka "Blondie" though every film gave the character a different nickname), Sherlock Holmes (barring the occasional instance of burglary, he's a pretty textbook LG char, but cares little for most social graces), or later-in-the-series Miles Edgeworth (who becomes committed to revealing the truth at any cost--even if it's innocuous lies that could severely harm people if revealed--in part because he hid what he thought was the truth for many years and was only freed of his guilt by speaking up and letting the real facts come to light.) In every case, there's a genuine Good motive, often real and tangible protection/salvation/help/etc. for some or even many people as a result of their actions...but they're also very willing to be unpleasant or even hurtful in the pursuit of those noble goals.

A literary example of what I referred to earlier--someone unpleasant, even rude, but still LG--is Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. He insults Elizabeth knowing she is close enough to hear him (with both rather rude statements of his personal taste, and some very unkind ways of describing her actual behavior), but he generally is an upstanding dude who does the right thing for the right reasons, and actively tries to change his unpleasant (but not evil) behavior on learning how badly he affects others. Chief Bogo from Zootopia is another example of a stickler-for-procedure, hates-niceties, painfully un-diplomatic character, who is nevertheless one of the most consistently honest and honorable authority figures in the show, and hard to parse as anything but LG as a result.

So yeah. Most proper LG people should at least have moments of being genuinely positive and wholesome to be around...but it's quite possible to make "Lawful Good is Not Nice."

Rydiro
2019-10-14, 07:30 AM
no thats Lawful Neutral. Lawful Good doesn't follow the letter of the law.If your character doesnt follow any codex or law, why are they even Lawful?
Being Lawful exactly means following a law (however abstract) and not disregarding it when it suits. Everything else might as well be in the NG box.

Lord Raziere
2019-10-14, 07:45 AM
If your character doesnt follow any codex or law, why are they even Lawful?
Being Lawful exactly means following a law (however abstract) and not disregarding it when it suits. Everything else might as well be in the NG box.

There is a vast difference between following the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. and a vast difference between someone who follows the rules even when its inconvenient and someone who follows the rules when the rules themselves are wrong. LG does not tell a serial killer where their desired victim just because they have a rule about honesty.

LN knows that rules of society are vital to its functioning. LG knows that even the law of society needs improvement to better fit its own ideals.

and thats just assuming a pure version of these alignments. the reality is that, the law is often not inherently good at all. systems are made exploitable and turned to oppress, abuse and ones own gain. and even by the letter reading often leads one to non-good interpretations and outcomes. and thats assuming the person isn't following their own personal lawful code, or being the one making the rules, or someone living in a lawful evil regime.

the only possible way for your interpretation to hold is for a hypothetical person to just so happen to make rules for a society that are always right to the end of time and for the LG person to be born into that society to follow those laws by pure happenstance and those rules just so happen to cover every possible contingency of morality you can name. which is patently ridiculous. any interpretation that requires utopia to be already achieved for an alignment to even be functional is not a very good interpretation.

Rydiro
2019-10-14, 09:07 AM
There is a vast difference between following the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. and a vast difference between someone who follows the rules even when its inconvenient and someone who follows the rules when the rules themselves are wrong. LG does not tell a serial killer where their desired victim just because they have a rule about honesty.

LN knows that rules of society are vital to its functioning. LG knows that even the law of society needs improvement to better fit its own ideals.

and thats just assuming a pure version of these alignments. the reality is that, the law is often not inherently good at all. systems are made exploitable and turned to oppress, abuse and ones own gain. and even by the letter reading often leads one to non-good interpretations and outcomes. and thats assuming the person isn't following their own personal lawful code, or being the one making the rules, or someone living in a lawful evil regime.

the only possible way for your interpretation to hold is for a hypothetical person to just so happen to make rules for a society that are always right to the end of time and for the LG person to be born into that society to follow those laws by pure happenstance and those rules just so happen to cover every possible contingency of morality you can name. which is patently ridiculous. any interpretation that requires utopia to be already achieved for an alignment to even be functional is not a very good interpretation.You really seem to have an overly negative view of laws. You dont seem to entertain the possibility that the spirit and the letter of law could be good. Even Good in the D&D fantasy. You assume 'the letter of the law' to be evil, when really, letters/strict application is what laws are made of. That a LG char follows a set of good laws is basically a given, else the concept of LG is without meaning.
The Paladin with a vow of honesty would be quite in the Dilemma in your example above.
You are still saying, that a LG person should ditch their chosen law when it gets inconvenient/'in the way'. That premise is more NG, because why bother even having a Dilemma in the first place, when your answer always comes down to 'who cares about laws anyway'.

Lord Raziere
2019-10-14, 09:25 AM
You really seem to have an overly negative view of laws. You dont seem to entertain the possibility that the spirit and the letter of law could be good. Even Good in the D&D fantasy. You assume 'the letter of the law' to be evil, when really, letters/strict application is what laws are made of. That a LG char follows a set of good laws is basically a given, else the concept of LG is without meaning.
The Paladin with a vow of honesty would be quite in the Dilemma in your example above.
You are still saying, that a LG person should ditch their chosen law when it gets inconvenient/'in the way'. That premise is more NG, because why bother even having a Dilemma in the first place, when your answer always comes down to 'who cares about laws anyway'.

oh you think thats my real view of it? No, man thats me stating what other people state about law in DnD.

my real view is that I'm Chaotic Good and don't care about your view of law, culture, belief or anything. I can respect the people who like lawful good even if I don't play them myself. but even the people who like playing LG I've heard? they don't agree with your view. I've seen many of the reasonable people who like LG not consider the law inherently good.

so yeah, I have negative view about law, I'm Chaotic, comes with the territory, I'm proud of it.

Here is the thing: Good trumps Law. Good trumps neutral, Good trumps Chaotic. no matter what the LG and CG disagree upon at the end of day, Good matters above the Law-Chaos divide, and if an LG has to break the law of a lawful evil tyranny because its not legit authority they will do it, if they have to go against an unjust law they will do it. Inversely, a Chaotic Good won't break a just law and won't go against an authority thats being reasonable and genuinely improving peoples lives without harming them. thats just how sane Good people operate.

your interpretation? is putting Law over Good. Thats Lawful Neutral, every time.

Max_Killjoy
2019-10-14, 09:28 AM
Lawful Good is a compromise -- at some point, the character will have to choose between "good" and "law".

Mark Hall
2019-10-14, 10:30 AM
Lawful Good is a compromise -- at some point, the character will have to choose between "good" and "law".

At many points, repeatedly, over the years. What keeps them Lawful Good is that they choose one in some situations, and the other in other situations, keeping them in the same general area.

Bartmanhomer
2019-10-14, 11:22 AM
Lawful Good isn't that difficult to roleplay. I'm Chaotic Good leaning to Neutral Good but I don't have any problems playing a Lawful Good character. It just that inexperience players have an unbelievable hard time interpreting what Lawful Good characters do. It said it in the Players Handbook.

Rydiro
2019-10-14, 11:28 AM
my real view is that I'm Chaotic Good and don't care about your view of law, culture, belief or anything. I can respect the people who like lawful good even if I don't play them myself. but even the people who like playing LG I've heard? they don't agree with your view. I've seen many of the reasonable people who like LG not consider the law inherently good.

so yeah, I have negative view about law, I'm Chaotic, comes with the territory, I'm proud of it.At least you're admitting it. My heart is more with LN. I like playing those chars (with a sprinkle of LE).
Part of that being the relationship the character has with their chosen code and how they think about it over time, makes a rich source of roleplaying.

Btw, I wasnt saying that real world laws are good or should be eternally unchangeable. I was saying that LG chars need to pick a good law/code of conduct and stick to it.

Inversely, a Chaotic Good won't break a just law and won't go against an authority thats being reasonable and genuinely improving peoples lives without harming them. thats just how sane Good people operate. Even you can agree that laws can sometimes be useful things. Question: Do you think a Chaotic Good character would break a just law, evading a reasonable authority, if the law was wrongly punishing a good person just in this one special case?
your interpretation? is putting Law over Good. Thats Lawful Neutral, every time. I'd suggest the LG character goes into a Dilemma. While being open to both solutions or even a compromise. If handled well that can make for interesting roleplaying … If not, it can be horrible, see examples in this thread.

Psyren
2019-10-14, 12:08 PM
Lawful Good is a compromise -- at some point, the character will have to choose between "good" and "law".


At many points, repeatedly, over the years. What keeps them Lawful Good is that they choose one in some situations, and the other in other situations, keeping them in the same general area.

I would argue that the situations where you have to choose between them are actually quite rare, unless you live somewhere they're routinely and actively coming into conflict such as a tyrannical LE regime. Most of the time, LG just views Law as the means to accomplish Good ends; it's a means they believe is inherently superior for creating lasting good because it avoids the sort of shortcuts and unintended consequences that Chaos can cause, even if it might take longer or require more effort in the short run. In other words, while the two can come into conflict, LG characters act in accordance with this alignment because they genuinely feel it's the better approach to maximizing Good overall.

ezekielraiden
2019-10-14, 12:18 PM
Lawful Good is a compromise -- at some point, the character will have to choose between "good" and "law".


At many points, repeatedly, over the years. What keeps them Lawful Good is that they choose one in some situations, and the other in other situations, keeping them in the same general area.

I have a different understanding of the situation myself. That is, when I play Lawful Good, it is usually in this form:


Laws exist to serve some function--unlike the endless interminable debates about human purpose, all mortal laws by definition have a purpose. A law which merely fails to achieve the purpose for which it was designed is not a good law, but it need not strictly be a bad law--many laws go defunct, that doesn't make them bad, but they have become unneeded chaff. A law which not only fails at its intended purpose, but actively interferes with that purpose (or any other law's purpose) is an actively bad law, and the very meaning of 'law' means that it not only can be, but SHOULD be replaced. To behave in any other way is to deny the validity of law.
So we are then left to ask: what are the correct purposes for laws? Naturally, laws can have a variety of individual purposes, e.g. some laws regulate safety, other laws prescribe the transfer of power, other laws bind participants to sworn duties such as contracts or offices, etc. But laws may also have a common purpose, a function that all law supports, or at least must not oppose. For me, the common and fundamental purpose of all law is the good of those within its purview--no law should exist that actively opposes the good of those governed by it, and ideally, every law that exists actively supports their good. It is this purpose which allows us to test and grade laws. Of course, it is entirely fair to then ask, how does one determine this good? What does one do if one does not know? You do what you think is best to the limit of your abilities--including your ability to judge what is best. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0491.html)
To say that one "must choose either Law first or Good first" is sort of a non sequitur. It confuses how the parts relate to one another. In one sense, "Good always comes before Law" because Good is what defines the valid purposes to which Law may tend. But in a different sense, Law precedes Good--consistency and formalization are how one achieves any effective large-scale end. Law constitutes the reasoning that elucidates the nature of the Good, for instance. Neither can truly be said to be "first" because their "firstness" or "secondness" depends entirely on the kind of question you're asking.

So yeah. I prefer Lawful Good (and have been told by others that, if alignment were a real thing, I would zero-questions be Lawful Good), and I don't really take very seriously the claim that you're "ultimately" picking one over the other.

Edit: Or, y'know. What Psyren said, I just had to be wordier and less coherent.