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Fitz
2008-04-07, 05:56 AM
Ok last thursdays game our party paldin fell!
this wouldn't be such a big deal but, it was only the 3rd gaming session (each only 3 1/2 hours long!) and he had a warning in that same session.

the previous session the character spent 20 miniutes burying fallen foes rather than leave them to rot (not a bad thing really, the other players thought it might not be sensible but not that odd for a paladin) latest session, after the half-orc ranger takes the full brunt of a half-ogres attack and goes straight to -9, my wizard fails to stabilise the half-orc and he dies before anyone else can get there. The paladin refuses to help build a cairn for the half -orc because "he's only an Orc" (this caused the warning of the holy item ceasing to work) when the rest of the party start to question this he responds with a torrent of "well what do you expect, " " he was a stupid orc" and "like all orcs he smelled" ..cue loss of paladinhood, an wandering monster encounter (due to the noise) and the rest of the group being a bit put out. when the party had retreated to town, the player seemed put out that he no longer had his powers...and we had only just got to 2nd level.

this in no way seemed a deliberate attempt to fall, but was shockingly fast, has anyone seen a non-deliberate faster paladin fall?

Fitz

Godna
2008-04-07, 06:00 AM
long story short he tripped

leperkhaun
2008-04-07, 06:05 AM
It seems.....rather odd that he would fall for something like not wanting to bury someone....in fact i would say your DM was bieng very very heavy handed.

anyway no, i have not seen a pally fall that fast....well i havent seen a pally fall that fast in a situation where the player wanted to keep playing a pally.

iv seen pallies who wanted to go blackguad fall really quick.

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-04-07, 06:08 AM
@leperkhaun:
It looked like he fell not for the not wanting to bury someone, but for being a racist who openly didn't care about the death of an ally. I'd definitely try to make that Paladin think about "Lawful Good" for a few minutes.

Fitz
2008-04-07, 06:08 AM
to clarify it was the opinions voiced that led to his fall, not the not burying his companion, he stated he didn't want to bury him because" he was only an orc.." and "he smelled like an orc"

it wasn't the action but the loud justification in poor terms

Fitz

Tsotha-lanti
2008-04-07, 06:13 AM
How do you bury even one corpse in 20 minutes? And was burial in the ground actually the fallen enemies' funerary custom?

I agree that losing paladinhood for this seems a bit odd. It was third-grade level prejudice, but an evil or chaotic act? Hardly. If paladins can't have prejudices, it makes for awfully dull paladins.

Hallavast
2008-04-07, 06:15 AM
K... sidestepping your dilemma for a moment, how do you bury someone (much less several foes) in 20 minutes using only level 1 magic? Did you mean real time or game time?

Now, I find it odd (though perhaps not unexpected) that your Dungeonmaster decided not burying someone to be an evil act. Unless it is the paladin's specific duty to bury certain people (like your fallen orc friend), then I would even say the act wasn't even chaotic. What's the reasoning behind the fall, exactly?

Edit:I see i have been ninja'd... and hard.

Also, It sounds like the paladin fell due to an act of ignorance rather than malice.

GoodbyeSoberDay
2008-04-07, 06:17 AM
So the Paladin fell because he refused to bury his comrade, or because of the epithets? Either way, that's a bit quick to make someone fall, though I suppose he had fair warning.

Quickest I've seen a Paladin fall was in a group of evil/CN characters (CE Barbarian, NE Rogue, CN Sorcerer). Let's just say the Paladin didn't have the most astute player controlling him. His comrades were trying to sneak civilian deaths behind his back as a game (my Barbarian, oddly enough, had the highest tally, though the Sorcerer wasn't really trying... 'cmon, it wasn't exactly a serious campaign, and it was a while ago), and the Paladin finally rolled well on a spot check against... we'll call it a bold beggar kill by the rogue. He pretended he didn't see a thing. The DM asked if he was going to confront the rogue about it. He said "No." Boom, fall.

Yeah, that player then rerolled a wizard who tried to backstab the entire party a few minutes in. Unfortunately for him, his surprise round was magic missle on my Barbarian, who then proceeded to beat him in initiative and take down most of his HP with one swing. The Rogue finished him off with a good kidney stab after that while the Sorcerer just sat and watched (low init). Good times.

Talic
2008-04-07, 06:23 AM
@leperkhaun:
It looked like he fell not for the not wanting to bury someone, but for being a racist who openly didn't care about the death of an ally. I'd definitely try to make that Paladin think about "Lawful Good" for a few minutes.

Well, that's a slippery slope.

He didn't commit an evil act. He didn't violate a code of chivalry. He just didn't show respect that is, today, a culturally accepted norm. Is respecting everyone equally a requirement of the paladin class too? Will he lose his powers if he helps one old lady across the street, and not another?

Paladins should lose their powers by doing bad things.

Not for choosing not to do a good one, once in a while.

warmachine
2008-04-07, 06:29 AM
Wow! If a paladin could fall for spouting racial prejudice, Miko would have fallen a long time ago. In a pseudo-medieval society, racial prejudice would be pretty common, even amongst paladins.

Never seen a paladin fall myself. The trick when playing one is to take a nanny attitude and demand they surrender when the enemy is losing, treat prisoners well and even give them a weapon and some food when you kick them out. Kind of hard to be punished for immorality when you're the one on the moral high horse.

Dervag
2008-04-07, 06:43 AM
@leperkhaun:
It looked like he fell not for the not wanting to bury someone, but for being a racist who openly didn't care about the death of an ally.I honestly don't think that's an evil act.

Modern civilized societies are firmly convinced that "racism is wrong." But that doesn't make racism D&D evil. I mean, must Evil characters in D&D be racist? Must Good characters be non-racist? I don't think there's a lot of evidence for either of those things.

I'd say that burying one fallen enemy and not burying another, for whatever reason, is a neutral act. Burial customs are incredibly different across societies, and there's no obvious right or wrong way to do them. And nobody would normally expect a paladin to fall because they didn't bury fallen enemies- that is not part of the paladin code to the best of my knowledge.

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-04-07, 06:47 AM
This Paladin openly belittled a fallen party member who had died in honorable combat, insulted him repeatedly, and failed to show him the same respect the Paladin showed to people who attempted to kill him. It's probably not fall-worthy, but it needs to be pointed out.

And yes, there should be a mechanic for that.

Tsotha-lanti
2008-04-07, 06:49 AM
Wow! If a paladin could fall for spouting racial prejudice, Miko would have fallen a long time ago. In a pseudo-medieval society, racial prejudice would be pretty common, even amongst paladins.

In a D&D world, racial prejudice can be required of paladins. I can't see a dwarf paladin of Moradin or Clangeddin showing respect to orcs or goblins - in fact, treating them like regular people might violate enough strong social rules to count as a Chaotic act.

senrath
2008-04-07, 06:58 AM
Personally, I think that it wasn't the prejudices that caused the paladin to fall, per say, but the refusal to honor a fallen comrade. Prejudices in a paladin, fine, in fact I expect pretty much every character to have prejudices (unless they're a Saint, but that's another story altogether), but refusing to honor, and in fact insulting, a comrade who fought and died at your side is a bit low. I wouldn't have made a paladin fall for just that act, but I would have warned him that continuing to act in such a manner in the future would make him fall.

happyturtle
2008-04-07, 06:59 AM
Whether or not racism should be considered evil in D&D terms, loyalty to one's comrades in arms has been part of the chivalric code forever. A paladin definitely should not show more respect for the enemy than for his party members. (I'd also argue that any good alignment should include simple kindness, but by that reasoning, Miko could never have become a paladin at all.)

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-04-07, 07:05 AM
Whether or not racism should be considered evil in D&D terms, loyalty to one's comrades in arms has been part of the chivalric code forever. A paladin definitely should not show more respect for the enemy than for his party members.Precisely.
(I'd also argue that any good alignment should include simple kindness, but by that reasoning, Miko could never have become a paladin at all.)Yeeeeaaaahhh. How about that?

Bender
2008-04-07, 07:06 AM
I'd say this paladin would have fallen if he showed an attitude like that over an extended period of time, requiring an alignment shift. But everyone can have a bad day.

The quickest I've seen a should-have-fallen paladin, was in one of the first sessions (possibly the very first, I don't remember). He forgot to bring food and decided to summon his mount and eat a part of it. I was very lenient and after making clear that a paladin would not want to hurt his faithful, celectial partner, he decided not to proceed. Actually, I had to persist three times that it was not a good idea...
He still occasionally shows minor chaotic-nongood behaviour, but I guess the player just should not play a paladin.

Tengu
2008-04-07, 07:09 AM
I agree with happyturtle: it's not racism that's an issue here, but the fact that he completely disrespected a fallen comrade. That's not the way a paladin should act - not every DM would make someone fall for that, but such a decision on the DM's part is not outside reason.

Oh, and there is one way for a paladin to fall quicker than having a party who likes Neutral Selfish, Chaotic Stupid and all kinds of Evil characters too much - it's to have a DM who likes Neutral Selfish, Chaotic Stupid and all kinds of Evil characters too much. But then you should probably leave the group no matter what kind of character you play, as such people don't tend to be very mature.

As for Miko, well, she is on purpose an example of a badly-played paladin who's extremely self-righteous and good only on the character sheet.

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-04-07, 07:11 AM
There needs to be a punishment mechanic that is less severe than "Fighter Without Bonus Feats", but can still get a message across. Something like a penalty on certain rolls, or the steady revoking of class features. Maybe make it so that if you lose all class features, you can never recover. *Muses*

Tengu
2008-04-07, 07:14 AM
Maybe they'll introduce something like that in 4th Edition, seeing that they are ditching many other relics of the past (like random hit points)?

Green Bean
2008-04-07, 07:14 AM
Oh, and there is one way for a paladin to fall quicker than having a party who likes Neutral Selfish, Chaotic Stupid and all kinds of Evil characters too much - it's to have a DM who likes Neutral Selfish, Chaotic Stupid and all kinds of Evil characters too much. But then you should probably leave the group no matter what kind of character you play, as such people don't tend to be very mature.

I've seen faster. Two words: "Baby kebab". :smalltongue:

KillianHawkeye
2008-04-07, 07:22 AM
This is rediculous.

Having a racist attitude is not Evil. It's not even an action, it's just an attitude.

Disrespecting someone is not Evil, it's roleplaying. You're not going to get along with everybody, even if (or especially if) you're a Paladin. That's just life. Corollary: Respecting someone is not Good, it's just how you feel about them.

Burying someone is not Good, and thus refusing to do so is not Evil. In fact, refraining from doing Good in general is not Evil, it's Neutral. D&D morality is not black and white, it's black and white and gray. (And it should take quite a lot of Neutral acts to actually step your alignment towards Neutral.)

At no point in any of this did the character commit an Evil act, disrespect a legitimate force of authority, act dishonorably, withold aid to someone in need, or refrain from punishing anyone who harmed or threatened the innocent. So tell your DM to quit being so petty, and that this guy is still a Paladin.

Talic
2008-04-07, 07:24 AM
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch'd, unfledged comrade.

- Shakespeare, Laertes's blessing to Polonius

What's a comrade? It takes more than being in a party to be a blood-brother. The paladin can agree to travel with someone so long as they're not evil. He can even work with them. But he's not required to consider them a comrade.

Would a knight of old be chastised for not building a funeral cairn for the boy that scrapes the horse poo off his boots in the evening? How about the one that he shared a fire with one evening, and was found dead in the morning?

Just because a paladin TRAVELS with someone, does not require he regard him as a trusted and honored comrade. I could see a loss of powers if he went from showing him the respect of a comrade to this, but there is no evidence of this. As long as he maintained a steady view and opinion of the orc, and role played the dislike/distrust, there's nothing wrong with what he did, from the perspective of the Paladin's Code.

Dannoth
2008-04-07, 07:31 AM
Question 1: What was the Half-orcs alignment?
A) If it was CNL-Evil the Paladin should never lose his status for this act (he might even be justified in landing the killing blow himself)

Question 2: Does the Paladin have a back story to justify his actions?
A) If his family was killed by orcs or he has a reason to despise the race I would call it petty, but not something he would lose status over.

All in all I think there is a lesson here:

1) The Paladin should have been playing a character that allows for a Choatic Good Alignment or he should just go whole-hog and become a blackguard

2) Some party members just do not get along (Choatic evil rogue + Lawful good cleric for example)

Personally I think the GM needs to re-think his decision or atleast allow the Paladin a geas side quest to restore his status.

hamishspence
2008-04-07, 07:32 AM
Exalted deeds book tells us paladins and other characters must treat others with respect. That doesn't mean being a pushover, but courtesy is pretty expected.

Similarly, it says that even if world is full of prejudice, slavery, etc, doesn't make them any less evil.

Now if the justification was "I'm not allowed to touch dead bodies" would have been reasonable (Vow of purity) Or if it had been: "we haven't time, we're on urgent mission, we'll have to do it when we come back" that would have also been reasonable.

Now prejudice does not have to take strong form, it can be a weak one, a permanent distrust of orcs and half orcs, that would not make him fall, if he never does evil to these creatures- fighting them in self defence or defence of others only. But when it takes a strong form, its a problem.

On the other hand, it is difficult to wrong a corpse. Not impossible, but difficult. Orc is not going to get any deader if burial is delayed.

Tengu
2008-04-07, 07:34 AM
On the other hand, it is difficult to wrong a corpse.

Hmm, I wonder if there any way for a paladin to be a necrophiliac and still keep his vows?

Fitz
2008-04-07, 07:35 AM
OK to clarify the half-orc died saving the paladins (and rest of the partys ) lives, (especially as the paladin had only 4 hp left.)

he fell not for not burying a comrade but for being disrespectful of someone who just saved him.

as to over-ruling the DM, i would never do that, as far as i am concerned the DM is the referee, what he says goes, i may question it after the game , but i will stand by his ruling.

I think our DM has decided this is a tempoary thing, ie needs to buck his ideas up, not the full atonement spell plus quest deal.

I will see how this continues next session. but as a final point the rest of the group was appauled at how the paladin was played, we all thought that what was said was crass and out of order, it was at the least a black mark on the paladin, a paladin is a adherent of pure good and pure law, not simply a knight. he should rise above the commonplace to a purer morality.

Fitz

Fitz
2008-04-07, 07:38 AM
and to answer the posts made while i was typing.

the half-orc was neutral good (raised by Druids and sent on a quest by the spirits of said druids)

fair point on comments like we don't have time, i think that might have not passed too much comment, certainly not the level which his comments did achieve.

Fitz

Talic
2008-04-07, 07:52 AM
OK to clarify the half-orc died saving the paladins (and rest of the partys ) lives, (especially as the paladin had only 4 hp left.)

he fell not for not burying a comrade but for being disrespectful of someone who just saved him.

as to over-ruling the DM, i would never do that, as far as i am concerned the DM is the referee, what he says goes, i may question it after the game , but i will stand by his ruling.

I think our DM has decided this is a tempoary thing, ie needs to buck his ideas up, not the full atonement spell plus quest deal.

I will see how this continues next session. but as a final point the rest of the group was appauled at how the paladin was played, we all thought that what was said was crass and out of order, it was at the least a black mark on the paladin, a paladin is a adherent of pure good and pure law, not simply a knight. he should rise above the commonplace to a purer morality.

Fitz

Correction. A paladin is a paragon of Order and Good. He is not pure in every regard, or he would fall for neutral acts, nor must he follow all law, lest he follow evil ones. He must respect legitimate authority. He must decide for himself what is legitimate, though the DM can certainly force that decision somewhat (authority sanctioned by his church or order, for example).

Paladin does not equal perfect. Nor does it equal politically correct, or culturally sensitive. He's not required to have many of the views held commonplace today.

Perhaps the paladin thought that the orc, full of the stupid hubris so prevalent with his kind, thought he could take the entire enemy force, and was shown, by divine guidance, how foolishly lethal his ideal was, and how foolishly frail his mortal body is, next to the will of the gods.

It's already been shown that the act was not evil. Nor was it chaotic. The paladin's alignment has nothing to do with it. The only possibility is the chivalric code. And that, well, is highly debatable. Chivalry greatly depended on the worthiness of the person you dealt with. If you viewed him as inequal, as lesser, you owed him little, unless he was a lady. Chivalry was (and is) a very chauvenistic concept. It's based in preferential treatment to those with status, and those of a different gender. What else can you expect? It was a system designed to be used from one noble to another, and to delineate courting. It was not to guide how knights treated lessers. While being nice is an added bonus, chivalry, law, and good... Well, none require being nice. You can be a rude, arrogant jerk, who does the right thing, and upholds order, and you're still lawful good. If you're careful on who you're rude to? You're still the paragon of chivalry.

Dannoth
2008-04-07, 08:02 AM
"he fell not for not burying a comrade but for being disrespectful of someone who just saved him"

Not good enough.
*see what I did there with that pun*

Talic makes some very good points.
Disrespectful =/= evil

Fitz, you are correct in not over ruling the DM, his word is law ... all I am saying is you either need to talk to him ... or the fallen Paladin. If I was the Fallen Paladin at this point I would either be gunning for Black Guard or re-roll a Choatic-Neutral character because if the GM is going to hold me to those kind of standards, I would rather play the game sans-morality conflicts.

Starbuck_II
2008-04-07, 08:13 AM
And this is why I hope 4th edition gets rid of the Code of Conduct. So DMs don't make Paladins fall over not agreeing with Paladins actions.

I mean doing evil is a decent reason to fall, but just disagreeing seems wrong.

hamishspence
2008-04-07, 08:26 AM
D&D will need something to define what acts constitute Evil and Good, even in 4th edition. And Paladins will still be fallable (more so, since going by Races and Classes good and evil will be much closer to top and bottom end of behaviour, with people who are just nice being Neutral.)

The good point is that Falling will not make character mechanically weaker (evil paladin option)

Now how they will do alignment is another question entirely, and it is likely it will be very hard to satisfy enough people for new alignment rules to be considered a success. But, here's hoping. At least, with focus being on Good, not Law, you can have a less stiff-necked Good paladin.

As it stands, you suggested a system should exist to penalize transgressions without leading to straight fall. Some 3rd party sources (quintesennial paladin 2) do have such a system. Plus a more detailed version of code. However I do not know if 4th ed will follow this sort of route.

Rion
2008-04-07, 09:10 AM
How are paladins portrayed in the campaign (other than player paladins)?
If they are shown as pleasant people, then disrespecting a person who died saving your life should definitely be fallable offense (in my opinion). However if they are less of a paragon of virtue (as far as a non-outsider can be), and more of a normal fighting force, then (in my opinion) the paladin shouldn't have fallen (or is it fell?).

Tweekinator
2008-04-07, 10:59 AM
Xth-ing the "Good does not equal hugs and kisses nice". There's nothing about proper burial/funeral procedures or being nice to everyone in either the Paladin Code or the description of Lawful Good. I could be a foul-mouthed, opinionated, arrogant drunkard of a paladin, but as long as I don't lie, cheat and/or use poison, as well as being sure to respect legitimate authority and so on, I'm still a paladin.

I don't need to ensure everyone gets a 21 gun(bow?) salute at their funeral, I don't need to believe that a foul orc is deserving of a proper burial, I don't need to give candy to orphans. I need to smite the wicked and aid the suffering. I'm a paladin, not a plate-armored nanny.

happyturtle
2008-04-07, 11:11 AM
"he fell not for not burying a comrade but for being disrespectful of someone who just saved him"

Not good enough.
*see what I did there with that pun*

Talic makes some very good points.
Disrespectful =/= evil


Perhaps, but it does not equal good either. To me, simply refraining from evil doing is enough to put you in neutral land. If you want to be good, you need to do more than that. And if the guy got a warning that his god disapproved of his attitude and he continued on, then he was disobeying his deity as well as failing to honour his comrade's sacrifice. So I wouldn't have had a problem with it being played this way if I were in the game.


I could be a foul-mouthed, opinionated, arrogant drunkard of a paladin, but as long as don't lie, cheat and/or use poison, as well as being sure to respect legitimate authority and so on, I'm still a paladin.

I disagree with that. That makes you LN, not LG.

Fawsto
2008-04-07, 11:15 AM
ok... This was not quite the right thing to do... In this situation I dunno what I'd have told the player, seriously...

Tweekinator
2008-04-07, 11:16 AM
I disagree with that. That makes you LN, not LG.

How?

I type in white to enlarge the character count.

Talic
2008-04-07, 11:18 AM
How are paladins portrayed in the campaign (other than player paladins)?
If they are shown as pleasant people, then disrespecting a person who died saving your life should definitely be fallable offense (in my opinion). However if they are less of a paragon of virtue (as far as a non-outsider can be), and more of a normal fighting force, then (in my opinion) the paladin shouldn't have fallen (or is it fell?).

How are they portrayed? Irrelevant. RAW Paladins can smack stableboys for getting dust on their mount's barding, as long as they bow to legitimate leaders, compete for the honor of maidens, and fight evil.

Why? Because nondamaging stinging strikes can be embarassing, which will help the stableboy remember the lesson. The lesson: Treat your superiors with respect, and do a good job.
The stableboy's knowledge of this this will promote order (he will know he should take more care in his work, promoting a more orderly stables, which should result in his lord relying on him more.) He will also know that failure has consequences, though, with a Paladin over him, rather than a Blackguard, at least he's guaranteed any lessons will spare him harm, without good cause. To cause such would be evil.)

You guys have to understand. In Chivalry, honor and nobility were EVERYTHING. If you had them, you had respect. If you didn't have it, you were deserving of nothing. You were almost a non-person.

If the DM wants to deviate and make a more restrictive version of the Paladin's code, he should announce so BEFORE telling players they lose their abilities.

Remember good != nice. Nor does lawful. Nor does chivalrous.

Talic
2008-04-07, 11:28 AM
Perhaps, but it does not equal good either.

Correct. Luckily, there's no loss of paladin abilities from neutral acts. :smallwink:

Bear in mind, unless the vast majority of a character's actions are neutral in nature, or he has evil acts to counterbalance his good ones, he's still Lawful Good.


I disagree with that. That makes you LN, not LG.
For your first statement, it is your right. It won't make your second any less incorrect, however.

Dannoth
2008-04-07, 11:30 AM
Perhaps, but it does not equal good either. To me, simply refraining from evil doing is enough to put you in neutral land

You do not lose your Paladin status for Neutral acts. You lose them for evil acts. Paladins are not saints.

In terms of RPing, if you have no intention of doing generally good things you should not play a Paladin, but this does not mean that if you decided to remain neutral on a subject (such as burial of a fallen "comrade/dirty half orc") that you should be penalized as harshly as losing Paladin status.

happyturtle
2008-04-07, 12:43 PM
How?


How is your "foul-mouthed, opinionated, arrogant drunkard of a paladin" good? Exactly what good behaviour has he performed? If the only redeeming qualities he has are that he refrains from performing evil acts, then I'm having a hard time seeing any goodness there.

Talic
2008-04-07, 01:15 PM
How is your "foul-mouthed, opinionated, arrogant drunkard of a paladin" good? Exactly what good behaviour has he performed? If the only redeeming qualities he has are that he refrains from performing evil acts, then I'm having a hard time seeing any goodness there.

Let's say, for example, he curses at the bad timing of the orcs that raid during happy hour, in the town his lord assigned him to keep order in... while he kills them, saving the town. And he never fails to let the barkeeper know that he wouldn't have his bar if it wasn't for him, every time he has to pay that 1sp for his booze... What if he openly states that the only reason little Julie's alive is because he climbed down the well to rescue her, scratching his best breastplate? And that he is superior to everyone in the town, because he was the one who killed the troll that was slaughtering their livestock?

Oh yes, he's an arrogant, drinking, ill tempered lout. But he's got good acts, no evil ones, and is fulfilling his obligation to his lord, to boot.

Again, one can be lawful good, and still be an insufferable jerk.

Tengu
2008-04-07, 01:38 PM
Whoa there. Making people feel bad without a good reason is a very mildly evil act. A paladin can have a foul mouth or be a drunkard, but he cannot be a jerk who doesn't care about others.

Tren
2008-04-07, 01:42 PM
Oh yes, he's an arrogant, drinking, ill tempered lout. But he's got good acts, no evil ones, and is fulfilling his obligation to his lord, to boot.

Again, one can be lawful good, and still be an insufferable jerk.


"Good" implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others.

Your hypothetical paladin only meets 1 out of 4 of the qualifiers listed above, I'm having a hard time taking a vain, self-important, verbally abusive drunk who resents performing goods acts (even done in the name of his lord [which is much less relevant to paladin-hood than it is to fuedalism]) as being a good person. Definitely not evil, but not good.

Starbuck_II
2008-04-07, 01:46 PM
Whoa there. Making people feel bad without a good reason is a very mildly evil act. A paladin can have a foul mouth or be a drunkard, but he cannot be a jerk who doesn't care about others.

You define a Jerk=evil, because I personally don't.
I don't count non-evil acts as evil.
Unless he murders innocent, tortures, commits adultry, slavery, or etc he can't be evil. I don't consider jerk =evil. Evil implied as killing out of fun (murder), Oppression (slavery), and Hurting others (adultry/torture).

The alignments don't make sense if jerk = evil (not saying they all do).

hamishspence
2008-04-07, 01:51 PM
Specially "humiliating an underling" is in FC 2 as a 1 point corrupt act

(by comparison, casting an evil spell is 1 pt, stealing from the needy is 2 pts, as is betrayal of friend for personal gain. Murder is 5 pts)

If you're feeling like applying it evenly, humiliating anyone on purpose should count as "humiliating an underling"

9 pts total of evil acts unatoned for will send any lawful aligned character to the Nine Hells. It depends on if DM thinks FC 2 is a good source, and a good way to keep track of how much PCs are misbehaving.

happyturtle
2008-04-07, 01:54 PM
Let's say, for example, he curses at the bad timing of the orcs that raid during happy hour, in the town his lord assigned him to keep order in... while he kills them, saving the town. And he never fails to let the barkeeper know that he wouldn't have his bar if it wasn't for him, every time he has to pay that 1sp for his booze... What if he openly states that the only reason little Julie's alive is because he climbed down the well to rescue her, scratching his best breastplate? And that he is superior to everyone in the town, because he was the one who killed the troll that was slaughtering their livestock?

Oh yes, he's an arrogant, drinking, ill tempered lout. But he's got good acts, no evil ones, and is fulfilling his obligation to his lord, to boot.

Again, one can be lawful good, and still be an insufferable jerk.

Other than obeying his lord (which is a lawful act rather than a good one) there is nothing in the list above that wouldn't be in character for Belkar to do. I already admitted that I'd be stricter about the definition of 'good' than the hypothetical DM of OOTS, but to me the essence of goodness is not slaying evildoers but treating others the way you would like to be treated. Your campaign's moral compass may vary.

Back to the original post, if Fitz's DM had never given his players an idea of the behaviour the gods would expect from paladins, then it would have been bad DMing on his side. But he did give the guy a warning, and it sounds like the other players who witnessed the whole event didn't feel like it was overly harsh.

Rutee
2008-04-07, 01:55 PM
Your hypothetical paladin only meets 1 out of 4 of the qualifiers listed above, I'm having a hard time taking a vain, self-important, verbally abusive drunk who resents performing goods acts (even done in the name of his lord [which is much less relevant to paladin-hood than it is to fuedalism]) as being a good person. Definitely not evil, but not good.

Actually, if you'll check.. that says "implies". The simple fact of the matter is, he's meeting the most core value of good; Sacrifice for others. If you want to argue that he's sacrificing for himself to feel better, then that's an acceptable avenue (Though quite a slippery slope; I could just as legitimately claim that the Cleric is only doing Good acts because it helps them feel better about themselves. Screw Hobbes.) He's just doing it in the most annoying possible way.

Also, let's not bring up more DnD books as morality. They're pretty much garbage for anything like that.

happyturtle
2008-04-07, 02:08 PM
Actually, if you'll check.. that says "implies". The simple fact of the matter is, he's meeting the most core value of good; Sacrifice for others.

I didn't see any self-sacrifice in the description. Several counts of slaying evildoers and one low-risk rescue operation, but no self-sacrifice.

Tengu
2008-04-07, 02:12 PM
You define a Jerk=evil, because I personally don't.
I don't count non-evil acts as evil.
Unless he murders innocent, tortures, commits adultry, slavery, or etc he can't be evil. I don't consider jerk =evil. Evil implied as killing out of fun (murder), Oppression (slavery), and Hurting others (adultry/torture).

The alignments don't make sense if jerk = evil (not saying they all do).

No. It's such a minor act that you can be a neutral jerk, or even a good one if on top of that you regularly save lives or something like that. But paladins are supposed to have higher moral standards than normal Good characters (and Exalted characters are supposed to be even higher) - and that means, among others, not to be a jerk towards people who haven't done anything to you. It's not hard, I manage to do this perfectly fine in my life and I'd probably be borderline good/neutral.


I didn't see any self-sacrifice in the description. Several counts of slaying evildoers and one low-risk rescue operation, but no self-sacrifice.

I disagree with self-sacrifice being necessary to be good - just because the creatures that threatened the village were no danger to you doesn't mean that the act of you getting rid of them was somehow less good.

Rutee
2008-04-07, 02:23 PM
I didn't see any self-sacrifice in the description. Several counts of slaying evildoers and one low-risk rescue operation, but no self-sacrifice.

Slaying Evil Doers who pose a legitimate threat to you is self sacrifice, because they can /kill/ you. Sure, he lived, but he still gambled his life for the village.

happyturtle
2008-04-07, 02:37 PM
I disagree with self-sacrifice being necessary to be good - just because the creatures that threatened the village were no danger to you doesn't mean that the act of you getting rid of them was somehow less good.

I don't believe that self-sacrifice = goodness. That was Rutee's definition. I think that kindness is the main tenant of goodness. I was just pointing out that I didn't think there was any sacrifice involved in the description.


Slaying Evil Doers who pose a legitimate threat to you is self sacrifice, because they can /kill/ you. Sure, he lived, but he still gambled his life for the village.

It's his village. The monsters attacked. His choice is fight them or run away. It may be courageous, but I don't see it as self-sacrifice. Belkar killed dozens of hobgoblins in defence of Azure City, but there was no sacrifice involved on his part.

I don't think being a jerk makes you evil, but I don't know any jerks in real life that I would call 'good'.

Cuddly
2008-04-07, 02:38 PM
How are they portrayed? Irrelevant. RAW Paladins can smack stableboys for getting dust on their mount's barding, as long as they bow to legitimate leaders, compete for the honor of maidens, and fight evil.

Why? Because nondamaging stinging strikes can be embarassing, which will help the stableboy remember the lesson. The lesson: Treat your superiors with respect, and do a good job.
The stableboy's knowledge of this this will promote order (he will know he should take more care in his work, promoting a more orderly stables, which should result in his lord relying on him more.) He will also know that failure has consequences, though, with a Paladin over him, rather than a Blackguard, at least he's guaranteed any lessons will spare him harm, without good cause. To cause such would be evil.)

You guys have to understand. In Chivalry, honor and nobility were EVERYTHING. If you had them, you had respect. If you didn't have it, you were deserving of nothing. You were almost a non-person.

If the DM wants to deviate and make a more restrictive version of the Paladin's code, he should announce so BEFORE telling players they lose their abilities.

Remember good != nice. Nor does lawful. Nor does chivalrous.

You're justifying being a Dennis Leary with Lawful Evil logic. I better hit these guys so everything works right! You're confusing the world of D&D with the real, historical world. Regardless of what real paladins did, D&D paladins have to follow different rules.

[edit]
Yup. Fiendish Codex II, as pointed out above, says humiliating an underling, as your paladin would, would constitute a Lawful Evil act. Keep smacking that stable boy, and your paladin is going to have a nasty surprise when his abilities fail him, he's slain in battle, and arrives in Hell.

Tweekinator
2008-04-07, 02:39 PM
I didn't see any self-sacrifice in the description. Several counts of slaying evildoers and one low-risk rescue operation, but no self-sacrifice.

Really? Entering into life or death combat for the safety and security of innocent townsfolk doesn't count as self-sacrifice? This paladin is putting his life on the line so that others may live in peace and (hopefully)prosperity. So what if he swears, drinks a bit much, knows his opinion is the one that's right, and believes the mandate from his god(or from Lawful Good) should be enough for people to listen to him when he speaks? He still leaps to the defense of the town and its people when they are threatened without a second thought to his own safety. He still uses his divine powers to cure the sick and heal the injured, he just takes a swig from a bottle hidden in a brown paper bag between patients. He may not listen to any dissenting opinions about the way he should do his job, but he defends those same people(in his own particular idiom) when they are in danger. How is this not a paladin?

hamishspence
2008-04-07, 02:41 PM
self sacrifice means just that: something has to be given up. In this case, the characters time, and, probably, some of the character's health. Risk is not quite the same thing as sacrifice.

Why object to d&d versions of morality? murder=evil + torture=evil are generally agreed on by majority of people anyway. Yes, they could do with a little sorting through, or clearer references to acts that are not evil when performed with good intent for unselfish reasons (lying, in Vile Darkness) But I think the basic sections on good and evil acts are pretty informative. might modify a few of the more minor ones, but in general I don't see too much wrong with the basic lists of acts at the start of Vile and Exalted.

Tengu
2008-04-07, 02:51 PM
I'd like to change my point then - just because something didn't cost you any time or effort, it doesn't mean that it becomes a less good act.

Tsotha-lanti
2008-04-07, 02:51 PM
Why object to d&d versions of morality? murder=evil + torture=evil are generally agreed on by majority of people anyway.

So adventurers (who pretty much by definition earn their living by seeking out and killing other creatures and taking their possessions) are evil? Hey, nice.

"Murder" is a legal term, too. The act, separate of law, is "killing"; killing is obviously not evil in itself in D&D. It's never very simple.

Tengu
2008-04-07, 03:02 PM
Killing is not evil, if you're fighting in defense and the opponent is trying to take your life (unless it's a case of misunderstanding - for example, killing someone who attacks you because he took you for a monster, due to an illusion or something, would be evil), which is usually the case of good-aligned adventurers. And that's just one example of justified killing.

happyturtle
2008-04-07, 03:06 PM
Really? Entering into life or death combat for the safety and security of innocent townsfolk doesn't count as self-sacrifice? This paladin is putting his life on the line so that others may live in peace and (hopefully)prosperity. So what if he swears, drinks a bit much, knows his opinion is the one that's right, and believes the mandate from his god(or from Lawful Good) should be enough for people to listen to him when he speaks? He still leaps to the defense of the town and its people when they are threatened without a second thought to his own safety. He still uses his divine powers to cure the sick and heal the injured, he just takes a swig from a bottle hidden in a brown paper bag between patients. He may not listen to any dissenting opinions about the way he should do his job, but he defends those same people(in his own particular idiom) when they are in danger. How is this not a paladin?

Courage is not the same as goodness. He's behaving like a jerk and treating people badly. I wouldn't call him evil, but I could never think of someone as 'good' who does that. To me, goodness should include kindness and compassion, and usually that doesn't require any sacrifice at all.

I think we've reached the 'agree to disagree' stage of the conversation. If I were running the campaign and you came to me with this character concept, I'd ask you to make it a different class because I don't see this guy as a paladin. If I were a player in a game with this guy, I would need a pretty strong in-character motivation to explain why I was adventuring with him. As a hypothetical creation in a message board, I can leave him here. It's bedtime in my time zone, so I will thank everyone for the interesting conversation and say goodnight. :smallsmile:

Talic
2008-04-07, 03:09 PM
Tengu, please show me where feelings qualify in the good and evil axis.


Your hypothetical paladin only meets 1 out of 4 of the qualifiers listed above, I'm having a hard time taking a vain, self-important, verbally abusive drunk who resents performing goods acts (even done in the name of his lord [which is much less relevant to paladin-hood than it is to fuedalism]) as being a good person. Definitely not evil, but not good.

Who's to say he resents it? Perhaps he resents the fawning treatment other paladins of his order receive. Perhaps he has difficulty expressing himself positively. This is why it's a bit difficult to role play other people's characters. It's difficult to judge intent.

Further, it's very difficult for games which scream "kill the 6 int orcs cause they're evil" (I.E. portray races and groups as inherently evil or deserving of death) to say that good acts require respecting the "dignity" of sentient beings (which, incidentally include Demons and Devils. Keep that one up, with a straight face, as a paladin.)

Note the word "implies". Not "requires". If alignment were written down as a hard and fast rule, as Honor is in LotFR, then you'd have a point. However, it's not as clear as you make it.

If a character saves others, and performs good deeds, of his own free will, out of a desire to help others and serve his lord, and also wants gratitude, and grumbles when he doesn't get it, is he good?

What if he doesn't want gratitude, and grumbles so he won't get it? Is he still good? Or are those grumbles now magically evil acts that counterbalance his genuine desire to help, and effective actions to do so? Perhaps he knows that the gifts these villagers worked so hard to earn would be of better use in the mouths of their children, and doesn't want to receive anonymous gifts at his doorstep. But you don't know that. Thus, you aren't qualified to judge the alignment of the character. This is why judgement of the intent behind actions is generally best left to the player declaring those actions, rather than sideshow-alignment-quarterbacks.

As long as he is willingly risking his life, it shows he is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. If he is spending his time in a village, instead of garnering glory and/or turning others to his faith, it's a sacrifice of time.

The following of the duty to a lord and respect of rightful authority has a great deal to do with being a paladin, in this instance.

Don't be so quick to judge what qualifiers of good a character is meeting. Alignment is less of a strait jacket than you think.

blacksabre
2008-04-07, 03:10 PM
Tell your DM to use a 10 PT alignment system..simple, straight forward.

Alignment Base starts with 10 pts.When it reaches 0, alignment change.

Each transgression of the prefered alignment has a negative value.
The DM should spend a few minutes and write up at least 5 examples of transgressions and there negative value.

Also, there should be examples on how to get positive alignment adjustments

Here are some examples for a paladin (subjective)

-10 Murder or allow someone to be Murdered with inaction
-9 Allow evil to perpetuate through inaction
-8 Cause the Unintentional Death by inaction of an innocent
-7 Knowingly Break a Law
-6 Theft/ Allow a Law be broken through inaction
-5 Allow a theft
-4 Lie / Show disprespect to a recognized Authority
-3 Knowingly allow a Lie to be carried out
-2 Cheat, break or alter a rule or agreement on any transaction
-1 Knowingly allow someone to Cheat in a transaction

Cuddly
2008-04-07, 03:11 PM
So adventurers (who pretty much by definition earn their living by seeking out and killing other creatures and taking their possessions) are evil? Hey, nice.

"Murder" is a legal term, too. The act, separate of law, is "killing"; killing is obviously not evil in itself in D&D. It's never very simple.

He said murder was wrong. He didn't say killing was wrong. You even point out the difference between murder and killing, then conflate the two? How bizarre.

Tengu
2008-04-07, 03:20 PM
Tengu, please show me where feelings qualify in the good and evil axis.


I'm not entirely sure did I understand you correctly, but they don't - a character of any alignment can be feeling-driven, just like a character of any alignment can have black hair, be a gambler, dislike fat meat, or prefer two-handed weapons to sword and board.

Talic
2008-04-07, 03:48 PM
I'm not entirely sure did I understand you correctly, but they don't - a character of any alignment can be feeling-driven, just like a character of any alignment can have black hair, be a gambler, dislike fat meat, or prefer two-handed weapons to sword and board.

Then if feelings don't factor into alignment, how does making someone feel bad qualify as evil?

Citizen Joe
2008-04-07, 03:53 PM
I think we've reached the 'agree to disagree' stage of the conversation.
You see the title of this thread? THAT is where you should have agreed to disagree. I almost posted about how ludicrous it is to fall a paladin for the events described and explain how the GM doesn't understand the paladin code, alignment, or the concept of being an impartial judge... but then I realized this whole thread just HAS to be a troll thread. So I didn't.

tainsouvra
2008-04-07, 04:04 PM
I didn't see a good/evil question in the original situation. What I did see was a law/chaos one: the pointed disrespect of a fallen comrade, to the point that a fallen evil foe is given dramatically more consideration, is a chaotic act. It is the antithesis of group unity and civilized behavior, after all, so there's little else for it to be.

When I DM, I wouldn't call that sufficient to cause a permanent fall by itself, but a temporary loss of divine blessings paired with a recurring nightmare where his comrades vanish before his eyes would definitely be appropriate.

Tweekinator
2008-04-07, 04:14 PM
I didn't see a good/evil question in the original situation. What I did see was a law/chaos one: the pointed disrespect of a fallen comrade, to the point that a fallen evil foe is given dramatically more consideration, is a chaotic act. It is the antithesis of group unity and civilized behavior, after all, so there's little else for it to be.

When I DM, I wouldn't call that sufficient to cause a permanent fall by itself, but a temporary loss of divine blessings paired with a recurring nightmare where his comrades vanish before his eyes would definitely be appropriate.

What? Why would you punish that act? By RAW the paladin did nothing to warrant any sort of divine punishment, especially so if he had disliked the orc from the get go or was just biased against orcs in general(not an unreasonable thing for a paladin). It's not like he desecrated the thing's grave, he just refused to assist in building a cairn. That's all. Since when are paladins the gravediggers of the gods? He didn't want to bury an orc party member, oh noes!

Tengu
2008-04-07, 04:18 PM
Then if feelings don't factor into alignment, how does making someone feel bad qualify as evil?

Say "you misunderstood me" instead of trying to pull a strawman next time, please.
Making someone feel bad is a slightly evil act (unless they deserve it), making someone feel better is a slightly good act.

Corolinth
2008-04-07, 04:18 PM
In three sessions, they're not "comrades in arms" yet. Refusing to honor someone who's not a comrade in arms is not an evil act.

Paladins are allowed to be racist. The dream that one day little orc boys and orc girls will be able to join hands with little elf boys and elf girls as sisters and brothers will not be dreamed for centuries. We are talking about a world in which dragons are judged by the color of their scales, and not the content of their character.

Look how spiteful, egotistical, racist, and intolerant Miko was. You would be hard-pressed to find a more self-righteous and bigoted bitch than Miko. Most of us knew she was going to fall. Most of us thought she should have fallen numerous times throughout the strip. But it wasn't until she cut down an unarmed octogenarian that she finally had her powers taken from her.


And this is why I hope 4th edition gets rid of the Code of Conduct. So DMs don't make Paladins fall over not agreeing with Paladins actions.Do you really think no longer having a code of conduct will accomplish this? That's a very myopic statement.

Furthermore, without alignment restrictions or a code of conduct, you may as well not have paladins. That's rather the point of the class. Contrary to popular belief, you can not separate "fluff" from the mechanical elements of a class. It's not at all difficult to understand D&D alignments, or to follow a code of conduct.

Now, there are going to be DMs who have bugs up their asses about paladins, and are bound and determined to make one fall. There will be DMs who insist on putting any PC paladin in an impossible situation where every choice is the wrong one. The existence, or lack of, a code of conduct is ultimately irrelevant. There is nothing that the game designers can do to prevent this. The author of the PH can't fix a DM being a ****.

Likewise, there are players who, no matter what you do, or how you explain alignment, insist on trying to find a semantic argument for why being CG does not forbid them from kicking a puppy, and that they had a very good reason for doing it. Game designers can not fix this problem, either.

Tsotha-lanti
2008-04-07, 04:21 PM
He said murder was wrong. He didn't say killing was wrong. You even point out the difference between murder and killing, then conflate the two? How bizarre.

The point is that murder is not a moral term.

Tracking down and killing a Chaotic Evil villain in his hide-out in a city is almost certainly murder (with the associated breaking and entering). Is it wrong or Evil?

(It may be Chaotic - disregard for laws, due process, and so on.)

Killing is not inherently Evil in D&D. Therefore, murder is not inherently Evil in D&D. Murder is not a matter of alignment, but a matter of legislation.

Corolinth
2008-04-07, 04:33 PM
Tracking down and killing a Chaotic Evil villain in his hide-out in a city is almost certainly murder (with the associated breaking and entering). Is it wrong or Evil?This very scenario was fairly well hammered out in second edition. It would be chaotic, and therefore not permissible for a paladin to ignore proper legal proceedings. (It's worth noting that the paladin is very likely to be legally empowered to track down and kill the CE villain in his hide-out, however). It is murder unless the villain resists arrest.

If a paladin was going to kill someone, there had to be some sort of refusal to surrender. You couldn't ambush him, you couldn't attack him from behind, you couldn't kill him in his sleep, etc. Slitting a blackguard's throat while he slept was considered evil (a LG fighter could get away with the occasional evil act, but a ranger or a paladin would fall - 2E rangers had to be good-aligned).

drengnikrafe
2008-04-07, 04:35 PM
I'm going to avoid the whole "Good Vs. Evil" Discussion, and just tell a story.

We were turning 12th level, I believe. We had one member of the team that was a Fighter/Barbarian/Elemental Warrior (Homebrew Prestige Class), and he wanted to be a blackguard. So, he took his 12th level in palladin, and immediately went on a killing rampage.
It had hardly been minutes, and it was gone.

Citizen Joe
2008-04-07, 04:58 PM
Making someone feel bad is a slightly evil act (unless they deserve it), making someone feel better is a slightly good act.

Wait, so making people feel bad is evil now? And evil is cumulative? That would make 90% of the kids out there evil now. Suddenly the evil shop keeper makes sense. All those times he turned away some poor bum looking for a handout, every time made him a little more evil. Now the paladin busts in and starts smiting....

Hmm... Paladin... pipes of charming... army of beggars... ???... Profit!

Talic
2008-04-07, 05:27 PM
I didn't see a good/evil question in the original situation. What I did see was a law/chaos one: the pointed disrespect of a fallen comrade, to the point that a fallen evil foe is given dramatically more consideration, is a chaotic act. It is the antithesis of group unity and civilized behavior, after all, so there's little else for it to be.

When I DM, I wouldn't call that sufficient to cause a permanent fall by itself, but a temporary loss of divine blessings paired with a recurring nightmare where his comrades vanish before his eyes would definitely be appropriate.

I will concede the entire arguement if you can show me one place in the paladin alignment where a single chaotic act, by RAW, by itself, (provided that single act is not severe enough to change the paladin so that he is no longer lawful good) causes a loss of paladin powers.


Say "you misunderstood me" instead of trying to pull a strawman next time, please.
Making someone feel bad is a slightly evil act (unless they deserve it), making someone feel better is a slightly good act.

And again, to my original question that you misunderstood, show me a RAW source that delineates the improving of another character's actions as, how did you put it, "slightly good", and the worsening as "slightly evil".

Further, show me the guidelines for showing how to tell whether or not someone "deserves it".

At the core of your arguement is a whirlwind of opinions and emotions, bearing little resemblance to fact. While your opinion is a perfectly justified opinion of the alignment system, it's by no means RAW, fact, or truth, which is how you seem to be putting it forth.

Or prove me wrong, and cite your source.

Tengu
2008-04-07, 05:35 PM
And again, to my original question that you misunderstood, show me a RAW source that delineates the improving of another character's actions as, how did you put it, "slightly good", and the worsening as "slightly evil".

Further, show me the guidelines for showing how to tell whether or not someone "deserves it".


The guidelines and sources are the DM's and players' common sense. It's not RAW, but we have our own brains not to play everything by RAW. Especially in case of alignment, which is probably the most ill-defined element of the whole DND system.

Talic
2008-04-07, 06:09 PM
The guidelines and sources are the DM's and players' common sense. It's not RAW, but we have our own brains not to play everything by RAW. Especially in case of alignment, which is probably the most ill-defined element of the whole DND system.

So then, what you're really saying is that, in your own personal opinion, making someone feel better should be a slightly good act, and in your own personal opinion, making someone feel worse, without an arbitrary means of "deserving it", should be slightly evil?

That's all I needed to hear, is that your arguement has no basis whatsoever in the rules of the game, but instead, in your own personal opinion.

In the future, when you represent an opinion, rather than fact, I'd personally appreciate it if you outline it as such, to prevent any misunderstandings. Here I thought you wanted to argue D&D, and not subjective interpretations of relatively open for interpretation rules. I agree, you have every right to interpret/fill in the blanks however you want for the alignment system. Whatever makes the game fun for you and your group is exactly what you should do.

Point is, when a rule is undefined, perhaps that's for a reason, hmm? Perhaps it allows each group to bring their own personal belief system into the game, without infringing on anybody else's?

SimperingToad
2008-04-07, 06:27 PM
You see the title of this thread? THAT is where you should have agreed to disagree. I almost posted about how ludicrous it is to fall a paladin for the events described and explain how the GM doesn't understand the paladin code, alignment, or the concept of being an impartial judge... but then I realized this whole thread just HAS to be a troll thread. So I didn't.

I can see that perception in light of what has transpired, and I may have thought so as well, but...


...has anyone seen a non-deliberate faster paladin fall? Fitz

I think this is the operative statement and purpose of the OP. Not that I'm trying to be a killjoy and all... :smallamused:

Regards,
theToad

KillianHawkeye
2008-04-07, 07:08 PM
Why are there so many people talking about chivalry?

Except for being the most common stereotype, the medieval knight's Code of Chivalry has nothing to do with Paladins in D&D. The Paladin's Code is very specific and in no place mentions respect for individual people, being polite, or any other facet of chivalry.

A Paladin may be expected to follow the Code of Chivalry in your game, but that should only be due to the fact that the default Paladin in your game behaves in that way. Then if a particular Paladin acted differently he would begin to feel the social repercussions of acting against the stereotype. But it's not a class feature to act that way, and thus won't cause him to fall just for being non-chivalrous.

Rutee
2008-04-07, 07:12 PM
That's all I needed to hear, is that your arguement has no basis whatsoever in the rules of the game, but instead, in your own personal opinion.

Uh, given that the RAW in this case involves Alignments, which are flatly squishy, you /can not/ give a purely objective, by RAW interpretation of the matter in question.

Talic
2008-04-07, 07:30 PM
Uh, given that the RAW in this case involves Alignments, which are flatly squishy, you /can not/ give a purely objective, by RAW interpretation of the matter in question.

And thus, you cannot say that it's impossible to have a rude character who is still good. That would require that all interpretations of the alignment code support that inability.

You can quite certainly say that it is possible, however. Because it is, under some interpretations.

Thus, to say that you "can't" do something, as a blanket statement, is wrong.

I've never said you can't have a system where it's impossible. But, based on the interpretation of good and evil (my definition of good, incidentally, is considering the welfare of others when making your decisions, and acting on that welfare. You can be rude and still act in someone's best interest), it is possible to have a boorish drunkard who is still Lawful Good. And that's true, because of the flexibility in interpretation.

However, the statement that it is not possible is not true, under a system that allows multiple interpretations, some of which support your view, and some of which don't.

Rutee
2008-04-07, 07:42 PM
And thus, you cannot say that it's impossible to have a rude character who is still good. That would require that all interpretations of the alignment code support that inability.

I'll agree with this, but the post I was quoting had you pointing out that Tengu's opinion has to be phrased as such, because there was no RAW on the topic. I was recommending the same to you.

Citizen Joe
2008-04-07, 07:42 PM
However, the statement that it is not possible is not true, under a system that allows multiple interpretations, some of which support your view, and some of which don't.

The problem isn't so much one of multiple interpretations but rather the only important interpretation is in the hands of someone with power and doesn't explain the interpretation to those performing the actions. I.e. Don't play an alignment based character in a game with the aforementioned DM. I should shorten that to don't play an alignment based character... but I can can do one better, don't play in an alignment game. Seriously, there are MANY games out there without alignment systems. In fact, alignment systems are a very small minority.

Talic
2008-04-07, 07:55 PM
The problem isn't so much one of multiple interpretations but rather the only important interpretation is in the hands of someone with power and doesn't explain the interpretation to those performing the actions. I.e. Don't play an alignment based character in a game with the aforementioned DM. I should shorten that to don't play an alignment based character... but I can can do one better, don't play in an alignment game. Seriously, there are MANY games out there without alignment systems. In fact, alignment systems are a very small minority.

And the counter argument is that this line of reasoning gives him tools that he can use if he wants to discuss the issue with his DM. While I agree, tying mechanical class features to such a subjective system is asking for trouble, the pig's already in the pot, in this instance. Let's try to make the best meal out of it we can, at least.

Aquillion
2008-04-07, 07:56 PM
I'm not entirely sure did I understand you correctly, but they don't - a character of any alignment can be feeling-driven, just like a character of any alignment can have black hair, be a gambler, dislike fat meat, or prefer two-handed weapons to sword and board.Disagree. Being driven by your feelings is primarily a chaotic trait. A lawful character will certainly have and be influenced by their feelings, but if they let their feelings (and not the law, or social codes, or whatever) become the primary factor dictating their behavior, then they're no longer lawful.

A lawful character has feelings, but when their feelings and the law (or tradition or whatever) conflict, they'll generally be guided by tradition. This particular case can be hard to decide without background. As someone noted, racism could be traditional in some societies, in which case (say) lawful characters might all hate orcs, while chaotic hippy-types might challenge those prejudices. Contrary to popular belief, "lawful good" does not automatically mean "extra-good".


Except for being the most common stereotype, the medieval knight's Code of Chivalry has nothing to do with Paladins in D&D. The Paladin's Code is very specific and in no place mentions respect for individual people, being polite, or any other facet of chivalry.It isn't really all that specific, though:

A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class abilities if she ever willingly commits an evil act.

Additionally, a paladinís code requires that she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth), help those in need (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends), and punish those who harm or threaten innocents.Now, there are many different standards of honor in the world, but I think it's not that far out there to say that openly disrespecting a comrade-in-arms is dishonorable.

Of course, there are societies where racism itself would be considered dishonorable, too -- to an increasing extent, I would say that the real world is such a place. In fact, I would say that "dishonorable" is a better description for modern attitude towards racism than "evil" -- if a politician says something openly, blatantly racist on TV, you tend to see the discussion more in terms of how we'd treat dishonor (the way he shamed/humiliated himself with his remarks, say) rather than evil. Whether that extends into your game world is up to the DM, really. I doubt it's what was intended, but it's not totally bizarre.

'Honor' is itself a social construct; people who behave in disreputable ways are dishonored. There was a time when marrying someone of a different race was considered dishonorable, say; now, objecting to it would be considered dishonorable. Likewise, there was a time when having soldiers simply line up and shoot at the enemy line was considered honorable, and hiding in cover was dishonorable; nowadays, lining up in the open would be considered "stupid."

Standards of honor can change, and different game world are going to have slightly different standards.

But there's another factor here:
A paladin who ceases to be lawful good, who willfully commits an evil act, or who grossly violates the code of conduct loses all paladin spells and abilitiesEven if you consider them dishonorable, I'd be hard-pressed to call racist remarks a "gross" violation. Disrespecting a dead comrade-in-arms in such a dramatic fashion is probably a much more serious issue.

Kompera
2008-04-07, 08:11 PM
The problem with this fall from Paladinhood, as with any that I have heard about in the past, is not in the details as much as it is in the background.

Not many D&D worlds are the equal of the rich, fully fledged settings of even a single novel. Much less those settings which have had multiple novels set in them. The players don't live in these worlds, but their characters do. But in the course of game play the characters are often penalized for things which their players would know as people immersed in the setting. GMs need to be aware of this while they are trying to breath life into their world setting.

I'll make a series of risky assumptions here: The GM didn't have much if any detail to provide the Paladin at the start of play on his religious order, or any particulars of behavior other than what is provided in the PHB. And when the player decided to bury the dead enemies from an earlier encounter, the GM tended to see this as setting a code of behavior. And when the player chose to vary from this new code for a friend, the GM took both that and the insults as justification for the fall.

But again, the player doesn't live in the game world, only the character. With Paladin falls as with alignment violations I believe that the GM needs to be very involved. There should never be an even such as "You do that, huh? Well, your Wizard just went from Chaotic Good to Chaotic Neutral," or "You do that, huh? Well, you're still LG but you've lost your Paladin status." Even with the single prior warning, this just isn't sufficient for a new campaign setting on the 3rd play session. There's very little chance that the players could be expected to have a decent grasp of the setting by this time. They haven't spent 18 years living there, after all, while their characters have. They need all the breaks in the world, and a willful disregard for the GMs commentary on their proposed behavior, as opposed to sanctions applied after simply allowing actions to take place.

That said, there are some particulars which the GM should have commented on, prior to forcing a fall.


Code of Conduct

A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class abilities if she ever willingly commits an evil act.

Additionally, a paladinís code requires that she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth), help those in need (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends), and punish those who harm or threaten innocents.
Associates

While she may adventure with characters of any good or neutral alignment, a paladin will never knowingly associate with evil characters, nor will she continue an association with someone who consistently offends her moral code. A paladin may accept only henchmen, followers, or cohorts who are lawful good.

This establishes two points: "Act with honor", and "will never knowingly associate with evil characters, nor will she continue an association with someone who consistently offends her moral code." From this we can draw two conclusions: The Orc needed to be treated with honor. If burying the dead has been established as a thing which this Paladin does to honor the dead, then the Orc should have been buried. And, the Paladin would not be associated with the Orc if the Orc was either evil or if the Orc offended his moral code. So there is no recourse to mealy-mouthed evasions such as "Prejudice was sooo common in medieval times that it is of course acceptable behavior," or "This Paladin's parents were killed by Orcs, so it's only natural that he is prejudiced against all Orcs." That is a violation of the Code of Conduct. This Orc didn't kill the Paladin's parents, and this Orc was an associate of the Paladin already. If the Paladin was traveling with this Orc as an equal party member, the Code of Conduct instructs the Paladin to act with honor towards him.

And finally, the unwritten rule should always apply: Don't be a jerk to the people sitting around the gaming table with you. The character may not deserve to fall, but the player (players, from the description of what happened between the characters later) might need an alignment check of their own.

EvilElitest
2008-04-07, 08:26 PM
In a D&D world, racial prejudice can be required of paladins. I can't see a dwarf paladin of Moradin or Clangeddin showing respect to orcs or goblins - in fact, treating them like regular people might violate enough strong social rules to count as a Chaotic act.

wrong, on so many counts

1. Paladins aren't devoted to gods, that is clerics. The paladin code is standardized for everyone
2. Nothing in hte code promotes racism, in fact open mindness and mercy are parts of teh code
3. Social rules have nothing to do with being lawful, upholding the code does
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EvilElitest
2008-04-07, 08:31 PM
And this is why I hope 4th edition gets rid of the Code of Conduct. So DMs don't make Paladins fall over not agreeing with Paladins actions.

I mean doing evil is a decent reason to fall, but just disagreeing seems wrong.

Actually, i think with the "Unaligned" alignment added, i think it will be even more confusing



Actually, if you'll check.. that says "implies". The simple fact of the matter is, he's meeting the most core value of good; Sacrifice for others. If you want to argue that he's sacrificing for himself to feel better, then that's an acceptable avenue (Though quite a slippery slope; I could just as legitimately claim that the Cleric is only doing Good acts because it helps them feel better about themselves. Screw Hobbes.) He's just doing it in the most annoying possible way.

Also, let's not bring up more DnD books as morality. They're pretty much garbage for anything like that.
1. An evil person or a neutral one will be willing to sacrifice for others. Being a better person in both intent and in deed is the paladin nature
2. Being a civil person is part of the paladin code
3. Ah hobbes, your ideals are so funny
4. Why not? They are published by WotC to touch these issues directly. The only reason to avoid it would because it crushes some theories
from
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Citizen Joe
2008-04-07, 08:41 PM
Well, while we're talking about racism...

Here, in the Real World (tm) racism is generally looked down upon because we aren't actually of different races. We pick one group and TRY to say they are a different race in order to justify that they should be classified as animals. We treat animals with significantly less respect than others of our own race (i.e. humans).

However, in Fantasyland (DND) they ARE different races. They might still be people, but they aren't the same race. Thus racism is perfectly justified. From a purely genetic basis, orcs and elves are sufficiently compatible with humans that they can interbreed. That sort of puts them on par with modern cloning in levels of ickiness of reproduction. Not quite human, but they can be successfully bred with. Dwarves... halflings... not breedable, thus less of a species. All the other races towards each other? Lesser races... thus animals... thus perfectly acceptable to treat them as such.

So why isn't racism totally running amok in DND? Because all the races are lesser species compared to the very real and confirmable presence of gods. It would be like the pig looking down his snout at the chicken while the farmer tries to decide what is for dinner.

Anyway, my point is that you can't use modern day opinions on racism and apply them to a world where multiple true races exist. Apples v. Oranges.

EvilElitest
2008-04-07, 08:47 PM
I would like to point out that Killing is evil, however when used in self defense or in defense of others it is a neutral act. Saving the other person is good however
from
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Citizen Joe
2008-04-07, 09:02 PM
Tell that to my hamburger.

Kompera
2008-04-07, 09:04 PM
Anyway, my point is that you can't use modern day opinions on racism and apply them to a world where multiple true races exist. Apples v. Oranges.
Actually, you can. In fact, unless the setting is specifically designed with a social system where racism is acceptable, you must.

We live in these times, not in any other. Current morals need to be applied to the game world and our characters actions in the game world by default, unless specifically described as being different by the GM. If this is not accepted as the ground rule, than any action is able to be justified by simply finding an historical or cultural framework in which that action was considered 'good'. In Sparta babies with birth defects were left to die of exposure, and this was considered 'good' for the society. In other times interbreeding with siblings and cousins was considered normal, in order to 'preserve' a noble line. Those two mind sets are diametrically opposed: One wants no flaws in anyone, commoner or royal, so that everyone is strong; the other wants to maintain a financial or political place of superiority despite the dissipation of the individual members of the bloodline which is being preserved.

Neither is a good thing based on our current standards for acceptable and honorable behavior, but both can be argued as being good in the context of their cultures. And any other act can be so justified as being good. And so if this contextual argument is allowed nothing is forbidden, and anything goes. And no matter how 'squishy' the D&D alignment or Paladin rules may be, that is not a supportable position.

We can play Rangers and Wizards and Rogues as a healthy past time and escape, slay the bad guys and save the kingdom, and that's all fine. But it's not healthy to promote or even tolerate in the game racism or other things considered distasteful in our culture. The game can be played in many ways, but those who chose to use a social gaming setting to act out their prejudices and perversions should consider seeking professional council.

Citizen Joe
2008-04-07, 09:23 PM
We can play Rangers and Wizards and Rogues as a healthy past time and escape, slay the bad guys and save the kingdom, and that's all fine. But it's not healthy to promote or even tolerate in the game racism or other things considered distasteful in our culture. The game can be played in many ways, but those who chose to use a social gaming setting to act out their prejudices and perversions should consider seeking professional council.

That goes beyond the inherent alignment system and speaks toward the social contract between the players of the game. You just don't go into someone's house and start throwing around racial slurs period. It doesn't matter if it is in-game or not, you just don't do it if you expect to be invited back. Or even if you don't want to get hit with a sack of dice.

In the specific instance, the punishment for the callous disregard of a fellow party member should not have been the DM stripping the paladin's abilities for some perceived 'not niceness' but instead the paladin should have been cast out of the group, first in-character and then asked to leave the game until the player can be more respectful of others.

Rutee
2008-04-07, 09:48 PM
Well, while we're talking about racism...

Here, in the Real World (tm) racism is generally looked down upon because we aren't actually of different races. We pick one group and TRY to say they are a different race in order to justify that they should be classified as animals. We treat animals with significantly less respect than others of our own race (i.e. humans).

However, in Fantasyland (DND) they ARE different races. They might still be people, but they aren't the same race. Thus racism is perfectly justified. From a purely genetic basis, orcs and elves are sufficiently compatible with humans that they can interbreed. That sort of puts them on par with modern cloning in levels of ickiness of reproduction. Not quite human, but they can be successfully bred with. Dwarves... halflings... not breedable, thus less of a species. All the other races towards each other? Lesser races... thus animals... thus perfectly acceptable to treat them as such.

So why isn't racism totally running amok in DND? Because all the races are lesser species compared to the very real and confirmable presence of gods. It would be like the pig looking down his snout at the chicken while the farmer tries to decide what is for dinner.

Anyway, my point is that you can't use modern day opinions on racism and apply them to a world where multiple true races exist. Apples v. Oranges.

Biology nitpick, and a Discworld fan would tell you quickly enough, you're refering to species-ism. Racism basically refers to different, minor variations of the same thing (Such as the High Elves and Wood Elves), where differences on the biological level are minute and it's mostly culture. Different Races will still breed true with each other. Different Species will not.

Of course, half everything breeds true, so biology kind of went out the window a while ago..

Cuddly
2008-04-07, 10:12 PM
Actually, you can. In fact, unless the setting is specifically designed with a social system where racism is acceptable, you must.

We live in these times, not in any other. Current morals need to be applied to the game world and our characters actions in the game world by default, unless specifically described as being different by the GM. If this is not accepted as the ground rule, than any action is able to be justified by simply finding an historical or cultural framework in which that action was considered 'good'. In Sparta babies with birth defects were left to die of exposure, and this was considered 'good' for the society. In other times interbreeding with siblings and cousins was considered normal, in order to 'preserve' a noble line. Those two mind sets are diametrically opposed: One wants no flaws in anyone, commoner or royal, so that everyone is strong; the other wants to maintain a financial or political place of superiority despite the dissipation of the individual members of the bloodline which is being preserved.

Current morals are not to be applied, since the PHB lays out really really straight forwardly what the morals of the D&D universe are supposed to be. Furthermore, two more books were published, BoED and BoVD.

As for your two scenarios, one is clearly a Lawful Evil act and the other a Lawful Neutral act.


Neither is a good thing based on our current standards for acceptable and honorable behavior, but both can be argued as being good in the context of their cultures. And any other act can be so justified as being good. And so if this contextual argument is allowed nothing is forbidden, and anything goes. And no matter how 'squishy' the D&D alignment or Paladin rules may be, that is not a supportable position.

Real world history is irrelevant, because a code of morality and ethics is written down for you in the PHB.


We can play Rangers and Wizards and Rogues as a healthy past time and escape, slay the bad guys and save the kingdom, and that's all fine. But it's not healthy to promote or even tolerate in the game racism or other things considered distasteful in our culture. The game can be played in many ways, but those who chose to use a social gaming setting to act out their prejudices and perversions should consider seeking professional council.

Just like Edward Norton should be boycotted for portraying a racist in American History X and definitely seek professional help.


The point is that murder is not a moral term.

Tracking down and killing a Chaotic Evil villain in his hide-out in a city is almost certainly murder (with the associated breaking and entering). Is it wrong or Evil?

(It may be Chaotic - disregard for laws, due process, and so on.)

Killing is not inherently Evil in D&D. Therefore, murder is not inherently Evil in D&D. Murder is not a matter of alignment, but a matter of legislation.

A murder is wrongful killing, therefore, in D&D, murders are always evil. Tracking down and slaying a CE villain is not evil, and therefor nor murder, given that the killing was justified (he ate babies or whatever).

In D&D, murder IS a matter of alignment, since a power beyond the gods legislates right and wrong. It's the product of an objective moral system. Regardless of a country's laws, murder, eg, wrongful killing, is always Evil. It's pretty straight forward.


I will concede the entire arguement if you can show me one place in the paladin alignment where a single chaotic act, by RAW, by itself, (provided that single act is not severe enough to change the paladin so that he is no longer lawful good) causes a loss of paladin powers.



And again, to my original question that you misunderstood, show me a RAW source that delineates the improving of another character's actions as, how did you put it, "slightly good", and the worsening as "slightly evil".

Further, show me the guidelines for showing how to tell whether or not someone "deserves it".

At the core of your arguement is a whirlwind of opinions and emotions, bearing little resemblance to fact. While your opinion is a perfectly justified opinion of the alignment system, it's by no means RAW, fact, or truth, which is how you seem to be putting it forth.

Or prove me wrong, and cite your source.

Beating your stableboy so he knows you're the boss and stays in line, beating him for his own good, or for the good of society, are all Lawful Evil acts. See the part on LE alignment in Fiendish Codex II.

turkishproverb
2008-04-07, 10:17 PM
What if he doesn't want gratitude, and grumbles so he won't get it? Is he still good? Or are those grumbles now magically evil acts that counterbalance his genuine desire to help, and effective actions to do so? Perhaps he knows that the gifts these villagers worked so hard to earn would be of better use in the mouths of their children, and doesn't want to receive anonymous gifts at his doorstep. But you don't know that. Thus, you aren't qualified to judge the alignment of the character. This is why judgement of the intent behind actions is generally best left to the player declaring those actions, rather than sideshow-alignment-quarterbacks.



Ths would be the "lone ranger" argument. He wore a mask so people wouldn't be able to thank him or reward him.

Cuddly
2008-04-07, 10:22 PM
This is why judgement of the intent behind actions is generally best left to the player declaring those actions, rather than sideshow-alignment-quarterbacks.

So as long as I have some super-secret justification, my paladin can kill all the children he likes? You know, as long as the intent is right.

turkishproverb
2008-04-07, 10:28 PM
Say "you misunderstood me" instead of trying to pull a strawman next time, please.
Making someone feel bad is a slightly evil act (unless they deserve it), making someone feel better is a slightly good act.


Wait, so making people feel bad is evil now? And evil is cumulative? That would make 90% of the kids out there evil now. Suddenly the evil shop keeper makes sense. All those times he turned away some poor bum looking for a handout, every time made him a little more evil. Now the paladin busts in and starts smiting....

Hmm... Paladin... pipes of charming... army of beggars... ???... Profit!


what on EARTH is WRONG with you people?

If your not all touchy feely its not a good act?

Bull.

Drill Sgt.'s and trainers say things that make people feel horrible all the time. Not evil acts. they help people build. I slap someone in the head for doing something stupid.


Just because it makes someone feel bad, doesn't make it evil. More complicated than that.

Cuddly
2008-04-07, 10:29 PM
what on EARTH is WRONG with you people?

If your not all touchy feely its not a good act?

Bull.

Drill Sgt.'s and trainers say things that make people feel horrible all the time. Not evil acts. they help people build. I slap someone in the head for doing something stupid.


Just because it makes someone feel bad, doesn't make it evil. More complicated than that.

Humiliating an underling is a lawful evil act, by RAW.
Look it up; Fiendish Codex 2.

Rutee
2008-04-07, 10:35 PM
Of course, by RAW, all uses of Negative energy are evil, as is creation of undead. RAW is pretty irrelevant when discussing a system that is by its nature going to have its RAW ignored (Like Alignment notes, especially in obscure books).

Halna LeGavilk
2008-04-07, 10:37 PM
What if the end result is good? What then? The problem, I think, with general alignment, is: do ends justify means? That's a question for individual DMs.

If the trainer/Sgt./whatever yells at the person, and the end result is the person does better, loses more weight, etc, is it a good or evil act?

Cuddly
2008-04-07, 10:38 PM
Of course, by RAW, all uses of Negative energy are evil, as is creation of undead. RAW is pretty irrelevant when discussing a system that is by its nature going to have its RAW ignored (Like Alignment notes, especially in obscure books).

Oh.
So you're just going to make up your own rules. My bad.
Continue.

Rutee
2008-04-07, 10:43 PM
Oh.
So you're just going to make up your own rules. My bad.
Continue.

Create Undead has the [Evil] Descriptor. Casting a spell with the [Evil] Descriptor is an Evil Act, I'm pretty darn sure. Though I seem to have been wrong about Negative Energy.

Notwithstanding that making up one's own rules would probably produce a more sensible alignment system.

Halna LeGavilk
2008-04-07, 10:43 PM
Isn't that what D&D is about? Making your own rules?

Doesn't this website have an entire section dedicated to that? Homebrewing, I believe.

D&D is about having fun with your friends. Most people do not play RAW, and, in fact, as far as my experience is concerned, RAW sucks. Bigtime.

Besides, if you are trying to emulate a real world, than all the books in the world still wouldn't provide a trillionth of the information needed.


Create Undead has the [Evil] Descriptor. Casting a spell with the [Evil] Descriptor is an Evil Act, I'm pretty darn sure. Though I seem to have been wrong about Negative Energy.

Notwithstanding that making up one's own rules would probably produce a more sensible alignment system.

1. Actually, that's what I've always heard, about negative energy.
2.True, so true.

Citizen Joe
2008-04-07, 10:47 PM
Humiliating an underling is a lawful evil act, by RAW.
Look it up; Fiendish Codex 2.
First, don't have it, don't want it...
Second, is humiliating a lawful evil act, or an act common to lawful evil people?

I could say that lawful evil people tend to eat breakfast, but that doesn't mean that eating breakfast is a lawful evil act. Now that breakfast may be in the form of babies, so the lawful evil person is using the act to commit evil, but the actually eating of breakfast isn't evil.

Bringing it back to the slapping (not harming, just slapping) of stableboys... The act may not be lawful evil, but if you slap the boy to punish him for a crime against you (dirtying your suit of armor) then it is kinda neutral. If you did it to stress the point about how important it is to take care of equipment as a warrior, or perhaps as an honor challenge, then it may be even good (I respect you enough that I'm willing to issue you a challenge). If you would have slapped the stable boy anyway and you were just looking for an excuse, then it is sorta evil.

Kompera
2008-04-07, 10:47 PM
Current morals are not to be applied, since the PHB lays out really really straight forwardly what the morals of the D&D universe are supposed to be. Furthermore, two more books were published, BoED and BoVD.


Real world history is irrelevant, because a code of morality and ethics is written down for you in the PHB.You missed my point, then, and are in agreement with me. I was saying that real world history could not be used as a justification for 'normalizing' an act which is by today's standards considered reprehensible.

But current morals are indeed to be applied, because we are all people living in the world of current morals. As with all things, this can be taken to an extreme or cited in specific cases in an attempt to evade the Code of Conduct or any Alignment constraints the GM places on the players. But in general it is very true.

And that part about how "the PHB lays out really really straight forwardly what the morals of the D&D universe are supposed to be"? That's very funny! You should tell a few more. :smallbiggrin:


Just like Edward Norton should be boycotted for portraying a racist in American History X and definitely seek professional help.Are you deliberately trying to twist my words? Did you also read the part where I said "a social gaming setting"? A social gaming setting has nothing to do with professional thespianism.

NEO|Phyte
2008-04-07, 10:51 PM
Create Undead has the [Evil] Descriptor. Casting a spell with the [Evil] Descriptor is an Evil Act, I'm pretty darn sure. Though I seem to have been wrong about Negative Energy.

Actually, I think the only real thing the [Evil] descriptor does is make it so that a Good cleric can't cast it. Of course, this is just going off of SRD content, so odds are there's a nice book somewhere that lets us know exactly how many [Evil] spells you need to cast to get a window seat to Baator.

As for negative energy, Channeling it to Rebuke Undead is an Evil act, other uses, not so much (depending on total ramifications of [Evil] spells)

Cuddly
2008-04-07, 10:57 PM
First, don't have it, don't want it...
Second, is humiliating a lawful evil act, or an act common to lawful evil people?

It's a Lawful Evil act. Committing it gets you Hell points that send you to Hell.


Bringing it back to the slapping (not harming, just slapping) of stableboys... The act may not be lawful evil, but if you slap the boy to punish him for a crime against you (dirtying your suit of armor) then it is kinda neutral. If you did it to stress the point about how important it is to take care of equipment as a warrior, or perhaps as an honor challenge, then it may be even good (I respect you enough that I'm willing to issue you a challenge). If you would have slapped the stable boy anyway and you were just looking for an excuse, then it is sorta evil.

Humiliating an underling gives you lawful evil points that will speed you on your way to Hell. I like all your justifications, but regardless, RAW, you're paladin isn't behaving according to the Good part of his code. Lawful, certainly. Lawful enough to hang out with Baatzu.

Of course, he probably does a bunch of other Lawful Good acts which balance out.


Are you deliberately trying to twist my words? Did you also read the part where I said "a social gaming setting"? A social gaming setting has nothing to do with professional thespianism.

Are there any non-social D&D gaming settings? Are you deliberately spouting redundancy?

If some wants to roleplay[i] or [i]pretend or act like a bigot, and he isn't interrupting other people's fun, what's the problem? It's a goddamn game. It's not real life. If your players are the shoot first, ask questions later type, should they also seek "professional help"?

Should any group who runs an evil campaign also see professional help?

So what if a player wants to explore a paladin's problematic bigotry due to his culture or something? I think it'd make for an interesting game and interesting dynamic between players and players and NPCs.

But whatever. If your gaming group can't handle it, or doesn't want to, that's fine. I'm not going to suggest that you seek counseling for being unable to separate real life from a game.

Kompera
2008-04-07, 11:17 PM
Are there any non-social D&D gaming settings? Are you deliberately spouting redundancy?Wow, is that the best you can do?
Yes, there are non-social gaming sessions. Any gaming session where one or more players choses to direct their character to act in ways which are offensive to the others at the table has become a non-social gaming session.


If some wants to roleplay[i] or [i]pretend or act like a bigot, and he isn't interrupting other people's fun, what's the problem? It's a goddamn game. It's not real life.The fallacy there is that you are presuming that your actions within the game have no impact on the other players who are playing it with you in real life. If you direct your character in a racist diatribe against another players character, replacing that players race/creed/religion/whatever as it may be represented in real world bigotry with 'orc', would you be surprised if that person became offended with you in real life? Get real. And even if you're not targeting another players race/creed/religion/whatever they may be offended, as many people are offended at such behavior.



Citizen Joe put it best:

You just don't go into someone's house and start throwing around racial slurs period. It doesn't matter if it is in-game or not, you just don't do it if you expect to be invited back.

Piedmon_Sama
2008-04-07, 11:18 PM
I'd have dropped his ass from Paladinhood so fast, he'd leave a crater. OP, I think your DM did the right thing.

Being willing to risk your life isn't good enough. That just makes you a soldier, not a Paladin. A Paladin has to be something more: he has to inspire, be a figure that can serve as both leader and example. A Paladin who is spiteful, arrogant, or bigoted disgraces not only his profession but his alignment. No, you're not expected to be perfect at all times, but there are limits to how "imperfect" you can be. This Ranger died after saving the Paladin's life, and the Paladin repaid him with disrespect, and racist and untrue remarks---Orcs are, by RAW, often Chaotic Evil. Statistically speaking there are probably a few good Orcs out there, and a Half-Orc who was raised in a human community is no more likely to be.

The Paladin did worse than dishonor the memory of a dead man. He dishonored his own ranks. He tarred all Paladins with his abominable behavior. If he follows a patron deity, then he also tarnished the name of that deity and its church. Now, if the rest of that party are forever after leery of Paladins and hostile towards them because they saw this one act like an *******, then with his stupidity that Paladin has damaged the cause of good.

If this just came out of nowhere, then I suppose I'd be content to warn him--it's not a mortal sin, but it is a disgraceful act. But this Paladin had already been warned. He reaped what he sewed. Neverthless, I'd be willing to let the character atone--perhaps a quest to return the dead Ranger's remains to his hometown would be in order.

I admit, I do have a particular dislike for behavior of this sort, so my reaction may be extreme. A group of characters banding together in a party, under typical circumstances, represents an agreement (spoken or not, written or not) to protect each other while alive, and behave in comradely fashion. This Paladin betrayed the ethos behind that agreement, if not the letter, by spitting on someone who died aiding him in battle. For completely unsound reasons--far from deserving such treatment, the Half-Orc died under heroic circumstances.

I mean, sheesh. Even my Chaotic Evil Assassin would be enough of a human being to respect someone who died fighting alongside him.

Citizen Joe
2008-04-07, 11:31 PM
I won't play in a game where the DM can't find room in his worldview for these two paladin types:

http://home.ix.netcom.com/~jpettit/BrockSamson.jpg
http://home.ix.netcom.com/~jpettit/Robocop.jpg

For the record, neither one of them can be accused of being a 'nice guy'.

Sholos
2008-04-07, 11:34 PM
How I see Paladins.

Derek Crownguard. Not a paladin.

Sturm Brightblade. Paladin.

Or would have been one if possible.

----------

As far as alignment goes, I see the Good/Evil axis as goals, and the Law/Chaos axis as means. For the most part, anyways. I'm aware that Law and Chaos can be goals in and of themselves. For a Paladin, however, Good is definitely the goal.

Cuddly
2008-04-07, 11:41 PM
Wow, is that the best you can do?
Yes, there are non-social gaming sessions. Any gaming session where one or more players choses to direct their character to act in ways which are offensive to the others at the table has become a non-social gaming session.

Clearly you are operating by some definition of social I am unaware of. Social is interaction between individuals. Mugging someone, for instance, is a social interaction. So is picking up a hooker.


The fallacy there is that you are presuming that your actions within the game have no impact on the other players who are playing it with you in real life. If you direct your character in a racist diatribe against another players character, replacing that players race/creed/religion/whatever as it may be represented in real world bigotry with 'orc', would you be surprised if that person became offended with you in real life? Get real. And even if you're not targeting another players race/creed/religion/whatever they may be offended, as many people are offended at such behavior.

Yeah, if the people you play with are super touchy and can't separate real life from the game. In which case I would suggest that yes, everyone plays nice. But you said that if someone pretends to be a race, that doesn't exist, and is racist about a race that doesn't exist to another person who is pretending to be a race that doesn't exist, they should seek professional help. As you put it:

Get real.


I admit, I do have a particular dislike for behavior of this sort, so my reaction may be extreme.

I think your reaction is extreme. It would be possible to play a racist paladin. Difficult, but not impossible.

Though, given the recount of what happened, I find the paladin's actions particularly distasteful. Burying slain enemies but then speaking ill of the guy who just died fighting alongside of him? Not fall worthy, but definitely a black mark on the road to a fall.

Citizen Joe
2008-04-07, 11:45 PM
I grow weary of this... KESSEL RUN! Han didn't shoot first, he shot only... Greedo just died. Pi is exactly 3! Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny! Whoever said 'RELIGION was the opiate of the masses' never saw television.

Tsotha-lanti
2008-04-08, 12:04 AM
wrong, on so many counts

1. Paladins aren't devoted to gods, that is clerics. The paladin code is standardized for everyone
2. Nothing in hte code promotes racism, in fact open mindness and mercy are parts of teh code
3. Social rules have nothing to do with being lawful, upholding the code does
from
EE

FaerŻn paladins are devoted to gods, and I think Eberron paladins are too. Paladins tend to have specific ideologies relating to deity, knightly order, culture, etc., rather than all of them following the same specific ideals.

Like I said, dwarven paladins would definitely have extreme prejudices toward orcs and goblins.

And following your (Lawful) society's rules is certainly Lawful; breaking against them is Chaotic.


A murder is wrongful killing, therefore, in D&D, murders are always evil. Tracking down and slaying a CE villain is not evil, and therefor nor murder, given that the killing was justified (he ate babies or whatever).

No, murder is a pretty specific legal term, just like manslaughter. Killing someone may or may not be murder. Killing an orc in the wilderness, no matter how sneaky or despicable the killing, is almost certainly not murder, since orcs in the wilderness tend to not be protected by any kind of society and law. Killing a man in a lawful duel is not a murder. Killing a person protected by the local society's laws without mitigating circumstances is murder. There's no end of scenarios in which PCs are likely to commit murder but not an Evil act.

Your typical PCs can kill a horrible villain and be justly arrested for and charged with murder, yet be entirely within their Good alignment. Murder, therefore, is not automatically evil, assuming killing in itself is not. (And if one were to assert that killing is inherently evil, you run into a lot of trouble with intelligent non-human creatures.)

Rutee
2008-04-08, 12:20 AM
Actually, if that horrible villain is planning some great evil against the city you're currently in, you can expect to get off legally, because you can hold a shady claim of self defense to begin with. You'd probably have more trouble with sidestepping the Town Guard. And if the information got out to the public that hte government was trying to prosecute their saviors.. for saving them... there'd be fun. :P

Kompera
2008-04-08, 12:22 AM
Clearly you are operating by some definition of social I am unaware of. Social is interaction between individuals. Mugging someone, for instance, is a social interaction. So is picking up a hooker.I suggest you look up the word social. You'll realize that the word in the context in which I used it does not apply to a mugging. Nor does it apply to a gathering of people, one of whom is acting out racial slurs offensive to the others. Or is your only intent to nit-pick and set up straw men to try to support your unsupportable position?


Though, given the recount of what happened, I find the paladin's actions particularly distasteful. Burying slain enemies but then speaking ill of the guy who just died fighting alongside of him? Not fall worthy, but definitely a black mark on the road to a fall.You find? You in real life find the actions of a character in a game to be distasteful? Stop the presses!

I'd ask you if you were "unable to separate real life from a game", but I have no doubt that you'd miss the irony or try to equivocate in some manner.

I'll rest my case, now that you've managed to demonstrate that you completely agree with me.

Cuddly
2008-04-08, 12:37 AM
I suggest you look up the word social. You'll realize that the word in the context in which I used it does not apply to a mugging. Nor does it apply to a gathering of people, one of whom is acting out racial slurs offensive to the others. Or is your only intent to nit-pick and set up straw men to try to support your unsupportable position?

So you made a poor word choice. Don't take it out on me. You're being really passive aggressive.


You find? You in real life find the actions of a character in a game to be distasteful? Stop the presses!

I'd ask you if you were "unable to separate real life from a game", but I have no doubt that you'd miss the irony or try to equivocate in some manner.

I'll rest my case, now that you've managed to demonstrate that you completely agree with me.

Please try to tone down this passive aggressiveness; you're being really impolite.

Equivocate? Eh? I'm not suggesting that we cart the paladin's player off to be institutionalized for not liking orcs. I'm describing a reaction that I have to a hypothetical.

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle.

Which is like D&D in a nutshell.

You do see that I direct my distaste to the actions of the character, and not his player? Tell me, have you read anything by Jack Chic? He believes that us D&D players cast real spells.

streakster
2008-04-08, 12:50 AM
You do see that I direct my distaste to the actions of the character, and not his player? Tell me, have you read anything by Jack Chic? He believes that us D&D players cast real spells.

I-I can't? Then all the money I've spent on spell components...

Talic
2008-04-08, 12:50 AM
So as long as I have some super-secret justification, my paladin can kill all the children he likes? You know, as long as the intent is right.

Intent isn't the only driving force behind the alignment of actions. But it is the driving force in gray areas.

Oddly enough, however, killing inherently evil creatures (those listed as "Always evil") is, at worst, a neutral act, if done for greedy or selfish reasons, and typically, a good act. (source, draconomicon)

So no, killing isn't always evil. Kill all the red dragons you want, just don't kill a gold dragon. Hence, why D&D endorses racial/species profiling. And why we can't place our own beliefs on a system, that, by default DOES have creatures that are irredeemably evil, by virtue of their birth.

Kompera
2008-04-08, 01:00 AM
So you made a poor word choice. Don't take it out on me. You're being really passive aggressive.

Nice try. You might manage to sic the mods on me by calling me passive aggressive, it's happened before. I suspect they use key word filters to decide whom to censure...
Let me be perfectly clear. I did not make a poor word choice. I made the exact word choice I intended. "A social gaming session"

From the online MW Dictionary: "marked by or passed in pleasant companionship with one's friends or associates <leads a very full social life>"
i.e. A gaming session, marked by or passed in pleasant companionship with one's friends or associates. Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

You choose to use it out of context: "Leads a very full life being mugged", either in ignorance or in *ahem* a passive aggressive deliberate misinterpretation of the word in the context I gave, so that you could continue your baseless attack on me by insisting that I was using a definition you are unaware of:


Clearly you are operating by some definition of social I am unaware of.

And now that I've educated you in the definition of the word social, you're going to persist in your attempt to twist words to try to make me the bad guy by saying I made a poor word choice? Again, I used the word in context exactly as it was intended. It is you who could use the lesson in politeness. And an English lesson, but I don't believe for a minute that you didn't know exactly how you were misconstruing my words for your little straw man exercise.


You do see that I direct my distaste to the actions of the character, and not his player?What I see is that you had a real world, visceral reaction to the actions of a character in a game. The same kind of reaction you've dismissed as only being able to happen to hyper-sensitive people who are observing racist slurs being acted out in the game.

Talic
2008-04-08, 01:25 AM
Actually, the sarcasm you're using in the previous post might border on inflammatory comments or trolling, based on the mod interpretation. This isn't a "sic the mods" comment, it's a friendly reminder that the best way to not have mods called on you, is to not do anything warranting their calling. For more information, please check here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/announcement.php?a=1) for more guidelines. Again, this is not me telling you what to do. Just saying that everyone enjoys a civil argument, and nobody enjoys one that devolves.

Cuddly
2008-04-08, 01:36 AM
Nice try. You might manage to sic the mods on me by calling me passive aggressive, it's happened before. I suspect they use key word filters to decide whom to censure...
Let me be perfectly clear. I did not make a poor word choice. I made the exact word choice I intended. "A social gaming session"

As opposed to a nonsocial game, such as pacman or tetris. Seriously, I didn't know you meant like a tea party sort of social. I just thought you meant people in the same room doing stuff with each other.

And I don't want to sic the mods on you. I didn't want to say anything about mods because then I would get a vigilante mod warning. Oh well.


What I see is that you had a real world, visceral reaction to the actions of a character in a game. The same kind of reaction you've dismissed as only being able to happen to hyper-sensitive people who are observing racist slurs being acted out in the game.

I find the character's actions distasteful, yeah. Personal opinion on the fictional beliefs of a fictional entity. That's not really in the same category as saying that the person who authored said fictional entity needs to seek professional help.

You're saying because you find something that doesn't exist offensive, the person who imagined it needs to be fixed so he doesn't imagine any more things that you find offensive.

Can you not see the enormous difference between me disagreeing with a fictional character's behavior and your conflation between the character and the player?

See, my "visceral reaction" is just that- visceral. I exercise my intellect to go "hmm, this is just a game of pretend," and then it doesn't seem such a big deal.

Kompera
2008-04-08, 02:36 AM
As opposed to a nonsocial game, such as pacman or tetris. Seriously, I didn't know you meant like a tea party sort of social. I just thought you meant people in the same room doing stuff with each other.

This is why context is important. "A social gaming session."


You're saying because you find something that doesn't exist offensive, the person who imagined it needs to be fixed so he doesn't imagine any more things that you find offensive.I haven't said that.

What I've said is that uttering racist slurs in a room with a few of your friends, even in the context of playing a game, is real. You're saying them, even if you can say that the context is not one which is meant to be taken seriously, because it is play acting. And since racial slurs are very much hot button issues with many normal, rational, non-hypersensitive or super touchy human beings, this can be offensive to them. No matter the context.

This is what I've been saying. To which you've replied that people who might take offense would be unable to separate a game from reality. D&D isn't a game of chess. But in a game of chess, were you to say "My king says to your king "<list of racial slurs follows>", could you see how this might be offensive to the friend you were playing against? If you'll allow that, then perhaps you'll also allow that just because a D&D game by it's nature involves some play acting doesn't make that behavior any less offensive.

When I read reports of D&D games full of rape, murder, kidnapping, backstabbing of one player against another, or even of slurs or insults being thrown around, it makes me think that the group of people playing the game have very much missed something vitally important about gaming. Any kind of gaming, whether it's a game of chess or a role playing game. Fortunately, most of these stories are the "horror stories" of people describing their worst gaming experiences, and not descriptions of the most fun people have had while gaming.

On this board was posted such a description a few months ago. The author described how he went to a convention and the GM of the D&D game he'd signed up for handed all of the players pre-generated character sheets. Fine and good, right? All of the characters were female. Unusual, but still fine. The very first encounter just a few minutes into the game was a gang of Satyrs, who proceeded to charm and then gang rape all of the the characters. In great detail. With swapping of partners, positions, all described just a bit too fully, not that any less description would have made things any better. When the author tried to make the best of the situation and suggested to the GM that he'd like to just skip to the end of the rape and move on, the GM replied that this was the sole encounter he had prepared for the play session.

Horrible, right? (I _hope_ we can agree on this... If we can't then I'm quite done with the conversation, as it would be pointless to continue.)
In this case it was the GM who was offending all of the rest of the players. But that's not really much different than a game in which one of the players offends either any one other player, or all of them. Even if it's just one player offending one other, comity is destroyed. Comity is important in a game of D&D. If it can not be maintained, I don't see any reason to continue...I've lost a word. I was going to say continue "playing", but "playing" has a specific meaning which would not apply to this situation.

Kapish?

And just in case there is any misunderstanding, I do not consider myself to be all that touchy-feely. I don't offend easily, even if I react strongly to what I see as my words being misrepresented or misconstrued. I own and shoot rifles, make (and drink!) my own beer, wine, and mead, and I've got a scotch collection of about 18 varieties and growing. In my younger days and before a blown knee I hiked and packed and camped, fished and hunted. I'm not a big sports fan but that's just because I'm fairly geeky and prefer a video game or a book or to get together with my friends for a game of D&D or M:tG. I'm not a member of any activist groups, unless you count my brewing club...

But I do know how to behave in polite company. And I have played, oh, on a guess several hundreds of D&D and other RPGs game sessions without ever once feeling the need or even slight desire to rape or murder or even utter a string of racist slurs "in character". Again, because I know how to behave in polite company.

Talic
2008-04-08, 02:53 AM
This is what I've been saying. To which you've replied that people who might take offense would be unable to separate a game from reality. D&D isn't a game of chess. But in a game of chess, were you to say "My king says to your king "<list of racial slurs follows>", could you see how this might be offensive to the friend you were playing against? If you'll allow that, then perhaps you'll also allow that just because a D&D game by it's nature involves some play acting doesn't make that behavior any less offensive.

In this case it was the GM who was offending all of the rest of the players. But that's not really much different than a game in which one of the players offends either any one other player, or all of them. Even if it's just one player offending one other, comity is destroyed. Comity is important in a game of D&D. If it can not be maintained, I don't see any reason to continue...I've lost a word. I was going to say continue "playing", but "playing" has a specific meaning which would not apply to this situation.

But I do know how to behave in polite company. And I have played, oh, on a guess several hundreds of D&D and other RPGs game sessions without ever once feeling the need or even slight desire to rape or murder or even utter a string of racist slurs "in character". Again, because I know how to behave in polite company.

(parts not related to my points omitted for brevity)

Bottom line, company isn't always polite. You do what's most comfortable with your group, and for fairness, any deviations into "houserule" or "sensitive" areas should be discussed before being brought into game. For example, if a paladin's being played, it makes sense for a DM to have a sitdown with the paladin, and outline the concept of good and evil he'll be using, as it is a rather amorphous area of the D&D rules.

If mature content is intended to be introduced, such as the book of EF, or any subjects which are considered, by their nature, to be inflammatory, it's probably best for the participants to have a mature conversation, and lay out what they're comfortable with.

If your group is comfortable with that subject matter, then that's all you. Basically, it may be a social game, but at its core, it's a game. As long as everyone has fun, it's a good game, even if it's not PC. Or even if it is.

Khanderas
2008-04-08, 02:54 AM
I would like to point out that Killing is evil, however when used in self defense or in defense of others it is a neutral act. Saving the other person is good however
from
EE
Except when you kill goblins, bugbears, trolls, dire badges, dire rats, dire <any>, Illithids, gibberings, flail snails, evil <any>, neutral <threat to anything>, any carnivour animal or hunting for survival (rabbit stew).
In DnD its basically only murder if it is a pretty race.

Talic
2008-04-08, 03:42 AM
Except when you kill goblins, bugbears, trolls, dire badges, dire rats, dire <any>, Illithids, gibberings, flail snails, evil <any>, neutral <threat to anything>, any carnivour animal or hunting for survival (rabbit stew).
In DnD its basically only murder if it is a pretty race.

or a dwarf.

Kompera
2008-04-08, 03:43 AM
If your group is comfortable with that subject matter, then that's all you. Basically, it may be a social game, but at its core, it's a game. As long as everyone has fun, it's a good game, even if it's not PC. Or even if it is.

Here is where we'll have to agree to disagree. I'll repeat my earlier observation:


We can play Rangers and Wizards and Rogues as a healthy past time and escape, slay the bad guys and save the kingdom, and that's all fine. But it's not healthy to promote or even tolerate in the game racism or other things considered distasteful in our culture. The game can be played in many ways, but those who chose to use a social gaming setting to act out their prejudices and perversions should consider seeking professional council.

Talic
2008-04-08, 04:52 AM
However, that view is remarkably intolerant of views other than what you consider "acceptable". For instance, wanton bloodshed is acceptable, and wholesale killing, but denying someone a right based on a birthright isn't? There are some who consider that a "perversion".

Be careful what you label the personal beliefs of others, or the interests of others. That way of thinking can lead to judgemental behaviour.

Bear in mind also, behaviour is only offensive if someone is offended. Violently explicit material is highly offensive in an elementary school... But it's acceptable on HBO at 9pm. Why? Because it's assuming you're an adult, and you knowingly chose to view it. So long as nobody's rights get infringed upon, what people do to entertain themselves should not be condemned. Everyone who plays a game chooses to do so. Everyone who finds something objectionable in D&D, to end it, must merely walk to a door, and go through it. That's their right. However, it is not a person's right to live a life from day to day sheltered from anything they might find offensive. Their right is to choose whether to associate with things they find offensive.

What should be condemned is if they infringe on someone's rights in the real world. But that's no different than sanctioning killing in D&D, and condemning it in the real world.

Nebo_
2008-04-08, 05:02 AM
I would like to point out that Killing is evil, however when used in self defense or in defense of others it is a neutral act. Saving the other person is good however
from
EE

Could you do me a favour and put "I think" in front of your posts. People might think that what you're trying to tell them an absolute, instead of just your opinion. It would be very arrogant to actually say those things believing that you're the final arbiter, after all.

Khanderas
2008-04-08, 05:21 AM
Could you do me a favour and put "I think" in front of your posts. People might think that what you're trying to tell them an absolute, instead of just your opinion. It would be very arrogant to actually say those things believing that you're the final arbiter, after all.
Amen to that.

Kompera
2008-04-08, 05:24 AM
However, that view is remarkably intolerant of views other than what you consider "acceptable". For instance, wanton bloodshed is acceptable, and wholesale killing, but denying someone a right based on a birthright isn't? There are some who consider that a "perversion".

Be careful what you label the personal beliefs of others, or the interests of others. That way of thinking can lead to judgemental behaviour.I'm not sure where "denying someone a right based on a birthright" came from, since this hasn't been any part of the conversation up to this point. But for the most part, yes.

Call it judgmental if you insist, but it reflects the commonly accepted rules of behavior in our culture. Take fantasy fiction as an example. You can find some marked departures from the norm, but for the most part the protagonists in these novels do not go around raping and pillaging, or spewing racist slurs. Like it or not, violence, killing, and death is a part of most (all, that I have read) fantasy fiction. But other behavior such as racism or other despicable behavior is only covered in anything other than a clearly negative manner by a few very fringe authors.

The same applies to television or movies. There is plenty of death, destruction, mayhem, and violence. But I don't recall ever having seen a television show or a movie which glorified rape, racism, or other such behavior. There are reasons for this exclusion.

And if I'm called judgmental for disapproving of a group of hypothetical role players who enjoy acting out despicable behavior as their entertainment, I'm ok with that. I'd prefer the label "normal", but if you insist I'll wear judgmental without much complaint.


Bear in mind also, behaviour is only offensive if someone is offended.Which was actually the context of much of the earlier conversation on the subject of the appropriateness, or lack thereof, of spewing racist slurs during a role playing game. In any given group of mature adults, this kind of behavior is offensive to some or all of the participants. As always, you can find exceptions. It takes all kinds to make the world go around, but that doesn't mean that "all types" are socially acceptable.

Starbuck_II
2008-04-08, 07:31 AM
"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle.

Which is like D&D in a nutshell.

You do see that I direct my distaste to the actions of the character, and not his player? Tell me, have you read anything by Jack Chic? He believes that us D&D players cast real spells.

"A witty saying proves nothing", - Voltaire, not to be confused with Voltron.

The Mormegil
2008-04-08, 08:14 AM
To the OP: I saw a paladin fall in two and a half hours.

It went like this: he arrived, was introduced to the party as "reinforcements" after the last character of that player got killed by the party's Crusader (since it was CE). They got to the dungeon (no time to RP because noone ever does in that party...) they slaughtered a summoned hydra, then stepped back, closed the door and rested outside the room. They opened the door again, and this triggered the summon again. Thus the paladin says "I go out and eat, because if we kill it again it will just pop out the third time". The other players attack the Hydra and are almost wiped out when the DM says: "But your friends are in there and one of them is dying!". The paladin answered "Who the hell cares about them" and lost his powers. End of the session.

Fitz
2008-04-08, 08:57 AM
thank you to those of you with even faster falls mentioned,

several seemed deliberate, but still quick.

to The Mormegil: that seems fairly harsh, but understanderble in a way.

though i think the party rather than the paladin should have some responsibility there.

regards
Fitz

hewhosaysfish
2008-04-08, 09:10 AM
The same applies to television or movies. There is plenty of death, destruction, mayhem, and violence. But I don't recall ever having seen a television show or a movie which glorified rape, racism, or other such behavior. There are reasons for this exclusion.


Who mentioned glorification? (or, for that matter, rape?) All that is under discussion is the depiction or portrayal of racist attitudes.
Have you seriously never seen any TV show or movie where a character expressed racist opinions (without a bridge immediately falling on their heads)?



...disapproving of a group of hypothetical role players who enjoy acting out despicable behavior as their entertainment...

I think I see where you're coming from... but I still don't quite get it :

If you're listening to a radio drama where one of the major characters is a racist (and isn't the "villain" of the piece), do you consider the actor playing him to be harbouring racist opinions? Or the scriptwriter? Both? Neither? What about the people who listen to it (not counting yourself of course)?

What if the same guy wrote the script and acted the part of the racist character? Is this more damning?

What if there is no script, it's improvisational theatre? What about now?

What if you're not in the audience but in the cast? Now?

What if there is no audience, no broadcast, just the performance? Now?

Where do you draw the line? And why?

Anteros
2008-04-08, 09:44 AM
It doesn't matter. If the DM is going to make you fall for something like that it's only a matter of time anyway. Pallies can be self-righteous jerks all they want. Until they do something evil, they don't fall.

Paladins do not fall for disagreeing with your DM's sociological views! :smallfurious:

hewhosaysfish
2008-04-08, 10:09 AM
It doesn't matter. If the DM is going to make you fall for something like that it's only a matter of time anyway. Pallies can be self-righteous jerks all they want. Until they do something evil, they don't fall.

Paladins do not fall for disagreeing with your DM's sociological views! :smallfurious:

What if the DM's views happen to define (or, at least, clarify the existing definitions of) good and evil within the game world?
Because, the "R"AW for alignment in the PHB are not always sufficient (if ever). Sooner or later, someone is going to have to compare a specific in-game behaviour to the nebulous boundaries provided by WotC. As final arbiter of the rules, that "someone" will be the DM. What guide will they use to augment the "R"AW to make this call?

9 times out of 10, it will be their own sense of RL morality. And if this doesn't match 100% with the paladin player's own sense of RL morality (which they, in turn will be using to illuminate the alignment system) then yes, the paladin is heading for Fallsville.

Is this DM fiat? Yes.
Is it unfair? Is it mean? I wouldn't say so.
Is the DM trapping the paladin player (because everyone hates paladins)? No! He's staring at the paladin player in blank incomprehension, trying to understand why this character is leaping, apparently unconcerned, into the abyss!

Anteros
2008-04-08, 10:09 AM
No. It's such a minor act that you can be a neutral jerk, or even a good one if on top of that you regularly save lives or something like that. But paladins are supposed to have higher moral standards than normal Good characters (and Exalted characters are supposed to be even higher) - and that means, among others, not to be a jerk towards people who haven't done anything to you. It's not hard, I manage to do this perfectly fine in my life and I'd probably be borderline good/neutral.



I disagree with self-sacrifice being necessary to be good - just because the creatures that threatened the village were no danger to you doesn't mean that the act of you getting rid of them was somehow less good.

It doesn't matter if the Paladin is a L40 who is fighting against L1 orcs. As far as that Pally knows in character, he could be killed in battle at any time. He has no idea of the concept of hitpoints. He's one lucky goblin blow from a sword in the throat in his mind. As such, he's still sacrificing his safety to protect others.

Anteros
2008-04-08, 10:16 AM
What if the DM's views happen to define (or, at least, clarify the existing definitions of) good and evil within the game world?
Because, the "R"AW for alignment in the PHB are not always sufficient (if ever). Sooner or later, someone is going to have to compare a specific in-game behaviour to the nebulous boundaries provided by WotC. As final arbiter of the rules, that "someone" will be the DM. What guide will they use to augment the "R"AW to make this call?

9 times out of 10, it will be their own sense of RL morality. And if this doesn't match 100% with the paladin player's own sense of RL morality (which they, in turn will be using to illuminate the alignment system) then yes, the paladin is heading for Fallsville.

Is this DM fiat? Yes.
Is it unfair? Is it mean? I wouldn't say so.
Is the DM trapping the paladin player (because everyone hates paladins)? No! He's staring at the paladin player in blank incomprehension, trying to understand why this character is leaping, apparently unconcerned, into the abyss!

To be perfectly honest, the DM shouldn't impose such arbitrary restrictions. And if he is going to, he needs to tell the Paladin player before the game. If I was playing the Pally, I would have asked to talk to him OOC the second he said my holy symbol stopped working. By RAW this pally should not have fallen. The act was neutral at worst. If the DM is going to houserule reasons for Pallies falling, he needs to make that clear before I roll up my character.

Anteros
2008-04-08, 11:03 AM
Wow, is that the best you can do?
Yes, there are non-social gaming sessions. Any gaming session where one or more players choses to direct their character to act in ways which are offensive to the others at the table has become a non-social gaming session.

The fallacy there is that you are presuming that your actions within the game have no impact on the other players who are playing it with you in real life. If you direct your character in a racist diatribe against another players character, replacing that players race/creed/religion/whatever as it may be represented in real world bigotry with 'orc', would you be surprised if that person became offended with you in real life? Get real. And even if you're not targeting another players race/creed/religion/whatever they may be offended, as many people are offended at such behavior.



Citizen Joe put it best:

I think perhaps the people you game with should grow up and learn to seperate fantasy from reality.
"Oh noes! Bob plays a character that is racist against orcs! He must be racist in real life!"
"Oh noes! Bob plays a rogue! He must be a thief in real life!"
"Oh noes! Bob plays an assassin! He must kill people for money in real life!"

I have a good friend that was murdered in cold blood recently. As a result, I am extremely touchy on the subject of murder. With that said, if someone I DM for wants to play a sociopathic murderer, I am not going to be upset unless he carries those tendencies over to real life. I may ask him to tone it down out of respect for my feelings, but I am not going to arbitrarily punish him in game.

All of these examples are equally ridiculous. Granted, I wouldn't make a character who is racist against White or Black or Red people or whatever since that's not something I want to bring into my group. But a character who hates orcs, or elves, or gnomes, or humans is perfectly legitimate. It's a fantasy setting, and if you can't seperate your morals from those of the fantasy genre, that's fine. But don't assume that the rest of us can't.

Edit: Apologies for the triple post. Was responding throughout the topic and just assumed that others were posting between my responses.

hewhosaysfish
2008-04-08, 11:14 AM
To be perfectly honest, the DM shouldn't impose such arbitrary restrictions.

But the point I was making is that the DM HAS to make an arbitrary decision.
Is a racist paladin (to use the example that started this thread) oppressing others enough to be Evil? Is he showing enough "concern for the dignity of sentient beings" to be Good? What the hell does that even mean?
Once the game has started, the DM will be the one to make that call.


And if he is going to, he needs to tell the Paladin player before the game.

I agree 300-600%. He should make it clear to everyone at the table, before the start of the campaign, how he will be handling Good and Evil in the game.

If he will be using his own opinions as a guide, he should make clear what they are, so that players who disagree with him IRL will still be on the same page IC.
If he will be using the group consensus as a guide, the group will need need to talk it all out together so that he knows what that consensus is beforehand.
If he will be trying to explore some deep, maybe dark, philosophical themes in his game by using a system that diverges significantly from anyone at the table's RL opinion, then he needs to explain those themes.

But he can't just rely on "R"AW. (Note the quotes!) And that's not "shouldn't" or "wouldn't be wise to" but flat-out "can't".

And he shouldn't just assume that the players know, understand and/or agree with whatever system he is using without making it explicit first. Because they almost certainly won't. They will make up in their heads sets of rules similar but subtly different to the ones in the DMs head. And sooner or later they will do something that makes perfect sense under the rules they have inferred but which makes no sense at all to the DM.

EvilElitest
2008-04-08, 11:35 AM
FaerŻn paladins are devoted to gods, and I think Eberron paladins are too. Paladins tend to have specific ideologies relating to deity, knightly order, culture, etc., rather than all of them following the same specific ideals.


1. Specific settings, not RAW
2. Alos they have the exact same code no matter what deity they worship, the standard paladin code still applies
3. So unlike Clerics, all paladins still have the same requirements inherent in hte paladin code
4. They aren't servants of the gods, at least not to the point where they can commit evil actions


Like I said, dwarven paladins would definitely have extreme prejudices toward orcs and goblins.

No, because paladins have mercy, justice, and forgivness as part of their code. They can't act against their code simply based upon prejudice, those are knights


And following your (Lawful) society's rules is certainly Lawful; breaking against them is Chaotic.

Yet again, no. If my society is facist, i am not going against my alignment in fighting it. Lawful is the manner in which i carry out my intentions, not my intentions




No, murder is a pretty specific legal term, just like manslaughter. Killing someone may or may not be murder. Killing an orc in the wilderness, no matter how sneaky or despicable the killing, is almost certainly not murder, since orcs in the wilderness tend to not be protected by any kind of society and law. Killing a man in a lawful duel is not a murder. Killing a person protected by the local society's laws without mitigating circumstances is murder. There's no end of scenarios in which PCs are likely to commit murder but not an Evil act.

In D&D murder is any sort of killing of an intellegent being other than in self defense or defense of others, and hte killling of any innocents.



Except when you kill goblins, bugbears, trolls, dire badges, dire rats, dire <any>, Illithids, gibberings, flail snails, evil <any>, neutral <threat to anything>, any carnivour animal or hunting for survival (rabbit stew).
In DnD its basically only murder if it is a pretty rac
Actually that is a common misconception, at least with the intelligent creatures. If you see a bunch of Bugbears just hanging out, killing them for not reason is still an evil act. Paladins can just kill random goblins. However, normally such creatures will attack you on sight, thus making the moral delemia not something to worry about. :smallwink:

Could you do me a favour and put "I think" in front of your posts. People might think that what you're trying to tell them an absolute, instead of just your opinion. It would be very arrogant to actually say those things believing that you're the final arbiter, after all.
Could you do me a favor and actually read hte source on this stuff before attempting to discredit me. I'm using BoED, no personal option here at all. Killing innocents is murder, however killing in self defense or defense of others is not

You can racially kill creatures like Demons or Devils, because they are always evil however
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Starbuck_II
2008-04-08, 03:55 PM
No, because paladins have mercy, justice, and forgivness as part of their code. They can't act against their code simply based upon prejudice, those are knights
EE

Actually, we know this to be false since it is demonstrationly shown in the PHB, "Alhandra, a Paladin, shows evil no mercy". Thus mercy must only be for the non-evil.

Tweekinator
2008-04-08, 04:21 PM
No, because paladins have mercy, justice, and forgivness as part of their code.

Really? Where? The SRD has the code as: "A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class abilities if she ever willingly commits an evil act.

Additionally, a paladinís code requires that she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth), help those in need (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends), and punish those who harm or threaten innocents. ".

And I think I'll take the SRD's word on what paladins are all about rather than a person who is proud about being evil. :smallwink:

EvilElitest
2008-04-08, 04:35 PM
Really? Where? The SRD has the code as: "A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class abilities if she ever willingly commits an evil act.

Additionally, a paladinís code requires that she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth), help those in need (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends), and punish those who harm or threaten innocents. ".

And I think I'll take the SRD's word on what paladins are all about rather than a person who is proud about being evil. :smallwink:

Check the Book of Exalted Deeds

1. Paladins aren't suppose to kill people who surrender, accept mercy and honor the rights of prisoners (as long as they don't try to escape)
2. They are suppose to honor legitimate authority, when the authority is good. They can't support a facist government for example
3. My saying it doesn't make a difference, the book confirms it. I wouldn't consider my self a paladin, but i know what i would expect from one

THe book says nothing about proper burial i think, through i don't think your allowed to desecrate the dead (not sure on that last one however)
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Tweekinator
2008-04-08, 04:52 PM
Check the Book of Exalted Deeds

1. Paladins aren't suppose to kill people who surrender, accept mercy and honor the rights of prisoners (as long as they don't try to escape)
2. They are suppose to honor legitimate authority, when the authority is good. They can't support a facist government for example
3. My saying it doesn't make a difference, the book confirms it. I wouldn't consider my self a paladin, but i know what i would expect from one

THe book says nothing about proper burial i think, through i don't think your allowed to desecrate the dead (not sure on that last one however)
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But what about the PHB saying that Alhandra shows evil no mercy?

All those fun examples aren't in the code. They don't change the fact the paladin's code of conduct says nothing about mercy, justice, or forgiveness explicitly. And of those, justice is the only one that's really even implied.

Edit: Your number 2 point is correct. Paladins don't have to respect all authority, only that which is legitimate.

Talic
2008-04-08, 04:54 PM
Here's a short, non-all-inclusive list:


half fiend
night hag
yeth hound
dragon, chromatic, any
demon, any
devil, any
vargouille
intellect devourer
phthisic
Achaierai
Neothelid
Rakshasa
Xill
Werewolf


If a creature is on this list, relax, regardless of circumstances, just by the fact that it was born, it's good for killin'.

Even paladins. These creatures are "Always evil". Their species guarantees that.

As for other things, some people here have been going rather extreme on the examples of people doing distasteful things. Having a paladin view a race as evil, in a game where races can be absolutely 100% good and evil, well, that's somewhat less a crime than it is in the real world, where we don't have such absolutes.

All I've said is that if a group of people can come to a consensus on what they want in their game, it is neither our job nor our right to tell them otherwise.

If one person in a group steps out of that comfort zone, it's time for a talk. I've adventured with people who were uncomfortable with anyone but the DM controlling an evil character. I've played with people who were more than comfortable using the BoEF. As long as you include a respect for the others in your group, everything's good. That's the underlying factor. Respect your playmates.

I'm not getting into my personal views on any of these matters, it strays out of my comfort zone for internet debate. I'm just stating, as a general rule of thumb, I hardly think that showing random orcs disrespect is anywhere near, "killing random orcs" on the good/bad scale.

EvilElitest
2008-04-08, 05:07 PM
But what about the PHB saying that Alhandra shows evil no mercy?

All those fun examples aren't in the code. They don't change the fact the paladin's code of conduct says nothing about mercy, justice, or forgiveness explicitly. And of those, justice is the only one that's really even implied.

Actually it is, because the Exalted code is the same thing as the paladin code. ergo, all paladins are exalted.

As for Alhandra, well, she wouldn't be a paladin for long if she killed orcs who surrendered or were innocent



Edit: Your number 2 point is correct. Paladins don't have to respect all authority, only that which is legitimate.
Thank you



Werewolf
Just about these guys, i think they shouldn't kill a person who is turning against their will as they would be innocent. A natural one is fair game however
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Frosty
2008-04-08, 05:19 PM
I am a bit conflicted about this. I believe the deity that the paladin worshipped should've given some hint of displeasure and perhaps taken some, but not all of his powers away. This is a great rp opportunity.

Think about it, a great holy warrior wrestling with his in-grained species-ism taught by society, trying to reconcile his Paladin code and what he has been taught most of his life. This *can* be done well. Species-ism is not inherently evil I guess, but not caring about a fallen comrade of Neutral Good alignment who just saved your life? Yeah...that's definitely shady behavior for a paladin.

Most everybody would call that paladin heartless. I would. It's not enough by itself to cause a fall, but signs of displeasure should definitely be shown by the deity.

Rutee
2008-04-08, 05:39 PM
Most everybody would call that paladin heartless. I would. It's not enough by itself to cause a fall, but signs of displeasure should definitely be shown by the deity.
What if the deity approves? I imagine Moradin was the one to set up the Anti Goblin and Orc prejudices.

One thing I find curious, that the recent OotS comics reminded me, is that Paladins should feel no compunction to surrender on the grounds that hostages are on the line. I forget where I saw this quote, but.. "If indeed you can so casually carry out a threat, their lives are already forfeit, and no surrender on my count will free them"

Frosty
2008-04-08, 05:54 PM
What if the deity approves? I imagine Moradin was the one to set up the Anti Goblin and Orc prejudices.

Moradin would indeed approve of being anti-goblin and orcs...provided those orcs have the evil alignment and are working against the will of dwarf-kind. Remember, this particular orc is Neutral Good, and working on the side of good. A deity would most likely know this, since alignment is easy to to detect in DnD.

Moradin would not approve of a Paladin not caring about a GOOD orc/goblin who just heroicly sacrificed himself to save the life of said Paladin.

Rutee
2008-04-08, 05:58 PM
How can you be so sure that he'd approve of an Orc just based on alignment?

Or for that matter a Giant?

Starbuck_II
2008-04-08, 06:06 PM
Actually it is, because the Exalted code is the same thing as the paladin code. ergo, all paladins are exalted.

As for Alhandra, well, she wouldn't be a paladin for long if she killed orcs who surrendered or were innocent
EE

Sorry, Mr. Elitest but The Book of Exalted Deeds says not all Paladins are exalted.
Yes, even Mr. Paladin does not have to be Exalted.
It says the line, a Exalted Paladin is not the same thing. I wish I had my BoED with me at college or I'd say exact line.

EvilElitest
2008-04-08, 06:10 PM
What if the deity approves? I imagine Moradin was the one to set up the Anti Goblin and Orc prejudices.

As i already said, the paladin code is not way influenced by particular god's ideals. Even in FR. A clerics is another story



One thing I find curious, that the recent OotS comics reminded me, is that Paladins should feel no compunction to surrender on the grounds that hostages are on the line. I forget where I saw this quote, but.. "If indeed you can so casually carry out a threat, their lives are already forfeit, and no surrender on my count will free them"
If his surrender would have somehow saved teh hostages, then he should surrender (debatable on the situation). However in the OOTs situation, no matter what he did they would die, because he literally couldn't tell them anything
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EvilElitest
2008-04-08, 06:15 PM
Sorry, Mr. Elitest but The Book of Exalted Deeds says not all Paladins are exalted.
Yes, even Mr. Paladin does not have to be Exalted.
It says the line, a Exalted Paladin is not the same thing. I wish I had my BoED with me at college or I'd say exact line.

actually it does, or at least taht they are all tied to the Exalted code described in Chapter 1 which i have right now.
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Citizen Joe
2008-04-08, 06:24 PM
If his surrender would have somehow saved teh hostages, then he should surrender (debatable on the situation). However in the OOTs situation, no matter what he did they would die, because he literally couldn't tell them anything
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Errr... No... if BoED says otherwise, then I'm glad I never got the urge to even glimpse at it. Simply put, the paladin's job is to punish the wicked. Look at the core code definition in the PHB (or SRD). It doesn't even say protect the innocent, it says PUNISH those that would threaten or harm the innocent.

You want some goody goody to knuckle under for the greater good of the prisoners? Talk to a priest. Paladins don't play that game, and you can't scare them into doing it either (immune to fear). If you hold someone hostage, you just put a bounty on your head. THAT is how you handle a paladin in that situation. O-Chul said it best: "The act is on your hands, not mine."

Talic
2008-04-08, 06:24 PM
Just about these guys, i think they shouldn't kill a person who is turning against their will as they would be innocent. A natural one is fair game however
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The moment an afflicted werewolf changes of his own free will, he/she is instantly and irrevocably changed to Chaotic Evil. This change reoccurs each time that character willingly changes.

That applies for all forms.

Also, this was referring to natural werewolves, as I did list they're killable "by the fact of their birth". Afflicted, you have a little time before there's a change.

Frosty
2008-04-08, 06:26 PM
How can you be so sure that he'd approve of an Orc just based on alignment?

Or for that matter a Giant?

He wouldn't based on just alignment perhaps. But this particular orc is working for the good of the party. This particualr orc just saved one of HIS paladins. That should make the deity like the orc, especially if the orc shares a similar alignment.

Are you saying that Moradin would reject Lawful Good orc worshippers who wish to do good for Dwarf-kind? Not in my world he wouldn't.

EvilElitest
2008-04-08, 06:42 PM
Errr... No... if BoED says otherwise, then I'm glad I never got the urge to even glimpse at it. Simply put, the paladin's job is to punish the wicked. Look at the core code definition in the PHB (or SRD). It doesn't even say protect the innocent, it says PUNISH those that would threaten or harm the innocent.

You want some goody goody to knuckle under for the greater good of the prisoners? Talk to a priest. Paladins don't play that game, and you can't scare them into doing it either (immune to fear). If you hold someone hostage, you just put a bounty on your head. THAT is how you handle a paladin in that situation. O-Chul said it best: "The act is on your hands, not mine."

Punish in a rightful manner, becoming your enemy by using his methods is far worst. A paladin is not suppose to be a heretic burning zealot. The goody goody is the one who understand that by acting morally better than your foe, you truly. O-Chul didn't speak because nothing he could do would save the people. A paladin may not kill innocents to justify their ends, or he becomes the very thing he fights. ANd yes paladins do have to protect the innocent.

And yes a paladin must uphold the rights of his enemies as well, no torture, murder or refusal of surrenders


And Talic, i imagine that a paladin would have to try to subue the werewolf, but if he couldn't he would jsut kill it

And frosty, i don't think Moradrine supports racism actually
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Amur_Tiger
2008-04-08, 07:02 PM
It doesn't matter if the Paladin is a L40 who is fighting against L1 orcs. As far as that Pally knows in character, he could be killed in battle at any time. He has no idea of the concept of hitpoints. He's one lucky goblin blow from a sword in the throat in his mind. As such, he's still sacrificing his safety to protect others.

While I would agree that the paladin dosen't have a precise idea of how many hit points he has and how much damage he'll take from a given foe I think it's silly to think that they wouldn't have any idea of how their strength stacks up against other creatures. Look to fear-producing effects as an example, many of them have no effect on creatures with a certain amount of hit dice which seems to suggest that they have some knowledge that their combination of toughness agility and armor allows them protection against certain creatures, but not others. He may be able to conceive that a goblin might be capable of delivering such a blow, but he'd also be able to realize that it's stunningly unlikely thus allowing him to cope with the danger of such.

Citizen Joe
2008-04-08, 07:11 PM
Punish in a rightful manner, becoming your enemy by using his methods is far worst.

A paladin is a spear of his god. He has two means of punishing, with the tip or the butt. Trust me when I say that if you had to be killed, the pointy end is less painful. Getting bludgeoned to death with the butt of a spear takes a long time with internal injuries. One good sharp jab with a spear and you bleed out, passing out from blood loss first and then being gripped by death.

A kidnapper that then threatens hostages has shown in plain sight of the paladin that he's willing to harm innocents and has shown that he HAS committed a crime... all of this of his own free will. A paladin is well within his code to kill this person, if he so chooses death as punishment. The kidnapper's best course of action would be to surrender to some other lawful authority that is willing to judge and punish him. But you can't really talk down a paladin that is locked on target.




A paladin is not suppose to be a heretic burning zealot. The goody goody is the one who understand that by acting morally better than your foe, you truly.

Again, you're talking about the priest's religious theory debate there. That is NOT the role of the Paladin. The role of the paladin is to punish the wicked. In fact, if anyone ever plays a paladin, write on your character sheet in big bold letters PALADIN CODE: PUNISH THE WICKED. Then make sure your DM sees it. At the start of the game, if the DM says anything about it, then maybe you'll need to play something else. However, if, during the game, you do something and the other players or the DM say something about your alignment or falling, pull out your sheet and point right there at your code. Then eye them menacingly as if you're detecting evil.



O-Chul didn't speak because nothing he could do would save the people. A paladin may not kill innocents to justify their ends, or he becomes the very thing he fights. ANd yes paladins do have to protect the innocent.

No, paladins do not. Good people protect the innocent. And paladins are good. However, protecting the innocent is not a class feature.



And yes a paladin must uphold the rights of his enemies as well, no torture, murder or refusal of surrenders

Again, not paladin code but those are worth 'good points'. But a paladin (by core) doesn't need 'good points' he just needs to NOT get 'evil points'. Now some of those things are worth 'evil points' so he won't do them. But most likely, he'll just kill the wicked to avoid the problem.



And Talic, i imagine that a paladin would have to try to subue the werewolf, but if he couldn't he would jsut kill it

There are TWO cures for lycanthropy. One is death. The other is belladona. Guess what... belladona is a poison. By paladin code against the use of poisons, paladins may only cure lycanthropy by killing. Subduing a werewolf will never result in a case where the werewolf won't attempt to kill again.

Rutee
2008-04-08, 07:13 PM
O-Chul said it best: "The act is on your hands, not mine."

I would contest the validity of O-Chul's statement being applied to all circumstances, but there is the fact that this is a villain that, in all likelihood, can't be trusted at all. Further, he captured those peasants once. He could turn them loose, capture again. Etc. When you're dealing with supervillains who can easily hold a huge group hostage, it's hard to take any threat of slaying seriously, since you know that once you give up, there isn't (Or at least, probably won't be) anyone left to stop them from doing it again.


Are you saying that Moradin would reject Lawful Good orc worshippers who wish to do good for Dwarf-kind? Not in my world he wouldn't.

I legitimately do not know. Probably not, but only because racism isn't generally something interesting to highlight to me in the first place. If you want to look at it from a realistic standpoint, it would genuinely depend on Moradin as a character.

EvilElitest
2008-04-08, 07:21 PM
A paladin is a spear of his god. He has two means of punishing, with the tip or the butt. Trust me when I say that if you had to be killed, the pointy end is less painful. Getting bludgeoned to death with the butt of a spear takes a long time with internal injuries. One good sharp jab with a spear and you bleed out, passing out from blood loss first and then being gripped by death.

1. No the cleric is the sphere of his god
2. The paladin upholds the ideals of goodness itself, which includes mercy, kindness and forgiveness
3. Fights against brutality, murderers
4. And as of such, is both the spear and the forgiver, because he doesn't kill innocents, nor does he murder those who have given up


A kidnapper that then threatens hostages has shown in plain sight of the paladin that he's willing to harm innocents and has shown that he HAS committed a crime... all of this of his own free will. A paladin is well within his code to kill this person, if he so chooses death as punishment. The kidnapper's best course of action would be to surrender to some other lawful authority that is willing to judge and punish him. But you can't really talk down a paladin that is locked on target.

yes you can. You can surrender. the paladin is bound to accept mercy


Again, you're talking about the priest's religious theory debate there. That is NOT the role of the Paladin. The role of the paladin is to punish the wicked. In fact, if anyone ever plays a paladin, write on your character sheet in big bold letters PALADIN CODE: PUNISH THE WICKED. Then make sure your DM sees it. At the start of the game, if the DM says anything about it, then maybe you'll need to play something else. However, if, during the game, you do something and the other players or the DM say something about your alignment or falling, pull out your sheet and point right there at your code. Then eye them menacingly as if you're detecting evil.
no, because i don't believe in having a paladin simply be a murdering zealot. A paladin upholds an ideal, and that ideal involves not simply reducing himself using ends justifies the means. If i punish hte wicked using wicked methods, then i am in essence wicked. A paladin must kill evil but also protect them should they give up


No, paladins do not. Good people protect the innocent. And paladins are good. However, protecting the innocent is not a class feature.

No because paladins uphold the ideal of good to an extreme. That involves protecting the innocent and being decent to the guilty who give up


Again, not paladin code but those are worth 'good points'. But a paladin (by core) doesn't need 'good points' he just needs to NOT get 'evil points'. Now some of those things are worth 'evil points' so he won't do them. But most likely, he'll just kill the wicked to avoid the problem.

then he would fall, because killing somebody who surrender without given them a proper trial is murder. Which is evil



There are TWO cures for lycanthropy. One is death. The other is belladona. Guess what... belladona is a poison. By paladin code against the use of poisons, paladins may only cure lycanthropy by killing. Subduing a werewolf will never result in a case where the werewolf won't attempt to kill again.

When the man is not being a werewolf, he can decide for himself how to live his life. maybe restrain himself on certain nights. The paladin jsut needs to keep him from hurting others
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Citizen Joe
2008-04-08, 07:36 PM
1. No the cleric is the sphere of his god
2. The paladin upholds the ideals of goodness itself, which includes mercy, kindness and forgiveness
3. Fights against brutality, murderers
4. And as of such, is both the spear and the forgiver, because he doesn't kill innocents, nor does he murder those who have given up

I am 100% in disagreement with you. You might wave your splat book around all you want but that isn't how core paladins are defined. I so much disagree with you that we aren't even in the same room, let alone being on the same page... In fact... your use of the BoED as some sort of accepted law is much like that of Hitler in Nazi Germany.

There... you see that... Godwin's Law... thread over... everyone go home.

Rutee
2008-04-08, 07:40 PM
I am 100% in disagreement with you. You might wave your splat book around all you want but that isn't how core paladins are defined. I so much disagree with you that we aren't even in the same room, let alone being on the same page... In fact... your use of the BoED as some sort of accepted law is much like that of Hitler in Nazi Germany.

There... you see that... Godwin's Law... thread over... everyone go home.

I've actually taken the use of BoED as a sort of godwin unto itself. Just a very limited-in-scale one.

Or would an Alignment Thread qualify as a Godwin by default?

Nebo_
2008-04-08, 07:43 PM
Hey EE, did you see my post on page 5? I think that if you read that, people would be less inclined to want to pull out their own teeth when they read your posts.

Thanks.

Citizen Joe
2008-04-08, 07:44 PM
You could formalize the law and we can make a new meme: Rutee's Law...

In any alignment discussion regarding DND the use of the Book of Exalted Deeds or Book of Ineffable Damnation results in the referencing party losing the thread and ending the thread summarily.

EvilElitest
2008-04-08, 08:08 PM
I am 100% in disagreement with you. You might wave your splat book around all you want but that isn't how core paladins are defined. I so much disagree with you that we aren't even in the same room, let alone being on the same page... In fact... your use of the BoED as some sort of accepted law is much like that of Hitler in Nazi Germany.

You disagree with me because i actually use writings to back up my points. Wow, um, yeah. Considering your ideal of a paladin is rather based upon nothing more than a radical unjustified interpretation, i don't see how you can even hope to make your point clear

A paladin is not a murdering zealot, but an upholder of all elements of good

Also the BoED is a book made for the purpose of alignment threads, so yeas it is an accepted law




There... you see that... Godwin's Law... thread over... everyone go home.
I turn it on you, the idea of a mercyless killer who tolerates nobody who doesn't suit their ideals is far more like the nazi than paladins

I am far more skilled in the way of Godwin's law, don't not try to defeat my mastery

And rutee, the BoED is only a Godwin's law if having a thread discussion the nature of nazism and somebody brings up hilter is considered part of Godwin's law
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EE

EvilElitest
2008-04-08, 08:17 PM
Nebo, did you read my response?



You could formalize the law and we can make a new meme: Rutee's Law...

In any alignment discussion regarding DND the use of the Book of Exalted Deeds or Book of Ineffable Damnation results in the referencing party losing the thread and ending the thread summarily.
Not on a discussion about D&D alignment, because that is the book which covers such things
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EE

Rutee
2008-04-08, 08:25 PM
I'd point out that it's Brennus' law, since he's the one who pointed it out first, to my knowledge. And honestly the main part of the problem is that BoED/VD (Is it Vile Darkness or Ineffable Damnation?) or other splatbook sources seem to be intended as a sort of final arbiter in arguments, or taken so as to trump the actual core, when they're honestly too minor a set of books so as to count. And hypocritical besides, on at least the count of Ravages. It just feels like we can discuss ethics and whatnot so much better without some DnD supplement that not everyone has access to in the first place being used as a sort of ten commandments.

EvilElitest
2008-04-08, 08:29 PM
I'd point out that it's Brennus' law, since he's the one who pointed it out first, to my knowledge. And honestly the main part of the problem is that BoED/VD (Is it Vile Darkness or Ineffable Damnation?) or other splatbook sources seem to be intended as a sort of final arbiter in arguments, or taken so as to trump the actual core, when they're honestly too minor a set of books so as to count. And hypocritical besides, on at least the count of Ravages. It just feels like we can discuss ethics and whatnot so much better without some DnD supplement that not everyone has access to in the first place being used as a sort of ten commandments.

1. Book of Vile Darkness
2. No because the book is made to expand upon the vauge standards set in core. The alignment system is very ill defined and it expands upon that. It doesn't contradict what it has to say. It is WotC supplement made for the purpose of these discussion.
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EE

Nebo_
2008-04-08, 08:30 PM
Nebo, did you read my response?


No, I didn't. I have you on ignore, so they're difficult to find, especially considering how much you double post. I meant in general, not just pertaining to this particular argument. Why should you believe everything you read in a book anyway? Isn't it time you made up your own mind about something?

EvilElitest
2008-04-08, 08:36 PM
No, I didn't. I have you on ignore, so they're difficult to find, especially considering how much you double post. I meant in general, not just pertaining to this particular argument. Why should you believe everything you read in a book anyway? Isn't it time you made up your own mind about something?

1. Um, if your ignoring me on an on and off basis, why even post that comment at all without checking first
2. Because in D&D morals aren't relative. I don't agree with everything said in the book, but it is there game, their rules.
3. Attempts insulting me? I do have my own option, however in terms of an aligment debate, by personal option means nothing except in the interpretation of the rules. Personally i think that the "no poison" rule is very silly, but i'm not going to argue that it is ok via RAW because it is clearly marked evil
from
EE

Citizen Joe
2008-04-08, 08:45 PM
Oooh wow! There's an ignore feature? How do I use it? Can it be set to 'paladin' or 'alignment thread'?

Rutee
2008-04-08, 08:46 PM
It's pretty much just for people. "Buddy/Ignore list" under User CP

EvilElitest
2008-04-08, 08:47 PM
Oooh wow! There's an ignore feature? How do I use it? Can it be set to 'paladin' or 'alignment thread'?

No, the only way you can do that is by not going to them
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EE

Nebo_
2008-04-08, 08:54 PM
1. Um, if your ignoring me on an on and off basis, why even post that comment at all without checking first

I did check, I must have missed it.



2. Because in D&D morals aren't relative. I don't agree with everything said in the book, but it is there game, their rules.

See, what you should have said is "I think D&D morals aren't relative" because that opinion isn't shared by a lot of other people. See what I'm talking about?


3. Attempts insulting me? I do have my own option, however in terms of an aligment debate, by personal option means nothing except in the interpretation of the rules. Personally i think that the "no poison" rule is very silly, but i'm not going to argue that it is ok via RAW because it is clearly marked evil
from
EE

No, that wasn't an attempt to insult you, that was an attempt to nudge you into opening up your mind to the alternatives. That's the beauty of D&D, if you don't like a rule, you can ignore it. WotC isn't going to come to your house and beat you down with a DMG if you let paladins use poison.

Thane of Fife
2008-04-08, 08:54 PM
In fact, if anyone ever plays a paladin, write on your character sheet in big bold letters PALADIN CODE: PUNISH THE WICKED.

Let me begin this post by stating that, while I could disagree more with this post (if, for example, it read: PALADIN CODE: EAT BABIES), it would be moderately difficult for me to do so. Moving on:


A paladin is well within his code to kill this [kidnapper], if he so chooses death as punishment.

First of all, this is incorrect. The paladin's code requires him to respect legitimate authority, and so, unless said authority gives the paladin the authority to go about wantonly slaughtering criminals (or at least kidnappers), killing this person would constitute a code violation.

To the more general point that the paladin is an implement of destruction, I say that you need to take a better look at the paladin. For example, one of his class features is Remove Disease, which he gets only after he acquires Divine Health. Why bother giving it to him if, as a spear, the only use he would put it to would be removing those diseases he can never get? Well, to help other people would be the most obvious answer (to me, anyway). Similarly, the Paladin gets an Aura of Courage rather than an Aura of Fear. If his sole purpose were to smite the unrighteous, then surely the latter would be more appropriate?

On a similar note, check out St. Cuthbert in the PHB. He's pretty much the god of smiting the wicked. And he's Lawful Neutral, not Lawful Good.


Anyway, to at least make a reference to the first post, I would agree that there probably wasn't anything fall-worthy there, but there was certainly enough to warrant a serious warning. While, in my opinion, a paladin is free to hold whatever prejudices he likes, what makes him special is that he doesn't act upon them - if the paladin had said the same things while burying the orc anyway, then I would have had no problem with the situation.


And finally, again, in my own opinion, I would argue that every act has a specific alignment associated with it (or is considered unimportant, in the event of, say, eating breakfast). Circumstances can shift this alignment by one place, but no more. I.E. Killing is evil, but can be neutral. Self-sacrifice is good, but can be neutral. Making people feel bad is slightly evil, but can be neutral (My reasoning being that if berating someone to the point at which they commit suicide is evil, then performing a lesser variation of this act is still evil, if less so).

Citizen Joe
2008-04-08, 08:58 PM
Woohoo...

OK so the comparison here is Robocop in the first movie vs. Robocop in the second movie. Robocop was hardwired with a simple set of rules (and the 4th one that he didn't know about until the end). He did quite well as a hero, and I would say a paladin. But in the second movie, OCP loaded him up with hundreds of rules to make him more politically correct. The end result was that he was almost completely paralyzed by the restrictions and resorted to nearly frying himself to clear out the clutter. I ask you, as a player, would you rather play a paladin with a small set of clear rules that he can take to heart, or a bunch of rules that someone else (that doesn't have to follow them) has come up with?

EvilElitest
2008-04-08, 08:59 PM
I did check, I must have missed it.



See, what you should have said is "I think D&D morals aren't relative" because that opinion isn't shared by a lot of other people. See what I'm talking about?

Not when it is said in the rules that good and evil are not relative. That isn't i think, that is WotC says. As i responded, this is a matter of what the books published by WotC says




No, that wasn't an attempt to insult you, that was an attempt to nudge you into opening up your mind to the alternatives. That's the beauty of D&D, if you don't like a rule, you can ignore it. WotC isn't going to come to your house and beat you down with a DMG if you let paladins use poison.
Sure, but if you do this then your doing a homebrew version of D&D, and thus not relevant to the discussion (except in "In my games"). no offense, but in terms of paladins discussion, we discuss what WotC says about them, not want we personally would say about them. In my games using poison isn't an evil act, however i can't claim on an aligment thread that paladins can get away with it, because according to WotC a paladin can't. We don't dicuss homebrews, because then we aren't really dicussion the rules, we are making our own rules


Joe

1. The book of exalted deeds is really clear cut on good and evil, must less vague
2. I'd rather play a paladin who actually is a moral person, not a glorified thug
from
EE

Nebo_
2008-04-08, 09:05 PM
Not when it is said in the rules that good and evil are not relative. That isn't i think, that is WotC says. As i responded, this is a matter of what the books published by WotC says


Played Eberron lately?

EvilElitest
2008-04-08, 09:07 PM
Played Eberron lately?

yeah, it doesn't contradict what is said in BoED, because paladins ares till held to the rules of the code, it is just harder for paladins to understand it.


A better example would be Ravenloft, where the paladin code is actually different
from
EE

Nebo_
2008-04-08, 09:16 PM
yeah, it doesn't contradict what is said in BoED, because paladins ares till held to the rules of the code, it is just harder for paladins to understand it.


No, but it does contradict what you said about moral relativity. If WotC can have different schools of thought on the matter, then why can't you?

Thane of Fife
2008-04-08, 09:18 PM
I ask you, as a player, would you rather play a paladin with a small set of clear rules that he can take to heart, or a bunch of rules that someone else (that doesn't have to follow them) has come up with?

Assuming that that was directed at me, then, to be honest, I don't care too much either way. As long as I knew them while I was making the character, and preferably before making the character, it isn't overly important.

I don't think that the paladin has a bunch of rules, though - just a few:

Always do the right thing (i.e. Be honorable, merciful, kind, honest) - you don't have to like it, you just have to do it.

Behave in a lawful fashion - if there's a way to do something within a society's laws, try to do it that way.

If you see someone in need, try to help them - preferably in a way that will make them happy.

Try not to hurt people - if it happens, it happens, but do your best to avoid it. Note that bringing people to justice does not qualify as hurting them.

Really, while I may have missed something there, that's what comes to mind. That's what, seven rules? That isn't "a bunch."

Wooter
2008-04-08, 09:19 PM
You don't actually need to sign your posts, you know. We can see who wrote it by looking at the name and avatar to the left of the text.

The universal rule for the paladin code is that nobody agrees what it means. what exactly is a "gross violation"? I think if someone is playing a Paladin, the DM should first talk to the player, and explain what might make them fall.

EvilElitest
2008-04-08, 09:21 PM
No, but it does contradict what you said about moral relativity. If WotC can have different schools of thought on the matter, then why can't you?

Um, not it doesn't, good and evil aren't subjective in D&D. Ergo, all actions are absolute in terms of good and evil


and wooter
1. I like signing my name, it is a formality
2. A gross violation is an evil act
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EE

Citizen Joe
2008-04-08, 09:21 PM
OPINION: The need for objective evil only exists because the corporation that publishes DND needs to market it to children. Children are not yet ready to handle the very adult world of grey moralities. It is in fact primarily the parent's the responsibility to teach those rules.

OPINION: DND virtually requires that you go out and kill stuff. BTW, I'm not actually pleased with that and it is actually quite distasteful to me.

OPINION: Invading someone's home, killing them and then taking their stuff is wrong.

OPINION: When you combine all that, you see that, in order to get DND to work, there needs to be creatures outside the bounds of moral judgement that kids can kill mindlessly without creating a massive PR blowback from parents. "It's okay Mom, we're just killing demons." is much more palatable than "It's okay Mom, we're just committing genocide to our racial enemies."

OPINION/CONCLUSION: If your entire group is mature enough that they can make up their own minds about morality and accept responsibility for such actions, then the need for Objective Evil is eliminated and the group can play in a much more mature grey morality world of subjective/relative evil.

EvilElitest
2008-04-08, 09:24 PM
OPINION: The need for objective evil only exists because the corporation that publishes DND needs to market it to children. Children are not yet ready to handle the very adult world of grey moralities. It is in fact primarily the parent's the responsibility to teach those rules.

OPINION: DND virtually requires that you go out and kill stuff. BTW, I'm not actually pleased with that and it is actually quite distasteful to me.

OPINION: Invading someone's home, killing them and then taking their stuff is wrong.

OPINION: When you combine all that, you see that, in order to get DND to work, there needs to be creatures outside the bounds of moral judgement that kids can kill mindlessly without creating a massive PR blowback from parents. "It's okay Mom, we're just killing demons." is much more palatable than "It's okay Mom, we're just committing genocide to our racial enemies."

OPINION/CONCLUSION: If your entire group is mature enough that they can make up their own minds about morality and accept responsibility for such actions, then the need for Objective Evil is eliminated and the group can play in a much more mature grey morality world of subjective/relative evil.

Objective morality isn't childish, because here is the biggy, all sort of moral ideals fit within good and evil. you can have objective good and evil with grey morality? Why? Because
1. People don't know exactly how te aligment system works in game
2. Good and evil does not equal right or wrong. if i had an aligment, i'd be LN. I don't think i'm a bad person because of it, because i believe in law and order deeply.
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EE

Citizen Joe
2008-04-08, 09:26 PM
Really, while I may have missed something there, that's what comes to mind. That's what, seven rules? That isn't "a bunch."
Yes, actually it is. It needs to fit on a bracelet because INT is the dump stat for paladins. So maybe something like "Do the right thing." should be good enough. Or maybe "What would [God of Paladins] do?"

EvilElitest
2008-04-08, 09:28 PM
Yes, actually it is. It needs to fit on a bracelet because INT is the dump stat for paladins. So maybe something like "Do the right thing." should be good enough. Or maybe "What would [God of Paladins] do?"

that isn't really relevant however, part of becoming a paladin implies that you are ready for a hard job
from
EE

Nebo_
2008-04-08, 09:28 PM
Um, not it doesn't, good and evil aren't subjective in D&D. Ergo, all actions are absolute in terms of good and evil



No. You THINK that all actions are inherently good or evil. Please stop saying that as if it's fact, when all it really is, is an opinion. If it was fact, there wouldn't be so many people arguing with you.

EvilElitest
2008-04-08, 09:29 PM
No. You THINK that all actions are inherently good or evil. Please stop saying that as if it's fact, when all it really is, is an opinion. If it was fact, there wouldn't be so many people arguing with you.

no because it says so in the books. Where the hell are you getting this idea that actions don't have aligment effects. that is a D&D rule involving alignments, when you do evil acts (rape, murder, torture) you eventually become evil. This WotC
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EE

Wooter
2008-04-08, 09:30 PM
Yes, actually it is. It needs to fit on a bracelet because INT is the dump stat for paladins. So maybe something like "Do the right thing." should be good enough. Or maybe "What would [God of Paladins] do?"

My favorite condensed paladin code (http://www.pennyarcademerch.com/pat080011.html)

Rutee
2008-04-08, 09:49 PM
Yes, actually it is. It needs to fit on a bracelet because INT is the dump stat for paladins. So maybe something like "Do the right thing." should be good enough. Or maybe "What would [God of Paladins] do?"

WWOCD? (http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j227/RuteeKatreya/OptimusChrist.jpg)
Seems acceptable to me.

EvilElitest
2008-04-08, 09:52 PM
WWOCD? (http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j227/RuteeKatreya/OptimusChrist.jpg)
Seems acceptable to me.

Does he have the Popemobil at his disposal however?
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EE

Citizen Joe
2008-04-08, 09:54 PM
No. You THINK that all actions are inherently good or evil. Please stop saying that as if it's fact, when all it really is, is an opinion. If it was fact, there wouldn't be so many people arguing with you.

Actually, I can logically prove that actions must be subjectively good/evil. Actions must be tempered with intent in order to have an alignment. Intent can only be known by the active party and thus not to an objective observer. Therefore, actions can only be subjectively aligned.

OPINION: One of the most alignment based actions is killing someone. If killing is objectively evil, then most people in the world will be evil due to breakfast. Likewise, just about every animal in the world should be evil for the same reason.

RAW CITING: Animals are unaligned. i.e. NOT evil.

OPINION/CONCLUSION: In an objective action world, killing is not evil.

RAW CITING/COUNTER CONCLUSION: Murder/killing is one of the defining characteristics of evil. Thus, the RAW world killing is evil.

OPINION/CONCLUSION: RAW dictates that evil kills but it also dictates that non-aligned creatures kill. Thus, something has to be different between the two.

HYPOTHESIS: The difference between a non-aligned kill and an evil kill is intent and thus actions are subjectively aligned.

EvilElitest
2008-04-08, 09:57 PM
WotC says that actions are objectively good and evil

Thus in their game, they are objectivity good or evil or neutral
from
EE

Nebo_
2008-04-08, 10:07 PM
WotC says that actions are objectively good and evil

Thus in their game, they are objectivity good or evil or neutral
from
EE

You know what? They also say that alignment can in shades of grey. That ought to break your mind. WotC saying two different things? Impossible!

Who says that it's their game, anyway? If I'm playing it, then it's my game and I am in no way bound by their opinions on the matter.

Frosty
2008-04-08, 10:11 PM
WotC says that actions are objectively good and evil

Thus in their game, they are objectivity good or evil or neutral
from
EE

Objective and Subjective good/evil can co-exist. some things are evil no matter WHAT. Other things are only evil SOME of the time...like killing.

Cold-blooded Murder of a child and killing of a serial murderer are both killing. Yet only one is evil all the time. The difference? Intent.

And yes, some actions are ALWAYS evil, because to perform them, there is no possible way to approach it except with an evil intent.

Citizen Joe
2008-04-08, 10:29 PM
Cold-blooded Murder of a child and killing of a serial murderer are both killing. Yet only one is evil all the time. The difference? Intent.

Neither of those is evil all the time. Both are subjective and situational. I kill baby chickens all the time for breakfast, but that doesn't make me evil. Likewise, animals killing young for survival isn't evil. Some mothers even push unhealthy chicks out of the nest to better support the rest of their brood. It is even conceivable that a child could be soulless and possessed by a demon.

I know those are some far fetched examples, but my point is that (as best as I can tell) all actions require intent in order to generate alignment. The distinction is that some are VERY hard to justify as not being one alignment or the other.

EvilElitest
2008-04-08, 10:32 PM
Objective and Subjective good/evil can co-exist. some things are evil no matter WHAT. Other things are only evil SOME of the time...like killing.

Cold-blooded Murder of a child and killing of a serial murderer are both killing. Yet only one is evil all the time. The difference? Intent.

And yes, some actions are ALWAYS evil, because to perform them, there is no possible way to approach it except with an evil intent.

Frosty, read what i said prior, i already made that clear


You know what? They also say that alignment can in shades of grey. That ought to break your mind. WotC saying two different things? Impossible!

Who says that it's their game, anyway? If I'm playing it, then it's my game and I am in no way bound by their opinions on the matter.
1. So? You can have shades of grey in aligment and still have objective good and evil
2.They made the game, there rules. If we break the rules and homebrew, power to us, but we can't use our homebrews are official rules
And Joe, both of those are in fact always evil actions, not matter what the intent is

from
EE

Cuddly
2008-04-08, 10:57 PM
Yes, actually it is. It needs to fit on a bracelet because INT is the dump stat for paladins. So maybe something like "Do the right thing." should be good enough. Or maybe "What would [God of Paladins] do?"

+1


blahblahblah

Talic
2008-04-08, 11:43 PM
If all actions are either good or evil... then classify the following for me:

going poo (in a certified establishment for doing so, such as an outhouse)
going poo (in the forest)
purchasing a rake
selling a sword
jumping down a flight of stairs
reading a book on shrubberies

You'll quickly find that even though actions CAN be good or evil, not all actions ARE. In fact, the majority of acts anyone performs on a daily basis have no alignment shift associated with them at all.

Dervag
2008-04-08, 11:59 PM
1. So? You can have shades of grey in aligment and still have objective good and evilI have to say, I really don't think so.

If "Good" and "Evil" (the D&D terms) actually mean anything, it means that it is right to do that which is Good and wrong to do that which is Evil. Neutral acts are the acts which are subject to situational ethics, or which are of no moral consequence. Breaking a standard door in a dungeon down, for instance, is a Neutral act. Sometimes it's right. Sometimes it's wrong. Usually, it's of no moral consequence. Only in extreme circumstances would it be objectively Good or Evil.

But Good and Evil aren't even meaningful if it isn't always right and appropriate to perform Good acts and always wrong and inappropriate to perform Evil acts.

If that isn't true, then Good and Evil become purely arbitrary sticker labels. In which case we should probably use different words for them. We might as well use made-up words like "Gazorninplat" and "Krzjdlwsc" for them. That way, at least we wouldn't confuse any poor hapless paladin-players into thinking that they are doing the right thing when in fact they are merely doing the Good/Gazorninplat thing, which may or may not be the right thing to do.

So there isn't a lot of room for shades of gray in an absolutist alignment system. It cannot be right to perform an Evil act, or wrong to perform a Good act. It might be right or wrong to perform a Neutral act- but if it were reliably right or wrong to perform such an act, then the act would be Good or Evil, but not Neutral. Thus, if busting down dungeon doors were always the right thing to do for anyone in any circumstances (the way that feeding hungry orphans is), then, it would be a Good act (like feeding hungry orphans).

So in a system where Good and Evil are labels for consistently right and wrong actions, there are no shades of gray. And if they aren't those kinds of labels then there's no point in calling them Good and Evil.
_______________

Moreover, I would like to argue that even in an objective alignment system, you still have to take alignment into account. Below, I give a long argument about this. But the conclusion boils down to:

"I think that even an absolutely objective D&D alignment system has to consider intent. So if there were a perfect computer that knew everything about the universe and knew all the rules of D&D morality so that it could tell you whether a person was good or evil aligned, it would be taking intent into account."

So if, when EE says that alignment is objective, he means intent doesn't matter, I disagree with him. I think intent has to matter or we end up with absurd and anti-canon ideas about alignment.

Long argument about why you have to have intent in alignment for objective alignment to make sense in D&D follows
For example, consider a person who is fooled by an evil wizard's illusion into killing a baby. They sincerely believed that they were performing a Good or Neutral act. No matter how Good-aligned they are, it won't protect them from the illusion. There are only way for them to not kill a baby in this scenario.

One is to have a good enough will save to resist the illusion- which is a morally Neutral property. Being more Good does not give you a stronger will save.

The other is to perform some irrational act in response to the illusion- to do nothing, or to start jumping up and down, or to ignore the charging monster. But performing random irrational acts cannot be Good or Evil, because the character isn't acting on moral issues. They are acting precisely as they might under the influence of a Confusion effect (wandering randomly). Or as they might if they were totally insane or unintelligent (nonaligned).

Assume that D&D morality is objective in the sense that EE appears to mean.

In that case, we have situation where there is no way for the character to knowingly perform a Good act. If they act rationally, they will in fact end up committing what you, EE, would call an objectively Evil act. A paladin falls in this situation. A character might well end up getting shifted in alignment for doing something like this.

Now, we have to ask ourselves, does that make sense? Can your alignment be changed by actions you didn't even know you were taking?
_______

Either the answer is yes, or the answer is no. If the answer is no, then intent matters in D&D alignment. Because in the absence of intent, actions lose some of their objective moral weight. Note that this does not mean that alignment is all relative or that Redcloak is Good because he thinks he's doing the right thing. It just means that when a perfectly objective moral judge looks at what you're doing, they will find it Good or Evil depending in part on your intentions.

Now, if the answer is no, we have a problem. Because chaos happens- not Chaos, but ordinary random junk. People's actions have unintended, often completely unknown consequences.

For example, imagine a short, low-level PC campaign that leads up to the PCs killing the crazy druid that's been menacing the elven villages. Then they retire. It's safe to say that a party of Good PCs could run that adventure and stay Good, right?

What if the druid's death has unintended consequences? What if that druid would have gone on to defeat some legendary world-eating demon had he not been killed by the PCs? Wouldn't that make the PCs Evil, or at least less Good, for aiding the demon indirectly?

Either the answer is yes, or the answer is no.
___________
If the answer is yes, then alignment may be objective, but it's also completely unpredictable. I have no reliable way of knowing whether the consequences of my actions in the long term are going to be good or bad. I can try to stick to rules that are calculated to achieve good or bad results, but that's all. But in D&D, your alignment can be changed by actions that have bad consequences. And if intent doesn't matter, only consequences, then something like 1/3 or 1/2 of my actions make me more Evil. And this is true even if I am Good, because even a Good character won't always be able to avoid doing something with bad long term consequences. So my alignment is like a roulette wheel, because if my actions lead to Chaotic Evil results then I become Chaotic Evil, even if I meant to do Lawful Good every step of the way. And I don't mean "Lawful Good" as in "Miko falling to evil." I mean a genuinely saintly character who, through no fault of his own, accidentally makes the world a horrible place. They still want good and order and peace, but because they inadvertently started a huge war that reduced the continent to anarchy, they are now Chaotic Evil.

That goes against published Wizards material that has Good-aligned people doing bad things by accident and not turning Evil.

The other possibility is that I don't suffer alignment changes due to unintended consequences, in which case intent matters.

turkishproverb
2008-04-09, 12:10 AM
Here is where we'll have to agree to disagree. I'll repeat my earlier observation:


We can play Rangers and Wizards and Rogues as a healthy past time and escape, slay the bad guys and save the kingdom, and that's all fine. But it's not healthy to promote or even tolerate in the game racism or other things considered distasteful in our culture. The game can be played in many ways, but those who chose to use a social gaming setting to act out their prejudices and perversions should consider seeking professional council.

Ok, so what your saying is anyone who finds the challenge of playing a character with race issues needs professional help?


I'm not sure your not being a bit of a pot here, man.

So, now every actor who's portrayed a sympathetic character with race issues has issues? Ever writer who's written a non-evil character with race issues?


I think perhaps the people you game with should grow up and learn to seperate fantasy from reality.
"Oh noes! Bob plays a character that is racist against orcs! He must be racist in real life!"
"Oh noes! Bob plays a rogue! He must be a thief in real life!"
"Oh noes! Bob plays an assassin! He must kill people for money in real life!"

I have a good friend that was murdered in cold blood recently. As a result, I am extremely touchy on the subject of murder. With that said, if someone I DM for wants to play a sociopathic murderer, I am not going to be upset unless he carries those tendencies over to real life. I may ask him to tone it down out of respect for my feelings, but I am not going to arbitrarily punish him in game.

All of these examples are equally ridiculous. Granted, I wouldn't make a character who is racist against White or Black or Red people or whatever since that's not something I want to bring into my group. But a character who hates orcs, or elves, or gnomes, or humans is perfectly legitimate. It's a fantasy setting, and if you can't seperate your morals from those of the fantasy genre, that's fine. But don't assume that the rest of us can't.

Edit: Apologies for the triple post. Was responding throughout the topic and just assumed that others were posting between my responses.


Well put.

And it doesn't even apply to the fantesy genre. in the Old WOD, you HAD to hate vampires to be rolepalying a werewolf properly.


You could formalize the law and we can make a new meme: Rutee's Law...

In any alignment discussion regarding DND the use of the Book of Exalted Deeds or Book of Ineffable Damnation results in the referencing party losing the thread and ending the thread summarily.


lol. Priceless



That goes against published Wizards material that has Good-aligned people doing bad things by accident and not turning Evil.

The other possibility is that I don't suffer alignment changes due to unintended consequences, in which case intent matters.


You know, this means one could argue about whethor or not ingrained racism would qualify as "by accident" or "aware" even if it qualified as an evil act.

Talic
2008-04-09, 12:26 AM
Breaking a standard door in a dungeon down, for instance, is a Neutral act. Sometimes it's right. Sometimes it's wrong. Usually, it's of no moral consequence. Only in extreme circumstances would it be objectively Good or Evil.

Vandalization and destruction of property isn't good or evil? :smallconfused:

Dervag
2008-04-09, 12:45 AM
Vandalization and destruction of property isn't good or evil? :smallconfused:Depends on whose property it is.

Destroying a door in the crypt of the Lich Lord when that door stands between the heroes and the weapon needed to stop him from taking over the world?
Probably Good, if not very strongly so.

Destroying a door in a forgotten dungeon populated by whatever wild beasts have wandered in over the past twnety years?
Neutral.

Destroying a door that's keeping the orphans from being eaten by a gelatinous cube?
Probably Evil.

As we see, the intrinsic act of destroying a door is not always of the same alignment. It is not a priori right or wrong to start a campfire or break down a dungeon door or eat some iron rations. Moral alignment can only apply to those acts as a result of situational ethics (yes, you may eat iron rations in general, but in this particular case it was an immoral thing to do).

Whereas nonsituational ethics may tell us that it is always good to feed the starving orphans, regardless of circumstances. Or that circumstances that would make it neutral or evil are so rare that they can only be described as the sort of horribly bizarre misfortune that insurance companies call an "act of God."

Talic
2008-04-09, 01:06 AM
Depends on whose property it is.

Destroying a door in the crypt of the Lich Lord when that door stands between the heroes and the weapon needed to stop him from taking over the world?
Probably Good, if not very strongly so.
Disagree. Breaking the door is still evil, just mitigated by the good from gaining the weapon that stops him from taking over the world. (whose weapon? possibly theft there, too).


Destroying a door in a forgotten dungeon populated by whatever wild beasts have wandered in over the past twnety years?
Neutral.Agreed. I'd say that length of absence would constitute an abandonment of property.

Destroying a door that's keeping the orphans from being eaten by a gelatinous cube?
Probably Evil.Disagree. Again, destroying the door is still evil (destruction of property) and all that, but the real evil there is enabling a gelatinous cube to eat children. Not breaking a door.


As we see, the intrinsic act of destroying a door is not always of the same alignment.
Yes, yes it is. Destroying someone else's property is a violation of their rights. Taking or breaking something that isn't yours is generally considered wrong, or evil. That the act is sometimes justified by a greater need does not change that.

Khanderas
2008-04-09, 02:33 AM
OPINION: The need for objective evil only exists because the corporation that publishes DND needs to market it to children. Children are not yet ready to handle the very adult world of grey moralities. It is in fact primarily the parent's the responsibility to teach those rules.

OPINION: DND virtually requires that you go out and kill stuff. BTW, I'm not actually pleased with that and it is actually quite distasteful to me.

OPINION: Invading someone's home, killing them and then taking their stuff is wrong.

OPINION: When you combine all that, you see that, in order to get DND to work, there needs to be creatures outside the bounds of moral judgement that kids can kill mindlessly without creating a massive PR blowback from parents. "It's okay Mom, we're just killing demons." is much more palatable than "It's okay Mom, we're just committing genocide to our racial enemies."

OPINION/CONCLUSION: If your entire group is mature enough that they can make up their own minds about morality and accept responsibility for such actions, then the need for Objective Evil is eliminated and the group can play in a much more mature grey morality world of subjective/relative evil.
Opinion: The above quoted post makes alot of sense, and should be mandatory reading in "Alignment in DnD 101" or other beginning class of said subject.
It is also my wish that more people mention that it is their opinion of alignment they are presenting, rather then some absolute fact that everyone else has to conform to. Presenting alignments that way either makes me want to ridicule it, or fear alittle more for the human race who appearantly have too often a too strict view on what is "right".

Rutee
2008-04-09, 03:24 AM
Yes, yes it is. Destroying someone else's property is a violation of their rights. Taking or breaking something that isn't yours is generally considered wrong, or evil. That the act is sometimes justified by a greater need does not change that.

If someone (Say the lich in the aforementioned crypt) has forfeited their right to life (Or unlife, as the case may be), have they not already forfeited their right to property? I mean if you're going to predicate that the right to property is what makes vandalism Evil then if you have pretty much any legitimate reason to kill them breaking the door down stops being evil by definition.

As a whole, I'd say vandalism generally qualifies as Neutral. It depends on the nature exactly, but the short of it is, if all you're doing is being a nuisance (As is the standard use of Vandalism) then it's not really evil, just neutral (or arguably chaotic). If it's crippling, then it can be evil (unless you're crippling someone whom essentially, needs it)

hamishspence
2008-04-09, 03:32 AM
Vile darkness tells us both that evil is objective, AND that intent and context matter. That killing sentient beings is always a horrible act, but its murder thats truly evil (the unjustified killing of sentient beings)

in 3.0, a paladin compelled into killing an evil act (by compulsion spells or illusions, it did not matter) ALWAYS fell. in fact it was ONLY when said act was carried out and paladin was totally unaware of it being evil, that they could use the atonement spell at all.

So, it was possible for an act to be evil, yet done with good intent, and person being unaware of it being evil, and still Fall, like it aforementioned baby disguised as monster.

Only with 3.5 were wilful evil acts by paladins defined as not guaranteeing a permanent fall. Thats the two players handbooks, both going with an Act is more important than Intent rule.

Which is not to say that this is the case for all acts: some are always called neutral rather than good or evil (killing a creature of consummate, irredeemable evil, for personal gain,) Vile darkness says killing a chromatic dragon for its treasure rather than to help people is not an evil act, though its certainly not a good act.

the big problem with the relative approach, as defined in Vile Darkness, is it means every opinion as to what is evil or good is potentially valid. Some might say charity is evil because it perpetuates the weak. But with a more objective principle, we are told in Exalted deeds that the belief that the poor are poor out of incompetance, and do not deserve help, is a hallmark of evil.

As for the validity of those two books, multiple supplements are based on them, especially vile darkness. In addition to which, on WOTC Living Greyhawk site, which, for some reason, a few people think repesents the default version of D&D, there is text stating Vile darkness provides the definitive version of what counts as evil acts. Basicaly. it says where players are confused about what is evil, Vile is the deciding factor.

exalted is not totally goody-goody-pacifist: "Violence is a part of the D&D world, and not inherently evil in the context of that world" but it does put limits on it stressing it must have just cause, good intentions, be discriminating- not used against those who can fairly be considered non-combatants, and the means must be good (no torture, no evil descriptor spells)

Similarly, it does not require you to use non-lethal tactics against everything, but it does suggest that it is often preferable to bring evildoewrs to justice in the form of legitimate legal authority rather than meting out that justice oneself.

in the Being Ahead of your Time section, it tells us "even if slavery, torture, or discrimination are condoned by society, they remain evil"
and elsewhere:
"a good characters relationships with other characters should be built on a mutual respect for one another, whether that relationship involves the companionship of an adventuring party or the intimacy of a marriage."

Paladins are "called to be the exemplars of lawful good alignment, and to the extent that they succeed, they are among the finest examples of exalted player characters"

That said, I do take issue with some of Evilelitist's comments. Acts, aren't always either good or evil. Some things are said to be not good, not evil. As vile Darkness says, grey areas will always exist, even in the most objective alignment system.
While paladins are expected to be good, exalted code is not the same as paladins code, which has a stronger focus on Law. You can have CG exalted characters. Still, it does say that Good is the highest priority, i.e. is more important than Law for any Exalted character.

In Champions of Valor, we are told that it is possible for a valorous character to have flaws, including bigotry. However if bigotry is extreme, it is fair to say character is in danger of ceasing to be good.

Talic
2008-04-09, 03:40 AM
If someone (Say the lich in the aforementioned crypt) has forfeited their right to life (Or unlife, as the case may be), have they not already forfeited their right to property? I mean if you're going to predicate that the right to property is what makes vandalism Evil then if you have pretty much any legitimate reason to kill them breaking the door down stops being evil by definition.

As a whole, I'd say vandalism generally qualifies as Neutral. It depends on the nature exactly, but the short of it is, if all you're doing is being a nuisance (As is the standard use of Vandalism) then it's not really evil, just neutral (or arguably chaotic). If it's crippling, then it can be evil (unless you're crippling someone whom essentially, needs it)

So, then, you would classify someone who kicked in your door while you were at work, threw a cinderblock through your TV, threw all your silverware in the microwave and ran it, and slashed your bed to ribbons... you'd classify that as "nonevil"? Let's say for good measure, he took and kept any valuable jewelry or artwork in your house as well.

After all, you don't essentially need a TV, a microwave, silverware, or a bed. You can get by without any of these. So this is just being a "general nuisance". Not evil.

This means my paladins can get away with overturning beds and tables in orphanages too! After all, the kids can sleep on floors, and they can hold the bowls. Kicking in the door though, is questionable, as, if the seasonal weather in the area is bad, or there are dangerous creatures, then that could compromise their safety.

So now, we get to the core of it. Kicking doors in = still evil, as it compromises safety. Stealing, robbing, and breaking stuff = well, that's ok.

Rutee
2008-04-09, 03:49 AM
After all, you don't essentially need a TV, a microwave, silverware, or a bed. You can get by without any of these. So this is just being a "general nuisance". Not evil.
No, there's still an economic loss, and a rather crippling one in my case. The short of it is, if Richy Rich, for whatever reason, has a cheap TV, Microwave, silverware, and bed, then that's a nuisance. Joe Average generally can't handle that kind of outlay easily, so that'd be above a nuisance. Joe Average may not need them (And you overestimate the average person's cooking ability, as near as I can tell, to say they don't need a microwave..), but he still had to pay for them, and a senseless loss of those is probably pretty bad.

Now, since you want to take the extreme case, explain to me the evil of a child making a chalk drawing on the sidewalk.



This means my paladins can get away with overturning beds and tables in orphanages too! After all, the kids can sleep on floors, and they can hold the bowls. Kicking in the door though, is questionable, as, if the seasonal weather in the area is bad, or there are dangerous creatures, then that could compromise their safety.
Any monetary loss is pretty much unacceptable in an orphanage, actually. Kids /could/ sleep on floors, but kids are generally entitled to more then adults in the first place.


So now, we get to the core of it. Kicking doors in = still evil, as it compromises safety. Stealing, robbing, and breaking stuff = well, that's ok.
You haven't once addressed how compromising the safety of someone who doesn't deserve to live (Because if you're good, and they're evil, and you're off to kill, you probably have already made that decision in the first place) constitutes as evil.


As for the validity of those two books, multiple supplements are based on them, especially vile darkness. In addition to which, on WOTC Living Greyhawk site, which, for some reason, a few people think repesents the default version of D&D, there is text stating Vile darkness provides the definitive version of what counts as evil acts. Basicaly. it says where players are confused about what is evil, Vile is the deciding factor.

Just because books are based on the BoED/VD doesn't make them valid. It just means those other books have a potentially flawed foundation.

hamishspence
2008-04-09, 04:10 AM
thing is, a flawed foundation is better than no foundation at all. layers handbbok has no detail at all on good, evil, intent, etc, just a few of lines, and one direct contradiction (fights evil without mercy, vs LG implies honor and compassion) If you have compassion only for the good, thats not much of a compassion.

Similarly, if WOTC considered them that flawed, they would not be saying "Use Vile Darkness as a guide as to what constitutes evil"

Equally, its only in these books that we get told that intent, context, etc matter, even if they aren't the sole definer.

think of adventurers as like cops, or soldiers, or citizens performing a citizens arrest. Yes, they can defend themselves. Yes, they can break in when they have probable cause that a crime has been committed. But that doesn't mean they can pocket all the villains stolen loot: a strongly good aligned adventurer might want to return stolen goods to their owners, and would only keep what their employers permit them to keep.

DMG 2 suggests that when a villain is being gone after, a writ of outlawry has been passed against them, or, if PCs stumble across origianlly unknown villainy, a retroactive writ of outlawry is passed, making it legally OK for PC to keep villains property, which is considered forfeit.

without VD and ED, you tend to end up with "its evil = we kill it and keep its stuff"

Rutee
2008-04-09, 04:21 AM
WotC isn't going to consider them flawed until they're outdated and about to print a new version. Period. Or at least, it won't publicly act on that consideration. And compassion doesn't have to extend to everyone. I'd say that if you want to be good, you still have to extend it to Neutral, just not evil. It's not really compassion if it has to be /earned/, but compassion can still be lost.

And, what you just explained wasn't relevant to good or evil at all, but to legal matters (And strictly speaking, you can't automatically consider adventurers to be analogous to a legally established force, since the mandate of a legally established force will go back to those who are considered to have the right to rule. In modern society, that would be The People. In standard Medieval Land, that'd be the monarch or the Nobility). And in point of fact, I already would have had similar to begin with, if I needed to clarify, since I actually know this sort of thing.

hamishspence
2008-04-09, 04:34 AM
"many live that deserve death, and many die that deserve life. Do not be too quick to deal out death in judgement"

The Tolkien theme is that even the evil deserve compassion. And its a long-running theme through many philosphies.

Point being, that if we can swallow people being allowed to break into the home of accused criminals in real life, when there is just cause, why object to it happening in D&D?

Yes, not all adventurers are agents of the law. But they can be.

Traditional heroic adventuring involves them doing things for people, from saving a village from a marauding dragon/bandit gang/evil horde to rescuing kidnapped civilians. Its a trope running through fantasy that there is a problem, town leaders send out call for help, adventurer is offered "half the kingdom" to solve the really serious problem.

Those who do things for themselves alone tend to be more amoral. Conan, for example, would not be considered Good by most people. And even he is often working for people, not just himself.

Talic
2008-04-09, 04:38 AM
No, there's still an economic loss, and a rather crippling one in my case. The short of it is, if Richy Rich, for whatever reason, has a cheap TV, Microwave, silverware, and bed, then that's a nuisance. Joe Average generally can't handle that kind of outlay easily, so that'd be above a nuisance. Joe Average may not need them (And you overestimate the average person's cooking ability, as near as I can tell, to say they don't need a microwave..), but he still had to pay for them, and a senseless loss of those is probably pretty bad.Wrong, wrong, wrong. No offense intended, but the economic loss would only really be felt if you intended to REPLACE those luxuries. If you never replace them, then you will be in no different financial straights than you are now, excepting that you'll sleep on a floor and watch TV through a store window.

Your argument has essentially devolved into, "It's ok to take stuff from people who have a lot, but not from people who don't."


Now, since you want to take the extreme case, explain to me the evil of a child making a chalk drawing on the sidewalk.Well, if those sidewalks were never defaced or abused, they'd cause the city a lot less financial loss to maintain. :) It's already been argued how most children are evil, and elsewhere. They typically act without thinking of others, show selfishness, rudeness, inconsideration, petulance, and the willingness to do whatever they can get away with, or think they can. By adult standards, that's evil. We curtail children's rights until they mature a bit, and get a chance to settle down. This way, we can explain away their actions as an immaturity brought by lack of experience.


Any monetary loss is pretty much unacceptable in an orphanage, actually. Kids /could/ sleep on floors, but kids are generally entitled to more then adults in the first place.Why? What gives children that entitlement?


You haven't once addressed how compromising the safety of someone who doesn't deserve to live (Because if you're good, and they're evil, and you're off to kill, you probably have already made that decision in the first place) constitutes as evil.Ah, but now we get close to the center. Who decides who deserves to die? The whole reason for law is to protect the rights of people from those who would take them away. Law exists to serve good, in an ideal society. Hence why commiting an evil act is a more serious offense for a paladin than a nonlawful one.

What if Mr. Hero was told this lich was trying to destroy the world, and inactuality, it was really a human illusionist who didn't want to be bothered, and was doing nothing more than researching a spell that would destroy 1 copper piece out of every bag on earth with more than 1000gp in it? After all, that's not evil, it's just a nuisance.

That's the problem with deciding who deserves to die. What happens when you act on flawed information? How many "heroes" take time to verify that the targets of their wanton slaughter actually do the crimes they're accused of? How many of those goblins in the cave get fair trials before being summarily executed for rising up to defend their home against human invaders, in bright and shining armor?[/QUOTE]

hamishspence
2008-04-09, 05:00 AM
which is one of the reasons why the "not killing non-combatants, showing mercy, offering and accepting surrenders, etc, theme of Exalted Deeds is needed to prevent D&D from degenerating into an "it detects as evil = we kill it" fest. 1st and 2nd editions didn't concern themselves with the rights of evil creatures, nor did 3rd and 3.5 Players Handbooks, only exalted (and vile, by stressing that evil deeds performed against evil creatures, are still evil)

Yes, some of the new rules added were not well thought out, but the text in both gives a great deal more useful detail than PHB does.

Munchkin books give us an idea of how far things have gone wrong. When Lawful Good becomes an excuse to slaughter everything that detects as evil, and that anything that increases personal power to do this is Good, there is something very wrong in the basic system.

Rutee
2008-04-09, 05:00 AM
Wrong, wrong, wrong. No offense intended, but the economic loss would only really be felt if you intended to REPLACE those luxuries. If you never replace them, then you will be in no different financial straights than you are now, excepting that you'll sleep on a floor and watch TV through a store window.
Wrong. There's a financial loss, whether you replace it or not. Pretend that all of that cost 1000 dollars. When I had the luxuries, I had what I considered fair, or near fair, value for those 1000 dollars. The luxuries are now lost. In exchange for my 1000 dollars, I now have nothing. I have demonstrably lost the value of those 1000 dollars.

An analogy that will demonstrate this more clearly; I buy 1000 shares of stock at 1 dollar each. The company immediately goes bust after (Never you mind my idiocy in making such a choice). What I have has depreciated to the point of worthlessness.

While it's true that a luxury is generally not easily convertible back into cash, the /value/ of what I possessed is still lost. Unless of course, I consider 1000 bucks to be a fair price for a torn bed, a smashed TV + Coax cables, and what's left of the computer wiring, anyway.


Your argument has essentially devolved into, "It's ok to take stuff from people who have a lot, but not from people who don't."
In modern society, you can pretty much count on the upper class having done little to deserve their wealth to begin with. And we already act on this in modern society; After all, we do levy the highest taxes on the ones most capable of bearing them.


Well, if those sidewalks were never defaced or abused, they'd cause the city a lot less financial loss to maintain. :) It's already been argued how most children are evil, and elsewhere. They typically act without thinking of others, show selfishness, rudeness, inconsideration, petulance, and the willingness to do whatever they can get away with, or think they can. By adult standards, that's evil. We curtail children's rights until they mature a bit, and get a chance to settle down. This way, we can explain away their actions as an immaturity brought by lack of experience.
Evil requires moral agency. Children genuinely do not know better, in many cases. There comes a point when this stops being true, but it's squishy and impossible to judge in a vacuum. But nonetheless, you point out why children pretty much by definition aren't evil; Their judgement isn't considered sound in the first place.


Why? What gives children that entitlement?
Children can not take care of themselves in any meaningful sense.


Ah, but now we get close to the center. Who decides who deserves to die? The whole reason for law is to protect the rights of people from those who would take them away. Law exists to serve good, in an ideal society. Hence why commiting an evil act is a more serious offense for a paladin than a nonlawful one.
None of this is relevant to the context of the debate, and I'll thank you to not cloud it. It was already established that killing the Lich is a Good Act. We can surmise that the Lich's right to life (or unlife) has already been revoked. Why do they continue to possess a right to property?

If you'd like to argue the party's right or capability to determine whether killing the Lich is a Good Act or not, then keep the debate seperate. And keep in mind that I have no intention of debating on that subject.


That's the problem with deciding who deserves to die. What happens when you act on flawed information? How many "heroes" take time to verify that the targets of their wanton slaughter actually do the crimes they're accused of? How many of those goblins in the cave get fair trials before being summarily executed for rising up to defend their home against human invaders, in bright and shining armor?
Not giving someone due process of the law is not equivalent to being evil; A lot of things that are legal are wrong (There's a lot of abuse to be had within the system, if the system has a complex legal code). Notwithstanding that in any strict sense, the goblins legitimately may not possess a claim to due process of the law. Remember, to be protected by law, you have to actually be under it. It's generally fair to say that those goblins in caves are in fact in seperate legal entities altogether.


which is one of the reasons why the "not killing non-combatants, showing mercy, offering and accepting surrenders, etc, theme of Exalted Deeds is needed to prevent D&D from degenerating into an "it detects as evil = we kill it" fest. 1st and 2nd editions didn't concern themselves with the rights of evil creatures, nor did 3rd and 3.5 Players Handbooks, only exalted (and vile, by stressing that evil deeds performed against evil creatures, are still evil)

I don't know what to tell you if you genuinely needed a book to keep you from doing this.

hamishspence
2008-04-09, 05:14 AM
Going by forums elsewhere, and to some extent here, it seems to be the default. A lot of people keep saying its ok to kill anything evil in game, just cos its evil, because there is nothing in PHB discouraging it. No reference to just cause, no reference to acting with restraint, etc.

since I got them BEFORE I started playing, it was the default version for me before I saw other ways to play, which is why I prefer the more merciful style of Exalted deeds to the "Smite evil without mercy" (direct quote) style of PH.

Talic
2008-04-09, 05:31 AM
Wrong. There's a financial loss, whether you replace it or not. Pretend that all of that cost 1000 dollars. When I had the luxuries, I had what I considered fair, or near fair, value for those 1000 dollars. The luxuries are now lost. In exchange for my 1000 dollars, I now have nothing. I have demonstrably lost the value of those 1000 dollars.
Now, in order to back up your first claim, you must show how that loss is "crippling"... Beyond your inability to watch TV (not a necessity), your inability to use a microwave (not a neccessity), the loss of silverware (not a necessity), and having nowhere to put your freshly washed bed linens (not a necessity). How will this cripple you, financially. You've already lost the use of that money for any other purpose, by investing it in luxuries.

In modern society, you can pretty much count on the upper class having done little to deserve their wealth to begin with. And we already act on this in modern society; After all, we do levy the highest taxes on the ones most capable of bearing them.The laziness of wealth is an illusion created by the poor, and the nobility of poverty is an illusion created by the rich. They have to get rich somehow. And the way that USUALLY happens is that they find a way to fill a need that others haven't. They provide people with something they want, and get wealthy because of it. As for higher taxes, the government does levy higher taxes upon the wealthy, until you factor in taxation loopholes. Charitable contributions, business losses, non-taxable income, it all plays a part. And taking something extra from someone based on the fact that they've done more for society than someone else is not wrong?
Evil requires moral agency. Children genuinely do not know better, in many cases. There comes a point when this stops being true, but it's squishy and impossible to judge in a vacuum. But nonetheless, you point out why children pretty much by definition aren't evil; Their judgement isn't considered sound in the first place.Thus, children have a "moral insulation" of sorts, wherein the acts that they do, that could be considered evil, don't weigh against them.
Children can not take care of themselves in any meaningful sense.And so this entitles them to more than people who can? And do? Methinks I see partial treatment based on age (or lack thereof) and income (or lack thereof).
None of this is relevant to the context of the debate, and I'll thank you to not cloud it. It was already established that killing the Lich is a Good Act. We can surmise that the Lich's right to life (or unlife) has already been revoked. Why do they continue to possess a right to property?Cloud? The primary REASON that in modern society, random people can't go around shooting people who "need killin' ", is that they don't have the capacity or ability to accurately and fairly determine that for sure. And if you can't determine it for sure, what right do YOU have, as an adventurer, to go bustin' caps into orcs? (or liches)

However, loss of one right does not impact others. For instance, survuving relatives. Who are entitled to the lich's possessions. Or perhaps a evil to the core sociopath... Who retains his right to not be tortured for hours, to a slow and agonizing death. Just because you lose one right, does not necessarily mean you forfeit them all.

If you'd like to argue the party's right or capability to determine whether killing the Lich is a Good Act or not, then keep the debate seperate. And keep in mind that I have no intention of debating on that subject.
Because it's indefensible, from your standpoint. There is no justifiable reason for someone who isn't sure beyond a reasonable doubt, to deprive someone of life or liberty. And without a lot more evidence than "he looks like he's a skeleton, in robes", or, "when we busted in the door to their home, they jumped up and grabbed weapons", it can't be done.

Problem with debates, is that you can't assume we're in a total vaccuum. You can't assume that you'll always know that the person is not worthy of life. Because you rarely will. And that is why your point is flawed.
Not giving someone due process of the law is not equivalent to being evil; A lot of things that are legal are wrong (There's a lot of abuse to be had within the system, if the system has a complex legal code). Notwithstanding that in any strict sense, the goblins legitimately may not possess a claim to due process of the law. Remember, to be protected by law, you have to actually be under it. It's generally fair to say that those goblins in caves are in fact in seperate legal entities altogether.That are still granted the same basic rights granted to all sentient living creatures. Due process isn't about legality. It's about being absolutely sure someone did it before we kill them for it, or lock them away. It's about not saying "I think they did it, so they must have." Denying someone the right to life or property based on what side of a border they live on doesn't strike me as a particularly "good" philosophy.

hamishspence
2008-04-09, 05:44 AM
and once again: where do we find ideas about rights of beingsin D&D? In Exalted Deeds and Vile Darkness. Without those two, we have the real world stuff which so many people argue over. With those two, a DM can at least cite chapter and verse to justify his in game decisions. and where it becomes subjective, he can make house rulings.

Talic
2008-04-09, 06:04 AM
With all due respect, hamishspence, I prefer keeping my debates core, as much as possible. Not everyone will have access to those books.

Plus, I take exceptions with books that contradict themselves.

Rutee
2008-04-09, 06:14 AM
Now, in order to back up your first claim, you must show how that loss is "crippling"... Beyond your inability to watch TV (not a necessity), your inability to use a microwave (not a neccessity), the loss of silverware (not a necessity), and having nowhere to put your freshly washed bed linens (not a necessity). How will this cripple you, financially. You've already lost the use of that money for any other purpose, by investing it in luxuries.

You know, it feels a little arrogant to say this, but it won't kill you to concede a point before moving onto another. Moving along, it will legitimately cause me harm. Which I suppose should have been what I said in the first place, since you're choosing to apply legalistic interpretation to colloquial speech.. but yes, harm has been caused to me by irreplaceable loss. When I was discussing 'crippling' or not I was considering the difference between leveling a structure and spraying paint on it. But yes, I suppose I need to refine my definition in the first place of what's evil. After all, there's a vast gray area between "Minor Inconvenience" and "Crippling problem"

Then again, vandalism applies to the former, not the latter, so it was somewhat disingenuous to argue as though the destruction of property was equivalent in the first place. You have yet to prove the evil of a minor inconvenience.


The laziness of wealth is an illusion created by the poor, and the nobility of poverty is an illusion created by the rich. They have to get rich somehow. And the way that USUALLY happens is that they find a way to fill a need that others haven't. They provide people with something they want, and get wealthy because of it. As for higher taxes, the government does levy higher taxes upon the wealthy, until you factor in taxation loopholes. Charitable contributions, business losses, non-taxable income, it all plays a part. And taking something extra from someone based on the fact that they've done more for society than someone else is not wrong?
Laziness? I was going for immorality or incompetence. Check the golden parachute that comes standard in the package for the CEO of an American Company if you want an example. You can not claim that the compensation most of the rich receive is at all in line with their capability to have /built/ it. Generally you're looking at someone who is either skilled at the art of politics (Not that the actual political arena will yield wealth, but applying the same sort of skills in a different environment, such as a corporate one, can yield wealth disproportionate with any appreciable or relevant skill)



Thus, children have a "moral insulation" of sorts, wherein the acts that they do, that could be considered evil, don't weigh against them.
Did you have a particular reason to repeat what I just said?


And so this entitles them to more than people who can? And do? Methinks I see partial treatment based on age (or lack thereof) and income (or lack thereof).
It's generally agreed on, in the US at least, that at the least, a high school education is necessary to get even a half-decent job. Children have not even had the OPPORTUNITY to get that high school education. They aren't fully formed, mature individuals in the least. Forcing them to fend for themselves is amoral to start with.


However, loss of one right does not impact others. For instance, survuving relatives. Who are entitled to the lich's possessions. Or perhaps a evil to the core sociopath... Who retains his right to not be tortured for hours, to a slow and agonizing death. Just because you lose one right, does not necessarily mean you forfeit them all.
To a being of the lich's stature, pretty much any door is by definition a minor inconvenience to replace in the first place. Heck, *I* could hang a door if I had all the tools, and I'm not capable of earth shattering magic, as most Liches are. Further, the door was erected with the sole purpose of impeding the heroes (Or their ilk) from doing their duty. While the ends do not justify the means, this particular piece of property, given its singular purpose in preventing those ends, no longer qualifies. Destroying his lounge for the hell of it would probably be a minor evil, but the destruction of the gate that prevents him from dying in the first place isn't. There's not an evil component in destroying property that exists for the purpose of carrying out evil.


Cloud? The primary REASON that in modern society, random people can't go around shooting people who "need killin' ", is that they don't have the capacity or ability to accurately and fairly determine that for sure. And if you can't determine it for sure, what right do YOU have, as an adventurer, to go bustin' caps into orcs? (or liches)

Modern Society doesn't have hyper powered threats that can only be handled by an extremely tiny subset of the population.


Because it's indefensible, from your standpoint. There is no justifiable reason for someone who isn't sure beyond a reasonable doubt, to deprive someone of life or liberty. And without a lot more evidence than "he looks like he's a skeleton, in robes", or, "when we busted in the door to their home, they jumped up and grabbed weapons", it can't be done.

No, because I don't care. It's like arguing whether or not you can find some other way to save the kids in the Train Track Problem. It doesn't address the issue. I do not seek to expand this into an argument on all possible grounds. You can not judge whether killing the Lich was a Good Act in a vacuum, period. You need circumstances, lots of them. Therefore, if someone wishes to simply establish that killing the Lich is a Good Act in a vacuum to discuss some /other/ point, I'll accept that. Because that's the actual argument.


Problem with debates, is that you can't assume we're in a total vaccuum. You can't assume that you'll always know that the person is not worthy of life. Because you rarely will. And that is why your point is flawed.
I'm pretty sure that we can discuss ethical theory in a vacuum. And in point of fact, most ethics professors will agree with me. You just can't then turn around and perfectly apply that to practice, unless practice manages a rather direct analogue. My point is not flawed for taking place in a vacuum. My point is simply not perfectly applicable to any practical situation.


That are still granted the same basic rights granted to all sentient living creatures. Due process isn't about legality. It's about being absolutely sure someone did it before we kill them for it, or lock them away. It's about not saying "I think they did it, so they must have." Denying someone the right to life or property based on what side of a border they live on doesn't strike me as a particularly "good" philosophy.
The right to legal trial is all about legality. The right to being sure, you have a serious problem in applying this perfectly to DnD. A DnD world does not have the criminology and investigation education needed for a trial that'd hold up to real world standards. Period, end of discussion. Magic is in general too rare to reliably have it for this purpose. The PCs should do everything in their power to check, sure, but establishing beyond all reasonable doubt? That's a pretty tall order, with all the magic, counter magic, etc, etc. And unless you really want to make a point of legalistic nonsense for no damn reason (And I'm speaking as someone who knows a little something about legalistic nonsense, as I'll be working with it), or want to intentionally force players to have to doubt the morality of what they're doing at every turn, you don't make a big deal of this.

hamishspence
2008-04-09, 06:35 AM
the problem being that core has not got very much to say about alignment, definitions of acts, etc, which leads to people bringing in real world morality, which leads to massive arguments. That said, I can understand that not having the book might be a problem.

Contradictions between one book and the next aren't that surprising, different authors, maybe not proof-read enough, etc.

Internal contradictions are rarer, but you could just as easily say that smiting evil without mercy contradicts the reference to good being compassionate, in the PHB. I do not see major internal contradictions in those books: most notable is lying cited as not evil in Vile Darkness, but was the example in the "Is it OK to commit a minor evil act for a Really Good Cause" bit.

which makes me wonder how it will be handled in 4th ed, since it isn't going away, though we are informed that Good beings can do things which are mildly evil on rare occasions (Races and Classes) It does say unaligned is the majority alignment, and many monsters will be unaligned.

Talic
2008-04-09, 06:44 AM
You know, it feels a little arrogant to say this, but it won't kill you to concede a point before moving onto another. Moving along, it will legitimately cause me harm. Which I suppose should have been what I said in the first place, since you're choosing to apply legalistic interpretation to colloquial speech.. but yes, harm has been caused to me by irreplaceable loss. When I was discussing 'crippling' or not I was considering the difference between leveling a structure and spraying paint on it.Then don't say it. Concede a point. You stated that the destruction or vandalism of unnecessary things was not evil. You have yet to show how your TV is necessary. Bear in mind, keying a car is vandalism, it results in very real property damage. Vandalism isn't defacing property, it's devaluing or destroying it. By reducing the value of something, you are causing someone a monetary loss. Thus, by one of your two self-contradicting arguements, vandalism is evil. Thank you.


Then again, vandalism applies to the latter, not the former, so it was somewhat disingenuous to argue as though the destruction of property was equivalent in the first place. You have yet to prove the evil of a minor inconvenience. Vandalism, depending on the dictionary you go by, has the following definitions:
1. deliberately mischievous or malicious destruction or damage of property: vandalism of public buildings.

n. Willful or malicious destruction of public or private property

willful wanton and malicious destruction of the property of others

the willful or malicious destruction or defacement of property <insurance covering property damage from vandalism and malicious mischief>

n. The spirit or conduct of the Vandals; ferocious cruelty; hostility to the arts and literature, or willful destruction or defacement of their monuments.

Note the common use of "malicious".

Definitions of Malice:
1. desire to inflict injury, harm, or suffering on another, either because of a hostile impulse or out of deep-seated meanness: the malice and spite of a lifelong enemy.
2. Law. evil intent on the part of a person who commits a wrongful act injurious to others.

Game, set, match. Vandalism is rooted in a desire to inflict injury, harm, or suffering on others, and is evil. Unless you'd prefer to go by the "ferocious cruelty" definition. :smallamused:


Laziness? I was going for immorality or incompetence. Check the golden parachute that comes standard in the package for the CEO of an American Company if you want an example. You can not claim that the compensation most of the rich receive is at all in line with their capability to have /built/ it. Generally you're looking at someone who is either skilled at the art of politics (Not that the actual political arena will yield wealth, but applying the same sort of skills in a different environment, such as a corporate one, can yield wealth disproportionate with any appreciable or relevant skill) Please, show me how that universally applies to every single wealthy person in existence, or agree that it's a stereotype, which, if acted on, shows discrimination.


Did you have a particular reason to repeat what I just said?
I call it "agreeing with someone", with one clarification. The acts children perform are still evil. They just have no weight to alter a child's alignment unless a capacity for truly understanding the nature of right and wrong exists.

It's generally agreed on, in the US at least, that at the least, a high school education is necessary to get even a half-decent job. Children have not even had the OPPORTUNITY to get that high school education. They aren't fully formed, mature individuals in the least. Forcing them to fend for themselves is amoral to start with.I never stated they should fend for themselves. I disagree that they are MORE entitled to a bed and a place to sleep, than someone who works their tail off and earns what they have, by virtue of age alone.


To a being of the lich's stature, pretty much any door is by definition a minor inconvenience to replace in the first place. Heck, *I* could hang a door if I had all the tools, and I'm not capable of earth shattering magic, as most Liches are. Further, the door was erected with the sole purpose of impeding the heroes (Or their ilk) from doing their duty. While the ends do not justify the means, this particular piece of property, given its singular purpose in preventing those ends, no longer qualifies. Destroying his lounge for the hell of it would probably be a minor evil, but the destruction of the gate that prevents him from dying in the first place isn't. There's not an evil component in destroying property that exists for the purpose of carrying out evil.Refer back to the definition of vandalism.


Modern Society doesn't have hyper powered threats that can only be handled by an extremely tiny subset of the population.
I believe we call them "fires" and "hostage situations".


No, because I don't care. It's like arguing whether or not you can find some other way to save the kids in the Train Track Problem. It doesn't address the issue. I do not seek to expand this into an argument on all possible grounds. You can not judge whether killing the Lich was a Good Act in a vacuum, period. You need circumstances, lots of them. Therefore, if someone wishes to simply establish that killing the Lich is a Good Act in a vacuum to discuss some /other/ point, I'll accept that. Because that's the actual argument.No, that's the arguement you WANT to make. That's not the actual arguement, which was over the loss of powers for failing to bury an orc on racial grounds.


I'm pretty sure that we can discuss ethical theory in a vacuum. And in point of fact, most ethics professors will agree with me. You just can't then turn around and perfectly apply that to practice, unless practice manages a rather direct analogue. My point is not flawed for taking place in a vacuum. My point is simply not perfectly applicable to any practical situation.Minor correction. It's not REMOTELY applicable to any practical situation. Because nobody has the omniscient knowledge such a stance requires. As it is not applicable in any situation, save one with an impossible level of knowledge, it has no bearing or relevance. If you can show me how you can prove the identity and guilt of a creature, beyond an absolute shred of doubt, then you have a leg to stand on for your first condition (not deserving of life). Until you can prove that a creature isn't, then every other point you try to make on this line of reasoning is moot and void.
The right to legal trial is all about legality. The right to being sure, you have a serious problem in applying this perfectly to DnD. A DnD world does not have the criminology and investigation education needed for a trial that'd hold up to real world standards. Period, end of discussion. Magic is in general too rare to reliably have it for this purpose. The PCs should do everything in their power to check, sure, but establishing beyond all reasonable doubt? That's a pretty tall order, with all the magic, counter magic, etc, etc. And unless you really want to make a point of legalistic nonsense for no damn reason (And I'm speaking as someone who knows a little something about legalistic nonsense, as I'll be working with it), or want to intentionally force players to have to doubt the morality of what they're doing at every turn, you don't make a big deal of this.
Due process is a legal system. It exists for the REASON of ensuring that your basic rights don't get trampled. That's like saying that the crime of murder is a legal issue only. No, it's not. It has moral implications. And denying someone their rights, when they did nothing to warrant it, is wrong, correct? So, if you are not sure, then you are potentially committing wrong every time you do it.

Rutee
2008-04-09, 07:48 AM
Ugh. Forget it. I should have known what would inevitably come right off the bat. I'm trying to cut down the time I spend writing huge arguments on forums to begin with. I apologize, you'll just have to continue with someone else.

Citizen Joe
2008-04-09, 07:52 AM
OPINION: Situation where vandalism is not evil. Destroying a door... Fire in house... children screaming for help... fireman breaks in the door to rescue children.

OPINION: Situation where vandalism is not evil. Lich puts a gigantic symbol of insanity on the side of his house in plain view of the rest of the community. Heroes come along and spray paint over it.

hamishspence
2008-04-09, 07:56 AM
can we cool it and focus more on the topic at hand, which was, is the paladins behaviour concerning a comrade bad enough to be for DM to call him on it? "respecting the dignity of sentient beings"

Generally, a fellow party member, who you spent you time with, entrust your life to multiple times, should fit the definition of comrade.

Does the fact that the half-orc is dead matter? or is it more a matter of "act with honor" where this disrespect for deceased party memebr might be considered dishonorable?

Which books specially cite bigotry or discrimination as evil in a D&D context? so far we have Champions of Valor, and Exalted Deeds. The "respect for other sentient beings" clause in PHB could be said to be confirming this.

And what other players have seen a paladin fall really early into a campaign?

hamishspence
2008-04-09, 07:57 AM
thats not vandalism: not wilful, not malicious, not mischievous, etc.

Starbuck_II
2008-04-09, 08:32 AM
can we cool it and focus more on the topic at hand, which was, is the paladins behaviour concerning a comrade bad enough to be for DM to call him on it? "respecting the dignity of sentient beings"

Generally, a fellow party member, who you spent you time with, entrust your life to multiple times, should fit the definition of comrade.

Does the fact that the half-orc is dead matter? or is it more a matter of "act with honor" where this disrespect for deceased party memebr might be considered dishonorable?


To be fair, I've had DMs declare that Orcs aren't sentient.
Granted, in real world definitions sentient means anything that can think/feel pain/suffering including cows. Did you mean Sapient?

hamishspence
2008-04-09, 08:34 AM
While I much prefer Sapient (i liked the Little Fuzzy trilogy, where sapience is argued over) unfortunately media tends to use sentient, as does D&D. So we are stuck with it.

Citizen Joe
2008-04-09, 08:47 AM
thats not vandalism: not wilful, not malicious, not mischievous, etc.

Well that is the point... the act "destroy door" is not objectively evil. It is the intent (malisciousness) that makes it evil. It isn't evil and thus vandalism without the subjective intent applied.

EvilElitest
2008-04-09, 08:47 AM
I have to say, I really don't think so.

If "Good" and "Evil" (the D&D terms) actually mean anything, it means that it is right to do that which is Good and wrong to do that which is Evil. Neutral acts are the acts which are subject to situational ethics, or which are of no moral consequence. Breaking a standard door in a dungeon down, for instance, is a Neutral act. Sometimes it's right. Sometimes it's wrong. Usually, it's of no moral consequence. Only in extreme circumstances would it be objectively Good or Evil.

1. Good and evil are like two seperate camps. Each one embody's different values. Good believes in kindness, protecting others, mercy, love, peace, fairness ect. Evil is about selfishness and putting your own needs before others, and has not qualms about Murder, Slavery, theft, rape, assult, or torture. Good and evil are objective, your actions will always have good, evil or neutral consequences. However morality is not so black and white, because right and wrong are subjective. Things are "right" only when you think they are. Most evil people would think themselves "right" or "Justified" in what they are doing, even if they have a little sign over their head saying evil. Redcloak or Goblinslayer are good examples of this, they are both evil because they do evil things. however they think that they are justified in what they do. In theory, a reader might agree with them. Right and wrong are subjective, good and evil are objective.
2. Vandalising property would be like stealing, lying or killing. Evil in and of itself, however when used for a good purpose it is neutral


But Good and Evil aren't even meaningful if it isn't always right and appropriate to perform Good acts and always wrong and inappropriate to perform Evil acts.

What if i'm a fascist and believe that the good should act before the individuals (not a nazi, just an old styled fascist), and actions like torture and murder for the "greater good". Fascist EE thinks what he is doing is right, even through he is evil


If that isn't true, then Good and Evil become purely arbitrary sticker labels. In which case we should probably use different words for them. We might as well use made-up words like "Gazorninplat" and "Krzjdlwsc" for them. That way, at least we wouldn't confuse any poor hapless paladin-players into thinking that they are doing the right thing when in fact they are merely doing the Good/Gazorninplat thing, which may or may not be the right thing to do.

They are pretty much labels yes, or a better example would be that they are party ideals. one represents goodness and stuff, the other does not


So there isn't a lot of room for shades of gray in an absolutist alignment system. It cannot be right to perform an Evil act, or wrong to perform a Good act. It might be right or wrong to perform a Neutral act- but if it were reliably right or wrong to perform such an act, then the act would be Good or Evil, but not Neutral. Thus, if busting down dungeon doors were always the right thing to do for anyone in any circumstances (the way that feeding hungry orphans is), then, it would be a Good act (like feeding hungry orphans).

yeah it can, if you have a different perspecitve of right or wrong

1. A king gives his citiziens hte right of free speech. As i am a royalist, i say that is wrong, because they are going to ask for more now (right to vote and what not)
2. A person tortures a man for information. As a facist, i think that is right




"I think that even an absolutely objective D&D alignment system has to consider intent. So if there were a perfect computer that knew everything about the universe and knew all the rules of D&D morality so that it could tell you whether a person was good or evil aligned, it would be taking intent into account."

So if, when EE says that alignment is objective, he means intent doesn't matter, I disagree with him. I think intent has to matter or we end up with absurd and anti-canon ideas about alignment.
Intent only matters less than actions. If you commit an evil action with good intentions, your still doing evil. Here is how the scale works


Good needs to commit good actions and good intentions
Neutral needs to commit ether good or evil actions with varying intentions
Evil just needs to commit evil actonis, regardless of intention


Long argument about why you have to have intent in alignment for objective alignment to make sense in D&D follows
For example, consider a person who is fooled by an evil wizard's illusion into killing a baby. They sincerely believed that they were performing a Good or Neutral act. No matter how Good-aligned they are, it won't protect them from the illusion. There are only way for them to not kill a baby in this scenario.
Except that their action isn't "kill hte baby" their action is "attack the monster" The person committing the evil act is the wizard who makes the illusion, not the paladin




The other is to perform some irrational act in response to the illusion- to do nothing, or to start jumping up and down, or to ignore the charging monster. But performing random irrational acts cannot be Good or Evil, because the character isn't acting on moral issues. They are acting precisely as they might under the influence of a Confusion effect (wandering randomly). Or as they might if they were totally insane or unintelligent (nonaligned).

And the person attacking the illusion isn't commiting an evil action because they don't know they are attacking the baby. They are being tricked, like if a paladin was Dire Charmed


Assume that D&D morality is objective in the sense that EE appears to mean.

In that case, we have situation where there is no way for the character to knowingly perform a Good act. If they act rationally, they will in fact end up committing what you, EE, would call an objectively Evil act. A paladin falls in this situation. A character might well end up getting shifted in alignment for doing something like this.

Now, we have to ask ourselves, does that make sense? Can your alignment be changed by actions you didn't even know you were taking?
Except the action isn't evil, it is a person being tricked. However if a paladin murders a baby to save two babies, he is still commiting an evil act


For example, imagine a short, low-level PC campaign that leads up to the PCs killing the crazy druid that's been menacing the elven villages. Then they retire. It's safe to say that a party of Good PCs could run that adventure and stay Good, right?

What if the druid's death has unintended consequences? What if that druid would have gone on to defeat some legendary world-eating demon had he not been killed by the PCs? Wouldn't that make the PCs Evil, or at least less Good, for aiding the demon indirectly?

Either the answer is yes, or the answer is no.
___________
No, because the actions the PCs committed was "kill evil druid to save villagers".
The other negative consequences are beyond their control

Also you can't "know" that hte druid would have defeated the Demon had he not been defeated by hte Pcs, and the PCs are still obligated to protect the villagers from an evil druid.


That goes against published Wizards material that has Good-aligned people doing bad things by accident and not turning Evil.

Because you have misunderstood the nature of objective evil. the actions themselves are ether good or evil



The other possibility is that I don't suffer alignment changes due to unintended consequences, in which case intent matters.
Yes, which is also why you don't fall for commiting evil while being domiated. however you action while being dominated isn't you commiting the action, it is the person dominating you
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Citizen Joe
2008-04-09, 08:51 AM
To be fair, I've had DMs declare that Orcs aren't sentient.
Granted, in real world definitions sentient means anything that can think/feel pain/suffering including cows. Did you mean Sapient?

I've made suggestions that goblinoids go back to the historic mythological basis that they are actually spirits. So, sort of like fae, only from the dark side. The result is that killing them really just releases them from the physical plane. Being extra planar, they are incapable of legitimately having physical stuff (that doesn't vanish with the corpse) thus anything looted after their death is legitimate salvage.

hamishspence
2008-04-09, 09:01 AM
Sorry, you do fall for evil acts whicle dominated. See atonement spell. An evil act can be committed unwittingly or under some form of magical compulsion (no xp cost for atonement spell in this case)

In 3rd ed, only such acts could be atoned for. willful ones caused a paladin to stay fallen. Permanently. 3.5 sensibly removed this, and paladins who knowingly made bad choices could, with a lot of work, return to paladin status.

Talic
2008-04-09, 09:23 AM
Ugh. Forget it. I should have known what would inevitably come right off the bat. I'm trying to cut down the time I spend writing huge arguments on forums to begin with. I apologize, you'll just have to continue with someone else.
I accept your concession.


Which books specially cite bigotry or discrimination as evil in a D&D context? so far we have Champions of Valor, and Exalted Deeds. The "respect for other sentient beings" clause in PHB could be said to be confirming this.


Ok, let's take a look at the following example of BoED logic.

Take Joe Tiefling. Like some of his kind, he's evil. He cheats at cards, and eats babies. He's really bad. REALLY.

According to the BoED, if someone were to come along and poison him, it would be an evil act. Why? Because it causes unnecessary suffering, even if he needs to be killed. Poison causes pain and suffering, and that's not kosher to do, so it's evil.

However, if someone were to come along and hit him with positoxin, it's a good act. Just as with poison, he's caused suffering. Just as with poison, he's caused ability damage. But now, it's not evil, it's good.


THIS is why the BoED is not qualified to mention good and evil. And it's a book ABOUT good. Go fig. Bear in mind, some sourcebooks aren't given the same amount of testing that the core books are. Thus, even if mechanics are balanced, the ideology and reasoning may not be. The core books had it right when they gave alignment a very light touch, and let people decide for themselves. Because while everyone has common ground, there are a lot of areas that some people consider horrid, and others consider inalienable rights.

As for the PHb entry, it could be quite easily argued that the corpse he refused to bury wasn't a sentient being. Sure, the Orc's soul is, on whatever plane he was on at the time, but he didn't show disrespect to a comrade. He showed, if anything, disrespect to a corpse, and disrespect to a race of creatures.

hamishspence
2008-04-09, 09:38 AM
its not the base concept thats wrong, its the introduction of positoxins and ravages. A lot of people would disapprove of methods that cause extreme suffering. I go with most of book, but simply do not use items that do not fit with fluff as written. Do not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Alternative version would be to rule that positoxin ability damge is a form of slow acting, painless paralysis, and that it does not use the normal ability damge rules. For one thing, they do not work on evil creatures. A bit of a kludge, but an option for DMs who disapprove of concept.

same principle applies with Vile Darkness: some rules (killing fiends is always good) get superseded (existence of good aligned fiends) or run into the iresistable force/immovable object principle (being fiend is evil, killing fiends is good, which is more important?) usual DM answer is for a fiend to kill a fiend is not a good act, generally, cos its not for good reasons: the Blood War.

You can find contradictions and rules bugs almost anywhere you look, but I would go along with either removing positoxins/ravages, or defining them as working differently, sensation-wise.

the other thing I see objected to most often is the "Is it ok to do evil act to save multiverse?" dilemma. DMs really shouldn't be putting players in that sort of situation, but if we go by OOTS, a world with a few evils in is better than a world obliterated entirely. Would still cause palaidns to fall if act is serious enough, but a good DM should make atonement for such a paladin easier.

Talic
2008-04-09, 09:48 AM
its not the base concept thats wrong, its the introduction of positoxins and ravages. A lot of people would disapprove of methods that cause extreme suffering. I go with most of book, but simply do not use items that do not fit with fluff as written. Do not throw the baby out with the bathwater.


But the FLUFF is what's in question here. The definition of alignment in BoED is Fluff.

The description of positoxins and ravages shows that not enough care and consideration was put into the FLUFF of this book, and thus, speaks directly to the reliability of other fluff in the book.

Your argument lies in the bathwater, friend. Once you open the drain for one thing, it starts slipping right out with it.

Dannoth
2008-04-09, 09:53 AM
The orphanage attacked ME!
I destroyed it in self defense.

~Richard

hamishspence
2008-04-09, 10:05 AM
Strictly speaking, its Ravages and Afflictions. Positoxins are in Libris Mortis, a later book, and only work on undead.

Seeing as they are in the equipment sections, rather than the earlier sections, its possible they were intended to be exceptions to the references to poison being evil.

Ability damage is not automatically evil, otherwise Ray of Enfeeblement would have evil descriptor. The principle is only intended to apply to poisons, and they aren't called poisons, even if they work like them.

But yes, they weren't well thought out, but they are equipment, its not the same as alignment issues. You can agree with the main text, while thinking feats, equipment, or spells need changing.

Starbuck_II
2008-04-09, 10:24 AM
Strictly speaking, its Ravages and Afflictions. Positoxins are in Libris Mortis, a later book, and only work on undead.

Seeing as they are in the equipment sections, rather than the earlier sections, its possible they were intended to be exceptions to the references to poison being evil.

Ability damage is not automatically evil, otherwise Ray of Enfeeblement would have evil descriptor. The principle is only intended to apply to poisons, and they aren't called poisons, even if they work like them.

But yes, they weren't well thought out, but they are equipment, its not the same as alignment issues. You can agree with the main text, while thinking feats, equipment, or spells need changing.

First, Ray of Enfeeblement was never a damage spell. It deals a Penalty, ingore the table short hand: Text beats table (according to FAQ/Errata).

Equipment is aligned like Unholy weapons are aligned. Unless, you think one can have a Good Aligned Intelligent Unholy Greatsword?

hamishspence
2008-04-09, 10:36 AM
Good point, I was thinking of symbol of weakness, which definitely does inflict Str damage (not sure about other spells)

The simplest way would be to assume they only work like poisons, but do not in fact cause undue suffering, and are not as painful as poisons.

was a case of the book being divided into sections, with ravages only appearing in the equipment section.

Dervag
2008-04-09, 10:46 AM
can we cool it and focus more on the topic at hand, which was, is the paladins behaviour concerning a comrade bad enough to be for DM to call him on it? "respecting the dignity of sentient beings"It depends on the paladin's background, in my opinion.

I can imagine a paladin who would no more bury an orc than they would bury a golem. And who would not fall for this reason. On the other hand, I can't imagine such a paladin travelling with an orc except under coercion.

On the other hand, I can imagine a paladin who, given their background, would reasonably be considered to have grossly disrespected that orc by refusing to bury them, so much so that they should be disciplined by the Powers that Be. Should they fall? I don't think so. Damn sure they shouldn't fall without warning or without a chance to reconsider their actions in moral terms. Should they be able to atone? Absolutely. I mean, burying the orc would be a good start...



1. Good and evil are like two seperate camps. Each one embody's different values... Good and evil are objective, your actions will always have good, evil or neutral consequences. However morality is not so black and white, because right and wrong are subjective.OK, I think I see the problem.

You see, I believe that morality is objective. Actions are right or wrong. A person who is doing wrong may be deluded into thinking they are doing right, but this is merely a delusion. They could equally well be deluded into thinking that they are clad in purple when they are naked, or that their heads are made of earthenware. Delusions do not carry moral weight except insofar as they prevent a person from perceiving the basic physical situation they're in.

Now, to me, that means that any act has a definable 'right/wrong' value. Therefore, I think that we can talk about how objective right/wrong relates to objective Good/Evil. Good and only Good acts are persistently right under virtually all circumstances. Evil and only Evil acts are persistently wrong under virtually all circumstances. An act which may be right or wrong or morally neutral, depending on circumstances, and in which there are many circumstances that can make it any of the three, will be Neutral. Lighting a campfire, for instance, is morally neutral most of the time, occasionally morally right, and occasionally morally wrong. Thus, paladins should not fall for lighting a campfire unless they do it with malice aforethought, because lighting a campfire is a Neutral act.


What if i'm a fascist and believe that the good should act before the individuals (not a nazi, just an old styled fascist), and actions like torture and murder for the "greater good". Fascist EE thinks what he is doing is right, even through he is evilYes, but Fascist EE is suffering under a delusion, and not one that prevents him from perceiving the physical parameters of his situation. So he's still in the wrong even if he's convinced he's in the right.

Maybe he should just stick to making trains run on time (which is morally Neutral).


1. A king gives his citiziens hte right of free speech. As i am a royalist, i say that is wrong, because they are going to ask for more now (right to vote and what not)But is it pragmatically wrong in the sense of 'a stupid thing to do', or morally wrong in the sense of 'an immoral thing to do'?


Intent only matters less than actions. If you commit an evil action with good intentions, your still doing evil. Here is how the scale worksAgain, I'm not sure I agree. I think intentions matter enormously. I think that "Killing the druid to save the villagers" may well be Good, while "Killing the druid to save the world-wrecking demon Ralishaz the Eater" is Evil. Even though both acts take the form "killing the druid," the intent is different.


Except that their action isn't "kill hte baby" their action is "attack the monster"On the contrary. Their action is "swing my mace." That's the only part of the event that takes place in the physical world. Both "killing the baby" and "killing the monster" lie in the realms of intent.


The person committing the evil act is the wizard who makes the illusion, not the paladinI agree with your conclusion, but not quite for the same reasons you came to this conclusion.


Except the action isn't evil, it is a person being tricked. However if a paladin murders a baby to save two babies, he is still commiting an evil act That's a pretty big part of my point. I was using this example to show why I think intent matters- because using tricks to cause a person to commit an act X with consequences Y when they intended consequences Z can alter the alignment consequences of the act. A paladin who swings his mace to kill a baby deserves to fall. A paladin who swings his mace to kill a dangerous monster and kills a baby that he thought was a dangerous monster? Harder to say.


No, because the actions the PCs committed was "kill evil druid to save villagers".
The other negative consequences are beyond their controlExactly. Saving the demon was not part of their intent or knowledge. Saving the villagers was. If they were doing it the other way around (killing the druid to save the demon, with saving the village being a side effect), they would be committing an evil, Evil act- even if they did all the same things they would have done if they were trying to save the village and didn't know about the demon.


Also you can't "know" that hte druid would have defeated the Demon had he not been defeated by hte Pcs, and the PCs are still obligated to protect the villagers from an evil druid.Can we assume for the sake of argument I do? I mean, it wouldn't be difficult to set up a D&D campaign in which the DM (or even the players) knew that to be true.



Disagree. Breaking the door is still evil, just mitigated by the good from gaining the weapon that stops him from taking over the world. (whose weapon? possibly theft there, too).Who said the door was anyone's property? I mean, what if the dungeon is controlled by Xykon, who killed the previous owner Dorukan to get it? Is the door Dorukan's property? Xykon's property?

Maybe the door is the property of Dorukan's heir? But what if Dorukan doesn't have an heir? What if Dorukan lives in a lawless wasteland where "law" doesn't mean anything more or less than "the wishes of a powerful being?"

We, today, live in a society where nation-states that have at least some level of rule of law exist wall to wall, carpeting most of the globe. We take for granted that there are in fact well established laws against things like taking people's stuff.

But many D&D adventures take place in situations where, de facto or de jure, no law exists. There may be a warlord, but his dictates do not carry beyond the reach of his pikemen. Or there may be a disputed region that has no globally recognized authority. In which case do you have any reason to respect the bandit chieftain's word as "law?" Why is his word law, and not yours? And if you break his "law" against taking his property, are you committing an Evil act in the objective "a devil would approve" sense?


Yes, yes it is. Destroying someone else's property is a violation of their rights. Taking or breaking something that isn't yours is generally considered wrong, or evil. That the act is sometimes justified by a greater need does not change that.What rights? Does the guy who has an interest in not letting the door be broken always have a right to not have the door broken?

In the suburbs of a lawful city, every property is owned by a specific person who has unquestionable property rights, ensured by a lawful government. No person can legally abuse their property rights, either, because the lawful government prevents it.

In a region where there is no government, or where the "government" is actually a single person who seeks to cause harm to all, the idea of unquestionable property rights goes out the window. Frazznargth, Warlord of the Barrens, has no "right" to pronounce laws for the Barrens except that if you don't do what he says he will rip your head off and stick it on a spear. If you're too strong for him to decapitate, or strong enough to decapitate him, why are you bound to follow his 'laws'?a


So, then, you would classify someone who kicked in your door while you were at work, threw a cinderblock through your TV, threw all your silverware in the microwave and ran it, and slashed your bed to ribbons... you'd classify that as "nonevil"? Let's say for good measure, he took and kept any valuable jewelry or artwork in your house as well.I would call him "that bastard." His gratuitous destruction of property argues that he is Evil, because he is breaking things purely to deny them to me.

However, if he is my enemy in a war, he need not be Evil-aligned to deny property to me. Nor need he become Evil by doing it a lot.

You cannot draw easy analogies between a warlord or a lich with their own armies and an average suburban homedweller living under the protective arm of a government that respects the rule of law.


Cloud? The primary REASON that in modern society, random people can't go around shooting people who "need killin' ", is that they don't have the capacity or ability to accurately and fairly determine that for sure. And if you can't determine it for sure, what right do YOU have, as an adventurer, to go bustin' caps into orcs? (or liches)Obviously you don't live in a society where governments routinely find themselves helpless against the incursions of warlords or malevolent wizards with demigodlike abilities.

If you did, you would be begging for adventurers to come save you if they possibly could, because you'd be a Mexican villager in a Magnificent Seven movie and not a prosperous suburbian. Rule of Law, like running water and ballot boxes, is a luxury of civilization that cannot exist in its absence. And the adventurers are committing a Good act when they come in and shoot up the bandits on your behalf for little or no reward, because they are risking their lives to avert a horrible fate on your part.


Well, if those sidewalks were never defaced or abused, they'd cause the city a lot less financial loss to maintain. :) It's already been argued how most children are evil, and elsewhere. They typically act without thinking of others, show selfishness, rudeness, inconsideration, petulance, and the willingness to do whatever they can get away with, or think they can. By adult standards, that's evil. We curtail children's rights until they mature a bit, and get a chance to settle down. This way, we can explain away their actions as an immaturity brought by lack of experience.But at this point you're diluting the Evil alignment into something close to meaninglessness. Any selfish person becomes evil. Any rude person becomes evil.

This isn't a sustainable definition of Evil in D&D terms, because it pretty much divides the world into the Evil (everyone in the world except a few improbable saints) and the good (a few improbable saints). Which contradicts the way D&D canon is written.

Put simply, destroying property cannot be an evil act regardless of circumstances, because there are so many in-game circumstances under which it is the right thing to do, or even the only right thing to do. And if an act is not wrong regardless of circumstances, it can't be truly D&D-evil.



Thus, children have a "moral insulation" of sorts, wherein the acts that they do, that could be considered evil, don't weigh against them.And so this entitles them to more than people who can?As a practical matter, children suffer horribly if not protected, and commit immoral acts largely out of moral ignorance. This places them in a special moral category, separate from adults who can protect themselves or who have moral knowledge enough to judge.


The acts children perform are still evil. They just have no weight to alter a child's alignment unless a capacity for truly understanding the nature of right and wrong exists.I do not agree with you, because I think this is pure sophistry. The idea of Evil-aligned acts being committed by Unaligned beings implies a contradiction.


I disagree that they are MORE entitled to a bed and a place to sleep, than someone who works their tail off and earns what they have, by virtue of age alone.Any justification of entitlements of any kind has to revert back to practical issues. Treating children as specially entitled is an ultimately practical thing to do; not doing so is both impractical, and a major step on the path to being a despicable brute.[/QUOTE]

hamishspence
2008-04-09, 02:25 PM
agree with the above poster: evil, good, neutral acts.

for the first two, if you want a rough idea which acts are strongly Good and Evil, thats what Vile and Exalted are for, and in the middle we start using intent and context.

Vile Darkness tells us intent can matter, grey areas can still exist, etc. Sounds right for D&D.

Similarly, until children have developed a moral sense, it is unfair to label any of their acts good or evil.

equally, mild acts should not shift alignment much: a Good character can do occasional mild evil acts. Only corrupt acts, defined in FC2, should get the DM thinking an alignment shift may be approaching.

Vile Darkness also has one sample of Not always evil but very dangerous: lying.

I personally think it, and maybe cheating (Qui-Gon to get chance to free Anakin) and stealing (Robin Hood) should be considerd Neutral, permissable, but only for extremely unselfish reasons, when lives are at stake) I wouldn't penalize a paladin for lying to save lives, but might, for lying to avoid inconvenience. As it stands the other two are in the list of evil acts in Vile Darkness.

Talic
2008-04-09, 06:11 PM
Who said the door was anyone's property? I mean, what if the dungeon is controlled by Xykon, who killed the previous owner Dorukan to get it? Is the door Dorukan's property? Xykon's property?Who said it wasn't? How does the average adventurer know? Does he/she bother to find out before destroying things?


Maybe the door is the property of Dorukan's heir? But what if Dorukan doesn't have an heir? What if Dorukan lives in a lawless wasteland where "law" doesn't mean anything more or less than "the wishes of a powerful being?"
And maybe the door is owned by the pink happy creatures of funland. Until the PC finds out, he's not sure. What we can be sure of, is that it was put there by something.

Oh, and just because an area isn't ordered doesn't mean it's not wrong for the players to follow suit. "When in Rome" doesn't apply to evil acts. Or, if it does, they're still evil.

We, today, live in a society where nation-states that have at least some level of rule of law exist wall to wall, carpeting most of the globe. We take for granted that there are in fact well established laws against things like taking people's stuff.True. But even were those laws not in place, would people not, as a basic right, be entitled to keep what they own? The purpose of laws is to protect rights. Not define them. A man existing a thousand miles from any source of law still has the same rights that a man in the heart of order does. The difference is that nothing protects those rights for the former.

But many D&D adventures take place in situations where, de facto or de jure, no law exists. There may be a warlord, but his dictates do not carry beyond the reach of his pikemen. Or there may be a disputed region that has no globally recognized authority. In which case do you have any reason to respect the bandit chieftain's word as "law?" Why is his word law, and not yours? And if you break his "law" against taking his property, are you committing an Evil act in the objective "a devil would approve" sense?Again, and again, and again, I say. Law isn't here to define good. It's here to serve it. It's here to provide a concrete system of enforcement for rights that people have, simply for being people. Those rights are held by all people, in all places. Just, without the rule of order, nothing stops marauding orcs from taking that right from you. Law is a shield, not a sword.
What rights? Does the guy who has an interest in not letting the door be broken always have a right to not have the door broken?If it's his, and he made it? Yes.

In the suburbs of a lawful city, every property is owned by a specific person who has unquestionable property rights, ensured by a lawful government. No person can legally abuse their property rights, either, because the lawful government prevents it.Not quite. Law doesn't control people. However, if people DO abuse their rights, law can provide consequences. Property is still owned outside of the city. It's just not protected. So then, if some agent of chaos enters, you can have it forcibly taken from you.


In a region where there is no government, or where the "government" is actually a single person who seeks to cause harm to all, the idea of unquestionable property rights goes out the window. Frazznargth, Warlord of the Barrens, has no "right" to pronounce laws for the Barrens except that if you don't do what he says he will rip your head off and stick it on a spear. If you're too strong for him to decapitate, or strong enough to decapitate him, why are you bound to follow his 'laws'?aAh, but that's the other side of law. Law, in and of itself, can be neither good, nor evil. It's what it is used for that defines it. When a form of order exists to take those basic rights from people, yes, it's still law. But then the actions that are being carried out are evil. Above was described lawful good. This is lawful evil. But you realize the limitation of any system. The inability to control those more powerful than it is.
I would call him "that bastard." His gratuitous destruction of property argues that he is Evil, because he is breaking things purely to deny them to me.Are you sure? Perhaps he feels that you are too reliant on those things, and their loss would make you more self sufficient, and better able to survive. Does that make it right?

However, if he is my enemy in a war, he need not be Evil-aligned to deny property to me. Nor need he become Evil by doing it a lot."What use is talking, except to end the fighting? And what use is fighting, except to end the talking?" It's been argued that war is theft on a grand scale. It boils down to people killing each other over disagreements. You can justify that as non-evil if you want. You keep that illusion. I'll keep my reality. The only time war is justified is in defense of your rights or the rights of others. If this were followed, there would be precious few wars.

You cannot draw easy analogies between a warlord or a lich with their own armies and an average suburban homedweller living under the protective arm of a government that respects the rule of law.They all have the same rights, compadre. This doesn't change if it isn't convenient for you.

Obviously you don't live in a society where governments routinely find themselves helpless against the incursions of warlords or malevolent wizards with demigodlike abilities.So it seems neither of us are experts by experience.

If you did, you would be begging for adventurers to come save you if they possibly could, because you'd be a Mexican villager in a Magnificent Seven movie and not a prosperous suburbian. Rule of Law, like running water and ballot boxes, is a luxury of civilization that cannot exist in its absence. And the adventurers are committing a Good act when they come in and shoot up the bandits on your behalf for little or no reward, because they are risking their lives to avert a horrible fate on your part.Agreed. And they are committing an evil one when they kill the wrong guy on accident.

But at this point you're diluting the Evil alignment into something close to meaninglessness. Any selfish person becomes evil. Any rude person becomes evil.Not all of the traits I listed are evil. Though most have evil tendencies. Further, if those traits are present in moderation, and balanced by other good acts, then those people doesn't become evil. Again, each act does not exist in a vaccuum. Only for paladins must each individual act be weighed on the good and evil scale.

This isn't a sustainable definition of Evil in D&D terms, because it pretty much divides the world into the Evil (everyone in the world except a few improbable saints) and the good (a few improbable saints). Which contradicts the way D&D canon is written.See above statement. You misinterpret what I say.

Put simply, destroying property cannot be an evil act regardless of circumstances, because there are so many in-game circumstances under which it is the right thing to do, or even the only right thing to do. And if an act is not wrong regardless of circumstances, it can't be truly D&D-evil.
Yes, and the bulk of in game solutions are solved by shoving a sword in somebody's gullet. Is that usually a noble and good act?

As a practical matter, children suffer horribly if not protected, and commit immoral acts largely out of moral ignorance. This places them in a special moral category, separate from adults who can protect themselves or who have moral knowledge enough to judge.Yep, that's pretty much what I said.

I do not agree with you, because I think this is pure sophistry. The idea of Evil-aligned acts being committed by Unaligned beings implies a contradiction.
No, it does not. Merely a seperation. For someone to skew towards good or evil, they must be capable of understanding what good or evil is. Otherwise, no matter how heinous an act they commit, if they cannot comprehend what they are doing, they cannot be responsible for it.

If you go sleepwalking, and you hit someone while asleep, they're hit. No matter what you do, the action was taken, and has its consequences. Are you responsible for what happened? No, because you had no ability to understand what you were doing when you did it. It may have been a bad thing to do, but it's unfair to treat you as if you willfully did it.

Any justification of entitlements of any kind has to revert back to practical issues. Treating children as specially entitled is an ultimately practical thing to do; not doing so is both impractical, and a major step on the path to being a despicable brute.And this argument has strayed outside the applications of DnD, and towards areas prohibited by the server. As such, I'm leaving it to drop.

Dervag
2008-04-09, 06:18 PM
Put simply, I think that an act is Neutral if whether it is right or wrong depends heavily on who you do it to, what the circumstances are.

A good act is one that's probably the right thing to do no matter what you're trying to accomplish, or one that simply cannot be easily perverted to evil ends. Feeding a starving orphan, for example, is almost always the right thing to do, so it will count as a Good act unless you're doing it for a nefarious purpose (such as fattening her up for a human sacrifice).

Feeding a random guy who walks into your restaurant might be the right thing to do (if he's hungry and you give him a discount because he's down on his luck), or it might be the wrong thing to do (if eating your greasy, greasy food will give him heart disease). Or it might not matter one way or the other. So it's a Neutral act.

Feeding someone poison is almost always the wrong thing to do, so it's an Evil act in my opinion, unless you're doing it for some specially benevolent purpose. Here we end up on shaky ground, because the benevolent purpose had better be really really good. It's harder to make an act that would normally be Evil into a Neutral act than it is to make an act that would normally be Good into a Neutral act, for the following reason:

To perform a Good act, you must do the right thing and intend the right things. Since we are socially conditioned to do many of the right things, and since it is dangerous to appear as if you're doing the wrong things a lot (which makes you look like a monster), most people will tend to do the right things. But while they may do the right thing (feed the starving orphan) they may not intend the right things (they may not actually care about the orphan, but only about their public image).

So a Good act can be Neutral with a relatively simple perversion of intent.

Whereas to perform an Evil act, you must do the wrong thing and intend the wrong thing. And it's much harder to take an Evil act and make it Neutral by applying good intentions. Because if you intend actual Good (as opposed to "good means that my group is doing well" or some other fake definition of Good), you will know not to do most Evil things.

Sholos
2008-04-09, 10:20 PM
A few of my thoughts.

On the use of belladona to cure a werewolf. In the strictest, most legalistic interpretation, you could say that a Paladin couldn't do it. However, you then have to agree for him to never use any kind of medicine, because all medicines work by being a poison to something. In fact, most everything is poisonous at some level. Water, for instance. Water can poison you if you drink too much of it. Whoops! Better not get around water. If you want to be reasonable about it, you say that the use of belladona in this circumstance is not using poison because it is not poisonous to the werewolf. It, in fact, helps the werewolf.

On vandalism = evil. Are we arguing that evil-doers are now immune to Paladins by virtue of staying behind locked doors? Because that's what the statement means. If breaking down a door is evil, and a Paladin does it or allows it to happen without interference, then he falls. And fallen Paladins aren't all that scary. What about breaking an evil person's doomsday device? It belongs to the evil guy. He built it. Doesn't that make it evil to break it? You see where I'm going with this, I hope. It may be a chaotic act if the Paladin wasn't under a Code to go after evil people. Since Paladins are, it isn't. It fits perfectly within their code.

On killing someone by accident = evil. It depends. I don't think I'd ever classify as actually Evil. Not if we take the definition of "accident" to heart, meaning there wasn't any real way to foresee the innocent's death. For the illusion, a Detect Evil should cut through, or at least show that the thing isn't evil (prompting the Paladin to try to deal nonlethal damage instead). If we're talking about innocents dying as collateral damage? Neutral. It's not even really an act. It's a consequence. Therefore the perpetrators aren't responsible for it as long as they tried to minimize the possibility of it happening. To take a modern-day example, it's like shelling a town/village from which your unit is being attacked. Yes, civilians might die. But it happens. It's sad, but when you're taking fire, you don't ignore it because you might hurt innocents. You do everything reasonable to minimize the chances (using precision weaponry, for one), but the simple fact is that we don't have perfect weapons. Though I've never actually heard of a D&D plot killing innocents since they tend to be more on the mano-a-mano scale of conflict.

On actions = Good or Evil. I agree. However, let me clarify, please. I believe that any action can be classified as Good or Evil. However, very rarely are these things (in D&D) broad. Killing, in general, can't be classified. You need more data. Killing the orcs threatening a town made of innocents? Still need more data. Are you killing them to save the town out of altruism? Then it's Good. This is always Good. Are you killing them so you can loot the town yourself? This is Evil. This is always Evil. Are you killing them purely for the reward from the town and the loot that goes along with it? Neither Good nor Evil, though people of both alignments might take such an action.

Zerkai
2008-04-09, 10:48 PM
I've been reading quite a bit of this page, especially the Part about the Paladin's disrespect for the Half-Orc Teamate that died saving his life waaay back in teh beginning, and I really enjoy these kidns of threads, as you can really start seeing what people are really like :smallbiggrin: .

That Paladin took the time to bury enemies that tried to kill him, and yet he rufused to bury a fallen party member that died to save his life because of his race, and then insulting his teamate that died for him, calling the Half-Orc, "Just an Orc", even though he's part human, the Paladin also doesn't acknowledge that he's human too.

That Paladin is scum, and he deserved to fall. Even moreso, the hand of his diety should have descended and flick him like a paper football into the horizon.

...
...
...

No, that's it. That's all. There's no backstory justifying an action like that, stop kidding yourselves.

Anyone attempting to justify this behavior, or trying to claim that he did no wrong I have two words for you;

'Sieg Heil!'

Rutee
2008-04-09, 11:02 PM
Congratulation on the Godwin, Zerkal. That took class.