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    Default Alignment Formula [PEACH]

    So, there's always been much debate on alignment.

    The solution I'm proposing via formula isn't necessarily the end all to this discussion - it isn't perfect either. But, it might make things easier to determine and justify about certain character behavior/actions regarding alignment, etc.
    ----

    Good/Neutral/Evil corresponds to two axioms.

    50% Belief
    - Split into...
    • 25% What the character thinks of themselves and what they believe in in regards to personal philosophy and/or ambition, etc.
    • 25% How the character's belief may clash with that of the current world's condition or let the world affect them, their own feelings, judgement, how others think of them and how their belief corresponds to those other people's beliefs, etc.


    50% Action
    - Split into...
    • 25% What the character does initially or intends to do.
    • 25% What the character involuntarily does - or what simply results.


    Lawful/Neutral/Chaotic corresponds to similar axioms.

    50% Behavior
    • 25% General Developed Opinion and/or Current Perception (if in the case that opinion is sometimes hardly developed)
    • 25% Their actions, both voluntary/involuntary.


    50% Lifestyle
    • 25% Involuntary Lifestyle (I live this way because this is how I grew up; this is how poor I am; etc.)
    • 25% Voluntary Lifestyle (I wanna live this way)

    -----

    This idea came to me a long time ago... it was clear at the time, but right now I don't think I wrote it down right at all (it feels a bit wrong).

    Anyway... let's see if this makes sense with an example:

    Ozzymandius (Watchmen) is typically viewed as lawful evil. Well, can the above formula prove it?

    Belief
    - Ozzymandius is ambitious. He wants to 'save' humanity and he believes that he was gifted with great intelligence for just such a purpose. This is Good.
    - Ozzymandius is disillusioned. He lets the world's tragedies work their way into his head, causing great depression and frustration - which only drives further down the path of arrogant assumption that he could pose as 'savior'. Arguably Neutral.

    Action
    - Ozzy retired from a career in crime fighting to sell out (which he admits to; neutral action). Later on, he intends to save the world by doing something extreme. He's aware that what he's doing is bad. But he feels that it is a necessary evil. It's evil anyway.
    - What happens is he ends up killing many many innocent people - he could of figured out another way to 'save the world' (if even saving the world needed to be done, let alone provided as justification) with all of his intelligence if only his ego didn't get ahead of him. Yet, he still thinks he did the right thing. Pretty evil.

    So... 50% evil, 25% good, 25% neutral. That should safely peg him as evil still.

    Now, Behavior

    - Ozzy has a good opinion about the world. He wedges his way safely in in whichever way is convenient. He doesn't necessarily so much as care about society or individuality as about his plain idea of morals and of the future, imo. Neutral.
    - Ozzymandius obeys the law and manipulates within legal boundaries when necessary. Lawful.

    Lifestyle
    - Involuntarily, his lifestyle is quite ordered. Lawful.
    - I'm not so sure he cares much about whether or not his life happened to be ordered. In fact, he gets rid of everyone who works for him at the end. Neutral.
    ----

    If Lawful is worth 1 point and Neutral 0 - then add all of the above together to get 2 points. Then divide by four for the average (0.5). We can safely round down (imo), considering 'lawful' and 'chaotic' tend to need to be radical leaning to at least some degree. Hence, we get 'neutral'. Another way of looking at it is 'behavioral net force = neutral' (you need to devote a certain amount of force either in law or chaos to overcome the netforce and go in that direction).

    In finality, Ozzy would be Neutral Evil.
    Last edited by imp_fireball; 2010-09-16 at 04:41 PM.

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    Default Re: Alignment Formula [PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by imp_fireball View Post
    25% What the character involuntarily does - or what simply results.
    So, basically, results of their actions that are foreseeable, but not intended? Like how when a surgeon might operate on you to get rid of your appendix, there might be a large chance of infection, but he doesn't intend for you to get infected.

    Of course, in some cases the foreseeable-intended division should be thrown out as a certain outcome might be so likely that taking the action might as well count as intended (for instance, crushing someone's skull is likely to kill them, so not intending to kill someone shouldn't be an excuse for crushing their skull).
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    Default Re: Alignment Formula [PEACH]

    So, basically, results of their actions that are foreseeable, but not intended? Like how when a surgeon might operate on you to get rid of your appendix, there might be a large chance of infection, but he doesn't intend for you to get infected.
    Yah... I was having a mind cramp when I wrote this - but the original idea seemed about right. This isn't entirely the original idea written down. Which is why the flaws are noticeable almost immediately.

    I was thinking it was more of a case of - intension and then action. So the intention of the surgeon may be good, but the action (cutting into you with surgery) is largely neutral since good or bad could result from it.

    So the second part of the action formula would be action (whether or not intended) I suppose.

    Of course, in some cases the foreseeable-intended division should be thrown out as a certain outcome might be so likely that taking the action might as well count as intended (for instance, crushing someone's skull is likely to kill them, so not intending to kill someone shouldn't be an excuse for crushing their skull).
    Nah, I wouldn't throw alignment up to 'evil' because of an outcome, no matter how foreseeable (but that's still where the law gets involved; which exists and punishes due to certain outcomes in order to mainly discourage foolishness and a lot of judges would agree on this).

    Gambling is always a neutral action (no matter what you are gambling) - what matters is what you intend to get out of it. If you intend to feed the poor, that's good, but if you intend to use the money to adopt orphans and then kill them, that's evil. If you intend to put the money in a savings account, that's obviously neutral.

    So evil largely depends on intention, but not always. That's what I'm trying to get out of this formula. Inevitably, we'll be having a massive debate on morals, but I'm fine with that too.

    EDIT: My wisdom score has taken a hit, so I'm having trouble getting this all down. -_-
    Last edited by imp_fireball; 2010-09-14 at 07:21 PM.

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    Default Re: Alignment Formula [PEACH]

    Sounds intresting.......

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    Default Re: Alignment Formula [PEACH]

    The notion that alignment is both beliefs and action does make sense. A person who believes strongly that The Right Way to behave is to behave a certain way, is possibly evil aligned if That Way happens to be evil.

    Even if their actions have, to date, been closer to Neutral.

    This covers the "alignment is your general attitudes and what you'd be willing to do if given the opportunity" viewpoint set forth in the PHB.

    A newborn chromatic dragon would qualify as this. Beliefs- Evil. Actions- none, so far. Alignment- Evil.

    The converse (in Champions of Ruin) that alignment can be about action rather than belief- is covered as well- a person who regularly does Evil actions can be evil even if they hold Good beliefs (that acting altruistically is a good thing, that the innocent need to be protected, and so on).

    So, the Evil anti-hero who does very evil things, but only to "non-innocent" victims- is covered as well.

    On Ozymandias- he appears to have one Neutral trait and one Lawful trait for both behaviour, and lifestyle. So, depending on the DM, he could be LE with NE tendencies, or NE with LE tendencies.

    While I've seen the claim "you can't be evil, no matter how many vile things you do, unless you're willing to debase or destroy the innocent- that's compulsary for evil alignment" repeated a lot- I see that as an aspect of Belief, and Action can override it, if the Actions are evil enough.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2010-09-15 at 04:06 AM.
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    Default Re: Alignment Formula [PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Fingerlessfist View Post
    Sounds intresting.......
    So no other comments? Unfortunate.

    While I've seen the claim "you can't be evil, no matter how many vile things you do, unless you're willing to debase or destroy the innocent- that's compulsary for evil alignment" repeated a lot- I see that as an aspect of Belief, and Action can override it, if the Actions are evil enough.
    Yah, that alone is a belief I agree.

    You don't have to debase the innocent to be evil - if you've done nothing with your life, you can still be evil if your actions are neutral and your beliefs are evil. In order to become neutral, another aspect of you has to become good. The only way to become good is reform the evil part of you. Or base the fourth part of you largely on good, hence making you a good aligned anti-hero/villain.

    IMO, evil largely takes upon intention. Belief is an intention.

    Rorschach, despite his evil actions (violates human rights) - the results are generally good (a sicko or serial killer has been removed from society). His beliefs are largely neutral (vigilantism is okay, only the strong survive, etc.).

    He is chaotic in both action and belief (society sucks, it caters to decadence and detracts from the original american values, etc.), and he disrespects even small laws (I'm a vigilante! I'm protecting humanity, I've got the right to ignore stupid decadent laws.). The good/evil axiom hangs on the balance for him, so it falls into neutral (neutral is a midpoint). Law/Chaos wise, he's radically leaning to the right of that axiom (chaos). So CN.

    The notion that alignment is both beliefs and action does make sense. A person who believes strongly that The Right Way to behave is to behave a certain way, is possibly evil aligned if That Way happens to be evil.
    Yes, a certain belief that isn't necessarily good or evil could be neutral but is influenced by the second portion.

    I'm not sure if two neutrals should overcome a good or evil factor though (should it be three neutrals or does either everything need to be neutral or balanced in evil/good, etc.?).

    What do you guys think?
    Last edited by imp_fireball; 2010-09-16 at 04:45 PM.

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    Default Re: Alignment Formula [PEACH]

    The hard part is identifying what counts as good (or evil) belief and action.

    Easydamus:

    http://easydamus.com/alignment.html

    takes a pretty good stab at belief and action for all alignments.

    BoVD has a try at Evil Action.
    BoED tries to work out what Good action and Good belief are
    Champions of Ruin discusses the interaction between Evil Action and various forms of Belief.
    Fiendish Codex 2 has a try at Evil Action and Lawful Action.
    Champions of Valor discusses the various beliefs and "flaws" a Valorous character might have.
    Heroes of Horror discusses how a mixture of Good and Evil actions and beliefs (typically, minor evil deeds like casting [Evil] spells toward very good ends, can make for a Neutral character. And the various reasons a group might start to behave evilly- fear for their survival being one.
    Exemplars of Evil goes into the beliefs and actions of Villains- which are usually evil but not always.

    So- there's a lot of ways of discussing what count as Evil or Good Beliefs in D&D, and Evil or Good Actions- and how the two combine to produce Alignment.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2010-09-16 at 04:47 PM.
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    Default Re: Alignment Formula [PEACH]

    The hard part is identifying what counts as good (or evil) belief and action.
    The original designers tried to explain it that way - but this is so inevitably dependent on opinion that part of these rules are thrown up to GM discretion in that sense. My formula helps in sorting things out.

    It would take too long to label every coverable aspect of life though (even if I was being as general as possible without being too vague).

    If we're considering tendencies, we could reiterate the nine again - ie. LG with N tendencies or LG with L and N tendencies. But then the second tier would have include other aspects, of which there could be hundreds.

    Ie. LG with Bitter Tendencies (not as far leaning as LG with N tendencies; hence why N tendencies is the highest tier of tendencies action).

    Phrases like 'bitter' or 'cynical' could stem from that one site (that one with berkins and boccob, or whatever; can't remember) and be themed and what they include.

    The third tier would be personality - this would be about the farthest anyone could go with alignment.

    Tendencies in second and third tiers are the most likely and prone to shifting and doing so quickly. The third tier is incredibly malleable and could shift at any moment - or thousands or millions of times in a character's life.

    Tendencies in general are more likely to shift than actual alignment itself.
    Last edited by imp_fireball; 2010-09-16 at 04:52 PM.

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    Default Re: Alignment Formula [PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by imp_fireball View Post
    You don't have to debase the innocent to be evil - if you've done nothing with your life, you can still be evil if your actions are neutral and your beliefs are evil.
    That's the "willing to debase the innocent" bit.
    I wonder- if all debasing deeds are Evil- and debasing deeds debase the doer as much as the victim- when an "innocent" person decides to debase an evildoer- say, by torturing them, they are in that moment, "willing to debase the innocent" as well- only the innocent in this case is themselves.

    Hence the statement "willing to debase the non-innocent but not the innocent" may in fact be meaningless?

    And when an innocent person willingly debases themselves in this way, they've destroyed their own "innocence" hence, if "willing to destroy innocence" is a valid interpretation of "willing to destroy the innocent" they have that trait too.

    Quote Originally Posted by imp_fireball View Post
    It would take too long to label every coverable aspect of life though (even if I was being as general as possible without being too vague).
    True- the Easydamus version is huge, and people still complain that it doesn't explain the reasoning behind generalizations like "neutral people will not torture for pleasure".
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2010-09-16 at 04:49 PM.
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    Default Re: Alignment Formula [PEACH]

    That's the "willing to debase the innocent" bit.
    I wonder- if all debasing deeds are Evil- and debasing deeds debase the doer as much as the victim- when an "innocent" person decides to debase an evildoer- say, by torturing them, they are in that moment, "willing to debase the innocent" as well- only the innocent in this case is themselves.
    Yah, that's still an opinion. Hence, why I said GM discretion and that the formula works in sorting out the different axioms in order to encourage creating more complex, rounded characters easily (and anti-heros can become generic under such a formula, which is nice and fresh, amirite?).

    A strong case would be if a character came from a society where rape was actively encouraged as a means of wooing a mate. Rape is probably not even necessarily evil in this society if the softer sex expects it to arrive at some point - they only hope that the one who does it to them isn't too much of a jerk.

    True- the Easydamus version is huge, and people still complain that it doesn't explain the reasoning behind generalizations like "neutral people will not torture for pleasure".
    Opinions are highly devaluing to the quality of effective fiction and rounding out characters. Hence, why I don't include them.

    Also, it's huge and still doesn't get it down - hence... yah.
    Last edited by imp_fireball; 2010-09-16 at 04:58 PM.

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    Default Re: Alignment Formula [PEACH]

    That raises the question of "how far can cultural relativism go in D&D"

    If some acts, like torture, are considered "always evil"- as per FC2 and BoED- not very far- some practices will always be evil even if accepted by the people of the cultures that practice them.

    Even Dark Sun in 4E- which is one of the grimmest settings, still states, for example "Owning slaves is incompatible with a good alignment" although it's not a problem for unaligned characters.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2010-09-16 at 05:00 PM.
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    Default Re: Alignment Formula [PEACH]

    That raises the question of "how far can cultural relativism go in D&D"
    How about 'anywhere the GM wants' and 'however much the players can handle it'. It's an all ages game, so I think that's fine.

    If some acts, like torture, are considered "always evil"- as per FC2 and BoED- not very far- some practices will always be evil even if accepted by the people of the cultures that practice them.
    That seems highly confusing I always thought.

    Why would they consider it evil if they practice it constantly? Wouldn't that just desensitize them after awhile? And if not, why wouldn't they feel constantly undervalued and 'dirty' (and their military would always suffer lowered morale or whatever)?

    And sure, some practices are always evil - but I still think it largely depends on intention. Even blood sacrifice and self manglement might not be evil if the person is willing and feels happier afterwards.

    Yep, in-character others would be disgusted by such acts and call it evil - but this is all human nature.

    Certain D&D books don't seem to indicate that entire cultures are based on evil worship - they often hint that dark gods are the product of cults (the way races of destiny covered humans was pretty darn extensive in this regard).
    Last edited by imp_fireball; 2010-09-16 at 05:04 PM.

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    Default Re: Alignment Formula [PEACH]

    Might depend on how much of the alignment system is being used.

    If "debasing others" (innocent and non-innocent alike) is always an evil act, the DM might specify beforehand which acts are considered debasing, and which are a bit more context-sensitive.

    Quote Originally Posted by imp_fireball View Post
    Why would they consider it evil if they practice it constantly? Wouldn't that just desensitize them after awhile? And if not, why wouldn't they feel constantly undervalued and 'dirty'?
    I'm talking about "considered evil by the game designers" not "considered evil by the people in the game setting"

    You could have a people who consider torture a nonevil act- an act of praise to their deities whom they revere.

    In a FC2/BoED world though- those people would be wrong.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2010-09-16 at 05:05 PM.
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    Default Re: Alignment Formula [PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    Might depend on how much of the alignment system is being used.

    If "debasing others" (innocent and non-innocent alike) is always an evil act, the DM might specify beforehand which acts are considered debasing, and which are a bit more context-sensitive.
    I don't think evil should imply 'debasing', since that both restricts opinions and even still leaves a full range of detailed opinions that still would need covering, albeit pointlessly. I'm going with the assumption that everyone has their own definition of evil (which could involve singing loudly at dinner; it's so annoying and is EEEEEVIL!!! (smite thy minstrel paladin!) because of it) so I'd just throw it up to GM discretion... again.
    Last edited by imp_fireball; 2010-09-16 at 05:08 PM.

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    Default Re: Alignment Formula [PEACH]

    Everyone has their own definition of evil- but some of the game designers have tried to set it out.

    Even the PHB does: "Channelling negative energy (by rebuking or commanding undead) is an evil act"

    I like "Violating the rights of others" as a starting point for evil acts- people have negative rights, like "the right to not be murdered" "the right to not be robbed" and those who violate them, are doing evil acts.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2010-09-16 at 05:13 PM.
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    Default Re: Alignment Formula [PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    Even the PHB does: "Channelling negative energy (by rebuking or commanding undead) is an evil act"
    Which has caused gamers everywhere to pull out their hair in questioning 'why'.

    The thing with 'undead = evil' is counteracted by a RAW spell (blasphemy) which states that it only affects people that are not evil. It doesn't explicitly mention undead as being immune or even those of the (evil) subtype.

    So yes, D&D withholds strife among developers. Anything else you want to say regarding this?

    Personally, I'm finished with saying it's up to GM discretion.

    For the purposes of the game system, consider each character's alignment to be the one that will give that character the least beneficial (or most harmful) result when alignment comes into play. Thus, a Lawful Neutral (Evil) cleric would be detected as evil by a paladin using detect evil (as if he were Lawful Evil). However, if a lawful evil outsider were detecting that cleric's alignment, he may not be detected as evil (assuming the outsider would be friendly to him if he found the cleric to be evil). This character would also take 6d6 points of damage from touching a Talisman of Pure Evil (as if he were Lawful Neutral). This option punishes the fence-sitter and discourages the use of alignment tendencies.
    But an LN, E tendencies cleric could take spells from both good and evil domains. Hence, even with the 'tendencies are discouraged' houserule, they could still have some benefit.

    Spoiler
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    It'd be funny if the lizard cleric in OotS is LN with E tendencies in the universe which discourages tendencies. Hence, Elan would keep reiterating he's evil and he detect evil and everything, but he might demonstrate a single low level spell from a good domain. Thus, conundrum.

    Elan will probably claim that he 'stole it' though - which will then piss of Durkon, forcing to explain, influenced by Elan's ignorance, that you 'cannae steal divine spells!'.
    Last edited by imp_fireball; 2010-09-16 at 05:17 PM.

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    Default Re: Alignment Formula [PEACH]

    GM's discretion is obviously a big part-

    but when the "good" character is absolutely nothing like what the PHB says (they never protect the innocent, they never make sacrifices for others, they harm the innocent for profit and fun) it's not really D&D alignment anymore.

    There is a midpoint between "completely up to the GM" and "completely following what the rulebooks say".

    Quote Originally Posted by imp_fireball View Post
    But an LN, E tendencies cleric could take spells from both good and evil domains. Hence, even with the 'tendencies are discouraged' houserule, they could still have some benefit.
    Doesn't the PHB say it's impossible to take the Good domain unless you are of Good alignment? And no deities offer both the Good and Evil domains.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2010-09-16 at 05:19 PM.
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    Default Re: Alignment Formula [PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    GM's discretion is obviously a big part-

    but when the "good" character is absolutely nothing like what the PHB says (they never protect the innocent, they never make sacrifices for others, they harm the innocent for profit and fun) it's not really D&D alignment anymore.

    There is a midpoint between "completely up to the GM" and "completely following what the rulebooks say".
    It's easier to admit that the rulebooks make mistakes.

    Alignment is largely their to supplement fluff - my formula already allows alignment to still persist in games with complex roleplaying and social intrigue (like a sit com that covers all range of emotions).

    I don't think it helps any to obey the rulebooks to the letter in regards to something that relates to fluff. The alignment based mechanics (detect evil, spells like blasphemy, etc.) still apply and are unaffected.

    For the purposes of the game system, consider each character's alignment to be the one that will give that character the most beneficial (or least harmful) result when alignment comes into play. Thus, a Lawful Neutral (Evil) cleric would not be detected as evil by a paladin using detect evil (as if he were Lawful Evil). However, if a lawful evil outsider were detecting that cleric's alignment, he would be detected as evil (assuming the outsider would be friendly to him if he found the cleric to be evil). This character would be able to use a Talisman of Pure Evil (as if he were Lawful Evil). This option rewards the use of complex alignments and encourages players to assign alignment tendencies for their characters.
    Who knows. Maybe the cleric wouldn't detect as neutral or good though (but his neutral affluence blocks out the paladin's detect evil, ordained mainly by his respective deity(s) to purge the radical leaning). So it could be like 'involuntarily choose one or the other'.

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    "Not Quite Neutral"
    An alignment tendency could be used to show the preference of an ethically and/or morally neutral character to favor one "side" of his neutrality a little more than the other.
    Example: a Neutral Good (Lawful) character is essentially Neutral Good, but exhibits more lawful traits than most Neutral Good beings, but not enough to be considered Lawful Good.

    "Not So Extreme"
    Conversely, an alignment tendency could be used to indicate the alignment of an extremely aligned character who emphasizes one aspect of his alignment more than the other. The four extreme alignments are lawful good, lawful evil, chaotic good, and chaotic evil.
    Example: a Lawful Neutral (Good) character could be one that is essentially both lawful and good, but will choose to uphold the law over performing a good act if both cannot be accomplished by one deed.

    "Pious Enough"
    An alignment tendency might be assigned when a neutrally-aligned cleric's alignment is one step away from his deity's.
    Example: a Lawful Neutral cleric worships a Lawful Good deity. That cleric's alignment would be Lawful Neutral (Good).

    "The Hypocrite"
    An alignment tendency could show when a neutrally-aligned character believes in the general philosophical tenets of another alignment, but does not take action to support those beliefs.
    Example: a True Neutral character decides to become a worshiper of a Lawful Good deity, but he continues to behave in a mostly True Neutral manner. That character's alignment could be considered to be Neutral (Lawful Good).

    "Birds of a Feather?"
    When a character prefers to associate with characters of another alignment, an alignment tendency might be noted to indicate the preference.
    Example: a certain True Neutral character generally adventures with and prefers the company of good creatures. That character could be called Neutral (Good). If he preferred to associate with evil characters (perhaps because it's more profitable), he would be Neutral (Evil).

    "The Chicken or the Egg"
    An alignment tendency could also show that a character believes that one alignment naturally leads to another.
    Example: a Lawful Neutral (Good) character believes that an ordered society naturally promotes weal for all, while a Neutral Good (Lawful) believes that a good society naturally becomes more ordered and harmonious. A Lawful Good character, by contrast, believes that harmony and altruism are both extremely important and the two must coincide in society.
    All of this is what I refer to as 'second tier tendencies'.
    Last edited by imp_fireball; 2010-09-16 at 05:31 PM.

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    Default Re: Alignment Formula [PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by imp_fireball View Post
    I don't think it helps any to obey the rulebooks to the letter in regards to something that relates to fluff.
    I agree- and have often disputed people who insist that the PHB rules are hard and fast and exclusive, and not general guidelines.

    I.E. "Evil debases and destroys the innocent for fun or profit" as an exclusive statement- with "Anyone who does not do this cannot be evil" as the corollary.

    However there's few things I'd go so far as to call mistakes- merely not absolute certainties.

    One of the few I would call mistakes is BoED's "poison use is evil"- since it's rationale (It causes unnecessary pain and suffering) makes little sense in the context of real poisons.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2010-09-16 at 05:26 PM.
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    Default Re: Alignment Formula [PEACH]

    One of the few I would call mistakes is BoED's "poison use is evil"- since it's rationale (It causes unnecessary pain and suffering) makes little sense in the context of real poisons.
    Exactly. It also ruins the flexibility of fluff.

    Who's to say all of the good aligned would know about the methods of obtaining ravishes (or whatever they're called)?

    However there's few things I'd go so far as to call mistakes- merely not absolute certainties.
    Well of course, some are mistakes and others not so much.

    I didn't create this thread to talk about all that though. I'm not accusing you of derail - I'd just like to get back on subject.
    Last edited by imp_fireball; 2010-09-16 at 05:28 PM.

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    Default Re: Alignment Formula [PEACH]

    OK. Like I said- the formula outlined here looks like a good starting point- if the DM has an idea beforehand as to what Good/Evil Action and Good/Evil Belief will be.

    It's a good tool to add on to a pre-existing alignment system.

    While Chaos/Law is called Behaviour/Lifestyle- it could be Belief/Action as well.
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    Default Re: Alignment Formula [PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    While Chaos/Law is called Behaviour/Lifestyle- it could be Belief/Action as well.
    Mmmm... yeah. That's the problem I figured that would arrive here.

    Anyway, you say it'd attach well to an existing system.

    Well if the GM doesn't want to use his discretion - I think this would be a good option here.

    Granted, there's still discretion flexibility involved, but it's probably not enough to disrupt an adventure 99.99999% of the time from the looks of it (when you combine it with my formula... once that gets worked out).

    I don't know too many people who could get fed up about the alignment considerations of squashing a bug. In regards to my formula, accidents are neutral and intentions are evil (but corresponding to rationale, they conflict with good when it's self defense (stemming from the idea that good is all about the permutation of pleasure and happiness, etc.), thus becoming a neutral action) - but under the scoring system, neither is strong enough to actually affect alignment.
    Last edited by imp_fireball; 2010-09-16 at 05:48 PM.

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    Default Re: Alignment Formula [PEACH]

    Thing is- the tracking system requires the DM to assign points values for the "sins" of all 9 alignments (typically ranging from 1 to 3 points)

    So- there will still require a good deal of DM adjudication beforehand.

    And then there's acts that aren't mentioned- which the DM has to give a value to on the fly.
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    Default Re: Alignment Formula [PEACH]

    So- there will still require a good deal of DM adjudication beforehand.

    And then there's acts that aren't mentioned- which the DM has to give a value to on the fly.
    On the fly for 'minor acts that aren't mentioned' would probably have zero affect on the scoring for anyone rationale and/or experienced with running a game (under my formula, I'd be going with the consideration in my games that inaction is always neutral; even when it involves smiling when you see someone get tortured to death and she's your best friend - if the action you made was to condemn her to torture to death however, that's evil). Although, my lifestyle system could probably help with any possible inactions that result in a shift.

    The point though is that it minimizes adjudication - the GM has to no longer consider how evil it is 'or if it's evil-ish or kinda good if you look at it from the perspective of purple salamander'; instead just assign point value from 1-5.

    You could have a people who consider torture a nonevil act- an act of praise to their deities whom they revere.

    In a FC2/BoED world though- those people would be wrong.
    Sorry... I just want to make it clear one last time.

    This sort of thing restricts the possible setting fluff and potential range of settings in D&D, so I wouldn't run with it even being considered evil by the gods or what have you - but if it is considered evil by the gods, which is possible (dependent); that hangs largely on the gods sharing a collective opinion, which might fall into their own personality and domains. So a good god that considers torture evil would punish the doers in a good way - maybe by sending down an angel to reason with them or whatever. An evil god would smite them and whipe out their entire civilization. A neutral god would actively work to sow dissent and distrust in the minds of the people regarding their own beliefs via otherworldly agents - which is neutral because it could lead to revolution but also violence and unwilling suffering.

    So alignment, at my preference, is very universal and worthy of play in GURPs too.
    Last edited by imp_fireball; 2010-09-16 at 06:09 PM.

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    Default Re: Alignment Formula [PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by imp_fireball View Post
    The point though is that it minimizes adjudication - the GM has to no longer consider how evil it is 'or if it's evil-ish or kinda good if you look at it from the perspective of purple salamander'; instead just assign point value from 1-5.
    "Act-based" alignment can be a handy alternative to "beliefs-based" which insists that what a person's willing (or unwilling) to do is far more important than what they have done.

    With the formula, you can say "both count- and if one's strong enough, it can override the other".

    Quote Originally Posted by imp_fireball View Post
    This sort of thing restricts the possible setting fluff and potential range of settings in D&D, so I wouldn't run with it even being considered evil by the gods or what have you.
    "torture is incompatible with a good alignment" existed in editions prior to 3.5 though- the Eric Holmes version of Basic D&D (which had 5 alignments) gave it as an example of "behaviour inconsistant with alignment".

    It may be a restriction- but that might have been because the designers preferred it that way.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2010-09-16 at 06:10 PM.
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    Default Re: Alignment Formula [PEACH]

    With the formula, you can say "both count- and if one's strong enough, it can override the other".
    That works well with determining overall alignment. But the actual things that cause an alignment check are mostly just actions or certain inaction.

    Belief is good for use of the alignment formula to determine starting alignment, etc.
    Last edited by imp_fireball; 2010-09-16 at 06:08 PM.

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    Default Re: Alignment Formula [PEACH]

    Yup- beliefs for generating starting alignment, actions to determine where the alignment is heading, actually seems a lot like the way the books have it.
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    Default Re: Alignment Formula [PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    Yup- beliefs for generating starting alignment, actions to determine where the alignment is heading, actually seems a lot like the way the books have it.
    That's the intention - to generally demonstrate what most of the books say.

    However note also that player characters are actively encouraged to have backgrounds, hence many pre-game actions are often commited. Hence why actions can also affect starting alignment and are included in the formula.

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